Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Traditions...

Holiday traditions are something I believe every family has. From what you eat to opening a Christmas present before you go to bed on Christmas eve, there is something that is done every year.

Growing up, I remember eating fondue and bread on Christmas eve. Ham for Christmas dinner, and being able to open our stocking before everyone else got out of bed. My mom would buy each of her children a Christmas ornament to put on the tree every year, and years later, we still put those ornaments up.

When Konnor was born, I wasn't sure what tradition I was going to start. Wanting something that could be a tradition forever, I pondered the thought of ornaments. Nah, that had been done. Specific foods? Not possible since my grandma still insisted on us being at home for dinner.

It didn't occur to me when I bought Konnor Christmas-themed pajamas in 2006 that this would be my tradition from year to year. To be honest, 2007 came and went and I didn't realize then what I was really doing. Not until I went shopping for Christmas jammies in 2008 did I realize that there was a theme. A yearly routine that I had started. A tradition.

That was it. I adopted it. My tradition was now buying Christmas jammies that Konnor could wake up wearing on Christmas morning to open his presents. Something that could go on until he was older, seeing as there are jammies for all ages.

This year, I already have Ariana's Christmas jammies, and need to get Konnor's yet. This tradition is something that is unique. And totally me. While I can't find 2007's Christmas pictures, Konnor wore Disney's Cars themed Christmas jammies. They were his fav!!

What are your holiday traditions? I would love to hear them! I find it fascinating how everyone celebrates the holiday in their own special, unique ways. :)

From my family to yours: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and please be safe!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday.. Blast From the Past!!

How did we go from this to this???

Love you K-man!!

Find even more Wordless Wednesday fun at 5 Minutes for Mom, Extraordinary Mothers, HUB, and Momspective

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Miss My BFFFE!!!

During the holidays, I get a bit depressed. Halloween especially. The Civil War games. Christmas. New Years. Okay, so October through January is especially hard. Then again during my birthday and hers as well.

My best friend and I used to be inseparable. Amazingly enough, we did almost everything together, in sync. We worked together at a couple different places, and there was a point in our lives where she lived with me. It was some of the best days of my life.  Have I ever mentioned the mountain trips?  Sledding.. those were days to die for (almost!).

Now, we barely talk. Missing her comes and goes, I'll admit, but when it comes in, its like I hit a ton of bricks. Lumps form in my throat, and going through our pictures on MySpace becomes almost unbearable. The pain of us going our separate ways, leading different lives, has taken it's toll on me this year.

The biggest reason being Ariana. Jenny was around during most of Konnor's firsts in life, including Halloween and Christmas. When he started crawling, cooing, and cutting his teeth, she was there. That is his Auntie Jenny, and nobody else's, thank you very much! He adores his baby sister, so something tells me that he'd probably share with her.

However, there hasn't been much Auntie Jenny in the last year or two. It sucks. It hurts. I miss her. I miss us. We had crazy silly adventures. So I put together this slide show. That's what I tend to do when I get all sad and sappy. Relive the memories we shared.  Easy to do when you have over 10,000 memories in the form of pictures just sitting on your computer.  With that said, here are a few of our memories (in no particular order).  Sorry it's so big.  I will fix it later. :)

We just need a new spark. Maybe someday she'll see this. Maybe someday we'll reconnect. Honestly, no one can replace her as my BFFFE (best friend for f*cking ever), and I'm pretty sure that anyone who knows "us" knows this to be true. Crazy, dumb, silly females. Man, we are the duo that you don't want to mess with!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Monday Mingle -- Farewell 2009!!!

Welcome to the final Monday Mingle of 2009 here on The JAKA Files!!  This was done in a rush as Ariana was fussy and ready for bed.  None the less, enjoy. 

Have a safe and happy holidays and a great New Year!!  I may throw together a video or two due to my sheer joy of doing my weekly mingles, but we shall see.  Lately, I have been busy girl with the approaching holidays, so no promises!

Last but not least, please visit 80 MPH Mom to see all the other minglers.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Not So Wordless Wednesday....

So I understand this is suppose to be Wordless Wednesday, but for the love, I can't help myself.

You see, I had this amazingly adorable picture of my kiddos passed out on the couch.  It was adorable, and I knew that it was my WW picture.  No doubt in my mind.

Until I was uploading pictures onto Shutterfly and Ariana was getting really pissed on the floor.  Picking her up, she sat contently on my lap at the computer.  For a moment.  Then, she decided she wanted to Tweet too.  And Tweet she did, that little bugger. :)

After her keyboard bashing, we may or may not have had to restart the computer to get the monitor to work correctly.  And I may or may not have to figure out how to fix the internet screen size.  Still wondering why I don't get a taskbar for my different windows at the bottom of the screen.

Whoops!  Bright side?  Daddy can't get mad at his little angel!!

Want more Wordless Wednesday?  Check out 5 Minutes for Mom, Extraordinary Mothers, MomSpective, & J. Leigh Designs.

Testing... Technorati

Sorry for the random post, all.  Just trying to get my blog verified with Technorati.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Mingle 12/7/2009

Mwahaha! I recorded this video last Thursday so I wouldn't be late.  It's a good thing too considering I was called into work yesterday thanks to the lovely wind storm that wiped out power to over 15,000 homes.

As per usual, please visit (or click on the button above) for more fantastic Monday Minglers!  This really is sooo much fun!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Something Is Up...

These two have a bond that I have never, in my twenty-two years of life, witnessed.  At least not that I can recall.  Love love love them!!

Konnor has on his Halloween costume (best $25 investment I've made, thank you very much!) and Ariana was, far as i can tell, trying to eat it?? I don't know.. I suppose they understood what was going on, even if I didn't.

Life Without A Man....

Seems weird to say it, but it's rather peaceful with Justin visiting family on the east coast.  Sure, taking care of the kiddos all by myself sucks, but it isn't too much different comparing when he's here.  He will pick them up from daycare, but for the most part, I tend to do all the work.

The most enjoyable part is that I can clean and not get frustrated that I am the only one cleaning.  Having the bed all to myself was great, until I realized how hard it is to sleep without Justin by my side.  I don't think I have been awake so much during the night since the first week Ariana was home.

Speaking of which, Ariana turned 6 months old yesterday! Wow.  Hard to believe she has been with us for one half of a whole year.  It's hard to remember life without her at this point, and that girl can tug at my heart all day everyday.  Loves to my baby girl! 

Justin called me yesterday to chit chat.  Having him so far away reminds me of how things were before he moved out here.  Sure, it sucked because he was so far away, but now it's kind of a relief.

Okay, I'm done rambling.  Really, I just needed a good starter post.  Something is bothering me, and I'm working on figuring out just what that is.


Friday, December 4, 2009

We're Going to the Rose Bowl!!

Woooooooooooooooooooooot!!!! I'm so excited the Ducks won last night and we are flying south for the Rose Bowl!!! *does a happy dance*

An amazing game, but the managed the victory.  Oh man, I soooo wish I could go to that game in Pasadena, California.  Can anyone say road trip?? That would make an amazing Christmas present.  *calls mom* Lol!

January 1st, 2010.... Ohio you better watch yourselves, the Ducks are flyin' in!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Go Ducks!!

In about 2 1/2 hours, the University of Oregon Ducks will battle against the Oregon State Beavers for a spot in the 2010 Rose Bowl.  In the 113 years of this Civil War, there has never been more at stake!  Both teams are competing to face the Ohio State Buckeyes.  For any Oregon fan, Ducks or Beavs, this is the game of the year.

Here in Portland, you can tell the fanbase is split almost down the middle.  Always has seemed that way in the 10+ years that I have proudly supported my Oregon Ducks.  No matter where I have worked, the week of the Civil War has been a huge week!  This year, at PGE, we are having a competition on our call stats.  Giving us the option to dress up in our favorite team's attire, it's been fun!

Now that we are nearing game time, my nerves are all jumbled.  I want to see my team go to the Rose Bowl, for sure!  Regardless of the outcome, one Oregon team will be on their way to sunny California in an attempt to fight off the Buckeyes and claim the national title.  While I couldn't be happier about that, I am all for the Ducks whoopin on some Beaver booty and then whoopin on some Buckeye booty.  It all seems to fit just fine!

My Ducks obsession (yes, that is the correct term) started, for me, in 6th grade.  My science teacher at the time was a huge Beaver fan, and me and a couple friends (Kristen!!) decided it would be fun to rally against him.  Which we did.  It was then and in that season that I became a hardcore Ducks fan.  We would make Ducks signs to put up over his Beaver signs and constantly talk about the Ducks.  Even in highschool, when I would go back to my old elementary school for my brother or sister, I would make signs to cover up his.  Lol.

I <3 the Ducks.  Plain and simple. 

Happy Belated Monday Mingle!!!

Late, per usual.  Lol!  However, I did make it this week.  That accounts for something, right??  Lol, head on over to 80 MPH Mom for other fabulous minglers!  She is the queen of MM and hosts it every week for us!

Without further ado, here we goooo!! (And my editing sucks, sorry, Konnor was being a turd and Movie Maker didn't like my file format.  Le Sigh)

And it was Neve Campbell!! People used to say I looked like her..

And here is the horrendous pic of my face.. See that cheek?  Yeah... I had a fat bruise for a few days too. I'll post that pic some other time.  This is enough humiliation for one day :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday.. Selfish Edition...


Dead ends gone!  Just got some layers.  Nothing exciting. :)

Visit Extraordinary Mothers for a list of more bloggers who participate in Wordless Wednesday!!

Sibling Love... How Powerful!!

This morning, I witnessed something absolutely spectacular. There is no other way to put it.

Normally, when Ariana cries, Konnor attempts to calm her down by talking to her or playing with her. His love for his baby sister is out of this world, and tends to bring a tear to my eye. They will be great friends, I can see this.

However, the tables changed this morning. It was no longer Konnor that was concerned about Ariana, but Ariana who was concerned about her big brother. He wasn't listening and was sent to time out, which sent him into a fit of crocodile tears. Ariana, who was playing with a toy, dropped it at the first sound of her brother crying, and turned her head in his direction.

Watching this interaction pulled at my heartstrings. She was trying to find him, and nothing else could grab her attention. I tried to give her toy back, but she would pay no attention to me. She kept staring down that hallway, looking for her crying brother, who she couldn't see.

After Konnor's timeout, he came in to his concerned sister, and gave her a hug and kiss. Dismissing the thought that something was wrong, Ariana went back to her toy and continued playing.

How amazing is it to watch siblings interact? My 3 1/2 year old trying to comfort and be concerned with his baby sister is one thing, but for my 6 month old being deeply concerned about her big brother is something amazing.

Giggly Baby and Singing Toddler....

Just a couple videos from the last week or so....

Black Friday Events....

Since I have a dysfunctional family, I often find myself dreading the upcoming holidays, rather than enjoying them. Sad as this may seem, I am never disappointed when someone flies off the handle (generally my grandma) and the mood for the holidays are sour. Despite all of that, I honestly try and find the joy in the holidays.

For Thanksgiving, my happiness happens to be Black Friday. It never fails, there is always excitement going out at odd hours of the night to buy toys that I would never buy on any other day. This was to be my fifth year in a row going out on the day after Thanksgiving, and each year my planning gets more and more intricate.

It's amazing how a couple weeks before the big day, online websites will get a hold of Black Friday adds, and post them. This makes planning much easier for hardcore BF shoppers, such as myself. Comparing prices, I can make my battle plan earlier than Thanksgiving, when the adds are featured in the local newspaper.

This year, both Toys'R'us and and Wal-Mart through me through a loop. As Toys'R'us offered a midnight opening and great deals on some toys for Ariana, I figured we would be starting there. My sister and her friend went with me (thank goodness, too, they are a hyper couple), but they weren't happy to hear that we were going out to stand in line at 9pm for Toys'R'us and that we would not be sleeping.

Convincing me to buy them energy drinks on the way, we were in a line with approximately 20 people in front of us. The rain came and went, but compared to previous years, it wasn't cold at all (which was probably because we were in line at 9pm, not 2am). We sat, stood, and they giggled about absolutely nothing at all. Oh, how I remember being a teenager. Haha!

Come 10 minutes before opening, the usual "line jumpers" started to crowd around the curb directly across the front doors. Recognizing such a crowd from years passed, I informed the girls what was about to happen. That being, doors open, people rush across the street, and cut in line. It was a classic (but not classy) act, which involved those of us who had been standing in line for hours to become quite upset, and punches would most likely be thrown.

Now Toys'R'us had made a barricade with carts to protect such an act from happening. However, they did not tie said carts together, so people were grabbing them and taking them to their places in line. I was nervous... no I was pissed that these people, showing up 10-20 minutes before the store opened, were going to be getting in before the mile-long (no joke) line that had been waiting for hours.

Buuuut, Toys'R'us threw us another curve ball when about 10 employees came out, and formed a human barricade to keep the line jumpers out. No kidding. Believe it or not, that barricade worked, too! At least no one jumped us or the 20 people in front of us, which was all I cared about, really. We were in and out of that store in 1/2 and hour, which was great, and off to Wal-Mart we went.

I am pretty sure I almost died of shock when we arrived at Wal-Mart, too. My sister said "there's no line" yet the parking lot was full. I laughed at her, thinking that wasn't possible. Ohhh, but it was. We cautiously walked up to the door, to find them open, and into the store, which had few people in it.

Panic set it, and I was positive that they must have started sales early, and all the good stuff had to be gone. Most importantly, the Ipod Touch my mom was making me get my brother for Christmas. I sent the girls off with my list as I headed to the electronics. Peeking into their MP3 player case, I saw plenty of the Ipod Touch, and felt I bit of relief.

Keep in mind, it is 1245am, and Wal-Mart wasn't scheduled to open until 5am. We were all very confused. Reaching the counter, the lady was kind enough to sell me the Ipod at the BF price, before the 5am time. Score! I put that hot item into my jacket, which was then covered with the things the girls brought me.

After we had everything (and more) in our carts, we stood there, staring at each other, and wondered what in the world we were going to do until 5am. We weren't allowed to buy anything at BF price until then, so we had to wait. And wait, and then wait in the checkout line, and wait some more.

In the time between finding the items we were buying, and actually getting to the register, many things took place. Two different people on two different occasions thought it would be a good idea to take their shopping carts, full of goods, and run through the doors and out of the store. Not smart. Both were caught. All we heard from where we stood were different store alarms going off.  We were also subject to people trying to make their own line, which was not so promptly shut down by some of the store employees.  Nice try, cheaters!!

Here are some pics of the girls sleeping and hanging around (yes, in toddler chairs).  My sisters friend, Kayla, even sang "I'm A Barbie Girl."At least they were good entertainment for me. :)

Oh yes, and how could I forget their infamous sword fight?  It would have been hysterical if I would have caught the part where they almost knocked down half the isle in the midst of said fight, but my timing was off.

After six hours at Wal-Mart, I was done with shopping. Tired and feet hurting like one can't explain, we went home and crashed!! No Target for me, though I wanted to. And, I missed the sock sale at Fred Meyer! Still a bit irked about that.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I Came Back!!

After a little over a week since having the teeth yanked (and I took a few days before hand to prep for it), I am back!!  Yay, right?  Lol.  Almost fully off the drugs (pain pills, people!), my head is finally in a clear enough state for me to write again.  That last post......... Totally don't remember actually writing it, much less posting.  Yikes!

So having wisdom teeth pulled sure does make you feel stupid for a while.  Thanks Mr. Oral Surgeon for contributing to that.  Honestly though, I was out of it for at least a week.  Trying to remember what events occurred is next to impossible.  Including my going to work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Did everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving?  Lots of turkey, mashed potatoes, and PIE??? Mmmm, pie!  My favorite dish of Thanksgiving is the cranberry sauce.  Yummmmmmy!

Whelp, I have a couple things coming up here.  Couple videos of the monster children, and I *need* to get my Monday Mingle done.  With that said, I'm off!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Wisdom Teeth Yanking...

Yep, it happened.  Had three of them yanked out.  I am officialy wisdom-free (feel free to laugh, i don't feel very smart today).  The last 48 (or is it 72 now?) hours of my life are a complete haze.  They have me on antibiotics, Percocet, and Motrin.   Yes, this mamma has been feeling NOTHING since having the surgery.

They also gave me sedatives prior to surgery because I am deathly afraid of the dentist.  Apparently, I was extremely friendly Wednesday morning.  Dr. Surgeon (who knows what his name was) said I was a model patient.  Oh how lovely.   Sedatives are a great thing!   Wish I could have them EVERYTIME I go to the dentist.

You will have to excuse any rambling or non-sense that comes out here. 

Do you think, by the way, it's normal to still have numbness?  My lower lip and chin are still pretty numb.  That freaks me out just a little bit.  I can't stand to have it touched, because it feels so weird! 

Also, I am so thankful for my insurance.  That was over $1,000 worth of procedures that I paid $95 for!

Anyways, thought I'd let everyone know I'm alive!  Back to sleeeep!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm Thinking of Her Today....

Today is a really really down day for me.  I haven't been able to completely put my finger on why I feel like crud-ola, but I do know that I'm thinking of my friend today.

She passed away when I was only 10, but I feel her with me everyday.  I wrote a post a while back which you can find here, in my old blog.  We aren't even approaching her birthday or anniversary.  Perhaps it's just thanks to the holiday season.

Yeah, I'm really thinking of ones lost today.  :(

All About Electricity and Outages (Part 2)

Disaster always seems to strike at the wrong time.  Or maybe that's why it is a disaster.  I mean, who wants to really sit in their house, dead of winter, with no electricity and no heat?  I sure don't.  Neither do the thousands of customers that are affected by a winter storm.

This is why PGE works around the clock during a large outage to get power restored as soon as possible!! We have crews out in the field, working 12-14 hour shifts, fixing lines, removing debris, and replacing poles.  Meanwhile,  there are representatives in the call center taking calls around the clock, also working 12 hour shifts.  It doesn't matter the time of day, or the year for that matter.

All of that being said, here are some helpful hints as the winter season approaches, and the chances of losing your power for hours (or even days) increases:

  • Make an outage kit!!  This should include a flashlight with extra batteries, a battery-powered radio (so you can get updates), a battery-powered alarm clock, bottled water, canned food (enough for a few days), manual can opener, blankets, candles, a lighter, and a first-aid kid.
  • Make sure you have cash on you!! You never know what the extent of any winter storm will be, and you may not have access to an ATM or bank.
  • Stay calm!!
  • If there as anyone in the home that needs electricity to live, consider a generator.  Most electric companies don't put a house on high priority because there is a medical condition.  (This may seem harsh, but in a large outage, there are lines and trees down and safety is #1)
  • If you see a line along the road, in the yard, or anywhere else, make sure no one goes near it!! The chances are it isn't a "live wire" but you should always assume it is.  Power lines are EXTREMELY dangerous!!  Call your electric company to report any lines or poles that are down. 
  • Check on neighbors and the elderly to make sure they are handling the outage okay.
  • Turn off all your breakers except one that is labeled for the lights.  The last thing you want is a surge in electricity when the power is restored, possibly causing damage to appliances.

You can find these tips and more on the Safety & Outages portion of PGE's website, or at American Red Cross.

While I sometimes don't have all the answers, I have many resources to get the answers I need.  With that, I leave you with the open invitation to email me with any questions you have at JAKA(dot)files(at)yahoo(dot)com.  I will be more than happy to answer questions and/or find the answers.

All About Electricity and Savings (Part 1)

As some of you know (and some don't), I work for the electric company in Portland, Oregon.  While PGE is a great company to work for (most of the time), the winter season is always the hardest.  Between the holidays and the rising costs of electric bills due to heating costs, it can be frustrating for both customers and the representatives answering calls.

Each year, PGE gives all customer services representatives a "refresher" course on "high bill training."  We go over a TON of material to help us in answering inquiries from customers in regards to higher bills in the winter.  That's what I will be focusing on in this post.  Tips on things you can do around your home to make sure you are getting the most for your dollar.

On average, a household's breakdown of their electric bill is: 60% to heating and cooling, 20% to heating water, and 20% for everything else.  This is assuming they live in an all electric home (no gas).  Ultimately, if your bill is $100, $60 of that goes to heating and cooling, $20 to heating water, and $20 to everything else.

So how do I reduce my electric bill?  Well, there are many ways.  You can visit PGE's website, and we have an Efficiancy section of the website.   Check out this calculator where you can manually figure out what each appliance is costing you per hour, per day, or even per month!  I use this talking to customers ALL THE TIME!

Here are my quick suggestions (which I have learned from PGE's training):
  • Cover your pipes!!  Cover the pipes used for hot water to keep the heat in.  Use covers for the cold pipes to avoid the water freezing.  You can buy pipe covering (like the picture on the right) at your local Lowe's, Home Depot or other home hardware store in your area.
  • Cover your windows with plastic.  Really.  This helps to keep the heat in, and the cold out.
  • Shut doors to rooms you aren't using.  Leaving doors open will cause drafts in your home.
  • Let the sun shine!!  If, by a miracle, the sun comes out, open your drapes or blinds!  The sun is a great, free, way to warm up your home.  Plus, you can turn off lights, and save more!  Double whamey. :)
  • Make sure your water heater is working properly!! The number one reason that people have increased bills in a short period of time is a malfunctioning water heater. 
    • Check for leaks.  There are three places the water heater can leak from:
      • At the water heater itself.  Check for water surrounding your tank.
      • Leaky faucets in the home.  Make sure there is no drippy, leaky faucets.
      • Under the house.  While it sounds like no fun to do so, you should check for leaky pipes under your house a couple times of year. 
    • Check the temperature of the hot water coming out of the faucet.  You should set your water in the kitchen or bathroom on hot, and fill a glass.  Using a thermometer, check the temperature.  Compare that to the setting on your water heater.  The recommended temperature setting for any water heater is 120 degrees F.
    • Flush your water heater at least once a year.  This is something I JUST learned, and was absolutely horrified to learn you are suppose to do this.  For a how-to on this, check Wiki's step-by-step guide.  Can you believe there is gunk at the bottom of your water heater? EWW!!!
    • Heating elements in the water heater don't last forever.  Wiki's How To can walk you through how to test to make sure your heating elements are in working order.  The easiest way to tell if one of them is malfunctioning, or needs to be replaced, is if you seem to run out of hot water faster than normal.  Having no hot water could mean both are out.
  • Turn off the lights you are not using!
  • A full freezer uses less electricity than one that is not.  Since the freezer will have less empty space to freeze and more food to freeze, the temperature will stay at a lower temperature consistently.

Random facts and things you may not know:
  • Most appliances that are plugged in use electricity.  Anything with a little light (microwave w/ digital display, phone chargers, alarm clocks, and yes, even the PS2!) drains electricity.  It may be a little bit, but that could add up to dollars a year!!
  • You will stay warmer if your house is arranged correctly.  Keep your furniture where you sit and sleep on inside walls.  Outside walls and hallways tend to be drafty.
  • If you have baseboard heating, check your thermostats!!  Most of them don't have an "off" switch, only a "low" setting.  This means your heat can come on, even if you are on "low" if the temperature in your house gets below whatever "low" means.  It is very inefficient.  I have baseboard heating in my house, and the heat gets shut off at the breakers most of the year to avoid unwanted heat. 
  • Older style thermostats are extremely inefficient. It may say that you are heating to 65, but the reality is, it could be 60 or 75!  Home Depot has a great device that measures the temperature inside your home, but you can find them just about anywhere starting at $10!

Oh my goodness, I could go on and on with energy savings tips.  I really had to force myself to stop.  Hehe!

While I sometimes don't have all the answers, I have many resources to get the answers I need. With that, I leave you with the open invitation to email me with any questions you have at JAKA(dot)files(at)yahoo(dot)com. I will be more than happy to answer questions and/or find the answers.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Konnor Says Welcome!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ariana Feeds Herself!!!

So Ariana grabbed the spoon and proceeded to feed herself.  Going along with it, you can imagine the bath she needed after all was said and done.

Tuesday Woes.... Monday Mingle Dilema! HELP!!

I am overly sleepy today.  The dizziness that I have been experiencing the last few days (almost a week now) has me so exhausted I can't explain it.  So here I am, home sick, with absolutely NO creative juices flowing.  There are plently of things I could be working on, and SHOULD be, but sheesh!  Too tired.

Poor little Ariana has a cold, too.  So I kept her from daycare today.  Her little nose is all stuffed up and runny (yes, both at the same time. lol).  Not to mention you can hear the congestion in her poor breathing and when she coughs, it breaks my heart!  Cranky baby is her nickname today.

So I just remembered something.... Next Wednesday I am having 3 of my wisdom teeth removed.  Two of the three are beneath the gum line, while the third is barely sticking out.  So, yes, I will do next week's Monday Mingle, but there is no guarantee on the following.  Maybe i can mime that mingle. Haha!

Anyone have any other ideas for November 23rd's Monday Mingle?  Justin won't do it, i don't think.  Let me know!! I'm down for suggestions!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

It's Monday!!! Time To Mingle!!

Goooooood Monday to everyone!! I actually have been looking forward to Monday's for the last couple weeks.  Jennifer at Eighty MPH Mom hosts Monday Mingle every single week.  I'll admit I only stalked MM for a few weeks before I decided to put myself out there.  I'm so glad I did, too! It's a blast!

So, if you are a MM stalker, go ahead and try it!  It truly is a little bit (ok a LOT) addicting.

On that note, it appears my sound/video is off.  Also, I'm sick so no making fun of my sniffles or how flippin pale I am! Haha!  Or the fact that I, apparently, didn't introduce myself. LMAO!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Managed...

Somehow, I managed to follow my own blog.

I guess this goes to show that I should NOT be doing blog stuff at 4:30 in the morning while sick. HAHA!

On another note, my email button is in fine working order! Woot!  The Twitter button?  Not so much.  Grrr!! While figuring out all this blog stuff isn't THAT difficult, that darn Twitter button is driving me INSANE!  And, yes, I did just shamelessly link my Twitter to this post. Lol!

Perhaps I should go back to bed now? Ugh!

By the way, is it just me or is there no way to spell check on blogger?

Okay, good-night!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lamaze - Toys For Babies

Ariana has had one toy, Mr. Spider as we call it, for a couple months now.  Something about this toy keeps her attention, and she LOVES it! 

My little cutie-bug was absolutely distraught over goodness knows what last night, so I handed her the spider.  Immediately, whatever her deepest worry was, was forgotten.  She put that spider right into her mouth.  It was in that moment that I looked at Justin and asked him, "What would we do without that spider?  What if we ever lost it?"  These thoughts had passed through my head before, but it was then and there that I realized just what this spider was to her.

He had no answer, just a panicked look in his eye.  I immediately hopped on the computer and found Genius Babies, who sells a wide variety of baby toys, including the most popular Lamaze toys.  While we didn't find any of Buzz the Bug (which is what I found it's called), they have a ton of other great toys for Ariana's age.  At her stage, it's hard to find toys that will keep her attention as well as toys that are safe. 

Everything is in her mouth at this point, so I am constantly worrying about parts coming off in her mouth and her choking.  What mother isn't, right?  After some more digging, I did find our spider friend for sale at Toys R' Us.  $12.99 is definitely well-worth it.  Buzz's wings make crunchy noises, while each of the objects hanging from his feet do different things.  Ariana's favorite is when i squish the object that squeaks.  She will giggle and giggle - which, in turn, amuses mommy as well.  The rings on the end of one of Buzz's feet go into her mouth, and all around, he is very easy for her to hold onto.

I am currently awaiting approval from the man of the house to expand Ariana's Lamaze toys, in hopes she will find something that will give her even half the joy that Buzz the Bug does.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Chose This Life...

I was recently asked an absolutely outlandish question by someone I considered to be a friend.  Some may not feel this question is so out of line, but it took me by surprise.

A friend asked me if I would ever give my kids up for adoption in turn for the life of partying that I used to have.  If i regretted my children or the choices in my life.

Perhaps this question was asked because she, herself, has a two year-old.  And maybe she, since she broke up with his father, is questioning whether keeping her child was the right route to take.  Lately, she has been (excuse my language) "whoring around" and partying like we did when we were in high school. 

I was not a good teenager.  Haha.  I think most of my mother's gray hairs were thanks to me and my crazy days.  Me and this friend used to party a lot, though we never got into any trouble with the law.  Probably should have, but we got lucky.

When I got pregnant with Konnor, of course I stopped everything.  The smoking, the drinking, the parties, and even hanging out with most of those people.  It was all different for me.  From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I went into "mommy mode." No questions asked, that's just where I knew I needed to be.  All my life I wanted to be a mom.  Taking care of my younger siblings growing up gave me a lot of the wisdom and strength in mommyhood that I have.

Anyways, back on topic here.  Without hesitation, my answer to her was "no."  I don't feel that you should live life with regrets.  You take everything that is throw at you, good or bad, and you grow from it.  Learn from the mistakes you make, cherish the good times, brush off the bad.  Don't let your past come back and bring you down.  Everything happens for a reason, and that is a quote that I have come to live by.

I know that if I wouldn't have been stupid and done crazy dumb things when I was younger, I wouldn't have my children.  I would have never met Justin.  Who knows where I would be and what I would be doing, but I know that I wouldn't be where I am.  Who cares what my life would have been like if I would have done this or that differently.  Living my life the way I wanted to has brought me where I am today.  I can honestly say that I am happy.  We may not have a ton of money, but we are living.  The kids may not have or get everything they want, but if they did, they would be spoiled. 

Growing up in a family without a lot of money, I can comprehend the value of a dollar.  I can make that dollar stretch.  Not everyone can say that.  That's okay with me.  Every decision that I have ever made, I can stand by.  I may not be proud of all of them, but they were my own, and I can embrace that ownership.

Okay, rant over.

Parent's Choice Formula - A Life (and money) Saver!

As a mommy with a newborn and a toddler, I really want what is best for my children.  From the clothes to the toys to the food.  We all know in this economy, the best isn't really always within reach of our budgets.  Mine, especially.  I work full-time, as does Justin, but we are barely scraping by.

I always wanted to breastfeed my children.  It was a dream, a goal, something to look forward to.  With Konnor, I endured 6 weeks of pain and agony trying to breastfeed.  My nipples were simply too big and his mouth too small.  Sure, we tried nipple shields, but that didn't work.  I could never afford a decent pump, so pumping was out of the question as well.  At the time, I was 19 and working at Taco Bell, still living with my mom. 

After those 6 weeks, I gave up.  Feeling defeated and depressed, I went in search of formula.  $25 a can is going to kill me, I remember thinking bitterly on my drive to the store.  At Wal-Mart, I probably read labels for an hour.  When I first saw the Wal-Mart brand formula, Parent's Choice, I didn't even consider it.  But as I read the label, and compared it to that of Similac, I realized there wasn't much difference.

That day, I bought Konnor Parent's Choice Milk-Based Infant Formula w/ Iron.  He loved it!  It was so easy for him to digest, and we never had any problems.  I loved it so much, that when my best friend had her baby, and was unable to breastfeed, I gave her a can to try, and she became hooked as well. 

When I had Ariana, I was determined to give breastfeeding a second shot.  I was prepped and stoked when she was born.  Unfortunately, it didn't even take a week for me to come to the conclusion that we weren't getting anywhere.  Having the same problems as before, I gave up the hope of breastfeeding.  I wasn't as bogged down by it as I was with Konnor, because I knew we had alternatives.  I knew it would be okay that I wasn't meant to breastfeed.

So, again, I made the trip to Wal-Mart.  Ariana started out with the same formula Konnor did.  We noticed she was very fussy and gassy, so we tried Parent's Choice Milk-Based Gentle Formula.  It was suppose to help with the fussiness and the gas.  We gradually moved her over to that formula, but noticed even though it helped, it hadn't solved the problem.  Ariana just has a very sensitive tummy.

A lot of people were telling us we needed to go to soy formula.  Especially my grandma.  I wasn't really ready to try soy, though, and Wal-Mart still had another option.  So we gradually switched her over to Parent's Choice Lactose-Free Sensitive Infant Formula.  We figured if she had problems digesting the lactose (which many babies do) this could be our solution without going to soy.

It worked!  This is what I love about Parent's Choice.  We had options.  One type of formula wasn't working, so we tried another.  And, if we needed it, they offer Organic Formula and even Soy Formula. Not to mention it's about 40% cheaper than the name-brand formulas, but with almost the same nutrition.  We go through about a can of formula a week.  At $15 a can, that adds up FAST!  I couldn't imagine paying the $25 a can - I would go broke!

Want to sample Parent's Choice Formula? Wal-Mart is giving away free samples of Parent's Choice Gentle Formula.  Just follow the link, fill out the form, and they will send you a free sample!  Pretty awesome stuff, and just one more reason why I LOVE Wal-Mart!

5 Months Later...

June 5th, 2009 was a beautiful, and extremely tiring, day.  Ariana was born at 7:03 PM, weighing in at 8lbs 2oz, and 19 1/2 inches long.  From the moment they put her on me (all gooey and yucky) it was love.  After 9 months of migraines and being uncomfortable, I finally had my little girl.

5 months later, I can hardly believe it was only that long ago that she came to this world.  I guess that's because her and I bonded long before she was born.  A bond only a mother and her baby can possess.  I feel like I know everything about her, yet nothing at all.

She is constantly changing on me.  From her attitude to her sleep schedule, it doesn't seem to stay the same for long.  However, we have adjusted.  Mommy knows now to expect to wake up at least once, and sometimes up to three times a night.  Daddy knows, too, that babies work is mysterious ways.

Ariana babbles - constantly telling us what is on her mind.  If only we knew what she was saying!  She can go from being sad and cranky to cracking smiles and giggling in a split second.  Grabbing toys and shoving them in her mouth, she finds EVERYTHING fascinating.  Her swing and spider seem to have become her best friends.  

She doesn't let us hold her to eat anymore, as she almost has holding her own bottle down to an art.  Sleeping at night now consists of laying her in her bed and turning off the light instead of laying on or beside mommy.

Little Miss Independent is what my baby has become.  Sitting up and playing in her activity center, grabbing her toes (and almost getting them into her mouth), and being more vocal are all new tricks Ariana has learned in the past month-ish.  We even think she is teething, although none have broken through yet.

Since I found my video camera and all the little things I need to make it operate (oh yeah, like the charger - that's handy) I have made a commitment to myself to record a little more.  Trying to remember Konnor at her age is hard.  I have a few videos, which I am SOOO thankful for, but not enough.  So with Ariana, I am really trying!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween Style

I'll never finish my Halloween post, so here's a pic of my kiddos. HA!

Check out
2 Of A Kind, J. Leigh Designs, and Kristin for more Wordless Wednesdays!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Faces I Love!!

Ariana has so many faces! Her expressions are constantly changing, i can't keep up with her! Here are some of my favorite baby faces to date! Well, in the last few months anyways.  The quality sucks since I was in a hurry as well as at work (shh! Don't tell).

Might Be Talking to CPS Soon......


So first thing is first. I iron my hair to straighten it. I use a clothes iron because, well, I can, I guess. It's much better and a heck of a lot faster than using a flat iron, or whatever they are called. Anyways, that's what I use. No making fun!

Well, last week I was ironing my hair, like always, no big deal. Konnor comes up, asking what I'm doing. I tell him that the iron is hot and not to touch. I am ironing the underneath so I can't see what is going on behind me, where he is.

Next thing I know, I put the iron down'ish, and I know it's his hand as soon as I felt the iron touch something. It touches him for a MILLISECOND, but that millisecond was enough to leave a mark. He didn't cry or even make a peep. It never bothered him - he didn't say a THING about it. I put burn cream on it and that was that.

Well, fast forward to today. Preschool day. It's 11:30am, his dismissal time. I, unfortunately, am at work, and his father is picking him up. I get a call from him, and I'm thinking "great, the flake isn't getting him." I wish that were the case!

No, apparently his teacher saw the burn, and asked Konnor about it. He said something about "mommy" and then "Thomas the Train," which apparently wasn't a satisfactory answer for them (wonder why-lol). So they proceeded to ask his father, and his babysitter when she came to get her daughter.

Here I am, suppose to be working, but am having to answer questions from Konnor's dad. Finally get off the phone with him, and I have a text from his babysitter. Lovely. So I call her, tell her the story, etc etc.

I am FREAKING out that the preschool thinks this was intentional, and plans to call CPS on me. That is the LAST thing that I want to deal with right now, is CPS up in my business. I would NEVER EVER think about hurting my kids!!!

Gah!!! I don't know what to do. :(

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Mingle... My First!!!!

So today is my very first Monday Mingle!! I'm sooo excited!! Every week, 80 MPH Mom hosts Monday Mingle.  Tons of fun!! So here it is, my first ever Monday Mingle!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

It's Almost November...

November means the REAL start of the holiday season.  You know, the time when you start to panic because you realize you have less than two months to finish (or in some cases, start) Christmas shopping.  Time for family, friends, loved ones.

November also means Thanksgiving, and a time to be thankful.  I have many things to be thankful this year.  And, rather than listing them all here, I am going to be thankful for one thing everyday, and post it on twitter. . 

My challenge is for everyone else to do the same.  One simple thing that you are thankful for everyday.  No repeats!! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Staying Safe During Halloween...

I have children.  Two of them, actually.  Konnor is definitely old enough to understand dressing up and going Trick-O-Treating.  Ariana, not so much. 

I remember going out when I was younger.  We'd go around my neighborhood, my grandma's neighborhood and even my aunt's neighborhood.  My mom or dad would always go with us except at my aunt's.  There were always older kids to go with us, and there were no worries.  We used to live in a safe, quiet city.

Not so much anymore.  Today, I would NEVER let my kids out without me, regardless if they were 2 or 15, with or without an older kid.  I just wouldn't do it.  Things in Portland are way too scary, way too out of hand to even think about it.  Crimes occur too close to my mom's house (the same house i grew up in) and i'm not sure I even want to take Konnor out this year.

Last year, for instance, we took him and my youngest brother (who is 8) Trick-or-Treating and we didn't even get around the corner before this crazy guy came speeding around the corner.  There were plenty of angry parents screaming at the guy to slow down.  He did, only to roll down his window, yell something, and peel out in front of dozens of kids and parents.  My mom was so outraged, she called the police!

Really though, crazy drivers aren't all you have to worry about.  Taunted candy has ALWAYS been a fear, even when I was a kid.  Sad as it may seem, there are people who want to HARM our little ghosts, goblins, and princesses.  Or drug addicts who break into cars while we sleep.  Who is to say they wouldn't steal candy bags or even parts of costumes??

I have learned a few things since I became a mommy.  Some of which involve Halloween, which happens to be MY favorite holiday.

  1. Buy the kiddos, and yourself, a flashlight.  Konnor has a blue pumpkin flashlight that i bought from Wal-Mart for $1.00.  Seriously, I am struggling when it comes to financial obligations, but that $1 could save his life.
  2. Always always ALWAYS check the candy before letting your kids eat it.  Candy wrappers should be air tight (and there usually is an air pocket).  Check for tampering.  If it even looks suspicious, throw it out!  Also, unless you know and trust the giver of the treat, home-made treats should go straight to the trash.
  3. Keep your children on the inside of the street, so you are closest to cars.  Lots of people drink on Halloween, and some do get behind the wheel.  This year Halloween falls on a weekend night, so I'm sure the partiers will be in full force.  Scary stuff~!
  4. I found a site, thanks to a radio station i listen to, where you can find safe neighborhoods to go Trick-or-Treating.  This will list how close (or far) sex offenders, or other registered offenders may be to your path. .  This doesn't list everyone, but it does list those who are registered w/ the city, county, or state.
  5. HAVE FUN!!!
For more tips, visit , , or google "Halloween Safety Tips."

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween this weekend!  I know i can't wait to take my little Optimus Prime and Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) out and about!  Okay, maybe just Optimus.  I think Belle will be staying indoors.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Sibling Love

Want more Wordless Wednesday?? Check out OurOrdinaryLife, 5 Minutes For Mom, HUB, Extraordinary Mothers, Momspective, J.Leigh Designs, Jolly Mom, and even Del The Dad !!!