Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflection of 2013



I am so ready to say good-bye to 2013. The truth to be told, it has not been a very great, or eventful year. I can go into details about what went wrong, or what I did not like about 2013...but, is it really worth dwelling on the bad? As much as I am looking forward to 2013 to be over, there are some things that I really have loved, and enjoyed being a part of, and it is better to remember those times. 

In May, we moved out of our tiny upstairs duplex apartment into a bigger duplex house. It was great to go from like 800 SQ. feet to 1,500 SQ feet with 3 floors (basement, first floor, and second floor), and it definitely accommodated to our expanding family! The best part was that we moved back to a town where Stu, and I first met in college. It was wonderful to close the circle in such a fun way. Our brood of pets also appreciated the larger space to run amok around, and to lounge in! 

In the summer months, we traveled, and visited our family. Stu, and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary! Forrest got baptized in July by the same pastor, who married us, and it was a wonderful occasion. We attended a couple weddings as well! I took a lot of long summer walks with Forrest, and hiked a few times with him, and our dog. It was hard to believe that Forrest was ever that little!! 


I had a wonderful time doing monthly pictures of Forrest, and watching him grow up. I am constantly amazed by all the developmental milestones that he has achieved in a year! Forrest has grown from a little bean to a babbling, active toddler that loves to get into everything! With all amazing fests that Forrest accomplished, we learned shortly before Forrest's first birthday that he has a peanut allergy, and had to adapt to nut-free lifestyle. It is funny, because when we first found out--it was OMG big deal...and now it's like psh, it's a walk in the park! We celebrated Forrest's first birthday in August with a fun photo session with Michelle, and later, a big birthday bash with our family there! We really can't imagine what our lives are like before Forrest; he is really meant to be in our lives, and us to be his parents. 




In the fall months, we attended a lot of fun festivals, and activities such as September Fest, trick-n-treating, and fall festival. I had one of my best friends visit us for a week, and half! It was so GREAT to be able to catch up, and take a stroll down a memory lane. It was hard to believe that G, and I had been friends for nearly twenty-one years. With G, and Forrest, we took Layla to vet to be examined, and got her shots updated. It was when we learned that our Miss Layla was older than she was originally estimated by our first vet! She was estimated to be 8 years old instead of 6. It explained some of her grumpiness! We also learned that she needed an extensive dental cleaning, which was set for February-ish, to be done to have plague tartar removed from her teeth. 



As the weather turned cold, we bulked up to stay warm, and visited family for Christmas. We traveled A LOT, and racked up my Jeep mileage. It was so wonderful to kick back, and relax for Christmas. Fortunately, this brought Forrest, and I to the very last leg of holiday madness travelling. We definitely missed being at home, sleeping in our beds, and being back to our daily routine. It was worth seeing our family, and friends. 

Yes, 2013 may have been an uneventful year, but at least, we have a lot of wonderful memories to be put close to our hearts. Having said all this, I am looking forward to 2014! We have tons of weddings to stand up in, and attend. We have a few great things to look forward to, and can't announce about them just yet seeing that they aren't set in the stone. When it does happen, then I will definitely share! 

Have a wonderful time tonight, and do stay safe! 



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Among Christmas Madness

We are back home from our first leg of Christmas Madness, and I am quite exhausted from all the events that had transpired along with traveling. Among the huge piles of gifts, wrapping tissues, and papers; there is dirty clothes to be laundered, toys to be put away, projects to be sewn, kitchen appliances to be tested, and bags to be unpacked. Thankfully, I have until tomorrow evening to do it all, well, minus testing out the kitchen appliances. They have to wait until the holiday madness is OVER. 

We had a blast visiting my side of the family. The last two days had been the craziest part of Christmas. We visited, ate a lot of great food, opened amazing gifts, watched our boy open the gifts, gave gifts to our loved ones, and participated in a lot of holiday festiveness. Among the holiday festiveness, Stu, and I managed to go out on a date, the first one that we have had alone since Forrest was born, and it was great!

Forrest came to bed rather late on both nights, quite exhausted, and tuckered out. He was kind of underwhelmed by the unwrapping part of the gifts, and did not have much interest in that part. However, the gifts themselves? He loved them. He didn't understand why he got so many things, and was overwhelmed by number of toys he received, especially the mega-blocks, which ended up being one of his favorite gifts. 


Forrest had been trooper for the last two days with so many sights to be seen, and sounds to be heard. However, by the end of the second day, Forrest had enough, as the picture down below evidenced: 


So, yeah, little buddy had enough. 

This Christmas is a bit rather overwhelming for me as a parent. It is a good overwhelming feeling though! It is just that so many people wanted to see us, so many things to be done, and so many things that are being given, and received. I have never been so happy with how well everything had turned out. It is only the beginning, though. 

We are heading up north to the Farm to spend time with the Russ family. I wish we could stay a bit longer than just a weekend. That's what future visits are for though! On this upcoming Sunday, I have to go through the motion all over again with the laundry, cleaning, unpacking, then packing up once again to make a trek down back to my hometown, all because my sister is coming home for a visit from Texas! I absolutely cannot wait!

I am looking forward seeing my sister, and my soon-to-be brother in the law, then go dress shopping with my sister. It will be a blast!! 

So, I hope you had a really wonderful Christmas, and that things are winding down for you guys!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Going to Take A Break For Christmas


It is once this time of the year again. The craziness is just around the corner. I'm both excited, and dreading all the traveling we have to do in next two to three weeks. This Friday, our little man, and I are heading down to my hometown to spend a week-ish with my family for Christmas. I am quite excited to see my siblings, and family. It has been awhile since I have last seen them. It is only one bad thing about the distance is less time being spent with both sides of our family. 

Yesterday, Forrest, and I braved shopping for Christmas. It was not that bad seeing we went during non-busy hours, and people were at work. I managed to finally FINISH Christmas shopping for everybody! What an accomplishment. I had to pick up new wipers for the Jeep since the current wipers was going kind of bad, and not doing its job. I just didn't want to risk driving two hours with faulty wipers, especially with a little guy traveling with me, and I would rather be safe than sorry. 

Like I said, we are planning on leaving this Friday, and staying through Christmas, then returning home to quickly do laundry, clean up, drop off our gifts from my side of the family, and load up the Jeep with gifts for Stu's side of the family. Then we are heading out to go up to the Farm for a weekend. It should be fun! After the weekend is done, Forrest, and I are heading back home to go through the same cycle of laundry, cleaning, dropping off the gifts, and what not, then driving back to my hometown. Boy, I tell you, that's a lot of driving! I hope Forrest is able to handle all this driving. We will find out, won't we? 

I'm really looking forward to the second leg of the trip down to my hometown, because it means we get to dress shop for my sister's wedding! I am so excited to be a part of that special day for my sister, and help her find THE ONE. I am so looking forward to that. It's one of my favorite part of the wedding planning--to help the bride find her perfect dress, and be a part of that special celebration. 

It is so hard to believe that the New Year is on the verge of arriving soon! This year, Forrest, and I won't be spending New Year's Eve with Stu. He says that it is okay, and I am okay with it. You see, when you get older, celebrating New Year's is not really that big of a deal, and it is just another day. Sadly, I admit to this, but I went to bed before midnight last year, and I don't really remember what we did. Ha ha ha. Oh well! 

I may or may not be blogging much in the next few weeks. I will try to blog again right before New Year's, but no promise. Sometimes, when you are having a lot of fun, you don't want to sit down in front of the computer, and blog or check your social network pages. It is more important to spend those time with people you love. 

I just want to say Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Winter's Solstice, and Happy Kwanzaa! Also, happy New Year's as well if I don't get a chance to say so before then! 

Stay safe, and have fun!!!  




Monday, December 16, 2013

What I Have In My Stash: Pocket Diapers

I have been diapering Forrest since he was 6-7 months old. Forrest is now almost year, and half old (where does the time go, really), and he is still wearing cloth diapers! I absolutely love cloth diapers, and it has saved us a lot of money in needing to buy disposable diapers. To this date, pocket diapers remain my favorite. I have about 6 different types in my stash right now.



TINY TUSH ELITE DIAPER

The first one I have is Tiny Tush Elite diaper that I picked up from a local cloth diaper store. I really like it a lot. It fits on Forrest very well especially around his waist. This is becoming one of my fast favorites, and I plan on picking up more of this eventually. I can't say much about long-term, because we only have had this for a few uses. It has held up well in the washing, and the pattern is fun (it reminds me of our college colors)! 

(I can't picture my own right now because it's dirty so I have to settle for a picture from internet)



BUMGENIUS 4.0 POCKET DIAPER

Bumgenius 4.0 Pocket diaper has held up for a long time. I really like it especially now Forrest is older. The color has not faded, and the insert works great. I only need one insert, and it holds up great. It wraps around Forrest's waist perfectly, and doesn't leave any marks. The PUL (elastic) is still in a great shape. Granted, I don't dry my diapers in the dryer machine, but rather hang them up. It does contribute to longevity of the PUL inside my cloth diapers. It isn't that super bulky, and has grown with Forrest very well. It's becoming one of my fast favorites for toddler diaper wear. 

It is funny because when Forrest was younger, I had no preference to Bumgenius 4.0, because it was super bulky on Forrest, and I found that I often used this for nap-time. Today, I find that I prefer this for anytime, because it's really nice. I am actually considering about investing more in this brand down the road. The only disadvantage is that they don't have a lot of fun solid colors.

Cost-wise, this is a bit expensive, and it ranges from $17 to $20, depending on where you purchase them from. I can really vouch that it LASTS a long time, is in great quality, and the customer service at Cottonbabies.com is great. This is made in US. So, the shipping won't take a long time if you order it online.



KAWAII 

I ordered Kawaii diapers because I wanted to try something different, and to figure out the overnight solution. I was unable to solve the wetting problem I had with cloth diapers for overnight, so I gave up on it, and decide to stick to using them for day-time only. Anyway, Kawaii was the cheapest in my lot (one cost only 8 dollars). Five of my Kawaiis lasted pretty long time, and held up well, however, one of them failed to stay up to their standard. The snap button broke off after only 3 uses. I was unhappy about it! Again, I didn't dry my covers in the drying machine, and I always snap them close before I tossed them in the washing machine. But for $8, what did I expect, really? It also didn't fit Forrest the best since they all came in varying size despite it being "one-size". Forrest ended up having marks on his waist, and around thighs from this brand. It didn't seem to bother Forrest, but I was not sure if it was that entirely comfortable for him.

Now, this is made in China factory, and there is no one set size standard for each cover. So each cover is slightly different in size. It's only one disadvantage to this. While a few of Kawaiis fits Forrest pretty well around the waist, there are also a couple that doesn't fit him that great, and I'm on the last 2 row of tabs for Forrest. 

This is not my favorite lot even though it's nice for cheap cloth diaper. The quality isn't terrible. Just that I'm not crazy about them. My only suggestion is that you should buy it from US retailer instead of straight from China--their customer service is AWFUL, and their website is a hot mess. To go with US retailer will make your life easier--I did go with US retailer, and the lady was super nice--she even offered to replace the one with broken snap at little cost. 



BLUEBERRY ONE SIZE

Blueberry is a diaper I also picked up from a local cloth diaper store. It's really nice...but, not my favorite either. The wrap-around is very short in length and I doubt this one will last us a long time, despite this being one-size diaper that is supposedly to "grow" with your toddler. I think the biggest pitfall is having a short length in flaps to wrap around the baby's waist, especially if you have a bigger baby, or toddler. The flap in the back tore a bit when I stuffed it. Believe me, I don't stuff it that hard, and I do take a good care of my diapers. So I am not very sure about its quality anymore. It is really cute, and soft on the inside, even after a few washes. It is not a diaper I would invest in, unless if I have a small toddler. Maybe it would be better for an infant (under a year old) instead of for a toddler. 




CHARLIE BANANA POCKET ONE SIZE 

Charlie Banana remains one of my favorite. I love the material. It lasts me a very long time. It is a slim fit, and doesn't give Forrest a big booty, even with it being doubled stuffed. The snaps are intact, and the material inside is soft after months, and months of Forrest wearing it. The only disadvantage to this is that after a long time of using this, the PUL on the top part where you wrap the diaper around the waist to snap on in the front start to fold inward. So it can be annoying. It's not terribly bad, or affects the look of diaper at all. It is just a quirk of mine to find this annoying. The PUL on the sides are still in a very great shape. 

This diaper brand is made in Hong Kong. While some people are iffy about diapers made in other countries, I can vouch for Charlie Banana's quality, and customer service. I ordered 6 diapers, and they arrived within a week! This brand is slightly expensive, and it is around $20 per diaper. I think it is worth the buy, and the quality is great. The consumer service is pretty swift, and nice. I don't have any complaint about them.

I prefer their solid colored diapers over patterned ones though. No real reason other than a personal preference! *Even though, I am on a look-out for a mustache diaper, and military designed diaper*



HAND-MADE CLOTH DIAPER (ONE SIZE)

I bought two hand-made cloth diapers from my friend, Sarah, and she did a fantastic job. The diapers remained a perfect fit on Forrest, and everything remained intact. The fabric did become a bit worn from repeated washing, and I found that I actually liked the worn look of it--more unique, I say. The stuffing was easy because the back was wide, which gave my hand better access to stuff the diaper (I think it was why Blueberry diaper flap tore a bit because the width was not wide enough to give my hand-arm room to stuff it). 

I hope to make my own cloth diapers down the road. If I do, then I may end up copying this style, since it has everything I really like. It is almost like Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diaper, so it is pretty sweet! 




Overall, I find that I love Charlie Bananas, Bumgenius 4.0, Tiny Tush Elite, and hand-made cloth diapers. I would be careful with certain hand-made cloth diapers, and what type it is, because I did buy AIO cloth diaper from Etsy seller...well, it turned out to be a pain in the butt. I could not get rid of the smell in it, and I can't add, or subtract the amount of inserts in that diaper. It is one of the reasons why I find that I prefer pocket diapers the most. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Life With A Toddler Is Never Boring.....

I am pretty sure that it is safe to say that Forrest is feeling much better. He still has moments where he just gets cranky for no real good reason. His molar teeth on the top are still emerging, and even at that, the worse is over. Now, I'm waiting for the bottom molars, and canine teeth to come in. Teething can be a tough gig. 

The other day, I was in bathroom for less than two minutes, and realized that it was way too quiet. Forrest was not in his customary places; his play-area, or on the sofa watching Sesame Street, and Layla was also a-missing. I walked around the first floor--we had recently taken down baby gates on the entire first floor seeing that Forrest has managed to get through one of the "gates"--and found conspirators in the dining room. 


Yep, Forrest had managed to take down a box of Cheerios, dumped it all over the floor, and tried to clean it up! Layla rejoiced at the sight of free food, and allowed her appetite take over her mind. The minute Forrest had realized that he had been caught, he grew very upset, and flipped a bird. I assured him that all was good, and vacuumed the mess.

I tell you, a life with a toddler is never boring!




Monday, December 9, 2013

Molars Can Suck It

This weekend was spent with a lot of cuddles, and watching classic Christmas movies. Initially, I planned on going to Dickens of Christmas over the weekend. I was planning on taking Forrest with me to the window display on Friday evening. However, with -4 weather chill, and Forrest acting a bit off; I decided it was not worth the trip, and stayed in. Well, there was next time, right? Forrest was not feeling awesome on Saturday. Stu was dealing with a mild case of a head cold, which I have dubbed as "end of the season coaching" crash, since he always seemed to get it every year when his busy schedule winded down. I decided to cancel my plan with my good friend, and her twins on that day for Christmas events since neither Forrest, and Stu were feeling awesome. 

On Sunday, Stu let me to sleep in since I allowed him to sleep in on Saturday. What a nice compromise, right? I woke up to find our little guy not wanting to do anything except lay on Stu's chest. Stu mentioned to me that he had been laying on Stu all morning, despite eating breakfast, and having some water and milk. I wanted to check Forrest's temperature, and well...

Two of our digital thermometers broke. So much for technology. I ended up buying a plain Vick's stick thermometer, and it worked like a charm for monitoring Forrest's temperature. 

It was when we discovered two large molars coming in on the top along with canine teeth! What a poor kid. After a few months of no new teeth, new ones came rather relentlessly, and caused disruption in our lives. 

Seriously...molars can suck it. 



 Thankfully, his temperature did plummet from 101 to 98 degrees overnight. 

Today, Forrest seems to be doing a bit better, with some food, liquid, and children's ibuprofen in his system, and he's up running amok around the entire first floor. While it does suck to deal with him not feeling well, I am also relieved that we are dealing with this NOW instead of during Christmas travels, and at other people's houses. It would be no fun for him to not be feeling well on such fun occasion. Hopefully, bottom molars, and canines can hold off until after Christmas.   

On a separate note, Stu brought us a jug of eggnog! So yummy!! However, it was a bit too much for both of us to drink it all, and I didn't want it to go waste...so imagine my excitement when I saw an eggnog recipe for cookies on one of my fellow blogger's blog! I figured once my little guy is feeling better, then I will whip up this recipe! 





Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Currently.....

LOVING:


our fake tree. who knew it would look so pretty, and realistic. 
bonus: i recently bought scented pine ornament sticks so it smells like a real tree!
big bauble ornaments.
my little boy sitting on sofa.
seeing the month of december filled with all plans to be done.
our new advent calendar.
homemade fruit smoothes especially the blackberries mixed with bananas, and beets. yum!
string cheese sticks.
snow, even though it has yet to stick to the ground for more than a day.
christmas cards.
forrest signing a sentence: eat more, eat more, and eat more! 
forrest waving daddy good-bye before he heads out to work.
make-ahead breakfast egg sandwiches. 


READING:

i just finished Allegiant. wow! what an ending!! totally unexpected!! i didn't see that coming...
(on a separate note: divergent movie will be released in March of '14!) 



i need to find next book to read; either in death series, or finish storyteller before actually moving on to a new book.

WATCHING:




sons of anarchy season 4 is coming to the end. i can't believe how dark, and twisted the show is becoming! i would love to say more regarding my thoughts with soa, but i don't want to spoil anything! we are kind of slow with viewing soa because of stu's hectic work schedule, but we are determined to finish out season 4 before christmas.




i am on the last episode of army wives season 5. it is right on the brink of when everything changes in the series, and it is what lost viewers' interest in continuing to watch beyond season 5, but i want to see for myself to decide. anyway, a large round of applause goes to army wives for introducing a character living with hiv, and getting ALL INFORMATION right about hiv for a change.


THINKING:

how much i want a riding crop boots. i saw a pair at target, and am really itching to buy one. i have a pair with heels, which is nice, but not practical with a toddler, and i want a flat riding crop boots. 

i guess i should wait until after christmas for it to go on sale. 




LOOKING FORWARD TO:

spending christmas with my side of family this year.
visiting Grandma bernice, and the russ family.
christmas food. 
giving gifts!
shopping to get a few more gifts to wrap up.
watching forrest enjoy christmas. 
making turkey. let's see how it turns out, won't we?
dress shopping for my sister to find her wedding dress in January!
dickens of christmas this weekend.


MAKING ME HAPPY:

spending time with forrest, and stu.
knowing that christmas is just around the corner.
reciting 12 days of dog christmas on my FB profile.
wrapping christmas gifts.
sending out holiday cards.
getting holiday cards.
our christmas tree.
watching forrest making connections in his language development.
this gif of captain picard dancing. makes me giggle.
pay forward from strangers, and friends--keep kindness going!

 photo tumblr_mtrancMR091szoirio1_400_zps1783ddc0.gif

Monday, December 2, 2013

Turkey Coma Is Over....Bring on Christmas!

Pinterest 
Turkey coma is over. Sort of. While Thanksgiving is over, I do plan on baking a turkey that we have gotten from our neighbor, and make ourselves a second Thanksgiving meal. I figure that it will be nice to use up the turkey, and have leftover meat for lunch sandwiches. The trouble is that the turkey is quite frozen, and there is no way I can speed up the thawing process. Off it goes into the fridge for a couple days until it is thawed out. 

We spent our Thanksgiving up at the Farm. It was a really wonderful time with the family. I relaxed, slept in a bit, and acted like a total glutton. Yum. I definitely had to pull out my loose pants on Thanksgiving, and it was worth it. Forrest was mister sneaky. He went around asking for a piece of pie from each person that had a plate of pie in their hand. Needless to say, Forrest had a sugar rush that day. We also double-checked who we had for our secret santa recipients before I started shopping for them! 

We received an amazing gift from Aunt Kathy; her daughter is currently living in Germany, and because of her visit to Germany, she picked up an advent calendar for us. I had never seen advent calendar in this style before since I am far accustomed to a block with little doors to be opened to reveal candies inside. I also have my advent calendar that I made from last year: Advent Calendar. I need to remake some tags because I lost some from the move. Anyway, we have two now, and I must admit that I really love the advent that Kathy gave to us. It's currently hanging on our living room wall. Yes, I do plan on framing the picture of Forrest or even change the scenery of the wall once Christmas is over. 


Stu, and I recently purchased a new tree. It's a fake tree, and it is a decision that I agonized over a bit. You see, I grew up with a real Christmas tree. I have so many memories of us going up north with Steve, and Mom to cut down a tree, and bringing it back home, then having my siblings, and I go through at least 4-6 boxes of ornaments that are gathered over the years to be hung up on the tree. I love the feeling of family closeness, spirit of Christmas, and decorating the house for Christmas. The feel of pine needles, and smell of it brings me back to those memories. 

When Stu, and I first got married; we did get a fake tree that was on a sale from Stein's store, and it was wrecked after a few weeks with no thanks to our trouble-maker cat, Missy Girl. It was a pain to assemble, and unassemble due to all the pre-lit strings attached to the tree. We tried to save it, but ended up tossing it out. Then I got pregnant with Forrest, we picked out a small real tree, and it was really difficult to maintain it with us being gone for most of December due to traveling. It was brown, dead, and the needles were everywhere (again, due to the cats playing with the tree) by the time we got back. It took me forever to vacuum the needles out of the carpet...it really sucked as a pregnant lady to bend over to pick up individual needle that the vacuum did not suck up. 

The year that Forrest was born, he was only 4-month old, and I was so sleep deprived. I had no energy to decorate. I just put up some lights, and that was it. 

This year, I was very determined to come up with something, and to decorate! Stu, and I looked around for fake trees. We decided to give it one more shot, and look for a good quality tree. I wanted something that looked somewhat realistic, and fuller than most. We also agreed almost immediately that we didn't want a pre-lit tree! We found a tree at Shopko for a decent price, and it was what we looked for! I spent the whole morning yesterday working on the tree. It was a lot of work, but worth it! I left the bottom of the tree blank because I worried that Forrest was going to be absolutely fascinated by the tree, and wanted to play with it. I also only hung up safe ornaments, and left the glass, or the fragile in the boxes to be opened for the future years to come yet. After working on the tree, I stepped back, feeling rather proud, and admired the tree. It looked great. 


On the other hand, Forrest would have cared less. He barely glanced at the tree, and left it alone. I was relieved! Our tree remained safe from a curious toddler. Or at least for this year. 

Last night, Stu, and I sat on our sofa across from our prettily-lit tree. I complemented for a bit, then pointed out how quickly time was going this year. I was amazed at how fast 2013 flew by especially the month of November! Stu agreed that with all the plans set in the place for December, this month was also going to fly really fast, and before we knew it, it was going to be 2014!