August 29, 2008

The First Day

We made it through the first week of school! Both Chatterbox and Giggles started on Tuesday. It's a new school for Chatterbox and Giggles' very first school. I like it because the classes are very small (there's only 4 kids in Giggles' class and 6 in Chatterbox's) and it's very focused on the spiritual and academic growth of each child. Chatterbox has had no problems adjusting, but it's my baby girl that I'm worried about! She's cried every morning when I dropped them off and it's breaking my heart! I know it's only the first week and the separation anxiety is to be expected, but I'm wondering if it's too early for her to be going to school? I'm going to give it at least another week, but if she is miserable, then I'll pull her out and she can stay home. The comforting thing is that when I pick her up at the end of the day, she is totally fine and excited to show me all of the things she did at school. So hopefully she'll adjust to the morning goodbye.
My babies are all grown up!

August 28, 2008

Check Me Out...

I'm over here today...

August 26, 2008

The Party

Last weekend was Chatterbox's birthday party and we did it at Build-a-Bear Workshop this year. I was bitten with the "Don't Do It Yourself" bug last year when we had her party at Pump It Up. It was so fabulous - minimal prep, someone else to entertain the kids and no cleanup! After researching the limited party options for her age, I decided to try a BAB party even though we had never even ventured inside the store before. I was a tad nervous after reading various mom blogs about parties that were held there. Apparently it can end going terribly wrong if the staff isn't especially great. Luckily, we had a great store (large and virtually empty) and a great party leader (who pre-selected outfits for us to avoid any overspending). It took a little while for the kids to warm up, but once they did, everyone had a good time.
(could I look anymore tired?)

After the BAB party, we all headed to the food court in the mall (which yes, had the potential to make the party cheesy) for the princess-themed Chik-Fil-A party and birthday cake. I was pleasantly surprised!! The restaurant had reserved a section for us and setup the tables with balloons, placemats, party favors and kids' meals for all the mini-guests. We were fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on who you ask) seated right in front of the play area with kiddie rides, so the kids had a blast climbing and riding. After that, we had princess cake and ice cream and then the kids pulled candy from the princess castle pinata that Chatterbox picked out herself.

Chatterbox and the kids had a wonderful time and the other moms kept telling me what a good idea it was. Another birthday success! 4 down and...12 to go?

August 21, 2008

*UPDATED* Product Review & Giveaway! Leapfrog TAG

We were so lucky to get Leapfrog's TAG Touch Learning System to try out! Chatterbox is just starting to get into electronic toys so the timing was perfect. The TAG is actually a "pen" that a child can run over the words of a book with and have the story read to them. It's a great idea that encourages kids to learn to read. The TAG System comes with a storybook and there is a whole library of additional stories that you can purchase that work with the system. In addition to that, the system connects to the Leapfrog Learning Path that connects the TAG reader to your computer and allows you to track your child's learning progress.

The manufacturer's recommended age for the TAG System is 4 - 8 years old. Chatterbox just turned 4 last week and I will say that it's a bit difficult for her a child her age to patiently run the pen over each word to sound it out. But! With the press of a button, the pen can also read the entire story to her! She loooooves this feature and enjoys following along while turning the pages of the book. The other neat thing that we discovered is that there are hidden surprises throughout each story where the pictures will talk or sing if you touch them with the pen. Both girls get a kick out of that. We also discovered that this is a GREAT toy for the car that is both entertaining and educational. The only downside is that Giggles wants to hold the pen too and, of course, they end up squabbling over it as usual, but what's new?

The TAG Touch Learning System retails for $49.95 - a tad pricey, but is good for hours and hours of reading fun, especially as your child grows and is able to use the pen to help him "read."

Sound like something your kid would love?
We are psyched to be giving away a TAG Touch Learning System to one lucky MamaLaw reader! Leave us a comment by midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 1 to enter the contest. The winner will be announced on 9/2. Don't miss your chance!!

*By the way - product reviews are entirely unpaid (but for the free samples) and voluntary. Just want to make that clear!*

Scene and Heard: A Fairy Tale

Getting the girls ready for bed. Chatterbox playing with her Disney Fairies stamps.

Chatterbox: Mommy, where do fairies live?

Me: Um, in a fairy forest.

Chatterbox: Can we go there?

Me: Oh no. It's a very special and magical place.

Chatterbox: How do we get there Mommy?

Me: I have no idea. Only the fairies know.

Chatterbox: Can we call OnStar?

This is definitely a new generation of kids.

August 20, 2008

First Days of School

This week was the last of first days of schools for this year. The kids are all at different schools so we've been doing the first days of school thing for almost three weeks.

First up, is Youngest. We call him Little B, "B" for brother or "B" for Bruiser because he is tough and tries to bully the rest of the kids, and the parents. This kid kicked and screamed and thrashed his way into the classroom. He managed one escape but we were able to grab him and put him back in the class. Because of the commotion, I was not able to get a picture of him going to school. Instead, I took a picture of him leaving school on the first day. He's on his fourth day of school and still no luck so I'm just going to share his first day leaving.
Here we are:

That's him giving Daugther a hug. He was thrilled to see us. He's such a Mama's boy, I love it. He's been clinging to me ever since, though. Oh well.

Next up is Oldest. He was very excited to see his friends. So far, his favorite subjects are "playground, lunch, and going home. " The worst thing he likes about school is "homework and getting up early." Spoken like a true first grader.

Last but certainly not least, is my Daughter who is too independent for her own good sometimes.

She was the last to start school and the one most excited about it. No remorse about leaving Mommy who has been with her for three months. No fears, no worries, nothing. We arrived early so I took several pictures.
The teacher wanted the parents to say "bye" at the door to make for smooth drop off. Most kids looked back and waved or had a look of some sort of fear in their eye. Not my daughter. When it was time to go in the classroom, she walked right in and never even looked back. I was heartbroken. Leave it to the girl to break her Mama's heart. Hence, the photo of her back. I'll remember this when she wants her prom dress...

August 18, 2008

The potty blues

For the past few months (more like 6 months), DD and I have been talking about the potty and when and how we should use it - including demonstrations from mommy (tmi?). There was even a time that she was imitating daddy at the potty and at that point I realized that she was utterly confused, so I abandoned mission. Then I bought a little potty and also a dora potty seat, we switched to pull-ups, including the cool alert pull ups, we had stickers etc. All to no avail - and of course, included in this entire challenge is a little mommy guilt because I am clearly doing something wrong because all the other kids are potty-trained and it's got to be that I'm not doing something right - urgghhhh.

Well, she's getting promoted to preschool in September where all the kids are already 3 years old - and it goes without saying, already potty-trained. So, we've been re-focusing our attention on the task and over the past two weeks we've been back on track with the whole potty thing.

I tried talking to her about using it and her response was to inform me of all the kids in her class that do NOT use the potty;) So, finally her teachers recommended that when we are at home, don't use the pull-ups at all, just use underwear.

Voila!!!!....that seems to have done the job. She absolutely hates feeling wet and she's getting the hang of what she should do to avoid that feeling. So, it's been about 10 days now and we're doing well. She's not wearing pull-ups at school any more, nor at home.

It's amazing that something so simple and so common-sensical did the job. I wish I had known this trick a long time ago. It would have saved me lots and lots of money and I would have avoided what seems like hundreds of stinky diapers!!!

August 14, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things Justice Jonesie Accomplished This Summer

1. Cleaned the Garage!!! Whoo-hooo! This was on my to-do list for about 2 years but I seriously have been wanting to do this since Christmas break. Hubby and I took advantage of our time off with the kids and put up these great Rubbermaid products that allows us to hang the bikes, yard tools, and pretty much everything else that clutters up the space. Now Hubby can park his car in the garage.

2. Garage Sale. See number 1, above. I got rid of a bunch of baby things that I wanted to either sell or give away. Whatever didn't sell at the garage sale, I listed on craigslist or donated.

3. Hung up pictures that were laying on my office floor since August 2006. I actually just did that this morning. But I did it!

4. Cleaned out master closet. Some of the things from the garage have now been stuffed into the back of our closet. Hey, no one can see it back there.

5. Made a chic nap blanket for Daugther to take to school. I'll have to post pictures of my latest sewing project. It's soooo cute.

6. Cleaned out all the junky toys stored under Oldest's bed. It's amazing how many broken toys and junk you realize you have when you finally start going through that stuff.

7. I relaxed and slept in. Something you have to make yourself do, otherwise, you won't do it.

8. Read three books. The Shell Game by Steve Alten (great book!), Yoga for Dummies (skimmed it really), and Journey into Power, Barone Baptiste. I wanted to read at least five but oh well.

9. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

10. I went to the gym at least three days week. Yet somehow I gained five pounds.

11. I arranged playdates for Oldest. He always complains I don't do it so I did it. So much easier to do it during the summer than during the school year.

12. Bought a grill and had friends over for a BBQ. No, we didn't replace an old grill. We actually never had a grill. Nuts, I know. We always grill when we go to visit my parents or Hubby's parents but it was time to get our own.

13. Last but not least, I cut and restyled my dry, limp, damaged hair that I've been dealing with for the past year or two. Having kids has really done something ugly to my hair. I'm starting fresh, going to take good care of it, and will wait until my hair grows long and lovely like it used to look years ago. Keep your fingers crossed!

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August 13, 2008

Adventures in BabyLand

The Babe is now 6 weeks old! Crazy how time flies. In that time he has truly become his own little person with a little personality and everything. Oh and then there's the colic. Not as bad as Giggles had it, but colic nonetheless. In our furious state of denial we tried solutions for a dairy allergy and acid reflux, but alas it turned out to be the "c" word. Even having been through this before, it isn't easier this time. The worst part is the "10-minute treatment" that pediatricians recommend where you put the baby in a quiet, dark room by themselves for 10 minutes at a time so that they can calm themselves down. It still breaks my heart! The good news is that the worst of it should be over.

Because the little guy is so irritable, he hates being put down. At all. I mean, he cried in his swing, in the bouncy seat, in his crib - everywhere. My arms are about to fall off from carrying him all day. Thank goodness for the harness (but oh my poor back!) I ended up borrowing a baby papasan chair from a friend and he at least will sit in that for up to 12 minutes.

Other than those two things, he is dreamy. Cute and chubby and precious. The girls are doing great with him, even though Giggles can get superjealous and meltdown at times. But they love their little brother and I can tell they have already forgotten life before him!

And so have I :)

August 07, 2008

You're FOUR!

My big girl! I can't believe you're four. You are growing into such a little lady, helping me with your sister and brother, asking tons of smart questions, and becoming oh-so-independent. It never ceases to amaze your Dad and I how much you make us laugh and how often you surprise us with your spectacular memory. You've waited so patiently for your birthday to come; counting down the days on our calendar ever since Giggles' birthday back in March. Now your day is finally here! I'm so proud of you and I love you more than words.

Happy Birthday Sweets!

August 05, 2008

So Long, Fairwell

Well folks, summer is officially over here at the Jonesie household. School starts this week for Oldest and the other two will start pre-school next week. It's been a wild and crazy summer here. Wild because my kids act like wild monkeys on most days, and crazy because there were days when I needed a stiff drink to make it to the next. We went swimming, fishing, swimming, the gym, fishing, swimming, and ran errands. The kids fought like wild monkeys on most days and then kissed and made up on the other days. All in all, we had a blast.

Even though my kiddies were gone for two weeks visiting my parents for their annual summer trip, I was not in town for most of that time which means I was not resting or at home pretending Hubby and I were two grown ups with no kids. There were maybe three or four days where I was home and we played grown-ups with no kids. It was fun but the grass is not greener on the other side, as they say. The house was too quite and it felt empty. It was an interesting experience considering we don't know what it's like to be a married couple without kids. We got pregnant six months after we got married and during that time I was in my third year of law school studying and tied down to that. So although this was a small tiny taste of what life without kids would be like, I can't imagine my life without my three babies. They complete me and Hubby.

On one of my trips I went to help my cousin who just had her first baby. She was having problems nursing so off I went to the rescue. For three nights and four days, I played the lactation nurse and by the time I left, that baby was sucking the life out of mama. I left feeling proud of myself, don't ask me why. Maybe what Nanny Joe feels like when she leaves a family. It also reminded me of just how much work a newborn baby is. PHEW!! When you are wrapped up in the moment, it's a lot of work yes, but you don't have a second to really stop and think about how much work it really is. My cousin's husband works in the hotel industry so he was at the hotel the three nights I was there. I ended up "co-sleeping" in the room with my cousin and her baby so I was up for all the feedings, helping to burp, change the diapers, etc. I guess I was the baby daddy for those three days (ha, ha). Anyhow, when I returned home, I passed out and slept for 11 straight hours. I don't think I even moved at all. I can't remember the last time I slept for 11 straight hours, college maybe? After a long night partying, I mean studying for an exam.

Anyhow, I was happy to help my cousin because she is like an older sister to me. During her pregnancy I did my best to offer her advice and of course, now I'm here for her and the baby.

Well, good-bye summer, hello another school year. I'll have to post pictures of us fishing which most people have hard time believing that Justice Jones fishes. Oldest and I actually really enjoy it. I hope everyone's summer ends on a great note!

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