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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Moms don't get sick days...

I've discovered that it's very difficult for a mom to have a sick day. The family still needs to be dressed, fed, laundry still piles up and let's not mention the dirty dishes overtaking the kitchen sink!
Alas, I was forced to take a sick day today. Thankfully, it was Saturday so Daddy was home to help with the kids. Thankfully, we had nothing on the calendar except I was hoping to go do a family outing. I'm trying to be thankful for another 4-5 inches of snow which kept everyone inside...but wouldn't spring be nice, too?
And what manner of vile ailment rendered this mom incapable?? It's true, not the flu, not a sinus infection like my spouse and not an ear infection like my daughter. I have a cold.
Seems so wrong to feel so bad with the common cold. The current strain making its way around the schools and into our home is one with sinus pressure, a low grade fever that causes huge shifts from fever to chills, and it wipes you out. I had some accompanying body aches. I slept in until 8:30, went back to bed at 10:15 for a nap. Managed to get up at 12:30 and help feed the family lunch--corn dog or chicken nuggets, pick one! I was freezing with chills so went to bed to warm up and read until 2:00. Then I took another nap until 5:30. From there, I managed to stay awake until after 10:30. Just don't take note of the fact I spent most of that time in bed watching TV or reading. I was just too pooped to move.
I thought it was a great learning experience. Here's what I learned from my sick day:
1. Children can survive on snack foods for one day.
2. Who needs to get everyone dressed if you're not really going anywhere?
3. Daddy is capable of ordering pizza for dinner.
4. I'm grateful that Dad also ran a load of laundry so the boys would have clean socks for church. (Yes, I'm that far behind in laundry--thought Saturday would be a great catch-up day!)
5. We mothers need to relax a little more and let some things ride.
6. Dishes piled in the sink make the most inventive works of modern art. Embrace the art, ignore the mess.
7. After a large sigh, admit that you'll spend the entire day Monday trying to do damage control and picking up the 10,000 toys littering the floor.
8. When the day seems to overwhelming, go back to bed!
Praying your family won't incur any mommy sick days. But if you do, take time to slow down and do your best to enjoy the ride.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Free Roast Burger at Arby's

For a limited time, you can get an Arby's Roast Burger Free with the purchase of any sized drink at regular price.
For my senior citizen friends, if you order a senior drink, you can NOT get the sandwich free. You must pay full price on the drink to get the sandwich.
It says limit one coupon per person per order. This typically means that if there are two people in your party, you can order two drinks, two free sandwiches and use two coupons. However, some managers are a little more hard nosed. If they won't let you use two in one order--split up and each person order and pay on their own.
My friend's husband tried one yesterday and said they were really good. I'm planning to go today and check it out.
Offer expires March 9, 2009. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

True North Snacks

I promised I'd give a shout-out to True North snacks. I was able to share with a gaggle of friends the Pistachio Crisps, Almond Clusters and the Pecan Almond Peanut Clusters. My friends gave Pistachio Crisps mixed reviews. I liked them and find they satisfy the urge to crunch in a much healthier way. There is very little salt, but the flavor mixed with a little salt satisfied my potato chip desire.

And I thought the Almond Nut Clusters were good--but hand over those Pecan Nut Clusters and nobody gets hurt. To me, it was like eating candy bars. Yet, they are much healthier than candy. It satisfied the sweet craving for lots of sugar and gave me protein and vitamins instead.

So check out True North snacks sometime and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Selecting a Babysitter

Here is the original article that sparked the idea for today's post:

Five Tips for Selecting a Babysitter (Taken from an email newsletter from
Parents of young children need babysitters. Here are some things to consider when searching for the right babysitter for your family:
1. Find out if the babysitter is certified in infant and child cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

2. Parents of young children may want to choose a babysitter with the energy, ability and strength to run after toddlers.
3. Determine ahead of time if you need a babysitter who knows how to drive.
4. Ask how many families the babysitter has worked for in the past.
5. Ask your potential babysitter for references and check them!

Here's the reality of finding a sitter:
Frankly, I thought the idea of the article was great, but it didn't give me one piece of usable information. I'm going to try to give some hints and tips that might actually help a parent in need of a babysitter.

1. In real life, I've never asked if a sitter was CPR certified. Unless you need that designation for the child due to medical reasons, it was not my main criteria. Some were, some weren't--but what mattered to me was availability and if they would play with and love my kids for me.

2. Everyone wonders how you find a sitter to begin with! Start by asking neighbors who they use or who they know of. Word of mouth is where the best sitters come from. Even neighbors with tweens (too young to babysit for you, but too old to have a babysitter for themselves) generally know some sitters and they are sometimes more willing to give out a phone number since they know you won't be in competition for the same nights.

3. I found our first (and one of our greatest) babysitters through the guidance counselors at the high school. I met with one and asked for help finding students who would be great sitters. Due to privacy regulations, I was able to talk through characteristics and the counselor had several people he thought would be good. He gave them my number and they could call me if interested. (I couldn't be given their names/numbers for privacy reasons.) One called and she was awesome! We used her until she moved away for college, sniff.

4. Check your church or place of worship. Often, there are kids in the youth group who live near you. It's not too far to get them, you can introduce your children to them at church in advance. It is another great resource.

5. If you are willing to pay a little more money, you can check with the local colleges and universities for names. Many students going into education love getting paid to be with kids. College students tend to have a vehicle and could drive your kids to/from practices, etc. if you need them to. The downside is they expect to be paid a higher rate.

6. The same thing goes for nursing schools and nursing students. You can get some great help at these colleges, too. Again, the cost is a little higher.

7. Need late or overnight help? Try your local home nurses/visiting nurses group. They will have a higher rate than a college student since you pay the agency (including taxes and social security) and they pay the nurse. There is a certain peace of mind having a nurse in your home--especially if your child has medical needs.

8. Want to keep your sitter? Round up. If our sitter is there for 2 hours and 15 minutes, we round up to 2.5 hours and depending on what is in our wallets, we might add another buck or two on top of that. We pay our sitters a decent wage. I know we are sort of in the middle of what sitters get paid. We always tell a new sitter when we call to schedule that we pay $x.xx per hour for our three kids--is that amount acceptable to you? Being upfront leaves no hard feelings and let's everyone know what we pay so they can choose to say no.

9. Be on time. If you say you'll be home by 9pm--be home by 9pm. Tardiness is not acceptable for school aged sitters--especially on weeknights. If we find out plans are changing and we might be late, we call and ask permission to stay out late. In a way, the sitter becomes the younger version of your parents.

10. Relax and enjoy your time out. Please don't pester the poor babysitter every half hour. We sometimes check in once early on to make sure they crying kid settled down. After that, we leave her instructions to call if she needs help or if the kids won't calm. Let her decide if she needs you. We've been called home for kids who wouldn't stop crying--but she didn't need us adding pressure of calling every 20 minutes to check in. We checked once and asked if she wanted us to call back later. She said no, she would call if she needed us. After an while, she needed us and we wrapped up and came home.

I know that when I used to babysit, if the parents called too often during the evening to check on me, I'd find reasons to say no and I'd quit babysitting for them. Trust them to do the job you hired them to do.

One other source that is harder in some ways is your friends with children. A trade or coop is a wonderful way to get free babysitting. The down side is that you have to give up some of your time as well to return the favor. Plus side, other kids to play with, parents know how to parent children and it's free. We have done child trading off and on and have been happy with it as another option in finding a sitter.

Have fun and best wishes in your hunt for a sitter!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Follow me on Twitter

Do you Twitter? I now officially Twitter, too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Free Photos TODAY (Fri.) ONLY!!

In an offer good for today only, Walgreens Photo is giving away 20 free 4x6 photo prints via coupon code ONEDAY. Send the photos over the internet and have them delivered for $1.48, or pick them up in-store for free.
Additionally, use the coupon code 5BUCKS to receive a $5 discount off a photo purchase of $15 or more. This additional $5 does not stack with the 20 free 4x6 coupon.
Offer valid online on 02/20/2009 only.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Robyn needs... A new Blog Meme

I was tagged on Facebook for this one and thought it was pretty funny. Thought you might like to see it here, too.

This is pretty fun. Google your first name followed by the word needs, in quotes (e.g., "Joe needs"), and see what you get.

Here are the top 15 things that Robyn needs, according to Google (Robyn's personal commentary in purple):
1. Robyn needs... some love
2. Robyn needs... to feel What is Above and not be afraid that It is an enemy
3. Robyn needs... to be replaced immediately!
4. Robyn needs... to contend with male teasing and often sheer paternal chauvinism (You reading, Sean?)
5. Robyn needs... our help!
6. Robyn needs... a home (although I really like my home and I hate packing, moving and unpacking)
7. Robyn needs... her fans support!
8. Robyn needs... angels for her Christmas shop (even though it's past Valentine's day)
9. Robyn needs... a boyfriend (ok, cancel Sean reading this--haha)
10. Robyn needs... to go home.

A couple great contenders from the 11-20 range include:
--To internet music geeks everywhere Robyn needs absolutely no introduction (I'm popular with internet music geeks?!?! Who knew?)
--Robyn needs to feel What is Above and not be afraid that It is an enemy ... {Huh?} Robyn needs to get in touch with what is above the brows (this guy is writing what I was thinking!)
---Robyn needs to turn 3 more or gain 73 more Zombie points to reach the next level

Google knows amazing stuff about me that I didn't even know. LOL! I'm not going to tag anyone but if you go check your own name--consider yourself tagged. Post back to me and let me know if you end up finding out your needs according to google.
***One final note: After I posted this to the blog and looked at it to make sure it formatted correctly, the purple color looked ok, etc., etc., it suddenly occurred to me how I titled the post. I did it in an informational way (name of post and noting it's a blog meme for those who track memes--another name for tags). However, when this post gets enough hits, it will show up on the google search as..."Robyn needs a new blog meme." Somebody is going to have to post that in their own meme. Maybe you have to be a blog geek to enjoy that, but I'm laughing so hard and deciding I can't change the title because it's too funny for future bloggers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentine's Parties Today

Nathan got to have his snowed out Valentine's party today at school. Thankfully, Sean was able to work from home this afternoon and pick up the middle school kids so I could attend. Nathan was so sweet when I originally told him I couldn't come today because I had to get the carpool kids. He said, "It's ok mom, I understand," then he turned away and his shoulders slumped a little as he walked away. It broke my heart.

His willingness to accept my inability to attend while being sad inside let me to do as Winnie the Pooh tells us and think, think, think. I thought of several dead ends, then hatched my plan to get Sean home for the afternoon. He and his boss agreed so it worked out well.

The party was a huge success...even though I forgot to take photos. I took the Plinko Board the boys made with their Grandpa this summer. What a hit!! Each child (20 in all) got to take 3 turns playing plinko. Amazingly enough, every child was a winner and won some of the candy the other moms donated. Another mom came up with a "Valentine Mailman" game similar to who's got the button. They enjoyed that one, too. Our room mom (yes, for once it wasn't me in charge) had a coloring sheet, but we ran out of time. After the two games, they ate their cookies and juice and opened their valentines. Nathan's teacher makes them read each card and think the friend that gave it to them. Took us right up to the end of the day.

It's always interesting to spend some time interacting with his classmates. They are each so unique and in first grade, they tell it like they see it. I had a chance to read through the Lost Tooth Book...including Nathan's two entries. (Hint: future blog article being foreshadowed.)

What a crazy, fun, exciting, exhausting afternoon!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Getting Rid of Junk Mail

How often do you find yourself taking the mail from the mailbox and standing over your recycle bin as you go through the stack??

What if I told you I found a way to reduce the amount of junk mail you receive? You can even set preferences to accept mail from some companies while blocking mail from other ones.

Where could I find such a miraculous method of mail reduction? Check out the Direct Marketing Association's website (DMAchoice).

From the About Us section of the DMAchoice website:
What is DMAchoice?
DMAchoice™ is an online tool developed by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail. This site is part of a larger program designed to respond to consumers' concerns over the amount of mail they receive, and it is the evolution of the DMA's Mail Preference Service created in 1971.

For the purposes of this site, direct mail is divided into four categories: Credit Offers, Catalogs, Magazine Offers and Other Mail Offers. You can request to start or stop receiving mail from individual companies within each category—or from an entire category at once.

To get started, you register with the DMAchoice website (it's free) and they suggest following these three easy steps.
1. Keep an eye on your mail for a few weeks. Write down and track what you do and do not receive. The more information you have, the better your choices will be.
2. Go to DMAchoice and set up your preferences.
3. Adjust your choices to add or subtract companies or offers as your interests or circumstances change.

With a small amount of leg work, you can easily shrink the amount of unwanted junk mail that comes to your mailbox. You can also sign up to receive some of those great offers that your best friend always gets and you'd like to receive.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Did I mention the ears?

Rebekah has been fighting a cold this week. I kept her home from everything except Nathan's party. She had been fever-free for over 36 hours when we had his party so she was clear to go. The runny nose hasn't quit and yesterday morning, she was digging in her right ear saying it was an ouchie. When we questioned her 20 minutes later, she insisted there were no owies.

Post nap, she was grumpy, but we thought she was showing that delightful side of age 2. About 5:15 she starts crying for no apparent reason and won't tell us what she wants. She wants food, but wont eat, wants a drink, but won't take any. Fought against the diaper change. Just out of control. Finally I tell her I've had enough and if she doesn't use her big girl words to tell me what's wrong she is going to her room to cry in her crib. Then she grabs both ears and howls ouchie, ouchie, ouchie over and over with giant tears rolling down her face. (At this moment, I feel like the worst mom ever.)

I race over to urgent care at 5:54 (they close at 6). Got there at 6:01 and they were closed up. Came home and drugged her up and we had a really rough night. I was just waiting for noon to come around so we could head back to urgent care. She fell asleep (finally) from 10:30--12:30 so we got there around 1pm. The doctor took a look in the 'good' ear and said, "That's not so good." I told her that the right ear was actually the one Rebekah was complaining about. She looked in that ear and said, "Wow--that's even worse!" Rebekah thankfully said, "Ahh" so they didn't have to gag her to look in her throat. The doctor said, "Just as I thought."

Her next question was Amoxocillin or Omnicef. Ummm--aren't you the doctor? I said Amoxil has worked most of the time in the past but not all of the time. I did think to say, "So how bad are those ears?" to which she replied "It's really bad." I picked the Omnicef and she told me I made a good choice. I think this has to do with not giving kids too much antibiotics when they are young. But after listening to her cry off and on all evening, all night and all morning--I'm picking the strongest medicine they will give me.

She's already perking up after the first dose (and more pain medication). Good news, it's a once a day medicine instead of three times a day. Bad news, holds a $60 price tag instead of a $10 generic price tag. YUCK! The real irritation I had at the pharmacy isn't their fault. We discovered this morning that Rebekah had put a crack in her final binky. We were going to take it away and be done with the pacifier. However, I find it to be cruel and unusual punishment to make her go cold turkey with a raging double ear infection. I had to find and purchase a replacement binky at the store.

In the meantime, the entire family has caught the cold that started it all. Pray for us and our health as we try to recover. I made Butter Ball soup yesterday (chicken & noodle with German bread dumplings for those who haven't had it before) and that always makes me feel better. Lots of rest and naps and Sean & I are praying for a full night of sleep. Getting up every few hours is not so easy when you're older and out of newborn baby mode.

Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Nathan!

Nathan 7 years ago---and today!

Who can believe it? Nathan is now seven years old. Seems like yesterday when we were racing to the hospital (made it with three minutes to spare) to have our little peanut. He's gone from a long and tiny baby to a tall and slender boy. We had his party at the McDonald's with the giant playplace again. The kids liked it so well last year that it seemed like the thing to do.

They had a great time in the playplace and then we had our Happy Meals, cake and ice cream. We laughed at the cake though--you aren't allowed to light candles in McD so we sang and made him pretend to blow out candles.

His wonderful friends got him some neat things. A new Webkinz, a pinball machine, a gift card, a baseball trainer and an Eye Spy game. He got more Webkinz from parents & grandparents so there are 3 new ones in his bed. We opened family gifts later at home. He's been playing his new Wii golf game and fighting with his sister over the whole thing. She's getting pretty good with the Wii club--just stand back because the upswing is a little wild.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Things that make you say hmmm

One week ago as I was getting ready to get kids out the door for school and the day, I heard the pitter patter of feet. I'm not really paying attention but knew from the footsteps that Nathan was in my room.

Nathan says, "Hey mom, you know those racoon hats?"

I answer, "What about those racoon hats?"


Total and absolute silence.

"Nathan," I ask. "What about the hats?"

I turn around to see...

Are you ready for it??

Be prepared...

Here it is...

Have I told you lately how funny Nathan is?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

FUNdamentals Piano Festival

Exciting times at our house! Now we have two piano players going to the Fun Fair.

Nathan got to go to his first piano festival. He managed to get perfect 10's in every event which earned him a trophy. There are eight events and he did great on all of them. Since it was his first fair, I got to be his parent guide and go room to room with him. We had a lot of fun together trying to find short lines and planning what we would do next. He really made me giggle because he was so serious about everything. He looked like a pro with his music bag and map of the rooms. Sean was Andrew's parent guide so this was a first for me. It was a great time.

Andrew attended his 5th Fun Fair and it's getting to be pretty tough from this point forward. He had to learn 14 total scales, chords, cadences and arpeggios. The theory gets harder and they have to play more challenging performance pieces. He worked so hard for this fair, so it was a little devastating to him when he made a finger slip in arpeggios and got a 9. Then when he got his theory test results, he missed one question which also was a 9. I know he wanted that trophy, but we keep trying to remind him how well he really did. Only one person in his level even got a trophy--it's that tough! He did earn a rosette which is a very high honor. I'm just thrilled that he did great on both sight reading (his nemesis) and performance. He got 10's in both.

Way to go Andrew & Nathan!!!
We're so proud of you!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Like TGIFriday's? How about Buy One Get One?

Like a great deal?? Click here to get the BOGO at TGIFriday's restaurants. Offer is not valid on Valentine's Day, but you can keep printing and using through 3/31/09.

Many locations have Kids Eat Free on Monday's (check before you go) so you can do some double dipping on your savings with this one.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: One Little Word, part 2

In my travels around cyberspace, I'm finding more and more people are choosing to focus on one little word for the upcoming year. I'm also finding that many are taking a moment this month to reflect on that word to date. Many people chose to write a poem to put additional focus on their word. An Acrostic poem (using each letter in the word to start or be part of each line) is a simple way to focus in on your word.

Think about writing a poem today. It doesn't have to be the best thing ever written, as long as it is meaningful to you. My acrostic poem, "Cherish".

Choose to sow love
Hang onto each moment
Everyday, thank God
Remember that I am loved
I’m focusing my energy on those I love
Spend time with friends

He sent His son to die so I might live forever with Him.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

End of an Era

Today was a sad day in Mudville as my pedicure bit the dust. My sister decided to take me with her for a spa day. What fun we had!! We each got a manicure/pedicure and a facial. It was such a relaxing day and my fingers and toes looked awesome. It was my first time to ever get a mani/pedi and now I see what all the hype is about.

The manicure lasted just over a week for me--not bad considering three kids and time in the pool. I can't believe how long my pedicure lasted. It's been over a month and it just started looking bad the last couple days. This morning I took the polish off and have plain toes again. My plan is to take a little time for me tomorrow afternoon and paint them again--maybe red this time.

It has been such a wonderful time to look down at my toes in the middle of January's snow and ice and see cute plum colored toes. (I go barefoot around the house all the time-makes my father crazy.)

Since I've raised my children to be photo fanatics like me, Andrew helped capture my light-purple glitter fingernails on film. I took a moment when we got home to get my toes. The irony of the situation is when we went to the spa, I left my camera back at the house with Sean and the kids. I have no pictures of Renee & I during our spa day. However, I have memories tucked away in my mind and heart. Thanks sis--it was fun!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tips on Tuesday: Free Download of 16 Books

To celebrate their 60th anniversary, Harlequin is offering a FREE BOOK download to every woman in America, and I thought you’d want to know about it.

There are 16 full books to choose from and download, including tender romances, suspenseful adventures, heartwarming stories, tales of passion, and many more – you’re sure to find something you like!
You can download as many of these books as you would like.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Children's Museum

Got to go to a Member's Only thing yesterday at the Children's Museum. We had a great time and only got to scratch the surface of the exhibits. We plan to go back soon (and when it's less busy) in order to take some time to read more of the information with the exhibits.

I think next time Sean & I will have to divide and conquer. One of us can take the kids to the balls and climbing area while the other one gets some leisure time in the other exhibits to read. Then we'll switch.

Here are some photos of our fun. Daddy & Rebekah learn how drafting works in racing while Mommy tests her reaction time.

All three kids practiced pitching the ball and seeing how fast their pitching speed was. Andrew managed to do this when I wasn't there to get his photo--he's getting sly in his 'old age'.
However, he's learning that those who refuse to pose do so at their own risk. I'll hunt you down and take more photos than you ever thought possible. (Gleeful laugh here!) I caught him racing Dad with the racecars and who wants to throw a race you're winning to avoid a photo?!?
While my boys went to a presentation on the Physics of NASCAR, Rebekah and I did some of the activities that are a little more age appropriate for her. She had a blast with the play house, the giant Magna Doodle, the climbing structure, the balls, etc., etc., etc.

Finally, I have to post what was by far the sweetest thing ever. Rebekah went to the 'grocery store' and took carrots over to the farm exhibit. She fed the cow, then left the carrot for him to finish. She fed the pig another carrot and went back to the store to get a croissant for the sheep. Too precious!
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