Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Thoughts

I was really excited for Christmas. Basically because I had high hopes that J would love all of the fun presents. Originally it was going to be a table and chairs plus an easel and maybe some art supplies, but we were blessed to be able to get some add-on's too, like the froggy seat cushions, the Igloo tent and the city/road map rug. He loves the frogs even more than I expected, I caught him trying to hug one today.
The table is perfect and the various art supplies are loved beyond measure. It amazes me how this little boy will sit down and draw or color. The "Washable" Crayons and Markers are also quite mind blowing.

The easel has been a pretty big hit as well, though he did get offended the first time I tore off the used piece of paper.
Most everything has been moved downstairs and within a few days I hope to have it all in place in the "Children's Art Area". It has been my dream, my happy thoughts, for so long, it is hard to believe that it has come true. Guess I need a new dream.

It pays to Discover....the charges on your Statement.

Ken found, what we believe to be, TWO unauthorized charges on our credit card yesterday. I googled the name of the company and found out that somehow we had signed ourselves up for a Shopping Essentials Discount Club- for the price of $19.95 per month. I called Shopping Essentials and told them I felt the charges were fraudulent and wanted them to cancel my membership AND refund the two $19.95 charges, from 12/24 and 11/24. The associate who was helping me was very very willing to cancel my membership and refund ONE of the charges.

I then called Discover Card and asked if there was anything else that could be done, as I had no recollection of signing up for the service and I never used the service, is there a way that I could dispute the charge that the company was refusing to refund. I was told YES! It is so nice to talk to a Customer Service Agent who seems to want the best for you. She explained that since I had spoken to the Company - Shopping Essentials- and told them I felt the charges were fraudulent that they were responsible to refund up to 6 months of fees. She then told me that she would watch our account, and if after 15 days both charges had not been refunded she would open an investigation into the company and our charge and do her best to resolve it.

So Thank You, Summer, from the Utah office of Discover Card! You made our day just a little better. And Ken and I have learned that we really need to watch our statements closely each month, if we had found the first charge earlier we could have had it canceled before the second charge appeared and then we wouldn't have had to deal with disputing the charge. (That would be in a perfect world, unfortunately I found plenty of stories on-line that talked about charges continuing even after they had been assured that their membership had been cancelled. Summer said that she would watch out for extra charges).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Morning for Little J

I saved $5 per month, for about two years, so that I could buy furnish my "Children's Art Area" and this summer I planning on taking my savings and heading on down to IKEA. But then I thought "Why not wait until Christmas and kill two birds with one budget, I mean stone? " And that is how this magical Christmas came about.

From his reaction I think it was a good idea. The fact that IKEA has recently been lowering prices- which enabled me to get about twice the fun stuff is just the frosting.
video

Monday, December 21, 2009

Where'd my Little Baby Go?

Last week I made a horrible realization. Little J's Curls are not coming back. I cut his hair a few months ago and as I cut off the precious curls I quietly said to myself, "They will grow back, They will grow back" and I realize now that I lied. This is a picture of J last week. Sure, it has a little bit of a wave too it, and if I work hard and use some product I can coax a few curls out, but it is just not the same.
So on Saturday night, I cut his hair again. Previously I have used the scissors on the top, or maybe I should say "Attempted" to use scissors, because I kind of like a little length, but this time I decided to make it easy on myself and use the clippers for everything. We used the largest guard we have, #8 or 1 inch, for the top and then #4 for the back and sides.

The first thing I realized it that J's hair didn't want to be cut that short. It would willingly flow right into the guard on the clippers and then somehow manage to get out without being cut! I guess I need lessons. I fixed the situation by holding on to the chunk of hair that I intended to cut so that it couldn't get away. Soon, my little baby looked like a scared little sheep that had been sheered for the first time.

When I went into his room the next morning I did a double take. Even worse when I picked him up from nursery I looked right at him and didn't recognize him. I guess I will get used to it, unless we start paying for someone else to cut his hair, this is what he is going to look like for the rest of his childhood. I am thankful for the little bit of a wave that his hair has, as my sweet cousin pointed out, that waviness will hide a multitude of his mothers hair cutting mistakes! He really is a Cute Little Boy, isn't he. I guess he is not my baby anymore.

Anyone know where I can find a new baby?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cold!

Over the past month of so I have been collecting items to make Snow Fun! Last week I bought a Toboggan. In my head I pictured Little J and one of his parents sitting on the disk toboggan together and sliding happily down the small hill next to our house, when I got the toboggan home I started to read the fine print- Max Weight 150 pounds. Well that ruled parents out of the picture and so Baby J got to ride down the hill alone. I don't know if anyone else noticed, but it snowed on Sunday and Monday and so after Ken got home from work on Monday J and I forced him to go play in the snow with us.
We placed J on the toboggan and gave him a push, he quickly fell over.
Then we had the bright idea to lay him on his stomach, and Viola! Perfect Sliding! Down and down he went went with a big old smile on his face.
He was able to slide down that hill so fast that his hood and hat both flew off. At the bottom of the hill he would slow to a stop, usually he was able to keep his face out of the snow.
I think he liked it! I may even brave the cold sometime later in the week and take him out to play again. Maybe if the high temp gets above 20.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Santas and Ladders and Beards, Oh My!

What a fun few days we have had. Our church had a Christmas party. Surprisingly, Little J was afraid of Santa, he was also up past his bedtime and on the verge of a melt down so he may have liked Santa and just not been able to express it.
The Party had a Mexican theme and J really enjoyed his burrito, it was the first time he had ever had one, but I think he will be having more in the near future. He was especially cute to watch as he attempted to get the whole thing into his mouth at once.

After a Nativity program they broke out the Piñatas, they even had one especially for kids between 18 months and 3 years old. I don't think it will surprise you to know that it took quite along time for these kids to break the piñata. It may look like J was about to wail on that thing, but he was all bark and no bite he would approach with a mighty swing and then lightly tap the piñata. It was hilarious.
Ken and I worked together to put Christmas lights up on our house. It took about 3 hours and when we were done we noticed that one of the strands wasn't working. I plugged them in the next day and the strand in question was working, then I checked a few hours later and it was out again- Maybe it is on a really really slow blink....... who knows, at some point this week I am going to climb up the ladder again and push in all the LED's to make sure their connections are good, hopefully that will take care of the problem.
Do you remember last winter when Ken got some strange sores around his mouth and chin? The Doctor thought is was Staph, but it turned out not to be, and they went away so we didn't bother finding out what it was. Well the sores came back a couple of weeks ago. Ken learned his lesson last time, the lesson being, Shaving the sores causes them to spread. So he took a few weeks off shaving, ending up with the good beginnings of a beard. Well the sores were pretty much gone and so Ken decided it was time to shave.....
What do you think? From the nose down he kind of looks like Wolverine. Don't worry, he shaved the rest of it off too, eventually.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Christmastime!

Last year we put the tree in a corner and surrounded it with furniture facing the opposite direction- this protected the tree well from tiny little hands but made the tree hard to see. Our tree was also a hand-me-down that a kind coworker had given me a few years before. The tree was big and beautiful but my friend was a cat owner and the cats had loved the tree, Ken is allergic to cats. So after Christmas was over I went to Wal-Mart and bought a new- cheap tree and because of a tip from a friend I also bought a few packages of branch garland. I rounded out the shopping trip by purchasing some new Shatterproof ornaments. Did I mention that all of this stuff was 50% off, I loved that. So I brought my Christmas dreams home and quickly put them in the basement storage room. where they would wait for 11 months.

Well it is now CHRISTMASTIME! and today I rearranged the living room furniture, this time with the couches facing the spot where I wanted to put the tree. And then I put up the new tree- the picture on the box was of a beautiful, full, well lit tree. Well when I got the tree up I discovered that it was well lit. But it was not beautiful or full. I fluffed it, but there were still several places that you could see straight through. So I took out the garland and started stuffing it into the bare spots- WOW! It worked great.
Now the Tree is decorated and Little J is learning that he is not allowed to touch let alone take the ornaments off. He is actually doing very well at this. He likes to be praised for obeying-(that was Sundays lesson in nursery and our FHE lesson last night- "I will Obey")- I have plans to buy another free standing baby gate if he suddenly decides that obedience is no fun.

I even found a place to put the Alpine Trees that I got the day after Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. Since the Christmas Tree is upstairs and we spend time downstairs too, I think these trees will help us to feel the joy of the season while we are down there. You can't see them too well, but these trees even have little tiny ornaments.
Happy Holidays to all, and to all a Goodnight!

Telling Stories

A few weeks ago I got an email from Shutterfly offering me a free photo book. I made a photo book for our wedding album and it turned out quite nice and so I jumped at the chance to get a new book full of pictures from the first 18 months of little J's life. I quickly started to upload pictures, then discovered I had no Idea how to upload pictures and gave up. I thought the time limit had past but last week they sent me another email telling me that I had just a few days left to create and order my free book. So I did. I am so excited.

I had an idea, I wanted to make a story book. I asked Ken "If Jared could tell you a story, what would you want it to be about?" Ken answered that he would love to hear a story about Jared and his friends Peter- the Penguin and Griff- the Hippo and how they saved the world from Bad Guys! So I wrote a story- it is called Dad-Napped and it is about a day when J wakes up to find that his Dad is missing, and he, Peter and Griff set about to find him and save him from the Bad Dad-Nappers- because after all if Dad is missing then someone must have taken him, right? They fear that if they don't rescue Dad that they will never have any fun, ever again.

After the story was written I took a few pictures , and then put the book together. It took a few hours but it will be well worth it when it comes in the mail, just in time to give to Ken as a Christmas Present- and yes Ken knows about it, he read and approved the story and even participated in the photo shoot- there are some surprises that I added to the book later though.

Here is one of the scenes from the book- Little J, Peter and Griff are climbing into the loft because that is the last place they remember seeing Dad.
I also told a different and true story to Utah Valley Magazine today. I put in an entry to participate in their annual Fitness Challenge. Every year they pick 4 or 5 Utah Valley Residents and give them a Trainer for a year, then they track their progress in the Magazine each month.

I figured I would put my name in for it, because you can not beat a free trainer, and I feel like I am at the point where I could use some help with my weight loss.

I told them that I felt I would be a good contestant in their challenge because-

1- I have a great need to lose weight- no I am not obese- but I do have a strong family history of Type II Diabetes as well as other weight related issues- high blood pressure, high cholesterol- and that I have been told by several doctors that if I could loose weight and keep it off I had a good chance of postponing the onset of those disease for several years.

2- I have a son who was born with a Congenital Birth Defect, that it was not life threatening but that he needed surgery to fix it. I participated in the National Birth Defect Study and after I was done they sent me information that they had learned from the study. To my Horror the first thing I saw was that one of the biggest risk factors for my Son's Birth Defect was the Mother being Overweight. We have a 10% chance of future sons having the same problem, if I am a normal weight I may be able to lower that percentage even more. If I had known that my weight could affect my sweet baby, that I could have possibly prevented his pain from Surgery, I would have.

3- I have lost and gained and lost the same 15 pounds over and over again over the past 3 years. I need help, I need a Mentor, someone who teach me how to prevent injuries, how to make the most of my workouts- as a Mom you really don't get a ton of time- and how to nourish my body well so that it is willing to give its precious stores of fat. I believe that type of Mentor would call themselves a Trainer and I do not have the resources to pay a trainer.

4- I realize that I am not Obese, but I am overweight, and I consider myself a good example of a Utah Valley Mother, right in the middle of the road, trying hard but not quite getting the results I want. I would be an amazing success story if they chose me. I have been able to lose that 15 pounds again on my own, but I want to do what the doctors have told me I need to do, I want to lose about 40-45 more pounds, I know I can and I know I can do it within the next year with their help.

This is the picture I submitted. It was taken this last summer before I lost the 15 pounds (though I didn't tell them that...I mean I told them I had recently lost weight on my own but not that this picture was pre-weight loss)
So, if you could remember me in your prayers, maybe if it is meant to be, I will be blessed with a trainer for a year.