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Saturday, November 26, 2011


Over the last few months I slowly began weening Eliana.  This month we went all the way down to one feeding.  Tonight, at 17 months old and one day, we made the leap into going to bed without that last feeding.  I began writing the previous post just to take my mind off of Eliana screaming.  The thing is, she is already now asleep, and I'm the one sad and near tears.  When she was a few months old, I dreamed of the day when I would no longer nurse Eliana.  The word "FREEDOM" was what I thought I would feel.  Now that it has come, I am blurry eyed as I type.

On a happier note, let me share Eliana's face this morning.

She had this face because she was looking at this.

Which she followed up by doing this, aka, "Dad, hold me there is a giant tree where the keyboard normally goes, and I don't know if I am okay with that."

What she didn't realize was that after "helping" me practice the piano last night, she "helped" her dad open the Christmas tree box.  Then she "helped" him put the Christmas tree stand together.  While she slept, we put the tree together.

We decided not to decorate the tree yet.  I wanted to see if it was going to be a nightmare teaching her not to touch the tree.  So far, she hasn't touched it at all.  That surprises me since she normally is so curious about anything new in our home.  We'll see how long it lasts.

Enjoy the giggle fest while we "practiced" the piano.

Entering the World of the Drugstore Game

I am slowly taking baby steps in saving our family money.  Here is how it worked for tonight.  I carefully scanned the Rite Aid ad and found that the Softsoap was on sale for $2.97, plus $2 UP rewards, the VO5 Shampoo and Conditioner was on sale 3 for $2, plus a $1 UP rewards, and I had a $2 off coupon for Crest Complete Toothpaste.  I read online to double make sure I could use the UP reward immediately and in combination with coupons, and I could!  That meant I made three purchases.  The soap stayed at $2.97 for my first purchase, the shampoo was free (although I did have to pay tax on it) with the $2 UP rewards for my second purchase, and the toothpaste went from $3.99 to $.99 with the coupon and $1 UP rewards for my third purchase!

Is $2.97 good for 8.5 ounces of soap?  Not really, but it was good for the premium soap, and it gave me the $2 UP rewards which made my shampoo and conditioner free.  I hope I like the aroma, but normally the basic scent is the one I like best and other scents tend to drive my nose bananas.  Do I normally buy VO5 shampoo?  No.  But one of the suggestions from Crystal at http://moneysavingmom.com/ was to try the cheaper brand.  If you can't stand it, then switch to a different one.  The concept was to try something  cheaper to see if you really needed the higher priced brand.  So, we'll see.  If not, Kyle can smell like strawberries for awhile.  HA!

In the end, instead of paying $11.85 before tax, I paid $3.87 before tax.  I figure that isn't too bad as I enter the world of drugstore game.  You can learn more about the drugstore game at http://moneysavingmom.com/.  Scroll down to the "Best of..." title on the right and then watch some of the "31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget".

Friday, November 25, 2011

Eliana is 17 months old!!!

 We celebrated by going on a nice long walk which included a stop at the mail box (thus the Babies R Us ad...).
I love our little girl.  She is growing up so fast!  Instead of taking a walk with her in the stroller, we all walked.  That amazes me.  A year ago, I had to carry her everywhere, because she was totally immobile.  Now she walks with us and enjoyed the sunshine while picking up red leaves and pine cones.

I know that the monkey sweater kind of clashes with the red leaves, but I didn't think about that until after we were already on our walk.  Oh well.  She is still a cutie!

I love these trees!  They remind me of lollipops, because they are so vibrant and multicolored.  

 These trees amaze me, because they turn yellow AND red.  That is a pretty special tree in my book.  I love the way leaves are translucent.
We took a short detour on our walk to capture this beautiful tree.  The sound of the wind blowing through these kinds of trees is so gentle and comforting.  There is a mini orchard of them back at the college I went to.  On those stressful term paper writing days, I'd slowly walk through the trees remembering that God is bigger than textbook reading and term papers.

 Eliana's fascination with pine cones cracks me up.  Of all of the hobbies to have, I'm glad this one is free:)  Eliana finds it funny to sport her dad's beanie he got on a mission trip to Jamaica. Kyle was looking for a souvenir.  The funny thing about the hat is that it was made in China.  Go figure.

Remember back on the Fall Fun post how I said fall was coming?  This is the same tree, but now it is all dressed in yellow instead of just the small cluster I captured back in October.  

Things Eliana has been up to this month:
*Eliana has learned how to hug.  Awe, I love it!  They are normally quite brief hugs, but I'll take them!  Sometimes she runs to give me them, because she realizes that I've used "that tone" when calling her name because she is in trouble.
*She nods her head yes and no.  So even if she doesn't have many words, she will nod no when she doesn't want certain things.
*Despite a beautiful display of Thanksgiving food, Eliana wasn't interested.  She ended up eating mainly banana, a few bites of ham, and some bread for dinner.  I got to thinking about it today, and I remembered that I couldn't handle ANYTHING related to Thanksgiving foods when I was pregnant with her.  I was barely pregnant when Thanksgiving came.  We had three Thanksgivings to celebrate over three days, and I could barely handle eating any of the food.  Even after she came, it took many,  many, many months to enjoy mashed potatoes or stuffing.
*Eliana has become clingy at times this month.  She'll grab a hold of my jeans and try and climb up when we go places, even if she has been there many times before.  Normally it takes a few minutes for her to relax and then she is off exploring the world.
*Although taking Eliana grocery shopping had of late been rather difficult, this past Monday's trip was nice.  Lately I've been waiting until Kyle is home for us to go so that if she makes a big fuss, they can go get an item while I shop.  But, on Monday she and I went right after a morning snack and with some of her favorite books.  I think the combination of those two things, some nice people at Winco, and God's graciously answering my plea of help made the trip so much more delightful.
*I am so very grateful that God gave us her.

Happy Thanksgiving

This year we stayed in town for Thanksgiving.  Eliana blessed me by waking up after 8.  Awe, lovely!  I was able to read my Bible and journal before she or Kyle woke up.  It was such a delightful way to start my day.  We headed over to Michele's to join them in the festivities.  Thanks Michele for having us!  Rachel and Ruli were able to come too!  

 Eliana had a blast playing with Theresa and the other kids.  It was nice for her to be happily content while we played Loot.  She slept for most of the time while we played Phase 10.  Kyle and Theresa kept an eye on her while we played Nertz after dinner.  I love gathering together, enjoying good food, and playing games!  Hooray!

Just in case you forgot, I love red leaves!!!  When dinner was just about ready, I quietly ventured out to capture some fall photos.

You could hear Jeremy, Tim, Ruli, and Kyle saying, "OHHHHHHHH!!!" as they played down the street where I went and got those red leaf pictures.  Yeah for good times!

 I found trying to get a smiling picture of Nathan while he tried to continue eating a cracker to be a rather hilarious moment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Love Fall!!!!

All year long I look forward to when the leaves turn red.

Eliana and I have gone on several walks to enjoy God's sunset colors splashed all over town.  You'd be surprised at what we find.  Does anyone know what king of plant this is?

Does anyone know what kind of tree this is?  It is my favorite because it can turn so many different colors.  I love that sometimes it is scarlet red, sometimes lemon and lime, and other times splashes of yellow, green, red, and even a hint of purple.

Does anyone know what this tree is?  I don't know if I've ever seen it before, but it sure is pretty.  Does anyone know anything about the fruit?

 The fruit tree pictured above is in the background.  It was a nice backdrop to show off the brilliant yellow leaves.

Did I mention that I love fall?  I love how the light plays with the leaves.

 Awe yes, here is my favorite tree again.

 After going to the library today, we went for a stroll just to enjoy the leaves.  Since I had Eliana's sandwich handy, we were able to enjoy a long stroll without her wanting to get out.  We stopped by my good friend Judy's house for a pit stop and a short visit, and then were off again with a banana to make the walk back pleasant.

 I know these aren't leaves, but we spotted them on the way to Judy's.  They were too pretty to not take a moment and enjoy.  They remind me of tiny bouquets of color.

 This picture doesn't even capture how breath taking the leaves were with the sunlight streaming through them.  Awe, I love, love, love the fall.

 Did I mention that I like red leaves best?  I think they are such a surprise.  I find myself stopping to admire them.  Maybe it is because they are the complementary color of green.  In general green is my favorite color, and I'd pick green over red any day.  But oh, red leaves.... I'd probably pick red leaves over green leaves.  Or maybe I love them so much because they are so startling after month of green leaves.  

This tree is right by Judy's mailbox.  What a delight it would be to be greeted each day by such a pretty tree.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kallie turned 2!!!

 Eliana's cousin Kallie turns two tomorrow, but we were able to celebrate her birthday over the weekend!
Eliana was initally not so sure about this saucer swing, but Kyle and Rachel got her to giggling!

Eliana LOVES slides.  Even though the steps are far apart, she climbed up the steps and was ready to slide.  Before, Kallie always wanted help up.  But she figured if her cousin is a climber, she could try it too!  Hopefully Eliana's lack of fear when it comes to heights won't totally rub off on Kallie. 

The paparatzzi, aka Kallie's Grandma Jan and Rachel :)

I'm so glad that Kallie liked her cake this year!  She wasn't too fond of it last year.  The chocolate chips in the cake were very yummy!!!

Kallie has learned to pose and say, "Cheese!"  It was quite cute!

Aimee has such a way with cupcakes!  You can check out her blog here.

Kallie has become a pro at opening gifts.  It is amazing how much little ones grow in a year.  Last year she wasn't too excited to open all of her gifts.  This year she did it at lighting speed!  

 It is hard living two hours away from a lot of our family.  Troy and Kyle ran some errands a couple hours after the party.  It was such a treat for me to see Kallie and Aimee and for Kyle to have some brother time.

Kallie is holding a toy dog that Eliana thought was hysterical.  Both girls laughed and laughed as the dog rolled around on the table and fell off the table.  Awe, such sweet memories!