Sunday, August 29, 2010

Garage Sale Loot

I heart garage sale shopping, but not just any garage sales. They have to be nice neighborhood wide garage sales or someone I know to take make the effort worthwhile. I've never had any luck driving to random garage sales - too many junky ones spread out all over the place, and everybody knows the early bird gets the worm. With neighborhood sales, you can cover lots of ground in record time, easily skipping over ones you can tell won't be fruitful.

This weekend I scored lots of loot in my neighborhood. Two of my neighbors with boys had garage sales. We got to pre-shop one the night before, and at the other I was first to arrive since I saw them setting up during an early morning jog. Here is a sampling of some of the deals I found (and why it is getting more and more difficult for me to buy things for the kids brand new at full price).

A rocket ship tent (like new): $10

Cute Gymboree outfit for Cooper (He wore it yesterday.): $3

Lamp (with cord cover included): $1 (Plan to paint it black.)

Saucony boys shoes in perfect condition: $.50

All of these Gap/Old Navy/Children's Place clothes & baseball cleats: $10

My kids are always excited when I come home with new stuff - especially toys. The upside is I get some great deals, the downside: I wouldn't have spent a dime if I had stayed at home. At least I took care of my shopping bug, for now anyway... until the next unbeatable deal comes along I can't pass up.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

New Nephew Isaiah - Look at that Hair!

My brother, Joe, and his wife, Ashley, just had a brand new baby last Saturday - Baby Isaiah Joseph Osmun. We are so happy for them. This bundle of joy weighed in at 6 lbs and was born here in Tulsa on their wedding anniversary (8/21), just a day shy of 37 weeks. Ashley actually had to go in for an emergency C-section due to high blood pressure. Poor Joe was working out of state when Ashley delivered, but he drove there as fast as he could to be with Mom and baby Saturday night.

Ashley was already expecting to have a C-section since the baby was breach, just not this early. Baby Isaiah has been staying in the NICU since his birth. He is now able to breathe without assistance - at first his lungs weren't quite ready to function adequately without extra oxygen, but as of Monday seemed to be on track with breathing on his own. The picture of the TV screen below was taken while he was still on oxygen.

I haven't actually met Baby Isaiah yet. I have only seen his sweet face in pictures and on the TV monitor in Ashley's hospital room since the NICU was closed to visitors on my last visit. I don't know if many hospitals now offer real-time baby cam nursery viewing at the hospital or if this service is reserved for NICU babies, but I thought it was wonderful to be able to watch Isaiah from the room - with one exception - I hate to see the nurses prick those tender feet for blood work! So glad they do that in the nursery now instead of right in front of you in the room.

The nursing staff continue to monitor Isaiah closely and are hopeful he may be ready to leave this weekend. Needless to say, Joe and Ashley are anxiously awaiting his release so they can bring their brand new blessing to his new home. It's fun to think in a few days they too will experience that nervous, joyous feeling that overcomes you when you leave the hospital with your first baby, excited and overwhelmed at the same time. I know that Joe and Ashley will be great parents and can't wait to see how Baby Isaiah and parenthood enrich their lives.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Splish Splash

The kids were pretty disappointed when they looked out the window and saw rain yesterday since we were planning to go to the park that morning. But the disappointment didn't last long. We dressed them in their galoshes and rain coats, umbrellas in hand, and marched down the street for a puddle parade. Cousin Parker came along for the stroll. Parker is my sister Sue Ellen's son who is almost three. We don't get to see him often enough. I watched Parker yesterday and look forward to seeing him more frequently - hope his parents don't mind I dressed him in pink! And, we couldn't march by Nate's and Grant's without asking them to join in the fun. The kids found caterpillars galore on the sidewalk that they collected and observed, with surprisingly only a few casualties after all was said and done.

My biological mom, Pamela, was there to witness the splish splash surprise, and the caterpillars brought back one of her own memories of Sue Ellen when she was around Kenzie's age. Apparently, Suzy loved worms. They lived in the country and one afternoon Sue Ellen collected some in a bucket and brought to Pamela to show her, excitedly shouting, "Worms, Mama, Worms!" When Pamela looked inside, to her horror, she saw it wasn't worms Sue Ellen had plucked but a bucket full of tiny baby copperhead snakes! Amazingly, Suzy didn't get bitten.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bedlam Soccer Update

So, the OSU Cowgirls beat OU at the Bedlam game, the season opener, in Stillwater this past Friday night. The score was 1-0, and OSU had possession most of the game. Great crowd - we heard afterward that it was the second highest attended home game in the team's history. Anyway, I loved seeing Kristen's hair painted orange (a Bedlam thing) and wanted to share this update with you. Go Pokes!

(Cooper's in that stage where he's perfectly content with someone else until he sees me as seen here, making getting a good picture of him increasingly difficult.)

Blue Bell Ice Cream Tour

My good friend, Trisha Glaser, called and scheduled a tour of the Blue Bell Ice Cream facility for us and a few of her friends this past Friday. Trisha has a daughter, Grace, who is almost three and so cute with her curly hair and big blue eyes. Kenzie and Connor call her Baby Grace and love having her over for play dates. We knew Blue Bell offered tours, but had never taken initiative to schedule and were thrilled to be included in Trisha's group.

The Blue Bell building has a Broken Arrow address, but it is located just outside Coweta, which isn't too far from our house. The tour only cost $2 for me and Connor and our outing lasted about an hour. (Kids 5 and under are free; adults $2.) Connor loved watching the ice cream assembly line where machines filled and sealed each ice cream container and the assembly line workers packed boxes, but what he loved most of all - no surprise - was sampling the ice cream after the tour was over. Definitely a fun, inexpensive activity to do with a group of friends and their kiddos.

Kenzie was at school this time and didn't get to go on the tour, so we'll likely be planning a Daddy and Kenzie trip to Blue Bell in the near future.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Daily Refreshment

Amber Dearman introduced me to Minute Maid's Pomegranate Blueberry "Help Nourish Your Brain" juice when we were both pregnant and due around the same time last year. The juice is a good source of DHA, which is recommended for babies' developing brains and eyes. Knowing it was Amber's favorite, her baby shower hostesses served this juice spiced up with Ginger Ale at her baby shower. (This picture was taken there.) I liked the combination so much that I started buying both, and it has become my drink of choice at home.

While I prefer Ginger Ale, I've started buying a six pack of Twist Up, the Sam's Cola version of Sprite, because it is so ridiculously cheap - 6 for $1 at Wal-Mart. Sierra Mist is also a substitute. A 2-liter of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is about the same price, but mine went flat too quickly, and cans solve that problem. The Minute Maid juice costs about $3.

Why so cost conscious, you might ask? The other day my friend, Holly Nester, said she thought I could have lived back in the Depression after Kenzie, Connor and I split a frozen yogurt cup at Cherry Berry and I saved my plastic spoons to take home for the kids to use for their cereal. (I can't seem to keep up with the dishes as fast as they go through our spoons.) I admit I can be a bit quirky when it comes to money, but I don't come close to my late grandmother, Kathleen, who did actually grow up in the Depression. She would wash and save every piece of foil, plastic food container and rubber band. And then there are my parents who seemed to save every type of fast food condiment packet under the sun...

Several years ago I read a Millionaire Next Door type of book that referenced people who bought Starbucks coffee every day and how quickly that adds up within a month, over a year, etc. What if that money had been invested instead? So, now I try to be more conscious of every area of spending and attempt to make better decisions since the little things like beverage choices can quickly add up. Currently, whenever we go to a sit down restaurant, we order water (which we need more of anyway), with the satisfaction that afterward, at home, my significantly cheaper daily drink refreshment awaits. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Eventful Saturday for Kristen

Brien's sister, Kristen (sibling #7), is starting school at OSU this fall on a soccer scholarship (among several academic scholarships - this girl is smart). Brien's brother, Tommy (#6) is already at OSU and will be starting his junior year this fall. All the Kelleys are serious OU fans, but now they are all wearing orange to support Kristen, and I love it! Go Pokes!

(Some family background: Brien is the oldest of 8, and all but one (by choice) so far have played a sport in college. Brien played baseball at St. Gregory's; Sean (#2) at Rockhurst; Katy (#3) basketball at Northeastern; Kimmo (#4) volleyball at St. Gregory's; and Timmy (#5) is a starting pitcher at Wichita State. I can't wait to see where Claire (#8) goes. She's a sophomore in high school and great at soccer and volleyball. Time will tell if Kenzie, Connor or Cooper won the athletic gene pool lottery since they clearly won't be getting much help from me.)

Toward the end of the summer Kristen decided to go through formal fall recruitment (rush) at OSU after getting permission from her coach, and I am so glad she did. Rush was last week while her team was doing four-a-days, so she had to go to abbreviated parties between practices, and needless to say, the process was exhausting. Rush alone is exhausting.

Friday was the final party day. She went to Pi Phi, Gamma Phi, and Chi Omega. I was already going to be in Stillwater for Kendra Rider's baby shower on Saturday, so I couldn't miss Kristen's bid day. She was so tight lipped all week while she was trying to decide, adding to the suspense. Kristen started Saturday off with a morning practice before heading over to Library Lawn. I hoped she would choose Chi-O because I knew she would love it and thought it would be so fun to share that experience with her. So, of course I was overjoyed to hear her decision and relive the excitement of bid day.

bid day buddy
Kristen with her Bid Day Buddy, Jordan - Super cute sign she made

pledge class
Pledge class pic - couldn't fit everyone in

xo arms
Twisted Kristen's arm to take this one with me

chi-o house
310 S. Monroe

Kristen's bid day wrapped up early because she had to leave for a late team lunch and then head to Tulsa for her first soccer scrimmage as an OSU Cowgirl. The girls played ORU, and Kristen was included in the starting line up - Yay! (Kristen was an All American soccer player and tore her ACL last year in basketball and had to sit out the entire soccer season her senior year. She has been working nonstop to rehabilitate her knee post surgery, so the fact that she started was a great sign that her coaches are confident that she's progressing along.)

starting line up
Starting line up for scrimmage: Kristen is #12. The knee brace makes her easy to spot.

Kenz, Maddy soccer
Kristen with Maddy, daughter of her high school soccer coach, and Kenz

Cooper soccer
Even Cooper couldn't miss Kristen's first outing. You can see Mr. and Mrs. Kelley and cousin Owen in the background.

This upcoming Friday the Cowgirls face OU in Stillwater, which will be a fun match up to watch since it's Bedlam and a few girls from Kristen's club team signed with OU. We'll be making frequent trips to Stillwater over the next four years, with some stops at the Chi-O house, which will be sure to make an impression on Kenzie (another future Chi-O, I hope). Kristen has such a bright future ahead with so much to look forward to, and we couldn't be more proud.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Day of School!

Kenzie started back to school today at St. Pius X. She's enrolled for Mon/Wed/Fri preschool. Last year she went Tues/Thurs, so we're gradually easing her into the full week schedule she will have when she starts Kindergarten.

I am so out of practice with getting around and out the door! Not only did I leave her lunch I'd made the night before, but I also forgot to pack her pillow and blanket for nap time, and we were late getting out the door because Cooper had a major diaper blowout just minutes before we needed to be on our way - funny how he seems to time those so perfectly. Thank goodness Brien will be taking Kenzie each morning to make sure she gets there on time! Splitting up responsibilities makes everything go so much more smoothly.

Here is Kenzie's first day of school picture from last year. I intentionally did her hair in pigtails and headband this morning so we could compare to see how much she has grown up in the last year. (Notice the lunch here that's missing in the first picture.)

I had to include a picture of Kenzie's new backpack I found at a garage sale for $3 this summer. It is high quality, looks brand new and was already monogrammed with "Mackenzie" - what are the odds?

Despite all the chaos starting out, Kenzie had a great first day in Mrs. Heinrich's class. She even got picked to be the class helper. We look forward to another fun year of preschool, and next year Connor will get to join in the fun.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Random Daddy Long Legs

After following someone's tweet I ended up on a website that showed the video embedded here, which brought back memories from a trip to Turner Falls I took one summer while in high school. A friend and I ventured off and came across a small cave opening with tons of daddy long legs covering the top of the entrance, which I remember to be about three feet tall. We had just seen some kids exit the cave, so we figured it was safe to go inside and we had our flashlights. One after another, we reclined face up and inched feet first under the daddy long legs, descending into the cave, all the while praying none dropped on us as we watched the swarm of their bodies bounce up and down rapidly just over head. Once inside, the cave wasn't very big, but it was really fun to find and explore, and those spiders certainly added some excitement. Maybe I should have been a spelunker.

Anyhow, no description could ever paint a picture of my daddy long legs experience, but this video sure does the trick.

My old youth director used to say if you licked a daddy long leg's belly it tastes like peppermint. I must say that I just took his word for it, but this family actually performed their own taste test.

I have no clue how you are supposed to cite YouTube sources on blogs or even if you need to, but here I go:
Website source
YouTube source posted by happysmurfday

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stearns Puddle Jumpers

We found these Stearns Puddle Jumper Life Jackets last year at Academy, and now we don't head to the lake or pool without them. They are a must have for anyone with toddlers. The safety devices are approved at the Broken Arrow municipal pools, while regular floaties are banned since they can slip off unexpectedly.

When Connor was two last summer, he was jumping off the diving board in his Puddle Jumper with no fear, and Kenzie has now finally come around this summer and has the same confidence as her younger brother. They'll be ready to swim without them in no time, but meanwhile, the life jackets sure add peace of mind when I take them to the pool by myself toting Cooper. It is not humanly possible to keep my eyes on all three every second, but now I don't panic the first instant I lose sight of Kenzie or Connor. (The Nienhuis Park pool has gates around the toddler play areas that keep the kids contained, which also adds peace of mind.) Puddle Jumpers also make our kids stand out, making it easier to locate them in a crowd.

This summer we bought one for Brien's best friend's daughter at Academy for $11, and Brien also found them online at Wal-Mart for $15 and Target for $17.99. These make great gifts that will be sure to get lots of use.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Family Fun Night at the JCC

JCC Family Fun Night
My sister-in-law, Martha Kelley, is the Camp Director at Camp Shalom, which was recently recognized as a 2010 Tulsa Kids Magazine Family Favorite. Martha is married to Brien's brother, Sean, and they have a sweet baby, Owen, who is just a few months younger than Cooper and so cute. (I'll post pictures of them soon.) Camp is held during the summer and specific school holiday breaks with before and after care options to accommodate working parents.
JCC Family Fun Night
Through Martha's connection, our family has been included in lots of fun activities at the Jewish Community Center (JCC), where camp is held. Our favorite each summer is Family Fun Night. This year each family paid $15, which covered a kosher hot dog dinner, face painting, DJ, inflatables, cotton candy, balloon animals, and swimming with a dive-in movie after the sun went down. The kids loved it. Brien's best friend, Clint Dunbar, and his sweet daughter, Lilly, tagged along for the memorable event all the way from Dallas.

(If you are looking for face painting for birthdays, etc., I highly recommend Faces by Susie. Susie Jones is very talented, and it is so fun to see the kids' faces when they see themselves in the mirror - definitely adds extra spirit to the festivities.)
JCC Family Fun Night
JCC Family Fun Night
JCC Family Fun Night
Kenzie and Connor are actually attending Camp Shalom right now. Kenzie went last year, and now that Connor is wearing his big boy underwear, he gets to go too. Camp was his potty training reward incentive since pull ups are not allowed. When I dropped them off today, they immediately got busy finger painting and will get to do lots more fun-filled activities such as swimming throughout the day. Now, if I can just get Cooper to go down for a long nap...