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I (Jen) and my husband (Stephen) have a very charmed life. Our son (David) is such a blessing to us! We love spending time with our friends and family and each other!


Faves: #11 & #12

For today, just two random favorites….

11. Car Mirror
But not just any mirror! This one plays music that you can turn on with a remote. Now firs t let me say, I think this is ridiculous. I’m one that thinks kids these days are over stimulated, and WHY does everything need batteries??? And it irks me that you have to use a screwdriver to replace any batteries (I mean, I understand why, safety and all that rubbish). BUT the mirror we had originally registered for didn’t work in our car (we didn’t have any headrests in the back seat for them to attach to) so I FINALLY found one that worked and it happened to be this one…the dinky music is soooo annoying, but David loved it. if he was fussy and crying in the car, as soon as I’d turn that thing on he’d quiet down and most of the time just go to sleep (how he found that peaceful I have no idea.) I went so far as to record the dinky music on my cell phone and play it for him when he was super fussy and it would calm him down. So weird, but as any desperate mommy trapped in the car with a screaming kid: YOU DO WHAT WORKS!
I DO love being able to check on him in the mirror. Plus also, he’s waaaaay cute. I do have to be careful about not just staring at him every two minutes. Oprah wants us to sign her No-Phone-Zone so we don’t talk on the phone and drive – I’d say a cute (or screaming) baby in the back seat is Waayhaaay more distracting than chatting on a cell phone!!!

12. Umbrella stroller
This was another thing I sort of scoffed at us “needing.” We already have a great (though honkin big) stroller that came with our infant car seat. But we got an umbrella stroller when we were going to DC to sight see (D was getting too big for me to carry him all day in the Bjorn/Sling). It was great because it folded up easily to go on the crowded subway.
Things I love about our umbrella stroller:
A.) it has a place for your drink/wallet up by the handlebars.
B.) very light weight, easy for me to carry (even with one hand, do ya hear me other mothers?)
C. )it can recline slightly (David took some naps while we were in museums)
D.) a little shade which helped keep the rain off while we were there, also good for tucking scarves/jackets behind when pulled back.
E.) a basket underneath for keeping miscellaneous baby junk.
F. ) an optional tray you could attach (or not) that had a place for a sippy cup.
I will say one down side is that it’s not the best for Stephen to use since the one we have is sort of short, it’s more comfortable for me to push.


Mommy Favorites #8-#10

Last Mommy Favorites were food based, and we all know ------------ what goes in must come out. I KNEW babies had lots of diapers, but I was still kind of poop-shocked at the amount…it still feels like I change a butt-load of diapers. (feeding and cleaning, that’s basically what I do ALL DAY. Man, it’s a good thing my kid is so darn cute!)

8. Diaper Champ
I’ve used the Diaper Genie on several occasions, and it out smarted me pretty much. I dunno if it’s changed since I’ve used it, but something about pushing and twisting a poo-bomb seems dangerous to me. I love our diaper Champ for Several reasons.
A.) it’s so easy to use! You just drop the diapey in, flip the handle, and ca-chunk the diaper is gone!
B.) it takes regular trash bags = saving money!
C.) it keeps the smell out really well until it gets too full. (and I will admit, I totally shake the thing to get every last inch of room in there before I take it out) I’ve noticed it fills up in about a week, so I just take it out every night before our trash pick-up. Also, I hear it works well for cloth diapers as well.

9. Diaper sacks
Simple but nifty. I love these little guys for putting dirty diapers in when we’re out (and any clothes that got wet/dirty). A friend who uses cloth diapers also uses them. They have a nice scent that helps keep the sink contained.
10. Disposable changing pads
Brittany mentioned these and they are great! I use just regular lap pads on my changing table cause they’re easy to just take off and chuck in the hamper when he gets stuff on them. But the disposable mats are really wonderful! Like Britt, I love knowing that the germies from a public changing table aren’t going back into my diaper bag!

Oh, a little side note for mommies of boy newborns. Vaseline in the squeeze tube is the way to go with circumcision care. Soooo much easier than the tub. And although I prefer Budros Butt Paste for rashes, The Method brand is in a pump, which is also nice, so I can just squirt that stuff on there, use the diaper to rub it around and not get it caked under my fingernails. Any good tips on how you deal with a baby-butt?? :)


Mommy Favorites #4-#7

A few more of my favorite inventions….

4. Bumpkins pocket bib
I was tired to going to restaurants and feeling embarrassed when we left, feeling like I should have vacuumed, with all the Cheerios and puffs David left on the ground. So I picked up one of those pocket bibs (this is weird, but that is one of my freakishly early memories, wearing a pocking bib). I really like the Bumpkin brand – it’s softer than some of the other ones I’ve seen so it’s easier for the baby to self feed (not stuck behind a huge, stiff plastic bib!). It’s also very easy to rinse off. I heard from a friend who uses cloth diapers that they’ve been experimenting with the different types of plastic covers and Bumpkin ones seem to work the best.

5. Mum-Mums
These were one of the first foods I gave to David. They dissolve easily (without making a huge mess like the Gerber Biter Biscuits) and come in rice and vegetable flavors. They come in a box, packaged in twos – so you can throw a pack in the diaper bag…and you don’t have to worry about them getting hard and stale over time. My mom gave these to my little sister, and they really enjoyed them too. I also loved how they would entertain David so I could clean the kitchen or fix dinner!!!

6. Baby food in a squeeze container
My friend Stacy introduced me to these. We were invited out to eat on a Sunday and Stephen had to drive home first to pick up baby food and spoon. Now I keep one of these in the diaper bag and in a pinch we have food on hand (and it doesn’t even need a spoon!)

7. Munchkins Snack Catchers
These are awesome for self feeding! At church we’d have to hand him one puff/Cheerio at a time so as not to make a huge mess. This allows a child to get one or two out and they also won’t spill the whole container.

On a side note… I’ve been letting David play with a spoon while I feed him. He loves it, and I figure it’s always good to start practicing. I’ve been putting Cheerios in the spoon now and then and he puts it in his mouth, and it’s not terribly messy!

What has saves your sanity when it comes to eating time with a baby??


Baby Signs, There Is Hope! (?)

So, I have been working on clapping with David for *months* now. At first he was really resistant and would strain against me trying to make his hands clap (not that he was mad, more like “What the what are you doing, mommy? This is weeeeird.”) Then this past Friday, out of the blue, I’m working on it with him in the car, clapping my hands, and he just starts clapping like he’s been doing it all along! So funny kid. Then Sunday, during a worship song, he’s looking around at other people clapping and just starts clapping himself. And all I have to do is just say, “clap your hands,” and he does (even if he’s crying about something, he’ll grin and start clapping). Which makes me think that he knew what I’ve been talking about for quite some time now. Sneaky little boogger.

This morning he had run out of Cheerios and I asked him “do you want more?” and I could have sworn he made the sign for more (or maybe it was clapping). Anyway, I think we’re on the right track.


Robin Hood

#1. Robin Hood

Russell Crowe

Kevin Costner

 Cary Elwes (of Princess Bride fame)

Brian Bedford (voice)
 yeah, not what I pictured in my mind either.

Errol Flynn
(also pretty great in Captain Blood)

Of all these Manly Men, which one is your favorite Robin Hood and why?
Personally, not sure about Russell, but all of these are great... Still, I think Eroll Flynn's my fav, I'm just Old School like that. (erh, now that I think about it, maybe more Homeschooled.....whatev)

EDIT: errrrrrr, I'm gonna have to take that back. A little grossed out: Errol Flynn's Pretty Baby


Mommy Favorites!

Last weekend we had a church baby shower for a new momma and a bunch of us young mothers got together and picked out a few of our favorite things that we thought were helpful as a new mom. Before I had a kid I’d always get the *cute outfit,* and although I still love cute clothes, I realize how important the practical stuff are to a mom! I thought about doing a few posts about some of my Mommy Favorites. (don’t worry, this isn’t the kind of blog where I shorten stuff to the first letters to be cute… MF? Not so cute. Haha)

Here is what I contributed to the gift:

1. The basket we put everything in.

I have small baskets all over the house so that at the end of the day I can throw all the baby stuff in there and straighten up. It certainly helps my sanity! And we also discovered that David Looooves taking stuff out of a basket… his “basket work” will keep him quietly occupied for a long time (plus also, it’s way cute how busy he gets at his basket work.) Stuff we keep in baskets: books, toys, pacies, burp cloths, and on the changing table we keep wipes, butt paste, hand sanitizer and lotion.

2. Baby soap in a pump. (note: Method baby soap is not as good, doesn’t lather very well, has a weird smell)

It makes a difference when the baby’s small and slippery and you’re trying to give them a bath – you can pump the soap with one hand while keeping the other on baby.

3. Swaddler! (Swaddle Me Brand)

You can get these at Wal-Mart or Babies R Us and Target. They are awesome! David slept so much better, all cocooned up in one of these. There are several points of Velcro to keep the baby nice and snug (a little like a baby straight jacket) and makes for a cute little baby burrito. They come in fleece, jersey and cotton. There was one brand we got (I forget the name) that wasn’t as good because it had only one place that velcroed and so David kicked/squirmed it off.

Just a few things I found helpful! :)
Please share some of your mommy favorites! I always love good ideas.


Baby Signs, Take Two

Back on the baby signing front… he still refuses to do the sign for “more” – which I *thought* was going to be an easy sign, because if there’s anything this kid loves it’s MORE food. At least we’re not banging on the tray any more. He either growls (a new thing that mommy is NOT supporting) which I take to mean “gimme more now, Woman!” or he opens and closes his fists which I am taking to mean “want” (it does sort of look like the sign for “want”). So I sign, “you want more please?” and he grins. Hm, we’ll see how long it takes before he breaks me. Hehe.


Books + Collecting = Me Obsessed

A few years ago I found some books from a series that I *loved* to read when I was a kid. Then two summers ago I found several more at an antique store. I’m still missing the first six in the set…. I’ve been wanting to complete the series so I started looking for them online. Unfortunately most of the ones in any sort of good condition were waaaaahhhayyy expensive. I’m gonna keep searching though! Two things I love: books and making collections complete – it makes for a deadly combination. I really do want to complete the set though, there’s something so magical about these books. I’m looking forward to sharing them with my kiddos one day. If you ever run across these books (for a decent price) let me know!



oh yeah

Sorry! I left out some very important information! My new love is named: Shark Navigator Never Loses Suction Upright. (heh heh. It's like his first and last name is Shark Upright but people gave him the nickname: Shark "Never-Looses-Suction" Upright. Similar to me, Jen "You-Can-Never-Vacuum-Too-Often" Strosnider.) You can go and meet him here!

In other, much sadder news, my son either has a cold OR allergies. Either way it is sad and miserable for him to breath, for mommy to hear him struggle to breath. I hate how these things sneak up on us out of the blue. Plus also on EASTER when all should be merry and bright. No Sunday school for him today I guess . poo. *a sniffle and a pout*

Happily though………………………………………….we have a risen Lord. Amen.


Procreation of Dust Bunnies

Warning: This post contains images of a graphic nature. Viewer discretion is advised.

FIRST OF ALL….I must say that I vacuum every week! AND we take off our shoes at the door. AND right before David was born we steam cleaned the carpets and couches (I won’t go into how disgusting that was.) WE ARE CLEAN PEOPLE, people! That's just how I do.

Yesterday’s post was written after only seeing my vacuum for the first time. Last night I used it…

This is what was picked up from vacuuming ONLY my bedroom (which is tiny and most of the carpet is covered with furniture.) I was so grossed out I had to take a picture.

It is both horrifying and exciting.

It makes me wonder about the carpet of people who don’t clean as often as I do.

It makes me love my vacuum cleaner even more.

It makes me want to vacuum the rest of the carpets and floors today. And the baseboards and the chair rails and the couches. And the tapestries and the draperies (I always think of that Cinderella quote when I’m listing in my head what I need to clean.)

ALSO, it’s lightweight, quiet, pushes easily, the cord is really long, the filters are lifetime (you just have to rinse them out occasionally) and it’s a really pretty purple.

LOVE. IT. and that is all.


Birthdays Suck.............

………………..actually, I looooooove my birthday! I believe that the whole week (month?) is my birthday and take full advantage of soaking it up. *grin* I’m really not scared of aging (even though time is flying by a little too fast.) Even as a child I always thought of my thirties as being the prime of my life, so getting closer to that number isn’t so bad. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, I’m so thankful for every day, every blessing.

………………and also………….presents! not just because of stuff though. (I’m trying to de-clutter my life, resist the pack-rat/hoarder/OCD collector in me) Ever read the “Five Love Languages”? Mine is gift-giving… I love it! From picking out something special for someone (even a small thing) to the wrapping of it (you should see my ever growing wrapping paper collection), I love making something special for someone special. To me my dad was always the best about this, he would remember when I had casually mentioned I liked something and would surprise me with it for birthday/Christmas. My mom on the other hand would get me something like a cheese making kit (still a Tran family joke to this day.) Well this year they done good – surprised me with a very much needed vacuum cleaner (my old one had stopped being very effective a loooong time ago, and as a cleanfreak this rather bothered me!) Maybe another sign I’m getting old, but this sort of thing thrills me now. (Pots and pans and new kitchen knives for Christmas and a girl is happy!)

March was a wonderful birthday month, possibly the best present I got was warm weather (hello spring! I thought you’d never come!) I’m sitting outside on my porch as I type this, and I’m LOVING it! Thank you God for being so good to me.