Feb Faves: My Thirty One Tote

Here’s an item I use several times a week that makes my life so much easier! So much easier, in fact, that 1) I bought a second one and 2) I’m hosting a party so my friends can buy one, too!

My friend and food swap buddy, Staci, sells My Thirty One, and I bought the tote when another friend hosted a party. I didn’t actually attend the party, just ordered the tote with the plan to use it weekly to transport my food swap meals. It works perfectly for that. And I discovered that it also works great to transport my Sunday School supplies each week. And it is also great for events, like class parties, that I need to carry lots of things to. For Caroline’s Valentine’s party at school, I just sat the tote in my bedroom and added the party items as I bought them. On party day, I just grabbed the bag and went! I use it, too, as my Costco “bag” instead of boxes. It is easier to carry inside and I don’t have to bother recycling any boxes.

You can browse all the My Thirty One pretties (they have several other products and bags. I have my eye on the About Town blanket for summer picnics and park time.

My party is March 12 if you’d like to come or just place an order. The whole catolog is here:

http://catalog.thirtyonegifts.com/page1.html

Feb Faves: Stellar Transition Trainers by No Babies Allowed

Both girls seemed to grasp the potty concept at the same age — 25 months. This time, though, I am taking the lazy mom approach to avoid having to abandon my grocery cart when I’m next in line to run a little girl to the bathroom and I’m putting Elizabeth in training panties for a couple of months. I love these I got from No Babies Allowed, made from the Stellar Transitions pattern. They are cute (these are not mine). They are waterproof, but still pull down easily like regular panties. And they snap off in case of poop accidents, which we do still have very often.

Feb Faves: my calm personality

To call myself calm now is a pretty big statement. As a child, I was the crier, the panicker, the ball of stress. I remember crying hysterically and hyperventilating in first grade when I accidentally wrote my name (IN PENCIL) in a workbook that we were not allowed to write in.

Well, somehow along the way, I calmed down. Thank goodness. Let me give you a glimpse of three minutes in my life. As I am unloading groceries, Elizabeth strips herself down to use the potty. As I turn, with too many items in my hand, I drop a zipper bag of popcorn that scatters everywhere — in the cat food, on the floor, in the pantry, in the recycle bin. I grab the Dyson and start vacuuming as Elizabeth comes up wiping herself with about a third of a square of toilet paper. I glance at the potty. Sure enough, she’s pooped. So, I turn off the vacuum, wipe her properly, wash her hands, and finish getting up the popcorn. No stress. Just business.

Yesterday, I locked Elizabeth in the car during a rainstorm. I did not even cry. I just called John to bring the keys and stood in the rain singing to her through the window.

I wonder if it’s like how some people’s hair changes to curly after pregnancy/childbirth. Maybe being a mother has given me stronger nerves. 🙂

Feb Faves: volunteering in the classroom

(oops, I missed two days! I’m not keeping up with this NaNoBloMo so well, but I am getting back in the swing of blog-journaling, which was the whole point. I think I can finish off these last five days of the month.)

I’m Caroline’s kindergarten room mom. While I did retire from LLL this summer to (for one reason) have more time to volunteer at C’s school, I did not intend to be room mom. The mom who signed up to do it pulled her daughter out the first week of school, so the teacher was left without a volunteer. Several moms said they would do it if nobody else could, but they all worked full or part time. Once again, I thought, well, the gift I have now is time, so I’ll do it. So, I am in Caroline’s classroom briefly every Thursday to put together take-home folders, and I rotate weeks with a friend (one watches our toddlers while the other volunteers in the classroom during reading group time.) I look forward to my weeks in the classroom. I really enjoy it and realize that maybe I will go back into teaching. For a while, I did not. Then I thought I would. Then I thought no because, while I would have the same breaks as the kids, I would not be able to pop over for class parties or lunch as I would be busy in my own classroom. My current train of thought is that I would just dedicate a personal day for each girl for one class party and one time to have lunch with them and give the teaching thing a go again in a few years. (Once Texas recovers from its current educational finance fiasco and Elizabeth in is first grade.) I did let my certification expire, so I’ll need to take some classes to re-certify and figure I’ll do that slowly when she’s in pre-K and K. I really do fantasize about returning to work, but being here with the girls is my priority. And even once they are both in school, I reserve the right to decide they need me more than I need a job.

Feb Faves: Five Year Olds

As the book says, Your Five Year Old: Sunny and Serene. And, of course, my five year old goes beyond sunny and serene to be a peace maker. At the park yesterday, she was playing off and on with two other little girls, also kindergartners. A little boy and his mom were playing on the teeter totter when her baby woke up and she went to get him out of his stroller. The two girls ran and jumped on the teeter totter and the boy burst into tears. Caroline ran to him and showed him several options of ways he could play on the teeter totter with the other girls, even offering for him to sit in her lap in the middle. I just love her. Do I get to take full credit for how cool she is?

Feb Faves: libraries

I think I’ve gushed before about the library. But, really, it is just such a fabulous place and makes my life easier. I actually have dual-library citizenship, thanks to the Tex-Share card. With it, as long as I stay in good standing with my “home” library, the Austin Public Library, I can renew, for free, this card to have access to other library cards. I have a Cedar Park Public Library card, thanks to Tex-Share.

I prefer Cedar Park’s children’s programming and story times, so Elizabeth and I go there weekly for a story time. We go with Caroline occasionally, about once a month. From there, I check out movies for the girls as they have a great selection and children’s books.

Since it is hard to browse the stacks with a two-year-old, I take advantage of holds at the Austin Public Library for my reading. I just put four books on hold — two for me and two titles I want for Elizabeth that (to save me browsing for them at CPL while she pulls off other books that she “wants.” I browse the catalog from home via the interwebs, use my library card number to place the hold, get an email when they are available, and pick them up at the drive-thru window at the library. How cool is that!?

Now, go hug a librarian!

Feb Fave: my community

I’m there now! I like it here. I really do. I know I’ve bemoaned the lack of community here, my desire to move to what I thought was a more close-knit community. I think I just needed to narrow my circle a bit to find what was in my own backyard.

Caroline starting at the neighborhood school certainly helped with that. After I dropped her off at ballet today, saying “Hi” to a mom from the class before I’ve known from music class and LLL connections since Caroline was two, chatting with another friend and former LLL co-Leader, catching up with a mom whose daughter Caroline has played with since they were infants, seeing six other little girls from Caroline’s school, all, as always, thrilled to see Caroline, I realized as I drove to the Y where I ran into more kids from Caroline’s school, that this is what I wanted. That feeling of running into Burton’s/TJ&A’s/Market Basket (depending on the year) in Mauriceville and knowing most of the people shopping. I wanted Home. And I love my Home.

Feb Faves: (oops, I missed a day!) and Netflix watch instantly

Oops, I was supposed to blog every day in February, and I missed the half-way day! Let’s just assume I would have gushed about Valentine’s Day (which I would not have) or my lovely family (which I would have).

My fave today is Netflix — both the mail kind and the watch instantly. We have a fancy hook-up so we can watch internet shows (hulu, netflix, etc.) on our TV.

Some of my (well, the kids’ )favorite watch-instantly shows (the availability changes frequently, so these may not be up long) are
The Nutcracker
Peter Pan
Ponyo

When we want a certain movie or show, I first check Netflix watch instantly, then Hulu.com, then the library. If I can’t get it those places, I’ll add it to my Netflix queue and will even occasionally fork over the $1.99 to rent it on amazon on demand.