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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Quality Friday: Get 'Er Done.

This August will mark four years in this house. And for the last four years I have had a running list of things I'd like to do or change about our house.

Topping the list was getting the basement finished.
Quickly after that was a deck.

Having our basement done adds almost 1000 square feet to our house and with three kids and another on the way, we need all the extra space we can get.

For the last four years, we have been waiting for the perfect time.

You know when 24 hour days turn into 48 hours, and when my wannabe handy husband gets hit by the handy stick. (Don't get me wrong, my husband can do plenty of things, but finishing the basement would be quite the feat.)

See where I'm going with this.

There will never, ever, ever, be enough time. My husband, though he'd love to do these projects himself, has a demanding profession, three kids and a slightly high maintenance wife. (At least I'm honest.)

So after much talking, much deliberations, many contractors traipsing through my house we decided we're going to move forward, write the checks (gulp!) and get 'er done.

By hiring it out.

I had contractor after contractor here. Then one convinced me I would save money by managing the job myself and hiring my own subcontractors. This sounded like a good plan until I realized while it might save me a couple dollars, my sanity would be gone forever.

So we have one contractor hired and ready to go on the basement and another hired and ready to go on the deck. Start dates in the next few weeks.

It's a summer of projects in the Postuma house, but projects where the end result will cause much happiness, even if it means not as many pit stops at the coffee shop.

Happy early quality Friday and here's to getting er' done!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Rule.

With J out of town for work and a busy evening ahead of us I decided that McDonalds was on our dinner menu. We ran a quick errand and then stopped at Mickey D's for what some would call a 'gourmet' dinner.

Gourmet? You ask.

Well, the way these kids order you'd sure think so.

I'd like a cheeseburger with no onions or mustard. Says one.

The other pipes in with another request for a different burger.

And sometimes, usually just when you think you know what they're going to order, these said special orders change.

So is it any surprise that tonight when I arrived at the table with the tray, one of the sandwiches had mustard but no pickles.

I wanted the pickles, but I didn't want mustard. Pipes in one child.

I believe that smoke really did come out of my ears when I heard this.

Let me tell you, that would have been the day that I would have tried to special order something at McDonald's as a kid. My parents would have looked at me like I'd fallen off the turnip truck.

New rule. I started, after switching sandwiches with said child.

There are no more special orders. You order a hamburger, or a cheeseburger, or a McChicken, or chicken nuggets. I don't care what you order. But it comes how it comes, if you don't like something on it you scrape it off. End of story.

As that smoke was coming out of my ears, my future was flashing before my eyes. I was envisioning standing with four children and ordering four different sandwiches specially made at McDonalds and I just wanted to scream.

To be quite frank, I almost did scream.

That's why I'm being completely honest when I say there are no guarantees we'll be back at Mickey D's anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who Needs Stuffed Bears?

While some little ones choose to cuddle up with teddy bears or other stuffed creatures, my little one is happy with cars and trucks tucked in beside him.

Friday, May 23, 2008

168 Beats Per Minute.

2:00 in the afternoon.

I lay in a cold and sterile doctor's office.

Looking expectantly between my husband and my doctor as she moves the wand across my belly.

Waiting.

"Well that's your heart." She says after a few moments of waiting.

More waiting.

And finally, the most incredible, miraculous sound is heard.

One I could never even try to reproduce.

Ba-dump. Ba-dump. Ba-dump.

We listen for a few moments.

168 beats a minute.

And hearing that little heart beat pitter patter has made every moment of sickness totally worth it.

This pregnancy is different.

My body hasn't been handling things too well. Between major sickness, a seven pound weight loss and aches/pains, I am feeling the differences immensely.

A few have asked when and if I'll share pictures as I grow this time around.

I have to tell you, it was quite different to share my changing body online when it was just 10 people watching.

Maybe I'll change my mind.

So far, there's really nothing to see.

I told you, this time it's different.

Ba-dump. Ba-dump. Ba-dump.

168 beats per minute within me.

The miracle of life still amazes me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Goofy Me.

This is what I look like, cheesy grin and all, at 8:10pm on a Wednesday night when my husband should be walking through the door any moment. (He's been gone since 5:30am.)

Did I mention he won't be walking out the door for work until next Wednesday?

I just love when he is home.

And this time I don't even have a 'honey-do list' for him.

Just looking forward to being with him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Beginning of The Lasts.

That time of year is upon us again. After today, nine days of school for T and M. Where did the year go?

H celebrated his last day at ECFE and his last day of swimming on Monday. His lasts always seem to come first. Not quite fair to T.

So we'll move on to a new group of ECFE next fall and he'll be in the next level of swimming. By himself. Though I am cheering inside that I will no longer have to put on a swimsuit once a week and get in the freezing water, I also can't quite believe he's old enough and big enough yet.

He's really moving up in the world, isn't he?

Busy boy at school. Can't sit in one place too long.
But always drawn to the cars, trucks and good ol' beep beeps.
Has become quite the little artist.

Snack time remains one of his favorites. The class is half parent/child time and half seperated time. For whatever reason, H has no seperation issues at school and seems to look at the other kids who are upset or crying for mom like they are nuts. I envision him thinking: Who needs a mom here when you've got snack? Are you going to eat that or what?
H is quite the fish. A fearless fish.


And you just have to click on this one to see his lovely tattoo. T and M were worried he was too little for a tattoo, I told them he could never be too little for this one.



Monday, May 19, 2008

The Time J Got Kicked Out...

Of "Breastfeeding Basics."

I've got breastfeeding on the brain today, mostly due to an ECFE class discussion on the pros and cons of nursing. Though every single child in the class is well beyond the age of nursing.

Just one week before I had H, we attended a breastfeeding basics class at a local hospital. We had taken the childbirth class at the hospital H was to be born at but hadn't registered (or even thought to register) for a breastfeeding class. Nursing was definitely something I wanted to at least try so a class seemed appropriate.

So I found a class at a nearby hospital, put it on the calendar and we went.

Now, the childbirth class was a couples course. So I assumed that a breastfeeding class would be as well but we noticed right away that most of the other pregnant women were alone.

Those poor women! I remember saying to J. Their husbands won't come to class with them?

We arrived at the classroom and the instructor was standing at the door checking people in. I gave her my name and she immediately looked up at J, "And are you taking Daddy 101?"

"No, I'm here with my wife." J said looking strangely between me and her.

"Well, this is a breastfeeding class." She said in a hushed voice.

"Yeah, we know." I jumped in and said. And we walked in and found our seats.

She followed us to our seats.

"I think that you might be a little uncomfortable." She said to J. "We'll be watching a video and there will also be some graphic images. I'm sure there is room in Daddy 101 right next door."

J again looks to me and to her and then scans the room.

"I think he'll be fine." I said to her thinking, a video and graphic images?!? Of breastfeeding?!? And Daddy 101?!? At this point J already had TWO kids. I think he had the Daddy 101 business down.

"Ok, well don't say I didn't warn you." She said as she walked back to the door to continue check-in.

"Warn you?" I said to J, "I mean, I ended up 8 1/2 months pregnant somehow, didn't I? How graphic can a breastfeeding class be?!?"

But already I could tell that J was beginning to look green, er, red.

Shortly later the class of about 30 pregnant women and J began. And the instructor made sure to point out that there was a man in our presence.

"Umm, I just wanted to let you all know that there is a man here today. Does that make any of you uncomfortable?"

At this point, J is looking at me, silently begging for me to tell him to leave.

None of the women raised their hands and so began a discussion of breastfeeding basics. Most of which was common sense to start. As the instructor started passing out some "graphic" literature on breastfeeding she again approached J and I.

"I just think that everyone would be a lot more comfortable if you went next door to Daddy 101. This really is a women's only class."

And with that J and I decided that J had put up with enough. He headed to the lobby and I stuck out the first 30 minutes of class.

But we did walk out laughing, and now we call that the time J got kicked out of "Breastfeeding Basics."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beautiful Days.

I am the first to admit that in the dead of winter, especially this winter, I wondered many times, why we choose to live in the great state of Minnesota. It was a long, bitterly cold, ugly winter and spring was long delayed.

But now that it's here, I remember some of the things I do love about this state and how much the sun just makes life here so much rosier.

We've been blessed with a few beautiful days, and by the looks of the forecast it looks like it's finally here to stay. So with the sunshine and the warmth comes the usual spring chores.

For J, mowing the lawn, weeding the yard, cleaning the garage.

For me, that means sitting on a lawn chair and watching.

Just kidding.

I brought out H's playset and the picnic table and made sure no one got run over by the lawn mower, or in H's case run over by a car.

Most of all I love to be outside and play and run around and take walks and just enjoy every ounce of the beautiful days we get, because they always go by quickly.

Our first picnic. In the garage. And yes that's McDonalds he's eating. I've given up on Mother of the Year for 2008.
The sandbox is out and what cracks me up is that even the big ones love it.
H, always the first to come in, cries and watches out the window longingly.
No, it really wasn't quite warm enough for this but somethings you just have to learn yourself.
Same goes for him.
I love this picture of the three of them running after each other around the house.
It is amazing the things he can do this year compared to last year. He is full boy and is definitely going to give me a run for my money this summer. Thankfully he still takes a nap, because I might be needing one too.
And beautiful days outside bring every day baths again.
There is something about sunkissed faces getting all cleaned up that I love at the end of the day.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Blogged, They Listened.

A little over a month ago, I wrote a little blog post about my frustrations with grocery shopping. More specifically my frustrations with Cub Foods.

Since that time, I have gone out of my way to not shop at Cub Foods. I did stop there one week to stock up on cereal during a big sale, but stopped myself at cereal. Another week, in their neighborhood I stopped in to pick up a gallon of milk, but only because I had a coupon for a free gallon.

I've been shopping elsewhere. Out of principle.

I was mad.

Tammie, a consumer affairs director at Cub Foods emailed me shortly after I wrote about Cub Foods. And when we chatted on the phone, she listened to me vent about all the different issues I've had over the last few months. She agreed to pass on my concerns and issues to the store manager and others involved and gave me confidence to contact her if these issues occur again.

She then sent me a personal note that reads;

Samara,

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me regarding your specific
concerns with Cub Foods. I have discussed these things with the Store Director
as well as the District Manager and hope these issues can be resolved. Please
accept the enclosed gift cards as a sincere apology! Please call me directly if
you have any additional questions or concerns.


Tammie

Enclosed were Cub Foods gift cards.
That makes a nice dent in our weekly grocery shopping and certainly makes me feel as though I have been heard.

This is the kind of customer service all companies should have. No, not the gift cards and personalized notes. But someone actually listening, validating and making you know that your concerns are going to be listened to and resolved.

Way to go Cub Foods. I'll be back.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Things I'm Laughing About Today.

Yesterday, H and I took my dad to the dentist to have some work done. After he was done, he came out and handed me two fresh baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies.

"Where'd you get these?" I asked him knowing we were right on time.

"Inside, at the dentist." He said.

I shoved the cookies in my bag and forgot about them until about 3 yesterday afternoon. I decided after feeding T, M and H healthy after school snacks that I deserved a cookie.

Imagine my surprise to find out that these weren't just any cookies, they were carmel and toffee cookies.

Could they be any worse for your teeth?!?

Remember, my dad got these cookies at the dentist!

That's one way to ensure repeat customers. Send them home with a carmel, toffee cookie.

**********

My high point today was another lunchtime moment. I ran out to the post office (and to pick up some lunch) and when I returned the dean came into my office wanting to know if T had found me.

"No, what's going on?" I asked.

"I don't know. He said it was really important, he was looking everywhere."

I went and found T right away.

"T, what's going on?"

"Donald said you're ugly but I told him you're not."

Silence as I stared at him.

"Is that why you were looking for me?"

"Yep."

Who needs self esteem when you've got such honest kids.

**********

So, what's making you laugh today?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day.

At 6 this morning, I heard a little voice say, "Hi, Mama" and I stumbled to his bedroom door. I picked him up and brought him back to bed with me where he promptly fell back asleep with me until 8.

Noticed that the sun is shining.

Shortly after 8, the phone rang and I answered and heard T's voice say, "Happy Mother's Day! I love you."

Sometimes I feel like I am the broomstick riding stepmother in T's life. And while he'd already given me a plant and card he'd made for me, this phone call really made my morning. Perhaps it wasn't even his idea to call, but his words and thoughts made me smile.

M, got on the phone next, with a whole lot of jibberish to share.

Decided at the last minute as we were about to walk out the door that we were going to skip church today. Went to Lowes instead and got some flowers and hanging baskets.

Picked up a coffee and visited J's mom and dad.

From there we went to my dad's. Shared lunch. Shared laughs as I chased H around the yard and chatted with my dad's neighbors, while my dad and J did the dirty work.

They think I try to get out of these chores.

They're kind of right.

Visited the cemetery with my little sister and dad.

Paused.

But yet found a reason to walk away laughing.

Stumbled across this picture saved on my computer.

Mumsy and H.

One of my favorites.

Made me think.

I do believe that babies are sent from heaven above and since I know my mom loves babies, (especially her grandbabies) I think she's having a blast getting to know a little one we'll all meet come fall/winter.

Had a lot of feelings about today, but it turned out ok.

And I feel like I can actually say, Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

On Mother's Day.

I've been feeling kind of somber this week. And every time I hear or see something for Mother's Day, I feel a little twinge of sadness.

Mother's Day has always been about my mom, and in more recent years, my mom and T and M's mom. I have spent days and hours over the past years thinking and pondering about what to do or make or give. The challenge only grew harder once J and I were married. With two little ones, I wanted to make T and M's mom, my mom and J's mom all feel special and receive something special from the kids. One year I spent almost five hours at a do-it-yourself paint the pottery shop with both kids making fun keepsake plates.

Over time, the kids have started making their own things, at school and such and we've even resorted to the store bought cards and flowers.

But this year, I haven't even stood and looked at the Mother's Day cards.

And I won't.

I've given J his assignment to find something for his mom.

Come Sunday, I will be with my dad helping him do what my mom would have done. Plant flowers and get ready for summer.

Perhaps Mother's Day would be hard for anyone who's lost their mom, but the timing of it is especially difficult.

It was only one year ago that my world stopped. The earth was quiet. And for the first time in my life I learned that it wasn't going to be ok.

I think that we all know at some level that our parents will pass before us, but not when you're in your mid-twenties and your parents are healthy, happy people.

It was just one year ago that the phone rang and I looked at it oddly and knew something was wrong. It was just one year ago that tears ran out from under my sunglass covered eyes and I sat in disbelief at a baseball game.

It was just one year ago that I saw my mom in a new way.

So this Mother's Day, I could care less about flowers or cards, a dinner out or anything like that. If I could make just one request, I'd ask for one more day with mom. And even as I request that, I know that I am selfish and even one more day would never be enough to fill the gap I feel inside.

Even on those days where the tears don't fall as easily and the loss doesn't feel so raw, it is there, this longing for her. And that will never go away.

My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dadio.

Today, May 7, is a very special day. It's my dad's birthday! And my dad is a very special person to me. I love spending time with him and talking to him.

We celebrated last night, because like my dad says, birthday celebrations around here are usually week long deals. It's true!

Getting ready to make a wish.
We were barely done eating dinner and T and M brought him all his cards (which they did a great job making) and pretty soon the cupcakes were out and being eaten. They don't waste any time!
H fully enjoyed his dessert and woke up this morning requesting more 'cake'.

video

And M, our trusty videographer caught this for us.

Happy birthday dad!

We love you!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

FAQ's.

These are all questions that have either been left in the comment sections or emailed to me in recent months and because recently I've been short on words (and at other times time) I decided it's a good day to answer them.

Where do you live in Suburban Minnesota?
I'd rather not say. I try not to come out and say it but I do realize that if someone wanted to know they probably could put some pieces together and figure it out.

Why did you move and change your blog name last year?
I realized that my husband and all three kids names were being picked up by google and out of respect for their privacy I thought it would be best to move the blog and move on to using initials only for everyone but me.

Why do you use initials for your husband and kids?
In the field of work my husband is in, we can't have clients searching for his name and finding personal information about him and his family.

Out of respect for each of the kids I think it is best to use their initials so their friends (especially as they get older) can't google and find this blog. At the ages the kids are at now, they love the blog and love seeing their pictures and stories on it, I have a feeling as they get older they might not like it as much.

What is your real name, I've seen you use different last names?
I use both my maiden name and my married name interchangeably. Let's just say I had a really hard time getting rid of my maiden name.

Why do people send you free books and products?
I think they like me?

Can I send you a {book, product...}?
Yes! I love that!

Why do you have ads on your blog?
Because I started getting enough traffic that it was worth it for BlogHer and myself. I get paid about once a month for hosting the ads and it made sense for me to make a little money continuing to do something I love.

Do you pick the ads on your blog?
No. But I do pick the ones I don't want displayed. Most of the ads that are shown are appropriate and worthwhile items and/or services.

Should I click on the ads on your blog?
If you want to, go ahead. Whether you click on anything makes no difference to me.

Is your counter accurate? I've noticed that I visit a few times a day and your counter hasn't changed.
I have my counter set up with a lot of specifics and not to track many repeat visits because it skews the counter. I also at times block some IP's so that the counter isn't skewed. The counter you see is only tracking unique visitors based on IP address and location, not necessarily visitors.

What ever happened with your needs vs. wants experiment?
Considering my initial pledge was thirty days and it's been over ninety now and we're still going strong, I'd say it's going pretty well. Don't get me wrong, I definitely have given in to temptation on more than one occasion, but I would like to think that I am turning into a more intentional shopper.The idea of what really makes a need, a need can get all grey really. What might be a need for me, might be a want for you and vice versa. I have stumbled up a little bit, stocking up on some 2T shirts that were down to $1.24 for little H. Picked up some purple tulips for Easter that were definitely more on this side of a want than a need. Even deciphering some groceries as needs vs. wants is hard. I mean, yes we need food to eat, but some of the things I noticed that I buy are not necessarily needed. For instance, just about any trip to Trader Joe's ends up with purchases that weren't necesarily on the grocery list or the menu. But it's hard to resist such good, quality food at such good prices.

How long do you think you'll continue this blog?
As long as it is still fun for me.
How long do you plan on reading?

What happened with Cub Foods?
They contacted me and the ball is still in their court. I'm waiting on a letter that was sent and now being re-sent. Once I get it, I'll fill you in on all the details. Let's just say my post sparked a little something over there.

So what do you say? Anything else?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oops.

Somehow or other the lunch ladies at school have instilled a fear in T and M. Both of them seem to live in fear that if their lunch accounts do not have enough money they will starve.

It doesn't help that as soon as their accounts are below $10 they start getting hand stamps and notes home and sometimes even voicemails at home.

We have reassured both kids countless times that no matter what, they will always eat.

Doesn't matter what we say, the kids think they will starve.

Seriously, starve.

On Monday, M came home with a stamp on her hand and a note saying her account had $5.80.

No worries, I told her and quickly forgot about it. Considering she has hot lunch once or twice a week I figured we'd take care of it before it was a problem.

Today, I am at school and I walked into the lunchroom to say hi to M and she is in the midst of a conversation with the lunch lady.

"My stepmom has been really sick so she hasn't had time to write a check, can I still have a lunch today?"

I think I'm going to go write that check now.