Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Year Resolution

 

  I have never really been one to make New Year's resolutions. I figure if you are gonna make a change about yourself you should just do it when you want to; not worry about doing it at a specific time. Until this year.
    As I reflect back on what I love about Christmas and New Year's was the thought of starting something new. I am not really starting anything different, but I am going in with the thought that I can accomplish anything I want to this year. I think that is really the resolution. That we should remember that we can accomplish whatever we want when we want to if we just focus on it and work towards it.
   At least that is what I hope that someday Xavier will know. I hope he will know that this time of year I want him to remember that the world is in the palm of his hands and he can do whatever he wants to with it. 

I wish you all a very safe and Happy New Year's! I will be taking tomorrow off for extra nap time since we will be up late. I am sure you can relate. So that way you can get off the computer and catch up on your napping also.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Holidays



  Well, we are just about done with  our holidays with exception to
 New Year's. I have to say that this year has definitely been one of my favorite holiday season's. We had a great family Yule. Followed by a great Christmas Eve and morning with Nick's family and finally an after Christmas Christmas with my family. We certainly enjoyed ourselves and considered ourselves very blessed to be able to have family during Christmas. It is nice to have friends and family to lean on in times during this time of year.



     Xavier really brings out the magic of Christmas time. He just loves everything about it and getting to see the holidays through a child's eyes is very precious. You can tell it is why we get so many family and friends wanting to visit us for the holidays. They want to see the magic again. They want the wonderment and excitement. Xavier insists on having the Christmas tree and village lit up all day long. He randomly will wear his hat whenever he wants to. Then, once we opened presents he wanted everyone to open all the presents. We had to hide a few that we were saving for other family another day. He did not mind if the present was not for him, but he did mind if it got opened. He wanted to know what was underneath the wrapping paper. He even got so excited at everything he unwrapped. He would get so excited with everything you unwrapped it was very funny. He thoroughly enjoyed all the big dinners and time with family. He made sure he played with his cousins and read stories with grandma. I think that having a toddler for Christmas really brings back the child in everyone and that makes Christmas magic again.



I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. Enjoy some of our photos!








Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays From The Arbia Family

 

  I apologize if I have not written as much as I usually do. We have been quite busy this year with the holidays. We have had a lot of family and friends visiting and a lot of fun things we wanted to do as a family. Having a twenty-one month old during the holidays may definitely be challenging but it certainly has a ton of rewards.



     However, for the challenging part I need my rest. Too much activity, stress and lack of sleep leads to seizures (read, I Am A Face Of Epilepsy) therefore I have decided to take the rest of the week off from blogging to relax and enjoy my holidays with my friends and family. I hope you are lucky to be able to do that as well. I will return in full force next week. I wish you all a Merry Christmas!



Here are some of our photos from our Christmas card photo shoot by the lovely and very talented Leeann Bolton from Blue Cotton Photography (Read: Review: Blue Cotton Photography). I hope you enjoy them!










Merry Christmas from our home to yours!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Sponsor Review: Teach The Children Change The World Puzzle

 I wrote this post while participating in a campaign by Bayleaf Communications Inc.  and received a gift to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced nor reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.  



     There are many different types of puzzles you can buy for your kids. Xavier loves puzzles. He has puzzles with wild animals and marine animals and an alphabet puzzle, but I have never seen such a beautifully crafted and designed puzzle such as the Teach The Children Change The World Puzzle.



       We were excited at the chance to review this puzzle because Xavier loves puzzles. The Teach The Children Change The World Puzzle is an alphabet puzzle with twenty-six compelling and vivid portraits of people around the world for each letter. There is a message of Peace, Freedom, Equality and Hope that is mixed into the images to create a beautiful work of art. The Teach The Children Change The World Puzzle is designed to engage, inspire and promote change.




       Teach The Children Change The World Puzzle is a floor puzzle with forty-eight chunky pieces perfect for little hands and has an easy to clean surface. It measures out to be 24 x 36 inches and the box is beautifully designed.



     Xavier found the box and pieces extremely intriguing and wanted to get to work on it straight away. Of course Nick and I had to help him but he was able to do a lot of it himself. It did end up being a beautiful work of art once we completed it which only took about fifteen minutes. However, Xavier loved it so much he tore it up and then tried to put it back together again and has been playing with it a lot since then. In fact my only problem with the puzzle is that the pieces are a little light to be a floor puzzle when you put them on carpet they bulge which makes it harder to stay together. However, it is rated for three years old and older so they probably will not have as many issues with the bulging as we did. Although it would be better to do on a hard wood floor or work surface.




      If you or someone in your family is fond of puzzles I highly recommend this puzzle. It easy to put together and yet when you do there is just something that makes you feel wonderful; perhaps it is the inspirational messages or the fact that you just put together a beautiful piece of art.



    If you would like to purchase your own Teach The Children Change the World Puzzle you can buy it on Ebay at this link CLICK HERE for $15.



Or enter for a chance to win a Teach The Children Change The World Puzzle of your own in our giveaway. The giveaway is open to all United States citizens and will end on Monday, December 30, 2013 at 8AM EST.


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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Toys For Tots

 

 I shared with you last week how it made our hectic Christmas shopping so much better by picking out an angel from The Angel Tree and buying gifts for that child as well. It was a wonderful way to feel like you are not getting sucked into the commercialism of Christmas.
    If you are unable to find an Angel Tree in your area ( though you can usually find one in a mall or near the Salvation Army) you can also donate a new and unwrapped toy of your choice to the Toys for Tots in your area. Toys for Tots collects toys, clothing and food to give to needy families in your local area so they have something for Christmas. It is a wonderful organization that we always buy at least one toy for every year.
      You can go to the Toys For Tots website and put in your state and county and they will give you some drop off locations. Unfortunately, there were not many around us but what I love is that every nationwide Toys R Us or Babies R Us accepts Toys for Tots during the holidays. You can go to their store buy a toy and put it in the box on your way out. It is that easy!
    So remember while you are shopping, decorating, wrapping, and cooking to always keep in mind what this season is about. It is the season for giving and helping your fellow man through a tough time (which usually is in the cold winter thus why we help each other out during the cold dark months).  If you need help getting into the spirit try checking out what helped me by reading, The Christmas Hat. 

Remember you can make a difference in the smallest of ways everyday!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Recycled Airline Blanket Christmas Stockings

 



 So I got my sewing machine that my husband got me for Christmas last year finally out and put together for Halloween this year to help make our garden gnome costumes (Read: The Second Halloween). Now that it's the holidays I wanted to make us all matching stockings.
        I had matching stockings with my family and still have my stocking but I wanted to make our own family set. However, I did not want to spend much money on fabric or anything as I would rather save the money for gifts or things. So I found a bunch of old fleece and airline blankets (we used to fly a lot to visit family) and decided since I had so many red ones (thank you Delta) I decided to make the main part of the stockings all red and gave each one's top a different top color. My color is a maroon, Xavier's stocking is hunter green, and Nick's stocking is navy blue.
    If you are a first time sewer these are easy and you can probably even use some fabric glue if you are handy with that stuff. If you hand sew this might be a lot, because I used the sewing machine they only took me a few hours to make. You only need enough fabric for your stockings and felt for the names and I used fabric glue to glue the names on; though you probably could use regular glue but I was concerned about a bleed through.




First, find a stocking in the size you would like all yours to be.
Draw around the stocking and then cut it out not on the lines, leave some space outside of the lines.

See how there is extra fabric outside the lines. (some spots I did not do as good as others).

Be sure to cut both sides.

Pin all around where you want to sew. It is best to pin with straight pins as then you can go over them with a sewing machine (just not the head part), but I only have safety pins so I remove them while I sew.   

Sew your stocking. Be sure to leave the top open.
Cut out two identical size parts of another color you want on your stocking. Be sure to measure your length a little over since you want to be able to fold them over. Note some recycled blankets look better on some sides then others be careful of this when making these stockings you want the nice part of the blanket on the outside. 
Sew them to your stocking. You might want to use a nice stitch in case someone pulls up this part it may be visible.
Fold your stocking down and sew it so that when yo fold it the seem is covered.

Sew a ribbon on the inside so you can hang your stocking.
Write out names on craft felt and cut. Glue on with fabric glue. You can use stencils for letters if you do not have good handwriting.
Hang on the fireplace with care. We don't have a fireplace so we settle for a bookshelf with candles and nutcrackers on it!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Poop Signals

WARNING THIS POINT MAY CONTAIN GROSS MATERIAL I SUGGEST NOT READING WHILE YOU ARE EATING!!!!!

 

 I never thought I would need poop signals. The older Xavier gets the more I am able to tell by my sense of smell that he definitely needs his diaper changed. Suddenly though he has figured out the sign language for diaper from his Baby Sign Language book, and now does it when he has a poopie diaper. Although I rarely need to have him tell me, it is convenient when I am watching Baby Melissa and cannot be so close to him.
    It is amazing to watch the human body grow. On one hand is Baby Melissa who gets upset every time she farts because she is not sure what it is or how to do it and on the other hand is Xavier who lets you know when he pooped in his diaper and it needs to be changed. It just goes to show how quickly time passes and how quickly we can learn and adapt to new situations. Children are so brilliantly resilient it is a shame that we lose that resiliency as we become adults. Children are wonderful reminders of what we should be focusing on.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!



Friday, December 13, 2013

The Ups And Downs



  So we all survived our second week with Baby Melissa (See, Introducing Baby Melissa). It was a rough one as Baby Melissa is still going through growing pains and Xavier is still a little jealous over the whole situation but we are getting better.
   The odd thing is that I rarely have them both together. Xavier is up in the morning and Baby Melissa goes to sleep right after she comes over. Then Xavier takes his nap and Baby Melissa gets up and I feed and play with her for a while. She then starts to doze off around the time that Xavier wakes up and has to eat lunch. Then, in the afternoon I have them together for an hour or two depending on our day.
    I have definitely now survived staying up for long periods of time without a nap at all. I am up at 7am and go to bed around 11pm. Remember not allowed caffeine or large amounts of sugar. (See, I Am A Face Of Epilepsy). My days are much longer with less sleep. Thank goodness Xavier sleeps through the night for the most part. I give huge props to the moms out there that are up all night with little ones and then tend to more then one during the day. It has definitely made me very glad that we have waited to have another child.
      I want to be able to have better communication with Xavier as well. There are so many times I just want to say "If you let me change Baby Melissa's diaper we can go play trains", but he does not understand that and it ends up with tears. It has put their cries into more perspective for me though which is nice. I know if I just fed and changed Baby Melissa and put her down in her crib and then go to Xavier to change his diaper and dress him; I can safely say I let her cry for a little bit. I know she is safe and is just fussing because I cannot be with her.
    It is cute because this week Xavier always checked on her. He always runs to her when she is crying and when I pick her up he likes to hold my hand. He knows I cannot pick them both up but he still likes to stay close. Also, Xavier rocks Baby Melissa in her swing now. (I have to tell him not to or it messes up the rhythm) but I think it's adorable that he is starting to care about her and show concern for her. I think having Baby Melissa around has made a huge difference for Xavier. It really has taught him that he cannot be the center of attention all the time and that he has to share much more then just toys. I am happy that we are able to have this experience. It is like having another child but not having to lose sleep with a newborn.

WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS GROSS AND GRAPHIC INFORMATION. YOU DEFINITELY DO NOT WANT TO READ THIS WHILE EATING!


     However, there was one really downer this week. It was only a downer for me. I was changing a particularly poopie diaper of Baby Melissa's and Xavier came into the room; which is our guest room and is only half baby proofed. He started getting into something in the area that is not baby proofed and as I was saying no to him, I put my hand down without looking and was trying to pull the diaper up on Baby Melissa and the tabs kept sticking to the diaper and I did not know what was wrong until I looked down and realized that I had stuck my hand in the old poopie diaper. I had thought it was a clean diaper, but I was wrong. Apparently I had forgotten to throw out the poopie diaper and put the clean diaper underneath her.  Pretty much had to boil my hand to sterilize it after that.  I guess that is one of the funny stories to remember. Memories are what we always have to carry with us, I'm glad I have so many good ones.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Magic Wipe Box


  

 If you remember a few months back I did a post entitled Montessori Fail where I tried a couple of Montessori preschool ideas and Xavier looked at me like I was crazy and wanted nothing to do with them. I have periodically pulled them out here and there just for the heck of it and had gotten no response.



    Since we both now live and work here (Read: Changes In Our Home, Introducing Baby Melissa) we have been cleaning and sprucing up the house and I decided I needed to do something with the box of pipe cleaners, pom poms, lolly pop sticks, and spools, so I decided to take everything out one last  time. This time I took a little of everything and just stuffed it into a baby wipes container. Xavier loved it! It was like a magic box that he could reach in and pull all sorts of different things out. Plus the fact that it is all simple items I didn't worry about him hurting himself with any of it.
    He has only had it a couple of days now but he will actually carry the box with him around the house and periodically stuff things in it (whether they belong or not) and take things out of it. It is nice to know that even though he has some pretty cool electronic toys he still takes pleasure in the simple wipes container with crazy, QUIET things.



         Did you read that? QUIET he does not have many toys that are quiet. Luckily he does like puzzles and books a lot but most of the time when he plays with those he likes to do it with me or Nick. The magic wipe box he loves to play with quietly alone which is very nice and I think became a perfect thing for him to do. Plus, it was a great way to free up some space and give him a new toy. Definitely a Mom Win!


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