Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sale still on!

For those of you who may have purchased MSM's ebook set yesterday, if you were like me you had a hard time downloading it! :)

Apparently their servers were overwhelmed and it made downloads difficult. If this is true for you, please email them and they will make sure you can get your downloads!

Also, if you missed out on the sale yesterday you can still get in today for just a little bit more. You can get Money Saving Mom's full ebook set for $8.97, which is still a fantastic deal. If you're interested, go here for more info.

Bath time last night was interesting. We started giving the boys baths separately a few weeks ago (baths were getting a little out of hand) so that helped tremendously. I put Zhenya's arm in a newspaper bag and put a washcloth around the top to catch any drips and rubberbanded the bag to his cast. I still held his arm out of the water but the bag allowed him to play a little bit and I didn't have to worry about splashing.

I should note that I've never had a cast, so all of this is new to me. Mark says I should be more sympathetic since I don't know how heavy they are (Zhenya's arm is pretty tired by the end of the day). I say the boys should follow my advice and not fall down! LOL

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Great sale on ways to save money!

For a few months, I've been a big fan of MoneySavingMom Crystal Paine. She's helped me save a lot of money on household goods and food through her blog, and her personal blog is a great encouragement to me as well!

TODAY ONLY you can get an incredible ebook package from MoneySavingMom--over $100 worth of money-saving ebooks, homemaking helps, and encouragement for only $5.97! I can't believe she's offering such a great price and I'd highly recommend you run over here and check it out. What makes this deal so good is that this ebook package includes the ecourse Supermarket Savings 101--this course alone is worth much more than $5.97 and will teach you how to drastically reduce your grocery bill. You'll learn how to cut your grocery bill by up to 50% or more and have fun saving money at the same time!Go here to read more about this huge sale! Hurry, though, the price goes up tomorrow by $3 and then another $3 on Friday. After Friday at midnight all of the ebooks will be their regular prices again. Don't miss this!

For those of you who may not know, an ebook is a book that you download instantly to your computer, so there are no shipping fees and no long wait for your book to arrive. After your quick and easy download, you can then print out your ebook or read or listen to it on your computer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Updates

Tonight was swimming lessons. The Y was kind enough to give us a credit for the rest of Zhenya's swim lessons to be applied to the next session. I figured it didn't hurt to ask--all they could do was say no, but at least this way we had a shot at salvaging the swim lessons. They're both going to need more than one session anyway. LOL

Thankfully, his break was clean and it should heal up without any complications. And no, Zhenya didn't get a waterproof cast. I think if he had needed it for longer they might have gone that route, but since he only needs it for 3 weeks they just did a regular one. Bath time will be interesting tonight!

When we decided to go to the urgent care on Monday night, Dima came up to me and held up his finger with a sad face and said "Mama, hurt...Dima doctor too?" :) :) What was so funny about this is that the only time they go to the doctor they get shots! But he didn't want to miss out on any of the fun, just in case there was any.

Zhenya's starting to figure out that he can still use his arm (and that the rest of his body isn't broken!). I'm sure by the end of the day tomorrow he'll be back to his usual antics!

Monday, July 28, 2008

7 months and 4 days

...before we had to hit an urgent care center. :)

Yesterday right when I got to school to pick the boys up, Zhenya fell on the playground (on the grass, and not off of any equipment--he just slipped). His arm was hurting him a lot but I'm not one to make frantic runs to the ER unless someone's deathly ill, so we went home. I wanted to watch it and see if it was just bruised or if he really needed to see the doctor. I did a few tests with him and he was able to move his fingers and rotate his forearm, but he wouldn't bend or straighten his arm at all independently. When Mark got home, he evaluated Zhenya a little more and then we voted to take him to an urgent care center. We were certain it wasn't a serious break, but we were concerned that if he slept on it wrong with it unprotected that he could damage something more. We headed to a brand new urgent care center that just opened up not too far from our house. It's so brand new, there were no people there besides us and the staff! :) So we had no wait and they were able to get xrays right away. The decision on the xrays came back inconclusive, so they put a half-cast/splint on Zhenya's arm and sent him home with instructions to see an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible.

Zhenya being our melodramatic (read: whiny) one, it was a long afternoon and evening yesterday. He's convinced that because his arm is hurt that nothing else on his body works either. LOL I've had to be a pretty mean mama and I've made him sit down, stand up, and walk on his own. I did help him put his shirt on and buttoned it for him this morning. ;)

Tomorrow Mark is adding Zhenya to his list of errands, which currently include taking Dima to OT then back to school, renewing our license plates (this is a really painful process around here), and having lunch with a friend. He's going to have a very busy day, and he'll have two boys with him for a good part of it!

Edited Tuesday to add: Mark was able to get Zhenya in to see an orthopedic surgeon while Dima was in OT. His arm is broken (by his elbow) and he now has an arm-length orange cast (he got to choose the color himself). :) When I talked to Mark, Zhenya was trying to decide if he wanted to go back to school with Dima or stay with Mark for the rest of the day. If he's smart, he'll pick school. He's not going to have much fun running lots of errands all day! He'll have the cast for 3 weeks provided everything is healing up correctly.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Swimming lessons





Okay, I know that last picture of Dima is blurry but I love it. Of course he's not really jumping-- more like falling--but you can see how much he loves swimming lessons in this picture.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Base ball pictures

Waiting for the ball

Look at that throwing form (and he's a lefty, too!)

Mark demonstrating the best way to contain Zhenya while Dima returns the bandana he just swiped

What Zhenya lacks in skills (he closes his eyes while trying to catch the ball) he makes up for in enthusiasm

So he can throw, he just can't catch

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Keeping them active

It's been an up-and-down few days.

This weekend was fantastic! Mark had a base ball game at an historic village outside of Springfield, IL, and then a demonstration at the Old Capital in Springfield. The boys had so much fun. We take their big trucks to the base ball games and they play and play and play. At the demostration, they got to play with Mark which they loved. I have some wonderful pictures that I will try to get up soon. Dima has quite the arm--and he's a lefty so Mark's hoping to have an MLB pitcher on our hands...that is if he can keep from falling down. The coordination's still a bit lacking there. LOL

Sunday Dima had a meltdown at home before church (most likely due to still being tired from Saturday). Usually the boys come to worship with us and then go back to their classroom for the sermon, but since Dima did not obey at home Mark had him sit with him through the sermon while Zhenya went to class. Dima did really well in the sermon and then got to go to his class for the second service while Mark and I were in class. It's hard, because we don't want to use church as a punishment, but at the same time there have to be consequences for not obeying or exhibiting inappropriate behavior.

On Tuesday, Dima had a meltdown at school. This is the first time he's done this outside of the house, ever. And it also explains some of the problems we've been having at home lately. The teacher that the boys have in the afternoon is very sweet, but she is compounding our discipline problems because she does not discipline. Dima has figured out that as soon as he starts crying (if she hears him--she's older and her hearing isn't great) she will come over and apologize and then say that she still loves him but he really needs to listen. As long as he's crying, she fawns over him. Well, he's all for that!! So on Tuesday if I had to guess he started crying and when she didn't hear him he started wailing at the top of his lungs to get her attention. I'm going to try to get him switched to another teacher if at all possible for the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday night was swim lessons. Since Dima had behavior issues at school, he had to sit out the first 15 minutes. Both boys loved the lessons, again, and they are making progress. We've been working on blowing bubbles in the bathtub (gross, I know) for a few weeks to help prepare them for swim lessons and they're just getting to that in the pool. We did take the camera this week and I got some fun pictures that I'll post when I have time to wait for them to load. ;)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Schnucks deals--Week of 07/20/08

I can't promise I'll be doing this regularly, but in order to help me remember the grocery deals at Schnucks this week, I'm posting them on the blog. :)

Totinos pizza rolls 15-ct. $1.25
Use $0.35 coupon (expires today!) or $0.40/2 from SS 07/14
Final price: $0.55 each or $1.70 for 2 (depending on coupon)

Banquet meals 6-12 oz $1.00

Full Circle organic yogurt 6 oz. $1.00

Schnucks flavored coffee creamer 32 oz $2.50

Top Care antiseptic mouth rinse 1 L $1.69

Glade aerosol air freshener 9 oz $0.89

Aquafresh toothpaste 6-6.4 oz $1.50

Purina Dog Chow dry dog food 17.6-20 lb $9.99
Use $4/1 coupon here (complete survey to get to printable coupon)
Final price $5.99

Fresh Step scoop cat litter 28 lb $9.99

Fresh Step scoop cat litter 21 lb $7.99

Dole fruit 24.5 oz $2.00

Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats 16-18 oz $2.34
(A few weeks ago someone posted that the Blueberry Muffin ones had a Try Me Free banner and a mail-in rebate inside, so keep your eye out for those!)

Kool-Aid 2 qt $0.10

New York garlic bread sticks or texas toast 10.5-11.5 oz $2.00
Use $0.40 coupon from RP 5/11
Final price $1.20

Schnucks orange juice 64 oz $2.00

Edy's fruit bars or ice cream bars 6-12 ct $2.50

Schnucks yogurt 6 oz $0.50

Banquet select recipes dinners 9-11.25 oz $1.25

Schnucks toaster pastries 12 ct $2.00

Kool-Aid jammers 10 ct $1.87

DiGiorno pizza 22-35.28 oz $5.50

Banquet homestyle bakes 22.4-37 oz $3.79

Schnucks grape jelly 20-32 oz $1.34

Schnucks pancake syrup 24 oz $1.50

Gatorade Propel fitness water 20-23.7 oz $1.00

Gatorade thirst quencher 64 oz $2.00

Healthy Choice soups 15 oz $1.34

Bunny Soft-twist white bread 16 oz $1.89
Use $0.25 coupon from SS 06/01 or SS 06/29
Final price $1.39

Hunt's tomato sauce 8 oz $0.40

Pompeian red wine vinegar 16 oz $1.00

Hunt's ketchup 24 oz $1.00
Use $0.20 coupon from SS 06/22
Final price $0.60

Hunt's Manwich sauce 15.5-16 oz $1.11

Schnucks pasta sauce 26 oz $1.25

Schnucks marshmallows 16 oz $1.00

Schnucks graham crackers 13-16 oz $2.00

Keebler graham crackers 12-16 oz $2.50
(Not sure about this) Use $1.00 coupon from RP 06/01
Final price $1.50

Nabisco 100 calorie packs 6 ct $2.00

Sunshine Cheez-It crackers 13-16 oz $2.50
Use $1.00 coupon from RP 06/01
Final price $1.50

Fresh Express garden salad 24 oz $3.00
(Not sure about this) Use $1.00 coupon from SS 07/13
Final price $2.00

Driscoll's strawberries 2 lb $3.99

Hendrickson's salad dressing 16 oz B1G1

Dulinea Farms seedless watermelon $2.50 each

Carl Buddig deli think lunch meat 8-10 oz $2.00

Oscar Mayer bologna or salami 16 oz $2.00

Oscar Mayer beef franks or fast franks 10-16 oz $2.50
Use $0.50 coupon from SS 06/15
Final price $2.00

Purina Beggin' Strips dog treats 6 oz $2.49
Use $1.00 coupon from SS 05/18
Final price $1.49

Purina ONE whole entrees canned dog food 13 oz $1.25

All 2X liquid laundry detergent 26-32 use $3.99
Use $1 coupon here or $0.50 coupon from RP 06/22
Final price $3.49

Flintstones vitamins 60 ct $4.99
Use $1.00 coupon from RP 06/01
Final price $3.99

Bic Comfort 3 disposable razors 4 ct B1G1
Use $2.00 coupon from SS 07/20
Final price ??

Garnier Fructis hair care 5-13 oz $2.89
Use $1.00 coupon from RP 05/04 or RP 06/22
Final price $1.89

Pepperidge Farms hamburger or hot dog buns 12.25-15 oz $2.50
Use $0.75 coupon here
Final price $1.25

Luigi's italian ice or Minute Maid frozen novelties 6-12 ct $2.00
Use $0.75/2 coupon from RP 06/08 or RP 07/13
Final price $3.25 for 2

Energizer Max batteries AA 16 ct $8.99

Angel Soft bath tissue 24 roll $5.99

Orville Redenbacher's microwave popcorn 6-10 ct $3.00

Dove ice cream 15.1 oz $2.50
Use $1.00 coupon from RP 05/04
Final price $1.50

Parkay soft margarine or quarters 13.4-16 oz $1.25

Schnucks egg substitute 16 oz $2.19

Windex glass cleaner 26 oz $2.50
Use $0.75 coupon from SS 07/20
Final price $1.75

Tennessee Pride sausage links, rolls, or patties 8-16 oz $2.50
(Not sure about this) Use $1.00/2 coupon from RP 06/22
Final price $4.00 for 2

Keebler club crackers 9-16 oz $2.50
Use $1.00 coupon from RP 06/01
Final price $1.50

Important notes: I have not included many of the deals on meat and produce...see the Schnucks ad for more info on those. Schnucks doubles coupons up to $0.40. Coupon match-ups generated through the Grocery Guide. For deals outside of the St Louis area, check out Money Saving Mom. Abbreviations: SS--Smartsource; RP--RedPlum (both newspaper inserts with coupons); B1G1--buy one, get one free

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

More water, please

Last night the boys had their first swimming lesson. We had signed Dima up but weren't sure if Zhenya was really ready, so they told us to bring him and he could try it and then sign up if he liked it. They both LOVED it!

Their classes are at the YMCA not too far from our house, and they have 8 kids in their class with 2 instructors. They worked on kicking, swimming on their stomachs with a kickboard, swimming on their backs with a kickboard, "floating" on their backs supported by the instructors (most of the kids wouldn't put their heads down so they weren't really floating), and jumping into the pool and being caught by the instructors. They both had a great time and did really well listening and obeying (they didn't listen and obey the whole time, but they were right on target with the rest of the class!). We enrolled Zhenya after the class so we have a few more weeks of swim lessons for both of them. Zhenya's not as comfortable as Dima in the water, so while I think Dima will actually gain some skills from this class, we're hoping this will help Zhenya learn to enjoy being in the water more. He doesn't dislike it now, he just isn't entirely sure about it. :)

Of course, 2 minutes into their class I realized I hadn't brought the camera, so I'll try and get some pics next week!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My baby was sick

This weekend, Dima came down with a 104.5F fever. Mark was out of town, so I treated him with some Tylenol which only brought it down a degree. A little later I gave him some ibuprofen and that knocked the fever out. I fully expected him to wake up the next day with his fever spiked back up, but he's stayed fever-free since then. No diarrhea, no vomiting, no rash...what on earth can cause a child to spike a fever that high that just goes away within 24 hours??

I'm not fond of medicating children, but a fever over 104F is too high for my comfort. I wanted to get him under 102F if possible. He did great although he HATES the children's medicines--they're way too sweet for him. He didn't like the Tylenol, and then he really didn't like the ibuprofen. :) But he took them with a little bribing of getting to drink from the "frog cup". The frog cup is a cup that Mark and I received as a wedding present in reference to our TCU Horned Frogs. It's a plastic cup and it has three green frogs encased in the bottom that float on a green gel. I use it to hold the boys' toothbrushes and toothpaste, and they love to spin the frog cup and watch the frogs spin. So I bribed Dima with allowing him to drink from the frog cup if he took his medicine. ;) Worked like a charm. :) :) With plenty of fluids and rest, he was as good as new the next day and you would never have known he'd had a high fever the day before.

It was a great experience for both of us, as I don't know how often he's had someone take care of him when he's been sick before. I think he initially thought it was a little weird, but he soon learned to enjoy it. ;) It was funny watching him, because he had less energy than usual but he didn't want to be in bed. So he sat on the couch and spent his time tattling on Zhenya anytime he saw Zhenya do something he thought was wrong. He didn't have enough energy to play, but he had enough energy to try to get his little brother in trouble!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just in case it's your birthday...

video

He was actually singing happy birthday to himself--before I got it on video every once in a while he'd throw in a "Happy Birfday to meeeee". LOL

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Teaching obedience

We've really been struggling this week with obedience. Granted, I'm pretty sure some of it is leftover from a disrupted sleep schedule and lack of sleep this past weekend. That said, we're having a really hard time with obedience at school. How do you teach your children to obey other people? Even if you homeschool, there are times when your children are with other parents or adults (family, babysitters, etc.)--how do they learn to obey in those situations? One of the issues we're having is that the boys are learning to be little boys, which is great!! But they are having a hard time understanding when it is okay to behave like all of the other kids and when it's not. ;) So I'm curious to hear from others--what are your thoughts on teaching your children to obey others?

All of that said, what we are dealing with is "not listening". :) :) :) No biting, no kicking, no hitting, no aggression of any kind to children or adults. So believe me when I say I AM NOT COMPLAINING!! LOL In reality, I think we're going through a couple of stages that most people go through with kids around age 3 or so. Our boys have never gone through some of the normal social developmental stages, so this is going to be happening for awhile as they learn appropriate behavior and expectations.

Being able to look back over the past 6 months, the boys have come so very far. Most of the discipline that is happening now is for very age-appropriate behaviors, and that thrills me to no end! Not that I like discipline, but that the boys are maturing emotionally and socially towards their actual ages. When I am frustrated with a perceived plateau, I only need to think back a few months are realize how much progress we all have made. It makes me smile. :)

Monday, July 07, 2008

A new challenge

I had posted quite a while ago about some options at work that could use prayer. I hadn't updated on that because nothing was finalized, but now it is and I think it's safe to post that I will be transferring to another location for our company. :) Don't worry (or get excited), we're not moving. Right now I commute about 30 miles to work, and when I transfer I'll be commuting...6 miles!! I'll be doing basically the same things I do now, just much closer to home.

I have mixed emotions about all of this. I love the people I work with where I am now, and I will definitely miss them and the environment up here. I have been able to meet and actually work with many of the people I will be working with at the new location through the training course that I recently finished up, and I think I'll really like working with all of them but it's always a challenge starting somewhere new. I am REALLY excited about the shortened commute. It will make things much easier in regards to the boys' schedule when school starts up again, and it will be nice to be so close if (when??) they get sick at school and need to be picked up quickly. I start the new position July 21 and have quite a bit of training to go through. I'm excited, nervous, and a little bit sad all at once.

Thanks, Hazelwood. I'm going to miss you guys.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The boys' first wedding

On Friday, one of my cousins got married in Cincinnati. We drove 6 hours on Friday, got to the hotel, swam for 30 minutes, got dressed, and went to the wedding. We kept the boys up WAAAYYY too late but they did really well. On Saturday, we woke up, went swimming (notice a theme here?), and went to a brunch held by the bride's family. Then we drove back home. We totally set ourselves up for some serious issues here--new environment, new people, new experiences (they hadn't been in a swimming pool since we were coming back from Ukraine), messed up sleep schedules, different food...you name it, we did pretty much everything we could to throw our boys into chaos. And you know what? They didn't fall for it. ;) We had NO meltdowns all weekend, including yesterday when we were home (we tend to have meltdowns after the stimulation is over and we're back to a comfortable environment). That does not mean there wasn't any discipline--there most definitely was, including at the wedding reception. And while they don't like being disciplined (who does??), they are now responding in age-appropriate ways. I don't know if it will last, but I'm enjoying it in the meantime.

The wedding, reception, and brunch were fantastic and it was great to see some family that I haven't seen in years. Here's a picture of two of the cute handsome young men I went to the wedding with. I didn't get a picture of the third one. ;)

Believe it or not, Dima is actually taller than Zhenya, but he slouches something awful. Here he's leaning back against the door. On another note, anybody have any ideas on getting them to gain weight? I weighed them yesterday and Dima is 32 lbs and Zhenya is 34 lbs. They eat well--lots of protein--and they're growing taller but they just aren't gaining weight!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Oh, to have the taste buds of a 6 year old

Tonight we had fajitas for dinner. The boys have had quesadillas and I thought it was about time to introduce them to fajitas, so I cooked up some beef with a little onion. Then I showed the boys how to put the fajitas together--a couple of strips of beef, some guacamole, some cheese, roll it up, and eat! The boys love raw fruits and veggies so that's usually a key part of our meals, and last night was no exception. In addition to their fajitas, they had cucumber, strawberries, and tomatoes. As I was showing Zhenya how to put his fajita together, I told him he could put some of his tomato on if he wanted (which he did). Then when we were putting Dima's together, he wanted to put cucumbers on. Okay, a little unusual, but sort of a California fajita. ;)

Then for his second fajita, Dima did a strip of meat, a generous helping of guacamole, some cheese, cucumbers, and slices of strawberries (he specifically requested that I slice his strawberry so that he could put it on his fajita). He seemed to like it and he ate it all. As long as he's eating, he can combine his food however he wants. But he's not going to be cooking for me anytime soon. :) :)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Yes, we live in the Dark Ages

We recently visited some of my family. In the morning, the boys were amazed when their grandmom put food into a box and it came out hot a few minutes later! They asked her what it was, and were in awe when she told them it was a microwave and could cook food quickly.

Yeah, we don't have one of those at our house. They'd never seen one before!! Or a dishwasher...or the toaster (we do have one of those, we just don't use it very often). The only small appliances out in the kitchen are a KitchenAid mixer (love it!!) and an electric can opener (used mainly for the green beans our overweight dog gets as part of his diet). I have a feeling the boys are going to be in shock when they start going to visit friends' houses. There are an awful lot of things we don't have, and somehow we don't miss them at all. :) We actually had a microwave for a year...it sat in our basement and never even got plugged in! LOL

You know what's funny? It just occurred to me (right now, this very minute) that my crazy last week of making dinner could have been a lot easier with a microwave. I seemed to manage just fine anyway. None of us starved. ;)

Oh, and please don't get any ideas about giving us microwaves. We've been offered several and have turned them all down. Seriously, we won't use it. I know it's hard to believe, but we're happy in the Dark Ages.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I have no business being awake before 9am

I was driving to work this morning and was a few miles from our house. I noticed a truck on the side of the road where the driver had tucked the side mirrors in (so they wouldn't get hit), and I was thinking about our silver VW and how we can do that but we don't. So I glance at my side mirror and realize the outside of it is black, not silver as I expected. My jaw dropped as I realized someone had stolen the outside cover of our side mirror! I look at the other mirror to see if that one is gone too, and realize that, yep, I'm in the other car. The one with the black side mirrors. Sigh. It did give me a nice jolt of adrenaline to get me the rest of the way to work. ;)