Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Baby Got a Haircut

It drives Manly crazy that I call Eli "the baby." I totally understand, that sort of thing used to drive me crazy too, but now I have a FOR REAL baby. Like the last baby I'll ever have! This is something that should be celebrated by calling him "the baby" every last chance I get! I don't care who it bugs! He's MY BABY!
I'll say, "Will you get the baby from his highchair for me please?", "The baby needs his diaper changed.", "Look at the baby! He has his cup in the toilet again!", "The baby looks so cute today." You get the point. Well, anyway, the baby got his haircut at a real salon for the first time yesterday. I had cut it on my own several times, but this kid has WILD baby hair, and I needed a little help by a professional.
We take the kids here because these stylists work with kids all day every day. They always do a pretty good job, and I don't worry about the kids being too noisy or getting into trouble. They have play areas, movies playing, suckers, and animal crackers. Not to mention the treasure box for good behavior. Need I go on?
I knew they'd do a great job on his hair, so I loaded the kids up on our first day of spring break and we headed to the salon. All three big girls also needed trims too, so we were there for a while, but when it was the baby's turn he got right into the police car chair and sat right down. He did great, and his hair looks SO much better!

Livi was so worried he was going to be upset. She stood beside him the whole time. That's KK in the chair across the salon.
As you can see, she had nothing to worry about! He was so happy. He just drove his car and smiled.
Here he is almost finished up. Lulu said he NEEDED a sucker.
Wild hair gone! I wish I could have caught him smiling once it was finished, but he had other plans. Exploring and finishing off that sucker!
I can't believe how big my BABY looks in all these pictures. I'm sad that he's getting bigger so fast, but he's such a JOY to have in our family. Hoping he'll still let me call him my baby in another 20 years! This is your life. Soak it up!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Repurposed Xylophone

Ever had something you didn't want to part with, but you couldn't justify keeping it? That doesn't happen to me VERY often because it's generally easier for me to get rid of things and live minimally than it is for me to keep things and feel cluttered. There are, from time to time, those sweet little items that I just hate to part with though. One of those was this xylophone.
Sweet TINY KK playing the xylophone at only 4 months old. She's a musical genius.

Manly's grandparents originally found it at a garage sale, I think, but they gave it to Olivia when she was about 2 years old, and each of our children has LOVED playing on it. It has a great old fashioned sound, and is so pretty! I love all the colors.
Well, you can imagine after six kids and 7 years a toy gets a little tired. Manly had repaired it several times, but a few weeks back it broke for good, and we decided we had to take it out of the playroom. I was so sad that I couldn't throw it away. Manly had the AMAZING idea of repurposing it into a wind chime. I of course loved this idea. We try to do family activities on Sunday afternoons, and yesterday we finally had a chance to work on it.
Everyone was really excited and Manly gave everyone a job. Brubbs is obviously VERY interested in what Manly has to say. Ha! And yes, everyone is in PJs cause that's how we roll on Sunday afternoons.
Manly found this big hoop to use for our project. I have no idea where it came from, so if your lamp is missing a hoop, it was my man! Ha!
We first had to take the xylophone apart, which wasn't too tough since it was already pretty broken. Afterwards, Manly gave our arguing children new jobs with different partners so that we could work in peace. Ha! We tried using fishing line to attach the chimes, but it was too fine. Lulu had some rainbow yarn, so we used that. Not nuts about it, but it did add to the charm of it in the end!
Here is Manly tying on the chimes the kids got ready for him.
Once we got the chimes all hung on it was just a matter of spacing. The girls held onto the hoop while Manly got it just right then we hung it. I'm loving the color on my porch, and it sounds SO pretty!
KK helping dad.
The Middles helping to hold it just right.
The finished product. We just hung it with a hook onto our porch siding.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Wheel in a Wheel

Ever heard the song, "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel?" We used to sing it in my college choir. I always loved that song. Part of it says, "A wheel in a wheel in a wheel in a wheel in a..." over and over again. It's my favorite part. That's the part I was singing today when I had my first blowout.
The little kids and I had just left the big girls school where we watched Addi get a character award, and we were on our way to my mom's house to help her pack up the last of her things before their big moving day tomorrow. I had just gotten on the road that leads to the interstate when I heard a loud clank against the back passenger side of the suburban. Thinking I must have missed a stick in the road or something I thought nothing of it until suddenly my car was not drivable. I assumed that it was a tire, but because it was nearly impossible to drive the car forward I was worried it was something else. I slowly eased forward into a store parking lot to see what the damage was. Sure enough my back tire was shredded! It had a GIANT hole in it.
Knowing there was NO way I was going to be able to get in touch with Manly while he was in a session with a client, I began to panic a little because I'd never learned to change a tire in this particular car. I knew two things: that the tire was attached under the car, and that the jack was NO WHERE to be found! I searched EVERYWHERE for it! Nothing. Assuming we didn't even HAVE a jack I got back into the car where the baby was crying from not having his morning nap. I called Manly about a million times trying to figure out what in the world I was going to do when a man in a nice car pulled up and rolled down his window. Thinking he was going to help I opened the door and said hello. He immediately began telling me why he COULDN'T help me(he had a baby in the car, he needed to get to the pharmacy, yadda yadda.)Thinking it was a little strange that a stranger would take the time to stop only to tell me he couldn't help I smiled and said, "Well, thanks anyway!" and shut my door.
We sat there for almost an hour before a giant fifth wheel truck pulled up next to us. A GIANT man from Texas got out and smiled. He said, "Well! It seems you need my assistance, ma'am! Can I help you with your tire?" I gave him the run down about what I knew then he just smiled again and asked for my suburban book from the glove box. After giving it a quick glance he opened the back of my car and quickly found the jack(which was TOTALLY hidden!!), and explained that he needed my key to release the spare. In what seemed like 5 seconds he had the spare out and was jacking up the truck all the while stopping to explain to my eager four-year-old son what he was doing and how someday Isaiah would be able to help me himself. My heart was blessed by his willingness to help us out. He made quick work of the tire, and was putting the shredded one in the back when Manly finally made it there.
We thanked him, to which he said he was happy to help. He got back into his giant truck and drove away like a knight on a steed. Ha! I was so so thankful for his help. We had to get a new tire, but the day wasn't completely ruined. I came home and had a homemade brownie Steph had made the night before with the kids while we were at parent/teacher conferences(WHICH WE TOTALLY ROCKED, BTW). We also won a gift certificate to one of our favorite restaurants from the school AND were blessed by someone at church who got us Frozen as an anonymous gift which we watched again today. All in all a pretty good day even with a giant holey tire! Wait, is holey a word??? Ehh, Have a GREAT weekend and FUN Spring Break!

My Addi with her Character Award. She was slightly embarrassed about winning, but so excited!

Master of destruction, Eli LOVES looking at photo albums. He'll point to the pictures and say, "THAT THAT!" He'll pull three or four out at a time, but he sure does love to look.
My Lulu was right in front of us at the assembly today. Fun to watch her interacting with her friends. The boy on her right is one of her best friends at school right now. She shared about Jesus to the girl on her left today. She came home with tears in her eyes that this girl wasn't ready to ask Jesus as her savior. I told her she might have planted a seed in her heart. You can pray with Olivia that the girl's heart will be softened. Olivia is VERY burdened for this girls salvation.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Leslie Smittle Stamp of Approval

Often times new moms will ask me questions about the products that we have used throughout the years with the kids. I just love to help with these questions. With six kids we've tried most things under the sun for kids. I thought I'd compile a list of items that get my stamp of approval. These are items that are tried and true, and work for us! I am not being paid to advertise any of these products, just wanting to share my faves.
  • MAM pacifiers. These are my favorite paci's. They make all sizes, and they also have special holders that will snap onto clothing for daytime. My favorite one is the nighttime paci which is glow in the dark. If you "charge" it under the lamp while you're getting the kids ready for bed it will glow all night! That way, if you need to go on and reinsert it's easy to find without turning on the light! We've used all kinds of paci's, but these are my favorite. They are also easy to find at most stores and online.
  • Crest Pro-Health for Me. We've tried LOTS of toothpastes, but this is our favorite. I feel like it takes the best care of the kids teeth. It leaves their breath smelling minty fresh instead of like a stick of gum. They don't want to eat it, (which is a good feature for longevity of the tube. Ha!) but it still has a minty good flavor. You can get lots of other products in the line as well, but we just use the toothpaste.
  • DenTek Flossers. I can NOT stress to you enough how these little dears have saved me time and stress. They are SO much easier to use when flossing kids teeth! Don't spend extra on the kid ones because the adult ones are exactly the same at a fraction of the cost.
  • Moby wrap. I think the Moby gets bad attention from time to time because people think it's hard to use, or way too long. I suggest buying one used(usually EASY to find), and watching youtube videos or logging onto the Moby site. They are extra long so that you can wrap that baby in good! They come in cute fabrics, and you can use them forever! I love using one around the house so that I can still get things done AND hold the baby. They have LOTS of new styles and models so check them out!
  • Store Brand Diapers-You DO NOT have to pay for top of the line diapers. There are SEVERAL stores that carry GREAT quality store brand diapers. ALWAYS buy the smallest bag first to be sure of the fit and that they'll be OK for your babies skin. There are a few stores that we can't use because of allergic reaction. There are also a few stores(WAL-MART!!) where you're better off using napkins. Ha! Our favorite store brand diapers are Target and Sam's. These offer the best fit, are cute, and very low cost. We also get store brand bulk wipes from these two stores. Again, start off with a small pack so that you don't end up with products you can't use!!
  • Carters and Oshkosh PJs. I am NOT a brand snob when it comes to clothes, but Carters and Oshkosh make the best pajamas. They last forever, are comfy, and ALWAYS on sale. You can score great deals online a lot. I highly recommend one pieces. These are SO easy!
  • Gap and Circo everyday/play clothes. Again, I'm not saying this is all that we have in the closet. It's just the best in my opinion as far as washing and wearing go. I have several pieces that ALL FOUR girls have worn, and they are still in like new condition! This is a MUST for our household! Surprisingly, a brand I'm not fond of is Gymboree(always looks like it needs to be ironed and I'm NOT going to iron children's clothes.).
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I love this show! It's one of the few shows I'll let the kids watch without supervision at home. There's always a lesson with a catchy song that helps them remember the lesson by. One of my favorites is, "If you feel so mad that you WANNA ROAR!! Take a deep breath and count to FOUR!!" My kids love these sweet characters and I love that it's taken from a show I grew up on. Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.
  • Aveeno. With a redheaded daddy, my kids all have sensitive skin. Aveeno has the BEST products to protect that skin! We use their baby bath/shampoo combo, and the lotion, but there are TONS of products out there! I know there are a lot of brands out there for bath products, but Aveeno is our favorite. We don't pay extra for name brand items most of the time, but for Aveeno we do. It has a nice natural scent, and isn't greasy or gross on the skin. It's been great for eczema and other mild rashes as well.
Do you have any must try products for kids? I'd love to hear your input!
Stay tuned! I'm working on a "What You Need for Baby's First Year" post for all you soon-to-be-mommas!! AND, how to dress for family photos! Yay! It feels good to be back in the blogging world. Now I need to go make my list for Dallas and pick up the kids from school. Ta ta!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

These are a Few of Our Favorite Things

We are in NO way trend setters. I mean we wear mostly second hand clothes which means we are at LEAST 1 year behind the latest fashion. I'm cheap, so I only buy what's on sale, so that usually means we don't have the latest and the greatest. AND, we just got semi-smart phones in September. It was at that time we were even able to TEXT. HA! Yeah, we're mostly un-cool losers. Hahaha! BUT, we have some things that are currently on our favorite things list I thought I'd share just in case you haven't tried them.
  • International Delight Coffee creamer-Chocolate Caramel

Yes yes yes. I have been anti-caffeine for the last 15 years, but I recently stumbled upon this when I bought it for Manly as a special treat around Christmas time and he said it was so good I should give it a try. I tasted one sip, then had a cup with breakfast. Afterwards Steph came to watch the kids and Manly and I went out for a morning date. While we were out around town he made several comments on how fun and silly I was being with a  little caffeine in my system. After a little I thought I decided I'd drink a small cup each morning. It gives me a tiny pep in my step, and the yummy taste puts me in a great mood! If you haven't tried this one, go get it. Well, after you read my blog. =)
  • Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer

I love Burt's Bees this time of year because no matter how hydrated I stay my lips still get dry. I love this lip shimmer because it's like lip gloss and chapstick all in one. It comes in a million colors and lasts forever.
  • Target Cartwheel/RedCard

I am SHAMELESS about telling people about Target Cartwheel. I could spend an entire post talking about the bundles of money I've saved by getting a Target RedCard(debit NOT credit) and using Cartwheel. The RedCard got a lot of flack back when Target had a breech in , but it's really great. Not only do you save 5% in the store EVERY TIME(and at the Starbucks that's attached to ours Conway peeps), but you also get FREE SHIPPING all the time. It's SO handy! You also get more time to take things back if you want, AND you don't need a receipt because they can just look it up with your card. It takes only moments to get signed up for the debit(I know nothing about the credit, but it probably works the same), and it just comes straight out of your checking account as if it was a regular debit card. Cartwheel is their newish app of online savings. You can save anywhere from 5%-60% maybe more on items you are already buying. You can use it several ways, but I always just search the offers if I'm looking to buy something in particular, (say toilet cleaner) then buy whatever brand is listed in the cartwheel offers. There are times you won't have any savings, but times when you might save as much as you spend. It's really worth looking in to if you haven't already.

  • Parenthood

Now I don't know WHAT ROCK you've been living under if you haven't had a chance to watch Parenthood, but it is the ONLY show that Manly and I watch together. It is defiantly in my top 5 television series ever. The cast is great, the story line is believable, and it's just such real current content without having to be about booze and sex. We've yet to watch an episode(which are available on Netflix and currently NBC) without tears, so be ready for that! It's a great show! Get to know the Bravermans! Tell them Leslie sent you! Ha!

  • Tide Pods

I got a free sample of these in the mail, and after the first time I was hooked. It's not just that these things are easier to use. They leave the clothing smelling extra fresh, and you only have to use one pod per load. Now sometimes if I'm doing a giant load of stinky towels I'll throw in two, but one will do the job. I say these are totally worth the extra few bucks. And hey, you could buy them at Target with your red card and cartwheel app and save!!

So, that's the short list of things we are currently loving. What tops your list?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Eli's Birthday Post

I can't believe it's already been a year since our Eli joined our family. He has brought joy to my heart in a way I can not explain. I have such deep deep joy that the Lord blessed us with another boy to complete our family. He's a cuddly, funny, sweet boy with a wild sense of adventure and fearlessness.

After we had Isaiah I never really understood what people were talking about when they'd say things like boys were so wild and how they were so disgusting and full of energy. Isaiah has always been pretty laid back and easy going. Eli, on the other hand is EXACTLY what they were talking about.

He's literally been on the go since he was a day old. He started crawling at 3.5 months old. He was going up the stairs by 4.5 months, and was walking by 9.5 months. Now he runs and climbs on anything he decides to. I find him in chairs, on tables, in beds, and on bookshelves. He'll just grin and laugh when I find him. It's like he's saying, "Yup. You just wait mom. It's just going to get better and better!"

Eli has also brought a whole new noise level to our home. He loves to sing, and holler. A LOT. He's a really happy baby, so he doesn't really cry much except when he's at the table and thinks there's something on our plates that he's missing out on. He says, "mama", "dada", "bubba", "ball", "this", and a lot of other things from time to time, but not on demand. He recently said "thank you" when we gave him his plate at dinner. So sweet.

He also REALLY loves for me to hold him and carry him around, so there's a whole lot of that going on too. Ha! He'll stand at my feet while I'm cooking and hold on to my legs and jump up and down saying, "mamamamamamaaa!" until I pick him up. Then he'll just put his cheek in my face for a kiss. Once he's got that he's good to get back down and play. He's still REALLY crazy about momma, but I know my time is coming. Soon he'll  go over to the other side and like daddy more. I'm OK with that as long as I still get squishes and kisses.

The poor boy has LOTS of nicknames. You know if you read my blog or hang out with me that I do nicknames for all the kids. Honestly, for some reason nicknames are easier to get right than real names. I mean, wouldn't you rather be "Shug" instead of "MiaEmmaAddiOLIVIA!" Anyway, we never call Elias by his real name. He's mostly Eli Jones, but also Jonesy, BubBub, Buster, Bum, Budah, and LeeLie. These aren't all mine. I came up with Jones, but the kids all have their names of choice, and Manly calls him Buster.

I'm in love with our latest edition and the completer of our family. I can't wait to see his personality bud, and his love for his family continue to grow. The Lord has big things for Eli Jones. I just know it! Happy First Birthday, Elias!
Now enjoy a walk down memory lane!!

Only a few moments old. So beautiful!

On his first day. He was such a GORGEOUS baby!

Smiling in his sleep.

One of my favorite pictures of him.

Smiling at the baby in the mirror.

This was when I thought his hair might end up being curly. Those CHEEKS!

This was his favorite spot. Right up on the counter with momma while she made dinner.

My word! Have you ever seen such a happy baby!

Hot baby.


Another of my favorites! Love that look of wonder!

His first fishing trip!

His hair in this one cracks me up! Ha!

Hahaha! I made Isaiah some "monster truck driver goggles" and tried them on Eli. Ha!

Indiana Eli Jones!

Super Woman Eli!

Sweet baby boy!

This was the first time I walked in on a STANDING baby!

First chocolate chip cookie face. 

Love this one of him watching planes in the sky.
That hair! Oh that HAIR!!
Finding out what happens when you put things in the toilet.
Dress-up Eli
Gangsta drivin'.

After a MUCH needed hair cut! Ha!
This is his favorite spot. Standing at the table between my pretty chairs.
He LOVES to help me dust and clean.

Dirt faced Eli.

I call this one Chubby Cubby Bubby

Messy Eli.