Tag Archive: jeff


While my husband is completing a paralegal studies program, he has been home full-time with Miss P (At 15mo, she’s not much of a baby anymore!).

They have a blast together, or so Miss P tells me. They go to story time at our local library, visit one grandma and the other comes at least once a week to visit. My daughter is very taken with her daddy and even insists on calling me “da-da” much to my chagrin. He reads stories with his own commentary and although he’s heard it a million times, can’t remember the words to “Pop Goes The Weasel”.

However, there are some things that he still struggles with and which I step in to make things much easier:

Being creative in the kitchen

Jeff has the unique manly ability to look at a stocked kitchen and state “There is nothing to eat”. What’s even more impressive than that is when I run down a list of things one can make for a meal from our kitchen and in less than an hour, he’s standing in the middle of our kitchen declaring it a food desert.

This is the little whiteboard in our kitchen. As you can see, I’ve got directions for our homemade oatmeal packets (instant oatmeal portioned out into baggies). There’s also a list of various things that he and Miss P can eat for lunch. (and the appointment reminder for our stove to be repaired. Do you know how hard it is cook without an oven?) I try to keep this board updated with what is readily available (especially leftovers). Down in the corner, you’ll also see notes from my mother who comes to visit once a week with Miss P. She’ll note nap time, any dinner and their activities for the afternoon. It’s pretty awesome that I can come home and have some reference for conversation with my daughter on those days.

I also portion leftovers off into individual servings to make it easy for their lunch or to grab for mine. We’re trying to transition into using glass containers rather than plastic. We use the Pyrex 12-Piece Glass Bake Serve N Store Set and are slowly adding to our collection.

Clothes that are not pajamas

Why not wear pajamas all day? My husband’s logic is that one doesn’t need to wear something other than pajamas  if one doesn’t leave the house. My daughter has a couple of very doting aunties and two grandmothers so she has quite an extensive and stylish wardrobe.  Jeff has not learned to have an appreciation for all of the style choices our daughter has.  I’ve tried a few different ways of setting out outfits for the days I work early. I’ve laid out outfits on the changing table and we labeled the clothes boxes.

 

Yes, I know it says “Sort Sleeves”. Jeff was in charge of printing and we didn’t notice the auto-spell check until we had already gotten the label up. This is just temporary storage for the clothes. I’m in the market for a decent second-hand dresser, just haven’t found the right one yet.

Tonight we tried something new. Miss P and I laid out several Ziploc bags and put complete outfits into each one. Now Jeff can just grab a bag and *poof* – instant style for Miss P. She had a great time putting the bags together with me. I filled the bags and she stacked them on top of each other. We’ll see if this is more effective.

Now if only we could come up with an effective way to keep the laundry current! Miss P is not a messy child most of the time, but it seems like our laundry hampers fill three times faster with her laundry added!

 

If you liked this, try these!

Jeff and I love museums! So much so that during our week in Branson we toured more museums than we saw shows!

One of the museums was right down the road from our resort and was probably the most impressive one of all – The Titanic Museum.

Before we went into the museum, I knew the following about the Titanic.

1) It sank.

2) There was a movie (Titanic, obviously) that came out when I was in 9th grade. One of my friends saw it EIGHT times in the theater and I swore I would never watch it if only to keep myself from becoming like that.

2.5) To this day, I still haven’t watched the whole movie.

3) I have watched one bit of the film. Gaelic Storm plays in a scene. They’re an incredible Celtic band that I’ve gotten the chance to see live. Here’s the best clip I can find on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6R4uEBjVdE

Isn’t that great? So this was pretty much the extent of my knowledge of the Titanic.

Heading into the museum, I wasn’t sure what to expect!

Even before we got into the Museum, it was cool…

The museum is shaped like the Titanic and an iceberg!

Unfortunately, we were expressly told that we could not take any photographs in the museum.  That was sad (although I could see the reason – preserving the artifacts) – so any further photos are ones that are on the Titanic Museum’s website.

We entered the museum (baby on my hip) and were each given a boarding pass featuring an actual passenger on the Titanic and a audio device that resembled a phone. Throughout the museum, there were identification markers that gave us a code to input into our handheld player. By holding it up to our ear, it was like getting a personal tour of the museum at our own pace.

There were also docents throughout the museum that provided some very in-depth answers to questions! Entering the museum just ahead of us was a tour group of college aged men and they had quite the range of questions. I was impressed by the knowledge that the staff had about the museum.

Oh yes, the museum. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the actual collection and I was completely blown away by it! Actual items from the Titanic were on display. Letters and cards that had been mailed, photographs of the ship and the passengers and even a deck chair fished from the icy seas.

Many of the displays remarked “This is one of only two menus/pins/letters/etc to survive.” Every gallery was well organized and everything flowed well together. It wasn’t just a tourist attraction in a tourist-based town, every item was well preserved and displayed very carefully.

Half-way through our tour, we got to walk up a replica of the Grand Staircase:

 

Jeff enjoyed the portion of the exhibit where he could pretend to shovel coal with a weighted shovel. He also was impressed by all the historical details provided in all of the displays.

At the end of the tour, we got to watch a video of the submarines and remote vehicles that found the Titanic wreck. We also passed a memorial wall where we could find if our boarding pass passenger lived or died.  April of 2012 marks 100 years

Here’s our pros and cons from the visit:

Pros:

  • Handheld audio players let us wander around at our own pace and listen to the parts we were interested in.
  • Lots of details were provided in the artifact displays.
  • A few hands-on exhibits such as shoveling coal, platforms representing various slopes on the ship as it was sinking, and seeing how long you could hold your hand in ice water that represented what the survivors suffered through.
  • There are actually two mascot dogs representing the doggie passengers on the ship! They live at the museum and have full time staff who take care of them. We got to meet Molly on our way out of the museum. She was adorable!

Cons:

  • We weren’t able to take photographs during the tour. There were a couple of staged areas like the bridge and a simulated outside view that would have been really neat.
  • At the end of our tour, our photo was taken by a staff member who advised us that we could purchase it in the gift shop. We were unsuccessful in locating this and the staff member on duty was busy chatting with a friend (possibly an off-duty staffer).
  • The museum is really geared for teenagers and adults. That’s not a bad thing, but parents with small children may want to bring something to keep them entertained. It’d be great to have an audio tour geared towards children.
  • Jeff stated it would have been really cool to be out on the roof of the building (if it were outfitted like a ship). He also wanted to see a life-sized engine.
  • There were a few knowledge-check quizzes, but I would have liked to see more educational or interactive exhibits.

Really, it’s hard to call those cons! Suggestions, maybe.

Taking Miss P, who was just a year old, through the museum was a bit of a challenge. She loved the dog and some of the exhibits, but she just did not have the patience for most of it. Jeff and I took turns entertaining her.

I would totally go back again! We really enjoyed the whole experience and I’m sure on a second trip I would learn even more.

Over the next week or two, I’ll be writing about our other experiences on our trip! Once those are up, click the “Branson” tag on this post!

(Full disclosure here: The museum graciously hosted us for the day in exchange for our feedback on our visit. All our opinions are always our own.)

If you liked this, try these!

(or How To Homeschool Your Baby)

The summer has just flown by. The leaves are turning colors and we turned on the furnace for the chilly nights. (and it snowed last night!) And my little baby is crawling like a speed demon, pulling herself up to standing and chewing on EVERYTHING! Seems like it was just yesterday that she was a cuddly little lump that would snuggle with me all day long.

Fall/Winter also means it’s back to school time! I’ve previous confessed my addiction to back to school sales and Jeff just shakes his head as I make a detour in the store to stock up on notebooks, lined paper and crayons. And markers! And glue! And pencils!  Some of it is justified as Jeff is taking classes but some of it is stocking up for the future. It won’t be too long before Miss P is coloring and drawing!

It may be coming from my homeschooling background, but I’m finding that we’ve already started teaching Miss P in a lot of different ways. The first time we took her swimming in our pool over the summer, Jeff laughed at me and pointed out that I was trying to explain buoyancy to a 7mo old child. (For the record, she loves the pool!)

We discuss the weather when we’re looking out the window. I got to explain the importance of jury duty when I was called to serve in October (Sadly, there were no trials for me to participate in). There have been fire station tours and history lessons.  We talk about toys floating or sinking when Miss P takes a bath.

Our upcoming vacation to Branson is filled with museum visits and educational stops like Silver Dollar City where we’ll be able to watch craftsmen. A huge thank you to some awesome family friends who travel to Branson often – we’ve gotten great info on what to do!  I’m still trying to convince Jeff that we should drive an hour out of our way to see Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home at some point.  Miss P and I have been reading the Little House series every night at bed time for several months now.

Everything turns into a learning opportunity and I suspect that when we actually start “homeschooling” that it won’t be such a large leap from what we’re already doing. Maybe a little bit more structured, maybe a little bit more organized but not much different.

Now if you’d excuse me, I have some more educational things to plan for our vacation!

 

If you liked this, try these!

We’ve just finalized details of our first vacation as a family. We’re headed to Branson, Missouri this winter!

I always wondered how my plans would change once we had a kid in tow and it turns out they haven’t at all! Jeff and I love all the educational and family friendly museums, shows, and tours like we always have.  It’s so exciting that I get to share this with Miss P now too. She’ll be almost a year old when we go, so she’ll be able to be really engaged in the different things we do.

I think a lot of it has to do with my background of being homeschooled. We were encouraged and supported to love and explore education and that has really stuck with me! Once Miss P is older, we have a trip to Washington, DC planned to visit all of the Smithsonian museums!

Before we booked our trip, I thought of Branson just as a place that has lots of music and shows (and Lawrence Welk… but that’s another story). Now that we’ve started researching – I am amazed and excited by all the things we can do! There’s a medieval castle being built by hand, a Titanic musem, a body parts museum and a water park at our resort! You can even take a tour in a duck. (No, seriously. It’s a duck.)  As I’m making the list of things to do, I’m afraid I’ll have to start narrowing down our list so we’re not running around all day.

I’m already starting on a packing list, figuring out how everything will fit into our car for the 12 hr drive. What do I need to know for this first family vacation? Got any great tips for traveling with kids?

If you liked this, try these!

On Passing

On Friday, I wrote about how I had been having a very bad day. There have been no posts written since Friday because that day continued for much longer than I anticipated.

Friday night, we received a call from my husband’s mother. Her husband Bud has been ill for quite a while and they had decided to call hospice. We were told we could go visit sometime next week, and that her husband’s children were coming to visit on Saturday.

Saturday morning, I was scheduled to participate in a 5k race. My alarm was set, but did not go off – so I woke up too late to make it to the race. It was the first one of the season for me, so I was disappointed. My husband suggested we go into town and get some shopping done, catch a movie, and let my mother spend some time with her granddaughter. On the way out the door, Jeff got a call from his mother. Bud had passed away in the middle of the night.  We dropped everything and went to sit with his mom and family. (There was a purpose to me missing the race.)

Since Saturday, it’s been a blur of days. We’ve spent most of our time at my mother-in-law’s house. We’ve dealt with funeral plans, obituaries and arranging places for out of town relatives to stay. We hosted Jeff’s sister, her husband and two very hyper little boys.  We were part of visitations and ate a lot of food people brought for the family.

It’s been a tough week for me, as Bud was married to Jeff’s mom before we were married so he’s always been my father-in-law. I’ve not slept well and cried a lot. Baby P has felt a lot of the stress too. Starting on Saturday, she’s decided that it’s only okay for others to look at her if Mom and Dad are holding her. She won’t be held by either grandmother, nor anyone else for that matter. She’s clingy and hasn’t slept well either.

The service was yesterday. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and warm weather. Bud was in the Army so there was a very beautiful salute at the graveyard celebrating his service. After the 21 gun salute, the VFW honor squad collected the shells and gave them to my mother-in-law along with the flag. She gave us one of the spent casings as a remembrance for Baby P. She probably won’t remember her grandpa, as he was ill before she was born and he never held her himself – but she often gave him smiles and giggles.

The days have really blurred together and it’s been hard to keep track of what we’ve done on which day. We were going to purchase a paper on Monday because the obituary was published, but here it is Thursday and I am just now remembering. I return to work tomorrow and I hope it goes smoothly. I worked Monday and I was a wreck all day long.

I’m so appreciative of the friends and family who came to the visitation and funeral, even those that didn’t know Bud personally. Thanks to everyone who brought food for my mother-in-law. It’s been a blessing to be able to just eat when we need to, rather than worry about preparing or shopping for food. My heart is so sad, but I’m so blessed by everyone who has been there for us this week.

Life moves on and doesn’t wait for us. It will take a while for us grieve.

 

If you liked this, try these!

Happy Friday! We like to take time on Fridays to look back and remember the good and positive from our week.

Today is Tax Day! We’re cheering on behalf of all tax men everywhere (including mine)!

 

Taleah: P slept pretty well most of this week, so I’m finally catching up in the sleep deficit. Still not 100%, but I’ll take not falling asleep while standing up.

Jeff: Golf season started!

Baby P: This week, I found my toes! They’re quite fun to hang onto although it’d hard to chew a toy and grab them at the same time!

 

That’s it for us this week – what’s good for you?

If you liked this, try these!

Keeping Busy

This is my favorite photo of March.

When my sister was in town, we spent the afternoon together. It was great, and I got a beautiful photo of Baby P and her cousin.  As we were hanging out, my sister had my daughter on her lap – but her son wanted to be as close as he could get to his mother. I caught this precious moment almost by accident.

Jeff picked this as the best photo for March – so here it is!

I’m linked up to I Heart Faces this week, and it’s the People’s Favorite! Voting opens on Tuesday – if my photography touches you, please consider voting for us! We’re #180

If you liked this, try these!

Movie Night!

It’s quite a busy day in our house today. I got thrown into my work’s Saturday shift rotation so I’ll be working today, and when I come home – my house will be full of people for Movie Night!

Jeff and I decided to start a monthly movie night – since we’ve got a great projector and wall screen (I’ll take photos, it’s pretty awesome) and great friends who love movies. We’ll be having a potluck dinner and settling in to watch Disney’s Robin Hood. Since it’s family friendly, we have friends who are bringing their kids – so it should be crazy and a lot of fun!

Jeff’s making his famous chili, since I think it’d be an appropriate meal for outlaws in the forest.

We’re trying to come up with themes for future movie nights. We want to show only the best quality movies (No Mars Attacks! or anything of the sort) paired with a fun potluck in the theme.

What are your favorite movies? I’d love to hear your ideas!

If you liked this, try these!

Happy Friday! We make a point of looking back on our week each Friday and celebrating the good and positive in our lives!

Taleah: I successfully beat my husband in TWO consecutive games of Skip-Bo! This is an achievement, since he always beats me at everything (and why I won’t play Scrabble, chess or cribbage with him!)

Jeff: Grades are back from last quarter and I earned a 4.0. I’m officially on the President’s List!

 

What’s good in YOUR life this week?

If you liked this, try these!

Welcome to Wednesday On the Web! This is a round-up of what I’ve been looking at/drooling over/enjoying online!

Almost all our snow was gone and we had some very nice 40F weather over the past week. We thought we might actually start seeing spring…. And then, last night and today we were hit with a snow storm that included ice, sleet, slush and rain. Thunder and lightning and the whole works! All the schools are closed today, and I couldn’t even make it into work because the roads are a disaster. There was a really bad accident down one of the roads I normally drive and a 6 year old kid died. I really can’t afford to miss work, but I couldn’t afford the risk of getting into an accident on the back roads I drive.

And I’ll have to admit that the smile that appeared on my daughter’s face when I got her up reminded me that I totally made the right choice to be careful. I have someone depending on me!

Anyways… onto the goodies. And I’ve got some good ones this week!

I started making marble magnets from this tutorial… great presents! (The photo is hers, mine aren’t done yet!)

Although I don’t own one, this article about foods you can make in a coffee maker makes me want to buy one!

Yummy!

I’ve been getting a lot of parenting advice lately, and my sister sent me an article about the MOST unhelpful advice. It was SO funny… and sadly mostly true!

Do you live in the UK? I’ve got my eye on this awesome stamp set and I would LOVE to frame it on my wall!

Last, and probably one of the most interesting things this week is Diamond Candles!

You buy a candle, and it’s guaranteed to have a DIAMOND ring inside! Their site says the rings are valued anywhere between $100-$5,000! What a cool concept! I may have to convince Jeff that I need one of these! (Friends, this would be a GREAT present for me!!)

And that wraps it up for me this week – what are you look at this week?

 

If you liked this, try these!