Friday, October 31, 2008


Today I got a box of baby girl clothes from my awesome sister, Rae, and as I was looking through it Eric asked for the ultrasound pictures. So we pored over them again. And he's not sold. I still think it's a girl, although I admit that the ultrasound is a little fuzzy.

The ultrasound did end up being at 18 weeks rather than 20 since our dates were off, so the picture's not as distinct as it's has been with all of our others. And we did think we saw something "boyish" earlier on in the ultrasound but then the doctor said, "I think I saw girl parts." But it wasn't in a questioning "I think" but just a conversational "I think" if you get my drift. But then the technician puts ?? next to the technician wasn't sure even though the doctor said girl? Or are they supposed to put question marks so we don't get mad if they're wrong??

What do you guys think?

A little "ultrasound 101" if you're not sure what you're looking the bottom are two roughly roundish shapes, that's the bum. And you can also see a leg & foot. And contrary to popular opinion, you can see girl parts when it's a girl. It's not simply "lack of boy parts" that make technicians and doctors say you're having a girl. I've seen enough girl ultrasound to know that's DEFINITELY true. Question this one of them?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Publix, one of our local grocery stores, has a HUGE scale in each of its stores. Yesterday was actually the first time I'd noticed the scale (probably because it was right next to the bathroom and half of us HAD to go).

The girls had fun.

Autumn is 7 years old and weighs 45 lbs.

Heidi is 5 years old and weighs 35 lbs.

Esther is 2 yrs 5 months and weighs 23 lbs.

The dryer works!!!

We had a technician come look at it and a cable had broken. He said it's not uncommon in dryers as old as ours. He had checked pretty much everything else first, so by the time he was finished he could also say that everything else looked just fine. :)

He also gave us a REALLY good deal because our referral had quoted a lower price when they referred us. Really nice considering otherwise we could've gotten yet another dryer for less than the original price.

And next time (knock on wood?!), I think I'll feel a little more comfortable trying some things on my own now that I've seen the "innards" of my dryer and watched the technician use his V-ohm reader. I read about those when I was researching dryer problems but they sounded so complex! After watching how they work, I'm not so intimidated.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I am SO done.

It just wasn't meant to be.

Dryers + Me + Florida = Tragedy

That's right, the dryer we bought to replace the one that caught on fire has stopped working. At first I was tempted to feel bad that we continue to get used dryers instead of caving in and going with a new one. But then I remembered:
  • three dryers for a total of $50 is a good thing
  • three dryers over a total of 3 years is not so good, but still pretty good for only $50
  • two of those dryers were free
  • a new dryer would cost $300
At this point, I have flipped the circuit breaker hoping it would be that simple. It wasn't. Next I will pull out the dryer and see if I can take off the back. Not because I know what I'm doing, but because maybe I'll see something that screams at me, "I'm what's wrong! Fix me!"

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I have never felt so conflicted about who to cast my presidential vote for. I'm about 60% sure I've made my decision, but that other 40% keeps me thinking about all the issues and double and triple checking all of my reasons behind who I will vote for. It is a strange feeling to be less than two weeks from Election Day and realize I may still end up changing my mind. BUT at the same time, isn't that the beauty of the system? We can change our minds. We can vote for whomever we feel will best represent our concerns and values.

Along that vein, I have been frustrated recently as I have searched high and low to find out everything that will be on the ballot. Finally, this morning I found what I was looking for.

If you live in Florida, specifically Leon County, you'll be interested in all of this. If you don't live in Florida, but still haven't looked into what else will be on your ballot, I suggest googling something like "city name ballot candidates" or "city name ballot amendments". I had a lot more success using my city name rather than state because there are many issues that are county/city specific.

So on to what I found that will interest my fellow Floridians/Leon "Countians". If you go here you will find a searchable database with most of the candidates running for office. If you go here you will find another list with many of the candidates from the searchable database as well as a few others. Go to this page by the Tallahassee Democrat for a run-down of the amendments on the ballot, or this page for another summary, or this page for the actual language of the amendments.

Because I've already done some legwork on this and was frustrated at how long it took -- I want to share what I found on the candidates running. Be forewarned, this is quite a substantial list. Does anyone know if we're allowed to take a paper in with our own notes?

My apologies in advance if you were hoping to see what party these candidates are running under. If it's not listed, I don't know. I pulled this list together this morning and have yet to actually GO to all of the links and make my own decisions regarding these candidates.

UPDATE: I was just looking through my "Official Sample Ballot" (anyone in Leon County should have received one of these). While it doesn't list the specifics on each candidate, it does include a Special Pull-Out Section that you can use to vote at home and then take with you to refer to as you actually vote. So, if anyone else had the same question I asked above -- there's the answer!

ANOTHER UPDATE: So, I was bugged that the "Official Sample Ballot" said "not every race listed on this Sample Ballot will be on your actual ballot". Thank goodness it directed me to where I could see an actual copy of my ballot. If you live here in Leon County that link will be helpful. You'll need to go look on your voter registration card to see what precinct you're in and then go from there. Each precinct will list four ballots, but only the one ending in G is for November 4th. The rest are all from August 26th.

But after looking over my actual ballot, I am confused! I know that I only need to vote for candidates in my district when there are other districts involved -- but how is it that so many of the names listed here in my post (from the Tallahassee Democrat) are not on the ballot? I'm going to be referring back to this post as I pick my candidates so I'm adding bold highlighting to all of the candidates I will be looking at. Also, apparently I don't get to vote for the county sheriff?

And then there were other issues I didn't even know to expect -- so I will also be looking into whether or not the following judges should be retained in office:

Justice Charles T. Wells of the Supreme Court
Judge Robert T. Benton of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge Marguerite H. Davis of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge Joseph Lewis, Jr. of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge Ricky L. Polston of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge Clay Roberts of the First District Court of Appeal
Judge William A. Van Nortwick, Jr. of the First District Court of Appeal

(I think the "judge" was a little redundant...ah well.)

Ochlockonee River Soil & Water Supervisor - District 1
Brian Acosta
Sean McGlynn

2nd Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 16
Bill Miller
Angela Dempsey

2nd Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 3
David Frank
Kevin Davey

2nd Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 4
Charles Dodson
Dawn Caloca-Johnson

County Judge, Seat 5
Nina Ashenafi Richardson
Sean T. Desmond

2nd Judicial Circuit Judge, Group 7
Frank E. Sheffield
Lisa Raleigh

Capital Region Community Development District Supervisor, Seat 2
Barry G. Brooks
Correy W. Dietz
Wayne Toothman

Capital Region Community Development District Supervisor, Seat 4
Twyla Sketchley
Gil Ziffer

City Commissioner, Seat 1
Larry Hendricks - no webpage, write-in candidate, but this link has a debate between Henricks & Mustian on green issues
Mark Mustian

Leon County Commission, At-Large
Akin Akinyemi
Alma Gonzalez

Leon County School Board, District 1
Derron Bennett
Forrest Van Camp

Leon County School Board, District 2
Dee Crumpler
Dianne D. Williams-Cox

Leon County School Board, District 4
Dee Dee Rasmussen
Floyd Self
Jon Conley
Jose Lorenzo
Rosa L. Lovett

Leon County Sheriff
Larry Campbell
Tommy Lee Mills

State House, District 10
Don Curtis
Julie S. Conley
Leonard Bembry
Mike Williams

State House, District 9
Jerry Sutphin
Peter Boulware - Republican
Michelle Rehwinkel-Vasilinda - Democrat

State Representative, District 8
Alan Williams
Anthony Viegbesie
Carolyn J. Roberson
Hubert R. Brown
Rodney Moore
Rudolph Maloy
Sean Shaw


Allen Boyd - Democrat
Mark Mulligan - Republican


Ander Crenshaw - Republican
Jay McGovern - Democrat


Charles S. Dean - Republican
Suzan L. R. Franks - Democrat

Monday, October 20, 2008

I've lost count. I think this is "hair episode" 3 or 4. Heidi found scissors...again. I thought she was over it, being 5 and months having passed since last time. Obviously I was wrong. Here's Esther "pre-haircut".

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get a picture of Esther hair before I fixed the damage. Although actually, I didn't have to do a whole lot fix it! Heidi did a pretty good job. There are some bits that are uneven but they're hard to see. And after I cut off the obviously too long parts, here's what we ended up with.

And guess what? I love Esther's new haircut!
Too bad I can't exactly thank Heidi...

I remember that when I was growing up there were dolls with hair you could cut and style and it would keep growing? I did some searching but couldn't find anything like that anymore. I did however, find these hilarious grass heads.
Eggheads - kind of weird lookin'

Much cuter. I think we could try making some of these.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I just found this on and it is also backed up by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics). Okay, I knew that it was important to keep kids rear-facing till they are at least one and 20 pounds in weight. Each of my girls had to wait until somewhere between 15-18 months, being such featherweights. But after reading this, I'm seriously considering turning our 2-year-old, 23 pounder rear-facing again!

A common question asked by parents is, "How soon can I turn my child to face forward?" The universally accepted response is to keep your child rear facing to AT LEAST one year of age AND 20 pounds in weight. In fact, it is preferable to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible, and that may mean up to 30 or 35 pounds for most convertible car seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other Child Passenger Safety organizations endorse this philosophy.

  • Rear-facing is safest for both adults and children, but especially for babies, who would face a greater risk of spinal cord injury in a front-facing carseat during a frontal crash.

  • Rear-facing car seats spread frontal crash forces over the whole area of a baby's back, head and neck; they also prevent the head from snapping relative to the body in a frontal crash.

  • Rear-facing carseats may not be quite as effective in a rear end crash, but severe frontal and frontal offset crashes are far more frequent and far more severe than severe rear end crashes.

  • Rear-facing carseats are NOT a safety risk just because a baby's legs are bent at the knees or because they can touch/kick the vehicle seat.

  • Rear-facing as long as possible is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatricians, and can reduce injuries and deaths. Motor Vehicle Crashes are the #1 overall cause of death for children 14 and under.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I've been lying on the couch all afternoon trying not cough or laugh. I woke up this morning thinking I had pulled some muscles from sleeping in weird positions and figured it would go away. But by the time I took the girls to gymnastics, I realized it was that "sick" achy and not pulled muscles. I've got a little bit of the chills and just want to lie down and I have no idea what this could be. Just one of the many bugs that are going around right now, I suppose.

But, I think I can manage writing a post to say....




Yep! Apparently, we're specialists. :) She's healthy and everything looks good. However, they did change my due date. I knew there was a good chance this would happen. I'm fine with it. I'm due mid-March rather than March 2nd. One day before my mom's birthday, March 17th.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I find myself thinking a lot about how our family will get around when we are six. In some ways, it feels like we'll revert back to how it was with two children. The older two can fend for themselves in ways they couldn't before. They can help a lot. BUT, they're still kids so I can't pretend they're not there. :) They still figure into the equation when I think about outings and how to corral our crew but they don't need their own seats. I just have to remember that whatever we do for the younger two should be as easy as possible since there are still two more. :)

Lately, I've been thinking these things may be helpful:

The ERGO Baby Carrier. I love how it can be used on the front, the hip, or the back. A lot more options than my Baby Bjorn. And a higher weight limit.

Baby Trend's Sit 'N Stand Plus. This stroller rocks! (or at least, it sure looks like it would...) It converts from a double tandem stroller to the sit 'n stand option. I think that could be really valuable since Esther is still only two. The more options, the better - right?

One Step Ahead's Sit 'N Stand Elite. From what I understand, these strollers are actually made by the same company. So it's hard to tell if there are really differences between the two other than color choice. BUT, when we bought our Schwinn jogger, I learned that Schwinn also makes the InSTEP joggers. Similar idea. I found that the Schwinns were nicer and a little bit higher-priced. Maybe it works the same with these strollers. If so, it looks like One Step Ahead comes out on top.

I should also mention (or announce really!), that we are moving to Germany next fall. Yep. It's time. We've been running away from the idea of moving to Europe but the idea keeps catching up to us. Hmm...coincidence? I think not. Anyway, for that reason side-by-side strollers will be out of the question. Except that we'll take our double jogger and still be using that for exercise and outdoor-wide-open-space places like the Schwetzingen Schloss but we'll have to do something else for places like the Fußgängerzone (pronounced foos-ganger-zone) and other tight places.

So all you Moms & Dads (yes dads, you can comment too!) -- how do you get around with your kids? Do you wear your babies in slings? In carriers? In your arms? Do you take a single stroller for the toddler? Does your toddler hold your hand? Do you have a double stroller? Is it side-by-side? Is it tandem? Is it a sit-n-stand?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Have you ever won anything? I haven't.

I now have close to 200 entries in the handbag contest! Wow. My apologies if you got one or more invitations and weren't interested. I'm amazed that they're offering one extra entry per person you invite without them even having to accept. That's pretty awesome. Now I just it enough? What are my chances to win the handbag I want? Maybe I should have left the "Support" email addresses on the list and all the company emails I have....hmmm...yeah, I'm not going there.

Oh, and if you're a little worried -- handbagplanet won't be keeping your email. They only sent the invite and then discarded the email info.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Go to and register to win! They are giving away a free handbag every hour for 24 hours on Oct 15th!

There's absolutely no catch - this means no shipping/handling fees or credit card required. Yes, it's really that simple!

(thanks Melody for telling me about it!!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm so excited! One week left till our ultrasound. Please, please, please let this baby not be shy! I am (not surprisingly) hoping for a certain gender...BUT, ultimately I really just want to KNOW so I can stop trying to guess.

What do you guys think we're having? Take a sec and vote in my poll!

Sunday, October 5, 2008


hodge-podge: (noun) any jumbled mixture; mess; medley

In no particular order, these are the things that have been on my mind the last couple of days...

**Like my dear sister Rae, Conference this weekend did not go as expected. Saturday actually went very well. I was so impressed with the girls. Autumn watched the first half of the morning session and then both Autumn & Heidi played outside while Esther slept. And they played outside through the other session as well. Esther stayed in with Eric and me and was happy about that (thankfully) since we provided some good distractions.

But, I am so grateful that we could watch from home! Today did not go as smoothly. Not by a long stretch. Granted, the girls still did very well for their seven, five, and two years. I keep imagining our little family at the chapel trying to watch four sessions and I know we would have made it through only one. What a blessing to be at home and watch one all together and then for Eric and I to be able to watch what we could while the girls did other things.

**Yesterday Eric was frustrated and snapped at Esther. She walked over to him, put her hand on his leg, and said, "Daddy, calm down. Calm down Daddy." Who's the parent here? The frustration was quickly forgotten as we laughed at the reversed roles. Whose kid is this?!

**And earlier this week Heidi asked me, "When are we going to Japan?" (That's where Grandma & Grandpa are and we visited them before moving here.) I explained that G & G will be moving back to the States next summer and that we won't be making another trip to Japan. We talked about how they'll probably live in the Northeast close to Oma & Opa and about how long it would take us to drive to see them. She then said, "But Uncle Phill, he lives far away on a mountain." Hah hah! Awesome. Of course, he doesn't. But he does live in a state where there are mountains and that must be one of the things she remembers most from our time living there. Funny kid. Autumn then added, "But Heidi, if we visited Uncle Isaac it would take us 5 days to get there. And dad would have to drive the whole way. And we would have to bring 3 plus 3 plus 3 plus 3 plus 3 meals."

Funny, funny kids.

And I am so glad to be reminded of these things as I'm typing. Because I've left this post 10 times to say, "Stop licking that frosting bowl-Keep the fridge closed-Get out of the bathroom-Please stop flushing the toilet-No you can't play outside-Everyone GET in the living room and SIT DOWN!"

Again, time just flies and even some of the most important posts for the blog get lost in the shuffle of LIFE.
No worries though. We enjoyed Autumn's birthday last year, regardless of when I'm blogging the details!

Looks like she's gonna have to watch those new toys if she wants them to herself for a bit!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Alright all you bakers. I need help. Heidi's birthday was this past Monday and we had chocolate cake (not homemade) with cream cheese frosting (homemade). I think the frosting was alright but not as exciting as I'd hoped it would be. The cake was awful. Boxed cake mixes are usually fine. Maybe it was my pregnant taste-buds. I don't know. But it was fluffy and had no real substance to it.

Autumn's birthday is on Sunday and I have to redeem myself. No one else had problems with Heidi's cake -- but I can't eat another bite of it and I was looking forward to good cake this week.

So here's where ya'll come in. How do you make a box-cake taste more substantial? More homemade? Because I'm not up for making a cake from scratch. They just never work out for me. Plus, I've already bought a vanilla cake, as Autumn requested (and she's requested pink frosting). I've heard you can add sour cream and pudding. Does it really work? How does it change it? And what makes a frosting taste good? So many have way too much sugar. I usually do the Betty Crocker buttercream frostings and they taste okay, but I want something that tastes really good.