Thursday, September 26, 2013

LeapReader "Ready, Set, Read & Write" Party!

We were lucky enough to be selected to host a LeapReader "Ready, Set, Read & Write" MommyParty through MomSelect. I received free LeapFrog products in order to host the LeapFrog sponsored MommyParty. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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We are old pros when it comes to using the LeapFrog Tag system. Savannah got this from Santa a few years ago, and it has gotten a lot of use. Before she could read, and after I was done reading stories to her before bed...she would turn on her Tag, and listen to stories until she fell asleep.
We figured out quickly that we love the LeapReader just as much as our Tag...maybe even more. When we first started playing with it Devin got hooked on the music it has loaded on it. So much so he wanted to show you, and sing one of the songs for you. {If you listen closely you can hear Bina join in at the end too!} 
I have been trying to do little preschool type things with Devin at home, and this has been a useful tool. Devin is at a stage where he has a hard time sitting and concentrating, but the LeapReader makes it fun to learn. He has been able to sit for hours.
I thought that Savannah would be too old for this, but it turns out they have so many fun word games that it can still be fun for her to work on spelling, rhyming, and handwriting. 
Shall we talk about how awesome the handwriting paper is? The LeapReader works like a pencil on the paper! It is magic. I was impressed to put it mildly. It helps you learn to write your letters by using stroke guidance, and you also learn proper stroke order. It has been fun to watch Devin's handwriting take off. 
Should I go on people? Like it doesn't require batteries, just plug it in to the computer. Or that all the books we have already for the Tag got loaded on to the LeapReader and are totally compatible.

I kept trying to come up with things we didn't like about the LeapReader, because I wanted to be really honest with our review...but I really couldn't think of one thing. 

Yes, it is that cool!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

deep thoughts + a trip to the Hogle Zoo

I have been feeling this overwhelming sense of gratitude the past few days. I have always dreamed of being a stay at home, and now I am living it. I don't always feel good enough for the job, but I love exploring, learning, and watching my children grow.
I missed out on a lot of moments with Savannah while working, and a few with Devin too. It was hard for me to go to work, and I complained to Paul more than I should have.
I talk about going back to work when I have bad days being home. Staying home isn't always easy for me, but I really feel so lucky that I am right here, right now.
I think about all the fun things that I get to take my kids to see and do, and it makes me happy that I have been there...and not at work. Making good childhood memories for my kids is important to me, and I have loved all the adventures we have done together.
Feeling so very thankful today for everything that I have.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Discovery Gateway Children's Museum

Although our admission was free into the museum, they didn't expect me to post about our experience. The End.
Since Paul and Savannah were away this weekend in Idaho, we decided to play without them. We were invited to go to the Discovery Gateway Children's Museum to see the new Saving Lives Exhibit. I was a little bummed out that Savannah couldn't come, but she has been here a few times already without us.
When we walked in, I didn't think we were ever going to get past the first exhibit {The Garden}. Devin and Sabrina both couldn't get enough of all the tunnels/tubes for the balls. It was perfect for both of them, and I was quickly regretting even bringing the stroller in. It is so refreshing to go to a place that my baby and toddler can play and participate. 
We spent ample time at each exhibit, and were in no hurry to get anywhere. We built skyscrapers, they both played in the water {foreeever}, and most importantly we played pretend all morning. 
It is one of those things I think I need to do a few more times with the little ones. After 2 hours we had barely made it upstairs, and Bina was definitely ready for a nap. There is so much more we didn't get to play with.
Thank you Discovery Gateway Children's Museum for letting us come and enjoy a fabulous morning playing with all of your fun toys.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Camera Shy.

If you are a Instagram user, you already know that there is a lot of these photo-a-day challenges. I have started a few, and never finish them. I usually forget, or if one day I can't come up with something that fits the topic...I give up. Camera Shy does a challenge, and at the end of each month, a winner is chosen for a free indoor photo session.

After Nancy won the photo session in June, I got some serious motivation. Funny how after you see someone you know win, it makes it feel like you can do it too. Anyways.
some of my pictures that I entered in to the photo-a-day
I was dedicated the entire month of August, and it totally paid off with a win for me! What made it even better? They just opened up a new location in West Jordan. Last time we went to Camera Shy, we drove to the Lehi location...West Jordan is much closer for us!
We were able to go use our free session over the weekend, and even though Sabrina didn't really want to cooperate...I still love the pictures. I could seriously get my kids pictures taken every month, I am little obsessed.
Studio pictures have come a long way since Savannah was a baby. The kids loved the big staircase that they had in the studio, and Bina tried to escape up them more than once. 
I may have had to bribe Devin with a toy from the gas station, but it was totally worth it for all the cute smiles we got out of him. Now I just need Sabrina to be old enough to bribe. Although I think she is cute enough to get away with not smiling.
Thank you Camera Shy for a fun photo challenge, and our free session.
 
PS I totally didn't have to blog about this, I just wanted to. The End.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park

We only had 2 things that I had really wanted to do before Summer was over - Lagoon and Ogden Eccles Dinosaur Park. When those 2 things didn't get done, I decided they would be the first things I accomplish next Summer.

Paul had started talking about taking just Savannah to Lagoon, and around that same time my friend Jessica {again} wondered if we wanted to go to the dinosaur park. Since Devin wasn't going to Lagoon, I decided that I would make this the fun thing we do instead. 
Tuesday came around, and we were thrilled to be heading North. Unfortunately Tuesday wasn't ready for our awesomeness at first, and made me go a little crazy. Long story short, Savannah ended up having to get checked out of school, and she came with us. It put us a bit behind schedule, and I did have to apologize to a couple of people for my freak out. I hope one day I will learn to roll with the punches better, because at the end of the day...I was really glad that Savannah was able to come with us.
We made a quick stop for lunch, and then headed over to the park. I honestly didn't know what to expect. I have pictures of me when I was little in front of this place, so you just never know. Turned out to be such a fun adventure, and I left wishing it was closer to our home.
We loved the robotic dinosaurs inside {they really are fascinating, only wished they had more}, and Devin was excited to hear what every. single. dinosaur eats. I may have started to make stuff up! Hey, there were a lot of dinosaurs, it was a lot to read!
We played at the play ground, walked around completely in awe of the set up, did some digging for bones, and even got to pan for some gold...that ended up in a water fight that a certain little boy didn't love.
This was definitely more for Devin, but Savannah still had fun. Boys really are so different, and it has been a blast experiencing the other side of things.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Living Planet Aquarium

On Monday I had zero plans, I was content to let Devin watch Team Umizoomi until lunch time. Do you have days like that? I hope I am not the only one.
Jessica sent a text seeing if we were up to going to The Living Planet Aquarium. They are closing up shop, and moving to Draper. Since it was the last day, they had a free admission. I figured it was better for Devin to actually do something instead of sitting in front of the TV. 
I took one look at the parking lot, and wasn't so sure it was a good idea to go. I did laps around that parking lot to find a parking spot. Good thing once we got inside, it really wasn't that busy...they must just have a really small parking lot.
Sabrina is almost walking, and definitely doesn't like being in the stroller anymore - so I opted to carry her. Although it is hard on my back, it was totally worth it to watch her be able to really explore. If Bina could have could get in to the tanks, she would have. She wanted to touch every tank, and stay to watch.
Devin was mostly excited to see the penguins, and boy did those penguins perform. Made him all sorts of happy. I think between those and the playful otters, it was a successful trip. 
Feeling thankful for my neighbors that have boys the same age, it has been fun to do little field trips together. Devin isn't the most social little dude, but he will eventually warm up if we give him enough time.

Monday, September 9, 2013

VTech® InnoTab 3 Learning App Tablet Review + GIVEAWAY!

This post is sponsored by VTech, all opinions belong to us. VTech product, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech. 

We were lucky enough to be contacted to review a VTech® InnoTab 3 Learning App TabletBefore getting it, I had read online that it was good for ages 3-9. I wondered if it that really was going to be the case in our house, since we have a 3 year old and an almost 9 year old.
Devin quickly took ownership when the InnoTab arrived, and for a little boy that doesn't play video games...he caught on quick. Within the hour he was taking selfies with the camera, and had learned how to play some of the games. He was taking it everywhere, and was entertained for hours. Carpool has never been more quiet. Hallelujah!! 

I will admit I was worried about Devin breaking it within 24 hours. Devin is known to not be very gentle with toys, he managed to drop it 10 too many times. It still works, and works well. Bonus points for VTech for making a toy that can withstand Devin.

We learned fast that we were going to have to schedule time for Savannah to play with it, because Devin was being a toy hog. Not gonna lie, they haven't shared this well. I may have been excited when the batteries died after 2 days. Devin even went as far as to wake up at 6:00 AM to get it before Savannah could.
I asked Savannah what her favorite things on the InnoTab 3 are, and she couldn't narrow it down to less than 5 things. I think the top favorite for both kids is the camera. Savannah also loves that it is touch screen, has both reading and games, the calculator, and a place for taking notes. 

I may have also played with it a few nights after the kids went to bed. It is really addicting. I loved that you can record a message for when you turn your tab on. Devin got so excited in the morning when he heard my voice saying "Hello Devin!". Sometimes it is the little things that make it fun.

Here is a little bit of the details on the tab...
  • The InnoTab® 3 combines educational games, creative activities and reading skills in a child-friendly, multi-function, touch screen tablet to make learning fun.
  • Compact and lightweight design with 4.3” color touch screen, new directional pad and tilt sensor
  • 2.0 megapixel, 180° rotating camera with more than 55 photo features and special effects  
  • 4 different media players: e-book reader, MP3 music player, photo viewer, and video player.  
We have definitely enjoyed everything about the tab so far, and are excited that VTech has offered to give one of our lucky readers an InnoTab 3 too!

Use the Rafflecopter widget below, and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

breaking up with nursing.

When I set out on my nursing journey with Sabrina, I said I was going to quit on or before her first birthday. No way, no how was I nursing beyond that.
Around the 10 month mark, I was so done. I got selfish, and was ready to have my body back. Sabrina had never had a bottle {she refused it}, and wasn't even willing to try a sippy cup at this point. So, I decided I didn't really have a choice when she successfully went 12+ hours with zero liquid. I realize with those delicious thighs, she wasn't in real danger...but she showed she wasn't ready for us to break up with nursing just yet.
I decided I needed to put away my expectations, and keep on nursing until Sabrina was ready for us to break up. You know what that meant? I nursed after her first birthday. Gasp! I wonder when I will learn to never say never...

I cut out feedings, she learned to use a sippy cup, but she still wanted to nurse. I got it down to just feedings in the middle of the night, and first thing in the morning. Even though I wanted to some day sleep through the night, it was working.
Right around the time Savannah started school, Sabrina started sleeping through the night. That meant she cut out 2 more feeding times on her own. Depending on what time she was waking up, we would just nurse in the morning. Finally something just clicked, and we went 2 days, then 3 days, and then a week with zero nursing.

I could tell that Sabrina was missing our nursing time, and I would scoop her up and rock for a few minutes...then she would be on her way.
I do love sleeping through the night, I mean, duh...who doesn't. I love having my body back, and hopefully my appetite won't be as big. What I didn't expect is to kind of miss it. I am so glad that nursing worked for us, and it was easy. I had the thought more than once, I am happy that I had to take the time out of my day to sit and hold Sabrina to feed her. Things were hectic with a 2 year old, and a new baby...but I always had to make time to have that one on one with her.

Feeling sad it is over, now that it is. I am proud of what we accomplished together. Love that Bina baby of ours.

Friday, September 6, 2013

giving you a high five.

I have noticed all of your awesome this week, and I'm impressed. A big high five.

High five for Paul because...
one of his 12 hour work days was converting this.
He went to Idaho on Monday, had a hellish work day...and survived. He thought he may just die from a toothache, and still managed to work on Tuesday. Wednesday he had a tooth pulled, and a impacted wisdom tooth removed. Thursday he worked another 12 hour work day, because someone has to pay the bills. Today he is busy working, swollen cheek and all. 

High five for Savannah because...
She has had the best attitude waking up early every day. It helps with my morning attitude when I don't have to fight to wake her up.

High five for Devin because...
Well, he was naughty for most of the week. I guess I could give him a high five for not hurting himself while he practices his flying skills, like Buzz Light Year. I don't really need another medical bill. He did thank me for the new toy, so I guess I could give him credit for that too.

High five for Bina because...
She has slept through the night every night since Savannah started school. It may have taken her over a year to figure it out, but it was good timing for her to get it.

Since I can't really give myself a high five, I am giving myself a pat on the back because...
I cooked dinner every night this week. Yep, that isn't a typo. I went grocery shopping with all the kids, by myself. I survived without Paul a lot, and I don't do that well. It has gotten easier for me to wake up super early, probably why I gave Sabrina and Savannah high fives. I didn't burn down the house when I baked, it was a close call. 
Hoping to have some giveaways up next week. They will be worth the wait.