Saturday, January 19, 2013

how are those boys doing?

As you all know, I've been busy working on improving my photography lately and building up a portfolio. Well, I don't know if it's because I've been so busy taking pictures of other people or what, but I haven't been taking many pictures of my boys!

It was beautiful today so I brought the camera out with us when we went outside to play. Because goodness knows, they'll only be this little once and I want to capture every little moment along the way.

Emmett is crawling and sitting unassisted now. Supposedly, sitting develops the muscles for crawling... but Emmett didn't get that message, because he actually learned to crawl much sooner than he learned to sit up on his own. I think he's just too busy to sit still!

Elliot's speech has been improving A TON ever since we started working with a new speech pathologist and he was diagnosed with Apraxia. There will be a whole blog post about this soon, but he has sooo many more animal sounds now and he is attempting many more sounds than he ever was.

Elliot and Emmett are getting along so well! I could sit and watch them interact all day long. Now that Emmett is crawling and playing with toys, Elliot is always right there next to him. They're always laughing at eachother, playing together, doing all that cute brotherly love stuff that I pictured when I was pregnant and found out we would be having two little boys close in age. 

Elliot is a big fan of kissing, hugging, smooshing, and cuddling his brother... even when Emmett thinks he has better things to do!

I love those little boys!

Friday, January 18, 2013

free movies!

Have you ever tried Redbox?
You can rent DVDs for only $1.20 a day, and return them to any box in the US! They have Bluerays and video games, as well. We have been renting from them for a couple years now and we love it.

I just thought I'd share some free promo codes for January. As long as you return the disc before 9pm the next day, you will not be charged. Each code can be used once per credit card.

DVDONME: free rental code
BREAKROOM: free redbox code
WALGREENS: free redbox code, valid only at Walgreens
REDBOXHEB: free redbox code, valid only at HEB
DRIVEIN: free redbox code, valid only at Sonic

Happy watching! :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy birthday, dear husband!

{oldie but a goodie}

I just wanted to take a moment today to say,
Happy Birthday to my husband!

Aaron has been through a lot over the years, fighting for our country. He provides for us and has made sacrifices for his family. He is an outstanding father {there's a reason why Elliot's first phrase was, "Hi daddy!"} No matter what, he still remembers to say "I love you" multiple times a day. I couldn't really ask for anything more. I sure do love that man!

PS: today is also my father's birthday! 
The two most important men in my life happen to share the same birthday.  
:) Happy birthday, Dad!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

little projects

It's no secret that I'm a little completely obsessed with organizing and cleaning. Lately, I've been finding so many great ideas on pinterest and elsewhere, so I thought I'd make a list of ten great little ideas that I hope to accomplish soon!

Paint and hang letters for our initials above individual towel racks/hooks... I've also seen this done with framed pictures. Not sure which idea I like best!

DIY fridge shelf liners {plastic placemats}. So easy to clean and super cute.
Source: via Jess on Pinterest

Get food staples {pretzels, rice, flour, pasta etc} out of boxes, bags, etc and into clear containers for both in the cupboards and on the countertops.

Use a plastic silverware organizer to hold and label everyone's toothbrushes in a drawer... gets them off of the counters and out of cups. Also holds toothpaste and floss.

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

Make a cute magnet board and attach magnet strips to makeup.

Print and organize favorite recipes into binders to put on the kitchen counter- love the rainbow. Would also probably doing something similar for all of our important documents and paperwork.

Colorful wall photo gallery for hallway. Either with different colored frames or mats. :)

Photo wall with string/ribbon and clothespins

Find an antique dresser to paint for our bedroom. Also add cute knobs or handles from Hobby Lobby.

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

Handpainted tree rungs.

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

I'll be sure to post when I get around to doing each of these!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

potty practicing

If you're like me, you shudder when you hear the words "potty training."

I've been dreading it. I don't know if it's that word, training, which seems more appropriate for a four-legged friend, or the fear of trading in the cloth diapers and cute fluffy butts for soaked underwear and pants... and socks... and floors... but I've been putting off potty training  for awhile now.

So imagine my disdain when my son, a few months before turning two, starting showing some SERIOUS interest in the "big boy potty." First, he started accompanying me to the bathroom. Then, he started watching me intently, as if he were memorizing all the steps to a successful bathroom break. Soon enough, he started insisting that HE tear off the toilet paper for me, and was always excited about flushing the toilet and yelling "byeeee!" as the water swirled and dissapeared. Around that time, he also started telling me when he had a dirty diaper, which was soon followed by him telling me BEFORE he pooped.

You're probably thinking, that's great! So you started potty training him then, right?  Wrong. You see, everything I've read says that they aren't ready to start until they have aquired a number of skills {being able to undress themselves, climb up onto the potty by themselves, wake up from a nap with a dry diaper, etc}. Well... Elliot isn't really able to do ANY of those things. So I figured we'd wait awhile. Elliot, however, had other ideas.

Not too long ago, we started occasionally taking his diaper off and sitting him on the toilet. Every time he'd go, we'd clap, cheer and dance. It got to the point where he would try to hold it until I remembered to take him potty, so I decided to start having him wear "big boy" undies {SOOO stinking cute!} and that's where we're at now. He wears underwear most of the day at home. I take him to go potty about every 30 minutes and he, surprisingly, has not had any accidents. He gets pretty upset when he doesn't have his "un-jees" on. He's not able to pull down his pants on his own yet, or get on or off the potty by himself, and I seriously doubt that he'd remember to use the potty if we were out of the house so I know he's not actually "potty trained" yet. That's fine with me. The average boy in the US isn't fully "toilet trained" until he is 38 months old. Elliot is only 25 months old. So we've got plenty of time. :) 

I've decided to call our little approach "potty practicing." 
We have no set timeline or goal... just that he uses the potty whenever possible, and that we always remain positive along the way. There won't be any pressuring or punishing. Thanks to that, HE LOVES IT! He really does. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thoughts on Homeschooling

We are still very seriously considering homeschooling our children. 
{Click here to read my initial post on this topic}

I haven't exactly figured out how I plan to arrange it all. I know that I want to devote an entire room in our house to homeschooling. I'm envisioning a chalkboard wall, all of the map/letters/numbers/etc artwork I've accumilated on the walls, organized cubbies and bookshelves, fun bulletin boards, a cute table and chairs...

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

I've also figured out which math curriculum we plan to use. I did a lot of research {and talked to a lot of local homeschooling mamas} and have decided we're probably going to be using Math U See. It is a complete K-12 math curriculum, and from what I understand, seems to work well for all different learning types. The math curriculum is pretty important to me, because I struggled with math in school, and I want a strong curriculum so that my children will hopefully have an easier time than I did learning and grasping even the most difficult math concepts.
Source: via Jess on Pinterest

I haven't quite decided out how I plan to tackle the rest of the subjects. We will be using some workbooks, and I found a Catholic curriculum I'm interested in. I doubt we will be sticking to a strict curriculum, though... especially not for English/composition/reading. Those are my passions. I've found some fantastic reading lists organized by age/grade that I plan to use. We will definitely be taking field trips to nearby museums, factories, historical sites, etc as I'm a big believer in hands-on learning.

 I will keep you all updated as I do more exploring and research... and am ALWAYS open to suggestions!

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
- Nelson Mandela

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 new year's resolutions

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

#1: To find myself again
The other day, when on my facebook, I realized something. My "about me" section on facebook says this: "I'm a 23 year old army wife and a blogging, attachment parenting, baby wearing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering mama." 

Yes, I am all of those things... but what else? It seems my entire life revolves around taking care of my babies, washing diapers, doing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning, and cooking. Sure, those are all important things... but what do I do for ME? Who am I, besides a wife and mother? Until recently, I was struggling with that question.

Don't get me wrong. I love being a mom... but somewhere along the way, I seem to have lost myself. I used to have hobbies, hopes, dreams, and ambitions... and over the past couple years, all of that went out the window. There is so much more to me and my life than just the role of being a good mother.

So my NUMBER ONE priority this year is finding myself again. Regaining my sense of self outside of being a stay-at-home mom. For that reason, you won't see any resolutions like "be a better mom/wife/etc" on my list this year. This year, I'm focusing completely on improving my own personal life and making myself truly happy.

#1: Becoming a better photographer
If you asked me a few years ago, before my children were even a twinkle in my eye, what I would want to do with my life, the answer would be simple: "become a photographer."

This year, I'm focusing on trying to make that goal a reality. First, I finally sat down with my camera and some good books/articles and figured out how to use my camera manually. After a lot of practice with things like manual focusing, aperture, shutter speed, etc... I am finally comfortable shooting in Manual about 95% of the time.

Second, I made a facebook page and started taking pictures for others in order to learn more and build up a portfolio. If you haven't visited Jess Gougeon Photography on facebook, please do! :) and if you live in the central Texas area... feel free to shoot me a message!

#2: Start Running Again
I used to be an avid runner. I ran track and cross country in middle school, high school, and college. Yet, for whatever reason {bedrest while pregnant, then lack of time? lack of energy? I don't know.} I haven't gone for one single jog since finding out I was pregnant with Elliot. If you do the math, that means that after running basically every day for eight years, I just flat out stopped running altogether for the last three years.

I really miss it. Call me crazy, but for me there is no better feeling than coming to the end of a long run, finally stopping and stretching while sweat pours from every pore on your body, your lungs burn, and your heart hammers in your chest.

I want to start taking time every evening to spend 30-60 minutes on my own, going for a nice run, with my favorite music filling my ears. That sounds simply wonderful!

Other Resolutions: 
To eat less meat and processed foods, to lose the last 5 lbs of baby weight, to take time to READ again, finally put together photo books of our marriage and the boys' pictures, to blog more, to grow my hair out until it's super long, shiny, and healthy... to do a 365 photography project, to start eating dinner at the table again, to be the best wife and mother that I can be {okay, I said I wouldn't say that, but it's still important to me}.

So those are my goals. What do YOU want to do with this new year?