Monday, February 21, 2011

Do you Swag?

So, you might have noticed the new swagbucks banner flying over there in the sidebar. I've been using the swagbuck's search engine for a year now. I've had fun using it- it doesn't take a lot of time, and it's simple. And if you aren't already using swagbucks... Maybe it's time you checked it out too.

It's pretty simple. Click on the banner to get started creating your account. Once you've created an account and downloaded the toolbar, start searching and winning. I use the search box for any site I might go to rather than typing in the address. For example- instead of typing in and going directly to my blog, I would use the search box and type in something like "sarahs coffee break" instead. Swagbucks are rewarded randomly for searches and are saved up to be traded in for gift cards, prizes, etc.- my favorite is the $5 Amazon gift card. You can use multiple gift cards on an order. Can't beat free.

There are other ways to earn swagbucks too. Codes, surveys, referrals (hint, hint). Mainly, I've stuck to just the searches. Last year without doing anything other than searching I had slightly upwards of $50 in Amazon cards. $15 so far this year. Not bad for not really doing much. So if you spend a lot of time online- or a little- what are you waiting for? Get swagging!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Things that go bump in the night...

I'm really not normally a chicken. I've gotten quite used to my husband working the afternoon shift and sometimes the night shift without much of a thought. Even during the crazy wind storm when this old house was shaking in it's foundation, I wasn't phased. Eh. Just wind. Nothing to worry about. What's meant will be.

Well, hah. Tonight it's silent. The children are sound asleep. And about an hour ago, I heard something come crashing down in the basement and- no kidding- I thought for sure someone was creeping around my house. I was upstairs in my room at the time, so big-brave-me, I tiptoed down to the living room- clutching the phone, ready to dial for help. I stood in the middle of the living room staring at the basement door, imagining all sorts of scenarios. Debated about calling one of my big brothers to come investigate but couldn't quite bring myself to the humiliation that situation could evoke for years to come. Because, being rational, I knew it was very unlikely that the noise was caused by anything other than something simply falling. Still. I was spooked. (And apparently admitting it for all to see on here is somehow less humiliating. Yeah. Somehow.)

So instead, I dragged the bookcase in front of the basement door and then wedged a bench from the kitchen between the handle and the wall. Then I stood back admiring my crafty work. I'm sure it would really stop an intruder. At least I keep telling myself that as I continue to hear the typical creaks that tonight make up a colorful array of ridiculous illusions.

I've got two phones next to me in case one should fail to work. And a rubber mallet under my bed. And I'm quite certain I have my plan of defense all worked out. You know. Just in case. In fact, I have several. So it's best not to mess with me or my rubber mallet.

Oh. And I think I just heard my husband pull up outside. I wonder if he'll notice the bookcase and the bench.

I will most definitely require him to check the situation out, though. You know- just to see what fell. What, me? Scared of a little noise? Pshaw. Whatever.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday to my three year old!

Every morning for the past several weeks, Hannah has asked, "It my birthday today?" She's been anticipating turning three for quite some time. And anticipating the presents and the cake even more. Today, she turned three. Except she has to wait a few more days for her cake. And the party she's been imagining in her mind. A couple of her aunts gave her presents today and Grandma's came last week, though. So I think she's pretty content with that. Lucky girl.

Sometime in the past year, my little girl somehow became one of the 'big kids'. She went from sitting at my feet, to building forts with her brother and playing dolls with her sister. She's independent, so very, very independent in so many ways. Loves to declare, "I'll do it myself, Mom." And, yet she's a cuddler. From the start, she was the only one of my babies that would lay her head on my shoulder and fall asleep that way. Didn't really care too much about what kind of chaos was going on around her. She was born at a very busy point in our lives and when the craziness of our school schedule became too much- she was the quiet little place that kept me sane.

I remember when she was a baby, I would sometimes worry that she slept too much. Relaxed and content, she loved her sleep. Even now, she decides at about 6:30 each night that she's tired. And that's that. She'll be sitting at the table coloring and decide it's time for bed and off she goes. Just like that.

She makes us laugh- comes up with responses like, Ha, ha. Very funny. Acts like such a big girl when she is still so very much my little girl. She loves her dolls. Loves playing outside in the snow with her big sister & brother. Loves sleeping at Grandpa's & Grandma's. And when you ask her who's sweetheart she is, she'll almost always reply, "Grampas!"

So, even though we won't 'celebrate' her birthday until Sunday when Dad is off work, today we're wishing her a happy birthday. And hoping three is every bit as wonderful as two was for our little girl.

Happy Birthday, Hannah!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Our Baby Is One!

I love birthdays. I love the celebrations, the remembering, the way everyone treats the birthday kid like they are the queen or king for a day. Today, the littlest one of our crew turned one. One. As in- an entire year has gone by since she was born. So much has happened, time has passed, life has progressed- and still it seems like we were just walking through the hospital doors. But, now suddenly we're walking around the house with little chubby fists wrapped around our fingers, while little feet below learn to tentatively put one in front of the other.

Last winter, much time was spent cuddling our little baby close. Cozying up in the rocking chair, holding tight to baby days that we knew would pass so quickly. And pass they did- with the weeks stacking up against each other so quickly it left me overwhelmed once again at how fast things change, how quickly time moves forward. And then sometimes- while in the midst of the long nights, the crying jags, and her lack of naps- I would again feel overwhelmed, wondering when it all would change.

And yet, here she is- past the baby stage, but still so very much a baby. Tucking her head onto my shoulder, twisting her arm up to touch my face, looking up at me with such trust. Every age is so beautiful for it's own reasons. So many times throughout my children's lives I exclaim, I love this age! And I do. I love how she crinkles her eyes and waits for us to all laugh at meal time, I love how she gets so excited she bounces across the floor on her knees. I love how she can play for awhile- exploring all around without a care- and suddenly she starts to whimper and comes crawling over for some hugs before she's off again. I love the way she imitates words with sounds, the way she gets so excited when everyone cheers for her as she stands next to the couch with only one hand.

As I watched her today, excitedly examining the cupcake she'd been given, I thought, slow down baby! Time is going too fast!  But of course, time will not really slow down. Not in the rush of every day life. And so when she comes over to me for hugs, when she cries out for me in the wee hours of barely morning, when she still looks for that bottle at some point during the night, I will linger with her in my arms. Hold on to my one year old girl, kiss her round cheeks, and feel the beauty of life slowing down for just a moment. Because all too suddenly, she will be two.

Happy first birthday, my sweet baby girl! One is such a fun age to be!