what's in a name - a huggies post


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

Today's post is all about the name game! What WILL you name that baby? What a huge job, right? You want to somehow find THE perfect name for that tiny little human you have been carrying around for the last nine months. It's a huge, daunting task that should not be taken lightly. Never mind that you don't really KNOW the person you are naming. 

With our boys, we knew we wanted a strong name for each of them. There are some boys' names out there that just don't scream BOY or man or strong. We wanted to name our boys something they would have to live up to. 

Naming Moses was much more difficult than naming Aaron. While pregnant with Moses, we went through name after name after name. Some of them I shudder to think of having used...and thankfully we didn't have a girl. I won't tell you what her name would have been. 

I was pretty far along with Moses (at the time still an unnamed baby) when Doug and I went out to dinner. The song "Moses" by Coldplay came on, and so we threw the name out there, batted it around a little, and before we left we had pretty much decided that our baby's first name would be Moses IF he was a boy. (With Moses, we didn't find out the sex before he was born.) When it came to picking a middle name, an easy choice emerged: Doug's grandpa is Austin, and we loved both the name and the man, so Moses Austin became our first little boy. 

When it came to naming Aaron, well, like I said it was much easier to name him. You can't have a Moses without an Aaron. We decided to keep with the grandfather line and used a name from Doug's other grandpa, Howard. That's also Doug's middle name and Doug's dad's middle name. It's also fun that Aaron's initials are the same as Doug's dad's. :) 

So both boys ended up with strong, meaningful names. Names they have to live up to. Names we love as much to this day as we did when we gave them.
My humble advice to you when naming your new baby? 

Look A LOT! Makes lists, look on the internet and books. I did not ask people, other than my husband, what to name my baby. People get all weird if you don't use their name suggestions. In fact...
DON'T tell anyone your baby's name or names you are considering. Wait to tell them until the baby is born. People are a lot less likely to weigh in on your choice once it's already written on the birth certificate. With Moses, only one person besides Doug and me knew his name. With Aaron we were a little more relaxed, but I think we kept the middle name a secret at least. Maybe.
And finally...you HAVE to agree with your husband on the name choice. You both have to love it. You can't wait until your husband is out of the room and rush the nurse to write up the birth certificate. Don't use an old boyfriend's name or some name your husband hates. Just think how YOU would feel about that. :)
Above all, give it lots of thought. And don't worry too much about how kids in school will make fun of it. No matter what you choose, kids will always find a way. :)
Be sure to check out all my other baby advice posts HERE. Worth a read, for sure!

Find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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hot fun in the summer time - a huggies post


I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!

This week's post is all about hot fun in the summer with that new little person you have! I would personally take a new baby in the summer over being very pregnant in the summer. I've done both, and believe me, carrying a baby whale in your arms is much easier than being a beached whale in the summer! A word to the wise that my doctor failed to share with me: If you are pregnant, you are more prone to sunburns than when you are not pregnant. I NEVER burn, ever, but the summer I was pregnant with Moses I got the worst sunburn I've ever seen and after only a very short time in the sun. I could barely walk it was SO bad! So be warned and save yourself some misery!

Now back to that baby.

There is little that I love more than to see a pudgy baby in a bathing suit splashing around in the water. We've had a lot of great memories with our little babies in the warm months. Even though they are little, you can still have a lot of fun!

The most important thing ever is sunscreen! I found out pretty quickly that I much prefer a spray to a cream. You can get it on quickly, evenly and thoroughly, and it comes in very high SPFs. Use it always and often, even if you think you will stay in the shade. Better safe than sorry! To date, the boys have never had a sunburn, and I plan to keep it that way! Now that they are older we make them wear special swim shirts with SPF built in as well. Pale is the new tan!

We also make a habit of staying out of the sun during the hottest and most sun-intense times of the day, which is generally from 11 to 2 or 3pm. You may even find that it's cheaper in some places to swim if you go for only the last hour the pool is open. This worked better for our schedule anyway. Lunch and naps were happening during the hottest hours, so it's not like we were missing out on anything.

Even with these precautions, you may find that it's just TOO hot to be anywhere near the outdoors. On those days we would lay low at home, hit the mall to walk around in the AC (say NO to mall play places!!!), or hit the library. We also found that our local bookstores would host storytimes, too! Even my little, little guys liked storytime!

The best part of summer? Less laundry! Most days baby will be happy in a onesie and a diaper...or skip the onesie altogether! The dry summer air is also great for getting rid of diaper rash in a jiffy! Just take off that diaper and head outside. Diaper rash will disappear! It did the trick for my boys every single time, even when diaper cream had failed us repeatedly. And you moms of boys: I also found that a dash of baby powder in the boys' diaper area helped to stave off the rash that can develop from them being overheated and sweaty.

If all else fails, buy a little old baby pool! Even the tiniest of babies can enjoy splashing around in one. And because they are still so tiny, you can get away with a tiny pool! Or a little bucket will work too! Just be sure to never leave baby unattended, and dump the water out when you are done!

Did I miss anything? What's your best trick to beat the heat with a tiny baby in the summer?

Be sure to check out the rest of my series HERE.

Check out the Huggies Mommy Answers Facebook app!
Find more posts from bloggers sharing their experiences of motherhood on the Huggies page on BlogHer.com.
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Reminders!

Don't forget...

it's not too late to enter to win...

a $500 SpaFinder gift card  On growing old{er}.

Win $100 with by making an ordinary day fun with Breyers!

And for good reading...be sure to check out my Huggies posts all about babies and life with them! :)

Have a super day!

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easy chicken tortilla casserole!


We made this for dinner the other night and it was SO good!  SO good I had to share!  Super easy and super tasty!  My favorite combo!

Here's how to make Easy Chicken Tortilla Casserole
3 cups of diced chicken
10 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 c shredded cheddar cheese
10 oz can Rotel tomatoes, drained
6 large flour tortillas

Mix together cooked diced chicken, soup, cheese and Rotel. Layer 3 flour tortillas on bottom of greased square dish (the edges of the tortillas will hand over the top), then ½ of mixture, then 3 more tortillas, then the other ½ of mixture.

Cover and heat at 375° for 20 min.

Top with a little more cheese and put back in the oven until it melts.  Serve with corn bread. :)a
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40 Ideas - Number 10 - Water Blob!

 Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com!  
I was positive this would not work.  I mean...you're making a giant water balloon for crying out loud.  And telling your kids to give it the what for on top of it.  But...it worked.  And my boys LOVED it. 
All you need is:
A plastic tarp ($3 or so at Lowes) Be sure to get the EXTRA HEAVY DUTY one.
And a roll of duct tape.  ($3 or so from Lowes)
Fold it in half halving the longest side.  My 9 by 12ft tarp became a 9 by 6ft blob.  On the three open ends you will want to fold it over a couple of times.  3-4 times to be safe.  I folded it over an inch each time.  Tape alllllllllllll along the sides.  I did a double row of duct tape. 
When you get to the end of the third side, leave an opening for your hose.
This is what it looked like before water.  You will want to keep your taped side UP so you can fix leaks if you need to.  Sorry for the less than stellar photo but it was SO bright outside this day, I couldn't see!
Place your hose in the opening and fill!  Mine ended up about 4-5in thick. 
The boys loved it!  They practiced swimming...
And relaxed...
And chilled out on it. 
And hoho...
...he jumped...and jumped and jumped. 
And jumped...
And it held up the whole time!  They even played with it the next day.  It was a pleasant surprise.  Next time I might try to make it into a seek and find and fill it with small soft toys that won't poke a hole...or maybe those foam shapes? 

Fun times!  Go make one!


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40 Ideas - Number 9 -Dino Eggs!


 Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com!  
Today's activity comes from April who blogs at The Gingerbread Blog.


In my household of boys there are a few things that are always a hit. They love cars, any building toys, water toys and dinosaurs. I remembered taking a trip to Legoland last summer and they had a dinosaur pit where the kids could dig for dinosaur eggs. The boys flipped out and had so much fun. I thought it would be a great activity if the kids could make and then crack open their own dinosaur eggs! They could pretend they were little archiologists.  

You will need:   
Small Plastic Toys 
1 1/4 cups dirt  
1 1/4 cups of flour  
3/4 cups salt  
1/2 cup sand  
1 Cup Water
Mix together all of the ingredients to make a moist paste.















Make a ball with your paste and place a small toy inside.















 The entire toy should be covered. If not the egg will be easily opened, and that would be no fun! Ha.















Let your dinosaur eggs sit in the sun until they are completely hard and dry. I let my eggs sit over night, just to give you an idea of how long it will take.  When totally dry you can let your kids crack open their eggs with their hands, toy hammers, paint brushes, or whatever tools they choose to use.

 














It took my almost 5 year old about 10 minutes to open his, and he did everything besided stomping on it with his foot. He actually wanted to do that but I told him no.... I hope your kids enjoy these dino eggs as much as mine did! april xoxo

I know my boys would love to do this!  Thank you April! :) Be sure to go say hi to her at The Gingerbread blog! 
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why U-haul sucks.

Oh U-haul.  You have gone and done it. 

In general, the theme of my blog and "product" placement is to share with you things that I think are awesome, worth the money or time spent and will in general help you out a little in life.  I choose my giveaways and product reviews based on whether you, my reader, would like them or not.  I pass on a lot of things... orthopedic shoes, books that I wouldn't read, random weird "other" things...that I don't think fit here. 

If I have a bad product or company experience, I generally don't mention it...or I do in passing.  Not saying you shouldn't...I just don't in general.  Usually, because I realize it could be a fluke or my fault.  I do my best to be gracious with companies, etsy sellers and waitresses.  More than once I have told sellers, just choose a color/style/etc, I am sure I will like it.  Doug and I LOVE to over tip a good waiter or waitress.  One of our favorite vacation stories is about a waiter having a terrible day and us leaving him a 100% tip just because we recognized that his day was pretty sucky but he was still trying.  All that to say, I don't turn on a company or service person easily.

What WILL get to me is patterns of behavior and lack of compassion on a comany's part to do the right thing.

Take our U-haul issue.

A week before our move I went to U-haul's website to reserve a truck.  In particular I knew we would need a 26ft truck.  Being unable to secure one at other truck rental locations, I was delighted to find and "reserve" one through U-haul.  I made the reservation and did not give it a second thought. 

Here is the definition of reservation:

res·er·va·tion/ˌrezərˈvāSHən/

Noun:
  1. The action of reserving something.
  2. An arrangement whereby something, esp. a seat or room, is booked or reserved for a particular person.
That is NOT U-haul's definition.

At 6:59pm the evening BEFORE we moved and exactly ONE minute before they closed for the day, U-haul leaves a message saying that our 26ft truck is not available.  Lucky for us they could offer a 14ft truck and a small trailer that we could drive over an HOUR up and down a mountain to get (annoying for many reasons but mostly because there are SEVERAL pick-up stations within a couple of miles of our house).  We also needed to call them back to reserve it.  That LITTLE feat made impossible by the fact that they waited to call us until ONE MINUTE before they closed for the day.  The place we could pick up this fancy 14 footer didn't open until the next morning.  We had people coming to help us move.  We had, you know, based our entire move on this "reservation".  Our stuff would not fit in a 14ft truck!!

Somehow they thought that a 14ft truck would be just as good to us as a 26ft truck.  Above is a screenshot of U-Hauls front page...that states a "Reservation is guaranteed for location and equipment".  That apparently means absolutely nothing to U-Haul.  They have shown zero compassion or concern for the frantic pace they set to our move because we could do nothing about the truck situation until the next morning.

They say that moving is one of the most stressful events in your life.  It was not stressful on us until U-Haul went back on their word and left us with nothing to move our belongings to another city.  They did offer to "reserve" a 26ft truck for us the following week if we would like to reschedule.  Because that is normal for people to do.

Doug and I were without words, frustrated and a little panicked.  We had been living apart for over a month at this point and here we were possibly facing more time apart.

That night I went on U-Haul's facebook page and posted on their wall our situation and frustrations.

I got back a COLD email stating that "U-Haul reserves the right to change equipment and location pick-up".  I just did a dry run through the "reservation" process and NOWHERE do I see anything remotely like that.  Basically, they told us "Too bad".   What I did see was the screenshot above.

I called around in a panic the next morning.  Thankfully, Penske had a 26ft truck we could rent and reserve using the traditional meaning of the word.  The only catch is that it was going to cost us $677 MORE than the truck we had reserved with U-Haul.  

I moved on temporarily so that we could focus on moving knowing I would call U-Haul at a later point. 

Fast forward to today.  I have gone back and forth with them so many times I can't even count.  They have offered me a $50 credit which I kindly declined, reminding them how much more I had to spend because of their careless behavior.  They have been snarky behind closed doors while being all nice and mushy faced on their FB page.

Now like I said...I may not be so furious with this situation if you couldn't go onto their Facebook page and read story after story after story just like mine.  U-Haul seems to take a non-chalant attitude with customer service that no one seems to want to stand up to.  I, however, have nothing better to do with my time, being a stay at home mom and all.  :) I have kindly told them that I am not going away until they choose to make it right.  My next stop is the Better Business Bureau...right after I share this post with U-haul and my nearly half-million visitors a month. :)

If you have a similar story feel free to leave a comment AND be sure to go post it on their Facebook page. 

Happier things coming soon!

xo

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Make an ordinary day fun with Breyers {and a chance to win $100}!



We are ice cream people. Like, year-round, all-the-time, ice-cream-in-every-way-we-can-get-it people. We have tried every brand and in many countries. So when BlogHer and Breyers asked us to try out their new flavors--Breyers Blasts!® Chocolate REESE’S® and Breyers Blasts!® OREO® Birthday Blast! frozen dairy desserts -- we JUMPED at the chance. In fact, one of our favorite family stories revolves around Breyers.

True story. Want to hear it?

So, Doug and I are at the grocery store, pre-kids, and Breyers is on sale super-cheap, like 2 for $5 or something like that. He and I are both standing at the freezer doors, not agreeing on which two flavors to get. So, as good adults should, we agreed to both get two. Two each for our OWN consumption. I grab my two and Doug, apparently riddled with guilt, says loudly as he is grabbing his two, "This should be enough for the party!" That was years ago, and to this day we still use that phrase to excuse our large purchases. :) We're good at having fun wherever we go.
As it turned out, we were in NJ with family when we tried out the new flavors. No better time to kick off the summer and have a little fun! The day was hot and perfect for some frozen treats!
Here's how Breyers describes the new flavors:
  • Breyers Blasts! Chocolate REESE’S: Chunks of REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup pieces and REESE’S Peanut Butter swirled in chocolate frozen dairy dessert.
  • Breyers Blasts! OREO Birthday Blast!: OREO cookie pieces and rainbow sprinkles in artificially flavored cake-flavored frozen dairy dessert.
To give the new flavors the best fighting chance, we told the boys we could make sundaes with whatever toppings they wanted. We had sprinkles, hot fudge, waffle bowls, whipped cream and more. Then we let the boys dictate the building of their sundaes.
Everyone had a great time building their sundaes and enjoying the new flavors. Moses was especially ecstatic. This just goes to show that it doesn't take much to make an ordinary day into a FUN one!
My nephew Blake decided that he likes to party without a spoon. It's cool...whatever gives you the best time, Blake! We all had a great time, the new flavors were awesome, and Moses is still talking about how fun it was to make his own sundae creation! It's the little things, friends! :)
It was all fun and games until I declared it bath and bed time.

How would you and your family enjoy Breyers Blasts!? Leave a comment on this post and you could win a $100 Visa gift card for your answer! :) You can also check out their new flavors HERE.

Here are the deets:
Rules: No purchase necessary. No duplicate comments.You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion using hashtag #sweeps and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate free form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 6/28 to 7/26.
Be sure to visit the Breyers Blasts! brand page on BlogHer.com, where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!
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new home tour - downstairs edition

Believe it or not...we're nearly all settled in here.  Have been for a couple of days.  During this whole process, I've heard from many that it's common practice to live out of boxes and with bare walls for weeks or months after a move.  I just can't live like that...I wanted to "make home" and get on with life...so to speak.

Our new house is amazing...nearly twice the square footage of our house in Charlottesville.  There is a great story behind it but I will tell you that part during the next Ebeneezer segment.  It's pretty good. My favorite part of this house is the light!! So much natural light that we hardly turn on a lamp during the day.  It's lovely.  I just can't get enough of it.  Our neighborhood is pretty quiet too...with a nice loop that the boys can ride their bikes all the way around, something we have done every day since we moved in.    

Let's start the tour...above is our living room...with our awesome new couch.  Once it was in place we decided that we needed another armless piece to lengthen that part under the photo wall.  It should be here in 14-21 days. :)
This is what you see when you walk in the front door...
The view from the couch...
View from the couch again...all the way to the right.  That's my studio there!
Next to the living room is what we are using as a dining room.  I have no idea what kind of a room this is supposed to be but it works perfectly as a living room for us.  Table will soon have a aqua and white chevron rug under it.  
This is my inspiration corner.  Sad?  Stand here and read until it passes.  All prints are from Etsy.
Random hodgepodge of happy things.
From the dining room you can see the kitchen. 
More kitchen...
...our heritage wall...a little Norway, Dutch and Swedish in here...
And the light!!! I mean the kitchen.  Rug is from Urban Outfitters.
Kitchen leads to studio...
And the happiest place on Earth.  At least to me. Rug is from Ikea. 


And there's the living room again.
And a tiny cute bathroom off of the kitchen. 

We love everything about this house.  Did you know that I didn't even see it until the day we moved in? 

Talk about trust in a marriage! :) Doug did a great job. 
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Reminders...

Don't forget...

it's not too late to enter to win...

a $500 SpaFinder gift card  On growing old{er}.

a $150 Target gift card on 3M projector fun AND a chance to win $150 Target gift card!!

And for good reading...be sure to check out my Huggies posts all about babies and life with them! :)

Have a super day!  Come back tomorrow for a tour of my new house!!


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40 Ideas - Number 8 - Fabric Scrap Monograms!

 Welcome to my lofty dream of providing you with 40!!! fun activities you can do with your kids!  Many at the drop of a hat!  I bet for many of these you will have the materials you need on hand or can find them at the dollar store or on the cheap at the local craft store!  This list will contain simple, cheap and FUN crafts or activities that ANYONE can do!  And better yet, they will be kid tested and approved!

If you would like to be a guest blogger in this series email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail . com!  
Today's activity comes from Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy!


i'm pretty sure i've confessed it before, but i don't really love crafting with the kids (*GASP*). i think it may be partially because of my youngest's age (and general nuttiness), but it tends to be more chaotic than fun. and i think crafting should be fun!
but awhile back i decided to get off my tail and come up with a fun monogram craft. my kids love their initials and have since they were first able to recognize "their letter".
i found a bold font and printed just the outline of it on some white cardstock (i get mine from walmart).
i use every last scrap of fabric, so this pleased me so much to put to use the itty bittiest of pieces!
i helped guide silas in his color selections, but let the girls have free reign.
we glued inside the lines and i cut all the pieces small enough to fit inside, then let him place each piece wherever he wanted.
this was such an easy, quick craft that there wasn't even any time for crying or complaining!
gracie wanted all of her pieces to fit exactly within the lines.
i love how different they all are, especially lily's 2 random pieces!
you can frame them for each kid, or even make it a bigger project and print out a whole word, like S-U-M-M-E-R, and string them together for a super cute banner!

So very fun!  Thank you Lindsey!  Be sure to check her lovely self and blog at The Pleated Poppy!
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