Thursday, March 22, 2012

22 Months

Why yes.... that is a super cute 22 month old in that picture above!  I can't even begin to tell how much fun Kennedie is now a days!  I really just love this stage that she's in.  I love that she understands everything that I tell her & that she can pretty much communicate everything to me (even if no one else can understand).  I love that she will randomly tell me things that I had no idea that she knew the meaning of.  She smiles & laughs so much, & she's just so much fun I can hardly stand it.  I will find myself just smiling from ear to ear throughout the day at something funny she said or did.... it's awesome! So here is the low down on what has been going on this last month:

Fun little Kennedie:

-The biggest thing this month is that you've become interested in pottying!!!!  I have no idea about this whole potty training thing at all... I should probably order a book or something (any recommendations?).  You have tinkled on the potty 3 times and pooped on the potty 3 times!  You normally tell us potty after you have already gone, but occasionally you will tell us before-hand.  (Does anyone have any advice as far as all of this is concerned?  Is this too early to start this process, or do you have something that has worked well for your child?)
- You are adjusting much better with Sawyer around the house.  You love her SO much & always want to help out.  We were having some problems with you listening to us at first, but now you are starting to mind again much  better.
- You still pretty much want us to hold you 24 hours a day.  I think you see Sawyer being held so much and so you want to be held too.
- You love to "wace" (race) and you love it when we "dit you" (get you)!
- This week you actually started trying to call your Cowboy (my dad) by his name.  You used to call him "boy" and now you will say "Towboy."  You call "Towboy" on your phone all the time or you pray for "Towboy."  It's so cute!!!  You tell me all about the "hosies" (horses) and that the cows say "moo" anytime you talk about him.
- You have said "Baxton" (Braxton- our nephew) for a few months now, but we haven't been able to get you to say Cason or Mikalie because their names are to hard to pronounce for you.  This month you have started to point to their picture and say "Tason" and "Talie"... So cute!  You always ask about them & "whe at?"  or say "swimin" because you got to swim with them this month when they were in town.
- You have started to say your own prayers this month!  I LOVE this!  You will repeat us when we say, "Dear God" you say "Dod" and then we say thank you for all of our family & alot of times you will go on to say family member's names without us prompting you.  This just melts my heart.  I love that you are already talking to our Father.
- One of my favorite things is that you will cover your face and say "whe she at...... there you go."  You say this also when we dress you & your shirt goes over your face, or when Sawyer is getting clothes on... or you'll cover our face with your hands and say it.  It is just the cutest thing EVER!
- You are pretty much wearing only 18 month clothing now.  It's still a little big on you, but 12 month stuff is pretty much officially to small now.
- You still take two 1&1/2 hour to 2 hour naps a day.  You are doing great in your big girl bed.  At night I think you've had a few nightmares this month because sometimes you will cry out for us.... I'm not sure if it's that or if Sawyer grunts or something and wakes you up.  You have woken up several times this month due to her crying, but you just go right back to sleep after we kiss you & calm Sawyer down.

Sweet Kennedie, you are just too much fun right now.  Everything you do or say just tends to make me smile.  I love your fun little full-of-life personality & how excited you get about the smallest things.  I love that you are learning how to pray and that you will start to try to sing some of the Bible songs with me.  It warms my heart to know that you are talking to the Lord.  You are so sweet and I just love holding you and rocking you and giving you kisses and hugs... and it's so fun to watch you and Daddy race.  You are just a little ray of sunshine & I'm so happy to be your Mommy.  You make me so happy sweetie. I love you so much!

(Don't forget to enter the giveaway!!  There is still time!  Click HERE to read about it & enter!)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I love that my girls love each other & that they are so close in age.  I am hoping that they will grow into best friends soon due to them only being 21 months apart.  I love that Kennedie wants to help do everything for Sawyer - help with her pacifier, help feed her, help get her dressed, help with her diaper.... Kennedie even rescues Sawyer from her bows & socks all the time! "How dare that bow get on her head or those socks on her feet!"  ;)  And I love that Sawyer is pretty easy going about Kennedie holding her, or touching her or patting her a little too non-gently.  It's all just too precious to me!  Here are a few pictures from their time together:

I just love my girls!!!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the giveaway valued at over $500.  You can click HERE to enter.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Oreck Magnesium Vacuum Cleaner Review and GIVEAWAY

Post written by Lantz Howard.

Next generation of Oreck user. 
Years ago I was given a used Oreck vacuum cleaner from my father during college. That vacuum cleaner served me well during my college days.  Since then, Jessica and I have faithfully used that same vacuum the last 7.5 years of marriage. I have had the vacuum at least 10 years and this particular Oreck vacuum is at least 15 years old and  possibly 18 years old. This vacuum is simple, lightweight, easy to clean and easy to repair. That is why I am ecstatic about our new Oreck vacuum cleaner!

The 4 factors stated above is what led us towards wanting a new Oreck once our old one started making noises and having a few other minor issues. (What do you expect? The vacuum is old and we have gotten our bang for our buck.) When we started noticing that it may be time to get a new vacuum cleaner, it was easy for us to get overwhelmed with all of the decisions to make. However, there was not really any decision to be made because Jessica simply stated she wanted another Oreck because it is so lightweight and easy to use. Despite knowing the decision, I always diligently research all products prior to purchasing. During this time I visited a local vacuum shop and thankfully had a Twitter (@oreck and @lantzhoward) conversation with Oreck. It was much to my surprise and delight that they offered a free vacuum for a blog review.

We are excited to say that we now have a NEW Oreck Magnesium Vacuum Cleaner.  And guess what?  You also have the opportunity to receive an Oreck Magnesium for FREE with this giveaway valued at $599. You can enter the giveaway, but first take a minute to read our review of the Oreck Magnesium.

As you can tell from the image on the left, the Magnesium is unique and different from most vacuums on the market. It is not made out of heavy plastic with tons of features that one will never use. Instead, this vacuum is sleek, modern, and simply made to be a vacuum for your carpet, tile, and hardwood floors. No gimmicks...just 102 m.p.h. of suction power with simple features to please everyone.

Immediately upon arrival at our house I opened the boxes and started vacuuming. Really...I vacuumed everyday for 5 days, not because the house was dirty, but because I wanted to give this Oreck Magnesium an honest review.

A few of the things I noticed upon the first time using the Oreck Magnesium was the modern design, the ergonomic feel,  functionality, powerful suction and brush, and light weight. This vacuum is the lightest upright vacuum on the market and maintains all the power from our previous Oreck. The weight is only 7.7 lbs, which makes a huge difference when you are carrying a toddler in your arm who wants to help you out.

Or if your toddler chooses to use the vacuum herself...well she can do that too. (See video below.)

We used this vacuum for 5 days in a row to test it out as best we could. On the 2nd and 3rd day we could honestly tell that our carpet was clean and fresh and appeared to have a "like new" appearance and feel to it. We typically vacuum our carpet 2 times a week and we recently had the carpet cleaned by the carpet was not dirty to begin with. So when we noticed it looked and felt different we knew that we loved our new vacuum cleaner.

Here are a couple of quick features that I really like about our new Oreck versus our vintage one:

In the three images below you can see the HEPA inner bag. All the rave with vacuums are to have a bag-less style system for easy cleaning. Personally, I do not find anything easy about cleaning a bag-less vacuum. You have to take the canister and dump it out somewhere and possibly create another mess to clean up with all the new dust particles in the air. Also, with a canister style vacuum you have a filter that you have to clean or replace. Oreck has a direct suction airflow and no need for a filter because the inner bag and the outer bags serve as the filter.

I did not realize this before the vacuum arrived, but it has a Saniseal system which makes cleaning as easy as 1...2...3. In the images below you can see how you unzip the outer bag and with one hand the bag and all the dust particles are sealed shut as you remove the bag. This is AWESOME and should be considered when purchasing a vacuum. 


I love the huge wheels with the new Oreck Magnesium. This provides for easy maneuverability around all types of flooring. 

Here are a couple of critiques about the Oreck Magnesium:

There is not a perfect vacuum, but this is close and you have to be willing to decide what features are a must versus those you can sacrifice for the sake of performance, functionality, and lightweight handling.

The ON/OFF switch is not easy to access. The switch is located on the body of the vacuum versus our older Oreck which had the switch on the hand grip.  The switch can almost feel cumbersome to reach down and turn the vacuum on or off.  I would rather be able to easily reach the button while vacuuming and not stop my flow. However, the switch does have a HI/LO feature, which comes in nice when transferring to tile, hardwood, or other smooth surfaces. 

The roller brush does not extend far enough to the edges. This is common in most vacuums, but I would like for Oreck to extend it a little further on each side. However, the roller brush does have 7,000 rpm.  It is recommended to replace the brush as it wears down.  I did previously replace the brush on our older Oreck.  I must say that the ease of cleaning and fixing an Oreck is amazing, but nontheless it seems like the roller could extend further out to the edges. 

The Oreck Magnesium does not come with on board attachments.  In my opinion this is not a bad thing because I choose function and ease of use over having a cumbersome vacuum and on board attachments. However, there is this awesome hand held vac that can go anywhere and clean what the upright cannot clean. I have cleaned tons of places with the hand held already and know I will take it outside to clean the cars in the very near future.

All in all we love our new vacuum cleaner and are super excited to be able to give one away!

If you would prefer to watch a short YouTube video about our review you can do that below. Then after the video follow the rules and instructions for entering the giveaway.

One lucky reader will win the Oreck Magnesium Vacuum Cleaner and Handheld Vac valued at $599

Follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter below. There is one mandatory entry and 8 other possible ways to enter your name in the drawing. Winner could be disqualified if they manipulate the drawing and entry formats. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sawyer is ONE month old!!

I thought I had prepared myself for how fast time flies with a new baby... I obviously under-prepared.  If I thought that time went by fast with one sweet little girl, it goes by doubly fast with two.  I can't believe that it's already been a whole month since this little angel joined our family. It's been so much fun!  Here is some facts that I didn't document last week in the 3 week post:

Precious Sawyer:

- I'm thinking sometime over this next week we'll put to rest your newborn clothes.  You are a growing girl!  I'm thinking you are already close to ten pounds, and I did some measuring of my own and it looks like you're already close to 24 inches long!  
- You were born with blue eyes, and they are still blue.  We'll see if that color sticks around, or if they'll change to brown like your daddy's eyes.
- You have my skin tone- a little darker than your sister's and your daddy's.  
- You are still eating every 2 & 1/2 hours, and at night you are waking twice to eat still.  You go down around 9:00, wake about 12:30 to 1:00 to eat, go back to sleep, wake at about 4:30 to eat, go back to sleep until about 8:00 am.  
- Your naps are not very consistent.  You will sometimes eat and stay awake until your next feeding, or you'll eat and then go to sleep until your next feeding.... it's all very random right now.
- You make the cutest little baby noises that I just love!
- You are a very good eater!  You are a great breastfeeder and you will also take a bottle if I pump.
- You started sleeping in your own bed in you & Kennedie's room when you were 5 days old.  (Coincidently your sister started sleeping in her own bed in her own room at 5 days old too!)  You and Kennedie do really great together at night.  We've had a few incidents where you have woken your sister up and vice-versa, but for the most part you guys sleep through each other's noises.  
- You are swaddled at night which you seem to like.
- You take FOREVER to burp sometimes... and if I get lazy (especially at the 4am feeding) after 20 minutes (no elaboration) of trying to get a burp out of you and lay you back down to sleep you will spit up.... no fun.  
- You take your giraffe Wubba-nub pacifier to calm you sometimes.

My sweet Sawyer... oh how my heart swells with love for you.  I could just stare at you for hours and watch your little movements.  I love how perfectly you fit in my arms and how you feel all snuggled up against me.  I feel so blessed that the Lord chose me as your mommy.  Your little random smiles are just adorable and they give me warm-fuzzies to see.  It's so special for me to see you and your sister together... I know you two will be the best of friends some day.  Little angel, I love you so much!  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sawyer is 3 Weeks old!

Man, if you think time flies when you have one kid- then try having two!  It seems like yesterday- literally- that we brought Sawyer home.  It's so crazy that she's been apart of our family for 3 weeks.  It's been so fun being a mommy of two girls, but wow!... it can be crazy at times.  I feel like I'll start to get the hang of it and then something happens, and I'm like... whoa- how am I supposed to do this?  Slowly but surely we'll get there.  

So..... here's a little bit about our newest family member:

- She is very laid back.... it's like she knows that she is the second child and that she just needs to go with the flow.
- Sawyer loves to eat!  She eats about every 2 and a half hours.  At first she was eating for about 12 minutes on each side, but now it's more like 7 minutes per side.  But when she eats she makes me laugh so hard.... she is so predictable.  She squirms and squirms to eat and when she gets latched on she'll suck for about 30 seconds to a minute (enough to let my milk fall) and then she will pull off and take a "breather" for about 30 seconds while my milk just pours out everywhere!  It's a wet process to eat that's for sure... but it never fails- it's like that almost every time.
- Sawyer is not a very good burper.... it takes us awhile to get a good burp at times, but every day she seems to be getting better and better.
- Sawyer went to the doctor for her two week check up last week, and lets just say that right now she is not following in her sisters footsteps as far as her size.  Right now she is a growing baby!  Sawyer weighed in last week at 8lbs and 12 oz (62%) and was 22" long (94%).... so she has grown 1lb & 4oz and an inch & a half in 2 weeks... CRAZY!  It's cause she is such a good eater!
-The first three nights were pretty rough on us.  She cluster fed all night the first three nights so we didn't get much sleep at all.  But then it's weird- she turned into an awesome sleeper.  I was having to wake her twice at night to feed her (Why wake her, you might ask... I just worry with her being so small that she needs to eat).  Then three nights ago I slept through my alarm, and so she only ate once.  Then two nights ago I tried to wake her twice again and she was just not interested in eating... she wanted to sleep. So last night we did one feeding again (I woke her) and she did great.... so we'll see... I'm thinking she is already transitioning to one feeding at night.  It worries me some, but I guess she'll wake up if she's hungry, and she is eating great during the day, so, I guess I'll get to sleep some more.  It makes me kinda sad though... during the night it's my only time with just the two of us and I get to gawk over her.... I may not be ready for her to only eat once even if she is. :)

Needless to say we are loving our new addition to the family.  It's so weird to be a family of four... I feel so grown up... or maybe just old.  Either way I am totally in love with my new little girl.... she is awesome! 

A few solo pictures of our little pumpkin-doodle over the last few weeks:

(PS- the HUGE giveaway is still coming soon- I promise!  Oh- and Sawyer's newborn pictures {so cute!} .... and a sister's post with K & Sawyer together!.... I'm really trying to catch up on my blogging!)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jesus Loves Me...

Family picture after Sawyer's first trip to church.  She was only 4 days old here:

Thank you dear God for my amazing family... thank you for my incredible husband who encourages me to be more like you and to walk in your truth.... thank you for my beautiful, sweet, healthy girls who daily teach me more about your love.  

First Bath

Sawyer's first bath at home.... she was a few days old here:

And just for fun.... the next picture is from Kennedie's first bath with the same towel:

Aunt Feather & Uncle Alice

The weekend after Sawyer was born my sister & her husband drove down to meet sweet Sawyer.  It was fun to get to show her off to them.  Kennedie loved spending time with her Aunt "Feather" & Uncle "Alice" as she likes to call them.