Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Big Bunch of Pictures

Admit it...you all like the pictures best. You just tolerate the words so you can see the pictures. Well, then, today is your day...LOTS of recent pictures!
Emma & Jackson (Angie's kids)
more Emma & Jackson
wearing Jackson's hat
At Bunco, my cranky boy finally fell asleep wrapped in Jackie's bath towel...and Jackie gave him some chocolate.
Alexander Cole with Cole Alexander...who share the same name & the same birthdate
(Jackie's son)
This "baby" wants some blog time, too. She's a little attention starved lately, hence the jumping in the couch cushions & getting stuck because she's so excited to greet Daddy.
Let's eat! (Pizza Hut, waiting for our food)
It was a beautiful day, so they enjoyed the porch swing at Nana's.
Nana & Alex
Alex's current favorite toy (because it's very chewable!)

Doesn't my little man look handsome and grown-up? (Maggie's guarding him.)
He's watching LOTS of TVs at Best Buy. I don't turn on the TV at all during the day, but Alex sure loves to watch the bright moving colors when he sees one!Grandma only got to hold him for a few happy minutes at the waffle breakfast before he started getting sleepy & crying.
Emma had him while he was still happy.
Aunt Janice fed him bits of waffle. No more baby time for Aunt Janice ;)

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Today’s post is brought to you by the letters “D-a-d-d-y”. Dawn’s been asking me to do one of the posts and today seemed like a pretty good day for that. It was a pretty unique day. For starters, Alex slept for 8 solid hours last night! That’s not a first, but it doesn’t happen very often. It was good for us to “catch up” a bit on our own sleep. As for the rest of the day, our favorite Christian radio station, Shine.fm was broadcasting from our church this morning. It was fun to hear some of our friends as they were interviewed on the radio. Better them than us :)

This afternoon, a group called FirePro Wrestling was at the church as well. I got over the wrestling thing years ago, but this is a Christian wrestling group that brings a “family friendly” message with wrestling. So Alex and I went and watched, while Mommy stayed home and slept. Alex was in awe. He was enamored with all of the action and I thought it was pretty entertaining too. It was obviously staged, but we all know that’s what pro wrestling is all about. I was impressed though at how much work and practice obviously went into all of it. And to be able to take Alex was pretty special. He obviously loved it too and I look forward to more “Daddy days” like this. I called Dawn towards the end of the show to have her come up. I didn’t want her to miss watching how much fun Alex was having.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Week of Firsts

Our boy is 4 months old today. Everyone says the time just flies, and it's proving to be true. There are moments that drag, but Alex is growing up too quickly!

He experienced several "firsts" this week:

  • rolling over (on Wednesday night)
  • sitting in his high chair (on Thursday while Mama cooked dinner)
  • drinking from a sippy cup (Friday, at pediatrician's request)
  • rice cereal from a spoon (Friday, at pedi's suggestion)
  • giggle (Friday)

The rolling over was not exactly intentional...he was on his tummy & mad. When he pushed with his hand, he flipped. He was momentarily startled to find himself on his back, but then quickly returned to wailing.

The sippy cup went okay. We removed the spill-proof piece so that the water just dribbles into Alex's mouth. His pediatrician wants him to have about 4 oz a day now, especially as the weather is getting warmer. She also suggested we try rice cereal because Alex is such a piggy! :) We started with cereal so runny it was almost like milk. We'll thicken it a little more each day until he really "gets" it.

The giggle gets a post of its own. Hopefully it doesn't take a zillion years to watch the video!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day To You!

I promise this is still Alex's blog, but since it's Earth Day, I'm straying a bit...

Yesterday I was reading some Earth Day articles online while the baby napped. They pointed out some facts I had never considered. When we think of being "green", we think of buying organic & environmentally friendly products. This article made a very valid point: Do you have to buy it at all?

Another article I read made the point that, even when we need something, we don't necessarily have to buy new. Shopping at thrift stores & garage sales is actually helping the environment. I had never thought of it that way before, but I suppose it's true. You're giving new life to something that might otherwise end up in a landfill. You're getting what you need, saving money, and helping the environment. Frugal & Green go hand-in-hand.

My challenge to myself is to really consider the purchases we make. Now, that new entertainment center that I'm wanting so badly doesn't seem quite so important.

My challenge for all of you is to find one way to change your lifestyle to be more "green" (and, as a side-benefit, more frugal) in 2008. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use more rags & less paper towels.
  • Switch to an earth-friendly dishsoap (I'm loving 7th Generation dishsoap from Target. They have coupons on their website that make it the same price as any other dishsoap. I'm pretty sure Palmolive just came out with a more earth-friendly dishsoap, if you prefer a brand you recognize.)
  • Wash your clothes at a lower water temp. I'm washing most of our clothes in cold water now, and I don't think we're dirty or stinky! ;)
  • Buy a refillable water bottle instead of a 24 pack of bottled water. (That was a hard change for us, but now I *love* our reverse osmosis filter on the sink!)
  • Think before making purchases...are they necessary? Will you use it for a short time, and then get rid of it? If you buy it, will you dispose of something similar that still has a little life left in it?
  • Before throwing things away, try freecycle.org. It may benefit someone in your community instead of ending up at a landfill.

Here's the article that really got me thinking:

Are We Going Green With Guilt?
By Monica Hesse
The Washington Post

Congregation of the Church of the Holy Organic, let us buy.
Let us buy the eco-friendly 600-thread-count bed sheets, milled in Switzerland with U.S. cotton, $570 for queen-size.

Let us purge our closets of those sinful synthetics, purify ourselves in the flame of the soy candle at the altar of the immaculate Earth Weave rug, and let us buy, buy, buy until we are whipped into a beatific froth of free-range fulfillment.

And let us never consider the other organic option — not buying — because the new green consumer wants to consume, without all the hand-me-down baby clothes and out-of-date carpet.

There was a time when buying organic meant Whole Foods and farmers markets. But in the past two years, the word has seeped out of the supermarket and into the home store, into the vacation industry, into the Wal-Mart. Almost three-quarters of the U.S. population buys organic products at least occasionally; between 2005 and 2006, the sale of organic nonfood items increased 26 percent, from $744 million to $938 million, according to the Organic Trade Association.

The privileged, eco-friendly American realized long ago that SUVs were Death Stars; now we see that our gas-only Lexus is one, too. Best replace it with a 2008 LS 600 hybrid for $104,000 (it actually gets fewer miles per gallon than some traditional makes, but, see, it is a hybrid).
When renowned environmentalist Paul Hawken is asked to comment on the new green consumer, he says, dryly, "The phrase itself is an oxymoron."

Oh ho?

"The good thing is, people are waking up to the fact that we have a real (environmental) issue," says Hawken, who cofounded Smith & Hawken but left in 1992, before the $8,000 yard became de rigueur. "But many of them are coming to the issue from being consumers. They buy a lot. They drive a lot."

The culture of obsolescence has become so deeply ingrained that it's practically reflexive. Holey sweaters get pitched, not mended. Laptops and cellphones get slimmer and shinier. We trade up every six months and hope we're buying the right things, though sometimes we're not sure:

When the market research firm Hartman Group asked devout green consumers what the USDA "organic" seal meant on a product, 43 percent did not know.

Which is why something gets lost in translation.
Polyester = bad. Solution? Throw out the old wardrobe and replace with natural fibers!
Linoleum = bad. Solution? Rip up the old floor and replace with cork!
It's done with the best of intentions, but that "bad" vinyl flooring was probably less destructive in your kitchen than in a landfill (unless it was a health hazard). Ditto for the older, but still wearable, clothes.

And that's not even getting into the carbon footprint left by a nice duvet's 5,000-mile flight from Switzerland. (Oh, all right: a one-way ticket from Zurich to Washington produces about 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide.)

Really going green, Hawken says, "means having less. Everyone is saying, 'You don't have to change your lifestyle.' Well, yes, actually, you do."

But, but, but — buying green feels so guiltless. "There's a certain thrill, that you get to go out and replace everything," says Leslie Garrett, author of "The Virtuous Consumer," a green shopping guide.

Garrett describes the conflicting feelings she and her husband experienced when trying to decide whether to toss an old sofa: "Our dog had chewed on it — there were only so many positions we could put it in" without the teeth marks showing. But it still fulfilled its basic role: "We could still sit on it without falling through."

They could still subscribe to the crazy notion that conservation was about ... conserving. Says Garrett, "The greenest products are the ones you don't buy."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bright, Sunshine-y Day

Sunday was beautiful! We went to the park for a walk & grilled hamburgers. Not much to say, but a few cute pictures...

Alex Has A College Scholarship :)

Yes, you read that correctly, my smarty-pants already has a college scholarship. If you can read it, though, you'll see that it's not based on his incredible genius abilities. I updated my personal information for Olivet's database, and they sent us a gift and a scholarship. When Alex is ready for college, he has a $1000 scholarship for ONU. (I'm sure at that point, it will cover one week of classes! Ha!)

They also sent us a (BIG) bib that says "Future Olivetian". It might fit Danielle...perhaps we'll get her to wear it long enough for a photo ;)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What a busy week!

Okay, we're back to Alex-oriented "stuff"! We've had a busy week! We went to see Grandma & Grandpa Schurman, hung out in Grandpa's office, visited the photographer's studio with Granmda and Aunt Deb, Janice, and Donna to pick our family portraits, had lunch with Grandma Purdy & Nana...and the week's not over yet! We're taking Grandma & Papa Purdy out to dinner for their anniversary tonight.

The weather has been beautiful this week, so we've tried to spend time outside each day. We've taken short walks in the neighborhood, sat on the front porch, sat on Nana's swing, or at least had the windows open & the fresh air coming inside.

Alex has started really catching on to grabbing and playing with things this week. He's purposely grabbing toys (and Grandpa's glasses). He's learned that he can jump in his Jumperoo seat. He woke up & played with his crib soother rather than crying. He's growing up! Aaaah! He's gonna be in college before I know it! :)

We went through a few weeks of less-than-ideal sleep, but he's back on track again...sleeping 7 or 8 hours at night. Yay! Most nights he goes to sleep at about 10:30 and gets up at about 6:15. We'll see how long it lasts. He's getting pretty good at falling asleep independently in his crib, too. Good boy! :)
My Aunt Shari, who lives in Michigan, sent us a baby gift this week. I'm soooo in love with it! I was eyeing one of these tag blankets at Meijer the other day, but decided I didn't need to spend money on it. The very next day, Aunt Shari's package arrived with this ADORABLE handmade blanket in it. That beats a store-bought blanket any day!

By the way, when our family photos are online at the photographer's website, I'll post the password & link for you to view the pictures. They're awesome!

Here are some pictures from this week.
jumpin' in his Jumperoo

watching TV with Daddy
Watch out, Alex...he's going to eat you!
Alex's new blanket from Aunt Shari
Helping Grandpa in his office
with Aunt Deb at the photographer's studio
with Aunt Deb again
I don't think he's big enough for this menu, but the waitress left it on our table.
hangin' out at Nana's house

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Karen Is Cool

This is totally non-Alex related. I just have to tell the world how cool my friend Karen is. Thanks to her, I'm getting better at using coupons the "right" way. Today, I saved $51 at Meijer by matching coupons with sales. It costs about $10 in gas to get there & home, but I think it's worth it to save $51!

A few of my "steals":

  • diaper ointment for free (normally 3.99)
  • 6 boxes ofLife cereal for $1/box
  • 6 boxes of Cascadian Farms cereals for $2.50 each (not bad for organic!)
  • a $7 pork roast for $3.15
  • $10 off Muir Glen tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salsa (organic)
  • a canister of Gerber Rice cereal for $0.89 (normally $2.89)

There are others, too, but those were my best deals of the day. I got:

  • 2 weeks worth of groceries (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • a teething toy for Alex
  • a Fannie May trinidad for Keith
  • a pint of Haagen Dazs
  • a 20 oz bottle of root beer to drink on the way home
  • 12 rolls of toilet paper
  • laundry detergent

All for $89.65!!!
(You know it's a good deal when the cashier wants to know how you did it & where you get your coupons.)

I might have to buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread before the two weeks are up, but I think that's about it. Like I said, Karen is cool! :)

Here's what we're eating, by the way...10 meals & leftovers for the other nights

grilled smoked sausage
pork roast
bbq pork sandwiches
peachy chicken
penne pasta
crock pot pizza

Monday, April 14, 2008

50th Anniversary, Part 2

I forgot to mention that we get to see/order the family pictures on Thursday. I don't know when we'll get the pictures, but I'll scan & post them at that time. It was actually a really fun time, and I look forward to seeing how the pictures turned out. We did a white shirt & jeans thing, so it's a casual look. Keith, Alex, & I also had our first family picture taken.
On to Sunday...

watching the DVD of Mom & Dad
Tony, Keith, Alex, David
Mom & Dad with aunts and uncle
Mom with her siblings, looking at the scrapbooks
Derek & Greg
Mmmm....dogbone cake!
Happy 50th!
Surprise! Howie & Ellie came!
Mom & Dad with VanderWells

party tables
Danielle & Alex
Josh & Matthew

Edited for baby book purposes: Alex did NOT sleep overnight this weekend. He woke up between 3 & 3:30, wanting to eat and then snuggle in my arms for the rest of the night. We tried letting him cry it out (for an hour, after which he slept a measley 3o minutes). The next night, we tried comforting him every so often (which did no good). We tried putting him down on his tummy, which did get him to sleep from 5:30 - 7:30 AM...but we had to get up & ready to go at 7. Oh well...such is life!

He was an amazingly good boy through all the craziness of Saturday & Sunday, and we're so glad! Sunday night - Monday, we kept him up later than he wanted, fed him LOTS in the evening, added an extra layer of PJs in case he was cold, and put him to sleep swaddled & on his side. He slept from 10:30 - 6:30! Which of these helped? I don't know! Too many factors to figure it out...but maybe we'll do it all again tonight, ha! (Explanations: we're swaddling with one arm in, one arm out, hoping to break him of the swaddle before long. Also, Keith thought the baby might be cold at night because Keith has been waking up cold at night.)