Monday, April 28, 2014

More Jack

Hannah finally loaded the pictures of Jack to my computer…wait…that probably isn't the right lingo, but you know what I mean, right??

So, here's a picture overload of my Little Man!!

Be still my beatin' heart!!!

Why yes, I AM the cutest boy on earth!

He looks like a Big Boy in this striped onesie!

Discovering his hands

I think he's tired of getting his pictures taken.

This is my Little Man.

So, thanks for looking at his pictures.  Every time I see his face, I feel like the sun is shining bright and clear!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Littles Clothes

Today I thought I'd post about my favorite brands of baby and kids clothing.

The idea has been running around in my head for quite some time now.

Since I do have 9 children and have 19 years of shopping for baby clothes and kids clothes under my belt, I wanted to share with you the clothing brands that I love and why I love them.  The fact that I have 9 children does NOT make me an expert, and the brands I share in this post are just my own personal favorites.  Please do not think that I am claiming to be an expert or that I know everything!! HA! If I was an expert, I wouldn't have had to throw away and get rid of so many pieces of clothing over the years!

I have compiled this list of favorites due to things like durability, attention to detail, quality of clothing items, and price.

So, my very most favorite brand is Gymboree.  But, as most of us mamas know, Gymboree is crazily, freakily expensive! I just went on their website the other day and they were asking $20 for a pair of 3-6 month boy shorts!! And that was the sale price! My eyes nearly popped out of my head! Wow.  That said, Gymboree is still my favorite brand.  I've gotten most of my Gymboree stuff off of eBay or from my favorite children's resale shops…..

I have to go on a rabbit trail here and say that I'M SO VERY THANKFUL FOR CHILDREN'S RESALE SHOPS! My husband likes to say, "thank God for rich people!" I really do love resale shops.  I mean, with 9 children, there's no way I can afford to dress them all in Gymboree matching outfits, no matter how much I want to…plus, my teen girls wouldn't really like that so much! Let me say right now that most of my children's clothing have come from resale shops.  There is a shop in my town at which I've been shopping for well over 16 years. A family of sisters own it and I have gotten some great things there.  So, my advice to you as I get off of this rabbit trail is, DON'T BE AFRAID OF RESALE SHOPS! If you do your research, you can find really great shops in almost any city.  I usually look for resale shops in more well-to-do communities.

Okay, back to the subject at hand! I love Gymboree and I love their older lines of clothing.  It is true that I have found most of my really cute Gymboree outfits on eBay.  I've been very, very pleased with all of my Gymboree eBay purchases, especially for Jack.  I started getting things on eBay about 10 years ago, when Kellie was still little.  I love Gymboree lines and some of my favorites are the older lines.  I won't bore you or show you what a fanatic I am by naming those lines!! Gymboree clothing is very high quality usually, and I've been pleased that the clothing holds up very well through repeated washings without fading and I have been able to pass down many, many things to my other girls due to the great quality of their clothing.

Another of my favorite brands is Crazy 8.  Crazy 8 is online and they have super cute stuff, and their sales are incredible.  I've been really pleased with the quality of their clothes.  We do a lot of laundry here, about 6 loads a day, and it's really important that clothing holds up through lots of wearing, washing and passing down.  Crazy 8's customer service is phenomenal, and their website is very easy to navigate.  I do believe they have "lines" of clothing too, like Gymboree.  I think they might be sort of a less expensive alternative to Gymboree.

Green Dog is also on my list of favorites, and you can find this brand at Macy's.  This brand is very durable too, and doesn't shrink up at all when washed repeatedly.

I also love BabyGap for Jack.  I don't really like their girl clothes because they aren't as feminine and cute as I like, but for Jack, they're really super cute! However, their clothing is super duper expensive and I find my BabyGap things at resale shops.  

I mentioned it in my last post, but for jeans for Jack, I love Children's Place.  Their jeans just fit his tall, skinny body really well for some reason.  Their girls clothes are a bit of wild prints for me, but I do like some of their things and they hold up really well.

I can't do a post on clothing without mentioning Target.  I adore Cherokee and their store brand Circo. I was putting a load of clothes into the washer last night and I was marveling at how Target clothes really do hold up well in the wash and through lots of wearing.  Right now Target has the cutest little girl dresses and shirts ever! And having a Target just 10 minutes away from our house is great.  I usually do buy a size bigger for my little girls, even though I haven't noticed a ton of shrinkage.  I just get a bigger size just in case.

Lastly, I do like Old Navy.  I shop online at Old Navy.  The dresses right now on their website are just absolutely delicious! However, I always have to get at least one size bigger, and sometimes two sizes bigger than my girls usually wear because Old Navy clothing does shrink badly.  But it's really durable usually and I've been happy as long as I get one size bigger.

Okay, that's my take on children's clothing.  Like I said before, I'm not an expert but I know what I like.  Also, save yourself some money and investigate resale shops.  I'm pretty sure that, in most of your communities, you'll be glad you did!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Oh, this face!! I could look at this face and kiss it all day long!

Jack is almost 4 months old now.  He really is the light of our lives.  He is growing and thriving and so healthy and curious and inquisitive!

He's the most active baby I've ever had.  I think I knew he was going to be a real mover when he was hardly ever still in my tummy.  When he's awake he can hardly sit still.  His legs seem so strong to me and he can stand up with me holding on to his hands.  I wonder if he's going to be an early walker!

In the picture above, the girls put blankets in the laundry basket and put him in there.  They tied a sash to the handle of the basket and were pulling him around the house.  He loved it! He looked so incredibly cute and tiny!

The other day he rolled from his tummy to his back.  I thought for sure it was just an accident, but lo and behold, he did it again and again! I think we can say he's officially rolling from tummy to back now.  He also rolled from his back to his tummy too, but he doesn't do that as much.  

Jack loves to be on the floor on blankets.  He's been holding his head up really strongly since he was about 3 weeks old, and now he pushes himself up on his elbows and looks around.  I always put him on a blanket that has pictures on it, and he loves to grab at them.  On his blanket on the floor is where he does his rolling around!

He's discovered his voice too.  He squeals and says "ahhhh" and growls.  He razzes with his tongue and when he smiles, he smiles with his whole face and body!! 

He's wearing size 3-6 month clothes.  I love his cute little blue jeans! The tiny pockets on the back just about do me in. I thought I was a Girl Clothes Freak, but then Jack came along and I discovered baby boy blue jeans!  He looks so Big Boy in his striped onesies and his collared shirts.  He's actually wearing 6 month jeans now because of the length.  Jack is really tall and skinny, and I sure do wish baby clothing manufacturers made a Tall Baby size.  I do have trouble finding clothes that fit him due to his long skinniness! I think my favorite brand of blue jeans for him is Children's Place, and I've been able to find them at my two favorite local resale shops.

Jack is sleeping in our room in his crib.  He still takes lots of naps during the day.  I'd say he takes about 4 naps a day.  He goes down for the night around 10 PM and typically sleeps until about 2:30 AM.  I nurse him and then lay him back down and he sleeps until usually around 5:30 or 6 AM.  He'll go back to sleep after I feed him at 6 AM and he'll sleeps until his next feeding, around 9:30 AM.  He is nursed exclusively and he's getting really good at going 3 hours between feedings. His naps are usually 2 hours or so.  Sometimes he likes being rocked by me, but most of the the time he wants to lay down in his crib and go to sleep by himself.  It doesn't take long for him to fall asleep!

He's such a sweet and joyful baby.  He makes my days so much better just by looking at him and holding him.  He is so even tempered and so easy going.

He loves riding in his carseat in the car.  Typically, if we go to Costco, which is 45 minutes away, then he'll sleep the whole trip.  He's usually quiet and peaceful in the car.

I think he's teething! He has a tiny white spot on his lower gums, right in the middle, and he's sure drooling a ton! I have to change his shirt a couple of times a day because of his drooling.  He's been the easiest and calmest teether we've had so far, and we're sure thankful for that!! I can't wait to see him with a teenie tooth!

He loves to grab his feet, and when he sees them he looks at them like they're the most wonderful and intriguing things he's ever seen! It's such a cute look.  I wish I had captured it in a picture, but I'm so bad at taking pictures…..

I wish I had more pictures to post of Jack.  He's changed so much in just the last two months.  He actually looks like a little boy! We have loads of pictures of him in his newborn days, but I need to get the girls to take more pictures of him every day.

So, stay tuned for a post of pictures of Jack when he turns 4 months old!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I think it's about time I did a post on Pennie, seeing as she's now three years old! 

It seems like only yesterday that I found myself laying in a dark, warm room, gazing up at a screen in the corner, waiting to see our baby and learn if he or she was healthy and on schedule for growth.  I remember it like it was yesterday, anyway.  And I'll never forget the first time I saw those two little bodies on that screen.  Looking back on all that's happened since that day in 2010, I treasure the memories so much.  I remember on the drive back home, having just found out we were having identical twin girls and how I now had to pick out two sets of girl names, and two sets of names just echoed in my heart seemingly out of nowhere….I remember the next time I saw our girls, and how I just felt so favored and privileged.  I looked at each of their faces in my womb and was so happy that I could call each girl by name, instead of Baby A (Pennie Jane) and Baby B (Olivia Caroline).  It was such a wondrous thing, feeling both of my girls move simultaneously inside of my womb. I will never forget those days! And Pennie is here with us, bringing jubilation and glee with her everywhere she goes!

Pennie is our joy and sunshine.  She is such an incredible blessing! Everything is new and wondrous and fabulous to her, whether it be a pair of ducks walking down the street or a surprise lollipop from Mama.  She delights in all things, even if it's only a pretty pink balloon from the grocery store.

Samantha took advantage of a rare sunny day in our neighborhood to take some pictures of Pennie.  Pennie was outside "helping" the girls work in the yard, and she was showing Samantha how dirty her hands were.  I think these pictures are so precious!

I particularly love this picture.  I really, really hope to get a print made of it and frame it! I'm so taken by the way the sunlight gilds her sweet hair so golden as to make it look like it almost glows! She realized here that Samantha had the camera and the look on her face is precious!

She had a little bowl of peanut butter with her, which is one of her favorite snacks, and some grass had gotten into it.  She was telling Samantha about the grass and picking it out.  She's very particular about things like that, very detail-oriented for a three year old.  Everything has to be just right for her!

Sweet little sunshine girl!

Her precious face and her cute little nose just about melt my heart.  We're so, so blessed  that the Lord allowed her to live with us. I'll never, ever get tired of snuggling with her or seeing her eyes light up over things.  She fills my heart and when I look at her, I know that there is a little girl in Heaven at Jesus' side that is the mirror image to Pennie.  I know that Olivia is reflected in Pennie, from her blonde curls to her little snub nose to her beautiful eyes.  I know that when my heart longs for Olivia, I can just scoop up Pennie and love on her, and it does ease my grief on those hard days.

Chip time!

Pennie is growing up in leaps and bounds.  She is super smart and she's curious about everything! The other night Daddy took her and some of her sisters to the store and she was walking around picking stuff up, and she had an armful of fondue and cheeses and crackers, just shopping away! She loves going places and she wants to see everything and touch everything.

Her speech is still developing, and she's a bit behind in this.  She has a lot of trouble with certain sounds, and we think it just makes her sound cuter! I always want to remember the way she says "ovlis" (olives) and "vanilla" (Nutella) and "chowk" (couch) and "ojin" (orange).  She loves to tell stories and has a very vivid imagination.  If she asks for something she wants and I say no, she begs for it! She'll keep saying "please" several times.  She's super great at identifying colors too. She thinks everything is pink! HA!

She's really tall for her age.  She's wearing a size 4T in pretty much everything because 3T isn't long enough for her.  She wears size 9 shoes.  A few weeks ago I got her some hot pink cowgirl boots with sparkly stars on them, and the first thing she does when she wakes up in the morning is put those boots on! She wears those boots pretty much all of the time, whether she's dressed or not! She loves dresses and skirts and bright, sparkly shirts.  With her white blonde hair and her big blue eyes, she looks so beautiful in the neon colors that have come out in most stores.  She's very girly-girl.

Pennie's favorite thing to do is dance to music.  She's quite expressive and so fun to watch! We have a video of her around Christmas, just dancing away.  She loves a lot of different types of music, and to hear her sing along with songs is so cute! She's loves to climb and I have to watch her really closely because she'll climb just about anything.  She loves to run up and down the hall in her little princess panties and her hot pink boots!

Another interesting thing about Pennie is that she's very, very organized and her world is right if everything in it is just so.  She has to have her blankets and pillow just so before she can settle down and go to sleep at nap time and night time.  She likes to line up her Little People and hates it when anything is out of order.  She'll be a good organizer some day!

I'm so grateful for Pennie Jane.  She makes the world a brighter, better, more joyful place for me.  I can't wait to get some pictures of her printed out and framed.  Someone suggested that I get a picture of her all dressed up and kissing herself in a mirror.  I've thought about this, and I think it would almost be like having Olivia here again! Pennie is so sweet and so funny……she's so many blessings rolled into one little person!

Monday, April 7, 2014


Okay, let's talk about diapers!

Since I can't do a "Jack Update" due to the fact that the new pictures the girls took of him are nowhere to be found, let's talk about diapers.

Picking out diapers can cause a mama's head to spin! There are way too many choices out there, touting everything from extra absorbency to streamlined fit, to even killing odors! 

Having 9 children, I guess this makes me a "seasoned mama".  I don't know about that, but I do know that I've used literally every single brand of disposable diaper under the sun.  I've used them in every single situation and every single circumstance too, from playing in the water in them to a baby being sick, to even regular, every day usage. We received a lot of different brands of diapers as gifts before Jack was born, and that was a great way for me to log in to some different brands and really firm up my likes and dislikes when it came to diapers!

Here is a review of the major brands of diapers out there, from my least favorite to my most favorite.

First off, let's talk about these diapers.  I noticed that for Jack, with other diapers, every time he would go pee-pee, the diaper would start to smell really strange, like old pee.  This was every single time, no matter if he had just gone or what.  This was also true for most of the diapers I tried, except these ones.  These diapers never smelled at all.  They also held a LOT of pee-pee.  I could leave these diapers on Jack through the night without them leaking at all….however, those two pros are the only good things about these diapers.  As soon as Jack would go poo, these diapers leaked it out, and it would get all over his clothes! I was having to change his outfit at least 4 times a day.  He'd leak all over everything else, and I was also having to change my clothes a lot with these diapers.  These are my number one least favorite diapers.  Yes, they are chlorine free and "earth friendly"….but they are also very expensive and we'd have to change him a lot, thereby using a lot of these spendy little bun covers! Save your money and don't even try these!

Luv's diapers are very inexpensive.  They come in big packages. On Jack, since he's still really little at 3 months and he's very skinny and long, these fit his waist very well.  But those are the only things I liked about these diapers.  They also tend to run small, so he wore a size 1 when he was wearing size newborn in other diapers.  These leak terribly and smell awful and they really did tend to sag badly after Jack went pee-pee even once. Poo leaks out of these like crazy, and we had to change outfits on him and me a lot too.  These used to have Blue from Blue's Clues on them, and that was okay with me, but they changed when Blue's Clues went off the air, and I care about the pictures and characters on my son's buns!!

Pampers has a few styles to choose from.  I liked these for Jack when he was in the newborn size because they fit really well and were very absorbent. That's all I can say about these though.  They were pretty bulky and even more bulky when he'd go pee-pee in them.  They stunk the worst out of all the diapers we tried.  We also tried the other types that Pampers offers, and they smelled awful too.  And another thing, I'm particular about the pictures or characters that are on the diapers I buy, and frankly, I despise Mickey and Minnie deeply.  I don't like two stupid looking mice on my son's buns! Yes, that is a bit of a quirky thing, but it matters to me!

These diapers are available at Fred Meyer and Kroger stores.  They were okay…just okay. There wasn't anything about them that stood out to me. They were just ordinary, average diapers.  The large bumble bee/mouse creatures on these diapers were stupid too….

Now, these babies are my second favorite diapers.  They fit Jack perfectly and didn't sag after he goes pee-pee.  They never, ever leaked once, not pee or poo.  I never had to change his outfit once when he was wearing these.  When he was born, none of the other diapers we had fit him but these.  He wore the newborn size until he was two months old.  Like I said before, he's skinny and long and the fit of a diaper is important, and these seemed that they actually contoured to his buns and his waist.  These never sagged at all. I didn't mind the Winnie the Poo themed characters on these, I thought they were rather sweet.  The only two things I didn't like about them was the price and the fact that after a few pee-pees, they started to smell bad.  These actually were the most expensive diapers we've had, and that's a downfall, for me.

These are my favorite diapers.  These are Kirkland Supreme diapers.  For our large family, we go to Costco every two weeks when we get paid.  These diapers are the most inexpensive ones, which is great, and Costco often has a coupon for them in the coupon book.  They're great diapers for so many other reasons too.  They have never leaked once.  They are extra, super absorbent. I know I can leave Jack in these all night and his clothes will still be dry.  They are very slim and they fit Jack's tall, skinny body.  They never sag, no matter how much they've absorbed.  They have cute pictures of zoo animals on them.  These diapers are very stretchy and so, I know they'll fit Jack for a long while.  They have never stunk when he goes pee-pee, no matter how long Jack wears the diaper. The smallest size Kirkland offers is a size1-2, and Jack's still wearing these at three months old. The only thing I don't like about these is that there is no newborn size at all, and they were way too big for Jack for the first two months of his life.  That may be something to consider when you buy your diapers for your newborn.  That said, these still remain my favorite diapers.  

So, to wrap up this post, my favorite diapers are Kirkland Supreme diapers and Huggies Little Snugglers diapers.  I buy Kirkland diapers almost every time I go to Costco, even if I don't need them! I guess I'm paranoid that they're going to suddenly discontinue them, as they did with their Whisk laundry detergent and their Joy dish soap, both of which are my favorites and it was a mild life crisis for me when they stopped carrying those two things, but that's a rabbit trail…, where was I?? Oh, we were talking about diapers!! LOL!

I hope this post has been helpful for you.  I hope you consider my advice if you're a new mama, or if you know someone who is a new mama.  Maybe you can use this post as a reference when buying diapers for your friend's baby shower or for your local crisis pregnancy center.  Crisis pregnancy centers always need diapers for their clients, so this is a great gift for them too!

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Today I'm going to talk about new makeup items on which I've got a crush.

I've discovered some things that have really made me look great and I can't believe I didn't know they were out there before now! My husband gave me leave to buy some new makeup since I needed it and I do like wearing makeup.  I just wish I wasn't so lazy so that I could wear makeup every day!

First off, there's this:

This powder is truly one of my favorite things ever.  I have super, super dry skin and have tried every makeup on the planet, just about, and it all just got soaked up by my super thirsty skin.  In addition to a really good cleanser and a really good moisturizer (which we'll talk about in a minute), this powder has made a big change in the way I look.  I just use it over the top of my moisturizer and I'm good to go.  It isn't cakey or heavy at all.  I have freckles and it doesn't cover them up, it just makes my skin look dewey and more even.  It IS a bit of a splurge at about $34, but I hardly ever buy makeup, and when I do, I know that it will last me for a very long time, especially if I keep my brushes clean.  I got my "Hello Flawless" powder at Ulta, but you can get it at Sephora or even online on the BeneFit site.

Now, like I said before, I have really dry skin.  I've used a lot of cleansers to try to combat this annoying problem, all to no avail.  This is called DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. This cleanser was "love at first use" for me.  It IS olive oil based, but it doesn't leave my skin feeling oily at all.  In fact, it leaves my skin feeling really soft and super hydrated, which is something my skin craves.  I had never heard of this stuff before, and one day I came home from running errands and the girls said I had gotten a catalog and a few samples.  I used the samples and fell in love, and I ordered some of this cleanser the very next day! It's $23, and like I said before, it'll last me forever.

This moisturizer has really changed the texture and look of my face.  I was very skeptical when the gal at Ulta told me it would be the best moisturizer for my dry skin, because I've used so many "perfect" moisturizers.  But this thick, rich cream is really the right answer for me.  I love that it hardly has any smell to it and it's so rich. The gal told me to give it a couple of days and I'd see a huge difference, and I really have!  I got a "kit" that has all of the basic BeneFit cleaner, toner, exfoliated and other things for dry skin.  Everything came in small trial sizes and I already love a couple of things.  I don't use everything that came in the kit, and some of the things I just don't even like. This moisturizer is by far my favorite moisturizer I've used.  I try to use it twice a day.  I use a very small amount and even this really small pot of it will last me a long time, as I use straight olive oil on my neck and chest.  The kit with all of the small sizes of products from BeneFit was $24.

I also got this eyeshadow palette.  I really splurged the day I went into Ulta! I really needed some makeup supplies, and I know the benefit of good makeup.  I don't like anything that is super full of icky ingredients or has trashy names or is highly pigmented. The gal at Ulta recommended this one to me, and I tried it and loved it.  I think my palette is called "Into The Light", and it comes with an eyeliner too.  The eyeliner that came with my palette is called Damsel and I adore it.  It's just plain good eyeshadow.  I use the brown down on the bottom to fill in my eyebrows because I over tweezed them a time or two….but this eyeshadow is great. It has a bit of sparkle to it, and it's great for green eyes.  There are a few different palettes to choose from. 

This is BareEscentuals blush, and my color is Golden Gate.  It's a powder pot, and the beauty of it is that you can open it, sift some into the lid of the pot, and then after you're done using it, you can close the sifter lid and put it back in your makeup bag! I love the peachy, pinky color, and it's really subtle so you don't look like a clown.  It's also got a bit of sparkle to it.  I've also used Warmth and liked that color too, which is perfect for the summer time.

One more thing I'm loving this early spring is cherry Icees! We get them here at the Target in the adjacent town.  I had one yesterday and since I'm battling a bad cold, complete with laryngitis, anything icy and cold feels good on my throat.  Of course, I don't have one every day, because they're loaded with icky stuff I'd rather not put into my body….but once in a while, cherry Icees really do satisfy! And, since I'm starting concert choir and an opera workshop at our local college on Monday, another cherry Icee might be in the forecast for me.  I really need to get my voice back!

What are your favorite makeup items or hair stuff that you love right now?