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Friday, September 30, 2011

AWE-SOME

I am totally ripping off my sweet friend, Lindsay today. She had this ca-ute post entitled, "Things that are Awesome", and well, I think I need to reflect on those good things today, right before the weekend. Sounds like a fabulous idea to me.

So, ahem. Things That Are Awesome.

-Reconnecting with old friends, ones whom you thought there'd be no possible way. It really, really brings joy to my heart. I think that when friendships have 'falling outs' (as far back as high school days), or people go in different ways, no matter what, you kind of grieve the loss of those friendships. At least I know I do. So when they come back into your life? It's a good thing. A really good thing. It makes my heart smile.

-Vacation photos. Because it's amazing how quickly when you pop back into 'real life' again that you can almost forget or feel like your trip away was a dream. And thank God I have pictures to prove that we indeed went on a trip. Alone. And talked. And sat still. So I'm glad I have pretty pictures to remember. 

-Having a Loves of Life Facebook Page. I'm not gonna lie, I kind of hated on FB pages for blogs because I didn't see the point. Except, I kind of do see the point to it now. There are a ton of you on Facebook who are not on Twitter. I've not been much on Twitter recently. So it just reaches more people, and, well, I kind of like you guys. Plus, I kind of like keeping my private account, well, more private anyway.

-30% off at Kohl's is awesome. Yep, I shop at Kohl's, and I am proud. And when the little peely-off thingie comes and it's 30%? I do a happy dance in my kitchen. Because 30% off on top of their already amazingly low prices due to clearance racks and other sales? Is considered bargain shopping to this momma.

-Virtual shopping. As in, send a picture text to a friend, or my sister (who is my main virtual shopping buddy), or to the entire Twitter world, asking for advice on a potential dress, outfit, etc. Obviously I cannot take everyone shopping with me, and schedules just don't allow for that. But thank God for The Picture Text, which makes life easier to get feedback while shopping with a toddler who only knows how to say "pretty" about my outfits. Because that's the word I taught her. Because apparently I don't want her telling my I look "yucky". :) 

-My sister! She is so awesome. You all know she is continuing to ROCK this weight-loss thing (while I'm over here just standing completely still on the weight front). But! But! But! Guess what else!? She is running in her first 5K tonight! I mean, LITERALLY, I could not be more proud of her! She's lost over 55lbs, and now is running in 5K's? I am totally and completely sappy about how inspired by her I am. I adore her with every ounce of my being, and well, frankly, she's amazing.

-Healing Lips. That sounds weird. Let me explain. Last night, Eme was running around the kitchen table with glee. She thinks running in circles is awesome. She was giggling the entire time until I heard The Big Fall. And then the silence. Followed by a scream. And THAT cry. I ran to get her and always cringe a little before taking that good look for blood. You know you do it, too. And of course, she had fallen so hard that her tooth cut open her lip, and holy good gosh, the blood. A lot of it. It was worse than other little lip-abrasions she's had before. It instantly got puffy. Like, sad, pathetic-puffy. Right in the top, middle. Declan said it looked like she had a "beak". I assured him that wasn't very funny. But! The good news is, she is so much better today. It's way less puffy, and she's seemed to forget about it. Phew. Hence, healing lips are awesome. I was afraid if I took her out today that people would think I hurt my child.

-Weekends are awesome. And this weekend we have a wedding of a high school friend! So it's like a built-in date for Declan and I.

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Annddddd on that note. Have a happy one :)



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Details.

I told my husband that while we were away, I wanted to appreciate details. Things that I don't typically have time to notice, or don't do well, to you know, stop and smell the roses. Which, I guess is an excuse, since it's probably just a mindset I need to work on. I guess I just knew that without wrangling an almost 17 month old, it'd be easier to do that. 

And so, for fun, I tried to do that...and when I had my camera around I'd take a picture. 

So here are some things that I really appreciated while away.

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1. Snacks & ginger ale on the plane. Music playing in my ears. Sitting. Still. And reading trashy magazines. {So sue me.} It's the one time I buy them and allow myself to page through them. I needed brainless stuff after starting a book about parenting through the terrible two's on the plane, which was a stupid idea. So, I went back to brainless, and well-it was better. More relaxing I guess.

2. Sitting. Still. Having meals without trying to fork pieces of food into my toddler's mouth, or deal with food being thrown to the ground. Talking to my husband, in the quiet. Drinking cold ones by the pool, in our bathing suits as we got visitors from little (big) iguanas. Oh, and fish tacos--because they were good, everywhere. Did I mention sitting still?

3. Enjoying car rides, alone-just the two of us. Staring at gorgeous skies and appreciating them. Honestly? I've said it like ten times already, but the skies were amazing. All day, every day. You'd frequently hear me say, "Declan, just LOOK at that sky!" about a billion times a day. He was sweet and would nod in agreement. Oh, the birds there? So gorgeous. You'd see them perched up anywhere they could find. Laying on their nests, flying through the air--big, huge birds. Did you know I love birds? I'm sure you did. :)

4. We just sat on a dock after dinner one night. For like, an hour. Because we could. And time didn't mean anything to us there. No kid to get bathed & put to bed. Just us. So we sat with our feet off the edge and just talked. Or sat quietly. We watched the sun go down. It was so, so...nice. 

5. I know palm trees are not that amazing to anyone who lives with them all year long, but to this northern'ish gal? When I see a palm tree it instantly means vacation. And so, with that---A Palm Tree. I hear the ooo's and ahh's now. (tehehe)


6. For the first time in a long time, I threw my diet out the window. I enjoyed whatever I wanted, drank whatever I wanted, and didn't even open my Weight Watchers app once. I kind of just needed that. It was good. Oh, and funky glasses, because why not? Note to self: Paint a picnic table teal. It is so much cooler that way.

7. Did I mention that I appreciated the sky? A lot? Oh, I did? 

8. The self timer. Because I forgot how while you're away on vacation with just one other person, it's really difficult to get a decent picture of the two of you together. I may or may not still be a little scared to just hand over my new baby (camera) to someone. So, I laid on the dock & then on a concrete slab (while yelling to Declan to "make sure if someone comes to tell me! my butt is hanging out!"), face down, on my belly, to figure out getting some shots of the two of us. And yea, while not totally attractive, it's worth it to have a few of us. Totally. 

When everyone asks me how the trip was? All I can just say is 'it was so fun', 'it was perfect'....it sounds so cliche, but man, it really was. It really, truly was. I'm just so thankful we could make it work to go. So, so glad.

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Happy Thursday :)

psstt: if you didn't see my post yesterday, the old blog is on Facebook now, so you can find me there if you want! I updated my sidebar with a link to it for easy access.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Never say never, eh?

So....the little 'ole blog is now on Facebook. Does that make me official? I don't know why, I thought this was something I would never, ever do-but look? I did. I guess. 

I figured that maybe, if anything, it'd be another opportunity for me to connect with some of you fabulous ladies. It'll provide blog updates, and who knows what else. I'm not quite sure since, well, I started this a mere seconds ago.

Right now I'm a loser with no likes since I just started, and well, it's kind of sadly pathetic. So if you do like me, then please, by all means--go on over and check it out. If you don't? Well, then-why are you here? :) I kid. But really. 


Going away without your kid(s), leaving them, being prepared, and all that jazz.

It's no secret that my husband and I went on a little 2nd honeymoon trip. I'm not gonna lie, leaving Emeline for even as short as 4-5 days weighed heavy on me. I'm sure its a first time mom thing...maybe. But, it was definitely one of the biggest worries on my mind.

However, it was necessary. It was necessary for us, at this time in our lives, at this age, to leave her for a few days so that we could go and be just us for a bit. To refresh ourselves. To relax. To put our work duties and mom/dad duties to the side for even just a few days.

So, if you're thinking of a trip, or have something planned, and are leaving your little person too? Here are a few things I picked up along the way. Since, well--we survived. And all were united happily :)

Trust


-First of all, you need to have someone in your life (family or friends) who you 100%, completely, utterly and positively trust to care for your kid as their own. This, honestly, for me? Was KEY. In fact, I would not even had considered the trip had my parents not been on board to take her for a few days. I was able to fully relax knowing that Emeline was in good hands and not be all worried & fidgety.

Prepare

 -Pack your child appropriately. In this case, we bunked Eme at my parents house. She is a great pack-n-play sleeper if need be (but only when staying the full night through). They made her room comfortable, and very similar to home--they kept it dark, and we brought along her fan for the white noise. I made sure to pack her favorite blankets and stuffed animals, too.

-I was probably overly-prepared in the clothing department for her--but better safe than sorry. Honestly? I wanted to make it as easy as possible for my mom. So I pre-packed in large ziplock bags her pjs & outfits for each days. Of course I added in extras (shorts subbed for jeans, skirts subbed for sweats) if the weather changed at all. And it did. But it still worked out.


.....to read the rest of this post, please visit me over at The Poop Whisperer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Perspective

I don't fly very often. I'm not a world traveler. But I have flown a good handful of times throughout my life. And each and every time I am always amazed. Always.

Descending is always my favorite. Not because I'm about to finally breathe a sigh of relief that I'm back on God's green earth where I fully believe I am intended to be, as flying legitimately freaks me out if I let myself think about it for too long [Okay, fine. That's part of the reason.]  But, mainly? The views. The slow descend into the city you're landing. It boggles my mind, every single time.


To see things from that different perspective...it plays tricks on my mind because I'm not used to it. Houses and neighborhoods in these perfectly formed little spirals. Crops and grasses in perfect squares. Roads that make the biggest, unique maze I've ever seen. Factories. Lakes. The ocean as we came into Miami. People that looked like ants. Cars that look like the matchbox ones my brothers used to love. The tiny blue dots, you know, we call them swimming pools.

(iphone pics)
Not to mention, the sky. Seeing the clouds from above. Not my typical everyday perspective of clouds. It's...well? Pretty freaking gorgeous. But again, it's just a different perspective. The clouds are still there almost daily--do I notice them the same? Appreciate them the same? Not really.


When flying this week, my head was quieter than normal. Especially on the way home. But then I started jotting things down in my notebook. A little sea of words that just kind of flung off my pen and onto the page about how crazy this thing called life is and how we all view it and perceive it so differently, based on one thing. Our perspectives.

Everyone has their own, and we're all allowed to. Often, our perspectives are shaped by our place in life. Where we're at. If we're happy or unhappy. If we're dealing with major family crisis or not. Sick children. Deaths of loved ones. Different cultures. Different backgrounds. Different geographical location (even within the US). Different upbringings. Different values. Different morals. Different religious beliefs. Heck, even down to as simple as a good or bad day at work, or a good or bad day staying at home with your children. You name it. It can change our perspective. It can change my perspective.

That's why it's yours. And I have mine. And it makes us unique, and that's okay.

***

Oh, and you better bet I'm a window seat gal. I'm sure you'd never have guessed.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Because I'm not sure how to explain our trip.

I honestly don't know how to sum up my getaway with Declan. These things are, well, hard to write about without being all blah blah blah today we did this. Umm let me see, though....fabulous? awesome? fun? relaxing? sunny? gorgeous? carefree? Checkkkkkk. All of the above.

I think that today, or this morning rather, I'll just sum it up with a few of my favorite pictures from our trip. I have a ton more, and I may be posting some. We'll just see how that works out. 

I have more photos of skies than anything else. Every night, gorgeous. 
Yep. Convertible. Because you cannot drive down the most scenic hwy in the US without one. 
This is one of the many iguanas who lived on the resort.
beautiful light...all the time.

Probably my most favorite photo from the trip. Maybe. This night was so special.
Yea, I totally posed like that. Hand on my hip.

There are so many more. So many. In fact, I haven't even gone through them all. But those definitely give you a glimpse into the refreshing time we had.

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Hope your weekends were great!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm back :) And here to tell you who won the giveaway!

We had THE BEST time ever away. Seriously. I learned some life lessons, no joke. I had so much time to just be quiet, look inward, revamp and recharge myself as wife, mom, writer, photographer, and well...as a person. All of it.

God put a very unique guy in our path while we were there, just a few days ago, and I hope to blog about our encounter with him this week. We had so much time to just enjoy one another. I didn't worry about Emeline at all. She adored every second at her grandparents house and she was a doll for them, so much so that I practically had to pry her out of their hands to take her home today. We are so grateful that they watched our sweet girl for us, and sent us videos & photos daily.

It was so perfect, as you can see. If you follow me on instagram you would have seen these photos already. I haven't cracked open my camera yet to upload pictures, but I will sometime. 


So.much.fun.

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NOW, for the winners of the Erin Condren Giveaway--

Since so many of you entered, the beautiful people at EC upped the prize, therefore there are TWO winners today.


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Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2011

They never told me THAT.

Lindsay has become one of my closest friends in the last year and a half. We have never met (face to face), but let me tell you, this lady and I? Are good pals. We are the 'tell each other your deepest, darkest secret' type-friends. I adore her honesty, her heart, her momma-skills, and her friendship! 

She has written an adorable post for you all today. You must read, as you will totally giggle about how right on she is :)

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My little lady turned one yesterday. Which, I might add, I’m still trying to figure out in my head, since, you know … she was only born last week! I figured that now that I have a year of parenting under my belt, I am officially an expert, with nothing left to learn (um, insert sarcasm), so I should share some of my wisdom with all of Katie’s most wonderful readers. There are so many things you are told in preparation for parenthood. But? Guess what? There are way more things that no one ever tells you. So here I am, sharing with you the top 10 things that no one ever tells you (or at least, that no one ever told me).
1. The increase in laundry is not all teensy weensy things. Sure, I knew that my laundry was going to increase by about a million loads per week, but no one ever warned me that a good deal of this laundry increase would be my own clothes, not just onesies, blankets, and sleepers. Gone are the days of wearing the same pair of jeans for 5 days straight (I mean, not that I ever did that or anything), or wearing a t-shirt twice before washing. Heck, I’m lucky if I make it through the day with fewer than three outfit changes. If you’re not covered with spit up or leaky breast milk, it’s snot and goldfish cracker-filled slobber.
2. In keeping with #1, no one ever told me that I’d get to the point where I didn’t care if I was dirty, and would leave the house decked out in my finest goldfish smeared top. Why change if you’re just going to get dirty in five minutes anyway?
3. No matter how many kegels you do pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and post-pregnancy, you are still going to fart unexpectedly, at the most embarrassing times possible for a long long while after birthing your child.
4. Once your baby finally decides to sleep for more than seventeen minutes straight during the night, and you get yourself a good, solid chunk of sleep, reminiscent of the full night slumber you were used to pre-baby, you will wake up feeling like you have been run over by a truck even more so than on the nights your sleep had been brutally interrupted. Why this is, I’ll never know. But it is the truth.
5. Your heart will change unexpectedly. Things that never made you cry will now make you cry. You will be sensitive about things you never were sensitive about before and things that used to bother you will roll off your back. You will cry when you watch shows that feature mothers giving birth, mothers losing babies, parents and children having heartfelt interactions, parents watching their children make mistakes, get hurt, and the like. Any Parenthood fans? Season One, Episode One – no matter how many times I watch it, I bawl at two distinct moments in the episode. Never woulda done that before. And? I don’t really think I can pass it off as hormones anymore.
6. You will probably do everything you said you wouldn’t do and not do about half the things you said you would do.
7. You will wonder why everyone else in the world doesn’t consider your child to be the center of the universe. Because, HELLO!? S/he is. You may not say it out loud, but you will think it.
8. You will become desensitized to sight and smell of poop, vomit, and snot. You won’t necessarily be proud of this desensitization but it will likely happen. Thankfully, I have not had to become desensitized to the taste or feel of any of these things – yet?
9. Showering will become a luxury rather than a necessity. Non-greasy hair? Only on special occasions.
10. You will look at your child everyday, even after an entire year, and wonder to yourself how the heck you possibly kept this human alive and (relatively) uninjured for so long.
What things have you learned along your parenting journey that no one ever bothered to clue you in on?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Colors

My tride and true friend, Gina, from over at Namaste By Day is here today with a post for you. I'm thrilled because she brings such a great, unique look on life as a full time teacher and full time momma. Me and Gina go way back. Honestly, I'm not even sure how I met her but I'm so, so grateful that I did.  So treat her kindly :)

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Hi, Loves of Life readers! I am honored to be guest posting here today. Like you, I adore Katie and her blog and honestly I'm a bit nervous to be posting anything in her amazing space. (This is Katie, Gina, You are awesome and you know it, oh and welcome here anytime. mwah.)

I work as a speech-language pathologist in an elementary school, and one of my favorite things to do is to work with my students in art class. It's a great spot for kids to use social language with their friends and it tends to work well for a variety of real-life lessons. Just recently, my kids taught me a lesson in art class, however. And since Katie used to be an art teacher, I figured this was a great place to share my story.

I work with a little girl with autism in art class. We usually work on her using appropriate social language to ask peers to pass materials, use her language when frustrated when she makes a mistake, and even improve overall conversational skills. Because she has autism, her receptive language is also somewhat delayed, so she doesn't always understand directions. This week, the students were learning about mixing colors, shading, and tinting. They were supposed to mix two colors of paint on their paper and see what the new color became.
This little girl didn't quite get those directions, and started mixing yellow and red together in her paint tray. This wouldn't have been a big deal, except for the fact that she was sharing it with another student. I braced myself, expecting her partner to get frustrated that now her paint was messed up.

To my surprise, the other little girl smiled kindly at my student and simply dipped her paintbrush on the very edge of the paint. "I can get a little plain yellow right here," she explained.

I was blown away. This was a third grader who was wiser and more warm-hearted than most adults I know. While I don't want this to be the theme of my post, I'm always floored by lack of tolerance and kindness by "grown-ups."

Don't get me wrong. I'm not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. However, what a difference this world would be if we all took a lesson from this eight-year-old. Notice without judging. Be tolerant of other's shortcomings and differences in general. Adapt when others in your life make mistakes, rather than rushing to anger. You never know...sometimes, you might just see new colors in the world.

Namaste.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A little bit of perspective.

My amazing friend, Jess from Dude & Sweeties is kicking off my little series of guest posts. She is a momma to four beautiful kids, a writer, photographer and an awesome friend to me. We've been blogging together for a while. Her take on motherhood is so great, and she is my go-to momma for advice. I hope you enjoy her post today. Thank you, Jess!

***

Recently I was reading a blog where a young, recently married woman asked her readers their thoughts on having kids. She just couldn’t figure out if she even wanted to have kids, because so many of us moms talk about how hard it is. How frustrating. How awful things can be. That the mommysphere is one big gripe-fest, and WHY would people have kids if it’s so horrible.

She was right. We do complain a lot. And we’re justified, completely and totally. Many of us moms have little voice about motherhood outside our own heads. We work, or stay home, and our day to day insanity doesn’t leave much room for proper processing of the day’s difficulties. So we blog, and we tweet, and we terrify not-yet-moms everywhere.

As a mother of four, I’ll be the first to admit that getting puke down my shirt at 3am isn’t much fun. And anyone who knows me at all knows I don’t hesitate to discuss the gripes, the struggles, and the difficulties of each day. Because they’re real. They’re a part of my life, and I need the outlet blogging provides me.

But there’s a piece that gets forgotten. A part of each day that is beyond description.

The part where I wouldn’t change a thing about being a mom. The part where I talk about how much I adore my children, how awesome motherhood is.

Being a mom is absolutely the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.

My children are perfection. A product of a single moment in time, individual miracles of personality, and character, and genes. They’re flawed, and silly, and beautiful, and they’re MINE. I love each part of their little selves, from my oldest’s incessant talking to my son’s Lego cities taking up space in my kitchen. I love my 18 month old’s laugh, and the infants smelly feet. I love how their faces look when they cry, the sounds their voices make in the darkness of night when they cry out for me.

I love when my son gets sick in the middle of the night. He’s the sweetest sick kid, and he’ll lay on the couch all snuggled up to me, quiet and sad, and we’ll watch Tom and Jerry together until he falls back to sleep. He tells me “thank you” for wiping his face with a cool cloth after he throws up.

I love when my oldest (she’s 7) goes to the grocery store alone with me, and chatters nonstop the entire way about absolute nonsense. It’s important nonsense because its hers, and I listen to what she says, and talk with her about all the nonsense that makes up her very small world. When she’s a big sister to the babies, and I hear her playing with them in the other room, my heart melts. When she gets in trouble and instead of taking her punishment she tries to negotiate her way out of it, I can’t help but be proud at her absolute unwillingness to back down. At her quick thinking to look for loopholes.

I love when the babies stare at each other. When my 18 month old gets sad and her lip sticks out. When she throws her food on the floor, and then laughs, it makes me laugh.

I love the quiet moments at 2am when my 3 month old coos and burbles instead of sleeping, because I know soon she’ll be playing with toys instead of my face.

Laundry piles up with four kids, and while I hate doing it, I sometimes find myself smiling at all the different sized clothes. Knowing that soon, they’ll all be in their own baskets rather than mixed in with my husband’s work clothes.

Last night, everyone was a mess. The babies are sick, and the bigger kids are getting sick. My living room floor is covered in baby toys, a play mat, wipes packages and Legos and pillows. And everyone was whining and being grumpy, all at the same time. Gabe was throwing himself on the floor about having to brush his teeth, Cassidy was yelling at him about some toy of hers he’d messed up, Livie (my 18 month old) was grunting and moaning about some toy that was just out of her reach, and Maddie (the infant) was screaming her head off because she had a fever and wanted to be held.

And I laughed. I looked at my husband, and we exchanged that look that parents reserve for each other, that look that says “this is complete insanity, isn’t it?”, and “Yeah, it is but isn’t it awesome?”, because we love this parenting thing.

We love every part of it, even when we don’t like it.

Being a parent is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The sun'll come out tomorrow.

We're busy around here. You know, busy procrastinating and soaking up some Momma-Emeline time before we leave for our trip tomorrow. I'm sentimental about leaving her, for sure. A little worried I'll miss her of course, but mostly? I'm over the sad-boo hoo part and just plain excited for our trip away.


My shoulders are aching, no lie, in anticipation for our couples massage. A couples massage? I mean, who are we? These things we don't indulge in regularly (or...ever), and so I'm just....excited. I called the hotel, I told them this was sort of like our honeymoon. I mean, it is. Kind of. Just a little bit later than a typical honeymoon. They said they'd fix up our room quite nice.


Oh, and the weather? It looks like we'll be okay. Just your typical potential afternoon thunderstorm. But, again. Really? It'll be fine. There are no hurricanes on the radar, and all my selfish "please God, don't let a hurricane come!" prayers seemed to have done the trick. 

This weekend, however, our family apple-picking event (to cross off the bucket-list) got rained out. I was totally bummed. 


We ended up at the mall and TGI Friday's instead. It was totally lame in comparison to all the fun times we'd have picking apples and getting adorable family photos. Such is life, I suppose.

Anyway. I'm off. Guest posts are scheduled, the house is half-cleaned, mine and Eme's bags are packed (she'll be staying with my parents), and Declan? He hasn't even thought about packing yet. His last-minute ways about that type of thing kill me. Although, here I sit blogging instead of cleaning. Touche, Katie. Touche.

I will, though--while having a great time, be missing this silly face. There's no way around that.


And this one face, too.


See you on the flip side.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Taking a break from shampooing my carpets to bring you this really important post. Not quite.

Why are there most some mornings I wake up and literally feel like I was hit by a train in my sleep? Why? Despite having slept through most the night and all? File that under things I will never have any freakin' clue of. I am just so not a morning person and the day I wake up with a kick in my step? Well. I'm not sure that will ever happen.

Little fun facts about me.

Anyway. Moving on. 

We leave for our little 2nd honeymoon trip on Wednesday morning. When I think about it, I get really excited about all those things we get to do childless. For instance, stay out past 8pm. I know, I know, hold your hats. We *might* just stay out past 8pm. Or, having to give no little person bath-time (no silly jokes). No fighting mealtimes with a stubborn toddler. The sound of kid-shows will forever be ringing in my ears, but they won't actually be there. We can sleep in. Although I'm pretty certain my body isn't even capable of sleeping in. Who cares. We can try.

Oh, we can sit by the pool. Did you hear that? Sit. As in, not get up 2930820x to make sure that cute toddler doesn't go jump in headfirst. Or stub her toe. Or put a rock in her mouth. We can go out to dinner without making sure we pack along a spare sippy cup & snack to help with the toddler meltdowns. We can, well, talk. And enjoy one another. And whoa. I'm not even sure we'll know what to do with ourselves, besides, um, talk about that little girl we miss.

You get it. 

It'll be hard. Our first time really going away from her. I'm sure someday, in the future, when I have 15 kids, a Duggar-style bus, and a forever-pregnant-looking-belly from having so many kids, I'll be dying to get away sans children and wouldn't even think twice about it. But right now I'm in that "I'm so excited, but I'll miss my baby so much!" mindset. I need to shake that, because we need this. And, it'll be awesome. Right. Tell me it will be awesome.

Oh, and I'm kidding about the Duggar-style-bus. I will never drive one of those. Or, have 15 (or 18..or 19...or however many they have) kids. 

I bet you're wondering what's happening around these parts when I go away? Okay, so maybe you aren't but I'm gonna tell you anyway. Here's the thing. Declan and I agreed that we aren't even bringing laptops. Nope. Nada. My camera? Abso-freaking-lutely is coming. Cell phones? Yes. But only because its necessary and I will be face-timing my baby girl so she doesn't forget me. For the most part we are staying off of all social media. So, I'll be spending half the vacation twitching from twitter-withdrawal (kidding. I'm not that bad. stop laughing.) and then the other half of the vacation feeling all free and relaxed. 

Oh yes, back to my blog. It won't be empty. I've asked some of my best ladies to guest post for me. So you'll be hearing from my girl Jess from Dude and Sweeties, Gina from Namaste By Day, and Lindsay from Me, E & Baby Makes 3. I've already read what they're going to be posting, and you won't want to miss it. They are some fabulous girls that make my world go round, so make sure to show them some love later this week.

So now, for me--I'm going to be doing very useful things with my day. You know, like getting a spray tan when I really should be packing & doing laundry. Or shopping for a purse when I really should be shampooing my carpets. [Side story: This is kind of a joke. But for real, I ended up shampooing some of my carpets last night in the midst of Get Ready For Vacation chaos. Like, really? Was that necessary? I don't get how my brain works sometimes.]

I hope that you have a fabulous day. And tell me--have you gotten away, on a vacation with your husband sans children? Was it lovely? Do you stop worrying and missing your kid? Is there hope for me? :) Do share.

***

Happy Monday!

pssst: still time to enter the Erin Condren Giveaway (and they're giving away ANOTHER $25 off code!!) In fact, it's open all week.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Little Red Wagon

“Little red wagon, little red bike, I ain’t no monkey but I know what I like.” -Bob Dylan



pssst: you still have lots of time to enter the Erin Condren giveaway!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hi. I'm Katie.

Between my Fall Bucket List printable and my Erin Condren Giveaway, some new people (hi!) have found my blog. Because most of my readers have always been pretty organic, as in, they come by, read something, make the decision they want to stay, or whatever, I always get a little worried (if I'm being honest) about a sudden influx because of something like a giveaway, for example.

Yesterday, while on the phone with my Sister, I said, "Well, I hope the new people actually like my stuff and wanna stay," And she was all, "Um, Katie...they will. People get know you, and love you, they aren't going anywhere." But I was definitely feeling a little....self conscious about it. I guess you could say.

So I decided to tell you about myself a little bit. I had this blog post in the works even prior to this last big week around here, because I noticed more people stopping by. But, then I didn't do it. So now it's the perfect time. 

Hi. My name is Katie. I'm a 26 year old wife and momma to a 16 month old little girl. And this is, so far, the most boring introduction ever.

Starting over.

My real name is Katherine, but my parents called me Katie from day 1. I'm not gonna lie, that type of thing confuses a kid. I often wonder why they didn't just name me Katie straight from the womb. I go by Kate, Katie, and Kater (to close family, so don't try it, tehehe). I'm married to the guy (Declan) who told me at age 15 he was madly in love with me. I was newly 17 at the time. Call me a cougar. Go ahead. I dare you.

He stole my heart. Okay, I totally stole his, too. Thinking about our young love story gives me goosebumps. Declan proposed to me when he 19 years old (go ahead, GASP! shock! the horror!), and I was 21. We were married by the time we were 20 and 22, freshly graduated from college, and broke. [For the record, the age difference is 1 year and 8 months. I think.] 

We just celebrated four awesome years in August. I'm not lying when I say that marriage has pretty much been awesome to us. And that we've made a pretty great life for ourselves. Got ourselves great jobs, bought the house. He is a manager of an Embroidery (for uniforms, gear, etc) department and I was an Elementary Art Teacher in the public schools for three years where I got squirted with paint daily, and asked the silliest but most annoying questions. I'm kidding. About the paint-squirting part. I managed to stay pretty clean most days.

We started trying for a baby in 2009. I had a heartbreaking miscarriage, and blogged my entire way through it. Thankfully, my story reached out to many women, and everyday made me stronger. In August of 2009 we got pregnant with our baby girl. On May 10, 2010 we welcomed the sweetest, most darling, squishy newborn into our lives: Miss Emeline Kay.

I ended up taking the school year off on one-year leave to stay home with her. I couldn't have imagined it any other way, truly. Mainly because I had to function all on coffee because God knows my kid did NOT sleep for 11 months. And during that year I started my headband making business (which has now come to an end). However, in it's short little life, was a success and I have most of my blog-friends to thank for that. I kept busy taking care of my new!little!baby!, crafting, making fabric flowers, blogging, writing over at The Poop Whisperer, discovering my love for photography, starting my weight loss journey, and enjoying my new family. 

I joyfully turned in my resignation letter at the end of the past school year, as my principal's all wished me the best, took one look at my daughter, and said, "How could you leave that face anyway?" And with only a little sadness (mainly missing co-workers, and well, that affiliation with being a teacher. I was always so proud of that.) left that day as a real stay-at-home-mom.  Although, I'm actually a WAHM. I work from home, blogging corporately for a business (and no you cannot read it, it's not the same, trust me), and spending my days doing that and wiping snot. I love it. Although it's a juggling act. But then again, what isn't, anyway?

I'm a christian and my faith is very important to me, but I'm not into broadcasting that or tattoo'ing it on my forehead--because I'm working on just living it rather than just saying it. My husband and I are part of a start-up Church in our local city, where we're very passionate about seeing the racial divide come down, bringing different cultures together, and acknowledging that we have a lot to learn from each other. All of us. And I love that. I love that my daughter has a love for all people, all of our friends, and Church Family, regardless of race. It's a beautiful thing. We keep very busy with our commitments there. 

Other random things. I dislike showering. So, I'm dirty. Just kidding. I just hate the after-shower-routine. We are family people. We love them, and see them often. All (pretty much) of our immediate family lives within 10 minutes. We have a spunky, yorkie named Mac. We call him Mac-a-Boy. We are suckers for shows like Big Brother, Parks and Recreation, The Office, and I typically always watch the Bachelor/Bachelorette even though I tell myself every season that I.will.not.watch. Lies. all Lies. I like to be alone more than I like to admit. I can be pretty funny in real life, too. I start out pretty nervous-like with new people, though. I lost 44lbs this year and I actually love my new body. I hate to exercise. I love taking a good family-walk. Oh, and my camera, pretty much always in my hands if I can help it. 

Shockingly, this post has no pictures. But I figured I'd spare you. I blog almost daily here. About anything and everything. Just remember one thing, this blog is just a glimpse of my life. It may seem like I share a lot, but like everyone else, I have personal boundaries (although I'm not one to spare you about pregnancy realities, or poop, vomit, etc. Yea. Gross stuff.) No, really I do. I've written in some form of an online journey for about 11 years. It is a habit and a deep-rooted part of my life. 

I don't care about materialistic things. Name brands? What are those? I mean, yea--I like the occasional cute things. My girl has Tiny Toms, for example. But I don't give a crap about Tory-whatever her name is shoes, or Missoni (don't shoot me), or cars with a fancy label that cost you more than my mortgage a month. That's just not my thing. We are target, kohls, sometimes Old Navy, and Gap-outlet shoppers. Straight to the clearance rack, mainly-shoppers. And we look pretty good most of the time, if I do say so myself. 

Hopefully you'll like it around here. I've found blogging to bring me some amazing friendships. Girls I chat with on the phone, text, email with often. Real, true friends have come out of this community, and I'm so grateful for that. 

So, this is me.

Now that I wrote The Longest Post ever. 

Happy Friday :)

***

If you're pretty new around here, care to tell me about yourself?? I'd love to learn. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A non-planner turned life-planner: Erin Condren Giveaway! **update**

**Update: The fabulous people over at Erin Condren are giving away not one, but TWO $25 off codes, so there will be TWO winners!

I mentioned that I, indeed, totally fell into the hype that is the Erin Condren Life Planner. I have to admit, that while I was skeptical, I was also dying inside for something...anything to help bring a little sanity to my life. Let me just say, it did not let me down.

Juggling the work-at-home-mom gig, the endless meetings that my husband & I have for his job or church commitments, outings, events, doctors appointments, blog posts, house care stuff, etc---I was kind of drowning trying to keep it all inside my brain. And the truth was? I was forgetting a TON. 

I've had my Erin Condren Life Planner now for over a week, and it's been amazing. I am, indeed, a believer. I mean, just look at it. The adorable pops of colors, inspiring quotes, and the way your day is broken up into morning/day/night--it is PERFECT for this momma. Perfect.


I have to say, it makes me giggle to think about how I used to be all, "I hate planning! I don't plan. I just fly by the seat of my pants!", and now, I totally do plan. And it makes me feel about 100% more sane. 

If you've yet to work with the fabulous people at Erin Condren, you won't regret it. Their customer service? Outstanding. Their products? Adorable. They have everything from labels, to mommy-cards, to life-planners, to teacher planners, address books, growth charts, and more. Basically, anything and everything to make your life a bit easier and, well, cuter :)


Today, they're generously giving away TWO $25-off-vouchers to use on their website, to two of you. 


So now, there will be two winners :)

Amazingly nice, isn't it?

Here's what you gotta do. Two mandatory things for one entry, and that's it. I like to keep it simple.

1. You should, well, be a reader here at my little 'ole blog. So tell me that you follow, subscribe, whatever.
2. Go "like" the Erin Condren FB Fan Page, and write on their wall that Katie @ Loves of Life sent you. 

That's it.

Please just leave ONE comment acknowledging that you did both things, and bam. We're good. I'll announce the winner when I get back from my vacation, Monday, September 26th. Okay?

***

Until then, go follow @ErinCondren on twitter. Shop around and find out what you will buy with your winnings, you know. Have fun. And don't say I didn't warn you that their stuff is totally addicting :)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh, Emeline did the accent vlog. Or not.

You know that accent vlog everyone was doing? Well, I didn't feel like doing it. You've seen me on video enough to know that I don't really have an accent. And the questions get kind of boring after a while. 

However, Lindsey gave me the genius idea of getting Emeline on video saying some of her 'words'. I decided to do just that, because, she's so cute with her little toddler voice. So, here you go. A little video action for your Wednesday afternoon.


Please pardon my mom voice. 

***

Wednesday.

-It's important to note that I titled this post "Things for Thursday" until I realized that it was, in fact, only Wednesday. So...yea. Now? My title is clever as can be. I'm good like that. Apparently my brain has thought all week that we have been one day ahead. I hate when that happens.

-So yesterday, you all kind of blew my socks off. It was so fun receiving pictures of you with your print outs of your bucket lists all framed, or seeing them already in your houses! I kind of feel like you all have a little piece of me in your house now. It's not creepy, it's totally heart warming. I love it. 

-It was also fun how many of you tweeted me all, "Ohmygosh your bucket list is all over Pinterest!

-On the same note, and then I'll shut up about it (I swear). What if at the end of the season we did a link-up with a highlight, including pictures from your bucket list adventures, and kind of a recap of the fun things you did as a family? If you're interested, tell me. This wouldn't be for a few months (end of November likely). 

Switching Gears....

-Tomorrow, I'm going to be doing a giveaway from the fabulous people at Erin Condren (you know, the makers of the Life Planners everyone raves about. And yes, I own one, and yes I will tell you about how it's taken this non-planner to a life-planner. Don't laugh. It's true.) where you'll get a chance a chance to win $25 in free moolah towards their products. It's kind of fun, because in combination with other promotions out there, you can basically get yourself a planner for free. So, um...come back tomorrow.

-We start swim classes back up tomorrow! It's only half hour every week, for six weeks, but let me tell you---I so much love that time in the pool with Eme, and it really is a fun way to break up our week. Let alone, for her to keep learning to swim. She's excited to get back into it. She told me.

-This time, next week, my husband and I will be on our vacation. I'm starting to get a little sad about the idea of leaving Emeline, but she's going to be with my parents, whom she adores--so it really will be fine. Pretty sure we'll be face-timing too. I don't want her to forget me. :)

***

So what's up with you? Does the idea of the link-up down the line interest you? Are you coming back for the Erin Condren giveaway tomorrow? 

Happy Thursday Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fall Bucket List, and a printable-because I love you.

UPDATED 2013 BUCKET LIST HERE!


Yesterday I told you about our Fall bucket list idea, and today I'm gonna share it with you because I can, and I'm feeling generous. Oh, and I kind of like you. In a girl crush kind of way.

Anyway, we've just been talking lately, wanting to enjoy this Fall with Emeline and our little family. We wanted to approach this season with more intentionality. Memory making. Being better about using our time, and figuring out ways to do our best to make the most of it. So we comprised a list of things we're hoping to do in the next few months...probably by Thanksgiving time. After that, we'll work on a holiday's/winter list. Who knows, maybe we'll make it our thing.

Sometimes, seeing fun ideas written out help to hold you accountable. You know?

So I decided to make it cute, and fun. So this is our list (and it may just work for you, too!):

Note: THIS image is not the printable! I would totally not give you a printable with a watermark :)

So the idea is to put it in a frame, behind glass, so you can use a dry-erase marker to check-off your activities as you do them. Fun, huh?

This is mine:


Pretty fun, eh?

Obviously nothing is checked off yet, but soon we will be a checkin' things off. And? If this list doesn't work for you, make your own, or something :) ha. No, really. Or just write extra's in the blank spaces.

We have some of the few obvious things....you know, apple picking, pumpkin decorating, corn mazes....but then we threw in a few extras. We put "Go on 2 dates" because this is an absolute necessity to our marriage. We need the alone time, and we need to make that time together a priority. However, if you're an unmarried/not-dating person, dates with friends to meet for coffee, or other fun things could totally work, too. We all need some good girl time. Oh, and we're totally having a Fall Picnic. In hoodies. Because, why not?

***

So here's a link to the printable for you. When it comes up, just click on it to magnify. It'll print in an 8x10 and will need a little trimming but should fit in a frame nicely for you.

If you want the image in a 5x7, you can resize in any other photo program you'd like.

You better bet your bums that I'll be documenting our way through whatever we get through on this list (which is hopefully most of it), and maybe you will consider doing that same? I'd love to see how a Fall Bucket List works out for you.

And here's to hoping we make lots of fun memories.

***

Happy Tuesday!

Oh, and you're welcome :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Soaking up the end of Summer.

That feeling is creeping up. You know, that feeling of summer being over and the air's getting a bit of crispness to it. Not often, but every once in a while Fall is peeking it's little head around the corner. And I have to be honest...I quite like it.





Evening walks? Our favorite after dinner event, by far. It's two fold, really. One: We love, love, love to be outside and get fresh air. Oh, and the family time is nice, too. And Two: I love, love, love to tire Emeline out to assure she has absolutely NO reason to protest bedtime.

It doesn't always work.

But, sometimes we just tire Daddy out instead. ;)


We've been really, really trying to figure out ways to soak up each season with Emeline. Our schedules are getting insanely busy lately, and I'm starting to feel this guilt about not doing enough and enjoying family time. Or, being creative with it, really. 

So, in efforts to take full advantage of the crisp, cool, Fall season coming up, we made a Fall Family Bucket List. And well, tomorrow? I'll tell you all about it. In fact, I even slaved over a printable for you to have, too. Because I'm so nice :) Oh, and I quite like you guys.


Eme does, too. She told me. 

[And OMG, she is just gorgeous. I mean, I know she's mine and all. But I sometimes cannot believe I made her. You know what I mean.]
But for now, we enjoy what's left of summer.

***

Have a great day...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yet again when my camera aids me in my distress.

I'm just gonna say it. I hate when my husband works on Saturday's.  I hate it.

I know it could be worse. I know it could be. 

But this morning I was just frustrated. It started with realizing that I only had enough milk left for one sippy cup. Fine, no big deal, right? I can have Declan stop for milk on his way home later.

Wrong.

She threw her sippy cup down to the ground SO HARD that the top popped off the cup, and my clean floor was now covered in milk. Fabulous. 

Then, we had the ever-so-familiar-lately battle of The Wills. About Food. Again. I honestly think this battle could be the death of me. The sound of the freshly made food just being chucked at the floor was starting to send shivers up my spine and cause my blood pressure to rise.

And then? I finally just gave up and let the Disney channel babysit. I know, that was such mom-win move. But sometimes, I feel better telling on myself to The Whole Internet. That way, in case you  had any question at all, I can prove to you that I'm not perfect. *snicker* 

Anyway. 

While Jake & the Pirates were keeping a good eye on Emeline (in all seriousness, I can see her the entire time), I remembered again that I had taken photos yesterday when my sister and I visited a new (horrible) park on a whim. 

So these brightened up my morning.

Who takes their kid to a park in white leggings? WHO? *ducks*

My two favorite girls in one photo? Win.

I hope your Saturday started off better than mine. :)

***

Friday, September 9, 2011

Those dang mandarin oranges.

I love being a mom. Anyone who knows me knows that I ooze that. I think being a mom has given me a new sense of confidence, a new way to proudly hold my head, and even though it's often so draining, I find it (at this point) be so very fulfilling, too.

But the other night, I found myself super frustrated. Declan had a late meeting, so I was trying to get Emeline fed. She's in this new picky-food phase, which I absolutely, positively loathe with every ounce of my being. It sucks. But I hear it comes with the territory of toddlerhood.

Anyway. I started off by giving the girl some mandarin oranges. Great, she gobbled them up like I knew she would since fruit of any kind? She loves. But she can't just solely live on fruit. I then tried some mac & cheese. I've only tried it one other time and she was fine with it. But that night? It ended up on the floor. By the gob-full. Not to mention it was dripping down my walls, too. The walls, baseboards, and floor all of which I had just been on my hands and knees scrubbing earlier.

After a while, I realized that wasn't working. I'll try blueberries. She loves blueberries. She chucked them all at Mac (girlfriend has impeccable aim) before I could even get them off her tray. My frustration level was totally rising, but I tried not to show it.

I think at this point is when I tweeted something like, "I'm done parenting today. Any takers?"

Oddly enough, there were no takers.

Hmph.

Go figure.

Anyway. I tried her favorite fruit nutrigrain bars. She grinned from ear to ear when I brought them out from the cabinet, and inside I thought, "Nailed it". But before my mind could even finish that winning thought, I see my dog off in the corner gobbling up AN ENTIRE NUTRIGRAIN BAR like he just won the lottery.

By this point, I was just over it. So frustrated that the only thing she ate for dinner was freakin' mandarin oranges, meanwhile feeling like I'd somehow mal-nurished my child. I go to the fridge, and while I knew I should have just quit while I was ahead, I went for the string cheese. Of COURSE she would want string cheese. It's her favorite.

She even said a hearty, "YESH" when I showed it to her. I brought it over, she smiled at me, I put a piece in her hand, she put out her other hand asking for the other half. Naively, I gave it to her, thinking she would vacuum it up like she normally does. She grabbed the two halves of the cheese, gripped them with all her might, spread her hands out over each side of her high chair, gave me the.cheesiest.smile.ever and then opened up her little fists, releasing said cheese sticks directly to the ground.

This time? That was it. I had to walk away because my toddler had figured out how to push all my buttons and frustrate the heck out of her momma.

Girlfriend had already tested me up and down, and I fell into her little tricks about a gazillion times, in desperate attempts to get her to eat something more than just mandarin oranges for dinner.

I cleaned her up in a huff, and sent her off to play in the living room.

Still frustrated, I pulled out my camera and starting downloading the photos I had taken earlier that day. I'm so glad I did. Especially in times of frustration like that, I'm so grateful for my camera. Or photos, rather. That I can just look back on and remember really great moments. The ones that happen often, and that do overshadow the really frustrating (even if silly) ones. 

As I was watching the few photos download and flash across my screen, I found myself smiling a bit. Being less frustrated. Easing up. After all, you win some, you lose some in this whole parenting gig, anyway, right?

And only moments before the whole dinner debacle, we had some really fun moments when I snuck in to get her from naptime with my camera in hand. I can't remember the last time, if ever that I've done that.

So today, I'm grateful for moments that make me forget the little trying ones. For good that overshadows the bad. For my little booger-of-a-girl. I truly love this kid to death.

Sleepy, groggy Eme-Kay. Bed-head is the best.
And then she spots her puppy who comes in to greet her. Smiles.
Watching her birds on her mobile.

Her daddy came home from his work meeting with leftover pizza that night. Apparently she was holding out for that. I can't say I blame a girl.

****