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Friday, March 30, 2012

Recipes, the easiest of the easy.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't exactly pride myself on my duties as a chef/baker/kitchen diva. Because, I'm so not one.

I wish I was. I wish I really enjoyed time in the kitchen, but I don't. I just don't.

But for some reason, yesterday? I spent a lot of time in the kitchen and I tried out a few new recipes. Some, not even recipes at all. Just thrown-together-stuff that kinda worked. So I figured I'd share because I'm all about SIMPLE. SIMPLE. SIMPLE recipes. AKA: No more than a few ingredients, and all ones that I can actually understand what's in them.  Because searching for stuff in a grocery store? Oh. Yea. That gives me hives.

So first. Yesterday at lunch, my husband was coming home for his break. I SO BADLY wanted to beg him to bring home pizza, but we've been trying to be better about our spending habits and sticking to our budget. So I scoured the pantry and found we had flour tortillas, spaghetti sauce, and mozzarella cheese. Voila!

Tortilla Pizzas
Small or large flour tortillas, spread a little pizza sauce or spaghetti sauce on them, generous amount of mozzarella cheese, then sprinkle some italian seasoning & garlic salt. Pop on baking sheets in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 375. Or use a toaster oven! Easy. easy. And so so good.

At dinner, I had some chicken thawed, but was sick of making it the same 'old, same 'old. I decided to look for a simple recipe for chicken nuggets, and used this one. I honestly think the skinny taste ones would be better for the future.

Then, we are kind of out of EVERYTHING, but I wanted to have a veggie with dinner. My go-to veggie is normally green beans, or something like that. I sautee them with evoo and garlic, etc. But, we're all out. So I had a bag of baby carrots, and I thought about steaming them. But, ew. Steamed carrots? Not my cuppa tea.

I figured if I could find a recipe or some seasoning that made them taste good? I'd be game to try. 

I steamed them (just cover with water, bring to boil, then takes about 10-12 minutes), drain, then melt some butter over them, some lemon juice, pepper and dill. Honestly? YUM. The flavor combo was so delicious and perfect for spring/summer. I was once a steamed carrot hater, but I'm a convert now. 

And then? I got the nudge (aka: pregnancy craving) to have peach cobbler.  So I searched around for the easiest recipe ever and went with Peach Cobbler Dump Cake. Seriously, it takes like 3 ingredients and was EASY and freaking delicious. 


 So, there ya go--a few simple little recipes from the girl who rarely cooks. Go figure.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Nothing but love.





PS: I have a giveaway for a $50 iTunes gift card going on my Facebook Page. You've gotta follow me over there and find the most recent post with the rules to enter, it's easy ;) See you there.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Confessions...

...My birthday is coming up and I just don't really care that much about it. It's just another birthday. Granted, I admit that if my husband forgot or something? I'd be devastated. But birthdays just don't seem to be a huge deal to me anymore. Sure, it's fun to feel special and all--but, meh. I feel like once you become a mom it's more about your kids birthdays and big events than your own, anyway. Honestly? I just want to go shopping with my mom for maternity clothes (boring and lame, I know) for Spring/Summer, and maybe get some cute shoes and sandals or something.

...I'm sporting kiddie pigtail braids today because it's been an ungodly amount of days since I've last showered and properly done my hair. It's gross, really, but it takes way too much time do my hair right, and half-done hair on me is just....horrid.

...I fed my kid a flour tortilla with peanut butter spread over it last night for dinner because she wouldn't eat ANYTHING else yet was crying/whining about how hungry she was. Sometimes I just don't get toddlers, at all. But whatever. It was something, right. Protein? Carbs? Oh well.

...We've had swim class canceled the last two weeks and I swear my sanity depends on that little weekly shindig. So, maybe swim class is more for me than her? Or it just benefits us both. Yea. That.

...I have been about 19208102981x more calm and relaxed since taking my house off the market and I think house selling is not for the faint of heart. But, we're here for a year or more now, whatever it may be, and I'm fine with it. Totally fine.

...I have absolutely zero desire to work on potty training with Emeline until after we return from Disney. There is no way I want to spend my time in Disney running her to the potty and changing pee-clothes when I'd rather us just be enjoying the time there. I'm not interested in the mom-competition there seems to be about who gets their kid potty trained first, either. My kid isn't ready, she runs when I mention the potty, so I don't really wanna start until she's more interested. We've regressed a little in that area, but I'm not worried. It'll happen.

...I feel huge. And gross. I hate that, I want to feel cute, but I don't. I have popped in a major way this week, seriously. Everyone at my Community Group for church last night was all, "WHOA!" about it.  I torture myself and look back at my skinniest photos and already cannot wait to get back on weight watchers. Roughly 25 weeks, people. And I already have a 5K in mind that I'm doing as a goal post baby.

...I need nesting to kick in. My closets, drawers and cabinets could use purging/reorganizing, but I'll just wait until I get hit with that bug to do it. It's easier that way. Built in motivation. What? You know it's true.

What are you confessing?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A dose of patience for you, a dose for me.

Did you ever notice that children have this way about them...? I mean, they're kids. They can't help it. It's bound to happen. You know what I mean.

You have the car packed for an outing, 45 bags in your hand trying to get out the door, your kid(s) sitting there with only one shoe on because they just took one off after you put them both on. You're fumbling over all your bags trying to wrangle your dog, put the daggone shoe back on, and then after that's over, you turn your head for two seconds to shove the milk sippy cup in your bag that you almost forgot only to see that your kid just spilled cold coffee down her perfectly clean (and new) shirt.

You breathe a very, very deep breath (aka, a sigh), and drop all your bags. You tell your "uh-oh, uh-oh"ing toddler it's okay and march back up your billion townhouse steps to change her shirt. While up there, you realize you better soak that new shirt or else that stain will never come out. While rinsing that shirt for .3 seconds, the kid(s) find their way into something else. You know, like pulling all the books off the bookshelf, or playing (and breaking) all of momma's necklaces. Whatever.

You're all ready to leave now. You tell your kid it's time to go, and they want to jump to you instead of walk down the steps themselves. Fine. It's faster that way anyway. "I jump momma!" She jumps. Pregnant, tired momma sighs again, and wonders how long she'll be able to keep up with the jumping stairs act. For now, momma still can handle it. Sort of.

You realize that adorable clip you had placed perfectly in her hair mysteriously went missing before we even got in the car. Great. You then throw in the lime-green clip you found on your kitchen floor instead because you don't have the energy to search for the perfect one that actually matches, which is probably all the way in her bedroom, 3 floors up.

When you're finally ready to open that door to get all bodies in the car, your mischievous, sneaky little dog runs out beneath your feet and straight for the street. You drop the bags for the millionth time and go running for your dog before he A) gets hit by a car, or B) acts like some bad-A dog and starts barking up a storm at the poor little toddler boy across the street. Within a minute or so, you get your dog to throw put him back in the house, only to find your toddler roaming the side yard playing with "buggies" and telling a bumblebee (!!) "you're so cute!"

Aye-yi-yi.

You coax the kid back to the car before she gets herself stung and we have that fiasco to deal with. You strap 'em in, after they've asked for their sunglasses (in which you must shove a bunch of crap on the floor to side to find in the first place) and then give her a book. You fling a bunch of bags into the car and then finally get into the drivers seat yourself, buckling your seatbelt, and thanking Jesus you've finally made it into the car. When...you realize you left your sunglasses just inside the door (that you just locked), and you will for sure need them on this extra sunny day.

Back in the house. Get your sunglasses. Back in the car. Turn up the music. Loud. And you're finally off.

And this is even prior to arriving at your destination. In which case we all know about a million other kid occurrences happen. Outfit changes. Diaper explosions. Running out of wipes. Dumped bag of goldfish everywhere. Meltdowns for no particular reason. You forgot the stroller. You name it.

I think you get the idea. And this is why moms run late so often, just sayin'. And? Double, triple, quadruple these scenarios depending on the number of kids you have. Truly. Granted, some days the stars align and you can get out of the house in a flash,  or have a perfect, flawless time out. But most the time? I run into lots of little detours. Which is okay, and normal, I think.

Through all the little detours in my plans, throughout our day, due to little mishaps, or my kid just being a kid--I realize how much I have to just let go. I say a little prayer here and there to just have more patience. More grace. More go with the flow-type attitude. That's all I can do.

My reaction to situations, my ability to just chill-out and not stress over the little things then helps my attitude the rest of the day. It's a little thing, but something I pray as my family grows, that I'll be granted extra doses of patience.

Okay, loads of it, please.

*My friend Gina wrote a post the other day that spurred on this post. So thanks, G :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Appy Monday: Take your favorite shows On-the-Go

Remember how I'm one of the contributors over at AppSmitten? That awesome website that sends out weekly or daily emails finding all the hottest and greatest apps for your iPhone, iPad or droid? Yea. That. Well, don't forget that if you want access to all the cool stuff, you just have to sign up with your email address right here. It's free, and they do all the work for you. It's awesome. So, sign up :)

But, today--I'm gonna tell you about one of my favorite Avoid Meltdown apps. You can check it out over at my Contributor Page. I'll give you a peek:


Yep, that PBS Kids app is awesome. Do you have it yet? You should. It's free, it's run by PBS so of course it has all your toddler's favorite shows and snippets from them that stream whenever the kiddo needs a distraction.  The shows pride themselves on being educationally and curriculum based. I feel comfortable with PBS shows, and so it's a nice option to have this app on my phone when needed in a pinch.


Check out my AppSmitten page to sign up and also to check out the other fun family and educational apps I've suggested over the last few months!

***

'Appy Monday!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Little bits & pieces.

I'm 21 weeks tomorrow. Yea, let's just all breathe that in for a second. At first it felt like this all crawled by but now I'm feeling like, simmer down yo. Definitely starting to speed by and as I look ahead at the calendar, I just see things scheduled, and dates ticking by, and realize this baby will be here before I know it.

Me & Baby Girl 2. This morning.
Also, thanking Target for having one cute t-shirt that I like (so I got it in white, too). It's lightweight, and cute, and I love it. I have a severe shortage of stuff that will work through this pregnancy, so I get way too excited about anything that will work.

Speaking of things, and trips, and dates. My first little girl will be TWO here in about....6 weeks? Or so? And whoa. I don't really know if I've mentioned this before, but May is a crazy time in our family with celebrations, and birthdays, etc.  So we decided to take some time over Emeline's Birthday, my Mom's birthday, Mothers Day AND my parents anniversary to go on a special trip to Disney World. Yes, all four celebrations will take place in Disney. Because, why the heck not celebrate at the happiest place on earth?

We're excited. So much so. I've only been to Disney one other time and I was 21 years old.  Emeline can't stop talking about Mickey & Minnie, and while she won't remember the trip per-say, there will be loads of pictures for her to look back on. So, there won't be any big birthday party, because why does she need all that if she's going to spend her big day in Magic Kingdom, having breakfast with characters, you know? We can't wait. 

So my little girl and I? I guess we're twins or something. A few months ago I ran across this photo of me (on the left) around the same age as Eme. I couldn't get over how similar my daughter looked to me at this age. So, naturally I had to compare them side by side. Then, yesterday I put it next to one of Emeline in piggy tails, and a similar little squishy face. Dead. Too cute. And I guess this means she will now go through the awkward middle school years like her momma did. Poor kid.

Sigh. I love her.
We had a really nice Friday morning out today, since Declan is off working the 2nd shift tonight. That rarely happens, but when it does we have to take advantage of our time together in the mornings. We had breakfast at a favorite diner, and ran some random errands to k-mart and home depot. 

Now that we're staying here at the house for at least another year or two, naturally we can't sit still. That's just how we are with house projects. So we're getting a rock patio put in below our deck, just to give us a little more outdoor space to play, maybe install a swing (or two) for Emeline (and her sissy). We're also (finally) putting a storm door on the front. And of course I'll be digging a vegetable garden, somehow, some-way, because tomatoes in your front garden look hideous. Oh, townhouse living. But we make it work.

It's gorgeous out today, but this weekend is calling for rain, rain and more rain for us. I guess we can't complain after all the days of sunshine we've had, yea? :)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lately...

...we've been enjoying unseasonably warm weather, long days on the deck, and enough sunshine that we're getting sunburns in March.

...we've gotten the big 20 week peek at baby girl, and enjoyed seeing her healthy and strong, wiggling and swirling around in there. Seeing all 10 fingers, and toes, a healthy heart, and her sleeping with her hands behind her head just like her big sissy, it sets a momma's mind at peace and at ease. I'm so grateful.

...we're taking our power-wheels (her early birthday gift from us) to the park and and driving wrecklessly, I mean, as perfectly safe as safe can be.

...we've painted our fingers and toes in the prettiest lavender color in honor of springtime--and my not-quite-2-year-old has learned to sit perfectly still and wait the appropriate drying time in order to assure we don't mess up the "pretty toes".

...and we've consumed too many summer-indulgences already, and it's not even April yet. Waterice, ice-cream, popsicles.....but it's just fun to get a post-nap treat every once in a while on a sunny afternoon. Yea?

***




Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't soak too long.

I was made fun of as a kid. I bet you were, too--at some point, maybe. Kids can be cruel. Heartless. Awful. Downright horrible. I can still remember just how awful it felt in that moment to feel like one mean kid could ruin my day so hardcore. To make me feel so alone. So ugly. So self-conscious. So insecure.

In elementary school, I remember being made fun of by one specific boy--of course I remember his name. His name was Shawn. I'll leave off his very-specific-last name because let's be honest, Google is a brutal thing. But he was the first person I remember specifically being a bully to me. Calling me ugly because of a very small birthmark I had on my upper left cheek.

He made specific comments about what I always thought was a "beauty mark" (as my momma so lovingly referred to it, as momma's should), and said things like, "Ewww look at that HUGE pimple on your cheek!" and everyone around him would point and laugh. He told me how ugly I was because of it.

It horrified me.

I was a bit on the shyer side as a kid. So being called out for something that required attention being brought to me? Was my version of elementary hell.

Do you know that I begged and pleaded with my mom to get it removed? And you know what? I did have it removed. Of course, you can still see it (if you look), but to me, it was the only option.

Kids can be cruel.

In middle school, it was the bus. The freakin' bus. Middle school years on the bus were awful. God-awful. I was friends with a girl who had a severe eating disorder. So, obviously, she was very, very thin. I was very, very normal. An older 8th grader, who was very overweight, and probably very insecure made it her life goal to make us feel awful about ourselves. For months and months she would taunt us, saying lots of comments about how fat I was (I wasn't fat, actually) and how skinny my friend was. Saying that I should loan her some of my "fat" so she wouldn't be so skinny anymore.

Honest to goodness. Just plain cruelty. One day, I remember that she crushed up cheez-it's onto the seat ledge and then BLEW them into our hair.

That.was.it.

Fury. Rage. But yet I kept my cool (somehow), and it went as far as having the principal have to ride our bus, a video camera installed, and some of those bully-kids getting removed from bus privileges. It got that bad.

From what I can remember, all of my siblings dealt with bullying to some degree. Nothing was wrong with us by the worlds standards. Just some random butthead's standards at the time, who, probably? Was dealing with some sort of big-issue at home and brought out their best mean-kid-bully-jerk act at school.

But as a kid? As a teen, even? It's hard to see past that. It's hard to realize that, when in the face of being humiliated, it's really their problems showing through. Glaring, really. With a big, bold, light--and a neon sign over their head. Things like, "I hate myself", "I'm stupid", or maybe? Something you have or exude in your personality hits them in a spot that makes them jealous. Or taps on their insecurities.

Heck, it's hard as an adult to see past that when you're being bullied. Trust me on this, adult bullies exist. Especially in this world of blogging. We're not quite as bold as we were as kids. We bully behind computer screens.

The truth of the matter is this. We've probably all been bullied at one time or another. As a kid? It hurts. A lot. It does. As an adult? It hurts. But maybe a little less. Why? The turning point for me was when I chose not to internalize those words. Not to believe them. Not to let them soak in or penetrate my soul. Instead, I remember and hold onto the things I know are true of myself. Things my family and close friends can assure of me of. Can back me up on. Who I really am.

My sweet friend sent me this in an email yesterday...and it went along with this post, so I figured I'd share.


So. yea. You're gonna survive. We're gonna survive.

Because we're awesome like that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stay.

We're sitting here at the kitchen table, laptops out, coffee in hand, remnants of breakfast lying everywhere. I say everywhere because with a toddler (my toddler), it's true.

She throws things. Bits of muffin to the left of me. Chewed up grapes to the right of me.

Just a few minutes ago I looked over to see her entire peanut butter toast stuck to her arm like paste, and a little pixie voice saying, "Uh Oh Mommy, Uh oh!", while licking off any remnants of PB left on her fingers, and cradling a quarter-eaten-apple in her armpit.

Needless to say, mealtimes are still an issue around here. But that's not the point of this post. I don't really even know the point. I just wanted to write.

There's a halfway-floating-through-the-air Dora "bloon" in the living room. If you saw The Office this week, you know exactly what I mean. It's doing that exact thing.  Emeline's toys are strewn about the living room. Last nights snack-wrappers are still hanging out on the couch, because we're awesome like that. And the basement? Well, that's looked like a laundry room for the past week, yep-since last Sunday. We've been doing that thing where you run down 2 flights of steps just to get the clean item of clothing you need because everything's not quite ready to come up yet. Or? We just have been too busy slash lazy to deal with it.

All that to say-we're back to living again. We took the house off the market and I couldn't be happier about it.

We tried. We saw. We finally felt the nudging to just rest again and wait. Peace is my gauge. My husband's, too. We felt at peace with the decision to just stay. Reside here for another year or two and then try again. We have a lot of big transitions coming up. Emeline needs to move to a big girl room, the nursery needs to be a little updated, she's going to have a little sister, she needs to begin seriously potty training, we have a big trip planned in May, and we need to just stop. Focus on those things. Enjoy this time and not stress about it.

Because the truth is we are okay here. We have the space. And when the time is right we'll move to wherever we feel is right for us. For now, it's to stay.

I'm okay with that. Totally okay. In fact, I feel really good about it.

And it feels kind of nice again to leave my bra & undies hanging around again. I mean...

It's okay to stop. It wasn't a fail. I don't feel like it was a fail, at all. In fact, I feel like it was a learning experience.

I'm glad to be home again, in my mind anyway.

**

Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hello Baby Deux: 20 Weeks, the big half-way.

The Babe
She's a movin' and a groovin' in there. I love it! I didn't feel Emeline this early because of my anterior placenta. This time, I've felt the baby move since 16'ish weeks, and I've even felt her from the outside. We will see her on ultrasound at my official anatomy scan on Tuesday. I am looking forward to that, of course.

The Momma
I'm good, I think. I mean, generally I feel pretty healthy and strong these days. I admit that I definitely feel the whole shortness of breath & get winded more easy lately, but such is the next 20 weeks of my life. Some morning sickness has returned a little, but it doesn't linger all day. Generally just one 'episode' (I'm trying to be PC. Ha), and then I'm back to feeling better. I feel like I have to pee all the time these days, but get so distracted with Emeline that I forget to pee.

The Bod
Last time, at my 16 week update, I was about -3 pounds. And ugh. It's pretty obvious my morning sickness has generally subsided, because this momma is now UP 3-4 pounds from my original starting weight. It's faster than I gained weight with Emeline--so I'm hoping that's not a sign of what's to come. Or maybe--? It'll even out? Let's hope. I'm feeling chubby these days. I hate that. I know that my thighs are expanding, I'm starting to get pregnancy face, and I can feel a double chin forming. It's worth it. Yes. So much so. I should also not eat as many muffins. And bagels. :)

Comparison to last pregnancy? I'd say I'm starting to even out now and look the same. Maybe even a little bigger than last time considering there's a week difference.

This pregnancy:
The Big Sis 
She knows baby sisters name. Which is too, too cute. Yes, we have a name! I just adore hearing Emeline say it, sweetest thing ever. 

She's doing well and we pray daily for her transition to big sister. For now we're soaking up the time it is just her, and enjoying that to the fullest. We'll never get back this time, so it's very special to us.

***

Half way already?

Crazyness. Excited to meet the newest little lady in my life come August.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The fullness gushes over.

I don't know what it is, but lately, I am enjoying mommyhood even more than usual. There is so much life being brought to my heart over here, and it's so good.

My heart is just bursting with momma love. So much of it. It's no secret that I think my kid is amazing. I think that every parent, in their own right, find their children to be awesome. I am no different. But for some reason this week I've just slowed down more.

I notice everything. All her little quirks. Her little facial expressions. The number of times she says "thank you mommy" when I hand her a cracker or "oops, sorry momma" if she drops something. I've been noticing how the warmer, more humid-like weather makes her hair curl up even more. And how darn adorable it looks up in a single ponytail with her 'bangs' pinned back. How adorable her little white, pasty arms look in those sweet little tank tops. And how happy I am to see her little chubby toes hanging out of her sandals once again.

This year feels so much different than last. She was so fun last year, so fun. But this year is different. She's older, even more fun (which I never thought was possible), and everything just feels so NEW! and Exciting! And amazing! to her. I am finding myself so wrapped up in her every day little excitements that I, too, am feeling the same excitement. Over things I didn't know I ever cared about. You know?

Like yesterday afternoon, we were sitting on the deck in this nice, sunny, blissful March weather, blowing bubbles. We blew bubbles last year, but this year? It's so much cooler. So much more fun. She ran around the deck jumping up and down smacking her hands together yelling, "I CATCH IT!" over, and over and over again. You couldn't wipe the joy off her face if you tried. And you couldn't wipe it off mine, either.

It's those little things. And this week I've just had a lot of full-heart-mom moments.

Like watching my girl run a playground like she's done it forever. Sliding down every slide known to man, and always by herself like a big girl. Or getting along with her friends so well and making me proud that she cares so much at her young age about other little people. Or how she tickled her baby cousins belly and made little faces at him to get him to smile and laugh. How she learned to swing on the swings on her belly for the first time. Or how she cups her hand around her ear and says "what's that?" every time she hears an unfamiliar sound. Or how she'll spot every single bird "tweet-tweet" that's around. How she had her first experience with a "bug", and how dang sweet she was to that little gnat. Yes. A gnat. She cried when it flew away saying, "Bye bug" through tears.

I'm just in awe of this little person. She really is a gem. And yes, she can frustrate the daylights out of me some days, but this kid? Is my heart. She makes me so proud to be a mom. To be her mom.

I'm privileged to get this opportunity. Momming this baby girl. Making the decisions to have water ice for lunch one day because it's more fun. Being able to dress her in bright, funky colors because why the heck not? Getting to buy her that minnie mouse bookbag because her face lit up when she saw it. Getting her the ugly Dora shirt I swore I'd never all because it makes her happy and she did a little jig when she saw it at the store. Letting her have the last sips of my slushy because I love her that much. And being honored that she wants to wear her sunglasses in her hair "like mommy do".

Kids have a way of expanding and stretching your heart more than you ever knew possible. That's for sure.

And thank God for that. I need her just as much as she needs me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The 'what's going on' post.

The house. I've had a few questions. It's still on the market. We've had a few showings (3), and the last feedback seemed really hopeful. However, I'm much too smart to get my hopes up in these situations. It means nothing until the fat lady sings. aka: someone makes an offer. I'm not stressed about it.

We're keeping our eye out for things out there, in the specific area we want to move. However, that can be a real crap-shoot when you're looking in a very, very specific area. I just trust that the when's and if's and how's work out if this is what we're supposed to do. If not? We'll stay here for now. We're going to look at another house today. But again, can't do a whole lot until someone wants my house. Oh, the evil cycle of home-buying/selling. It's so fun. *eyeroll*

The baby. The bump-baby, that is. It seems my belly is growing everyday. I'm going to (hopefully) do a full update maybe this Friday for my halfway point. I'm almost 20 weeks. Halfway? Really? Wow. I was and am feeling generally pretty great, but morning sickness and the pukes have come back again. My baby girls--so typical of them to be rough on their momma in utero. So not surprised. But overall? I am doing really well, and so seems baby girl.

Work Life/Momming. I ran into a mutual friend I hadn't seen in a while yesterday. She was sweet, and asked me about how I handle working at home and doing the whole stay at home mom thing. Yet it seems like I still get to have fun, do mom-stuff, etc. It's true. I do get to do fun mom stuff, take my kid to swim lessons, do playdates with friends, eat chick-fil-a at lunch, etc--but it definitely comes with balance, and time management. For instance, when you're a work-at-home-momma your hours don't really ever shut down. I work after she goes to bed. I work random hours on the weekend. I almost always do work on Sundays. Because the truth is it IS difficult, one kid or not, to balance that. But it can be done. Just takes being creative with your time.



The husband/family life. We're good. So good. I have been enjoying watching Declan & Eme together. They're just the silliest, cutest, most adorable people on the planet and I love these two so very much. He's just come into his own as a Daddy and I know he'll rock at having two girls.


 I'm so much looking forward to this summer, and having most of it just with Emeline. It's like our last little you're an only child hurrah. It'll never just be her again. So we're going to make this Spring and Summer extra special.

Speaking of which, her 2nd birthday? Less than two months away. And she is going to have one of the most special 2nd birthday's ever, but more on that later ;)

We've got Eme's toddler room basically all set up, honestly? For showing purposes. But she is not ready for her big girl bed yet, or maybe, I'm not ready for it yet. We'll get there I suppose. She's always been so good with transitions, and with giving me signals for when she's ready for these changes. I've just not sensed it yet. I mean, the kid hasn't even crawled out of her crib yet. Same with the potty. She had some interest a few months ago, now she's scared of it. I don't want to scare her more so we backed off until she seems interested again. Such is life with kids, I guess?

Other random stuff. I'm shocked at how little I miss twitter these days.We're spending a lot of time outdoors because of this nice weather. Still loving serving and being a part of our Church. I work in children's minstry teaching the 3-5 year olds, Declan is the head of Finance, he does the sound booth/tech stuff, I organize communion Sunday's, and other service activities, and we both love & attend our weekly community group (bible study). We know we are right where God wants us in that regard and it feels great.

I'm keeping active. But no, I'm not actively running. I'm bummed about that, but with every step I have this urge to pee my pants and it's not fun. I've run a few times, but it's been hard. So, lots of walking and thanks to the nice weather this is so much more fun than the treadmill. I'm considering doing a 5K at the beginning of April. I will attempt to run most of it, but I'll likely take a few walking breaks in there. We'll see, though.

So that's what's been going on...well, generally, anyway. ;)

***

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 12, 2012

On the brink

We're just on the brink of Spring now, finally, it seems anyway. It seems silly saying that because the truth is, we could have a beautiful 70 degree weather week (like this week that's forecasted) and then in true PA form, we'll get 30 degree weather the next week, followed by snow or something fun like that. Because snow in April is something we aren't foreign to.

So around here, when you look ahead at the forecast and see weather in the 60's or 70's? It's party time. Parks are hustling bustling. The zoo's are now packed. The sidewalks at the local Gardens are lined with people. There are picnics being had. Ice cream and water ice being consumed. And smiles all around. Because winter? Ugh. So we are happy when sunshine and warmer days peek through.

This week we're looking at gorgeous weather. And it started yesterday. My playdate calendar (ha, like I have one of those) is filling up, and we're excited about even more daylight with Daddy when he gets home from work. Since Declan was on a business trip Friday and Saturday, we took Sunday to just be together. And after naptime we headed to one of the zoo's we got passes to at Christmastime.

Did we have fun? Well. You can see for yourself.













And cheers to the warmer week ahead ;)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

22 Months, aka: two months away from TWO.

I have only one month left to officially count my kid's age in months. Next month, 23 months old, and then? Two. She will be two years old. I will have a little, 'ole 2 year old on my hands. Whoa. 


Emeline is such a sweet kid. Full of so many hugs, and "keeses" for friends and family, lots of long "squeezes" (neck hugs), and tons of smiles and hi's & hola's for anyone around. She especially adores her grandparents, and my sister, Susan ("aunt susie!"), seeming particularly partial to them.

She talks about the baby a lot. Her baby sister. She hugs my belly and says, "Uh oh, where baby go?" and then points to my belly and giggles. I don't think she still has any clue, but we talk about her baby sister often and pray daily that she'll slide into that role with grace & ease.

She tests her limits, yes. But for the most part she listens pretty well and can easily be distracted or given something else to get her mind off of what she shouldn't be doing. For now, that's been our form of discipline you could say---redirection. At the time it's working, so we'll go with it.

Miss Emeline loves to tell people her name now when prompted. Of course, she's not quite got the pronunciation down, but if asked her name she goes, "I eye-ine" (sometimes sounds like "nigh nigh"), but she can say, clear as day, "I Eme!!" The thing is, she hears her formal name more often, so that's normally how she introduces herself....as "Eye-ine".

Singing? Check. She loves to sing. Her favorites are the ABC's..which just goes like "A, B, C, E-i-e-i-o" (yes, we mix Old McDonald with ABC's apparently :) ), "Ashes, Ashes, ALL DOWN!", and "Twinkle Star!" and of course "Baby, baby, baby, ohh!" among other things.

She's a chatty girl, as you can tell. And I love how much you can understand with her. I think communication with a toddler can be the most frustrating thing sometimes, but thankfully, she picks up words & uses them all the time which really helps me to know just what she needs rather than dealing with screams or whines.

Dora is still her favorite character ever, but Minnie Mouse has taken a very close lead. She talks about "Minnie 'ouse" often and the other characters of MMCH she likes too, of course. At night, Emeline requests kisses from her puppy. THEN she wants kisses from mommy and daddy. Nice, right? She has to say goodnight to the birdies on her mobile (and they get kisses, too), and she sleeps with "Owlie &  Pammy-girl" (an owl stuffed animal & a penguin stuffed animal). For the most part, she sleeps pretty great, but sometimes pushes the boundaries, as you know ;) But that's what toddlers do.

Life with Emeline is never dull. Sometimes I feel like I'm hanging out, chatting with a (younger, immature, but oh-so-cute) girlfriend. I love this girl to pieces and she certainly brightens my life. She brings lots of joy to people she meets, and I adore that about her.

She's shaping up to be a pretty rad little lady.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I believe in Kony 2012.

Ignorance is bliss? No. Ignorance is just ignorance.

You guys, I wanna talk about all the Invisible Children #Kony2012 stuff you see going around, because this is a cause I believe in. I have family invested into this cause. I have family who spends time in Africa on a yearly basis. I believe this is an opportunity for us to all have a worldview. Band together and do something, anything, because SOMETHING is better than nothing.

I have been so appalled that a measly Tumblr site created by some joe schmo college kid, taking a negative/opposing viewpoint on IC's Kony 2012 mission has become the talking point surrounding this. That there are people spreading this message to oppose something so great that IC is doing. And the fact that people take what this kid is saying as gold? And then spreading the negativity? Using verbiage such as "a hoax", "a scam", "a publicity stunt" in regards to something THIS LIFE CHANGING?

Dang. This is exactly the reason our world is so corrupt. Because there will always be people opposing, rather than seeing a good thing (capturing the man who enslaves & enslaved thousands of children), and being part of the solution instead of the problem.

The good news is, Invisible Children put out a public statement just last night where they're able to set the record straight based on the critiques they've received. And this is CRITICAL that you read and understand it, especially if you want knowledge. Especially if you WANT to know the truth. To not remain ignorant to so called "facts" & slanders.

I'm willing to bet that those trying to disrupt such a cause haven't even watched the Kony 2012 video. And if you are someone who hasn't watched it yet, DO. Please. Do. I know it seems long, but it's too good not to take the 29 minutes to watch.



KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

I've mentioned before that my little brother works in San Diego for Invisible Children and has for the last few years. In fact, he created the design work surrounding this entire thing. The donkey/dove/elephant thing? He did that. He is deeply involved with all the people at IC, and they are good hearted, legitimate, and mostly, passionate about injustices happening around the world.

They are doing SOMETHING. They went, they saw with their own eyes something horrific happening, and they are passionate to see change.

You can help. We can all help. Don't fall into the naysayers, find out the facts on your own. The true ones.


***

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm back. Back again.

Thank you all for your ridiculously nice and reassuring comments on yesterday's post. There was kind of a resounding theme of, Good to know we aren't alone. Sometimes, we can't hold it all together. Sometimes, we break down. Sometimes, things all align and make it all feel piled & piled, to the point of, well, massive tears. Or whatever.

And the good news is? I feel better now.

I do have to admit, though--that yesterday morning? I still felt defeated. I felt run down. I felt tired. Too tired to conquer the day. I so badly wanted to conquer yesterday super-mom style. You know. Do something spontaneous & fun with my baby. Have a day filled with laughs & giggles that would certainly overshadow the momma breakdown the night before. But I couldn't.

All I could muster up was a text to my momma, practically begging for just a few short hours alone while I could just recompose myself. My parents are rockstars when it comes to rescuing me in these situations. I kid you not. I pull into their driveway, they're waiting at the door for us, they practically dive-bomb my car to unstrap Eme from her carseat and rid me away for some alone time. It's fantastic. Faster than the blink of an eye. Especially in those situations. I pray I can be like that for my daughters (and grandkids) one day.

I got myself the longest, most relaxing pedicure a girl could ever have. Thanks to a gift certificate for a mani/pedi from my friend that I just cashed in for a deluxe pedi. Oh. Yea. I picked the brightest, mintiest green color, because why the hell not? And then I just did nothing. For almost two hours. TWO HOURS I got completely foot-pampered. And it was heaven on earth.


I was a better mom because of that. Don't laugh. It's true. Momma's need a time-out, too.

But today? Today was a different story. I woke up to the sun shining and the birds chirping. After a full nights sleep for everyone.  I decided against lingering in PJ's all morning and instead got us both dressed and ready for the day right away. I had a kick in my step, I did. Enjoy today? Yes. Yes, we will.

because WHAT is there not to love about polka dot sunglasses?

And there's something to be said about what I like to call red-cart-cruises. I mean, really? Lingering all those fun aisles of Target, full of shoes, accessories, scarves, and dresses. Yes. I admit, it makes me happy. And finding the prettiest Easter dress for Emeline? That's smile-worthy, too.

So is stock-piling crap from the dollar spot. It's all smile-worthy in my book.


And then chick-fil-a dates with her sweet cousin, Kylie. Can't make those smiles up.


As we drove home, sun-roof down, me and the little lady both rocking our funky sunglasses and fist pumping to random pop songs that came on Pandora, I felt genuine happiness again.

I'm back.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Moment the Momma Broke

I had this really great post, all about how my kid had her first little-child moment regarding theft. Yes, my child was a thief last night, in a candy store, no less. It was a funny story, but? I just don't have the heart to be funny right now.

I feel like pregnancy hormones have kicked me in the butt. Hard and swift. I woke up with a hangover-type-headache, yet only from all the borderline hyperventilating type cries I shed at 12am, practically scaring the pants off my poor husband.

You guys. I reached my breaking point last night. I felt completely out of control. I could not, for the love, stop crying.

But, let me back up.

Yesterday, my husband worked 2nd shift. This isn't a normal thing, in fact, this was the first time. So he was out of the house from 11am-9:15pm. Which meant that momma was in charge of nighttime routine. Honestly? No big deal.

I thanked the sweet baby Jesus when Emeline went down without a peep at 7:15pm. I had her out at the mall all evening, and we were both pretty exhausted. But instead of going to bed, which I know, sounds crazy-early. I just sat on my tush with my feet up, watching trashy television like the Women Tell All (those girls crazy yo') and waiting to greet my hubby home. By the time he came home, we caught up with our days, we watched a show together, then ended up heading to bed a little after 10. Except, I didn't.

You see, at that exact moment is when I heard Emeline get up, screaming bloody murder, at the top of her lungs--standing in her crib in protest. I thought maybe it was her molars, so I went in, gave her a dose of medicine, and this is where she'd normally just fall asleep in the rocker with me, then I'd lay her down for a blissful night's rest.

WRONG.

She was a wreck. A wreck. Except she wasn't really. She is smart now. Like, so beyond smart. So she will throw out every excuse in the book. I want daddy! Where's my puppy? (followed by the most pathetic-sad-cry-ever) I need milk! I watch a show! Go downstairs! etc etc etc. She tries EVERYTHING. Every trick in her little almost 2-year-old book. And I knew I couldn't give in.

Plus, I was so tried. So tired. I just wanted to crawl into my bed and cuddle under the covers. My body is growing a human. I'm sleepy. I need my rest, too, kid.

But instead I just sat there, holding her, singing Amazing Grace literally 2938201938 times. Literally. It's the softest and sweetest sounding song I could think of. Within that next hour, she laid her head down multiple times, fell asleep, would then POP back up saying HI MOMMYYYYYY and then do this on repeat about 23832 times. It was ridiculous. She should be TIRED.

I laid her down again. I went back to bed. She screamed as if someone was murdering her. It was awful. I can't handle that for long. I also can't handle knowing that my neighbors could think I'm a neglectful mother, which I'm not. So I treated her like a newborn again. Cradling her, shushing her, while she's telling me all these things she wants & needs. Daddy. Milk. Mac. A show. To go down the steps. Read a book. EVERY EXCUSE HER SMALL BRAIN COULD THINK OF. All I could think was, when you were a newborn? At least you didn't shout demands at me. Sheesh.

It was around this point where I'm holding her in my lap. She's being the booger of the century, and I literally burst into tears, right there, in the chair. I think it was the painful exhaustion taking over, honestly. Like, sobs & sobs. And it was also RIGHT THEN that my daughter started laughing & giggling in my face about it. That's it. Momma? Breaking point.

I had avoided going into get Declan's help for long enough. I was trying to be respectful of the fact he was working back to back shifts, and getting up at 5:45am to work a full day---but I couldn't do it anymore. I put her back in her bed, and ran into our room--hurled myself on the bed in hysterical gasping cries, waking my husband.

Honestly? It was crazy weird for me. I cry. But not LIKE THAT. I couldn't catch my breath. I was saying things like, I can't do this with two kids! I have reached my breaking point! I feel like such a bad mom! My tricks aren't working! I can't stand another minute in there! BLAH. BLAH. BLAH.

Declan was sweet. Saying reassuring words. Getting caught up on the last two hours of madness. Telling me I'm a good mom and just to relax. Breathe. He'll take care of it. But I didn't wanna botherrrr youuuuuu, I wailed.

He didn't huff. He didn't seem upset at all.

Because of my cry-fest, on top of just being tired, I fell asleep within seconds of him leaving the room. Which never happens. Typically, I have this awful mom guilt that I'm not helping, and end up going in there to be a support. But this time, I had nothing left. I felt empty. I felt tired. I couldn't do it anymore.

I remember him coming back into the room. When? I have no idea. But I know he mentioned she was finally asleep.

This morning when I went in to get her, I was greeted with a room that literally looked like it EXPLODED. Blankets everywhere. Books strewn about. Sippy cups. Dirty laundry thrown everywhere. Stuffed animals & blankets everywhere. It looked like a warzone, and I laughed a little.

I took a quick picture & sent a text to my husband. Her room exploded, eh?

His response: Hey, I got her to sleep didn't I?

Touche.

The point is this. I hit a weak spot last night. I didn't feel strong anymore. I lost control of my emotions and I let my not even 2 year old stress me out to the point of no return. And you know what? I don't feel bad about that. Because I'm human. Mom's have a hard job. No matter how many kids you have, you'll feel weak at some point. You'll have breaking points. I did. I do.

I woke up this morning praying for a new outlook on today. Praying that I wouldn't let last nights situation dictate the kind of mother I'd be today.

Can I blame the hormones?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Appy Monday: Collaging pics from your phone.

Almost every single time I post a photo to instagram with a collaged/layout of multiple photos compiled into one, someone always asks me HOW DID YOU DO THAT?

And I know to many people that might sound like a silly question because you know it's just the use of another cool App on your phone. But not everyone knows this, OR which one to use. There are a few out there!



I've been a loyal Diptic fan for the last year. That's why I decided to make this one part of my contribution of favorite apps over at my AppSmitten Contributor Page. Why not? I mean, I use it all the time. It's convenient, a fun way to collage photos together of my family, of silly faces of Emeline, of outfit-of-the-day's--whatever.


So here are a few examples of how I use Diptic in my everyday photo-taking from my phone.

Pretty fun for side-by-sides (especially for weight loss comparison pics, yep, I did that), silly face pictures, memory-keeping, etc.

Don't forget that signing up for AppSmitten is FREE, and a way to get new, fun, innovative App-suggestions sent directly to your inbox. You can choose once a week, once a day, whatever. But it's so.worth.it to sign up, they do all the hard work of app-discovery for you.

Sign up now

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Bits

I'm stealing this format from my from Kate @ Motley Mama. Hers are cuter and way wittier than mine, but I just have a lot of itty bitty things to share and so this makes the most sense. Thanks Kate.

Recently Observed
My man, JB's birthday was yesterday. So, we honored the talented kid by watching some of his video's on YouTube and then being entertained by Eme's rendition of "baby baby--OHHH".

Watch. Dare you.



Recently Discovered
I can, despite my own belief, successfully give up an area of social media I was admittedly addicted to. While I miss twitter, my head is so much clearer these days. I mean it. I appreciate the friends who have purposely reached out & connected with me since then, too. Makes my heart warm.

Recently Popped
 Me. 'Nuff said.
It should be noted, my friend, Lauren always swears I look bigger in thesephotos (or that I "push out") than I look in real life. I think she's just trying to be nice to the pregnant lady--because I think this is pretty accurate of how I look.  But, thanks girl :)

Recently Devoured
Dunkin Donuts Everything Bagel. Yes, please. Preferably if I can come home, toast it myself, and then put the cream cheese on myself? Perfection. For some reason during my pregnancies, bagels just don't do me wrong.

Recently Downloaded
Seriously. Make me stop playing this dumb (but awesomely fun) game. It makes me look like a 2nd grader in drawing skills when I'm supposed to be an art teacher. I laugh so hard while playing it, it's ridiculous. I have so many games going right now, I can't even keep up.


Recent Auto-Correct FAIL
Really, -really? I guess it could be worse. Yes. I am the one who made the mistake.


Recent Heart-Mush Moment
 You ladies helped me out more than you know with your comments on yesterday's post over at Poop Whisperer. I am confident that with some weeks of transition I can and will figure this mom of two thing out, eventually. I loved hearing your stories, thoughts and kind words. I know they touched more than just me. Also? I was able to respond to about 75% of you so be sure to check out the comments section for my response.


Happy, happy weekend!