Monday, August 31, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - To 3-hour naps and hail storms

I remember when I thought this day would never come...

The day my baby girl would actually NAP. Before she was one, she was on a napping strike, and it drove me batty. Her pediatrician said it was fine. I said, "No, it's NOT fine! It's driving me CRAYZAY!!!" Seriously, I don't know how I made it through the first year with no naps from my child.

Thankfully, she's now at this miraculous point in her life where she is ready for a nap around 11 or 11:30, and if I don't have her in her bed, she actually asks for "night night." Usually, I get about 2 hours from her, which is great.

Gives me time to blog, watch TV, do chores, not do chores. It's fabulous.

Well, today, we had a monster hail and rain storm, so I shut off the computers so they didn't get zapped if lightning struck close by or something.

I had just put the baby down for a nap and turned off the computer, and then my 3 hours (now...close to FOUR) of bliss began. I was so thankful for the storm because the computer is a HUGE distraction for me, and to be quite honest, it's also quite an escape. I can pretend there are no chores to be done, no bills to be paid, no stress. But, without the distraction, I got so much done!

Two epidoes of Army Wives were watched.
Two loads of laundry were completed.
Lunch was eaten.
A snack was eaten.
Lots of water was consumed.
Many trips to the bathroom followed.
I matched (or threw away) the socks from the bag of socks who lost their match.
I filled a bag of old clothes to donate, and a bag to trade in for credit at a resale store.
I had a conversation with my brother.
I talked to my husband.

It. was. AMAZING. 3-hour nap - you are my new favorite thing. I love you. Dearly. Please come back to me. Tomorrow? And the next day?

Now, go ahead and march your little bootie on over to Angie's 7 Clown Circus for more Tuesday Tributes.

Let's play 20 questions.

I was so happy to stumble up this lovely little thing called Friend Makin' Mondays over at Amber's blog. I haven't been quite sure what to write about for the past couple days, so this makes it super easy. All I have to do is answer questions. Easy.

Here goes...the 20 questions we've got to answer for the week:

1. Do you cook every night?

Um, big HECK to the NO.

2. What kind of laundry detergent do you use & why?

Currently, All Small and Mighty. I tried it a while back, liked it, and then got a chance to do a review of it on my blog, so the company sent me another thing of it. I'm not totally dedicated to one particular brand, though. I also love the Purex 3-in-1 sheets. They're just a bit more spendy, so I don't get them unless they're on sale AND I have a coupon.

3. Do you do laundry every day or loads at a time?

I try to do at least a load every day, but that doesn't always happen, which eventually results in a super fun all-day laundry fest.

4. How often do you eat out per week?

On average, probably once - maybe twice.

5. Where do you usually eat out?

We have a local pizza place that we just love, so that's a top pick. Otherwise, we tend to go to Mexican restaurants.

6. What is your favorite retail store?

If you're making me pick just one, I'll say Target.

7. What's your favorite thing to drink?

Chai lattes. Mmmm.

8. Do you take vitamins? What kind?

Eh, if I ever think of it, I'll take prenatal vitamins, but most of the time I don't remember. Bad, I know...

9. What percentage of the household chores to you do?

A little more than 50%. It used to be more than that, but a week ago Dennis and I sat down and divied everything up. Our house is a much happier place to live now.

10. Do your children do chores? {Or will they, did they, etc}

No. My child is 16 months old. Her job is making messes, not cleaning them up. Although, she has just demonstrated her newly developed skill of throwing things into the trash. By things, I mean important things. Important things like papers, hair bows, books. Each drop in the trash can is followed with an enthusiastic "Yay!!!" and clapping for herself.

11. Do you go to church?


12. Do you have a housework schedule?

As of a week ago, yes. And things are running so much smoother! We each have 3 areas of the house we're responsible to pick up on a daily basis. Saturdays are a major chore day (bathrooms, sweeping, mopping, etc.), and then there are a couple things that get done on certain days of the week.

13. Do you keep a working budget?

Not so much. I used to, and I was very meticulous about it, but I got out of the habit, and we haven't kept a working budget for a couple of months now.

14. What do you do at night as a family?

We eat dinner together, and play with the baby. Baby goes down around 7 and then we usually watch a show on TV.

15. How do you prepare yourself for a new week?

Mmmm, I don't really prepare for the week each week. I look at the calendar and see what we've got going on, but I don't really plan that far out. I try to take it day by day, really.

16. What do your mornings look like?

Wake up. Get breakfast for the baby. Put video on for the baby. Shower and get ready. Eat my own breakfast while checking stuff online - blog, email, etc. Go to work if I have to work that day. Or, if I have the day off, Kaylee and I try to go to a Mommy and Me class at the gym, and I've just started taking her for walks in the morning if we're home on a day when our class isn't scheduled at the gym.

17. What time do you get up in the mornings?

About 5:30 or 6, depending on if I have to work that day.

18. What time do you go to bed at night?

I shoot to be in bed by 10 and then I might read for a little bit. But, if I haven't had any time or space to myself that day, I tend to stay up later than I should, just so I can have some time to myself. If I don't get that, I get ugly. Real ugly. Fast.

19. How do you manage all of the paperwork that floods into your household? {bills, school work, magazines, ads, etc}

Uh, I don't really manage it right now. Paperwork is one of my HUGE problem areas, and I really need to find an organizational system that works for me. I try to go through the mail when I bring it in. Junk mail goes in the trash and bills go in a specific place on the desk.

20. How do you keep your household organized? {calendars, charts, etc}

We've got one big calendar to keep our schedules organized.

I'd love to read YOUR answers to these questions. Head on over to Amber's and play along, or leave a comment an answer whichever questions you want!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A broken mirror, a lacerated middle finger, and some totally cute hair bows

It's time again for Writer's Workshop over at Mama's Losin' It. I tried hard to come up with something in response to the prompts, and the closest thing I came to was to write in response to this prompt:

"How did you break it?"

The only problem? Well, I've never broken a bone in my life, and when I asked my husband to help me remember things I've broken, all we could think of was a mirror and an olive oil jar that I broke when it fell out of the pantry.

So, the jar (made of very thick glass) is scattered across the kitchen floor in our 365 square foot apartment (the joys of married student housing) and I lean down to start picking it up, except that I put my hand down to brace myself and end up lacerating my friggin' middle finger all to crap, requiring 3 stitches.

The doctor who sewed it up reminded us of Robin Williams and whistled a lovely little tune while he stitched away. Now I have this totally bad ass H-shaped scar right on the inner bendy part of my middle finger. Way cool, right?

Well, that's not all that exciting. Big whoop. A lacerated (I love that word - it sounds so serious - LACERATED) finger, a broken mirror - ehhh. Hardly worthy of a blog post, if you ask me.

So, let me tell you how my friend broke something. Well, actually her dog, Indiana, broke it. Indiana is the family dog, and she had to have surgery to remove a tumor, so I guess you could say Indiana broke the bank.

You may remember this friend from a giveaway I did a while back. Her name is Amy and she has an absolutely adorable Etsy shop where she sells her handmade bows for girls, as well as jewelry, crocheted hats and other girl's accessories.

She's having a HUGE sale and using the money to help offset the cost of Indiana's surgery, and you don't want to miss it. Today and tomorrow she's selling corker bows and double ribbon bows for 50% off. Here's a little taste of what could be yours...

Anyway, head on over to Amy's place - Sugar and Spice All Things Nice - and score yourself a set of these adorable corkers in all different colors for just $3.00 per set. Seriously - if you've got a little girl or know one, this is an incredible price for these handmade bows! Click here to view all of the korkers.

Here's a picture of the double ruffle ribbon bows - they come in regular size and minis. Just for some perspective, my baby's about 16 months old, and the minis are the perfect size for her. The regulars are still a bit too big for her head.

Aren't they gorgeous???

Now, head on over to Mama Kat's and check out the other Writer's Workshop posts, and while your bopping around online, go check out Amy's Etsy Shop for some smokin' deals on hair bows for girls!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's fiber-licious. Seriously. I'm not even kidding. {Fiber One yogurt review and giveaway}

I know, I know, you hear the word "fiber" and you think bland, dull, lots of farting, cardboard-y, and YUCK all at the same time, right?

It's no secret that I'm in love with fiber, and I'm especially in love with Fiber One goodies. It started with the Fiber One Oats and Chocolate bars (which I've talked about here and here), and then it developed into a love for some of the Fiber One cereals, and now I have a brand new Fiber One love to rave about, and the even better news? For a very special three of you, if you're not already fans of Fiber One, you will be after you receive THIS:

It's a Fiber One Healthy & Fit Weight Management gift pack that includes a coupon for a $1.00 off a pack of the new Fiber One yogurt, two sporkives (a spork with a knive on the side, duh...), an insulated lunch box (with a separate bottom compartment for an ice pack or sandwich), a large cup with lid and measurements on the side (I'm thinking...smoothie on the go?) and a 3-section plastic container with lid.

I'm a big fan of yogurt, but since going back on Weight Watchers, I've been disappointed to discover that even though the yogurt I've been loving lately is "light" it still costs me 2 Weight Watchers points (point values are assigned to different foods based on calories, fat content and fiber content, and you're alloted a certain amount of points per day). That's not TOO bad, but yogurt doesn't exactly fill me up, and I could have a couple cups of fruit for 2 points and feel more full. (Or I could have a small piece of chocolate. Mmm, chocolate.)

So...when I found out that the new Fiber One yogurt has a points value of ZERO - yes, I said zero - and packs 5 grams of fiber (that's 20% of your Recommended Daily Value, peeps!) and just 50 calories you know I did a little happy dance.

This stuff is De.LISH! Mmmm, mmm, mmmm.

I've tried the Key Lime Pie and Peach flavors, and both were delicious. I love that I can have one of these and not use up any of my daily points, plus I'm getting some good ol' fiber in my diet for the day. In my quest to find snacks that are both healthy and delectable, this one definitely makes the list.

You may have heard of Hungry Girl or her book 200 Under 200, which features 200 healthy recipes that have 200 calories or less. She's given the new Fiber One yogurt her seal approval. Click on the video below if you're interested in seeing what she thinks of it.

Three of you will win the gift pack pictured above, and entering to win is super easy. There's only one thing you HAVE to do, and there are a few other ways to earn additional entries.

The only thing you MUST do is leave a comment telling me what your guilty snacking pleasure is.

Earn one additional entry for each of the following things - be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry so they all count!

* Follow Laughing Through the Chaos - if you already follow, just tell me that you do
* Follow me on Twitter - ChaoticMama
* Blog about the giveaway
* Tweet about the giveaway

Giveaway ends on Wednesday, September 2nd. Only entries received by midnight on September 2nd will count! Open to U.S. residents only.

Blog Search

My thanks to MyBlogSpark for providing me with a Fiber One gift pack and a coupon to try the new Fiber One yogurt.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I've got my baby back, baby back, baby back.

After a week that included 3 trips to the pediatrician's office, breathing treatments every 4 hours, one course of antibiotics, one late-night trip to the ER, a chest x-ray, lab tests, fevers nearly reaching 105, a second course of antibiotics, a nasty ear infection and virtually no sleep for anybody, you can bet your bottom dollar that sitting on the porch swing yesterday with my baby looking back at me like this was one of the best things EVER.

I've got my baby back.

This post is a part of Wordful Wednesdays over at Angie's 7 Clown Circus.

Tuesday's Tribute - to therapy in a to-go box

Yes, yes. I know I could shell out 80 bucks an hour and get what they call "real" therapy, but why should I do that when I can pay $3.50 and get it in a to-go box?

Ahhhh, fat and calorie laden therapy, covered in lemon butter cream frosting, sprinkled with big sugar granules and little silver candies that look like Christmas ornaments.

And it won't make me sit on a big cushy couch and ask me, "But, how does that make you feeeeel?"

Yep, just what the doctor ordered.

This post is a part of Tuesday's Tribute over at Angie's 7 Clown Circus.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Alright, ladies. Let's talk makeup.

I've been fighting a mad case of the frumpies lately, and I'm in desperate need of a change.

So, it's mostly been the hairstyle and the makeup that have been crimping my style.

My hairstyle? Well, I had perfectly legitimate excuse for that. My stylist has been on maternity leave, and I'd rather chew on glass than let anyone else near my hair. I don't know about you, but when I'm left with the choice of either looking frumpy or chewing on glass, I choose frumpy. Every single time.

We all know what it's like to have hair that makes you feel less than stunningly gorgeous. Mine's just been dull. Flat. Boring. Of the non-zesty variety. In need of some serious va-va-voom.

And, just in the nick of time - wouldn't ya know, my stylist is back. So, last night, after I left her lovely little hair cutting booth, I walked in my front door feeling 50% like a new woman. I'll feel 100% like a new woman when I get some makeup I totally love.

I was a liquid foundation girl in my early makeup days, eventually switching to mineral makeup in the past 5 years or so, mainly because so many liquid foundations caused me some sort of reaction - itchy face, burning face, super fun stuff like that. I've been a loyal mineral fan for a while now, but lately it's just not cutting it. My skin's feeling dry and dull. I'm planning on investing in a really good quality moisturizer because I know that will help. But, that'll be easy. It's the makeup thing that's got me stumped.

So - here's where I'm at. UPS just delivered a box of the new Victoria's Secret Pro makeup to my humble little doorstep, disallowing me the opportunity to test drive this makeup for my whole day because they meandered on over to my doorstep after dinner. My impatient self couldn't wait until morning, so I opened it all up tonight and tried it out.

I got the Pro Airbrush FX Face Primer, the Pro Radiant FX Face Illuminator, a concealer, and a liquid foundation. (Click here or here to see what I'm talking about for the rest of you visual people out there) I put it all on, aside from the illuminator, then promptly boxed it all back up, getting irritated that I would have to be returning it tomorrow because I didn't like it. Then, I tried the illuminator stuff, added my own blush, and used some finishing powder from my mineral makeup collection.

Now, I might actually like it, and I'm not sure what to do.

What I really want to do is go downtown to my favorite little boutique filled with things I cannot afford and get myself some high quality naturally-based, no nasty ingredients makeup, and have a consultation so a professional can help me find what's best for me, all the while talking me in to buying more things that I really don't need but really do want. That, to me, sounds like a really fun time.

But...I think my checkbook would like it better if this Victoria's Secret or some other non-85 million-dollar-a-tube makeup stuff worked better, since I'm not sure I'll like the price tag at my favorite little boutique.

And now, in the time it took me to put all this goop on my face and finish this post, my face won't stop itching. So, I will not be wearing it for a full day tomorrow to see how it stands up against the test of a day in the life of a mother of a toddler. I guess we can check this one off the list...

This is where you come in...

What makeup do you LOVE? What makes your skin glow? I want to hear all about your favorite makeup and why you love it so much. I'd get super excited if you share your more naturally-based makeup options with me as my skin freaks out easily, but I'll hear any ideas. I need options. Quickly. I'm impatient. And frumpy-faced, so get a move on and leave me some comments about your makeup!

(This post is a part of Fashion Fridays with Summer at Le Musings of Moi.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

If I had a million dollars, this is what I'd give you.

Fasten your seat belts, people. It's Thursday, and that means it's time for another Writer's Workshop with Mama Kat from Mama's Losin' It.

This week, we're going to do some pretending. Let's pretend I have a million dollars. And, along with that, let's say I happen to be feeling rather generous. My new found riches and sudden generosity lead me to send you all lovely little gift baskets full of my current favorite things, not unlike Scary Mommy, who is actually having a real favorite things giveaway as we speak, and happened to be Mama Kat's inspiration for this prompt.

In my hypothetical and amazing gift to you, my readers, I'll be covering many aspects of your life - we're talking fashion, snack attacks, gettin' your groove thang on, exercise, baby care, some fabulous television programming to help you escape the stress of your daily life, and some rockin' music for the kids that won't drive you batty in the process.

So, let's start with getting that butt of yours off the couch and into shape. We begin with my pretend boyfriend, Gilad. According to Fit TV, the Wall Street Journal (or some other major publication, don't quote me on the Wall Street Journal Part) "hails" Gilad as "an Israeli studmuffin." Not only is he a studmuffin, but over the past month, he's taken the place of Jillian Michaels in the majority of my at-home workouts. So, your first present from me? One year of personal training with Gilad. He won't fit in the basket, so I'd make you a gift certificate in Microsoft Word and stick it in there with the rest of the goodies. Oh, and no '80's spandex wedgie leotard required, unless you're into that sort of thing.

Next, I'd offer you a year's worth of Zumba lessons. I discovered Zumba a week or two ago, and it's the most fun I've ever had working out. We've already talked about how I couldn't dance to save my life, but maybe - just maybe - I'd have a chance after a few more weeks of Zumba. Seriously - this is some mad fun, people. We're talking Latin dance moves, salsa, cha-cha-cha's and a whole lot of shimmyin' and shakin'. It's like exercise in disquise because it's so fun, and it burns up to 800 calories per hour. If you're wondering what Zumba looks like, and what I look like when I do Zumba, the watch the 30 second video below. Watch the dancers in the back for proper technique, and watch the toddler in front for a more accurate picture of what yours truly looks like during Zumba class.

Ok, next is a snack. We all have snack attacks, and for us moms, when we forget to pack our own snacks in the diaper bag, sometimes we're left with no choice but to eat the snacks we packed for the kids. If your child is a toddler, you can rejoice because this no longer means you have to eat baby food from a jar, flaky, unmixed formula, or Gerber rice puffs. That's right - once your kid hits toddlerhood, you'll be arm wrestling them for their snacks. Dennis and I practically had a knock down drag out fight yesterday when I found out he ate the last four of the Sesame Street Very Vanilla Letter of the Day cookies. If you haven't tried these, you don't know what you're missing. So, let's toss a box or two of these in your gift basket.

Next, you need to feel good in your clothes. I've talked before about wanting the perfect pair of jeans, and finally finding them. In my roller coaster up and down battle with eating sweets and carbs and exercising and not exercising, I've occasionally whined about not being able to fit in my favorite pants. Well, since getting my butt back in gear, the pants fit again, and can I just say there is nothing else in life like have a pair of jeans that fit perfect and get comfier each day you wear them? I love, love, LOVE my Big Star Maddie fit bootcut jeans. Just the right amount of stretch , and oh-so-cute. So, here you go - a hot pair of jeans. You're welcome.

So, since we're having so much fun pretending, let's say you're home by yourself for once in your life. Hey, miracles can happen, people. You put on your favorite jeans that now fit thanks to Gilad and Zumba, curl up on the couch after you grab a handful of your cookie monster cookies and wonder, "Well, what in tarnation should I watch?" You will find the answer to this question nestled to your gift certificate for a year's worth of workouts with Gilad. You will find one of my very favorite shows ever - Army Wives. And it's guaranteed time and space for yourself because you couldn't pay your man enough money to watch an episode with you. I'm giving you Season One in case you've never seen it. Always start from the beginning. Always.

Next, you need to keep your kid distracted while you're driving, and your Top 40 station is just not cutting it anymore. You have finally given in and ventured into the world of children's music, only to be sorely disappointed about having to listen to songs sung by crazy purple dinosaurs (I didn't use the actual "B" word - did you notice?), puppets, or children hopped up on helium. No - there will be none of that for you. You deserve much better. From the band that brought you "One Week," "The Old Apartment," and "Pinch Me" comes a CD that's kid-friendly, but very, very easy on adult ears as well. I'm talking about Snack Time by the Barenake Ladies. Awesome, awesome CD. How can you not love a CD that talks about microwaved chocolate donuts being someone's favorite snack? It's my current favorite kid CD.

Ok, so you've been spending time with Gilad each day, hitting Zumba a couple times a week, slamming your cookie monster letter cookies, spelling all sorts of fun words with them, rocking your new pair of jeans, and driving your kid around town while you run errands listening to music that keeps the kid happy and keeps your sanity in check. So many good things! But, something was bound to go wrong.

Your kid gets a crazy bad fever, and your old put-in-under-the-armpit digital thermometer is taking way too long and your baby hates it, and oh crap, now you have to start taking the temperature all over again because your baby grabbed the thermometer and tried to jab your eye out with it. What ever will you do?

You will not panic, of course, because the last item I will so generously provide you with is a little piece of technological genius known as the temporal thermometer. Just run it across the forehead, and wa-LA. Works on sleeping babies, ready in 1 second, and proven in several hospital studies to be as accurate as the baby bum-bum method of taking temperatures. Every household with kids absolutely, positively needs one of these puppies. It's been a lifesaver, and now it can be your lifesaver, too.

But, only if you go buy it yourself because I'm cheap, and we're just pretending.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tribute to Elmo - the orginal gateway drug for babies

I swore we would have nothing to do with Elmo.

Then, my aunt sent me some DVDs her boys outgrew. When I saw the Elmo video, I paused for a moment as I envisioned driving down the interstate doing 75 and chucking it out the window with a blissful smile on my face.

But, logic took over. I decided I better hang on to it. Kaylee might want to watch it someday. Maybe she'd wake up and decide she was just too cool for the Veggie Tales. One never knows about these things, so I put it with the rest of our DVDs, and hoped it stayed right there. In the DVD box. With the lid on. Never to come out. Ever.

Now, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure it was my husband who eventually dug it out, popped it in the DVD player, and introduced Kaylee to the gateway drug known as Elmo. I fear that this may lead to other even more powerful and annoying baby addictions such as the Wiggles. God help me...

Anyway, Elmo now runs through her veins. I can hardly tell her no when she looks at me with her pleading puppy dog eyes, a hopeful look on her face and utters the cutest little, "Ewmow???" you ever heard in your whole life.

Her face lights up, her smile becomes a mile wide, and she claps like a fool as soon as the movie starts.

And now, as we've been at home for 2 days giving her breathing treatments for the beast called bronchitis, Ewmow (in combination with a pacifier) is about the only thing that can get her to calm down.

Stupid Ewmow has also caused me to cave in ways I never thought I would. As we waited for her prescription at the pharmacy yesterday, we strolled down the baby aisle and found the thing I am ashamed to admit that I've been looking for - a stuffed Elmo that does. not. make. NOISE.

Oh, sweet miracle from Jesus.

She got the stuffed Elmo.

And this morning, when I drove to Wal-Mart at 6:30 in the morning to get a temporal lobe thermometer so I didn't have to hold the old fashioned one under her armpit for 87 minutes, I also got her a new Elmo DVD and a Sesame Street songs DVD.

Dang frickin' helium-filled Elmo got inside my head, too. I've already watched his DVD five - count 'em - FIVE times today, and I'm already getting jittery and sweaty, just jonesin' for another episode. I hope I can resist the temptation until Kaylee wakes back up from her nap.

So, you little crazy-eyed monster, this week, my tribute is to you. Not because I think you're even the slightest bit funny, cute, or entertaining (even though you look totally bad ass in your rapper costume when you sing hip hop songs)...

...but because you make my baby so happy. And for that, I'm grateful.

Head on over to Angie's 7 Clown Circus to read about what other bloggers are paying tribute to this week.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Houston, we have a wardrobe malfunction.

I thought the whole, "I'm going to decide what I'll wear, and today it will be my blue jeans, my princess tiara, feather boa, plastic dress-up high heels and swimsuit top" days didn't come until little girls were about four.

I guess this proves I'm a first-timer, because Kaylee's already at it. Bringing us exactly what she wants (in this case, two too-small shoes) and demanding to wear whatever it is.

So, here is Kaylee in her Fashion Friday debut. I'm sure there will be future posts including entire outfits she picks out all on her own.


Now, go check out what Summer got at Ross, as well as the other Fashion Fridays posts from other bloggers.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A stronger woman.

Today I was so proud of myself.

I had a rather unpleasant encounter with someone that I've struggled to be around for quite some time. Understand that I can get along with just about anyone, but some people get under my skin, and it about drives me up a wall just to be in the same room as them.

Today - I stuck up for myself. I said what was on my mind. I was honest. I didn't pull any punches. I didn't sugar coat anything, and it felt so darn good.

There are parts of my personality that have changed since I became a mom. It seems like I've got confidence in areas of my life where there didn't used to be any.

I used to just play nice all the time, sweep things under the rug, and let things fester instead of facing them head on.

But not anymore. Today I faced a psycho hose beast (thank you, Wayne's World, for wonderful phrase), and I came out a stronger woman.

As I drove home at the end of my day and reflected on my courageous encounter, and I was thinking to myself, "Well, I'll be darned. I totally grew and gave BIRTH to human being. I survived 9 hours of labor unmedicated (before receiving an oh-heck-YES-it-was-so-good epidural). I can do ANYTHING."

Well, not anything. I still can't swim, and I won't eat bugs and all that nasty stuff they do on some of those reality TV shows, but seriously. It's like I just don't take crap anymore. And if anyone tries to mess with me, I'm just not going to let them get away with it.

Even though there are definitely areas I struggle like heck with, I really feel like becoming a mother just brought about a part of me that was always there, but just couldn't find the courage to come out.

Yes. Yes. I pushed a kid out my hoo ha and I'm a stronger, more confident woman because of it.

In what ways are YOU more confident since you became a mom? Not a Mom? Tell us how you've become more confident in your life.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beacuse daisies are the friendliest flowers.

Remember that line from You've Got Mail?

Meg Ryan is sick in bed, and Tom Hanks brings her a batch of fresh daisies. She talks about how she loves daisies because daisies are the friendliest flowers.

I've always loved daisies. They're so bright and perky and cheery. My wedding bouquet was a mixture of daisies and red roses.

This is one of my favorite pictures from our recent vacation to New Mexico.

Just a simple, pretty, delicate daisy.

My favorite.

This post is a part of Wordful Wednesday over at Angie's 7 Clown Circus.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - To exceptional customer service

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about a great day that I had. I had time to myself, went shopping, ate at one of my favorite restaurants, enjoyed a good book, held a newborn baby. It was a fabulous day.

I happened to mention that there were sneaky little red onion pieces scattered throughout my otherwise delectable Turkey Waldorf Salad that I got at Wildflower Bread Company. It was a small part of my post, but just a few short days after the post went up, I came to realize that my little mention of the onions (of which I had asked to not be included) did not fall upon deaf ears.

I received an email from the founder of Wildflower Bread Company, Louis Basile, who was rather bummed to find out that my salad wasn't prepared just as I ordered it. We've emailed a couple of times about the experience, and I can't tell you how flabbergasted I was to actually receive an email from the founder of the company itself. Each email was personal, and obviously not a canned response to an email.

We've all experienced the checker at the grocery store who didn't give a rip and had no personality, and we've all had experiences with pushy retail people or businesses who don't operate with the customer's best interest in mind.

In a time when people are in such a hurry and so many are all just about making a buck, it was so refreshing for me to have such a positive experience with a restaurant that I love. The Wildflower Bread Company has been a favorite place for me and my girl friends when we have a mom's night out, and just like I talked about in my previous post, it's also a place I love to go even by myself.

A few unwanted red onions wouldn't have stopped me from going back to Wildflower - I realize people make mistakes, so it really wasn't a big deal. But, the fact that this company cares so much about keeping their customers happy has definitely sealed the deal in making me a lifelong customer. And, Mr. Basile is sending a coupon for a complimentary meal for my next visit.

I just wanted to make sure and recognize Mr. Basile and his restaurant for going above and beyond. It's also a nice reminder to all of us that good customer service is still alive and kicking!

This post is a part of Tuesday's Tribute over at Angie's 7 Clown Circus.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A whole new way to torture myself.

No, I'm not hanging out in front of a pastry display, stepping on the scale multiple times a week, walking by the expensive shoes in the mall, or looking up cookie recipes on the Betty Crocker website at 10:30 p.m.

I choose to invite much simpler, low-calorie and cheaper means of torture into my life. (Funny, though, because this particular torture I am about to speak of does make me want to go eat chocolate cake, buy some rockin' new shoes (by myself, thankyouverymuch) or indulge in some chewy, yummy cookies. My new torture has nothing to do with food, shopping, or eating.

So, what IS it, you ask?


The time outs have increased by an insanely exponential amount in this house over the past two days, and I don't know who it's harder on - me, or Kaylee.

While we were on vacation a few weeks ago she started pinching - not too often, just here and there, and it really caught us off guard. She'd been so sweet and loving - hugging kids at the mall play land, being gentle, just being a nice kid. My child was not going to be the PINCHER! But, there she was. Pinching. Pinching me, her dad, her grandma.

Pinch, pinch, pinch. Pinchy, pinch pinch.

And boy, oh boy, she's been cranking it up a notch. She was pinching hard. She'd be acting super cute and then BAM! she'd give you a nasty old pinch.

We tried everything and nothing seemed to be working. And, it's so, so hard sometimes not to laugh because each pinch is preceded with the cutest little "Yow!" you ever heard accompanied, of course, with a very wide grin.

Now, we firmly tell her "NO PINCHING!" promptly set her in time out, and then walk away. We know it's helping a little bit.

The process now looks like this:

My once-angelic child approaches her victim wearing a very large and much too adorable grin. Her arm extends, pincher fingers prepare for action and she utters, "YOW" at the same time she pinches. More and more, this whole charade is followed by Kaylee shouting a resounding, "No!" and occasionally - she'll walk behind the couch, sit herself down, and hang her head in shame - putting herself in time out.

Tonight nearly pushed me over the edge, though. She'd pinch, I'd put her in time out. She'd sit there. She'd get up, walk over to me smiling, as if she's ready to carry on and have fun, and she'd pinch again. Lather, rinse, repeat 85 bajillion times. Are you getting the point? And, I'll have you know I had hot spaghetti and a slice of cheesy bread I was attempting to eat.

I could hardly take it. I wanted to throw my hands up and wave my white flag, but Dennis and I are committed to this crazy concept they call consistency. And even though the results we're getting are just baby steps, we'll keep on plugging away.

This whole parenting/discipline/helping your child become a decent human being business is ROUGH.

But, let me just add that we did get in about 10 minutes of pinch-free cuddle time before bed, and having a normal blood pressure again feels like a million bucks.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf?

Woo hoo! Time for another Writer's Workshop with Mama Kat. This week's prompt:
What are you afraid of? Bop on over to Mama's Losin' It to check out more Writer's Workshop submissions. You'll be glad you did. Pinky promise, dude. ;)

There are a few things that scare me in life. Some? Well, some worse than others. But, I feel like keeping this post humorous and not too heavy, so here are some of my more petty fears. We'll save some of the deeper, darker ones for another day.

Ok, so - what freaks me out?

Let's start with crickets. Those nasty, nasty, creatures. If I'm camping, crickets are one of my favorite sounds. But, if one gets in my house? Oh, you better watch OUT. I know they're small. I know they're harmless. But, you can never tell which way the darn, frickin' things are going to hop. So, I'm afraid to whack 'em, because I'm afraid they're going to do their crazy, spastic cricket jump and land on my face or something. Crickets just give me the heeby jeebies. As do any spiders that are not daddy long legs. And, while we're at it, let's add earwigs and centipedes to the list.

Let's see, what else scares me...

Sharts. I'm afraid of getting a shart in public. Seriously, people. This is no joke. I could be walking along in Wal-Mart, just happily cruising the aisles - joyous that I am alone, without a screaming child and without a husband who thinks he is being sneaky by putting powdered donuts and a box of 87 hot and spicy barbecue chicken wings in the cart, thinking I won't notice - and feeling like I have to toot. Farting in big places is not a problem, if you know it will be quiet fart (SBD, anyone?). There are so many people around that, shoot - who is actually going to know it's YOU, right?! But, if you shart (it's when you think it's just a fart, but you actually...uh, need I say more?), then there's no hiding it. And I do NOT pack my purse the way I pack Kaylee's diaper bag. I do NOT pack an extra outfit for myself. So, this is something that scares me.

I'm also afraid of following too closely behind people on the highway, which is why I always give a minimum 2 second following distance, just like I was taught in driver's ed. I know EXACTLY where this fear stems from. I was the passenger in my friend's car when we were on a very crazy freeway, and there was a domino effect car crash in which we rear ended someone who rear ended someone else. Car got dented up, but we were fine and dandy. But, she was following waaaay too closely, and I think we could have avoided the collision had she had at least a safe distance between the cars. Now, this fear puts my husband into fits of laughter when he drives and I'm his passenger. If I the person in front of us taps their brakes and he doesn't slow down at all, my arms instinctually flail about as if I'm about to brace for impact.

I'm also afraid of scary teenagers, public transportation, and someone busting into my house while I'm sleeping.

What scares YOU?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordful Wednesday - Vacation Recap

It already seems like our vacation was so long ago, even though it was just a couple of weeks. We're already hoping for another trip back here next year. It was fabulous, relaxing, and oh-so-gorgeous.

I took a butt load of pictures, but here are just a few from our little vacay.

This was a gorgeous chapel we visited Santa Fe one day. We ate lunch at the Blue Corn Cafe, and if you love Mexican food, you have GOT to go there if you ever go to Santa Fe. I quite possibly ate the most delectable chicken chimichanga of my life and nearly cried when it was gone. It was that good. And, please - don't get me started on the sopapillas...Ho.Lee.COW. Yum...

So, aside from the couple hours we spent in Santa Fe, the rest of the week was really spent just hanging out, reading, and doing stuff outside.

These are pictures of the Prayer Garden. It was huge - rolling grassy hills, Aspen trees, water falls, a fountain, gazebos, a pond,, oh, man...

Can you say "happy place"?

There was a small playground outside the apartment where we stayed, and Kaylee proved to us, yet again, that she loves dirt far more than grass - she just couldn't get enough of it.

This post is a part of Wordful Wedensdays with Angie over at 7 Clown Circus.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's just what I need.

We all have days (weeks, months...) when we just don't feel right.

The older I get, I'm trying harder to realize exactly what it is that keeps me ticking and keeps me healthy. When my life starts to feel off kilter, I've gotta take a step back, look at things, and try to figure out where I went wrong, because when one area is off, it seems to have a domino effect on all the other areas of my life.

A couple months ago, things started going downhill again. I was feeling depressed. I had quit exercising - period. I was eating whatever and however much I wanted, and I wasn't getting outside much. I wasn't blogging like I wanted to. I quit reading for a while.

And all the while, I was so blind to it. It was like my eyes were just fuzzy over the whole thing, and I think I blamed it on being busy or something trivial like that.

So, I've made some changes in the past weeks, and things are starting to feel normal again. I spoke with the doctor who treated me for postpartum depression about how I was feeling(jury's still out on whether some of my recent symptoms were depression or a side effect from birth control - hopefully I'll have an answer on that soon), and tweaked a few other parts of my lifestyle.

So, in no particular order, these are the things I've realized are oh-so-helpful in making my life feel well-rounded and somewhat normal. Well, normal for me anyway.

1. Time alone. And, I'm not just talking about time alone on the toilet without being bothered (although that would be lovely). I'm talking about time just for me - whether it's walking around Target (window shopping or "window" shopping - *wink, wink*), having the whole house to myself for a couple hours, or going to a restaurant by myself for lunch. I've always needed my alone time, and now that I'm a mom, I need it more than ever. When I don't get it, I am not a happy camper.

2. Exercise. I've always loved being active, from taking gymnastics and ballet as a little munchkin, to playing volleyball in middle school, to developing a love for step aerobics in high school and kickboxing in college, I've always loved being active. Let's not forget to throw in outdoor stuff like hiking, either. I've been consistently exercising for a little over a month now, and I'm working out 6-7 days a week, for about an hour at a time. It's a guaranteed hour every day where I don't have to think about anything else, and I get to blow off steam, and make my body healthier (and buffer, and leaner, and meaner). It's something I've always loved, but now it's an absolutely necessary part of who I am and what I need to do to feel healthy.

3. Healthy foods, appropriate portions, and a few treats here and there. I've gotten great results with Weight Watchers in the past (once before Kaylee - stopped that time as soon as I found out I was pregnant, and once after Kaylee), but after the last time, I decided to discontinue the online program, thinking I could save money and that I was disciplined enough to choose healthy foods and portions on my own. Not so much...I got off track a few times, and I found myself signing up for the program yet again. Right now, I've got a goal to lose a few more pounds. I was sick of my cute pants not fitting, and I was sick of wearing baggy tops to hide the muffin top. This time, my main goal is to get back on track with healthy portions, and I'm planning to stay on the program for quite a while, just to give me the guidance I need to keep making the right food choices.

4. Time alone with Kaylee, and time alone with Dennis. It's so easy for me to get wrapped up in being "busy," but living like that detracts from the most important things. Then, a week goes by and realize I was more concerned about a messy house than just simply having fun. If I get regular alone time with Kaylee and with Dennis, I'm so much happier. They help me slow down and remember what's important, and what's really not so important in the grand scheme of things.

5. Being outside. I remember days when I was home alone with Kaylee when she was a newborn. I'd start to feel all cooped up and anxious and cranky, and then I'd realize I hadn't set foot outside in a couple (or a few) days - not even past the front porch. Not okay, people, NOT okay! I need to be outside every day. Preferably for a longer period of time than it takes me to walk to my mailbox, but even that will do if I'm desperate.

6. My friends and family. They let me vent. They don't judge me. They let me be myself, and they listen when I feel like I'm falling apart. No matter what, they don't go anywhere.

7. A job. I may whine about it from time to time (hey, who doesn't?), but I love my job, and I love that it gives me scheduled time to be around other adults in a professional setting. It lets me use another part of my brain, and it makes me appreciate my time at home with my daughter even more. Plus, it gives her a break from me, which I think is also really important.

8. Prayer. To be honest with you, I know if this was a more regular part of day-to-day life, things would go a lot smoother. Things seem to go better, or - at least - I seem to handle them better when I start my day off with a prayer, and throw a few up throughout the day, too. It's something I'm always working on.

9. Reading for fun. For my whole life, this has been one of my very, very favorite hobbies, and as an adult, it's one way I deal with stress, by escaping into the pages of a book. When I don't have a book that I'm reading, chances are, there's probably another area of my life starting to crumble.

10. The blog. Writing has always been another one of my passions, and I really wish I'd discovered blogging a long time ago. I hate it when I have those spurts where I go a few days without blogging. Writing on a regular basis really helps me deal with stuff. It just feels good to get my thoughts out of my head, and on to my blog. It's therapeutic, and fun, and it's another hobby that brings me enjoyment.

So...what about YOU? What makes you tick? What is it that you just have to have in your life in order to feel like you have balance? Leave me a comment about it!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back to life...back to reality...

Remember that song from the 90s?, tomorrow we are back to the real world.

Dennis has been home all summer long, and it's been fabulous. I've been able to go grocery shopping solo, he's gotten some great bonding time with Kaylee, and we've had more quality time together as a family.

It's been a much different tune than last summer, when right around this very time I had just been diagnosed with postpartum depression after going 3 months undiagnosed, and we were dealing with all the craziness of adjusting to life with a newborn baby. It was a rather rough summer, to say the least.

So, this summer was nothing short of refreshing. It's sort of bittersweet that Dennis goes back to school tomorrow - we'll miss the extra time together, and I know him and Kaylee will really miss their little daily activities, but it also feels good to get back to the real world. To the way things are 9 months out of the year.

Today I took a practice run at bopping around town with Kaylee. I had to go to Kohl's and Costco, and all summer long, I just left Kaylee at home with Dennis when I ran errands, but not today.

As I was getting ready to leave, I told him I couldn't remember the last time I ran errands with Kaylee, so I'd better go on a trial run today. And, wouldn't ya know - we survived.

It was actually pretty fun to have my little half-pint shopping partner-in-crime with me, grabbing at sparkly necklaces and asking in her little grunting and pointing language to try on shoes (my dream come true!) as we drove by in the cart. She must have sensed that I was trying to get back in the swing of things, because she even kept the fussing to a minimum, which I am not expecting her to do again next time.

So, cross your fingers, sprinkle some holy water, say a prayer - whatever it is you do. There might be a few fits from all of us in the coming days as we adjust to a lot of changes around here.