Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of Laughing Through the Chaos - 2009 - Right where I want to be

We've been doing good letting the baby cry it out at night lately. We haven't caved, and we're all surviving.

But, tonight? Tonight I really needed to cuddle my baby. I needed those quiet, tranquil moments when she's cuddly and close, when she's out like a light and even snoring at times.

Yesterday I started reading, Down Came the Rain. The book is written by Brooke Shields, and it's all about her struggle through postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, Rowan. I can clearly remember the exact place I was standing in Barnes and Noble the first time I saw her book.

I was pregnant, picked up the book, and quickly put it back after thumbing through a few pages. Some of the words I was reading were just appalling. I didn't want to read more. It seemed pretty dark, and I wasn't going to go through that - so, I put it back and didn't think much of it. I moved on to other books about fetal development, labor, and baby showers.

But, after having Kaylee and waging my own battle with postpartum depression, I've really been curious about what she shared in her book, and what she went through. I think it's a pretty brave thing for a celebrity like herself to share her story and put it out there.

Well, let me tell you that I'm glued to the book, and although there are things she writes about that I can't relate to, there are plenty of things that are stark reminders of my early postpartum life.

She talks about feeling disoriented in her own home during the few days following her daughter's birth. Feeling like everyone but her was caring for her baby because, physically, she could not. She talks about how the majority of her time spent with the baby was when people would bring the baby to her for feeding. She talks about feeling like the neverending cycle of crying, sleepless nights, and feedings wouldn't end. And she talks about feeling like a failure for not being able to do some of the most basic tasks of motherhood, and therefore feeling disconnected from and unfamiliar with her very own baby.

Those are things that resonated with me. And it took me back. It reminded me how far I've come. It was not a place I wanted to be. It was certainly not where I envisioned I would be.

I remember feeling almost like a bystander in my baby's life for the first week - just standing by and feeling completely helpless. In some ways, I was. It hurt to turn over in bed, to get out of bed, to walk to the bathroom, to go to the bathroom. I was in so much pain that it was hard to focus on anything else.

And my family knew that. And they were there for me every step of the way. They alternated nights staying with Dennis and I for the first week. They assumed full baby duty during the nighttime hours so we could attempt to actually sleep.

I remember thinking to myself that I would never be able to sleep again. I really believed that. I was so exhausted and tired that it seemed that the ability to fall asleep had escaped me. I was too busy trying to sleep and not being able to, that everyone else had to take care of my baby for me. I felt like the show was going on without me. I wondered if my baby even knew who her mother was, because I certainly wasn't the one spending the majority of the time with her. In my illogical and sleep-deprived mind, I wondered if I'd be able to bond with her, or if some magical window of prime bonding time had passed us by.

I loved my baby the instant she was born. She amazed me. I was in awe of her, and I loved her with everything I had. But, not being able to have a deeper involvement in her care made it harder for me to feel that connection with her right away because I physically could not do the things I wanted to do. I couldn't just sit awake - even during the day - and stare at her, holding her, rocking her. I couldn't change many of her diapers, clean her up, or wash and fold her clothes. I couldn't even breastfeed my own child, for pete's sake. I felt like the epitome of failure.

My family was (IS) amazing, and I have no idea how we'd have survived that first week without them. They stayed up through the night and never complained once. They did way more than we ever expected them to do. They were by our sides through it all. And when I couldn't be there for my baby, they were. It was because of them that I was finally able to get to that place of being able to be there for my little girl.

So, tonight, when I read more about Brooke's struggles that mirrored my own, I felt an overwhelming need to just hold my baby for more than a quick hug before I put her in her crib to cry it out. Tonight was certainly not a night for crying it out.

I needed to hug her, and hold her close, and tell her how much I loved her. Because tonight I was reminded of a time when I wondered how I could possibly make it to the place I'm at today.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of Laughing Through the Chaos - 2009 - Tribute to Elmo - the original 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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best of Laughing Through the Chaos - 2009 - How I Kicked Postpartum Depressions Ass - The Series

I'm finding it really hard to balance work, family, blogging and overeating these past couple weeks, so blogging had to take a back burner.

This week is still full of family time, working, and - well - the consumption of more holiday treats because, frankly, the holidays aren't over until January 1st. are some of my favorite posts from this year. Enjoy them while you take breaks from your family. :)

Click the links below to read the five-part series I wrote about my struggle with postpartum depression.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Best of Laughing Through the Chaos - 2009 - I've Come a Long Way, Baby

I'm finding it really hard to balance work, family, blogging and overeating these past couple weeks, so blogging had to take a back burner.

This week is still full of family time, working, and - well - the consumption of more holiday treats because, frankly, the holidays aren't over until January 1st. are some of my favorite posts from this year. Enjoy them while you take breaks from your family. :)

I've Come a Long Way, Baby

March 12, 2009

It's been a big year for me.

The biggest thing that's happened for me in the past year was welcoming sweet Kaylee into the world. She's going to be ONE next month - a concept I still can't wrap my head around.

I've learned a crap load of things about myself since becoming a mom. There's things I can do now that I could never do before, and believe it or not - a handful of these things actually have nothing to do with being a mom.

After Kaylee was born, I doubted myself so much, especially in those first few weeks. I had a really hard time making the adjustment from being just a wife to being a wife and a mother.

But, this past year, my confidence has grown a lot. I think it started when I realized that I can't be a "perfect" mother. I had to face it - Kaylee wouldn't always get a bath every day, a hot, home cooked meal was not always going to be on the table, I wouldn't get to shower every day, and there would not be one single day of my life since the day my baby was born that my entire house would be clean.

Go ahead and insert a big sigh right about here.

Finally realizing that I couldn't live up to my idea of the perfect mother/wife was directly related to a boost in my self-esteem (don't get me wrong - there are still plenty of days when my confidence goes down the crapper...) While I was becoming more confident in my role as a mother, my confidence starting growing in other areas of my life as well.

A year ago, there were so many things I just simply couldn't do.

I couldn't establish and stick to a strict budget without buying "little things" here and there that we may or may not have needed. Now I can.

I couldn't sit on the toilet and pee, while holding a child and talking on my cell phone - all at the same time. Now I can.

I couldn't imagine what it would actually look like to have my living room floor covered in ripped up tissue in a matter of seconds. Now I can.

I couldn't talk on the phone while wiping someone's ass. Now I can totally do that.

I couldn't spend less than about $100 on groceries in a week. Now I can.

I couldn't fit into my favorite pants. Now I can!

I couldn't imagine letting my child sit in front of the TV for 30 minutes (ok - 45 sometimes...) before she was even a year old, just so I could have some peace and quiet. Now I can.

I couldn't walk in to a patient's room at my job and ask them to talk to me about why they wanted to end their life. It was too scary for me, and I just couldn't do it. Now I can.

I couldn't understand why some moms yelled at their kids in the grocery store. Now I can.

I couldn't look at a tiny little turd and even think about just fishing it out of water bare handed - no way in heck, dude! But that changes when you run the risk of your kid eating that little turd. No way I could have done it a year ago. Now I can.

I've come a long way, baby.

I'm a proud, money-savin', butt-wipin', waist-shrinkin', domestically disabled, barehanded turd-wranglin' mom who loses my patience more than I wish I did, and who lets her baby watch TV.

But, I can hold my baby and talk on the cell phone while I pee, so that makes up for everything else, because there's probably a lot of people out there who couldn't do that even if they tried.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday How-To #5: Decorate for Christmas if you've got a rambunctious toddler (or a cat)

Decorating for Christmas presented a whole new set of challenges this year. Kaylee is a climber, a daredevil, and loves to put things around her neck, so the thought of having a Christmas tree up this year was starting to give me heartburn.

I figured she'd do one of four things:

1. Climb the tree
2. Pull the tree over on herself
3. Try to make the lights into a necklace
4. Remove all ornaments from the tree and hide them wherever it is she is currently hiding 22 of her 24 crayons and all but one of her pacifiers.

I hate heartburn, so we opted to do things differently this year.

First order of business?

We downgraded from last year's tree... this year's tree...

We're pretty partial to our Christmas tree ornaments, some of which were our very first Christmas ornaments on our first Christmases. We don't have a Martha Stewart matching tree and we never will (although I will admit part of me would love to have an elegantly decorated color coordinated tree - I think I'd go with pink and silver). We love our collection of ornaments that commemorate special events that happened each year, and Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without them.

So...we came up with this idea for our entryway, which - believe it or not - was not inspired by anything in Better Homes and Gardens or the Martha Stewart magazine.

And, for the part of me that loves decorations that are beautiful and color coordinated, we have this, which Kaylee cannot destroy - I hope.

Now, I realize that it's a bit late in the game to be giving you tips for Christmas decorating. I mean - shoot - it's just a couple days away. But, hopefully this will give you some inspiration for next year.

And, I'd just like to throw it out there that I got all my Christmas decorations for 90% off at Target and Michael's during their after Christmas sales last year, so get in on that bit of shopping heaven a couple weeks after Christmas and you'll be set for next year.

Also - for you cat lovers out there, my totally rockin' and not the least bit cheesy wall display of ornaments will work wonderfully if for some reason you decide to opt out of a Christmas tree as a result of an adventurous cat (my dear friend Deb got to experience this first hand this year).

This post is my 5th Holiday How-To post, inspired by Summer's Holiday How-To Blog Carnival at Le Musings of Moi.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Making it on to my very first Top 10 list

Today Katherine Stone, author of the the most widely-read blog in the country on depression and anxiety during pregnancy and the postpartum period - Postpartum Progress - named the top 10 writers on postpartum depression in 2009.

When she emailed me last week to inform me that I was one of her choices, I was honored beyond words. Katherine has the most comprehensive site that I've ever come across when it comes to all types of postpartum mood disorders.

Katherine is a survivor of postpartum OCD and is an incredible advocate for women who suffer from postpartum mood disorders of all kinds. Her site shares information for women, their families and spouses, and information for practitioners.

She shatters the stigma associated with mental illness, and she does an amazing job of showing that we are not in this alone - there are so many others going through the same struggles as we are, and there is help out there for us.

Mosey on over and take a look at her selections for the year...

Top Ten Writers on Postpartum Depression in 2009

This is the post that she selected of mine:

"I'll Huff and I'll Puff and I'll Blow This House Down"

Tremendous thanks to Katherine for including me in this list of incredible writers and survivors.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday How-To #4: Make to-die-for orange cream cookies

It's no secret I love food. Especially food with lots of sugar. And carbs. Sugar and carbs are where it's AT!

So, it shouldn't surprise you at all that one of my very favorite things about the holiday season is all the yummy goodies. Fudge, cookies, warm rolls straight out of the oven, pie, mmmmm...

One of my favorite memories of Christmas as a child was making sugar cookies with white frosting and rainbow colored sprinkles to leave out for Santa. What is that is just so darn fun about rainbow colored sprinkles on white frosting?

So, this past weekend I went to my first ever cookie exchange, which gave me a perfect excuse to bust out some recipes from my new Betty Crocker Christmas cookie cookbook. I'm trying not to have too many sweets in the house, but hello! I had to make 3 dozen cookies for this party, so the cookie making just had to happen.

I fell in love when I saw the words, "Orange Cream Cookies."

Holy toledo, Batman. Orange cream is one of my favorite flavors in the whole entire world. Orange cream soda, orange cream candy, orange cream ice cream treats, and now you're telling me I can have all that delicious goodness in a cookie? I love you, Betty Crocker.

So, here's the skinny on how you can make these rip-roaring tasty cookies. Now, keep in mind that in the picture in the cookbook, these cookies are a very calm, pastel-ish light orange color. That's because the recipe calls for 5 drops of yellow food color and 2 drops of red food color. Well, I decided to be cheap and buy the store brand food coloring. What I didn't realize is that there are no droppers on the store brand food coloring. I'm guessing I was off in my estimations of what the equivalent of 5 drops of yellow and 2 drops of red were.

Hence, the neon cookies that almost make you want to wear sunglasses.


1 pouch (1 lb 5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
1 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
5 drops yellow food color
2 drops red food color
1 bag (12 oz) white vanilla baking chips (2 cups) **I think 1.5 cups would be perfect - 2 was a bit much)


1. Heat oven to 350. In a large bowl, stir all ingredients except baking chips until soft dough forms. Stir in baking chips.

2. On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough with 1 1/2 Tbsp-size cookie scoop or by rounded Tbsp about 2 inches apart.

3. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or just until dough is set (do not overbake). Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks

Nutrition Info: Ahhh, who cares. Seriously.

This post is a part of Wordful Wednesday at 7 Clown Circus and the Holiday How-To's Blog Carnival going on at Le Musings of Moi.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday How-To #3: How to make healthy food choices {Giveaway for FREE Healthy Choice food}

If you haven't checked out your calendar today, it's December 13, which can only mean one thing...

With less than 2 weeks until Christmas, it's officially crunch time.

There are presents to buy, houses to decorate, Christmas cards to send, parties to plan, food to buy, and plans to be made. And, as much as we'd like to think we can do it all, we just can't.

While we're all trying not to lose our minds, it's important that we remember to delegate things, to ask for help, and to accept help.

Shoot, if you're workin' your little booty off trying to get 36 hand-decorated cookies made for tonight's cookie exchange while religiously watching that ebay auction so you get the best deal on this year's latest annoying singing, dancing, neurotic Elmo AND ironing your pants for work, for goodness sake - make your husband do a load of laundry, tell your kid to put away his OWN Legos, and declare tonight a "Cook Your Own Dang Dinner" night.

We may be burning the candle at both ends at this point of the year, but there's at least one area that we can choose to simplify, and that is cooking for ourselves and our families.

Healthy Choice realizes we're juggling a crazy amount of stuff right now, and these are just some of the ways they can help us this holiday season:

*This is the best time of year to enjoy hot soups, but if we're being realistic, this may not be the best time to spend boat loads of time starting from scratch. Healthy Choice has a variety of hearty soups that are as good as homemade, like Traditional Lentil and Tomato Basil. This is a great idea for yourself, your family, or your guests. Shoot, you could even put a few containers of it in the crock pot, and when your dinner guests arrive, they'll never know you made it in the microwave 10 minutes before they got there.

*We're all struggling to fight the temptations of all the holiday treats, and our trips to the gym have probably dwindled, but having some options from Healthy Choice on hand will help you stay on track. They have the Weight Watchers Points value for their foods right on the package. One idea Healthy Choice has is to enjoy a yummy Cafe Steamer or a Healthy Choice soup with a salad for lunch or dinner. And did you know that Healthy Choice is the only brand FDA approved to call their products healthy?

*Eliminate the stress of wondering what to feed those pesky unexpected guests by keeping some quick appetizers on hand like Healthy Choice All Natural Entrées Asian Potstickers or Pumpkin Squash Ravioli.

We've all got our own stresses about food when it comes to the holidays, but there are several ways Healthy Choice can help us eliminate stress related to preparing foods, and making sure our families and our guests have full bellies.'s the fun part!

Healthy Choice has offered to treat one lucky reader to some coupons for FREE Healthy Choice frozen foods, and here is how you can win:

1. Leave a comment telling me one way Healthy Choice can help YOU this holiday season.
2. Earn an extra entry by visiting the Healthy Choice website ( , and tell me which frozen food item you want to try most! (you'll also find coupons on the website!)

Giveaway ends December 18! Be sure to leave your email address in each comment so I can contact you if you win.

During my recent trip to Las Vegas for SITScation I had the opportunity to attend a luncheon sponsored by Healthy Choice, and I was so impressed. That particular luncheon was one of the reasons I decided to become VERY picky about which companies I would agree to partner with on my blog because this is a company that really care about moms and families, and aside from providing frozen foods that taste like they came from a restaurant rather than your freezer, they do some amazing charity projects to fight hunger. I'm so excited to work with them, and I can't wait to share more about them with you in the future!

Thanks to Healthy Choice for providing coupons for free Healthy Choice foods for myself and one of my readers.

***This post is also a part of a Holiday How To blog carnival going on over at my dear friend Summer's blog - Le Musings of Moi. She's teamed up with a few other bloggers, too. So, head on over and get tips on everything from how to stay fit during the holidays to how to feel guilty about everything (you read that right).***

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday How-To #2: Mr. Potato Head like you've never seen him before... *Edited with new info!*


Ok, so after posting this, I went to Wal-Mart - totally excited to score 2 Mr. Potato Heads for a buck, and the crankypants old lady at the checkout informs me they do NOT price match for Dollar General. Stupid radio ad says, "We will match any competitor's price." So, sorry if any of you tried this at Wal-Mart and it didn't work. But, if you've got a Dollar General - then hop to because the deal will still work there!

So, ever since Summer from Le Musings of Moi announced her Holiday How-To blogging carnival that's going on through the whole month of December, I've got ideas for holiday how-to posts just coming out my ears!

Coming up in the next few days you'll find these holiday how-to's on my blog...

*How to make a fun, inexpensive gift for your child or a child you know
*How to prioritize your week so you don't get overwhelmed with all the holiday hullabaloo
*How to let Healthy Choice take away some holiday stress (this one includes Healthy Choice coupons for one lucky reader)
*How to make some of my favorite holiday foods.
*How to put your Christmas ornaments up without putting up a tree to hang them on because your child will climb to the top of it, get tangled in the lights because they look like a "pitty neckick" (translation - "pretty necklace"), or choke herself with garland.

Today's idea is all about how you can get your child (or a child you know) a Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head doll for just 50 cents, and at the same time, you can get another Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head to donate to a child this Christmas.

This really takes care of two things for us this holiday season:

1. You're getting a fun, brand-new, not annoying or loud toy for your kiddo, or for some little munchkin on your Christmas list for a whopping 50 pennies. I don't even know if Goodwill would sell you Mr. Potato Head for that cheap. Even if they do sell them for 50 cents, this way you're guaranteed to get one that won't have snot from someone else's kid on it.

2. It allows you to give this holiday season without breaking your bank. So many of us are not in a place where we can just bust out the checkbook and give to charity right now, but what a great opportunity this would be to help out a little cutie pie in your town this Christmas.

I think most communities have toy drives going on this time of year, and they usually want new, unwrapped toys. If you're unaware of any, contact your local Salvation Army, shelters, children's hospitals, or your local Child Protective Services office - they're always in need of toys this time of year.

Ok, so how do you make this magic happen? It's easy.

First of all, go to and print out 2 of the $2 off Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head coupons. The site allows you to print just two.

Next, head on over to your local Dollar General store where these toys are currently on sale for $2.50. So...$2.50 minus a $2.00 coupon = 50 cents.

Now, if your Dollar General store is out of them (like mine was), go to and print out the ad (or, pick up one of the actual ads if you're in the store) - the Mr. Potato head sale price is on page 7. Take the ad to Wal-Mart, where they match any competitor's prices from a print ad.

Now grab 4 quarters and a few pennies for tax and go get you some Mr. Potato Heads! I would also recommend getting yourself a chocolate bar while you wait in line. You deserve a tasty reward, you frugal woman, you!

Back to the real world tomorrow

I'm at the tail end of six days off in a row from work. Normally, that would be a really bad thing, but I managed to pick up several extra shifts the second have of December, so it was actually just fine.

Usually, when I have that many days off in a row, I cram each day full of things to get done, places to be, and before the time off even starts, I can see a panic attack at the end of the hallway.

But, this stretch of days was finally different. Finally. Lowering my expectations of myself has been so freeing.

I have by no means mastered balance, and I know I never will, but I'm learning how to let go of some things, and I'm figuring out how I can add more enjoyable things into my life every day.

Like I mentioned a few days ago, by breaking up all my stuff to do into just a couple things per day, I was able to get stuff done that needed to get done, but I was able to relax, enjoy my baby and the rest of my family, and not feel like I constantly had to be doing something.

Kaylee and I played outside. I read books - books that were written for grown-ups! We knocked down towers of blocks over and over. and over. and over. and over. We colored. I did some Gilad workout videos. I got caught up with some friends. The house didn't blow up. The dishes didn't pile up to the ceiling, and miraculously, we all have clean clothes to wear and we have eaten food every single day. Crazy. I know.

So, while I get ready to have a whirlwind of days at work from now to the end of the month, I can actually look back on this past week and be proud of the fact that I was able to fill it with fun memories instead of unrealistic expectations and high levels of stress.

Now...time to dig out those work clothes and bring home some BACON!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday How- To #1: Take the stress out of cooking and ENJOY your Christmas {$25 American Express gift card giveaway}

I'm all about keeping things simple and eliminating stress. And, I'm a big believer in the fact that you don't need to spend a lot of money to eat good food and keep your family (and dinner guests, should you have any) happy.

Hellman's (as in Hellman's Mayonnaise) has partnered up with this guy...

...chef Bobby Flay in order to bring you a website that is sure to make your holiday easier.

When you visit the Hellman's Real Holiday Helpings site you'll find easy recipe ideas for everything from turkey, leftovers, main dishes, appetizers & dips, sides, and my favorite - DESSERTS.

So, no need to stress about your holiday menu. Seriously - this site has all the bases covered. And the recipes are made with ingredients that normal people actually EAT, so you don't have to worry about tracking down some obscure spice or something you've never heard of.

While you're there, you can download a coupon for Hellman's mayo (because the recipes on the site are made with Hellman's - duh). You'll also be able to enter to win free groceries for a year, and you can waste away your day playing a matching game while you try to win a $50 grocery gift card.

Now, we all know I've scaled back on the giveaways in order to make sure I'm only giving away stuff that I get really excited about, and that I think you'll love, too. I am so excited about this because - hello?! - who doesn't need some extra cash flow right now?

Not only did Hellman's send me a $25 American Express Gift card as part of the Hellman's Real Holiday Helpings program, but they're giving one away to one of YOU, too!

Woo hoo! can use it for turkey, stuffing, cranberries, cookie mix, frosting, chocolate, or for whatever your little heart desires.

You all know that we've been doing our best to cut back on things and save money in as many ways as we can think of, and I am sure most of you are doing the same thing.

So, I'm super excited that one of you will be getting $25 this holiday season. Can I get a "What, WHAT?!?!?"

How can you win?

Leave a comment (please include your email address so I can get your info if you win) telling me what your favorite holiday food is. Good luck!

Contest runs until Sunday, December 13th
so you can get your moolah in time for Christmas.

A BIG thank-you to MomSelect and Hellman's for sponsoring this awesome giveaway.

***This post is also a part of a Holiday How To blog carnival going on over at my dear friend Summer's blog - Le Musings of Moi. She's teamed up with a few other bloggers, too. So, head on over and get tips on everything from how to stay fit during the holidays to how to feel guilty about everything (you read that right).***

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

And I wish the fire inside was delightful, but we don't have a fireplace, so I'll settle for the heat brought to us by our lovely and oh-so-attractive propane tank. Ahhh...Sweet Lady Propane (that's for all you King of the Hill fans...)

Today is one of those ideal days that I usually only dream about.

Dennis decided to take a personal day to spend with Kaylee and I - what a guy, right?

It has been SO lovely.

We had planned on going into town so Kaylee and I could go to our exercise class, but then we realized we were in the middle of a winter storm warning that lasts until noon tomorrow. So, it took us about - oh, 5 seconds to decide we'd park our little booties at home for the day.

I looked outside and the ground was wet from rain, and the skies were nothing but gray.

I sat and hoped for lots of snow.

And then it came.

We've been sitting at home, relaxing, watching these big huge FAT snowflakes fall outside our window, and I couldn't think of a better way to spend a day with my family.

No plans. No agendas. Just being together. Being warm and cozy in our little house while the snow falls outside. (Kaylee keeps looking outside at the snow falling and yelling, "Noisy! Noisy!" Not quite sure what that's all about...)

It's days like this when simplicity reigns. I feel at peace. I feel content, and I am oh-so-thankful for all that we've been given.

Now, time to bust out some Frank Sinatra and Beyonce Christmas tunes while I dig out the Christmas decorations and toss back a mug of chai. Mmmmm...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The redundant whiner

Several times today I formulated a witty and humorous blog post in my head.

The particular post was going to discuss the irony of writing a post in which I whined about the excessive amount of whining that my child did today.

But, I thought it would be redundant and hypocritical, so I decided to spare you the details.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Improving myself, one fudge covered Ritz cracker at a time...

So, I'm on Day 2 of this new concept of lowering my expectations of myself and making realistic, achievable, non-crazy-lady goals for each day. Yesterday I planned out my whole week, and all the tasks that need to be done have their designated day.

I've gotta say that I'm likin' what's going on.

For the past two days, everything on my list has been done before lunch. And, even though Kaylee doesn't always nap, I still put her in her crib for 2 hours to rest - and to give myself a break. And I no longer feel bad about that.

So, I find myself scratching my head wondering what to do. Today I watched some TV, and I did a little extra picking up around the house.

Part of my mind instantly goes to the place where I feel that - hmmm...since I can accomplish these small tasks, I better add more to the list. I can do more. I can get more done. I can be more productive.

But the key is learning to be content with doing what's on my list, and to avoid putting further pressure on myself to go over and above that. Everything that needs to be done will get done at some point this week because every menial little thing has an assigned day. But it's so hard to get it through my head that I don't have to be constantly plowing through the to-do list all the live long day. It's such a weird concept.

To not be constantly busy and doing something is really, ridiculously difficult for me.

But, I'm enjoying the quiet and the stillness.

I'm enjoying the fact that I no longer feel like my anxiety-ridden heart is going to pound right out of my chest due to feeling utterly overwhelmed.

I'm enjoying the fact that I can count things like watching my favorite shows as a way of taking care of myself.

And, to change the subject, I would also like to share with you that I ate nearly an entire box of fudge covered Ritz crackers - today. Just today. They were that good.

And that's all for tonight.