Thursday, February 28, 2013

Graham. 2 months. TWO. How is this Possible.

2.26.13
Weight: 12.2 pounds {50th percentile}
Length: 23.25 inches {50th percentile}
Head: 35cm {10th percentile}

Clothes: 0-3 months
Shoes: HA. Ask me in 10 months.
Diaper: Size 1

Let's talk about that last statistic. I'm not one to talk statistics... as I don't think it's relevant to compare one child to the next, however, this statistic stood out to me. Why? Because your lovely sister is in the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Why? Because mama over her has a larger head. So naturally, your sister does too. I was certain you would too. However, you took the S side of the family who are full of small little noggins. I don't know though, I think your head is perfectly proportionate to the rest of your body. I think it's perfect my dear.

Eyes. They are such an interesting color. Blue, grey, dark. They seem to change around day to day. Definitely as the lighting changes. They are so dreamy to look at. You speak to me through those eyes. You have a lot to say, son.

Hair. Is turning light and lighter every day. Your grandma and I went through your sister's baby books to see at what point she had turned blonde, and surprisingly, it wasn't until she was about 5-6 months old. I had thought sooner. Her hair was actually the same color as yours. Grandma thinks that it will turn blonde. Papa thinks it will stay brown. Mama? Mama has no idea. If we have another little blondie running around, surely, every person at the restaurant when we go out to eat is going to question us. I need to start carrying around a picture of me as a child... with bright blonde hair

Eating. Like a champ. Breastfeeding has been smooth sailing {knock on wood} just like it was with your sister and I am so proud of you kiddos. You are a quick eater {just like your sister was}, and normally take 5-10 minutes. This is again due to the fact that I am over-supplying with milk so we normally just eat on one side at a time. And by we, I mean you. I pump a lot, and have a ton already stored.

You are serious. Ha. I think we say that all the time, but really. You make the most serious faces. Elliana and you are like night and day. That girl was all... well... girl. And you? You're more like.... "whatcha lookin at ma, I'm just a baby. Take a picture, it will last longer." Yes, I figured all that out just by looking into your eyes.

You do smile though. Yes you do. Mainly just for your mama. And it's the cutest little grin ever. Such a little stud muffin you are.




We talked about your right shoulder with the doctor. Remember how you broke your clavicle during birth? Yes. Well papa thought it was more stiff than the other, so I spoke more in depth with the doctor. He said this is completely normal and to continue to do little arm exercises with you. So we are doing just that.

Your Grandma came to visit from Texas! How exciting was that! And you also met your great Uncle Billy! Oh and you met your Aunt Ali and Uncle B! You had quite the month of meetings little stud. People drove long distances just to see your pretty face. And I don't blame them. You are pretty special after all.

SLEEPING machine. One time we went to toddler time, you ate when we got back, then went back to sleep and slept until 3. 9:30-3. After already sleeping all night and only waking up to eat twice and going back to sleep. I thought that, surely, this meant that you would be up all night {which we have never experienced since you were born}, and again, you proved me wrong. You woke up a few times to eat, but would go right back to sleep.

We are co-sleeping. Yes. It's what works for us right now. Plus, how could I not love having you right next to me? We never did with your sister {after the first couple of weeks} and at this age she was sleeping in the pack-n-play next to our bed. Yours is next to our bed as well. Problem is, you aren't in it. We are going to try this weekend to start transitioning you to the pack-n-play, and around the six month stage get you in your crib at night. I am starting to try naps in the crib, however, you aren't a fan just yet. We will get there.

Your sister. Continues to adore you. She talks to you all day every day. She goes over to you in the swing and says "Hugs and kisses baby bruda." She tells you "you so cute wittle guy" on a daily basis. She caresses you and is so gentle. I just hope and pray that you two have a special bond growing up. And I have a stinking suspicion that you will.

Some of your favorite things. Your mama, papa, and sister. Of course. The swing. The vibrating rocker. The activity mat. Mama's arms. Baby wearing.

Bath time. Is a hit or miss... but lately has been more of a hit. You are kind of learning to love it. Kind of. But I don't blame you. I promise it will get more fun once you can sit up in it! Promise!

Who do you look like? Oh gosh. Everyone it seems says on a daily basis that you are a copy of me and your sister. But it's so hard for me to tell these things. Although you may look like me now, I hope you grow up to look like your handsome father.

You don't like going down the stairs. Ha. I just laughed out loud as I typed that. It's the strangest thing ever, but when I carry you down the stairs, you tense up, and make a grunting noise, and on the verge of tears. Strangest thing ever.

You are the best little tag-along-traveler. I could sit and write books about this. I can't thank you enough. I want to shower you with ten-million-kisses because of this. You see, one of my biggest fears before you were born was that I wouldn't be able to continue all the fun activities with your big sister... not for a while at least. I thought we would be cooped up in the house and that your sister would just have to "wait." But you completely proved us wrong. You have been everywhere, from gymnastics every Saturday, to toddler time on Tuesdays, park dates, play dates, and more. And 90% of the time? You just sleep right through it. And although that may not mean anything to you... it means everything to me. So thank you. You are already such an amazing little brother at such a young age.
You are the best little man I know, period. I wrote you a letter.... flip a few more pages and you will read it there my dear. It talks about my love for you. How it's grown. How it continues to grow. You have fit so perfectly in our family and have made this whole family of four business look easy. We couldn't and wouldn't imagine our lives without you. Your sister lights up when she sees you. Your papa thinks the world of you. Your mama adores and admires every little thing that you do.

We love you little man, little guy, little brother.
We love you Graham.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What safety tips all moms should know



I'm not going to give you a mothering list. None of that- sleep when the baby sleeps, breast is best, no bottle past 1, and get rid of that pacifier at 6 months. None of that. You will figure out what works for your family and what doesn't.

What kind of list am I going to give you? One that is solely on safety and health.


1. Make sure all cords are out of reach. This includes the blinds in their room, baby monitor, and anything else that may be in arms reach. Pay attention to where their crib is in comparison to these cords, such as the cord to the baby monitor. "Since 2004, CPSC has received six reports of infants who were strangled by baby monitor cords that were placed too close to a crib. In the most recent death—in March 2010—a 10-month-old girl from Washington, D.C., pulled a camera monitor into her crib and was strangled by the cord."- Source

2. Food Safety. Don't let children under age 3 eat small, round or hard foods, including small pieces of hot dogs, cheese sticks/chunks, hard candy, nuts, grapes and popcorn. Want to know when your baby can eat certain foods? This article provides you the answers to all the questions. Thinking about making baby food? I love it! But there is so much I didn't know. Like the dangers of honey? Canning your own baby food? And more. Please read this article first.

3. Pay attention to temperature in a baby's room. If possible, get a monitor that has the temperature on there. Try to keep it under 75 degrees. Optimal is 68-72. Also keep in mind the baby's attire and not to over-bundle and over-heat the baby as this is a risk for SIDS.

4. Have a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector on every level of the home. This is pretty standard in all homes, however just be safe and be aware of where they are, that they are working properly, and that they can be heard by everyone. Which brings me to, get a carbon monoxide detector! They are inexpensive and life saving. Carbon monoxide is known as the "silent killer" for a good reason. It is a toxin that lacks odor or color and thus is undetectable. That's where the monitor comes in. Get it. Get one for every level of the house and within 15 feet of sleeping areas so that everyone can hear it. *Also, do not place them above a fuel-burning appliance.

5. Baby Fevers.  It is dangerous for a baby to have a fever in the first 3 months of life. Every doctor has a different protocol {so make sure you check with yours], but overall standard is 100 or higher to call and bring the baby in. Older than 3 months:

"The AAP suggests calling the doctor if a baby is between 3 months and 6 months old and has a fever of 101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C) or higher, or is older than 6 months and has a temperature of 103 degrees F (39.4 degrees C) or higher – and has symptoms such as a loss of appetite, cough, signs of an earache, unusual fussiness or sleepiness, or vomitingor diarrhea." source

6. Have pets? Stay away from flea collars. They can not only be toxic to your pets, but your babies AND you as well! Here is a great article that I found on this. 

7. Fluoride Toxicity. "Over 30 studies have associated elevated fluoride exposure with neurological impairment in children, which may, in part, result from fluoride’s affect on the thyroid glandRead more details here.  Use flouride free toothpaste until child learns how to spit out the toothpaste. We use Toms.

8. Kid hits there head? Things you should know. Kids fall. They are prone to accidents. In fact, you hear a lot of kids falling off beds, down the stairs, and other scary stories that make every parent lose their breath. But do we all know the symptoms to look for? When to call the doctor? When to go to the ER? More detailed information is here. Some important highlights from the article:

"If a child suffers a concussion, she will lose consciousness, perhaps only for a few seconds. She'll be confused, unable to tell you who and where she is. She also won̢۪t remember what caused the injury. All kids with concussions need to see a doctor right away and be observed for a period of time.Other worrisome signs to look for after a head injury include:

vomiting more than three times right after the injury, or once four to six hours afterward;
clear fluid or blood coming from the ear or nose;
abrupt onset of severe ear pain right after the injury;
bad headache that persists more than an hour;
complaints of dizziness or of blurred or double vision;
difficulty staying awake and confusion and incoherent speech when woken;
staying sweaty and pale;
irregular or funny breathing. If any of these symptoms are present, bring your child to a physician or an emergency room right away."


9. Car seat safetyHere is a great in depth article. I listed just some of the important tips that I read through. Some that I, personally, had no idea about. Another great tip is to drive to the local fire station to have your car seat checked. Directly from the article:

-Position the shoulder straps through the slots at or below your rear-facing baby’s shoulders.
-Use either the car’s seat belt or LATCH system to lock the car seat into the car. Do not use both systems at the same time.
-All car seats have an expiration date. Generally, it is six years, but contact the manufacturer of the seat to find out what the expiration date is for your specific seat.
-Do not use any products in the car seat that did not come from the manufacturer. Car seat fabrics meet strict fire safety codes. Add-on toys can injure your child in a crash. 
-Adjust the chest clip to armpit level.
Your car seat should not move more than one inch side to side or front to back. Grab the car seat at the safety belt path or LATCH path to test it.
-Car seats should never be borrowed {unless you know the full history}, and even if in a minor accident, should be pitched.

10. No bulky coats in the car seats. I had no idea about this. Why? Because the car seat safety sites that I had read never mentioned a word of this. My doctor never mentioned anything. Neither did the car seat manufacturer. It wasn't until recently that I found this out and kicked myself over and over again for not knowing this. When I asked moms out there? The majority also had no idea. Solution? Put coats on and off after taking child out of car seat. Keep a blanket in the car. Here is a great video and more in depth article on this.

11. Poison control. Know the number: 1-800-222-1222. Um. How easy is that number to remember? I mean really. Save it to your phone. Aside from the usual keep household cleaners locked up and away from reach, and medications locked up and stored away, there are a few other things to be aware of. Direct link to the poison control website with more detailed information. 

12. Deodorant and Nail Polish. Two major toxins that some may not be aware of and products that are used on a daily basis. Do not let children play with nail polish on their own, and keep deodorant away from reach.

13. Decorative lamps, candles, or air fresheners are highly toxic as well. 

14. Children must wear helmets. Whether that be a tricycle, bike, or riding with a parent, a helmet that meets that minimum standards must be worn. Check for a sticker on the side saying it meets standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

15. Set up a plan with your daycare or babysitter if you are running late. What is this for? I have read one too many stories of parents forgetting their children in the car resulting in their death. How tragic and horrific this is. Often times, this happens when there is a "change" in routine when parents are supposed to drop their children off at daycare and forget. I read a great article that urged moms to stet up a plan to be called if they are running late asking where the child was that day.

16. When going to amusement parks, be prepared. If you plan on going anywhere that is highly populated and busy, take the extra time before to come up with a plan with your family. A plan? For what? In case your child gets lost. Take pictures of your child before going so you can remember what they are wearing. Put a sticker on their back with your phone number on there. Teach them {if age appropriate} and show them pictures the night before or when you get to the park of workers that they can go to if they get lost.  

17. Set your water thermometer to 120 degrees or lower. Self-explanatory. Burn prevention from water being too hot.

18. Turn handles away from the stove, and if possible cook on the back burners.

19. Children can drown in as little as 1 inch of water. Be aware of this in all aspects including the bath, toilets, and buckets with water around the house.

20. Pulse ox check before leaving hospital. As a commenter suggested, make sure your baby has this checked before leaving the hospital. Ours does it mandatory, and I assumed all the hospitals nationwide did as well. This can help diagnose a missed cardiac defect in the baby early on.

20. Abduction tips. I didn't know this, but you can have your children finger printed at the local police station to have on file. Another tip was to have a lock of your childrens' hair and fingernail clippings. I would have never thought.

22Lastly, LEARN CHILD CPR! Can't attend the class? Watch videos online to get yourself familiarized. Make sure family members, friends, or caregivers watching your children are also aware of what to do in case of an emergency. Learn more here at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Have questions? Need more answers?Ask those questions to the sources that you trust most. Whether that be the internet, your doctor, your mom friends, or the neighbor down the street.

Ask. The more we know, the less we don't know, and the safer our kids can be.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Better hurry before they're gone!

Huge blowout shoe sale JUST started! But sizes are already going fast. I suggest when you start to not even mess around by clicking on each shoe, and search by "size" instead. I learned that quickly and snagged a couple of awesome shoes... literally within seconds before them being sold!

There are tons of boots and shoes for sale to pick from. Athletic, boots, heels, you name it! Even for the kiddos!



Motherhood. A never ending learning experience.

As moms, as women, as human beings in general, we have a way of criticizing ourselves and our everyday lives. Whether that be the decisions that we make, the relationship we are in {or not in}, or the projects that we take on at our 9-5 job {eh, I don't know what that means}, we tend to be hard on ourselves. When we don't do something right.

Especially when it comes to our children.

I am not one to "follow" the crowd or trust everything that is put out there. Especially on the internet. I love to ask questions. I like to talk to other nurses and doctors that I work with. And I especially love to talk motherhood with other moms out there.

That being said, I don't know it all.

I don't know what isn't told to me at my well visits. I don't know what I happened to not read while looking up some information on the internet. I don't know about a conversation that never took place. Or the answers to the questions that I didn't ask.

That eats away at me. When it's something that I just didn't know.

That's happened to me a few times during the past couple of years and I'm always kicking myself saying "Well how come no one told me this." And then I turn around and talk back and say... "You should have looked into it." And then the other half of me snarks back..."How would I look into something I didn't know I needed to look into."

Remember, I said I argue with myself at times.

It's true, though. As mothers... how do we know we need to be aware of something that is never brought up with our doctors. not mentioned in that specific milestone chapter of the book, and not discussed by other moms. Even your own mom.

As moms, we want to do our very best. We want to know everything there is to know about every little important mothering based topic out there. We want what's best for our children. More importantly, we want to make sure that what we are doing is keeping them safe. Not the other way around.

Right? Right?

That's why I propose that a list is given to all moms when they leave the hospital with their bundle of joy. Forget the giant 500 page book that they handed me {which I do read by the way}. I want the most important details spelled out to me in PLAIN ENGLISH, in number format.
I'm not going to give you a mothering list. None of that- sleep when the baby sleeps, breast is best, no bottle past 1, and get rid of that pacifier at 6 months. None of that. You will figure out what works for your family and what doesn't on your own.

What kind of list am I going to give you? One that is solely on safety and health. A list I wish that someone would have handed me the day I became a mother. One that I can read through and then do more thorough research from there. A list. Plain and simple. To keep our children safe.

That is, after all, our sole responsibility as parents. And often what we don't know can do the most damage.

And although, I could have placed the list in this post instead of making you wait until tomorrow, I decided not to. Why? Because one, that would make for a very long post that I promise people would bicker and complain. And two, because you all would skip everything I just said and scroll down to the bottom to read the list instead. And since I love to talk and want to be heard {because I'm obnoxious}, I'm going to go ahead and save the list for tomorrow.

Until then.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Moment At the Children's Museum


1.22.13

It is no surprise that since the birth of our son Graham, that our little world has gone through many changes. Changes in sleep. Changes in our schedule and routine. Changes in how we operate as a whole. Who takes this duty. Who takes that duty. Changes period. Our wake up times. What we do during the day. The extra obligations.

I was worried about these little changes and how they would affect Elliana. We were so used to keeping busy, being active, and trying out new activities that I was worried we wouldn't be able to continue this as part of our every day. At least not in the beginning... and certainly not for a while.

I honesty didn't think I would leave the house with confidence for a good 6 months. Honestly.

I quickly realized how wrong I really was.

As soon as we brought Graham home, I knew right away that being cooped up in the house wasn't going to do anyone any good {except Graham}. I struggled with the battle of keeping Elliana isolated in our home for Graham's sake and taking Elliana out in public so that she can continue her "norm."

What sealed the deal for me was when we went to our first doctor's appointment at two weeks old {just me and the kiddos} and Elliana was such an angel that I felt like I needed to reward her in some way. I just needed to do this for her. And I knew just what would bring the biggest smile on her face.

Those stinkin' ridiculous large and obnoxious grocery "car" carts.

And I was right. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, she beamed with excited. "Mama, mama, mama, caaaaarrrr!"

Forget the fact that I wasn't sure how I was going to go about this with a newborn. Forget the fact that I  was slightly scared {for my life} and surviving this adventure. Forget any fear and concern I could have. In that moment, that smile and excitement was all the strength I needed.

And after surviving that day? That little "trip" out? I knew that we could do it. That I could do it. And that I needed to be strong for my baby. To find the appropriate places to go, when to go, how to cover up the baby {to keep him safe} and at the same time provide my first baby the opportunity to explore the world.

We continued with gymnastics classes and more trips out to the grocery store. We went outside every opportunity we could get {which has only been a few days as the temperature has dropped in the single digits}, had park and "play" dates, and we returned to attending toddler class at the library again.

So when a friend of mine invited us to join her and another mama to the Children's museum, I beamed with excitement "YES!"

Afterwards though, I admittedly felt a little nervous. This was slightly a bigger adventure that I would be taking on all on my own and required a lot of planning. Knowing when to feed and change baby and keep him awake prior so he would sleep through it all. Making sure Elliana got plenty of sleep the night before, and well rested and fed so that she wouldn't tire out by the time we got there. Making sure I had every thing in a small diaper bag for every possible scenario that could occur with a newborn and toddler in tow. Any and every.

But I was determined to do it. And once I set out to do something, there's no stopping me.

And we went. And it was amazing, and I held back tears every time my baby girl ran from one activity to the next, beaming with excitement, the biggest smile on her face, all while exclaiming "Mama cool huh?!" Yes baby. Very cool.

What made this trip so memorable for me during this great time with friends {and their husbands} was when we reached the carasoul ride. I asked the guys if they would mind sitting with the baby stroller while I went with the girls and our babies on the ride. Of course they didn't mind. And while I stood in line waiting for our turn, I stared at my girl. My big girl.

I couldn't believe that I was able to do this with her. That I was holding her in my arms and I was going to take her on this ride {even though she had been on it ten million times before}, and share this moment with her.

I know it may sound absolutely minor and one may not understand why this little moment meant something... but trust me when I say, it did. And it does.

I was able to reflect in that moment. The past 3+ weeks since Graham's arrival. Everything we had been through. Everything she had been through. And in that moment I was so thankful that I was able to do this for her. To give her the opportunity to still live "her normal" even after we rocked her little world around. To share these moments with her.

Something about that carasoul ride. It just did it for me.

And after two hours of fun and running around, I found myself in the car feeding and changing the little guy while the toddler snacked on her favorite "bunnies."

And as she exclaimed "Mama so fun" I just knew that I had made the right choice. I was doing something right. And I wouldn't let my fears ever take over again.
*****

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Life Lately with Steals and Deals

Gymnastics. We have less than a month left of this current session, and we have decided that after swim and soccer lessons, then we will sign E back up to the next level gymnastics. It has been such a wonderful experience thus far and Elliana has really done so great at each class. Her behavior has been exceptional and I think that it is not just giving her the opportunity to get energy out and socialize, but also teaches her patience and the art of listening.

Baby Wearing. We have been in full mode around these parts. And I love it. I have a post scheduled on this exact topic and the wrap that we have fallen in love with.

Little man. Will be two months old in two days! What. What. What. How did this happen? It's so crazy to me how much faster time goes by the second time. I have his two month post scheduled for the end of the week.

Super Busy. We have been out and about just about every day lately. And I'm secretly loving it. Getting out of the house is so nice. Especially since the weather has not been the greatest. Although on the days that there is just the slightest bit of sunshine and at least 35 degrees? We head to the park!

Baby friend. Elliana has this little friend of hers that lives down the street {and I work with her mama and have known her for years}, and she calls her "my baby friend." Problem is, she started calling her that when she was a baby, and now? Well now, she is very much a toddler. I still think it's the cutest thing ever.
We made stuffed bell peppers. And they are awesome. Amazing. Perfection. No worries... there is a post with the recipe coming... next Saturday.

I also made chocolate covered bananas. And although they tasted good going down... they sure didn't look very pretty and were quite messy. HA! I'll definitely be sticking to my Trader Joe's that look perfect and taste like heaven.

And for those Steals & Deals......

These swimsuits are only $12.99! And they are originally $59! And it gets better {how, right?}... free shipping for first time customers on their first order!

Diaper bag steal! $44 sale price, originally $230! And let's talk about the cute factor. Check it out. CATEGORY: BRAND NEW PARENTS COLLECTION


Lastly, a couple advertising spots opened up! Which means... let me promote you! I have had amazing feedback from my sponsors {check out the testimonials} and would love to show you off. If you are interested, check out more details and purchase here.

A Girl that Had Her Picture Taken With Bill Clinton


I mean, do you honestly need me to tell you anything more about this lovely mama? I mean. She had me hooked as soon as she said.. Christmas.

Holly is not only funny, but also very down to earth. You feel as though you know her as soon as you land on her blog. She doesn't hold back and her honesty is so real. She also blogs about weight loss, which I think is so inspiring! And can I just throw out there that her husband blogs as well. They have the cutest little instagram photos with one another and I just love that they have this little blogging thing in common. I can only imagine the dinner conversations at their house.

Enough of my talk, go over and meet her!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Just Another Day at the Office

1.15.13

Can I just sit here and talk about how much I love my day job. A glimpse of a day at the office at home.

It doesn't get much better than spending your morning with these two love bugs. One, a very active ambitious toddler who loves to learn and discover. The other, a sleeping, sweet, cuddly, handsome little man who will throw you a smile in his sleep and make your heart melt right there and there.

The one thing that I have absolutely despised is this cold get-under-the-blankets weather. I am so ready to see the sun and be able to take the kids out for walks without having to put on 10 layers and come back feeling like our toes are going to fall off.

In the meantime, we have kept ourselves quite busy. As you can see, lots of painting, coloring, crafting activities, baking, and making messes. We try to come up with something new and refreshing to do while we are cooped up during this cold winter, but I have to admit, we are so ready for change. Change in weather. Change in scenery.

Regardless, I love our days together. Even the days we do completely nothing.

As much as I love the idea of being able to get out at night and work at the hospital with adults, nothing makes me happier than being home with these two and watching them grow. It is the most rewarding responsibility in my life. To watch these two go through milestones. To teach them things and watch them repeat back. To mold them into kind, gentle, loving human beings.

I know that staying at home with kids isn't ideal for every mom out there. But for me?

I couldn't, I wouldn't, do it any other way.

Friday, February 22, 2013

PEOPLE Magazine and 2013 Oscars

With two kids, a busy schedule, and too many responsibilities on my plate, I rarely get to watch any television these days. I'm lucky if I even get to watch the DVR recording of my one show a week. And this is coming from the girl who used to DVR about 2-3 shows a night, and be caught up with all shows by the end of the week. If you did the math? It would equal a lot of television. Television that is now nonexistent in my life.

But when it comes to the Oscars? The laundry, dishes, and any other household duties can certainly wait. And that is why, come this Sunday, I will have found a nice cozy spot right on my couch to watch one of the most anticipated events of the year. The Academy Awards.

A night I look forward to during the other 364 days of the year.

It should also not come as a surprise when I say that the red carpet is one of the biggest talks of the night. If not the biggest. Who wore what. Best dressed. Worst dressed. The comments. The price tags. The color, design. Everything.

And although I love to watch the Oscars and see the dresses in person, it's even better when the PEOPLE Magazine comes out with their issue after the event with all the major red carpet highlights.

I practically run to the store to pick up my issue. I then wait until the husband comes home and we can go through it together. It's a great thing that I married a man who loves celebrities and gossip. I love the fashion aspect, he loves the nominees, winners, and details from the event. It's the absolute perfect combo.

I'm looking forward to seeing some of my favorite men that are nominated for the Oscars. Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and George Clooney. They are all so dreamy in their tuxedos. Wait. Did she just call Robert De Nero dreamy? Why, yes, I did. Because he is an amazing actor.

Not to mention, my favorite ladies. Heidi Klum, a mother with a rockstar body and eye for fashion. How about Cameron Diaz and her ageless body. Jessica Alba? The meaning of gorgeous. And lastly, Miley Cyrus. My husband would cringe if he heard me say this.

This year PEOPLE Magazine 2013 Oscars Double Issue will be released in stores on March 1st, 2013 and will only be available until March 28th, 2013.

Guess where the kiddos and I will be come March 1st? You guessed it!

Take a moment and enter this sweepstakes where you test your PEOPLE Trivia skills for a chance to win!
You can enter each week for a chance to win one of hundreds of rewards cards!

And today, one of you lucky readers will have the opportunity to win a $20 gift card to Target! That way you can go pick up your PEOPLE magazine and some extra goodies!

 The rules are simple, just answer the question listed below in the comments.

Which stars/celebs do you want to see on the cover of the PEOPLE Magazine 2013 Oscars Double Issue. 


This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and PEOPLE Magazine  but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #PEOPLEforOscars  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.”
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Two Important Money Saving Tips

1. I received my big fat check in the mail from Ebates yesterday.
Yes. Your eyes aren't lying to you. That is $500 of free money.  No gimmicks. FREE. And? I have more coming.

What is it?

It's a shopping website. How it works? You search for the place that that you want to shop at {for instance lowes, target, wal-mart, ebay, etc} and then it directs you to that site. For every purchase you make, it then gives you a percentage back. And?

By signing up and spending your first $25 linked through their website, you get a free $10 gift card to the place of your choice {I picked Target}.

Then? Refer your family and friends and get even MORE money back.
Did I mention that it's free money? You're shopping anyway. You're going to spend that money anyway. Why not earn money back doing so? And then, the key is to refer your friends and family!

2. Toms are on sale.
It's true. There is actually a sale going on. Absolutely unheard of. However, the sizes and styles are going quick {they just restocked yesterday}. There are shoes for the little feet, the youth, and women and men!

***Remember how I shop for Christmas throughout the year? Check out all of Tom's coupons and special offers for year-round savings.***

How Andrew and I are different.


Very important topic here ladies. And gentlemen. If in fact there are men out there that read, and if they do, please don't take this personally...see this as a learning opportunity.

1. Andrew would send Elliana to grandma's house as quick as I could say go. Me? I have only spent one weekend away from her {for out of town wedding}, and just can't fathom sending her to grandma's just because. Often times I will ask him, okay what do you want to do? And he'll say, "I don't know, just hang out." My response? Why can't we hang with the kids? Although, I know it's completely the normal thing to do, but it's just so funny to me how men and women are wired so differently.

2. Andrew could walk by the screaming baby and have to pick up every toy or pillow on the ground, put it back in place, and make sure things are tidy before turning to me who happens to have the stare glare on, completely oblivious and say
"What"... 
in which I reply.. "Andrew. Crying baby. Takes precedence over non-moving, non-crying, completely un-important objects on the ground."
He stares at me blankly. His response... "Oh." Oh. Do men have hearing problems?

3. Andrew requires, I kid you not, 5-10 wipes to do a diaper change. Every diaper change. It's like he uses one for every crevice. Hello crevices. I mean, it's great. I appreciate a fresh clean baby and all. But really... ten? Let's be a little bit more conservative here honey.

4. Andrew doesn't grasp the concept of now. Like making sure he is following Elliana up the stairs because who knows what kind of trouble she could be getting into. But he has to finish washing the dishes from dinner {which I do appreciate by the way}. He doesn't understand that we are doing bath time and I don't have 4 hands to handle all the kids. But he is almost done listening to the sports channel. I think I operate on the lets go, hurry up, now time schedule. Whereas Andrew operates on the in-a-minute-honey schedule.

I like my schedule more :)

5. Andrew complains of being "tired" and requires naps on the weekends. This humors me. Then again, my husband has always been a big napper. Prior to having kids, he probably didn't roll out of bed before noon. I wish I was kidding. But the tired part? To me? I mean... if anyone, I should be the one that is tired. Sadly though, I just knock him across the head with a pillow and tell him he's lucky I'm not tired or else he would be in the doghouse. And off to sleep he goes.

I must say, I re-read these and giggled out loud. This may be a man thing, but most likely this is an "Andrew" thing. This short list describes my husband and the way he is regardless if kids were factored in. He's a big clean freak, and he tunes out quickly and easily. He gets distracted easily and forgets often. He loves his sleep and really doesn't function well without it. He's a slow moving but very picky and particular individual.

But boy does that man love hard. And those kids he loves so much. He pleads and begs for pictures throughout the day. He talks about his baby girl like she discovered the cure for cancer. He looks at his son with so much love in his eyes. He loves. And he loves hard.

So I guess I'll keep him. I guess he's not too bad after all ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finding the Perfect Sitter

When our children are born, as parents, our number one responsibility is to protect them. To keep them safe, out of harms way, and sheltering them from all the dangers in the world. When our children are born, we worry about every little thing that could go wrong. We take caution with everything that we do. Sanitize our hands and home. Baby proof our surroundings. Make sure we hold their head up right when they are newborns. The list is endless.

Protecting our children becomes the number one priority in our lives because our hearts belong to these little beings that we created. Because their lives are the most precious thing to us.

That being said, when we have to leave our children for any reason, we have to be able to leave with trust, knowing that they are in great hands. Not just good, not just okay, but great. We want to be able to be assured that the person that is now taking part in this responsibility of protecting our children is trusting, loving, knowledgeable, and attentive. And more.

Andrew and I have talked a lot about when we will be able to leave our children and go on a date night. Random, sporadic, middle-of-the-week, date night. Not the kind where we drive forty minutes to the grandparent's house to drop the kids off, drive to dinner, call a million times, drive back to pick them up, and then drive home. A four hour process.

The kind where we call our trusted sitter and ask her to stop by for a few hours to play with the kids. The sitter that our kids shriek up and down clapping their hands with excitement as soon as she walks through the door. The kind that scoops them up with hugs and kisses. A sitter that we love and appreciate so much that we bring her a cheesecake home from dinner. Who doesn't love a yummy slice of cheesecake.

I dream about the perfect sitter. I want our family to have that one day. To have a trusting individual that loves our children like their own. Because by loving them like their own, they will protect them like we do.

Do you have a sitter that you love and trust? One that you would bring dessert home to?

If so, I strongly encourage you to nominate your sitter for the 2013 America's Top Sitter Contest. How do you do this? It's easy!

  • Upload a picture and tell us a little about your sitter. Why do you think they should win, and what makes them great.
  • Your sitter's info will then be viewable on Sittercity Facebook.
  • The top ten will be chosen by a panel of experts by Sittercity, and the final winner will then be chosen by the Facebook community. 
  • You want to know the best part? Grand Prize is $5,000! Now I bet you could convince them of some free babysitting nights. That or they better bring you a cheesecake!
Lastly, remember nomination will end February 25th and the voting will run March 5th through the 15th. So, what are you waiting for? Go nominate your amazing sitter! And while you're at it... send me her number!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

What I really think about "Life with Two."


Isn't much different than life with one. Well. Except for the fact that you now have two mouths to feed. Two schedules to run by. Two needs to meet. Two little humans to show attention and love to. Two to clean. Two to teach. Two to watch. Two to send to college.

College. I need to slow down here. Back up Becky, we aren't there just yet.

Where are we though? We are in a good place. A place where I believe every mother can be and should be when she has two.

Confident.

Why do I think that it isn't much different? Because I'm going to focus on the main part of motherhood. The meaning behind the word. What makes us mothers. And what keeps us going.

Our Children.

I know I'm getting all mushy and stuff on you guys, but seriously, I'm going to take this to the serious level because I want to put into words how this whole mom-of-two business shouldn't scare you or make you wonder if you can do it.

You can!

The reason we get through the day? The reason we are able to multi-task? The reason why the dishes get washed, the clothes get cleaned, our family gets fed, soccer practice is attended, and crafts are thrown together? Because of us. Mothers. And what or who do we do all this for?

Our Children.

Because we don't know any other life. We do this because this is what we are handed. We don't know any different. We don't know what it's like in another home. We don't know if that mom is handling it better than us. If she has it easier than you and I. If her life is better or worse. If she's got it together.

I said it before and I'll say it again. With confidence. Motherhood is the easiest thing in my life. I was born to do it. I love my children more than anything in the world, and although that sounds cliche, and although those words don't and can't fully portray the depth of my love, it's the only words I have.

Yes. My days are now busier. Yes, I have to think more. Yes, I have to organize my day better. In terms of timing when the baby will nap so I can be alone with E to do her school activities. In terms of prioritizing my mornings so that I can get everyone ready, the beds made, and all of us out of the house in time for appointments and planned activities. In terms of juggling the house duties and getting meals prepared ahead in order to not get behind. Yes, I have to do more. But aside from doing more, is it truly any different than life with one?

No.

You see, you will never be ahead. You will never be perfect. You will never be able to reach the highest, most impossible, level of motherhood that you have expected out of yourself. You won't. Why? Because it is an un-attaible standard that we have set for ourselves.

But guess what, you sure will fight hard to get there. Just like you did with number one, just like you do now with having two. And just like you will if you add more to the picture.

Am I an expert on motherhood? Absolutely not. I can't say I got it all going on. I can't say that I don't have hard days, rough days, days that I look like a mess. But I can tell you this...

I am confident in what I am doing and the life that I am giving for my children.

Perfect? No.
Could be better? Always.

Confident? One hundred percent.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

$200 Visa Gift Card + More Giveaway Celebrating 2 million Page Views


This afternoon, I hit the big milestone. TWO MILLION page views. And as promised, I have had this post sitting in draft waiting for the day that this would happen so I could give back a little.

I cannot believe I have been going at this for as long as I have. I cannot believe that I am sitting here, 3 years after beginning this blogging journey and celebrating 2 million pageviews. Two million.

Some people have stuck around and continue to read about my every day ramblings. Nothing but just an open book around here. Thoughts on life. My love for my children. Just my family and I and our little story.

So I thank you. For listening. For support. For keeping me going. Because this is the greatest gift that I will cherish in my future. And you all give me that little boost to continue on my journey.

And as a little extra thank you, feel free to enter this $400 valued giveaway. No big deal. I thought I'd do a little pay back from the money I have made in sponsorship for everything and more that this blog has provided for me!

Giveaway will be split up in TWO days. Two different prize packs. TWO winners.

Winner will be selected at random and will be notified via email. Once entries confirmed, a winner will be announced and emailed

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www.online-sweepstakes.com

Take time for YOU


Here is a short list of what has helped us get through our days. Get our routines organized. Make sure everyone is happy, fed, and clean. A glimpse of the "little things" that help me feel happy about what we accomplished in the day, be okay with what we didn't get done, and be excited for what's ahead. But most importantly, what makes me feel like me.

Happy mama=happy baby.

1. Shower before noon. For me? It was before 9am. It's a must. Lock the master door. Open up the bathroom door. Plop baby girl on the bed next to her brother {or use a portable baby chair or swing and place them in the bathroom when they get older... you know, so they don't fall off the bed}. Give her something to do, and turn on a little soothing music for the little one. Leave the door open, and peek out to them every 2 seconds. Sing songs. Praise the Lord. And feel CLEAN! A shower makes me feel human.

2. Download the "find my iphone app."  I can't tell you how many times I have lost my phone. Now, granted, prior to having kids I lost my  phone a lot as well...but now? So much more. One day I spent 8+ hours throughout the day searching. Couch cushions tossed around {for the fifth time}, toys opened and closed, every trash can checked, and toddler questioned over and over. I just knew she had something to do with it. But alas, the i-phone app {that I forgot I had} pulled through and I found that the phone was in my robe pocket from the morning. Right where I left it.

Don't have an i-phone? Get one :)

3. Put makeup on and get dressed. I promise more dishes will get cleaned and more laundry will get washed. Promise.

4. Make the beds. It's sickening how happy this little task makes me. It's a must in our  morning routine. It's something that I have found to work best for me. After my shower I get the kiddos dressed, diapers changed, and teeth brushed. They get their little activities and we go room to room making beds, picking up clothes, and taking laundry downstairs. Open up the blinds and let the sun shine through. You will love seeing those made beds every time you go upstairs. Which, to be frankly honest, is very rare for us. The going upstairs part.

5. Leave the house. When it's appropriate. Weather permitting. And when you feel ready. But do. Truly. Just go. Even if it's just to the grocery store, to toddler time at the library {or just the library to pick up books}, or even better... a walk outside. Get out of the house. Try to at least 30 minutes a day. It will make you feel slightly more normal.

6. Have a friend over. Stuck in the house? Snowed in? Just need company? Call a friend and have her over. Talk gossip. Talk celebrity news. Just talk. Because girl talk seems to somehow diminish all the other crazy going on.

7. Have dance parties in your living room to pandora. I recommend the Bieber station {you may have to skip a few songs, ahem}. A great pair of boots for the toddler to feel sassy in. And your hair down. Hair must be down for the ridiculous head bopping. It makes me feel young.

8, Lastly, tomorrow is a new day. Remember, all days come to an end. Good and bad. And tomorrow? Tomorrow is a new day.

Make it a great one.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Writing. It's good for the soul.

Sometimes I sit here at the computer blank. Wondering. Why in the world do people want to even read about your life. Like potty training? Who cares. My kids' first milestones? Sounds just like every other kid. The little things that make us happy? What a sap.

I wonder if what I write sometimes is just straight up garbage to some. And it probably is. Perhaps I may come across as boring because I don't put together these elaborate pretty posts with pictures from pinterest and links to articles to what I am talking about. Do I even write posts where I know what I'm talking about? Not sure. All I know is that I write.

Writing helps me spill my emotions out on paper, er, computer. It helps me think through things. Reevaluate things. Talk to myself about things. It's the way that I am.
The way I operate this whole "writing" gig.

You want to know something? I talk when I write. Sometimes out loud. Most of the time it's in my head. But always, I talk. I talk as though you are sitting right here with me. I talk because... well... it's the best way I can gather my thoughts. No worries, I argue with myself as well.

Do you want to know when I write the most? While in my car. 

No, I don't type and drive at the same time. Although I imagine, and wouldn't be surprised, if someone has done that before. It is however the time that most of my posts get "written" in my head. It's when I have my deepest moments on life. It's also part of the reason why I have always loved to just drive. Have an argument? Drive. Bored at home? Drive. Need to re-evaluate things in your life? Drive.

With the two kiddos, I don't get to do that as often as I like. Just drive. Especially driving and thinking. Yet alone, driving and "writing." I get interrupted by, "Mama look!" and "Mama go here!" and "Mama, I love you." And that's okay. Because I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Can I share just one more secret? I used to be afraid to write from the heart.

When I first started blogging, I wanted to be that funny, sarcastic, hard-headed girl. I'd like to think I am still that girl at times {when it's appropriate}. But initially? I thought that no one ever wanted to hear my deeper thoughts. That writing wasn't about putting your emotions out there.

That's when I realized that I wasn't writing for myself. Rather, I was sharing what I wanted other people to read.

You see, I know I am grammatically incorrect 90% of the time. I know my AP English teacher from high school probably cringes at my run-on sentences, misspellings, and incorrect word placement. I know I could never write a book, a column, or even be considered a writer.

But I still write.

And that's when I am reminded that I don't really care if I'm boring. I don't really care if I don't spell things right or sound like I know what I'm talking about. And most of all? I don't care if the stories and thoughts that I share aren't something new and refreshing for people to read.

All I care about? Is that I have these stories and thoughts. That no one can take that away from me. That my children and husband will forever be reminded of how deep my love is for them.

I write. Because it's the best way for me to get through things in life.
It's my little remedy.
My safe haven.
Where my heart gets spilled out.

Boring? I get that.
Not funny? Sometimes life has to get serious.

But who I am and what I believe in? Always.

I write because it's good for my soul.
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Grab a button below, or link back below, write from the heart or whatever is on your mind, and be sure to hop around and say hello!



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