Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Twas the Night Before Christmas

I know I should be talking about the New Year, my resolutions, and a year in review. I'm working on it. The thing is, there is a lot to be said, and a lot of things that I want to talk about. I'm not ready just yet. So I will continue on this week with doing my recaps, and maybe throw in something related to 2014 being right around the corner. I mean, tomorrow.

For now, let us talk about Christmas Eve.

Christmas eve. It was all perfect in its own way that I simply want to share pictures and just leave it at that. However, there are still things about the day that I would like to write down for myself to remember. Little tidbits of information that may not be interesting to a stranger, but instead very important to me. So I'm going to write this post in a nontraditional kind of way {what is traditional about blogging anyway}, and just let my thoughts burst out on the computer screen.

*I dressed as an elf on Christmas. The outfit was about 10 sizes too big, but it was a definite hit with E. She thought it was the cutest thing ever and still talks about it from time to time.

*We baked cookies for Santa and left out a carrot. That santa ate every cookie and only one reindeer carrot was left. E makes sure to remind us of that daily as well.

*We missed Christmas Eve service due to a meltdown. A big meltdown. Won't be pointing fingers or names.

*There were four kids this year opening {destroying} presents this year. Four. Not just present, but four walking, talking, ability to destroy kind of kids around. Next year? There will be five. Presents aside, it truly is a blessing and an amazing thing to watch this little family of mine grow. The memories that we create will be something that we will smile when we look back on.

*My brother got Elliana a beetle car for Christmas and it is definitely the biggest hit. Now I know Graham will be asking for one next year.

*My brother also got everyone scratch off lottery tickets for their stocking stuffer this year, and I thought that was such a fun idea. Definitely will be doing this again next year.

*Sugar does crazy things to children. Who would have thought. 

*You have to take breaks in between opening gifts. You have to. We had to. It's a must with all these children. And it's pretty darn overwhelming.

This year, again, proved to me that it is never about the presents. It is never about the amount or what you got. It is always about the family that is around you and those that you love the most. Being with my family was all I needed and all I wanted for Christmas Eve. You look around and you are reminded of how blessed and fortunate that you are. I never want to take any of it for granted. The family members that I love, nor the life that I live. I also want my children to always remember this. That Christmas is about the One that sacrificed His life for us. And to remember to live their life doing the same. Thinking of others, giving to others, helping others, and never forgetting about those that have given to us.

I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.

Oh, and since it is New Years Eve.... I hope everyone has a great night celebrating and reminiscing.

All be safe. Happy New Year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The start of the EVERYTHING posts.

This is going to be an everything catch up kind of week. I usually like to split things up, post even a month apart, really dig deep into each occasion that is worth digging deep into. This happened here, that happened there, we did this at this time, and then we did this then. But now? This week? We are going to clump it all together and just talk. Talk like you were here sitting on my couch and I was telling you all about it.

It's an accurate depiction of what last week felt like anyway.  A frenzy. Fast. Busy. With a whole lot going on. Yet, at the same time, we made sure to stop and enjoy. Andrew and I made a point to not get overwhelmed with the busy and to take moments, hours, to sit back and relax. Even nap {well, him and the kids, not this mama}. There were moments of disagreements and even getting short fused with the children {who happened to be overtired at more moments than we like}, but overall---crazy and amazing would be the best two words to describe the past week. Absolutely.

Another thing that was important to me last week was staying off social media. I blew up the IG feeds on Andrew's birthday {insert key word: childless} and then one picture on the night before Christmas as we were in the car heading to my parents. After that? It was gone. My phone that is. In fact, for about 12 hours there, it was completely dead and I could care less. The only reason that it was charged was because of my husband. Who thinks I am crazy for always leaving my phone dead.

 I know I have said this before {about social media} and it was not anything new for me to be away from it for 3 days... but it was truly so nice to not get caught up in what was going on elsewhere. I know I missed texts from people {what else is new} but that's okay. I was with the people that mattered the most. And that's what is.. well... most important.

And what is important is for me to get on with this post and talk about the first birthday of the week.


Lovely dress from Light In The Box
 Three years away from 30. My husband was sick last year and had made it a point to remind me all year round that he did not want anything to ruin his birthday this year. He remembers these things you know. So I made sure to have the night off work {although I did work the three nights in a row prior}, and make it extra special for him. On my way home from work in the morning, I stopped by our favorite breakfast place and ordered a large breakfast for the family, including a cup of black coffee for the birthday boy. I had the lady put a 27 in whipped cream on one of his pancakes, but surprise surprise, that thing melted by the time I came home. So I quickly scrambled to make a 27 out of candles, except, I'm just not that talented apparently. The effort is what is most important right. Thought that counts. So the family came downstairs, we sang papa happy birthday, and then we devoured everything.

Andrew opened his gifts {one which included a fancy dress---for me, not him}, and then his parents arrived shortly after that. I sent the birthday boy, Elli, and my father-in-law away to go see a movie, while mama and Graham took a napIt worked out perfect so that I was well rested by the time they came home for the evening.

It was very exciting to be able to put on a skimpy little black dress. I'm a mom of two I kept saying to myself. Becky, you are a mom of two. But I'm also a wife. A wife, and I'm 27. I needed to feel good like this, and I needed this night with my husband. It's sad for me to admit that it had actually been over a year since we even had a date night. A complete full on date night. Not just a dinner date {which we have done a few times}, but away from the children through the evening kind of date. Our kind of date. We were so much better about this when we had Elliana. We tried to get out every couple of months at least. With Graham? Our anniversary and birthdays are about as good as it gets. Now that he is older, I have a feeling that we will be doing it more often.

Anyways, so we got ready. I made dinner for the kids, went over with my MIL everything that she needed to know {everything that she knew already}. Flipped the baby over to show her what to do if he were choking, and giggled a little while doing so. Do I need to tell her to call 911 first and foremost before calling me? Should I leave the number for poison control? Do I tell her the cause is usually not cardiac if a child/baby were to be found unresponsive, but most likely respiratory? No, no I won't. I'm being paranoid and I just need to quit it, I say to myself.
We headed out the door and made it to the restaurant a few minutes early. Andrew kept wanting to valet park, but I explained that I didn't need to spend any more money than was necessary, so I insisted that he park across the street at the Hyatt parking lot. He did so. We ran out of there freezing, and I think I swore a couple of times, at which he reminded me nicely that he did in fact suggest valet. Ahem.

Dinner was perfect. We got a cozy booth and could not keep our hands off one another {besides when we were devouring every bit of the food on our plates}. We splurged and got a bottle of wine, appetizers, steaks, sides, and even a dessert that literally melted in our mouths. During dinner, I decided to give Andrew his second part of his present. He looked a little surprised, but opened up. Curious.

"Dear Andrew, if you decide to forgo your individual rooms, please accept this key for your fantasy suite" Signed, Chris Harrison.

He giggled.
Looked at me.
Smiled, and giggled.
Then said: "Wait, is there a fantasy suite?"

I laughed. Why yes!  Why else would I write such a cheesey thing. Then I proceeded to hand him a confirmation letter for our night stay at... The Hyatt {genius Becky}.

And at that, we finished off our bottle of wine, ate every bit of food that was on our plates, and kissed like we were on our very first date. Okay, maybe second or third.

It was amazing. All of it. Even if I did wake up at 4:30 in the morning, ready to go. It was amazing. Even if I did miss those babies terribly and we couldn't stop talking about how excited we were to see them when we got home. It was amazing. Even if we did spend more money than you would ever hear me spend {cheap gal over here}. It was amazing.

All if it just reminded me of how we need to do this more often. Be the married couple, not just mom and dad. 

How amazing it feels to be a wife first.

It was amazing. I smile just writing that.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Meet Wildali + $25 Giveaway to Zulily

So excited today to be sharing with you yet another sweet mama of two, Wildali. I had the pleasure of asking her some {intimate} questions, and it was so great to read through her answers! I could definitely share a cup of coffee with her and talk life. She's one of those kind of people. Plus, she's pretty awesome for giving away $25 to Zulily to one of you lucky ladies!
1. Your wedding pictures are BEAUTIFUL! Tell us why Puerto Rico and what was so special about your wedding day {aside from saying the words "I do!"}

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico so I ALWAYS wanted to get married there. I wanted beach pictures and we definitely got them. All of my husband’s extended family also lives there so it made sense. Plus, I was not thrilled with the idea of getting married in the freezing cold in January. Our wedding day was PERFECT. I know everyone says that, but I truly mean it. Every single thing happened effortless and everything fell into place. I did not want the day to end and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
2. You traveled before starting a family? Tell us about the places you went and some of the memorable things that you gained from the experience.
Traveling before starting a family was something Luis and I were determined to do. While we dated for 5 years before getting married, most of that time was spent being “poor college students” so once we had some financial stability we decided to travel a bit before making babies. Our trip to Europe in 2009 is by far the best one we have ever taken. I LOVED going to Barcelona and Rome. I certainly had a goal of making it to Europe before we had kids and I am SO GLAD we did. It was the last trip that was just about us. I am a history nerd so I enjoyed the art history in Barcelona and the marvelous beauties in Rome. It really wasAMAZING!

3. Tell us 5 random facts about you that many people wouldn't know.
1.      I am well-versed on medical terms, equipment, medication and specialists. My sisterFrances’ room was almost like a mini hospital for 22 years.
2.      I remember spots at amusement parks where we took pictures, even if they were taken years ago.
3.      I always notice left-handed people since I am a lefty as well.
4.      I don’t enjoy taking baths or showers. I shower because I need to, but I am not one of those people who stays in the shower for a long time. Once I am done cleaning myself I am out.
5.      I LOVE it when people ask  me for breastfeeding advice. I have a real fear to offend anyone, but when they ASK me for help my heart swells. Few things get me more excited than helping people make their breastfeeding experience a positive one.

4. I bet you get asked this all the time, so I'll be yet another annoying person on the list, will there be another addition to the family?
Oh my goodness! We do get that question ALL THE TIME. I DEFINITELY want to be a mom again. I don’t think you can give your child a better gift than a sibling. However, I never envisioned us having children really close together, perhaps because both my husband and I have significant gaps in-between us and our siblings. The day after Isabel was born I literally told a friend of mine: How do people do this more than once? Granted, I still wanted to have more children then, but it was (and still is) too fresh in my mind. On top of that, despite being a federal employee, we do not have paid maternity leave. In order to get paid, I have been saving my paid time off to go on maternity leave once we get pregnant again. However, that was also difficult because once your baby is in daycare they just get sick a lot which means you have to takeMORE time off. It was a vicious cycle almost for the first two years of Isabel’s life. And the other issue that we have is that since Isabel was born in December she will technically have to be in daycare/preschool an extra year before she goes to Kindergarten. Therefore, we would like to time it in a way that we are not spending a huge amount of our earnings paying for daycare. If we could get my parents to move here then it would be easier! Hint hint!
5. Lastly, what do you hope your family will take from your blogging? Will you share it with your child/children when they are older?
I, like almost all bloggers out there, started blogging to keep track of Isabel’s development and share it easily with our family that lives far away. I love the little details of our daily life and I don’t want to forget them. I hope that my family understands that it takes a LOT to keep up with a blog, but that I did it because THEY ARE WORTH IT. I hope my writings outlive me and my children can look at them and understand that I truly cherished every milestone. I hope they always know that being their mother is the best thing that ever happened to me. Because the truth is that they DO GROW UP too fast. I love that I can go back two years from now and know exactly what we were doing as a family simply because I took the time to document it. I also hope my blog allows them to see themselves through my eyes.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday Graham

One year. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8765 hours. 525,949 minutes. Those are a lot of numbers that all mean one thing... the best time of our life. You, my baby boy, have made this past year a monumental one, one that we will never forget, and one that changed everything for us. For the better. I remember when your sister was born and saying to your papa that our lives have just begun. And then you were born and I found myself saying something very similar---a new life has just begun. The old one, as we knew it, was over. We now faced a different, more beautiful, full of love kind of life. And one year ago today, I could have never imagined the kind of love that I would feel for you, and more so for this whole family that I get to call mine.

They placed you in my arms and I felt an instant connection. I kissed on your sweet cheeks. I brushed the back of my hand against your soft skin. I nuzzled up to you and whispered every little thing I could imagine---be strong, be confident, be gentle, be giving, be warm, be powerful, believe, achieve, dream, and most of all, love--love your family, love yourself, and love those that need your love the most. It's like I wanted you to know so many things from the moment you were born just so you knew instantly how big our love was for you, and how much bigger the world was now that you were here. That there would be no greater love out there than the love that a mother and father has for their child. You, our child, there is no greater love out here than the love we have for you. And that no matter where life takes you, no matter what gets thrown our way, we would ultimately be there fighting for you and with you. Remember that.

I whispered some more. I kissed you all over. I held you a little tighter. Your name is Graham. God knew you would be in our lives, and He knew what we would name you, and He knew that you needed us as much as we needed you.

Looking back, it all seems like a blur--the entire hospital stay. It went by fast---incredibly fast. You met your sister, who, looking back, was just a baby herself. She loved you. She loved you from the minute that she laid eyes on you, and she was so gentle in her touch, and so loving in the way she held you, and so incredibly happy that you were here. As were we. I know that she knew very little about how her world was about to change, but in my heart, I knew that you two felt a connection instantly. At least I'd like to think so. It was a pretty amazing thing to watch. To watch this child that you loved so much welcome with open arms the second child that you loved so much. To see not one, but two beautiful healthy blessings that we have been granted to walk through life with. It's a pretty powerful feeling.

And just like that, we got to take you home. We got to experience all the firsts all over again. From the first time waking up every 1-2 hours, to the first time getting a solid 4 hour stretch of sleep. We experienced your first bath, your first blowout, and your first time outgrowing the newborn diapers. Your first smile, your first time rolling over, and your first giggle---all moments we never want to forget.

In the first two months, there were so many changes that they all sort of blurred together. But they came so naturally, and with very little stress or fear. There wasn't this fear that we had had with your sister. The fear of losing you. The fear of doing something wrong. The fear of harming you. The fear of change, the fear of growth, the fear of losing the baby in you. There was confidence. Because of this confidence and faith we were able to enjoy you on a completely different level. We felt as though you had been a part of our family from day one. And perhaps you had been, just not physically. You are the perfect piece to our family puzzle. Cliche mom, I know.

With a blink of an eye, the months just flew on by. You surprised us all by crawling at just 5 months old, saying your first word mama at 7 months old, and walking at 10 months old. Now, you walk EVERYWHERE, you talk non stop {mama, papa, car, tractor, mirror, ball, go, hi, bye bye}, and you are surprising us with something new almost every day. You have quite the personality, and you are one strong-willed child at already such a young age. You love your mama, LOVE, a whole lot, and you would choose to be in her arms ever moment if the day if given the opportunity to do so. But you love your papa. And you love your sissy. And you sure do admire and give the biggest smile when you see your grandparents. You are so intriguing and the way you study people is just so interesting to watch and be a part of. 

I sit here and I want to write down every intricate detail of your life and everything that you have done and all the ways that you have touched our hearts, and I just cannot. I cannot because I feel like I'll never stop, or that the right words won't express fully the love that we have for you. At the same time, I know I don't have to. I know that although you are the "Second" child and although people say that it is different than the first, I do have to say that it is only better, more fun, and a whole lot more full of love. Our lives that is. Because of you. That's the beauty of it all. Your life has given our lives a whole new meaning.

I love you son. I love you my baby boy. I love you my precious, blessing from the Lord. I love you more than I can ever ever tell you, and I cannot wait to spend every day showing you just how much.

To the moon, and back, to infinity and beyond. We love you.

Mama, Papa, Sissy, and your puppy dog Carson.

Monday, December 23, 2013

27 things I love about you

I love....

1. You in baseball caps.  And in glasses.

2. The fact that you rarely share your beard {maybe a couple times a year}. The fact that when I look back on our wedding day, you had a beard.

3. The way you look at our children.

4. When you send me sweet, mushy, loving texts.

5. When you want me all to yourself for a date night.  Ruth Chris, Dress and heels, and a whole lot of champagne. And a hotel.

6. You're a family man. Through and through. And I'm not just talking about your little family here in this little house. But you would choose to hang out with your parents, sister, or even my parents over friends any day. I love that.

7. That you're a sports guy. Even though I'm not a sports girl.

8. When you say 1-2-3....and I run into your arms and you pick me up really high in the air. Yup, favorite.

9. That you drink a a black coffee from Starbucks. It's a whole lot cheaper of an addiction than those flavored drinks.

10. You never question when I buy something. Even when it means a dog out of nowhere.

11.  You give the kids baths, change diapers, and take them to their activities when mom can't. Thank you.

12. That you still want to spoon every night. Spoon. I wonder if this will be so when we are 70?

13. Lately, you don't get as mad when I end up passing out on the couch. Which means that you actually let me sleep on the coziest place on Earth.

14. You love movies. I love movies. We are a match-made in heaven.

15. You love food. I love food. We make ridiculous appetizers and we splurge when we need to splurge and break all the rules.

16. Bdubs. A cold draft beer. Enough said.

17. That you take care of the outside of the house and I don't have to. I don't know a thing about gardening--nor do I want to.

18. I have to stand on my tippy toes to kiss you.

19. You have some pretty amazing lips, by the way.

20. And those eyes? I guess I'll put them on the list as well. They aren't bad after all.

21. You gave me a pretty great last name. So easy. Two words put together. Except when I talk to anyone that needs to know my last name, they cannot seem to fathom how to put one letter after the other. Amazing.

22. You cook. Sometimes. And it tastes better than my cooking! Regrettably so.

23. When you grill. Not just because it's the best thing I ever tasted... but because you look so good doing so.

24. That you love to just drive, like me. That sometimes we get everyone in the car and just go.

25. Family naps. Sometimes, often times, they are necessary.

26. How funny you think... and everyone else in your family thinks you are... and how funny you aren't but I let you think that you are. Makes sense?

27. That I don't have to list how caring, how loving, how thoughtful, and a beautiful person that you are in any of these things because I'll never stop telling you. That although I should probably say it more, and I definitely don't say it enough---it's so very true. You're the best thing to have ever happened to me, and the greatest blessing in my life. Without you, we would not have these children. You are my better half, and together we can do anything.

Happy 27th Birthday my love.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Deals of the Week-FINAL week

Although most places are no longer shipping in time for Christmas, there are still some of you who are still out there shopping. This will be my final deals of the week for the season, but as always, when a great deal pops up, I'll try to do my best to share it with you all!

I hope that everyone has enjoyed finding deals and saving money. I'm all wrapped up and done with my shopping, and now I get to enjoy some of the most special birthdays out there. My husband's, Jesus, and my son. All in the matter of 4 days.

Happy Holidays, and happy shopping!

{ONE} White Plum Blouse 50% off. I have received a few things from this shop {leggings, blouse, scarf} and have been very pleased with it all!

{TWO} Women's wear over 50% off +USA made

{THREE} Infant shoes sale

{FOUR} Great Wolf Lodge deals up to 40% off nationwide {good through January}

**Don't forget to shop through EBATES before you click to submit your order. Get money cash back on your purchases, with no strings attached!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Conversations within our home

Andrew was sitting at the kitchen table with baby in hand and Elliana sitting in the booster next to him. I was getting the dishes out in preparation for dinner when I said to him..."Can you believe we will be great great grandparents one day." Andrew's response was pretty normal..."Um... yes... can we be parents first?" I giggled. I knew he thought I was neurotic for even thinking that far ahead. The next thing I said to him was... "No, but, I was just thinking about how there is always something that people remember their ancestors for. Like Bob was in the war. Becky was a blogger." Insert lots of laughs. I said to Andrew "The word "blogging" is probably going to be so foreign and strange to the future generations. I just wonder, you know." We laughed about it for a while and then went on with our dinner.

I made fish the other night. As I was leaving for work, Andrew mentions how it wasn't very good. I had a few bites. When I was driving, my tummy hurt a bit and I instantly thought about the fish. I picked up the phone to call Andrew.
"Did you eat the fish."
"Yup." Chewing.
"Yup, almost done." More obnoxious chewing.
"Oh. Well I was going to tell you there is a chicken burrito in the freezer."
"Yeah.. I'm eating it now."

Elliana and Graham had just woken up from their nap and we were getting ready to walk down the stairs. Graham was crawling around in the hallway when I started just taking a couple steps down. Elliana freeeaked out and started crying "No mama, you have to pick up Graham to take him downstairs! He could fall and hurt himself." And tears, I mean tears, were rolling down her face. I guess you could say she kind of sort of loves the little guy.

I was getting ready for the day in the bathroom across E's room when I heard her one day saying to Graham "It's not easy being funny, little guy." I chuckled all day thinking about it.

We were sitting on the couch one day talking about the different states. This is how our conversation went:
Me: "What state do you live in"
E: "E answers with the correct state"
Me: "What state do grandma and bo-pa live in"
E: "E answers with the correct state"
Me: "What city do Aunt Ali and Uncle B live in"
E: "E answers with the correct city"
Me: "What city do grandma and det live in"
E: "E answers with the correct city."
Me: "What country do we live in"
E: "United States Merica!"
Me: "Who is our president"
E: "Washington!"
Me: "No Washington was the first president, President Obama is our president now."
E: "Oh he is? Okay, then, whatever."

Can we say, teenager?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We like bloggers... until they start making money off blogging.

Think about that statement. We like bloggers until they start to make money blogging. Isn't this true?
"I liked her blog until she started doing sponsorships."
"That blog was good until I was told to buy something."
"I stopped reading that blog because it's just a big advertisement."
Very accurate. All those things. And those feelings, those statements, those thoughts that people have? Are theirs to have and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I believe that people are entitled to their opinions and that if they don't like something {such as sponsorships}, then they have every right to not like a blog, or even stop reading it all together. No one can control another persons likes or dislikes, so in that sense, I could not agree more. Don't like a blog and what they are doing? Don't want to read anymore? You have that right, and I don't think anyone can tell you how you should or shouldn't feel.

However, with all that said, this whole "blogging and sponsors and making money deal" is still something that is on my mind. Partly due to the fact that, oh hey, coincidentally, I happen to blog, and I happen to make money off blogging. Did it start that way? No. Did it become a part of my blogging? Yes. Is it everything that has to do with my writing? Absolutely not.

The whole idea of betraying your readers and losing your voice is so interesting to me. The idea that somehow, as a "blogger" you owe something to the "reader". The idea that you are just doing it to make a buck and doing it under any which circumstance possible. The idea that you are no longer worth reading because you have advertisements on your blog. And lastly, the idea that well it's a shame that you accept paid opportunities by promoting a brand or company. Again, let me reiterate that last part, the fact that you accept paid opportunities to write.

Now. Before we start sounding like all we care about making money and getting paid, let me just say that I'm merely trying to make a point here. Life should never be about making money, however, if I could live life the way I live and do so for free? I would. Because life doesn't work that way and I still have 10 years of student loans to pay off, then it seems pretty silly for anyone to say that I should be doing anything for free when there are opportunities for compensation. Do you say no to a promotion? Do you say no to a free vacation? Would you say no to the opportunity to put money into your kid's college fund? 

Think about that. For a moment.

So now that we have mentioned all of the above, let's get back to a simple statement that holds a whole lot of truth {for the majority} and really think about why this is true:

We like bloggers.... until they start making money.

The whole idea of blogging is interesting anyway. You write about your life, you write about your thoughts and beliefs, and sometimes you may throw a recipe or outfit in there {if not all the time}, and then you hit publish for the whole world to read. And sometimes that means just mom and dad read, sometimes it means hundreds or thousands of people read. Whatever the audience may be, it's out there in the internet world. The good, the bad, and the ugly. There are times you stand proud and accomplished. Other times you frantically panic worrying that someone may take what you wrote the wrong way or read it through dimmed jaded expired glasses.

Slowly, you start to find your voice, your niche, and your place on the internet. Regardless of the amount of followers you have, you truly are not happy until you are most comfortable in the space that you are in and the words that you put on the screen. Once you figure that out, you feel like you can write for days, months, and years with no one stopping you. That is until you run into writers block. You connect with people, you put yourself out there via social media, and you really feel great about what you are doing. Sounds exhausting just thinking about it right? That's because it can be.

Then one day {miraculously} money starts coming in. Sometimes slow, sometimes small, and other times it may be big and fast. Sometimes just one opportunity here and there, and other times many come your way. You jump up with joy at this new accomplishment, and are calling/texting your husband telling him "See honey, I can get paid for this!" But, regardless of who you are and what you write about, or the amount of money that you make or the kinds of sponsorships that you accept, the minute {literally} that your blog shows evidence of an advertisement or paid opportunity, you are now officially part of a completely new list of bloggers.

Bloggers that accept money for writing. {the ones we don't like}

You can keep writing at your own pace. You can not miss a day of posts. You can still maintain your voice and drive, but you have completely lost the attention of many people. Losing interest is okay...like mentioned above, you cannot control what someone likes. But it's the backlash that interests me. You know, the ones that feel it necessary to tell another person about their writing.  I say backlash because although it would be great if people would just not read what no longer interested them, or if they would just peacefully go on about their way, it doesn't quite work that way. Instead they tend to leave that little bit of "criticism" just so you know that they are leaving. Kind of like slamming the door on the way out. Make it known, loud and proud. Except, I'm not sure what there is to be proud of.

I find this interesting. I find it interesting that people have the desire to want to make another individual feel guilty about doing something that is benefitting them, the writer, instead of the reader. I find this interesting because I have learned a lot from bloggers. Many great recipes from their blogs. Awesome, easy Becky-proof DIY projects. Home improvement ideas. And even parenting advice from some ladies that I admire and have "known" for years. To see them get paid for their time that they have put into their blogs? Bravo. BRAVO. Some of these moms are able to stay home with their children because of the money they make from blogging. Some are able to go and pamper themselves, something they have not been able to do since having children. Some are able to take a family vacation or go on a nice dinner date with their husband {much overdue}. And some? Some are able to keep their electricity going and water running because of opportunities that have come their way.

Do they have to share this with you? Would it be okay if you knew where the money was going? What if the blogger donated every penny they received? Would it change your perspective then? Do you share where your money goes with others?  Does the blogger, or anyone for that matter owe that to you? To explain the details of their financial situation?

I think not.

At the end of the day, what difference does it make. How someone makes their money, and better yet, how they spend it.

You know what I do when there is an advertisement or sponsored post that does not interest me or cater to my lifestyle? I leave. I click the x and I leave. Do you know how much time was wasted doing so? Going to the blog and then leaving? Approximately 5 seconds.

I'm not saying that you have to like every blog that does sponsorship. I'm not even saying that you have to accept it and keep reading. What I'm hoping to do is try to make you {general you, the audience that this may pertain to} understand how silly it sounds for one to make a gesture that a blogger is betraying their audience when they start making money.

Why does it sound silly? Because it is silly.

You know what would be even sillier? If I asked you the reader to pay me for my writing. Go ahead, laugh at me. I know, it's pretty obnoxious and ridiculous. I'm just a blogger over here writing about nothing but my pretty normal life. It's not something that I would ever ask for because, like I said, it is pretty darn silly. So, if it is silly for a person to ask you to donate money to read their website, then wouldn't you say it was silly of you to ask them to meet your demands and needs and likes or dislikes. Wouldn't you then agree that it would be silly for said blogger to then say no to companies that are willing to pay them for their time? And if you still disagree, would you then agree to pay bloggers so that you no longer have to see ads? Silly, one would say---it takes 5 seconds to scroll to the next blog post, or better yet leave, WHY in the world would I pay money not to see it?

Same reason as to why in the world one would complain about it. Silly, I know.

Look, by now you probably are getting where I am going with this. Will I ever apologize for doing paid sponsorships or advertisements on my blog? Never. Not one bit. And I hate to see bloggers do so because I want to tell them that there need not be a reason to apologize for doing what they love to do while still getting compensated.


Because although I wish I was buying Louis Vuitton bags every month with the "extra" money that I'm making blogging, my bills just don't allow me to. Instead I'm able to to put money in my kid's college funds, put money aside for our retirement, and even pay those incredibly ridiculous student loans that gave me the career that I have {and very proud of} today.

I want people to remember that behind the computer screen is a person. Not just a robot writing for the popularity of others. But a person. A person that has a life, that has needs and wants just like you and I.

If you remember that, then you will remember that blogging is just a part of someone's life. Whether they find pleasure or paid opportunities in it, or both, should not matter. What matters is why you read and what keeps you coming back for more. And if you leave? You have that right. Just don't do so with slamming doors.

Would you expect a friend to apologize to you for taking a promotion at work?
Would you expect that friend to apologize for moving for a higher paying job or one that is better suited for his/her family's lifestyle?
Would you expect that friend to say no to opportunities that come her way if that meant that a credit card bill would be paid off and one less stressor taken away?

I can't help but imagine the answer would be no.

And if you answered no, then how could you expect me or anyone else out there to not do exactly what your friend is doing? Accepting opportunities that help my family financially.

So am I a blogger that makes money blogging? Yes.
Does this mean that you may no longer like me because of it? Yes.

Will I ever apologize for doing so?

No. Never.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Just throwing a bunch of randoms at your face. Just the way I like it.

We went to bed last night at 730. All four of us. In bed, asleep at 730. I'm not even sure what happened or why we were so tired {the husband and I, the kids...well that's just their bedtime}, but we were and we certainly found that bed to be the solution. The thing is, the night before? I went to bed at 8 as well. And that seems to be the trend lately...for me. My take on this is that I'm ready for warmer weather {after the holidays}, and ready for some daylight savings time adjustment. I think the fact that it gets dark around her at 5:30 just does not help my cause at all.

Here's the other thing--- we have two sick babies on our hands. Coughing, fever, snotty noses sick. And although they have always been mama needy, they are 10x the mama needy when they are sick. Which, truthfully? I love. I love to snuggle them up and kiss on them and hold them all day. But for complaining purposes {because what kind of mother would I be if I didn't complain}...I am really ready to get out of the house.

But we will be making up for it by being out of the house a whole lot next week. And? My baby will be 1. Soon. Like 9 days soon. As in, the day after Christmas. Here I am consumed by all things Christmas, and I'm quickly reminded that I need to also be preparing for my sons birthday. I have a feeling that I will get this way every year. Scattered. Frazzled. But at the same time, I want to slow down and enjoy. Be able to devote the time that I need to in order to celebrate one of the greatest days of our lives. I know I missed his 11 month post, and that's okay because I hope to make up for it with his 1 year. I say that's okay, I'm sure he will say otherwise.

We did however get out and get pictures with Santa this past weekend while we did Christmas at the museum. We started doing the "family" picture deal with Santa last year, and decided to make that a yearly tradition. I'm a little bummed we didn't start that when E was a baby, but there's just no way to turn back time. I love the way they turned out this year, and laugh at the fact that our babies are making the same exact face. And lets talk about Graham's yellow pants why don't we. I have a feeling he won't let us live that one down....

Am I the only one out there that really sucks at wrapping gifts? I don't even know that I suck at it {yes, I do}, or if it's just that I'm too lazy to try. I mean, there are so many to wrap that I just want to get it over with as soon as possible. Which means that I'm all cut, tape tape, slab a sticker and be done with it. Confession? Sometimes if I run out of paper and there is just a tiny piece of the box that shows? I leave it. Confession #2? Sometimes a lot of the box shows. Confession #3---Sometimes I don't even use a box and just wrap the gift {clothes} as is. I mean... really, it just gets unwrapped and thrown out. Confession #4- My baby has ripped a few presents and I have not yet gone back to fix them. Confession #5---I probably won't at all. Thankfully I am done wrapping presents {aside from the few that I'm still waiting to arrive}.

Day shift vs. Night shift nurses. Please watch if you are a nurse. Only you would understand this sort of humor.

But as always, the best kind of entertainment in any kind of article or video out in social media is always hands down the comments. Always. Why is that?

Here is my favorite comment: "Anyone that has been an RN knows that day shift is much much busier than night shift. This night shift nurse is a bully/shrew & her behavior is a direct result of weak leadership & management. At good organizations night shift nurses know day shift is harder & are team players. This night shift nurse has a bad attitude & needs to be disciplined."
Are there people out there this serious about everything they read and watch? What a shame to not be born with a sense of humor. 

Last night blogger posted three posts that were sitting in my draft. THREE. Last week it was one. It seems to happen to me often...and it's a tad bit frustrating as those are posts that aren't complete. But it also reminded me that I need to sit down and finish those thoughts of mine. Many of them were serious from the heart posts that I really don't want to just forget about.

So that's my goal tonight. To finish posts that have been overlooked. To get a few emails answered. To get myself back on track, back on schedule, and feeling more motivated about things I must do around the house. Which means that I also have to stay up past 7pm.

Maybe if I take a nap with the kids today. I think I just might.....

Ebates. I know that people are still shopping online. Don't forget to remember to shop through ebates! Most stores are doing double cash back during the month of December, so you won't want to miss out on all the savings. Plus refer your friends and family {refer just two and get $50 extra back}, and get a free $10 gift card when you make your first purchase. I'm looking at an $800 check in February. 800, from referrals and shopping online! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Why I became a Nurse

Aside from emails from readers about motherhood, the next most common question and topic of interest is---Why did you become a nurse? It's a question that I get asked so many times that you would think by now I would have a straightforward answer. The thing is, there is no one reason, one deciding factor, or one way of answering. There are multiple reasons, and nursing has been the only career that has been able to meet all of those ideals that I wanted out of a full-time-big-girl-job.
1. Family first. No matter what, I wanted a career that would allow me the opportunity to make my dreams come true of my husband and I raising our children and not having to be forced to have daycare as an option. By switching to night shift, I was able to make this dream and wish of mine come true.  Nursing is a career that has endless amounts of opportunities. Want to stay home with your kids during the day  

2. Flexibility. The second, and very important, reason behind my career choice was the flexibility. I loved that I had the option of doing day shift or night. One day, two, or three. The ability to choose whether I wanted to be on one designated floor, or float around to several around the hospital. If I wanted to just do weekends only. The flexibility to adjust as life changes. Which is exactly what I have done. Prior to day shift, I worked days. After having my daughter, I realized that I wanted to be able to stay home with her during the day, and so a change to night shift was made. Nursing allowed me to stay home with my daughter.

3. Choices. You have choices.  Nursing is not just about being a nurse. With nursing you can be a pediatric nurse. You can be a medsurg nurse. You can be a critical care nurse. You can work in trauma. In the ER. In the doctor's office. You can spend all day at bedside, or you can spend it in meetings as an administrator that is trying to make the work force a better place for all. You have options and I love that I don't have to do the same thing for the rest of my life.

4. Helping others. This is probably the number one reason stated by all nurses out there, and it is definitely one of mine as well, but for me it is one that is understood. You cannot possibly go into this career and not want to help others. Not want to have a changing effect and make a difference in care. Even if it means placing your hand on someone in need of a touch.... it makes a difference. I go to work every day knowing that what I do impacts the life of another human being. That the decisions that I make can change their outcome. Whether that means through medicine, or a simple smile.

Being a nurse means a lot of things to me. It means opportunity. It means giving. It means flexibility, choices, and family. It is as rewarding to me as anything else, and I am so happy to work alongside some of the brightest people I have ever met.

I became a nurse because there is no one definition of a nurse or what we do. So many ways to describe it, and so many ways to define it. But if I could only describe it in one way, one sentence, one word? Rewarding.

If I had one word left to give you, it would be rewarding.

Being a nurse is rewarding. On so many levels.

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Family Pictures of 2013....They all end up the same

It seems as though I get the same post brewing in my head this time of year. As soon as family pictures are done and over with, I have this sudden urge to write about it. How they went. How they didn't go. Which ones I liked. Which ones I didn't like. What we chose for our Christmas card, and what we would do differently next time. If there is a next time.
I don't think I'll write about them in that way. In the order mentioned above, I mean. I think I'll just write just the way that things went down.

Here's the thing--we rarely ever get a real photographer to do our pictures. Actually, it's only been one time that we have had professional pictures done. Not because I don't think that it is a good investment or a waste of time, but because my family is just not that into pictures. HA. Laugh, go ahead. Me, the person that loves to have the camera out---actually has a family that isn't into pictures. Actually, I don't think that it should be much of a surprise. I don't know many men and little children that are into posed pictures. I don't blame them. So mine? Mine is that family that says---"You have 5 minutes mom!" So I take that 5 minutes and run with it. Although it turns into more like 20 minutes.
Normally, I have my sister come over and we just drive around and snap a few photos. But because the days {and weeks and months} have been flying by in a blink of an eye, I quickly realized that we were running out of weekends to do this, and if I wanted to have a single picture for the Christmas card, then I better get to it.
And to it I did--except, I picked one of the worst days to do so. When there were reports of "wind danger, extreme storms, and rain." Good one Becky. Again, that's what happens when you wait until the last mintue.

So picture this--- I get everyone's outfits ready 5 minutes before we need to leave for Church {way to think ahead Becky}. Kind of all thrown together. I throw all my camera stuff together---and by all, I mean, camera, bag, lens, and stand. And then we went off to service, hoping and praying that the children stay happy and during service. Better yet, happy after service. But even more importantly, that mother nature would remain calm. We knew she was already on edge. As my door flings open every time I get in and out of the car, and my hair is flying everywhere.
Because of the time constraints, and knowing that we were running into lunch time as well as nap time for the kids, I knew that going far away would be a deal breaker for us. Therefore, I settled with our own neighborhood--in the park. I had Andrew pull the car over, while I quickly set up the scene. Threw a blanket on the ground, had a bag of snacks laying on top of the blanket {bribing}, put my tripod together, adjusted my settings for the lighting, adjusted the tripod again, adjusted the settings one more time, and then finally said screw it and went to get the family out of the car. I knew that I was in trouble, but all I wanted was ONE picture.

The kids did okay initially. I mean, the first 20 seconds. The husband? He was great. Really responsive to my requests {commands, demands, however you want to call it}, and worked with me well. We made a great team during this picture taking edeavor. 

Let us do another "picture this" moment. Picture me, running like a wild crazy woman to the camera, clicking the picture button, then running back, and having 10 seconds to arrange everyone for our pose. I tried. I tried to even do cute poses, like throw the kids up in the air and all that. Except, I didn't take into account that I had focused the camera and by moving everyone around I messed up the focus. No, didn't account for that at all.

I got one. I got ONE semi-okay-but-not-really-it's-still-blurred-family-picture. One.

But I did get a few of the kids. Cute little squeeeeeeze their cheeks pictures, and that's all that matters. It's all that matters because when I look back at these pictures, I will remember those funny moments of one child crying because she had to go potty, the other one on edge because the wind was about to throw him across the park, and a husband who just wanted to get ONE good picture for me. Just one. Because he needed to get home in time for the football games.

I wish I could say no more family photos anytime in our future. Except, I want a good one by the tree, and I'm already beginning to plan our wardrobe for the spring session, and then it will be summer time before you know it. And I'm exhausted just thinking about it already. This time though, I'll plan ahead.  I'll get the right date with the good weather, and hopefully happy family members. And no tripod. I'm retiring the tripod.

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