Friday, May 31, 2013

Arguments Within Our Home

Often times this blog is so consumed by our children, that I forget to talk about our marriage and things that I don't ever want to forget. Especially when I'm old and frail.

Such as, arguments within our home. Why would anyone want to write about that? I do. Because it's us. Because we laugh about it. Because 20 years from now? I'm going to say..."Honey remember when..."

And, it's real.

Putting the water away. So, I do the grocery shopping around here. We also only drink water in our house {aside from the once a month pop that we buy as a cheat}. Therefore, we go through a lot of it. So. When I buy it? It usually either makes it into the house, or it sits in my car. Regardless, it is Andrew's "job" to put it away. Due to the heaviness of it. I know, I'm weak. But anyways, I get so flustered when it sits there for a week at a time. I'm like..."Andrew, water, please!" And then he says, "Oh oops I forgot." And then I reply, "Really... it's sitting on top of the countertop stabbing you in the eyes every time in the kitchen." And then he giggles like a school girl.

The thermometer. He's hott. I'm cold. All the time. We can never agree on temperatures and he is always cranking that thing down. This also includes the car. It's a must that we keep blankets in the car. Not just for the kids. But for me as well. And the more stressed Andrew gets? The colder it becomes.

Me sleeping on the couch. Andrew is not  a fan of this. I don't blame him I guess, but really... the couch is super cozy. Once I fall asleep on it? There is about a 15% chance that you will get me off of it and up the stairs. Which means, there is about a 75% chance that we will have an argument {me not remembering any of it} where Andrew tries to convince me "Babe...babe....come on..." and me... " Shoo fly shoo, go away!" All while swinging my arms. Again, I don't remember any of it.

The way I park the car into the garage. I laugh. I personally think it is just fine. I can get out of the garage just fine. But I guess when Andrew gets into the car after me, he swears that I park it crooked and that he would hit his car in the driveway if he didn't align it correctly. Okkkay.

What side of the sink dirty dishes go into. Does anyone else have a "side?" I mean... I assume everyone probably does, but does your significant other get flustered if the "clean" side has like one dish in it? Raise of hand? Mine does. It is so funny, and I no longer do this {but sometimes I do to be funny}, but he hates it when I have any dirty dishes on the left side. He calls that the empty side. I? I call it the sink. So who cares right? But, everyone has their little quirks... so I'll follow the rules on that one.

Who is more tired. This isn't an argument that we don't even realize is an argument. "Well, I've worked last night and been up with the kids all day." And the other... "Well I've been at the office all day, then come home and bathe the kids and get them to bed, then go to sleep and do it all over again." And then me..."Well at least you know what sleep is." And him back..."Yeah, if you call waking up every few hours sleep." But then we both agree that we both do a lot and we both give each other credit for that. I couldn't do what he does, and he couldn't do what I do. The balance is great.

All of these made me giggle.

Although all of these aren't exactly arguments, as they are just us being us, they are still fun to look back on. They are fun because you get to really see what it's like to be a married couple. To live together. To pick on the little things that when all is said and done, are the least bit important in life. Like water being put away in the fridge. Or parking the car correctly. Or what side of the sink the dishes go on.

It's real life.
Marriage at its finest.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

This & That

Excited for This:

Elliana has her first dance recital on Friday! Even though I know it will be just a bunch of little girls running around and having a great time, just thinking of my precious baby up there in a her sweet dresses makes me tear up. I feel as though I just brought her home. Just now. And yet, here we are, attending a dance recital.

We are going to be going to Cleveland soon to see Andrew's family and I am so excited for this. Have I mentioned how much I love to just be with family? I do.

My sister graduates high school on Sunday. Well technically, she is already graduated as she is officially done. However, her ceremony is on Sunday. I cannot believe it. I don't think I want to believe it. How could she already be here at this point? I remember when she was born. Diapering her. Raising her.
Instagrammed That:

I've really stepped away from instagram {and all social media}. Aside from the time when I was in Vegas, I just feel as though being away from my phone as much as possible is of most importance to me. I have felt this way for quite some time, as social media is no longer the positive outlook it once was. Or at least how I thought it once was. I'm enjoying my family more than ever. Really soaking it all in. And with all the warm weather, we have so much fun stuff planned the next few months!

Scheduled This:

Graham's 5 month post. I cannot believe my little baby is now almost half a year old. We have so many great milestones to look forward to... sitting up, crawling, walking, and I just cannot contain the excitement. As much as I love them being little, what I love even more is the growing and learning part even more.

Videotaped That:

A short and sweet post. I feel like I have a lot to say and just not enough time to say it. I am quickly running out of scheduled posts and what I need to do is take a few hours to step away to starbucks and get some writing down. I am sure I will get there, at some point. For now, I am content and happy. I have some great ideas brewing in my head, but I just need to get them down on paper.

Plus, one amazing.. really spectacular giveaway planning. In the works. Coming... soon.

Happy almost weekend day!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Things I have learned while being in Vegas

Being in Vegas was an eye opening experience. To say the least. It wasn't my first trip, so I feel like I already "knew" Vegas, but it was a second time around for me, and it was definitely a different kind of second time around.

I learned a lot this trip. Just from basic observation and experience. For instance:

I think the contest here is who can find the shortest skirt and the highest heels. I have seen some of the most beautiful people in Vegas. I have also seen some of the most outrageous outfits as well. If you want to call them that. One girl got stopped by security and was told she had to wrap a towel around her. Makes sense when your wrap doesn't go past your waist and your bottoms do not cover anything. Another girl basically work a bra and underwear out walking around. Others that just completely blew me away. But hey, it's Vegas right. The one place where that is acceptable. Or is it?

Vegas really doesn't have to be that expensive. But it sure can be. Why? Because everything is overpriced. I've been to Vegas before. With Andrew. I know what it is like to get a cheap flight, cheap hotel {yet nicer than any 5 star back home}, and eat reasonable. Gamble on the cheap. And drink on the hotel's dime, while gambling. So overall, Vegas can be very very cheap. However, I know this time around, it was far from it. But? Out of my hands.

As much as they try to convince me that it can be family oriented, believe me, it's not. I can see the appeal to a certain extent with all the different pools and activities for the kids, but I still cannot wrap my head around the idea of ever having my children in Vegas. From all the alcohol, to all the inappropriate behavior and things that people say, it is just not an environment that I would want my children to be in. Ever. Not to mention the outfits and the lack of clothing all around.  If I am going to spend my money to go to Vegas, it won't be with my children. And if I am going to spend the money for a family vacation, it sure won't be going to Vegas.

Everyone wants you to attend their club, bar, and show. Everyone. And everyone will tell you that you get in free and it's so "exclusive." You will get stopped more than you care for, and inappropriate things will be said. Also, do not be surprised if you see naked girls on the ground. And by that... I mean, cards of topless women scattered all over. Again, how is this family oriented again?

The people who attend topless pools should probably not be topless. I never quite understood the desire to not have a top of. I have to be honest here, the girls that did were not the ones that should. Not that I think anyone should. But the classy beautiful ones? Kept their clothes on. Those other ones just give women a bad name. Some of them? I imagine have children.

If a place offers bottomless mimosas for $10.99, take it. I certainly had no idea that a BLL would be $10. So after drinking 3 and then getting the bill? I realized that I messed up big time. All the other girls went with the mimosas, and I was the dummy one who actually thought that a beer would be, you know, $4 or so. Silly me.

Once a mom, always a mom. Yelling at the young guys. Regulating the girls and their drama. Giving lectures about how to treat others. Such a mom I was. And you know what? I realized that that was okay. That I just cannot step out of my role for 2 days just like that. That it is who I am, and it defines me.

A great two days, a memorable trip, with lots of learning experiences, but I am definitely, more than happy to be home.

Where people keep their clothes on,
The beer is reasonably priced,
And the only mom I have to be is to my two children.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Patient I Won't Forget

**Name changed for identity purposes

It has taken me months to write this post. 

Many months, actually.

There are been previous triggers that have urged me to write, however, I kept pushing them aside and saying.. "another day." Anytime I would sit to write about that night, I would stare at the blank screen. I just couldn't gather the words. And today, something just changed. I just sort of wanted to let it out and talk about. 

The patient I will never forget.

There are many, you know. Patients I won't forget. Their stories of their lives that I share. Memories of "that night" that stay with me. Their voices, their images. But with all these patients and experiences, I have always felt at peace with their outcome. I never took their stories home. I never  thought about them after leaving work. I just felt content. 

This one was different.

It was during the winter months. I was nearing 9 months pregnant, exhausted, and on my 2nd night shift in a row. We were in the report room when we first heard about the overdose coming in. Drug overdose. The amount was unheard of. We instantly did not believe it. "How could he take that many pills," we asked. "Is that even humanly possibly?" "There is no way that this is true." "I call bluff, and I call attention seeking."

"Who wants him?" A fellow nurse asked.

"I'll take him." I replied. Not realizing what I was getting myself into. Thinking this was just going to be another night to "get through." Another uneventful night like the last.

We all walked out of that report room laughing. 

He arrived around 930pm. Young guy. Alert. Talkative from the get-go. Telling me his story of why he chose to take pills, drink, and in hopes of ending his life. A break up with the girlfriend. He was scared. He was regretful. And on multiple occasions would say to me.."I do not want this to be it."


The last day of hjis life, is what he meant.

I kind of brushed him off. "No Bob, this isn't it, you are doing okay, we are watching you closely, and we will do everything possible to take care of you." What I really wanted to say though... "Because I know you didn't take that many pills. You're just dealing with a heartbreak." I didn't though. I knew better. But I let the judgement get the best of me. One of my most regrettable moments.

I can close my eyes right now and see him looking at me. I should have known then. The fear in his eyes. The worry in his voice. He knew what was about to come, and I was so foolish not to catch on to what we call, "the impending doom."

We got a sitter that night, she was an angel. As I ran around doing order after order, labs after labs, talking to the physicians, calling the nephrologist in, getting the dialysis nurse to come in after hours of emergency dialysis, and being in my zone, she sat with him and put washcloths on his face, wiped his face off as he would vomit profusely, and change out his bucket time after time. Reassuring him, all would be okay. I am so thankful that she was there that night. That there was someone there with him at all times.

One family member showed up. A sister. They hadn't spoken for years. He was estranged from his family members. But she came to be there with him. She held his hand. She comforted him. 

It was about 4 in the morning. We had just finished placing the permacath in for emergency dialsyis. Bob was still throughout the procedure. He was pleasant and appropriate. 

Shoftly after though, Bob began to change. Quickly. In a matter of seconds. Diaphoretic, confused, and aggressive. Aggressive immediately turned to combative. Within seconds, 15 people are in the room. Everyone pushing the pregnant girl to the side. Security called. Trying to hold Bob down to give him medicine. Stabilize him. All while Bob is screaming.

I'm staring at the monitor. The numbers aren't looking good. I start hollering at the physician to hurry. "We need to intubate him now."

We did.

And just like that, things started to go downhill.

Bob was no longer the color he used to be. He drastically went from pink to mottled {red spots} all over. Head to toe. The numbers on the monitor were a tale-tell sign that he was rapidly declining. His heart rate in the 170's with no response to medicine. His pressure in the high 200's with no response to medicine. Guppy breathing on the vent. The "look" of death.

I call the physician into the room. What are we going to do now? He's going to code any minute now. Any minute.  I am talking to him, my eyes are on the monitor. That's when I see it. The systolic pressure all of a sudden dropped to 100's {previously in the 200's}... and his heart rate.... 180, 150, 110, 50....

"CALL A CODE," I yell.

No pulse.

And just like that, everything went crazy again. Except this time, I had a bad feeling in my stomach. With every compression, I just stood there and hoped and hope. But I just knew this was it. There was no bringing him back, and after 30 minutes, my thoughts were confirmed.

"Anyone have any other suggestions" asks the attending.

Everyone is quiet.

"Alright, guys, everyone did a good job," She says. And walks out.

And while my fellow coworkers were busy picking stuff up, unhooking wires, discontinuing medications, and comforting family... I was frozen. For whatever reason, I just could not move. I could not think. And without any control, the tears just started pouring down my face.

I muttered to a nurse that I would be back. Threw my gloves in the overflowing trashcan on my way out the door, went to the bathroom, shut the door, and just cried.

I had never cried about a patient like I did that morning.

I had never felt the way I did that morning.
I had never been so overwhelmed with emotions.

Then there was a knock on the door. It was one of my closest friends that I work with. She asked to come in. Hugged me as she closed the door. And we just talked.

I couldn't quite explain to her why this one affected me so much. Why other cases had not brought out this sort of emotion out of me. Why this particular patient's death was one that I knew would stay with me forever.

I think a lot of it had to to do with the fact that I went into that evening saying..."Easy as pie, lets just give him the attention he wants, and make it to 730." Like I said, my most regrettable moment of my career.

I think it had to do with the fact that I never saw this coming.

I never expected him to actually be telling the truth.
And I certainly never expected this outcome when he first rolled in throuh the door.

I wish I could just have a minute back with him. Just to talk to him. To hold his hand and give him some comforting words.

The other day, I saw the sitter for the first time since that day.  It instantly brought that night back to me.

We hugged. A big hug.

I told her I think about her all the time because of that night. That because of her, I am so grateful.That because of her, that patient had an angel at bedside. That because of her, I was reminded to write this story. His story.

Of the patient, the night, that changed me as a person and a nurse. And I'll never be the same because of him.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I'm THAT Mom

That freaks out when my husband tries to carry our kiddos on his shoulders. He knows better than that. Or when I see little ones playing at the park on high places. Or toddlers on top of ladders. I picture head injuries left and right. I have finally let E explore at the park on her own... but it still terrifies me. And I'm usually {but trying hard to not be} in arms length. Yes, I am that mom.

That the thought of sending my children to school 8-4 and not seeing their stinky gross sweaty little bums all day? Sends me into full blown panic attacks. Yes, I am that mom that enjoys every second with my children...even when they drive me up the wall, over and over again... and because of them I have grey hair. At the ripe age of 26. Seriously....

That when given the option of doing something with friends or spending time with the family, I always choose family. Even if I only see my friends a couple times a year. I will be the one that says "yes" but then at the end start backing out. Yes, I am that mom that my friends talk about. I am working on saying yes more.

That if you were to ask someone that knew me to say just one thing about me.... they would probably say something around the lines of "Her life revolves around her kids." Yes, I am THAT mom that plans around my kids. That chooses to do things based on their schedules. That puts their needs first.  That broke that rule that people talk about.

That calls her little daughter her "best friend." Why is that so silly? It's not. I have three best friends. My husband, my daughter, and my son. Yes, I am that mom. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

That has to go to grandma and grandpa's house with the kids in order to make sure that they don't accidentally fall, that I'm there when they need me, and that I've kissed every "boo boo," skinned knees and all, right when it happens. The mom that is attached.

That goes out to dinner with her husband, that rare 2 times a year, and spend the whole time talking about our kids. Yes, that mom and that dad that broke that rule. Arrest me.

You see I am that mom just like you are that mom. Because that to me has no meaning at all. We are the moms we want to be. We are unique in our own ways. Parent differently. Discipline differently. Love differently.  Choose things different. Live differently. We cannot compare one to the other because we are just that... different.

So I will never apologize for putting my children first. I will never apologize for spending the amount of time that I do with my children. I will never apologize for anything that I do as a parent.

Yes, there are dreams out there. Careers for certain women. Rich, wonderful friendships to be had. Yes, I know this.

But to me? Those dreams and careers and close friendships are right here right within our home. Everything else? If it fits, it fits. If it doesn't? It doesn't.

Because at the end of the day, the only people I have to be accountable to... are my children. And that mom, I am proud of.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Time to Go Home

It's 5 am. I woke up to two of the girls coming home. Five am. One of them included the bride. I sure couldn't roll like these girls do anymore. The latest I made it out to was about 1:30 the night before. Regardless, it was 5 am. And although one would think that you would be pretty annoyed with the fact that you just got woken up at an unreasonable hour, I, was in fact pretty happy to see the bride had a great time. Even if all the other girls could not hang around as long as she did. So there was quite a bit of hooting and hollering, and by the time that everyone settled down, not only was I wide awake, but I was quickly reminded that I needed to pump. Stat.

Pumping. I did that quite a bit the past two days. Every 3 hours {with exception of while I slept, which was 5-6 hours} around the clock. Every 3 hours. I probably could have gone longer. Well, actually, I know I could have gone longer. But I was worried. So worried that something would happen to my supply. That somehow my body would just know that I was trying to trick it and punish me for it.

But it worked.  I pumped in the most embarrassing places. Including the high traffic airport restroom where a mirror of girls washing their hands would stare at me as they tried to figure out what in the world I was doing to my breasts. I'm sure I scared a few of them. I left the pools early to go back to the room to pump. Walked back from restaurants on multiple occasions to pump. Pumped in front of the girls while they got ready. Just let it all out. Carried around my large bag through Vegas, not sure where I would be at the 3 hour mark. Interrupted a good time in order to pump. On multiple occasions. And set my alarms to remind myself to pump. I was on the dot.

Obviously, it's worth it. The pumping. For my babies, I would do anything. No amount of fun with friends or scene that I was a part of could come between that. Which, in a sense, you could say, no one can come between me and my pump. Did I really just say that? I did. And really, I would throw up fists if someone tried to harm my pump. Well, maybe not fists, but definitely would have a few words.

Well, now that I have spent a half hour {not really} talking about my pump, and lost the interest of 90% of the people out there, lets just move right along and talk about the rest of the trip. For those that are waiting behind wondering if there will be any substance to this post.

There probably isn't.

But, Vegas. Oh, Vegas. It has been quite the experience. One, I am thankful I didn't chicken out and cancel at the last minute. Although the thought crossed my mind multiple times. Going to Vegas with a bunch of girls and going to Vegas with just your man can prove to be two very unique experiences.

Not bad, not better than the other, but different.

What did we do in Vegas? What girls typically do. We spent the majority of the day at the poolside. We drank from the minute we got up to the minute we went to sleep. Which, for writing purposes, lets say from 7 am to midnight. But not the kind of drinking that you did in college. Just enough to space it out throughout the day, not do anything reckless, and yet feel good about it.  Just enough to leave you wondering... how much water have I drank today? And when was the last time I ate?

We spent too much money. I spent too much money. I don't even want to think about the $35 dollar breakfasts and $75 dinners. That should be illegal, Vegas.

We cracked a lot of jokes, and I cursed more than I care to admit. Something about not being around children brought out the potty mouth in me. But that's okay. When I told the girls that this is like my moment to blurt out as much as possible because certain words were not allowed in the house, they looked at me shocked. Is this the same Becky we knew in colllege? Yes. But I am also now Mom Becky, that not only filters any sort of cursing around the children, but even puts a stop to language such as "dumb, stupid" or anything else that I view negative. Mom, Becky.

Speaking of mom "Mom Becky," I did quite a bit of that while in Vegas as well. The being a "mom" part.

I scolded a group of guys one morning. Early morning. 4 AM type morning. The kind of morning where we are all sleeping, deep sleeping, comfortable and content, until we get woken up by extreme loud obnoxious banging. At first I think it is coming from our room. The girls say no, next door. And it continues. And continues. Clearly they weren't getting the picture. So I throw my legs over the bed, put the meanest stomp on, fling open the door, and have at em.

It was a group of guys. About 5 of them. Barely look over the age of 21. Then again, I get told I barely look like I've graduated college.

Regardless, I give them a piece of my mind. Left hand on the hip, right finger out in the air.

"BOYS! You should be ashamed of yourselves! It's 4 in the morning and people are trying to sleep. It's time for you to go downstairs and get a key like a normal person!"

And the look on their face was priceless. Hanging their head down in shame and all as a guy speaks up. "So sorry." Genuine. Really.  I think if anything they were just so shocked that their mom was here in Vegas in the form of a 26 year olds body. Scolding them.

I slammed the door, walked back to my bed, and climbed back in. All while thinking... wow, did I really just do that? I did.

And the mom did not stop there. When I heard of things that the girls were doing or saying to one another, I was quick to speak my mind. I put my mom face on talked to the girls about how we should be kind to one another. How to treat other human beings. How I would never accept that sort of behavior from my children, yet alone grown adults.

And so although I knew that I was on this trip, feeling young and free again with a bunch of crazy girls looking to have a good time, my role as a mother had never left me. Not only did I not stop thinking about my babies throughout the trip, whipping out my phone on multiple times to look at their faces, and counting down the minutes to go home, but I was also reminded of how my life has changed, and no matter the setting, no matter who I am around, I will always try to protect, teach, and help those around me.


Because once a mom, always, a mom.

And I better go help the girl who is, how do I say this, letting the contents from her mouth go in the toilet now. Was that the proper way of saying it? Or still super gross? Eh. Okay, Here I go.

Maybe I'll blog from the plane again this time. Maybe I won't.

All I know is that I will be seeing those beautiful faces here shortly. Not soon enough. And I am ready to hit the road.

It's time to go home friends. Vegas, it's been real.

Friday, May 24, 2013

I am here. Sitting on the plane. Flying. I guess that's what planes do anyway. They fly. But it still seems a little unreal to me that I am doing this. Leaving my family that is. I know it shouldn't be a big deal. People do this every day. Travel. Leave behind their children. But for me, it all is so foreign. To me.  I am not one that can commit to things such as this simply because I cannot stand the idea of it all. Leaving. Even taking the smallest risk that something may happen to me. But I have left, so why talk about the leaving part any more. Because I am already there in that step of the process. I put my two feet forward, and I have left.

Okay, I won't keep talking about it. I'll talk about the fact that I am sitting on a plane. Surrounded by other people. I people watch. A little too much. I eaves drop on conversations. The girls talking about the wedding to come. The bride with her sash on is glowing with excitement that she is surrounded by her best friends and preparing for what will be one of the greatest weekends of her life. One of the girls talking about her son's first haircut. Showing off pictures on their phones. Other moms around me, it's nice to know I'm not alone.

I sat next to a couple. Around my parent's age if I had to guess. Well, I should say my mom's age since she is quite a bit older than my dad. Regardless, they are sweet. I knew they would be as soon as I saw them while walking down the plane aisle. You know, picking where to sit, and who to sit with, is yet another first for me. In fact, I don't remember the last time I traveled alone. If ever. Usually the only decision I have to make is whether I sit in the aisle or by the window. Never the middle. But wait, yes the middle, because Andrew hates the aisle. So naturally, I'm stuck next to the window. And by that I mean the middle.

But I'm by the aisle this time. And it's kind of nice.

Back to the couple. I'll call them mom and dad for writing purposes. Dad has his arm around her. She has her hand in his lap. It's so sweet I can't help but smile just thinking about it.

I hang up the phone with Andrew, tell Elliana how much I love her, the baby boy, and my husband, and then I'm off. The plane takes off and we make it okay, in that sense. Obviously, since I am here right now writing.

The mom mentions that her daughter {who is sitting behind her} is also leaving behind a little one. A one year old boy. She cried. I know that feeling all too well. So we talk briefly about our children and why we are going. I mention I am going for a bachelorette party. Mom made this a family trip and also brought her son and a bunch {8 or so} of his friends. They're all 21. The boys.

I smiled.

They were the boys that were standing in front of me at the check in. I overheard them talking about how this was going to be the time of their life. They didn't have any bags with them. But then again, why would that surprise me? They probably only packed a swimsuit and money. That's all you need when you're a guy right? Your friends and a good time. Girls are so different in that sense. I packed the largest suitcase. Too many outfits I couldn't choose from. Pairs of shoes I'll never wear. Enough swimsuits to last me all week. Yet, I'm going for two days.

But, I didn't mean to talk about baggage and how girls don't know how to pack. This girl doesn't know how to pack. What I wanted to mention about this is how when I saw these boys laughing and high fiving each other, the first thought that crossed my mind was my son. Like wow, Graham will be 21 one day. Graham will travel to vegas with his friends one day. Graham will grow up one day.

And I smiled.

And I told Mom this. How that thought crossed my mind when I saw the boys. And she smiled too. It goes by fast, she says. It does. I know it.

So that is where I am. Only 20 minutes into a flight with a lot of thoughts running through my head.

Thankfully this is a 4 hour flight. Which means a lot of writing {and blogging} will be done. Thankfully, finally.

It feels good to have this time to do it. To write. And people watch. And drink the free cranberry vodka because the credit card machines are down.

Vegas, here I come.

Fab Friday: I'm Getting On A Plane.

Linking up with one of my favorite mama's for her fabulous friday's link up!

What's in my life that is fabulous this week?

My baby boy. Who is developing the sweetest personality. So content. So chill. So, just, must I say, perfect. Needy at times? Sure. But aren't all babies? Don't answer that. But seriously, the smiles, the coos, the eyes just captivating me. It's all just fabulous.

My baby girl. Who is becoming more and more aware of feelings. She not only notices when people are sad, but she wants to go above and beyond to make you feel better. She can also sense when Mama is starting to become short fused, and she is quick to say "I'm sorry mommy" before I even have to say anything. And she's talking so much. I mean, ridiculously long sentences talking. And it's fun. So. Fun.

My husband. Who when I called him on Monday afternoon after letting stress get to the best of me and beating myself up over it, was so uplifting, comforting, and a complete rock. I love him for everything that he is and everything that he does for this family.

Family. Being with Andrew's family this past weekend just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If you know what I mean. As I get older, family {aside from my little immediate one of 4} just becomes more and more important. I prefer to spend time with my family members versus friends. It's so nice to be around people that truly love you. Love you for who you are. Every part of you. And seeing my husband light up at the sight of his sister, parents, and brother-in-law. It's just all nice. Not to mention the grandbabies.

Lastly, VEGAS. That's where I will be. And well, that, that should be interesting my friends. I am thoroughly excited to spend a weekend with girls, but I am so nauseous thinking about being away from these three people that are my world. I think I will indulge in an alcoholic beverage {or two} to keep my thoughts away.

If you see a basket case at the airport, at the casinos, or poolside. Just know... it's me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

This & That

Shopping for this:

I'm on a Maxi dress kick! I love them for their ability to let me feel free and breathe, especially since I tend to run around all day with the babies. So I have been doing some shopping and browsing around. Since my birthday is also coming up soon, I've been in search of a nicer maxi. I've been checking out the Designer Dresses online and I found this beauty. The details! The details!
image source
Bought That:

Bought some great tops for only $10! I am so excited for this and love me some Hautelook deals!

And then there was the Happy Family Organic Baby food that was up to 50% off! I stocked up!

Did This:

Went to Michigan this past weekend! It was Graham's first tript out of the state. First trip in the car for 4+ hours, also. It was definitely not Elliana's first trip, as we traveled last summer twice. One time for 12+ hours, the other 5+. Both times {last year} she did wonderful. Not a peep. This year, however? Not so much. There was a {a whole} lot of drama tears. The little guy did the standard cry when hungry and wet, and then slept the rest of the trip. Overall though? The big picture? It was a pretty successful drive there and back. And the trip itself? Was great.

Baby wearing. Lots of it. I am 99% sure the little man is teething. Both hands go into the mouth in fistfuls and a lot of cranky whimpering cries. That being said, we have been doing a lot of baby wearing and a lot less of keeping up with the house, which has been stressing me out {the mess}.

Made That:

I have been really slacking on sharing new recipes around these parts. In fact, I have been slacking period when it comes to this blog {read below}. But I made these turkey taco salad wraps that I wanted to share. They are from skinnytaste, surprise surprise, and I thought they were very good. Now, Andrew on the other hand thought otherwise. He likes his traditional taco shell. I think next time there are a few changes I may make, but I will definitely be giving these a go again.
image source

Apologized for this:

I have been really really slacking in this blogger department and I have a feeling that won't be changing anytime soon. You see, responding to emails has never been my forte. I like to ignore them when they become overwhelming. Unfortunately, the more I ignore, the more they pile on, and the more likely that I won't be responding at all. Also, the lack of posts around here. Even though that's ironic for me to say, since there has been a post up every day. Those are all old. Months old. New material just has not made it's way on the blog. Not that it isn't there. That's for sure. It just sits in my head and bothers the daylights out of me. Nagging me... write write write. But time, my friends, time. There is none of that around here. Why? Because we are gone on the weekends, the weather has been amazing, and we have tons of projects around here.

So enjoying my family, will and has always come first.

And for that, I'm not sorry. But I am sorry that I have let blogging sort of slip away. Dishes and laundry have even trumped that.

I'll find my groove one of these days. In the meantime, just know I am alive and enjoying life! I hope you all are doing the same. And if you have sent me an email and I have not respond? Feel free to send me an additional hate email. Kick my rear, I'm begging you.

Watched That:

Read this:

Another food article for thought for you. I couldn't help it. In fact, the one I was going to originally post on here I can no longer find. You may thank me for that, as it was 27 pages. However, it was so good. I mean, so so good. It talked about the history of food and our fluctuating dieting and trends. I will keep searching for it. I think everyone should read it.

In the meantime, this one is about the gluten free diet. Brushes up on it and celiac disease.

Lastly, Donate to That:

Please, if you can, donate here for the OK relief victims. More info here. 
image source
My heart and thoughts go out to all those that were affected, and continue to be affected, by this tragedy.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Family, and watching our children grow

My littlest nephew turned one last month and we were able to celebrate this beautiful day with the whole family. I am always reminded about how precious family is and how important it is to make time for them. My brother and I always dreamed, talked, about days like today. How one day our children would grow up together. How we would get to watch them. The holidays. The two of us with our own families. Becoming parents. Being parents.

It's all so amazing that we are here, today, and we are watching our children grow.

He has two. I have two. There will mostly likely be more. On my end, for sure. On his, we shall see. Regardless though, it's amazing to see where we are today. The two of us, as parents. And to watch this little family grow into something bigger.

The dream of large family holidays and becoming these parents that we talked about being as young children ourselves is finally coming true.

And it's pretty neat to watch.

This was supposed to be a post with just pictures and silence, but somehow I caught myself remembering 4.5 years ago, standing with my nervous brother in the waiting room for a minute, talking about this new life he was getting ready to be embraced with.

Look where we are now.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Turn Your Blog into A Book {And More}

You mean memories into pictures? Yes. That's exactly what I mean.
The problem with today {present day} is that we {moms, women, people} tend to take a whole lot of pictures. Snap snap snap. Five minutes go by and we have 200+ photos. By the time our babies turn 1, we probably have over 10,000 photos. Not probably, we do.

So then, what do you go about doing with those photos?

The other day, I asked this question to a few people that I work with. I was then surprised by their answer.

Me: "What do you do with all the pictures you take?"
Bob, Sally, Jim, and whoever: "What do you mean?"
Me: "Well? Where do you store your pictures?"
B,S,J,W: "On the computer."
Me: "Then what?"
B,S,J,W: Peculiar look on their face. "Then that's that."
Me: "So you don't print them?"
BS,J,W: "No. Why would I? I have them on the computer"

*I don't know a Bob, Sally, Jim, or whoever.

I was honestly shocked. But then again, why should I be? In today's society it is normal to have everything on the computer, right. Emails, pictures, videos, you name it, it's all computerized. I mean, common we don't even paper chart anymore. So why should I expect anyone to actually do the old fashioned way and have old fashioned photos.

Yes, I just called 4x6 photos that you can hold in your hand old fashioned. At least, that's what I bet our kids will be saying. "Mom, boy, that is OLD."

Anyways, I'm getting off course here.

You see, I, personally, love to look at pictures. I love to hold them. I love to stare at them. I love the memories that they bring back to me. And naturally, I love how they can make people smile, bring people together, and bring things back into perspective.

Pictures are, what I like to call, powerful.

So why then do we keep them in hidden files on the computer? Sure, it's great way to access them. Sure, they don't take up much space. And sure, you aren't forced to take the time to choose which pictures to develop and choose which ones not. They're there forever.

Now, tell me when the last time you sat down and went through all those pictures? A month ago? Two? 5? A year? Never?

And if you did, how long did you last? Probably not long.

The computer tends to bore me. I look through a few pictures and then I get distracted by something else and move on. That's just the truth.

So what do I do will all the millions of pictures I take? Well. I print them. Except, I don't normally do the "old fashioned way" {even though sometimes I still like to get the 4x6 prints as well}, instead I love to turn our lives into little books. This includes my blog, our iphone pictures, and the fancy schmancy camera pictures.

Books. That tell a story.


I have done a post on this before, so I won't go into too much detail. But I tell you this... if you are a blogger, if you blog about your life {or anything else that you are passionate about} and don't want those words, memories, and photos to fade? TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BOOK! I promise you won't regret it.

Now, I have to say, it will take more than just one book {I currently have 2, working on 3} if you have been blogging for quite some time. My books have been anywhere from 250-300 pages.

I used It takes approximately 30 minutes from start to finish, and all the work is done for you, you just fill in the needed spaces. My suggestion is that you actually go through your posts before you start the process and decide which ones to delete and which ones to keep. That way, you don't have posts in your book {such as advertisement, sponsors, embarrassing I-can't-believe-I-wrote-that-posts, and so forth} that you may not want.

Then follow the steps. Always check out for coupon codes or like their facebook page, as they post discount codes frequently. Every day of the week.


I recently did my first book of iphone pictures and I have to say I am so excited about it. Unfortunately, it only has a fraction of the pictures that we have ever taken {1,000} from our phones, but it is just perfect.

To be honest with you, I love iphone pictures more than I do from the real camera pictures. Why? Because this is us. They capture the real moments so well. The goofy ones. The "hurry get your phone out" ones. The smiles. The dirty faces. The not so pretty all the time looks. Those pictures are the ones where Andrew and I can point to one and say..."Oh ya remember when...."

So, the details. I use for mine, but I assume you can go through any company and be pleased. The reason that I chose walgreens {besides the fact that I have many of E's baby albums done through them} is because of how easy and convenient it is.

First, upload your pictures to iphoto and then choose that little button that says "delete after transfer" so that your phone can be free of all the old photos and you can start taking new ones.

Second, go through those pictures and decide which to delete. Try to get down to 1,000 photos. Why 1,000? Because I wouldn't suggest more than that for 1 album of 150 pages, as your pictures will be too small.

Third, upload them to walgreens and choose the "fast setting" so that your upload won't take 2 weeks. Seriously.

Lastly, choose "auto fill" and it will fill your album with all your pictures up to 150 pages. In order, for those wondering.

Again, wait until walgreens has a deal going on {anywhere from 30-50% off books including extra pages} and then use to get free shipping codes! It will cost you about $100 for the 150 pages, but if you think about it... that is about 10 cents a picture! It is what you would pay if you ordered each individually, and this way, they are more organized, already in an album for you, and you can show it off for years to come.


These are the ones that I suggest taking the most time to go through, as they are the ones that I use for my babies' baby books. I have used two different websites and have been very pleased with both, so it is all about personal preference and price {hello discounts!}. Both Shutterfly and Walgreens have great quality, but Shutterfly has many more options available.

With Shutterfly, you can choose different themes and then put pictures in. However, with this method, you don't get as many pictures per page and it seems as though the pages are filled with quotes and butterflies and such. No thank you.

I have used Shutterfly though and just filled the pages with all pictures {meaning have 9+ pictures per page} so that I could maximize the space more.

Shutterfly has awesome discount codes {that you can combine} and normally I save 60%+ with free shipping.

The only downfall with shutterfly is that upload takes a lot longer and I felt like the site was running slow.

Otherwise, walgreens has always been my next favorite site to use!


At the end of the day, whatever you choose to do with your pictures is completely up to you. However, I know  that one day I may want to sit at the couch and show my grown children what they were like when they were little.

I may want to show your daughter who is now pregnant with her first how you looked when you were in her place, pregnant with your 1st, 20+ years earlier.

I  may want to sit with your husband, when your children are off at college, and remember those days. Those days that make you say..."Remember when..."

And then I'll have to remember to have a kleenex nearby in order to not get the pages all wet. From all the tears.
***None of these links are sponsored or endorsed by any means, just me sharing my personal positive experiences

Monday, May 20, 2013

Remembering Childhood

Do you ever think about your childhood? Think about what you can remember. Specific memories. Do you remember what you were wearing? Things that were said? How you felt?

I think about this sometimes. I catch myself remembering only parts of my childhood, and the parts that I can remember, the ones that stick out that is, are the ones that don't include happy cheerful over-the-time moments. In fact, the only happy memories I can remember are those where stories are told over and over again. "When I was little....."

So, what I can remember? Always interests me. Memories of my mom pulling out my baby teeth. Those wobbly ones that just wouldn't come out. But? I feared it. Memories of a snake that slithered right by my leg at my grandmother's farm, one that caused me to fear the sight of snakes from there on out. One that caused a nightmare or two growing up. Memories of an argument I had with my mom. One where I can still picture where we were standing, and what was said. Memories of my biological father, the only one memory that I have of him, and it wasn't a good one. Memories of my brother forgetting

I remember good times. Great times. Happiness. Memories. Memories where you sit around at the Christmas table and reminisce and tell stories. I do. But it is amazing to me how the details of those happy memories fade. As though you don't hold onto them as much. However, they are what one envisions a childhood as. One in which you want to press play and put on repeat over and over. One that you want your children to always remember as. A childhood full of happiness. And all the details that go with it.

At the end of the day, I would never say I had a bad childhood. I would say that having a family that loves you, a roof over your head, food on the table, and clothes on your back, already puts me at a place where I could never complain or be ungrateful for due to other children who struggled. However, knowing what I know today, being a parent myself now, I can now understand how actions are important.

How big of a role a parent is.
Overall, I think what I have learned, from my childhood and my experience, is that children tend to remember in greater detail when something bad happens, versus good. Not only do they remember, but it stays with them. It affects them. Even the little things, like what we say. Knowing this, knowing how important our actions are on our children and the childhood that we provide for them, makes my role as a parent that much more important.

I want my children to remember the happy memories. I will fight to provide a home of safety, warmth, and comfort to them. I never want them to have nightmares about past experiences. To have images of sadness or fear. Although, I know I cannot control it all, and lay out this perfect pain-free life for them, I sure want to fight for it.

And I believe that a childhood is one of the most important times of a person's life. I believe it is what molds them. What sets the foundation for their future. How they will be, how they will live their lives. Is it the only factor? No. But I sure do believe it's the greatest of all.

I want to always remember that.
Our children get to live their childhood once. Just once. Make it a good one.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I confess..

I cannot stand the sound of napkins against people's hands. Them playing with it? The rustling sound? I cringe.

I will have moments where I become neurotic clean freak/organize queen. During those moments... little pieces from toys? Stand no chance. Trash. Trash. Trash. I cannot stand small pieces laying around everywhere. If they don't have a home, I make one for them. The trash can.

I have approximately 12 people saved to my cell phone contacts. Why? Because I am too lazy to save phone numbers. If you were to go through my texts, you would see a list of phone numbers. How do I remember who is who? Based on what we were talking about.

Sometimes, Andrew clears my phone {don't ask me why}, and then I get upset because I don't remember so and so's phone number and cannot get in contact with them.

If you call and I don't know your phone number? I won't answer. If you don't leave a voicemail? I won't call back.

And since I am on the topic of cell phones, lets just say I am terrible at getting back to people. In all forms.

Moving along...

When I used to work day shift, I would set 3 alarms. Two of those three were set for a couple hours before I had to actually wake up. Why? Because I loved knowing that I had a couple hours left. And now? Well, now, I don't even know what sleep is.

5/7 days of the week, I eat cereal. Trader Joe's Berry cereal. The absolute best.

I would eat cereal for every meal if that was okay. Which, by the way, who says it isn't?

When I'm at work, I don't normally. Eat. If I do, it's because someone has either brought food in {junk food}, or I go downstairs to pick something out. Which, 9/10 it's either a piece {x10} of chocolate or a salad. Absolutely makes sense.

The first movie I ever cried at was Lion King.

But then again, I cry at every sad movie. I cry at just the sight of someone crying. And when I cry, it sure isn't pretty. I get red in the face, splotchy, and I feel like I can't breathe.
And there you have it, a random confessional on food, my phone habits, and crying. Happy Friday! And because it's such a happy day, save 30% off sponsorship through the weekend using code: happyday

Happy day!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Elliana Lately

It is so hard for me not to keep up with what E is doing these days because she keeps surprising us and doing more, talking more, and just plain growing more, that I do not want to miss a single beat or milestone. I know that in the future these little things will make me smile. And hopefully, will have the same effect on our daughter.


This is what you have been up to:

You learned to ride her tricycle by herself. Mama had bought this for you after baby brother was born because you were just an exceptional big sister and we knew you deserved it. Because of the crummy weather, we had only been able to practice with it indoors and you really enjoyed it. However, you struggled with the concept at the beginning. And then, one day, you just got on it an went. Mama and papa of course recorded it and now we go out every day riding your little bike. You even love your helmet!

Learned to spell {besides your name} things like: cat, dog, mama, papa, at, bat, hat, fish, milk, box, boy, girl, no, go, so, apple, good, book, look, red, run, fun, and more. Since recognizing that you are picking up the spelling part so well, we are currently focused on this more and more during our little school sessions.

Other things we are learning: days of the week {which you have mastered}, months of the year, telling time.

You are definitely thinning out and losing the little amount of baby fat you had left. In fact, I don't think you have gained weight in over 6 months. This makes mama kind of sad... validation that you are in fact becoming a little girl versus a baby.

Potty Trained! I wrote a big post about this a while back. We are SO proud, still.

Eating well overall {knock on wood}. Still have your favorites, but enjoying veggies a little more. You hate textures though, just like your mama. In love with carrots, and bananas.

Speaking of bananas... you ask for one every time you wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes it is 2 am, sometimes 4, we get lucky when it's at 6am. But every time you get one, you eat it and go right back to sleep. It's strange, I get it, but I cannot wait for you to grow up {well I can}, just so I can tell you this funny little thing that you did. Who asks for a banana at 2 am anyway? Ahem.

You always request "we eat cereal together, mama" in the morning. Every time. I have to say, I am pleased to hear that you love to share the table with me and enjoy some yummy o's.

Super Why live performance. This was your first ever live performance, and to say that we all had a blast would be an understatement. We had such a great time that your mama even wrote a whole post about it {fast forward a few pages}. We cannot wait to take you to more shows!

When you get into Graham's face {multiple times a day}, you love to squeeze his cheeks and say "Gooo goo gaahh gaahh, la la la la." I wonder where you saw that?

You love toddler time, and we go anywhere from 2-3 times a week. You are still super shy with the teachers and tell them thank you under your breath every time. You also have to have mama sit with you. I don't like to use the word shy, as I think that you are special and just quietly reserved. And that is okay and we embrace it.

You have a friend that you are in love with. We see her sometimes every day and you ask about her all the time! You two are so cute together, hugging, holding hands, and giggling at everything the other one does. She is 9 months younger than you, but as you guys get older, the age gap is basically non-existent. It's so fun to watch you two together, and I can see future slumber parties. One thing that I dream for you, my sweet girl, is a close strong group of friends. It is so important to surround yourself by good people. But for now, I guess you just want a fun sandbox friend.

Speaking of sandbox, we set one up for you and you are obsessed! I have a feeling that you will enjoy the beach that much more this year! Hoping.

Have I mentioned how much you love your baby brother? You do. A lot.

You started calling me "Mommy." No more mama. I try to correct you, but you giggle and then repeat mommy over and over again. I love it though. It's sweet coming out of your mouth.

Lets talk about sleep. Since mama went back to work from maternity leave, we take family naps. At bedtime though, we lay down to you while you go to sleep. A new thing that you are doing while you are falling asleep is kicking. And tossing. And turning. And more kicking. It's not intentional, but after hitting your papa in the head one too many times, he's not too pleased with it. But once that thumb goes in your mouth, the twirling of the hair starts, and the eyes quickly follow.

I know I am missing out on so much more, but again, these updates will just keep coming. I have no intention of stopping. It's my way of holding on to these precious memories and milestones.

We love you, to the moon and back, over and over again.
Mama & Papa

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Some Days, I think to myself... I can totally have 19 kids.

If you had asked me the question, "What do you think about that Duggar lady," 5 years ago... the first, and only word, that would come out of my mouth to perfectly describe my thoughts would be "Crazy."

Crazy for having 19 kids. Crazy for birthing 19 kids. Crazy for being pregnant most of her life. Just plain old crazy.

Today, if you were to ask me "So what do you think about that Duggar lady," my exact honest response would be, "Lucky."

Now now, before I convince you that I have completely fallen off the rocker and went somewhere out of this world, bare with me and my {somewhat} crazy, unstable way of thinking as I explain my reasoning.

You see, as I added another addition to the family {hi Graham!}, I quickly realized what it was like to love two children. What it mean to have your "heart grow" in size, and what it was like to now have TWO children that love you unconditionally. I proved every feeling and thought I had on "loving another child" wrong, and it was a huge testament to the future of our little family.

And so when I sat on the couch the other day, I couldn't help but think about my children. Present and future. While I was deep in thought, Elliana walked up to me and said "Hugs and kisses mama?" She caught me off gaurd. "Why, yes, baby, thank you," I say back to her after we exchange the sweetest of kisses and longest of hugs. Then I looked down at Graham, who instantly threw me the biggest toothless smile after our eyes met.

And I smiled. I smiled so big that my heart hurt from smiling. Gosh, I am getting mushier and mushier by the day.

And I just couldn't help to think what it would be like to add another. I imagine it will feel the same one day. To fall in love with motherhood that much more. To not share the love, but to have it grow.

So while I'm sitting there, I begin to think about the dear Duggar lady. How LUCKY she is to have such a large family. To have her heart grow 19 times the normal size. To experience the greatest kind of loves out there. 19 times.

I used to think... how does she do it? How does she keep going throughout the day. How does she homeschool all of her children. Maintain the home. Be so patient. And show her children individual love.

Now, before you go thinking that I'm going to be racking on the kids left and right because of this post... just know... our "number" is THREE.

But? If I had endless amounts of money, a large home, and the guts? I would totally have 19 kids.

In my dreams.

And no, we will not be having 19 kids. Or 10. Or 7. Maybe three. Okay, maybe four.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Eyes Made To See The World

It started out like this....

"Here, mama, papa's glasses," she says.
"Broken," she adds.

I look down to, well, see that they were in fact broken. I call Andrew to tell him, and he's pretty upset, since he had just purchased the pair this year. Seeing as it was only May, and our next coverage wouldn't begin until January, this would mean that he would either have to wait 8 months, or he would be paying full price for a pair of glasses.

When I thought about who to surprise with a year of VSP eye insurance, the answer was blatantly obvious to me.

Watch the video below to see it all.

Wondering what VSP can do for you? “Eye” got you covered. VSP Direct costs as low as 41 cents a day and is a great way for individuals and families to have vision insurance, even if it's not provided through work. Learn more about VSP here.

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

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