Friday, January 31, 2014

A confessional session never hurt nobody.

I confess...I cringe when I watch the Bachelor and another girl starts to cry. That and when they ask for a kiss. The first kiss especially. I guess I'm just old fashioned, but I would so much rather have the guy chase me... and might I add, only me. Not 25 other girls.

I confess...I made my favorite homemade granola recipe the other night and this time used coconut oil instead of olive oil, and it was a HIT! Added flax seed, walnuts, pecans, and cranberries. Mixed it with plain yogurt and organic blueberries, and the kids were devouring it. Even Graham loved it, and it was his first time having granola. I'll try to post a recipe soon!

I confess.... a baby sleeping is one of the greatest moments to capture. Most definitely.

I confess.... looking at the above picture reminded me I'm due to wash Graham's sheets! Tomorrow, since he's sleeping on them right now.

I confess...I've been riding around the house on this toy with the kids. It is seriously the greatest thing to have ever been invented. Okay, maybe second to the computer. But it is pretty neat, but I'm also positive that I exceed the maximum weight limit. Regardless, the kids think it's funny to have mama sit with them, and that's all that matters.

I confess.... making homemade pizza beats carry out any day. And I'm for real on this on. Not to mention that it's full of veggies and you know what's in your pizza! Two thumbs up by the kids and husband.

I confess...My doctor said I looked like "a little girl" the other day. I'm not even taking that as a compliment, and it sure isn't anything new that I hadn't heard before. Hopefully they say the same thing when I'm 50.

I confess... I am stupid excited to be putting together the kid's Valentine's day baskets. Growing up, my dad always got us something for v-day, and it's definitely something I want to do for the kids. I ordered their personalized books the other day {you can win a free one here}. If you need ideas, I put together a gift guide that can be found here.

I confess... I had never heard of lactation cookies until the other day. I don't have problems with milk supply, but many people had said that these worked for them after I posted the link to the recipe. You can find it here! Oh and the mama is pretty awesome, so follow along her natural parenting blog!

I confess... Andrew and I celebrated our 8 years together anniversary yesterday... and he remembered before I did {at Graham's 6 am feeding he woke up, kissed me, and said "Happy Anniversary," all while I was thinking...oops totally missed that one}.

I confess.... I've been trying a lot of new recipes. Tons. And it resulted in me have a grocery bill that is almost double what I am used to. Okay okay, maybe it wasn't so much the new recipes as it was the fact that it has been a blizzard around these parts the past couple of weeks and my refrigerator and pantry is now running on low. So I went a little cart happy today and threw everything in it. Along with my two little helpers. Can we please talk about how frustrating winter time can be when you have to take coats, gloves, and hats on and off every time you get the kids in and out of the car.

I confess... we've been to the Children's Museum a lot because of the freezing cold weather. Thank goodness for memberships.

I confess... I catch myself watching these two quite often and am amazed to see how much closer they have gotten. Elliana asks for Graham to play with her a lot, and she really misses him when he naps. Now now, there still are moments of shoving and "don't touch my stuff Graham," but for the most part they play so good. I also find myself thinking back to the days that I thought it wasn't possible to love another child as much as Elliana, and that adding another child would "throw us off." Silly me.

I confess.... Andrew just walked downstairs and is getting ready to pop open the champagne bottle... which means...

Time to celebrate 8 glorious years. Or as he put it yesterday....

2921 days. Woah.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

EASY Banana Walnut Bread Recipe

Probably one of the easiest recipes I have ever made, and definitely one of the tastiest. A friend of mine passed this recipe down to me, and now I {and everyone else} in my family has been hooked. Now, the great thing is that even if you don't like walnuts---you don't have to add them. If you want to add a different fruit? That works! This recipe is one of those that you can just start throwing stuff in and it would taste great regardless. Even chocolate chips.


Okay, but really, I did not mean to be one of those people that starts to write a novel for a recipe. I love that people have stories behind the recipes that they make and all, but I'm just not one of those people. All I care about is that it tastes good, scratch that, phenomenal.

This. This recipe is that good.

But as my husband likes to say.... it's better to say "it's okay" rather than it's great. Because then you are pleasantly surprises.


It's okay.


1 stick of unsalted butter {or 1/2 cup as they like to say}, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups of bananas mashed {about 5 bananas on average---but do measure}
2 eggs, beaten


1. Mix your flour, baking soda, and salt together in one bowl.
2. In another bowl, mix your melted butter and brown sugar. Add in the beaten eggs, and then mix in the bananas. Throw in walnuts {or any nut that you prefer} at this time.
3. Now add the wet mixture to the dry {flour, baking soda, and salt}. Only stir to mix in the dry, and be sure to stop once it is mixed in. Over stirring may cause the bread to become too hard in the oven.
4. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes. Take out of oven, let sit for 10 minutes, then serve!

As easy as pie.
Except it's bread.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Marriage Differences

I wasn't sure how I wanted to title this. Not necessarily marriage differences, I think just personal differences. It's fun to compare how different Andrew and I are, and at the same time, how compatible this makes us. How we can have our differences, we can laugh about them, and we can work through them as a couple. And best of all, how we just work.

Our Phones. Andrew is very particular about his. I, on the other hand, am not. Andrew is OCD in this area, where he has to clear his phone at the end of every night. In fact, it's such a part of his every day that if he happens to be on my phone for whatever reason, before he gets off he will also clear my phone. Which means all my contacts, conversations, and browser history is gone. Now, remember, I'm the one that only has 12 contacts saved. So then that whole "who is this again" when I get a new text starts up again.

My phone cracks? The whole screen. And I just don't care. In fact, I even told him I don't even need a smartphone next time around. He only laughed.

Also, when the opportunity came to get new phones because we were up for upgrades, I chose the one that was FREE. He chose the one that was the latest and greatest that cost $250. To me? An i-phone is an i-phone and I just can't bring myself to throw money away like that.

Clean Freak. He is. I'm not.

Chores. I shouldn't call them chores. Instead, household duties. Andrew likes to do the typical guy stuff---mow the lawn, take care of the yard, take the trash out, and fix things that need to be fixed around the house. In addition, he is obsessed with the kitchen. That is his area and a place that I always have to make sure is tidy {but doesn't always happen} before he comes home. A clean kitchen, to be honest with you, actually puts him at ease. What does a clean kitchen entail? All the dishes washed and put away, no clutter on the counters, wiped down countertops, and clean appliances.

I'm in charge of everything else. Toilets and bathrooms {although he used to do the majority of this}, floors {half and half}, laundry, picking up, windows, and so forth. And of course the mess that is otherwise known as "kids."

Being On time. I am, he is not. That is about the extent of that explanation.

The Children.  He's a little more uptight when it comes to things and worries more about them falling and hurting themselves. Which is ironic because I was that way for a long time with Elliana {especially at the park}, and have totally eased up in the past 6 months. I guess I just realize her capabilities and also know how resilient kids are. That and after watching her like a hawk, I have seen her master certain things.

Andrew also can't stand messes, and kids are the definition of messes, and I try to tell him that all is good in the world when there is a mess. Truly. He's learned to loosen up in this area and fully understands that it may be another 10+ years before we have a "clean" home.

Letting them just be kids. Sometimes I have to remind Andrew that you cannot set limits on everything and that sometimes you just have to let them be---jumping on beds/couches, banging on pots and pans, and even running around like crazy animals. Kids need to explore, they need to expel energy, and they need not feel like they are just a nuisance in this crazy world. Unfortunately, this world is good at making them feel that way, and we, as parents, fall into that trap at times.

Money. I am aware of money---mainly because I handle all the finances, and Andrew.... Andrew is more of the spender in the family. I think maybe it's because I am the person that looks at the money coming in, and going out, on a daily basis, so then I regret spending money on certain things because of this. I know women tend to be the "spenders" typically, but since I am a money-saving-addict, I just cannot bring myself to spend money on some of the stuff that Andrew does. Like Starbucks. If he could, he would buy a Starbucks drink every day of his life. To me? Starbucks is a treat and otherwise a waste of money. Also clothes. He must buy from Banana Republic, JCrew, and Polo. Me? I'm a what's the best deal out there kind of girl. I haven't paid full price for something in years. Not that I can remember anyway. Andrew? Can spend $50 on a shirt and it's not a big deal. The latest thing is the new x-box! I cringe at the thought of throwing away $500 on some toy.

We do agree on one thing in regards to how money is spent, and that being--- date nights and vacations. We go all out on both with no regret. It's what makes us happy, and what we enjoy the most. Being together, or being with our family.

Getting back to People. He has to respond to the person right away. No matter what. Me? I'm like... eh... I'll respond later. And then days and weeks go by... no wonder my friends get mad at me!

So those are just a few things that make us different, but somehow make us work. We are similar in a lot of ways as well, and I'll definitely have to put something together for memory sakes.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Should we also keep children locked in at home? If we are talking about feelings and all...

I read in an article on breastfeeding where someone in the comments section said that women shouldn't breastfeed in public. Period. I know, not the first time we had heard this. However, there was a first here, and it was the reasoning behind why this person thought that women shouldn't. Their reasoning? Because other women may not be able to. Women who have struggled with it, or women who have their little ones at home while they are working. And I thought to myself, do people actually think this way? Do people actually believe this kind of stuff?

Here's what I got out of the comment that was made--- I struggled at something, it didn't work out, and now I'm mad when I see someone else doing it. So mad that I wish not to see it at all. So mad that I expect other women to respect my wishes that are... well... unknown to begin with. But if they do wish to carry on this act, the act of feeding their child, they should do it privately as not to hurt my feelings.

Fair enough?

What about the women who have lost their children. Or those who could never have children. Shall we keep children at home as to not hurt their feelings? Well of course not, you're thinking, that would sound absolutely insane to lock kids up to not hurt another person's feelings.

Then wouldn't you say it sounds pretty insane to go hide the breastfeeding women so that we don't hurt someone else's feelings?

You see, I don't know many people who breastfeed their children thinking to themselves "Ha, I hope that other women who can't breastfeed see this so that they are reminded of what I can do and what they can't." I don't know many people who announce their pregnancy hoping that someone who has fertility issues will read it. I don't know many people who would keep their children confined at home as to not hurt the mother that lost hers in a car accident. Now, this does not mean that they don't care about another person's feelings or that they don't want to be made aware, but they surely cannot predict who will or won't be hurt by something they do that in the end benefits their own child.

I read a really interesting article recently that I wish I had bookmarked to link here. Actually, the article had nothing to do with this topic, but there was one thing in particular that this author said that stuck with me.

People don't go out in public doing or having something that another person doesn't in hopes of running into that person and making them feel bad. People go on with their lives with you {the stranger} not in mind, believe it or not. They don't know your struggles, they don't know your weaknesses or losses, and they don't know what will or will not trigger your emotions. What they do know is that they must continue to live their life.

Here's the thing, as much as we want to believe that other people are watching us, that other people are out to get us, that other people care about us {the strangers}, believe me when I say this: no one does. Not because they have no heart, but simply because life is surrounded by sadness and struggles, and how can anyone ever be strong if we all choose to be defeated. 

Go on. 
Go on and live life.

And you {the stranger}, you and I, must acknowledge that there will be hard things to watch in life. There will be triggers and emotions that stem from another stranger simply living their life. But how fair is it for us to judge that person, to put unrealistic expectations on that person, and to ask them of something that we have no right to ask. Simply because we are hurt.

Yes, breastfeeding a child in public may hurt someone's feelings---the person that was never able to. Yes, seeing a pregnant woman walk down the aisle at the grocery store, with maybe 4 of her other children in hand may hurt someone's feelings---the person that has been struggling with fertility for years, hoping for just one child, while this other woman was blessed with so many {and doesn't even seem to appreciate them} . Yes, the mom who was able to lose all that weight so fast after delivery and show off her six pack all over Facebook may hurt someone's feelings---the person that has struggled with weight their entire life. 

Yes, feelings will be hurt when someone else is successful at something that we are not.

But should anyone ever hide their life, hide their accomplishments, hide their pride and joy all because it may hurt someone else's feelings?

I think not.

I think people need to realize that what they are feeling is within themselves. Whatever pain or suffering they are going through is not the cause of another {a stranger} individual. 

Why do so many people think that complete strangers need to be considerate of another person's weaknesses or struggles---without knowing them that is. How can a person identify what a person is going through simply by looking them? That would be nice. Absolutely. But it's just not possible.

I hope that when my children read this one day, that they remember to celebrate another person's achievements in life {even the ones that we are not able to accomplish}, to support and acknowledge hard work, and to put their own feelings aside to congratulate someone else. Being bitter, hateful, and resentful to another individual has never brought out any good. 

We need to carry our own baggage, while letting others fly with theirs.

Monday, January 27, 2014

One Deals. Two a Video. And Three a surprise Giveaway.

I have three things to share with you today.
Two--a must watch video.
Three-- a special giveaway.

{ONE} Deals

50% off Franco Sarto Boots

Lorac Lip & Makeup up to 90% off


Large Rug Sale

Eddie Bauer Sale--Cute spring clothes
Eddie Bauer Sale---so much cute stuff! Ready for spring

Custom Teddy Bear only $14

Two Canvases for $45 + Free Shipping! 22.50 per canvas is the best deal out there!

Add caption

{TWO} Watch this. You have to.

If you are in need a smile, you can most definitely find it in this video below---featuring a clip from the Ellen show. This little boy, his personality and spirit, is just too much. It's pure happiness and I love that about him. I hope he never loses his positivity and outlook on life.

{THREE} Giveaway

I know that I have talked before about my favorite gift to give {and receive} for the kids, and that being personalized kids books. We probably own 10+ personalized books. From Christmas, to birthday, to educational ones, and even a "big sister" book for Elliana from a friend. My kids love them as much as we do, and one of our favorite companies to get these books from is Put Me in the Story. I'm not getting paid to say this, this is simply our own personal experience. The company is however graciously offering to give one of you lucky readers a personalized book for your own special little one-whoever that may be, it's a great personal gift that is sure to please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Making my Superbowl Party one to remember. And take home.

When Andrew and I met in college, I told him that I was a sports girl. I loved football. I was into basketball. Take me to a ball game. I'm that girl. To this day, Andrew reminds me, quite frequently, about this little "fib" that I told, and after 8 years he is still trying to convince me of that girl I used to be. Except I never really was that girl. Here is the truth--- I'm quite the opposite. I do like going to games, but that mainly stems from the fact that I love to be around people, eat loads of delicious stadium food, and have a few drinks while yelling at the top of my lungs. Even if I don't know what is going on. I'll be the biggest fan---in the moment. All while sporting the jersey of the team we are rooting for.

The same goes for watching sports television. Having it on all hours of the day just because? No thank you. Having it on while having other people over and preparing appetizers and cold beverages? Sign me up. Any reason to have a good time with some close family or friends then I'm all for it. Even, shockingly, if that means sports are involved. I've even gotten excited about a wrestling match. That cost us $60 just to watch by the way.

So when it comes to the Super Bowl, I get excited. I think about what appetizers we will make. I think about the games that we will play. And I think about which team I'm going to choose to root for. Usually it is the opposite team that my husband chooses. Just to have a little fun with it. Needless to say, it irritates him when I'm cheering for "the other team."

Read the rest here and I share the best Chicken Fajita Recipe out there.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Win a Monogrammed Swimsuit for your little one; Lil Sweetie Designs

I'm really really really excited today to share with you one of my favorite shops {and shop owners}, Lil Sweetie Designs. Before I tell you about the giveaway, let me just tell you some of my favorite things about this shop.

1. Everything is monogrammed, and there is no extra fee for the monogramming! It's included in the price!

2. Everything is timeless. It never goes out of style, and something that actually lasts.

3. Elliana's dress that she got from Lil Sweetie Designs is still one of my favorites that she owns. Probably top three. 

4. You can find Aden & Anais blankets---our favorite! And the royalty's favorite.

From the owner:

Lil Sweetie Designs was formed out of a love of all things beautiful, especially children’s clothes and baby items.  We are committed to offering high quality products to you and your lil sweetie. We offer soft, cozy, high quality fabrics, blankets, bibs, towels, shirts and more. We believe everything looks better with a monogram! All of our monogramming is included in the price of the item. We are happy to custom make appliquéd items for you and we are always introducing new appliqué designs. I am excited to be able to share these things that bring a smile to my face and I hope they will bring a smile to yours too.


Lil Sweetie Designs is giving one of you ladies a chance to win a monogrammed swim suit for your little ones! And? It's the easiest way to enter.  Who isn't ready for swimsuit weather, right.

You can also find Lil Sweetie Designs here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 23, 2014

If you are a patient in the ICU, or have a loved one here: this is what you need to know.

Look, I get it, you're in a scary, unknown environment with some crazy women {and men} all around you asking you questions you already answered 10 times downstairs. For some reason, that makes you hungry. It's a trend, it seems. But, please don't keep complaining about it as soon as you get to the ICU. Let us first try to figure out why you are vomiting, your blood pressure is in the 70s, and you look like the color of a white piece of paper. Food is the last thing you need right now, trust me. Might I add, it's midnight.

Your grandma does not want you to see her at her most vulnerable state. In other words, please step out of the room when we give our spa treatments. Some things are just meant to be private.

Oh and that grandma? The 95 year old? She does not want or need to be on a ventilator, trached, pegged, or go in for a big belly surgery, or any surgery for that matter. Just so she can end up at a nursing home for the remainder of her life. Those DNR papers that your loved one worked so hard to have authorized and printed? Honor them. They cannot speak at this moment. But you can read. I imagine that you know their wishes as well. Honor them, as hard as it may be. The person, and the papers.

There is a very small chance that you will get decent sleep while you are here. So bring something to do. But please do sleep when you can. When it's been days, weeks, months with no changes--it's time for you to take care of yourself because your family member will need you even more when they begin the recovery process. Not while they are paralyzed, sedated, and on every drip and machine possible.

And for those on the machines that aren't paralyzed and sedated? Getting in their face is helping no one here. Be present without being in the way.  See that number that says 150 and that other one that says 200/100. Yes, that's their heart rate and blood pressure that goes up every time you stimulate them. It's not a coincidence either.

Nurses are stern in certain situations. Really. It's in their nature to get to the point when need be. Crawling out of bed {for the millionth time}, swatting your arms at us, or even trying to bite, will not do anyone any good. And trust me, when voices get loud people come running.

And if you are a nurse {or a family member of a nurse} and a patient at the hospital, rest assured that we {the other nurses} are most likely playing rock-paper-scissors in the report room to see who is going to have you.  Nurses can make the worst of patients. So can doctors. Probably because we know what goes on on the other side.  That and we are stubborn as hell.

Nurses tend to also laugh. I know, strange. Even after your loved one may pass, you may come out to the nurses station and see someone smile, or laugh, or say something completely inappropriate. For one, just know that you have to have a sense of humor if you do what we do. You have to. And nurses have seen it all. As have doctors. So naturally that brings out the most inappropriate of human beings. And loud ones at that.

Speaking of being loud, it's just the nature of the ICU. From constant alarms to constant chatter. Day in and day out. I know it's a terrible thing, and I wish there was a mute button for some people. Trust me, I do. But it's just very, highly, unlikely. You may even hear things in your sleep. It's part of the environment.

If it means anything to you, just so you know, I strip down in my garage before I walk through the doors of my home. I'm talking shoes off, pants off, shirt off, socks and all. Undergarments are allowed to stay on. That being said, trust me when I say this---you do not want your children crawling around the floor of a hospital room. Honestly? You really don't want them there period.

We're a little obsessed with our sheets and rooms. In fact, we cannot even start our work until our lines are all straightened out and room is picked up. It's a sick obsession.

We also much prefer our patients to be tubed and on drugs. But believe me, we are your biggest fan when you get extubated and fly.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lately I.....

Lately, I....

Been digging the big gaudy earrings. It's a weird thing I'm into. We'll see how long that lasts.

Eating a lot of bananas.. I would eat one for every meal if I could. Which technically, I could... but then we would run out. Growing up though, my mom used to tell me one banana a day. So I have since passed that rule onto the children. Who also love bananas. Then again, I have yet to meet one person that doesn't.

Have watched only the bachelor on TV. And American Idol. I really like the Bachelor though, and I think I have watched every season except maybe 3. It's my strange addiction.

I had a week off work and still somehow managed to go to sleep before 10 every night. Eyes can't stay open.

Picked up some great supplies at the Target dollar section for Elliana's homeschooling. Have I mentioned how much I love Target? Thankfully the closest one is at least 15 minutes away... and therefore we go maybe once a month.

Been thinking lately about how interesting it is that my husband "needs" a nap every time that kids go down for their afternoon naps on weekends. I mean... this is even after he went to bed early and got up a little later. Amazing.

That's what is going on right now by the way. The house is napping while I write. And by write, I mean... after every sentence I open up a new tab because another thought pops into my head---oh I need to look this up, and list that, and maybe check my email real quick.

It's no wonder I don't get those scheduled posts done like I used to. Although, somehow I still have posts that I wrote 3-4 months back that keep getting pushed back.

I'm one of those people that has to be in the mood for whatever I am going to post. Especially if it is a rant of some sort. Not sure why. Just the way I am I guess.

Need a new book to read. Like right now. I read the Divergent series all in a matter of 5 days, and I am just itching for another good read. If you have any recommendations, throw them my way!

Itching for summertime. Spring time. Anything but this dreadful weather we have had lately. I am already making a list of activities for us to do, and our calendars are definitely going to be full. That and we are in the works of planning our annual summer vacation... and this year I think my brother, his wife, and three kids will join us as well. I love that our family just keeps growing and that we can make these memories together.

Went sledding with the family the other day. And by sledding... I mean.. mama and papa took turns sledding while the kids watched. Why? Because Graham is just too little, even though he did not fuss when we went with him a couple times. That E girl? That one? She is scared of the snow. SCARED. She loves being out in it {standing}, but has no desire to play in it.

Love this article published by Forbes that I just read {while on my distraction spree just now}. It talks about things we do as parents that can be crippling to children. I agree with each and every point, and for once, it's not one of those "judgmental" articles that I often see. I think it is important for children to fail, to figure things out on their own, for us to be supportive and complimentary---but at the right times, and to most certainly practice what we preach. I think that we are the biggest role models for our children and that how can we ever expect something out of them that we ourselves cannot do.

We finally bought paint for the playroom that we are re-doing. I mean... it will have been painted 3 times in 4 years.... we have problems. Can't wait to share the finished product!

Bought this canvas deal so we can update our canvases! Two large canvases for only $45 with FREE shipping. TWO! Or you can buy one for only $35. And found two great Valentine's Day present ideas for the little ones-- a book and a teddy bear personalized.

That's all I have. Something a little light in comparison to my rant yesterday.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Man, I am so sick of all those entitled bratty children. Tell me about it.

I keep reading all these posts, articles, and long drawn out opinions of our generation raising "wimpy, entitled children." And frankly, if I'm going to be blunt and honest around here, it is so eye rolling and ignorant that I just wonder how these people are raising their own children. 

Statements made by older generations. Statements made by younger generations. Statements made by parents with older children, younger children, and even by those with no children at all. Everyone has an opinion of how parents are raising their children, and it always seems to fall back to one similar idea: this next generation is entitled, whiney, and are nothing compared to "the good old days". Harsh, I know. And so very generalized that it's almost not worth entertaining. Yet, here I sit, entertaining this very idea.

So when did we all of a sudden become experts on what will/will not produce a wimpy child? And better yet, when did we become qualified to predict the future, and the personality traits of adults that are merely children right now? Sure, there are situations that one cannot help but roll their eyes at. Parents looking for jobs for their adult children. Sure, there are situations that make you question why times have changed. Parents ridiculing the teacher for a child's poor test scores, versus the child. Sure, there will always be questionable things, questionable techniques, and just questionable people in general doing questionable things. That is life. Full of big fat question marks. But to sit there and actually categorize children wimp versus not based on parenting decisions like letting kids run around the neighborhood without adult supervision? That's just complete nonsense.

Let us take a look at a few scenarios so we are all on the same page of what we are talking about when we mention entitled bratty wimpy children.

That mom is hovering all over that child, coddling that child, and not doing him/her any good. Wait, what? The child is 2-3 years old? Maybe younger? And you are worried about a mom coddling the child? What do you know what is or isn't good? No, you see the mom who is hovering over her child climbing at the park isn't some helicopter mom, she may happen to be a mom that knows a mom that now has a paralyzed child because she worried about not being "that mom." So you've spent a mere 10 seconds observing the scenario and you have already decided what the future holds for this family? Please, move along.

My kid will stand out in the rain like I did growing up while I stay in the house. Not raising a wimp over here. Because having a 5 year old, 7 year old, or whatever age we are talking about here stand out in the rain is teaching big lessons? Man, those terrible moms for sitting in their cars and allowing their child to actually sit with them while they wait for the bus. Yes, you're right, so entitled those children will be. If you're trying to raise children that aren't wimps by having them stand in the rain, then why not join them? Because it doesn't prove anything. Because at the end of the day, standing out in the cold, snow, or any other kind of weather will not qualify them to be some hard, independent, and most likely to conquer the world adult in the future. It just won't. It's just weather.

A child throws a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store. Full blown tantrum. People around eye roll, whisper, and make a comment around the lines of... "If that were my child... or when I was a child... my parents would have spanked me straight. " And then the assumption is automatically made that any parent who doesn't spank and happens to have a kid who throws a tantrum from time to time, doesn't know anything about discipline. Insert here---raising entitled and bratty child.

Growing up, we ran around the neighborhood and came home for dinner as kids. Now? Parents have to go along to play dates and can't let a child leave their sight. You're right. They do. You know why? Because kids were abducted. Because kids were molested and murdered. Because there are a whole lot of sick, cruel people out in the world and there are few that can be trusted. Gosh, does this mean that my kids have to live in fear? No. But at this age, they don't know any better. Hell, I didn't know any better about what life really meant until I turned 18. To me, I was unstoppable. Fearless? Sure? But pretty darn stupid, and it's mere luck that I'm even alive today. But at age 7, 8, 9? I don't understand what murder is, and I sure as hell cannot fight off an adult man. So yes, times have changed, and yes parents have to keep a closer eye on their young children. And if you dare called a child a wimp to someone who has lost their child due to an abduction or murder while those kids were "just playing in the neighborhood," I bet you would come out with a whole new perspective. You and I? The kids that grew up in the era of leaving at sunrise and coming home at dark? We didn't turn out "just fine" and there is no need to say "look at us, we turned out okay." Why? Because we were just the lucky ones. Pure luck. Stop with the "we turned out fine" phrase. Because there are plenty of kids who didn't.

My question to anyone who actually believes these statements of parenting and the way that children are being raised "these days" is this: 

How do you know that any of these actions are a direct reflection on whether or not a child will grow up feeling entitled or better yet, as people like to put it, "little wimps" or not.
How do you know that what you are doing is full proof "My child will be hardworking, independent, and successful in life." While that child will not.

How do you know? HOW.

Although we are the parents, and although I think parenting is 95% {maybe a stretch} of how a child turns out, there is no way of being certain that what we are doing is going to breed a certain kind of adult. Have we kept in mind that there are other factors in a child life that may affect them? That they do leave the house, they do interact with others, and that they will be in situations where we are not present to guide them? In fact, have we even taken the time to take into consideration that children have different personalities and that we cannot force a certain trait on them? Such as being fearless. As much as you may want that for your child, and as much as one may strive to be the parent that teaches that to their child, is there any guarantee that all children will turn out this way if we do/do not do certain things?

And therefore, have you failed as a parent if they do not end up being that child. That poster ideal child. Have you thought that maybe they were never born that way, and never will they be that way. That perhaps something may have occurred in their life, childhood or not, that has changed them and their outlook on life. Man, can we stop for a moment and remember that children are their own person. They do not all fit some sort of mold, and they certainly do not all react the same to all parenting techniques. 

I sit here and I look around and think about our very own country, and the older generations that people speak of {the hard working ones}, and I cannot help but notice that the "era" that we speak of happened to also raise a bunch of, well,  entitled and wimpy adults. Apparently teaching them to be tough and fearless by letting them stay out late, stand out in the cold, and learn to just take the heat didn't exactly go as planned. In fact, it's these same people that expect something out of nothing. The same people that want the nice things, but don't want to work for it. The grown men and women who live int their retired parents' home and refuse to get a job. The people who have a college degree but are just "too good" to get a job serving tables or a cashier at your local grocery store. 

Perhaps letting your kid stand out in the rain will in fact cause them to be strong and fearless. But maybe to my kid? It traumatizes them and they resent me for it? Extreme? Perhaps. But possible? Yes. 

Will I know now what of my actions as a parent will do to my children in the future? No. Will you know what yours will? No. Can we agree that we are probably all trying to do what we feel is in the best interest of our children?

I'll choose bigger lessons to teach my children then about being tough and not being wimps.

I'll teach my children to respect others. Especially their elders, those in uniform, and people that they work and learn amongst. But I will also teach them that respect goes both ways, and to always expect respect in return. 
I'll teach my children that success comes from hard work and hard work only. That you put the time in, and your best individual effort, and to not compare yourself to others when we don't get the outcome we were looking for. 
I'll teach my children to never embarrass others and to always be the bigger person and stand up for those that need us. That bullying is never accepted and it ends when we decide to stand up to it as individuals. 
I'll teach my children to celebrate another person's success, even those who achieve what we worked towards. To show praise and gratitude, rather than being bitter and resentful.
I'll teach my children that people, friendships and family is more important than things. That happiness will never come in the form of a huge home, unless you have loved ones to share it with. 
I'll teach my children the value of forgiveness. That we will continue to make mistakes as we were born sinners, but we are bigger than the mistakes we make and we become better when we are aware of our own flaws. 
I'll teach my children the importance of giving versus receiving. That we should always give back what we have been blessed with in our lives. That there are things---such as food, our home, and the clothes on our backs, that we should never take for granted. 
I'll teach my children to learn, and to never stop learning. To ask questions when we don't understand. To look into things that we feel passionate about. To find the answers even when no one can give them to us. That the world is always changing, and that the power of education is life changing.  
I'll teach my children to not judge what they see on the outside. To not evaluate a situation based on what our eyes see. There is much more to life, and much more to a person than what we encounter in our day-to-day world. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way. By judging many people I never should have.
We call these innocent children out---some that are only 3, 5, 10 years old as wimps and brats, and they have yet been given a chance to prove themselves. Who is to say that the quiet, shy, fear of heights kid won't grow up one day and save your kid's life. Who is to say that the fearless, strong, highly social and independent kid won't grow up and make a tragic mistake that costs his or another person's life. 

Who is to say what is or what isn't going to come of a child based on silly observations.

Shame on anyone who judges someone else.
A bigger shame on anyone who even thinks about judging a child.

This is what is wrong with the world. THIS. 

"Entitled, bratty" adults that think they have it all figured out.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Shopping Sunday

A lot of big winter sales going now. Mostly clearance items that are additional 50% off and you can snag stuff for literally dollars. Like I like to say...

No such thing as shopping for Christmas too early.

Huge Clearance Sale at Charlotte Russe-- $5 tops and more! ***BEST DEAL---> SPEND $50 GET 10 OFF. SO BUY 10 ITEMS, GET THEM FOR ONLY 40. PLUS FREE SHIPPING AT $25 TO SPEND ONLY!

*** I was not paid to write this post, just a mama sharing some great deals! Affiliate links may be used.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Win $25 Target GC Giveaway

Because for whatever reason the Rafflecopter widget was not working on the post below, I am reposting it here, hoping that it will work! Let me know if anyone has any issues entering! Thank you.

**Win $25 Gift Card to Target!**

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A story of a little boy who needed a helmet

I have a special mama to share with you today and a very special little boy. She will share her story of plagiocephaly and the decision to get Miles a helmet. As mothers, we often times are faced with unexpected challenges, and it always amazes me of how our strength is tested. 

Read Glori's story, check out her blog, and she's even giving away a little something below!
Last week we found out Miles has plagiocephaly and will have to wear a helmet.  Yes, it is only temporary and yes it is only cosmetic, but it still pulled at my heart strings and was a very tough decision, as it was a choice.  Plagiocephaly is becoming more and more common as the sleep on your back movement is pushed with newborns to prevent SIDS. Most of us probably all started sleeping on our sides and stomachs almost immediately, now that SIDS is such a real, frightening thing, parents (like me) probably keep their kids on their back even longer than needed. However, in Miles case, his diagnosis is very closely related to both his growth restriction that he had in the womb and his Torticollis that he is currently over coming.

Since Miles was about 2 months old the pediatrician had been watching his head and seeing if the flatness would improve. At his 4 month appointment, he was diagnosed with Torticollis (a stiff neck) and referred to Children's Healthcare for physical therapy. Since October he has been going weekly to physical therapy and is now going every other week. His torticollis has improved tremendously over this time period. At his 6 month well check with his pediatrician in mid December, I asked her what she thought about his head shape.  She answered with it is definitely improving dramatically, so let's look at it again at 9 months and we will see if he needs a scan. I thought, ok, that sounds good.

Then, at his recent appointment with his physical therapist I asked her the same thing, what does she think about his head shape.  She said it was "interesting", it was "definitely improving" and that he "naturally has a more squared shape face naturally" and that "it looks worse before it starts looking better".  She then told me to get a scan, that they are free and that will tell me for sure one way or another. As this was the last week of the year, we weren't able to schedule our scan until 2014.  We went in for the scan and got the results. His head was pretty close to the normal range on symmetry and would probably get into that range all on its own. However, the other thing they measure is the length to width percentage. They would like it to be 90% or below, his was 98% and they ranked this "moderately severe".  It is all judgmental and their best recommendation was to get a helmet for him to improve this number.

This is where the decision was tough.  One number good, one number not so good, but both would most definitely improve on their own, just not sure how much. Miles is an interracial baby. Half Caucasian and half asian. While the statistics on Asian babies aren't published at children's, they do know that Asian babies percentage is naturally a little higher, they said probably 93/94% so he could possibly get to that range on his own. However, if we do not get the helmet, the head will continue to form and by 18 months will be one piece and no longer form, that will be the shape he would be stuck with. The sooner you get the helmet, the better the results and the better likelihood you have that your baby will tolerate it. The helmet is very expensive, close to $4,000. Quite the investment.

We ultimately decided to get the helmet.  I didn't want to regret not getting it later down the road and thought as a parent it is my duty to be the best mom I can be. So in 2 weeks Miles will become a helmet wearing baby.  I am sure we will get stares and possibly worse, because even though it is becoming more common, people are ignorant and judgmental. It is just a fact. I will ignore those people, shoot them a bird (kidding) or whatever I feel like doing at that moment (kick their ass, hahaha), but I will know in my heart we are doing the best thing for our family. I pray that Miles tolerates the helmet, that we can get his big sister to somewhat understand what is going on without her wanting her own cool helmet (smile) and that he doesn't get any sever skin reactions from it. I pray it works too and he has a beautifully shaped head when finished.

His journey hasn't been the easiest, but it has definitely been blessed and we are so blessed we are able to make this investment and that this is the worst thing he has going on right now.  This time last year we were having tests done at the specialists office after our nurse told us and I quote, "you failed your down syndrome test and your baby has downs." So knowing that he is here and healthy always puts these types of things into perspective. My heart goes out to all mommies that have babies with any sort of special need, it isn't easy just experiencing it briefly.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

Let's have another coffee date? Add a little creamer to that.

Trying to steer away from all things plastic. We officially pitched all our plastic tupperware last month once we completed our glass storage collection during Christmas. Elliana uses a regular plate for dinner as well, and drinks out of a regular cup most days. I just need to pitch all of the kids stuff as well. So, anyway,  I was pretty excited to find this sippy cup for Graham that is stainless steel and a straw. He loves it {as does E} and we plan on getting more. They're pricey! Thermos Foogo Phases Leak Proof Stainless Steel Straw Bottle, Blue/Yellow, 10 Ounce

Made this new recipe the other night and loved it. It was so simple and I loved that I had all the ingredients on hand. That and it involved my crockpot. We all know my love relationship with the crockpot. Also made this oven baked tomato chicken recipe as well {have made this in the past, but it's been over a year}, and forgot how much I loved it. I just used my own dressing instead of the Kraft and it tasted great. Also easy, quick, and little ingredients required. And then I turned around and made this turkey burger recipe and loved the simplicity of it as well. I just made then stovetop and it took 5 minutes to prep. Served with green beans and it was by far one of my easier dinners to make.

While I was feeding Graham the other night, Elliana came up to me, wrapped her arms around me and said "I love you so much mommy" and the ran off. Just like that. Unprompted. It was so precious that tears filled my eyes. Motherhood is so rewarding, and moments like that prove exactly how much.

It has been a snowing blizzard around here the past two days, but that was our life last week {all week} and we refused to let it coop us in the house any longer. So the past two days we have spent at the park, the Children's museum, and then the library yesterday morning. When the kids wake up, I plan on getting them ready, fed, and out the door to a rec place where they have different kinds of playgrounds that kids are allowed to play on. Sounds amazing.

Read this really sad daycare tragedy. I am so thankful I am able to stay home with my children each and every day.

And then this video brought me to tears. This is what I want my children's hearts to be full of. Such a beautiful soul this young child is an a great example not to other children, but ADULTS out there.

I've been off work all week {well, worked one day} because we were planning on driving to Andrew's parents this weekend {and the plans changed}, and instead of adding myself back on for two additional shifts, I just let it be. And it has been so nice... yet, I still cannot manage to stay up past 10.

We have been doing a lot of sight words at home, and one of the things that we like to do at night as review during bath time using the kids bath toys {Munchkin 36 Bath Letters and Numbers }. Graham has really showed interest in the letters as well {because they are something new, not because he wants to learn the ABCS}, so we have been doing a lot of practice with him as well.

I'm going to be an aunt for the third time anytime. Any day. I have two nephews and we don't know what the third is, and I am SO excited to find out!

Happy Friday.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The "Mommy" Secrets. True or False.

When pregnant, you hear so many things from other moms. Advice, tips, suggestions. Whatever it may be, they stick with you and once you become a mom you may even find yourself saying some of the things you often heard said to you. Here are a list of the most common mom talk. I'll tell you what was true or not for me.

Sleep now, because you'll never sleep again. False. Yes, we don't get to sleep as often as we like or whenever we want, but somehow you just learn how to function, to nap when baby naps {when you need to}, and to go to sleep early. Sometimes? I get 10+ hours of sleep. Not to mention the nap {or two} taken during the day. But really, sleeping all through pregnancy does not somehow fix the sleep later on. But sleeping is nice, so do sleep.

You'll drop 20 pounds before even leaving the hospital! False. Um, I don't know why I kept hearing this, but I never dropped that much. I think it was 9 pounds for both babies. Not sure how it was only that because the babies' weights, placenta, and fluid combined should have been more than that. But regardless, it was never close to 20. I wish.

Breastfeeding does shed the pounds. Absolutely true. 

You take less pictures of baby #2. True. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that you are on the go, and busy. Yes, I think that's mainly what it is. But also? I think you just tend to enjoy the moments so much more, and capture when you need to. You know how I see it, I have about 10 pictures of myself as a child. My children have that times a thousand. We're good.

Boys are mama's boys and girls are daddy's girls. False. Elliana is a mama's girl through and through, and has no signs of changing {although I am sure we will go through phases}. Graham loves his mama... a lot, but he just lights up and adores when he sees his papa. So I would say both my kids are mama's kids, but that also has a lot to do with the fact that they are with me all hours of the day.

Follow your mom gut. True. True true true. I want to yell TRUE at the top of my lungs. It is by far the best and only advice you need.  It is amazing how much our gut can tell us. And how accurate it is.  If I only had to choose one truth to share in this post, it would be this one.

You will be so busy with babies you won't have time to shower. Sometimes, for days. False. I shower every day. Every day. I can't function without a shower and if it means plopping the kids in front of the door and giving them a toy {or gasp I-pad} to shower, then whatever it takes. It's 5 minutes out of the day.

You will forget to eat. True. I have missed meals. All meals before. How do you miss all? By running around and being busy, and by the time you get home to make dinner, you are no longer even hungry for real food. You go straight for the ice cream. No worries, the children somehow get 3 meals, 2 snacks, all with 4-5 different choices per meal.

You are not to talk about your children on dates with your spouse. False. Such a silly rule that annoys me when I hear people say. Our children bring us the utmost happiness... our love grows even more when we talk about our children. Guess what? I want to jump on my husband when I hear him and look at him while he talks about our children. Now that's a fact.

Baby number #2 will change the ballgame. True. I don't want to say that life gets harder, as it does just busier. There is so much less time to lay back, kick your feet up, and relax. Less time for yourself and hobbies. But? There is so much more fun. More laughter. More family and love. Truly. You lose time, but you gain something that is much more valuable.

Coddling on babies and carrying them around will spoil them. False. Please move along.

You find yourself spending all your money on baby clothes... and hesitate to press the "purchase" button on the items in the cart for yourself. True. I can't tell you how many times I had all these items in the cart for myself {all that were on sale, by the way}, and just could not commit. So absolutely silly.

You may lose friends when you become a mom {and wife}. True. I will write about this even more... but as much as they want to understand, there is just no way for them to 100% put themselves in your shoes. Does this mean that friends are lost in the process? Sometimes, unfortunately, it does. The good ones? Will stay.

You find yourself listening to the toddler tunes and watching the toddler shows even when they have fallen asleep. True. Then halfway into the ride home, you realize they have been passed out, and quickly change the channel. I mean... you even sing the songs when they aren't in the car.

You can't go to the grocery store with kids. False. You can. I mean, if I saw a woman do it with 6 kids {all ages 8 and under---guess}... then I sure can do it with two. The art of babywearing. And bribery.

The older, experienced moms know it all. False. People will try to make you think that because you are a new mom, mom of one, that you are just a newbie and that you don't know what you are doing---whereas the other experienced, mom of multiple, do. I remember a mom of 3 one time writing a post about "new moms" and how she gets so tired of hearing them talk about "their babies sleep through the night"... she then proceeded to say that 6 hours doesn't count, and to stop trying to flaunt it because babies at 2 months just don't sleep through the night. Interesting, because at the time, my little lady was sleeping 12 hours at a time. What I got out of that? She had three babies and none of them had ever slept through the night at an early age. So? That meant that just doesn't exist. So? I've learned that experience is unique with every baby. No matter how many you have.

There is unsolicited advice out there. TrueAnd it never goes away.

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