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Friday, May 28, 2010

What’s in your bag?

My friend Laura at iGrizas did a fun Meme on her blog awhile back. I bookmarked it with every intention of participating, but I’m just now getting around to posting. Oops.

What’s in your bag?

My post is about my diaper bag, which has taken over as my purse at the time being. My purse is hugemongous (yes, I made up that word) and weighs 10 pounds, so carrying it, the diaper bag, and my 15lb baby is impossible.

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*Before I get comments about my girlie diaper bag – this is my bag, not Cooper’s. When he’s old enough to have his own bag, he’ll get a cute, boyish backpack. Until then, I’m the one crating it around so I want it to look cute and match my taste.

*This is one of several diaper bags. I have one, daycare has one, and Jason has a man-appropriate backpack. I have a few more tote style bags stashed away that I switch out when I feel like it. I didn’t choose to buy a designer bag for a diaper bag, although I don’t see anything wrong with that. I just know how clumsy and messy I am, and I would be beyond peeved if I messed up an expensive bag.

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I’m a first time mom and I carry around his whole nursery in my bag. I’ve tried to cut down and I just don’t know how to do it. I’ve needed everything in the bag at some point or another, and it gives me a panic attack to think of leaving anything behind. I’m sure that by the time I have baby #2 I’ll leave the house with nothing more than a bottle and one diaper.

Clockwise we have: ring sling, burp cloths, Sophie the Giraffe, diaper pouch, change of clothes and socks, medicine pouch, bottle holder, and coupons.

IMG_0351 Ring sling in action

IMG_0684Diaper pouch holds several diapers, wipes case, and a few disposable changing pads

IMG_0685Bottle holder is insulated and holds a bottle, bottle liners, formula dispenser, and a pacifier case

IMG_0686Medicine pouch holds diaper rash cream, aquaphor, hand sanitizer, scissors, tweezers, nail clippers, gas drops, Tylenol, medicine dispensers, thermometer, brush, comb, and toothbrush

What’s in your bag?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Giveaway – Judy Bag Company

I have a fantastic giveaway for you today!

Etsy has been my go-to site to shop for baby items lately. I needed something for a few friends that are having babies, and I stumbled upon Judy Bag Company. Love!

How adorable are these diaper covers? You can get them without frills, for boys, or with lace for girls.

 girl diaper cover with eyelet lace

 custom monogrammed diaper cover

Check out the matching onesie!

 custom monogrammed onesie

Love these girlie bibs and burp cloths!

 bib and burp cloth set

I love this adorable pacifier clip.

 pacifier clip

I contacted Judy to let her know how pleased I was with my purchase, and she offered to give away something from her shop to my readers! The winner will receive one item of their choice from Judy Bag Company. To enter to win, please visit Judy Bag Company and let me know what you would choose if you won. The winner will be announced on Monday!

Monday, May 24, 2010

4 Months Old

Dear Cooper,

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On May 14th, 2010 you turned 4 months old! It seems like just yesterday I was gazing at your beautiful face in the hospital. When I got pregnant, people told me “Enjoy him – he’ll be grown before you know it!” I thought they were exaggerating but it is true! I feel like I blinked and months passed by. I am so excited about how you are growing and changing but at times I wish I could press pause and cuddle with you a little more. I know before long you won’t want my hugs and kisses!

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This month you weigh 14.10 pounds. You have gained two pounds in the past two months and have more than doubled your birth weight. You are 24.6 inches long and your head circumference is 42 inches. You are a big boy! I wonder where you get that from? You are truly my chunky monkey. You have the cutest rolls on your legs and a big giant baby belly. I could just eat you up!

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You are now in 3-6 months clothes. I think you’ll outgrow these soon! You wear size 2 diapers and you eat 6-7 ounces of formula every 4 hours. You were sleeping through the night but you are now back to getting up once a night, usually around 4:00 a.m. I sure am tired at those times but I can’t get too mad when you give me your sleepy baby smiles and cuddles.

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You still love to play on your play mat and watch Baby Einstein. We got you a high chair and you love to sit in your chair and play with your toys while your dad and I clean or cook.

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You have discovered your hands! You love to suck on your fingers, and you diligently try every day to cram both of your fists into your mouth. You can now hook your hands together and grasp toys and other objects.

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My first Mother’s Day was quite an event! You didn’t feel well, so we ended up taking you to Urgent Care. Turns out you had an ear infection! My day was spent holding and loving my little man. When you don’t feel good, the only thing you want to do is nap with your mommy and be walked around by your daddy.

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Cooper, I hope as you read this one day that you will know that your mommy and daddy love you very much. James 1:17 says: “every good and perfect gift comes from above.” God blessed us with a son, a beautiful and precious gift, and we are so thankful to have you in our lives. We both agree that we have never so happy. You fill our lives up with your smiles and laughter. Precious boy, you are loved.

Love,

Mommy

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Painting Striped Walls for Dummies

Today I’m joining the paint challenge at The CSI Project.

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The CSI Project was started by three of my favorite bloggers: Jenn of Tatertots and Jello, Amanda of Imperfectly Beautiful, and Beckie of Infarrantly Creative. Each week participants are tasked with a themed challenge, and if you participate, you link up with a post that meets the requirements for that weeks theme. Sounds fun, right? I think so. Go here to read more on how to participate. You have until noon on Thursday to link up.

Today I’m talking about how to paint stripes on walls. Y’all remember my son’s nursery, right?

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This was a labor of love. When I was pregnant and searching for nursery inspiration, I fell in love with a safari-themed room with striped walls. My husband’s reaction? “I don’t think so.” He knew he was going to have to be the one to paint the walls and he was NOT on board. I wore him down, though, as you can see. Today I’m sharing with you what I learned through this process.

First of all, this can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be. You can go with two colors in the same width stripes, like the image below, or you can do what I did – four colors with three different widths of stripes.

Source: sunset.com

Let’s start with supplies. You’ll need tape, a level, paint, paint stirrers, paint brushes, paint trays and liners, drop cloths, and my husband’s secret ingredient – wood.

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As you can see, our stripes were different widths. We measured out the wall we wanted to cover, guesstimated how wide we wanted the stripes, and then divided to see if it would all fit. This part was really a guessing game. If you want to be precise, you could cut out strips of paper in your desired widths, and tape them to the wall to see how it will look. I was 50 million weeks pregnant, so precision kind of went out the door with this project.

Source: TLC

When we had an idea of what we needed, we went to Lowe’s with my inspiration picture and a list of what we thought we needed. We left with what we really needed, thanks to the super helpful Lowe’s employee. We picked up the aforementioned paint trays in different sizes – large for the base color and small for the stripes. We also got many different rollers – one for each different stripe. We picked up different width paint brushes as well. We purchased a gallon of white paint, which was our base color, and quarts of the other colors used in the wall.

Frog Tape

Frog Tape is a must when painting stripes. It is made to “gel” with the wall, creating a seal to make your stripes really crisp and sharp. It also comes off very easily. Run a credit card down the edge of the tape to ensure that no paint seeps underneath the tape.

Now that we’ve covered your supplies, you are ready to get started!

Source: channel4.com

Step One:

Paint the wall your base color. Your base color should be the lightest color. Let your base coat dry thoroughly.

Source: easyhousepaintingtips.com

Step Two:

Measure and mark your stripes.

Here’s where the wood comes in: my husband started out trying to use a tape measure and level to measure the stripes. They ended up being crooked and he got frustrated very quickly. Off he went to Lowe’s, where he had 2x4’s cut in the length and width of the stripes. Then he would place the wood on the wall, make sure it was level, and use a pencil to mark the outline. Easy peasy! Then he simply followed up with the tape. Tip: you can also use chalk to outline your stripes.

Source: openhouse.homegoods.com

Step Three:

Paint your stripes. If you are painting multiple colors, go from lightest to darkest.

Source: housepaintingtutorials.com

Step Four:

Remove the tape while the paint is still wet.

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Step Five:

Clean up any mistakes. Then relax – you’re done! Now you can enjoy the completed room and the person you created it for.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I’ve come to realize…

Aren’t MeMe’s great when you are lacking in blog inspiration? If you decide to play along, let me know so I can read your answers.

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I’ve come to realize that my body was actually better during pregnancy than after pregnancy. At least I had an excuse for being fat and flabby then.

I’ve come to realize that my job is always at risk. Thank you to the state of South Carolina and their endless budget cuts. It’s a bad time to be a social worker.

I’ve come to realize that when I’m driving I’m completely in the zone. Sometimes I get home and have no idea how I got there. Scary, huh?

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I’ve come to realize that I need support. From my family, my friends, my husband. This mommy thing ain’t easy!

I’ve come to realize that I have lost my mind. Seriously. There is such a thing as pregnancy and mommy brain. If I don’t write it down, I don’t remember it.

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I’ve come to realize that I hate it when Cooper cries. I know babies cry and that is ok, but y’all, this kid has the most grating, high pitched screech you have ever heard.

I’ve come to realize that if I’m drunk I’m a more pleasant person. Martini, please!

I’ve come to realize that money comes right into and out of my bank account. I hate payday because poof! the money is gone to bills.

I’ve come to realize that certain people are drama llamas. Seriously. Some people live to cause drama. Their lives are boring and pitiful, so they attempt to hurt others for entertainment. Those people suck.

I’ve come to realize that I’ll always remember my first love. I don’t love him, of course, but I remember the way he made me feel. I’m glad my first love was such a great guy, because he raised the bar high for all the future men I would date. (All 3 of them.)

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I’ve come to realize that my sibling(s) is a great dad. We have so much more in common now that I’m a mom. It has made me see him a new light.

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I’ve come to realize that my mom is amazing. She will drop anything she’s doing to help me. All I need to do is ask.

I’ve come to realize that my cell phone is my lifeline. I spend more time on it than on my computer these days. I love you, Blackberry.

I’ve come to realize that when I woke up this morning, I immediately wondered when I could go back to bed.

I’ve come to realize that last night before I went to sleep, I checked on Cooper 10 times. I also woke up 3 times during the night to check on him. I’m a freak.

I’ve come to realize that right now I am thinking that I’m hungry and I wish Jason would get off work so we could go eat Mexican. Queso. Yum.

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I’ve come to realize that my dad loves me more than he lets on. He’s the big, strong, don’t show any emotions type.

I’ve come to realize that when I get on Facebook, I ignore anything farm or mafia related. I’m sorry if you love those things, but I just don’t get it.

I’ve come to realize that today was not a productive day, at work or at home. Oops.

I’ve come to realize that tonight will not be a productive night. Mexican food and Glee, people. Priorities.

I’ve come to realize that tomorrow will be a productive day! I’ve got lots to do at work.

I’ve come to realize that I really want to win the lottery. Please, universe. I will do great things with the money, I promise.

I’ve come to realize that the person mostly likely to repost this is Susan! She’ll email me her answers though. :)

I’ve come to realize that life is about the climb. Y’all know I don’t care for Miley, but I love those song lyrics. It isn’t about how fast you get there. It isn’t about what’s waiting on the other side. It’s the climb.

I’ve come to realize that this weekend is going to be busy! I’ve got to get this nasty house clean. I still haven’t unpacked my summer clothes and it is 90 degrees here already.

I’ve realized the best music to listen to when I am upset is Young MC – Bust a Move. Try it. You’ll thank me.

I’ve come to realize that my friends are so supportive. Amazing. Bloggy friends, Twitter friends, military wife friends, in real life friends – I couldn’t make it without you.

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I’ve come to realize that this year is the best year of my life! This is the year I became a mom.

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I’ve come to realize that my husband is such a good father. I’m so thankful for him.

I’ve come to realize that maybe I should go back to school. Apparently social work is the #1 worst degree to have in this economy, according to Yahoo!.

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I’ve come to realize that I love my life! I am blessed beyond measure.

I’ve come to realize that I don’t understand how people can abuse or abandon animals. Those people sicken me.

I’ve come to realize my past is just that.. my past. Something to remember and learn from, but to move on from.

I’ve come to realize that parties are my worst nightmare. I can’t think of anything worse than having to make conversation with people I don’t know. (I am horribly shy.)

I’ve come to realize that my life is amazing! Thank you, God, for my beautiful family and the wonderful opportunities you have given me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tuesdays at the Table

All the small stuff Tues at the Table Red Gingham_edited-1

Today I’m participating in Tuesday at the Table, hosted by Cole of All The Small Stuff.

Quick and Easy Ravioli Lasagna

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This is a horrid picture – I apologize, but I can never take good pictures of pasta. Trust me, it was delicious.

Ingredients:

  • Ravioli, fresh or frozen
  • Alfredo sauce (I used jarred, but you can make my homemade sauce if you prefer)
  • Cottage cheese, one container
  • Parmesan cheese
  • One package frozen spinach
  • Artichoke hearts, chopped, one jar
  • 2 eggs
  • Mozzarella cheese, one large package, shredded

Directions:

  1. Cook ravioli according to package directions. Don’t cook quite as long as instructed because it cooks in the oven as well.
  2. Mix together cottage cheese, 2 eggs, a large handful of parmesan cheese, and the artichoke hearts.
  3. Spread a thin layer of alfredo sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish.
  4. Top with a layer of ravioli.
  5. Spread a layer of the cottage cheese mixture atop the ravioli.
  6. Top with a layer of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Top with a layer of alfredo sauce.
  8. Repeat steps 4-7, and top with a generous portion of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

What’s cooking, ladies?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Insecurity, Part 2

Thank you so much for your responses to my Insecurity post last week! I greatly appreciate your comments. It helps so much to know that I’m not the only person that struggles with self doubts. That post really forced to me think about how I view myself and how I can become more accepting of my faults.

I am a bit of a Negative Nancy. I try really, really, really hard not to be, but deep down I am. I really push myself to be positive and upbeat, but when it comes to my thoughts about myself I am very negative.

I remember a few years ago doing a teambuilding exercise at a work function. The leader told us to write down 5 positive things about ourselves. Everyone else got busy and were done in seconds. At the end of the session, my paper was still sitting blank. If you asked me today to name five things I’m good at, I would struggle to give you answers. I see all the bad of myself and none of the good. I am my own worst critic.

Picture 174See this picture? Most of you would look at it and say it is a good picture of me. I look at it and think “Fat rolls! Wonky eye! What’s up with my makeup?! My hair looks a hot mess.”

Last week I spoke about how a recent conversation with a coworker had forced me to focus on all of the fears and insecurities I have as a mother. As moms we hear so much negative feedback regarding our parenting: from our own kids (“I hate you!”), to our family members (“I fed you solids starting a 2 weeks old and you turned out just fine!”), to other mommies (“I would never work outside the home. You are paying someone else to raise your child.”) At the very least, shouldn’t we believe in ourselves and our abilities? Shouldn’t I be secure in the knowledge that I’m doing the very best I can for my child?

Let me give you a few examples of the way insecurity has infiltrated my life as a mom.

Example 1: Most of you will remember my post about Cooper’s burn. Well, he’s all healed now, thank goodness. Still, I’m haunted by what happened. My baby was less than 2 weeks old when that happened, and I would give anything to go back to that day and say “no”. No, he doesn’t need that medical procedure. No, I don’t want you, Dr. Smith, to do it. No, it isn’t acceptable that you haven’t apologized for your actions. My lack of assertiveness had serious consequences for my child. I had someone say to me “well, why didn’t you just say no?” Why indeed.

Example 2: I worry every day about the whether or not I made the right decision regarding daycare. I wish with all my heart we could afford for me to stay at home, but that isn’t an option for us right now. I worry that he isn’t in the right setting. I wish he could be with a family member, but they are all 3 hours away. Should I have chosen a different center? Should I have chosen an in-home daycare? Is my child getting the attention he needs? I am sure I’m not the only working mother who has had these feelings. The internal struggle I have with leaving him is made even worse by SAHM moms (who I will choose to believe do not know how their words make other moms feel) who say things like “I could NEVER leave my child. I don’t know how you can do that.”

Example 3: Do I spend enough time with my child? Is the time I spend quality time? Isn’t this a struggle we all face, whether we’re moms or not? Maybe the quality time is your pet, your spouse, your boyfriend, or your child. At the end of the day, I’m sure we’ve all felt guilt about taking time for ourselves versus giving it to other people.

I walk a fine line between thinking my insecurities are a good thing and thinking that they are overwhelming me. When I say that they are a good thing, I mean that they force me to examine my choices. Am I spending enough time with Cooper? Are there ways I could spend more quality time with him, playing and having fun as a family? On the other hand, I don’t want to get so overwhelmed with what I might be doing wrong that it consumes me.

I wish I could tell you that I have overcome these insecurities, but I have not. They cross my mind in some way, shape, or form each day. At the end of the day, I just tell myself I’m trying, and if I do make mistakes, I promise to do things differently the next day.

IMG_0716Cooper gets exhausted by his high maintenance mommy.

Readers, what are your insecurities? What negative thoughts do you struggle with? (They don’t have to be mom-related.) How do you deal with your insecurities?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Show Us Your Life - Books

Today I’m participating in Show Us Your Life, hosted by Kelly of Kelly’s Korner. Today’s Show Us Your Life is all about books.

I love to read. I’ve loved to read since I was a child. I started reading adult fiction when I was in elementary school. I devour books; I can read a novel in a 3 hour sitting. Pre-baby, I read 5-6 books a week. Now it takes me about a week to make it through a book because the only time I can read is at night before bed. The best present my husband has ever gotten me is the Kindle, which he gifted me with for my 30th birthday last year.

I hope Cooper inherits my love of reading. Reading really served to improve my writing skills and expand my vocabulary.

My favorite children’s book is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. I also love the Rainbow Fish books, Little Women, the Ann of Green Gables series, Shel Silverstein books, and anything Dr. Seuss.

It took me awhile to succumb to the Twilight craze, but once I did I was hooked. (Same with Harry Potter.) I started searching for other young adult books with similar content, and I found quite a few series I have fell in love with. If you liked Twilight, you will probably like these series.

The Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz

The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

The Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine

The House of Night series by PC & Kristin Cast

These authors write adult fiction with a supernatural bent.

Ilona Andrews – the Kate Daniels and The Edge series

Gerry Bartlett – the Real Vampires series

Mary Janice Davidson – I like all her books, but the Undead series is my favorite. Her books are hilarious chick-lit.

Charlaine Harris – love her Sookie Stackhouse series. Have you read Dead in the Family? Thoughts?

Kim Harrison – The Hollows series is excellent reading.

These are my go-to authors for romance with a little bit of mystery and suspense.

Mary Kay Andrews – my favorite author, hands down. She writes Southern fiction.

Jennifer Crusie

Jude Deveraux

Julie Garwood

Sophie Kinsella – the Shopaholic series is just good, lighthearted fun. It’s a very cute and fun series.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Karen Robards

Jennifer Weiner

In case you can’t tell by my selections, I am not an intellectual type. I like to be entertained when I read. Please don’t read too much into my book choices – I promise I don’t wear black lipstick and fake fangs. Although I do have a little crush on a werewolf (Taylor Lautner from Twilight – he’s legal!).

What are your favorite authors? What kind of books do you like to read?



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