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Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Confessions


Today I'm linking up with Mamarazzi and Glamazon for Friday Confessional. I've got a lot to get off my chest this week.

I confess...

Two weeks ago Jason & I sat down to have a very uncomfortable but necessary chat about finances. Let's just say I've been put on a budget, and I don't like it. No more Target runs, no more shoes, no more stalking the mall just because I'm bored or don't have something else to do. Y'all... budgeting stinks. Me no likey.

I confess...

The above budget doesn't apply to Cooper. I mean, the boy needs cute clothes, right? Right? You don't think so? Neither does my husband. I did manage to convince him these shoes were necessary, though. Cooper loves him some Mickey Mouse.



I confess...

I started Weight Watchers and I'm having a teeny-tiny, itsy bitsy problem with staying on plan. Did you know Route 44 Dr. Pepper drinks are 13 points? Well, they are. I've only stayed consistently on plan for one day in the past two weeks. Someone has a problem with willpower. Someone also has a problem with fitting in her jeans.


I confess...

I joined the Y this week and my first week of workouts has been quite interesting. Besides the fact that every single time I start to walk briskly on the treadmill I have to hop off to go poop (see, even my body doesn't want me to work out!) (does this happen to anyone else? No? Ok then.) I've seen some characters this week. First there was the girl who, in the wide open, hiked up her leg and vigorously scratched her vayjayjay. I sanitized the machines five times that day. Then there was the guy who, for the 40 minutes I worked out, would come in and hop on the stair master for 1-2 minutes at a time. He'd leave, come back, exercise for 1-2 minutes, go away for 5 minutes, come back.... strange. Dude, I can't handle the stair master either. I'd hop off after 1-2 minutes but unlike you I probably wouldn't come back. Lastly, there was the elderly woman who walked around the locker room for 10 minutes buck naked while I changed my clothes. Awkward much?

I confess....

I might have ugly cried when I got this Edible Arrangement from Shawn. I have the best, most supportive friends who are totally carrying me through this hard time I'm going through right now. I love you, girl!


I confess...

Impulsive Addict shamed me yesterday when she asked me why I wasn't coming by to comment on her blog. Girl, I'm so glad you emailed me. To everyone: I apologize for my lack of bloggy reciprocity. I've been a tiny bit overwhelmed this month and some days the number in my Google Reader seems daunting, so I hit "read all" to clear it out. I won't make excuses, but if you comment on this post, I promise I will stalk your blog this weekend.

I confess...

I'm loving Cooper's super clingy phase. He loves his Mama! He's always been a very independent child, and normally he'll go to anyone without a backwards glance. When I drop him off at daycare in the morning, most times he leaps into his provider's arms without saying goodbye. It warmed my heart this weekend when he didn't want me to leave him at daycare.

I confess...

I'm in love with my doctor. I want him to be my Brother Husband. (Get it? Sister Wives? No? Sigh.) He's so warm and friendly when I go in his office. He listens to me complain and whine, and he doesn't immediately start telling me what to do or how to feel. He just lets me vent. When I'm done, he offers me small white pills to make it all better! The way to my heart is Xanax.

Ok, that's enough for now. Be sure to comment so I can remember to come by your blog. Lurkers, come out of hiding! Please?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What’s In My Makeup Bag?

I’m a total makeup junkie. Seriously – I have an addiction. I’ve reigned it in the past couple of years, but there was a time when I was stalking Sephora like it was my job. The MAs (makeup artists) at MAC knew me by name & called me when a new product came in. My makeup took up more space than my shoes & purses did.

I think makeup is God’s gift to women. How many women can honestly step outside without a stitch of makeup and not scare small toddlers? Not many. We’ve all struggled with acne, discoloration, rosacea, and a myriad of other problems only us women face. Makeup covers our flaws. It enhances our beauty. And… it’s just plain fun to wear.

I promised you guys ages ago that I would do a “what’s in my makeup bag?” vlog. I actually filmed this weeks ago, but I was self-conscious about how I sounded.

Things You Should Know About This Vlog:

My husband is filming me, and he decided to be artistic and zoom in and out. If you’re extremely motion sick, you might want to skip this vlog.

I’m talking super fast. I didn’t want the vlog to be so long that you wouldn’t want to watch it, so I barely took a breath the entire time I was filming.

My husband was making fun of me the entire time, so I kept laughing awkwardly.

Also, I have a bad habit of mispronouncing words. If I have any glaring mistakes, please let me know.

With that said…. here we go!

What’s in my makeup bag? Watch to see!

Thoughts:

The palette I couldn’t remember the name of is Lorac Croc palette. It’s fabulous! You can purchase it here

This is an awkward iPhone picture I took of myself the night I did my vlog. I always feel the need to document whenever I shave my legs, straighten my hair, and put on makeup. Those are good days!

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I plan to do another vlog at some point with a tour of my (makeup) train cases, my favorite products, and how to clean your makeup brushes. What else would you like to see? If you like the vlogs, I’ll do more!

My friend Tricia is an amazingly talented makeup artist based in Florida. She’s offered to do a vlog for you guys! What would you like to ask a professional makeup artist? Is there something (makeup related) you would like to learn how to do?

Please give me some feedback in the comments!

P.S. Jason’s very important interview is at 9:00 a.m EST on Thursday. Please, please say a prayer for him! Thank you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ch-Ch-Changes

Life is funny sometimes, don't you think?

If you would have asked me 15 years ago what my life would be like now, I would have told you that I'd still be living in the town I grew up with. I'd marry a local boy, and we'd have kids and live happily ever after. We'd buy a house as soon as we got married, and we'd live there for the rest of our married lives.

Boy, was I wrong. My entire family lives in the same town in South Carolina. The most I'd ever traveled was on a trip to Disney World. I went to college 3 hours away and came home at least once a month. I moved to Charleston, SC for graduate school and continued to see my family often. I was a hometown girl... or so I thought.

Jason wandered into my life right out of the blue. I knew two months after I met him that I would one day marry him. The fact that he was military never factored into my relationship. To be perfectly honest, in my haze of love I never really stopped to consider what that would mean.

What is means is sacrifice. It means not seeing the one you love for months (or more) at a time. It means not hearing his voice, not even one time, for three months in a row. It means that the only form of communication that you have is the occasional letter and the even more infrequent email.

It also means never putting down roots. Me, the girl who had barely traveled out of state, would one day travel the United States.

If I had understood that when I met Jason, our relationship might have gone differently.

Please don't misunderstand me. I love my husband, and our life together has been rich and blessed. The military, while a huge adjustment, has given us so many opportunities. The pay is great, the benefits are wonderful, and the camaraderie has lead to some spectacular friendships.

Jason and I moved to his first duty station (GA) about three weeks after our wedding. Within two weeks he had been sent out on his first patrol. I knew no one in Georgia, and I was without the man I loved. It was brutal. But I forced myself to attend our spouse support group meetings and I became part of a local network of military wives. I made friends, and I made a home.

Fast forward one year, and we were forced to move to Washington (state) because the boat was changing homeports. After much whining and crying, I put on my big girl panties and forced myself to have a good attitude about the move. I won't lie - this was by far the hardest move we've ever made. I was 3,000 miles away from my family. I had very few friends and no job.

Eventually I pulled myself out of my post-move depression and I began to move on. I got an amazing job. I became the President of our sub's Family Support Group. I made some amazing friendships, and I slowly came to love the area.

We were in Washington for 4 years. In that time, I saw my family three times. 3 times! The girl who talks to her mother on the phone at least once a day lost all contact with the people I loved. Slowly, my friends became my family. My marriage grew stronger because my husband and I had to rely on just each other. When we first received the news we had to move to Washington, I dreaded the time we would have to live there. By the time we left, I honestly felt as if those 4 years had been some of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life.

In 2008, we moved back to South Carolina. I was once again 3 hours away from my family, and we could see them whenever we wanted. Jason and I bought our home. We had a baby.

We love our lives.Everything is perfect just as it is.

But there are changes on the horizon. Jason has decided to get out of the military after 10 years of service. He will be separating from the Navy in June. In June, our lives will change drastically.

And I'm scared to death, y'all. I'm consumed with worry about the future. Where will we live? Where will he work? Will I find a job? Where will Cooper go to daycare? Can we rent our home? If we can't, how will we afford two mortgages?

These thoughts play out in an endless loop inside my head until I finally fall asleep at night. I am a mess.

If it was left up to me, I would like Jason to stay in the Navy. The Navy has been good to us, and I know he will have job security in this economy. But it isn't up to me. My husband is the one who has had to make so many sacrifices for his job. His work in the Navy has been stressful and difficult. He's tired, and he wants to move on. He wants to put down roots and be in a place where he can see his son grow up.

I support him, 100%. I'm scared to death, but I support him. He's interviewing tomorrow for a position at a Senior Reactor Operator of a civilian nuclear power plant in South Carolina. Tomorrow, our lives could change.

Please pray for us. Specifically, please pray for Jason. His interview is at 9:00 a.m. (eastern) on Thursday morning.

(More to come - this was getting too long so I'm breaking this up into two posts.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yums In The Tums, Part 2

Back in August, I did a post on how I made & pureed Cooper’s baby food using fresh foods and vegetables. Now that he’s older and is no longer eating purees, I thought it was time to share how I feed him now that he’s able to eat a wider variety of foods and textures.

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*Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I’m not trying to say I’m an expert. This is just to give other moms ideas of what I do for my son. Talk to your doctor about when to start certain foods with your child.

I did not start solids until Cooper was 6 months old. I started feeding him puffs & yogurt melts around 7 months, and I moved on to soft finger foods around 8 months. He weaned himself off purees around 10 months, and now eats finger foods and/or “adult” foods at every meal.

Please remember when you start certain foods will depend on how many teeth your child has. Cooper got multiple teeth very early, so I’ve been able to give him more complex and harder texture foods. I am also not a parent who is overly worried about choking. I know it is a risk, but I’ve always been very adventurous about letting him try different foods. I just cut them into small pieces to reduce the risk of choking.

I’m going to break down what I fed him by age, just to give you an idea of what I thought Cooper could handle each month.

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7 months

Puffs

Yogurt Melts

Mums

Teething Biscuits

Fruit in the mesh feeder

A typical meal at this point was rice cereal prepared with formula & pureed fruit, several cubes of pureed vegetables, and some sort of independent food (meaning, a food he could feed himself) at the end of the meal.

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8-10 months

I started to incorporate soft pieces of fruits and vegetables, as well as the foods mentioned above.

Diced avocado

Steamed peas

Steamed (very soft) carrots

Banana

Cantaloupe

Mango

Steamed pears & apples

Kiwi

I did try to give him as many fresh foods and vegetables as possible. However, some fruits are difficult to eat or prepare because they are crisp &/or hard for babies to chew. Del Monte makes fruit cups that are served in natural fruit juice, and I always keep these on hand for Cooper. They are wonderful because the fruit is very soft. I am not a canned vegetable fan, but if you are, canned vegetables are the perfect texture for babies that need to gum their foods.

Fruit can be slippery – try coating them in wheat germ (or cheerio dust) to help the baby’s little fingers grasp them better.

A typical meal at this point was pureed vegetables and some sort of diced fruit for him to eat independently.

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10-12 months

This is when I started to relax a little about what I fed him. He had four teeth at this point and was pretty much able to eat anything, as long as it was cut into small pieces.

Grilled cheese sandwiches

Cheese quesadillas

Toast with butter and/or all fruit spread

Waffles

Pancakes

String cheese

Sweet potato (baked) wedges

A typical (dinner) meal consisted of a grilled cheese sandwich (half a sandwich) or waffle and diced fruit. I didn’t give him eggs until he was 1 year old so I loved this recipe for pancakes, which doesn’t use egg whites.

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1 year old

I did not start meats until he was one year old. I’m still not great about giving him meats… I need to do better about incorporating protein into his diet. I do give him edamame as a source of protein, however. Cooper likes it!

I made a big batch of chicken nuggets using boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks. I used an egg & milk wash, and then dipped into a mixture of flour & wheat germ. After they baked, I froze them and now I can scoop them out of a zip lock bag to be heated up as needed.

His pediatrician gave me the all clear to start peanut butter, so he enjoys that spread on toast or waffles. I make big batches of pancakes or waffles and freeze them for later.

I love green smoothies, and it is a great way to sneak in vegetables to your child’s diet. I make Cooper’s with fresh spinach, pineapple, banana, flaxseed, and almond milk. It is delicious and you can’t even taste the spinach.

I put a scoop of flaxseed in his rice cereal or yogurt daily.

Here’s an example of what I would pack for a typical day at daycare:

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Top left is breakfast – 4 scoops of Earth’s Best Apple & Sweet Potato Mixed Grain Cereal prepared with whole milk, pureed fruit (I normally use applesauce, but this is Revolution Foods Mixed Berry Mashups), and a scoop of organic ground flaxseed.

Bottom left is Cooper’s afternoon snack. It is whole milk plain yogurt, a scoop of all fruit apricot preserves, and more ground flaxseed.

Lunch is on the right and consists of Earth’s Best Semolina Pastina mixed with three cubes of pureed squash, quartered grapes (in the small container), and homemade chicken nuggets.

Other meals include eggs scrambled with cheese, quiche made with vegetables, waffles spread with peanut butter, tomato soup, deli meat, black bean burgers, and macaroni and cheese.

Moms, what do you feed your toddlers? I’d love to hear your meal ideas! Please share!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Imperfect Me

I've never been a big fan of bloggers who present themselves as perfect. You know the ones I'm talking about - their houses are perfectly decorated, never messy, and they never have toys laying out across the floor. In every picture they post of themselves they are perfectly made up, dressed to the nines, and are beautifully accessorized. They never seem to post about temper tantrums their children through or fights with their husbands. In other words, they only present their best side.

To be honest, these bloggers make me feel bad about myself. It makes me question myself as a mother because my child doesn't speak in full sentences and is just starting to walk. It makes me feel like I can't post pictures of myself because I have three chins and thunder thighs. I don't have the "it" bag or the expensive shoes. If I took a picture of my kitchen right now, you'd see the dishes from Monday night in the sink and Cooper's dirty clothes on the living room floor.

I'm here to tell you that I'm not perfect. Far from it. I never want you to feel that way when you read my blog. I don't think I'm better than you. I don't think my choices are better than yours. I don't think my marriage is perfect, my child is not perfectly behaved, and even my chihuahuas have serious adjustment issues.

On the other hand, I also don't want to constantly bombard you with the not-so-attractive or disappointing aspects of my life. I don't want to be a doom & gloom person on my blog even when I feel that way on the inside. I've been struggling with postpartum depression for quite some time, yet I only recently posted about it on my blog. I just don't want people to know I'm struggling.

It has become apparent to me recently how much I've been struggling lately with my sense of self-worth. I've always had problems with my self-esteem, but recently I find it hard to identify anything I like about myself or anything I feel I do well. Depression does that to you... it steals away any light or happiness that you can find in life and leaves you feeling as if a dark cloud is following you through your days and nights.

Sunday night Jason came into our bedroom, and as he was getting ready for bed he asked me "Who do you think Cooper will take after, personality wise?" I replied "I don't know. What do you think?" A dagger pierced my heart when he said "Well, I just hope he's nothing like you."

Ouch. The blows kept coming as I recounted this story to my mother yesterday, and she responded with (while laughing) "I hope he's nothing like you, too!"

Please don't bash my husband or mother... they later clarified what they meant by that, and it wasn't as bad as it sounded to me at first. 

This plays on my very worst fears, both as a person and as a mother. At the end of the day, I want people to like me. I want people to think I've done some good in this world, that I've made a difference, that I am a kind and compassionate person. To hear my son shouldn't be anything like me? Well, that hurts.

Here's the truth about me: I'm flawed. In fact, the past few months I've been an out and out bitch. My depression and anxiety has turned me into an angry, bitter person who has taken her feelings out on those she loves the most. I know I'm not perfect. But my biggest fear is that it isn't the depression that has made me this way - it is who I really am. I don't want to be this person that gets stressed out and anxious all the time. I don't want to be the girl who snaps at her husband for no good reason at all. I don't want to avoid phone calls from my friends and family because I'm worried about biting their heads off, or worse - letting them in on my crazy.

I guess I've lost all sense of what I like about myself. I'm now more focused on what I do wrong than what I do right, and y'all, that is a terrible way to live your life.

I had a conversation with my BFF last night where I shared my feelings and fears. She asked me "Why do you think that? Why do you think you're a bad person?"

Because I'm selfish. I think about myself and my family more than I think about what is going on with others that I love. I pray for myself, first and foremost, and others when I think about it... not first or daily as I should.

Because I'm lazy. My house is a war zone. I'm wearing and re-washing the same outfits over and over because I don't want to fold the mound of clothes now residing in Cooper's pack and play.

Because I take my feelings out on those I care about. I snap at my husband. I'm short with my mother. I avoid my best friend's phone calls because I don't want her to know what is really going on with me.

Because... because... because....

Imperfect, that's me. I'm ok with being imperfect, if only I can accept that sometimes imperfections are the most beautiful parts of us all.

Friday, March 4, 2011

These Are My Confessions

Hey friends! Happy Friday!


Thank you so much for your awesome feedback on my vlog. I am so happy you liked it and I'm actually contemplating doing more in the future! I was thinking maybe this weekend I'd do a vlog regarding what's in my makeup bag. What do you think? Would you be interested?



Today I'm linking up with Mamarazzi and Glamazon  for the Friday Confessional. Join in, please! What do you need to get off your chest today?


I confess:

I love the new Rihanna S&M song. It contains awesome lyrics like: cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it/ sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it/ sticks and stones may break my bones/ but chains and whips excite me. I'm fist pumping my way through the song as we speak. I also love Lady Gaga's Born This Way. I don't even care that it is Madonna circa 1990. IT ROCKS.

I confess:

The other day I rubbed Moroccanoil all over my face before I realized it was not my moisturizer. Lovely.

I confess:

Pregnancy left me with some awesome marks of war. I'll take stretch marks any day over skin tags and melasma. My pregnancy mask (dark brown splotches on the skin that are permanent) makes me look like I have a constant mustache. I mean, it's bad enough I do have a mustache. Why do I have to look like it even when the lip has been waxed?

I confess:

I have a mustache. Thanks, Dad. At least I don't have hair sprouting out of my ears like you do. Not yet anyway....

I confess:

I also have T-Rex arms. Think about it. They are so short they don't reach around the person I'm hugging. I need a step stool to reach Cooper when he's laying down in his crib. I have to get a broom to retrieve toys that roll under the couch.

I confess:

I hate talking on the phone. It gives me great anxiety. The whole time I'm talking, I'm worried about what I'm going to say next so as to avoid that awkward silence. Text me or email me, please.

I confess:

I've never Skyped, HeyTelled, or FaceTimed. Which is probably a good thing, because then the person on the other end can't see my anxiety over our conversation.

What's on your mind this week?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

To Vlog or Not to Vlog?

When Shawn and Mamarazzi announced they were doing a Monthly Vlog, I was super hesitant to link up. I was worried I’d look stupid or sound stupid. I didn’t want to reveal the fact that one Route 44 Dr. Pepper a day has made me gain weight instead of loosing post-baby. I thought I’d have to get dolled up and do my hair and makeup to film a vlog.

Well, obviously I got over it. I apologize in advance for how much of a hot mess I look today. In the spirit of keeping it real, I filmed as is.

I literally cannot believe I am putting this out there… sheesh. It’s bad. Forgive me. Please?



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