September 28, 2012

In Which We Win Redneck Parents of the Year

I'd like to tell you a story about how Chris and I have won redneck parents of the year.
A few weeks ago Chris came across a YouTube video by an artist called Big Smo. The title of his song is "Kickin' It in Tennessee". It's not some sweet little ditty a la Kenny Chesney and "Back Where I Come From". No. It's a bunch redneck white boys rapping, about living in Tennessee and eating "two dollar pig steak". On one level, it is completely hilarious and then on another I now know why people think what they do about Tennessee.
A few nights later Evie was fussing as we were putting on her pajamas. Usually some music will calm her right now. I asked Chris to put some on. When he pulled up YouTube, guess what was still there? You betcha. Kickin' It in Tennessee. So he played it as a joke.
Well it looks like the joke's on us. Evie loved it. After I got her dressed she was bobbing her head, dancing and waving her arms all around. Almost every single night since then she's listened to it. She literally squeals in delight when she hears the opening notes. So each night she dances and laughs and I shake my head at the whole scene.
So instead of Rock A Bye Baby, my kid's lullaby has lyrics that describe a girl as "fine as a frog hair split four ways". Yeah. I can't make this kind of stuff up.
For your viewing pleasure...
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September 27, 2012

Thursday Brain Dump

Brought to you by the fact that my garbage disposal, dishwasher and air-conditioning are ALL NOT WORKING right now therefore neither is my brain. So here you go, another trip to the murky depths of my brain.
1) Madonna. WHISKEY.TANGO.FOXTROT. In case anyone was still holding out hope that maybe she might have a shred of sanity left, her profanity laced drunken shout out to President Obama should squash it. I don't care about your politics at all -- this was cray cray. And if I were the POTUS I would be quietly having the CIA off her so that she wouldn't endorse me, ever again.
2) Guys, I still judge people at the grocery store. I can't help it. I try, I really do. I also judge people who tell me they are eating healthy because their mac-n-cheese is organic. Ummm no. Mac-n-cheese is never really a healthy meal.
3) I am glad that the real NFL refs are going to be back this weekend so I don't have to see it all over my newsfeed every five seconds.
4) I don't like Pumpkin Spice Lattes. There. I said it. I am out of the Starbucks closet. Judge me.
5) We had two weeks of gorgeous Fall weather and then yesterday it was 87F and muggy. Come back Fall. I miss you.
6) Evie is going to be a dinosaur for Halloween. You will not find me at Michael's, Hobby Lobby of Jo-Ann trolling the aisles for patterns and fabric. I'm ordering that shizz straight from Amazon and I'm proud of it. Please refer to my "about me" section for the reason why.
7) Friends, my OB cleared me for another pregnancy earlier this week. That combined with the birth of this beautiful girl has sent me over the edge into full blown baby fever. I want one! Don't get too excited because it'll still be a while, but for the first time I am truly open to and excited for another baby (more on this later).
8) I am beyond excited that all of my shows are back on! I have not watched this week's Parenthood yet, but I know I am going to cry like a baby. I also want to start watching The New Normal & Ben and Kate.
9) My kid learned how to say shut-up. I AM THAT MOTHER. Must watch mouth around the toddler!
10) I can't wait for this weekend. I swear this has been the longest week in the history of weeks. I am exhausted and so ready to lay around, and (hopefully if it cools off) make red beans and rice!
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September 26, 2012

Are We Overthinking It?

Last week I posted about being unsure of where I stand as mother. And most of you were right out there with me, just kind of figuring it out as you went a long. And I appreciate all of your support and solidarity. It helps to hear I am in good company.
But the fact that I felt the need to write about it at all made me wonder, are we overthinking it?
Has motherhood become more about defining yourself as a certain style of mom and researching every last detail to the nth degree that we've forgotten how to trust our instincts and go with our guts?
Have we become so caught up in whatever side we take on the mommy wars that we've forgotten that the bottom line is raising happy healthy little humans? Have become more concerned with making the absolute right decision as mothers that we've lost sight of the fact that motherhood requires the ultimate flexibility? Why do we feel guilty when using our God given hearts and heads goes against what a certain book or philosophy says?
I going to try and stop doing that. Overthinking that is, and questioning myself every time I do anything. I'm trusting my instincts a little more and realize at the end of the day if we have a happy child who is fed, safe and loved we've done a good job.
What do you think? Do you think I am overthinking about overthinking?
PS Guys, I feel silly asking again, but right now I am in the top 15 on Top Baby Blogs and I only get to stay there with your votes. So, would you be so kind as to take a few seconds and click the banner below and then the owl on the left? Thank you so so much. Also if you are on TBB and need a vote, let me know. I'll be happy to return the favor!
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September 24, 2012

Things I Never Thought I'd Say

There are a lot of things you never realize you'll do as a mother. You might not realize that you will actually get poop all over you and even fish it out of a bath tub with your bare hands. You might not realize that you will eventually go out in public unknowingly sporting some sort of baby fluid on your clothes, be it spit up, slobber, boogers or poop it will happen.

 Perhaps even more funny however, are the things that you say that make you stop and think, "I can't believe I actually just said that. This is an all time low." Some of the things I have said to or about Evie are hilarious and some are just downright gross. 

"Evie! Quit playing with the cat box! Nasty! No!" 

In the seafood section of the grocery store: 
Me: Evie can you say fish? 
Evie: SHIT! 
Me: No, Evie. Don't say shit! Fish!!!
Me: Ok, it's time to move on to poultry. 

"Evie! Don't touch the dogs' butts!!!" 

"Hi! I'm click the camera! Say click! Take a pic!"

"Evie. We do not eat diapers." 

"Evie, please don't lick the cat, honey." 

"Evie! For the love of God please don't put your hand in your poop!" (I say this on a lot.)

What are some funny or unexpected things you've found yourself saying to your kids lately? Come link up with Melissa at Growing Up Geeky and share! 
{PS Y'all Top Baby Blogs just reset and I need your votes! Thanks to you we made it to the first page and I'd love to stay there! It only takes two clicks! Once on the banner below and then on the owl on the left! Thank you so much for your continued support!}
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A Small Favor Please

Hey y'all they reset the votes for Top Baby Blogs last night. This means that I've lost all of my votes as well as my ranking on the first page (boo!). I know I've found a lot of y'all through Top Baby Blogs and I would love to continue being on page one! So, I again humbly ask for your vote. It's super easy, just click the square below and then on the owl on the left. You can do it once every 24 hours so please come back and vote as many times and you can or would like! Thank you so so much again for all of y'all's continued support! 
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September 23, 2012

Evie's Eighteen Month Update

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September 21, 2012

Call for October Sponsors and Ad Space Specials!

Are you a blogger looking for more readers and exposure? Are you an ETSY shop owner wanting to promote your product? Do you own a business you need to advertise?

Well, that's awesome! Because It's a Vol! is now accepting sponsorships for the month of October!

You can visit our PR PAGE for more information on sponsorships in the forms of ads, reviews and sponsored posts, as well as peek at my stats and other information.

If you don't see something that suits your fancy please email me at itsavol {at} yahoo {dot} com, shoot me a tweet, @itsavol OR if it's more your speed send me a message on our Facebook page, and we will see what we can work out!

Oh, ANDPLUSALSO, we've got a flash sale going on right now!!! Use coupon code "VOLS" for 50% off both Daddy and Mommy Vol sized ad spots! This code is good until MIDNIGHT (CST) September 27, 2012.
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September Spotlight Post: Sweet. Southern. Spirited.

Y'all say Hi to one of my August and September sposnors, Andie of Sweet. Southern. Spirited. I have truly enjoyed getting to know her over the past four months. You know how there are some people who just "click" with? Andie and I are like that and I am so glad to have her as a friend and sponsor!

I'm Andie, and I blog over at Sweet. Southern. Spirited, where I like to chat about life, southern-isms, motherhood and all sorts of other fun stuff.  I am a lover of good food, taking pictures, LSU & Saints football, and most importantly, my family.   I am a new mom to my little guy Andrew, wife to my dear husband, Scott, and also fur-mom to a crazy Schnihuahua, Maggie. (and that is not a real breed, fyi- there is a story on my blog of how we determined this!)

I found Sarah's blog one day when I was blog surfing and came across her candid stories about PPD/A- right after I had battled with it myself. Fortunately, these days, life is much brighter and easier as a mom and my blog is a bit of a chronicle of this and that- some of my photography, favorite recipes, motherhood stories, fun moments, and everything in between. I hope you'll stop by sometime!

Now as it so happens, Andie is out of town so I am taking over on her blog today and guest posting! Y'all be sure to check it out!


Since I know Andie is just teetering on the brink of toddlerhood (get your running shoes ready momma!) I thought I would share some important items for surviving toddlerhood and coming out relatively sane. Ok I don't know if they will actually keep you sane, but hopefully they'll help!


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September 20, 2012

Vegetarian Baby

Evie is not a picky eater. She never has been. For the most part she has enjoyed eating a variety of foods and, quite frankly, we have enjoyed it too. At eighteen months old she loves Thai food, Chinese food, Japanese food, Indian food, Mexican food, Italian and of course good ol' American cuisine -- as long as it is meat free. Because this kid just doesn't like meat.
Last night we had taco chicken rice bowls for dinner. In her little divider plate I gave her chicken with black beans and some cheese sprinkled on top, brown rice and oranges. She loves black beans and literally picked around the chicken to eat them. The rice was eaten and so were the oranges, but not a bite of chicken. Meatballs in spaghetti sauce go untouched. Turkey burgers with cheese are ignored. Steak will be thrown to the dogs.
The only real meat protein she will eat is fish. And by fish I mean fish and fish only, not shrimp, fish. I'd feed her fish every day if I could but this plan has three problems: 1) Her daddy and I would get sick of fish, and I am not making two dinners. My mom never did it with my brother and I and I won't do it with Evie. 2) There is too much mercury in fish for her to eat it every day. 3) Fresh sustainable sea food is expensive. We aren't Rockefellers here people. 
Even when she was an inside baby she didn't like meat. I didn't eat meat for almost 16 weeks and still sometimes have trouble getting it down. In fact I still can't eat pork in most forms and raw hamburger meat still makes me gag. 
So I guess she knows what she likes and always has. I have no problem with this, however I want to make sure she is getting plenty of protein and I need some help figuring this out!  I've never been a vegetarian so I don't really know great substitute meals.
So if you have any great vegetarian recipes or ideas please please please share them! I need your help!
{Thanks for voting daily! I appreciate your help!}
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September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Feed the Ducks

On Sunday we took Evie to the city park to feed the ducks. Knowing how much she loves animals I figured it would be a hit. Not-so-much. The ducks at the park are all apparently fat and lazy, and probably over fed. Also, toddlers can't throw very far. Evie either hoarded the bread in her fat little fist or dropped it straight down in the water and tried to pick it up. Between the fear that Evie would fall in the lake and either drown or become infested with giardia this momma's anxiety couldn't take it so we headed over to the play ground instead. Way more fun!
{Check out this bad dude. Did not want to mess with him!}
 {"Feeding" the ducks!}

{Momma's water cup is way more fun!}

{Swinging with Daddy! So much fun!}

{Flying baby curls. Having so much fun!}

{Quick play break to take a photo with mommy. She does love me I promise, she just wanted to keep playing!}

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September 18, 2012

What Do I Stand For?

It's a question I ask myself on a daily basis, especially on the parenting front. It seems like so many of my friends have it all set in stone; they know what they are going to do. They have all the nevers and the alwayses figured out when it comes to their precious little bundles of joy.
I've never been that way.

I didn't read one single parenting book while I was pregnant. NOT ONE. The pages of my What to Expect When You're Expecting sit untouched. Same goes for for What to Expect: The First Year. Frankly that kind of crap scared me and I always kind of hoped I wouldn't have a child that followed the book. I mean I wanted healthy and normal but I always wanted a little quirky, a little fun and a little different little girl.

So now I stand as a mom, who is just figuring it out, day by day and it makes me wonder what I stand for as a mom. Where do I fit in?

I almost joined an online community of crunchy earth momma types. But I didn't because I felt like I wouldn't fit in there. Despite the cloth diapering and the efforts that we make to support eco-friendly or "green" living we used Babywise, so that kicks me straight out of that club.

Similarly when I joined the Babywise Google group I didn't find my niche there. I mean we didn't let Evie cry for 45 minutes. We used a pacifier and I rocked Evie to sleep until she wouldn't let me anymore (and I still would be rocking her if she let me). While we aren't against it we aren't all about spanking in our household either. So I was pretty sure I wouldn't fit in there, either and I never became an active member.

It's not that I want to be defined as a mother by one certain philosophy, it's that sometimes it gets tiresome being, or at least feeling, out there in the middle just winging it. Sometimes when I'm watching my daughter pitch a fit over crayons and I feel like I'm just barely treading water I wish I had a defined parenting philosophy to reference or a friend to call and ask what do I do now?

Maybe that's the way it will always be and maybe that's ok. Maybe Evie, her father and I will always wing it.

Maybe we are writing our own book.
{Thanks for voting daily! I truly appreciate all of your support!}
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September 17, 2012

Stitches for Sisters Review & Giveaway!

About a month ago Aleshia of Stitches for Sisters contacted me about possibly doing a giveaway from her ETSY shop. I was excited of course, but more touched by her story. You see Aleshia started as a way to give back, and opened her shop in memory of her sister Dani who died during child birth and her cousin Hannah who was born three months early with cerebral palsy. As a result charities benefiting preemies and children with similar diseases as Hannah are very close to Aleshia's heart and fifty percent of the proceeds from her shop go back to purchasing supplies to crochet items for organizations who accept them.

Her story touched my heart. I am so honored to be able to introduce this wonderful woman with a wonderful vision to y'all.

Stitches for Sisters specializes in hand crocheted headbands for little girls. They are positively adorable. Aleshia asked me for Evie's colors and I said either orange and white or pink and white. I left it up to her because I love surprises! Aleshia made Evie the most adorable orange and white head band with a football charm. Obviously she knows the way to my heart is through my VOLS. It is absolutely perfect for game day and so darn cute on Evie!

{Squee for little footballs!!!}

I am pleased and proud to say you can have one of your very own too! You can shop the Stitches for Sisters shop OR win one!

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway! The first and mandatory entry is to visit Stitches for Sisters and leave me a comment with which headband you would choose if you won! The rest are optional, but I highly suggest you complete them to maximize your chances of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was not compensated for this review. A product was provided to me free of charge for review purposes only, all my opinions are honest and my own.*
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September 14, 2012

Blogs I Love 3.0

I took a few weeks off but now I am back with blogs I have loved this week!
1) Andie's post on writing about imperfect days and not just the picture perfect ones. It's a great reminder to be real as a blogger!
2) Baby Evelyn Dawn's nursery reveal over on The Halbert Homestead. She's one lucky little girl!
3) Delicious sounding Cajun Potato Salad from Kat at Living Like The Kings.
4) Jen's post on how it's never too late to change behaviors. It's a great reminder that we as mothers and our children are always evolving.
5) Sarah's post on what it's like to be afraid of what you already know. If you've had one baby and are pregnant or thinking about trying for another this post will resonate with you!
So that is it for this week y'all! What have your favorite posts for the week been?
{Thanks for voting daily! I appreciate it!}
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September Sponsor Love: A Day in the Life

I'd like to take a minute to introduce you to one of my fabulous sponsor's for the month of September! Y'all meet Mary from A Day in the Life!
Hi!  I'm Mary.  I am a bloggin, cloth diaperin, food cookin, trying my hardest everyday mama of twin toddlers. They definitely keep me on my toes.  I blog about all of it.  I share the project we do and some of our favorite things to eat.  I share the special places we go and the special days we have.  I also like to share our bad days, because everyone has them.  It seems hard to believe how fast it all goes.  I think it is really important to slow down and play with you kids and enjoy everyday because they change so fast.  So stop by my blog and check out the twin toddler cuteness and the havoc the wreak.  I promise, it is an entertaining ride!
Thanks again for sponsoring It's a Vol! Mary! Y'all be sure to check her blog out! You can also find her on FACEBOOK, TWITTER and PINTEREST!

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September 13, 2012

On Crayons, Temper Tantrums and Grace

I knew it was coming, the day when Evie would throw her first full on toddler hissy fit.

Coloring is one of Evie's favorite activities these days, but you have to watch her carefully because she is also cutting her last two teeth and crayons it seems make a great teether. In fact on Sunday she quick fast gobbled a green crayon down before I could say boo about it. The resulting poo was... interesting, to say the least.

A few nights ago Evie was sitting in her anywhere chair coloring a picture for her Nana on her art easel. I needed to pee and I knew that bringing Evie without her crayons would result in a meltdown. So I got down on my knees looked her straight in the eyes and said "Evie. Momma has to use the restroom. I'll be back in less than a minute. Do not eat your crayons while I am gone. Do you understand? Do not eat your crayons. If I come back and you are eating your crayons I am going to take them away until tomorrow. Got it?" She nodded her assent and I made it to the bathroom and back in what must have been record time.

When I returned she had a yellow crayon in her mouth with her teeth firmly clamped around it, gnawing away. I sighed on the inside because I knew this wasn't going to be pretty. But I also knew I had set the boundary and I needed to stick to it. So I took the crayons away.
The resulting fit was epic. We are talking a sliding out of the chair, back arching, leg kicking, fist pounding, big fat tears streaming, baby hollering temper tantrum.
My first reaction was to laugh a little, because really? Over crayons? Then it was annoyance, because really? Over crayons?

Then it finally clicked with me. The whole Toddlerwise tenet of don't react to your child's negative emotions with negative emotions of your own thing just made sense.

I scooped my screaming-crying-almost-eighteen-month-old-toddler up off the floor and with her legs dangling over my arms cradled her like she was still a baby. As she sobbed into my chest (over really? crayons?) I kissed her cheeks, rubbed her back and told her that I loved her very very much, but she couldn't have the crayons back. She broke the rules and didn't obey Momma. We could play with any of her other toys, sing or even watch Go, Diego, Go! but the crayons were off limits until tomorrow. Eventually she calmed down and she happily chose to sing and dance with Diego.

I stood back and I was proud of myself. And I think it's a good thing as mothers to be proud of ourselves for the job we are doing raising a new generation. And not just in the moments when we create the Pinterest perfect crafting activity that is cute, photographable and educational, but in the moments at the end of the day. The moments when the floors are dirty, the dishes need washing, the dogs are barking and it would be a completely acceptable reaction to pull your hair out and run barefoot down the street until the neighbors called someone to take you to the looney bin. Those moments when we choose to show grace are worth being proud over, worth celebrating. At least for me, because God knows I've had more than enough less than graceful moments in motherhood.

{Thanks for voting daily y'all! PS I made it to the first page!!! Thank you so much!}
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September 12, 2012

To My Scar

This post is born out of reading countless posts on just how many "unneccessary" and "pointless" c-sections are performed in this country. It is to those people (who aren't doctors) who have determined that my c-section was uneccessary, who say that I didn't really give birth "the way God intended me to". It is a response to those who question again and again my (yes already made) decision to not push for a VBAC should we have another child, to those who would ask do I not want to experience the magic of child birth? They are infuriating to me all these little digs, these comments, these condescending questions, because I had all of those things and more.

So to My Scar,

Although no stretch marks mar the skin of my abdomen as a result of the nine and a half months I spent pregnant with my daughter, there you sit, four inches below my belly button a reminder forever that I bore a child, that I am a mother.

Sometimes you still hurt when I sneeze or cough, or when the nerves that were severed still misfire. You are mainly white now and barely noticeable, but still there, a permanent part of me as is my daughter. You are a constant souvenir from the night of my child's birth, helping me to remember that moment when I felt the doctors lift my child from my womb and felt the world slide and shift as the one world that she and I shared became two. That moment would never have been made without you.

I want you to know, scar, that when some criticize your presence on my skin and say that I've never given birth to a child merely because you exist I defend you and will defend you to the end. You are legitimate and so was my daughter's birth.

I hope you know that although originally I hoped I wouldn't have you, was scared of you and later even a bit resentful of you, I think you are beautiful. How could you be anything less when you gave me this wonderful amazing child.

 {Thanks for voting daily y'all! I appreciate all of your support!}
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September 11, 2012

My Ex-Friend Violet

Between us and and the grandparents we've spent a ton of money on the latest and greatest toys for Evie. This weekend after we (finally) pulled Evie's My Pal Violet out (it was a Christmas present) I realized that we probably didn't need to spend all that money. While some babies absolutely love the Violet or Scout puppies Evie was all, "Meh. I have real puppies to hug!" She has barely looked at the thing since. Oh well.

On the whole Evie would rather play with:

1) Her Dogs. She loves to give them hugs and kisses and to chase them around.

2) A mixing bowl and a wooden spoon. She likes to help momma cook dinner.

3) Random things she finds so much fun in!

Exhibit A: An empty Mountain Dew one of the construction crew left behind at my in-laws house! What is more fun than an empty crinkly plastic bottle?
Exhibit B: The ice (and only the ice, we are laid back parents but there is a line people) from the beer cooler at her Uncle JJ's birthday party on Saturday. She and Leo (her future hubby/ our Godson) had an absolute BALL playing with the ice! I'm not sure what the game was but they thought it was hilarious!

Do your little ones have an unconventional toys or games they like? Come share with Melissa at Growing Up Geeky for Toddle Along Tuesday!

 {Thanks for all of your support in voting y'all! I am thisclose to being in the top 25 because of your support!}
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