February 28, 2013

Reality Check

A few nights ago Chris, Evie and I had supper with Chris' dad. After debating Italian, Mexican and Chinese we finally landed on IHOP. There's nothing better than breakfast for dinner and the food at our IHOP is outstanding. Once Evie heard pancakes there was no stopping her. She was hollering Supper! Cake cake! so off we went.

I felt very guilty feeding my kid pancakes soaked in strawberry syrup, eggs and bacon for dinner. I promised that the next night I'd make up for it with plenty of green veggies.

Later that night after Evie was in bed I ran up to the gas station. When I pulled up there was a scuffle going on. I went inside to pay and no sooner had I set foot in the door than another lady in the store said, "Oooh, there's a screaming match going on outside!".

The attendent went outside and told them to leave the property. They refused and screamed at her, so she came back in and called the cops. While we waited for the police (because there was no way I was walking back out to my car with that nonsense going on) she told us the full story.  

Apparently this couple pulled up to the gas station and started asking customers for money for gas. They were clearly inebriated. They'd been sitting there for an hour before I got there screaming at one another and asking for gas money. Just before I arrived another lady gave them some money for gas and told them to go on home. They continued to scream at each other, and that's when the attendant called the cops

Now, not that extrodinary of a story. It's typical small town drama.

There's one factor I left out though. There was an infant in the car. A baby, driven to the gas station by her drunk parents. A baby who sat in an unheated car for AN HOUR in the freezing cold listening to her parents scream at one another until the police arrived and arrested her mother for drunk and disorderly. Possibly they arrested her father too; I'm not sure I left shortly after the police arrived.

Now let that sink in for a minute. Did your heart just break a little too? I know mine did.

Here I was hours before feeling like a bad mom for feeding Evie pancakes for supper. My child was warm in her crib with seven or eight of her favorite lovies in bed with her. She was snuggled in her feetsie jammies and cuddled under her favorite wookie. She had a full belly from dinner, and loving parents who checked in on her twice before going to bed themselves.

So I stopped feeling guilty. This was a reality check.

This is the war we really need to be fighting. We don't need to be quibbling about breastfeeding, cloth daipering etc. We need to be fighting a war for the children who don't go to bed in a warm bed at night, who don't have full bellies and clean diapers and clothes.

I hope this is a reality check for you too. I refuse to feel guilty for any of my parenting choices because I know no matter what they are done with Evie's best interests in mind. I hope you refuse to feel guilty about any of your parenting choices too, because I am sure they are done with your children's best interests in mind.

So let's fight a new mommy war. Let's revolt against guilt and judgement for good loving mothers and start fighting for the children who don't know warmth and love. It's time we all had a reality check.

February 27, 2013

Worldess Wednesday: A New Zoo!

We didn't actually go to a new Zoo, we are still members of our beloved Memphis Zoo. However, when we recently found ourselves with a fairly warm weekend day to go we jumped on it. We hadn't been during the day since late October or early November. Evie has always loved the zoo but since our last visit she has learned a ton of new animals and animal sounds, so we just knew this trip would be fun.

And sure enough it was fantastic! Evie was pointing out all the animals and making noises. We can't wait to go back when it is a bit warmer!
{We always see the cats first!}

{Checking out the lions!}

{Is it just me or is anyone else afraid this gorilla is about to steal your soul?}

{Taking a break to warm up by the fire while Daddy had a work call!}

{I just thought these guys were cute!}

{We visited the giraffe's of course! Our favorite giraffe Marilyn recently had a baby girl and we were hoping to see them. They weren't out but hopefully next time they will be!}

{Then it was a visit to The Cat House Cafe for some hawt cawfee for Momma & rainbow sherbert for Evie and Daddy!}


We had a great visit to the zoo and can't wait to go back for the member's preview of Sting Ray Bay!!! 
PS: To my family members who read this blog: I know I've gotten more aggressive with the watermarking, especially with Evie. I know that many of you come here to see her pictures and also that you copy them. I realize that you probably don't want to print a picture with a giant watermark. However, as this blog and space grows I feel as though to protect my daughter I have to be more aggressive with my watermarks. Recently a friend of mine found that her entire life had been copied and posted elsewhere. Pictures of her daughters, her husband and herself were posted under a false identity on facebook. It was very very traumatizing for her. I've always watermarked my photos for this purpose, but they were usually unobtrusive and easily cropped out. I'm sorry I can't do that anymore. Having said that if you are a grandma, aunt, uncle, cousin etc who wants copies of these pictures sans watermarks just email me. I'll be happy to get you copies!

February 26, 2013

Brain Dump Word Vomit

A little treat to the sarcastic depths of my brain because I'm in a mood, and I haven't done one of these in awhile. Enjoy my friends.
1) Who the heck came up with the concept of Tablescapes? I hate tablescapes. I mean really and truly. Sandra Lee is my mortal enemy. I mean look I'm doing good that I get dinner on the table four or five nights a week, my family does not need to eat their fish sandwiches and sweet potato fries amidst a tablescape. Also who the hell has room to store all that crap in their house? Or for that matter enough money to buy all the crap for all these tablescapes. 
2) Sometimes being a girl is a major drag. I mean seriously. Once a month I bloat up like a damn water balloon and NOTHING fits comfortably. Then three days later I spend the entire day running to the bathroom to pee all that water out. Lovely.
3) Being a grown up. What is this nonsense? Chris and I are planning on putting our house on the market in mid-April so that we can buy our forever home. The logistics of this are a nightmare. I think we've come to the conclusion that we will just have to sell our house and then rent an apartment for awhile until we find what we want, where we want. I just don't like the whole not knowing where we will be part of it. Bleh.
4) This cold that will NOT go away is no good. I swear we cycle it around in our family. I can't remember the last time all eight of us were healthy. This stuff has got to go. ADIOS!
5) What is up with Taylor Swift? Because homegirl really cannot sing. Every time I've heard her live I feel as though ripping my eardrums out would be preferable to listening to one more off key note. On the other hand why are her songs so damn catchy??? I don't want to like them but I'm powerless! I knew you were trouble when you walked in! Oh! Oh! Trouble! Trouble! Damn I enjoy the heck out of that song! It's like ear crack.
1) Thanks to one of my lovely blogging besties, Andie I have learned the magic that is roasting your broccoli, and I am now addicted. Seriously. If this is not something you already do, go do it now. Mmmm. So good.
2) Hubby and I have worked out a work out schedule and we are joining a gym this weekend! Wahoo! I really miss being the girl that was always in the gym. She was H.O.T.T. HOT! This momma bod has got to go!
3) Yesterday on my way home the radio totally rocked my face off. Seriously, I loved every song they played. It was amazing because normally I spend the drive home cursing the radio gods and the crap that they are playing!
4) Last week I was pretty sure two might break me. This week two is awesome.
5) Family dinner this past weekend was amazing. We went to the Zoo in the morning and Evie was totally into it, we had a great day and yummy dinner. Then Sunday our whole family came to dinner at our house and to watch the Grizzlies game. Dinner was yummy (if I do say so my self), the game was phenomenal and Evie was so cute and so happy to have all of her favorite people around her. It left me wondering where the weekend went, but it was so worth it!
So there you have it my friends. I hope you enjoyed yet another trip to the bottom of the murky depths of my brain.
What about you? Anything you'd like to get off your chest? Anything you'd like to share?

February 25, 2013

A Letter to Evie: Raising Her Right

I don't mean this to be an over-adulation of Southern culture, but below the Mason-Dixon line and especially in the deep South we raise our children right.

That's not to say that other folks don't raise their children properly or without merit; it's something we say.

Oftentimes compliments on our manners or cooking are met with the response, "Well, my momma raised me right!" It's an acknowledgement that this compliment you've just received is a reflection of your upbringing, and a compliment back to your own mother.

Now that I too have been tasked with raising up a girl I often hope and wonder that I am doing my very best to raise her right.

Dear Evie,
You are being raised to be a Southern lady. Along with this comes a certain kind of responsibility to yourself and to your culture. 

First, always always be proud of where you come from. Trust me baby girl, other people will make fun of it. They will insinuate that you are a backwards, racist, ignorant redneck hick who lives off of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Mountain Dew. Never ever let these people make you doubt for one single second who you are and where you are from. I'm not saying you can't leave it, explore worlds beyond it or even eventually move away from it (although please stay near your mother), but never doubt it dearest. Talking slow doesn't make you stupid, backwards or ignorant; it just means you talk slower.

That being said, while the South is a very lovely place it does have a sordid past. Slavery, Racism, Discrimination, Persecution, KKK. They are all a part of the history of the place you call home. There's no use sweeping it under the rug. You must always base your judgements of other people based on their hearts, your head and the content of their character. Desegregation was not that long alone little one and while your momma has never known a segregated world, your grandparents did. Racism is still alive, and not just down here. It's all over the place. Use your life and your heart to love other people based on their hearts, not their skin color.

Write thank you notes and put them in the mail.

Always make the effort. Primarily, I believe this to be the tenet of Southern women. Make dinners for people who are sick, never find yourself with out the makings for iced tea and a few balls of frozen cookie dough in the freezer, make sure your hair is brushed and your mascara is on even if you are just going to wal mart.

Learn to cook. There is no such thing as a complete and total culinary failure and you can't live off of take out and ramen for forever. You don't have to love it like I do, but you've got a great opportunity to learn how to cook from your GiGi, Nana, Grammie and me. There's only so far a recipe can take you on its own. You have to learn to smell when the butter is brown, hear when the frying oil is ready and feel when the cake is done, and the best place to learn that is from your mother and grandmothers and great-grandmother. Putting a meal on the table is a great way to show someone you love them (and incidentally everyone knows your Daddy married me for my chocolate pie).

Make something that is all your own, that people know you for, that you are asked to contribute to bake sales, potlucks and fundraisers.

Covered dish catering is the way to go.

Pearls are not your Grandmother's jewelry. They are timeless and classic. Cammo is never cute on a girl. No cammo jackets, no cammo boots, no cammo shirts -- just basically no cammo period. Unless you want to go hunting.

Learn to say ma'am and sir. You might get made fun of for it, but trust me darling, manners matter. Use yours. Say please and thank you, and hold doors for other folks. Rethink dating a boy who doesn't use his. A boy who doesn't open the door for you and call your father and me sir and ma'am isn't likely to find favor. Hey is for horses, not for getting someone's attention.

Don't overuse y'all, and never use bless her heart as an excuse to talk badly about someone behind her back.

Don't you ever let me hear you say you are going to college to get a MRS Degree. You are going to college to learn, to study something you are passionate about and to hopefully get a degree that will let you stand on your own two feet. Speaking of college you cannot attend the following: University of Florida, BAMA, Ole Miss, LSU, South Carolina or Georgia. Sorry butter bean, and trust me I'm being generous. Your Daddy would knock a few more off the list.

I hope twenty-eight years from now you are able to look back at your life and say, "My momma raised me right!".

I do love you ever so much my budding little Southern Belle.




February 22, 2013

Hello Out There

So lately I have noticed some new friendly faces over on the left sidebar, Facebook & Twitter.
My little slice of the interwebz gets somewhere around 1500 views per day and there are some of you who comment all the time. I've gotten to know you, to know your stories and have even built some truly amazing friendships! But out of 1500 of you only 20 or leave a comment (not that I expect any of you to leave a comment unless you want to)? If you are a new follower, an old follower or a silent follower I would really like it if you said hey!
And today is the day -- step out from behind the curtain and introduce yourself! Where are you from? Do you have kids? What led you to It's a Vol?
Pipe up there! I want to get to know you (yes YOU to the one going me?)! I want to be friends! I promise I'm super nice and I don't bite!
So please, really, say hi because I would love to know more of you!
To get this started I am going to do something that I've wanted to do but I've never really been brave enough for a questions post!
What do YOU want to know ABOUT ME?
Leave me your questions in the comments and I'll do a post sometime next week!
And seriously you have to leave questions because if you don't I'll feel like a total lame blog loser.

February 21, 2013

Two Might Break Me

I'm pretty sure that all traces of baby in Evie are gone. She's 100% toddler now and not afraid to let me know it.

My baby is officially a willful, independent, sassy and very opinionated toddler.

My sweet angel that used to give out hugs upon request has now decided hugs are lame, and all requests for hugs should be met with a long drawn out "nooooooo", and an impish little smile before she runs away.

Long gone are the days where she would be content playing in the tupperware cabinet while I cook dinner. No, now she's into every damn thing she can find, pulling cats tails and giggling, inspecting dog's butts with fascination, hiding TV remotes, contact cases and any other thing she can get her hands on.

We are in the full-on pouty lipped, temper tantrum throwing, gimmie gimmie, big giant crocodile tears crying, kicking, slapping, running wild, say no to everything terrible twos. Super.

She's not even two yet and I'm afraid this might be the year that breaks me.

Such a crappy picture I'm not sure why I bothered to watermark it (except there are some serious nut jobs running around the interwebz right now), but you can see clearly I've got a little diva on my hands. Notice the high heels and that little finger she's waving around as she says no no.
God help me.

February 19, 2013

Baby Number Two

It seems like the number of demands that we give Evie a sibling are somehow directly related to Evie's age.
The older she gets the more we get asked when she's getting a brother or a sister.
The truth is we know we aren't done; we know we want at least one more kid (we've always said two with an option for three). We even have a boys name set in stone, unless we end up with boy twins in which case we've got those picked too. We've been throwing around several girl names too.
We want a sibling for Evie. We want a sister for her to play dress up with, or a brother to play in the mud with.
The problem people seem to be having is that we just want it on our own time.
We want at least one more Summer just the three of us, one more Christmas just the three of us and more birthday party for Evie.
I'm not ready to give up being Evie's mom just yet. I know I will always be her mom no matter what but right now that is one of my identities as well. As soon as we become pregnant again, I will always and forever be Evie & _____'s mom.
So while the baby fever was running rampant a few months ago, and we really want Evie to understand the bond of having siblings I am content (and so is Chris) to just enjoy this time we've got right now with our one magical daughter.
When the time comes we will ask God to bless us with another child, and hopefully He will be as generous as He was with the blessing of Evie.
What about you? If you have kids do you want more? If you don't what would your ideal number be?

February 18, 2013

I'm An Effing Mommy Blogger

I'm a mommy blogger y'all. I mean no big surprise there for the majority of you. I write about my kid, things we do together and maybe some other mish mash in there.

And you know what? I am proud of it. Mommy bloggers get a bad rap for lots of reasons (some of which are true -- mommy wars anyone?), but you know what? I own it. I'm an effing Mommy Blogger.

You will never see my Stepping Out Saturday post here because it would likely consist of ummm skinny jeans, a random top with either riding boots, TOMS or Tory Burch flats and no accesories whatsoever (because that would take creativity and thought).

 These nails will never appear on my hands.

In fact right now my nails look like this.

Yeesh. I really do need to take that polish off.

I am NOT crafty at all.
Some moms create handmade Valentine awesomeness like this:

{Photo By: Baby Rabies Tutorial: HERE}

I created this (bought at the last second from Kroger in the all that was left aisle) for Evie's Valentines:

I thought was pretty respectable and perfect for my (almost but not quite yet) two year old's first class Valentine's Day party, and with the pink and red hearts it was very clearly en pointe for the theme.

DIYing? Not my forte (luckily though I have a mother-in-law who is the DIY queen).

This DIY'd Christmas flower arrangement has Angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus!

{Source: Homesessive}

Mine on the other hand does not elicit happy sighs or angelic choruses.

And my tutorial would go something like this:

So ummm, first you want to make your husband buy you a thirteen foot tall Christmas tree. After you get it in the house cut off the top that looks all weird like troll hair.

Nesx, listen when you mother-in-law points out that you could put that in a vase and make a nice smelly good arrangement out of it.

Go to Wal-Mart and buy red berries on sticks with clear shiny stuff on them, also locate sparkly gold twirly ma-bobs.

Stick it all in a vase! Voila! Your very own super frugal DIY'd Christmas arrangement!

And that my friends is why I'm an effing Mommy Blogger, to spare you from my lack of fashion sense, chipped nails, lack of craftiness and dearth of DIY knowledge.

Trust me. Just enjoy the pictures of my cute kid. You're welcome.


February 14, 2013

Vintage Sunshine Giveaway!

Welcome to the next Giveaway in the Celebrating the New Year Event, brought to you by me {It's a Vol!} and Erin {The View from 510}!
The thing about gallery walls? I find them intimidating.
The thing about me? I'm utterly indecisive.

Despite the above statements,  I received a gaggle of picture frames for my birthday {in October} to create my vision for our master bedroom. After four months of staring at these frames, they've finally found a home on my very first gallery wall.

What I learned in the process of creating my wall is that a ton of frames can get a bit streamlined. Mixing up what's in your frames and on your wall is necessary, people! As a lover of all things printables, this was my first go-to.

I found this lovely {and free} printable from Landee See, Landee Do. A perfect beginning balance out the wall.

When introduced to Alyson's shop, Vintage Sunshine, I knew immediately that her State Hoop needed to be added to our gallery wall! The trend of hoops has slowly grown on me. At first, I was unsure, but the more I've seen their versatility, the more I loved them!

For example, Vintage Sunshine's State Hoops.

We've been living in South Carolina for several years now, and whether Brandon says it or not I know he misses Tennessee every day. In my quest to make our house a home I plan to have bits of Tennessee keepsakes around.

The state hoop was a perfect addition to my collection for the master bedroom. I may just have to get a South Carolina one for some symmetry!

Now, is your chance to win a State Hoop for your home!

Be sure to keep up with Alyson on her shop, blog, Twitter and Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
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Wordless Wednesday: SWING!

One of Evie's favorite activities is to "Whing!" (swing). Saturday we took her to the park and ended up swinging until our noses were red, and the sun had set. A fun time followed up with Mexican food after!
PS Remember that time you posted your wordless wednesday post on Thursday? No? Just me? Ok then.

February 13, 2013

One Grace Place Review & Giveaway!

Welcome to the next Giveaway in the Celebrating the New Year Event, brought to you by me {It's a Vol!} and Erin {The View from 510}!

Do you ever get frustrated with the choices for kids bedding these days? I know I do. Oh goody! More Dora. More princesses. More Cars. More Spiderman.

So you're stuck with plain and boring or covered in cartoon characters. Um no. This will not work for this momma!

Enter One Grace Place a company specializing in cute yet stylish bedding for your little ones! Their affordable bedding sets come in infant and youth options and all have available coordinating accessories as well.

The folks over at One Grace Place sent an awesomely soft quilt and toy bag for Evie to try out! Evie was instantly smitten with the quilt and started cheering for her new "wookie" as soon as she saw it! She loves to sit on the couch with this wookie in her lap and watch Diego. I like that it is sturdily made but still really super soft.

The toy bag is a great addition to Evie's play room. It helps us get toys up off the floor and also helps cycle Evie's stuffed animals (she has a lot and she loves them all) so that she doesn't get bored. I love the bright colors and the quality of the stitching and fabric.

How can you get your hands on a super soft quilt or bedding set?

BUY: Visit One Grace Place to shop all of their awesome bedding sets and accessories!

WIN: One Grace Place has offered one lucky reader the chance to win a bedding set of their choice!

HOW TO WIN: This is a Rafflecopter giveaway! The first two entries are mandatory. Once you complete those entries the form will open up additional entries. While these entries are optional I highly suggest completing them to maximize your chances of winning. GOOD LUCK!

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*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. I was sent a review item at no cost to me. My opinions are honest and my own. You can't have them.*

February 12, 2013

Happy Heart Review & Giveaway!

Welcome to the next Giveaway in the Celebrating the New Year Event, brought to you by me {It's a Vol!} and Erin {The View from 510}!

Ashley first learned to sew from her mom and after years of being told she should sell her work, she's taken a leap with Happy Heart, an etsy shop. From diaper bags to coffee sleeves, purses to owl pillows, Happy Heart features a variety of handmade pieces.

When our Nursery Rhyme Sensory Cube arrived last week I couldn't contain my smile. Not only were they double the size I expected, the fabric was just adorable! 

When these plush blocks arrived I started rolling them around to get a good read of nursery rhymes. Jackson, however, gets stuck on the duck each and every time the block rolls by. 

Next thing I know he's running around hollering, quack-quack! That is, before he sprints for the block, tosses it in bed and uses it as a new pillow. My hopes are that this time next year, Jackson will be planning to hand this nursery block over to Baby 2. For now, it's joining the ranks of his favorite toys that live in his crib. 

Yep, this is a toy that'll have a nice long life-span with the ability to suit both infants and toddlers. 

Win: $25 Gift Card and FREE over-night shipping from Happy Heart!
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