March 28, 2013

Evie's Second Birthday

Last Friday my darling girl turned two whole years old.
 
Her Daddy and I took the day off work to hang out with our girl for her special day!  Despite rain and freezing cold temperatures we had a good day! 
 
I made some delicious, if I do say so myself, cinnamon rolls (recipe to come) for breakfast. We put a candle on hers and a balloon on her chair to make it special. She was excited about the balloon and confused by the candle. Then we headed out to the Children's Museum of Memphis. CMOM was our second choice (we wanted to go to the Zoo) and our visit reaffirmed why we are members of the Zoo instead. It was a little run down looking and while there was a toddler area it was pretty lame. I think once Evie is older (maybe 4 or so) it will be worth to have in the winter, but right now she's not tall enough to do a lot of the stuff. After lunch at 5 Guys and naptime we took Evie to build-a-bear for the first time. She was a little overwhelmed by all the stuffed annimals because baby girl LOVES stuffed animals, but in the end she picked and dressed (ie we picked and dressed) a sweet little puppy dog and named her Cinnamon we took her to dinner at Newk's. All in all it was a great day and we can't wait for her party tomorrow!   
 
{Cinnamon Rolls!}
 


{Two!}



{Bed Head, and why is there a balloon on my chair?}


{What is this thing on my cinnamon roll?}


{SLIDE!}



{It's so fluffy I could die!}*



{Cinnamon's First Bath with Daddy!}


{I Love Cinnamon!}


{We took Cinnamon to dinner too!}**

 
 
PS: Pictures like this are what happens when the lighting is super crappy and you have a toddler who refuses to look at the camera. Unless you bribe her with cake!
 
* Bonus points if you can name that movie. Toddler moms UNITE!
** Ignore her mouth full of food. That's what you get when you ask for a toddler to say CHEESE when she's got a mouthful of it already. Oops.
 
 
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Cutting Back

About a month ago it became painfully obvious that my current situation with work wasn't working.  
 
I felt like all the time I spent with my daughter during the week was fraught with frustration, both hers and mine.
 
Mornings are always a mad dash to get everybody dressed, the dogs fed, the house picked up and off to work and daycare, which leaves little time for playing or being silly. It's all business and many times I have to fight with Evie to get dressed because she doesn't want to go to school. She wants to stay home and watch Diego, thankyouverymuch.
 
Evenings are much the same. Dash to the daycare after work, dash home, throw a load of laundry in, start dinner, try to push down guilt because I am making dinner which means that I can't have every iota of attention focused on Evie. Evie is fussy because she's tired and wants every iota of my attention. After dinner, it's another whirlwind of bath time, PJ's and bedtime at 7:30.
 
And all of this rushing and dashing left me feeling like I never got to spend any time with my kid during the week. Which made me reluctant to share her with the grandparents on the weekend because that was the only enjoyable time we spent together. Sometimes I felt like we went days without a happy moment between the two of us, which left me feeling guilty, frustrated and sad.
 
I talked to my husband and prayed about it. I know being a SAHM is not in the cards for us right now, nor do I really want it to be, at least not full time. So I went to my boss and asked to cut back my hours at work. About six weeks before Evie was born I switched from salaried to hourly to allow me to miss a few hours here and there for whatever reason without burning through my PTO.
 
I explained our situation to him. I told him this was not some sort of ultimatum, but that I wasn't happy and it was affecting my performance at work and at home, that I felt like I was missing all the good stuff with Evie. He's a dad, and really just one of the best bosses you could ask for as a working mom, so we came to the agreement that two days a week I would leave at 3:30 instead of 5:00.
 
It doesn't sound like a lot, three hours per week, but it has made a world of difference. Sometimes I use that extra time to do things I need to do like go to the grocery, start dinner, run home and throw a load of laundry in or pick up the house -- all things that take three times as long with a toddler in tow -- that way when I pick her up we have all that time together. Other times, I pick her up from daycare and we go have a little adventure, just the two of us.
 
Last week it was trip to Sonic in the sunshine. This week we took a trip through car wash because Eva Pearl was dirty and then headed next door to Starbucks for a cake pop and chocolate milk. Evie was super excited about her first cake pop. Unfortunately this Starbucks doesn't offer highchairs (what's up with that?), but we made do. Evie sat next to me like a grown up girl eating her cake pop and drinking her chocolate milk. We chatted about any number of things. The cars and trucks driving down the street made for interesting conversation as did the lights hanging from the ceiling. Cinnamon (her new puppy from build a bear) joined us and Evie was generous enough to offer her a few bites of cake pop and a few sips of chocolate milk. Lucky dog. It was thoroughly enjoyable.
 
{I am also having fun with picmonkey's new light features!}
 
 
Once it warms I think we will start visiting the park by her daycare to swing, feed the ducks and play on the play ground.
 
It feels good this cutting back thing. It was the right thing to do, and I am amazed at how a mere three hours can make a difference in my relationship with my daughter.
 
How do you balance your work home life? If you are a stay at home mom how to do you balance your workload with time with your kids?
 
 
 
 
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March 26, 2013

Spring Style

I don't know about y'all but I am beyond ready for Spring, and I mean the real full blown version of Spring, not the little teases we've been having lately. I am ready for long walks to the park, grilling out, splash tables, kiddie pools, flip flops, splash parks and popsicles y'all. I mean, it snowed yesterday. Snow. In late March. In Mississippi. That's crazy talk y'all. This time last year I had already retired my winter shoes and was well into sandal season. Old man winter gets one more week. Monday is April 1st. If it's not warm by then Mother Nature and I are going to have a serious chit chat about appropriate weather.
 
I've been obessed with Spring/Summer clothes this year. Since I've been losing all of this weight I've been dreaming of a new wardrobe for myself, and of course all the cuteness that is little girl's clothes! Chris could have a new wardrobe -- but he's already got the Southern boy Summer wardrobe. We prefer our men in polos, khaki shorts and boat shoes.
 
Of course, up first for me a pair of Tory Burch Miller Thong in Patent Sand. I have the black patent ones and I think the nude colored ones would make a nice addition. I'm hoping for mother's day as I don't make a habit of buying $200 sandals.
 
 

Of course Evie Bug needs some fabulous summer shoes too! I know my mom has already ordered her a new pair of tiny toms for the Summer. I've got some ideas of what I would like her to have this summer as well! I am hoping her chubby feet have slimmed down some so that she has more options, but I am definitely thinking these adorable purple Osh Kosh B'Gosh sandals for daycare, playtime and the boat.



Being a good Southern girl I am obessed with these adorable eyelet lace dresses that Old Navy has out right now! I am definitely considering the Navy Blue for me and the bright pink for Evie.

I am also obessed with mint green paired with neutrals, coral with yellow and bright orange with navy!




Also I suck at polyvore. I prefer to let others do it for me. :)

What styles are you loving this spring!

Linking this post up with Growing Up Geeky for Toddle Along Tuesday!

 
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March 25, 2013

Rage Against the Muffin Top: Revolt Fitness Week 3

This week I learned the difference between FOOD and FUEL.

Basically my week went like this:

Monday: Stuck to plan

Tuesday: Stuck to plan

Wednesday: Stuck to... kid got sick & I took a left turn over to Pizza-ville.

Thursday: Meh. So So. I didn't eat bad during the day, but at night we had friends over. It's a long story but they are friends we see once maybe twice a year, and they were in town for one of their mother's funerals. (Confused yet?) I made all sorts of snacks and well, I ate some of them. Not a huge amount but some.

Friday: BAD BAD BAD. It was Evie's birthday. We had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and Five Guys for lunch. Salad for dinner though.

Saturday: More bad. I did well at the celebration of life. I didn't eat the cookie I wanted, picked the meat out of the wraps they had and ate lots of veggies off of the platter. That night though we went to a local pub and I definitely had a few hot wings and half a soft pretzel stick.

And basically my workouts sucked eggs. Seriously. I felt hot, nauseous, unfocused and I could not control my heart rate.

Sunday we were back to our clean eating and we felt so much better. I had a great workout and did two miles on both ends. I walked out feeling righteous!

I learned a very important lesson this week:


Cheetos are delicious in all of their magical processed cheese like powdered goodness. They are food, but they are not fuel to power your body through a good workout. The same goes for pizza, french fries, burritos, ice cream, bagels, white rice and coke. There is a reason those are called JUNK food. They are junk, and you can not fuel your body with junk then expect to not feel like junk.

I'm not saying that I won't ever eat those "junk" foods ever again. I likely will, but I now know they come with a price.

Despite the not so great eating and a few crappy workouts at my weigh-in the scale looked like this:



So I gained 0.2 lbs? I'm ok with it. I'm not ok with gaining 0.2lbs every week due to poor eating habits. That's how I ended up with a starting weight of 158lbs!

Yes, I had a half week of eating junk. Yes I had a few really awful workouts. Yes, I probably drank more diet coke than water.

I'm ok with it. I'm not going to self flagellate myself over it. This is real life; it happens. You cannot make a lifestyle change and expect to exist in a vacuum, because in reality we don't. Birthdays, bad days and parties all happen -- you just have to be aware that while you might be eating like this once in a while you can't eat like this all the time. You need to make sure that the food you are putting in your body is also fuel.

Capeche?

Got a question about my journey with Nichole Huntsman and Revolt Now Fitness? Shoot me an email or send me a tweet!

*Thanks to Revolt Fitness for Sponsoring this post. My opinions are my own and honest.*


 
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March 22, 2013

Spring Into Spring $150 Target Gift Card Giveaway!

Welcome to the "Spring Into Spring" giveaway event sponsored by Famous Free Samples, sister site of Tip Hero, featuring some fabulous blogs and a wonderful opportunity to be the winner of a great prize!

To celebrate the coming of spring (finally), we're offering one lucky reader the chance to win a $150 Target gift card to use however they'd like! Whether you'd like to stock up on some spring apparel, decorate your home to match the season, or prepare your outdoor space for warmer temperatures, we're sure this great prize could come in handy!

This giveaway begins on March 21st and will run until April 4th at 11:59pm US Eastern time. Open to residents of the United States and Canada, 18+.

Use the PromoSimple form below to enter this giveaway. Be sure to take advantage of the array of entries you can gain, and also, come back daily for even more chances to win. Good luck!

https://www.promosimple.com/public/embed-codes/id/367ef5fe04444e1fa5eb2c6bb12e036c


The giveaway runs from March 21st until April 4th 11:59 Eastern Time. The prize is a $150 Target Gift Card delivered electronically or via snail mail. This event will be open to residents of the United States and Canada, 18 years and older.


March 19, 2013

Grocery Store Epiphany

Saturday I had an epiphany in the grocery store.
 
I hear a lot about how a trip to the store alone is like a vacation. Not for me. I adore taking Evie to the grocery store with me. She's so good, charms the pants of off everyone she meets and really? It's a lot of fun.
 
As we were walking the aisles of the stores and talking about green broccoli, yellow bananas, crunchy crackers, yummy cheese and red strawberries Evie would occasionally lay her her head on my chest and say, "Momma". She said thank you so politely when I bought her a buddy fruit to snack on. Kisses were demanded, giggles abounded and hats on strange passerby were pointed out. 
 
As we cruised down one aisle she noticed a fish on a bottle of hand soap and exclaimed, "Momma! Fish!", then died laughing at herself, and right by the hand soap on aisle ten I had a motherhood epiphany. 
 
"It won't always be this way." 
 
Someday my girl will outgrow riding in the buggy and insist on walking. Someday I won't even be able to pick her up. Someday she won't nod her head emphatically and excitedly after pointing out a "Lellow banana, Momma!" for the umpteenth time. Someday she won't want to hold my hand in the parking lot. Someday she won't sing her abc's in her sweet little voice. Someday she won't hold her hands and out and demand "kisses!" from me. Someday an adventure to the grocery store with momma won't be the highlight of her day. Someday I will no longer be the coolest woman in the world just because I make racecar noises in the grocery store.
 
Someday all of that will be true, but that someday was not that day or the next or even today.  
 
The old woman telling me to enjoy this stage started to make sense.
 
The little girl who spilled her milk in my shoes because she is a stubborn hard headed (almost) two year old who was disobeying is the same little girl who demands group hugs from her father and me then runs between us giving hugs and laughing like it's the best thing in the world. She's the same little girl who loves dinosaurs, airplanes, choo choo trains and her puppy dogs. She is my bright, beautiful, shiny, one-of-a-kind daughter. And? It won't always be this way.
 
As we approach having a full blown, two year old on our hands I am going to remember that moment in the middle of Kroger. There will be tears, temper tantrums and timeouts, but there will also be all the joy of watching Evie explore the world in the delighted way that only a two year old can.
 
I'm going to savor every second, not because they are all savorable, but because during the tears and the fun I'll remember: It won't always be this way.
 
 
 
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March 15, 2013

Rage Against the Muffin Top: Revolt Fitness Weeks 1&2

So this week's update will kind of be a little wonky because technically it covers two weeks.
 
Chris and I started on the Revolt Now Fitness plan on Monday March 4. Before we started we set goals for ourselves. I want to lose 33 lbs and Chris wants to lose 50 lbs. My goal weight is 125 lbs and Chris' is 185 lbs. We also want to tone our muscles and be healthier, oh and for all of our pre-marriage clothes to fit.
 
The first week was hard. First off I made the wrong meal plan, so instead of eating the sugar detox diet we ate the fat blast diet. Whoops. We both saw losses on the scale and felt better after starting back to working out. When our "cheat day" rolled around, we were both very hesitant. I thought I would be screaming, ice cream, bread, pizza, chips and CARBS. Instead we were both very conservative in our choices. We went to IHOP for breakfast and I had eggs benedict with fruit in place of hash browns, and skipped the english muffin; Chris had a simple and fit meal with egg whites, turkey bacon and pancakes. We had our real cheat meal that night, and it was delicious! Sorry, but I had pizza and a cheese burger.
 
This week has been a little wonky on the diet. I was not feeling well on Saturday and after I went to my hair appointment I could not handle the grocery. Sunday I was even sicker and in a level of pain I can only compare to recovery from a c-section or having your wisdom teeth removed. It was bad. This created two problems. One, when I am sick like that (I could barely swallow) all I want is Chinese food, so we got Chinese food on Sunday. Twice. Two, I hadn't been grocery shopping for this week's food. Rather than stress about the meal plan we decided to wing it this week and have been eating a high protein, high fiber, low carb, low fat diet. There is also a list of forbidden foods, and we have made sure to keep away from those as well.
 
We've been doing the workouts and sticking some sort of cardio on either end.
 
Let me tell you people we are seeing results. Major results. It's more than a number on a scale, I can already see my hips getting smaller, my waist coming back and my face getting slimmer. It's amazing. And even though I still have awhile to go -- it gives me motivation to keep at it.
 
RESULTS:
 
 
 
How exciting! Nearly 10 lbs gone in two weeks! I don't expect the weight to fall off this quickly every week. In fact I'd like it to slow down to somewhere around 2-3lbs per week. I feel like that is a healthy rate. However, it is nice to see the numbers fall!
 
I'll check in with y'all next week for my update!
 
Interested in starting your own uprising? Check out Revolt Now Fitness and let Nichole help you start transforming your body and you life!
 
*Thanks to Revolt Now Fitness for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own and honest. I think the numbers speak for themselves.*
 
 
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March 14, 2013

Lessons From a Toddler Mom: The Olympics

Because by the time you are done wrestling your precious one into her clothes, you'll be hot, sweaty and in need of a wardrobe change yourself.
 
 
 
 
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March 12, 2013

Mommy Vent

So let's talk pet peeves shall we? That's always fun.

What is up with not helping each other anymore? See a mom who is bobbling a tray at Chic-fil-a at lunch time whilst attempting to manage a toddler or two? Offer to carry her tray for her (not her kids -- that's creepy). See a lady with a stroller? Hold the door open. It takes a village people, and it's about damn time we stepped up.

Unnecessary baby crap. Now I get it what I deem necessary you might call frivolous. We all have different kids, and if the only way your child can make it through a diaper change without losing his or her mind is with warm wipes, then buy the warmer. I'm talking about stupid crap like designer baby food makers (complete with all matching accessories) and baby spa tubs (I'm looking at you here babies r' us). YOUR CHILD DOES NOT NEED DESIGNER BABY FOOD OR A SPA TUB. Just say no! Your kid will do just fine with baby food made in a $40 Hamilton Beech food processor and frozen in (BPA free, of course) ice cube trays. You don't need a special knife, cutting board, three (for the love of God) different sized spatulas, special washing tools or a steamer. Also, if I don't get a spa bath every day, neither does little precious. The sink, a cheap plastic tub, or sponge will serve just fine for getting your baby clean. Say it with me, "I will not buy stupid crap for no reason!"

{Photo Source: Here}

This is more pregnancy related, but really enough with the home remedies for morning sickness ok? If I tell you I have hyperemesis this means I have intractable vomiting, not a little nausea here and there. No food sounds good to me. In fact don't mention food to me, and do not come back at me with ginger candy, lemon drops or eating crackers before getting out of bed. If the zofran isn't working your nausea pops won't. Don't bring them up unless you want me to snap your head off in a hormonal rage and then possibly puke on you.

So there you have it three of my biggest mommy related pet peeves, and apparently I'm feeling sarcastic today.

I am excitedly linking this up with the lovely Melissa for the much anticipated return of Toddle Along Tuesday!
 
 
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March 11, 2013

Not Over

Written in response to a friend who is scared of becoming a mother because her friends continuously make her feel like her life will be over when her baby is born.

Dear Pregnant Friend,

Welcome to motherhood!

Although some might contest it motherhood begins the second the strip turns pink. The worry, the waiting, the laying a hand on your still flat stomach and whispering, "I love you, baby mine" those are all a part of motherhood.

Now that you are here, do not be afraid. You are participating in a miracle as old as time itself. One day you will feel the entire universe shift when you and your child become two earthly people. In that moment a part of your heart will be forever imbedded in your child. It will be in his smile, in her laugh, in the sparkle of his eye and the curl of her hair. You will admire that piece of your heart and let it go, trusting it into the care of the person you love most fiercely on this Earth.

Your life will change in ways that you cannot yet imagine. There is no preparation complete enough for motherhood. No books, no courses, no conversations over coffee with your best friend are sufficient enough to prepare you for the way your life is about to change.

Instead of washing wine glasses at night you will wash bottles or pump parts.

You will trade your clutch for a diaper bag and instead of extra lipgloss you'll make sure to never leave the house without extra pacis and diapers.

Long luxurious bubble baths or showers are replaced by blue whale tubs with a chubby splashing baby.

Perfectly manicured fingers become short, neatly trimmed naked nails.

You will shake your head in bafflement at all those times you felt "too busy" or like there was not enough time before you had children. How little you knew then.

Late nights once spent out with friends are now spent in a rocking chair reading, feeding, comforting, loving and nuturing your child. 

Motherhood, more than anything in life, is trial by fire. You will second guess everything you do on a daily basis, and then you will second guess those second guesses. You will become unsure about things you were sure about. You will learn to be flexible in ways that you previously could not have imagined. You will grow thick skin because nothing invites judgment like motherhood. You will reassure yourself over and over again that there is no formula for perfection for this one child, that you are doing the very best you can, and while it might not be perfect it is very very good. You will question these reassurances, and you will cry.

Oh how you will cry in ways you didn't know existed. You will cry because your baby won't stop crying, you will cry because your baby sat up, you will cry because you feel overwhelmed and overjoyed. Just trust me, you will cry.

Believe me though friend, your life is not over.

You will still wash wine glasses, carry your cute clutch bag, get manicures and occasionally go out with friends until the wee hours of the morning. You will. In those times you will feel a return to yourself as you were before you got pregnant, but never completely because now you see, you love your child and no matter where you are you will always be her momma.

You will be the woman who sobs happy tears when her six month old laughs for the very first time. You will be the woman who grins from ear to ear when your daughter brings you a puzzle to play, sits down in your lap leans back against you and promptly matches all of the colored fish perfectly. You will be the woman who beams with pride when your son climbs to the top of the slide and slides down, no fear all by himself for the first time, the woman who will laugh in delight when your daughter points to a green truck and says, "Momma! Green truck!". You will be the woman who stands back and watches as a tiny cooing, grunting human turns into his or her own person. One day you will see your child refuse broccoli, but stuff lima beans in her mouth by the handful and think, I did this. I created not just a human, but a person. A person with needs, likes, dislikes and a tiny budding personality.

In that moment your heart will be so very full of happy you won't be able to do anything (but, of course cry) lean down, kiss your child and squeeze her so tight until she pushes you away, and then grabs your hand pulling you along,  ready to race off to the next adventure.

Your life is not over at all, my friend, and in those carefree moments with your child you might feel like your life has only just begun.

love,

Me
 
 
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March 8, 2013

Boo!

At the zoo with Evie a few weeks ago! This game never gets old with my child!
 
 
 
 
Seriously though is she not the stinkin cutest thing ever?
 
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March 6, 2013

No Fits, No Fevers, No Plans (The Most Magical Day)

*Warning: this post is way picture heavy and long, but so worth it!*
 
This is the story of the most awesomely epic day in all of parent and toddler land.
 
We've been planning to go to the Zoo for the members preview of Sting Ray Bay for weeks now. Our good friends Stephen & Libba and their two boys Gus and Leo were to join us (they're members too). We've been planning a zoo outing for a year now and never seem to get around to it. So we set the date: March 2nd; be there or be square. Then the weather gods played a nasty little trick and sent bitter cold and snow to Memphis on Saturday. Fan.Tas.Tic. Gus was so excited that we decided to brave it anyway. We figured we'd have lunch after and then call it a day.
 
We arrived a the zoo Saturday morning and made our way over to Sting Ray Bay. All three of the kids had a great time and were so fascinated by the stingrays. It took Evie a minute to warm up to the idea, but she quickly got on board. The tent around the "bay" was kept at a balmy 70 degrees so we were able to take our coats off and really get into it!
 
 



 
After petting the stingrays we headed to the Cat House Cafe for lunch and figured we'd head on home after. The kids were in such a great mood that we decided to let them play on the playground instead (even in the freezing cold). Armed with coats, hats and scarves (and coffees for the mommies) we took on the play ground.
 
 


 
The playground was such a (very cold) blast, and the kids were still having so much fun and showing no signs of being cranky. So, we decided what the heck, we're already close to downtown let's take the kids over to the Fire Museum of Memphis and play on the fire trucks. Great idea! It was indoors and warm and they had a blast.
 
 










 
After that we thought, well heck everyone is still in a great mood -- lets go see the Peabody Ducks. The kids had a great time there too; although, there was some misunderstanding about why they couldn't pet the ducks like they could the stingrays.
 
 


 
The ducks were awesome but now it was dinnertime. What better way to cap off a great day than to catch a ride on one of Memphis' historical trolleys over to the Spaghetti Warehouse for supper? After good food and a few grown up beverages for the mommies and daddies we were all ready to call it a night and caught the trolley back to the parking garage.
 
 



 
The whole trip from the restaurant Libba and I just kept raving about what a fun day it had been. How great the kids had been (with very little napping I might add) and how we couldn't wait to do it again. It seems like we can never get all of our kids healthy at the same time so when they all were we just went for it. It was a magical day and we've decided that the magic came from just going with the flow. No pressure on us or the kids to have a perfect fun filled day, just taking the next step as it came. It felt like a vacation, in our own town. It was so much fun.
 
We can't wait to go adventuring in our own backyard again -- no pressure, no plans and just letting the day lead the way. We've decided to try to "tour our town" more often, hit the touristy spots and really experience what it has to offer. I'd like to challenge y'all to do the same. Be the tourist for a day, go see, do and explore.
 
If you do and post about it (or have in the past) leave me a link in comments! Who knows maybe I"ll make this a monthly link up!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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