Monday, December 16, 2013

The Day The Christmas Tree Farm Died

Bye, bye Miss Christmas Tree

Drove my Ford to the tree farm but the tree farm was empty
Them good ole boys were drinking hot chocolate and crying
Singin' this'll be the day that I go to Lowe's 
This'll be the day that I go to Lowe's

What a rainy year it has been in the south!! That is how we found ourselves half way to Christmas and still no Christmas tree. 

Every year my family has made a trip to the Christmas tree farm to pick out the perfect Christmas Tree. Mom, Dad, and I would always make a day of it and it was one of my favorite parts about Christmas. Debating which tree was the "perfect" one. 

Operation Christmas Tree 2012

So Sunday the clouds loomed but the rain held as we got in the truck and headed to the Christmas Tree Farm. Over the years the farms have dwindled... I guess as more people switch to artificial trees. This will be the 3rd tree farm I have visited in my life span..... which over 30 years is a relatively low number. 

Marine is driving the farm truck, I ride shotgun and Maddie is snuggled in the backseat with my mom. Maddie is getting excited as we tell her about going to get the Christmas tree. 

I of course have my camera ready to capture Maddie's 2nd year going to the tree farm.

As we near the farm I say, "I don't see any signs for the tree farm. I hope they aren't sold out."

"Surely there will at least be a Charlie Brown tree left," replies Mom.

"I'm sure there's plenty," Marine agrees as he turns the truck down the road. 

As we near the farm I have yet to see a sign........ the farm comes into sight..... no Christmas trees.

"Um..... looks like he went to cattle." Marine slows down taking in the once Christmas tree field now fenced in with cows. 

It was 11 days till Christmas what were we to do?

Note to self: Everywhere is sold out of Christmas trees 11 days till Christmas, but Lowes.

So we went through the remaining trees looking for just the right one. 

Needless to say this may be the smallest tree we have ever had. But it is beautiful none the less. And I'm sure one day we will look back on the concrete Tree Farm of Lowes and laugh. 

Either way I have told Marine that his new goal is plant a few Christmas trees on the back of our property so that maybe in a few years we can just walk back there and chop down our perfect tree.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hello 30

Tonight I had dinner with the girls to celebrate Giggle's 30th birthday. Of the first generation she is the last one to turn the big 3-0. Next will be Vivi, Blondie, Red, and Hollywood but those lucky whores still have a few years of their 20's left to enjoy.

After a long day at work it was nice to meet up for dinner with the girls. We are a large group so when we get together we tend to take up the biggest table in the restaurant. And I must admit I'm sure we are rather loud. I mean a table full of 10+ women all trying to talk at once is a bit much. But hey that's us! At least for the first ten minutes as everyone exchanges greetings and discusses what drinks to order with dinner.

Once the food arrives the table quiets and one person at a time is allowed to talk as we all try to catch up on the happenings that have been missed since our last gathering.

As we sat eating dinner another group of girls we know came in and said hello and then were seated in a small corner booth. Now I admit I have a good looking group of friends. We may not all rank a 10 but I guarantee no good looking guy in his right mind would kick any one of them out of bed.

But these girls....

Add a cardigan or blazer and would be perfect for a photo sessionThey all looked perfect. Stylish almost to a fault. Imagine all those clothes that you pin on Pinterest but never actually break down and buy....well if your like me anyway.... yes that is what these girls were wearing. All four of them looked like they stepped out of a magazine. Perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect shoes, perfect accessories, perfect manicures. Flawless.

On the way home for some reason my thoughts drifted to those girls, sitting there in their booth with their perfect store bought tans and designer labels. What must it feel like to be perfectly put together?

For some reason the word that came to mind was plastic.

I couldn't help but smile thinking about my group in contrast. Some of us were in workout clothes, having fit in a few minutes at the gym between work and dinner. Others were in semi-causal clothes coming straight from work and the rest in just jeans and t-shirts.

Maybe that is the difference of 30's and 20's. In your 20's you still want to run with the "in" crowd. You want to be noticed. You want to be the one that turns heads and that everyone else envy's. You blow your paycheck on clothes, purses, and shoes you really can't afford. But hey what else do you have to spend your money on? Your only young once.

At 30 you realize that none of that stuff matters anymore. You admit or realize you aren't perfect and you have no desire to pretend to be.

Maybe that is the real difference between 20 and 30. It's not just growing up, it's growing more real.

Cheers to 30! For me and my friends our 20's were a blast. So many fun times and memories made. I look forward to the 30's and the adventures they will bring.

Rachel: You know? I'm still 29 in Guam.

Ross: Hey, 30 is not that old! Do you know how old the Earth is?

Rachel: Late 30's?
~ Friends ~

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Famous Last Words - My Kid Will Never Act Like That

Maddie feeding the chickens
Vixen, my friend who swore she would never have kids, is pregnant. I like to think it's cause Maddie wore her down and made her realize that kids were fun. And that just because you have a kid doesn't mean your life stops. I mean Maddie is a trooper and goes everywhere with us whether it be to a horse show, out hiking. hauling hay.... you name it, if Marine and I are there so is Maddie.

I knew eventually Vixen would cave. But till she did I kept all the pregnancy horror stories to myself. I painted her the happy picture of rainbows and flowers leaving out the dreaded morning sickness and endless heartburn. I also only tell her the joys of motherhood with a few terror stories here and there.

Maddie hauling hay
But now that she's pregnant and in full morning sickness swing, it's time for to learn the truth and meet Maddie the Destroyer and see what she has to look forward to. Lucky for Vixen though Maddie loves her Aunt Vixen and tries to contain her most destructive unruly moments for when her and I are home alone.

Today Vixen had asked if I would go with her to Babies R Us to register.  In case you don't remember it was Vixen and Giggles who went with me when it was my time to register. And what an experience that was!!  Now though we are not blind leading the blind. She is taking me as her "baby expert" in hopes this time we will semi-know what we are doing.

We get the registry gun and once again find ourselves standing in front of the never-ending wall of bottles.

"So which of these do I need?" Vixen asks.

"Well I guess that is kind of a personal preference. I mean Blondie used the Nuks. But Maddie used to spit up real bad so I used the Dr. Brown's. Everyone likes different ones for different reasons so just depends on which ones you want to try." I ramble on.

Vixen looks at me and looks at Maddie who is offering a mischievous grin from her seat in the buggy.

"Dr. Brown's worked for Maddie and she's turned out good so Dr. Brown's it is." She says scanning a pack of bottles.

We progress to the next section.

Now let me pause here and offer a word of advice to those that may not have children yet. Have you ever been out somewhere and seen a kid misbehaving and thought to yourself, 'my kid will never act like that.'? If you have, NEVER think that again!! Just look at the kid and say a quick prayer for their mother to have patience and strength. "My kid will never act like that" is famous last words and a surefire guarantee your kid will act like that..

I was one of those unbeknownst judgmental people who thought my kid would never act like that...... I was wrong.

That child is my child.

She is a terror. A wolf in sheep's clothing. She looks all sweet an innocent..... then the red head kicks in.

I like to blame it on Marine. My mom has said I was such a calm and laid back child....... Marine's mom admits that Marine was a little on the active side.......

So there we are in Babies R Us and Maddie decides she no longer needs to listen to anything I say and that running around the store is perfectly acceptable...... I quickly grab her and tell her that if she doesn't want to go back in the buggy she will walk with Vixen and me and hold my hand.

She shakes her head no, pulls her hand away, and takes off down the aisle at a bouncy run laughter trailing in her wake.

I dart after her and grab her giving her one more stern warning.

She rebels again.

"Alright that's it." I say picking her up. This angers the beast more and she begins to pitch what can only be called a fit.

I try to calm her down. Nothing is working and we are past the point of bribes and threats.

She is acting out and I know that we are at a pivot-able moment.

And then for the first time ever I pull down her pants and pop her on the bare butt.

She freezes and becomes silent. She looks at me and then at Vixen with a look that seemed to say, "can you believe she just did that?" then the silence passes and she burst into screams and tears. I pick her up and am putting her in the buggy explaining to her why she got a spanking and telling her she can't act like that. She has to act like a sweet little girl.

At that moment a male sales associate comes up to us eyeing my screaming bloody murder child, "Ladies is there anything I can help you with?"

My back is half turned as I am focusing all my energy on Maddie.

"No we're good," Says Vixen with a forced smile.

"Ok..........." He says drawing it out as Maddie's cries start to calm, "Let me know if you need anything." He turns and walks away.

I turn to Vixen, "You better scan quick. I'd say we have exactly 5 minutes before child services shows up."


Needless to say child services never showed up..... maybe it is still ok to spank your child in public. Or maybe the sales guy saw the 5 minutes before the spanking on the security camera and decided I was justified. Either way after that Maddie once again became my sweet little angle. 

Sitting in the buggy pointing and laughing as she showed Aunt Vixen exactly what she needed to register for. 

I'm not sure if it has to do with me going back to work or with the age but Maddie has been acting out more lately. Testing her boundaries. Seems today though I won and the boundary line has been clearly drawn. I'm hoping that one little pop will last a lifetime and never have to be repeated. It may be true when they say 'it hurts me more than it does you', cause it broke my heart to do it. 

But Mom I need them both!
After Babies R Us we made a quick stop at the mall and since she had been so good the rest of the day and through lunch I decided she need a little reward for good behavior. So while Vixen was looking at maternity clothes Maddie I stopped in the Disney Store. Most of the toys were for slightly older kids so I steered the stroller to the stuffed animal wall telling Maddie she could pick out one. After showing her the selection she made a grab for Minnie and Piglett. I was laughing as I would tell her to pick one and she would laugh and pull them both tight hugging them to her. Of course by the time I get the phone out to snap a pic you can't tell so much she is laugh as trying to convince me why she needs both. 

How can you tell that face no? So I figured we would be going home with both. But Maddie is definitely going to be a shoe girl and a bargain shopper! We pass by a sale rack that has shoes on it and Maddie spots a pair of pink Minnie Mouse sandals and she points and makes her I want that noise. I look and they have her size and are on sale for $3.00. I show them to her and ask if she wants them. She throws Minnie Mouse down and reaches for the shoes. Safe to say my wallet got the better end of that deal. 

Overall it was a great day and Maddie and I both enjoyed spending it with Vixen. Can't wait till her little one gets here. I hope that she will have a terror to! lol 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Always Listen To Your Gut

So part of my new year's resolution to myself was to blog more. I was thinking once a week..... at least once a month..... I've failed miserably.

Tonight though I find myself home alone and yearning to write!

Why am I home alone?

The boys are back in town! lol yes the song plays in my head even as I typed that. Marine's USMC buddies (3 of them) are in town for a visit. We haven't seen them in over two years so they were a site for sore eyes. Marine and Roommates bromance is back in full force. I'm so happy for Marine to get to spend time with his best friend. I take for grant that I can see my bestie as often as I do. So this weekend Marine and his buddies headed over to the family camper that is parked at lake campsite over the summer.

Perfect night for a girls night! So after dinner with her Aunt Vixen, Maddie and I came home and I was all excited about time just the two of us....... well Maddie fell asleep on the way home and went right back to sleep as soon as I laid her in her bed. So that means party is postponed till around 2 am!

So I made a big leap a few weeks back and decided to go back to work full time. When I originally took the job a few years ago my gut had told me not to take it and I had ignored it. The job was ok, the people were great, but working with an office of women all under the age of 35 was a little to much drama for me. So when I went part time it was good. And it clouded my memory of before. Then the offer came. My boss got promoted and I was offered a promotion to her previous job position. Great salary, pretty good benefits..... of course I would have to come back full time.....

The debate began. Marine told me wasn't going to give an opinion. It had to be my decision.

They then tell me starting in September the company is going to offer daycare at work. The daycare would be small, only about 5 kids.

This made the decision tougher to make. My gut told me not to take it. But my head said this was a great opportunity. I admit I may have been blinded by the money..... I convinced myself that if I didn't take the job I would be being selfish. That I know I wanted to stay home with Maddie but what about in a few years when she starts school? What would I do then? Go back to a low paying receptionist job? I thought of all the money Marine and I would be able to save. The money we could put into finishing out the new house. The money we could put towards Maddie's college fund. I mean we have been living on Marine's income so my new salary could mostly go into savings.

My gut still had alarm bells going off. I ignored them. And decided it would be best for the family if I took this possibly once in a life time offer.

I accepted the job stressing that I was accepting it due to the upcoming daycare. My boss said that over the summer I could come back to work and her daughter could watch Maddie at the office. There was an empty office in the back that could be turned into a playroom. "It'll be fine!" she said.

Now maybe I should mention her daughter is 12.

I knew this wouldn't work. But I knew if I didn't at least try it I could kiss the job goodbye. So I made arrangements with the 12 year old and settled on a babysitting salary I would pay her each week for watching Maddie at the office.

On June 3rd I went back to work full time.

Needless to say it took 2 weeks for Maddie to break me. Maddie is not much for going to work. The first day was good because it was something new. The second day.... not so good. And it has only went down hill from there. We now pull in the parking lot and Maddie say's "mama no, no."

So the second week in I cave and tell my boss I can't keep doing this. That I understand her daughter is trying hard and is doing a good job Maddie is just used to being more active. I mean Maddie has never stayed home an entire day in her life. I mean we always go to the barn every day to feed horses and the chickens. And most days we go Marine's restaurant to eat lunch with him after the lunch rush has ended. So staying in place all day was not her idea of fun.

I thought it would get better as she adjusted to the new routine. But when you can hear crying from a few doors down and her desperately saying "Mama... mama..." your heart melts and you realize no amount of money is worth it.

Maddie knows I'm in the same building so I know that is probably part of the problem.

I have since been juggling trying to make the best of the situation. Marine's mom has also pitched in keeping Maddie 2 days a week.

I keep telling myself that if we can just make it two more months problem will be solved.

Then I learn this last week that we more than likely are not going to be getting a daycare.....

*****crickets chirping******

Marine and I have both agreed we really don't want to put Maddie in actual day care. And call me old fashioned.... maybe it's because my mom was a stay at home mom.... but I want to raise Maddie. I don't want a stranger raising her. I want to be the one to teach her things. I want to be the one to see her as she tries to experience new things. I want her to learn our families values, not those of someone else.

Now don't get me wrong I know that most families have to have two incomes in this day and age. With the price of gas and food it is nearly impossible to get by on one income like earlier generations were able to.

But when working part time I realized just how many things you can really do without. And you know what? You don't even really miss all that stuff you once thought you needed.

After 3 weeks of not seeing Maddie but a few hours a day I've determined two things.
1. Somethings are more valuable than money
2. Always listen to your guy

I know I'm being Debbie Downer as I wallow in stupid self pity. I mean with all the "real" problems in the world this is ridiculous to even waste blog space over. I get that. But since Aunt Flow is currently visiting I will chalk up crazy hormones as being one of the author's behind this post.

I write in hopes that I will one day look back and read this and know that I made the right decision.

But what should that decision be?

Back to the drawing board.... Do I suck it up and deal with it? Or do I follow my heart and return to being a full time stay at home mom?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Look Whoooo's One

On March 14 Maddie turned one year old. Of course this was cause for a celebration! Not only was our little baby no longer a baby but full fledged on her way to one year old toddler status, but Marine and I the baby dummies had also succeeded in raising a healthy, happy, terror, of a little girl!

We held Maddie’s first birthday party at the restaurant on Sunday, March 17th. I of course went overboard on the DIY and trying to make everything just right and special for Maddie. Needless to say Marine teased me relentlessly and kept reminding me Maddie was one not ten. But when it came down to making the cupcakes who do you think was in charge of icing at 10:30 the night before? Yep that would be good ol' Marine himself! And he did a mighty good job, much better than I would have done I admit!

The theme was Look Whooo's Turning One and just springy fun colors. Nothing over the top, just simple finger foods and cupcakes. And punch. I even made punch! The girl who can barely do anything when it comes to cooking or mixing. Thank goodness for Pinterest and easy recipes is all I got to say! lol

The guest list was composed of our family and friends and their kids. Of course the guys were all to meet and than since it was St. Patty's day they were all going to walk down to the pub for a beer. Needless to say grown men just can't pass up cupcakes! All of us girls had to laugh as the stood around for the whole party watching the shenanigans unfold. 

For the day I did have one big epic fail...... I found a smash owl cake on Pinterest that looked easy enough to make. So being the DIY money saver I try to be I figured easy enough I can make that myself. So my mom and I attempted to make it.... However the icing would just not hold up the eyes and nose like the picture and easy directions showed. Oh well Maddie was going to smash it anyway so nothing to stress about. And oh did she love smashing into it!

She had so much fun! All the bigger kids helped her open her presents which at times she wasn't sure she liked that idea. But then realized she could be in the middle of all the chaos and loved that. She was so funny looking in all the bags and unwrapping the gifts. 

We are so blessed to have such an amazing family and group of friends. I am so happy that our kids will get to grow up together and I hope they will become just as good of friends as we all have been throughout the years. 

It's hard to believe a hear has passed. She is no longer a baby but this tiny little person with a mind of her own and a determination that I did not know could come in that small of a package. I have always heard people say that you can't imagine your life with kids but once you have them you can't imagine life without them. That is oh so true. Maddie has forever changed our lives and Marine and I both awake each morning excited to see what new things Maddie will do that day. 

Now time to enjoy her being one before the terrible two's strike!

Chandler: Emma, how old are you? How old are you today? (He holds up his index finger, and she holds up her finger too.)

Rachel: Oh! Emma, that's right! You're that many!

Ross: Oh my, God! Our daughter's a genius! Rach, this means--

Rachel: No! No science camp!
~ Friends ~

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Small Town Football

I was reminded Saturday night just why I love living in a small town. 

The game was scheduled to start at 7:00 and the gates were opening at 6:00. Maddie and I were going with my mom and meeting the rest of the family and my friends there. I figured if we got there about 6:15 we would be sure to find a good seat......

At 6:00 I drove up the hill to my old Alma Matter and was shocked to see cars were already lining the road on the way to the football field. When I say the place was packed I'm not exaggerating! 

By the time I found a parking spot and pack muled all the necessary stuff in and found a seat the stands were full. I couldn't believe at the great turnout! 

Did I mention this Alumni game was also a fundraiser? I'm not sure how the money is split between the company that puts on the games and the part that is donated to the schools but I do know that the school gets a larger portion of pre-sale tickets versus tickets purchased at the game. Our side had sold 1700 pre-sale tickets and the other team 1300. For two small towns that is quite a bit. Just shows that in the south we love our football!

The game was great! It was fun watching and cheering for Marine and watching our little munchkin cheer for Da-da! Vixen had been sweet enough to make Maddie her own spirit shaker. And boy did it get used!! 

The game was exciting and much better then I expected to be for a bunch of old guys playing. ;) Our team may have been playing it's biggest rival but it was also great to see all the good sportsmanship what was displayed. After each play members from each team would help the others up. All these men were just so happy to be playing a game they loved once again. It was great for the younger generations to see the good sportsmanship, I think though.

Marine played awesome! Up until the end of the second quarter when he blocked a guy three times his size and pulled his hamstring. The second half of the game he ran a few plays but mainly stayed on the sidelines. I hated that he got hurt but was relieved it wasn't worse then was. 

Of course he said, "Practice for 8 weeks and only got to play to quarters...." so he was a little disappointed but overall he had such a wonderful time. Him and the others are already talking about next year! Just goes to show you never really grow up. 

Also note in the picture Marine has on white cleats..... cleats he has had since high school. They have seen better days and need to be retired. But ah Marine is such a cheap skate! Lol I even went and bought him a new pair of cleats for Valentines day and he took them back saying it was crazy to spend that much money on a pair of shoes he would only wear for one game. I thought he was crazy but come game time was thankful he is such a cheapo! Why? Because everyone else had on black shoes and him in the white ones was so easy to spot!! lol

The game was so close. At half time we were ahead 14 to 13. In the second half the other team made a comeback though and scored another touchdown to win the game. Even though we lost it was a wonderful night! I enjoyed sitting with Nurse Betty and Conscious and running into old friends I hadn't seen since high school.

Sometimes living in a small town can get a little old. But times like these remind me why I love it so. Seeing the support of the community behind this event was wonderful!! In the end our team ended up raising $16,000 for the High School Sports programs.  

And in case you were wondering Marine's butt did look good in those tight pants! ;)

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Boys of Fall

Before Marine was Maddie's Dad....

Before he was my husband....

Before he was my lover ;) ....... (lover just rolls off the tongue so smooth I had to say it).

Before he was a Marine.

Way back when he was your typical American teenage boy. Back then he was one of those "boys of fall" Kenny Chesney sang about.

Marine lived and breathed football. And from what I have been told he was pretty good at it. 

When I started dating Marine, Babbles called me and the conversation went something like this:

Babbles: "So you realize Marine is kinda of a big deal right?"
Me: "Uh.... ok."
Babbles: "I mean you do know he was like one of the star football players in high school?!"
Me: "Ummmm....."
Babbles, "He still holds 2, TWO, school records."
Me: "Wow.... ok."
Babbles: "Scouts used to come to our po-dunk town to watch him."
Me: "Wow....."
Babbles: "I really can't believe you sometimes."

Maybe I should point out again that Marine is several years younger then me. And Babbles has always been big on our towns High School sports, holding a school record herself and now being a teacher and track coach. So she can quote you about any stat. I on the other hand am clueless.

So perhaps Marine was a big deal during his day. 

Come tomorrow night I will get to see if he still has it. 

In January someone contacted Marine about playing in an Alumni football game against our school's biggest rival. 

Ever since he has been like a kid in a candy store. So excited as he heads off to practice after work and on Sunday afternoons. 

Another shot to relive the glory days. 

Our entire small town is abuzz with excitement over the game. Vixen has even dusted off the old pom-poms and organized an alumni cheerleading squad. 

I admit with all the excitement I feel like a kid in high school again. Looking forward to the big game and going and hanging out with all my friends. In high school we used to watch the game and vote on which guy had the best butt.... Oh admit it you know you did the same. I mean those tight pants? How could you not!

I for one admit I am excited to see Marine in those pants. *wink, wink*

The game is for a good cause to, with the majority of the money being donated to the two schools athletic programs. 

So tomorrow night I will don my school colors and wear Marine's high school Letterman jacket as I go to fully support my sweetheart. In high school I never really dated a jock, tomorrow night will be reliving not only those days for Marine but my chance to relive what it's like to date a hot, football player. 

Awe the boys of fall....

When I feel that chill, smell that fresh cut grass
I'm back in my helmet, cleats and shoulder pads
Standing in the huddle listening to the call
Fans going crazy for the boys of fall
They didn't let just anybody in that club
Took every ounce of heart and sweat and blood
To get to wear those game day jerseys down the hall
Kings of the school man, we're the boys of fall
~ Kenny Chesney ~

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Remodeling... So many choices!

With the new house there are so many decisions to make and things to choose.

The remodel is underway and going faster then I thought it would to be honest!

It's now time to choose colors. And when it comes to the kitchen colors I'm stuck....

My current kitchen is barn red... and I love it! It's very country kitchen.

But for the new house do I want to paint the kitchen red and the cabinets an antique white?


red kitchen white cabinets

Or .... do I want to paint the walls the antique white and the cabinets a blueish color?

Kitchen idea! Love how the interior windows create a separation from the family room, yet it still feels quite open.  Color of the cabinets, however, remind me of a bathroom.

farmhouse sink

What are your thoughts? Help me out!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Rule Number 1 - My Baby Must Have List

(For all my non-pregnant, non-parent readers I promise I will have a no kids allowed post coming up soon! But for today one last all about baby post....)

For all my pregnant friends I have decided to compile a list of the top 10 things/tips I could not have made it without.... or that just helped make things easier, to say the least.

I still make no claims to be a "baby expert" but I am a little wiser then I was this time last year and I really wish that with all the useless things people tell you that someone would have told me just how invaluable the items on this list would be. (I will try to include links when possible.)

So without further ado. 

1. Bassinet

If you listen to nothing else I say listen to this. Invest in a bassinet! Do not let baby sleep with you and your spouse. I REPEAT do not let baby sleep with you and your spouse. 

Once baby becomes accustomed to sleeping with you they will want to sleep with you from now on. Which may be sweet when they are little but not so much when they are 5 and you and the hubs haven't had a night in bed alone in 5 years. I say this because I have two sets of friends who have made the mistake and warned me

Now I know bassinets aren't cheap but I'll give some tips on that shortly. I was lucky enough to have a good friend who had one she wanted out of her house that I was able to purchase pretty cheap. Maddie slept in this next to mine and Marine's bed till she was almost 6 months. It was nice cause she was right there next to the bed and we could keep an eye on her yet we still had our own space. 

2.  Sound Machine and Heating Pad (work hand in hand)

Homedics Sound Spa Lullaby Relaxation Machine

The first few weeks in my house there was very little sleep going on at night. When it got to the point that Marine and I were like Zombies I started asking friends for any tips or advice on how to help Maddie sleep. 

My mom said when I was a baby she would place a heating pad under the sheet in my bassinet with a blanket then over it and turn it on low for about 10 minutes before she would put me in it. Babies like warmth, they are used to being warm next mom or dad. The heating pad will warm the bassinet up so that you aren't laying baby down in a cold bed. 

This tip seemed to help. **Safety note - never put baby in there while heating pad is on. Always turn off pad and remove it before placing baby in bassinet.**

A friend suggested something that played "the heartbeat noise." The what? I had no clue what she was talking about at first! But then she explained and it made sense. For 9 months baby has been used to your warmth and hearing your heart beat. Hearing your heart beat makes baby relax and know she is safe. Luckily my Fairy Godmother had given us the Homedics Sound Spa as a shower gift... and guess what it played the heartbeat noise. 

Combine this little jewel and the heating pad and you my friend have just found yourself a few hours of peaceful sleep. 

Maddie is now almost a year old and we still use this machine daily. Not only does it play other music but it also has a projector. And my favorite part is that it has a timer! So during those growth spurts when Maddie would wake up for a nighttime feeding I could put her back in bed, turn it on, hit the timer and go back to bed myself knowing that in 30 minutes I would no longer hear the music coming from the monitor.

3. Diaper Champ

When registering at Babies R Us the helpful associate told me a piece of advice that would save Marine and I quite a bit of money over time. The associate advised to go with the Diaper Champ over the highly popular Diaper Gene. Why? Because with the Diaper Gene you have to buy special bag refil kits which range between $15 and $20. But with the Diaper Champ there are no refills to buy. Just use normal trash bags. 

Needless to say this is one thing you will use multiple times a day and it does help reduce the smell. And it's nice to not have to buy any special refills for it!

4. Join a Whole Sale Club (BJ's, Sam's, Costco, ect.)

Bite the bullet and pay the cost to join a whole sale membership. I personally use BJ's and they have saved us quite a bit when it comes to diapers. Cause let me tell you diapering a small baby can cost a fortune. BJ's is great though cause you buy in bulk and they also accept coupons. Plus they send out a coupon book each month that normally has coupons in it for diapers. This month for example there is a coupon for $5 off Pampers. Maddie is in size 4 diapers now which I think the last I bought was $41.99 for a box of 160... so $5 off is a big help! I also buy Similac Formula from BJ's and it is much cheaper then any of my local stores such as Walmart, CVS, or Ingles. 

Another great thing to buy here is the special baby washing detergent you are supposed to use. I paid about $30 last year for a large jug of it. I wash approximatly 1 large load a week of Maddie's clothes - sometimes more - and this one jug has lasted a year and is still going. (Side Note I still wash my and Marine's clothes in our nomal detergent and just use this for Maddie's things).

5. Pampers Swaddlers or Huggies Snugglers

Before having Maddie I knew nothing about diapers. I was naive to think that all diapers are created equal. Thank god for nurses (in more ways then one) and especially thank goodness for maternity ward nurses who give you knowledge on how to care for that little bundle of joy. My lovely nurses introduced me to Pampers Swaddlers the ultimiate for the baby dummy. These diapers are wonderful for any first time parent in that they have a nice yellow line that turns blue when the diaper is wet. 

Worry about how to tell when baby has a wet diaper? Check that worry off the list! Invest in these diapers and will always let you know. These are also convenient when out about and you need to do a quick check to see if baby is wet. Good news they do offer these up to size 3 at BJ's.

6. Sophie The Giraffe

When the teething stage hits you will do anything to help baby! Is teething really that bad you ask? For me.... I consider it one of the rings of h-e-double hockey sticks. Everyone gave me suggestions. I tried it all; frozen teething rings, damp washcloths, teething toys, and even (as one friend suggested) frozen waffles. Nothing seemed to ease Maddie. So I went to my good 'ol pal Google. *Sigh* he never steers me wrong!

This is how I came to find Sophie. Sophie is the number one rated teething toy and though she ranges from $18.00 to $25.00 (cheapest is Amazon included link above), she is worth every penny!! When I added her to my shopping cart I couldn't believe I was about to spend this high amount on a teething toy. I mean seriously? But I couldn't take it any longer I was willing to try anything!!

Don't ask me what the secret is, cause I have no clue. But Sophie is a God a Send. Best $18.00 I may have ever spent!!

Side Note: I never told Marine how much Sophie cost or he may would have killed me considering he calls this a dog toy since it is plastic and squeaks. So if you don't want to spend the high price try a plastic squeaky toy at your own risk.

9. Vtech Piano

Vtech makes wonderful toys for children! Maddie particularly liked the VTech Sing & Discover Story Piano, just to give you an idea she started playing with this around month 4  I believe (if I recall correctly) and she is now almost 12 months and still plays with it.

Most played with toy I have bought thus far.

Thank you Vtech this is a must for a work at mom who needs a minute to check email from time to time!

10. Swing

Another teething savior! During those restless nights when baby can't sleep place her in this and it will lul her to sleep in no time! The Fisher Price Swing is wonderful!

11. Dr. Brown's Bottles

Remember when Giggles, Vixen, and I went to register for my baby shower and had no clue about bottles? Yeah turns out there is a difference!

I breastfeed but also supplemented with formula at times and when using a bottle Maddie would always spit up bad. Someone recommend I try Dr. Browns.

Viola problem spit up problem solved!

12. Baby BJorn

Baby Carriers are wonderful for taking little one out and about. And let's face it sometimes you just need use of both hands!! 

Example I still had horses to help feed. Originally I purchased a cheap basic carrier at Wal-Mart, being naive and not know there was a difference. Needless to say I put the carrier together and then could never put Maddie in it because it was so complicated for one, and for two it just did not look comfortable. To many pieces that would pinch those sweet, little, chunky, legs I so loved. 

Enter Baby Bjorn, this is the best carrier!!  Marine and I both enjoyed carrying Maddie around in this. It also worked great when we took her on her first mini-vacation!

13. Don't buy Retail

Ok let me take a moment to chancel my inner Duck Dynasty and Si, "Rule Number 1" Never Buy Retail!

Do you know how fast a baby will grow??!! Super fast!! All the stuff I listed above is not cheap my friends! If you look back through my list there are only 2 things I purchased new: Dr. Brown's Bottles, and Sophie. Minus the sound machine cause I received it as a gift. 

Everything else on this list I bought through area consignment sales or from friends who already had kids and wanted to clean some baby stuff out of storage. I went to a consignment sale last night in fact to purchase what will be Maddie's summer wardrobe. There is to many tips I can offer here in saving money so those will come in another post but just to give you an idea the $149 swing up above..... yeah I paid $15.00 for it. And that $50ish Baby Bjorn... I paid $8.00. Both items looked brand new and served their purposes for me 100%!

"You never go in the woods without a pistol okay that's rule number 1."
~ Si, Duck Dynasty ~

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't Blink

Call me a little nostalgic... ok perhaps I am a lot nostalgic! Or maybe I'm getting a late case of those postpartum blues I kept hearing about.... Nah I'm way to up beat for anything that has the word "blues" in it. I guess that just leaves me with the final conclusion that you really don't know how fast time flies till you become an adult and watch your own child grow.

Maddie's first birthday is approaching quickly. Which means I have been gathering ideas from Pinterest and channeling my inner Martha Stewart.

Exhibit A: The cute invitations I made. (Minus location... and the fact the pink is purple on here and all the colors are distorted... hmmm whats up with that blogger?)

Also the other night while watching The Walking Dead ( LOVE that show), I was getting pictures together from the past year of Maddie. Looking through them and seeing how fast she has grown still amazes me. Seems like just the other day I was wondering how in the world I would know what to do with a baby. 

Another thing to think about as the 12 month mark approaches is the fact that I need to start trying to wean her from a bottle and gear her more toward getting her fill from table meals. Notice I used the word 'think'. It may sound silly but I'm just not ready for her to stop taking a bottle yet. That's the last little piece of baby that remains in my 1 going on 13 little Maddie. I was talking about this last night with Marine while trying to not sound like a crazy person. I even admitted that I can kinda see why some people breast feed so long...... ok I thought that for about a split second and then changed my mind. It still creeps me out at the thought of breastfeeding a 3 year old. Now breastfeeding advocates don't get up in arms on me at that comment. I believe in breastfeeding and all the positive things that go along with it. I did it for as long as my body would allow, needless to say if I were a milk cow I would have been sent to slaughter after about the first 6 months. 

Wow I'm really all over the place here

Tonight as I get Maddie for bed we go through her normal bedtime routine. Then I fix her nighttime bottle. We settle down and I pull the blanket around us and begin to feed her the bottle. She drinks for a minute then pushes it away. I offer it to her again when she adamantly pushes it away again. I wait a minute thinking she will reach for it when she's ready. But she never reaches for it. Instead she starts stretching and squirming the way she does when she wants you to put her in her crib. 

But she hasn't had her bottle. Surely she doesn't want to go to bed without eating her bottle? I offer it to her one more time. She pushes it away slightly harder this time. 

I relent and say her bedtime prayer as I kiss her forehead and lay her down in her crib. She immediately rolls on her stomach and curls up in a ball as I place the blanket over her and she snugly pulls it around her. I hit the button on her music machine, turn off the light and exit her bedroom.

I admit I hovered at the door a minute waiting to see if she would change her mind. 

She didn't. 

Wow. When did our rolls reverse? When did she become the one weaning me? When did that sweet little baby turn into a little girl? 

"Don't Blink
Just like that you're six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you're twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don't blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your "better half"
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you're praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don't blink"
~ Kenny Chesney ~

Sunday, February 10, 2013

In My Little Corner Of the World

How is it already February?

Maddie has started walking a few weeks ago, 10 months and walking. We are definitely in trouble!

I guess I haven't updated much on what is going on in life in general lately. So let's see if I can play some catch up.

After Maddie was born I went back to work full time.

I hated it.

When I would leave in the morning she would still be asleep. Marine would take her to the sitter, from which I would pick her up around 6:30. By the time we would get home it would be 7 and I would bath her and feed her and it was time for bed. I would try hard to keep her up to play but by 8 / 8:30pm she just couldn't take it.

I did this for a couple of months and then realized it just wasn't worth it. I had gotten a promotion at work and actually liked my job - and was making dang good money. But it wasn't worth it to me. I was missing out on to much.

And Marine, well I was driving him crazy as well as myself.

So we sat down and started crunching numbers and the "what if's" and came to the decision that we could afford for me to stay home with Maddie.

At that decision I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

I know how this might sound to some. And I truly empathize with the single working mom's out there. I don't see how they do it. And if I had no other choice I could have kept doing it. Sucked it up and been thankful for the one hour a day I actually got to see her awake.

At that point some drama was going down at work and I knew it wasn't the right time to turn in my notice. I have never left a job on bad terms and they were good to me while I was on maternity leave so I owed them the respect of being fair to them as well. So I waited a week for things to settle down and then sat down to have the conversation with my boss.

It did not go how I had planned.

I really like my boss but.... it's safe to say she is different then anybody else I have ever worked for. She is just a few years older then myself and she lives and breathes work. She has a family also but work is what comes first to her. Also even though her and I had always gotten along, at times she can be a real witch.

I had a feeling when I told her she would be mad and not even let me work the two week notice I was planning to give.

Instead she broke down and started crying on me.

Not what I expected at all!

She offered me more money.

I thanked her but held my stance and declined. She asked if I would consider working part time.

This was not what I was expecting.

Marine's mom had already said she would still like to keep Maddie one day a week. Marine and I had already discussed that on that day I would work at the restaurant. (I did mention Marine opened a restaurant, right?).

I tell my boss about the one day. To my shock she says that if I would want to work part time I still can.

The end result I go into the office one day a week and then work part time from home the rest of the week.

So while Maddie naps I work or after she goes to bed at night. Which doesn't leave much free time for "me stuff" such as blogging or reading. But I am very thankful. It's nice to still have a little of my own money and to still have my foot in the door.

I enjoy spending the days with Maddie. Teaching her things and letting her teach me things as well.

Marine is still going to school using his GI Bill... and working at the restaurant.... and shoeing horses..... cutting lumber (we know own a small sawmill as well) and about a million other things. The man does not know how to slow down and just relax. If you count it that is 3 jobs he works and goes to school. Yet somehow still finds the time to be a wonderful dad and husband. Not sure how he does it all but I love and appreciate him for it!

In other exciting news.... we also just bought our first house! Everything Marine does happens fast it seems. All major life changing decisions anyway. Examples:
   - One day we talked about getting married and the future. A week later he has proposed and we have      
      eloped and gotten married.
   - He decides he wants to go in with his Step-Dad and open a restaurant  Within 3 weeks they had a      
      restaurant up and going.
   - He comes home one day and says he and his Uncle are going to go in together and buy a sawmill. I just
      say, "Okayyyyy......" A few days later he says they are going to look at a sawmill..... and you guessed it.
      We now have a sawmill.

Marine and I weren't really looking for a house. We have kept our eye on the market and since his mom is an agent we sometimes go look at stuff that seems to be a good deal. Three weeks ago Marine calls and says lets go look at a house. I agree and go to town to meet him and his mom.

Needless to say we walked through the house and Marine says, "I think we should make an offer."

Its an older home and needs some work but all work that Marine can do himself. Plus it is perfect for us in every way.

It's close to my mom - since my dad passed away I admit I don't want to live to far from her. She needs help with the horses and farm and Marine and I want to be close by to help.

It has 6 acres, and a pasture already fenced in. A perfect clearing to build a barn and a big open back yard for Maddie to have a swing set. Plus there is a peaceful little stream flowing through.

It seemed to good to be true.

Within an hour we had put in an offer.

The next day we heard a response that the offer had been accepted.

We close on the house tomorrow.

I'm so excited! It's going to take some work and we don't plan on moving into it for probably another 6 months. But it will be fun painting and working on it together.

I'll be honest it's all happened so fast I haven't even told any of my friends about it, other then Vixen and Giggles. I've almost been afraid to say anything for fear the deal will then fall through.

I'll post pics soon. I definitely want to track the before and afters!

Ross: We think Chandler might be having an affair.

Monica: What?

Rachel: Phoebe and I saw Chandler with a blonde woman today outside on the street and then we followed them to a house in Westchester.

Phoebe: They went in together. So sorry.

Monica: Oh, my God! Oh, my God that's awful! What did you think of the house?

Phoebe: What?

Joey: Monica, you understand what we are saying, right?

Monica: Yeah, sure... Hum, I'm devastated, obviously... (Turning to Phoebe and Rachel) Did you think the neighborhood was homey?
~ Friends ~