Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New site!


I'm writing this post to let you know my new site is
Please find me there! Thanks!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

From Blink to Blink

"They grow up so fast."

Before you're a parent, it's just common rhetoric. When you first become a parent, the bleary-eyed days and the endless nights seem to contradict the words everyone says to you. Then, suddenly, you're the parent of a toddler, a kindergartner, or a teenager, and you realize those people were on to something. Because suddenly, you realize you are raising a person. Not just a baby. A full-blown, pint-sized, personality-saturated person. For me, it has been both the most terrifying and awe-inspiring moment of my parental career.

They start so small, so helpless, so dependent. Everything in their lives is passive. They wait for you to hold them. Change them. Feed them. Rock them. Soothe them. Entertain them. (Of course, they wail to let you know when you're failing and smile/coo to let you know there's still hope for you to succeed yet.) But, they don't show you what hurts, express complicated emotions, engage in two-way play, and they absolutely don't tell you what they're thinking. Until the day they do.

I had heard talking was an overnight process. (Yeah right, this is coming from the same morons who told me blinking would make them grow.) turns out (once again) they sure know what they're talking about. Sure, Hayley had a few words here and there (go figure most of her first words were food-centric), and she's been assigning and demonstrating animal sounds for months. But one day it just...clicked. And ever since then, she is adding words daily to her vocabulary.

You might say her vocabulary is really "taking off".     :)
 As an exercise in curiosity, I thought I'd compile a list of her words. It took me longer than I thought (mainly because it's hard to sit down and compartmentalize everything you hear in a day). So over the course of a week, I made the two lists below. And, I have to add to it every single day.

To be fair, I did include a column for animal sounds. But, still. Where did this come from?? I can't really pick a favorite, but her phrases and recognition astonish me. Also, she is willing to try most any word, so one of our favorite bath/car games is "Can you say...?". I might get slightly more enjoyment out of it...

Making these lists also made me realize how much she will change between now and 2 (only six short months away, if that is even possible). She certainly has her tough moments, as does every toddler, but she is also amazing, if only in my eyes. I can't wait to see more pieces of her personality come through. We know she is VERY active, quite the entertainer, loves making jokes, adores the center of attention, hungers for outdoor adventure, devours everything in sight (speaking of hunger), and is smitten with books. I can see so much of both of us in her, but I can also spot the ways she is becoming her own person.

What a thrilling blessing it is to be a parent and witness it all firsthand. It's the little things, every little day, that truly make you want to stop blinking, even for just a moment, to take it all in.

Little Things Link-Up via here and here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

From Race to Regiment

A total detour from my other posts.


Why? I've joined up with The Little Things link-up {hosted by Jess and Ashley}. The goal of the link-up is to celebrate the little things in life. It's a fun challenge to not be repetitive with the celebrations. And, this week, I've been grateful for growing up a bit in the area of skin care.

I was one of those lucky skin people who never got massive break outs. I had smallish pores, very few problems with oily or dry skin, and a general consistency with my face. Sure, my skin was sensitive and pale, but with a little common sense and self-tanner, even those issues were minor.

Then I had a kid.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but until a few months ago, my basic skin care routine was:
-- wash face
-- dab of some moisturizer {usually whatever I got cheaply}
-- apply makeup
-- wash face at night {sometimes with facial soap}.

Yikes. That probably should have ended with my high school days, but it worked so I saw no need to change it. Pregnancy convinced me otherwise. Suddenly, my skin was a ricochet of dry to oily. I had weird textures pop up. I had breakouts. I had extra-sensitive skin. And, I started noticing the wrinkles popping up, especially on my forehead and eyes.

I knew I needed a change, but none of the bloggers I followed {my #1 source for everyday life news} really had skin issues I related to. Until I was inspired by this post.

I took a few elements from that, a few from other reviews/posts, and a few from things I wanted to try. So here's what I came up with:

Cleanse with facial soap {currently using the remaining supply of Clinique but may switch this up}
Apply toner {Thayers alcohol-free Rose Petal w/ witch hazel & organic aloe}
Moisturize {Boots no7 Protect & Perfect Day Cream with SPF 15}
Try to drink extra water. This is a biggie for me. I'm terrible at it.

Cleanse with organic coconut oil {it removes makeup!!} and facial soap every other time/oily days
Apply toner
Moisturize {Yes to Carrots Intense Hydration Night Cream}
Eye serum {Oil of Olay Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum}

It's been just under a week in my new routine, and I really notice a difference in my skin's color, feel, and moisture. The most surprising {and important} feature is the small amount of time it takes to do all this. I actually can get some of it done while using my Sonicare. If you have at least one kid, you know how valuable every minute of the day is. Which is why I think I hesitated to give up any more time to a "beauty" routine. Until I realized it's more about skin health, and beauty is just a by-product. Also, this is a good way to get some "me" time in, which is pretty hard to come by some days.

Oh, and in case you're curious, here is Hayley's skincare routine:

So, this week I'm recognizing these little things, the changes in my attitude and regiment, that have made a big impact.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

From 28 to 29

I'm always amazed at how something so routine as a birthday is so powerful as an agent for reflection. I mean, it's just a Wednesday this year. A drizzly, gray sky blanketing half-dead grass and flowerless gardens. It also creates the perfect canvas for introspection.

Perhaps it's because I'm now just under a year from hitting 30, but this birthday feels particularly heavy. If that makes any sense. I am overwhelmed with the need to take inventory and "clean up" the books for the coming year. Which brings me to this post.

Turning 25 was by far my hardest year. No special reason why. Things were great in my life, but I really struggled with it. Like depression struggled. Luckily, my slump somewhat dissipated with a drastic change of scenery during a trip to Sedona with my mom. Moms always know when to sweep you out of the everyday. (I got to go away again this year!) From there, things improved. And, I'm nowhere near that feeling this year (I can't promise that for next year, however). Instead, I feel...grateful.
Sedona circa 2010.
Savannah with my mom 2014

My life still feels so foreign sometimes. I suddenly look around at the tornadic damage in our living room and my grinning toddler and realize it's me on the other side of the picture. The surrealness of everyday life. I'm so blessed to have already had so many experiences in my life, and this is just one more to add to the list. Of course, adding in additional work to this beautiful chaos hasn't been without challenges. But, it is another experience. And another accomplishment, if I do say so myself.

So...gratitude. I'm so blessed to have a support group in my life. Though we may not always see eye-to-eye, I know they're standing with me.

I am lucky to share this chapter of life with a semi-crazy toddler. Even at 3 am, on my birthday. While she's sick. The blessing here is spending the rest of the night sleeping not sleeping and cuddling with someone whose only need for comfort is my presence.

She's even cute sick.

I am glad chocolate exists. Even if it means I made my own birthday cake (cue smallest violin), and I forgot to add the eggs (thanks Mommy Brain), I frosted it with Nutella buttercream and enjoyed a slice with my hubby.

A fudgey, delicious cake. Frosted in Nutella buttercream. And I don't know what happened to the frosting edge...

Speaking of, I am glad to have a partner to go through life with. He may drive me crazy some a lot of the time, he also keeps me sane. And, he keeps food, good food, on our table. Oh, and he made me French toast this morning.
Different kind of cake, but one of my fave pics. From all the way back in 2008.
A final note: while jamming away at the keyboard, pounding out work ahead of a looming deadline, my computer keeps beeping, letting me know someone else has left some love on Facebook for my day. And then my phone chimes in. I'm loved, lucky, and pretty happy with life. Sure, there's a lot looming in the not-to-far future, but if I can stare down the face of 30 and boldly claim to be happy, I know I can tackle the upcoming obstacles this year.

Thanks for indulging me and helping me to celebrate all of life's little moments. Love to you all!

Visit the It's The Little Things link-up hosted by Ashley and Jess!

Friday, January 24, 2014

From Pet to So Much More

It's amazing how selfless pets are, especially considering how selfish us humans can be. We expect from them a constant companion. We confide in them our secrets. We burden them with our sorrow, which they take on as their own. We turn to them for comfort. We drag them through our life changes and ask them to change. We might move them several states away, a few times. We move their homes. We change their routines. We introduce and remove other humans and animals. We take, demand, require, and decide. They give, obey, trust, and adapt.

The bond between us and our pets is like no other. It stands to reason, then, that there is no good way to prepare for a goodbye. No matter how many times you might feel ready. How much you might know it's coming. Or how much you know it's time for them and it's for the best. Selfishly, a part of you always expects they can stay around.

Today, we lost a treasured companion. Tigger was always so much more than a cat. She had an old soul, a spunky personality, and unlike so many other cats I've known, was always available when needed. She loved interacting with everyone and had a purr that rivaled a boat engine. She was the runt of her litter and was left in my uncle's barn as a kitten, deemed unworthy of keeping around by her family. But, I think that's just because she was meant for ours.

We shared our lives with Tigger for 19 years, and she gave her whole 19 to us.

She was in good health until recently, and she went peacefully while with my mom. For that, I am eternally grateful. But, I'm also heartbroken. It's really the only way to feel when you've lost a friend you've had the majority of your life.

For awhile, I questioned the decision I made to send her to my mom's this summer. But, since Hayley was born and Skitzy (our other cat that Tigger was kind enough to tolerate for 8 years) was gone, I knew she wasn't getting the same attention she used to and the attention she still wanted. She actually found a surge of youth being around other animals and my mom. And, she lived out her last several months surrounded by love, attention, and friends. I don't know that she would have stayed as long as she did had she been here.

To Tigger. The one creature who probably knew and remembered more about me than I would ever care to admit. She graciously lived with, throughout her life, six other animals. And, she made friends with all of them. She lived in seven houses. She lived in two different states, twice. She made several long roadtrips over 11 hours. She survived the birth of a new baby and adjusted.

She was a good friend and will be missed.