Friday, October 29, 2010

When your passion is also your fear

I can't remember a day in my life where I haven't sang, even for just a few minutes. I sing in the car, shower, with E, while cleaning, while cooking,... It's just something I've always been passionate about. I definitely wouldn't consider myself a professional, but I am trained. I have had vocal lessons from several different instructors and have been a part of several music groups throughout my life.

I'm not sure what happened, but one day I stopped singing in public. Criticism came where I least expected it, I guess, and it blew my confidence. Fear set in and I just didn't think I could get sing in front of anyone anymore. The excuses came and were pretty much unlimited. And then God placed our family in an incredible church where people appreciate us and love on us on a daily basis. Not long after being in that church, I felt God working on my heart and in my life. I felt called to sing again, to use the talent God has given me.

Of course, I kept getting in the way and letting fear control me. I made excuse after excuse and had a constant battle in my mind. I'd convince myself that I shouldn't, go to church, and the preacher would be talking about something the Bible says that made me realize that I needed to get over this.

After wrestling for 10 months, I finally picked a song and practiced with the worship leader. I can't even begin to describe what that did for me, how it healed a part of me that I didn't realize was broken. That night the thoughts crept in again about how I couldn't do this and I would make a fool of myself, so I decided it was time. There is no more waiting. God is calling me to use my talent and I need to just suck it up and get over it. So I'm singing the special on Sunday and the worship leader is singing background vocals for me. Craziness.

I know that this is a little silly, but don't we all do this? Whether it's speaking up about an issue to a friend or stranger, using a talent that you forgot about, or reviving a part of you that has been subdued for a long time, we all have something that we've let slip away. Something that is important to us that no one else may understand. I challenge you to speak up, to use your talent, to be yourself, to do the thing that you know is necessary but fear has taken over. Today...This week. Not Tomorrow or Next Week.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


With the change of seasons, I am finally starting to feel like myself again for the first time since E was born. My energy is coming back alongside my motivation. It's a wonderful thing.

As we approach my baby's very first birthday, I can't help but look back on the past year and how much our lives have changed. It seems like we have known her forever; that she has always been a part of our lives. But it also feels like just yesterday I was in the hospital roaming the halls waiting for her to make her grand entrance.

October is a busy month. There will be painting, cleaning, organizing, a garage sale, fall festival, several cakes to make and decorate, pinata making, invitation making/sending, out of town guests, cooking, baking, diaper changing, chasing, playing, big birthday party, shopping, coupon clipping, speaking to youth, choir, church, doctor visits, and just plain loving on my family. I'm excited, but it is definitely a lot so I am trying to take one day at a time.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Baby Blues, New Goals, and 90 days

Having a baby has really taken a toll on me. My energy is lacking, even 10 months after having her and a lot of the projects I have started around the house have gone by the wayside. So, for the next 60-90 days, I've set some goals for myself.

Ready or not, tomorrow my husband and I start 90 days of eating super healthy and working out for 1 1/2 hours a day. We both weigh more than we ever have (not including my pregnancy) and it is time for a change. I lost all of my pregnancy weight within a month of having E, but right after that month was the holidays and well, we all know what happens around the holidays.

It's funny how I always thought I was "fat" and looking back at pictures, I can now objectively see that I was tiny. What I wouldn't give to weigh what I did when I thought I was large.

Now I find myself in a place I never thought I would be. My goal is to lose 25 pounds. I know for some that sounds like a lot and for others, that's a small number, but I figure if I put it down on my blog where people can see it, that gives me more motivation and accountability to push myself.

Aside from numbers, I want to be and feel healthier. It's amazing how much energy I lost after having E. I honestly still have not gotten a lot of it back and it concerns me. I'm hoping that by eating a well balanced, healthier diet and exercising, I will start to have more energy and feel better overall.

On the flip side, I have also set some other goals to complete projects by E's first birthday. I really hope I'm not the only one who has started a million projects and didn't finish half of them. (Some of which is due to cash flow, but most is due to little time/energy)

1. Finish painting E's closet and put back together.
2. Find more decorations and curtains for E's room. (Yes she is 10 months and no I have not finished her room. Terrible, I know)
3. Paint guest room.
4. Finish painting the kitchen/dining. (Started this one 6 months ago.)
5. Hire/have someone put in our microwave and fix the plumbing under the kitchen sink. (I've had only one side to the sink and 2 burners on my stove because we took down the hood only to find out it's connected to the house electric. That's been like that about 4 months)
6. Deep clean entire house. (Cabinets, closets, floor boards, reorganize kitchen cabinets,...)
7. Paint living room. (This is probably the biggest project because we have vaulted ceilings and will have to have scaffolding.)
8. Enlist Help.

Number 8 is tough for me and I've been in a position where I've had no choice but to ask for help lately. I'm blessed with a great church family and wonderful friends who have really stepped up to help. I truly do not know what I'd do without them. But truth be told, I am only one person. And all of this plus the day to day stuff, taking care of a baby, preparing meals differently, shopping with coupons for healthy food items,... It's going to be a lot, but with help and support, I think it can be done.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


You know how you get on a roll with life and things and everything seems to make sense and work... and then you have a crazy week and things get derailed? This was our crazy week. And boy do I feel behind on life! I guess maybe that's a bad outlook to have because crazy weeks happen often, but I just hate when I get things in order and then life takes over. Don't you?

I got into this GREAT habit of cleaning every morning while my babe naps. It's wonderful because every morning I would do the basics, plus tackle a mess that has been waiting for a long time. You know... like under a cabinet or the closet or cleaning the fridge,... It was working great. And once upon a time ALL of my coupons were clipped and folded neatly into my HUGE binder.

Well, I am sad to report that the laundry is piled up, there are dishes in my sink, the fridge is well...let's not go there, and my coupons are all over the guest room.

BUT on the plus side, I got to make 2 cakes and spend A LOT of time hanging out with my little family and friends. Sometimes people are just way more important than always having to keep up with everything. And truth be told, no one can keep up with everything all of the time. And if they say they can, they're lying. No one is perfect. As much as I want to believe that there are real Martha Stewarts out there who do it all without hired help, there just aren't. That's crazy.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Savings Saturday - Sell Stuff you're not using anymore

My husband and I don't really have a lot of stuff. Meaning that we are young and haven't accumulated that much, but we definitely have enough to have a small yard sale or two. In fact, we did one today. I pretty much threw it together. We bummed off some neighbors who already posted signs at the front of our subdivision. I posted some stuff on craigslist to try to draw some people, but I only made one sign and hung it from our mailbox.

We had a lot of smaller items and clothes, and we still did well. Think of it this way... We spend a lot of time not earning money. Even if your sale averages out to $3 an hour, that's more money than you had before and you're getting rid of stuff you don't need/use anymore. AND someone else is going to get use from those things.

Just a side note... say you only make $50. If you coupon and/or shop sales, that money could get you $200+ worth of groceries! Or you could use whatever money you make to pay down a bill so that it ends up costing you less in interest in the long run, thus saving you even more money!

OR.... Use that extra money to treat yourself. I think it is super important to take care of yourself and sometimes, a massage or new hairdo is necessary!

Or you could use it to save for Christmas shopping, a family vacation, make house repairs,... the opportunities are endless.

If you don't want to have a yard sale, list some items on Craigslist or Ebay. Even if they're random items, you just never know what people are looking for!

I sold a brand new set of Faux Wood Blinds today that didn't end up fitting in our window. I never took them back and they've been sitting in our bedroom for almost a year. (I know I know, shame on me. I am just terrible at taking things back.) I actually got close to what I paid for them, because I got such a good deal when I originally purchased them.

Sometimes its hard to get rid of stuff, but I promise that once you start doing it, it will get easier!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Sometimes things don't go according to plan.
Sometimes they do.
Sometimes life is really really tough.
Sometimes it isn't.
Sometimes we don't understand why things happen the way they do.
Sometimes we do.
Sometimes we try to do the best we can at everything we do.
Sometimes we don't.

It's been another rough week, and there are a lot of things I don't understand. There are a lot of "ifs," "maybes," "buts," and "sometimes." Above all, I know that God is in control. He has a plan and it is perfect. I am just resting in that today.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Savings Saturday - Couponing 101

In order to keep from randomly posting money saving tips, I'm going to post them on Saturdays. I thought maybe "Tip Tuesday" would be cute but then I didn't like it and well, after Monday, there is just no guarantee I will post on Tuesdays. ;) And of course I don't want anyone going around saying "Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays..." (Name that movie) Okay, so it's been a long week/day. Moving on...

Exhibit A

Amount Spent: $19
Almost $200 worth
That's 90% savings!

My best trip?
$0.39 for $65 worth of groceries and yes that includes tax!

It takes time. And sometimes a few headaches. But in the end... It's worth it for me.

I do most of my grocery shopping at Publix. They are generally an expensive place to shop, but they have tons of items BOGO every week. Pair BOGO with couponing and you have a great way to save! The items ring up half price, so you can use a coupon for each item or just get one!

You can also get tons of hygiene items for FREE or close to FREE at drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid, and CVS.

Sometimes it's hard to know where to start. I honestly just started by getting the newspaper, clipping, and looking at the sales. I did an envelope system for a while and then switched over to a HUGE binder with clear business card inserts. There are other, much faster ways of doing it, but this is what works for me.

Once I started finding sales and adding on coupons, I was okay with the results. But they weren't stellar and they were taking FOREVER. So I started using various websites to help me. A lot of them spell out the deals and even have a checklist right on their site that you can print and include which coupons you need!

Here are a few that I like...
1. Hip2save
2. Southern Savers
3. I Heart Publix
4. Coupon Mom
5. Friend Family Savings
6. Totally Target or Attention Target Shoppers

There are hundreds out there so I'm sure someone will post deals in a way that makes the most sense to you!

I generally save around 90% at Publix. I usually save at least 50% on meat and produce too, but that is another topic for another day. :)

The great thing about couponing? It always saves you money as long as you're buying things you'll actually use. You can do as little or as much as you want. If you get the paper anyway, just clip 5 coupons of items you already buy and use them on a sale! You CAN totally use them on the clearance items at Target too! Just fyi! I'm always going down the insides of the isles to see what kinds of goodies I can find.

If you have questions or want more information, feel free to email me at beautyindistress at gmail dot com!

(Oh and p.s. Yes, there are 20 bottles of Ketchup in that picture, but I think it's important to note that I called ahead and ordered that many so that other people didn't miss out on the deal and the store was prepared. I think it's super important to give a heads up if you're planning on stocking up like that!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mommy needs a sick day

Don't you wish you could just take a sick day sometimes? Today was one of those days! E has discovered squealing in a brand new way and absolutely nothing will stop her from squealing when she wants something. NOTHING. So between my already blaring headache, and the squeals I had quite the day.

Now I am going to put away some groceries, work on my couponing for a bit, and hit the hay. I'm exhausted.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Out with the old and in with the new

Well, today is Monday. A new day and a very important day for us as my hubby starts his first day at work. I almost can't remember what it felt like to start a new job. I remember that there were nerves, uncertainty, and excitement all wrapped into one. I am just so thankful that I get to stay at home with my girl and not worry about that anymore.

It is funny though... The second you completely stop looking for work or just a little extra income, it's like the opportunities just keep come knocking. People looking for babysitters, meals, and help around the house to name a few. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the opportunities and if we were in a position where I absolutely needed to earn an income, I would accept these offers. But I honestly have no desire to "work" anymore. I know that God made it possible to be at home with the baby for a reason, and I know in my heart this is where I am supposed to be. I rarely hesitate to say no, aside from asking God and making sure it's not something I should do. The answer is just always "no". It's funny how the love of a child can instantly change your perspective and ability to say that two letter word. (I used to be a "yes" girl.)

When I first had E, I struggled to leave my job. I knew it was the right decision for us, but it was difficult. I didn't want to leave my former coworkers and boss in a tight place, I really enjoyed that job and the people I worked with. I had been working for several years, even full time during college. As much I loved my baby, it was still a hard thing to do.

And now? No regrets whatsoever. I get to hang out with the coolest girl I know every day. She is so smart and beautiful and is constantly surprising me. Despite losing my mind every now and then, being a mommy and a wife is pretty spectacular.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Maybe somebody should pinch me...

...I think I must be dreaming.

Well, the long awaited day has come. We have been praying for a new job for my husband for a long time and today, he finally got that job! As much as it will be great to be able to pay our loans down a little faster and possibly be able to not live paycheck to paycheck in the somewhat not to distant future, I am just ecstatic that my husband is happy. He will be able to sleep every night. He won't have to worry about being called in at random hours/times. He won't have to pull a 24+ hour shift. He will be able to go to church on Sunday, every Sunday. AND he will be able to spend the weekends at home with his family. God is awesome!

I am also thrilled that we will be using the overlapping paycheck to go on a mini vacation over labor day weekend. I can not tell you the last time we went on a "vacation" together. In fact, it may have been our "honeymoon" 3 1/2 years ago. My in-laws will be joining us which will be a great help with the babeh! Any extra hands and eyes are a huge help these days.

And I also caved and gave him his birthday present. I've already had it for a month and his birthday isn't until November. I found a great deal on it and couldn't pass it up. Of course, I use the first excuse I have to give it to him :( I tried. I guess maybe I am just not one of those people who can buy gifts well in advance.

And on the menu for dinner tonight was my hubby's favorite meal. BBQ mini-meatballs, smashed potatoes, corn, and garlic toast. We are saving our apple pie for tomorrow since we are both stuffed to the brim.

Well, the baby is tucked in bed, hubby is off to work one of his last night shifts, and I am going to curl up under a blanket with a glass of apple raspberry wine and watch Dear John.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The key to mommy-hood

Okay, so I really don't know the key. BUT I do know that sometimes all you can do is pick yourself up, dust yourself up, scrub your face and put on some makeup, and go on with your day. I ACTUALLY did my make up for the first time in three-hundred days well, I can't really remember. A shower alone just isn't cutting it as of late. (for me)

And also, take time out for you.

This is a current goal of mine. I need a minimum of 2 hours a week away from my girl to take care of me, the house, grocery shopping,... I will humble myself enough to ask someone for help, for my sanity, my baby's sanity, and my husband's sanity. As much as I love spending 24/7 with my sweet girl, I need a little alone time.

The energy I used to have to paint the kitchen and clean after my girl went to bed is no longer there. When she's in bed for the night, I'm lucky if I have the energy to put the leftovers from dinner in the fridge.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I said I'd post some tips on here on how to save moolah for my friends who are curious about different ways to save money. I obviously haven't done a lot of that yet, but here's one!

Chicken is expensive. Particularly when you buy it in the individually wrapped packages. Personally I think it is ridiculous to pay $4 a pound for chicken. Please for all that is right and wrong and good and bad in the world, KNOW what you're paying per pound. A 2 lb frozen bag of chicken on sale for 6.99 is NOT a great deal. They don't always tell you the pounds. Sometimes it's in ounces and sometimes they don't tell you at all. It only takes a minute or less to figure it out on your own and it could save you several dollars.

At this point, for us, having a chicken coop and butchering our own chickens isn't ideal. If you're capable and willing to do it, I think that's great. You can use some to breed, some for eggs, and some for eating. In the long run, this is probably the cheapest method although there is some work involved and immediate costs.

If you like the dark meat, you can find great deals on leg and thigh meat. Buy it on sale and buy a lot of it when it's on sale. Or if you like it all, whole fryers can be a good option, particularly if you learn how to cut it into parts.

For me, I like a whole chicken every once in a while but we don't really eat a lot of dark meat. We prefer chicken breasts.

So here's what I do... I watch the sales at various stores in the area. If I see split chicken breasts for 99 cents per lb or less, I buy at least 25 pounds. I know it sounds like a lot, but that goes QUICKLY. You want to buy enough to last you until the next sale. If you watch, you'll notice a pattern. Most items go on sale about every 4-8 weeks. I then spend about an hour cutting the meat off the bone. I dump the scraps and bones into a big pot or 2 that I make into chicken stock. I rinse them, pat dry, put meal size portions into ziploc bags, label them, and freeze them. When you cut them carefully off the bone, you will have both a tender and a breast. It's actually quite easy and doesn't take long at all, especially once you get the hang of it.

If you're curious about the chicken stock, it's SO easy and will also save you lots of money. Put your bones/scraps into a pot. Throw in a couple carrots, celery, an onion cut in half, a couple cloves of garlic, some salt. pepper, and rosemary. (No need to peel the carrots or cut off parts. I'd peel the garlic and onion for the best flavor but don't worry about cutting off roots and such) Cover with water. Cook without a lid for an hour or 2. Drain and let cool. Label some ziploc bags and pour equal amounts in each bag and freeze or can. You can put anything you want into the stock and leave pretty much anything out. I've even put radish leaves in it and it was really good!

Hope this helps! Here's the quick break down.

1. Raise and butcher your own chickens if you can/are willing.
2. ALWAYS know how much you're getting for the price. (Figure out the price per lb.)
3. Watch sales and shop around for best price.
4. When price is right, buy A LOT.
5. Cut it off the bone yourself and make stock.
6. If none of these options work for you, you can sometimes find meat on closeout and there are also sometimes coupons.
(Perdue has coupons from time to time and rumor has it that Target has 3.5 whole fryers on sale for 99cents, Thanks!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bed time blues

In bed.
Out of bed.
In bed.
Out of bed.
In bed.

To be honest, there may have been another in bed/out of bed in there, but at this point I can't remember. I'm just hoping this is not a sign of things to come, because up until tonight we have NEVER had a problem with bed time. Our babe loves her sleep. And also, I never figured out why she was just so upset. I did all of the things mommies are supposed to do and checked all of the places mommies are supposed to check and I still can't figure it out. :(

Other than bed time, today was a good day! I actually had my hubby watch our girl so that I could get a hair cut and I did a little baking. Of course, not all of the baking I wanted to do, but some is better than none! Up until recently, I haven't felt like I've lost all ability to do things as I normally would. My baby was pretty portable and well behaved. Now, she is very demanding and high energy. I'm thankful for the 8.5 months I still got to do things without much issue, but it's getting difficult now. Hopefully this is normal and maybe it will get easier? I can dream, right?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Angel baby

I am truly blessed by this precious little girl. She is so pleasant and sweet most all of the time. She takes naps and goes to sleep without a problem. I could not have hand picked a better child for my hubby and I to learn from and hopefully impact in a positive way. :)

One of those weeks that leaves a "bad taste in your mouth"

It's been a tough week.

My husband and I have been attending a church for several months now and we are really enjoying it. The pastor and his family are so kind and generous. The sermons are inspired. The people, for the most part, are lovely.

If you know anything about my hubby and I and our quest to find a church where we are both comfortable, you know that it has been long, hard, and seemingly impossible. I am the type to jump in and get involved in a church, but I have been reserved and waiting and praying for God to confirm that this is where we're supposed to be and where He would like me to serve.

I've been attending an incredible women's bible study every Wednesday morning that has been so refreshing and deep, exactly what I've needed.

Well, my "church high" was very short-lived this time as I was shown once again how selfish christians can be. I understand that we are all that way, but it seems to hurt even more when it is done by those who claim to be different. I want so desperately to run and either not go back to church ever again or find a new church....maybe even one where I can just hide for a long time. Unfortunately, and fortunately for that matter, that is not an option. My family is more important than petty issues with people and my family needs to worship in a place where we are all comfortable and can serve. The church as a whole has not done anything to warrant us leaving and I refuse to allow a person to push me away.

So, I must bandage up my wounds the best I can and move on and just pray that I can get past this horrible, painful week.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'm a believer

For years I have bought into the idea that coupons are a waste of time and money. "It's cheaper to buy the off brand." After making money off of purchases and spending 39 cents for $60 worth of groceries, I have changed my ways and beliefs.

I will say that it does take a lot of time and energy and sometimes it takes a lot of printer ink, but what other job can you make $50+ an hour and do it completely on your own terms?

I will never spend more than 25 cents on a package of pads again! Body wash = FREE... Razors = FREE... It's insane how much you don't have to spend to get nice things! And you get to try items you never thought you would try!

And even better, once I get my stockpile, I am going to gather items to send to soldiers overseas and/or donate to local charities. We live on one income and as much as I've wanted to help local missionaries and such, I haven't had the resources. Now I have something tangible I can do to help. Of course there are other things you can do, like make a meal, a loaf of bread, pray,... but this is something I can work on over time and pull from whenever I want!

This is one of those things you have to have the time and energy to dedicate. If I wasn't home a SAHM, I don't think I could do this as well. I may not always be in a position to put this much time into it, but for now it is helping us make ends meet and pay off my student loans, so it's worth it! And speaking of student loans, we are officially half way to having them paid off!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our little miss

It is amazing to watch a child grow and develop their personality. I don't think you realize all of the details unless it's your own child. Our little miss is so dramatic already and she's only 8 months old!

The giggles, the smiles, the raising of one eyebrow...I just love being a mommy!

Sure at times it's rough, but it's amazing how quickly you learn from your mistakes. Like Thursday night I decided to take my hubby to a movie. I clicked on the Fandango link fast enough to get a 10 cent ticket, and I had to book it right away in order to get it. Well, we couldn't find a sitter for that time, so we took the babeh with us. Normally she is super chill and falls asleep in the sling in the theatre. Not this time! She went from screaming mad to super happy and chatting as loudly as she could. Needless to say mommy didn't get to see much of the movie. So, we probably won't be taking her to the movie theatre anytime soon.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wrapping up May

May has been a busy month. Although, I'm not so sure there is such thing as a slow month after having a baby. Not that its a bad thing, there is just always something to do. It's not like you can take a day off from being a mom. :)

Our garden survived the flood that came a day after we planted. Yes we have some things coming up all over, and we aren't really sure which are weeds and which are veggies but overall it is looking fabulous! I have picked several radishes and some of the other plants are starting to flower which is a good sign! (More on the beauty of a radish later. So many things they are good for!)

The ants are (mostly) gone...for now. My mother-in-law brought some Terro Syrup and basically they eat it and take it back to their colony and they all die. It sounds cruel, but keeping a clean kitchen where I can cook for my family and friends is super important to me.

A lot of my friends have been asking me to share some of my money saving tips. There are places for this all over the internet; people who devote an entire blog to a specific ways to save money. I can't and don't want to compete with that. So I will share what I do and what I know from time to time, but I will also make reference of other resources for more specific, in depth information.

We visited a civil war battlefield today. There wasn't much to see, but being there really made me feel like I was connected to history. It's really interesting to be on the other side of the civil war and find out that it really didn't have much to do with what I was taught. I don't want to get into the politics, but it's amazing how moving several states south will change your perspective on things.

So basically in May I...witnessed a disaster in my own city that affected my neighbors and friends...killed several hundred ants...watched my garden grow...watched my baby roll around...chased her as she tried to grab everything she could find (even things I didn't see until they were in her hands)...started couponing...found out my next door neighbor is from close to where I grew up...went 3 nights in a row with no more than 2 hours of sleep per night (teething is tough)...visited a civil war battlefield...lost 4 lbs...made 2 fancy cakes...decided I might (not have a choice but to) start my own business...entertained my wonderful in-laws...watched the season finale of LOST...and well...I could go on, but I will spare you ;)

Hope your May was as full of blessings and surprises as mine!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Simple things

Sometimes I really miss being a child. They have so much fun and are free-spirited. They have energy and the simplest things amuse them.

I love watching my girl discover new things. Everything is so exciting for her! She laughs hysterically when we scare her and thinks washcloths are way more fun than her toys.

The newest, most interesting thing is a word she made up. We are working on "Dadda" and somehow, after much intense thought, she came up with "BAH." It's not like all the other jibber jabber. It is an intent, thought out, very serious "BAH." My girl is so proud of herself that she gives us a coy smile after she says the "word."

And out of all the new milestones she's reached as of late, rolling everywhere, getting into everything, walking while I hold her hands, turning around, I have to admit that "BAH" is my favorite. ;)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Ants go marching one by one...

I grew up in the country, in the middle-of-no-where surrounded by trees and fields and one house across the street. Okay so that eventually turned into more homes, but you get my drift. There were bugs and critters and I was okay with them...

Now I have my own house, my own kitchen, walls, floors, and for some reason the bugs have REALLY taken to it. In particular, the ants and spiders. I can deal with the spiders, although screaming does occur on occasion, but the ants? I WANT THEM ALL TO DIE A SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH. PETA will probably come after me for saying that, but bugs belong outside. They don't belong on my floors and they REALLY don't belong on my countertops. I try to keep it crumb free, but with two dogs, a baby, and a hubby it's nearly impossible.

I've tried the terro traps and the baby powder and vinegar spray but nothing seems to be working. They come back in herds! YUCK.

I guess it could be worse... There could be snakes or ducks or possums or mice,... (Not that I EVER saw these in our home growing up) ;)

Back to the googles for help and if I can't get rid of them, I guess we'll have to splurge and hire The Bug Man again. :(

Friday, April 23, 2010


As far as husband's go, I think mine is pretty amazing. He is thoughtful, kind, and generous and he works his tail off going to school full time and working more than full time so that I can stay home with our little girl. He's not perfect and sometimes I complain about him when I really shouldn't but overall I think I basically hit the jackpot. :)

My husband is the best gift giver...ever and somehow manages to find money outside of our normal income/budget to get me nice things. He got me a day at the spa for our anniversary back in November. I guess after carrying a baby for 9 (10) months relaxation is somewhat necessary, although difficult to find time for. He even said he would watch the munchkin while I went for 4/5 hours!

So it's been 5 months and I FINALLY decided to use my gift certificate. Holy moly was it ever wonderful and exactly what I needed. 5 hours of being pampered from head to toe and treated like a queen. Everyone needs/deserves/SHOULD do this at some point, if not once every year or 2. My day ended with a yummy frappuccino from Starbucks thanks to a giftcard from my friend for my bday!

And on top of everything, my girl was apparently an angel for the hubs. You know, the same girl that has been screaming non-stop for 3 days for mommy... At least maybe he'll watch her again without hesitation. :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The first time I remember meeting and talking with Lois was following a visit to a new church. After church that Sunday I was invited to a women's get together at the pastor's home. We gathered for tea, crafts, prayer, and chatting. I sat at a table with Lois and another young woman.

I quickly learned that Lois wasn't an average mother, grandmother, or friend. She had spunk and wasn't afraid to share her opinion but she was also the sweetest, most generous person I had ever met. Her heart was truly made of gold, and she touched every person she came in contact with.

Lois had many health problems. I honestly don't know much of the details except that she battled leukemia and recovered from it. There were days that she could barely breathe and we would still see her in church. During prayer she would thank God for life, her daughters, church, and all of her blessings. When things were really bad, she publicly asked God for help but was sure to thank him first.

Through the best and worst of times, Lois was ALWAYS overflowing with joy and happiness. Her relationship with her daughters was astounding and precious to see. She went on cruises and trips with her husband and they had one of those marriages that everyone dreams of and admires.

I think Lois touched more lives than she knew, and I was one of them. If there is one thing I learned from her life, it's that I can have joy in the worst of times. I hope that when things get tough for me, I have just a small amount of the perseverance and joy that Lois exuded everyday.

Lois, you will be missed, but we know that you are in a better place waiting for us. We love you.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I think I can, I think I can...

Gardening is not my forte. I kill mums in a matter of weeks and you aren't supposed to be able to kill mums. You would think after killing dozens of plants, I would give up but that's just not the case.

This year, I was/am absolutely determined to plant a garden. And because I have orange clay for "dirt," I knew it would be quite the feat. We tilled a 12 foot square in our yard and placed it strategically by the kitchen window so that I would see it every day and remember to water it. The tilling? It sucked because clay likes to be together. If you have it, you understand.

Then we started to build a garden box around the tilled ground, so we can pour topsoil in and keep the deer out. (I like the root vegetables so extra depth was important to me.)

We're hoping to have the box finished tomorrow and the seeds in the soil. I did start some veggies in egg cartons so we're not too far behind.

Hopefully I will be picking fresh lettuce, beets, and green beans (to name a few) soon!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

One of my favorites...

We have a store in the area that sells products at least half off of their retail price, called "Liquidation Outlet". Sometimes this store has specials when they get an abundance of certain items. And sometimes they have specials plus "half off days" (an extra 50% off everything in the store). Today you could purchase hot/cold humidifiers for $2, coffee makers for $5, nice filing cabinets for $2.50, Wii remotes for $9 and the list goes on...and on...and on. Usually the only problem with the items is that the box is a little warped.

"Liquidation Outlet" has quickly become my FAVORITE store because I can get things that would normally hurt the bank account for super cheap. And I can try things without feeling guilty for spending a ton of money on them. It's wonderful. And the fun and even more addicting part is that their inventory is constantly changing and they never know when they're going to get a new truck full of goodies.

Sure liquidation stores get a bad rap, but this place is run by, from what I understand, a great family who really cares about their customers. The employees are all friendly and helpful and you simply can not beat the prices.

It is such a blessing to find a place that is well run and inexpensive and it makes me wonder if this is a rare concept or if there are other stores like this in different areas.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My day was great, how was yours?

You know those days where you just want to crawl back under the covers and start over? Today was definitely one of those days.

It started at 3am. I tried to ignore the sweet cries coming from the monitor, but as they turned to screams I knew I was going to have find the strength to get up. I cradled my darling baby and nursed her for what seemed like hours. There was a lot of dozing and a lot of random screams because she couldn't latch back on. Pretty sure this went on until 6:30 at which point I gave up on her falling asleep next to me, and put her in her crib. Not 30 minutes later, there was screaming again. This time she had a stink. (That's what we call poopy diapers here.) By then she was wide awake and nothing I could do would make her go back to sleep.

As I got up from the recliner, my phone slipped off and landed in the cup of coffee I didn't finish the night before. I quickly pulled it out and tried every trick in the book. Blotting, blow drying, a bag of rice... Every once in a while I had a glimmer of hope, but it wasn't enough. The screen was gone. Kaput. No more.

Then I went to check my email and my computer crashed. My Mac that never ever crashes, crashed. And although I thought I had learned my lesson about backing up data, none of those beautiful pictures of my baby were backed up. Luckily I was able to eventually restart it and quickly backed everything up.

It didn't really end there. As if to mock me, my baby was happy the rest of the day. I managed to drop a fork on a can of coke and create a teeny hole of which soda began to spew. And probably the worst part was pinching my finger in our backup car seat that I had never used, having the baby laugh at me because I made a silly face, and having to unlatch and lift the car seat one handed to free my index finger. OUCH!

All in all, it was a very interesting day. On the upside, it all happened at once so hopefully that will be the end. My husband and I are due for upgrades on our phones and I still have a warranty on my computer.

Everyone is safe, healthy, fed, and happy. And when everyone else is happy, mommy is happy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Aside from the clicking of the keys as I type, it is completely silent in my house. This is a very rare occasion in our home these days. Between the two dogs, baby, and my constant need to accomplish something, it gets pretty chaotic.

As much as I am attempting to savor the calm, I can't help but hear the baby cry. I'm typically really in tune to her and I know if she wakes up from a nap from the opposite end of the house, even without the monitor. But now I think I'm past the "in tune" part and onto a little crazy. I guess it's probably normal when you go through phases where baby cries a lot but its a little odd.

(Of course it might also be that I'm hearing the neighbor's crazy rooster that crows at all hours of the day.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Who took my baby?

They say that the first 6 weeks after your beautiful bundle of joy arrives are the hardest. Between the big CHANGE in your life, lack of sleep, feeding around the clock they figure it can't get worse. Maybe I'm not like most, but I thoroughly enjoyed those first 6 weeks. But now... either I'm getting my 6 weeks a little late or they LIED to me.

My sweet, innocent, loving infant has become a monster. Okay maybe not quite, but seriously it's been tough. She is 5.5 months and into everything. She can never really decide what she wants except when I'm eating she HAS to have what I'm putting in my mouth. Not that I let her, but the grabbing gets old quickly.

Mostly, its the chasing and the weird schedule and the sometimes all I want to do is nap and sometimes I need to nap but there is no way on earth I'm going to. OR better yet, the "I'm going to play games with my mommy and roll over in my crib, get stuck on my back, and throw a fit so that she comes and puts me back on my tummy."

She refuses to cuddle with me and I'm really hoping that that is just a phase because her and I were cuddle buddies up until a couple weeks ago.

And the squealing...oh the squealing. To those who only have to hear it for five minutes at a time, it's absolutely adorable. But when you hear it for hours and hours and hours, it makes you want to pull out your hair.

So, you're probably wondering... What does all of this mean? Why the sudden changes? (OR you're a mommy and you've been in this place so you're laughing at me right now.)

And the culprit for most of the items listed above is... the TEENY TINY sharp little ridges scraping at my poor baby's gums. There is one poking through that has cut my hand a few times, but there are more little buds just lingering and driving her and me insane.

Please don't get me wrong, I love her dearly and I still stare at her and wonder how someone so beautiful and incredible came from me, but we're having a little rough patch.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rediscovering Me

Having a baby changes things, period. I like to tell myself that its not much different than when it was just my husband and I, but it's not. I was blessed with a great baby. She sleeps A LOT and she's pretty calm most of the time. My hubby and I still go out from time to time and we still spend a lot of time with each other. Instead of racing off to work 45 minutes away every day, I get to roll out of bed, grab my munchkin, roll back into bed, let her eat and drift off for another hour or 2 before the day really begins.

Being home with her is really quite lovely. Being home to take care of the house and try new recipes is also wonderful. But now that I pretty much live from feeding time to nap time and play time, who am I? What is my identity? I'm a mom and a wife, but who am I as a person? What am I doing for me?

I don't want to become a robot. I don't want to get frustrated or go stir crazy. I don't want to lose myself.

So my goal this week is to take 30 minutes each day for me. I'm not talking about T.V. time or computer time or cooking out of enjoyment. I'm talking about brewing a cup of coffee or pouring a glass of wine and soaking in a steamy bubble bath, or reading a good book, or journaling. Being still.

Even though you or I may enjoy cooking, baking, cleaning, feeding, bathing, and all of our daily tasks taking the time for ourselves is SO important. I'm going to forget about the dishes and the laundry for 30 minutes a day and relax. Hopefully in that time I will remember that I am still me. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Birth Story ...continued

(This is Part II. Click HERE for Part I)

20 hours... 21 hours...22 hours.......23 hours.....

(It's funny how when you go into labor you think, I'M GOING TO HAVE MY BABY TODAY. And then after 23 hours, you realize that's absolutely not the case.)

Around 23 hours my midwife came in and told me that they talked it over and I could go home with some Ambien... WAIT a second... I've been in labor for nearly 24 hours and I can go home? You mean... like a good hour or so drive in rush hour traffic... only to have no idea when the baby is actually going to come and turn right back around? Ummm.... I don't think so.

So I asked her about breaking my water so I could stay... She breaks my "bags of water" and although contractions get stronger, NO progression. (Can I just quickly say that that water is REALLY warm? I don't know what I was expecting, obviously baby needs warm...but it was a little surprising.)

Anyway... I think that got me to 4 cm. And around the 24 hour mark I gave up my quest for no meds. IVs it was! And pass out I did... well, that is for 2 minutes at a time.


I'm pretty much passed out and can't comprehend anything at this point. New midwife comes in and talks for what seems like 30 minutes while I dose. She basically said I NEEDED the epidural and pitocin. I was so out of it, I just said okay. Do what you need to do.

I couldn't help but think something was wrong with me that I wasn't progressing. I was scared of infection... and I was scared of a c-section. My fear of the big needle went to the wayside.

Before I knew it my room was swarming with people. Tape and poking and prying at me while my husband and doula were cast aside. I wasn't allowed to move. How was I supposed to not move when no one was supporting me, I was drugged up and falling asleep, and people were pushing me? I don't really get it.

I fell asleep. For about 5 or 6 or maybe 7 hours.

Woke up in severe pain. Got an extra dose of epidural.

Midwife came in... checked me.... 10 cm! But baby still wasn't engaged.

An hour later I was pushing with the nurse. I guess I didn't know that you start pushing with a nurse before the midwife comes. I got to see my baby's head! I think that finally sealed the deal for me. He/she was finally coming!

I'm pushing, things are progressing,... nurse comes in... She needs to stop pushing and you need to come with me.

Yes that's right. I had to stop pushing. The most PAINFUL part of the entire process was when I needed to push and I had to stop. 30 minutes of that. TOTALLY sucked. Thank God my doula was there coaching me and even let me push with her a little.

I think after everyone in another ward heard me screaming in pain, they finally decided I needed help.

The midwife was still busy with another emergency birth, but the nurse was back.

Before I knew it the midwife was in there, head came out, and although I thought I was supposed to pause in order to avoid tearing. I was told to push. One of the nurses slammed down on my tummy (sticky shoulder) and out came baby.

They laid the baby on my chest and for a few moments I forgot I was supposed to look to see if it was a boy or girl. To my surprise... a little girl! EVERYONE's predictions were wrong.

She didn't cry or anything so they ended up taking her away pretty quickly. I remember hearing nurses comment about how big she was... Whoah, is that scale right? Yes... it was... 10lb 7oz

So in 36 hours I delivered a beautiful little 10lb 7oz girl sunny side up. :)

I am so thankful for my husband, my doula and good friend, and the midwives that helped.