Sunday, September 16, 2012

reality check

i started this blog as a place for be honest about how life really is as a stay at home mom. not that most of the people reading this probably care but to stay true to the purpose of this blog let me say that cooking does not always happen and cooking days are certainly not the norm. for the last 2 weeks at least we have had lots going on ---i was sick twice, sophia was sick once, busy with birthday party planning, etc.--so the girls and i have lived off of kroger rotisserie chicken, annie's mac and cheese, sweet peas, and almond butter/jelly sandwiches. oh well at least we ate and it was good (o:

Friday, August 24, 2012

the difficulties of cleaning

i am sad to say that i still haven't figured out the best way/schedule to clean the house, and i have been a stay at home mom for just over a year now. that is especially sad for an organized, list oriented person. i think my main issue has to do with the above quote...obviously there are things that have to be done around the house but i don't want my girls to remember me cleaning all the time. i want to be there for them to make memories. because i have the joy and the privilege to stay at home, i want to soak up as much time as i can with my girls!!!! when i was working, it was heartbreaking not getting to be with them throughout the day. so thanks to pinterest and my friends i have gotten some good ideas but of course it comes down to what works for each individual family..still don't think i have it figured out but here are the ideas i found. this site has 4 rules for keeping things in order without going crazy. one of my friends does a schedule like this (sorry i had to make these pics so big but otherwise you wouldn't be able to read them):

she has certain tasks she does on certain days; i wasn't sure about this because i like to get everything done at once but there was no way with a newborn--who was nursing--that i would have a few hours to do it all. i tried doing a few things a day but still could never keep up. even if i was only supposed to do one thing that day, it always got postponed for one reason or another. there were always dishes in the sink and the dishwasher, the laundry room was overflowing with dirty clothes, the couch and chairs in the living room were full of clean clothes waiting to be folded and put away, dusting only occurred out of necessity--like company was coming over, vacuuming was maybe every 1-2 weeks so there were dog hair bunnies in every corner, i don't even want to talk about the state of the bathrooms. it was horrible. sorry to be so blunt...i'm sure many of you are now terrified to walk in my house! but i promise it has improved.... it started with the laundry. i decided i had to take control of the piles everywhere situation. so i found a laundry basket that wasn't being used for anything worthwhile and designated it the clean clothes hamper. the minute clothes came out of the dryer they went in the basket and were fairly immediately folded and put away--great job for my oldest to help with! then to tackle the dirty clothes piles, i had to start fresh and just wash it all on one day....that was a long day but now i can walk in my laundry room without tripping over anything! now i make a concerted effort to monitor the dirty clothes hampers in all 4 closets so that i can wash wayyy before they start overflowing.
as far as the other cleaning items, for some reason i have always liked thursdays as a cleaning day; just seems nice...right before the weekend so the weekend is relaxing and not at the beginning of the week, because let's face it mondays are hard enough without scrubbing toilets. so i am trying to add things to my schedule one at time. after the laundry got under control, i took on the kitchen sink and dishwasher. basic rules at least 1-2 loads in the dishwasher a day. at minimum, i try to start the dishwasher after dinner and then unload it the next morning while the girls are eating breakfast; and of course after i unload it that morning, i put any dirty dishes from the sink in there.
i think something also clicked in my brain when my hubby went to school; he was not going to be around to "pick up my slack" not that i did that intentionally but in the back of my mind, i always thought, oh i can wait until he gets home to do that while he plays with the girls or i'll ask him to do that tonight. since those options are no longer the norm, i guess my subconscious realized it was up to me and me alone to get it done!
anyway, i am trying to vacuum at least every 3-4 days....does that seem excessive to anyone??...well when you have 2 dogs that shed and bring in all kinds of leaves, grass from the backyard, and a baby that is half crawling, half walking, it is a necessity to vacuum very often. my BIGGEST hurdle is dusting. i hate dusting!!! i hate having to move everything off and dust each little thing, then dust the surface, then put everything back only to realize it's not exactly how i had it before (which is not good for ocd-ness!). my plan is to make myself dust at least every 2 weeks on thursdays. that plan has not been implemented yet...maybe this thursday...
i am doing better with the bathrooms; haven't really set a time i clean them but usually once a week. thankfully we only have 2 bathrooms. i do not like cleaning our stand up shower! it is so hard to get clean and then try to wash off all the cleaning products without causing a flood in the bathroom. tips on that are greatly appreciated!!! the miscellaneous cleaning like the floorboards, blinds, light fixtures, fridge, etc. i have been doing randomly. i need to put that on a rotation. i have tried a few of the pinterest cleaning ideas---the baking soda sitting in the toilet to clean it...didn't work that great for me; using a dryer sheet to clean the fabulously! going to try it on the blinds next; using a dryer sheet to clean soap scum off shower door...not so much, or maybe the soap scum on our shower door is too much for it to work right; once i get the shower door clean, i will be apply rainx to it which should help alot!
so my schedule is not much of one i guess but it's better than not having one and not doing anything! i really like the set up of this cleaning schedule below. it's in a frame so you can check off things as you do it with a dry erase marker. i plan to make one of these so i can keep track of what i have done. makes it a little more flexible about when certain things are done throughout the week and month. however, i certainly will not be doing all that shown on the daily list! please tell me if you do all that everyday and if you do, please tell me how on earth!? i'd love to know!

sorry this was so so long and may or may not be of interest to you but it was helpful for me to get it all out on "paper". please pass on any ideas you have for cleaning, etc.
one of my helpers (O:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

i'm sorry....

one thing that we have been trying to impress upon ella is the importance of apologizing and forgiveness. we believe it is important for her to recognize what she did wrong, who was harmed/wronged in the process, to approach that person, look in their eyes, apologize for "blank" and ask for forgiveness, then hug. know how i also believe that our children are here to sanctify us? they certainly do. several weeks ago, it hit me, when have i ever apologized and asked for forgiveness from ella? with big, obvious things, of course i do! but what i became convicted of is that i don't do that in the little when my tone of voice is not what it should be or when i say something harshly or when i don't do what i say i was going to. that was a hard pill to swallow! until then it had not occurred to me to apologize to her and ask for forgiveness for my actions in those small things. but those small things really are big things. my voice will be the words in her head one day; my tone will carry through years; and not keeping promises certainly hurts the trust in our relationship. and maybe it's because she is now 4 1/2 and we are both more aware of our actions toward each other; she is able to understand much more. maybe i'm the only one coming across this, seemingly a little late, but maybe not. so i wanted to share my shortcomings in case it might help someone else. (o: love your littles as much as you can squeeze in every minute of every day

Sunday, August 19, 2012

cooking day #3

things have been sooooo busy at our house!! i have been trying to think of ways to simplify especially when it comes to cleaning and cooking. i have been making weekly menus for years and lately have been trying to arrange those menus around what is on sale at the store to help moneywise. we cannot afford to eat out and i certainly want us to eat healthy which is almost impossible to do when eating out. i also needed a way to send food with my hubby when he is at school. so i talked to my college friend, anna and perused this site-- there are a few posts on cooking days/freezer cooking. i also read the book "don't panic dinner is in the freezer". about 3 weeks ago i decided to tackle a cooking day...well it turned into 2 days but that's ok cause it was my first try. today my goal was to cook/make 7 meals--2 breakfasts and 5 dinners. i was able to make all but 1 dinner! woohoo!!! and the only reason i didn't make it is because i didn't realize i was out of bacon (and i had already send my hubby to the store for a couple other things i needed; he's so sweet!) but i can cook it tomorrow. yesterday both of the girls went with my hubby on an errand so i took advantage of that and got started on my list! i made cereal balls, which are.. well... not really balls anymore. making them into balls is way too time consuming but the name stuck. i kind of made my own recipe for the cereal balls and you can find that here. some people have been curious about how i do this and believe me i am no expert...remember this is my 3rd time!! but i am more than happy to share what i am doing to make our life easier! i started about 8:30am by getting my ingredients together for my 2 crockpot meals--lime cilantro chicken tacos and chicken taco chili.  oh and chicken breasts were on sale at kroger last week so i got these for $1.99/lb!!!

lime cilantro chicken tacos
chicken taco chili
the lime cilantro chicken is a new recipe this week and it turned out sooooo good!!!!!! i followed the recipe exactly except i did not use any jalapenos. the chicken taco chili is a staple at our house...everyone loves it!! it makes a ton which is wonderful because i was able to make some to eat this week and then froze about 3 meal portions of it! when cooking the chili, i follow the recipe and use the girl's tips in red. i also make my own taco seasoning which you can find here. i will never go back to buying store taco seasoning; it is so easy to make and tastes a ton better. i made sure to start these 2 items first since they both needed to cook for about 6 hours. after they were switched on--and i set the timer!-- i started making the blueberry muffins. i want to try this recipe for blueberry muffins but i had a box of duncan hines simple mornings mix to use. the recipe calls for eggs, oil and water; i substitute skim milk for the water and it makes a big difference! so yummy!!! while the muffins were cooking, i made more of the taco seasoning and set out the cream cheese to warm to room temperature. can't wait to have these in the morning!!

after baby sophia woke up from her nap, i started cooking the ground turkey for the taco cupcakes and the bacon cheeseburger puffs. both recipes call for 1/2 pound (recipe says beef but i always use turkey instead) so i cooked the whole pound and then took out half before i added the black beans for the taco cupcake recipe. the bacon cheeseburger recipe doesn't call for any seasoning but last time we made them, it seemed like they could use a little something to put them over the edge. that was another reason i cooked the whole pound together so i could put in 2 tbsp of my taco seasoning. again i couldn't finish the puffs because i don't have any bacon, so i just set aside the meat and put it the frig after it cooled. one less step this week when i do make them! for the taco cupcakes i follow the recipe more generally when it comes to measurements; i just place "scoops" of the queso, meat, salsa, and cheese. i don't bother measuring it all out for each muffin tin. and i use the whole can of black beans...what on earth would i do with 1/4 of the can anyway! before i started on my assembly line for the cupcakes, i put some chicken broth and water in my pasta pot so it could be coming to a takes forever to boil!!! here is my assembly line with the first wonton squares in the pan. oh and the wonton wrappers are usually in the deli/produce section; at my kroger they are in the refrigerated organic section.

after i got the taco cupcakes in the oven, i started on my last meal!!! baked cream cheese spaghetti. i followed the recipe except i used ground turkey instead of ground beef and i also put the minced garlic in while the ground turkey cooked to flavor the meat. since we weren't eating this tonight, i divided the ingredients into 2 pans, layered like in the recipe; included a label for the next step; and after they cooled, put in the frig.
by the time i finished all that, i had about an hour before the crockpot meals would be ready. both meals needed the chicken rough chopped and then stirred back in the crockpot before serving. we had the lime cilantro chicken for dinner tonight so i didn't have to worry about getting that cooled off; however, i had to try to cool off that huge pot of chili! i scooped out a few bowlfuls and let them cool off. i learned from anna and the book, that the best way to freeze things is flat in a freezer ziploc bag. i wanted to get that chili cool enough to put it in bags in serving size portions for my hubby to take.
well i am exhausted... it took pretty much all day to do all that cooking but, rest assured, i wasn't cooking literally all day either. with 2 girls and the hubby at home--and usually in the kitchen with me, i had some wonderful distractions (o: it was a nice laid back cooking day with my family...doesn't get much better than that! at least it didn't take me 2 whole days like it did the first time. even though it makes for a long day, i really really appreciate it during the week. i don't have to wonder what is for dinner or how long it will take to cook or if my sweet baby will let me cook that night, etc. nope i just open the fridge and pop it in the oven or microwave and dinner is served!! my 4 1/2 year old really appreciates the quick prep when she is just so starving she "can't handle it" (o;
here is what i sent with my honey bunny---container of lime cilantro chicken with shredded cheese (he already had tortillas and salsa), 3 ziplocs of one serving each of chicken taco chili (2 of which he will freeze), pan of baked cream cheese spaghetti with a ziploc of parmasean cheese taped to it with instructions for cooking, a container of 4 taco cupcakes, ziploc of grapes, an apple, and a ziploc of strawberries.
hope that wasn't too jumbled or rambly!! let me know if you have any questions (o:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

laundry room

i am sure you have been waiting on pins and needles for the laundry room portion of the redo (o: i won't keep you waiting any longer! i love the cabinet space in our laundry room but like the kitchen it poses problems for my height. the 2 middle cabinets only have 2 shelves so i cannot reach the 2nd shelf without a stepladder especially since the washer/dryer stick out alot farther than the cabinets. so again i tried to put the most frequently used items on the first shelf. as you will see there are still a couple of projects left to do in there one day.
the top pics are the before and the bottom pics are the after. the top right cabinet before is not completely accurate...i forgot to take a pic but that middle shelf was overflowing with kitchen towels and the top shelf had all kinds of junk. so the first cabinet holds the laundry items; i utilized a basket for the random dog items like the flea meds, ear drops, etc.and put the rarely used cleaning/household items up there....yes rarely used items does include that iron. i do not like ironing and avoid it at all costs! the middle cabinet was overrun with cleaning supplies. some never used but mostly the height of the shelf is so tall it didn't work well. i used a metal shelf like this to organize better and also sorted through cleaning supplies, tossing ones i don't use. i am trying to transition to more "organic" (and cheap) cleaning supplies so hopefully once i do that i will have fewer items in that section. (post to come soon!) and i know you are thinking-- we have alot of towels!! yes we do! the white towels next to the beach towels are mostly used for the dogs when it's raining/wet outside--don't want them getting the whole house wet! the other towels on the first shelf are for dusting/cleaning; there are some old handtowels too that are useful for small kitchen spills or to wipe the dogs feet. the last cabinet has 3 shelves which is so helpful! the top shelf holds koozies and a box of fancy placemats and napkins--this was one of the items that used to live in the hall closet. the middle shelf has furniture cleaning kits that came with the couch we bought, extra mason jars/baby food jars, and light bulbs. VERY obviously the first shelf needs work. this is the medicine shelf. i previously tried to organize it with some plastic boxes but it has slowly become unruly again )o: i have to think of a better way to organize this stuff!! at least the medicine is grouped together by type of medicine.

this shelf is above the clothing rod. extremely helpful but i kind of wish it was enclosed like the other cabinets. i think that would have made for better use of space instead of having to stack so many things and also having to see all of it. the pic on the left is the before pic. not too much changed but i did move the bottle warmer and box of sippy cups elsewhere because neither are being used right now but might be in the future. the 2 bottom pics are also on the to do list. the cabinet on the left holds the dog food box and extra paper bags. who knows why i feel the need for so many extra bags but they are so handy to have....when you need one...might need to read my organization "rules" again and discard some of those. anyway, i CANNOT wait to get started on the rack in the right pic!! this is right behind the laundry room door which is nice because it hides all the clutter but it also doesn't hold things well. the previous owners had installed these hooks, which are really just a glorified piece of wood with wooden dowels stuck in it. when my parents moved, i was able to get their old fabulous metal double hooks! i can't wait to spray paint them (rustoleum oil rubbed bronze (o:), install them and make this function better and look better!!

organizating never i need to work on the few places that didn't get sorted out during this kitchen/laundry redo but my next BIG project after all that is to tackle ella's needs help! i hate opening the closet doors because it is just one big pile of me palpitations...and not in a good way.
***side note..the first pic with the odd painting...that is a picasso-ish painting i did at easely amused of my 2 first babies (o: adds some great color and sense of family to the otherwise drab laundry room

Monday, July 9, 2012


ok so here is the kitchen part of the accidental organizing takeover. when we moved in, i wasn't really sure where i needed certain things, or if i would even use them the food processor, grater, etc. there are still a couple of areas that i need to work on. the plates, cups, and silverware are the only things that didn't get moved around. i can't wait to do a better job of organizing my canned goods and baking goods once i can get at least one cansolidator. but of course rearranging those items may cause me to rearrange the big cabinet/pantry...oh what fun! (o: and yes i am serious! ok back to what i did finish. i was able to get rid of some things i never use; i also took things that are fairly expensive but that i rarely use and placed them in the back of a cabinet. i love the many many cabinets in our kitchen but since i am on the shorter side i cannot reach the 3rd shelf without a stool. so the things i put on the 3rd shelves cannot be something i use often. given the age of sophia and her developing curiosity, i needed to have a cabinet that allowed her free access to play; she can get in the other ones but i wanted her to know which one "belonged" to her. the tupperware cabinet is perfect for that! i put a few of her own toys in there too. originally i had the extra kitchen towels in the laundry room but i hated having to go in there to get a new one...usually i didn't know i needed a new one until i already had dirty or wet hands so putting them in the cabinet right by the sink made more sense!

the top pictures in this collage are the before pics and the bottom ones are the after pics. i was so tired of unstacking pans to get to the ones i actually use. i moved the muffin pans to be with the flat trays and moved all the storage jars --used baby food jars, mason jars--to the laundry room. this gave me alot more room than i thought it would! now i can grab a 9x13 pan without unstacking!! it also helped to pack up the beabe baby food cooker that i didn't need anymore since sophia is older. i put all the serving dishes/platters in the back of the cabinet since i don't need them very often.

this cabinet is huge!! one of the things love about our kitchen. these 3 shelves are the top section and there is another section below it. the only thing that makes it quite trying is the depth! it is so deep!!!! i cannot reach the middle of the second shelf without a stool! but it is great storage so i tried to put things i rarely use in the top shelf and in the back of the second shelf. i put all the party napkins, plastic cups, plastic ware, and ice bucket together on the top shelf. they were all scattered in different parts of the kitchen which made no sense! i also put some pots/vases up there. the middle shelf has the kitchen appliances that i rarely use but don't think i should part with just yet, like the food processor. the bottom shelf holds the everyday stuff. i love how uncluttered it all is now!! the wooden tray is especially great for my hubby to put his keys, id badges, etc at the end of the day.

this desk is one of my favorite places in the whole house!! the shelves hold some of my favorite cookbooks--some classics, some we received as wedding gifts, some newer names. i'd like to work more on the top's a bit bare. there was a nice plant in that pot but i kept forgetting to water it since i had to get the stepladder to reach it! i got the frame idea for my menu from pinterest. i love it! so easy..picture frame with a sheet of scrapbook paper in frame, then use dry erase markers to write on it! i got the decorative organizer at tj maxx. it's a great size to hold bills, notes about school, extra note pads, etc. i had another one there but i was alot longer and had a drawer. i like having the extra space more on the desk top. i love clean and uncluttered...although it's usually one or the other not both (o:

so that's what i did in the kitchen. like i said before i still have a few cabinets to purge and organize. hopefully i can start on that soon..or i might read a book's been almost 2 weeks since i finished a book and i'm in withdrawal already...hmm...maybe i can do both..haha probably not with these sweet girls to love on (o:

Friday, July 6, 2012

summer fun

here are a few pics of the summer fun we have done so far!
ella's first snowcone

homemade father's gift

toilet roll butterfly

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

i LOVE organizing

i love organizing...i mean i love it truly, whether it is organizing my own stuff or someone else's. i think it is therapeutic for me, a way of creating order, pacifying my inner (or boisterous, as my hubby would say) ocd-ness. my ocd tendencies have calmed down some since ella was born; for my own sanity, i had to learn that some things can be let go and don't have to be done right when i think they should. anyway, i realize now, weeks later, that the complete re-organization of the kitchen, hall closet, and laundry room most likely was me unconsciously dealing with the beginning of sophia's weaning (see post here), however it needed to be done and it was fun!!! originally i started out planning to just do the hall closet. it is our only hall closet and since we moved in about a year ago (when sophia was 2 weeks old!), it became just a catchall. however, the more i did in the closet the more i had to change in the kitchen, and then the more i had to change in the laundry you see where this snowball was headed. my poor hubby was out of town when all this happened so he had to relearn where things were! i didn't do a great job with the before pics because, well, i forgot until had already started. so just imagine it a whole lot worse and all the things that are on the door hanger were on the shelves in the closet.
a few of my organizing guidelines--if you don't use it, you most likely won't (there are some exceptions like serving ware that is only used at certain times); put similar things together and easy to find; i love using baskets, trays, etc.---hobby lobby, ross, michaels and the dollar store are great places to find them; no junk drawers/cabinets; put things where you use them; if possible label baskets/boxes especially if you cannot see in them without opening; remember organizing is a process that has to be repeated every once in a while due to life changes/children ages/stages, etc; even if you don't have time to clean, always straighten; if you get it out, put it back where it belongs; and then there is my gut feeling about how things fit together, where they should go in the house, etc which is hard to explain. i got the door hanger idea from decorology  and purchased the actual hanger from chef's. i love that you can put the baskets where you need them based on your items. i have some of my favorite ideas on my pinterest board, i love organizing.
so here are the pics and i will post the kitchen and laundry pics soon! i'm not that good at the picture posting part so bear with me (O:



on this shelf i put my fall door decoration and my extra flower containers with some decorative crosses that i haven't decided where to put yet and a crystal punch bowl.

these middle shelves worked out great! i had some extra wrapping paper that was too short for the door as well as the plastic rings that hold the wrapping paper together. i love my "j" tote! it holds all of the gifts i have on hand. on the right side of that shelf had a perfect liquor box that was holding all the extra gift bags. it works so well holding them that i decided to keep it for now until i can find something cuter. on top of that box is a bag of white tissue paper and several smaller pieces of bubble wrap. i put the gift boxes, flattened, between the gift bag box and the wall.

the next shelf is mostly craft items. the right side basket holds all the watercolor paints, faux finish notes, paint brushes, charcoal, colored pencils, etc. the stack of papers in the middle is actually christmas cards put together by years with binder rings. i forgot to put them with our christmas books last christmas so those will go in that box this year--and that means even more room in the closet! on the left side i had an extra decorative tray so i am using that to hold my glue gun, yarn, cardboard rolls and then a few flat rate usps boxes underneath. the advocare product section didn't change much; i already had it organized with like products together.

 this next to last shelf was pretty important because it holds things that my 4 year old needs to get to by herself. it needed to be organized by grouping like things together and also by using baskets. the wipes boxes aren't that cute but they are doing a great job holding puzzle pieces and card games. i will either paint them or get something cuter one day. obviously the games/puzzles are on the right. on the left side, i have a basket full of bubbles, another basket filled with sidewalk chalk, and yet another basket for play dough. so far the items are easy for ella to get and also for her to put them back where they belong!
the very bottom "shelf" which is the floor has 2 boxes, each labeled with decorations for easter and valentines. the boxes made a great ledge for the drawing paper holder.

and last but not least, the piece that inspired it all!!! the wrapping station door hanger! i didn't realize how much wrapping paper i had until i had to put it all in this basket! i used a piece of ribbon to secure the top part of the paper so it wouldn't fall over. in front of the wrapping paper in the basket, i put the colored/designed tissue paper. the next basket holds acrylic paint and a small dollar store basket with more paint, a hole puncher, and glue. the 2 above that hold all of my ribbon. the top shelf has christmas bows and extra popsicle sticks.

i had so much fun organizing the hall closet, finally! it took a few days since i could only work on it when the girls were preoccupied with playing or when they were napping. but i think it turned out great! you made it to the end of this post, woohoo! it was alot longer than i thought it would be!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

it's been 27 days...

june 5. a day i will remember, probably forever. that was the first day sophia drank from a cup. she had never used a bottle or cup until that day. and i wasn't expecting it to go that well. to my surprise it did and thus began weaning. i admit i had thought about weaning for a few weeks prior and i knew that i had planned to be done nursing by the time school starts but still i was caught off guard. since she was doing so good with the cup i wanted to encourage it. so my plan initially was to nurse 2-3 times a day; i got a pump so she could at least drink my milk from the cup. this has helped me (and her).
27 days and it's been an emotional, hormonal ride. i think i was in denial at first about how much it was affecting me. after a week or so, i realized i had been eating alot more ice cream than usual. that was the first sign and then I started noticing the emotional part. pumping 3 times a day was taking 2 1/2 to 3 hours a day and i was going insane; but i felt guilty that i couldn't keep doing that. but i also coudn't spend that much time each day pumping. part of me just wanted to go back to nursing full time---i mean goodness, it only took 35-40 mintues total PER DAY to nurse and pumping was taking more than triple that. now i am down to pumping once a day, sometimes twice; and nursing only first thing in the morning. on one hand, i am glad to have some freedom back; to be able to come and go more freely; she can actually drink her milk while i'm IN the grocery store; and i'm able to leave her with family for longer periods of time. but on the other hand, it is sad. in some ways i do not want to stop even though obviously i do at some point. i never knew that nursing was so wonderful. i wasn't able to nurse with ella except the first few weeks but if i had known then what i know now, i would have made a way! the health benefits to her and to me are great; in addition to that is the emotional bond. amazing. there are no words. God was so thoughtful in His decision for this to be how our young should be fed. i will never forget that sweet sound she makes while she's nursing; its her little sound of "yummy". or how she will look in my eyes in the middle of nursing and smile or laugh. or the countless times we nursed in the car in a random parking lot. or watching her eyelids slowly close as her tummy gets full. or the contentment on her face. or how her hair curls like a corkscrew above her right ear. or how she wants to cuddle when she's full, listening to my heart and my breathing. or how when she's upset, tired, maybe hungry and nursing is the only thing that will comfort her. or realizing how much those little legs have grown, from barely reaching my side to dangling playfully on the chair. a-mazing. i pray i never forget all the precious moments.
of course as i say how wonderful this experience has been, i'm not saying that every single feeding was absolutely fabulous; there is always the other side of the coin. we certainly had our times of frustration, various age/development "issues", doctor visits (dr. saenz is fabulous), educating myself (ms breastfeeding clinic notes and kellymom). but it was all worth it and i would do it over again in a heartbeat!!! i am so thankful for the support of my hubby, parents, and in laws. so glad that my 4 year old has been wonderfully helpful and understanding. now i'm praying that my milk supply will stay so we can keep that first early morning feeding for a little while longer. i'm not ready to let go. there i said it. so if you happen in my path in the next few weeks, months and i get a little teary eyed, but our conversation has no sadness in it whatsoever, just know it's the hormones and nothing to worry about (:
disclaimer--i am not in any way saying anything against moms who use formula and/or didn't nurse. and i'm sorry if this was too personal for anyone reading. as i said in the beginning, this blog is a place for me to be open and honest about it all!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

unplugged...well sort of...

it's been about 2 weeks since we got rid of cable. and by get rid of cable, i mean no cable, no tv service at all, not even one channel, there is only black and white fuzz when you turn on the tv. we took back the comcast box with its magical dvr and instant information guide and the on demand access. back to the dark ages? ha not quite, we do still have Internet, obviously, and we have our tvs but now the only option is dvds. it may seem a bit odd in this day to be getting rid of such a thing. believe me i think it might be harder on me and jerm than ella. our reasoning, just in case you are curious...for one the cost!! just by cutting out cable, our bill went from about $140 to about $20 per month! that is a great benefit but the biggest issue was the girls and what is on tv and what tv was doing to our relationships. ella was seeing/hearing things we weren't ready for her to experience. tv was also becoming something she asked for constantly and we don't want to fight that battle. tv stole alot of our quality time as a family. when the tv was on, no one talked, everyone just stared at it. we want to be able to cultivate our relationship with the girls and at the same time help them to cultivate their minds and bodies. now don't get me wrong, the tv is on at some point most days but we are able to choose what ella watches and when she watches it. so mostly that means shirley temple, veggie tales, mr. rogers, etc. so that i can actually get a bath that day! it has been amazing to see how in just 2 weeks, ella's general behavior/attitude is better, she more eagerly plays and colors, bedtime usually goes smoother, at night after dinner we are spending more time together talking, reading, and cuddling, and I don't know if it's coincidence or not but i have read 2 books and almost done with a very long 3rd--and i only had 2-3 tv shows i "had" to watch. it's nice not to have to think about when am i going to watch my shows or our shows together or jerm to watch his shows. in our already hectic life, with little family time, i see now how much time and energy was wasted on the shows. i love the shows, still do, but it's a nice relief not to have to think about them. we are praying that this will draw us closer as a family and that our relationship with the girls and each other will grow stronger. and of course we are not judging anyone that has cable; this was just a personal choice that works best for our family. and to my friends who have assured i will expect you to fill me in on the world...with no cable, no news, no newspaper and only facebook to keep me informed of latest goings on, i will surely have no clue (:

Friday, June 8, 2012

summer fun

i am so excited about this summer!!! i feel like it is my first summer at home with the girls. i was at home last summer but with sophia's birth in may, the summer was a blur of sleeplessness (o: i want to take advantage of this time with ella especially since sophia is older and doesn't need quite as much attention anymore. it i has been great fun to peruse pinterest, facebook, and blogs for ideas. some of the activities i have been wanting to do for a long time and others are things i just found recently. hopefully i can incorporate a little learning into each activity! ella is usually full of questions and interested in everything so that shouldn't be too hard! i put our list over on the right side of the blog to help me keep track and also to share with whoever might want some ideas! please share some of your ideas with me!

Friday, April 20, 2012

soft gentle words

i don't watch much tv, mainly because i don't have time and because there is not that much on that is worth watching but i love, love the duggar's!! and i love to let ella watch them--what great examples of well behaved children! i have watched many episodes but on one episode michelle said something keeps coming back over and over again in my head. the producers had asked her something in the interview segment about her tone of voice or if she ever yelled or something--because she never ever yells, she has a consistent pleasant voice. her response was that years ago when their children were young, she made a conscious choice to make sure she never raised her voice. raising your voice usually doesn't accomplish anything productive. i'm not really a yeller but that has stuck with me for months. i realized after watching that episode that i do sometimes talk louder and sometimes too firmly with ella and most importantly it almost never has to do with something she has is almost always because i am upset, irritated or frustrated about something (sometimes even her (o;). i have realized over the last several months that speaking with a soft kind voice especially when disciplining that ella can listen and understand my words much better. and i think having girls makes that even moreso important; they (or at least mine) are so sensitive. i don't want to say anything harshly that would deter them from talking to me in the future about anything. i want to have a close relationship with both girls so that they feel like they can talk to me about anything at any age. i don't remember if michelle referred to a bible verse or not but i think of proverbs 15:1--"a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" so thank you michelle duggar for allowing God to speak through you...

the things you say you will never do....

it is amazing how we think and say that we will never do things and then we all those things your parents said to you and now you do to your own kids. one thing i have been torn about lately is something that most people don't talk when sophia was born, she slept in a little crib in our room. she did this until about 8 months old. then at 8 months, she was waking up so upset either because of her tummy or her teeth or she just needed to be comforted. at that point i put her in the bed and for the first time in 8 months she slept all night!!! it was amazing! and there she has been since then. i know that she will need to move to her own bed in her own room soon but i am realizing how short this baby stage is, even more so than with our first child. i cannot believe sophia will be a year old in may; it has gone by so much quicker this time. i thought things had to be very "by the book" with our first, ella. i thought she had to have this fairly strict eating schedule, had to sleep in her bed at every single night, and it still breaks my heart that we let her cry it out many nights. i'm not saying that those are bad things...i just know now that i should have been a bit more laid back about those things. so i am soaking up those sweet little feet in my ribs at night...the midnight wakings for a cuddle...the holding hands while she goes to sleep. i know some people say that babies should be able to self soothe and sleep on their own by this age but i am realizing more and more that babies just need to be close to their parents. even ella, now 4 1/2, just wants to be with us, during the day at night, whenever. and i want that too....childhood goes by too quickly...too soon they will be teenage girls who don't want to hang out with us old people (o: like my other post, we were made to be dependent on one another and i can't think of a more perfect example than a sweet little baby and her precious big sister.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


this morning in bible study we were talking about community, fellowship... being intentional with our interactions. i know i am guilty of asking how are you with the assumption that most people will say good or fine. and i am also guilty of answering fine when i am asked that question no matter what is going on in my life. but that is not how we should interact with most people (i say most people because we don't need to spill our guts to anyone and everyone). someone mentioned that God created us as dependent beings; we are dependent on Him and on our fellow man(woman). however, society stresses that we should be completely self sufficient, not needing anyone at all. how sad that existence is. we need other care for us, to love us, to listen to us, to hold us accountable, and to speak the truth to us. i kept thinking this morning how we rarely take the time to "get real" with people; to answer truthfully to the "how are you" question. it is so easy to get involved in our day to day activities and forget to have intentional interactions with those God has placed in our life. as a busy wife and mom it seems even harder to make those purposeful actions. it is hard to make myself get out and be with others even though i know i desperately need it. sometimes it is just easier to stay at home. but if i just do it--take a shower, get dressed at least a little cute, pack the kids in the car, go to the library or the park or to bible study, then the effort is so worth it. i think very few of us have relationships of emotional/mental intimacy with others (aside from our spouse). it takes time to develop and nurture a relationship and unless we place high value on those types of relationships, they will never grow.
hopefully this all made sense. feel like i'm rambling a bit since it is almost 11p. main point is reminding myself to be purposeful with all my interactions; i never know how that interaction may affect that person's day/life whether it is a family member or someone you will only see once. also to remind myself to get out more! yes i have things that need to be done at home but that stuff is not going away! it will be there when i get back home in an hour or two. growing and nurturing relationships are more important than all the little things i think i HAVE to get done today immediately. and those relationships include the relationship with our children and spouses. that is easy to forget to i have to catch myself throughout the day--did i have an actual conversation with ella today? did we both listen intently to the other person? that the way i interact with others is what ella will most likely immulate so i better have my mind on Christ!

be intentional with my actions.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

our darling mess

since i started staying at home after sophia was born, i have noticed that some women, especially moms, feel a need to be superwoman. i am still getting used to finding balance between taking care of our 2 girls and 2 dogs, the house, the laundry, the dishes and everything else but it seems that alot of people don't talk about how hard it is and the reality that life is messy. life is wonderful but messy. maybe i'm the only one but i like to have things all together...showered, makeup, hair, cute outfit, house clean, laundry and dishes done & put up, kids taken care of, dinner cooked and delicious; however this is totally unrealistic (even more so since it took 8 months for sophia to start sleeping all night). i greatly appreciate blogs like pioneer woman and momastery where they talk openly and honestly about the joys and trials of being a mommy. now don't get me wrong...i absolutely LOVE staying at home with my girls. this has been my dream since i was a child. it's just a learning curve to figure out the balance and then things will change, and i will learn again (o;

i am creating this blog so i can talk things out and grow as a wife and mom through all my experiences. i do not want to simply exist in this life. i want to live fully. i am not usually a blunt person; i like to sugarcoat things but i am going to be real on this blog and i hope that by doing so helps someone somewhere with whatever they are going through!