Monday, January 31, 2011

Karaoke Competition Week #1

Here is a video of my song from the karaoke competition my sister and I are currently competing in every Thursday. This past Thursday was week #1 and the song category was "Singer's Choice", which meant that we could sing any song of our choice. The judges score you per night based on vocal quality, stage presence, and the difficulty of the song you choose. There are several really talented people in this competition and I feel privileged just getting to compete with them. Last Thursday was a lot of fun, but NOT my proudest moment! I just don't think it was a good song choice for me. However, I am really looking forward to the weeks to come and hoping to continue to grow and learn from this experience! Tune in this week for Oldies/Motown week! Hopefully I will do much better!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Let The Karaoke Begin!

Around these parts there is a famously local karaoke competition. It's a BIG deal where I live, because our hometown is primarily a summer tourist destination and the winters around here can get kind of dull. So, this local bar came up with the idea to host this karaoke competition, and for the last few years, it's been a hit! Everyone knows about it, and if you are looking for something fun to do on a Thursday night, this competition is the place to be! You can go, watch the local talent, and wish away those mundane winter blues. It's actually kind of nice.

So, last Thursday Randi, my sister, and I were looking for something fun to do. I had been trapped in the house for two weeks straight with Emma due to her bout with the stomach flu and then I spent a week bottle weening her. It had been the longest two weeks of my life! So, needless to say, I was desperate to get out and have some fun, and Randi suggested we go up to this local bar and listen to the auditions for the karaoke competition. I was game for whatever and it just so happens that I ADORE karaoke, so we went! On our way there, she got the BRIGHT idea that we shouldn't just watch the auditions, we should actually try-out! At first I was like, "Umm...NO!", I mean this competition is not your typical karaoke where EVERYONE sings songs they don't really know, and they don't care how it sounds. No, this competition is full of REALLY talented individuals, and the $2,500 first prize isn't too shabby either! So, I was, of course, reluctant! I mean, don't get me wrong, I love karaoke! And, thanks to my sister, I have no problem being the first one up there dancing around and belting into the mic. Karaoke is kind of our thing, and we can definitely carry a tune, but I would never, ever put myself in the same category as some of the people who do this competition. But, that didn't seem to matter to my sister, and for some crazy reason, I let her talk me into it.

There were four other people who auditioned the same night we did, and conveniently there were only six spots left in the competition. So, Randi and I got up there, and did our "signature" songs that we do EVERY time we go karaoke, and surprisingly we made it! I was truly in a state of shock when the coordinator said that all six who had auditioned were now in the competition. I mean, REALLY?! I was totally banking on a "thanks, but, no thanks!", not a "congrats! you're in!" I mean, I'm pretty sure that right before I agreed to do the audition, my sister had assured me there was NO WAY we would make it and we were just auditioning to say that we had done it, and we had tried something new. But, NO! Things just couldn't be that simple and suddenly I was thrown into 10 weeks of a real-life singing competition. To be honest, when we were sitting at the table with the coordinator, I thought I was going to have a panic attack!

First things first, my husband was going to KILL me! I mean, Randy has always been great to keep Emma for me so I can go out with the girls or do whatever. He is a huge help and is always very understanding of my need to get out and be that fun girl I used to be. But, 10 weeks is a huge commitment! I mean, that's 10 Thursday nights of him ALWAYS having to watch Emma and not doing anything else, maybe not even being able to come up and support me! After all, he is my biggest fan, my number 1 supporter, and not having him there was going to be really hard on both of us. The other thing was that I had recently committed to playing in our local women's volleyball league. I love volleyball, and Randy was excited to see me getting out on Tuesday nights to do something I really wanted to do. He had agreed to watch Emma on Tuesdays so I could do that no problem! So, now I was looking at two nights a week I was going to be gone and for me that was really overwhelming and I knew it would be overwhelming for Randy too.

I mean, we aren't old fashion or anything, but I truly believe that my place is at home. I don't work so I can stay at home and care for my daughter and keep nice home for my family. I love staying at home, and I strive to be a good wife and a great mom. My family always comes first, and for me, I feel like that is what God wants from my life. I try really hard to always let Randy go and do his own thing, and I feel guilty anytime I'm not at home to put my daughter to bed or make dinner for my husband. So, maybe that does make us old fashioned, but that's just what works for us, you know. So, anyway, I knew with volleyball and this karaoke competition it was going to be hard to continue being the wife and mom I strive to be and I knew I was just going to feel guilty about it.

But, my husband has really surprised me through this whole process. He has been totally cool and accepting of the whole thing. I know he appreciates my contribution to our family, and he often tells me what a great wife and mom I am. I think he also understands how important it is to me that I don't "lose" myself to my role as wife and mom. He knows that being a wife and mother is only part of the total person I am and he respects that. He has always been supportive of my freelance writing and any other ventures I decide to take up to better and busy myself. I think he also knows that playing volleyball and doing this karaoke competition is kind of like my hobbies, just like hunting and working on old trucks are his hobbies. I know my happiness is deeply important to him, and him sacrificing his free time so I can do these things really shows just how true that is.

So, tonight is round 1 of the karaoke competition! I am excited and nervous all in the same breath! I have been rehearsing my song all week, and I've invited a bunch of friends to come out and support my sister and I. I am really looking forward to it, and I have had so much fun selecting all the different songs for the different weeks. I really think I have a great song list! I've also made arrangements for our first non-family member and paid babysitter to keep Emma a few Thursdays so Randy can come up and cheer me on! I'm really excited about that! But, for now I am going to focus on the night ahead, and something tells me that "tonight's gonna be a good night!"

My audition for the karaoke competition.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Emma Playing In Sunlight

Today after baking cookies, my house was a little smokey as usual! :) So, in the process of opening windows to air out the house (Yes, I know it's freezing outside!) and doing the dishes, I noticed that Emma had discovered smokey ribbons of sunlight streaming through our front door. She got the most magical smile on her face and started playing in the sunlight. I got to show her how to make shadow puppets and she kept running "under" the sunlight and saying, "I did it!" and "Ta-da!" It was super cute, and here is a little video of her playing.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Things I'm Lovin' Right Now

I know I've already blogged today, but I wanted to take some time to share with everyone some of the items I am just loving right now! Please know, I am not getting paid to say this stuff! I am just a mom wanting to share some great mom/kid products with other moms who might be looking for similar items! So here goes!

For Emma I'm Lovin':
Munchkin Might Grip 10 oz. Straw Cup

I used to make this cup A LOT more complicated by adding an extra straw to the inside of the cup, so that she could drink it like a normal straw cup. But, the cup kept leaking and I couldn't figure out why! I was really starting to hate it. But, then I realized that if I took out the inside straw I had added, Emma could still drink it just as easily and it wasn't leaking! I now LOVE these cups! They never leak and I feel confident putting anything in them. We have two and Emma loves to drink everything (but milk) out of them!

Nuk Gerber Graduates Cutlery Forks

Emma has always been very independent and has always wanted to feed herself. In the beginning, I would give her a regular size fork and she would struggle to use it. I then went out and bought some plastic forks and spoons, but the forks wouldn't spear meat or veggies correctly, so Emma had a hard time using them. When I found these Gerber brand forks I was so excited. They are just the right size for Emma and they actually spear food and work like a real forks! Emma wants to eat everything with them: apple slices, snack cakes, Goldfish...she just loves them and I love them too!

Claire's Daisy Hair Clips

I love buying Emma's hair accessories at Claire's. They have a whole section of items for little girls, and their barrettes and hair clips seem to out last all of the hair clips and bows I buy from Wal-Mart. They are a little more expensive, but they are worth EVERY penny. These Daisy Hair Clips I bought recently are wonderful! They stay put in her hair and they are so cute! I think they go with just about anything!

For Me I'm Lovin':

Lean Cuisine Market Creations
Sweet and Spicy Ginger Chicken

I am NOT a big health nut! I probably should be more health conscience, but I'm not. To be honest, I am all about the quick, easy, and quiet (Emma's usually napping) when it comes to lunch time for me. I am pretty guilty of just waiting to eat until we go to town and then I just hit up McDonald's or something. But, I recently discovered these Lean Cuisine meals thanks to my mom (the nurse)! I have never been big on microwaveable dinners. I eat them because they are easy, not because they are tasty. But, these things really changed my mind...for good! Not only are they easy (they take 5 minutes and you cook all of it in it's cute little bag!), but it is so delicious! The vegetables all taste like real crunchy, steamed vegetables and it is not overloaded with sauce. I just think they are the perfect, go-to, healthy mommy lunch! I would recommend them to anyone and I will be stocking up next time I am at the store!

Sparkly Target Ballet Flats

These are my new go-to shoes! I had been searching for a pair of gray-colored flats, and I found these on sale at Target and just had to buy them! I now wear them ALL the time! I slip them on to glam up any outfit, and they are so comfortable! I think everyone needs a pair of girly, sparkly, comfy flats to wear out with the girls or just to the grocery store!

Charlotte Russe Sweater

My ultimate favorite item right now is my gray Charlotte Russe sweater! I don't really believe in wearing a fact, it has to be PRETTY cold for me to actually wear one. I bought this sweater last fall (2009) and I wear it ALL the time! It is casual and comfy, but can easily be dressed up. It's shorter in the back and long in the front, and I often get comments on what a unique and cute sweater it is! Like my flats, I wear this sweater with everything and it was a great investment for me.

When Did My Kid Become So Polite?

Yesterday was kind of an off day for us. My husband left really late for work because he "new" truck wouldn't start, I spent the morning without any hot water, which kind of cramped my Monday cleaning routine, and my daughter has decided that zebra cakes are a perfectly acceptable form of nutrition for ANY meal. Yes, bottle weening has DEFINITELY ushered in the terrible 2's, and sometimes I feel like all I've done all day is spank her and issue time outs. Yesterday was one of those days. Now, I'm not the most patient person, and I have a feeling my strong willed child is going to teach me a thing or two about patience before this is all over, but for now I am doing my best to count to 10 and keep things as upbeat and positive as possible. But, its so hard, and yesterday I felt like we just weren't going to make it. Thankfully, my wonderful in-law's kept her for a couple of hours, so I could go to the bank and grocery store by myself. This allowed me to regroup and find the strength I needed to make it through the rest of the day. After I picked her up, she turned into a perfect little angel for the rest of the evening. She ate her dinner, played quietly, watched cartoons, and was her sweet, animated self while I helped my sister with her homework. It was a great ending to a terrible day! I was so grateful!

Her change in attitude last night really brought attention to her politeness. She may only be 21 months old, but "Tank you", "Peeese", and "Welcome" are common phrases in her vocabulary. It's funny, because while we kind of worked with her on how and when to say these words, she really just kind of picked them up on her own. She literally says them all the time for everything! You always know when she really wants something, because she'll come up, grab your hand, and say, "Mommy, Peeese! Peeese, Mommy!" and when you give her something she's asked for or something she didn't even know she wanted she will usually say, "Tank you!...R Welcome!" It's really cute! I often ask myself, "When did my kid get to be so polite?" It's so amazing to watch her learning and growing, and I am so proud of her! She definitely knows how to melt your heart with one of those words. Even when our days are off beat, hearing her say, "Peeese!" or "Tank you." for something makes me smile. Those words are a little reminder that even at our worst, Randy and I are still managing to do an okay job when it comes to this whole parenting gig. We may not have it all down pat, and we definitely don't pretend to be experts, but when it comes to Emma I like to think she has a pretty good chance of coming out of this whole thing normal, well rounded, and more importantly very, very loved.

I think its important to remind myself of these things, even when we are at our worst. Because its important as a mom to try and remember all of the things you ARE doing right, to make up for the days when you feel like you are doing everything wrong.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bottle Battle: Bottle Weening Day 5

Day 5 proved to be the long awaited light at the end of the tunnel! Emma went the whole day without asking for her bottle, and managed to make it an entire day with only a few mini tantrums and I don't recall any of them being about not wanting the cup! I credit a lot of the days success to the "massive" amount of snow we received the previous night. She was so distracted about the snow and her want to go out and play in it, that I like to think she just completely forgot about the bottle yesterday. She laid down for her nap cooperatively, and for the last two nights she has, wait for it...put HERSELF to sleep on the COUCH with little to no help from her CUP! Randy and I were both amazed! Who knew bottle weening would also bring about the long awaited self soothing! YAY! When our bottle weening week is finished, I hope to move the self-soothing at bedtime to her bed, but for now I'm just kind of thrilled that she may no longer need to be rocked to sleep.

I am suddenly just in awe of the fact that everything is moving so fast and that it seems like all of a sudden my baby is growing up and entering full blown toddler hood! I try not to be one of those mushy, gushy moms. I try not to get emotional about milestones and the fact that "My baby isn't a baby anymore", but sometimes you just have to cave. Especially when such an arduous tasks, as bottle weening and self soothing, are suddenly becoming very easy. I mean, its amazing to think that in just a few months she will be 2! She has started pretend play, and she talks ALL the time putting together two to three word sentences at a time! She wants to pick out her PJ's and "I do it" is a common phrase she says about anything and everything from taking off her shoes to opening the fridge. She asks for french fries when we go to McDonald's, and we start everyday with her asking where her best friend and cousin, Noah is. She is just getting SOOO big, and I suddenly feel like everything is moving too fast. I don't necessarily want a pause button, because I love watching her learn and grow everyday, but I do wish everything would just slow down a bit, you know?

So, as far a bottle weening goes, I'm not quite ready to call it a success, I want to give us at least a week. But, I do feel like we are days, hours, or minutes away from being there. This will be my last bottle weening blog post, unless day 6 turns out to be a disaster or major set back. Fingers crossed! We have come a long way, and we have survived. So, I guess my last bit of advice for any new mom regarding bottle weening would be to simply hang in there. You and your child are going to get through it, and at the end, you will truly see them transform from baby to toddler. It will be a bittersweet moment, but it is oh so worth it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Very First Snow Date

I was so excited to take Emma outside to play in the snow for the first time today! Last winter she was only nine months old, and while we did take her skiing with us in Colorado, it was just too cold to take her outside and play for long periods of time. So, this winter I have really been looking forward to getting her out and introducing her to one of the most wonderful things about childhood.

It snowed last week, but since we were battling the stomach flu, I was disappointed that I wasn't able to get her out in it. So, I was excited last night at about 5:00 PM when the weather man's promise of snow actually came true! Here are some of the pictures of our very first snow date!

Emma and Mommy...SNOWBUNNIES!

She loved exploring the winter wonderland!

I thought this picture turned out really cute!
Emma Grace 21 months old

I love how the snow makes everything so beautiful!

Mine and Emma's snow boots.
Too cute!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bottle Battle: Bottle Weening Day 3 & 4

So, I realize I am getting REALLY behind when it comes to documenting my bottle weening experience, hence the fact that I am doing Tuesday and Wednesday in one blog post :) I don't know why I care so much about documenting it, maybe its a mixture of reaching out to other first time mom's who are getting ready to do the same thing and being able to vent my frustration over this not-so-easy task. Wherever my drive to document this experience is coming from, it is nice to just get this stuff out there, even if no one ever reads it :)

Day 3 and 4, yesterday and today, have been very similar. It feels like things are getting more difficult than easier. I have fielded more tantrums and given more spanking in the last two days than I have given in her entire life! Bottle weening has seemed to bring the terrible 2's to the surface, and I suddenly feel like I am trying to balance controlling terrible misbehavior with compassion over the fact that sleeping and getting through rough patches in our day without a bottle have been particularly difficult for Miss Emma. It's hard to know when she needs a spanking and when she needs to just be held and comforted! I feel so inadequate at times. The evenings have been especially difficult, which I knew they would be. Once 5:00 PM hits, we become extremely whiny and the cup just doesn't seem to cut it. She eventually cries and whines so much that she just lets me rock her to sleep and the cup sits next to us, completely full. It's kind of disheartening :(

I am grateful however that she takes the cup so well in the morning. I am so thankful I started doing that when I did, because at 6:00 AM I just don't have the energy to fight over a bottle, and I'm afraid I would just cave. So, mornings and even nap time have gone along with very little drama. It's just night time that has been really difficult.

Some of the things I have been using as a distraction are: cartoons, making extra time to just sit with her and play, color, do stickers, or a puzzle, reading books, and bath time. These things all seem to buy me a few moments of drama free weening and seem to take her mind off of things. In the car when she is grouchy and wanting a bottle, I try singing to her and I actually have a playlist of children's songs on my iPod that we listen to quite frequently. She loves it! I love the kid's music I've picked because kids actually sing the songs and I picked songs that I sang as a child so I can sing along and teach them to her. This usually seems to help take her mind off of the bottle or she just tends to fall asleep.

I can't find the actual album I have on my iPod, but I did download it off of iTunes if anyone is interested. It's called 120 Bible Songs for Kids and it's by the Countdown Kids. All the music is similar to how I remember singing it as a child, so it makes it easier for me to sing along, which I love! Here is another album I found on Amazon that you could check out by the same group:

If you've been looking for some good Bible music to sing with your kids, you should check this out! I really like it! :)

Anyway, all in all, bottle weening is simply going. It has not been as "easy" as I first thought it would be, and every night I go to bed exhausted (emotionally AND physically) from the struggle. I know in my heart that this is the best thing, but I think it's normal to doubt yourself, especially when it's difficult, or at least that's what I keep telling myself! :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bottle Battle: Bottle Weening Day 2

Yesterday was Day #2 of bottle weening. If I had to pick, it was probably the worst day so far. Which is REALLY dramatic of me to say, since I've only been at it for two days! Haha! I'm sure I sound like a wimp to all you bottle-weening pros out there! Anyway, She was extremely whiny and asked for the "ba" A LOT! By Monday evening my patience was very thin, and it was hard to be compassionate with her in between bouts of mini-trantums over there not being a bottle for her to have. But, she eventually gave up and went to sleep a little earlier than her normal bedtime, but at that moment I was just glad she was sleeping. I spent all most all of day # 2 wishing for day # 3 and hoping that it would be better.

My hugest struggle with bottle weening is that I am slightly resentful that I even have to do it. My husband's mom weened both of her children at a year, and a lot of our friends have done the same thing. So, ever since Emma turned 1, Randy has been on me to start weening her. I did my best to defer it, and he did a pretty good job of giving me my way, but toward the end of the year, we started fighting about it more and more, and I just knew it was time. For the sake of my marriage and my sanity, it was time. But, part of me is still resentful. Resentful of how it came about and that it wasn't something I was completely okay with as a mother. Now hear me out, I had NO intentions of keeping her on a bottle until she was 3. I just don't think there is anything that awful about a 1 1/2 year old and a bottle. Especially since she was only taking it at nap time and bed time. I liked knowing how much she was getting to drink, at least twice a day, and I like that she always had the same amount of wet diapers. It made talking to a pediatrician when she was sick, that much easier! I dunno, I guess just emotionally I wasn't quite ready for this part of the journey, and maybe that's pathetic. But, regardless, I'm deep in the trenches now and there is no turning back.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bottle Battle: Bottle Weening Day 1

So, yesterday was our first official day of bottle weening. We were supposed to start last Monday, but then Emma and I both battled the stomach flu all week, and I didn't think it was wise to take it away from her. So, yesterday was our first official day of feeling really well, so I went ahead and just made the decision to start.

I've actually had it kind of easy, because she basically semi-weened herself last week while she had the stomach flu. She has only been given milk or formula in a bottle since day 1. because I followed the pediatrician's recommendation to refrain from putting juice or anything sweet in a bottle in an effort to protect her teeth. She had teeth at a very early age, so keeping them healthy has been kind of a priority for me. Anyway, since she's only ever had milk in a bottle, and milk isn't very appetizing when you have the stomach flu, she would hardly take a bottle all week. She would kind of ask for it, but when she saw it had milk in it, she refused it. So, she was already kind of semi- weened when we started.

But, yesterday she did ask for her "ba" several times, but I just deflected it, and would say something like, "I don't have a ba, but I do have our cup?" and she for the most part would concede. This worked okay last night because we were at my dad's, and she knows that when we aren't at home, I don't always have a bottle for her. Even though this upsets her, and she usually cries, but she usually gives in and accepts that I don't have it. Despite the "easy", I still have some fears when I think about tackling bottle weening this week.

My biggest fear is mostly related to naps and bedtime. Since she turned 1, the only time I usually give her a bottle is at nap time and bedtime. This is because I was: 1.) A huge wimp that would not do self-soothing with her when she was a baby, so now my husband and I have to rock her to sleep every night, and 2.) Just doing the bottle at nap and bedtime was the first step of my bottle weening process, and with the exception of a few desperate car bottles, it actually worked really well for us. So, now that I am eliminating the bottle at nap and bedtime, I was/am worried she won't EVER go to sleep. She has NEVER taken a pacifier, so I can't really depend on that to help me out, so I think the whole going-to-sleep-minus-the-bottle thing has been the biggest source of anxiety for me. And last week also made that easy for me, because she took most of her naps and went to bed without the bottle every night. Even if the bottle was sitting right there where she could see it, she would still go to sleep and the bottle would be still sitting there full. This did give my heart some peace, because it did show me that it was possible for her to go to sleep without her bottle. But, I also knew she was sick, and I knew when her stubbornness was back up to par, this may not be as easy. And last night, when we were at my dad's there was a lot of asking for it, and whining, but she did eventually just let me rock her and she went to sleep and slept all night. So, maybe I CAN do this after all.

My other fear, is that since she turned 1, she will only drink milk out of a certain cup at my house. This cup actually got a hole in the spout recently, and I had to search high and low for another one JUST LIKE IT! I have tried to get her to drink milk out of other cups, but she usually will only take a sip or two and then she's done with it. She really likes her milk cups! I know this is common, especially when shifting from the bottle to the cup. So, I haven't made a big deal about it. I guess I just worry that what if Gerber quits making this cup or we lose the two we have and I can't find another one? Will I be doing "bottle" weening all over again? Hmm...Well, anyways, the cup that has worked best for us is the Gerber Graduates Sip & Smile Spill-Proof Cups.It has a soft, pliable spout and the liquid seems to flow easily for her. For Emma, it HAS to be the pink one! I bought my first one at Wal-Mart, but when I went recently to get a replacement, they were out of them (our Wal-Mart is ALWAYS out of everything!) and I actually bought the second one at Target. I found the cups above on Kmart's website, so they ARE out there and you don't have to buy them in a two pack, which I'm thankful for since I just need the pink one.

So, as you can see I have some fears and reservations about the whole thing, but I am sticking with it. Yesterday was only the first day, and it went well. But, today its only 9:00 AM and we've already had two break downs about the "ba" and the fact that she DOES NOT want her cup! (Which is usually conveyed by a tantrum and the throwing of the cup, which is quickly followed by a spanking! Grr!) Something tells me today is not going to be as easy, and my heart kind of breaks for her. Growing up sucks. Period.

God, please give me the strength to stick to this and get us through to the other side.

Friday, January 14, 2011

How Come Mom's Never Get To Really Be Sick?

I am sick. Not runny-nose-and-a-slight-fever-so-I-pop-some-Advil-and-move-on sick, but REALLY sick. I mean, the best way to describe it, is that I literally feel like death. I could of sworn that last night while I was hugging the toilet I actually wished for death. It's that bad. Really.

Emma has been sick all week with this puke/diarrhea virus that has been going around. My mom, the NURSE, said that the puking would end in about 12 hours, and the diarrhea would take a little longer for her to get over. And last night while I was cleaning up Emma's trail of puke that started in the living room and went all the way to the bathroom, I was wishing she would of been right. However, whatever Emma has DID NOT last 12 hours! Let's just say that whatever mutant stomach virus my daughter has had is still inhabiting her body almost 96 hours from when it started. YEEEAAAHHH. And I guess it wasn't enough for it to torment my daughter and as if I wasn't already losing enough sleep, it had to come and take over my body as well. Once again, YEEEAAAHHH.

Let's get one thing straight. I am NOT a baby. I pride myself on being a real trooper and having a high pain tolerance. But, this stuff has really gotten me down. I remember thinking at one point last night, that I don't remember feeling this bad since my pregnancy. You see, I had terrible morning sickness during the first four months of my pregnancy. But, I never let it get me down (too much anyways). I never called in sick to work, and I worked all the way up until the week before my due date. My mom has a great work ethic, and even though she's a nurse, she never took us to the doctor unless it was serious. I'm pretty sure she still thinks Tylenol cures everything. Anyway, its because of her that I consider myself to be so "tough". That is why it is unusual for something like this to get me down. But, it has.

So, here I am 24 hours in, and I'm actually feeling a lot better than I was last night while I was puking and cleaning up Emma's puke at the same time. I still don't feel 100%, but I managed to do 3 loads of laundry, 2 sinks full of dishes, finish cleaning the carpets where Emma puked last night, vacuum, and make my toilet look less disgusting today while feeling like death. We were able to take a decent nap, even though I had to clean up an exploded diaper when we got up, and I was able to eat a little bit of chicken noodle soup. I feel like I am improving, and I will be glad when Emma's diarrhea is over with and I quit having to do so much laundry. I will also be glad to get back to my Diet Dr. Pepper!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Kids Say The Darndest Things"

So, I've decided to dedicate a few days a month to my own version of "Kids Say The Darndest Things". This is mostly because my nephew is now 3, and he says some of the cutest things, along with my 5 year old cousin, Mya and my 4 year old cousin, Lexi. Yes, they all have big imaginations, which usually conveys into something super cute and funny! I will try to keep the stories as real to my life as possible, but if you have any cute stories about your kids that you would like to appear in this segment of my blog, please leave me a comment or email me at:

I am really looking forward to sharing my stories with you and hearing your stories!

My story today is a synopsis of a conversation that my brother-in-law, Derek, had with my nephew, Noah.

The "Cost" of Childhood

I was sitting in the living room watching TV, when I heard my son, Noah, calling for me from the bathroom.

"Dad! Come here! How much do I cost?"

I got up off the couch and walked to the bathroom, "What Noah?"

"COME HERE!" Noah yelled again.

As I rounded the corner, I saw Noah, standing on the bathroom scale.

"What's up, bubba?" I asked again.

He looked at me and then looked down at the numbers on the scale,

"Dad. how much do I cost?"

I couldn't help it, I started laughing, "You're priceless, bub!"

Noah gave me his "really, dad" look, "Dad, that's not a number." he said matter-a-factly.

So, I gave in, "You weigh thirty-five and half dollars, dude", I said with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Truth About Puke

For the record, I think someone should discover a vaccine that makes it clinically impossible for a child to get the stomach flu before age 5. Why? Because I don't think there is anything worse than a baby with the stomach flu! Yuck! I mean what's worse than a baby that can't tell you when they have to throw-up, and all you get is a slight cough as the brief warning before the flood, or a baby that has no idea that the toilet is the most preferred place to be sick, and NOT all over mom or the stain-sensitive sofa. Nope, I think, hands down, children under five with the stomach flu is the worse! Worse than teething, worse than a diaper blow out, and worse than pooping in the tub. It just plain sucks!

My daughter, Emma, started vomiting last night at 8:30 PM after she told me several times that her, "tummy hurts". Man, I wish I would of believed her! Because when the puking started, it commenced every 30 to 45 minutes until 1:30 AM! After that, I got her to drink 6 oz. of tea and she fell asleep until 7:30 AM. She then puked again around 8:30 AM, but that was the last time up until now. She is still in her jammies and nursing her bottle of tea, and we are just playing everything by ear.

Luckily, puke does not gross me out. Unlike my husband, who is extremely unhelpful when my daughter pukes. At one point last night, I actually thought I'd be cleaning up his puke too! However, he is good to hold and cuddle her after the fact, while I clean everything up, including myself. Emma has always been a pukey child. Sometimes I think she was born puking! She has a very sensitive gag reflex, and always manages to puke during the most inconvenient times: dinner time, long car rides when there is suddenly NO WHERE to pull over, social functions, etc. Yes, Emma and her ability to puke on demand have really humbled me, and after 21 months I have definitely learned to roll with the punches and take it as it comes. I have become an expert at washing her car seat, including the straps, as well as reassembling it. I also NEVER travel anywhere without a change of clothes for her and a car console full of napkins. I keep a travel size of Febreeze in my purse, and we always make sure there are plenty of wipes around. I ran out of my "fancy" couch cleaner that came with the couch by the time she was 6 months old, and have become a pro at improvising and using other household cleaners to whip my couch back into semi-shape. Yes, you could say I am on my way to becoming a veteran at this stuff.

Anyway, so needless to say, today we will be spending our snow day lounging on the couch and washing countless load of pukey laundry. I had high hopes of getting Emma out in the snow for the first time, but it looks like that will have to wait until another day. For now we will just focus on getting to the toilet when we can, and hopefully a nap is in our future!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Going to the Chapel

I had the blessing of being a bridesmaid in my dear cousin and friend's wedding over the weekend! It was a beautiful wedding! Everything went off without a hitch, and yes, my wedding day survival kit did come in handy!

The bridesmaids with the beautiful bride

Me with the gorgeous bride, Taylor

My uncle and my cousin, Taylor.
My uncle actually preformed the wedding ceremony and he did a great job!

The cake cutting! The Elijah Company Bakery a.k.a my aunt (mother of the bride) made the wedding cake! Isn't it beautiful?!

The happy couple! They were VERY nice to each other while doing the cake!

My sisters and I totally rocking our gorgeousness!
I love these girls with my whole heart!

Me and my wonderful husband, Randy!
We are definitely one good looking couple, if I do say so myself! ;)

The wedding was so beautiful and a ton of fun! A big thanks to DJ Chili for making the reception a hit, and to Josh Thomas for carrying me through the song we sang during the ceremony. It was a very eventful and memorable weekend! I am sending all my love and prayers to the happy couple, may God bless you and see you through many years to come!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Toddlerhood and Teething

For those of you who don't already know, 2 year molars suck! My 21 month old daughter, Emma, is currently in the process of getting her's, so I'm living the drama in real time. She has always been early when it comes to teething (she had all four of her front teeth by four months old), so it shouldn't be a major shock to me that she is also getting her two year molars a little early. I mean, I am meagerly relieved that they are coming in, because I know this will make solid foods, like meat and fresh vegetables easier for her to chew, and hopefully that will increase the likelihood of her allowing these foods into her diet. But, in all honesty, I hate teething. So, I am not looking forward to the 2 year molars any more than I anticipated her first four teeth.

Most of you may say, well by the time the 2 year molars come in, you are a pro at the whole teething regimen. You know, Tylenol, teething tablets, cold wash clothes, etc. Whatever has worked for you the last few times. But, to be honest, I think two year molars are worse than when they get their early teeth. For one, I'm currently in the process of getting my two bottom wisdom teeth, so I know getting new molars is pretty freakin' painful. My wisdom teeth give me migraines and make my ears hurt, so I can only imagine what Emma is going through. The second thing is that I think it's worse having your baby get teeth at two, because by now they recognize what pain is, and they are increasingly more whiny than they were when they were smaller. Just like when Emma received her 18 month shots, she talked about the "hurts" on her legs and "stickers" the nurse put on them to make them feel better for a joke! I think by 2, they are really starting to grasp what pain is, and that makes any kind of pain a big deal.

I mean, I feel for her, I really do. And when she was up at 2:25 AM this morning, I dosed her with Tylenol and gave her some warm milk. Now almost two hours later, she is finally back to sleep, but I am wide awake (hence the blogging). Thus, these are the things about motherhood that make having a second child seem more daunting than joyful to me. These are the nights, while I'm sitting up, rocking my daughter, that I think, "There is no way I am ready for #2! If I had another baby right now, I literally would NEVER sleep." And I'm a girl who likes her sleep. Not that I sleep in until 1:00 PM or anything, I mean I'm up at 6:30 AM like most normal mothers with morning-loving children are. But, that doesn't change the fact that after I've missed a few days of precious sleep, I become VERY cranky. So, yes, at 3:00 AM when I'm up with Emma, I definitely think about baby #2 and how I'm just not ready.

I admire people who do have their children back to back, I think they are incredibly gifted and brave and possibly way more cut out for the whole "mom gig" than I will ever be. But, for now, in this place in my life, I just can't muster the courage to say "yes" to that second child.

I think in this life their are three kinds of mothers: the ones that were born to mother, the ones who want to mother and try their best to do a good job by fumbling through it, and those who should not be mothers. I think, like a lot of moms, I fall into the middle category. Everyday, I get up and give Emma 110% of what I have to offer. Sometimes I look myself in the mirror and think, "Good job, Ashley! Awesome mom skills!", but other times I look at the girl in the mirror and think, "We'll just have to do better tomorrow." I know I only get one chance with Emma, and whatever other children I may have, so I know I want to do right by her. And, I think part of doing right by my daughter is waiting to introduce baby #2 until I am completely ready. I want the whole process to be equally wonderful for both of us.

So, try not to ask me at 3:00 AM if I'm ready for baby #2, because I'm not. Better wait until like 12:00 PM on a Friday if you don't like the previous answer, because I just might have a different one then.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Can Hear The Bells

I have set sail on another wedding week. This is my first wedding of 2011, and it happens to be my cousin, Taylor's. Taylor is not only family, she is one of my dearest friends. She currently works for a local florists (which means she scored on the bouquets and flower arrangements for her wedding!) and she is working through her second year of college. She is marrying another friend of mine that I have known since childhood, who is currently a middle school history teacher and the coach of the JV girls basketball team. So, because I am a bridesmaid and the two people who are tying the knot are people I care deeply about, I have felt the need to go above and beyond for this wedding. I wanted to give Taylor 100%, even though last years wedding season literally wore me out! Nevertheless, I have done my best to rally my energy and produce the same, if not more, excitement and fervor I have given every other wedding! I've even come up with a great surprise for Dusty and Taylor! I can't wait to give it to them and post pictures later this weekend!

Anyway, yesterday we spent the evening going over little details, like setting times for places we need to be in the coming days, and tying ribbons on the candle centerpieces. Tomorrow we will actually spend the day tying ribbons on the programs, and Friday we start decorating. I think as all these little details start coming together the stress will fade, and the excitement will fully sink in, not just for me, but for Taylor as well! I'm really excited about all the quality time I am going to get to spend with her this week, especially since I know these times together will be fewer once she has her own marriage and responsibilities. So knowing that, I am looking forward to spray tans on Friday morning, the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, breakfast and the nail appointment with the girls on Saturday morning, and spending all day Saturday just being silly and getting ready, and then dancing the night away on Saturday night! I just love weddings! Especially the weddings of close friends! And with that reminder my excitement and energy are renewed and I am ready to go, kick off my shoes, and celebrate!

So today, with Taylor's wedding fast approaching, I would like to share with you my suggestions for the perfect wedding day survival kit:

1. Sewing Kit. A miniature sewing kit is affordable and irreplaceable when it comes to fixing those last minute hems and buttons.

2. Self-adhesive Velcro. Velcro? You might be asking, but trust me, I was a bridesmaid in a wedding a few years ago where the bride's mother had made all of our dresses. The day of the wedding, I stepped into my dress, went to have someone else zip it up and the zipper ripped completely off the dress! Yeah. So, Velcro would of been extremely handy that day, instead of the bride's mother having to sew the zipper back into my dress an hour before the ceremony! I actually think I did the pre-ceremony pictures duck taped into my dress! So, never under estimate the value of Velcro.

3. Safety pins. Safety pins are great for last minute fixes like a hem, or a bustle that just won't stay put. They can also be handy in the place of buttons, or to attach your veil to some bobby pins to help secure it into your hair better. A little package of safety pins will go a long way!

4. Dental floss. Dental floss is a crucial part of every bride/bridesmaid's teeth check! I mean what's the point of checking each others teeth before pictures and the grand march if you have nothing to get the stuff out of your teeth?! I totally recommend having dental floss on hand. And who knows, you might even find some random last minute fix that requires something white that you can tie like dental floss!

5. Breath mints/spray. Umm...this should be a no brainer! Every bride wants her first kiss as a married woman to be perfect, so popping a breath mint or a little spritz of breath mint spray before you hit the aisle running will help you achieve that perfect first kiss.

(Note: I have recently added Colgate Wisps to my survival kit. They act as a dental floss, tooth brush, and breath freshener all in one!)

6. Hair spray. Not just any kind of hairspray...Aerosol hair spray! Not only is hairspray important for fixing those bridal hair fly aways, but it can also be used to fix static underneath gowns and keep your veil from sticking to your dress.

7. Bobby pins. You can never have too many bobby pins on hand! Whether you use them for fixing bridal hair or securing a veil or headpiece, it is always a good idea to have some of these on hand.

8. Shout wipes. Nothing is worse than getting stuff on your dress right before pictures or your grand entrance! But, a girl's gotta eat, right?! Right. So, having some Shout wipes on hand is the perfect solution to any small stains. They get virtually all food and make-up stains out and you can usually find a travel pack of them in the travel toiletries section of your local drugstore or discount store.

9. Lint roller. I have a miniature lint roller I found in the travel toiletries section of my local discount store that I take to all my weddings. I haven't had to use it yet, but you NEVER know. That is why I keep it on hand.

So, this is my wedding day survival kit. I take it with me to every wedding, and yes, I have had to use it. It's important to have these things on hand to make any wedding day go smoother, and even if you don't have to use it, at least you were prepared. I am always organized and prepared, maybe that's why I thrive off the chaos that is weddings.

You can check out my wedding planning packages as well as my aunt's cake business at:

The cakes are limited to delivery in Missouri, but our wedding planning business can go wherever you want or need us to go! Look us up!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Emma's Corner

I have recently added a gadget on the right side of my blog entitled, "Emma's Corner". This is where I have chosen to list favorite children's book that Emma and I are reading together right now. If you click on the title, it will take you to Amazon or wherever and give you more information about the book.

Reading is a very important part of Emma and I's daily routine, even if we only manage to get 5 to 10 minute in a day. I like reading to her, because I am an avid reader, or at least I was before I became a mom and my new busy schedule took over! Despite our hectic schedule, it has been important to me that I instill my love for reading into Emma's life, because I believe reading can open up doors for children that educational TV shows and movies cannot.

I know that I am not the only mother who feels this way, and I felt it was important to share the books we were reading with other mothers who also enjoy reading to their children. I hope you find at least a few new titles in our list that you may want to add to your child's collection.

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I do not receive monetary compensation from any of the products, companies, or organizations I promote through my blog, unless otherwise specified during a giveaway or promotion. I am just your average mom trying to share products that I enjoy with other moms, as well as organizations and charities I believe in.