Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day #15 and What's Your Groove?

I'm half way there! Today is Day #15 of my 30 Day Challenge! It's never too late to get in on the fun, so be sure to click my little hyperlink to get started. It's a lot of fun, and I'd love to check yours out, so leave me a note if you decide to participate! Anyway, today I'm supposed to share a picture of something I want to do before I die. Well, I've never been one of those people to carry around a bucket list or anything, but I do have two things I want to do:

I want to see Greece.

For as long as I can remember I have been in love with Greece. I am kind of a history buff, and I love Greek history, so that's kind of where the love affair started. But, then I found out they have beautiful beaches and that kind of sealed the deal when it came to deeming Greece as my dream vacation. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was partly filmed in Greece, and after I saw that movie, I just knew it was a for sure thing. Someday I would go! My husband's not big on European travel, so it will probably have to be without him, but I just know that someday I will see those beautiful beaches and trek through gorgeous ruins. I can't wait!

I want to write a successful novel.

I am a writer. It's in my blood. I love doing it, and you cannot imagine how many half novels I have started on my laptop! I am always thinking of a great book idea, jotting down a few ideas, and then leaving it lay without ever returning to it. It's sad, really. So, one of my life goals is to complete and publish a successful novel. I don't know what it will be about yet, maybe historical fiction, since I am a history buff. But, we will see.

Now onto why MOST of you are here! It's "What's Your Song?" Thursday! Woohoo! Head on over and visit Amber over at Goodnight Moon to link up and get your groove on!

Today, I am sharing another YouTube video, because I couldn't find my song to add it to my usual playlist (sad face). But, I think the videos spice things up a bit, and even if you've heard the song, you may not have seen the video, so that's a plus! Today I am sharing another Sugarland song. I just can't get enough of her, but this song also has a very deep and emotional meaning to my life. This song often causes me to reminisce about my past, and it still brings tears to my eyes to think about it. But, that's a story for another time (wink, wink). So, I hope you enjoy, and really take the time to listen to the words. They are beautiful.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow morning to see the video from my karaoke competition tonight! You can check out my archive to see past videos! We are down to the final three weeks and I'm starting to get nervous! Wish me luck! Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Another Run In & Day #14: 30 Day Challenge

For those of you who don't know, I play volleyball in a women's league on Tuesday nights. I decided to put a team together, and get in on the fun that's been going on for 20+ years. Most of the people on my team are younger, around my age. I recently blogged about my experience with The Good Old "Girls" Club, and last night we encountered their hatefulness again in the form of poor referee calls and laughing out loud at our expenses. I mean, it was bad. We still lost, we always do. But, we had a much better showing in the second and third game than in the first game. However, I've decided that all those older ladies treat us the way they do because they want us to quit. They feel like if they demean us and tear us down, or even call a bunch of stupid calls, we will get angry and just quit. Well, not me. I'm not a quitter. It doesn't matter what they say, I have every right to be there and I'm going to come every week and give 100%. Maybe we'll win, maybe we won't. But, it doesn't matter, because I'm there to have fun, get some exercise, and enjoy an hour of adult conversation. That's it. But, you know, they don't make it fun and that's sad. I don't know if its jealousy or pride or whatever that makes them treat us that way, but whatever it is, my message to them would be to GET. OVER. IT. I'm certainly not going anywhere. I don't need their permission or approval to be there. I deal with girls like them all the time! But the sad thing is that those girls are in there 20's, I never would of thought that women in their 30's, 40's, and even 50's would act that way to a bunch of younger women. It's kind of pathetic and sad, and the only thing I feel for them is empathy. Really. So, don't worry, I'll be back next season. It may not be with the same team, but I'll be back. I've had a lot of fun, and its really helped me to sharpen up some skills I haven't got to use since high school. I love playing. I have always loved playing. So, all their efforts to "scare me off" aren't working. Period. Kiss my a**! Seriously.

Today is also Day #14 of my 30 Day Challenge. Today, I am supposed to post a picture of someone I can't live without. This one was hard, because there are so many people in my life that I couldn't live without. Each one of my friends and family members are extremely important to me, and if I had enough time and space on my blog I would find a picture of each one of them to share with you. But, today I'm going to pick the obvious choice:

Emma and Randy: Christmas 2010

This last month and a half has really taught me about what it's important in life, and whose really worth fighting for. I seriously could not imagine my life without Randy or Emma, and I would be completely lost without either of them. Randy is my best friend. We have been through a lot together, and we are still working through some of it, but I know that we are going to be okay. We were meant to be together and he really does complete my life in every way. Emma has changed my life completely from the day I found out she was coming! She is the only other love of my life, and she knows it. She teaches me everyday to laugh at the little things and she shows me how I may not matter to the world, but to her, I am the world and she is mine. "I am your parent; you are my child. I am your quiet place; you are my wild." (Maryann Cusimano:"You Are My I Love You") These two people really are my everything, and I love them with my whole heart. I would change our life together for all the money in the world, and I couldn't imagine two better people to share this journey called life.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day #13: 30 Day Challenge

Whew! What a busy morning! Emma and I are NOT used to being up and out of the house by 8:30 AM! Usually, when I have to substitute teach we leave by 8:00, but I don't have to get her dressed or anything. I can just take her to her Grammie's in her pj's and know that my amazing mother-in-law will dress and feed her. But, on the mornings that both of us have to be dressed and ready to leave by 8:30, one or both of us usually misses breakfast and we are lucky if we make it out of the house with matching shoes! Yes, early mornings are stressful for us, especially for my girl. She LOVES her cartoons and 3 cups of milk. They are like her caffeine! If she doesn't get to start her day that way, then I end up with a cranky girl and a long day ahead!

Fortunately, she took this morning's quick exit rather well, since she knew we were going to school and there was the possibility of seeing her favorite aunt, Faith, at school. I had a meeting with one of the students to do some prep for his ACT test, and I had to get another student started on her application for summer nursing camp at our local hospital. You see, I have deemed myself the resident guidance counselor for our Christian school, and I LOVE doing it. I never had any guidance when it came to taking my ACT, choosing a college, or prepping for life after high school, so it's nice that I can step in and do that for these kids. I've learned a lot over the years, and it feels wonderful to get to share it. They deserve everything that public school kids are having handed to them and I mean to give them those same opportunities. So, anyways...enough about my other soapbox! Because of that, I am up at the school a few times a month helping them fill out ACT registration forms, study, or helping them find opportunities for them to job shadow or attend a seminar about the career they are interested in. I counsel parents about the FAFSA form or college applications. I proof read essays and give advice about school choices. It's definitely a big job and I love that it gets me out of the house and gives me a sense of purpose.

We also got to have brunch with my grandfather this morning. We met up at his favorite restaurant, and I enjoyed visiting with him while he ate biscuits and gravy. He is almost 85 and his heart has really started failing in the last year. Part of me wonders sometimes if this is his last year with us. It scares me to think about it, and sometimes I just break down crying in my car or in the shower if let the thought of him not being here linger. He is the only grandfather I've ever known, and it makes me sad to think that Emma may never get to really know him like I do. So, I love to take every opportunity I can to have lunch with him or stop by his house or invite him to dinner. I feel this need to pull him really close, because I don't know how much time is left. It's a terrible reality.

So, anyway, that was our busy morning! Emma is napping before we have to hit the ground running again. My grandmother wants us to come by this afternoon. She and her husband are leaving for France on Friday. Oh, how I wish I could go with them! I would love, love, LOVE to go to Europe, and maybe someday I will be able too, but for now I'm just left daydreaming about it. I can't wait to see their pictures and I know they will have a wonderful time!

Well, today is day #13 of my 30 Day Challenge! Today I'm supposed to share a picture of my favorite band/artist. Well, this one was super easy! It came to me almost instantly!


I am absolutely in LOVE with Sugarland! I have loved their music from the very beginning, and I have actually done 2 of their songs in my karaoke competition. Jennifer Nettles is my music idol. I love her voice, her presence, and the way she puts so much emotion into all of her songs. While I was REALLY disappointed in their new CD (like seriously, SAVE. YOUR. MONEY!), I still can appreciate their effort at trying something new and wanting to put more of who they are into every song. I think if I had to see one concert before I died, this would be the band I would want to see. So, in honor of my favorite band, I've made a playlist! These are some of my all time favorite Sugarland songs. I am also posting a YouTube video of my favorite song by them, because I couldn't find it when I was adding songs to the list. So, enjoy the music and have a wonderful Tuesday!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day #12: 30 Day Challenge

Yesterday I sang for Sunday morning service at our church. The lady who runs our special music line-up called me at 8:00 PM Saturday night, and I have a real problem with telling people no. Seriously. It's a problem. Anyway, I, of course, told her that I would (on top of baking a cake for the church dinner after the service), and I got started! Well, "started" isn't EXACTLY what happened. I actually went home and baked the cake and made the mousse icing for the cake, then I gave Emma a bath, put her to bed, and spent a little time blogging. I really didn't have time to work on my song at all, but since I already had one in mind, I just thought I'd run through it in the morning. Yeah..except we didn't get up until 9:00 AM! Awesome. I had exactly 1 hour and 15 minutes to get myself and Emma ready and out the door for church. If your not a mom, 1 hour and 15 minutes is NOT a lot of time to take a shower, do your hair, do your make-up, get your child dressed, pack the diaper bag, find your child's shoes, fight with your child to get their shoes on, remember to put deodorant on, get out the door, and put your child safely in their car seat! Of course, my husband is here, but I end up doing most the "get out the door" stuff, because I'm a perfectionist, which is another problem. Seriously. So, anyway, we were not "late", but pretty close to that, and on top of getting ready I had to burn a CD of the music for my song since I don't have my iPod right now. The OTHER problem was that our CD player is ancient and getting it to play a CD well enough for me to practice the song was another difficult tasks. Things weren't really going well for me yesterday morning. I ran through the song in the car, and Randy said it sounded fine, but I wish he would of just told me in sucked, because the next thing I knew I was up, in front of my entire church, BUTCHERING it! Ugh. Bleh. Gag! It was AWFUL! I was so embarrassed. Mostly because a lot of them know I'm in a karaoke competition and when I get up there and do a song like that, it probably makes most of them wonder how I'm even eligible to compete! Grr!

You know, in my defense, it's really hard for me to find "church" songs in my range. Sometimes I think the people at church have NEVER heard me do a good song. A lot of the songs I pick are too high, because most of the alto songs are too low. I have a hard time finding anything in a happy medium, because Christian music that is appropriate for my church tends to be to more operatic than anything else. I try to pick things I think I can do, but most of the time I just end up messing it up! Plus, I get so nervous when I sing in front of the people at my church, mostly because I am SOOO worried about what they are going to think. Singing is a very vulnerable experience. I mean you are putting yourself up there for them to critique anything about you from your clothes to your vocal quality. And there is something more difficult about being "judged" by the people at church, than there is about being "judged" by the people at Bootleggers. I don't know what it is, but I know it's pathetic. I would love to come up with a great song that would really blow them all away. That makes them think, "Hey, that girl really can sing." That is what I want, probably more than anything. I guess I will just have to keep working on it. Ugh.

Today is Day #12 of my 30 Day Challenge. Today I am supposed to post a picture of something that I love. I figured out pretty quickly that this isn't supposed to be a person, but some"thing", so I had to put some thought into this one too. I just figured I would do the same thing I did yesterday and share a few of them with you.

I love Diet Dr. Pepper!

But, not as much as I LOVE Diet Dr. Pepper from McDonald's.
It's an addiction. Seriously.

This picture represents summer where I live.
I love summer! I want it to hurry up and get here!

Have I mentioned that I love karaoke?! Umm...yeah.
Karaoke changed my life.

So, there you have it! Those are just a few of my loves, but its hard to find pictures to represent these things, so I'll just save my other loves of life for another time. What about you? What do you love? I'd LOVE to hear about it! LOL!

I hope you and yours make the best of this fantastic Monday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day #11: 30 Day Challenge

I just love Sundays. I think Sundays are one of the only days of the week that I literally don't HAVE to do anything. Emma and I spend most Sunday afternoons lounging around the house. Randy likes to ride his motorcycle, go fishing, or do one of his MANY other hobbies when it's nice. I usually do a few chores, make a pretty low-key dinner (like Hamburger Helper or spaghetti), and we end the night watching a movie or a TV show we've recorded. It really is pretty uneventful around here on Sundays and I love it.

Well, today is Day #11 of my 30 Day Challenge. Today I am supposed to share a picture of something I hate. This one was hard, because I don't really just have pictures laying around of things I hate, and on top of that, I don't really have a lot of things that I hate. So, as you can see this would make this day of challenge pretty difficult for me. However, I discovered a way to improvise, and I decided to share some pictures that REPRESENT things that I "hate".

I live at one of Missouri's "premier vacation destinations". While I love my hometown, I EXTREMELY dislike the crazy tourists that invade our highways and waterways EVERY summer. I am especially not looking forward to this summer when all of the tourists get to meet our insanely AWFUL new highway bypass. They are going to be so lost and that means they will be more annoying than ever. Yeah. It's going to be awesome. Not.

As many of you know, I have quite a little soapbox when it comes to cyber-bullying (See I've Obviously Had Enough). I hate how the internet has opened up a whole new playing field when it comes to bullying, and I think more should be done by parents, the school system, and even the government to stop and prevent cyber-bullying.

Umm...if you haven't heard, I LOATHE ironing. In fact, I rarely do it (my husband is so abused!). Fortunately, my husband has kind of a messy job where he wears jeans and t-shirts everyday, so I don't have to iron his clothes for work. I occasionally have to iron one of his shirts for church or one of Emma's dresses, but I prefer to de-wrinkle our clothes the easy way which is to spray them with Downy Wrinkle Release and then toss them in the dryer for a few minutes. It may not get them all crisp, but it gets the job done.

Can I just say it? I know paying bills is a fact of life, but I HATE them. I hate it when they come in the mail, I hate sitting down to see how much money they will be draining from our checkbook from week to week, and I hate it that even when I'm done with my bills for the week, I am thinking about all the bills I have to pay next week. Grr!

So, there you have it! There are just a few of the things I can't stand. I'm sure some of you would actually agree with me about some of them! LOL! Anyway, I'd love to hear about what drives you mad? If you had to post a picture of something you hate, what would it be and why?

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day #10: 30 Day Challenge

Well, its sleeting and snowing in the Midwest. What a yucky day here in Missouri! Bleh! I agree with a friend of mine who said, "March, you are supposed to go out like a lamb! You have one week to get it together!" LOL! It's crazy to think it was 80 degrees on Monday and today its 32 degrees, sleeting, and snowing. But, I mean, Hello! This is Missouri we are talking about! :) Anyway, so today was a pretty lazy day for us. My husband and I did get to go to the movies this afternoon thanks to my in-laws. I can't even remember the last time we went to a movie together! Ever since we had Emma, we don't get to go the movies as much as we used too. Plus, movies are just so expensive anymore that we are pretty picky about what we will allow ourselves to see in theaters anyway. So that means that any afternoon at the movies is a real treat for us! We had a great time, saw a great movie, and enjoyed some good company with friends. It definitely made such a yucky day worth while!

I also had the privilege of attending my youngest sister, Faith's Sports Banquet last night. I have mentioned before that she attends the same Christian school that I attended and graduated from. Sports Banquet is a lot like our prom, since the school doesn't hold a prom for the students. The girls get all dressed up in beautiful dresses, some of them bring "dates", and the kids and parents get to enjoy a nice sit down dinner. I always thought it was a lot of fun, and it's exciting to get to watch Faith enjoying the same experiences. Faith played girls volleyball and basketball, and last night she got honored with the Christian Character award for volleyball and the Mot Improved Player award for basketball. She was really excited and we were excited for her. She is turning into quite the little sports queen! :) Anyway, here's a picture from last night.

My mom, Faith, and I at Sports Banquet.
Faith is showing off two of her medals and one of her trophies.

Anyways, today is Day #10 of my 30 Day Challenge! Today I am supposed to share a picture of me and my family. Well, I wasn't sure if this meant like a picture of me, my husband, and daughter or a picture of my extended family, so I'm just going to share a couple pictures of my whole family. I have been blessed with a big family, and I am very close with all of them. I was so lucky to grow up in the same town with all of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have always appreciated that about my family and I know that is totally a God thing! I already shared a picture of me with my mom and sister, Faith, so here is the rest of the gang, or most of them! Meet MOST of my family:

Me with my sisters, Randi and Kasie, and our Dad.

My sisters and I with our grandpa and our cousins,
Cory and Jordan

My sisters and I with our grandmother and cousins.

Randy, Emma, and I on Christmas Day 2010

Randy, Emma, and I with MOST of my extended family on my mom's side.

Emma with Randy's parents and sister.

Yes, as crazy as my family is, they are still pretty special to me and I would do anything for any of them. We all love and support each other 100%. I always know that no matter what, at the end of the day I will always have these beautiful people to lean on, talk to, and laugh with.

What about you? If you were going to share a picture of your family, which one(s) would you choose?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day #9: 30 Day Challenge

"It's Friday, Friday, Friday..." yes, as annoying as Rebecca Black's song is, that is the song I have stuck in my head today! Lol! I know, I know...I'm crazy! Well, anyway, today is Day #9 of my 30 Day Challenge! Holla! Is it bad that it's only Day #9 and I'm bored! It seems like when I started this challenge, I didn't have much to blog about, so it seemed like a good way to keep up with my blog. But, it's like I've had so much to write about in the last week that I feel like I'm driving you all crazy with my constant blog posts! So, I've been trying to limit it to this post and one other one per day, or sometimes I'll combine posts in an effort to save your news feed. You're welcome. LOL! Anyways, hello, back on track!

Today, I am supposed to post a picture of the person who has gotten me through the most. Well, this one was pretty easy.

Randy and I
at my cousin's wedding
January 2011

Sadly, this is the most recent picture I have of Randy and I. He isn't much for pictures, but I still should probably fix that sooner than later. Anyway, Randy and I have been together for the last 7 years of my life. He has seen me through so much in my life. My parents second separation and then their divorce, my dad's terrible accident at work, my grandmother's heart attack, and my grandfather's recent illness. He held my hand through college, my pregnancy, and the birth of our daughter. He saw me through my first and only season of coaching volleyball and every other whim and crazy idea I've had. He is my rock, my voice of reason, and the calm in the midst of every storm. Sure we have our ups and downs, but he has been the one to teach me that the relationships that mean the most to you are always worth the fight. I love him because he is everything I always wanted to have, but never knew I would find. He is my heart in every way, and I know that as long as we keep on loving and living and taking each day, one day at a time then we can conquer anything.

I love you, babe.

Karaoke Competition Week #7

It's that time of week! Last night was week #7 of the karaoke competition I am doing every Thursday. Only 3 weeks left! Yay! Anyway, last night was duets night, and all the competitors had to sing duets with anyone of their choosing. Some people sang with other people in the competition, two people got to do duets with last years winner, and a couple of people just got silly with it. All in all, it was a great night and a lot of fun!

I had the privilege of performing my duet with my good friend, Josh Thomas. His wife, Kristin, is one of my dearest friends and they drove 1 1/2 hours just so Josh could help me out! I was SOOO grateful! We had a blast! However, this video DOES NOT do Josh justice! He is an amazing guitarist and singer, but unfortunately my crappy little camera is incapable of grasping such awesomeness! Plus, the lady who runs the karaoke competition needs a few lessons in the sound department. She always has everything turned up so loud that the people on stage can't hear the music and the people in the audience can't hear the people who are singing! I actually had one guy walk up to me after the competition and say, "This is the only week you've sucked!" :( But, it's really just because the sound is so terrible. At one point, I completely lost track of Josh's voice. I had such a hard time hearing him and the guitar, so I think for what we had to work with, this is awesome! Period.

I am just so grateful that Josh and Kristin were able to come down, and I'm also really excited that my husband, Randy was also able to come. Last night was only the 2nd time he's been able to come and watch me perform! He is such a trooper and he usually stays behind to watch Emma, but last night I was able to get a sitter (A big thanks to my best friend, Merry!) and he was able to make it. We had a great time and I am looking forward to the final three weeks of competition. My sister and I actually have plans to practice on Monday with the real, live BAND we will be using for group night! Ummm....yeah, that night is going to be AWESOME! I'm super excited, so you have to stay tuned!

So, in honor of my excitement, and in a rare moment of pure craziness, I am also sharing with you my sister, Randi's video from last night! She is singing with our other sister, Kasie, and they did awesome! It was probably one of Randi's best nights! I am so proud of them!

So, there you have it! Week #7 of the karaoke competition! Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Sexy Song

Hey, hey! It's Week #5 of Goodnight Moon's song link up! Head over there and check it out if you want to hear some good music and meet some new friends!

This week I couldn't find this song to upload it to my usual playlist, so I thought I'd switch it up and show you the LIVE YouTube version. It's just as good, probably better! :) Anyway, I've christened this song my sexy song! I like to put it on when I'm "in the mood", or even when I'm vacuuming or doing something I want to feel "sexier" doing. It's a great song and I hope you all enjoy it! While your here check out my "sexy" blog post and embrace the beautiful woman you are! See you all next week!

Day #8: 30 Day Challenge

It's Thursday! It's Thursday! IT'S THURSDAY! YAY! That means that tonight is week #6 of the karaoke competition which equals duet night which equals I get to see my amazing friend, Kristin and her husband, Josh tonight! Josh and Kristin live about 1 1/2 hours away, and we don't get to see them as much as we'd like too. They are our first real "married couple" friends, which means for us that they are the only friends we have that Randy meshes well with both parties! LOL! Anyway, we are so excited to see them tonight, and I am super grateful to Josh for helping me out for duet night tonight! It's going to be awesome! Stay tuned for the video tomorrow!

Josh and Kristin at my cousin's wedding

Anyway, today is Day #8 of my 30 Day Challenge. After looking through my pictures, I've decided that most of the REALLY funny ones are probably too inappropriate to share (You know, "What happens in Vegas..." kind of stuff)! So, I've decided to keep it PG and appropriate for all ages.

Me with my sisters, Randi (far left) and Kasie (middle).

This is me goofing around with my sisters at the auditions for the karaoke competition Randi and I are competing in every Thursday. I love hanging out with these girls and they always know how to make me laugh. I like to say that they are my constant reminders that I take life too seriously, because they are always putting me in my place! :) After all, there really are no secrets between sisters! These girls are seriously my best friends and I couldn't imagine my life without them. It's true that while fate made us sisters, life has truly made us best friends.

at about you? Do you have a picture that makes you laugh? Is there a person in your life who
always makes you smile?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day #7: 30 Day Challenge

It's Day #7 of my 30 Day Challenge! Today, I'm supposed to share a picture of my most treasured item(s). Well, this one was hard for me, and I'm actually stealing one of my ideas from another friend of mine who is doing the 30 Day Challenge as well. I am not a materialistic person. Sure I love cute clothes, and my husband would tell you that I can't live without my cell phone. But, I do not put a lot of value on material things, because I know they are temporary, just like this life. Instead, I put value and time into my relationships with family and friends. My family is THE most important thing in the world to me, and my friends are often times my saving grace. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by all the wonderful people God has put in my life, and that is what's important to me. But, since I have to pick something material. I've chosen two:

My promise ring, engagement ring, and wedding band.

My wedding albums and Emma's baby albums

My promise ring is really special to me, because my husband gave it to me when I was 18 years old as a promise that someday we would get married. We were together almost three years before I got my engagement ring, and we were married a few months later. I knew from early on that Randy was the one for me. He balances me out perfectly in every way. He is my rock, my voice of reason, and the calm in the middle of every storm. I feel so blessed that he chose me to be his wife.

My wedding albums and the albums of Emma's baby pictures are important to me, because those pictures may be replaceable, but those moments aren't. Each one of those pictures represents a moment in time I will never get back, and without those pictures I would never be able to look back on those moments or share them with my children when they are older. I have taken a lot of time putting those albums together and I would be sad if they were ever lost or ruined.

What about you? What is your most treasured item? Please leave me a comment and share it with me! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dear Mr. Sandman...

I have recently given up on my daughter sleeping through the night. My mother does not hesitate to inform me that I did not sleep through the night until I was 3 years old, so I'm sure Emma is my payback for all the sleepless nights I caused my mother. Emma has not slept through the night since she was 9 months old. She had her first real bout with sickness at 9 months, and we spent a lot of time rocking her and letting her sleep in our bed while she was recovering. Well, after that, my good baby that slept so well for me, was now my little night owl. My husband and I couldn't do self soothing (something I am definitely doing with my next child!). We were too tender hearted about it, and we just couldn't stand listening to her cry. Plus, all of our relatives encouraged us that there was nothing wrong with rocking our baby to sleep, so we would rock her to sleep every night with the bottle. I would then proceed to get up once to three times a night to rock her back to sleep when she woke up. It was exhausting. So now, fast forward to almost two years later! We now have no more bottles, a big girl bed, and a little girl who is getting way to big and heavy for me to pat to sleep on my chest. We decided that since she is almost two, it was definitely time to institute an actual bed time. On top of rocking her to sleep, we used to let her stay up until she was tired in hopes that the later she went to bed the more likely she would be to sleep through the night. But, you'd think that after a year of her NOT sleeping through the night even with no bed time, that we would of figured out it wasn't working. But we didn't, at least not until now. We ARE first-time parents, you know ;) Anyways, so after taking her on a trip with my mom and realizing that a almost two year old without a bed time is inconvenient for everyone in a hotel room, I came home and announced that I had conceded, Emma was going to have a bed time. My husband jumped on board instantly, and we set up the ground rules.

1.) Bed time will be between 9:00 and 9:30 every night when this is possible.

We realize that sometimes she isn't going to get into bed by 9:30. Sometimes we will be over at a friend's house, out having dinner, or driving home from a long distance trip. These circumstances may delay the 9:30 bed time, and that's okay. We have just agreed to put her to bed as soon as we get home that way she isn't missing out on her routine. We also chose the 9:30 bed time, because that time works for us. I realize that a lot of parents put their children to bed at 7:30 or 8:00. But, Emma takes a later nap during the day (between 12:30 and 3:00), so often times putting her to bed before 9:00 increases the number of times she will get up during the night or will make her up and ready to go between 5:30 and 6:00 AM. Hello, since I quit working, I can hardly function at 5:30 AM. So, putting Emma to bed after 9:00 works best for both of us right now.

2.) Only 1 cup of milk is allowed at bedtime.

Since I weened Emma of the bottle back in January, she has been consuming all of her milk via her favorite pink and orange sippy cup. We have also noticed that Emma will still ask for milk when she is hungry to avoid eating (she's a very picky eater!). So, we have limited when she can have milk in an effort to make her eat more real food. She consumes most of her milk in AM, usually 3 to 4 cups, and then 1 cup of milk at nap time. After nap time, I usually switch her over to juice or tea. We are not making breakfast and lunch a big deal right now, and usually she just snacks throughout the day, but we do make her sit down and have dinner with us. Dinner is an important part of our family dynamic and we want Emma to realize that early in her life. So, I usually don't give milk after nap time to insure that dinner is somewhat successful. After dinner if she asks for milk I will give it to her, but usually she doesn't because after dinner she plays while I clean up the kitchen, then we take a bath and get ready for bed, then maybe Randy or I will read her a book or two, or she may play some more, and then it's bed time. At bed time I only allow her 1 cup of milk to decrease "playing" while she's laying in bed and to help decrease her dependency on the cup at bed time for when we potty train (which is coming soon! Yikes!). I think it will be easier to take the cup away once she's potty trained if she's not used to have 2 or 3 cups of milk while she's laying in bed. We also do not give her more milk if she wakes up in the middle of the night.

3.) Emma puts herself to sleep.

When we first instituted the bed time about a month ago, I used to lay down with Emma in her bed while she went to sleep. I felt kind of guilty for not rocking her anymore, and I was re-living a lot of my anxiety about bottle weening again with the new bed time (See Bottle Battle to get caught up on that drama!). I did feel like we were reaching a point where Emma didn't really need me anymore, and that was a little scary for me. But, I knew a bed time was best not just for her, but for Randy and I, especially since we are thinking about having more kids. Well, just this week I quit laying down with her. Randy always says that when he watches her at night, he never lays down with her and she goes right to sleep. But, every time I would take her into her bed she would look up at me and say, "Mommy, lay down." and my heart would melt and I would give in. Well, this week I decided to stick to my guns. She does cry a little, but I have started putting her Minnie stuffed doll in bed with her. Minnie is a larger stuffed animal and she enjoys cuddling with it, like she does me. The last few times I have laid her down with Minnie, I go back a few minutes later and she is fast asleep cuddled up with Minnie. It's cute and it's seems to be working.

We haven't really had any hard days yet, and I'm glad. I know there probably will be some in the near future, but at least I feel like we are moving forward. I'm glad I chose to do this when I did, because I think trying to institute a bed time and potty train would of been too much at one time. I'm excited to see how much she is changing and growing, but it does make my heart a little sad to realize she really isn't a baby anymore, she's turning into a big girl.

What about you? When did you institute a bed time with your first? How did it work out? Was it harder once you added more children to your family?

Branson Trip & Day #6: 30 Day Challenge

Branson, MO

This weekend we spent some time in Branson, MO which a favorite family vacation destination for my family and I. We spend a lot of time there in the summer, and the kids just love it. I've been going every summer for as long as I can remember and it's exciting for me to get to share this place and the memories I have with my daughter. I wanted to share a few of the pictures from this weekend with you! Enjoy!

Emma eating her favorite...popcorn @ SDC!

Emma riding the carousel. Her favorite ride!

Emma and I on the carousel.

Emma and my nephew, Noah,
playing the crocodile game at our favorite arcade.

Emma and Grandma Kelly.
The one who makes all the trips to Branson possible.

We had a wonderful time and Sunday was such a beautiful day here in the Midwest! It made Silver Dollar City just so much more enjoyable. The kids got to ride all the kid rides, and I got to eat all their yummy (but expensive) food! We also spent some time swimming in the indoor waterpark at the hotel we were staying, and we went to our favorite arcade. It has two go-cart tracks, laser tag, and lots of arcade games. The kids love it! Yes, it was definitely a lot of fun, but both Emma and I are glad to be home and back to our routine. I think I'm going to spend my Tuesday getting caught up on our laundry from this weekend! :)

Day #6: 30 Day Challenge

Today is Day #6 of my 30 Day Challenge! I'm supposed to post a picture of someone I would like to trade places with for a day. This one was hard! I really do love my life. I love being a stay-at-home mom and wife. I love getting up everyday and devoting it to my family. I'm a clean freak, so I love that staying at home allows me to keep my house up to my standards of clean. I also love how staying at home gives me plenty of time for family and friends. While I miss working everyday, I love the feeling of fulfillment I get from staying home with my daughter. I wouldn't trade it for the world. But, if I had to choose it would probably be a celebrity or someone else with great financial stability. I would use my day of fortune to pay off all our debt and maybe set up a college fund for my daughter. I would also love to do some guilt-free shopping. I'm not interested in a pair of $600 shoes or $400 jeans, but I am interested in hitting up some of my favorite regular people stores without a care in the world like Charlotte Russe, Old Navy, Maurices, Wet Seal, Children's Place, and of course, Target. So, if I was going to pick a celebrity it would probably be Reese Witherspoon. I've always loved her and she is so beautiful. Plus, she seems very down to earth and I think she's a good mom. And unlike a lot of young celebrities, she actually has a clean image and I love that about her. She has always seemed like a regular mom to me, just with way better hair! :)

Anyway, so that's who I'd choose to trade places with for a day. What about you? Who would you choose? If your interested, you should start taking the 30 Day Challenge, and leave me a link where I can check yours out too! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Very 1st Monday Mingle!

Today I'm trying something new and I promise this will be my last post for the day! Sheesh! You'd think I was trying to make up for being gone all weekend! LOL! Anyways, I'm going to participate in the Monday Mingle over at Eighty MPH Mom! If you get a chance you should definitely swing by and check it out, you will be so glad you did!


Day #5: 30 Day Challenge

Today, after my weekend hiatus, is Day#5 of my 30 Day Challenge! Today I'm supposed to post a picture of my favorite superhero. Well, to be honest, I'm not a comic book nut, but I have seen every comic book movie EVER made because my husband is really into them. He's not a comic book geek either, but he loves any movie that has fighting in it, so comic book movies usually fall into that category. Anyway, so this one kind of threw me for a loop. I asked my resident comic book junkie/movie expert friend and he suggested I use Cat Woman, because Wonder Woman is over used. But, I decided to get a little bit more original and I chose "Storm" from X-Men.

I chose Storm, because when "X-Men: The Last Stand" came out, my cousins and I used to run around my Grandma's yard and house playing X-Men. I was ALWAYS Storm. She was my favorite. I thought she was beautiful and controlling the weather seemed like a pretty cool and unique super power if you ask me. So, I will stay true to my childhood and choose my "for real" favorite superhero!

I've Obviously Had Enough...Have You?

Today I woke up to another case of teenagers and cyber bullying. I am heart broken. I have a meeting at the school today, and hopefully God will guide me to say the right things so that it can be addressed, but who knows. For those of you who don't know, bullying, especially cyber bulling, is a matter close to my heart and I've turned into one of my little soapboxes. I first posted about bullying in September, just a few months after the Pheobe Prince case exploded into the media. From the beginning, my heart really went out to that girl and her family. I remember crying when the story broke on the news that May morning. It's amazing to me how mean kids, especially girls, can be. I will never understand it. I even talked about my struggle with bullying. Not as the person being bullied, but the one doing the bullying (see "Chapter of Regret"). I realize now that some of the choices I made at 17 were weak moments for me, and I do regret them...everyday. This realization has made me not want to be a bystander who simply watches other girls make the same mistakes. I just can't be quiet, (a trait that often disappoints my husband!), and I don't want to be on the outside looking in. I want to make a difference. I want to say something to change their minds. I would do anything to end bullying for good, and I could travel and speak on this issue for months if I thought that kids would listen. But to be honest, I don't know if I would of listened at 17, so whose to say they would? But part of me wishes I could make them listen, you know? My sister is only 12 and she is already experiencing it. Sometimes you think it will or should be different, but it isn't. I wish I could do or say more, and I am always looking for ways to voice my not-so-quiet opinions, hence my meeting today. But simply put, my heart is just breaking this morning. It breaks for every victim of cyber bullying and the parents who feel there is nothing they can do. It breaks for the teachers whose hands are tied by "the system" and it breaks for teenagers who really can't seem to understand that words DO hurt. They hurt really, really bad. You can never take them back and no amount of "sorry" will ever fully erase the pain you've caused that person. Trust me, I've seen it first hand and almost 10 years later. Sometimes the people you hurt, never forgive you and suddenly you see that maybe if you would of just been kind instead brutally hateful, then maybe you could of made a difference in their life. Maybe.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day # 4: 30 Day Challenge

Happy Friday! I am so freakin' excited that the week is final over! Woot! Woot! We are anticipating beautiful weather around here this weekend, and I'm looking forward to spending the weekend with my mom, my youngest sister, one of my cousins, my daughter, and my nephew at one of our favorite weekend getaways: Branson, MO! We are BIG Branson people! We go at least once a month starting in the spring. If you haven't heard of it before, it really is a great destination if you have kids! This weekend we are hitting up our favorite indoor waterpark at Grand Country Inn, then we will do some shopping at Branson Landings, and we will finish out our weekend at Silver Dollar City. It's going to be a lot of fun, and Emma has been babbling about it all week. So, while I'm on my mini-vaca, I will be taking a break from my 30 Day Challenge, but I promise to pick it up Sunday night when I get home.

So, today for Day # 4 of my 30 Day Challenge, I am supposed to share a picture of a place I have been. Well, no Branson pictures for you today, but I thought I'd share a picture of our favorite winter destination: Loveland Ski Area in Georgetown, CO. I can't pick just one, so I thought I'd share a few.

A view of the Rockies on your way to Winter Park, CO

Downtown Georgetown, CO

Randy & I
Loveland Ski Area, CO

Randy and I on one of the ski runs.
Loveland Ski Area, CO

Randy and Emma
Tubing in Winter Park, CO

We have been skiing in Colorado 6 of the 7 years we have been together. But last winter, winter 2009-2010, was the last time we went. It didn't work out for us to go this year, and I don't know when we will get to go again, but hopefully we will be able to take Emma back sometime soon. I'd love for her to be big enough to start learning how to ski. You'd be amazed at the little bitty kids they have out there on skis, and most of them are better than the adults! Anyway, Randy really enjoys skiing and I know that someday this will be a great vacation for us to take again as a family.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's Your Song Link-up and Day #3: 30 Day Challenge

Today I'm combining two posts into one! I'm linking up with my blog friend, Goodnight Moon, for her weekly song link-up and I'm on Day #3 of my 30 Day Challenge! Woot! Woot!

Day #3: 30 Day Challenge

Today for Day #3 of my 30 Day Challenge, I'm supposed to share a picture of my favorite TV show. Well, if you haven't heard, I'm a HUGE Glee fan! I record it every week, and wait to watch it during the peace and quiet of Emma's nap time! I've always been a sucker for musicals and there is nothing better than a TV show that is also a musical! YES!

If you are unfamiliar with my 30 Day Challenge, please check out the rules here and play along with me! Let me know where I can check yours out too! :)

Now on to why most you are here!

"What's Your Song?" Link-up

Today I'm sharing a song by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros called "Home". I'm sure most of you have heard it, and if you haven't allow me to be the first one to introduce it to you! It's wonderful! This song really expresses my husband and I's relationship and I always get butterflies when I hear it and think of him. It seems that no matter what we are going through, he is still "home" to me, and he always will be.

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If you have time, be sure to swing by Goodnight Moon's blog and play along! It's a lot of fun and a wonderful way to make new bloggy friends! Happy St. Patty's Day!

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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.