Friday, November 25, 2011

our Elf on the Shelf has arrived!

I have a confession: the biggest reason I look forward to Thanksgiving every year is because the day after it's over Christmas Season can finally begin and I can turn up the Christmas carols on my car stereo with no shame! 

This year marks Christmas Milestones for several reasons and these milestones make me SO giddy with excitement that I really needed to devote a post to it all:

Milestone One: This is our first Christmas in our own house!! That's pretty huge and pretty awesome. 

Milestone Two: This is our first Christmas with a child who will be awake during the Unwrapping-of-Gifts portion of the morning (last year Henry was a month and a half old at Christmas and he literally slept in his Rock and Play sleeper the whole morning lol). 

Milestone Three: This is our first Christmas with an Elf on our Shelf!!!!!!

Santa himself sent me an email the other day (I am on his mailing list) and he told me that we should expect to receive our elf right after Thanksgiving. This excited me beyond all words. 

He explained that we didn't get an elf last year because Henry was so young and young babies like him are always good and don't need reporting on. 

However, Henry is old enough now that an elf needs to keep an eye on him (and boy do I agree, Henry definitely can be naughty AND nice now!) so an elf was being dispatched to us right after Thanksgiving. 

Tonight we went out for our weekly Friday Pizza Night at Henry's Grandmom and Grandpop's house and when we returned - HUZZAH!!! - OUR ELF WAS HERE!!!

and he had a scroll in his hands!!
I was so excited to see our elf that I nearly dropped all of my stuff on the floor!

We quickly picked up Henry and showed him the elf who will be living with us from now until Christmas Eve:

he was so excited! 

We unrolled the scroll and here's what it says:

"Merry Christmas!

My name is Melvin and I am your official elf from Santa's workshop at the North Pole!

I am so excited to get to know you all and to report back to Santa about how good you are all being this year! (and every year to come, I'm sure you will always be good!)

Thank you for letting me join your family every Christmas!


awwww, right? Isn't Melvin so sweet??

After that Henry, Ryan and I all went upstairs to read the book that Melvin brought with him and to get ready for bed. 

 We learned that Melvin will be staying with us throughout the whole season and that he will leave on Christmas Eve when Santa drops off the presents (I guess he gets to hitch a ride back home to the North Pole with Santa and his reindeer? Lucky guy!). 

He explained that he is magical and that every night after we go to bed, he will go to the North Pole and tell Santa who is being naughty and who is being nice in our house and that Santa keeps track of it all on his list. 

He mentioned that when he returns, sometimes he likes to find a different place in the house to hang out. I have a feeling that it will be fun to find him each morning when we get up!

It was very exciting getting to meet Melvin and to read the story of the magical elves who are out staying with other families this year too! Henry seems very excited to be friends with Melvin...but i mean, can you blame him?

And so it has officially and wonderfully begun! Christmas is on it's way! I couldn't be more excited or happy. 

And guys, we have an Elf on the Shelf!!!

woo hooo!!

I'll report back tomorrow and let you know Melvin's whereabouts. I hope it's somewhere exciting :)

a thanksgiving time refleciton

This has been a "growing year" for me in many ways. I've hit my stride as a mother (in whatever way that's possible considering that the nature of this role is very fluid and constantly changing), I've learned much more about what it means to be a wife and a spouse, I've seen my interpersonal friendships and relationships with family change and evolve and in some cases die completely. 

Physically we bought a house and have, for the first time in five plus years, settled somewhere for the semi-permanent future (okay, maybe not even semi-permanent but we will be here for three years which for us is pretty epic (considering we moved six times in four years)). 

I also feel that I have finally and permanently closed the door on my past in some ways. This is a good thing because those doors really desperately needed to be closed, but until now I think i was afraid to discover who I was without that opening still available. Now, I can see that I am free to be myself - to reinvent myself even if I shut the lid to that pandora's box of who I used to be. 

One way that I've done this is by finally and totally cutting my ex-boyfriends out of my life completely. 

This might seem like a weird topic to discuss here since I am married and have a husband who I am 100 million percent devoted to, but I made a vow to myself and to this blog to be honest, straightforward and to have this be a REAL place with a real conversation going on. Sticking only to sweet and happy fluff topics is what causes me to leave for months on end and never update. 

Anyway, caveat aside, "getting rid of them" has been freeing. 

I think that I was so focused on Staying Friends and being the kind of modern person who could make that situation work, that i never stopped to say to myself, "do I even want these people in my life anymore?" And once I did ask myself that question, the answer was, obviously, No. 

Not to say that any of my exes are bad people, for the most part they're not. And even the one who I recently feel is "bad" just has some serious issues (although I happen to know he's working through them in therapy so honestly, that makes him a good person fundamentally, right? I truly believe that the willingness to work through things is what defines the quality of one's character). 

It's just - i'm not the person these people once knew and they aren't the people i once knew either so maintaining any kind of connection to them, whether it is friendship or merely an acquaintanceship (albeit the kind that facebook allows now in this crazy era where our passing acquaintances get the kind of intimate access into our thoughts that used to be reserved for good friends) is just a massive step backwards. It tethers me to this place of negative growth almost because I am still being seen as someone I'm not and people will therefore have the opportunity to interact with me as if I am still someone I'm not. That kind of thing can pull you down. 

That's also why I've released some friendships this year, too. There are just people who I have moved on from (and who have moved on from me, this is in no way condescending) and we are just in different places now. Sometimes it's hard to let go and to be honest and say, "look, we once were compatible but now, we're just not...that doesn't make either of us bad people." but i think that that kind of honesty is truly's even what maybe shows someone that you still respect them. At least you respect them enough to know that you no longer see eye-to-eye with them. Or maybe it's just a sign that you respect what you once had.

And I've noticed that by releasing these friendships and former relationships I have made so much more space in my life to be filled by other, much more lasting and interesting connections. I always used to tell clients in coaching - you must be willing to free up a part of the energy around you in order to allow new energy to move in. And who'd have guessed it? I was right! In this year I have reconnected with old friends, made new ones and strengthened important friendships that I want to last forever. It's been marvelous.

I know i'm sortof rambling at this point and that this post is totally stream-of-consciousness but that's okay. That's basically what blogging is for for me. 

I've been blogging for a long time now. Seirously, it's been ten years. And in those ten years I've learned so much about myself and grown so much and changed so much but one thing that has remained constant has been my introspection and my need to connect with others. Blogging has helped me merge those two traits together and it's why I love it. 

I am looking for somewhere new to blog (I still blog where I always have but it doesn't feel quite right anymore) and I want that place to be here. I know i'm taking a personal risk by making a step towards being more open and candid on this blog but I honestly think that risk is worthwhile because even though it makes me more emotionally vulnerable, maybe it will give me the opportunity to connect with someone who truly can benefit from what I have to share, or vice versa. Maybe not. Who knows. 

In any event, I have done a lot of growing and a lot of changing this year. There have been hurts along the way, there have been laughs and tears and there has been a LOT of sleepless nights but this has been one of those Mega Years in my life where I know I will never be the same nor will I unlearn all of the lessons that I worked my way through along the way. It's been really rough and really great all at the same time. And for that, I am thankful.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pinterest Project - completed!

okay so OOPS.

I promised to come back the next day with a completed pinterest project and, well, i didn't. That will teach me to make promises that I know are super far-fetched.

In any event i DID complete a pinterest project and I am SO excited about it. It didn't happen by the 15th but hey, it DID happen in the month of November and beggars can't be choosers.

I made these little awesome dudes:

(note, those are not mine and have been snagged from a blog that you can get to by clicking the photo)

This was all thanks to my friend Jule Ann who has a really great blog called The Crappy Housewife which you should check out. Jule Ann hosted a Make-Cute-Turkeys playdate at her house today when my "Let's Decorate Thanksgiving Shirts for our Kids" playdate fell through due to horrible disorganization on my part. 

I had a lot of fun and these little guys aren't nearly as complicated to make as they look. They're fun and fabulous. And I completed another Pinterest Project!! I'm up to 3 now! Go me!

So yea, that's my exciting news for tonight. 

How are the rest of you doing? Have any fun crafts or Pinterest things you want to make? Link me! I need inspiration!

Monday, November 14, 2011

doctors and presents and turkeys oh my!

So today was Henry's 12 month well baby checkup!

He is a big and beautiful boy who is meeting all of his milestones and is advanced with his speaking :) hooray! 

Henry weighs - 27.7 pounds
Height: 31 inches 
Head measurement: 19 inches (he's got his daddy's genes on that one - giant head (for giant brains?))
Poor guy also had to get four shots so that was kinda sad. He liked the nurse just fine until that happened. But he ended up getting a sticker with a cat on it so he was happy (he kept holding it up at me and saying "Caaaaaaat!!!!" and laughing lol)

After his appointment I managed to meet up with a lady selling a cool baby basketball hoop! This facebook garage sale group has been awesome both for selling and buying so far! I am scoring all kinds of cool gifts for Henry for Christmas and am spending hardly any money (my cheap frugal husband is so proud). 

 This is the one i got! for only $7!! (retails $36!) 

You seriously should look and see if there are local garage sale groups in your area on facebook. For reals.

After the pedi we went to Whole Foods where we stocked up on all kinds of goodies. Now that Henry is eating tons more solids, I am basically obsessed with feeding him the best quality foods that I can. For lunch he had Three Squash Soup which he was absolutely in love with (despite the fact that i thought it tasted like eating liquified onion. gross!). He topped that off with some whole grain apple muffin for dessert. He was an absolute MESS once the meal was over due to trying to wear his muffin on his head like a hat but LOL he had a good time in the process. I love that kid. 

Okay, i know this is a basically pointless post BUT i wanted to post something so here it is. 

Oh and for my pinterest project, I am going to be making Henry a Thanksgiving shirt...wanna help me decide which one?  Here are the two i'm debating between:


(only not so girlie obviously)

So what do you think? #1 or #2?

okay off to wrestle the little one to bed (and to join him there myself)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Project Month

November is officially (well, unofficially until just now) my Project Month.

There are so many things I want to accomplish and I am feeling like now is just as good of a time as any to get them all (well, some of them anyway) started at least.

So far this month I have done a lot already: I made two crafts from pinterest (both for Henry's birthday), I have begun a "painting" I'm doing for him for his room with a Nancy Tillman quote from the book The Night You were Born, I have rejoined and have been actually following (for the most part) the new Points+ Program on Weight Watchers and today I started Project Organize which is what I came here to write about.

Ryan and I moved into our house last March. You'd think that in the subsequent 8 months that we've lived here that we would have gotten organized and everything would be nicely in it's place.

Well, you'd think wrong.

We've been living together for five years and over the course of those five years we've I've acquired a lot of....well...crap.

I guess you can say that one of the only down sides to being a sentimental person is that i have a tendency to like to keep things that mean something to me. Unfortunately since I am known to get emotional over basically everything this shows up in the form of me hanging onto many objects over the years.

However I've recently realized that my need for an organized and functional home is starting to outweigh my sentimental need to obsessively stuff random treasured objects into drawers. It's just not worth it.

So today I started on the Mud Room - our infamous crap pile. I sorted and tossed and threw out and donated and at the end of the day SO MANY THINGS WERE ORGANIZED! It's amazing how cleaning out one room affects the whole house! I freed up an entire closet and moved all of my scentsy stuff into it and that enabled me to clear off a book case and a table and it just went on and on and on.

So hooray. Project Month is a roaring success so far and I am happy about that!

Now, to get started on my pinterest project!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

hello, old friend (again)

I think I'm going to give this blogging thing the good old college try again. Although in my case, I should just say give it a try since we all know how long it took me to get through college.

In any event, here I am sitting at my computer on the evening of Henry's First Birthday Party. It was a huge success and everyone had a phenomenal time.

I want to thank the vendors I worked with to pull this party off - specifically:

Cake Arts Consulting who is local to me and who made an amazing cake for Henry's party:
(sorry for the photo quality there, it's a cell phone pic)


Alli App Boutique on etsy who made Henry's first birthday shirt for us:

Both were awesome vendors and they come highly recommended (and no, i am not getting anything for saying that!)

It was such a great party and don't worry, I have more photos coming but for now I will leave you with this teaser photos and one of my accomplishments in this whole endeavor because it is something i made and was inspired by from pinterest (and yes, that links you to my pinterest, feel free to follow my boards! i like to follow you back on pinterest so it will be fun):

Henry's party was a Rainbow themed party (i really wanted to just have Birthday Party be the theme and when trying to come up for a color-scheme for that for a 1 year old - rainbows seemed the most celebratory and awesome). I found this idea on pinterest done with tulle and i knew i had to try to execute it for his party! I think it came out awesome :) I made it myself using a lampshade - a pillow case and streamers! Such a cool rainbow-coming-from-a-cloud affect!

I have some fun ideas for blog posts coming up. Included in this will be a monthly Pinterest post where I make a craft from pinterest and post it here. I am going to be posting it on the 15th of every month (so i better get cracking on my November pinterest item!). Please feel free to join in on this with me and we can do a linky-type-event where we all praise one another for our pinterest successes :)

I am also going to document my Project Body journey which is basically just my endeavor to return to my pre-pregnancy figure. I'm not too far out from it now but I still could use some work. It's my goal to get myself back in shape before we bring on Baby #2! (more on that to come)

So I just want to thank anyone who is still here and still reading and who is still hanging in there. Please keep on keeping on and check back for more to come. I am excited to share with you all!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Books: the dystopian novel strikes again. in a good way.

so i just finshed reading Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is a dystopian YA novel that is the first in a trilogy; the second and third have yet to be released.

For those who don't know, a dystopian YA novel is a book written for the Young Adult crowd where the characters live in a culture that is touted to be a utopia-like society. HOWEVER as it turns out what they are actually living in is in fact a dystopian society (dystopia meaning dysfunctional utopia). After some digging, the reader comes to realize that the formerly-perceived utopia is actually oppressive, controlling and fundamentally corrupt even though the objective it was to eradicate corruption. Dystopian novels are basically always a commentary on the nature of humanity, government, and our abilities and inabilities to live harmoniously and without corruption (and our constant desire to create an incorruptible society). Think 1984 and The Giver for other more well-known dystopian novels.

These books are typically set sometime in the super future after the collapse of our current society as we know it now...they never typically outright say what happened to cause the collapse of society but in general our current culture is heavily alluded to as the villain who caused massive destruction and the ruination of (hu)mankind as we know it. Probably rightfully so. We did create Pajama Jeans, afterall.

Anyway, I read this book because I am in the process of writing my own dystopian YA trilogy so i want to research what else is out there and currently selling. And, okay I also read itbecause dystopian YA trilogies are super fun and addictive and awesome.

As predicted this book was definitely all three. It kept me up reading all night which is something i love (until the next morning when i have to wake up at 6:45 with my 10 month old).

Because it's a YA book, it's definitely not difficult to read nor is it fine literature (it's okay, i can say that because the one I'm going to write will probably share these qualities at least to a certain degree). I think that's kind of half the fun of it.

That in mind, i do have to say that the book is pretty terribly written and is SUPER obvious with it's plot-lines. Like, really bad. It's so poorly written that when I was reading the "About the Author" part i was legitimately shocked to see she had graduated with her degree in Creative Writing.

But hey, it can't be THAT bad i guess because i did read the whole thing. It's just that there's so much more that she could have done, and so much that could have been done better.

Let's just say it's nowhere near as good as Hunger Games which, despite it's abysmal ending, was really legitimately a GOOD series. No, a GREAT series. It really was. Really good. Re-readable good.

I don't really want to give too much away about the plot of this book but if you're looking for a fun, easy, totally addictive book, this is the one to go to next. Unless you haven't read Hunger Games because really, you should. Those books rule. Okay, except for the last one. But it's still worth it.

Anyway, the point is, go out there and read these kinds of books. dystopian trilogies are super fun and all the rage and if i can get you guys hooked on them, you'll buy mine when it comes out hahaha it's gonna be just as formulaic and fabulous as the rest of these. i hope.

Oh and if you've read this and need another one to read, I suggest Matched by Ally Condie (the second one comes out in November).

that's all. off to bed with my child who sleep-crawls.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

on feeding...

If you know me in "real life", or if you've read this post that I wrote in March, then you know that I am an advocate of breastfeeding and I am a proud nursing momma.

However, there is a whole lot of Internet Snark that seems to come to the forefront when it comes to the subject of breastfed babies vs. formula fed babies. And I guess that I just got fed up from it all.

My best friend literally went to hell and back in an attempt to nurse her newborn baby and I had to sit by helplessly while I watched her berate herself over and over again when circumstances beyond her control prevented her from being able to breastfeed. She seriously felt like a BAD MOM. A bad mom! This girl who tried so hard to nurse that she almost wound up in the hospital thought she was a bad mom.

And once she became convinced that nursing just wasn't in the cards for her this time, she started pouring her baby's formula into the Medelea bottles, just in case other moms saw her bottle feeding so they would assume she was giving her baby expressed breastmilk. That's how much she couldn't stand the thought of facing all that judgment. She didn't want to be on the receiving end of their side-eyes. And I can't blame her. I don't want her to be on that end either. 

The whole situation broke my heart. Mostly because I know that she's right - that she IS going to be judged for the fact that she is formula feeding. And she is going to be judged by people who honestly have NO FREAKING IDEA what was going on with her and just how much she absolutely had no other choice in the matter. It isn't fair. It really isn't.  

But it's everywhere, isn't it? The word "formula" can barely be typed on the internet without bursting into flames.

And I get it, I really do; nursing is important, breastmilk is unmatched in quality and fabulousness, breastfeeding is definitely ideal if it works out. I understand the need to educate women and to make them feel supported if they are able to breastfeed. But what I have a problem with is the dark side of all of this hurrah and fanfare. I have a problem with the fact that in our endeavor to bolster up the women who nurse, that we have thrown those who don't to the wolves.

Breastfeeding women seem to have taken a Spartan-like attitude about this entire subject and have cast all formula-feeding mothers off of the cliff - never to be thought of again. They've been rendered unfit, illadvised and deserving of both pity and scorn.

I just have such a problem with this attitude. I just have such an issue with turning our backs on each other because of one little subject: what our babies eat.

And the more I think about the situation the more I realize - hello - none of us have the right to judge anyone else. We really, really, really, really don't. We really don't.

I mean, duh, I know that this lesson gets taught to us when we're little: "Don't judge others." and we at least TRY to practice it as children but as we grow older we tend to dismiss the concept as just another song on Sesame Street that's good in theory but isn't practical in practice.

Only, it IS practical.

Since I became a mom, I've learned a whole lot about judgment and to be honest - i judge people WAY less now than I ever did before. Way Less.

The mom carrying a screaming child out of the bookstore? Before I was a mom, I might have said to my shopping companions, "Why can't she control her child??" Now? Now I want to rush to hold the door open for her, I want to buy her a javachip frappachino at the cafe and give her a pat on the back and say, "It's gonna be okay". At the very least I want to smile at her so she knows that I understand and that it's outside of her control. "Kids are kids." I want to say.

Parenting makes us do things we never thought we would. It makes us behave in ways we never could have imagined before.

I always said that when I became a mom I would never have a house overrun with toys and that I would always make sure I put on makeup and got dressed in nice outfits everyday; I wasn't going to get all "mommed out".  *Snort*

Before kids, I thought I knew what tired was. I thought I was right to roll my eyes at the mother walking with two kids in the parking lot and snapping at a third to "just stop it already!!" at whatever he was doing. When kids would run around screaming their heads off and I saw their mother sitting on the couch just staring straight ahead and sipping her coffee, I thought to myself, "what is wrong with her? can't she control her kids?"

Now I know better. Now I understand that sometimes, coffee is a NEED and not a want. Now I know that a house full of toys is a blessing when you have to make dinner or brush the cat or vacuum the stairs. Now I know that when you tell a child to stop something fifty billion times that you are going to snap on that fifty-billion-and-first time and that maybe that tone in your voice when you do snap might actually get the kid to stop.

Now I know that the rarer day is the one where I am able to get dressed and put on makeup.

I know all of these things now because I am a mom. And I don't judge other moms for any of these things either. Because I know what life is like on this side of the coin.

So why do we as moms feel that it's okay to judge other moms for what they feed their children?

Is formula feeding the choice that you would make as an individual who nurses? No. Probably not. But does that mean that you get to hurl insults and disdain towards the women who are in that situation?

No. Definitely not.

Also, realize this: maybe those women didn't make that CHOICE either - maybe, as in the case of my friend, it got made for them and they wish that something different had happened too.

There are dozens of maybes, dozens of real life situations that could step in and prevent someone from being able to nurse! Dozens of things that we don't think of when we stand by and gasp in horror at the sight of a can of formula. Here are a few:

Maybe they have breastcancer, maybe they have breast disease, maybe they are on medication that keeps them alive and well and therefore they cannot nurse their babies. Maybe they SMOKE - ever thought of that one? I'd rather a baby eat formula than nurse from a smoking momma's tap.

There are just so many maybes out there and SO MANY of them are valid that it's just not worth the time and effort it takes to bury these poor women who ultimately just want to be the best mothers they can to their children.

'Cause at the end of the day - THAT is the thing we all have in common. No matter what we feed them, we all just want our kids to be fed. No matter what we're wearing, what we're saying, what we're doing, we all just want our kids to be loved and healthy. We all just want to be good mommies. And THAT is the most important thing of all.

Let's stand together and promote good motherhood. Let's unite with each other as women who want to take care of our children. Let's support education and abolish sexism and all of the other obstacles that stand in the way of females everywhere but let's not contribute to the plight against one another. Let's not hurt one another or hurl insults at each other. We as women who are doing the best we can deserve to be raised up and encouraged, not trampled down for the choices that we have made or that have been made for us.

Work together to support loving, caring motherhood. Because being a good and loving and kind mother is FAR more important than what gets put into their sippy cup. It really is. I swear.

I love him

that is all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

photoshoot: Anniversary!

Not long ago, I got to do a photoshoot for Tannis and Ted for their Five Year Anniversary!

We went to this awesome park with a huge castle for the kids to play in and climb around on. Of course the three of us had an awesome time investigating the castle too LOL!

Tannis and especially Ted were great sports about this all! Check out some of their photos here:

 aren't they the cutest??

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Photos: a family affair

earlier in the summer i had the opportunity to shoot an adorable family at their home!

I'm running a special on family shoots so check out my facebook page and LIKE it in order to find out how you can get a family shoot too :) If you book before the end of July you will get the awesome special and I'll throw in some prints as well!

(here's the link to my facebook page for those of you who are link-phobic:

here are just a few shots from our time together:

<3 <3 <3