July 1, 2015

Camping With The Dews

One of the things Jimmy has wanted to do for, I don't know, ever (?) has been to camping.  I always have an excuse- I'm pregnant and we have a baby were the two solid excuses I could use to weasel my way out of it.  I knew this year I wasn't going to have that option and, call me crazy, but I thought it actually might be fun!  So I added 'camping' to my 32 while 32 list and my goal was to at least go once.
I am happy to report that we have gone twice this summer so far and have at least one more camping trip in the books next weekend.  To say I enjoy camping would be an understatement.  I love it!  It's like we get to go on a mini vacation every couple of weeks or so.  And my kids, oh they love it even more. Kendall has her own little bunk on the opposite side of the camper and she tells everyone she meets about how she sleeps on the top bunk and doesn't even fall off {even though she did once}.  She loves running around and catching fireflies, making s'mores and taking Casey on walks.  She is literally a dream child.  James is in his element, camping.  He is 100% boy to the core.  He loves to get dirty and camping can get a little dirty.
Since we've only been at this a couple of weeks we've got a lot to learn but we've also learned a little more each time we've gone.  As you can see, we're not exactly "roughing it" with the camper.  We have a full kitchen and bathroom, TV with DVD player, heck there's even a Keurig on there so we're basically glamping.  It's really the only way to go, if you can.  This past weekend it rained a ton while we were camping and I was so thankful to have all the extra amenities to keep us sane since we couldn't exactly be outside in thunder and lightening.
One tip we were given when we first started out on this adventure was to stock our camper.  Loading it with our essential items {toothpaste, toothbrush, coffee, first aid kit, deodorant, nail clippers, dishes, griddle, sunscreen, etc} so we weren't packing and loading that every time was the best advice we ever got.  It's nice having everything on there, ready to go, and also leaves less of a headache when packing.  I'm still learning how to pack for camping and my husband will be the first to tell you I've forgotten plenty.
My best advice for camping is to keep it simple.  Don't over-pack because chances are you are not going to wear even half of the stuff you bring.  I don't even pack my make-up except for some tinted, SPF moisturizer.  For food we always do hamburgers, hot dogs, mac & cheese, potato salad, fruit, bacon & eggs, and, of course, s'mores fixings. I always take easy snacks- trail mix, nuts, chips, Luna bars, dried fruit, yogurt.  I don't bring a ton of toys either.  We bring a bunch of books, some trucks for James, a soccer ball, plastic baseball bat and ball, Frisbee, bubbles and sidewalk chalk.  And we try to keep things as "normal" as possible for the kids.  For James I take his sound machine and lavender essential oil for bed time.  Kendall has her blankie and that's really all she needs. See what I mean?  She's a dream child.  And we are definitely more easy going when it comes to scheduling and so far it hasn't come back to bite us in the butt {yet}, fingers crossed.
So far we've stayed pretty close to home.  Last weekend we went to Lake  Cumberland in KY which was about 6ish hours away and that was tough for James.  He doesn't care about  TV so turning on a DVD in the car didn't really help him.  He is just full of energy so he wants "uppy" the whole time.  I know this will get better as he gets older and maybe then we can take the camping trips to some real destination spots.  Any suggestions?
I think one of the things I love most about camping is that it forces us to relax. It's such a simple, low key type of thing and you can make it whatever you want it to be.  If you want to be adventurous and go on nature walks and explore you can but if you just want to chill out and relax you can do that too.  Simple, simple living is what it's all about.  We love it.

June 15, 2015

11 Things

It's been a while since I've done an "about me" post.  I always like finding out little tidbits about others so I thought I'd share a few things that make me, me!

1.  I am practically deaf in my right ear.  If you are around me you may or may not notice I have hearing loss.  If it's a normal day we're golden.  I won't say, "huh?" or completely ignore you {because I don't hear you} or turn the TV volume to 40.  But on a bad day, like today, Jimmy will have a complete conversation with me and I'll never know.  I had a series of ear infections as a kid, tubes, more ear infections and finally a referral to an ENT revealed that I had something called cholesteatoma {a destructive skin growth that erodes the ear drum}.  I had surgery to remove it but the hearing loss is permanent.  It doesn't bother me on a day to day basis so I've never bothered getting a hearing aid even though I qualify for one.  It's actually kinda nice for sleeping though, I can't lie.

2.  I'm an only child.  Growing up I never really cared.  I never cried because I wanted a sibling.  I never begged my parents to have more children. However, as an adult, it kind of bums me out.  Watching my kids' bond and seeing their relationship bloom makes me feel like I missed out on something really special {sorry mom}.  Jimmy is one of four though so when we got married I got three brothers and {so far} two great sisters {in law} and that makes me happy.


3.  My best friend and I have been friends for 27 years.  We met when we were in kindergarten but didn't know it.  We would have to go into each other's classroom to watch TV and we'd always wave to each other.  That's how our friendship began, a simple wave.  Then, I think, it wasn't until 1st grade that we actually started talking and doing things that friends do.  We've gone through periods where we didn't talk as much and weren't AS close but we've always remained friends.  As of right now we're close as ever and our kids love playing together which is really cool to watch.  She's the closest thing to a sister that I've ever had.

4.  I love 90s music.  All of it.  The boy band stuff.  Pop girl groups.  The cheesy love songs.  The rap.  The "alternative".  Songs/bands/artists I didn't even like in the 90s I love now.  Basically if it was on MTV in the 90s, I loved it.  TRL anyone?  Whenever we are driving and can't agree on a station to listen to- Bring Back The 90s. Every time. Jimmy's even into it too.  Actually, come to think of it, I love all things 90s.

5.  My favorite food is pizza.  The thing about pizza is 1. I eat more than anyone I know, including men.  2.  I could eat it morning, noon and night every day for the rest of my life.  3.  I've never met a pizza I didn't like.  Sure I've had not AS good pizza but generally speaking, I'll pretty much eat any kind/brand.  If they could come up with some sort of all pizza diet where you could lose weight while pizza eating your face of I'd do it.

6.  I'm terrible at surprises. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE surprises a lot, but I usually figure them out before they happen and ruin them for myself.  Hashtag- nosy.  I'm also bad at surprising.  I can't hang on to any gift for very long before I'm just bursting at the seams to give it.  For example, Jimmy already has his Father's Day gift and has had it for over a week now because it came in the mail and I was too excited.  The good news is he's the same way so I don't feel as guilty.

7.  I have a business degree {and have no idea why}.  I think it's absurd to make 18-year-olds pick a major and decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives.  I mean, sure, some might have an idea but I sure as hell didn't.  I chose a business major because of an article I read in Glamour magazine when I was seventeen, because that makes sense.  I have yet to "use" my degree and if I could do it all over again I would definitely choose something that makes more sense.  Like teaching.  But honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I don't even know that I would go to college...

8. I prefer early mornings to late nights.  A lot of parents stay up late to get their quiet time in but I prefer the mornings.  I've always been a "morning person".  Throughout my school years when my mom would wake me up I just got up.  There was no, "Just 5 more minutes mom" or snooze button.  Now that I'm a mom I like the morning, when it's still dark out, Jimmy has gone to work, and my kids are still blissfully sleeping.  That is my "me time".  With a big ole cup of coffee, of course.

9.  You will never hear me complain that, "it's too hot".  I love summer. I love the heat.  I love swimming.  I love wearing dresses.  I love sunshine.  I could do without the humidity but even with it I love summer.  I haven't been clinically diagnosed or anything but I'm fairly certain I have SADD.  Winter makes me a whole different person.  Grumpy, sad, bored, unhappy, blah.  Summer makes me feel alive.  But I do like fall too, who doesn't?  If I could live in a world that consisted of two seasons, summer and fall, that would be ideal.

10.  I'm very "plain" when it comes to making decisions.  I will always choose pepperoni pizza vs one with all the works.  I always order the regular cheeseburger vs one with bacon and mushrooms.  I always pick simple/classic jewelry over statement pieces.  My home decor is very neutral even though I love homes that have lots of color.  I think I'm afraid to commit to the more "fun" options because "what if?!" so I always take the safe route.

11.  I am a nutcase/OCD/anal/uptight about a lot of normal every day things but I can handle super stressful situations like a champ.  Mess up my house that I just cleaned?  I'll pout.  Change plans on me?  Makes me uncomfortable.  But get admitted to the hospital and I'm your girl. I don't know what it is but I remain cool, calm and collected in those difficult situations.  Like when they told me I'd need a c-section for Kendall?  OK.  Let's go!  James broke his leg?  We can handle that.  Whatever.  I'm weird.

May 19, 2015

What Happens When You Take A Blogging Break

As some of you may have noticed, it's been a little quiet around these parts lately.  It seems as though blogging in general is a thing of the past for most bloggers.  Many of my favorite bloggers are either not blogging anymore or are sporadically posting, like me.  Gone are the days of making sure you have a post written the night before and it's scheduled to post right at 8 am.  And that's OK.

Over the last year I've learned a few things, about blogging but mostly about myself.  I don't need to share every last detail of my life.

Blogging was an outlet for me.  It was a place I liked to come and share things I loved and tidbits of my life and I enjoyed doing so.  I liked sharing my latest outfits of the day.  I loved when you guys laughed at my celebrity gossip posts.  I was so proud each week when more and more people linked up with my SO WHAT! Wednesday posts.

I also found a lot of new friends through blogging.  I connected with people who I wouldn't have otherwise known.  I loved scrolling through my reader each day- reading AND commenting on every post I read.  I didn't do those things to make my online presence known, I did them because I was genuinely interested in that bloggers life.

And then life gets in the way.

I've watched others get engaged, plan a wedding, get married, welcome their first, second and, in some cases, third babies!  It's been amazing following people through this journey and I hope others have enjoyed watching me do the same.

Through those years has come a lot of growth with my blog following but even more so within myself.

At one point I was comfortable sharing every detail of my life down to our form of contraception in before we started trying for James.  I don't know about you, but no one needs to know that part of my life, or anyone else's for that matter. I shared because I wanted to be real and honest.  I prided myself on that.  I wanted to be so authentic that I put myself out there in hopes of being completely transparent and relateable.

Once James was born life got a little bit messier.  My time to blog became more and more difficult to squeeze in.  Even days when I wanted to write I couldn't because something else was more important in that moment.  So I'd type little notes in my phone because I knew my mom brain wouldn't remember them otherwise.  Having James sort of forced me to take a step back and I'm glad it did.

Not having the time to blog made me realize that I was over-sharing.  That I didn't need to spew out every last detail of our lives.  I learned that just because I wasn't publishing a post every week day didn't mean I wasn't being honest.  It didn't mean people couldn't relate to me.  If anything they could relate more because they were probably experiencing the same struggles.

I also have to think about my kids when it comes to this little space of mine.  I know that one day they will be older and their friends parents might find this blog.  I want it to be something I'm proud and not something I'm embarrassed by.  My earlier posts are cringe-worthy but I will never delete them because it shows my growth over the years.

I guess it's all about balance.  That's what I keep hearing anyway.  There aren't enough hours in the day, there never will be, so we have to make the most of the hours we do have.  I miss blogging, I miss reading blogs, but I know that life happens and just because we aren't blogging as much anymore doesn't mean anything other than that.  I do want to get back to writing a little more often though.  I want to write about my kids a little more so that I can share with them when they are older.
I've never been good at prioritizing but I think this little blogging break, if you can call it that, has forced me to reevaluate my priorities. And now 1/2 of my crew is up so it's time to go do my mom stuff.

xo.

May 14, 2015

"Company Ready"


Do you have a "company ready" house?  You know the kind that looks "lived in" but not really.  The one where you dust, vacuum, pick up all the toys, make the beds, wipe down the table and make sure there are no dishes in the sink.  Company ready.

I do and it's exhausting.

Whenever someone texts and wants to have a play-date I secretly hope that they offer to host or want to meet at a park, the zoo, rec center, anywhere but my house.  Please don't come to my house.

Even though it would be easier to do it at my house, no driving required, I can lay James down for a nap when he's ready, it's baby-proof, it's free.  I always prefer to go somewhere else and, usually, so do my kids.

It's not that I'm ashamed of our house.  I'm not embarrassed.  Our house is never "dirty", by any means.  There might be finger prints on every surface and I couldn't tell you the last time I wiped down our baseboards or walls but, for the most part, our house is tidy.  I actually quite like our house.  It's an older home so it has character.  The layout works great for having company.  Our yard is bigger than any of our friends, perfect for playing.

So why wouldn't I want to show it off to our friends?  Because I hate the hustle and bustle of picking up everything, making sure there are no dishes in the sink, vacuuming up the dust bunnies, and making our house look lived in but not messy.

It's exhausting, keeping up with Pinterest.

Yep, that's right, I blame Pinterest for this manic state of keeping a company ready house.  Was this even a thing when our parents were young, stay-at-home-parents?  Doubtful.

We browse Pinterest for recipes, outfit ideas, tips on how to handle The Terrible Twos, and you can't miss the gorgeous, beautifully-staged, clean, crisp home interiors that are more than company ready.  Somehow Pinterest has set the standard for how to live in your house and what it should look like.  I blame Pinterest because I have never walked into any of my friends homes to see what I see there.  When I go to other's houses I see the same thing I see at my house.  Toys, shoes, stacks of mail, sippy cups everywhere and even a dust bunny or two.

So why stress out?  God forbid people actually know that we use our house for what it was intended?  We live here.  Two little kids run around here.  Two dogs lounge around lazily all day {I wish!}. Four people eat, sleep and play here.  And that, to me, is way more important than fresh vacuum lines on the carpets.

So, be warned, if you come to my house you may see home that is actually lived in.  I can't promise you won't step on a toy  and there might be a sippy cup hidden in the couch cushion but I can promise we have fun here.  Oh and I'll always clean the toilets before you arrive.

May 13, 2015

SO WHAT! Wednesday

This week I'm saying SO WHAT if...

  • I have a major slight fan girl crush on Nick Jonas.  I never got his appeal until we watched the entire first season of Kingdom over two days.  And now every time I hear his songs on the radio? SWOON!
  • I started the 300/30 day ab challenge again this week.  Today was day 3 and I'm not nearly as sore as I was last time I did this.  Does that mean my core strength is stronger now?
  • I kinda sorta want to learn how to mow the grass.  My dad was way too anal about his yard to ever teach me but now Jimmy looks so blissful out there I kinda want to see what it's all about.
  • Just kidding I just want an excuse to be away from the kids for an hour and work on my tan.
  • This past weekend I treated myself to a pedicure for Mother's Day.   
  • It has been almost two years since my last pedicure.
  • I don't get the #lilyfortarget obsession.  There, I said it.
  • I think the new season of RHNYC needs to be renamed Cougar Town.  Sonja and Carole need to simmer down now.  I actually cringed watching last weeks episode.
  • I am fully prepared to ugly cry at Kendall's pre-k graduation next week.  Her teacher sent home the song they're supposed to practice and just reading the lyrics makes me tear up.
  • I'm thinking of dying my hair pink.  It's a subtle pink but still...
  • James getting his cast off was the highlight of my day/week/month/year.  Three weeks doesn't seem like a long time but it is when you are carrying around 35lbs.
  • It took nearly 5 years but I've finally found a babysitter that's not a family member.
What are you saying SO WHAT to this week?

April 24, 2015

Girl Mom vs Boy Mom

Lately I've noticed this weird "trend" that puts yet another label on parents.  Because, you know, we need that these days.

It's shown up in numerous ways on my FB feed in the form of sponsored posts, advertisements, and blog posts. It's not something I ever even thought was a "thing" until recently when, within 24 hours of each other, friends of mine posted similar articles in support of the exact opposite "argument" {for lack of a better word}.

Why am I using all of these "quotations"?  Because I can't believe I'm even talking about such a thing, to be honest with you.

I'm talking about boy moms vs girl moms.

This week I've read articles titled "To the Mother of All Boys" and "The Great List of Things I Can't Do Because I Only Have Daughters".  The second one was actually humorous because it proves the exact same point I'm trying to make.

WHY?

Why have we given ourselves yet another label of being a certain gendered mom?  As if being a stay-at-home, breastfeeding, disposable diaper using, homemade baby food making, co-sleeper, baby-wearing, organic, home-schooled, helicopter parent wasn't enough?  Now we have to go throwing the gender of our kids in there too?

WHY?

Because if you are a mom to all boys you certainly have it harder than a mom to all girls?  Or because you're a mom to all girls you're going to have all that extra expense when it comes to parties, graduations, weddings and whatnots?  And because of any/all of these things you feel as if the other party should show you more respect?

What about just calling ourselves MOMS.

Hey, that's a novel idea.

Last time I checked we were all in this messy, crazy, oh so rewarding roller coaster we call parenting together.  We all wipe poopie butts.  We all stay up with sick babies.  We all kiss boo-boos better.  We all get interrupted when we pee.  We all wish we had more time in the day.  We all make the best decisions we can for our kids and our families.  And damnit we are all doing the best we can.

Maybe it's because I'm a boy/girl mom and I don't fit into either category and so I'm feeling left out.  Yeah, maybe that's it.  But by golly I don't need another label plastered on me and I don't want one.  Since I feel like I've experienced both and I can tell you that my kids are the complete opposite of each other I get that there are differences between boys and girls.  That is obvious.  What I don't get is why it matters.

I don't think of my girlfriend who has three little girls and thing anything differently than my girlfriend who is the mom to three little boys.  To me they are each moms to three kids.  Period.  Sure the one has a little more pink toys and the other deals with a little more dirt but each one has the same struggles as the other.  They are both trying to raise three crazy kids in this messy world we live in.

That is it.

We are all moms.  Let's just start saying that for a change.  No extra labels required.


April 22, 2015

It's Been A Doozy

To say the past 5 days have been hard would be the understatement of the century.

Let's rewind to Friday, early morning. I woke up around 3:45 to the most excruciating ear pain.  It literally felt like someone was stabbing me in the ear with a pencil.  I'm kind of an ear-pain pro though.  I have had ear issues my whole life, decent amount of hearing loss in my right ear, surgeries when I was 14, tubes, tonsils, you name it.  I go to an ENT every 6 months and have a hearing test done once a year.  So at 3:45 I got up, took some Motrin, put some drops and a warm compress on my ear and waited for the ENT to open at 8.  To make a long story short, I have an ear infection.

Friday night we headed over to my in-laws for our weekly bible study.  We had been going back and forth on the day/time and decided on Friday evening.  Just as we were getting situated me, my sister-in-law, KP and James were on the trampoline.  No big deal.  No one was jumping high or hard.  It was just innocent crawling around with two adults supervising.  Until James started screaming.  Neither one of us saw anything happen to him so we didn't think much of it.  I scooped him up and tried to settle him down with some mommy snuggles and when that didn't work I offered him a bottle thinking that would certainly calm him.

Nothing helped until he finally fell asleep in my arms to the sound of ROCKABYE BABY! on Spotify.  While he was asleep we started bending/moving his legs as he wasn't putting any weight on them while he was awake.  Right leg- we could bend the knee and ankle, rotate the hip and he didn't make a peep, slept right through it.  Left let- cried in his sleep when we touched his knee and shin.

So we called the on-call pediatrician, they said to take him in.  This was at 9:10.  We called the Children's Close to Home Center and they said if we brought him in by 10 they had the ability to x-ray and cast, if need be.  So we loaded up faster than we've ever done and took him in.

At this point I had no reason to believe his leg was actually broken.  I mean I was standing RIGHT THERE when "it" happened and I didn't see anything happen that would warrant a broken leg.  I thought IF anything maybe the trampoline was coming up while he was coming down and MAYBE he stunned {??} his legs?  But definitely didn't think it was broken.

Naturally when we told the doctors "he was on a trampoline" we got the evil eye.  Look, I didn't know that this was a thing. Toddlers and trampolines.  I didn't know that this was something people feared.  I didn't know that so many kids who come into the ER/urgent care with broken limbs come from trampolines. I thought, "oh this is a fun, innocent way to kill time till we're ready to do bible study".  It's something we've done numerous times before without any injury except maybe a hurt ego when you can't quite get that trick down.

So, anyway, he had x-rays done and sure enough...broken leg.  Well..a "toddler fracture" is what they really called it.  As if that makes it better.  My baby is in a cast.  I always knew he'd be the first one to send us to the ER and the first one with a broken limb but I didn't not expect it to happen before he turned two, for crying out loud.

Minus the judgement the staff was amazing at the children's urgent care.  We arrived at 9:45, fifteen minutes before closing, and we were checked in, x-ray'd, casted and out the door within an hour.  I was shocked and very happy.  You hear such horror stories of the ER making you wait forever and being full of screaming kids.  Our experience could not have been more opposite.  So, for that, I am
thankful.

Sleep Friday night was spotty.  I would say it resembled newborn days only it was worse.  I think he woke up between 4-6 times and broke my heart every time. I could tell when the Tylenol wore off, that's for sure.  Saturday was spent navigating our new "normal"- at least for the next 3-4 weeks.  I am very thankful for my mother-in-law who came over to help in any way she could.  Because of her I was able to take a shower and put some make up on.  She helped me when my arms got tired from carrying James.  She took us to get ice cream when we got stir crazy.  She ran some errands for Jimmy. And she played with Kendall while I rocked James to sleep.  Without her we wouldn't be able to adjust as easily.

Sunday I woke up feeling like someone had taken a golf club to the bone that runs across my eyebrows.  My nose was full of thick, yellow snot.  My whole face hurt.  I was dizzy when I'd simply move my head.  Bending forward even an inch felt like all the blood in my whole body had rushed to my head and my head was going to explode.  So picking up James was 542,579,317 times harder.

I did what any normal person would do and Googled all of my symptoms and determined that I had a sinus infection.  The first one of my life.  Listen to me when I tell you this- THE WORST PAIN OF MY LIFE.  I've had tubes put in my ears, I've had surgery on my ears twice, I've had my wisdom teeth taken out and two c-section babies this sinus infection was worse than all of them.  Perfect timing.

Thankfully my parents were here to help Jimmy with the kids so I looked up our closest Minute Clinic. It was 20 minutes away, they closed in an hour but you had to be there 15 minutes prior to closing.  I was cutting it close.  As dizzy and light-headed as I felt I probably shouldn't have driven myself but I booked it over to that CVS and made it with 10 minutes to spare.

My experience here was nothing to give a five-star rating but I was in and out {with a prescription} in 30 minutes.  And you better believe I took that ish right away.

Sunday night was quite possibly the worst of my life.  I went to bed with the house a disaster, I never do that.  I felt absolutely terrible, James wouldn't go to sleep, my blood pressure was high, I was so cold yet I was sweating so much I had to change my clothes {gross}, Kendall wanted me to teach her how to read and I literally thought, "this is it, this is how I'm going out".  There were lots of tears, lots, and lots of praying and begging God to "HELP ME!".

I don't know if it was the meds or God but Monday I woke up feeling MUCH better and then Tuesday I felt even better.  Thank God because the "doctor" at CVS told me it was going to take 3 days to start seeing relief.  James started to "get used" to his cast.  He's becoming a little more independent and trying to figure out how to crawl and scoot. I'm really glad I've kept a lot of baby/floor toys because we're pulling them all out again.

It's really been a rough five days.  Probably some of the hardest of my life.  It's funny {not really} because it's almost like having a newborn/infant again.  I'm trying to coax James to crawl and watch him figure out how to stand while holding onto something.  He's back in the highchair for mealtimes.  But yet he's 35lbs and very opinionated.

I wish I could say I've taken this "adjustment" well but with being so sick I have definitely had my fair share of mommy meltdowns.  Now that I'm on the mend I feel like I can handle this temporary situation with more patience.  It's very hard to see your toddler, who has just gained some independence, become completely dependent all over again.  It is heart-breaking, actually.

Kendall has been the sweetest little angel.  Friday night she sang to him the whole way home and said
things like, "it's ok buddy, just don't move your leg, OK?'.  She knew he broke his leg but when I told her that meant his bone in his leg was actually broken...her face was priceless. It was like she was feeling for him how awful that must be.  I don't know how I got so lucky with that little girl but she sure is the best and has been making this a lot easier.

So, whew, it's been a whirlwind.  I know that God doesn't give us more than we can handle but I definitely felt like we were being tested this weekend.  But I also know that when I cried out to Him, Sunday night, and turned this over to Him, I felt instant relief.  In that moment, my tears stopped and a sense of calm came over me.  I squeezed James and told him I was sorry and from that moment on things seemed to get "better".

If you want to keep up with #jamescastadventure on IG I'll be updating as we navigate this very unfamiliar territory {I've never even broken a bone myself!}.  If you think about it, we would appreciate any extra prayers our way.
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