Farewell 2011

And thank you for your many blessings.

I laid in bed this morning thinking about how wonderful this year has been for my little family. Ideas of blog posts and resolutions danced through my mind. But then, we got out of bed to a baby with a double ear infection. Our impromptu trip to the doctor kind of threw off my morning blogging plans for a loop.

So, here we are. Winding down the last few hours of 2011.

While I could dwell on the dark days this year brought {lots of morning sickness, PPD and some crazy outbreak of psoriasis} I'm ready to leave that shiz with 2011.

The things I'll take from this year is my precious baby. My little miracle. I am so thankful for him. I'll take the love for my husband that grew a million times the day we met our little guy. I never knew it was possible for your heart to grow, but I think it's safe to say my heart has grown this year. These two men in my life are enough blessings for a year in themselves.

But? Other things I'll take from this year is our first house. We've still got plenty to do around here, but it's  quickly become our home. And I love it. We love it. You know what else happened this year? I grew into my job. After returning from maternity leave I got my very own office and have taken on some major responsibilities.

I can't leave out the love of our pups. I'm proud how well they've done with Baby J. We have our moments, but for the most part they've welcomed him into our family. A couple months ago our little Millie had a tumor removed and is luckily recovering well. She's a survivor and I'm so thankful to still have her sweet self around.

I can't wrap up this post without a list of resolutions for the new year. So, here goes:

There's the obvious, my 60-pound weight-loss goal. I've got to tell you, reading many of your "I kicked 2011's butt posts" has lit a serious fire under my tush to get going!

I need to work on my patience. This will no doubt improve my marriage and make me a better mommy to J.

Most of all, this year, I'm going to become a healthier, happier me. Some might say more like an old me. But I like to think of it as a brand new me. And when this time next year rolls around I'll be posting my reflections on kicking 2012's butt.

So there ya go. Happy new years dear friends. I am so excited to see what the new year will bring us.

Santa's Stash and Stockings

Over the next few days, I'll be giving you all of the details of Christmas 2011.

As I read all of your posts about packing up Christmas and planning for the new year, I'm sitting here preparing for Round 3 of Christmas. The in-laws will be here around midnight, so buckle up readers, Christmas is not over around here!

Now, let's talk Santa.

I was worried Santa didn't have enough gifts planned for J. But as it turns as, he had the perfect amount of gifts. Not sure why I ever doubted the big guy aka mom aka me.

This year Santa brought J: a walker, 2 v-tech learning toys, 3 Melissa & Doug puzzles, a mini tool set and a rocking car {which is faulty and has to be taken back}.

Interestingly enough, the current favorite are the puzzles. I just knew he'd love chewing on them, and I was right! One day we'll use them for learning, but for now the chewing will suffice.

The stocking was a little tougher though. I mean what do you get a 9-month old for his stocking?! Twitter {once again} came to my rescue with a plethora of ideas. So, thanks to you lovely Twitter frands and Wal-Mart, J's stocking turned out wonderfully!

Here's what J recieved in his stocking: some floaty bath toys, a bath book, a soft book, some bibs, a winter hat and gloves and can't leave out some puffs.

We stuck with basics. Things he'd actually use and need. Rather than wasting money on trivial things.

All I know is that this kid sat in awe of his gifts Christmas morning and it was blissful.

Happy Holidays lovely readers.

Christmas Wreath Tutorial

If you haven't seen this wreath before then I'm not sure who you even are! I kid, I kid. But for real, this little lovely has been all over the interwebs. So, I thought why not give it a shot!

And? Well, to be honest friends, it took me far too long to finish, but I was so pleased when I was finally able to hang it on our front door.

There are two methods for making a Christmas ornament wreath: a foam wreath or a wire wreath. I chose the foam, but if I had to choose again I'd have gone with the wire. Let me make it clear that if you are to follow my foam wreath tutorial you MUST follow step #1, MUST!

What you need:
foam wreath (size is up to you, the bigger the more ornaments you'll need, duh)
Christmas ornaments
glue gun
spray paint

How to:
1. Spray paint your wreath a correlating color to your ornaments. This step is vital! I did not do this and you can now see green foam threw some of the cracks! It's worth the time to do this step!

2. Remove the hanger piece from the end of the ornaments. You'll need anywhere from 80-120 ornaments.

3. Beginning with the biggest ornamnets glue a ring on the inner and outer sides of the wreath.

4. Proceed with smaller ones to fill gaps and so on and so on. This will take time and a lot of patience.

5. Grab your ribbon and lace it around the wreath. You'll want to cut the ribbon an appropriate length for your door. Make a bow, hang it on your door and show it off!

I may have had some help from the Hubs on this project. Luckily, I married a man who likes to craft {possibly even more than me}. The moral to this story, if I can do this so can you!

So before you go packing up all of Christmas, why not get your wreath ready for next year while all the ornaments are 70% off! Happy wreath-making lovely readers!

Crockpot Broccoli Cheese Soup

There are several things I look for in a recipe: the number of ingredients, difficulty level and whether or not the Hubs would like it. Let's get real, if it's got a million crazy ingredients you've added more time to your day and more money to your shopping cart. And if the husband doesn't approve? Well then you've just wasted your time.

My current go-to meals? Crockpot recipes. It leaves fewer dishes and gives me more time to focus on J at night. When I pinned this broccoli cheese soup recipe, I knew the hubs would love it. In the end, the soup was a perfect consistency and the flavor was wonderful. Not too much cheese, not too much broccoli.

You better believe I'll be making this for the in-laws this weekend! So, without further adieu I give you the yummiest broccoli cheese soup. 

Crockpot Broccoli Cheese Soup 
recipe adapted from My Kitchen Apron
  • 2 (10 oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 lb. Velveeta, cubed
  • 2 (12 oz.) bags frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 quart half and half
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • shredded cheddar cheese and croutons for topping (optional, but I think its necessary!)
  1. Pulse carrot in food processor.
  2. Add all ingredients to crock pot and mix.
  3. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  4. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and croutons.

    *linking up with the Sasse Life and Southern Lovely*

Let's Play Christmas Catch-Up

Did you notice my disappearing act the past few days? No? Hmm, all I know is that I my Google Reader is insane and I haven't seen Twitter or Facebook in almost 72 hours. If I had my guesses most of you have probably been in the midst of a similar disappearing trick.

But, I've missed you.

So let's just do a quick recap of our first Christmas highlights.

For starters Christmas Eve was pretty craptastic. If you live with me on Twitter, you know I had a stomach virus, a nasty cough and a party to host on Thursday night...along with preparing for our first Christmas. This all lead to a sick mommy and tired baby on Christmas Eve.

I will give Friday afternoon a little credit though. My family {parents and brothers} got together to do our presents. It was nice having all of us together, it'd been a long time. Plus my brothers gifts for me, B and J were so sweet. However, the annual party at my aunt's house that night was mainly spent with a screaming baby and us trying to get our the door as quickly as humanly possible.

When we made it home, neither the hubs or I were in the best of spirits. But I knew it was time to put on my Santa pants and get things done.

The good news? We must've done something right because Christmas day was pretty spectacular.

Christmas morning J treated us to some extra sleep. Watch out people, we slept until 7:30.

Then it was present time! I couldn't wait to see how this would go. He was intrigued by the presents, but got overwhelmed quickly. Which is ok, he has plenty of time to warm up to them. What's crazy is that I held back big time on our Santa stash. I was even worried we didn't get him enough. And now, I'm glad there wasn't more! HA!

Besides refusing to nap while at my Grandmother's house, Christmas went rather well. Most likely there will be an emotional post about how quickly it went and how my baby is getting too big. But there's no time for that nonsense now.

On Thursday, we start Christmas all over again. My MIL, step- FIL and SIL will be in town. Currently, I'm very excited. I can't wait to see what the got for J, it's always so nice to see my SIL, and my MIL has never seen our house!

That's all I've got for now.  Here's just one photo of my sweet man from Christmas Eve. Love him.

Hope each one of you had a beautiful Holiday with family and friends.

Expect major photo dumps this week once I can get all of my memory cards together. {yes for real, that would be multiple memory cards}

Traditions of Christmas Present

Did you miss me yesterday? I missed you, but the day got away from me! This season sure does keep you busy! In the next few days I feel like there are a million things on my "to-do" list.

Enough about that though, let's talk traditions with Becky and Aly, shall we?

Last week, I shared a little insight into what we know as Christmas traditions. But let's get real after getting married and having a baby, traditions are bound to evolve. In fact, I've been told Christmas is 100 times more fun with a munchkin {except for the fact that your tree must be half naked}. But everything else? More fun!

So our plans will be a little altered this year...

Christmas Eve: Early afternoon, we'll pack up and head to my Mom's house. Where we'll do Christmas with my brothers and parents. Normally this happened on Christmas morning, but not now that I have my own family.

Once presents have been opened and all the sharing has been done, we'll go over to my Aunt's house. You know, the Christmas party where the alcohol is always flowing. Remember me telling you about that?

It is shaping up to be a superb party this year. Want to know why? There will be boyfriends and girlfriends galore. Which leads to the inevitable, "When are you getting a ring?!" question. And I cannot wait to hear some answers! Plus, cute Baby J will have on an adorable new, festive outfit.

I'm sure we'll have to duck out early due to our little time bomb baby. But that's ok. When we get home that night, new traditions begin!

First up, Christmas jammies. I kind of love the idea of getting new Christmas pjs every year. I mean, can you imagine the cute photo timeline you could make one day?! Plus it's another present for the little ones to unwrap! Because they need another one ::insert sarcasm::

Since J isn't old enough yet, I'll be baking cookies for Santa without him. Hopefully, in years to come he'll help me. Then they'll be left next to the fireplace on our adorable new plate and mug set. However, I'm sure they'll only last there long enough to snap a few photos before someone {ahem, husband} insists we eat them.

Then, the fun part...our first year being Santa! I am so excited to  set up all of J's present. Once again, he will never remember this, but it's never too early to start a tradition. Me and the hubs will set up his Santa stash next to the tree.

Christmas morning, we'll wake up to see what Santa left and open presents as a family, just the three of us. This is what I'm looking forward to most about Christmas this year. Our first Christmas.

After all that madness, we'll pack up our things and head to my Grandmother's. From there on out, it's pretty much the norm. Presents, lunch and naps. Then repeat.

That's it folks, nothing extravagant. But certainly a day filled with family and friends.

p.s. sorry for the lack of photos, but I promise I've got a good one headed your way tomorrow!

Meeting with Mr. Claus

I've been debating for weeks which Santa I should take Baby J to meet. You see, growing up we went to this tiny strip mall and that Santa? He was the real one. You could ask anyone in town which Santa was best and he was always the one they mentioned.

Sadly, this mall has closed down and Santa didn't give me his forwarding mall address. Silly Santa.

So, I was left with three Santa options. Mall #1, Mall #2 and Mall #3. On Saturday, Brittan forewarned me about Mall Santa #2 and that he may be just a little creepy. Considering that's the super busy mall, it was immediately removed from the list.

When I realized we were going to have a fussy, I'm tired but don't want to nap, type of weekend, I figured Mall #3 was our winner. It is only a few minutes from our house and it was free. Free! In Nashville, they wanted upwards of $25 to get your photo with Santa. This mall was BYOC {bring your own camera}.

Santa arrived at 1 p.m. We arrived at 20 til and there was a tiny line. So we joined the group. The line wasn't awful and I knew we'd get through this quickly.

However, not quickly enough for the Hubs to point out that dragging him along was a form of pure hell and torture. You're welcome, husband!

The first girl in Santa's lap started bawling. You know, the ugly cry. Crap, that's not a good way to start. The girl in front of us who witnessed said ugly cry then looked at her mom and said, "I'm going to cry to just like her." I started to laugh and begin to get nervous that girl #1 had started an awful trend.

But alas, this is what happened when J met Santa...

No smile, no crying. Just his poker face. He makes this face often, normally when he's thinking "woman what have you gotten me into now?!"

Either way, he looks adorable, right? You'd never know he'd thrown up three times on that darling outfit before we finally made it to Santa's lap. THREE times.

Although the husband {semi-jokingly} thought it was torture to bring him along, I'm glad I did. This was the first day all season we've spent together {just the three of us}. It was a great day as a family and a memory I'll love forever.

Fun With Our Phones Monday

Christmas is just around the corner and I am beyond excited!

With all the hustle and bustle of the season, I'm sure you've all been out doing festive things. So, don't be shy, post your phone photos, grab our button, and link-up with me and Savannah!

Last week was unseasonabley warm around here. Like over 70 degrees. I kid you not. Anyone else wondering what happened to winter? Well, someone must have given mother nature a call because "icy" temperatures returned this morning.

Although the warm weather makes it tough to find Christmas spirit, it's been perfect for having J tag along on my walks. Basically, he is the coolest kid in a stroller.

I swear, everytime he gets in this thing, he swings his arm over the edge as if he's the coolest almost-9-month-old you've ever seen. He's going to be a heart breaker one day.

Speaking of heart breaking my not-so-little baby is into everything. While that means Christmas will be exciting, it also means this momma has been trying to keep those grubby hands off anything within eyesight.

Exhibit A:

That poor elephant became a dog toy {not on purpose} and therefore was the only thing J even remotely wanted to play with. Of course. Such is life, right?

Well, I'm off to do some actual work at work. Hope you all have a lovely Monday!

True Life: I'm a Drama Queen

Always have been, always will be.

I feel like my husband gets fed up with my drama at times, but he knew what he was marrying! This drama doesn't even typically involve others. Nope. Really and truly it's the drama in my head that often I create for myself.

Take this morning for example. Remember that morning monster that lives at our house? Well, she roared her ugly head this morning. But I wasn't the only monster at our house this morning. My usually sweet baby decided to have a morning where he HAD to be held. If me or the hubs took a hand off of him screaming and alligator tears ensued.

That type of morning leads to absolutely no good and one pissy mama. I was running around trying to find clothes for me to wear, clothes for J to wear and a backup set of clothes for him to keep at daycare. Oh, did I forget to mention he had some crazy blowout or throwup or something that led him to need to be changed yesterday. And this mom? She had forgotten him a set of backup clothes. So when I picked him up from daycare last night he was sporting a blue and white striped onesie that is probably 20 years old and been worn by who knows how many children. But let's get back to today shall we?

My jeans are too big. Yes, too big. Not because I've lost that much weight but because we had to buy them that way. Yes, I bought them too big. I knew I shouldn't have but I thought I could shrink them. I had no jeans to wear, my others had torn and I needed pants people! {any tips on shrinking jeans is much appreciated} So, my pants are falling off, I feel like my tummy looks fat as hell and I didn't have time to blowdry my hair which always makes me feel frumpy.

On top of all that, today my brother graduates from the University of Georgia. And I'm not there. I know he could care less, but I care. I knew the boss lady wouldn't let me have off since I got the whole week of thanksgiving and she is out due to illness. Which means I have to be here. So, I'm missing his graduation.

He's graduating a semester early, with honors. I'm so proud. My brothers {they're twins} are {oddly enough} role models for me. They are intelligent, hard-working, kind people. Graduating today is Brother #2. A computer science major who has no idea what he wants to do now. Grad school, a year studying in Japan, more job interviews. His possibilities are endless.

All of these emotions had me seriously riled up this morning.

Confession: I'm an emotional eater. So, for the first time in two weeks I had fast-food this morning. I headed for Chik-fil-a and never looked back. Booooo. I will say, up until that moment I've done really well with my diet and working out. More updates on that tomorrow.

So see, I'm a little dramatic. But that's just the way I am. Hope y'all love me in spite of the dramatics.

Can I get an "hallelujah" for it being Friday?!

*update: I also just went to go run an errand only to realize I don't have my drivers license or insurance card. Which means I can't go pick up the Christmas present I needed to get for my husband and can't go to my other doctor's appointment this afternoon. Oh and that I really shouldn't be driving. FML*

The Makings of Christmas Memories

For me, traditions are the most important thing a family has. So, I've been pinning planning so many little things for us to do as a family. But what I'm most excited about is incorporating my family traditions into our family.

Let me begin by saying this: my husband works in retail. Yes. He. Does. And? It's awful. He began his current job 4 years ago. And four years ago I lost him to a store, we'll just refer to as BB. Don't get me wrong this company has been a blessing to our family, but on November 1 I say goodbye to the hubs. I know we won't really see him until the end of January {if we're lucky}. That's just how the retail gig goes. And I've come to terms with it.

This also means that there is no Holiday traveling for this family. Wherever we live is where Christmas is held. In years past, that meant Christmas was in Nashville with B's family. To be honest, every Christmas Eve I'd have a good cry. It never got easier being away from my family on this special holiday. Because my family? We have our set traditions and we love them. And no one has ever been absent for the festivities, ever, except me.

That all changed when we moved back to my hometown last year. Now, we get to partake in the family traditions I hold so close to my heart. Here's a quick rundown:

Christmas Eve: Church followed by shenanigans with my Dad's family. This party is always held at my Aunt's house and the liquor is always flowing. Always.

{warning our Christmas involves alcohol because it's just better that way}

Christmas Day: Brother #1 and myself would wait at the top of the stairs as Brother #2 waited behind the hallway door {his room was downstairs} then we'd rush for the Santa presents. Our piles of presents were placed in the same spot each year.

We'd then head over to my Grandmother's house{my mom's mom}. This is where the real traditions begin. We start with breakfast. Our special Christmas sausage, homemade cinnamon rolls and mimosas. Oh, the mimosas. They go so well with Christmas sausage. You should really try it.

After breakfast it's presents galore, where the youngest, now my 21-year-old brothers pass out presents to everyone. Next year this job can be passed on to J. Then the boys head to nap while the women clean and cook.

Around noon we feast. And, around here we know how to feast. Plus. the food is always insane. My Grandmother is one hell of a cook. Post-lunch calls for food comas more naps. Once we've all managed to regenerate our spirits, it's time for some board games or a movie if the year calls for it.

Eventually we all pack up our presents and head home. No worries though, by 6 p.m. we congregate back at my Grandmother's house for leftovers. You can't just leave her with all those leftovers, right?!

So, there you have it, traditions of Christmases past. 

This year things will be much different though.  Our house {from childhood} is gone, my parents have split {somewhat amicably} and we've welcomed J into our world.

If you join me next Tuesday I'll be sharing all the details of Christmas present and future.

Happy Thursday, y'all!

*linking up with AP today*

Unmentioned {mini} Milestone

A few weeks ago, J was fussy beyond belief. He didn't want his bottle or his puréed food. I tried everything: warm bottle, big bottle, small bottle, sippy cup, sweet potatoes, pears, apples.

Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

For me, this meant he was ready for bigger and yummier things.

You know what I'm talking about. He was ready for puffs.

This, lovely readers, was our first "table food."

And this guy? He loves 'em.

As the weeks have progressed he's become a pro. Rarely will you find puffs hiding under his fingers, caked to his face or creviced between one of those cute chunky thighs. I must say, this little dude has some pretty good coordination.

Here's what I'm wondering though...what was the next introductory "table food" you gave your kiddo?

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A Little Bit of Light

So far this season I feel as if every mom has babbled on about their kiddos being completely entranced with the Christmas lights. But J has refused. For an entire week he barely even acknowledged our tree. Not even a quick glance.

Then all of the sudden I turned around to see this:

A cute little tushy headed straight for the tree.

Love this kid so much my heart might just burst. I cannot wait for our first Christmas!

Oh wait, it's {pretty much} already here.

Fun With Our Phones {week 19}

Like it or not, it's Monday morning. Which means...

It's time to grab our button, post your phone photos and link-up with me and Savannah!

We spent most of this week with the sickies. Lots of coughs and sniffles. Lots. 

But after my mental health day Thursday, I at least felt like half a person by Friday. Which is good because J is quite the handful these days! With his newfound talent of crawling at high speeds and pulling up like a true muscle man, a calm moment is becoming rare. 

I did manage to get the husband home in time for Daddy duty Saturday night so I could go out to the ballet with my mom! I was so excited to find a Groupon for these tickets the other day. She and I went to the show every year when I was a little girl. So, it was nice to restart this tradition.

Your turn. Let's see what you've been up to!

A New Chapter

I've thought about this post for a few weeks now and I believe the time is finally right....

We've talked about my weightloss journey on and off around here, but readers things are getting real. You're probably thinking, yeah yeah she's said this before. But really and truly dear readers. Times are changing around here.

We're closing out this year and beginning a new one in just a few short weeks. Can you believe that?!

This year, has been one of my favorites ever for many reasons {obviously welcoming Baby J into our lives has a lot to do with that}. But this has also been the year I've been most unhappy with my body. Yes, I get it, I was pregnant for a good part of the year. But this postpartum weight is lingering and so is all the weight I needed to lose before having J.

I look back on the last 6 months and regret that I haven't pushed myself to work harder to lose the postpartum weight. But I will no longer be so hard on myself for decisions made or not made in the past.

Starting today, that all changes. I'm tired of disliking the girl in the mirror and only putting forth a half-ass effort of changing the reflection. There is no need to wait for the new year when you can begin now. Right?

One of my favorite bloggers, and greatest sources of inspiration, recently stated that she "kicked 2011 in the proverbial ass butt." And you know what? She really did. I found her blog when she was several months into her personal weight loss adventure. I've followed for just over 6 months now as she's strived, sweated, shared and celebrated reaching her goal. And it's been a beautiful thing. If you don't read Katie's blog, you truly should. Often, I find she's that bit of genuine sunshine I need.

What I've learned from her is that it's never too late to change. Never too late to get out there and go for a walk {or run}. I've learned to find a weight loss plan that suits your life and your needs. Whether it be counting calories, joining weight watchers or simply cutting out carbs. I've learned it's ok to hit a plateau and to venture into hobbies and activities you never imagined yourself doing. She's taught me it's never too late to become a better version of you.

I've also learned that this little world we live in online can be one of the most uplifting, supportive places to begin and end a weight loss journey.

As you know, I attempted to lose 10 pounds before Thanksgiving. It didn't happen, but I worked hard and made healthy choices. This is the type of dedication I need to continue to cultivate in our house. Yes, husband, if you're reading this you're coming along for this journey as well.

I'll be sticking to these guidelines.

Calorie Counting: 1200 calories per day - thanks to My Fitness Pal
Get Active: 4 walks a week
                    Follow the day-by-day guide {you can find all the levels HERE}

This guide I'm referring to, is something I found thanks to Pinterest {of course}. I feel like it will be a good way to jump-start my body without sending it into shock. If this transformation is going to last I need to have real expectations. And let's face it, a body that hasn't had a good workout in 1 year and 4 months will need some transitioning before jumping back into P90X.

My goal?

It's a one-year goal. My magic number: 60 pounds. I'll admit, I'm not ready to share my weight with y'all. At least not yet. But there it is, I'm putting it on the table. 60 pounds.

That's no joke, people.

But, I'm giving myself one year. On December 10, 2012 I'll post before and after photos and be proud of the result no matter what the actual number weight is.

This year-long journey is not just about the weight loss, it's about a self-satisfaction I've been battling with for years. It's not only about what people see of me but what I see of myself. Despite what the scale says, it's about how I feel on the inside. It's about a change in lifestyle. Really, in the long-run, it's all about being the best me I can be for my baby.

This goal is going to be tough, this I know. So, I'm preparing myself mentally for the changes ahead. When I first started this blog, "motivational Monday" was one of my favorite posts. And my friends, I'll be doing that again. Even if it's just an insirational pin from Pinterest clearly I have a pinterest addiction, it's something to put a healthy bounce in your step when you really just want some chocolate.

It's going to be a long year. But I have a feeling it may be even better than this one.

Are you just hearing blah, blah, blah? That's okay. This isn't for you, it's for me. But perhaps, like Katie, along the way I can inspire someone else to choose a better version of themselves the way she's helped me {without even knowing it}.

I hope you stick around as I challenge myself. I will most certainly need/want/appreciate your support.

Y3W: Mental Health Day

When the teacher at daycare asked how I was this morning, I paused, breathed deep and replied, "It's been one of those mornings." I had pulled myself together enough to make it into daycare. But if we're being honest, that was the first full ten minutes I hadn't spent crying all morning.

So, I walked into work checked my emails from the boss man {he's out of town this week} went to my co-worker, closed her door and just started crying. She gave me the biggest hug and some words of wisdom as a mother of four. {Four! I don't know how she did it} Then? She sent me on my way.

That basically sums up the first few hours of my day yesterday and why I've been m.i.a from the blog this week. Really and truly I'm worn out. Physically {all these daycare germs aren't helping} and emotionally. We're only half-way through this holiday season and I'm already worn out.

Lovely readers, I'm happy to report I went home and slept for almost five hours.
I knew that if I was ever going to catch up with life, I needed a mental health day. And that's just what I did. After that amazing slumber of a nap, I watched the end of RHOBH, went looking for J a winter coat {only to find some other seasonal necessities for him at Old Navy} then went back home and sat with my dogs.

It was just what I needed.

To make things even better, the Husband got off work a few hours early which gave us some much needed alone time. You know, without an 8-month-old who is into everything!

I woke up this morning feeling much more prepared to greet the world. It seems what I really needed was sleep. It's insane what a few extra hours will do to boost you back to normalcy.

While we're on the happy path, I've got so many things to share with you all. From Christmas tutorials to decorations, recipes and photos galore, you should be getting excited. This means my DIY page that has been proclaiming "coming soon" should be up and running within the next couple of weeks!

And before I leave you, I just want to thank each and every reader and Twitter follower. Your comments, tweets, DMs and emails mean the world to me. You all are easily a big part of what sees me through each day and I am so thankful to have found this little sphere of the bloggy world.

Christmas List 2011

Today {and every Tuesday this month} I'll be linking up with Becky and Aly to share some seasonal cheer!

As my brother said yesterday, my Christmas list this year is pretty weak.

Really and truly there are so many things I've already recieved this year I'm having a tough time with ideas. But let's get real, every girl always has a few things up her sleeve.

Other than my time-consuming hobby of blogging there is one other fabulous hobby taking over my days.

Can you guess what it is?

I'll give you a hint...

Nope, it's not Baby J. Let's face it, he's not a hobby, he's a full-time job. And he'll be getting planting of presents.

This year lovelies, my Christmas list is all about photography.

This is at the top of my list:

Sony 50 mm f/1.8 lens
Ahhhhh!! I basically hear angels sing when I think about getting this lens! In fact, my amazing FIL has already purchased it and is sending it early so I can use it for Christmas. Win!

What's a girl to do with a brand new lens?

Why take a photography class, duh.

So, I tracked down an amazing photographer in my town who's holding a one-day seminar in January. YAY!

And last but not least {Hubby I hope you're seeing this}

I want a new camera. And yes, I want a Sony, not a Canon or Nikon. I know, you're thinking, "WTH? Every photographer shoots with Canon or Nikon." Well not me. We may or may not get a serious hook-up with Sony through B's job. So, every electronic in our house is Sony. And you know what? I freakin' love them. Currently, I shoot with one of their alphas, but I'm wanting an upgrade. I highly recommend their brand of camera, television, whatever it is, Sony is pretty sweet, but I digress.

You see, Christmas has a general theme for me this year.

And then there's always this:

Oh yes, that's an iMac

So there it is. What are you asking for this year? I'm always open for gift ideas!

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The Morning Monster

I've always been the girl who wakes up ten minutes before the alarm goes off with an annoying grin on her face ready to greet the new day. I would jump out of bed and begin my morning routine as my hubby continued to smack the sleep button.

That was one thing I never understood about him.

Why the hell would you set your alarm for 6 a.m. just to hit the sleep button four times and wake up at 6:40 a.m. Why not set the alarm later? This debate has gone on between us for years.

Flash forward five years and you'll find a different picture entirely.

Now? I'm lucky to even hear the alarm. I'm either in a deep slumber due to middle of the night {er 5:30 a.m.} feedings or already running around the house wrangling in Baby J.

That smile I use to have has been replace with a more savage-like grimace. And some days I bet the neighbors can even hear my hollering whispers of sweet nothings as I ask my husband to help me.

Yep, the girl who used to adore morning is now a hater. Big time, hater.

Between J waking up for nighttime feedings {this week it's been 2 nighttime feedings due to his lack of routine while on vacation} and the normal exhaustion of working fulltime I can't manage to find a happy medium for the mornings.

And when J wakes up very early and in a foul mood {which is becoming an unwelcomed norm} I can hardly function to get all of us ready without blowing a gasket. Sadly, for my husband, the frustration is typically targeted at him. He tries to help and trust me he really does {most days}, but remember the beginning of this post? Yeah he has never been a morning person. Ever.

So for now, our household consists of two parents who would do anything for their kid to sleep past 5:30 a.m. and a baby who has decided that's his favorite playtime.

Oy ve.

Are you a morning lover turned hater? Click below to support me and this blog! Please & Thank you!
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Fun With Our Phones {week 18}

It's that time again, folks!

Grab the button, post your phone photos and link-up with me and Savannah.

Around here, the weekend consisted of lots and lots of holiday decorations. Oh, and a fairly unhappy babe. 

Thanks to Katie, I've got our Winter bucket list all ready! Now, we've just got to start crossing things off the list.

Actually, we may have just crossed a couple off already...

The hubs had an unplanned half-day at work on Saturday, which means we decorated like made men. However, I feel like every year we end up running to the store for more lights. Is it just us, or do you have to get a few new strands every year?

Just us? Hmmm...

Well, even with the impromptu trips to the store, I think our tree turned out fabulous! Didn't B pick out a great tree?! This is our first year with a real tree and I'm beyond excited. I grew up with real trees for Christmas so I'm glad to start this tradition for J as well. 

Speaking of J, this is pretty much all I ever see of the kid any more:

He is on the move like whoa!

Okay, okay, enough about me. What have you been up to?! Link up below!

I Need Some Prayers

If you've been around my blog or Twitter for any period of time then you've seen me ask for prayers pretty consistently.

A couple of years ago I realized that the power of prayer is miraculous. And since then not a day has gone by that I don't say at least a few prayers and have a couple convos with the Big Guy.

Today, I do not need prayers for me.

My husband just called and informed me of a 47 car pile-up this morning in his hometown. There were ultimately dozens of cars involved 13 or more injured and 1 fatality.

That fatality was a childhood friend and college roommate of my husband. From what he's told me over the years about this man {sorry no names} is that he was great. The kind of person with an unchanging posistive attitude and a great passion for life.

This man was also the brand new husband to a beautiful young woman. And by brand new I mean within the last couple of months. I cannot imagine what losing B a month into our marriage would be like. It would be heart-wrenching to say the least. My husband is on the road every day for his job which makes this hit far too close to home.

So, today, right now, I'm asking you pray for his new wife and his family. Then go to your family and give them a huge hug, tell them you love them and realize how blessed we are for each day God gives us.

All Types of Turkey Tales

As you all know, we packed our entire life into our car and headed to Nashville for Thanksgiving last week. Having the entire week off with my dear husband and our little dude was the greatest thing I've experienced in a while, almost too great.

Don't get me wrong, it was hectic. Traveling between divorced in-laws who live on either side of Nashville {about an hour away from each other} was no easy feat. In fact, it was the worst part of the trip. But if that's the only thing I can complain about then I'd say we did pretty good.

Now? I've got a few Thanksgiving stories that must be shared!

Before leaving for our trip I was counting calories in an attempt to lose ten pounds before Turkey day. Well, I'm here to report it didn't happen. I lost 6 pounds. And? I'm still pretty damn proud of those six. However, after the insane amounts of butter-filled homemade food I ate last week I'm refusing to step back onto the scale - yet.

We'll save more details on my weight loss journey for another post this week. Let's talk about something more exciting shall we?

Packing. Yep, packing. I spent the entire day before we hit the road getting every bit and piece of our life packed into bags. And yes, I literally mean bags. For the first time ever I was ready to go when the hubby returned from work.

But he took one look at my packing job, one look at me and then walked away. Moments later he returned with our set of luggage. Meh, I have some weird unexplainable disdain for luggage. Apparently, my husband does not.

He took everything out of my bags and repacked it. Every. Single. Thing. Okay, okay, I lied. I talked him into leaving two of my bags alone. {victory!} His logic was that with all the back and forth we'd planned to do, the less amount of bags, the better.
I hate to say it, but he was right. At least his repacking extravaganza got me a free ticket from having to pack or move anything for the rest of the week! {even bigger victory!}

Now let's get real. You're not all here just to read about my madness. You want to see J in a festive Thanksgiving ensemble, yes?

Well, I don't have any. ::insert saddest face ever::

The only photos I got that day are blurry or overexposed in a bad way. Did I mention I had to leave my good camera at home because I've been using my moms? No worries, our camera returns from being repaired today!!

Would you think I was crazy if I put J back in his special Thanksgiving outfit for a photo session? No? Good, I didn't think so...

To sum it up, vacation was marvelous, Turkey day was a success and now if I could just get my house organized I could decorate for Christmas!

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{semi} Wordless Wednesday

While I flipped through some older photos I stumbled on this precious memory I've yet to chronicle.

So here ya go...

It was my favorite day of the week, Saturday. J and I were unpacking the guest room and he was getting fuss,fuss, fussy! What's a mom to do? Grab Horton the Hoo, that's what a mom should do! {yeah, I said it}

Yep, that was a great choice of entertainment for the dude.

His amazement at that pink puff and Horton's sweet holler of "Heeeeellloooooo!" left me melted into a puddle. I love watching the innocence of life through his eyes. It's magical.

*linking up with Crazy about my Baybah, Jenni from the Blog, Flip Flops and Pearls*

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Unexpected Emotions

This day at work has easily been my hardest ever.

I was nervous about coming back to work after a week vacation mainly because you never know what kind of madness you're walking in to. But I came into the office this morning to find that it was pretty dull around here while I was gone.

What I never expected though was to find myself crying in my office by 10 am. Yes, crying. Like had to close the door, get out my kleenex and pray no one heard me.

The truth is, I miss my baby. That sweet little nugget that I dropped off at daycare this morning has been tugging at my heart all day.

Last week was amazing. Truly. Our vacation was wonderful. Seeing my SIL was fabulous {I love her}. And? Being able to play with my baby whenever I wanted {or you know when Grandma wasn't} was the greatest thing on earth.

This isn't the first time I've whined about my dreams of being a SAHM. And if you follow me on Twitter you've heard me bitch about it all day. But my lovely readers, there are some days that it feels wonderful to hand that crying baby over to daycare. And then there are days like today when I'd trade anything to be home with my little dude.

To you mommas who have the privilege to stay home, I hope you realize how blessed you are to spend these special days with your children. To other working mommas, how do you manage to cope on tough days like these?

Fun With Our Phones {week 17}

Happy Holidays, y'all!

I have SO much to do in order to fill this household with the the proper seasonal cheer. An entire week away from the house added even more to the "to-do" list. It's absolutely insane! I'm sure you all understand.

But a blogger must have priorities right? So, grab the button, post your photos and link-up with me and Savannah!

It was magical being away last week. The time we spent in Middle Tennessee was just what we needed. However, Monday is now laughing at me as I attempt to get back to the daily grind. 

You'll see below just a small example as to how much we were on the move:

It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Things you lovely readers can look forward to around the blog this week? Black Friday shenanigans and road trip tales of new parents and a teething baby. 

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