Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Midweek Confessions

Lots to confess this week... Let's go.

- I drink coffee (with caffeine) and I breastfeed.  My baby still sleeps and I can function.  We both win.

- I cannot stop wearing maternity pants.  I have plenty of others that I can fit into, but they just don't compare.  WHY would I ever go back to zippers and buttons and when I know that elastic exists?

- I just realized this week that my neighbors' living room looks RIGHT into my "dressing room."  We have lived in our house for four years.  For all this time, I've thought they were kind-of unfriendly, but now I realize we are actually quite close and they've just been mortified to actually speak to me.

- The only "gift" I bought over Black Friday/ Cyber Monday was for myself.

- I went back to the gym for the first time in more than eight weeks on Sunday.  I arrived with approximately 12 minutes left before closing.  And... I have been sore all week from my ten minutes on the treadmill.

- Our babysitter is sick today, and I had a big meeting this morning, so JEFF got to stay home all day with Sam.  I am SO jealous.

- I had planned to participate in two fun linky-parties today with my Christmas decor, BUT, my tree is still sitting undecorated and there are bins EVERYWHERE.  Bummer.

- We have a cleaning lady starting next week.  I am more excited about this than I was about the birth of our son.  (Just kidding, mostly.)

So... What do you confess this week?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Imaginary Christmas List

Are you Cyber-Monday shopping today?  I have a few things I'd like to check off my list for others today; but, as my mom kindly reminded me this weekend when she dropped off two ADORABLE smocked outfits for Sam, my days of extravagant Christmas gifts are over!!  We've got a baby now that is MUCH more fun to spoil than me.

But... A girl can dream. 

In the spirit of the biggest consumer weekend of the year, here are a few things I wouldn't turn down if they just popped up under the Christmas tree:

- New Kindle & iPad 2 cases from JCrew





- Skinny jeans (with matching skinny legs)



- And a live-in maid/laundry service/chef/personal-trainer (is this really too much to ask?)


What's on your imaginary Christmas List?


Saturday, November 26, 2011

I Spy

Just in case you care...


Can you see my hidden message from last year now?  It is really hidden... I was super afraid that someone would spot it and my secret would be out (at about 8 weeks pregnant), but I couldn't possibly make a list of things I was thankful for without it. 

Truth be told, my list would be about the same this year, except "baby" would be "Sam" and it would be in even bigger letters than "Addy."  (Sorry Girl!)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011


Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday.  As you might have guessed, I had A LOT to be thankful for.  It has been a year full of joy and blessings for us.  (See if you can spot my hidden word "baby" in last year's "I'm Thankful For" post. I'll give you a hint - It's in the feathers.) Yesterday was spent walking in the Roanoke Drumstick Dash and enjoying a big lunch with my family & the Thompsons (our almost family).  Then, we had a second meal with Jeff's family.  We came home full and happy late last night -- and Sam gave us even more to be thankful for when he slept from 10PM - 7:30AM.



And... Even though I cancelled this year's Table Decorating Contest, I still wanted to post some pictures of my mom's beautiful Thanksgiving table - Seriously, any BIT of decorating style I have comes from her.


So today?  I'm NOT braving the crowds for Black Friday shopping (although Jeff just announced that he is - what has happened to us?).  I'm a little disappointed in myself, because I usually LOVE the crazy hustle and bustle of today.  But, I'm just not that into it.  I even got a little overwhelmed this morning when I checked my Blogger Dashboard and saw all the posts about deals today... I'm sure I'm going to miss out on some great prices, but I'm going to clean & decorate for Christmas instead. Anyone else?

Thanks for being my blog family & following my journey over the last year.  I am grateful for YOU and my little spot on the internet.

... Now bring on the carols & lights! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Midweek Confessions

I'm starting a new little series here.  "Midweek Confessions" we'll call it.  I'm not posting a link-up at the bottom, and I haven't designed a cute little button (yet), because usually when I do those things the idea totally bombs.  I just find myself doing a lot of silly/embarrassing things that I'm sure (or, I sure hope) many of you can relate to during the week... So, let's just confess it and move on.  K?

- I'm not making anything for Thanksgiving this year.  Jeff is making green-bean casserole and sweet potato casserole because those are his two favorites.  He even tracked down the family recipes and did all of the grocery shopping.  I feel a little like a bad housewife; but, heck, I'm NOT a housewife.  I'm thankful for my stud in the kitchen.

- NO ONE is participating in my table decorating contest (see above)... Including me.  Life happens, and my lofty plans for a Pinterest inspired Thanksgiving table fell through when I remembered I have a job and a baby, and can't even keep my dining room table clean, much less decorated.  I'll take pictures of my mom's pretty table and post them on Friday instead.  Consider this the official Table Decorating Contest 2011 Cancellation.  Sorry friends - not that you were going to participate anyway. ;)

- Monday afternoon I asked my mother-in-law to keep Sam for a few hours so that I could catch up on some chores around the house.  She, of course, happily obliged.  In my 3+ hours of free time, I did not "catch up" on ONE productive thing.  Instead, I drank coffee with my mom, ate Chipolte by myself, and drug out ALL of my Christmas decorations only to be so overwhelmed by the mess that I just got my baby back and put us both to bed.  The house looks like a glitter tornado swept through.  Tonight will be attempt number 2 (while Jeff is cooking).

- I love Jesus, and I know the reason for the season, but... My favorite Christmas song is still Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas for You."  I LOVE it.  And, no, I don't really like Michael Buble's new remake.  I'm sure it is the more sophisticated/musically advanced version, but I'll stick with my girl Mariah thankyouverymuch.

That's all for today. Come back tomorrow to see pictures of my little guy in his turkey long-alls and the standard "I'm Thankful for" post.  In the meantime, what are your "Midweek Confessions"?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight

Just in time for the holiday shopping season, I'd like to introduce my new sponsor...
Katie started this cute shop when she found a jar of old buttons at an antique store.  One Delightful Button features jewelry, accessories and other fun things revolving around BUTTONS. All the items are handmade & come packaged ready for gift giving. Here are a few things on my Christmas wish list:


I think these would make awesome gifts - especially because the prices are SO good.  All orders needed for Christmas must be placed by December 17th to make sure they arrive on time! And, from now until then, receive 10% off any purchase in the shop by typing 'emyselfandi' in as the coupon code. Check out One Delightful Button at http://www.onedelightfulbutton.com/ and start shopping!


Also, don't forget about the great items available at Stella Jewelry too!


Roxy and Tricia make beautiful one-of-a-kind jewelry "inspired by the stars" - meaning celebrities and all kinds of stars in life. Browse their awesome new holiday jewelry, OR let them create a special piece for the "stars" in your life.  Use coupon code 'emyselfandi' for 10% off at checkout here too!

 

*If you own your own shop/business and want to advertise on E, Myself, and I, shoot me an email at e@emyselfandi.com.  I'd love to feature you too!


P.S.  Is anyone participating in my Thanksgiving Table Decorating Contest?  Look, I can admit defeat if this thing bombs; but, don't make me look like a fool by posting a link-up and everything, k? :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Favorite (Growing) Baby Products

I have several friends that are pregnant right now, and I know how crazy the holidays can be for stocking up on baby "necessities" etc. (we got our stroller/carseat combo last year from Jeff's parents and I was only 11 weeks along), so I thought I'd post a few of the products we've loved for Sam during months two and three. 

I resisted the urge to buy one of these intially, but when we moved Sam to his own room I totally caved.  We LOVE it.  I'm not sure I could ever go back to actually being three rooms away without being able to see him again. ;)  Seriously though, this brings us a lot of peace of mind at night and a lot of smiles in the morning when we get to spy on watch him waking up, talking to himself, etc.

Before baby --- the stupidest thing I've ever seen and totally unnecessary.  After baby --- the greatest invention ever made and absolute necessity to child rearing.

3. Bumbo Seat


4. Swaddle Sleep Sacks
A mom gave me one of these when I was pregnant, and I didn't use it at first because I actually thought a blanket was "good enough."  No no.  These keep baby cozy and swaddled ALL night and are MUCH easier to use than a blanket.  Blankets are so rookie.

5. Bibs/Burp Cloths

Ladies and Gentlemen, the drool/spit-up stage has begun... burp cloths and bibs are VITAL to survival of the cute outfits.  These little goodies by Aden + Anais are the best of both worlds. 

6. Gas Drops

I think every new mom should have at least one package of these just in case... In the early weeks (i.e. colic), these saved my sanity and Sam's belly more times than I can count.  Just.buy.them.

7. Triple Paste Butt Cream (yep, that's what it's called)

Kind-of expensive for diaper rash cream, but it seems to be the gentlest on the hiney.  We've tried other brands and nothing compares.

8. Playtex AirFlow Bottles
Around month two, I found myself in Walmart late one night buying every type of bottle that promised colic relief.  These were on the cheaper end of what I bought, and we definitely liked them the best.  Since then, I've added MANY more to our collection.  I'm a big fan. 

Motherhood makes you get excited about weird things... Just sayin'.

Now, a question for you...

I've heard that things settle down on the buying front after your baby is six months old... But, I'm also certain that we'll need educational toys, videos, and plenty of other things I would never think about in the second half of Sam's first year. So...

What are your recommendations for a baby 6 months - 1 year?  Please share!


P.S. If you are about to have a new baby, see other posts on what to register for for those first few weeks here and here. I still stand by my earlier recommendations & there are some excellent recommendations in the comments section of both.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

4 Months

Well, I'm only one week late this time, which is an improvement from last month, so we'll call it a success...

I can hardly believe my fingers as a type this...

Sam is 4 months old!

I'll save you from another rant about how fast time flies; but, just know... it does.

Size: At his four month check-up today, Sam weighed 15 pounds exactly and was 24 3/4 inches long.  That keeps him right smack in the middle - the 50th percentile for his age group.  (His head, on the other hand, is now 17" around and has moved up to the 75th percentile.) I'm so proud of my little chubber (and my own "golden utters").  He is wearing size 2 diapers now and up to 6-month clothes, depending on the brand. (I even bought his Thanksgiving outfit in 9 months because that's all they had and I couldn't resist... We'll see how that goes!) I now have a whole tub of clothes he has outgrown to be saved for another baby some day

Stats aside, we see him growing and changing every.single.day.

For example, this month I've noticed his eyebrows and eye lashes growing in and darkening a little bit.  (Something only a mother would notice, for sure.)  His hair, on the other hand, is still slow growing... And, for the record, it doesn't look nearly as red in person as it does in these photos.


Development: Sam can almost sit up by himself and loves his Bumbo now.  He is really getting good at controlling that big bobble head. :)  Recently, he has been making even more noises (including what Jeff claims is "dada") and is responding to sounds more by looking in their direction or even, sometimes, mocking them.  Sam is also paying more attention to toys now and can grab onto and hold them when he's "in the mood."  His favorite toys, though, are his own feet --- so fun!  He is still only rolling from tummy to back, but he's getting so darn close in the other direction.  I swear he'll be crawling before I know it!


Personality: This month has been a little tricky personality wise.  Sam is still full of smiles and, for the most part, pretty easy going.  BUT, he is also becoming a bit more "high maintenance."  He needs his naps and routine more now and gets cranky when we keep him awake too long or interrupt his schedule.  He is also learning how to use crying to get what he wants.  Last week, we started letting him cry for a little longer at bed time etc...  This is proving to be harder for Mom and Dad than for Sam, but overall, is going well.


Eating: This man likes his milk!  Although we had been on an every-four-hour feeding schedule, we have tried to adjust that a little bit to keep him fuller and, hopefully, help with night sleep.  Most days, he eats at 4:30, 7:30, 10:30, 2:30, 6:00, and 9:00.  At each feeding, Sam eats between five and six ounces of milk and almost eight at bedtime.  The doctor gave the go-ahead to start some "solid" foods soon, but we are planning to wait at least another month until maybe Christmas break when I am home more.  Truth be told, I get a little stressed having to think about real food on top of everything else.  We'll see...

Sleeping: Just a few short weeks ago, I wrote:  "I honestly don't know what I would do if I was working and Sam wasn't sleeping."  Well, I know now... I would groggily get up and feed/soothe him, then double-up on coffee in the morning.  Sam has regressed in his sleeping this month.  He no longer sleeps all night.  For the last three weeks or so, we have had one (sometimes two or three) feedings during the night.  Luckily, most nights, he goes right back to sleep afterward.  His pediatrician says this could be because I've gone back to work and our routine was interrupted.  It could also just be a growth spurt or any other random thing.

Sam IS sleeping in his own room now, and seems to be happy in his crib.  The sweet little bassinet is now a stuffed-animal holder in his closet.  (You will notice that I didn't take crib pictures this month.  We took the bumper out for "safe-sleeping," and it is too much work to set it up again... In the chair it is!)



Likes/Dislikes: I think our boy is going to be a social one... He seems to really enjoy "going out" whether it is to a restaurant, the mall, or the grocery store.  People always comment on his big eyes when we are out.  (They like to say "Wow, he is WIDE awake." Haha.)  We are blessed that he is easy to take along wherever we are going.  Sam also likes being swaddled (even though he is four months old, he still seems to sleep SO much better when we do this), having his head rubbed (puts him to sleep every time), having his belly and feet tickled, kicking his legs, and watching TV (don't worry - he doesn't do very much of that!).  He dislikes being burped in the middle of a feeding and not being paid attention to. ;)

Dear Sweet Baby Boy,

What did we ever do without you?  You have brought SO much joy to our lives in the last four months... Not just to daddy and I, but to your grandparents, great-grandparents, and LOTS of friends.  People love you SO much. 

I get a little teary when I think about how fast you are growing up.  Every day I like being your mom even more.  Even on the days when you are fussy and picky, your smile is the sweetest thing I've ever seen.  EVERYTHING about this journey is 100% worth it.


You have already taught me SO much... I thought I knew what sacrifice was before you, but I didn't.  I'm tired, chubby, and broken-out because of you, but I am BETTER.  You make me so.much.better.


I love that you are my boy, and I'll always be the first girl in your life.  I love you more than words can ever explain.


- Mom


P.S. I wanted to post this picture of the back of your head so you could see your little birthmarks just in case you want to shave your head or do something crazy one day.  My little baldy. ;)



Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Being a Working Mom

I wanted to write Sam's 4 month post today (it is already late), but time slipped away from me and now he is sleeping soundly and no pictures have been taken.  Tomorrow maybe.  It's been another one of those days... I'm definitely still adjusting to the never-ending "cycle" of being a working mom.  It is h.a.r.d.  I like my job, and I LOVE my baby - but finding a way to balance those two things (not to mention the house/laundry/marriage/meals/blogging etc.) is really tough.  I think it will get easier.  But, I'm also realistic enough to know that this might just be my new "normal" for a while.

More on that later - when it isn't 11:30, and I don't still have tons to do before my head hits the pillow.  In the meantime, I wanted to share this post  from a great blog I recently started reading. Katie is a public school teacher and mother of two in Florida - she writes candidly at Marriage Confessions about her life and the balancing act of being a wife, mom, and teacher. LOVE IT.

This post says a lot of the things I needed to hear right now and definitely expresses some of my feelings and emotions about this new role I'm learning. I love the blog world because it really does connect us all through shared experiences, and it reminds me that I'm not alone in this journey... I'm not the first mom to juggle lots of obligations, and it is OK to admit that I drop balls a LOT. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Letter from Addy

Dear Damn Baby,

News Flash: When I was a mere eight weeks old, I left my mother (the one who birthed me and fed me), went to live in a new home, with new parents, and started eating out of a bowl on the floor.  You have CLEARLY outstayed your welcome here by almost ten weeks...

Mom and Dad keep saying that we are going to be "friends," but... so far, I'm skeptical.  I've yet to find anything you're actually good for.  You can't throw a ball.  You can't give me treats.  And, when I try to pay you a little attention by nibbling on your toes, I get yelled at. 


Speaking of getting yelled at, I can't so much as bark at the prissy little dogs walking by our house without getting a stern look; but you?  You scream like there's no tomorrow, even in the middle of the night.

Likewise, you poop all.the.time, and IN THE HOUSE, at that.  Disgusting, and so immature.  If I pulled that, I'd be out in the yard for the next three days.  But, what do YOU get?  Just another toy or even MORE attention.

What has this household come to?

Listen here Baby... Before your arrival, I ran this show. Now, I'm nothing but a big pillow for your highness. 


I've been patient, but I'm about to take drastic measures (i.e. holding an elephant - or a certain squeaky giraffe - hostage).  Consider this your warning.

Your older and hairier sister,

Addy

P.S. Yes, Sam has a big scratch on his face in that first picture.  No, I did not do it.  What kind of animal do you think I am?!?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

365 Days


I worked the Junior League Stocked Market and spent time celebrating birthdays with my dad and Jeff's mom all while hiding a little secret.

And this weekend?

I worked the Stocked Market again.  My dad and mother-in-law had birthdays again... BUT, this year, things are quite different...

November 14, 2010
One year ago today, I saw the word "Pregnant" on a little stick. (Read the whole story here. It's pretty good stuff, if I do say so myself.) 

When I go back and read that post about my thoughts and emotions on the "day we found out," I can't help but feel so ignorant and naive.

Obviously, I knew then that my life was about to drastically change; but I really had no idea how much.  I didn't know Sam then.  It was all so abstract.

When you get that news, especially when you aren't expecting it - your mind runs through 10 million things in a matter of moments.  I thought A LOT about being pregnant, having showers, naming a baby, decorating a nursery.  I thought a good bit about labor and having a newborn, and, even some about the baby's first steps, his (or her, at the time) first day of school, and even a future wedding.  But, I could never have wrapped my head around actually having a four month old little guy just one short year later.

November 13, 2011
When we are waiting for something, a year seems SO long... But, I promise - it is short.  I have a lot of close friends that are currently waiting for their chance to be a mom, and my prayer for them today is for HOPE and NOT sadness.  A lot can happen in a year.
.....
And, on a slightly different note, I'm feeling sentimental about my blog today...  Yesterday, while taking tickets at the Stocked Market, I met a couple of people who read my blog. THANK YOU for introducing yourselves - I seriously LOVED it!  And, more importantly, thank you for following my simple little story.  There are A LOT of good blogs out there - so thanks for thinking mine is worth reading.  I am genuinely overwhelmed and humbled by this community we've built here. (And that goes out to ALL of you.)

Even more, I am grateful for this record I have of the last year (and more) of my life.  It is such a gift to have these posts to go back and read and be reminded of God's perfect plan.  No matter what happens with this blog in the future, I will always be grateful for the memories it has (and is) preserving.


Have a good work week!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thankful

I can't believe it's already November... A week in even.  Seriously, where is time going?  When people tell you that time flies after you have kids - BELIEVE THEM.

Anyway...

This season is all about thankfulness.  For me, it is about thinking back on the last year and the ways God has blessed and provided for me.  Maybe more than any other year, this year, I am overwhelmed with gratefulness.  God is so good.

This time last year... We had just put our house on the market and were prepared to leave our hometown.  I desperately wanted a baby, but our life seemed too unsettled and unprepared to make that kind of decision.

...Little did I know...

I don't think God promises that life will be easy, or that there won't be times of uncertainty and waiting.  BUT, I firmly believe that He promises to be in charge.  If you had asked me a year ago what life would be like right now, I would NEVER have guessed THIS.

I am so thankful. 

How has your life changed in the last year?  What are you thankful for this year?  What are you still waiting for?

*Photos from our drive on the Parkway yesterday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thanksgiving Table Decorating Contest V: Pinterest Version

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you might remember my annual Thanksgiving Table Decorating Contest.

The tradition began five years ago when my mom and her best friend decided to host a joint Thanksgiving.  No one had dishes to accommodate so many guests, so we instituted the "set your own table" rule, which quickly turned into a friendly competition.  (For more details, look at years passed here and here.)

Since then, the concept has evolved quite a bit.  For example, last year, we cancelled our big event, and I opened the competition up to you all - my talented and crafty readers. 

And this year, with the welcome addition of Pinterest to our lives, I bring you the new & improved...
Thanksgiving Table Decorating Contest V:
Pinterest Version
November 24th - 29th, 2011
"Official" Rules:
- Find an "inspiration photo" on Pinterest.
- Decorate/set your own Thanksgiving table (for one or one hundred) based on your Pin.  *Feel free to take creative liberties & make it your own.
- Take pictures!
- Post photos of your table & your Pinterest photo (with a link to the original site please) on your blog.
- Link-up your post @ http://www.emyselfandi.com/ sometime between Nov. 24th and Nov. 29th.
- Come back here, check out all the posts, and VOTE for your favorite on Nov. 30th.
- Winner will get an awesome (yet-to-be-decided) prize.

I hope you'll join in!  I'm so excited!

Until then, here are a few Pinterest photos I found to "wet your whistle":

Pinterest via tobifairley.com via marthastewart.com

Pinterest via bhg.com

Pinterest via bhg.com

Pinterest via stylemepretty.com
(FYI: My inspiration photo is not pictured above... But, duh, I'll be playing!)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins & Pot Roast

I've never really been one to cook every night.  In fact, if I make two good meals in a week, I consider it a domestic success.  But, something about the fall makes us stay in more often and there's nothing like warm comfort food on cold days.

Today, I'm sharing two recipes that have become "go to"s for me recently.  (They really have nothing to do with each other except I like them both and they both start with P. I'm not suggesting that muffins make a great side for a roast or anything - just to be clear.)

First up, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins... I got this recipe from my friend Lea a while back, but it seems like there are lots of other varieties out there too.  Either way, they are delish.  Let's just say this - I made some and took them to the computer guys at my school on Monday (because I spilled milk all over my laptop they have been so patient and helpful), and I had a new computer by Tuesday. ;)

Source
Ingredients:
1 & 2/3 cups of flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 & 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 tsp. mace
1/2 tsp. salt

1 can pumpkin
2 eggs
1 stick butter (melted)

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (or, if you're me, LOTS more)

To Do:

- Preheat over to 350 degrees
- Combine all dry ingredients (first list) in a large bowl and mix well.
- Combine all wet ingredients (next list) in another bowl.  Mix well.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix gently to combine.
- Add chocolate chips
- Bake in greased muffin pan for 20-25 minutes (do not overcook - they should be just slightl underdone when removed from the oven... use a toothpick to check)

*Makes about 18 yummy muffins.


And... this is the easiest Pot Roast EVER. Enjoy!

Source - I served mine just like this too.  Ha!
- Brown roast in skillet (optional)
- Put in crockpot with: one packet of ranch dressing mix (dry), one packet of italian dressing mix (dry), one packet of brown gravy mix (dry), and two cups of water. 
- Let cook all day.

DONE! Seriously, SO good.

*I added potatoes, carrots, and onions about two hours before serving to make up for all the msg probably found in those dry packets.  :)  At least it felt healthy.

Hope your weekend is full of comfort food! TGIF!


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