Friday, January 27, 2012

On BEing a Bridesmaid

There is absolutely NO context to this post... It is just something I've been thinking about since I was in my new sister-in-law's wedding back in October and am just now getting around to writing it.  Go figure. I can't really compete with 27 Dresses, but I have been in quite a few weddings over the last six years (7 to be exact), so I feel "qualified" to share a little advice for bridesmaids. :)   

Before I start, you should probably know that being a bridesmaid is a job I take very seriously... I'm not kidding.


At this point in my life, I can think of no higher honor than being asked to be a part of the day someone I love commits the REST OF HER LIFE to her husband.  My bridesmaids (pictured above on June 30th, 2007) are some of the most important people in the world to me.  They are committed to my marriage too - through prayer, sound advice, and encouragement. Marriage is hard work (even if you do have an awesome husband); and the truth is, some days you need an army.  I'm thankful for my little team; and I try hard to be that for the brides I've had the priviledge of standing beside on their wedding day.  Basically, I think being a bridesmaid is HUGE (and really fun)!

*Also, just for the record, I should clarify that I am NOT talking from personal experience here.  My bridesmaids and most of the bridesmaids in the weddings I've participated in, have been nothing but WONDERFUL... So, dont' read too into this.  Probably 95% of brides are NOT bridezillas, so they won't make crazy demands of you or boss you around.  Heck, they probably won't even tell you what they really want from you...

So, that's where I come in.  Ha!

My tips on BEing a Bridesmaid:

BE there. I don't think you have to be at every single shower or event - especially (maybe only) if you live out of town - BUT, I do think your "job" starts as soon as you are asked to be in a wedding.  You should be a part of the entire celebration as much as you can.  I do think it's absolutely VITAL that you participate in the rehearsal and attend the rehearsal dinner.  Yes, even if it means you have to take off work or pay for an extra night in a hotel.  I'll be the first to admit that being in a wedding isn't always convenient, but... it really isn't about you. Sorry.

BE the bride's maid. I'm not saying you have to run around cleaning her house or anything (although, that would be nice and - I'm sure - very appreciated); but, you should HELP the bride whenever she needs it.  This relates a little to the first point... You can't just show up at 5PM for a 5:30 wedding.  You should participate as much as she wants you to in the planning; and then, basically, just be at her beckon call on the wedding day.  Need someone to pick up your cousin at the airport?  I'm your girl.  Need me to be ready at 9AM when the wedding doesn't start until 6? No problem. Want me to button 1000 teeny tiny buttons on your dress?  You got it!  See where I'm going here?

*Edited to Add: I've also found that having one of the bridesmaids (preferably one that has been at least partially involved in the planning and knows her way around the town) keep the bride's cell phone for the day.  You'd be surprised how many people will call her on her wedding day - vendors, guests, etc. - and it can be really stressful.  The designated "secretary" can just handle the basic things and defer to the bride only when absolutely necessary.

BE in the background. For the love, don't upstage the bride.  This is HER day.  Look pretty - but not too pretty.  :)  DON'T look scandalous.  Geez.

BE up for anything. If she says "jump," JUST DO IT.  (And this happens more often than you'd think these days with the latest photo trends.) All brides have different expectations for the wedding day; really, you should just be along for the ride.  Wear a silly hat.  Sing karaoke.  Stay up late.  It's ONE day people; and, I promise, you will look more dumb if you are the lame bridesmaid just sitting at a table.

BE happy. Of course, it's ok if you cry when she walks down the aisle or you give a toast about the last 25 years... But, just smile.  A lot.  It is a HAPPY day - even if your life/love is currently a mess.


BE a "Dancing Queen." I really believe that one of the primary jobs of the bridesmaids after the vows have been said is to keep the party alive.  Be the first on the dance floor and the last to leave.  Pull the bride's great-uncle or next door neighbor's son out there with you. (I admit, I'm not always the best at this.)  Most brides envision their reception as a huge dance party, but it usually needs a little "umph" to get it started.  YOU, pretty little things in matching dresses, are the "umph". :)

BE a chameleon. The bride's style might be different from yours.  So what - ROCK it!  Anyways, it's a fun excuse to be different for the day!  Please don't complain about the dress (or anything else for that matter).  Thanks.


BE in for the long haul. Remember, your "bridesmaidal responsibilities" go on long after "I do."  You have a responsibility as one of the official "witnesses" to those vows.  Take it seriously.  Commit to loving this bride (and her new husband) through MANY different stages of their lives.  Be on Team Marriage.  Pray for them.  In five years when she just had a baby and her husband travels a lot - ask her about her marriage.  This is the most important.



And, just for fun... A few things NOT to do:

1. Stand on the bride's gown.
2. Get a terrible spray tan the day before.
3. Sweat like a pig while dancing before giving your toast.

(I may or may not have done all of these things... in the same wedding.  Sorry Amanda!)

What would you add to this list?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Midweek Confessions Again

Friends, this is a wild week.  I'm doing some testing at work and Jeff is out of town all week - except tonight he'll be home for sleeping only.  Anyway, regardless, I'm feeling pretty good.  Life is feeling more manageable this week.  There could be several factors contributing to this, but one is most definitely the fact that my house has been "neat" for the last week or so.  It's amazing what a difference that makes.  Anyway, let's get down to business...

- Sometimes I buy candy at the checkout line at the grocery store for myself (a girl deserves a treat when she's just completed a routine grocery trip, right?) and - when the cashier asks if I want them to leave it out of the bags, I say "oh no, you can just throw it in there."  I'm hoping, of course, that they will assume I'm buying it for my husband or something.  I always dig it out of the bag in the car so I can eat it on my way home.  Obviously.

- I called Jeff at 7:30 this morning to tell him about the odd color of my breastmilk last night.  I also called my mom and sister - they didn't answer.  (You guys really missed out!)  It was too late to call when I finished pumping last night, but I'd been so excited to discuss it.  The things that make me excited these days...

- I "watched" the State of the Union last night; but, I was much more entralled in Hillary's poor choice of hair accessories than anything the President said.  I'm terrible, I know.  But really, she is too old to wear a sparkly headband, doesn't she have a stylist?

- I plan my outfits based on how many "important" people I'm going to see in a day.

- I made cookies Monday night because one of my girlfriends and her husband would be travelling through town and staying with us on Tuesday.  Jeff and Seth ate two each on Monday.  Pryor and her husband ate maybe two each last night.  I ate the other 28.  (They were small ok!) I don't think it's good for me to bake.

Ok, grab the button and link up below.  Can't wait to see what other terrible things you guys are doing this week! :)





Monday, January 23, 2012

Wine & Cheese Wedding Shower

Since we're talking about rain, I thought I'd share a fun idea for a Bridal Shower today.  My mom and I actually threw this back in early October for my new sister-in-law Jayme, but I'm just now getting my act together to post photos and details.  (Sad, huh.  It's January.) 

Anyway, in looking for a "theme," I found that there just weren't that many creative options out there - especially if you are throwing the shower for a couple who already has a lot of stuff and don't need a collection of recipes. Jayme (and Daniel) like wine a lot, and the shower was at 4PM - not exactly "luncheon" time - so I decided to go with a Wine and Cheese theme.  The party was a lot of fun to plan and everyone really seemed to enjoy it.

In case you are looking for something different for the upcoming wedding shower season, here are a few details:

For starters, I got the invitations from Kellie at Two Pooch Paperie, and they pretty much set the tone for the rest of the shower...
These little inserts and tags came in each invitation with instructions.  I LOVED this idea - and the bride and groom are still enjoying it months later!  It really made the shower!

We used the wine and cheese theme to determine our menu, decorations, and games.  Surprisingly, it was really easy and low-maintenance.

Here's one of my mom's pretty tables all decorated for fall...
We bought these cute little suction wine charms and let everyone take theirs home as a "favor."  (Very practical, I know.)

As a game, I made up this "They Go Together Like Wine & Cheese" fill in the blank list.  Basically, guests had to just write in the name of the famous couple's "better half."  It was easy to prepare for and a good icebreaker.  As a prize for the winner, we gave a wine bottle cork and fancy chocolates.


And the wine-tag idea worked out perfectly!  Jayme got a great variety of wines and we all enjoyed looking at what everyone brought.


There's a little inspiration for your Monday! See you tomorrow!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to Wear Wellies in Real Life

I firmly believe in an unspoken rule saying that if it is raining, one should not be required to wear anything but sweatpants and/or (at the very dressiest) jeans.  Unfortunately, the rest of the working world has yet to catch on...

A few years ago, I bought myself an after-Christmas treat of a pair of Hunter boots.  I LOVE them.  They are super cool (in case you didn't know). 

These are my actual boots - pictured in a snow storm a year ago.
So... On the very rare occassion that it is raining or snowing and I need to be out in it for an extended period of time, they are the PERFECT practical accessory for any outfit.  But, I'm going to guess that happens about, oh, ONE time per year.  Most days that it is pouring down rain, I'm only going to walk from my car to the door of wherever I'm going, and I'll be in inside (where it is not wet and puddley) the rest of the day.  (Don't even get me started on days where it starts out raining in the morning and by afternoon it is 70 degrees and sunny... Talk about looking like a tool in rain boots at 4PM.)

It's been raining for a few days here with no plans of stopping, which has left me pondering some very important life questions such as, how exactly does one wear Wellies in real life?

Source
To find the answers, I consulted - who else? - Pinterest. And, I thought I'd share my findings with you all - just in case these sort-of things keep you up at night too. (All of the below opinions are my own, photos and inspiration simply provided by Pinterest. Feel free to disagree.)

Appropriate ways to wear wellies:

With fun tights on ANYONE under 12, ANYTIME.  Or, on someone with funky/trendy style (like my friend Mary - you could totally do it girl).
With a long trenchcoat on rainy days when you are going to be outside (at least 50% of the day).
Design Darling from emersonmade and Cupcakes & Cashmere
With a knee length skirt (preferably, tweed) and long socks or tights (bonus for cute boy in matching boots)
JP tumblr
With long shorts while doing an outdoor activity - like, fishing.  (Which, you know, I do a lot.)
mango-watermelon love tumblr
With vintage dresses and wool sweaters while playing in the ocean.  Again, a favorite pasttime.

kittenhood

With only underwear (sweater optional - for warmth, of course).

Culture Club
 With pearls and your finest attire.
Atlantic-Pacific Blog

Ok, so I got a little ridiculous towards the end, but you get the idea.

*The moral of the story?  I got the same answer I'd suspected all along.  Although adorable, Wellies are just much more practical on days when you are actually going to BE in the rain or snow.  Almost every single picture I found was of someone outside.  UGG.  Sorry little Hunters, until I find a job as a forest ranger, you are probably going to stay pretty in my closet more often than not.

That said, I'm going to need to get some red ones - they seem to be all the rage.  And, I think I'll stick with just jeans.
Atlantic-Pacific Blog
So... How do you wear wellies?  How do you dress on rainy days?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Carpe Diem is not for young moms


This made me laugh; sometimes a little "h-word" is good for that. (Source)
Amanda sent me a link to an editorial from the Huffington Post by blogger Glennon Melton this morning.  If you are a young mom - shoot, even if you might be one day or used to be one - PLEASE do yourself a favor and go read this. Right now. Seriously.

So good.  So funny. So true.
Source
And while you're at it, check out her blog MomasteryLove the tagline. (I just realized that this is probably old news... Everyone is probably already following this and I'm just now getting on the train.  Whatever.)



Happy Friday! Thanks again for all the MC posts this week!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Midweek Confessions

- Several of my favorite bloggers have been doing "real mom" blog posts this week (like this, this, and this).  While I'm genuinely happy to hear that they don't - in reality - have it all together, and that I'm much more normal than I feel sometimes, I'm also kind-of bummed...  I'm supposed to be the honest mom-blogger who's not afraid to admit that her life is a hot mess most of the time... It's my self-declared m.o.  Those bloggers don't even know that I exist; yet somehow, I feel like they just went out and got the same haircut as me the day before school pictures.  I have issues.  Clearly.  (Katie, don't worry, you've always been the honest mom blogger too. ;) )

- I'm in charge of invitations for a baby shower I'm co-throwing (is that a word?).  It's basically my only major responsibility.  The shower is just over one month away.  The invitations have not been ordered.  Save-the-date email maybe?

- I swallow my gum. Always. (For the record, I mostly quit doing this while I was pregnant... But, I'm back at it.)

- I've been paying for Weight Watchers since Jan. 1 and still haven't logged one complete day. 

- We eat frozen pizza for dinner at least once a week. (See above.)

- At any given point, I have three blog posts in my "drafts," just waiting to be published.  The problem is, I'm TERRIBLE about taking pictures and even worse about downloading them on to the computer.  It is really hurting my groove.  I need an iphone.

- I also REALLY want an iphone because of all the cute covers out there.  That might be my main reason.

Ok, now... Go forth & link up!




Tuesday, January 17, 2012

6 Months

Sorry I disappeared for a few days; but, I'm back and (as of Friday the 13th)...
Sam is SIX MONTHS old! 
My favorite "monthly photo" so far.  That smile gets me every time.
For some reason, this "birthday" has hit me a little harder than the others... I'm seriously a bit emotional about just how fast the first half of this year has gone... I'm working on a post on "revisiting the first weeks" and about how my views on motherhood have changed etc. over these last six months; but, first, let's update:

Size: At his 6 month appointment on Thursday, Sam weighed 17lbs. 12oz. and is a little over 26" long (3/8ths to be exact, but I couldn't get that to look right).  He is still falling perfectly on the curve in the 50th percentile in both height and weight; but continues to have a bigger noggin.  What can we say?  He's going to be a genius. ;)
Clothing sizes are really random right now.  Mostly, 6 month clothes fit the best (go figure), but he can still squeeze into some 3 - 6 month clothes, and we are moving into more 6 - 9 month outfits.  Just this past week we switched to size 3 diapers - they look HUGE, but fit well.
Oh man how I love this little man!
(I'm not really sure where this fits in, but this seems like as good a spot as any...) Sam also has TWO little teeth in the front now - can you see them?  They popped up randomly around 5 1/2 months. And, if you look veryclosely there's quite a bit of hair starting to sprout on that ole bald head. Love it.

Development: The big milestone this month has been rolling over.  Folks, we've got a mover.  Sam is a rolling machine these days and wants to crawl SO bad.  When he is laying on his belly, he lifts his head, arms, and legs and just wiggles like a crazy man.  It is adorable.  It won't be long now.  This weekend we started the "baby proofing" process in our house.

He is super alert these days - sometimes too much so when it comes to eating and sleeping.  He notices everything and seems to just be taking the world in. He knows his name now; and we can tell that he recognizes not just Mom and Dad, but also his grandparents, great-grandparents, uncle, aunts, and close friends.  It is so cute to see him respond to the people that love him the most.

He is grabbing at everything as well and LOVES his toys.  Even more excitedly, he has finally started to notice Addy and grab at her etc.  Ad is a good sport and seems to appreciate the extra attention these days.

Personality: Sam is very social and likes to be on the go.  When we are around crowds, especially, he doesn't seem to mind being passed around one bit and is usually all smiles - at least until nap or feeding time. He still isn't the best at entertaining himself (i.e. playing in his exersaucer for more than ten minutes at a time) and requires a lot of attention - but, most of the time, we are happy to give it! Overally, he is a pretty happy and content little guy; but he definitely still has his moments/days.
Fitting right in with my college girlfriends at Meg's baby shower in South Carolina last weekend.
Eating: I wish I could report that Sam is eating LOTS of solid food right now; but the truth is, we just started with babyfood a week or so ago.  That said, he has made the adjustment very nicely... He has eaten rice cereal, carrots, bananas, apple sauce, pears, and fresh broccoli so far - His favorite appears to be pears, and he is NOT a fan of broccoli (go figure). (I know most research says you should wait a week inbetween foods; but our pediatrician assured us that that wasn't necessary since Sam is older and his digestive system is pretty healthy - so far so good.)  While he doesn't particularly enjoy the foods, he does a great job opening his mouth and swallowing.  That's my boy!  We have lots of plans for the coming month in the food department. :)
Cereal.
Carrots
I made my six month goal of breastfeeding exclusively!  But, times, they are a changing...  Just last night we started introducing a little bit of formula to see how it helps our nights (see below) and give myself some freedom from pumping at work.  I'm not in a hurry to stop breastfeeding altogether, but we are ready to make a few adjustments.  This isn't really an easy decision for me; but, it is one I'm comfortable with right now. I'll keep you updated. For now, Sam is eating between six and eight ounces (approximately) of milk five times a day.
Sleeping: Not.Good. I don't really know what happened, but the last month (or more) has been ROUGH in this area.  While I think we have gotten more consistent with an 8 - 8:30PM bedtime and routine, Sam is NOT catching on to the importance and value of quality nighttime sleep.  Most nights I am up two to three times feeding and cuddling back to sleep.  Recently especially, I'm starting to feel the toll this routine is taking on me... So, something is going to have to change soon.  We are going to start by introducing more solid food and formula and see how that helps.  Next step will be crying it out...

That about sums things up.  I'm a proud mama, can you tell?
Happy half-birthday little guy!

My how far we've come...
August 2011 (1 month)
January 2012 (6 months)

Midweek Confessions up tomorrow - scheduled for noon.  See you there!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Boy Mom

First, THANK YOU THANK YOU for linking up yesterday... I LOVE it!  Can't wait to have some time this weekend to curl up with coffee and some good ole confession reading. :)

I'm a boy mom.  Even typing that out feels funny to me... Before Sam was born, I always envisioned myself with a little girl to play "house" with, put BIG bows on, take shopping, and one day, plan a wedding with.  (Pathetic, I know.) 


It's not that I'm especially girly; but my (unfair) image of mothers of boys was that they had to be obsessed with sports and not care a bit about their looks, their house, or party planning.  Ha!

For the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy, I was convinced I was carrying a girl.  And - I can safely admit it now - I was a teeny bit disappointed when my motherly intuition failed me for the first time, and we saw a little (um, how should I say this...) thing on the ultrasound.

Being a mother of a boy was an idea I took the next 20 weeks of my pregnancy to get used to.  During that time, I decided I could still be a cute mom (one that wears pearls to football games), could still have a pretty house (with just slightly more blue than pink), and would still share many special moments with a son (even if they aren't at the mall or wedding dress shopping).  *Plus, I convinced myself that my future daughter-in-law will appreciate all my memory keeping and cutesy things from Sam's childhood one day, even if he won't.

I prepared myself for "getting sprayed" when changing diapers and some of the other less glamorous parts of raising boys (p-u-b-e-r-t-y); BUT... I didn't really prepare myself for how much I would LOVE being a boy mom...

- I love that I don't feel pressure to put him in an adorably matched outfit every day.
- I love that I'll have to keep a stocked pantry for a house full of hungry boys after sports practices etc.
- I love that I'll be a regular on the bleachers (even if I'm reading my Kindle there).
- I love that I get to teach him how to treat girls; and always be the first girl in his life.
- I love saying "my boys" and watching my husband with his son.

... Just to name a few. :)

I went to a shower last weekend for my friend Meg who is about to have a little girl, and someone asked me if all the monograms and cute dresses made me want to have girl.  My answer?  No.  I couldn't have said that six months ago...

Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE to have a little girl one day - I think the bond between a mother and her daughter is something incredibly special (and fun).  BUT, I've realized recently that I quite like being a boy mom - it suits me just fine.  And, if I spend the rest of my life cleaning up muddy shoes and planning airplane parties instead of princess ones --- I'll be happy and content.

It's a good feeling.

Anyway, I got to thinking about all of this because of a post from Team Studer on 25 Rules for Mothers of SonsIf you are a mom to boys and you haven't already checked it out, I strongly recommend that you get over there asap (she even has the list in printable format now).

And finally, since we're on the subject of motherhood, etc., go visit Through Clouded Glass today - I'm being featured on Callie's "Moms and Babies" series.  ;) 

Boy Moms - I know you're out there.  What's your favorite part?

Almost Friday friends!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Midweek Confessions

Let's just jump right in today - shall we?

- I'm not really feeling blogging today; even my confessions... BUT, I'm too vain to just let it go.  I'm too excited to see how many people will link up what all you will confess.  (The fact that I just told you I care about numbers makes me a terrible blogger by ALL internet standards, but at least it makes me an honest one.)

- My car and I are in a war.  Yesterday, it refused to start for the FIFTH time in the last two months.  I had just picked it up after a week in the shop and the second round of part-replacements the night before.  Then this morning, when the mechanic got there to tow it - it flipping STARTED like it was no big deal.  Secretly (well, not so secretly anymore) I'm wishing it would just DIE for good... We can't afford a new car right now, but I really want one.  So selfish.

- I overbooked myself this week - we have something going on every single night - and the result is, yet another, disastrous house and stressy me.  #myownfault  (There I go again, being trendy when I have no idea what it means and I don't even tweet.)

- For the life of me, I can not get up in the mornings.  I have been SO dang tired recently.  (I don't think I'm getting good quality sleep anymore - even on the nights Sam sleeps, I wake up several times to peek at the monitor.)  Seriously, every single night I go to bed way too early (like 9PM early) setting my alarm for 5 and vowing that I will not go back to sleep after Sam's 4:30 feeding... And then, every single morning, I oversleep until 6:30 and do a mad dash around the house to get ready for work and out the door on time. UG.

- I'm not doing very well on my 12 in 12.  I haven't even had one "good" day with it.  I've decided that New Year's Resolutions don't have to be carried out ALL year, they just have to be completed by the END of the year.  Fair?

- Nothing makes me want to be a stay at home mom more than rainy days.  I would never say that SAHMs have it easy, but at least they can stay in their pjs and watch talk shows till 11 some days when they want.

I admit, that did feel good... Ok, your turn! (You know the drill by now.)





Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Sunroom

Continuing the theme of goals for 2012, I am linking up with The Nester with my 2012 "Home Goals."    I did this last year, but my focus was on selling our house; so the goals weren't as applicable once that was off the table; plus, I mean, we had other stuff going on.  Like having a baby.

That said, I did not...
...introduce window treatments into my life
...complete any of my wall art projects
...invest in a nice rug or
...purchase a duvet cover I love

BUT, I did... create a "perfect" nursery for Sam

So the year wasn't a total bust!

This year, I've decided to focus on just ONE room - our sunroom.

Before:

This room was one of my favorite things about this house when we first bought it; and we spend the vast majority of our free-time at home in this room.  It is where we do 90% of our "entertaining" and have 99% of our good conversations with friends etc.  It is bright and warm and welcoming. Yet, it is one of the rooms I am least happy with from a design/decor perspective. 

Since we've been married, Jeff and I have NEVER bought a full-price piece of furniture for ourselves.  Luckily, my mom re-decorates A LOT - so we get a lot of hand-me-downs.  This works wonderfully most of the time, but for whatever reason, the sunroom has become kind-of a dumping ground for furniture we don't know what else to do with.  The result is a room that has never really felt put-together or "like" me.

2012 will be the year that changes...

In fact, I'm already off on the right foot.  For Christmas, Jeff gave me free reign to pick out fabric and finally get my favorite comfy (but hideous) chair and a half covered (that was a goal for last year that I was thisclose to finishing on time).  Talk about making a girl happy!

Here's the old dud (+ my stud and my girl):

And a little peak at the new (and very improved) version:
From Fabric.com
This has become kind-of my inspiration for the whole room.  We still don't plan to start dropping big bucks on furniture etc. any time soon, so I'll mostly be working with what we have or can get for a really good deal.  I'm also hoping to make a few things for the space - either by myself or with the help of unsuspecting friends and family members ;). 

Either way, I've got big plans to bring this room to life and make it fit in a little more with the rest of our cozy, but fresh and fun home. 

I will (of course) share the final product when we get there; but in the meantime, here are a few goodies I've picked up for the project recently...

On sale at RugsUSA.com

Christmas gift purchased from Cardboard Safari
So... that's my big home goal for 2012. What do you think?  Ideas? Suggestions?

What are your goals for your home this year?


P.S. I'll have Midweek Confessions up tomorrow morning - get ready!


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