Tuesday, July 31, 2012

when your bad dream becomes reality and you a statistic...

today I write to put it all out there...hoping this will help my healing....

we were pregnant.  only 7 weeks along but i've known since we were barely 4 weeks and we were in love.  i had a dream sunday night...a dream that i took a pregnancy test and it rendered those dreaded words "not pregnant."  it freaked me out...i woke up in a cold sweat and actually took a pregnancy test because the dream seemed so real.  the test told me what i'd known for 3 weeks...we were pregnant.  silly me, silly dream, pphheeww...everything was going to be ok.  until it wasnt - until i was sitting at work on monday and realized the on and off bleeding i'd been experiencing was no longer spotting but full on bleeding.  i'd bled my ENTIRE pregnancy with addie...i had no reason to think this was going to be any different so i naively assumed that my bleeding was just my body...not any indication that anything was really wrong.  and then other things happened...mild cramping...heavy bleeding....something was wrong.  i called my doc who told me go to the ER...they would have the answers.  so...i went...all the while holding on to every crazy thought i could...maybe i was pregnant with twins and losing one but still had one healthy baby thriving...or maybe i had a subchronic bleed....or maybe this had something to do with anything...anything other than a miscarriage.  the er visit was a blur....lots of blood work, internal examination, lots of questions, lots of hope, a ultrasound tech who wouldn't look at me and told me the doctor would give me the results when i asked if she saw anything...the list goes on.  and then we got the news...there was not a viable pregnancy...that was it.  in a matter of seconds i went from having all of the hope in the world to having nothing...no march baby...not this time.  i was the 1 in 4...it was me.  and it hurts...and i want to know why...an answer...anything.  but deep down in know the reality of it is that an answer is something we will likely never get...as my doctor said this morning..."you can ask me any question but you can't ask me why...because we don't know."  

going forward...time to heal...time for my body to heal...three more periods before we can start trying again...huh?  because what i want...is my 7 week old baby growing and developing inside of me...not to be the person that people feel sorry for.  its all so fresh...i've been trying to do everything not to think about it because when i do i break down...i'm also lucky...it could have been worse...much worse...if this was meant to be i am thankful that i wasn't further along...the emotional pain is hard but the physical pain is bearable.  i'm not one to wish time away but i want this all to be over...the bleeding..the tears...the sense of failure...guilt.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

mmm mmm GOOD


It's been a LONG while since I've shared some recipe favorites but...I have to share this one.  My hubs (who is not particularly a "casserole lover") really enjoyed this one and so did Addie...needless to say it was a family favorite and mom-friendly too - super easy to make and the prep work can be done ahead!!

Recipe: Texas Ranch Chicken Casserole (courtesy of Pinterest)
Serves: 8

* 1 large onion finely chopped
* 2 celery ribs finely chopped
* 1 medium green pepper finely chopped
* 1 medium sweet red pepper finely chopped
* 1 tbsp of canola oil
* 1 garlic clove finely chopped
* 3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
* 1 can reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
* 1 can reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
* 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
* 1 tbsp of chili powder
* 12 corn tortillas (6 inches) cut into 1 inch strips
* 2 cups reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese

* Preheat oven to 350F
* In a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray, saute the onion, peppers, and celery in oil until crisp-tender.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.  Stir in the chicken, soups, chili powder, and tomatoes.

* Line the bottom of a 3 qt baking dish with half of the tortilla strips and top with chicken mixture and 1 cup of cheese.  Repeat layers.  Bake uncovered at 350F for 30-35 minutes until bubbly.

Tips and Tricks:
* You can do all of your slicing and dicing of veggies and cook the chicken a few hours or day in advance to make throwing this meal together a breeze!


Monday, July 23, 2012

for the love of Trader Joes...part II

In case you missed my first post about some of my favorite finds at Trader Joes...you can check it out here.  My love for Trader Joes and the products they carry runs deep.  We make a weekly trek out to our closest store, which is only about 20 minutes away, to pick up what we'll need to get through the week.  I must admit - when I first started shopping at Trader Joes...it was more of a specialty store where I picked up a few unique things that I had trouble finding other places but today we do 85% of our grocery shopping here with the other 10% coming from the Farmers Market and the other 5% coming from other grocery stores.  So...I wanted to share some more of my favorites...


1.  Sara Bee Wine - Let's talk about tasty....basically this tastes exactly like some scrumptious mix of fruit juices and its perfect for summer.  It's also a great wine to start with if you aren't a big wine drinker...and at $5.99 a bottle...you can't have a cheaper night:)

2.  Taco Seasoning Mix - This mix is awesome but beware its much hotter than your normal taco mix.  It's got an amazing flavor for a pre-packaged seasoning and we love it on just about anything "Mexican" we make in our home

3.  Family Style Meat Lasagna - You can find this little gem in the frozen aisle section and I always have one on hand for those nights when I just don't have time to make anything.  It's much better than other brands we have tried and everyone in my house gives it a thumbs up!!

4.  Green Tea Soap - Ok...so the hubs and I totally suffer from dry skin - especially in the winter when the air gets super dry.  I've tried all the name brands...olay, dove, bath & body works, etc. and have never been able to find something that doesn't stop my skin from drying out.  So you can imagine my surprise and delight when my hubs picked this up and started using it while I was traveling for business and raved about how much better his skin felt.  I made the switch as soon as I got home and have been in love ever since!!!

5.  Five Seed Almond Bars - They don't look particularly appetizing but they have wonderful flavor and are packed full of great seeds, nuts, and fiber.  Addie loves these for snacks and I like to take them in the mornings for breakfast as I dart out the door to work.

I'd love to hear what you guys crave from Trader Joes...and if you don't have one yet - I've got my fingers crossed they bring one close to you soon!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

our BIG kitchen remodel....during

Before I share all of the finished pics...I thought I'd share what it looked like mid-tear out.  If you missed last week and want to see what we started with click here.  The whole process took about 3 months but we only spent about 2 weeks actually not living in our home during the remodel process.  The rest of the time...we were there living amongst the chaos.  The first group of pictures shown below pretty much mimic the pictures I shared last week - with the exception of the top right picture which was actually taken while I was standing in the back of the house (the rest are from the front door).  Its probably next to impossible for anyone that hasn't been in my house to identify what's what so I'll attempt to explain in the caption below. Photobucket
Top Left - Living area to the left, kitchen in the back corner, and dining area to right of picture.  Top Right - Kitchen where the stove is, dining room to the left, and living are in the back.  Bottom Left - Living area.  Bottom Right - Dining Room straight back with hallway to our bedrooms/bathrooms covered in plastic on the right.

Our goal with our remodel was to remove the walls that had chopped up what we had envisioned as an open floor plan. Structurally, that was not possible as some of those walls were considered "load-bearing" and could sacrifice the integrity of the structure of our home which is another reason why we did not attempt to "DIY" this project...time being the other major obstacle. The contractor we used was able to put in some large cased openings which make it appear the space is open...but with a little definition of each area (living, dining and kitchen) and also gave us the structural support we needed. He also added some additional support in the attic and underneath the house. You can see in the pictures above the false supports that were built in during the interim so that our house wouldn't fall in:) Most of these pictures were from the first couple of weeks. The tear out of everything only took about two days and here is a picture of one of the trash piles that got hauled away... Photobucket 

After the tear out was complete...the plumbers, electricians, and plaster guy descended on our home to get the new plumbing in place, new wiring done and old wiring re-done, and the walls and ceilings re-done so that it you would never be able to tell where anything used to be. We decided to flip the location of our sink and stove and add a bunch of overhead lighting so that was the bulk of the plumbing and electrical work. All of that work took about 2 weeks....during which we stayed in our home. They set us up with a makeshift sink and we had an old microwave we were able to use so while we ate most dinners out we were able to handle breakfast and lunch in our house. After that work was done...our cabinets were installed, however with one slight hiccup...one of our cabinets was delivered in the wrong color...meaning it would be another 5 weeks before our cabinets could be finished. In the mean time...we had the floors re-finished and stained a darker color - we also decided to go with hardwood in the kitchen which meant our flooring guy had to install some new flooring in our kitchen as well as in those spots where walls had been. With the stain being added and alot of experience on the part of our flooring guy, you would never be able to tell where the old and new is! We did move out of our house for two weeks while all of this was being done and our house was airing out. For our living area which had previously had the beautiful brick laminate flooring - we opted for carpeting as we figured that would be more comfortable. Once the last cabinet finally came - we were able to finish the cabinet install and move onto the next and most frustrating part of the process....the countertops. Word to the wise - NEVER purchase the KraftMaid granite countertops from Lowes....EVER. The price is fantastic...$33/sq foot for sealed granite...we were sold. What they don't tell you is that it will be at least 2 1/2 months from the time you order and pay for these counters for them to actually be installed and thats only if you have time to call them at least every other day...and make friends at KraftMaid to get a few strings pulled and the process moved a bit quicker...NOT my idea of a good time. Anyhow....enough of that soapbox - just short of Memorial Day - our counters were installed and we figured we were done enough for a party to christen our new home!!! I'll be back next week with the pictures now that everything has been done!! Photobucket
Addie's best "momma, what are you doing to my house" look...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Who am I...

Ok...so I totally got like giddy excited when I saw that one of the blogs I first started reading, "From Mrs to Mama" (not to mention one of my favorite mommy-friend blogs to read) when I joined the blog world was hosting a little link-up so that everyone could spill the beans on who they are.  I remember being totally confused at how to even write my first post so I did a little about me and you can read that here...but here's some more as I try to answer Becky's "get-to-know-you" questions below..

1.  How long have you been blogging? And what got you started on blogging?  I've been blogging since March of 2011...shortly after the birth of my precious baby girl...who I write alot about!  I first discovered blogging when my bestie shared her blog with me...that got the wheels turning and then after Addie's birth I decided we needed something better than just my brain to remember all of the important moments in our family...and this blog was born.

2.  Did you go to college?  If so where, and what did you study? I did...I attend James Madison University (go Dukes!!) and was an accounting major...super exciting, right?!

4.  If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would buy?  Eeeppp...I suppose I probably should start playing first;)  If I played and if I won...hhmm...a new home would probably be my first purchase...something with a lot of land and a farm house!

5.  What are your 3 biggest pet peeves?  1)  People that don't hold the door for strollers...seriously annoying!!  2) Arrogance...uugghhh, I despise this personality trait.  3) People that wait until the lane ends to get over - so, I totally know that happens unexpectedly from time to time but y'all...I'm not letting you over if you wait until the last minute.

6.  What is your favorite movie?  Hands down...TOP GUN...I don't care what Tom Cruise is doing with his life now...that movie is still my favorite...oh, and Forrest Gump runs a close second.

7.  What is your drink of choice?  Sara Bee wine from Trader Joes...its a light wine that tastes amazing.  It's perfect for summer!

8.  What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time?  Lay on the beach....like uninterrupted..just me, the sounds of the waves and the hot sun!!

9.  If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, which store would it be?  Yikes...this is a hard one...I think it would totally have to be either Home Depot or Lowes...we have SO much we still need to do to our house and so many projects I want to finish!!

10.  Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past?  geez...where do I start?  How about the most recent...true story and I'll spare you all of the details...my boss walked in on me mid-pumping session at work.  Yep, my door was closed..and thank god for my hooter hider but the pump just isn't a sound you can ignore... awk-ward.

11.  What day would you want to relive again?  I dont know that I have just one...my wedding day, Addie's birth day, the last Christmas with my grandfather, my graduation from college...

13.  What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years?  I was your typical pool rat...I spent my summers life guarding and teaching swim lessons.  During the school year in high school I worked at a local "formal attire" shop selling wedding gowns and fitting guys for tuxedos...girlfriends and over-bearing moms might have been the end of me during prom season;)  I switched things up a bit in college and worked at the sub shop on campus as well chick-fil-a (on campus of course...but seriously - one of the cleanest places I have ever worked)

14.  Show us a picture from high school or college.  Ok...so I totally had to dig this one out of the bottom of a drawer...I actually disposed of alot of my high school and college pictures (especially those that I never wanted Addie to know existed) during one of my nesting clean-out sessions...so please excuse the quality - its a picture of a picture (we didn't have digital then...which I actually think was probably a good thing;)) 

16.  Show us the most current picture of you or you and your family.  Ok...just doing this post totally made me realize how bad we need to have a new family picture done....the latest I have is from just before Christmas...
17.  Where do you see your life 5 years from now?  Its so strange to finally be at a point in my life where I don't think things will look so drastically different 5 years from now.  We'd love to add to our family and of course we will likely need to move to a larger home...but, everything else should pretty much be the same.

PS If you're reading this and have a blog...head over to From Mrs. to Mama and join in on the fun!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cloth Diapers - 21 months in review

*I have not been paid on incentivized in any way by any of the products listed below - these opinions are my own**

I posted a while back here about our decision to use cloth diapering and how it works in our house.  I am happy to report that we are 21 months in and still using cloth diapers.  We've  had a few changes and I wanted to share some of our "work-arounds" for what I believe are pretty common issues you might face the longer you go with a cloth diapering system...

Smell - It happens...you forget to wash them on that second day, they accidentally get left in a diaper bag...whatever the case may be...the strong smell of amonia starts and you can't seem to get rid of it.  It happened to us so I looked for a product that could help resolve this and am happy to share that Rockin' Green's Funk Rock Amonia Bouncer does just the trick.  You can buy it on Amazon and I'm sure a host of other places and one overnight soak...or even 30 minute soak on a front loader and the amonia smell is GONE.  Like it stays gone...until you miss another cycle.  I've used it time and time again and am in love!!  I'm still using Vaska, which I blogged about here, for the routine washings and am still thrilled with the results I'm getting (as info - Target is no longer carrying Vaska but I am able to get it through Alice - which is pretty cool online store for a bunch of things other than just Vaska).

Stains - Nothing works better than some sunshine to get those stains out.  I am happy to report that while Addie's diapers may not be as bright as they were when we first brought them home, they really don't have any major stains.  I try to hang them on the line when I can but haven't been able to do it much lately (more like once a month) but it still does an awesome job of getting rid of the stains.

Leaks - At about 14 months, we started to notice that most nights she was leaking through her cloth diap - we purchased some liners and they definitely helped but added alot of bulk to her diaper.  We decided it would be better at night to switch her to a disposable and that has definitely resolved the problem.  We are also using the disposables during her naptime at school because of the same problem. The liners definitely resolve this problem but we just decided it made the diaper a little too big for our girl to be comfortable.

Durability - We've had zero problems with her diapers holding up....all of the snaps are still in place and the cloth looks great (a few areas look a little worn on the liner but thats it).  The outside of the diaper still looks brand new and Addie still seems perfectly comfortable in them!  I totally expect us to be able to use these again for future babies.  As I blogged about in my first cloth diaper post...we chose the BumGenius Elementals and I would totally recommend these to any one in the market for a good all-in-one cloth diaper.

Using them in Day Care - Since I wrote my last post, Addie has started going full-time to pre-school/daycare.  When looking for the right school, some of the places would not accept cloth diapers...which was a total negative in my book....but lucky for us - our first choice of schools was actually totally cool with the idea of cloth diapers.  All they asked us to provide was a separate diaper pail (I picked up this one off Amazon) and disposable plastic liners for the diaper pail and each used diaper (I buy the cheap 4 gallon trash bags from just about anywhere).  They still follow the same standards when changing her and we just bring home the used diapers every day from school.  It's really been a breeze and they've been totally accommodating!!

Whew...ok, so that was alot of information.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all....seriously y'all...cloth diapering is not that much extra work.  It takes about as much time as it would for me to run out to the store and buy disposables on the regular!!

Also, please feel free to comment below on any successes or failures you've experienced with cloth diapers!!

Happy Monday....

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday funnies

Because I love the "your e-cards" SO much and find myself laughing hysterically at about 95% of them...I dedicating today's "friday funnies" to my favorites...

Source: ohmyfreakingstars.blogspot.com via the workaholic momma on Pinterest

Source: someecards.com via the workaholic momma on Pinterest

Thursday, July 12, 2012

toddler product review - gyro bowl

I have to admit....I knew nothing about this bowl until Addie received it as a gift but I'm totally sold on this thing...especially because Addie's love of cheerios runs deep...and my love of cheerios all over my floor...all.the.time - not so much.

So...here are my thoughts a few months in -

PhotobucketProduct name: Gryo Bowl

Price: $8.99 on Amazon

Product Description: A bowl designed for those spill-prone tots that insist on carrying their own snacks around.  The bowl when used correctly and held by the rim, spins as the toddler moves to prevent those treats from spilling out of the center bowl.

Pros: This is definitely better than your common snack container at keeping snacks in when open.  Addie thinks its fun to hold and I love the idea that keeps those unintentional snack spills off the floor.

Cons: If you have a kid thats determined to make a mess...they can figure out how to hold the inner bowl in place and still spill everything on the floor....no worries - I'm sure it will still be followed by that ever-innocent "ooppsss"...intentional spills always are in my house:)

Would I buy again or give to a friend?: Yes, its a fun and novel gift that does save your floor a bit...but its not fool proof!

**I have not been paid or in any way incentivized for this review - these opinions are my own**

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

our big kitchen remodel....BEFORE pictures

From the day we looked at buying our house we knew major improvements were in store.  The kitchen renovation was the most dire and I still look back and wonder how in the world we lived almost 5 years with a hallway-sized kitchen.  In order to renovate our kitchen we also had to renovate our living space and dining room...basically half of our house.  I know I can't fit it all in one post so I figured I'd spread it out over several and wanted to start with showing you guys how it looked before we got started...which actually began in February so please don't mind all of the Christmas decorations...
This was our pint-sized kitchen, which as you can see, didn't leave much working room for one person...let alone 2. Our cabinets and walls were knotty pine, with mis-matched appliances and the ever-popular brick laminate flooring. And if that wasn't enough...faux wood countertops were also added at some point.
Our living area was narrow and also boasted some knotty pine paneling (which we had painted to lighten things up in the interim) and beautiful brick laminate flooring (which we had shamefully covered with a warm brown rug) Our built ins to the side of the fireplace were barely deep enough to fit books and picture frames on...so the cable box just kind of hung off one of the low shelves...not exactly kid-friendly.

The picture above is our dining room, which was actually a great size but felt out of place given the small living and kitchen area. Oh...and you're probably wondering why our fridge is oddly placed out of our kitchen and in our dining room...that is actually where it still is today (but is now part of our kitchen) and we knew that was the plan so when we bought it we decided to put it where it would ultimately end up for purposes of installing the water line for the ice maker. It also would have NEVER fit in our kitchen...the best we could do was the standard white fridge that now serves as our garage refrigerator.
And lastly...this is a picture of the small area to the right of our kitchen which I believe was actually supposed to be the dining area (assuming our home was designed to have a formal living room which we used as our living area and a den which we used as our dining room). At one point we did have a small round table with four chairs but felt like it was still too crowded with that. The door straight ahead actually heads out to our garage, which we turned part of into a mud room/laundry room/pantry. So...thats it...I'll be back next week with some of the "in-process" pictures and let you know how much was involved and how long everything took...

Monday, July 9, 2012

a fresh spot for our herbs...

PhotobucketLast year I posted here all about my adventures in herb gardening and thought I'd share the fresh new spin we've taken on that very subject around here...  In the past, we've always placed our herb garden (with the exception of rosemary - that goes in the ground because of its hardiness) in containers in our garden but this year we decided to add a window box under our kitchen window and store our herbs there (each in it's very own 6 inch pot).  My thinking was this....much easier access to the herbs - I can open the window and cut what I need and easier to water (again - just a little lean out the window with a small watering can).  My herb gardens have always needed a little more watering than those plants that get stuck in the ground but I've lost quite a few plants due to lack of watering.  So, I figured this would solve that problem and look cute under or kitchen window.  We have a deck right off our kitchen so the window box is about at waist level when out on the deck too.  I purchased our window box from pottery barn (waited for a free shipping promo, of course) and my husband was able to easily install it into the mortar of our brick in about a half hour...

Monday, July 2, 2012

weekend recap

I've feel like I've been so out of the mix for a while now...but wanted to share our weekend...nothing exciting....just the mundane thats been keeping us on the run...

Saturday morning we did our usual...off to the farmer's market to grab our veggies for the week....in the 100 degree heat, y'all....even at 9am...ick...mark the date - june 30 - i said for the first time this summer "i'm ready for fall..." here's what we scooped while navigating the crowds....


next up was a much needed trip to the va aquarium....addie's first visit and i'm pretty sure she was the most excited kid there.  Squeals and jumping up and down pretty much summed up what she did at every turn and the sight of more fish....not only am I 100% certain we totally looked liked tourists in our own town but I'm pretty sure people thought we needed to get out more....we'll definitely be making more of these trips.  I was totally amazed at how well Addie walked through the aquarium with us with 0 melt downs...thanks to charlie sheen...we now call that "winning"

so excited to see the fishies
looking in with dadda
looking for gators with momma

and saturday night left the hubs and i some "adult time" with our favorite beach bums....mexican dinner and ted....it really doesn't get much better than that these days....seriously, go see ted...it doesn't disappoint...


sunday was more of the household chore day....grass cutting, cleaning, organizing....you know the drill....

but i'd still take that over any monday....