Friday, December 28, 2012

Reflections on 2012

Seeing as it is the end of the year and all, I am doing that cheesy blogger-thing where I look back on the last year and pick it to pieces. I do this, with full knowledge that your dashboard is likely already clogged up with all of the cringeworthy and heartwarming moments of every one else’s year. Honey badger don’t care.
I don’t actually recall creating and resolutions for last year, but if I had, I’m sure I would have failed most of them. Some things I did achieve this year were:
Not chopping my hair off. Just a few trims, and now I have crossed the line between the medium hair I have always had and the long hair I have been dreaming of since I was little.
I left the antidepressants behind. I have learned how to reasonably manage my anxiety and depression on my own through diet, exercise, and making sure I take time out to do things for myself.
I kept Wyatt alive for another year (woot!)
I went back to work and became a contributing (financially) member of our family.
I have learned to let things go. The only things I can control in my interactions with others are my own feelings and reactions. I control what I get upset about and how to deal with that.
To keep with my tradition of not making structured goals to fail, I will instead put some wishes/intentions out there for the coming year or two.
I would like to continue with my good eating habits. With the exception of special occasions, I have been practicing clean eating for the last month or so, and it feels really good.
I would like to make it point to spend more time outside.
I am hoping to get pregnant again sometime next summer (ish).
I would love to make some progress in decluttering our lives. Less is more, I say.
So there it is. A year in review, a year in advance, and an actual post from yours truly. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


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Oh, the anticipation.

Being somewhat of an internet junkie, it has been hard to ignore the abundance of "here comes Fall" posts littering the dashboards of my favorite blogging websites. I can't help but sigh and pout as I watch the lovely ladies I have come to know over the last few years, once again, start donning their scarves, their sweaters, and all of those adorable boots I love so much, while I sit here in Central Florida cranking my a/c and drinking my coffee iced (still).

How is it that, while the rest of the country enjoys those first glorious dips in temperature, I am still weary to take my own son outdoors for fear of heat exhaustion? I am yearning for a cool breeze in place of damp heat. For plums and mustards in place of turquoise and corals. For jeans and my leather jacket. For a night spent around the fire pit. For the necessity of snuggling, cheesy as it may be. But alas, it is not meant to be yet.

To ward off my jealousies, I am doing little things to pretend it's fall. Pumpkin spice candles burn. Pumpkin bread bakes. Halloween preparations. I have already started playing my "cool weather playlists" on repeat. Measures have been taken.

 It may not be Fall here yet, but even in my envy, I can't help but smirk when I think of the fact that in just another month or so, many of you will be freezing and preparing for being snowed in for the winter, while I will spend four to five months enjoying the season I am craving.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Monday Check-in

Loving: Spending time at home. Over the last couple of weeks, I have made some little changes around the house: adding bookshelves, hanging portraits, rearranging Wyatt's room, etc., and it makes me want to spend my time here. There are few things that I love more than feeling cozy and comfortable at home.

Reading: East of Eden and The Primal Blueprint. I like having one fiction and one non-fiction going at a time. It gives me the option to either learn something new and interesting or to get lost in a world far away from my own. 

Watching: Bubble Guppies. After a morning of stories and playtime, Wyatt gets to giggle and dance to his favorite cartoon, and I get to update the blog. 

Thinking about: All of the little projects I need to work on. My SIL's baby shower is less than two months away, and I have so many things to do/arrange. Also, with the beautiful weather, I am a bit bummed about having to work this afternoon. I really want to hang out in the kiddie pool with Jason and Wyatt. They get to have all of the fun.

Surprised by: How lame I have been lately, and how much I genuinely enjoy it. There was a time when a night spent in was akin to a death sentence, but to be honest, I would so much rather get a full night's sleep than be cranky, tired, or hungover the next day. Life is to short not to be well rested and happy. The thing I look forward to most today is getting home from work, enjoying a home-cooked meal, and snuggling with my little man. 

Making me sad: Wyatt isn't a baby anymore. I adore every new experience and milestone he has, but it does make me a little sad that he won't be my cuddly little first-born forever. He is developing opinions, aversions, likes, fears of his own everyday, and someday I'll have to beg for the hugs and kisses that come so readily now. 

Making me happy: Beach days. Love. Friends. Making money. Taking my health seriously. Wyatt's love for glasses. The prospect of going back to school. The promise of fall. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

I swear I meant to post that recipe

...but we have been busy cleaning house in anticipation for visiting family. I promise it will be up on Monday! Everyone enjoy their weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"What a Girl Wants" Wednesday

I realized recently that my blogs have always been filled to the brim with pictures of Wyatt, over-analysis of the not-so-happy things going on in my life, and many, many apologies about my lack of writing. As much as everyone loves a picture or two of a cute kid, it is beyond time I inject a little whimsy into this thing, if only for my own sake.

Meet "What a Girl Wants" Wednesdays. Every week (or so), I will list and detail the little things in life I would like to have, do, or achieve. Also included will be current obsessions in fashion, food, and entertainment.

Let the games begin.

Military boots. These can leave the blog list and enter reality this afternoon, when they will be delivered to my home (and my oh-so-lonely feet). I have always had quite the obsession with boots, a plight for a girl living in Central Florida, and there is just something about the "tough girl chic" look of a military inspired boot paired with leggings and a feminine floral dress that I just can't resist come fall.

Sheer tops. While the heat here in Florida does not necessarily lend itself to boots, it DOES, however, lend itself to lightweight sheer tops nearly year round. I may or may not have purchased three or four recently and still find myself lusting after this leopard print number.

Gold and coral nails. Quite the fun color combo, this screams "there's a party on my nails" to me. As a mother to a Tasmanian toddler/devil, I don't have the luxury of time to do such fancy sticker design nonsense, but I DO currently have gold nails with one coral accent nail on each hand. 

The Primal Blueprint. I already own the book, but what this girl wants is to put this plan into place. Not only am I trying to lose a few extra pounds (aren't we all, really), but I love the idea of implementing a lifestyle that encourages slowing down and simplifying to live like our ANCIENT ancestors, who were arguably some of the healthiest humans on earth. I DEFINITELY recommend this book to anyone trying not only to look better, but to feel better as well.

Seasonal veggies. Namely brussel sprouts. Can you believe that I lived my entire life without these delicious little cabbages until about three years ago? My mother HATES brussels and never let them in house, so I never had an opportunity to try them. Now they are one of my absolute favorite foods in the whole world. Unfortunately, getting them truly seasonally is hard down here because fall doesn't start until, like, December.

Avocados. Give me all of the avocados. In this new high-fat (the good ones), moderate-protein, low-carb diet known as paleo, I find myself eating at least a half of an avocado every day. I can't get enough. Did you know that they are delicious outside of guacamole? In the three weeks since changing my eating habits, I have noticed extremely clear skin and luxurious hair as an unexpected (and very welcome) side effect. Find me an avocado, and I'll show you an empty shell.

Vacation. It's been a while. When Jason asked me a few days ago if I would like to go the beach for a few nights next week, my reaction was an automatic, enthusiastic "Yes!" Instead of our usual stay in our friends' cute beach cottage though, we chose to book a room on the beach, but still ten minutes from Historic St. Augustine. As much as we all love the beach, time there is limited and exhausting with a toddler, so I am excited to be able to walk around during the afternoons and explore the little sights in one of my favorite places. 

Molars. Okay, okay. I know I just got done saying that all I post are pictures of this guy. But seriously, did you really think I would leave him out? In all honesty, Wyatt is in teething hell right now, so what this girl REALLY wants is for his pearly whites to break on through so we can get back to our normal, happy, playful thing. It's how we like him.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It is hot.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone reading that summers in Central Florida are hot (not to mention, oppressively humid). I have to mentally prepare myself to venture outdoors between the months of June and September, because it is truly a chore. That chore is multiplied when it comes to getting a toddler the necessary run-around time in the fresh air.

I'll admit it has been my weak spot. I don't get Wyatt outside nearly as much as I should these days, but truthfully, it's exhausting. The sunscreen, the protective clothing, the bugspray, filling juice and water cups, shoes, making sure (again) there is enough water; before you know it, you have spent forty-five minutes just preparing to walk out the door, and you are BEAT. Forget the heat.

The exciting prospect of having the next five days off, however, made me a bit more adventurous this morning. Grabbing my brand-spanking-new camera, we headed to the backyard for some fun (and photo opportunities, of course). You know what? It wasn't THAT bad. Sure, I was drenched in sweat by the time we headed back in, but in an hour we played in the sandbox, explored the "enchanted" (read: overgrown) side yard, blew bubbles, and discovered Daddy's baseball bat.

Worth every mosquito bite.

Friday, August 10, 2012

When your lifestyle makes you sick.

I have come to that wonderful place in life where it becomes time to weigh pros and cons. There are a lot of things that I do (or don't do), eat, and drink that I enjoy very much, but unfortunately they make me pretty sick. I think I have finally arrived at the place where enough IS enough, and it is time to do something to change my life.

I came to a pretty realistic conclusion about a year ago that I had a mild to severe gluten intolerance. Since then, I have yo-yoed back and forth between eliminating it from my diet and ignoring the symptoms. My weight has fluctuated more than it should at 25 years young as a result, and I have suffered some pretty nasty digestive issues that required too much testing to determine nothing that a change in diet couldn't have.

It wasn't until my recent return to work that I realized that the issues I have are more than just an upset tummy caused by too much wheat. My immune system is pretty shot. Within three weeks of working, I have dealt with four separate skin infections that I have a hard time kicking. I have spent way too much of my life on antibiotics to trust their effectiveness any longer, or to risk a mutation of the bacteria into something resistant and more dangerous, so I started googling.

My research found that in addition to a ritualistic routine of bodily cleansing, my diet was feeding the bacteria and allowing it to keep breeding like rabbits. Bacteria is fed by sugar. Sugar isn't just consumed in the form of sweets, but also in starchy carbohydrate bashed foods that are broken down to sugar in the body. That includes all of my favorite things: pasta, rice, bread... alcohol. So here I am, faced with the life-choice to eliminate all of these things for good in the interest of my health and the health of those around me. It's a hard one.

Wow, I could use a drink.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Definitely not company-ready

Our house is a mess. A big mess. It is driving me crazy. I would do something about it, but why bother? Within an hour, any progress made will be undone by my Tasmanian devil of a child. Toddlers are messy; it's a fact. Look it up.

Toys are everywhere BUT where they should be.

Oh, look! There's a trail. Let's follow, shall we?

I definitely cleaned his room yesterday.

You believe me, right?

Whoever invented the alphabet play mat was a sadist.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Alright kid, I'll cut you a break because you are cute. Messy as hell, but cute.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Discovering new levels of busy

I thought I was busy in high school. In college. Working. As a mother to a newborn. To an ever-more mobile infant. To a Tasmanian Devil/Toddler. I was wrong.

Adding work back into the mix has left me wondering where the days go. On the days that I work I fight the clock, battling to squeeze in cleaning, cooking, the never-ending nightmare that is laundry, and quality time with Wyatt. On my days off, I end up wasting them catching up on sleep and anticipating the next day of work. Blogging is difficult. Nonexistent, really.

I do enjoy it though, and I am doing the right thing for our family at the moment. Plus, I am sure one day I will look back and wonder where I got all of the energy.

Luckily, I have a lot of things to look forward to in the near future: a new camera, a visit from my dad and sister, planning a baby shower, the anticipation for fall...

...which will arrive sometime in December. -__-

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The newest chapter.

As of yesterday, I am a working woman again. As in a paying job. As in outside of our little home. As in back to slinging pizza and beer. As in I will be having adult interactions with someone other than my husband between one and four times a week. The change is welcome.

Jason and I have been toying around with the idea of me finding work again since finding out about his layoff. We had a hard time working the details out. Finding a new job would be difficult. In today's economy, finding a job in which I would be able to only work weeknights and some (few) weekends, with all holidays, birthdays, family events, etc. off. Add to that the fact that I have a toddler who will inevitably get sick and a husband who occasionally has to do estimates in the evenings, and the result is a pretty undesirable scheduled employee.

The only real option was to go back to my former job as what I like to call "a freelance server." Put my phone number and availability up on the written schedule so that the other servers, hosts, and bartenders can call me to pick up their shifts. No strings attached. I have the right to refuse. I don't have to worry about requesting off for a weekend at the beach. Work as much or as little as works for my family on any particular week. Have the comfort and security of knowing that it is a successful and very busy establishment where the money I make will be worth missing Wyatt's dinner and bedtime a couple of times a week.

The idea is still a bit surreal to me. I haven't worked in almost eighteen months. I can count the number of times that I haven't been the one to put Wyatt to bed on two hands. At the end of the day, though, it is the right thing to do for my family and for our future together. Plus, who knows when I will have the opportunity to work again once Jason's business grows to the point that I may be needed or once we have another child. I am going to relish this newest chapter while it lasts.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Simple Sundays

I have had a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head the last few days. What does the future hold for us? What is the next step? Why am I elbow deep in a bag of Doritos (again)? Why don't my shorts fit (see previous question)?

Sometimes the best thing for clearing your head is to grab your husband and your little one and head outside to play.

There is something so humbling about a toddler that sees the wonder in things like sticks...

...or a chair...

...or dirt.

It can be so easy to find yourself wrapped up in selfish fears, insecurities, or desires, but when it comes down to it what really matters are the simple, quiet moments that you allow yourself to enjoy with your loved ones. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

What doesn't kill you

...makes your marriage stronger.

About a month ago, we found out that Jason was losing his county job. In an effort so save money, they chose to lay off the whole pest control department and outsource to a third party company. I think part of us had been expecting this layoff to come eventually, but I don't think we had really prepared for its imminence. I mean, I feel like every time I turn around I am hearing another story about a friend or family member who is now forced back out into the job market. This time it was us.

Luckily, Jason's business has been growing steadily for the last couple of years. There is still money to be made. No one is going hungry come July 1st. It does, however still raise some big (and scary) questions. What about insurance? Are we still going to be able to buy a house next year? What about plans for another baby? What about the PLAN?

The unknown can be...well, it can be a bitch sometimes, to put it plainly.

Despite the uncertainty of the months to come, there is a silver lining: no one is going through this alone. This new predicament has us talking. It has us scheming. It has us dreaming. It has us counting our blessing together. Together we are simplifying our lives and finding ways to be truly happy with what we have.

And what we have is love. Lots and lots of love.

Photos courtesy of Tara Sproc Photography

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bye Bye Boobie

After 15 months, we have officially left breastfeeding behind.

Even before I found out I was expecting, I was very passionate about nursing. I knew that I would definitely be breastfeeding my children, and I planned to do so for an extended period of time. Our bodies were made to feed our babies, so to do otherwise not only seemed unnatural, but alien to me.

I did not have an easy start. Wyatt and I had some latching issues, and I was issued a shield to use. I did what I could with that, and with a little hard work and a lot of dedication, I weaned him from the shield and established a nice latch when my little man was about two months old. From then on, we were in cruise mode.

I loved breastfeeding. I still do. I embraced everything about those special, stolen moments that no one else could have with my son. I would get up in the middle of the night to feed him. Laundry would sit unfolded, dishes unwashed. I would proudly take my prenatal vitamins every morning and chug ungodly amounts of water throughout the day to keep my body up to the task of producing up to 30oz of milk every single day.

After Wyatt's first birthday, I decided it was time to move towards weaning. Our lives were getting busier, and Wyatt was getting much more active, so I could no longer just pull out the girls every couple of hours and sit around while he topped off. For the past 3 months, I have gradually dropped feedings to make the transition easier for both of us. And trust me, the transition is probably harder for me than for the little runt. We have been down to the very last night time feeding for a while. I realized it was me who was going to have to make that very difficult decision.

Tonight, Wyatt took a couple ounces of cow's milk from the bottle. I read him a story. I put him to bed. When I put him down, he just looked up at me and smiled. Then, he rolled over, closed his eyes, and then fell asleep. My heart broke and soared all at the same time. He was ready for me to let him go.

My baby boy is not a baby anymore.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Meal Plan(ning)

I am a total foodie. I love cooking. I love eating. I love the beauty of food. I love it all. Such a love can get quite overwhelming when it comes to grocery shopping and preparing meals day-to-day. It can also be very expensive. In the interest of avoiding bankruptcy, I must meal plan.

I have found that my discovery of Pinterest has revolutionized how I plan meals and write grocery lists. See something delicious? It is as easy as repinning for later or clicking through immediately to the recipe. The night before I head out to the grocery store, I head to my "Noms" board and browse past finds for dinner inspiration for the week. I bring up all of the recipes, write down the ingredients I know that I need, and viola! my list is pretty much complete. It's easy; it's fun; it provides a plethora of diverse options you may not have thought about on your own.

Anyway, here was my meal plan for the week:

Tuesday: Cajun roasted whole chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, and green bean, corn, and tomato salad

Wednesday: Jerk Salmon bowls with mango salsa

Thursday: Roasted corn chowder with chicken, lime, and cilantro

Friday: Balsamic grilled summer vegetables with basil quinoa salad and grilled tempeh

Saturday: Leftovers or dining out

Sunday: Pork chops, wild rice, steamed broccoli

These days are not set in stone, they are just a general guideline. For instance, if Jason came home and wanted to go out this evening, I would just prepare tonight's planned dinner tomorrow night. You have as little or as much flexibility as you would like, depending on how perishable your food is.

Tomatoes from the garden

Hints and tips:
  • I usually start my week off by roasting a whole chicken. It's cheap, easy, delicious, and the leftovers can be used to create a new meal(s) later in the week. Example: I used the leftover chicken from Monday for the chowder on Wednesday
  • I also try to concentrate meals using fresh produce toward the beginning of the week, so they don't go bad.
  • When looking for recipes, I go as seasonal as possible. This week's meal plan was heavy in tomatoes and corn because I am currently up to my ears in cherry tomatoes from the garden and corn is 20 cents per ear at the grocery store. Seasonal produce is far superior, and it saves a lot of money.
  • I aim to make at least one freezer-friendly meal each week. This helps with future, busier weeks, when I don't have time for chopping, sauteing, and baking a full meal from scratch. If I always have a meal or two in the freezer, then I always have a backup plan. This is especially useful on a Saturday evening when you are just too lazy to cook.
Meal planning is totally different (and often non-existent) for everyone. I hope insight into my ways prove helpful to you. When executed from a different angle, sometimes what was once a major chore can become a lot of fun (especially if you add a glass of red wine to the process ;-) ).

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What to do, what to do.

This afternoon my very sweet husband is giving me a couple hours off from mommy duty to...well,to do whatever I would like. I don't even know what to do with myself. It's something that is so rare for most of us mothers that it's hard to even remember what we used to do BC (before child).

I do know that I need it, though. Wyatt spent three days in full-on teething hell. He was running fevers, snot nosed, and cranky as could be. He couldn't stand for me to leave his side. So I didn't. I cuddled. I consoled. I was pinned down on the couch for hours at a time while he napped through the pain. By 7pm last night, I felt like I had run some sort of mommy marathon. I need a break.

It will probably just be a few small errands and a Starbucks coffee, but hell, after the past couple of days, that is just the kind of two hour vacation I need.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Computer troubles and other complications.

I have a lot if things I would like to blog about right now, but in the last three or for days, I have experienced multiple computer/internet problems, a randomly sick husband, and a feverish, teething toddler. None of these things are conducive to perfective blogging (or effective house cleaning).

Just know, you have not been forgotten, simply put on the back burner.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I choose to be superficial today.

Oh new dress, you have lingered in my closet for the last nine days, sad and neglected. No more, I say.
The last few days have been a bit trying. After three whole days of ritualistic, homeopathic wound cleaning and treatment, as well a the exhaustion of battling an infection the old fashioned way, I need a win.
So today, I choose to be superficial. I choose to feel pretty, even if it means looking a little ridiculous prancing around the house in a seersucker dress because we have nowhere to go. Even if it means wearing an apron to do the dishes. Even if it means impractically wearing my hair down in 90 degree Central Florida weather. Today I choose frivolity.
Give it a shot; you might like it too.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Wyatt meets watermelon.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned about parenting is to take even the smallest of victories when you can get them.

Anyone who knows Wyatt has probably heard me describe him as a picky eater. Getting my boog to eat anything other than jarred baby food (which I should have NEVER introduced) or crunchy snacks has been a major struggle for us. I have done my best to be patient and give Wyatt the time he needs to get comfortable, but it is definitely frustrating at times.

Once a week or so, I will feel inspired to introduce a new solid for him to try. It usually ends up with him spitting it out, shaking his head, and throwing said food on the floor. Who knew a fourteen-month-old could be so fiercely opinionated? This week, I decided to give watermelon a go. Why not? We had three full ziploc bags of it leftover from Jason's party, and I am getting pretty tired of it already. He LOVED it! Like, shoveling-multiple-pieces-in-his-mouth-at-a-time kind of love. Like, stealing my watermelon out of MY bowl kind of love. I could not be more thrilled.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Wyatt and watermelon.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Making the best of it.

This Thursday morning is not our typical Thursday morning. Normally, I would be getting Wyatt and myself ready for a walk with Brie and Jack, but on this particular morning I have to make my third visit (in less than a month) to the dentist in order to get proper authorization for an oral surgeon. Don't get me started on the many frustrations that go hand-in-hand with having an HMO.

In order to make the best of my morning and not get too bummed, I turned to my very neglected (and very dusty) DSLR. It's old; it needs to be repaired; it gets the job done. It felt really nice to get a few real photos of my little one and tinker around with a little photo editing. Why did I ever stop doing this?