Friday, January 25, 2013

A Method in the Madness.

My blog friend, Ryanne, included me in the "Liebster Award" which is a way for the blog world to get to know one another!  It's such a fabulous idea and I loved reading Ryanne's entry (which you can check out here) so I decided to take part as well.  I filled out something similar (Sisterhood of the World) a few months ago, so I will try not to repeat myself!

The first part is telling 11 things about myself.
  1. I grew up always thinking the more friends I had, the luckier I was - but over the last few years it's been proven that it is quality over quantity that's so important.
  2. I never liked Led Zepplin until a few years ago.  My husband (he was my boyfriend at the time) was pretty obsessed with them and for some reason it made me like the band even less and I refused to give them a chance.  Now, I just love listening to their music.
  3. The first concert I remember going to was Nsync.  And Lance Bass waved to me and my little sister.  I swear.
  4. I've only gotten into one (physical) girl fight and it was in the 4th grade at recess.  I'm not gonna say I won... but I'm pretty sure I won.
  5. I am not only obsessed with Coca-Cola but I really, REALLY dislike Pepsi!
  6. Tony and I started dating March 20 (2003), got married May 20 (2011), and Presley was born February 20 (2012) - so the 20th is a very special and meaningful day/number for us!
  7. The most difficult time in my relationship with Tony was the time we were long distance.  Not for the faint of heart!
  8. At one point in my childhood I had a banana-seat bike and I loved it - it was pink and girly and different - and then people started making fun of me for it so I asked for a new bike.  I wish I would have had the confidence back then to realize it didn't matter what anybody else thought because I really loved that freaking bike!
  9. My sisters and I definitely played Barbies passed the age that it is socially acceptable.
  10. I was so against the idea of a smartphone.  Why do we need them when we already have iPods?  (I mean, we paid a lot of money for our iPods and now they will basically be obsolete?)  Why do you need a phone that does everything?  I didn't like how consumed people were with them and especially didn't like the cost associated with them.  But now that we have them and see exactly how resourceful they are, I couldn't be more happy with the switch! 
  11. I used to love staying in hotels as a kid... but now they gross me out.  Who knows what kind of people have laid in that bed before you.... YUCK!

The second part is answering the following 11 questions.
  1. Why did you decide to start a blog?
    Well, I began writing in my first blog back in 2004 on a different website.  At the time I started it, a few of my friends had blogs and I thought it was a pretty cool concept.  I wanted to be able to keep up with their blogs and found journaling on the computer rather than on paper suited me well.  It was a rough time in my life and blogging really helped me by giving me an outlet.

    Then in 2010 I felt like I had outgrown my previous blog and that my life and taken a new turn away from the direction I was headed in years past - so I started this blog.  My last one was more private and was centered around pain and anger; I wanted to move away from that and felt I had blessings to share with others and that's how I started my current blog!
  2. How did you know your spouse was the one?
    Well this is certainly going to be difficult to answer!

    The way has always treated me and spoke to me - with respect and compassion and forgiveness that goes on and on forever.  He is kind and respectful and carefree.  He is easy on the eyes, has the best scent in the world, and no matter what we went through together I never got sick of him.  He has been my comfort for so many years and my protector and he never holds me back.  We have a connection that has always felt soul-deep.

    Short answer:  Everything.
  3. Name 3 of the most important people in your life.  Why are they so important?
    Tony and Presley (my husband and daughter) are a given - so I am excluding them from this question since my blog is always centered around what they mean to me!

    My big sister, Amanda.  She's not only my sister but my best friend.  We are 2.5 years apart and she has always been such a blessing - got me my first real job and watched my back at school and everywhere else we went.  One of my favorite memories is in my first year of highschool, I realized I forgot my lunch at home that morning.  Without a second thought, she gave me her lunch.  Another one of my favorites was letting me borrow her locker - we went to a pretty huge highschool and if your locker wasn't near any of your other classes it meant having to carry heavy books around all day, which is exactly what happened to me - until she told me I could use her locker anytime I wanted (which was located by several of my classes).  She's so giving and dances to the beat of her own drum and I love her.  We talk almost every day and have kids 5 months apart and my life would be so empty without Amanda!
    My little sister, Ashley.  My little sister has always been one of my best friends.  We are about two years apart and just had one grade between us in school and had a lot of the same friends - so we spent a ton of time together!  We'd always say that we shared half a brain.  Not sharing a whole brain, but half a brain, because we were so much alike and we made some pretty questionable choices back in the day - haha!  She was literally always there for me and I have so many good memories of her and I - we would spend our summers together staying up late playing video games, eating snacks, watching movies, and listening to our favorite CDs.  We butted heads a lot - and we still do to this day - but she still just understands me in a way that other people don't... not even my husband knows what I'm talking about sometimes and I'll say, "Well... must have been an inside joke with me and Ashley then..." :) 
    My best friend, Betsy.  And one of the first real friends I had here in the Quad Cities.  Went to high school with her, college with her, and we've worked together.  She's been here through some of my worst days (dragging me to bed after I've had too much to drink) and through some of my best days (stood by me on my wedding day) and she is absolutely irreplaceable.
  4. How do your personal beliefs (social/religious/philosophical) differ from your upbringing now that you are an adult? How have they stayed the same?
    I think my personal beliefs reflect very well of my upbringing and I don't think they differ much at all.  We've always been taught to treat others with respect and I feel that is still one of my top priorities today.  I grew up in the Catholic Church and still consider myself a practicing Catholic today.  It was also important in my family to do good for others and not just yourself (to be giving, to recycle/take care of our resources so that future generations could also reap the benefits, etc.) - which is even more important to me now than ever.
  5. If you had a million dollars, how would you spend it?
    On my family.  First up would be a house.  I would like to travel the United States with my family and possibly other parts of the world.  Beyond that, we'd probably try to save as much as we could.
  6. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    Great question.  In ten years I would be 35 and Presley will be almost 11.  I would like to live near family and have deep roots in our community, wherever that may be.  I would LOVE to be out of the Midwest and possibly well out of the baby stage at that point - hopefully with at least two kiddos at home.  I would love the opportunity to focus on myself and my career goals at that point in my life.
  7. What is one way you are seeking to improve yourself this year?
    Geez... these are really great questions!  I would like to improve my temper - which is something I have been constantly working on over the past 4+ years.  In addition to that, I need to get my body to a better place than it is right now and to make it a priority to become active every day!
  8. What is the best book you have ever read?
    I'm not sure if there is one book above all other books that is my favorite, per say, but the books that really sparked my love of reading as a young adult were the books written by Nicholas Sparks and Stephenie Meyer. 
  9. What song describes your mood today?
    Mark Salling's "Lone Ranger"
  10. Do you have any pets?
    No, but one day we'd like to rescue a pup and add him into our family!  We'd like to wait until we are living somewhere more permanent and possibly after the baby stage is over.
  11. Do you have a bucket list?
    Yep!  Not only do I have an ongoing bucket list - but I have a family bucket list for 2013.  I'm not obsessive over the lists, but they are nice reminders.
The third part is assigning 11 unique questions to the people I am asking to take part in this.
  1. Did you grow up listening to music in your house?  What are some of the albums/artists/songs you remember listening to and liking?
  2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
  3. What is your favorite TV show?
  4. When and why did you start your blog?  What is the significance behind the title of your blog?
  5. What song is fitting to the kind of day you've had so far?
  6. What do you consider your worst trait?  Your best?
  7. What is one of your most embarrassing moments?
  8. What do you look for in a significant other?
  9. Do you have any regrets thus far in your life?  If so, how have you tried to or hope to amend them?
  10. What is one of your biggest hopes for 2013?
  11. When you're having a bad day, what is it that helps you make it through the day?
And the fourth part is nominating 11 blog writers to take part if they so choose.  I adore and respect and enjoy the opportunity of getting to know these ladies through blogging.  I really encourage everybody to check each of them out!
  1. Caitlin at Catholic Cooke Jar
  2. Megan at Life Lessons of a New Mommy
  3. Lindsey at Style, Shopping, and Secrets
  4. Heather at According to Me
  5. Hali at Out of Complicated Theories
  6. Jessica at Letters to Wyatt
  7. Nikki at Life of the Lasseter's
  8. Mandi at Messy Wife, Blessed Life
  9. Ashley at Every Little Beautiful Pieces
  10. Jen at Mise En Place
  11. Lisa at The Sweet Life of a Southern Wife
Also, if you're on Facebook, you can LIKE the page I started for my blog so you can stay up to date!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy 11 month birthday, Presley pants!

Well I do declare!  (That particular expression was for you, Amanda...)  I cannot believe it is already time to write this blog.  Today our little girly is 11 months old!  Let's delve into what's going on in Presley's life these days...

  • Chompers:  At the present moment, she's got 4 teeth up top and 4 teeth on the bottom of her mouth!  Two (of the four) top teeth are still fairly new and haven't come all the way down yet.  And man, she loves to use those teeth.  Her and I play this little game where she tries to bite my nose and usually she just pretends like she's gonna bite it and other times she actually does bite it.  I thought I was going to lose the tip of my nose the other day... geez Louise... I think we are going to have to discontinue this game pretty soon.
Excited about all her teeth!
  • Loves to SNACK!  Cheerios, puffs, green beans, bits of peaches,  raisins, Baby Mum-Mums, teething biscuits, bread, etc.... anything that is edible and as long as it is something she can pick up herself, she is usually thrilled about!  This also means she is liking pureed baby food less and less, unless it is out of a pouch!
The aftermath of a teething biscuit!
  •  Loves her Baby Einstein DVDs while mommy brushes her teeth in the morning or the rare moments mommy or daddy clean!
  • Not only has she perfected her speedy crawling, but she has also started pulling herself up onto her knees this week.  She's even gotten to do it in the crib - looks like daddy will be lowering that crib VERY soon.
  • We're still using the infant car seat instead of our convertible car seat... mommy and daddy are DEFINITELY still in denial!  She still fits in the baby seat, but I think she would be more comfortable in the big seat.
  • Finally getting plans together for Presley's first birthday!  Looks like we'll be having pizza and cake with some of our friends and family!
  • Still breastfeeding.  Still love it.  Can't imagine not having that time to bond with her but of course I will revisit the decision again next month!  To be honest, though, I don't think we'll stop there.
  • When we're in the car, I will turn on "Disney songs" Pandora and seems to really enjoy music intended for little kids!  Already showing preference to Disney - definitely our child!
  • Loves her shower time again!
  • She likes to take a few steps here and there if we are holding her hands.
  • Still reading her "Night-Night Little Pookie" every night and sing songs with her Twinkle Twinkle Little Scout.  She sleeps through the night with a fan and a few of her blankies!
  • She mainly wears size 3 Pampers Cruisers and we still absolutely love the fragrance-free Parent's Choice wipes!  Also still using her wipe warmer.
  • We started brushing her teeth in the morning and night and she thinks it's silly but she likes it.
  • She's been a tough cookie when it comes to bumps and bruises that come along with the territory of crawling and exploring.  She hasn't really had her first injury yet and I hope we can keep it that way because I'm not sure how Tony or I will survive it!
  • Presley love to clap when we say "YAY!" and also when we ask her to clap - depending on her mood, of course.  She waves when we say "Hi!" or when we ask her to wave.  She's so friendly and loves to get people's attention when we are out and about.

    And that's what's new in our home.  Take heart everybody, I guess tomorrow is known as "Blue Monday" and is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.  Don't be afraid to do something special for yourself tomorrow - and while you're at it, be considerate of how you treat your coworkers, friends, family members, and others you come in contact with tomorrow.  Make the most of your week!

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Make it Count.

    Tony and I decided to start a "Wish List" of things we'd like to do as a family in 2013 in order to make the most out of the next year.  (Hopefully will be able to cross some of these off my on-going bucket list, as well.)  So far, this is what our list consists of:
    • Visit a new zoo.
    • Go to an NBA or NFL game.
    • Make going to church as a family a priority.
    • Go OUT on a date once a month.  (Somewhere different each month - no repeats!)
    • Have weekly date night in!
    • Donate blood together.
    • Complete a 5k together (again)... this time, no stopping (for me)!
    • Share peak/pit moments each day.  (Either at dinner or bedtime... still undecided.)

    Hopefully we will add more to our list as the week goes on.  We talked about some of the goals we have individually, as a couple, and as a family and it just made the most sense to start a list of things we'd like to accomplish in order to move closer to those goals.  (For example, one goal for us as a couple was to spend quality time together to celebrate our special marriage - so we added going out on a monthly date to our wish list.)

    I was talking to a married mama friend of mine earlier today about how easy it is to reflect on our blessings during the good times.  Though Tony and I have been together for a chunk of time now when you consider dating, we are still considered newlyweds to some.  We all know that things are typically well-maintained in the beginning and as time goes on you are put through many tests which can really wear and tear a relationship.  I recognize this and I don't want to come off boastful when I write about our happiness and assure you even in these early days, our relationship has so much growing to do.  I don't want anyone to be under the impression that we are perfect (because, we aren't!) - we have tempers and egos and sometimes we let them get the best of us... or that we just sit around giving each other googly-eyes at home (because, we don't!) - not every day is particularly romantic... or that I end each day completely fulfilled in my roles as a wife or mother (because, I'm not!) - somedays there is nothing more that I look forward to than just some quiet time alone!  (It's also a little harder for me to want to publicly share any of those "pit" moments of our marriage here on my blog versus the "peak" moments.)  I feel like the true test of our marriage will be our resilience through the trials... how we treat each other through the happiness as well as through the tough times... and put those vows to work! 
    Side note: The friend I was talking with, Lindsey, just recently launched her own style blog offering women her personal tried and true tips on dressing themselves as well as their children and all things in between - I encourage you to check it out here and let her know what you think!

    So, what are some of the things you'd like to add to your 2013 Wish List?

    Here's to making it count!

    Once in your life you find someone
    Who will turn your world around
    Bring you up when you're feelin' down
    bryan adams

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    2012 in Review.

    This past year I started and completed Project 365 (well, 366 including the leap day) and after reading this post (from blogger "From Small Beginnings") I decided I will wrap 2012 up with a pretty bow and send it off with pictures from the last year of our lives.  I will try to keep it short and sweet but I'm not making any promises!













    It was a great year - but one thing is for sure - I can't wait to get back to our summer adventures.  Bring on the water, sunglasses, and smiles because I am ready!

    Thanks for being so great to us, 2012.  It will forever be a year of special memories we will hold very close to our hearts.

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    Top 5 Reasons Why I Love My Hubby.

    I love reflecting on my blessings and invite you guys to do the same!  If you want to participate and share the reasons you love your significant other, don't forget to link back to this post so I can add your posts to the bottom of this entry!

    For always being my best friend. 

    He's someone who teaches me, who helps me, who listens to me, who I can trust, who laughs with me, who loves me, who cares about me endlessly; I can always go to him and can count on him.

    Because he is mine.

    He doesn't play games, I don't have to guess if he is devoted to me or not - I am his wife and he is my husband and he never makes me feel otherwise.  (Yet, it is never about ownership with either of us, just to be clear.)  He makes himself and his heart available to me and I am so thankful for that.

    He is HOT!

    What?!  He is, can you blame me for mentioning it?  I will spare all the red-hot details (you're welcome, Selena!) since I know our families read this, but from his smile to his moves... my husband's got it going on!  And I hope that every woman would include this on their list as well because attraction and intimacy is so important in a marriage!  

    (I'm not saying that there won't be ups and downs when it comes to the level of attraction between two people - especially two people who know everything there is to know about each other - but as long as it is there in some capacity most of the time, you're doing alright!)

    He shares.
    He shares in my joys and upsets as if they were his own, he learns to love the things I love (Starbucks, all things Disney, Harry Potter, finding good deals, etc), he also shares the things he loves with me (football, cars, blackjack, the Beatles, gadgets, etc), we share common interests (Coca-Cola, exploring new places, visiting zoos, food, our families, etc) and my favorite of all he shares his time with me by making me and Presley a priority! 

    He is a dad.

    You know that saying, "Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad" - well that is Tony.  I say this all the time, but it's so fun watching him be a dad to Presley.  And I love that the few times we have gone out just the two of us that he brings up Presley just as much as I do! 

    There are so many reasons why I love my husband and to be able to name several off the top of my head makes me very happy.  Now, what are your top 5?  (And don't feel like you have to stop there!)