Friday, March 29, 2013

Happies & Crappies {link up}

The Vintage Modern Wife: Happies and Crappies Link Up
 I decided to take part in Stephanie's weekly link up over at "Vintage Modern Wife" for the first time!  Here we go...


  •  It's almost April and the weather is still pretty "BLAH" outside.  (Though, today was finally a pretty nice day out!)
  • Missing my sisters and in-laws lately.
  • Haven't been out on a date with the hubs (sans Presley) in months.  And I know that if we lived near my sisters, in-laws, or my cousin then we would have more opportunities to get out.  But honestly, this is life!  Even though it's a little crappy to miss out on regular date nights, I wouldn't say it's something I miss as much as I did in the beginning.
  • This is a little on the silly side, but when I stepped on the scale after 24+ hours of the stomach virus, I weighed the exact same as before.  dangit
  • The University of Memphis being out of the March Madness tournament already.
  • A sink full of dirty dishes!  Yuck!  [Vent:  I hate being the one to do both the cooking AND cleaning in the kitchen!  If we had a dishwasher, it wouldn't be so bad.  And don't get me wrong... I absolutely enjoy cooking.  But not in a dirty kitchen and not when I know I'll be the one scrubbing dinner off the dishes a few days later after waiting for someone else who said they would do them!  Anybody else know the feeling?]

  • Not only does Tony have Good Friday off from work, but he's also going to be home with us on Monday after Easter!  Yippee for 4 day weekends!
  • Won some super fun giveaways recently that I failed to blog about, for fear it would come off as bragging!  However, they deserve recognition and thanks for such fun giveaways.  Thank you to Erica at "To the Sea" and Lisa at "The Sweet Life of a Southern Wife" - two ladies I genuinely enjoy getting to learn about through their blogs that I love to read!  {Look out for a more detailed post on this later on.}
  • Finding five boxes of Baby Mum-Mums for Presley about half off normal price!  Score!
  • Very grateful for FaceTime with my in-laws!
  • Spending time with family this weekend for Easter!
  • FINALLY made it to the zoo for the first time this year.  It feels like forever since it was last open!
  •  Presley's finally starting to (occasionally) cruise around furniture... so walking {might} be in our near-ish future.
  • Presley being an awesome eater and sleeper!  Makes my life all the more blissful!
  • The accomplished feeling you get after cleaning a sink jammed full of dirty dishes!
  • Chick-fil-A sweet tea.  Enough. Said.
  • Shopping at Target.  As if Target wasn't already fabulous enough, pretty frequently you can find their meat considerably marked down!  I love saving money!  And now we have a freezer full of meat for future use and I could not be more satisfied about that.
The discounted meat has these nice red $3 off coupons on them!

I hope everybody has a wonderful Easter weekend - and may your happies far outweigh your crappies!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

50 Questions (Part Six)

Just continuing my quest to answer the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind...  over halfway through!
(part one, part two, part three, part four, part five)

26.  Would you rather lose all your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
Shoot.  That's truly a tough choice.  If you lose your old memories, you lose the ties you have to the people and faces you ought to know, right?  But if you lose your ability to make new memories, you are somewhat stuck.  I have a good 20+ years worth of memories stored up, not to mention, if I erase my old memories, then I let go of my dad altogether.  I love the memories I've made with Presley over the last 13 months, but if I don't let go of those memories, I forfeit all of the potential memories we have to make with one another.  I guess if I had to choose, I would let go of the past and embrace what is yet to come.  I imagine it would be painful to make that decision but once it's made it would be pretty freeing!  No more painful memories of the past... no more reasons to recall the mistakes I've made... and a chance to right the things I've done wrong.  Even still, that is a TOUGH decision.

"I look to the future because that's where I'm going to spend the rest of my life." 
George Burns @ 87 years old (who lived to be 100)

27.  Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
I suppose you could have an inkling one way or the other what the truth is, but it wouldn't be as solid if you didn't test it first by looking at things from every possible angle.

28.  Has your greatest fear ever come true?
I suppose my greatest fear is relative to what my life is like at the current moment.  At one point I considered my greatest fear losing a parent, and yes, that happened.  Then my greatest fear became losing my existing parent.  It then evolved to losing my sisters.  From there is developed into losing my spouse and now it is losing my daughter.  I suppose the ongoing theme is losing someone I care deeply about and couldn't imagine my life without.  So, yes, that has happened.  I guess it's living proof you can survive even your deepest fears one way or another, no matter how painful.

29.  Do you rememeber that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
Let's see... five years ago was March 2008.  We were currently living in Collierville, Tennessee and according to my blog at that time, Tony and I were really at a make it or break it point in our relationship together.  It was stay together and move together to Illinois or end things and go our separate ways.  Let me just say this... When unhappy, one doubts everything; when happy, one doubts nothing. Joseph Roux
That was pretty true of the situation we were in at the time.  For me personally, I just was not where I wanted to be and I wasn't happy with my day-to-day life - something ABSOLUTELY needed to change.  Thankfully, things DID change just a few months later as Tony and I both moved to the Quad Cities!  It was a huge leap and we went into it without looking back or thinking twice, really.  To say that it changed our lives for the better is a large UNDERSTATEMENT.  To answer the second question now, it doesn't quite matter now other than those struggles were absolutely imperative to growing for me personally.

30.  What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
Wow.  I think my mind automatically went to bike rides with my dad and sisters.  We went on those adventures on our bikes pretty often.  Most people wouldn't understand what the big deal was and it doesn't help that I can't quite explain what made it so special other than there was never a dull moment.  We had great conversations and laughed a lot and it was special to spend time with our dad (because we was out of town pretty often with work).  It felt great for dad to take time just for us.  For young kids, we really biked a long way, too.  It took a lot of work and I remember often feeling like I couldn't keep peddling on the way home.  But when we finally got into our neighborhood, I remember just feeling so accomplished!  I can't wait to live in a town where I can do exciting things like that with Presley someday.  I hope she is as willing and adventurous as we were as kids and I just pray that we live in an area with as gorgeous and safe bike trails as we had in Shelby County!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Currently {link up} x4

The prompts this week are {feeling, imagining, considering, listening to, and moving}

Feeling... Spring cleaning creeping up into my bones!  It's a good feeling.  The past few weeks I've just looked around and thought just how much stuff we have lying around here that we don't use or even notice anymore.  Hopefully I can get rid of some serious baggage around here and then do some deep cleaning!

Imagining... What it would be like to live like a bunch of hippies like in the movie Wanderlust.  Tony and I just got done watching it and while it's mostly just a funny movie - it does get you thinking about the lifestyle we live and whether or not we're actually happy or just chasing our tails.  Definitely a good and funny movie depending on what you like.

Considering... A few books for my next read.  I just finished The Vow and it was fantastic.  Next up is going to be one of the following:  Beautiful Creatures, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, or Rum Punch... it all depends on which one comes into the library first!  Any input?

Listening to... Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience" over and over.  I can't tell you my favorite song yet because honestly, they all just flow together so well and I get swept into the music without thinking much about individual tracks.  Cannot wait for part 2 of this album later this year!  So proud of being growing up in the same town as someone so talented and creative as this man.... I imagine I will be a lifelong fan of his!  Most currently listening to "Don't Hold the Wall"...

Moving... To the beat of my own drum {always}.  Thankfully, Presley doesn't know anything about judgement or criticism and she's the person I'm around all day... so when I do something silly instead of rolling her eyes or being embarrassed, she just shoots me a huge smile and shares in a belly laugh or two with me.  Best feeling ever is dancing all crazy to Disney music with either her in my arms or her watching me move all over the place & knowing she's having just as much fun as I am!
This baby girl is easily becoming the best friend I've got and ever had


What's New Wednesday!

Man oh man, has it been a while since I have been sick!  Usually, I am the person who gets sick every few weeks.  In college, I blamed it on lack of sleep.  While working at a video store, I blamed it on handling germy money.  When I worked at the kids gym, I blamed it on the sweet hugs I got from the germy kids.  And now?  I am a stay-at-home hermit mommy!  We typically leave the house every day, most days just so we can get out of the house, so it's not that we live in a bubble.  I'm honestly not sure what has kept me so healthy but I really hadn't caught anything throughout my pregnancy or since becoming a mama - I'd say that's my longest streak perhaps EVER. 

So when I had Presley, I thought she would be sick all the time.  I'm not sure if it's been breastfeeding or the fact that she's not in direct contact with others on a regular basis, but she hasn't really been sick up until now either.  {I know just how lucky we are!}  Another thought that has crossed my mind was that maybe Presley inherited her dad's awesome immune system.  I promise you, this guy dodges illness with skill.

Well anyways, Presley and I just dealt with the stomach virus and it was not fun.  She had it and then passed it to me.  While she had the virus a lot longer than I did, I would say hers seemed more mild, thank God!  Me on the other hand?  I couldn't function for a little over 24 hours.  It's like my body just went into an automatic shutdown mode and all I could do was sleep (among other unpleasant things that I won't say here).  Thankfully, Tony loves us SO much that he stayed home from work to watch Presley as I was shutting down.  What an awesome man I am blessed with!  And after a full week of illness in our house - at the moment - we are doing fine!  Though, I am honestly just waiting for the other shoe to drop... whether that means Tony gets it or Presley and I begin to pass our germs back and forth again... I hope I'm wrong!

Here are some photos of what we've been up to recently...

Presley's most beloved toy at the current moment... ladies and gentlemen, a Starbucks straw.

Giving the baby on the screen a kiss!
Presley's Palm Sunday outfit (we went to evening mass on Saturday... so technically was Palm Saturday if you ask my hubby - hehe!)... don't you just love her crazy hair?  Baldy up front and hair in the back ;)

Some photos of Presley that Tony took while he took over as the full-time parent while I was sick!  She is saying "cheese" in the bottom too - such a sweet little goofball!

In other super-duper-big-girl-exciting-news... we finally switched Presley to a BIG GIRL toddler car seat!  She's still in a rear-facing seat, but it was time to get her out of the infant seat.  By the height & weight, she was still okay in the other seat... but her head was starting to get too high and if we had gotten into a wreck, she might not have been as protected as she would be in her new seat!  {I can't believe I don't have a picture of her in her new seat yet!!!}  I thought she would LOVE her new seat... and she did for the first maybe 15 minutes... but now that she realizes she can't turn her head to see us anymore - she hates it!  Hopefully this will get better once we put up a little mirror for her back there... but I don't know.  As long as she's safe, though, I am a-okay!
Turns out, Tony had a picture of Presley in her car seat on his phone.  Too bad it was taken by Presley herself and the only thing you can see is her forehead and the head/neck protector.  :)
And that's what's been up with us lately!  Hope Spring shows it's beautiful face here for us all very soon... fingers are crossed!

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Marriage Monday: Stop Fighting in Front of Your Children!

"The greatest gift a man can give his children is to love their mother. The greatest gift a woman can give her children is to love their father."
Rabbi Shmuley

Being a parent, your number one priority is to protect your children - whether it is preventing physical, emotional, or psychological harm.
Support your newborns neck... Never leave your child unattended on your bed... Don't start solids too soon... Make sure the car seat is installed properly... Bottle-propping is a no-no... Set the thermostat between 68-72 degrees at night!  
From day one, you are given lists of cautionary rules concerning your child's physical harm that are given to new parents to give your child the best chance of surviving and if you are anything like my husband and I, you find out what works as you go but you are deathly afraid of breaking any rules up front.  These rules are typically pretty black and white so they are fairly easy to follow.  However, when it comes to meeting your child's psychological needs, the rules tend to blur into the gray area.  To be fair, most parents aren't always properly equipped with how to meet those needs as there are far more guidelines given to parents concerning physical well-being over anything else.  So let's talk about the psychological health topic concerning family conflict - more primarily, the effects of fighting in front of your kids.

As you already know, marital conflict is inevitable.  You are not only dealing with the normal stresses of life, but on top of it you've now got first time parenting stresses as well.

Fact is:  Parenting can be DRAINING
It's very hard on a marriage when you don't always get the moments to recharge your batteries as husband and wife, especially in those early days.  {It's common knowledge in our household that the baby days - and most of the first year of parenting - is all about just surviving!}  Taking all this into consideration, it's likely that your emotions will get the best of you once in a while and you will make the mistake of arguing in front of your kids.  It happens!  Like I said before, it's not always common knowledge just how awful it is for parents to fight in front of the children.  While it's absolutely not a fun topic to write or read about - children deserve for their parents to preserve their innocence.  And this is precisely why writing on this topic is so important to me - if this reaches and educates another parent who can do better for their child, I will be supremely happy.

SIX "Stop Fighting in Front of your Kids" FACTS:
  • Children are NOT emotionally equipped to handle fights.  There is nothing within them to handle that kind of trauma.
  • When children are exposed to the tensions that accompany arguments and fighting, they begin to lose the belief in the underlying unity of the world.  At this point, they begin to believe the world is all about conflict.
  • Children LEARN what they LIVE.  {It doesn't matter how much you teach your kids about being peaceful, loving and respecting others - they won't believe a word you say if you aren't practicing what you preach.} 
  • Therefore, if your children seeing you bully one another, they learn to bully others.  This includes bullying you once they are in their teenage years!  Just don't condemn your children to a future with that unhealthy pattern.
  • When you and your spouse lose your temper in front of your kids, don't just sweep it under the rug.  Do take a moment to apologize separately to your children.  But know that if you do this too many times, your apology will not mean very much.
  • At all costs, AVOID arguing adult topics in front of your kids.  (Examples:  Your sex life, your husband's hangover, etc...)  Also, AVOID arguing about decisions concerning your kids in front of your kids.  Work out disagreements over rules for your children BEHIND closed doors.
Here is some great insight to focus on the next time you start to feel out of control for those of us who feel like we simply "can't" control our anger...
It's not that you can't... it's that you don't control your anger. Have you had fights at your boss's house? At church? At a restaurant with friends? You don't do it when you can't.
So, keep that in mind next time - you are CHOOSING to put your child in the middle of your argument.  In reality, YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON YOU CAN CONTROL.  Take a moment and let that sink in.

When it comes to occasional, respectful disagreements in front of your kids with your spouse, those can actually be helpful for your children to witness.  It is role modeling healthy ways to deal with conflict.  After all, if your children never see healthy techniques for dealing with conflict, they will be unprepared to handle their own conflict out in the real world.  
Healthy: Forward progress and problem solving in front of your children.   
Unhealthy: Venting Resentments, name-calling, and repeating the same points over and over in front of your kids.  
As a rule of thumb, remember what I shared from Dr. Frank's marriage tips? "Arguments are a natural part of any relationship, but cruelty is not. Above all, happily married partners see each other as allies, not as adversaries."   
No name calling.  No foul language.  No yelling.
These are GREAT tips for EVERY marriage - whether or not kids are involved or not.  If you are a faithful person, give yourself a moment before you engage in an argument with your spouse and pray... you would be surprised how calming this can be!

If you find that the arguing between you and your spouse is getting out of control, try not to isolate yourself.  Surround yourself with those who love you so they can support and encourage you.
Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."  (Acts 20:35)  But I also believe that in order to truly give, you must know what it is to truly receive.  When tragedy strikes... don't cut yourself off from the world.  Instead, reach out to your friends and family, and to God.  Then you will know what it is like to receive, and as a result you will know how to give to others. 

And finally, if all of these tips fail... call a time-out with your spouse!  You can pick this argument back up in a more remote place - away from your children's watchful eyes and listening ears.

I need support, where do I turn?
Oprah: Fighting in Front of Your Children
Dr. Phil: Stop Fighting in Front of the Kids

The Dangers of Arguing in Front of Your Kids -
Arguing in Front of Children -
Smart Marriages: The coalition for marriage, family, and couples education

Friday, March 22, 2013

Currently {link up} x3

The prompts are {cleaning, planning, planting, skipping, and wearing}

Cleaning... Phew, this afternoon I cleaned some dishes (yeah, we don't have a dishwasher... it's not fun!) and cleared a ton of junk out of our pantry... and it felt great.  Wish I would have taken before/after pictures!

Planning...On watching Scrubs, Private Practice, and Mad Men from start to finish.  I love you, Netflix.  Also... kinda want to watch Hart of Dixie as well - has anybody been watching it?

Planting... Um, not a thing.  Not only because it's freezing (and we're supposed to get a ton of snow over the weekend), but also because I've never planted anything of my own... ever.  I cannot wait to have my own flower bed someday as well as a vegetable garden!

Skipping... Absolutely Incredible Kid Day at Fazoli's.  [Insert MAJOR sad face here.]  I planned on taking Presley to Fazoli's today dressed in her Superman PJs but she hasn't really been feeling good lately.  I know it's silly, but I was looking forward to getting her dressed up as a superhero and eating her free kids meal! :-)

Four days of sick-girl-poopy-diaper-blowouts... all requiring a bath to get her cleaned up.  We will see what day five has in store for us!
Wearing... The best socks in the world... Puma socks put all other socks to shame!  You can find them discounted at Marshall's!  My husband and I are hooked.  No more cheap-o socks for us.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Marriage Monday: Tips from Dr. Frank!

Okay, so, last week I said I was going to write about fighting in front of your kids... but I am just not feeling it.  I absolutely feel like the topic deserves attention, but I realized I didn't want to talk about conflict specifically two weeks in a row.  So instead, I'm going to share some really simple ways to care for your spouse and marriage!  I figure we can only gain from hearing the insights of others who have "been there, done that" - am I right?

  •  Divorces run in families. If you didn't know marriages when you were growing up, find people who are married and find out how they do it.
  • Common courtesy plays a big role in happy marriages. People who are permanently married are polite to one another. They don't want to hurt one another's feelings, and they don't try to make the other one feel humiliated. People who are married for life are extremely kind to one another.
  • Arguments are a natural part of any relationship, but cruelty is not. Above all, happily married partners see each other as allies, not as adversaries.
  • You can't be right and married at the same time. If you're trying to be right and prove your partner wrong, you've stepped outside the marriage.
  • To go without sex is to endanger the relationship. It's very easy to build up an incest taboo in a marriage. If you go without sex, your instincts recognize this person as part of the family but cease to recognize the person as a sex partner. The response can kick in surprisingly quickly - in as little as six weeks. People make a terrible mistake in being angry with their marriage partner and cutting them off sexually as a way of arousing great passion. It used to work in the ninth grade. But it doesn't work in the ninth decade.
  • Caressing and contact is always a good thing. The great thing about sex at this age is it ceases to be great, and it becomes funny. It feels good, but you never know what's going to work and what's not. Which brings up another trait that long-lasting marriage partners often share: a sense of humor.
  • Humor is vital, but it is vital to be happy, too. A happy marriage is a marriage between two happy people.
  • You're not going to be in love all the time, but if you want to recapture that magic from when you were in love, be loving. Being loving to your partner makes you feel so good about yourself, it doesn't matter if you're in love or not. The marriage is making you feel good if you are loving in it.
  • There's no point battling age in yourself or in your partner. No one has ever won.
  • Always keep your pants zipped in public.
Frank Pittman, as quoted in the Marin Independent, Sept 23, 2007

I love these bits and pieces of marriage advice and have held onto this news article for many years now.  I don't know about you, but my first thought was, "Okay, that's nice and all, but who is Frank Pittman?"  I mean, anyone can write advice on marriage, but when I read things like this I want to know more about the person behind the words.  So naturally, I googled him and I am loving the results!

Evidently, good ole Frank (well, DR. Frank) has done a piece for Psychology Today which is poignantly titled "Ask Dr. Frank" where he answers the real question of real people on real psychology issues, for real.  As I was perusing these entries, I found some real gems, this one in particular is a favorite:

Dear Dr. Frank: Several years ago I divorced my wife and married Cherie, a woman I'd been having an affair with. She'd come from a broken home and had an unhappy childhood, and I admit, part of the attraction was that she seemed to need me.
Lately, though, I've begun to miss my children, but they won't have anything to do with Cherie. I don't think they understand her or our relationship. Is there anything I can do to patch things up and have a happy family again?

Dear In Love: No. You've already demonstrated that your children's well being is not a high priority for you. As for Cherie, a woman who would steal the man out of a family can certainly not be trusted with the children. Apparently, your children will still talk to you after what you did to them. Consider yourself lucky and don't push your luck.

And while I find the next entry a wee bit condescending, I really do love the general notion behind it all - you go Dr. Frank!
Dear Dr. Frank: My husband is essentially a good man, a good provider, and a good father. But I am not in love anymore. I believe it's a mistake to stay married for the children's sake. What do you think?
Dear Not-In-Love: I don't think it is sufficient to stay married for the children's sake; parents have a responsibility to stay happily married for the children's sake.
If you are married to a good man and still don't find it easy to be happy or loving, perhaps there is something wrong with you. You could be afflicted with anything from schizophrenia to romanticism.
Most likely, you are one of those romantic women who expects a man to make her happy. Men are useful for many things, but they are not generally kept around for their entertainment value. I've known women in your predicament who brought meaning and stability to their lives through such diverse activities as square dancing, fly fishing, and organic farming.
For your children's sake, if not for your own, find the things that will make you happy without having to run frustratingly through a variety of men, each of whom is sure to let to you down.
If you want variety in your life, try cable television.

I think it's super common to look towards your spouse for the majority of your fulfillment, but if we do that I agree that the results can be disappointing.  This is why I can really appreciate Dr. Frank's advice about picking up hobbies.  And for me personally, when a hobby of mine overlaps with something that interests Tony, it can be an even better experience.  Another bonus of having hobbies?  You don't have to feel bad about dumping a hobby once it doesn't interest you anymore.  ;)

Anything you feel strongly about that Dr. Frank touched on?  Any additional insight to add?

Would you like to share about your own marriage?  Any advice or opinions on marriage-related topics to offer?  If you would like to contribute to an upcoming Marriage Monday or suggest a topic, feel free to contact me!

Don't be shy! - we all have something wonderful to offer and your thoughts can be a breath of fresh air to another marriage!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Nice Weather Bucket List

Looks like it's almost time to celebrate one of my favorite Midwest holidays...SPRING-TIME IS UPON US!  Yes... March 20th is this upcoming week already.

One swallow does not make a spring.
Bluebirds are a sign of spring; warm weather and gentle south breezes they bring.
In spring, no one thinks of the snow that fell last year.
Don’t say that spring has come until you can put your foot on nine daisies.
Spring-time sweet!
The whole Earth smiles, thy coming to greet.
Spring Folklore                           

And not only is March 20th the first day of spring, it is also our dating anniversary... ten years ago Tony and I decided to make it official, boyfriend-and-girlfriend style.  Anyways, back to spring!  Other than looking for bluebirds and daisies to step on, this is what you can find us doing once the weather cheers up:

Some things are silly (trying the cool ranch doritio taco from Taco Bell) and others are things we've been wanting to do for a long time and just haven't gotten around to yet (like riding the channel cat or going inside the John Deere Commons).  We figure we won't be living in the Quad Cities forever and we want to live it up while we are here!  And of course, other things will just be exciting firsts for Miss Presley.  She has yet to get on a swing and I just can't wait to see how she likes it.  She hasn't been to a baseball game, ever seen fireworks, or ridden in her bike seat - and I am terrified when I think about that last one.  Also, we got an AWESOME fondue set when we got married and we have yet to use it.  I know, what in the world am I doing with my life?!  I think I take a peek at it every week and let out a long sigh!  It's absolutely time to light that baby up.  Or in our case plug it in... it's electric!  I think I'm most excited about the Quad City Marathon 5 Person Relay!!!  We did the QC Marathon 5k last year and it was such a fun time - especially all the fun stuff they have going on downtown Moline after the race.  Cannot.  Wait.  We're hoping to do a family relay team which will make it even more awesome.  Especially if my cousin Breanne signs up with us... then we will have someone who can totally kick ass at the longer legs of the race!  ;)  Of course, I say this all now before I begin the actual running!  I remember when we did the C25K last year I kept telling Tony that not all bodies were made to run.  Hopefully I can change that theory this summer.

Alright... so what's going on this Spring and Summer in your town? 

Chasing Moonlight & Roses

Link Up!
 Ashley Noelle @ Every Little Beautiful Piece

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday's Letters {Link Up}

If you believe I have gone a little crazy with linking up lately... you would be correct.  I totally get in ruts when it comes to blogging and while I don't feel like I have too many unique things to say, I find myself drawn to writing anyways.  Thus the amount of prompts recently!

Dear week, You absolutely flew by!  Unfortunately, this wasn't because of the old saying "time flies when you're having fun!" - it was more along the lines of sleeping this week away.  Presley has been taking long afternoon naps lately and for whatever reason, I have been napping when she does!  As much as I love the sleep at the moment (and I have such a lack of energy during the day from staying up so late), I really regret it afterward.  I have it in my brain that Presley sleeps longer when I'm sleeping too (I don't know how true this theory is...) but I am really crossing my fingers and praying for a more productive week ahead.   
Dear taxes, Get ready for me to absolutely HANDLE you this weekend.  That's right, I'm doing my our taxes for the first time since... 2008?  Our amazing (and amazingly inexpensive) tax guy retired and we were so lucky to have his assistance over the last few years.  So since we are tight on money anyways, the best option right now is for me to do it.  Here's hoping I do an excellent job!
Dear Tony, You really amaze me and continue to do so over and over again.  You have just been such a rock-solid partner; I really feel extremely undeserving.  More than anything, thank you for the little things... to me they are so meaningful. You are my biggest cheerleader and I love you for it.  Namely, thanks for believing you married a good cook.  I know it may sound silly, but it means so much to me.
Dear Presley, I cannot wait for Spring, Summer, and Fall!!!  Winter has lasted long enough TOO LONG.  Your daddy and I put together a "Nice Weather Bucket List" and we cannot wait to get started!  Most of all, I cannot wait to see you crawling (and possibly walking and running) in the grass this summer.  You were so little last year that I don't think you even touched grass to be honest with you.  It will be so awesome to watch your little mind at work as you experience so many new things this year.  I love you so much!  Also, please stop bumping your head on everything.  It makes mama so nervous and so sad to see you cry.
Dear fellow bloggers, You are really rocking lately.  There have been a plethora of great reads lately and I consider myself VERY lucky to have found such great people to connect with.  Here have been some of my favorite posts lately:  Catlin over at Catholic Cookie Jar (I know, I'm always talking about her blogs!) just wrote on "Getting Out of a Spiritual Slump" and it's as if some of my biggest concerns were answered for me - almost step by step.  If that isn't God at work, I don't know what is!  And His timing is really amazing.  Now, it's just about finding the courage and will to get out of this slump..!  Next is Allie at Table for MORE.  She wrote a post of some really thoughtful "Mommyisms" of hers - whether they are opinions, tips, advice, etc... she shared some really great thoughts on motherhood and what works for her.  I am absolutely considering implementing some of these!
Dear Nicholas Sparks, While I wouldn't say "True Believer" is at the top of my list of my favorites of your works... you DID surprise me!  What stared off as a very slow read, I ended up flying through it and thoroughly enjoyed the book overall.  Next up is the follow-up book "At First Sight" and guess what?  Just as slow of a start as the last. *sigh*  Hopefully I can stick with this one...
Dear readers, Will someone please tell me what all this hooplah is about the Google Reader issue?  I've tried to read about it and find that I don't understand what this means or who this effects.  Thanks in advance!  Though I still don't understand it (fully) - I am getting the idea that everyone is switching from Google Reader to Bloglovin... so if you'd like to keep up with our happenings here on Chasing Moonlight & Roses - please Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Dear Mexican chocolate cake, You better be worth all the dirty dishes... here is the recipe for the cake (I did not go with the mascarpone frosting - but this frosting recipe instead).

A few pictures from this week:

That's all for now - hope everyone enjoys their weekend!


Since When?!

Since when was it acceptable for {the majority of} swimsuits to look like no different from your bra and underwear?
Now.  Just not my cup of tea.

...and then.  Not only were these more modest, but to me, they are so much more flattering as well.  Okay, now I'm sure I sound like a prude.

Not a huge difference between Jessica Biel in her swimsuit versus her bra and underwear, am I right?  Am I the only one who thinks it's kind of odd for us to go out onto a beach or to the pool and essentially walk around in our underpants??
 {Nothing against these gorgeous and fearless women - I am absolutely not trying to cut down any women down for what they choose to wear!  However, I am just sad that this is considered completely normal in our society.  I am not comfortable putting my body out there in this capacity for everyone to see.  When I reflect back, I've always had anxiety about getting in a swimsuit in front of others and I wondered what was wrong with me?  Why was I so anxious and not confident enough?  Now I realize that NOTHING is wrong with me.  The two options at most retail stores are:  tiny and stylish or modest and ugly, am I right?  I know the "old Hollywood" swimsuits are making a comeback and you can usually find some very stylish options online, but am I the only one who has noticed those are mostly a great deal more expensive and harder to find?  I cannot wait until modesty is much more mainstream...}

Since when did being a well-known child star go from looking like this...
The always adorable Shirley Temple. this?
The colorful Honey Boo Boo Child.

Since when were McDonald's drink sizes so HUGE?
The Japanese sizes are smaller and more akin to the McDonald's drink sizes in the 90s that I remember!  Almost every time I swing through the McDonald's drive-thru for a drink, the "large" I picture in my head is much smaller than the drink size I'm handed.  The cups have definitely gotten bigger over the years and I'd be interested to know when the  largest changes actually took place.

I don't know... maybe this stuff makes me sound judgmental, and if so then so be it.  While there are so many redeeming qualities of the current and up-and-coming generations, there are just as many things that just make me shake my head!  Some days I just wonder in what direction we (as a society) are heading.  Perhaps that's a common sentiment, no matter what generation you grew up in.  (For example, people in the 50s couldn't understand the change in dance styles - thanks to people like Elvis Presley.)  Maybe a few decades from now, it'll all make more sense than it does now.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Currently {link up} x2

The prompts are {watching, craving, looking, loving, and planning}

Watching... The Office - got to love this show.  I'll be so sad when it's over.

Craving... Budget Bytes: Dragon Noodles.  My goodness... this recipe is super easy and one of the most delicious things I have ever made at home if you ask me.  We tried this recipe over the weekend and this will be my third time making them already.  This time, I'm adding some flank steak to the recipe that I picked up on sale at Target a while back and we've had in the freezer for months now.  {Budget Bytes is my absolute favorite place to find awesome recipes that have ingredients we actually buy and have stocked readily... not to mention the recipes are for those on a budget who LOVE good food.  Sound perfect?  Don't take my word for it - visit Beth's blog & see for yourself.}

Looking... forward to Easter - we're hoping to travel up to my Aunt Jill's again.  We always have such a great time.  Not to mention, the food?  Delicious.

Loving... the fact that we are a little broke tight on money right now.  Okay, so I'm really not loving it, but there are aspects of it that I am loving.  Like the fact that we've been making meals at home, religiously, right now.  There isn't the option of grabbing take out so it goes without saying that we are eating at home.  Might sound stupid to you, but to me, I love the fact that we are just on the same page with that right now and that it goes without saying between Tony and I.  I love the fact that both of us are being creative with money right now and seeing how we can stretch our budget to include fun stuff where we can.  (I mean, there are tons of free things to enjoy around town!)  And I love the fact that it's bringing us closer as a little family.  You'd think we'd be stressed out right now but it has caused us to take a cold hard look at what we make and what we owe in bills each month and to take a responsible, realistic approach and that has taken a lot of the fear out of it.  {Even still, it still can be super super worrisome, especially getting behind on bills, but it doesn't hurt to look at the upside to every situation.}

Planning... to make our Niabi Zoo debut for the season this week!  I am so excited and shocked we haven't trudged out there yet, seeing as they opened Monday, but the weather hasn't been the best.  Hopefully we will have a LOT of zoo days this over the upcoming months!

What are you guys {currently} up to?


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Currently {link-up}

Wondering what we've been up to lately?  Well, you're in luck because it's time to tell you what we've currently been up to here in the Duggan household!
The prompts are {eating, drinking, listening, reading, thinking}

PRESLEY is currently:

Eating... spinach!  Okay, well not literally at this moment eating it... but lately, that is something she really seems to enjoy!

Drinking... water and breastmilk, only!  Some people might think that's boring for her - but she doesn't complain.  :) 

Reading... She's been loving this Snow White book I picked up on clearance (for 10 cents!) a few weeks ago.  She loves flipping it open and shut and looking at the pictures.  It's also one of the only books she'll sit still for these days.  Disney Princess in the making?

TONY is currently:

Eating... Leftovers!  I made a huge batch of Baked Ziti (I add spicy sausage to this recipe) so he's been taking that for lunch this week.  It is so delicious.

Drinking... Coffee - every morning - with peppermint mocha creamer!  Though, he just ran out and I've been contemplating making it to save some money... this is the recipe I am going to use, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Listening... Bruno Mars new album "Unorthodox Jukebox" much to my urging.  Seriously guys, if you like this kinda music, CHECK IT OUT.

Reading... ESPN magazine.  I got him a subscription for Christmas and so far it seems like it's been a gift he's liked. 

I am currently:

Eating...  the leftover Baked Ziti!  It's hard to resist.

Drinking... sweet tea - my absolute weakness!

Listening... the Grey's Anatomy Volume 4 Soundtrack.  Since the very beginning they've had such great music.  I can hardly believe season NINE is almost over.
Specifically LOVING "Worried About" by Lissie - check her out! She's from Rock Island, IL - also known as the "Quad Cities" which is the area we currently live.  It's pretty spectacular how amazing she is and the great things she's doing.

Reading... "True Believer" - it's a Nicholas Sparks book I've attempted to read over and over again over the past few years but I haven't made it passed the first 30-or-so pages.  I am determined to read it this time around but it starts off SO SLOW.  I'm reading this after his book "Safe Haven" which only took me a few days to read and I couldn't put it down!  Talk about night and day.  Do any of you guys read Nicholas Sparks books?

Thinking... of reading "The Vow" next.  I had no idea how happy reading again would make me!  So thankful Tony suggested it... no idea why I stopped in the first place.  I set the goal for a book a month and it's shaping up to be more like a book a week!  I really enjoy doing something solely for myself and to relax.

Congratulations if you made it to the bottom of this... I'm sure this wasn't the most enthralling post, but I sure enjoyed writing it.

That's all, folks!