Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's a crafty weekend.....

Boy did I do some retail damage at Hobby Lobby this weekend.  Mimi and I went out together yesterday (diaper free outing for Mimi go her!) and spent a good hour or two picking up all of our holiday supplies.  While we were there we picked up some supplies to do a craft I saw on Meg's Pinterest account.  I think Pinterest is pretty evil.  Evil in that it distracts me from working and makes me spend money on DIY craft projects.

Here's the what I made:

I wish I would have painted the letter red first, kind of tacky looking I guess.  For $4 who cares, i'll make it nicer next year when we have a real house to decorate....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Sluggishness

Man oh man, did I eat yesterday.  I drank carrot/apple juice most of the day in attempt to "save myself" for dinner.  We were actually pretty on top of things as far as food preparation goes.   We had brined the turkey overnight and baked the casseroles in the morning before the turkey went in.  My friend was bringing stuffing, wine, and pie.

We took our dog for a nice walk and then went for a family bike ride to a local park.  After Mimi's nap we attempted to look presentable for our feast.  We had two friends from our apartment complex join us for dinner around our tiny table.  We made the best of our unique kitchen setup and had a great dinner.

We even cleaned up before bed and had everything tucked away safely for the next day's leftover dinner.

I am thankful for so many things this year.  I am thankful for having loving family and friends (including my cyber ones).  I am thankful for food and home.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it).  I wish you all safe travels back to your homes if you travelled.

Are you ready for Christmas?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Peer Potty Pressure

If one more person tries to pressure me or guilt me into finishing potty training I'm going to shake them.    Mimi is my child last time I checked.  I know my own child best, last time I checked.  It's total "normal" for a 2 1/2 year old to not be 100% potty trained, last time I checked.  And most important, I don't care when you potty trained your child or how you did it.  All children are different. All children respond differently to training techniques and timing.  Now that we got that out of the way.....

I started introducing "potty training" about a month before Mimi was 2.  Probably a little too early.  At first she was really excited and loved the novelty of it.  She didn't really have any sort of control over her urine, but occasionally we'd catch her at the right time and she'd go and we'd celebrate her.  From there we transitioned to offering the potty and asking her to go frequently and she went through a period of NOT liking it. She would scream like I was killing her when I put her on the potty at all.  I backed off and a little later (maybe a month) started again with the treats.  One M&M worked for awhile, then it wasn't enough of an incentive to get her to potty when she was otherwise engaged in playing.  Then my husband gave her a WHOLE BAG (small halloween size) of M&Ms.  Candy pretty much works anytime we want her to go potty.  Fast forward to now,  months after ouf first potty training initiation.... When we are home, we leave her bottomless for the most part.   When she would pee on our concrete floors I'd make her help me clean it up and she quickly learned that it was easier and less work for her to go climb onto the potty and deposit the pee there instead.  So when left bottomless at home she will pee on the potty, and sometimes poop on it too.  She's going through the typical toddler phase of wanting to poop in the diaper and then promptly asking to be changed.

As it stands, when we're out of the house, she wears a pullup (which I originally had not intended on buying) and she very rarely asks to pee when we're out and about.  If I'm not being a lazy mom, I remember to ask her and we'll find a potty and she'll go, but in all reality, she just happily pees in her pull up and could care less it it weighs 10 lbs.  She's slowly starting to ask to potty when we're out of the house all on her own.  That is exactly what I wanted--for her to direct the process when she was ready.

Another hurdle we have yet to jump is nighttime.  Currently she still goes to bed with a sippy cup of water.  I think I'll leave her in a pullup at night even after she is 100% daytime potty trained because her hydration is more important to me than the fact that she wears a pullup to bed.  We'll slowly wean her off of needing that water cup and use proper underwear at night, but all in good time.

So If you potty trained your kid in a day or a week, or they're two or under two, etc.  Go you. That is awesome.  This momma is completely comfortable with how I am approaching potty training.  I'd say most parents are comfortable with how they do it and don't want your advice or tips, UNLESS THEY ASK.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Home Again and Happy

After 10 full days of work and visiting with dear friends, we are home in Texas.   I never knew how much Texas would feel like home to me even after only 4 months of being away.

I travelled back to FL to work with my advisor and visit with friends.  In retrospect, 10 days was a little long to be staying with someone with a 2 year old, and for my poor bored husband back home, but nonetheless we had a great time.

We went to a retired horse farm with my dear friend Grace and her children.  Grace bought two large bags of carrots and the girls had a blast walking this farm and feeding these gorgeous horses.   The horses have been "saved" or adopted from owners who can no longer take care of them.  What a beautiful place and fun activity.

We also visited with other friends and went to the semi annual art show.  Lastly, we did end up making it out to the Jacksonville Zoo, which Mimi really enjoyed.  I think she enjoyed the otters and the penguins the most.  She is at such an interactive and inquisitive age that I really enjoy activities like the zoo with her.  I wish Austin had a more "zoo-like" zoo, instead of the animal sanctuary.

I feel like it as a really productive and fun trip, with lots of dissertation work and visiting gone well.   I also checked in on our rental house and was happy to find our tenants are taking amazing care of our house and property.  They plan to renew another year, which totally helps us and makes up happy as well.

All in all it was a great trip but I'm really happy to be home in Texas.  I CAN'T believe it is Thanksgiving next week!! This year is wrapping up quickly....

Watch my video to see what may be in store for us in 2012.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hello from FL

Here we are on day 8 of our trip. We've had so much fun visiting friends and enjoying all that our former "hometown" has going on. We happened to catch homecoming weekend, the semi annual chocolate night at our favorite icecream place, and the art festival! Heck I even got my haircut!

Mimi and I have had so much fun with our friends (and her old little ones too).

I'm been able to meet with my advisor to get on the same page with my writing and discuss possibly graduating someday. This was actually the point of the trip!

I'm weary of living out of a suitcase and keeping Mimi from destroying my friends house. I miss my home. I miss cuddling in bed at night with my husband, the human furnace, and my normal routine and friends.

It was great to be back, but I'm ready for home.

With that I'll leave you with some iPhone pics from this week. I basically ate my way through Gainesville.....

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's okay to gloat a little....

So I'm here in Florida visiting and doing work and OF COURSE I brought my running stuff with me.  What kind of "runner" would I be if I travelled for 10 days and didn't bring my running stuff!?  Actually, in all seriousness I can't go more than 3 days without running or I start to feel restless and cranky.

So i'm finishing up week 2 of the 10K101 6 week training program.  I was supposed to run 4 miles yesterday.  I saw that little number 4 on my calendar and thought, oh man I don't know if I can do this.  I thought back to the last time I was able to run that far.  Last February I was working at this same 10K101 program and was at this same point in the training when I was getting these horrible headaches--long story short, my blood pressure was running 170/110 and was put on bp meds, I had to cut back my running for health reasons and never finished the program......Today I am on 2 medications, but I have no side effects from the meds and am able to run without any issues.  I'm going to finish the program this time.

So I set out with my running shorts and a long sleeve shirt.  When packing for my trip to FL I contemplated bringing my running tights, and paused and thought to myself "it can't be that cold in FL...." Oh man, it was cold.  I set out anyway, armed with my IPOD and positive attitude.  Between mile 2 and 3 I thought "Why the heck am I doing this!? Can I make it!?"  After I passed mile 3, I gained a 2nd wind and finished the last mile strong, just as Todd would want me to! lol  I felt so proud of myself, I felt like yelling out "YES! I DID IT!"

Right as I was finishing the last 1/4 mile of my race, this song came on my IPOD

I know what you're thinking "Jen, this is not a running song"  I know it's not fast-paced, but it's one of those songs that I can relate to my life and it inspires me.

I like the part:
Long walks in the dark through woods grown behind the park, 
I asked God who I'm supposed to be. 

I feel like that a lot lately.  I really don't know what I'm supposed to be, what my purpose is.  Right now I'm feeling pretty happy about rocking the mom and wife gig.  I feel really fulfilled and happy.  I haven't had any bouts of depression or anxiety since I quit my job.  I feel like everyday is a gift (well maybe not the day Mimi finger painted her room with her poop during naptime).  There's a small part of me that feels guilty over all the education I've paid for (and will be paying for forever) and thinks  I should  be working outside the home, but I remind myself that that time will come.  Right now it's time to raise my child.

In the end of song she says:
I lived it full and I lived it well, there's many tales I've lived to tell. I'm ready now

I hope I get to say this someday and mean it.  I feel like I'm on the right track....

Wow--this post about running got a little too warm and fuzzy for some of you I bet!  Anyway, I hope you have a great day!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Support a fellow Momma and Chica

I started Bloggin' back when I was preggers with Mimi.  After having her and spending hours a day nursing with no cable TV, led me to reading blogs and joining the "mom" community on youtube.  Through these two outlets I've met some really great Mommas that I would truly consider my friends.

I first got in touch with Courtney from KyleandCourt in 2009, when she left me a really uplifting comment when I found out Mimi was breech and that I would be having her via csection.  Since then I've met her several times "in real life" and now I've even moved to Texas and get to see her all the time.  I consider her a dear friend and thank God for bringing her into my life.  She's one of only a few people I feel like I can be myself around without judgement.

I also started following Meg from BringingupBumble at about the same time as Courtney.  This girl is so sweet, so honest, and so heart warming.  I'm sure you follow her already, if you don't go check her out.  She leaves me the most delightful and uplifting comments of support and humor on almost every blog post of mine.  I want so much to meet her and little Carter someday!  Hopefully I will, because my brother in law lives in her if I can only bring myself to visit my brother in law and his wife so I can finally meet Meg! lol  

I don't even know how I found the infamous Jess Craig, but I've been hooked on her blog for years now (well as long as she's had it!).  I have watched her grow from a new mom, blogging about the days where she doesn't know how to deal with motherhood, to enduring a lengthy separation from her military husband, starting her own design business, now and Aunt to little baby Q!  I love her brutal honesty about how she tackles losing weight, toddler issues, wife issues, and feelings about life, inadequacies and success.  I love her cooking posts, and beautiful photography.

Now I could go on all day listing more of the mommas i've connected with through blogging and youtube.  Please dont' feel like you're not special to me because I didn't mention you today.  My point is that the online mom community, even though it can be a ruthless place of overly constructive criticism---it can be a place of support and bonding and friendship.  A place where we can connect with each other over our common interests and support each other when we're really in need of some.

Jess really needs our support now ladies.  If my memory serves me correctly, she started blogging while her husband was deployed and she was home full time with her small infant (Wyatt).  From humble beginnings, her blog has grown into a place where she shares about parenting, cooking, weightloss, marriange, photography, and now graphic design.  She has a massive following and continually was updating her header with fun new creative graphics depicting photos of her with Wyatt or fun quirky graphics. She carved out a niche as a blogger header and button designer, where she makes a small income at home while watching Wyatt full time.  She wants to travel to the Altitude Design Summit this January in Salt Lake City Utah.  I won't do the description justice, so check out the summit description here on their site.  This conference will help Jess come together with other bloggers, connect with marketers, and discuss how she can make her blog grow and thrive.   Anything I an do to help another mom carve out a career where she can be at home with her baby I'm game for.  Growing her blog helps her become sustainable all while getting to raise her child, you don't get that opportunity a lot in the US.

Help a girl out.  
I don't normally support things like this--but Jess deserves this!  When I was just losing my weight last winter and was falling out of my size 16 and 14 cloths, with no real wiggle room in my budget for all new stuff--Jess sent me a GIGANTIC box of her clothes that she wore when she was a size 12 before she lost her weight.  All sorts of cool stuff from Gap and H&M and old Navy.  She never even asked for anything in return. She payed it forward--now I am.  I've donated $40 to Jess to help her go on her trip.
If you have any wiggle room in your budget, and a soft spot in your heart for a fellow mamma, blogger and chica, consider donating to her "trip fund."  It's safe easy, here the link.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!
(Now I'm gong to get back to work on my dissertation so I can help pay the bills someday!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Just a "normal" day....

Today we had to run errands all morning.  I never thought that getting stuff done with a toddler would be difficult.  I just never thought about it.  I thought as kids could walk on their own and communicate with you that they were just like "little people" that would follow you in and out of stores.  HA!  I get so frustrated sometimes dragging this 32 lb child into the grocery store and post office. Chasing her up the aisle, wrangling her into the cart.  She's not a bad kid, she's "just a two-year-old" my husband and I remind ourselves. I started to become a drive-through errand runner, picking up my prescriptions and banking all from the drivers seat.

Today I had to go to the insurance company's office to turn in my carseat and pick up my check for my new one that I bought.  Then we had to go to the bank and deposit some checks.  I told Mimi if she was well behaved and listened well all morning we would stop and get a donut.  Part of me thinks that she likes the act of buying the donut more than eating it. She hardly ever finishes her donut anyway.  I guess I'm trying to say that I bribe my child with food and I'm okay with that.  Anyway....

She was the best little girl ever all morning.  I let her pick out a donut and eat when we got home.  We sat outside on our patio and enjoyed our donut.  I just thought there was something so cute about her eating her donut with her whispy curls.  I couldn't resist snapping a few photos.

Well, we just got back from our 3 mile run and Mimi is passed out cold in her stroller parked in her bedroom! lol.  That's a first.  She must be tired. She never falls asleep in the stroller and hardly ever stays asleep once we get home.  She's pretty cozy in there, lol. I have the back of the seat reclined and the canopy down, she's a little bug snug in her B.O.B.

Well this mamma needs a shower!