Friday, August 30, 2013


We are on the way to the airport again to say goodbye to the hubby once more. I just feel numb. We have spent way too much time apart this last year and I am over having to say goodbye for another 4 months

It's hard not to get caught up in a vat of self pity. Getting sad about the husband missing Ethan's first birthday, or trick or treating with the kids, thanksgiving and all the other little things in between.

I am however so grateful that he did have more time off than we expected. We were able to squeeze in two family vacations, lots of date nights and plenty of lazy days at home enjoying each other and the kids

I hate how fast this past week went. I always want to slow down time and freeze the moments before he goes but sadly it's always as if someone hit a fast forward button.

I spent this whole week walking around the house crying at any given moment. And as our usual routine we spent yesterday avoiding and ignoring each other. Hey it works for us. And now I have a spotless house that is almost fully decorated for Halloween

I dread coming home to an empty house today and knowing that tonight I will go to bed alone. I will miss watching our shows together and rocking on the front porch after the kids go to bed and this weekend will be the worst. I hate holiday weekends when the husband is gone, when everyone else I know is spending the days together as a family.

But enough of that. My goal for the next four months is to slow down. Usually when he leaves I get so busy to help the time pass that I don't want to do that this time. If we spend a week at home in our pjs that is fine with me. As long as I'm spending time with the kiddos that is all that matters. And maybe ill finish the stack of books on my nightstand that I need to read.

At least I have the two cutest kiddos to help me pass the time when their dad is gone. And with fall coming up I have lots of fun activities for us planned.

Happy Friday everyone

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Finding a Balance- A guest post by From Mrs to Mama

Becky from Mrs to Mama is here with an awesome blog post to share with you. If you don't read Becky's blog you don't know what you are missing. She is amazing. So after you are done reading head on over and check out her blog. Be sure to stay awhile

Finding the balance. Can we just let out a big sigh right
now. For exaggeration purposes. Because just saying the word alone makes
 me dizzy. Nauesous as I begin to think about my to-do list, reminding
me of things in my life that are not balanced. Such as, household chores. Those {household things} get put on the backburner more often than not. "Tomorrow I'll do this.... {tomorrow comes}... okay, no, really, tomorrow I'll get this done...{one week later}... oh those windows that I've been talking about... about that."

I'm glad that Katie asked me to write about this topic as it is one
 that interests me the most. It's something that I enjoy reading on
other blogs and getting tips from. For me though, I'm not one to throw
out advice as much as I am just sharing my story and experiences. I
believe that things work for some people, and they don't for others.
Some things come easier during certain times in your life, and some
things are just not feasible at all. Regardless, balance is definitely
something that is important in my life {our life}, and finding the right
 balance for those crucial elements {marriage, parenting, household
duties, me-time, work, and more}, is what I am seeking on a daily basis.

Overall, I think I've got the balance thing figured out. When I
close my eyes, I see a pie chart. The largest percentage of my time and
attention goes to parenting, the next my work and marriage, and
everything else is kind of dispersed around depending on what I have
time for that week. The best way to describe how we balance the
different categories in our life is to list them out. That's how my
brain works anyway. Throught lists, pie charts, and random ramblings.
I'll list the top 4 things that take up most of my time.


This is 100%, all the time. There is no dividing this one up, and
this will always come first. Almost every other cateogry revolves around
 the children and what decisions need to be made. Husband and I want to
go out to dinner? Who's going to watch the kids. Household chores need
to be done? What can I preoccupy them with. Need to run errands and do a
 grocery run? When can I squeeze that around nap time. Deciding anything
 serious obviously always means that the children are at the center of
those decisions. I like to make lists and write down on our big calendar
 things that I want to focus on during the week with the kids. This
includes planned activities as well as "learning lessons {i.e. sight
words, telling time, months of the year, etc]."


This is equally as important as our parenting, but yet it is one
that is much harder to make time for. Not marriage in general, but
making time for the quality alone time that is necessary. Date nights.
Cuddles on the couch. Dinners {sans kids}. They are all things that we
love to do, that we need to do, yet, barely have time to do. I know that
 when the children get older, we will be able to do more of the
"couples" activities that we once did so often, but in the meantime, it
means date nights in, lots of snuggles when we can, and frequent visits
to grandma and grandpa's house so we can have a few "drinks." But to be
honest with you? Our favorite dates are when it's us and the family.  

Household Duties

I used to have a list. A list of "must-do" to maintain the
house. Then that list just became overwhelming and so I hid it. Now I
can't find it. And that's okay. I don't want to know where the list is,
and I certainly don't want to be reminded of all the things I have not
done. To be honest with you, we do the bare minimum most of the time.
Laundry gets done. Dishes get done. Floors get swept and vacuumed. Bath
tubs and toilets get cleaned {not as often as we'd like}, and everything
 else just gets done when attention is drawn to them.  For me, I try to
do the laundry throughout the day, dishes first thing in the morning
{used to be at night, but with two kids and an extended bed time
routine, they just have to wait for the AM}, and pick up as we go. If I
am able to maintain that, then I'm happy. And when I need a little
reminder, I turn to google: Google... please tell me how often I should
clean out my gutters. "Andrew....."

Personal Time

This category encompasses everything that I do that is either for
pleasure or work. This includes blogging, photography, reading, and
exercising. Okay, who am I kidding here... reading and exercising...
please laugh. I have not been able to read {finsih, I mean} a book
since... 50 Shades of Grey. I've started, yes. But finished? Not many.
And exercise? It's always on my mind... but in the past 3 years I've
either been pregnant or breastfeeding {which my supply does not like it
when I work out}. So until I'm done having babies, that part in my life
is just going to have to wait. Me-time is important to me, especially
writing. Therefore, nap time is usually devoted to this me-time. No
chores, no nothing. Just the quiet and some of the things that I love to
 do the most.

There are so many more "micro" categories that I could get into.
However, I think that you get the gist of it all from the first caetgory
 alone. Parenting. It will always take up the majority of my time and it
 will always have the biggest influence on every other aspect in my
life. It's the core and foundation. Our children and the decisions that
we make will always be at the center of everything else. I won't make
any apologies for that. It's a life that we have chosen, and I've
learned that finding the balance in life will just figure itself out as
you go.

At least, I hope so.

Thanks Becky!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The First Last

I posted this past Saturday about having to sleep with Gianna for both nap time and bedtime. How some times I sit there thinking of all the things that need to get done instead of just enjoying the moment with my firstborn. These past few days she has wanted to go to bed all on her own, she doesn't need or want me to lay down with her anymore until she falls asleep. And that makes me sad. I regret not soaking up all the previous nights laying with her in her dark room, listening to the sound of her breathe, watching her sleep, feeling her feet as they move up and down in a sideways motion( a behavior that she gets from me)But now she's a big girl and while I'm sure there will be many nights to come that she does want me to lay with her, I wander how many more moments will come and go and looking back in hindsight I realize I should have enjoyed them more. Those first lasts. Even Ethan,my baby needs me less and less. I soaked up holding him as much as possible this week since months ago he stopped needing to be held all the time, or wanting to be cuddled and rocked before falling asleep. As I lay in the hospital bed with him this past Tuesday, him gripping onto my hair for dear life, the same way he did when he was a baby baby, I soaked it in and never wanted it to end. And today as I was cleaning out his closet, I found a New Parent magazine, along with the name tag that ready Baby Finnegan. Boy 10/19/12 and I immediately burst into tears. If he was my last pregnancy I wish I would have enjoyed it more, relished every moment, taken more pictures, etc etc. But I can't do it all over. Life is full of moments that we wish we could do over, or have enjoyed more. I also know that not every moment will be one we can hold on to and soak up. Life goes on, things get in the way, errands need to be ran, cooking needs to be done. You know the drill. But sometimes I wander if we would do things differently if we knew the moment we are living in would be the first last. The first last day of school for your baby. Your first last pregnancy. Your first last time feeling your baby kick while still snugggled inside you.And even those moments that seem to be current annoyances, like folding baby clothes multiple time a day, or soaking formula caked bottles for the 10th time in the sink, or cleaning up the playroom knowing that the minute all the toys are put away your toddler is going to walk in and take them all out. All those little moments that we take for granted and will some day miss I found this article on facebook and had to share it with you all.

 This was written by Babette Maxwell founder of the Military Spouse magazine. To be taken directly to the source click HERE

 My oldest is about to start football. Not the non-tackle, flag variety, but the no-kidding, full-on kind that required a fitting of shoulder pads, helmets and a uniform. When we went in to the gym for his fitting, I could barely breathe. When did he grow up? When did he get hair on his chest and wear shoes bigger than my husband? Was I looking? I cannot seem to remember it all. And, I caught myself wondering…If I had known that certain things were the last time, would I have done any of them differently? If I had known the last time he willingly came into cuddle, would I have insisted he stay longer? If I had known the last time he wanted me to hold his hand, would I have hung on a little longer?

 If I had known the last time he ran into my open arms, would I have taken a better picture in my mind as his happy little face smiled and shined with love for his mom? If I had known the last time I needed to cut up his food, would I have been more patient and cut slower to make it last longer? If I had known the last time he would need me to help him up on the chair, would I have placed him in my lap instead? If I had known the last time we watched Sponge Bob together, would I have let him stay up an extra 30 minutes to watch just one more? If I had known the last time he needed my help building his Lego designs, would I have deliberately watched his face dream big longer? Don’t get me wrong. He’s an amazing young man, and I absolutely could not be ANY luckier. But, even though he is right here in front of me, I miss the moments when I was the center of his world. I miss him running to me when he wanted or needed something. I miss him willingly hugging me because in my arms is where he found comfort and solace. I miss him asking me for help and wanting my hand around his for every moment of the day because it’s what made him happy. I know in my mind that I can’t go back. I cannot slow time down or relive special moments a second time except through videos and pictures, and my stockpile of memories. But my heart? It is a hot mess of desperation right now as I watch my oldest…my first born…enter into this new stage of his life. I have to confess that this first time of uniform fittings and team tryouts…I was allowed to watch, and participate, and a parent was required this first year. So, I dragged it out. Just in case the first time was also the last time. Such a beautiful article. One I'm sure we all can relate too

Monday, August 26, 2013


Lately I've been feeling overwhelmed and have felt the need to slow down our daily pace of life. One night a few weeks ago I was doing laundry after the kiddos had gone to bed. In my head I was getting angrier and angrier about the fact that I barely had had a moment to myself all day. The only thing I wanted to do that night was sit on the couch, turn on some trashy reality tv and have a glass of wine. Instead I stormed onto our front porch, ready to start yelling at my husband who sat there reading a book. Before I lost it I paused and thought about my day. At 9:30 that morning I took the kids to a playdate, ran errands afterwards, stopped at a friends for lunch and got home around 4ish where it was time to clean up quickly and start making dinner. Truth be told I had had plenty of me time that day. While my kids had fun at the playdate they probably would have preferred staying home and playing with each other or myself. They def did not want to be carted around on errands or to hang out at a friends house after being busy all morning. I had no one to blame but myself for my irritation at having to catch up on housework late at night. Since my husband left last summer I have filled my schedule with activity after activity. I am in a Mom and me group, a local mommy group, a military wives group, my small group at church, and Mops. I have something every day of the week. I loved seeing my calendar full of activities and hated having a day with nothing planned. And while all those activities are great opportunities for me to meet other amazing mommies, and attend play dates with the kids I wasn't feeling as fulfilled as I wanted to be. Not to mention that I wasn't leaving time for myself to clean, do things around the house or even work out. If I was able to cram all those things into my day I ended the day feeling frazzled and my kiddos and husband got my left overs. Instead of a fully present wife and mother, I rushed them around, tiring myself out and then played catch up trying to get everything done. I started to realize that although I spent all day with the kids, the quantity of time spent together wasn't as important as the quality of time. In a few short years they will both be in school, freeing up my schedule to do with as I please. Now though I feel like my time should be spent with my kids, one on one, creating memories, playing, and fully enjoying every moment spent with them. It amazes me how fast they grow up and I don't want to miss a single moment I also realized that I need to be more intentional with my friendships. It is not the quantity of friends but the quality. I want to be surrounded by people who make me a better wife and mother. That is important to me and while I met so many amazing woman in these groups that I'm in, being so busy and being involved in so many prevented me from forming deeper relationships with people and really getting to know them I never want my kids to look back and say that although I was with them at all times, I wasn't fully present. So from here on out I vow to put my kids first. I am stopping all activities except my Mops group and am going to focus more on spending quality time with my kids. If I want to go to the zoo, I will go myself. I don't need a group of woman and kids to go with me. If I want to stay home four days in a row and do nothing but play with my kids, read and catch up on housework I am going to do just that. So that's my goal. With my husband leaving again soon I want to concentrate on what's really important. And that's my family How do you all balance your time with everything?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Social

Linking up today for another Sunday Social hosted by A Complete Waste of Makeup

1. What do you miss most about being a kid?
Hmm I would have to say being carefree. Having nothing to worry about other than what I was going to do or play with on a certain day. And the fact that I could run to my mom for a hug if anything worried or upset me

2. Did you have a nickname growing up?
My full name is Katherine so Katie is my nickname. Or Katrina. I don't know how that got started

3. What was your favorite thing to do at recess?
I hated recess. Recess in Wi usually meant you were huddled around outside in the pouring rain or freezing snow. Ugh. If it was nice though I did love four square

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A marine biologist or a writer. Clearly I am neither of those things!

5. Did you participate in any school activities?
Sure, student council, dance, soccer, softball, Girl Scouts, cheerleading, NHS, choir, track and the school musicals

6. What was the funniest thing you did as a kid that your parents still remind you about?
I used to have a lisp and talk in an English accent. I also was I obsessed with the Wizard of Oz and I would carry around a basket with my pound puppy in it and bust out singing Somewhere over the rainbow all the time.

Happy Sunday everyone!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 24, 2013


As Gianna sat eating her favorite lunch, my homemade chicken and dumpling soup, I took the time to wash up the lunch dishes and explain to her that after lunch it would be time to take a nap.

She shook her head and slowly kept eating. After she finished, I picked her up and gently washed her hands and face. I carried her into the living room once again telling her it was nap time. I spotted her baby doll lying on the floor, put her down and told her to go get it. Instead she flopped dramatically across the couch, sighing in exasperation. I picked up baby for her, took her hand and walked her to her room

I changed her diaper, laid her in her bed and pulled her mermaid comforter up to her chin. I paused, waiting for her to pat the pillow next to her asking me to sleep with her or for her to start crying or beg me to read her a story. She didn't. So I offered to read to her. No mommy. I asked if she wanted me to lay with her. No mommy. Good night
I slowly peeled myself off the bed waiting for her to change her mind and ask me to lay with her. Ok waiting isn't the right word. More like wishing
I got to her door and turned around giving her one more chance to ask me to lay with her. Instead she smiled and waved telling me good night

I walked out of her room, feeling sad yet happy. Since she turned 2 we have been having to lay with her until she falls asleep both at nap time or at night time. Funny how when she needs us to lay with her I sometimes get annoyed due to the million things that need to get done during nap time. But when she doesn't need me anymore, I need her.

As I walked out of her room I realized that life from here on out would be full of these moments. She is past the age of needing me for everything. She is starting to get more and more independent and wanting to do everything on her own. While this makes me happy and proud it also makes me sad. For it won't be long before she's hitching a backpack over her shoulders and walking into school for her very first day, or dancing at her first ballet recital, or going to middle school, going on her first date

So while at time moments of motherhood can seem frustrating, they are oh so fleeting and most likely you will wish you had Savored the moment or could relive them all over again

And that is my goal to my children. To be more present in their lives, to savor each moment with them Instead of hurrying through it to attend to my to-do list of housework that will always be there. To just be.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

5 on Friday

Linking up today for 5 in Friday

ONE- little man is finally feeling better. After spending all day Tuesday in the Er being poked, prodded, x-rayed and pumped with fluids we left with a diagnosis of pneumonia. Since then he's slept constantly. I think he was up for a total of three hours yesterday. He's so weak he can barely crawl, hold a toy or pull himself up. It's awful. Today finally he has a little more energy. Thanks God!

I'm ready to have my sweet boy feeling better

TWO-My mops group kicked off their first meeting yesterday. The theme this year is A Beautiful Mess.

I'm one of the discussion group leaders this year and am so excited with the women in my
Group. They are all amazing moms and I can't wait to see what this year brings!

THREE- Halloween has come early in our house. Gianna refuses to wear anything other than her Halloween pj's and we have watched Spookley the Square pumpkin twice a day these past few days

A girl after my own heart. I'm already planning our fall festivities and getting in the mood for Halloween

FOUR- I started reading this book

It's about how today's woman are skipping careers and heading back to their roots. Instead of corporate jobs they are homeschooling, growing their own vegetables, focusing on their families, and engaging in hobbies such as knitting, crafting and DIYng, etc. the author also talks about the popularity of lifestyle blogs in the book. So far I'm loving it. A very interesting read


Summer is coming to an end, fall is just around the corner and the hubby leaves again next week. I'm trying to soak up his last week at home for awhile. I hate that he's leaving again but at least all the fall activities I have planned will keep the kids and I busy
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mommy Intuition

Never mess with Mommy intuition. It's usually never wrong. Sure I've freaked out and taken the kids to urgent care for what I thought was chicken pox and it turned out to only be a viral infection. Or a few weeks ago Ethan was fussier than usual and I took him to the dr for what turned out to be nothing more than a severe diaper rash. However usually my instincts are right

We left for Panama City beach last Thursday and that night Ethan just seemed off. He barely slept but I just chalked it up to being in a new setting and teething. (He's getting in 5 teeth at once) the next few days he seems fussier than usual, a little warm but nothing too concerning. I just kept giving him Tylenol, teething tablets and Mum Mum's, his favorite snack

Yesterday morning he was beyond fussy. I took him for numerous walks yesterday, kept alternating Tylenol and Motrin and did whatever I could to make him feel better. We still chalked it up to teething and being off schedule. The husband rocked him to sleep at 530 and other than giving him a bottle and Tylenol around midnight he slept through the night.

Ethan usually wakes up around 6 and when 8 rolled around and he was still sleeping I was concerned. I checked on him
But he didn't feel warm, breathing was fine and he seemed ok. So while the husband stayed home I went to the grocery store

At the grocery store I felt off. I kept having mini anxiety attacks and I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. So I hurried home. It was about 1030 and Ethan was still sleeping . The minute I touched his head he stirred and cried out as if in pain. He didn't feel too warm but I took him outta his crib and took his temp. 105.6. So off to the Er I sped

At this point Ethan hadn't eaten in a few hours, had a completely dry diaper and was bringing up. He moved as if in pain and was beyond lethargic. After a long wait in the waiting room we were seen. Chest X-rays were ordered which confirmed a mild case of pneumonia although aside from his fever nothing else coincided with his diagnosis. Now at 230 he still hasn't eaten, gone to the bathroom or stayed awake for a long period of time

A catheter was put in which produced nothing. An iv was the next step to pump him with fluids. Multiple times 3 different nursed tried to get an iv in. It took one nurse doing the iv, two more plus me holding him down and still nothing. His poor dehydrated veins kept rolling. After an hour of this, and multiple poke marks on both arms we took him up to the peds unit where the peds nurses worked their magic and an hour later produced blood samples and got an iv in. Hearing my baby scream behind closed doors, knowing I couldn't go in their to help was torture

After all that we went back to the er to wait while Ethan got fluids. Finally he went pee! His urine was tested and everuthing major was ruled out so the first diagnosis of pneumonia was what we left with.

Tomorrow I have to follow up with our dr and take it from there. Tonight I will be sleeping in my sons room and waking him up often to pump him with fluids and medicine.

I never should have doubted my instincts. I knew something was wrong but didn't want to be that paranoid parent. So always always listen to your instincts. They usually won't fail you

I'm just beyond grateful that my son is ok

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Monday, August 19, 2013

I was a perfect parent

I'm sure you've all heard this saying "I was a perfect parent until I had kids"
And it's so true. Before having kids I was an awesome parent. I could look at misbehaving kids in the grocery store, or at the mall or at a friends house and swear my kids would never be like them. I was going to have structure, clear rules and behavior that would be unacceptable. I mean c'mon, parenting is that easy right
And then I had my first baby. And I admitted I wasn't as much of an expert as I thought. Well as far as babies were concerned. Toddlers were another story. All they need is love, structure and discipline and I continued to parent friends toddlers while holding my sweet baby girl who would never misbehave.
Fast forward a few months and I have a toddler and a baby. Life just got interesting. Oh did I mention my husband was deployed. Throw in a colicky newborn, a tantruming toddler and nap schedules that never coincided and all thoughts of routine, structure and discipline went right out the window with the lack of sleep I was getting
And I started to notice that I was now the parent that was being judged. For everything! And people felt the need to constantly comment on things, or give me advice that I never asked for. Or my personal favorites, the passive aggressive insults masked as compliments
Or when friends with only one baby try and tell me how to do things with my toddler and baby. (Just you wait my friends, life with 2 is way different than life with 1) and my sweet baby that I swore would grow up to be a sweet toddler is a master manipulator, strong willed, Independent child who is constantly throwing me for a loop. And I have years worth of child education and development classes under my belt!
I swore to myself I would never ever again judge another parent. Sure, we are all going to do it. There are things that I do and believe in that my friends don't and vice versa. And that's ok! Because at the end of the day as long as you are putting your child first then that's all that really matters.
I believe that
- Breastfeeding is awesome
-formula is just as good
- you can never hold or spoil a baby. Hold them often
- routines work for some.
For others they don't.
- kids need to learn how to go with the flow as well as adapting to structure and routine
- yelling does not work when rationing with a toddler
- your way is not my way but either way is awesome
- moms should support one another, not dismiss others
- never compare your child to its siblings or other children. Every child develops differently and at their own pace
- 2 under 2 was hard. Extremely hard at first. But now it's getting easier and easier. I'm considering adding number 3 into the mix
- always let your children know you love them. That's all the really matters
- Parenting is a learning process
- Stop judging other moms. At the end of the day you are all struggling to get through and figure it all out for the well being of your children and yourself
- The perfect mom you see at the grocery store, the one all put together with her kids politely behaving really isn't as put together as she looks. She has her own issues just like you so don't down yourself or compare yourself to her.
I saw this on Pinterest and felt like it summed everything I've been trying to say up perfectly

My kids are awesome, well adjusted and loved. I may not have it all together and some
Days have no clue what I am doing but none of that matters. My kids are loved and are thriving. That's the most important
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

What it's all about

This is what life is all about...
Watching your kiddos play together, and actually get along

Carousel rides

Taking the kids on last minute vacations

Double trouble

Tea parties with my little girl

Goofing around with daddy

First trip to the movies


So excited

He's thrilled

Snuggles and cuddles with my little man

Parenting is frustrating and hard but oh so worth it and rewarding. Seeing the smiles on my kids faces when they experience something new, or watching them play with each other and try new things makes every moment of this parenting journey worth while.
This is what life is truly about.
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Sunday Social

I haven't done one of these in awhile and thought I'd join in today.

1. What is something you've always wanted to do but are afraid of?

Hmm, I'd love to go great white shark cage diving. If you know me, or have read my blog before you know I don't go into the water much past my knees since I am so afraid of sharks. Especially this year in Destin where a shark is spotted every day. But I do think going cage dicing to see a great white shark would be fun.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
With my husband in the military it's kind of hard to tell. We could still be here in Fl, or we could hopefully be stationed in Chicago for awhile which would be awesome since our families live in Wi. Baby number 3 may or may not be a possibility and Gianna and Ethan will be in school. (Tear) Ill probably be working a little part time job since my days will be free. I'd love to work somewhere fun, like Barnes and noble or at a fun resort down here in Destin. However it would need to be flexible so I could be there for my kiddos, volunteering in their classrooms, chaperoning their field trips and taking them to dance, soccer, tball and gymnastics. (Or whatever they decide to do)

3. What are you looking forward to before the end of 2013?
My little man's first birthday, Halloween and my husband being home for Christmas this year

4. What are your hopes for your blog?
I'd love for it to continue to grow but I'm also content with it being a outlet, a journal and a memory keeper for my families adventures

5. Do you always see yourself living in your current city/hometown?
Nope, since we are military living in one place for long doesn't happen too often

6. What is your morning routine?
The kids get up around 6. I stumble into the kitchen to make coffee and let the dogs out. Then I get the kids out of their cribs, change both of their diapers, and cuddle on the couch with them and watch a few episodes of bubble guppies. Then it's time for breakfast and to get the day started

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hey everyone! The family and I are taking one last little vacation before the husband leaves us for another few months. Today I have one of my favorite bloggers guest posting for me. She is a girl mom, her two little girls are adorable. Her husband also was in the military and she has the body that I so wish I could have hehe! So check out this awesome post about weightloss and working out and then stop on by Mandy's blog and prepare to stay awhile and read. Thanks Mandy for the awesome post Hi everyone!  I'm so excited to be taking over Katie's blog today while her family is out of town!

For those of you who don't know me, I'm Mandy and I blog over at Mommy Musings

I'm a Jersey girl teacher turned SAHM.  I'm lucky to be married to my best friend, Skip, and we are blessed with two sweet little girls.  My husband is a former Marine and for the past almost ten years, a cop.  I am a former-teacher turned SAHM, and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.

Before I had kids, I was always really fit.  Working out has always been something I loved to do.  And because of that, I have always been thin.  But as most of you moms know, that all changes when you pop out a kid or two.

I lost my baby weight pretty quickly after my first, but it was definitely a struggle after my second.  But giving up was just not something I was going to do.  So after nine long months, I was finally down to my pre-pregnancy weight. 

That was a year and a half ago, and since then I have really stepped up my workouts and am in better shape than ever before!  But now here's what you're all did I do it? Now yes, my weight loss tips here have to do with my losing weight post-baby.  But these tips can also be applied to just regular weight loss in general. 

Mandy's Unofficial Weight Loss Tips

1. Portion Control - Now in full disclosure, my eating habits are really only a step above horrendous.  Truly.  Candy for breakfast, cookies for lunch, why not?  Hubs always jokes about my ability to make a meal out of Twizzlers.  And while I have gotten much better over the years, I still think life is too short to not be able to indulge when I want to.  That's where portion control comes in.  If I'm going to eat a gooey piece of cake, I will eat less of my dinner.  I also will limit the amount of cookies I eat, aiming to just eat 1 or 2 that day.  If I go to a restaurant, I NEVER finish my meal.  I am always bringing home at least half for leftovers.  It helps my weight and I'm getting more bang for my buck.  I truly believe you can eat what you want in moderation.

2. My Fitness Pal - This kind of goes along with what I was saying above.  This is an app for the IPhone where you plug in your current weight, goal weight, and how quickly you want to achieve it.  It will then tell you how many calories to eat per day.  You then add in everything you eat and what exercises you have done.  My favorite thing about this app is that you can scan the bar code of what you are eating and it automatically knows the nutrition info!  Most chain restaurants are on there as well. I'm sure it's a lot like weight watchers, but this was free, so that's why I chose this.  I didn't find out about this till most of my baby weight was gone, but it helped shed those last 15 lbs quick...and during the Christmas season!

3. I Work Out - This is really the most important one in my book.  I work out like a maniac.  Seriously, I love it.  I loved working out before I had kids, but now it not only gets me in shape, but it is an hour a day I have to myself!  And I know we are all busy and it is hard to fit in exercise, but if you want results, you will find the time.  I make sure everything is set so I have no excuse.  I have a gym membership, go running/walking outside in my neighborhood, and have a ton of workout videos.  So no matter the weather, or my time constraints I have time to get it done.  Now I am not one of those people who can get up at 5 am to work out.  But I have no problem doing the Shred at 10:30 pm.  It's all about what works for you.  But do it, every day.  Sure things come up some days and you can't workout, and that's fine.  But aim to do it every day and you'll do it more than not!  I also write down every time I workout on my calender...makes me feel a sense of accomplishment when I look at the month as a whole. 

4. Weigh Yourself Regularly - Now you don't want to become obsessed with the number on the scale, but weighing yourself once a week shows you all the great progress you're making.  Even though I am at my goal weight now, I still weigh myself once a week.  That way if I start to put a few pounds on again, I know to step up my workouts or start logging in my food on MFP again.  When I am maintaining I don't let my weight go more than 5 lbs over what my ideal is.

5. Water, Water, Water - We all know this one already, but drinking tons of water really does help!  I notice a big difference in how I feel on days I chug a lot of H2O...I have better workouts as well when I am super hydrated!  I also rarely drink my calories for the day.  Other than coffee, and the occasional milk in my cereal, I only drink water or diet coke.  I would much rather eat all my calories for the day.  And if you are more of a juice or alcohol drinker than I am, don't forget to factor those into your calorie counts!

6. Waist Trimmer - I bought a Belly Bandit off of Ebay when I was pregnant with Baby C.  Honestly, I didn't love it that much.  I don't know if it's because my torso is short or I bought it used, but I found like it just rode up and didn't help much.  But what did help was this waist trimmer.  It will literally fit everyone, and I was able to adjust it for whatever size belly I was sporting at the time.  It really ups your sweat factor around the waist so I didn't feel as bloated.  I wore it all the time, working out, sleeping, etc.  It does look a little bulky under clothes, so I didn't really wear it when I when out or had people over.  I really loved it though and still work out with it now!

7. Every Day is New Year's Day - You know how everyone eats healthy and does a long workout on New Year's Day?  Pretend every day is a brand new start!  If you eat a ton one night, don't think you're whole week is shot and continue to binge for the next week.  And if you're not able to workout for a week or so, don't just give up all together.  You should not have an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to be healthy.  Wake up every day with the attitude of doing right!  Also, if you have a big, unhealthy lunch, don't just assume that day is shot.  With every meal, and every opportunity to work out, start fresh!

So there you go.  I'm not a doctor or fitness instructor or dietician.  But these are my tips for losing weight and getting in shape.  Hope I was able to help some of you!  Now it's a gorgeous day out...hit the streets for a run! Mommy Mandy Twitter: @MomMandyMusings Facebook: Pinterest:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Fall is my favorite time of year. Although I love living in Fl the one thing I miss the most about Wisconsin is the changing of the seasons. I miss the cool, crisp air, the smell of bonfires,the changing of the leaves. Everything about it. Here we are still getting into the hottest part of the year. It isn't quite the same going to a pumpkin patch in 95 degree weather. Oh well

Saturday my all time favorite movie was on which got me thinking about Fall some more.
So I turned to Pinterest for some more Fall inspiration. I can't wait until Oct 1st is here. Our weekends will be full of pumpkin picking, halloween decorating, scary(kid friendly)movie watching and trick or treating. Oh and my little man's first birthday of course. I hope he loves Halloween as much as his Mama!

And although this has nothing to do with Fall or Halloween, in a few weeks the new editions of Harry Potter will be released with new covers in honor of the book's 15th anniversary. The husband and I are huge Harry Potter geeks and I already have the set on pre-order. I can't wait to read them with my little man
(All pictures click back to their sources)

What are some of your favorite things to do in the Fall?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

All About Me

All about me

- I'm originally from Wisconsin turned Floridian. I traded in cold, snowy weather for hot, hot weather

-I could spend all day at the beach. I love it

- As much as I love the beach I don't go very far into the water. I'm terrified of sharks! It makes me really miss water skiing and tubing in Wisconsin

- One day I want to own a RV and go travel the country
- Some places I hope to travel too soon are Cape Cod, Salem, MA, Hawaii and back to Sanibel Island in Fl. I do not however have much of a desire to travel out of the country. The hubs is dying to go on a European vacation and visit Italy, Ireland, etc. For some reason I am nervous to go. Maybe one day he will convince me

- I start my days out with coffee. Filled to the brim with creamer and end my days with a glass or 2 or Merlot.

- I am a sucker for self help books. Especially anyone related to Parenting or Marriage. Currently I'm readying Peaceful Parent, Happy Child and Babyproofing your marriage. I barely read fiction anymore

- As much as I love nights with my girlfriends, they are few and far between and in truth I love days where I get together with some friends, our kids running all around where we sit and chat about anything and everything. Parenting, discipline, celeb gossip, reality tv and any good books we are currently reading

- I am a horrible crafter. Usually it's cheaper for me to buy an item than attempt any sort of DIY although lately I've been crafting more and everything has been turning out

- I can't wait to take the kids to Disney World. I could watch Disney movies all day long

-I used to despise running. Now I've started a couch to 5k program and am loving it. I'm 6 weeks in and look forward to running each day

- I am addicted to Instagram Click HERE to follow me

- I love photography and have a really nice camera. I just still don't really know how to use it. I really need to start learning

- The hubs and I love historical shows. Some of our favorites are The Borgias, Game of Thrones, The White Queen(just started) and Mad Men

- We have two big dogs. A black lab and a yellow lab and as much as I love them our next dog will be a Boston Terrier or a french bull dog
- I am a stay at home mommy. Love every second of being able to stay home with my kiddos.

- I am a night owl. I could stay up all night if I didn't have two children that got up bright and early every morning. And still it's usually around 11 or 12 before I even try and go to bed

- I can fall asleep in a fully lit room with the tv on. Put me in a dark, quiet room and I toss and turn for hours

- I used to want to be a police officer. My bachelor's is even in Criminal Justice. And then my masters( not completed) was in special education. Two totally different subject matters but still two of my passions

- I have one awesome husband

- I am addicted to Reality tv. I really need to stop watching it but its like a train wreck. I can't turn away

- I have no desire to get plastic surgery ever. I see too many people looking like this

- Speaking of hanging out with friends tomorrow a good friend and I are making a parenting book outta all our favorite Pinterest Parenting articles. Can you say Nerds! It's ok I own the fact that I am one huge nerd

- I used to be fashionable and have a closet full of cute clothes, high heels and lots of accessories. Now my wardrobe consists of workout clothes and flip flops.

- My family means the world to me. There is nothing more important than them

Hope you enjoyed getting to know me!


Monday, August 12, 2013


 Ethan at 6 months old

Ethan in a few days you will be 10 months old. You have been outside of my stomach longer than you were inside. And yet it seems like just yesterday that I could feel you rolling around in there, kicking and punching. Especially at night. You were so active at night. I'd lay there and feel you move, counting down the days until your arrival. And when you were born, oh that overwhelming feeling of love the first time I saw your face. And the surprise over how much you completed my life, in ways I never knew possible.

The first few months kiddo were tough. Whew, were they ever. Between having colic,and  getting sick with every sickness possible I didn't think you or I would ever sleep again.While frustrating for me at times, I think it was hardest knowing that nothing I could do could help you . You were so gassy and fussy. I felt horrible seeing you so upset.  But 4 months rolled around and things changed. I felt relieved. For you and for me. Finally I could do something to help calm you down, and your colicky period was soon at an end. From there on out it's been smooth sailing. You are such a sweet little boy. Your smile from day one can light up a room. It melts my heart. Every Single Time. I recently had a friend tell me that in her gratitude journal that she keeps, she has an entry about your smile.

Your personality is starting to emerge more and more. You are such a little goofball. You crack up at everything your sister does, love to be sung to, put everything in your mouth, play with your sister's toys and watch your letter's DVD. You do this funny thing when crawling. You stop on all fours, put your head down and straighten your back, making a V. It is hysterical. And you will stay like that for awhile. As if you like checking out the view of the room upside down between your legs. You do also love to rub your face on the carpet when you crawl, resulting in rug burn all over your face. You don't seem to mind it and in all honesty it's pretty funny to watch.

You are 21 pounds. Are cutting 5 teeth at once.(not fun for anyone) Love your bottles, sleep through the night(mostly) wear size 4 diapers and are in 12 month clothes. You are growing up so fast little one. You are such a joy to watch and be around. I love every moment spent with you

As I was browsing Pinterest the other day I came across this fabulous post 25 Things I want my son to Know from Mommy Om's blog. As I read it I laughed and cried. Excited of what was to come as you got older and older. You see son, when I found out you were a boy I was a little upset at first. How could I be a boy mom. I'm so girlie. And now I'm anxious for you to get a little older so we can build lego's, play super hero's and sail on a pirate ship together. I can't wait for it all! As I was reading this post a few things jumped out at me and I thought I would share them with you

First off, this...

"It’s okay to let go of your penis.  It’s not going anywhere.
Since we finished potty training in our house, I’ve noticed that you hold your penis constantly.  I just want you to know that it will be there forever and you have your whole life ahead of you to play with it."
 I died laughing when I read this because you have just found your penis and you love it. Anytime your diaper comes off you go right for it. I tell you all the time that it's not going anywhere and it'll be your best friend for life!

And while the author goes on to tell her son to pay outside, it's ok to cry, that he is superman and so forth,(which by the way I totally agree with, so Ethan do all those things) the thing that stuck out the most was this

"You will be my son forever.
There is an old adage that starts, “A son is a son till he takes a wife…” As you grow, I pray our bond stays strong enough to break any truth this saying might hold."

I heard this saying right before you were born. And it made me cry then and it makes me cry now. For I never want our relationship to change. Obviously it will, as you need me less and less and become more and more independent. But know that nothing will change on my end. I am always here whenever you need me. Young or old. I hope that when you become an adult and start a family of your own, that you still make time for your mom. Because believe me young man, I will be calling constantly and visiting you whenever I am able. Or you allow me to visit that is. For you will always be my baby. Never forget that

Oh and remind us to sing you the song your daddy made up about your private parts the day you were born. We will be sure to save it for a special day. Such as your wedding. Your welcome in advance!

Happy almost 10 months my sweet little man. I love you so so much. You change more and more every day and it is truly amazing to watch. I cant wait to see what this next month will bring

Friday, August 9, 2013

Finding a Balance

Some days I feel that as a SAHM I'm busier than I have ever been. And usually I like being busy.  In college I took a full course load and worked 2 jobs. After I graduated and started working a full time job I also worked two part time jobs to help pass the time when my husband was deployed. And when the weekend rolled around I jam packed them with activity after activity. Even now my husband is always telling me that we can still spend quality time together hanging out at home. In fact I think his favorite thing about when I was pregnant was that I was so tired all the time that all I wanted to do was stay home and sleep!

After the husband left last summer I went crazy filling our schedule up with activities to help pass the time. I joined a new church, joined two small groups, served on the Steering Committee for our town's Mop's group, joined a bunch of Mommy groups and still made time to hang out with my friends. Every day we had something to go to. Some days we had multiple activities and although I swore we would stay home every night for dinner, some nights we had plans with friends for dinner. After Ethan was born I slowed down my schedule a bit but it didnt last long. Before I knew it I was back to all our activities. And for awhile it was fun. I met some awesome people, I love the church we attend and I really enjoy my Mops group. But right before the hubby came home in April I started feeling burnt out. All the running around with two kids was exhausting.

One of the things that bothered me the most about our crazy schedule was my "Me" attitude. After a day of running around from playdate to small group and grocery shopping I'd come home irritated that I still had to unload and put away all the groceries, plus clean the house and make dinner. While I was doing those things the kids would most likely be plopped in front of the tv and I'd be upset that I was so busy and could never sit down and relax. Yet I was the one that made this crazy schedule!

This summer I tried to cut back on activities but with school starting they are all resuming again. With the husband leaving again in a few weeks I know I will need some outlet for me to help pass the time but I am struggling with what to choose. I feel that the kids are at the stage where I should be taking them to do things on my own. Where we should be spending quality time together. After all who benefits more from a play date. The kids or myself. And who benefits from the bible study. The kids are in daycare when I go to those things and I don't feel that is fair to them. Plus if I want to go to the gym before bible study or a mommy group that just adds to the time they are in daycare.I feel torn. Do I need the me time or should I be using more of my time and effort in the time spent with the kids.

So my goal is to plan activities for two days during the week. Whether it is a playdate, story time at the library or my Mops meetings. After those two days the rest will be spent at home. I feel if I try to stick to that I will be more relaxed, the house will be cleaner, I will have less chores to do when the weekend rolls around and I will be spending more quality time with the kids.

What do you all think? How do all you SAHM;s balance out your time with your kiddos? Any advice?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's Just a Phase

I feel that after you start having kids, the above phrase is one you hear quite frequently. It's Just a Phase. It will pass. They will grow out of it. Some of these phases, you can't wait for them to grow out of. SOme days it can feel like you are checking things off an imaginary check list. Newborn stage, complete. Colic phase, complete. Teething, check! But as you get to the next stage you realize that the one you just left wasn't so bad. Some phases you may even wish for again.

The first four months after Ethan was born was hard. He had such bad colic and screamed all the time. His fussiest period was between 11pm and 3 am. I can remember walking him around the house, silently screaming at him to be quiet. Wishing I could sleep. Knowing that when I was able to fall asleep, it wouldn't be long before Gianna woke up. Now he is almost 10 months old and some days I feel nostalgic for those days long ago. I would love to just walk around and hold him for hours on end. Now I have a baby who likes to be held for short periods of time, but forget about it when he's trying to fall asleep. The other night was a rare exception. Ethan is currently getting 5 teeth in at once and teething has been really rough this time for him. He was up fussing and screaming and the only thing that would work was to hold him and rock him. I gladly went into his room, picked him up and together we sat and rocked for what felt like hours. It was the best feeling in the world. To sit and hold my baby boy without him arching his back to be put down. I couldn't remember the last time he had let me hold him as he fell asleep. As the tears fell I whispered to him a line from my favorite book, "I'll like you forever, I'll love you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be. And he will.

Gianna is also having some issues. Her's dealing with sleep. From 10mths up she had no issues sleeping in her crib. A few weeks ago she started waking up in the mornings screaming her head off. After a few mornings of that I went to put her in her crib for nap time and she kicked and screamed. It wasn't a I don't want to take a nap scream, it was an I'm terrified of this room, get me out of here scream. Same thing happened at night time. So we converted her bed to a full, decorated her room and made a big deal outta her big girl room. No dice. So every night for the past few weeks one of us has to go to bed with her. After she is asleep we sneak out but in the middle of the night we are summoned back into her room by the sound of her screaming. Some nights I'll be honest, I get so annoyed having to lay with her. As I'm laying with her all I can think about is the kitchen that needs to be clean, or the toys that need to be put away, or the time I could be spending with the hubby or that the Real Housewives of Orange County is on. Last night however, she fell asleep on her own. And that made me sad. For I missed laying with her. And I vowed that if she needed me to sleep with her again I would never will that time away

I find myself constantly saying things like I can't wait until the kids are out of diapers, or Ethan is done with formula or until Ethan is more mobile and I have to remind myself that one day I will be wishing I had enjoyed more of these little annoyances, or these phases and not wished them away so quickly. I have a feeling that when my kids are out of the house I will be walking around my empty house wishing there was a little girl that needed her mommy to lay with her as she fell asleep, or that there was a little boy who needed to be walked and bounced for hours just so he could sleep. So while every minute of motherhood isn't easy. In fact it can be frustrating, annoying, and feel endless, I need to remember that these moments are fleeting. For as they grow older, they will need me less and less. So yes it is just a phase. And it will pass. Quickly, very quickly and one day you may want that phase back. So my goal is to stop making everything a checklist, a list of phases to be conquered and completed before moving to the next one and instead to just taking a deep breath and handling them as they come. Trying to enjoy every moment as much as possible

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why I Blog

When I first started blogging a few years ago it was for a number of reasons. One, I had just seen the movie Julia and Julia and thought the idea of a blog sounded like a great one. I was a newlywed at the time and a newly wed army wife at that. I had just moved from Wi where my family has lived my whole life, to North Carolina where my husband and I were starting our new life. I figured blogging would be a great way to journal our life as a newly married couple. I also figured it would be a great way to meet other military spouses and to connect with those who knew what I was going through. And lastly I thought it would be a great outlet for me! And it was all that and more. I met so many amazing bloggers and I loved when I saw my follower number incerase and I felt excited seeing each new comment on any post I wrote. Blogging was fun!

These past few years I have found myself blogging sporadically and less often. Sure it was a great way to journal about my pregnancies, deployments, fun times with the hubby and kids but I started to get less and less comments, my follower number stayed the same and I couldn't think of anything new or exciting to blog about. Blogging to me starting reminding me of high school. I didn't feel pretty enough, thin enough or exciting enough to post anything worth reading. People I had started reading when their blog journey had begun started becoming immensely popular, leaving my lonely blog along on the sidelines. I felt discouraged. I couldn't find my niche within the blog world. I am certainly not a fashion blogger, I barely wear anything other than workout clothes these days. When I do dress up I def do not want to share a picture as I am still struggling with body image and losing weight. I don't have time to photoshop my pictures, and make them all pretty and clear. I barely have time to put together a well written blog post. I feel other mommy bloggers out there can articulate their feelings about motherhood so much better than I can that I struggle to find something original to post about. I am not a creative person, so DIY posts are not my thing, nor is my house Home decor magazine worthy so that's out of the question. So as I pondered all these things and my place in the blog world I came to a realization. I started blogging for me. And for only me. I blog to keep track of memories, pictures, things we've done and things we've gone through. It's an outlet, my release and a way for me to continue to meet people that are experiencing the same things that I am. I read other blogs that speak to me, blogs that are written by friends I have made these past four years of blogging and that is enough for me

I may  never have 1000 plus followers. I always have the best intentions of writing my posts down, proof reading them and tweaking them before hitting publish, but who am I kidding. I can't even use the bathroom alone, let alone blog uninterrupted. So the posts that seem so inspired and thought provoking to me may come across as a random jumble of word vomit to everyone else. Maybe one day I will have some place to go that requires dressing up and doing my hair so that I can post fashionable pictures. And maybe one day I will have time to actually learn how to use my  DSl and edit my pictures before posting them on my blog. And maybe I can also sit down and read other blogs on my computer, rather than having to pull them up on my phone which makes commenting really hard, therefore making me unable to comment on most people's post. Until then I will continue blogging for me. To keep a memory of my kids, to vent about deployments, to meet other bloggers, to get inspired by what my fellow blog friends posts and to share with everyone what matters the most to me. My family and our adventures. So as I get back into the swing of things with blogging that is my goal. To stay true to me and to post about what matters to me.

Sorry for the random jumble of thoughts.  Happy hump day everyone!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Family Pictures

 A good friend of mine took our family photos and Gianna's 2 year pics the other weekend. I thought I'd share some of my favorites with all of you