Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sea Lion, Sea Lion, What Do You See? RAAAAAWR!

Troy is waaaaaay more patient than I am with Avery. He will sit with her for whole minutes at a time (if her attention span allows for more than a minute or two) and say the same word 50 times trying to get her to say it right. I just figure it will come when she's ready, no reason to push it.

However, last night was pretty epic.

Troy was reading to Avery before bed while I picked up her room and cleaned up from the bath. They were reading "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" by Eric Carle.

Instead of reading the book, Troy was flipping the pages and saying the animal name and asking Avery to repeat it and describing what made that animal unique.

I was DYYYYING laughing. The problem with that is, Avery is encouraged by laughing and kept on making me laugh instead of focusing on what her daddy wanted her to do.

For example:

Troy: This is a panda. It's a bear that is black and white. See? Say "panda."


Troy: Say "bear."

Avery: Beeeeeeear!! RAAAAWR!

Troy: Good job! (turns page) This is a monkey. See his tail and how he walks kind of tall? Say "monkey!"


Troy: Um, say "monkey."


Troy: Say "mon."

Avery: Muuuun.

Troy: Say "Key."

Avery: geeeeee.

Troy: Mon.

Avery: Mun.

Troy: Key.

Avery: geee.

Troy: Monkey!


Troy hangs his head and I laugh. And Avery laughs. Troy turns the page.

Troy: This is a sea lion!


Troy: (while laughing) Ok, this is confusing, because his name has the word "lion" in it, but he doesn't roar like the lions on your movie. He lives in the water. (We've been watching the Lion King)


Troy: Say "sea."

Avery: eeeeee

Troy: Say "lion."


This seriously went on for more than 10 minutes. The best part is that Avery can identify all of the animals on the last page, where a picture of each one is in a collage. She just can't say them. Troy is working on that though...don't worry.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Kyle Visits (!!!) and Mandalay Bay Aquarium

This is our 4th time seeing Kyle in 4 months. It's crazy. Before moving out here in August, I don't think we had seen Kyle 4 times in 6 years. He came to visit in August and we saw him again in November for a camping Thanksgiving (or Friends-giving) and then we saw him on New Years Day when he and his new fiancee drove from California back to Colorado. And then 2 weeks ago, he came to visit again!! We love that he can fly here on Allegiant Air for less than 100 bucks roundtrip. AMAZING. SO amazing, in fact, that our family of 3 is flying to visit him and Rosa in March!

I only documented one of the days that he was here though. He flew in late on a thursday and his first stop was dinner at In-N-Out burger. He smelled the bag the whole way home chanting "it smells like college."

On friday, we got up and headed down to the strip to have lunch and go to the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay.

We decided to make it easy and satisfy everyone's cravings by hitting up the buffet at the casino.

Avery was excited. She had a ton of fruit and some noodles. She ate WAAAY too much dessert. She ate 2 cookies and when we were ready to walk over to the reef, the guys decided that they were taking ice cream cones for the walk over there (it was probably a quarter of a mile from the buffet to the reef).

Here's Avery with her cookie:

She walked the whole way to the reef while Troy and Kyle bribed her with their ice cream cones. We kept joking that we could get her to run forever if we could hang it on a rope in front of her face attached to her back while she ran.

But here she is, taking an ice cream break from her sugar high running.

We got a discount for being "locals" now that I have a Nevada drivers license, so that was nice. Avery didn't want to sit in her stroller, so all through the aquarium, she got chased or we carried her.

Here's Troy teaching her about the piranhas. They actually had a guide standing there to guard the tank because I guess people have been dumb enough to try and stick their hands in...

The beginning part was all "exotic" water animals. Like komodo dragons, snakes, etc. So it was very rainforest-y in there. And humid. Poor Troy started sweating immediately. And if you know him, that means it's serious.

Here's Kyle, Avery, and Troy. They're precious!

There were 2 parts in the reef where you walked into a giant tube and the fish surrounded you. Avery liked that. Here is us looking at the fish. I think she signed "fish" about 500 times while we were in there.

This fish will FOREVER remind me of "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo." This is the fish that was so expensive that he accidentally put in the blender after he broke the huge aquarium. I started laughing when I saw all of them in the exhibit.

There was a whole cylinder of jellyfish. Eeeek. Very pretty though. I love this picture:

This is Troy and Avery looking in the giant shark tank at the end. It's super dark in there and there are parts where the floor is plexiglass so you can see down. Another eeeek! But I love their silhouettes. Look at her little curls. Haha. SO sweet. And more baby sign of "fish."

And then we went to the gift shop at the end. It's amazing what we will do to get Avery to laugh:

His sideways grin makes me smile.

Avery was super wiped out on the way home from all the fish signing. And running for some motivational ice cream. Her normal nap time is at 1pm, but we didn't get home until about 3. Oooops. That's okay. It was all in the name of science! Her Aunt Betty would be proud of her science day!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Celery Art

In my quest to do/try more things I have pinned in pinterest, I made a quick piece of wall art last week.

This was actually one of the first things I had EVER pinned, so I was pretty psyched to try it after I made a fruit and veggie trip to Costco. After I had cut up and prepped all of the food for eating, I realized, that I had left over veggies for an art project!!

Here is the original "pinspiration":

Using cut celery as a stamp!! Genius, right?

Well, I learned some things along the way. I started with some thick watercolor paper. I didn't want to use regular printer paper, so I just grabbed this so the colors wouldn't bleed. I had 4 cut celery stalks and I picked some paint.

I dipped the celery end into some paint and made sure it was squished around really good and picked up the paint.

Lesson 1: Don't cut the celery stalk down too low or the "flower" is all mushed together and then the paint just looks like a blob. Make your lowest cut up farther on the stalk so there is room for the stalks to "spread out." You can see what I mean in the picture below (look at the middle of the's a big blob).

Lesson 2: Don't push too hard on the celery stamp when you use it or the paint just bleeds together and there is no stalk separation (lesson 1).

Lesson 3: If you don't push hard enough, it looks like an accident. And this is definitely art that you want to look intentional. Do you see the top left light blue stalk? That was one that didn't get pushed hard enough.

It was a fun, quick project, but probably not something I'd frame or hang. Now if Avery had done it, I'd be the proudest Mommy in town. It was fun, but might be cuter in red or pink on ivory cards for Valentine's Day or something.

I did this project in less than 10 minutes, including set up and clean up. Easy peasy. I think it would be fun for kids too, with hand guidance so that you didn't end up with celery flowers on your wall :) I'm glad I practiced and I might be trying this with Avery the next time I buy celery. Happy stamping!!

Anyone else try something they saw on pinterest lately? Did it go according to plan?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mommy Blogger # 5 - The Mommy Chronicles

Here's a quick recap for my confessions that started all this.

Here's Momma 1, Momma 2, Momma 3, and Momma 4.

This is Megan. She is a stay at home momma of 2 beautiful little girls. Her hubby is in the Marines and they live in Massachusetts. Her whole family lives in NC and (Troy's too, she's his cousin, haha) being away from the town she grew up in her whole life is hard. She was a middle school teacher and after her first born arrived, she went back to work for about 6 months. She and her husband decided that between their schedules and costs of daycare, staying home was best for their family. She quit her job and hasn't looked back.

She is one those moms that seems like she's got it all together. Arts and crafts with the kids everyday, home cooked meals every night, and a clean house. She is the most organized person I have ever met. I was seriously jealous of her pantry. She LOVES being home with her kids and cherishes every minute.

She also writes a cooking blog if you want to check it out for dinner ideas tonight :)

Are you a home engineer (SAHM) or do you work?

I am a SAHM and work around the clock 24/7. I have been for a little over 3 years now. I have a 3 ½ yr. old and a 14 month old.

Why is that the best choice for your family?

It’s the best choice for my family because (1) I get to raise my children and see all their firsts, (2) when I did work as a teacher, my paycheck went to childcare, (3) we are a military family so moving around happens a lot, (4) I love the time I have with them and the teaching opportunities I have.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kiddo(s)?

I love to read books to both of them, rock and snuggle with them while watching TV. With my oldest I love to play school with her and she loves it so it makes it easy. With the youngest I love to watch her try out new things and watch her interaction with her older sister.

What do you love about it? What do you hate about it?

LOVE: I set my own schedule/routine. I have freedom to go wherever/whenever such as to take the girls to play dates, meet Daddy for lunch, and visit family out of state for extended periods. I have the most influence on my girls, not that it’s always a good thing, but I try to teach them the correct morals and manners of life or what’s expected of them in our family. I also like that I am in charge of the house. I like to clean, cook, and be organized. So while the girls are occupied or napping, I tend to stay busy. I do sneak in naps sometimes too though!

HATE: There are no off days! Even when the Daddy is home, he helps but he doesn’t do it all, like I do every day. Part of the problem is I feel he can’t do it as good as I can or the way I do it is better, so I am always butting in to do it my way. Control issues. 5 of the 7 days I have a routine and on the 2 days he is home, he messes my routine up even though he is only trying to help, I know! I have the biggest influence on my girls. As I said above, it’s good and bad. I try to teach them right from wrong, respect for others, manners, and everything else to make them successful in this life, however I always fear I am failing or going to fail them. If they are disrespectful to someone, it’s my fault; if they grow up and are not as bright in school as they should be, it falls back on me. I don’t get a lot of adult interaction/socialization. We have no family or trust worthy friends around to babysit, so there are no date or movie nights unless we have family visiting. I also have a hard time trusting anyone but family and close friends to watch our girls, although we did have our first babysitter in this town at Christmas time and things went well. I have joined a MOMS Club and I am hoping the social interaction for me and the girls will change here in the weeks to come.

If you are a stay at home mom, what do you do for "you" time? What do you do to recharge (since really, you work full time)? How do you get adult time?

For “ME” time I usually go grocery shopping one weekend a month, ALONE. Another weekend I may go shopping, ALONE and then every 6 to 8 weeks I go get my hair done ALONE! That’s about it as of now. I’m hoping that will change with this new MOMS Club I’ve joined. They do a Girl’s Night Out once a month and other volunteer things throughout the month. Hopefully I will find where I fit in and that all depends on my husbands work schedule which consists of 12+ hours of work in a day and one weekend a month drilling, then there are business trips out of town….
To recharge, I usually take a long soak in a hot tub at the end of the night once the girls are down and the hubs is home, so if anybody wakes he can get them. I also have a glass of wine…or 2 or 3…sometimes I just take the bottle with me to the tub!
Our adult time comes when the girls go to bed. We usually watch out DVR shows or rent a movie. We try to get date nights when we are home visiting family or when we have family visiting us. Usually that’s never a problem and more frequent then what we were thinking when we moved.

Are you worried (in any way) that your choice (no matter what it is) might affect your child?

Of course I am worried that my way of doing things will affect my children. My oldest is very outgoing, loves to go on trips and plays with kids she doesn’t even know. My youngest is yet to discover that as she is very attached to me right now. I’m trying to do all the things, get them involved with other kids, play dates, time away from them, to help them adjust when Mom isn’t always around. We are discussing preschool with our oldest for the social interaction. With me having a degree in education I am pretty sure I can teach her what she will learn in preschool, as we have been playing school for almost a year now, but I do realize the interaction she has with other kids her age is important also. I also hope to get her involved in weekly play dates and dancing. I hope to continue doing the same for my youngest. I want my children to know they have to listen and respect other adults besides Mommy and Daddy, when we are not around. My biggest fear is that I will let my fear or worry, rub off on them. I want them to be tough and strong and to stand up for themselves but I also want to wrap them in a bubble wrap so nothing bad ever happens. I’m not a risk taker or daredevil. My husband is. Somewhere we have to meet in the middle.

If you could have a day away from your kids, where you could do anything, what would it be and where would you go?

Probably an hour or more at a spa and then a relaxation pool to float around in and soak up some sun, preferably by the ocean so I can listen to the wave’s crash.

What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done as a mom/what have your kids done to embarrass you?

I can’t think of something embarrassing I have done as a mom. The only thing that comes to mind that my oldest has done was at Family Day at my husband’s work. We were meeting my husband’s new first sergeant and his family and while we were sitting down to eat my oldest made the comment she needed to eat all her fruits and veggies to help her poopy come out. I had nothing to say! She’s 3! We did have the talk on the way home that we don’t talk about poopy to anyone but Mommy, Daddy and the doctor.

What does your husband/family do to support you? What do you wish he would do (wish upon a star my can be anything)?

My husband does a lot more than I give him credit for. He does the dishes, clothes (because I am horrible at taking them out of the dryer and folding them!), takes the trash out, clears the driveway of snow during the winter months, keeps the yard looking nice…oh and pays the bills! However he does not just jump in on the kid action or cooking unless it’s on the grill. In his defense, he did not grow up with babies all around him as I did, so he was not comfortable with our first one, doing much of anything with her, until she was over a year old. Well we are on #2 now and not much has changed. He will do whatever I ask of him, but I feel I shouldn’t have to ask. I’m not good at asking because I know I can do it, like I do every day/night but it would be nice for him just to jump in and take the load off. Again in his defense, he is not with them the amount of time in a day that I am, and doesn’t know their schedule like I do. When he is home and is willing to help, I find myself not asking because the time it takes to explain everything, I could have already done it. I know as they grow and get older he will be better and helping out with them. He does keep them by himself so I can go out alone but I always feel I rush to get back home to relieve him.

In regards to the stay at home mom vs. working mom debate, why do you think there is so much controversy?

Controversy as to which is better/more important? I’m unsure of the controversy between the two. I think for me personally, I enjoy it because I always envisioned myself being a stay at home mom, not thinking it would ever happen. I am so fortunate we are in a position where I can stay home. I did go back to work for 5 months after my first and was so unhappy at the time I was missing with her and my paycheck wasn’t much of a paycheck after it went to her childcare, that we decided I could stay home. For me it is easy because I can still use my college degree, Education. I can use what I learned in school, although my degree is in middle school, to teach my girls at home. I can also use my degree for online tutoring or tutoring within a community if I ever feel the need or have the time. I think many Moms feel they can’t stay home because they are not being able to use their skills professionally and they miss that interaction.

Also how is motherhood different from what you expected? Exactly what you expected? Are there things you swore you would/wouldn't do that you have changed your tune about?

Not different at all, except wishing the hubs stepped in more. It’s pretty much what I expected. Giving all of me and my time to my children because these years go by faster than you can blink and the interaction your children have with you are the most important interactions of their little lives. There will come a time when they will leave your home, as much as you want to keep them there, to step out in this world on their own. I can only pray that we as their parents have done everything we possibly could do, to prepare them. At that time there will be more “Me” and “Us” time, but for the time being it’s all about them and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I swore I would never just ride around with the DVD player on in the car. It was only for long trips. That lasted maybe a month. It gets turned on every time we are in the car now and I love it! Peace and quiet and I can listen to my radio!
TV time was going to be limited. It is limited now, but not as much as I would like. However, there are some educational shows on and it has really impressed me how much my girls have picked up by watching some of those shows.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another Shining Example of My Gullibility

You can read about the time I thought road kill seagulls were chickens.

You can also read about the time I ate butter off a baked potato bar like ice cream.

This one is seriously embarrassing. And a horrible example of how dumb I am. As well as Troy's ability to bold faced lie straight to my face. And he wonders why I never believe anything he says. Prime example right here, babe.

This happened in high school. Troy was packing up his room after graduation, about a week before heading off to college. He was going through the desk in his room and pulled out a whole drawer and set it on his bed. He started shifting through it and pulled out a bottle of cologne and handed it to me. It had a red, white, and blue striped label on it (he's an American guy through and through) and the bottle had his name on it.

Natalie: What is this?

Troy: It's my scent.

(I opened the bottle and smelled it)

Natalie: Oh wow, it smells like you!

Troy: I know. It's my scent.

Natalie: What do you mean? You went to a factory and combined a bunch of scents together and then "copyrighted" it?

Troy: I went to the Tommy Hilfiger factory last summer with my family and they have this thing you can pay extra for on their factory tour. You go and sit in this bath thing and the scientists are able to pull your actual natural scent out of your body and bottle it.

Natalie: REALLY? Wow, I've never heard of that. You'd think it'd smell like B.O. I guess not... (opens lid and smells it again) You smell good.

Troy: It's a totally one of a kind bottle. You can have it if you want.

Natalie: Are you sure? It's the only one!

Troy: I'm sure.

I know, I know. That's ridiculous. But I believed him. So much so, that when we went to youth group later that week, I told my friend Ashley about it. Ashley thought it was cool too. We chatted about it. And Troy overhead me. He busted out laughing and told me that he had lied. He couldn't have this rumor going around about the Tommy Hilfiger company making "magic cologne" because of a story he made up. He still makes fun of me about it.

ALTHOUGH I must also mention that Ashley believed it too. That doesn't make it any less embarrassing, but at least I had company in the gullibility boat on this one.

SO embarrassing. Imagine if I had told this story to someone else who knew that it had to be bull. I'm just glad I told someone who believed it too and didn't make me feel stupid about it. And now you all know.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Time I Didn't Know the Difference Between a Baked Potato Bar and Dessert

Troy and I started dating in high school. Someday I will tell that story. But for now, we are doing a week of silly/ridiculous things that Natalie has said/done. And let's be real. It happens A LOT. I can only remember these ones because, somehow, I manage to do/say them in front of Troy. Or his family. This particular instance is the latter. I do ridiculous things all the time, but when you do them in front of people, they don't let you forget them.

Troy and I were in college. It may have been my FIRST time down to North Carolina to visit Troy when he was a freshman at ECU. We were both from Washington, DC and part of the reason Troy went to ECU was because ALL of his extended family lives in Wilson, about 40 minutes from Greenville. This gave Troy lots of opportunities to visit with family on some weekends or go to family dinners or whatever.

I had met a lot of Troy's family when we graduated from high school and his family had a BBQ at their house. This was my first time going to NC and seeing them at their homes. Troy and I headed out to Wilson on a Saturday night for a family dinner at a buffet in town called "Western Sizzlin'." And I guess I wanted to make a memorable first impression.

We are talking his whole family on his dad's side. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Somewhere between 12 and 15 people were probably there. Enough people to witness the event. And anytime we go to a buffet together now, they say, "look out for the dessert bar."

Okay, so we get a big table in the restaurant and are all eating at our own pace and drinking sweet tea. It was my first time meeting some of his family and I was trying to make a good impression. I LOVE dessert. LOVE. I do not understand when someone says the phrase, "it's too rich." NO. Nothing is too rich. You just aren't in the mood for whatever it is you're eating. I have a huge sweet tooth. So after I had my fill of dinner, I headed up to grab dessert.

The whole dessert area was on one end of the baked potato bar. So on the left side, there were potatoes, bacon, green onions, shredded cheese, butter, sour cream, etc. On the other side were Oreo cookies, brownie pieces, sprinkles, gummy bears, cherries, etc. I mosey up to the bar and make myself an ice cream sundae with all the fixings and head back to the table.

I sat down with Troy's family and make the PERFECT first bite. And time slows down. I feel like everyone is watching me (even though I know they weren't). I take a bite and it isn't cold. It isn't sweet. And it isn't ice cream.

I totally took a bite of BUTTER and toppings. I immediately opened my mouth and the bite fell back into the bowl. Troy's Aunt Betty was like, "where did you get the ice cream from? I thought they only had soft serve?"

Realization dawned on me. I had scooped butter from the baked potato bar and made a sundae with butter. Now, I like Paula Dean just as much as the next person, but a butter sundae is not on my menu of favorite desserts.

Realization hit his Aunt Betty quickly and she started laughing SO hard. I discreetly tried to put my full ice cream bowl down in the dirty dishes pile at the end of the table for the server to pick up, but everyone wanted to know why Aunt Betty was laughing so hard. She couldn't talk because she was crying, so I just said "I made a butter sundae by accident."

I am now the running joke at buffet dinners with his family. Well, the good news is, Troy and I got married 4 years later and they like me. I think :)

But they will never let me forget the day I ate butter with Oreo cookie topping.

So, as a lesson to you all, butter and vanilla bean ice cream look VERY familiar. If you go to a buffet where the potato bar and dessert fixings are on the same bar, make sure you aren't taking a HUGE scoop of butter. But maybe there is a problem when there is an ice cream scoop in the butter!!! My bad.

Monday, January 21, 2013

When Chickens Fell Off the Truck

This next week we will be discussing Natalie. More specifically her gullibility. And ridiculous things that she has said and done. Unfortunately (or fortunately for you), Natalie is REALLY, REALLY gullible and ridiculous.

So to kick this week off, I am going to start with a story about how stupid I can be. This comes with a warning label. Sometimes I talk without thinking. And sometimes Troy almost crashes his car because he is laughing so hard. Off a bridge. Into the Chesapeake Bay. And almost kills us. But alas, I am going to tell you the story anyway. Troy will NEVER let me forget it. Because I was THAT dumb. OR CREATIVE! Depending on how you look at it. TROOOOOYYY!

You be the judge.

So about 4 years ago, Troy and I were driving from Dover, Delaware to Wilson, North Carolina to visit his family. We normally drove through Washington, DC and down 95 to get there following route 1:

One time, we decided to take this route. It was only 3 miles further, but it took an extra 40ish minutes. We were getting sick of the same ole drive so we decided to switch it up and take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel system from the peninsula of Maryland and Virginia down to Virginia Beach area. You can see it on the map where it looks like you are driving over the ocean following route 3:

So the whole waterway part is a GIANT system of bridges and underwater tunnels. It's like a half a mile above water and then a half a mile under water. It's really pretty. A nice change of scenery from our normal drive, right?? WRONG.

All of a sudden, we are seeing a TON of this (picture from here):

And WITHOUT even thinking, I say:

Natalie: Huh. This is really weird.

Troy: What?

Natalie: I wonder when the truck realized one of his cages were open.

Troy: (trying not to laugh because he knows where this is going but wants to see if I'll actually go there) Excuse me? What truck? We haven't seen hardly any cars, let alone trucks.

Natalie: You know. Look. The chicken truck. One of his cages was open. Look at all the chickens.


Natalie: What?


Natalie: What? Deductive reasoning here. Dead chickens. They must have fallen off a truck.


Natalie: What? Haven't you ever seen those trucks driving around with chicken cages on them?

Troy: BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHA!! Please please stop! I'm gonna pee!

Natalie: Can you please let me in on the joke?

Troy: Okay, we're outside now. Do you see anything flying around in the sky that's white right now?

Natalie: Um, yeah, but they're seagulls.

Troy: (looking at me expectantly, waiting for the light to turn on) Keeping talking. And doing your "deductive reasoning."

Natalie: No, this is different. The chickens are on the ground. How would seagulls strategically land ONLY on the bridge. It's too coincidental.


Natalie: Did they get hit by a car?

Troy: (smacks me in the forehead Aladdin style) She can be taught!

Watch at :48 - :54 seconds for reference. And yes...he does this to me whenever I say something stupid and then realize the stupidity of my statement.

This is a true story. And every time we are on a bridge and we see a dead seagull, Troy is like "LOOOOK NATALIE!! A CHICKEN!!" And I'm like "you're stupid."

Except I'm stupid.

Friday, January 18, 2013

SAHM #4 - The Mommy Chronicles

OOOOOOOO I'm excited!! We are on week 4 of the Mommy Chronicles.

Here's how this started.
Momma 1 here
Momma 2 here
Momma 3 here

Now that you're all caught up, here's our next blogger for "The Mommy Chronicles."

And I am posting these blogs in the order that I receive them in my inbox. This whole "planning ahead" for blogs is a new concept for me :) It feels good! I have almost 2 MONTHS worth of fridays all ready to go. If you have submitted an email to me or someone else, I will be shooting you a heads up if this is your week!

Mommy #4 is a stay at home mom of 5! YOU GO GIRL! She is a cook, chauffeur, and dry cleaning lady :) And one of the most positive people I know. Her hubs is deploying in a few weeks and everyone needs to send prayers her way :(

Are you a home engineer (SAHM) or do you work?

I am a domestic engineer (SAHM)

Why is that the best choice for your family?

My kids are the most important thing to me (except my husband of course). I wanted to be home with them. My mom was home for me and I was so blessed to have that. I wanted to do that for my children. My husband would work mulitiple jobs for me to stay at home and be with them and nurture them. And I really didn’t want it any other way.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kiddo(s)?

I think my favorite thing is sitting at the dinner table and have silly conversations…as a family. They really do say the silliest things. I also like family movie night.

What do you love about it?

I love that I get to see everything. I am there for everything. I am there to teach them how to make right choices and what happens when they don’t. I get to see them walk, talk, share, laugh, and cry. I get to hold them when their feelings get hurt or when they are sad. I love that they need me, and to be honest, I need them.

What do you hate about it? (being at home or working)

I hate that I cannot go to the bathroom without having a kid asking where I am going and if I am done yet or one screaming at the door cause another kid hit them…haha. I hate that as soon as I clean up a mess, something else is dirty. I hate that the laundry NEVER seems to be done. I mean, lets be honest, being a SAHM is not awesome or glamorous. By the end of some days I just want curl up in the fetal position and rock myself to sleep. Haha. Its HARD work and that’s on the days you were lazy.

If you are a stay at home mom, what do you do for "you" time?

Well, I have an awesome husband that knows when I need a break. He knows it before I do. Girls nights are my favorite thing. And we really try to plan date nights as often as possible.

What do you do to recharge (since really, you work full time)? How do you get adult time?

Girls nights, date nights and I honestly LOVE to have people over to eat. I think we have people over at least once a week. I love play dates and chatting with the moms about how crazy, silly or frustrating our kids are. Its serious therapy for FREE!

Are you worried (in any way) that your choice (no matter what it is) might affect your child?

I am not at all worried about my choice. It was an easy one for me to make and I know that its what is right path for our family. If I had a chance to go back and make a different one, I wouldn’t. I know that my place is in the home, doing THE hardest job there is!

The one thing I fear, is failure. I fear that I don’t do enough. Wondering if I have missed an important principle or lesson they needed to know. Wondering if I loved them enough. If I do enough. But when it comes down to it, I have to remind myself that as long as I do my best with a heart full of love my short comings will be taken care of.

If you could have a day away from your kids, where you could do anything, what would it be and where would you go?

This question makes me laugh only because I will talk and talk and talk about how bad I need to get away for awhile, but as soon as I leave, I miss it and the little buggers that are waving goodbye. Its kind of sad and pathetic but its true. Haha. The only time I have ever left my family to get away on my own was to go visit my family in Idaho. I loved the break but missed them terribly! But that is what I would choose, to go visit the family I rarely get to see.

What is the most embarrassing thing you have ever done as a mom?

Im sure my kids think I have done a lot of emabrrassing things, but I can only think of one. I was talking to my son’s teacher at parent teacher conference and just burst out in tears in front of her. My son was struggling in reading at the time and I just felt a little hopeless and overwhelmed. The teacher was very sweet and sensitive. I was however MORTIFIED that I couldn’t keep it under control until I at least got to the car…I am still embarrassed to this day when I see his teacher. Haha.

What have your kids done to embarrass you?

Oh, I am sure I have a lot. But the one that comes to mind was my daughter pointing to my tummy rolls and asking me if there was a baby in there…haha.

What does your husband/family do to support you?

My husband always seems to know when I need a break or a night out before I do. I always feel guilty for leaving him in charge but know that I feel so much better when I do. He comes home and helps out with the kids without me even having to ask.

What do you wish he would do?

Right now, NOTHING! I am still dealing with and wrapping my head around the AMAZING Christmas presents he bought me. He is on a good road until Mother’s Day. Haha.

In regards to the stay at home mom vs. working mom debate, why do you think there is so much controversy? Be brutally honest.

Women tend to get defensive when it comes to their children and their decisions. When someone comes around and doesn’t share that opinion, we tend to get vicious and the claws come out. Women can be nasty to each other. We can say pretty hurtful things when it comes to what we do with our children. My honest thoughts are, don’t judge! Everyone has different circumstances and reasons for what they do. I still respect those that make the decision to work. I do not judge them for that choice just because its not MY choice. We are hard enough on ourselves, we don’t need help…

How is motherhood different from what you expected? Exactly what you expected?

My mother made it look easy. I grew up in a house that I never remember EVER being messy. My clothes were always clean. And we always had a homemade meal every night. She just made it look EASY! And its NOT. It took a few years for me to realize that she didn’t have it all put together at first either. She learned, just as I am learning. It will all come in time. Hopefully…

Are there things you swore you would/wouldn't do that you have changed your tune about?

Not really, but there is something I thought I was, until I had kids and realize I am not PATIENT! I am with adults, but mini adults…not so much. That is a work in progress…

Keep Brie and her family in your prayers as Jared deploys in the next few weeks. It's going to be a hard transition for them and they can use all the support they can get.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My First Speeding Ticket. OH WAIT...It Got Voided!

As a refresher (if you need one) here is the original incident. You know, where the cop was a total meanie and I decided to come home and document it that very day for the whole world wide web to see. And here is when I gave an update after I had filed a complaint with internal affairs.

Which brings me to today. Where I can tell you that the whole ordeal is officially over. My assigned court date was yesterday, January 15th. And I didn't go. Because my ticket was voided. You read that right.

I will back up and explain how all of this came to be...

So I filed an official complaint regarding the whole incident with the Las Vegas Metro Police. The complaint was forwarded to internal affairs. Internal affairs looked into my ticket (well, it was Troy's ticket technically since the ticket was improperly filled out with him as the driver when he wasn't even in the car) and it was then forwarded on the Sergeant of the police officer whom my complaint was regarding. I got a phone call from the Sergeant asking me to come in for an official interview. I told him that I wasn't interested in that but he was pretty insistent, so I reluctantly agreed.

I went to the office for my interview at 7am on December 19th in interrogation room 5. Sergeant Lehtinen and myself were the only people in the room. The things that I said were the truth to the best of my knowledge and the tape recording could be used in an administrative hearing.

Literally. It was that official. I was tape recorded with all kinds of official mumbo jumbo on the beginning of the recording to document who was there, and time and date and location and HOLY CRAP I was scared.

I was really really glad for this blog when I went in for the interview. I know that (statistically) when court dates or interviews are delayed for things like this, witnesses are more likely to forget the details and facts of situations and instead, only remember how they felt. Interviews run more on emotions rather than facts.

I came home the day that I got my ticket and wrote the blog. It was fresh in my mind. I brought my iphone to the interview and had the page loaded up in the Blogger app. I literally read the blog exactly as I wrote it into the microphone. When I finished, Sergeant Lehtinen asked me if I wanted to add any additional information and I said no.

And he turned off the tape recorder and informed me that internal affairs had started the paperwork to have my ticket voided before the report of my complaint had landed on his desk. Which I was NOT expecting, so that was awesome. The internal affairs office noticed that the ticket was under the wrong name and started the voiding process because they didn't know that the name could be changed through the court system.

SO YAY FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING! I filed a complaint about the officer, internal affairs voided my ticket and I did the interview with his Sergeant. All's well that ends well. Thanks for all your advice and encouragement. I appreciate it :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lindsey's Bachelorette Weekend: Day 3

These are our mugshots after a night out on Day 2. You can also read about day 1 here.

We woke up around 9 on saturday morning and were putting together details from the night before. Laughing. And drinking coffee and water. There was not enough coffee and water.

Then we all started rotating through showers for the day. Lindsey literally did not know anything that was planned for the whole weekend. There were things that she definitely wanted to do, but Taylor kept lying. These are examples of actual conversations that happened between the 2 of them:

Lindsey: Ok, where are we going for lunch?

Taylor: We are going to the oldest museum south of the Mason-Dixon line and then having tea and sandwiches for lunch.

Lindsey: Oh, ok that Are we going to Paula Dean's restaurant at any point?

Taylor: Nope, sorry. This is slow season for tourism in Savannah, so they are actually closed for renovations.

Lindsey: WHAT!??! That's so sad. I really wanted to go there.

Lies, Taylor...Lies. The funny thing is, Taylor actually told Lindsey that we were doing things that sounded pretty fun to Lindsey so when we didn't do those things, Lindsey was like, "but wait...going to a tea house sounded fun."

So we headed down to River Street again for lunch. Lindsey had NO idea where we were going. We went to Paula Dean's restaurant called Lady and Sons. It's been open since 1989.

Here is the outside of the restaurant. Apparently, the line is usually wrapped all the way around the block. But that was before they took reservations. Which they JUST started doing. We had a reservation, thank goodness, because there was NO way I was waiting for 2+ hours to eat, which I guess is the norm.

I got the buffet. I wanted to try some of everything and there was no way I'd be able to pick something from the menu without having food envy from something someone else ordered. I think I literally ate about 4 lbs of food. I have proof. It's on my hips now. Of the 12 of us, 5 people got the buffet. I was the first person back to the table with food and the other 7 pairs of eyeballs just about popped out of their heads. Not because the food looked good. But I think I packed about 3lbs of food on my plate. Literally. I was like, "don't judge me right now." I ate the whole plate. Without breathing. A total inhale before their ordered meals arrived. I may have been wearing leggings. Which are similar to maternity pants in the waist. Because I had a total food baby. And I went back for seconds. It was embarrassing. So. Much. Butter. That lady is no joke with the butter. I also ate dessert. I make no apologies. Don't judge.

As a side note: I weighed myself when I came home on sunday and I gained 4lbs in 4 days. I'm pretty sure I can thank THIS meal for most of that weight. Moving on...

The next thing we did was a Savannah/Lindsey and Chester Themed Scavenger hunt. Taylor found a company that does custom scavenger hunts and they organized a walking one for us around Savannah. It was amazing. I think it was my favorite thing we did the whole weekend. We were organized into 3 teams of 4 and Taylor bought each team matching headbands. We were the pink team. There was also a black team and a teal team. We were given a list of 25 things that we could accomplish. We were only allowed to choose 15 items. Each item had an assigned number of points. The team who got the most points with any combination of 15 items after 1.5 hours won.

Some of the items were hilarious. I can't remember them all, but most of the items required a picture for proof. God Bless smart phones :)

Take a picture with every person in the picture touching a body of water. 100pts for each person in the picture.

Get a drink from a bar and bring back the cup. We went to Wet Willie's and all got slushies. Here is Lindsey excited about her drink. We also got the bartender to "dress up in women's clothing." Ie. Our headbands, scarf, sunglasses, and a purse. I didn't get that photo. Sadness.

Make a veil out of items that you already have on you. You cannot buy anything for this task. We used our map of Savannah and the headband that Lindsey was wearing for our team designation.

1000 points if you can get a stranger to propose to you. 1000 extra points if you can get him to do it with his shirt off. Funny story: this guy was selling the palm flowers. We paid him for the flowers and asked him to propose with his shirt off. CHECK!

Ask a couple (who look like they have been married for a long time) to write marriage advice on this paper. 100 points for every year of marriage. We picked a couple who looked to be about in their mid 70's thinking that it would have been 40 years minimum. As it turns out, they were ON THEIR HONEYMOON!! SO cute. They were from Australia and had awesome accents.

Go to a bar and get as many people as possible in a photo touching a single barstool. 100 points per person touching the barstool.

Go to the oldest movie theater south of the Mason-Dixon line and take a picture of the brick with Forrest Gump's name on it.

We did 15 things on the list, but those are the only ones that I got pictures of. Here are a few examples of other things on the list.

- Find a guy with the same name as the groom (Chester) and take a picture of his driver's license.

- Take a picture of a guy that looks like Elvis marrying 2 of you

- Get a pair of boxer shorts. It doesn't matter how you get them.

- Take a picture of a man kissing a member of your group. 100 extra points for each additional person in the picture getting kissed.

Those are just some examples. It was amazing and fun.

That night, the theme was "Pirate Night." We all wore black and had red feather boas, eye patches on chop sticks, and Lindsey wore a Pirate hat. We went to a restaurant called "The Pirate House." Here is a group photo before we all went out:

We cabbed it there and had reservations. The bar had some great drink selections. I had Rum Spiced Cider and the straw was through a cinnamon stick, so every sip I took had a GREAT spike of flavor.

It was a seafood restaurant and has a room that is haunted. We went into the room (where apparently people see a young boy sometimes) but he did not make an appearance.

Here is Lindsey with the Pirate mascot guy of the restaurant, who goes around and visits with the patrons.

Seeing as how I ate like a PIG at Lady and Sons, I got a hot spinach salad...YUM. I shared an entree of crab dip with another one of the girls. I was SOOO full from the day.

Here is a cute one of Taylor, Elaine, and Nicole at Dinner.

We went to a local bar called Pinky's after dinner, where Ronald Reagan announced his intent to run for President, so that was pretty cool. We stayed for about 3 drinks and headed home.

We had Lindsey a lingerie shower the day before and some of the girls were demanding a fashion show. So a few of us camped out upstairs while Lindsey gave us a little preview of her and Chester's honeymoon. #brownchickenbrowncow Lets just say that Chester is a lucky man and Lindsey has some generous and dirty dirty friends. It was fun. And I was up until 230am. UGHHHH.

I definitely got up at 445am to get to the airport to get on my flight departing at 630am that morning. Flying east to west when you are exhausted and have to be up all day and care for a toddler = not awesome.

Awesome weekend. I am so glad I made the trip. Troy and Avery survived. They didn't just survive...Troy made dinner every night. And not just mac n cheese or peanut butter and jelly. Chicken parmesan. Avery and her daddy had a date night. Love them. It was great to leave for a weekend. But it was great to come home to my family.

Can't wait for the wedding in April. When all my siblings AND their spouses come together. It's gonna get messy. And awesome. Yesssssss....

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I'm am a Hormonal Mess. Welcome to the World of Infertility.

Here is your one and only warning. This post is filled with words like "period", "insemination", and "timed intercourse." If you can't handle it, CLICK THE X NOW. Consider yourself warned. Read with caution.

The other day, Troy's cousin posted one of those "fortune future things" that predicts how many kids you will have. I took it once and it said "you will have 1 girl and 0 boys." I had a total meltdown. Sobbing mess. I. Am. Pathetic.

I am SO not done having kids yet. Some computer program is not going to tell me I am done. Especially one that probably calculates it based on how many syllables are in your name.

So what did I do? I logged into Troy's facebook and did it for him you baby!! And it said "You will have 1 boy and 0 girls."

HA! I felt so much better. But just because I couldn't quit, I deleted the app that completes the test for you and re-loaded it to see if it would say something different. "You will have 2 boys and 1 girl."

YESSSSSS so much better. I saved the picture since I liked the result. I do what I want, it's my blog :)

I am not going to go into the full summary of details regarding my fertility history, but I will give you a bulleted list to get you all caught up:

- January 2009 go off birth control
- July 2009 realize I haven't had a period in the 6 months I went off birth control and call the clinic at Dover for a referral off base
- July-September 2009 - undergo fertility testing and discover that I have PCOS
- September 2009 - take 1 round of clomid
- October 9, 2009 - Troy deploys
- October 26, 2009 - diagnosed with H1N1 and get a positive pregnancy test on the same day
- December 18, 2009 - miscarriage while Troy is deployed resulting in a D&C
- April 2010 - Troy gets home
- May 2010 - failed round of clomid
- June 2010 - failed round of clomid
- July 2010 - failed round of clomid
- August 2010 - higher dose of clomid and metformin taken together resulting in Avery
- May 2011 - Avery is born
- June 2012 - Finished nursing Avery and haven't had a period since Avery was born
- August 2012 - take metformin to help bring on a period and end up pregnant!!
- August 20, 2012 - miscarriage :(

And now you're all caught up. In summary, I don't ovulate without medical help and I have had a GRAND TOTAL of 3 periods (meaning I have ovulated 3 times) in my WHOLE life without medicine. 2 before I went on birth control when I was 18 and I had one completely random one in October of 2012.

It really sucks to go to medical appointments and write down 1 live birth and 3 pregnancies. Hard.

So we are starting up fertility treatments again. And this time it's serious. I got a referral to one of the top fertility clinics on the west coast, Red Rock Fertility.

I have been undergoing testing for about 2 months. It hasn't been fun. I was on this crazy medication that made my mood swings crazy. Poor Troy. I would go from screaming and pissed one second to crying like an infant in the next minute. Eeek. I would start crying at a commercial in my car or a song in the grocery store. I would hold Avery and sob. Or just cry in the shower for no reason. This went on for about 3 weeks. Everyone...Troy is a saint. I just want to be clear about that.

We had our follow up appointment on Friday, January 11th. And it was SO frustrating. I was really hoping that all the testing would turn up something. Like an answer. Like your _______________ isn't working right. Or __________________ hormone level is too low. Or something. An answer. With a fix. Or a pill I can take to fix it. And be normal.

Instead, he says:

Doctor: You have polycystic ovaries.

Me: Well, we knew that I had PCOS BEFORE all this testing.

Doctor: You don't have PCOS. Those people are overweight, have abnormal facial hair, and their testosterone levels are high. Your labs are normal and you don't have ANY of those symptoms of the "syndrome" other than that you don't ovulate or have periods. All your levels are normal, but I think the timing is off. It's like the clock that turns things on and off to make your reproductive system work is broken but all the ingredients are there.

(Me thinking: Oh good. I need a new timer and measuring cups)

Me: Uh huh. Okay. So what are we going to do?

Well, he decided that clomid is not a good course for me at this time. Especially since it took 4 rounds to get Avery.

Instead, we are (well, I am) taking a more aggressive medication that is injected into my belly, similar to insulin, for 10 days. The medication makes my estrogen go very high and mature anywhere from 3-5 eggs. I have to go get an ultrasound and blood work every 2-3 days for 2 weeks to determine when my eggs are good and mature...ughhhhh so annoying. SO many trips to the doctor.

The doctor wanted us to do an insemination because apparently the medication makes it hard for the sperm to swim to the ideal location to make magic with the eggs. However, Troy is fearful of this.


Natalie: What are you talking about? I don't want to go to these appointments every other day for 2 weeks and have it NOT work the first time! I don't want to do this more than 1 time! The insemination is like 70% effective in my case. Did you not hear the doctor??

Troy: DID YOU NOT HEAR THE DOCTOR!?! 3-5 EGGS!! We do NOT need to put my sperm millimeters from the goldmine and end up with 5 babies!! ARE YOU CRAZY!?!? Do you WANT a litter?!?!??

Natalie: Oh, please. You're being overdramatic.

Troy: Are you ready for 5 babies??

Natalie: That is not going to happen.

Troy: Can you guarantee that?

Natalie: Well, no. But I have a feeling.

Troy: A feeling? Nope. Not good enough for me.

Nurse sitting in the room and walking us through our schedule: Okay, guys. This should make for an interesting car ride home. Why don't you shoot me an email with what you want to do?

Well, anyway. We decided to go with "timed intercourse." Meaning I go to all these appointments and they monitor my hormone levels and egg maturity. When they look nice and plump, they give me another medication to make them "drop" and then give Troy and me a 2 hour window to have sex in.


Sorrrrrrry. You were warned. In the meantime, the whole internet and blogosphere is now aware of my reproductive status. Welcome!!!

Now, here's what you can do for me. I have to take that devil medication again. Pray for Troy and Avery and that I have patience and don't have a meltdown in an elevator where I end up rocking back and forth in the corner and crying. Pray for my eggs to be fat and healthy. And pray for a baby. A healthy one. Not 5. That's Troy's request. Haha.

We will keep you updated. This whole party kicks off the first week in February. WAHOOOO!!! Maternity clothes here I come!!! Hopefully (fingers crossed).

Please DO NOT ask me if I am pregnant in a month because I will not tell you. With Avery, I didn't fess up until I was almost 20 weeks and I already knew that she was girl. We will share when we are ready. The thought of sharing and then miscarrying (again) is too horrifying a thought. No news is good news. So pray, people. Pray hard.

Friday, January 11, 2013

SAHM #3 - The Mommy Chronicles

Okay chickadees...

If you haven't been keeping up, it's friday!!! So here we are with another momma. I want to be clear, that this is not just limited to moms and I have some daddys lined up too :)

Here is how all this started.

Here is Momma #1

Here is Momma #2

And here were are with Momma #3...

It is my ABSOLUTE pleasure to introduce you to one of my sorority sisters. It's funny how you just connect with people or someone says the EXACT right thing at the time you need to hear it. She is that girl.

She writes beautifully. She chose to ignore the interview questions, which are used as a guide if you are struggling with something to say, but she just decided to sit down and write as she felt led. She wrote about her difficulty getting pregnant, being a new mom, and ultimately quitting her job, even though she reaaaaaallllly didn't want to. Her story is so beautiful and really shows the struggle of being a mom and even when it's awful, it's so wonderful.

Her story rang home for me and I think that MANY of you will really relate to this girl. She is amazing :)

As a side note, I haven't had anyone who is a working momma respond yet. If you want to share or you have a friend/sister/neighbor/stranger (I kid...sort of) that you think might have great story, shoot them my email address:

Okay lovelies, I leave you with this courageous momma:

I have always known that I wanted to be a mom but I have never felt sure that motherhood would be something that came easily to me. My sister was a natural mother, she babysat as soon as she could and cared for every child who crossed her path. Me? Not so much. Kids have always driven me crazy, even the ones I love. The thought of holding a newborn baby in my arms terrified me. Seeing a kid throwing a tantrum over fruit roll ups in the grocery store gave me heart palpitations. But then I would watch my niece climb into my sister’s lap and snuggle against her chest and I would know, deep in my soul, that I wanted that in my life too.

My husband, Joe, and I decided we were ready to start a family about three years ago and we were lucky enough to conceive pretty quickly. We were so excited that we shared our news with our families almost immediately and at 8 weeks we told the world. When I went in for my 12 week check up three days before Christmas my doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat and an ultrasound confirmed our fears. It is hard for me to imagine many things worse than feeling like your body failed you, as though your body were truly built for this one job and it couldn’t do it. And not only did my body fail but the promise of new life was gone. The future I had begun to imagine... gone dark. I clung to the hope that we would be able to have our healthy baby and a few months later we were pregnant again.

My son was born almost exactly a year after we lost our first baby. He was my miracle. I spent the 9 months I was pregnant with him torn between absolute elation and paralyzing fear that I would not be a mother good enough for this perfection. The day I went into labor I was terrified that he would arrive and I wouldn’t adore him the way I expected to, that I wouldn’t immediately connect to him. But then the nurse put him in my arms and everything else fell away.

Joe and I decided that I would stay home with the baby (T) mostly because it didn’t really make sense financially for me to work. I was working as an administrator during my pregnancy and paying for daycare would have eaten half my salary. Beyond that, it wasn’t a job I loved (or even really cared about at all) and I couldn’t imagine paying someone else to snuggle my baby so that I could answer phones and listen to people complain about the length of their neighbor’s grass. So there wasn’t much of a discussion, it just made sense for me to play stay at home mommy to our little man while Joe brought home the bacon. Of course, being a LITTLE bit of a feminist this was a bit of a hard pill to swallow... or at least I pretended it was to save face. But still, even though it was easy to decide to be a SAHM I felt badly because I knew Joe wanted to be a SAHD. Knowing that made me feel like I needed to be an even better SAHM because I was getting this luxury that Joe didn’t get.

The first two months were hard. No. The first two months were awful. I was nursing T and it was, by far, the most painful experience of my life. On top of the pain I was experiencing most of the day, T was fussy. He didn’t like to be put down. He didn’t like to sleep. All of this combined meant that I was getting up around 5am (after being up multiple times a night to nurse and rock him back to sleep) and settling into a big chair downstairs with my baby. He would nurse, fall asleep on me, nap, wake, nurse, fall asleep on me, nap, wake, repeat. Joe would leave us at 8:30am and return to find me in the same position, still in my pajamas and bathrobe, at 6pm. We got up for diaper changes and sometimes I tried to eat a meal. We watched a lot of television. There was a lot of crying. Finally, around three or four months we discovered that T had a milk protein intolerance. All that string cheese I was eating for breakfast (because there isn’t much that is faster than string cheese when you have a baby screaming in your arms) wasn’t doing either of us any good. I removed all dairy from my diet and in a month I had a new baby. I could put him down on his playmat or in his rocker and I could actually eat a (really quick) meal, or even put on real clothes. It was HEAVEN! He even tolerated being worn so I could grocery shop once a week. Naps still had to be done on my chest while I was rocking but still, this was progress.

T is now a year old and life has changed drastically. He is a ball of energy and a blur of motion. I can no longer strap him in his swing or the exersaucer and do dishes. I can’t sit him up on the floor surrounded by toys and write an email without having to wonder where he disappeared to after thirty seconds. But he plays with me. He brings me books when he wants to snuggle and read. He crawls away from me at top speed and then turns to grin at me and make sure I’m following. He is a little person now, no longer a blob. I have gotten to watch him roll over, scoot and crawl for the first time. I have gotten to see his reaction to almost every food he has tried first hand. I’ve gotten to hear his coos turn to babbles turn to words. I’ve gotten to teach him the signs for milk and more and watch him do them back for the first time. I get to put him down for naps each day which means reading a story and singing a song and snuggling together. I have barely missed a moment in my son’s short and amazing life and I know that that is because I stay home with him. However, all of this comes with a price.

I am lonely. I am bored. My mind is not sharp and the longest conversations I have with adults most days are with my neighbor while I’m getting the mail (with a baby on my hip) or the elderly woman who wants to tell me all about her son who is now 55. I never planned to be a SAHM. When people asked me about it I told them I don’t know how SAHMs do it without going crazy. Luckily, I work outside of the house two nights a week (for a total of about 4 hours) with someone I love and consider a good friend. This does allow me to use my mind and interact with someone who says more than “ball” (although his sense of humor is only slightly more mature than T’s). But on most days I’m exhausted by the time Joe comes home. By Friday I’m at my wit’s end. If Joe dares to come home and need to use the bathroom before relieving me of T duties then I feel like I will snap. Joe is amazing about offering to hang out with T while I go do ANYTHING, but by the time he is home for the weekend I don’t want to miss out on time with both of my boys so I rarely take him up on it. Because of this I don’t get “me” time. I haven’t had a haircut in nine months. I haven’t had a pedicure in over a year. Joe and I have been out to dinner on our own twice in the last year. In reality I have an amazing support system and really, if I needed to, I could call my aunt, my sister, my brother, my boss(es), my college roommate, my best friend’s little sister (who all live in town) and say “hey, want to keep T?” and they would jump at the chance. But I don’t. I don’t want to burden them. I worry T will be a terror and they will never come back. So instead I put my dentist appointment off.... for a year... or two.

So I guess the moral of this story is that yes, I am one of the “lucky” ones who gets to be a stay at home mom. However it is not the glamorous life people imagine it to be, and not just for me. I may be left feeling lonely and bored and exhausted but it also means that T isn’t getting to socialize with other kids. He isn’t learning that it’s ok to be away from me for extended periods of time and how to deal with that. Staying home with me offers him amazing benefits but I also firmly believe that he is missing out on some great benefits too. I don’t think there is a right answer to the question “which is better?” Both are amazing. Both are awful. I watched my sister return to work when her son was ten weeks old and while she was ready to be working again it broke her heart to leave him in the morning (and she was leaving him with his dad, not even a daycare or friend). She works hard and comes home tired but all she wants to do is soak up the time with her 8 year old and 9 month old. I envy that she has a reason to get dressed and do her hair each morning and gets to interact with adults (and a ton of middle schoolers even) all day, but I also know it wears on her. I know she misses some really exciting things. When I keep her son and send pictures of him and T playing together I know a part of her aches to be there and see it herself. There are days I dream of returning to work, even to my crappy, low paying, unimportant job. But then I shake myself back to reality and I see my son giggling and practicing throwing a ball and I think “no, this is right where I want to be.”

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lindsey's Bachelorette Weekend: Day 2

Day 2 of Bachelorette Weekend in Savannah, Georgia starts now. You can read about day 1 here.

I slept later on friday morning than I have slept since before I got pregnant with Avery. I normally wake up around 730 whether Avery is awake or not. I slept until almost 10. UNHEARD OF. Seriously crazy.

I woke up shocked and snagged a cup of coffee and visited with everyone hanging out in the living room. People were already rotating through showers, so I jumped in when it was my turn. We all headed out around 11:15 for a walk down to the "main drag" of Savannah, which is on a river.

It was a pretty good walk, taking us about 30 minutes and we headed to our lunch destination, a place called Vic's. It was a seafood place and all 9 of us had our fill of shrimp and grits, calamari, steak, and general southern goodness. And butter. They go together.

I cannot tell you how quaint Savannah is. It's so cute.

Things I learned while visiting there:

1. The scenes from Forrest Gump where he is sitting on the bench waiting for the bus and talking to all those people, took place in a park in Savannah. This park to be exact:

2. The phrase "Keeping up with the Jones" originated in Savannah. Jones Street is the most BEAUTIFUL street I have ever walked down. I guess the phrase started there because all of the neighbors were/are forever trying to keep their homes nice and all the other neighbors feel the pressure to "keep up with each other" financially and socially. You can see why:

3. The oldest movie theater south of the Mason-Dixon line is located in Savannah. It looked like the movie theater in The Notebook. Adorable.

4. I keep wondering the money from the bailout went. SO. MUCH. MONEY. Well, Obama allocated some of the money to Savannah to build a movie studio. I didn't know this, but Paula Dean has SEVERE agoraphobia and hates to travel. She was traveling up to New York very frequently to film her show. When the money came to Savannah, she started filming her show there instead of in New York. So filming her show in Savannah boosted the economy and tourism. I thought that was SO interesting.

After our walk, we headed to The Art Bash. It's a step by step painting class and they provide beverages to "assist in not being so critical of your work" so that you can have fun with the class. We had sangria and were painting "The Snowy Egret."

I thought the 2 instructors were GREAT. We had some pretty critical artists in our group with lots of questions and wanted exact step by step instructions. For example:

Instructor: Ok so now you mix blue and white and swoop down to make a shape like this.

Lady 1: Wait. Like how much blue? Like mostly blue and little white? Is that more of a half a heart or like a semicircle??

Lady 2: I accidentally mixed purple. Can I just do that?

Lady 3: NOOOOOOOOO I suck!! FIX MINE I NEED HELP! My drink is empty...

Instructor: Just a little blue, you're trying to make a shadow. Yes more of a heart shape. I'll be back in a second to help you. And I'll bring you a refill.

Lady 2: Purple is okay though right? He'll just be fancy.

Lady 1 to Lady 3: Your grass looks WAY better than mine. Mine is like fire and yours is like did you blend that? I NEED HELP OVER HERE!

Instructor: Okay we're moving on.

Lady 3: MY DRINK MY DRINK! Crap I stuck my paintbrush in my sangria instead of my water....noooooooo

Instructor: That's happened before.

Literally. It went on like that for 2 hours. Hilarious.

Lindsey attends a studio like this in her home town in Florida pretty regularly, so she was a seasoned pro. Some people had never picked up a paintbrush in their lives, but EVERYONE loved it and came away with a similar, yet oddly unique painting.

Here is a group shot of everyone and their pictures:

Isn't that so much fun?? I loved it. I bought 2 groupons for a studio that does this in Vegas and going to the class made me SO excited to use them.

We walked back to the house and Lindsey's mother in law had made HOMEMADE lasagna for dinner. DELICIOUS! Seriously awesome. Her secret ingredient is a layer of sour cream. Guess it's not a secret anymore, but wow, it was good.

Then it was time to get decked out for 80's prom night. OH LORD. We were a scene for sure.

I didn't get a group shot...I'm not sure if anyone did. I'll update this later if one turns up. I did get lots of video. We got dressed and had a few drinks and then headed out to a dueling piano bar called Savannah Smiles. It was pretty great. Here is a smattering of pictures:

Here are a few girls before we left the house. You can get an idea of the decor and feel inside the house too.

Another group of girls in the piano bar.

Best. Picture. Ever. Elaine and her BFF Nicole:

Another sister shot of Taylor, Lindsey, and me:

Another group shot that shows a little more of our 80's prom outfits:

My dad stopped by the bar to say hi to us (aka make sure we were ok and buy us all a round of drinks) so I got a picture on his lap. You should have seen the look of ABSOLUTE HORROR when he saw us dancing in the bar.

Here is a picture of Taylor and me with her rocking her 80's Madonna look like a champ:

And here are some videos of the ridiculous for your viewing pleasure.

I hit a wall while we were there. I was fine one second and then I was like, "I'm ready to go home. Now." So 4 of us grabbed the second cab of the night home. A group of about 6 stayed out until about 330am. Lindsey was in that group. They went to a bar called Saddlebags...complete with a mechanical bull. Seriously. They went to a bar with a mechanical bull while decked out in their 80's prom dresses and leggings. Don't forget the side ponytails...As a sidenote, leggings and fishnets stockings are NOT awesome when trying to ride a mechanical bull. It's like trying to grab a slicked up pig. It just don't work.

This is an actual conversation that took place the next morning between Lindsey and her sister in law (who never drinks or goes out with her 3 children at home):

Lindsey: Oh my gosh...are you feeling okay??

(Maryedith walks into the kitchen with her hair still in a french braid and a hot pink scrunchie in her hair)

Maryedith: I don't remember how we got home and I don't know where my purse is...

Lindsey: Check out this bruise on my leg.

Maryedith: HOLY COW how did you get that?

Lindsey: Well probably from the mechanical bull throwing me around last night.


Lindsey: (laughing so hard) Maryedith. You did too...

awkward silence.

Taylor took "mugshots" of all of us on Saturday morning after 80's prom night. So I'm definitely jumping the gun to day 3...but this was just too good not to share in THIS post: