Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baby Boy Nursery: It's a jungle in here!

Ok, ok, I know what you're thinking (and yes my baby is 18 months old...sniff, sniff), but with what seems like the entire blogging population knocked up again (and yes, I am a bit jealous - in a good way -...and hoping for April...anywho), I've teamed up with Mama G (from Growing Up Geeky) this week to host Toddle Along Tuesdays....and this week's topic: baby nurseries!

Now, when I found out I was pregnant I had crazy hopes and dreams of creating this awesome nursery that would put everyone to shame and would knock the socks of my family members...well, um, yeah.  Notsomuch.  However, I LOVE the simplicity of Thad's room, the lack of clutter, and overall cozy feel of it.

So, without further ado, I give you little man's room.

Simple, cozy, & on the market last Spring. (April 2011)
We no longer have the mobile up or the soother.
Oh and the mattress is lower. I already have a monkey jumping on the bed.
The crib is a DaVinci Kalani in Espresso (LOVE this finish).  It's actually a convertible so when he no longer fits in his crib while sleeping someday we'll switch over to the toddler bed (and not anytime soon thankyouverymuch...) then someday down the road we'll convert it to the full-sized bed he can have throughout high school, etc.  If it makes it that long.  Currently, the bedroom beaver has gotten to it.


The dresser is an old one from way before college -- pretty sure I got it at Walmart when I was in high school and needed more space...lol.  Whatever.  It's recently broken (thank you toddler man) so we'll be purchasing a new one.  I'm hoping for one like this.
And that chair that's hidden in the corner.  Yeah, that baby goes way back to when I was kid.  I remember falling asleep in that as a little girl.  It is the.most.comfortable.recliner.ever.  I would not let my parents get rid of it and I pretty much stole it out from under my sister when I found out I was pregnant (she had taken it for awhile when she moved into her apartment).  I believe it's an old Lane recliner, but it is insanely comfortable and I don't know where I would have been on some of those early nights/mornings without it.

The sheets are Tiddliwinks Safari sheets from Target.  And while I had initially wanted to go with the sheets and crib skirt, I ended up with only the sheets, some matching blankets, and I love it.  I'm so glad I didn't waste the money on a complete bedding set only to use the sheets -- hint for new moms, don't do the sets!


And last, but not least, my favorite part of his room.  The artwork.  I painted these a couple weeks before Thad was born and I'm so glad I did.  Not that he's really going to want zoo animals on his wall way into his teens, but at least he'll always have something special from his mama to him.


So there you have it!  Little man's room and our nursery...cozy, comfy, and ours.  So, tell me about your nurseries.  Come on now, link 'em up!



This week's Toddle Along Tuesday topic is Nurseries! Show off your baby's nursery, child's room, or post some nursery ideas or Pinterest inspiration. There are no rules, except that you link up a relevant post rather than your whole blog.



Monday, February 27, 2012

How I Rock My Marriage: Libby (me!)


I decided that since the hubs is off in Texas, I'd take the opportunity to tell you how we're rockin' it long distance.  I'm not gonna lie, it hasn't been all unicorns and rainbows, but we're making it work.  This job isn't the first job E's had that's taken him out of state.  As a former construction worker, he often traveled the country working on pipelines and building power plants.  We visited every few weeks and were lucky enough that the farthest job from home was only ever 8(ish) hours long.  I'd pack up the dogs and hit the road.  While it was often crowded in the car and boring driving alone, it was always well worth it when I finally arrived.  Other times he'd pack up after work on Friday and head home to see me.  (I always preferred this...lol.)  Either way, we made sure to see each other.

Visiting hubs on the job in his awesome pop-up camper.
Circa 2007 
That was before marriage....and a kid.  It's different this time.  The first few nights were really rough.  It's amazing how I've learned to lean on my husband for support in our marriage.  I was amazed to see how different it was parenting by myself than with a partner.  And while we're obviously still married and still partners in this relationship, there is something to be said about being a "single" parent.  It's different, it's hard. It was an adjustment.

So, how are we making it work?  Communication is key.  We've always been strong believers in talking things out.  Just because we're apart, doesn't make it any different.  In the morning, one of us sends the other a text and then we text throughout the day.  My lunch break is really early (10:38am anyone?) so it's rare we actually get to chat then.  And with his new schedule, he'll be working second shift (3:45-12:15), so unless we talk during my planning period in the morning (during which he'll likely be asleep), our communication will be severely limited.  Texting will help us stay in touch and feel connected.

We've also taken to video chatting via gmail.  He finally got a computer a couple weeks ago and now he's able to see Thad and chat with us after school, on the weekends, etc.  I also make sure to take pics with my phone and send them to him.  This way he feels like he's still a part of the family.  Oh and I can't forget!  We still use the good 'ol postal service and mail things to each other!  The first week he was gone he mailed Thad and I couple of shirts he bought for us (see Thad modeling his below) and just last week I mailed him some homemade banana bread and brownies.  Now how's that for a taste of home?

My daddy's building fighter jets.
So if you're like me and rocking it long distance, here a couple suggestions for you.
  • Text! Photos, love notes, just quick messages to say good morning even - everyone loves to feel loved.
  • Use the postal service.  It's not that expensive to send a package priority - so if you're like me and want to mail some food, it's not likely to be rotten by the time it gets there.
  • Video chat.  Use Skype, Gmail, etc.  It's always nice to talk and "see" the person in real time.  Oh and I also send videos via youtube links of Thad so hubs can see what he's been up to or if he's learned something new.
  • Start something that's special to the two of you.  Maybe mail a journal back and forth to each other or start a google doc that you both share and can write to each other on...something that each of you can write in when you get a chance and it's a surprise for the other person when they get it.
  • Visit!  Thad and I visited at the beginning of February.  I was hoping to get down to see him in March, but it's not going to work out.  However, I've got a week long trip planned during my Spring Break in April.  Oh and he'll be home the second week of May for my sister's wedding.
  • And keep that line of communication open.  It's ok to get sad, frustrated, and upset - if you're like me and need to get that out of your system, do it.  Just don't always make your conversations negative - who likes to talk to a Negative Nancy all the time?  If you get upset with your significant other, schedule a time to talk.  Remember that the time that's good for you, isn't always good for them.
  • Try to remain positive and think of things you're looking forward too - the visits, the calls, the texts - it's the little things that make it all worth while.  

And that's How I Rock My Marriage (Long Distance). 

If you'd like to be featured on 
How I Rock My Marriage Mondays,
email me!  
elffamilyblog at gmail dot com

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Where's your head?

This little guy is just cracking me up anymore - his favorite phrase is "uh uh" as in "nope, not gonna happen".  Now, ignore the fact that he doesn't have a shirt on as he had a soup fight with his lunch yesterday, but enjoy this little booger climbing and showing me his head and tummy/belly. =)


p.s. Be sure to start thinking of Tuesday's blog posts - I'm co-hosting this week's Toddle Along Tuesday with Growing Up Geeky! This week's topic is nurseries! And in case you're not familiar with TAT, check out last week's edition!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Who cares if I'm not Catholic?

Hubs & I on our wedding day.
So the season of Lent is upon us and every year I contemplate giving up something.  In high school, I gave up candy (probably the hardest thing I've done...lol, you think I'm kidding...I'm not), but in the last few years I don't recall really giving anything up.  So this year, as a nod to getting healthier, cutting down on crap, and really, just giving up something I never used to drink anyway, I'm giving up pop.

I've become more of a pop drinker since I graduated from college.  It's an easy fix when I'm having a long day at work (and they killed the candy machine), but then they got rid of all regular pop and now we only have diet (I guess it ties in with national reform on school foods/drinks).  I go back and forth on this, but I just can't kick the things I've read or the way I feel after I drink diet pop.  I swear, I'm hungrier, crabbier, and more bloated every time I drink it.  Oh and if I have one, I have to have more.  It's a horrible cycle.

So I'm giving it up.  Diet, regular, zero - ALL of it.  It's not good for me anyway.

"But you're not Catholic." or "I didn't know you were Catholic."

Um, so?  I have seriously gotten this comment so much in the last couple days when I tell  people I'm giving something up for Lent.  Catholics don't own the Lenten season people.  (And in case you're curious, I'm Lutheran.)

I am a believer (while I pretty much suck at getting to church) and I respect my religion.  In fact, I get less grief from the kids at school about not using the Lord's name in vain (it's a rule in my room) than I get asking them to watch their mouths (lol, as if I can talk in that department...).  Long story short, giving up something for Lent is my way of saying, "Yep, I'm a sinner and I'm sorry, but thank You for Your forgiveness."

So, am I alone on this one?  Are you participant in the Lenten season and not Catholic either?  Or are you Catholic and not giving anything up?  Oh and if you are participating, what did you give up?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

That time you wanted porn, but got me.

So...Melissa from Growing Up Geeky posted a link to her blog from last August and it got me thinking.  I've come across some really random things in my blogger stats lately...the latest weird ones?  Check it out.


WHAT?!?!  What the hell do I have on my blog that warrants a point in my directions regarding "big melons saggy" and "sexy fat pregnant wife"???  I have no clue, maybe the fact that I talked about feeling like a beached whale while I was pregnant and the lack of sex appeal that comes with it?  Who the eff knows, but boy did that make for some good laughs.  

Anywho, thanks to Melissa (and Kristin) for their honesty in the weird search department.  Her diligent research has answered some questions about the random web addresses that appear in my search stats as well.

So tell me, what are the random things that have lead people to your blog?

True search term found in my blogger stats.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

(kinda sorta) Wordless Wednesday: Rocking a size 13.

Totally loving the rise on these pants. Perfect for hiding that mom pudge. ;)
And yes, I was showing off my I-totally-feel-skinny-today stomach.
Yep, size 13 -- from the junior's department at Kohl's
(see the tag, just bought those babies).

However, I could have probably worn the 11 as 
these are kind of loose, but I was afraid of this

source
and they didn't have any 11s...so...yeah, rocking the 13s.

BUT, these pants are size 9/10 (and I was 10 lbs. heavier when I got them).

Oh and these leggings?  They're size small.

WTF American sizing system?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Am I being a total bitch or just a mama bear?

So, hubs is living and working in Texas.

Thad and I are in Iowa.

We've visited once.

All of this equals extreme loneliness for the hubs.  Sorry, but the beast (Dante, our husky/malamute) isn't really doing it for him.  So yesterday, E tells me that he wants Thad for the month of March (well, that makes me feel like we're divorced or something..weird)...anyway, his theory was that out of the 6 months we'll be apart (we're guesstimating at that time frame) asking for 1 is a small thing.

Of course, I blew him off and joked about it.

Well, um, yeah.  He got kinda butt-hurt about that.

I guess he was serious.  He really wants Thad for an entire month.  Which I get, BUT seriously?  Right now, he's working second shift (3:45PM - 12:15 AM) and we'd not only have to find daycare in a place we know next to nothing about, but we'd also have to find a sitter for five nights a week that would be willing to feed him, bathe him, and put him to bed.  Um, CREEPY.  It's one thing to have someone I've known all my life (aka family) and another thing to have someone I've NEVER MET watch my child, feed him, bathe him, and put him to bed.  I guess I've been around too many horror stories at school or watched too many Lifetime movies, but that creeps me the fuck out.

Nope, not gonna happen.

Well, we chatted later on and he understood my position.  He also understood that even though it would be more "fair" to have Thad live with him for a month (or three), it's just not logical.

WHEW!

Glad I didn't have to fight that battle.

So am I nuts?  Overly protective?  Or just a royal bitch for 
not letting my own husband have our son for a month?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lotus Bumz Cloth Diaper WINNER!

Congrats to Misty Z.!!!

You're the winner of the Lotus Bumz Cloth Diaper Giveaway!

Remember, you have 48 hours to respond to my 
email or a new winner will be chosen. 

Have a great week everyone!


How I Rock My Marriage: Lisa


Hi ELF readers!  I am so excited to be doing this guest post about how I Rock
My Marriage.  Here's a little background information.  My hubby and I met
over 15 years ago at a bowling alley!  He was with a group of friends bowling in
the lane beside my group of friends.  At some point, he asked me to bowl for him
(because I was such a phenomenal bowler, I'm sure!) and I rolled a fantastic gutter ball!
 He is a salesman and never misses an opportunity like that, so he said I owed
him a date.  Although I was very hesitant to give him my number, my friends were
not.  (Thanks, girls!)  He called and two days later we went out to lunch.
 We ended up spending the entire afternoon together and have been a couple
ever since.  We got married in December 1998 and now have three beautiful
girls, ages 9, 7, and 4.  He works extremely hard in sales so that I can be a stay
at home mom.

This is us at a fancy business
shindig in January 2010.

We have a wonderful, strong marriage for which I am exceedingly grateful.  When
I started to write this post and thought about what makes our marriage so strong, two
things kept coming to mind.

First of all, communication is of upmost importance.  We keep the lines of
communication open and honest at all times.  Partially, because we have to - how
could we possibly run a household and raise three children if we didn't communicate
effectively with each other?  But, more importantly, because we want to.
 My hubby is my best friend.  Period.  He is the only person on this
earth that literally knows everything about me.  I tell him my
feelings, hopes, worries; and he listens openly and respectfully with understanding,
advice, and support.  Communication is a two-way street, though, so he shares
thoughts and emotions with me as well.  I do my very best to be supportive and
constructive.  We do not fight and argue - honestly.  When we do disagree
on issues, we discuss them and work hard to find a middle ground.  Honest,
respectful, supportive communication is definitely one of the cornerstones of our
relationship and our marriage.

Another cornerstone is laughter.  This is something my husband taught me for
which I will be forever thankful.  As a couple, as parents, and just as people
navigating this crazy world, there will inevitably be tough times - bumps in the road.
 Those are the times when a smile or a laugh can change everything.  A
couple months ago, we celebrated our 13th anniversary.  On my blog, I wrote
about the calamity that day turned out to be.  The title of that post was "We're
Still Laughing" because, at the end of that strange and not-so-great day, we laughed.
 We stood in the kitchen and literally laughed.  We laughed at what our
lives had become over the past 13 years.  We laughed at everything that had
happened that day.  We laughed in spite of the events and we ended the evening
with smiles on our faces.  We, of course, find laughter during good times, too -
that's easy.  However, I think that when we can come together as a couple, and
as a family, to find laughter and joy in the times that are not so good, our relationship
gets stronger and our bond becomes even tighter.

 
So there you have it!  I rock my marriage with communication and laughter!
I hope you have enjoyed this guest post and I would love for you to check out my

Thanks, Lisa! Be sure to check out her blog and if you'd like to be featured on How I Rock My Marriage Mondays, email me!
elffamilyblog at gmail dot com

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bloggy Fog

So, I have to give a big AMEN to Sarah over at Nurse Loves Farmer.  Apparently, I'm not the only one with "blogger's block" this week.  Now, I could tell you all about my weekend plans, but really, do you give a shit if I'm going to pay for my bridesmaid's dress or that I'm seriously contemplating seeing "The Vow" by myself tomorrow morning because I'm such a loser just that cool (and my friends have to work or have kids and no sitter). Nope, notsomuch.

So instead.  I'm going to enjoy the fact that my parents are awesome and are giving me a couple days of "me" time.  I had to spend the day across the state at a conference so Thad went to stay with them last night and because they just want to love on their grandson (and they're totally awesome), they're keeping him until Sunday.

Hello me time.

(But holy crap do I miss that kid.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day! (and some random thoughts)


And just a quick rambling of thoughts for you...

Thad is now 18 months old (say what?!?!) - according to the
last doctor's visit he is 34" tall & 29 lbs.
Wearing 24month/2T clothes.
Still size 5 shoes, although a few of them
are getting hard to get on.  I'm pretty sure he's just got fat feet.

If I got pregnant this month (out of sheer luck, not science) I'd be due
 end of October/early November. 
Anyone want to send some baby thoughts my way?

Is it horrible I'm planning another trip to see 
the hubs --- around the time I'm supposed to ovulate?

Did you know the Dallas Love Field airport does NOT have changing tables?  At all.  Even in the family bathroom!  Well, that was fun.  The next time, I'm changing his dirty ass out in front of the airline counter for all to see and when people complain I'll direct them to airport staff.  Not cool, not cool at all.

Yesterday I was running errands with Thad (and chasing him around an empty store), in my winter coat, over a sweater, over a t-shirt...I was dying.  During a stint in the dressing room, I said, and I quote, "Thaddeus, you sure give my deodorant a run for it's money."  Now, is it gross I was trying on clothes when I said this?  Um, yeah, kinda.  I stopped after that.  

Oh and the flying with a toddler thing?  Yeah, well the first two flights (to TX) went pretty well - we just had issues during decent.  On the way home?  Yeah, well, let's just say the pilot came on the speak and said, "There's no crying on the airplane."  Yep, that was my toddler having a massive meltdown for 10-15(ish) minutes because I buckled him back into his seat.  Great fun...be jealous.  

Along with flying info, we got pretty lucky.  Three out of four flights there was an 
empty seat so I was able to let Thad have his own.  However, I need more ideas to keep an 18 month old busy.  I don't have a tablet so I'm SOL on that front. I have a couple games on my phone, but only one that "locks" him into the game (anyone know of anymore game apps that lock them in?), and only so many books fit in the bag.  Toys just got thrown over and over again.  I'm thinking I'll charge my old Blackberry and let him play with that???  

Oh and my dad sent me my annual "Happy Valentine's Day! Love, Dad" gift.  When we were little he'd leave a little candy of some type (box of hearts, etc.) in our cereal bowls Valentine's Day morning, now he mails us something (how sweet is that?)...he also send Thad something this year - too cute, love my dad.

And that brings me to this...what's your favorite Valentine's Day gift?
(To give or receive.)


Monday, February 13, 2012

How I Rock My Marriage: Rachel


Hello ELF readers! My name is Rachel and I'm from The Laughing Brunette, and this is how I rock my marriage.



My husband and I have been together for almost 10 years, and we have two soon to be three beautiful children together. Let me start by saying, we don't have a typical marriage. My husband is in the military, and has been in the entire duration of our relationship. While he gets up and goes to work everyday like most people, his job differs in the fact that it always comes first and unfortunately he has to spend a lot of time away from home. I like to joke that I'm actually married to the Marine Corps, instead of my husband, because it's a pretty big factor in our lives.


Together we have been through five deployments, and at 6-7 months a pop that's a lot of time spent away from one another. That's also not including the weeks and months he sometimes has to be gone for training. So over the years there have been a lot of missed birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.


This type of separation can put a big strain on any marriage. A lot of younger, newer military wives who are just now experiencing the downside of being married to a Marine, ask me how I deal with it? It's not easy at all. It's been a long journey for our relationship to get to where it is right now, with lots of trial and error.


The best advice I can give is to always remember why you love your spouse, because it's easy to forget when they're deployed.  I miss my husband more than words can describe when he's gone, and it's really easy to let resentment and anger fill your heart, especially when you're left to take care of the household and kids by yourself for six months. The stress and loneliness can sometimes get the best of you.


So I always try to remember the good times we have together, and look forward to more in the future. I use that to stay focused. While the separation may stink, it's only temporary, so it's best to stay strong and be positive not only for yourself, but for your husband. This can apply to anyone who has to deal with being separated from their significant other for an extended amount of time.


Since my husband and I know what it's like to be separated in our marriage we really do everything we can to make the time we are together great. We appreciate one another and find that it's more about the simple things in life that are important, because it's really the little things that count the most. My husband and I are both pretty simple people and not huge on romance, so we find that the little gestures we do for one another go a long way. Something as simple as my husband noticing I'm cold and bringing me a blanket, or picking up my favorite candy bar, just because. I might grab a six pack of his favorite beer if I know he's had a rough day, or go out of my way to make one of his favorite meals for dinner. We do little things like that to remind one another we care and appreciate them.


We're also really big on communication. During deployments we can go weeks without speaking, so communication is key, because it's all we have. We do our best to always be upfront and honest with one another regardless of if he's home or not. We really make it a point to talk about our day and concerns openly. Something as simple as being able talk about your day or tell the person you love them are all things we often take for granted in a relationship, but it's what I miss the most when he's gone.


We're getting ready for another six month deployment, and I know it won't be easy, but we'll make it through.


And that's how I rock my marriage.


Thanks, Rachel! Be sure to check out her blog and if you'd like to be featured on How I Rock My Marriage Mondays, email me!
elffamilyblog at gmail dot com

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lotus Bumz Cloth Diaper Review & Giveaway!



Second on our list of new diapers in 2012, is the Lotus Bumz
Lorain started Lotus Bumz when she realized that there is a great need for an affordable cloth diaper.

After deciding to go with cloth diapers with her new born and seeing the physical benefits that it had on his skin as well as knowing that using cloth diapers is so much better for the environment then disposable diapers she decided more parents need to know and and be able to afford this great way of diapering.
Diaper: Lotus Bumz in Nighty Night Black

Fit: This is a pocket diaper.  It's trim fitting, silky/shiny outside, awesome hip snaps for a better fit, and overlapping snap for those skinny babies out there (yeah, um, didn't really need that...lol).  It's also got an amazing elastic on the back that helps to keep the insert in while your crazy toddler is busy wearing while running around the house and climbing on coffee tables.  Something else to note, the opening for the pocket portion of the diaper is a lot smaller than other cloth diapers I've tried.  While it might bug me a little bit if it actually made it harder to stuff, it didn't.  So, win/win on that front. 

Feel: Silky feeling outside, soft suedecloth inside.  My bum would have been happy in it. =)  As with other cloth diapers, the lining gets softer with each wash.

Leak Factor: Zero leaks!  For as trim as it was, I was expecting maybe a little bit of wetness after his super long three hour (say what?!) nap one weekend, but nope, he was dry and smiling when he woke up.  The Lotus Bumz cloth diaper comes with a three layer microfiber insert that is extremely absorbant. 

Overall, we love our Lotus Bumz cloth diaper.  Great feel, fit, and fabric.  You can buy Lotus Bumz in singles (solids or prints), 3 packs, 12 packs, and 24 packs.  The Lotus Bumz diaper we reviewed (Nighty Night Black) retails for only $15.97 and this adorable print below?  Only $11.75 right now!

*You can get 10% off your order now by entering code THANKYOU when you check out!*

One lucky reader will win a Lotus Bumz
Cloth Diaper of their very own!
*Open to US/Canada*

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Guest Post: Hopes & Dreams by Brittany

Hi, ELF readers! I am so thrilled to be guest posting while Libby is away visiting her hubby. I know all too well what it feels like to be living in a different state than my husband. My husband is in the Air Force Reserves, and when my son was only 2 1/2 months old he went away to Basic Training. In Texas! It's definitely hard, but I know she can handle it. Us mom's are so much stronger than we realize!

 
My name is Brittany. Nice to "meet" you! My husband is Jonathan, and my (almost one year old!) son's name is Torin. You can find me over at Our Life is a Jungle.


Today I'm going to talk about my hopes and dreams for my son. I would love to hear about yours, so come visit me!!

Torin will be one year old in less than 2 weeks! With his first birthday creeping up, I've been thinking a lot about our future, specifically Torin's future. Being an Air Force family, even though Jonathan is in the Reserves, that could mean a lot of travel, and a lot of moving around for us. I wonder where we will go. Will Torin be fortunate enough to see the world, like I so wish I could have? Will he travel across the country and see all the exciting places waiting for him?

And what about his adult life? Where will he go then? Will he follow in his daddy's footsteps and join the military? Will he go to college and become a successful lawyer? Or maybe a doctor who helps sick people all over the world. Will he become a pastor like Jonathan's dad? Or maybe he'll be interested in teaching. As a parent, at least for me, as soon as I found out I was pregnant, all of these thoughts (and more) flooded into my head. It is my responsibility to give him the strength, if he wants to defend our country. It is my responsibility to guide him in his learning, to give him the knowledge, if he wants to go to college. It is also my responsibility to teach him about God, so he might one day have the desire to do God's work.
No pressure, right?

It is a lot of pressure! But that's OK. I don't mind one bit. Yes, I will teach him about math, and english, and science, etc. Yes I will bring him to church, and teach him about the Bible and about God. Yes I will encourage him to take care of his body, so that he will have physical strength. But the ultimate thing I want to teach him is to love. To love his family, his friends, his neighbors and his enemies, as God loves us.
I am directly responsible for shaping the man he will one day become. My dream for Torin? No matter what path he chooses, my dream is that he will be a man of God. That he will love his future wife as my husband loves me. That he will love his future children as I love him. That he will be a Light in the darkness, and that he will be happy.

Thanks again for having me, Libby!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Guest Post: Mommy's Morning Routine by Ashley

I'm a mom. A mom of 2.
 I used to have the luxury of taking a half hour shower, an hour to blow dry & style my hair, and a good 45 minutes getting every last detail of makeup on. Not to mention another 20 minutes pondering what to wear.

Now? Now I sleep until the last possible millisecond before throwing my wrinkled clothes in the dryer for a quick fluff, hop in the shower for precisely 180 seconds, throw my hair up in a bun, flat iron the bangs, & apply some color to my face so I actually look alive on arrival.

And? I can do all that in a good 10 minutes (not including that pampering 3 minute shower.) Skills, I has them.


After applying moisturizer (my favorite is L'Oreal Futur-E. Doesn't feel greasy or oily.)


 Bare Minerals veil (I could not LIVE without this stuff...true story.)


 & a quick cheekbone highlight with bronzer (my fav being Physicians Formula’s “Happy Booster Bronzer” partly mainly because I just love this little heart)


 I go for what I think should bring the most attention.
My eyes.
Aaaand I look human again!

Tell me, what are your secret quick tips to having a fresh face but still getting out the door in time after hitting snooze 3 times?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Guest Post: Mommy Rules from Shmizz

Hello there lovers of all things ELF!


My name is Shannon, and I am the genius behind Baby Shmizz.  I am a full-time mommy to my son Jack, (oh yeah, and I have another job too, I'm a Physician Assistant working in Emergency Medicine) and MILF to my pastry chef husband Mike.  We live in our overpriced little home sweet shack just north of Boston with our quirky rescue dog, Tessie.  We're a little bit crazy and a whole lotta fun, but fair warning, we don't have a filter!  

 
Mommy Rules

I know you've all heard of them before, those mommy/parenting "rules" that you are supposed to follow.  I know I felt like I had to follow all the rules in the beginning when Jack was a newborn, but shortly after I kinda said screw it and did things my way.  And I kinda think he's turned out all right so far.

So here are the "rules" that I've broken, and been happy that I did.

Don't let your baby nap in your arms, he'll never nap anywhere else!

Oops.  Definitely did this.  I'm sorry people, but those 3 months of maternity leave are precious, and if I want to hold my sweet baby while he sleeps in my arms, then so be it, I'm gonna do it.

You have to keep on making noise when the baby is sleeping, otherwise he'll only sleep when it's quiet.

Yeah right.  If you've just struggled to get your kid to sleep, trust me, you are going to be quiet as a mouse if that's what it takes to keep him sleeping.

You really should feed your kid only organic food.  

Say what?  Yeah, that didn't happen.  I try to buy organic and all-natural when I can, but frankly, that shit is expensive and I can't afford it all the time.  You know what he had for lunch today?  Kraft Easy Mac with peas.  And he loved it.  Sometimes, you just want the kid to eat, know what I mean?

You have to ditch the pacifier at 3 months, otherwise you'll regret it.

Not in this house!  We had a paci on the regular until about 10 months, and then he ditched it himself.  I know this doesn't happen for everyone, and that I was damn lucky, but really, 3 months?  Just when your kid is probably starting to sleep in longer stretches you are going to take away his method of self-soothing?  Nope, not gonna happen.

What kind of "rules" have you broken with your kids?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wish me luck!

For tomorrow morning, I'm off to Texas...on a plane...with an 18-month old.  By myself.

::AHHHHHHHH!::

Ok, that's better.

I'm almost done packing, the dog will picked up tomorrow, hub's dad is taking us to the airport, and I'm trying not to forget 173289240598234 things along the way.

I did get some great advice from Sarah and Melissa about flying with a kiddo...so that helps.  Oh that and I called the airline just to double check everything - yes, I am that person.

So tonight, I'm going to soak in the tub while I compile my last minute list of "things to do/pack/prep" - and read a book I can't get out of my head.

Oh and the next time I post, I'll be live from TEXAS!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Affirmations from an unlikely place.

Have I ever mentioned my love affair with teen lit?  No?  Well, thanks to the fact that I teach high school reading I get to surround myself with some of the greatest teen books around.  (And seriously, if you haven't read The Hunger Games yet, do it!  The movie comes out in March.  You won't be sorry.)  Anyway, after reading hundreds of young adult books in the last few years, I am once again reminded why young adult authors strike a cord with me.  


Um, wow.  I don't know about you, but that is deep.  Prolific really. 

It reaffirms everything I strive to teach my students.  No matter what life throws at you, no matter what happens today, no matter how shitty you feel about that break up, or that grade, or that fight with your best friend.  No matter what - do not have regrets.  These experiences are the things that make you who you are.  Be proud, be confident, and own those mistakes, those experiences, and learn from them, but never regret.  

For without them, you wouldn't be who you are today.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

How I Rock My Marriage: Barbie





Hello Loyal ELF readers! Please forgive me for my urge to call you all Keebler Elves and then beg mercilessly for some Fudge Sticks and knock-off Samoas. It’s just the weird way my mind works. I’m Barbie of The Artsy Family. Wife to Zach, mom to Caleb and BabyGirlDueInJune, photographer, crafter, compulsive UPS Tracker checker, and chocoholic.

To give you the E! News version of our story, Zach and I met through the band he plays in. I was the photographer and he was the good looking sax player in a hat. We started dating in 2009, got married and had a baby in 2010, and found out in 2011 that #2 was on the way. Can you tell we are both impatient people?






When pondering about what to write in regards to rockin’ my marriage, it didn’t take too long to decide what to share with y’all. Well, after the obvious tongue-in-cheek innuendos that initially came to mind. Today’s post is brought to you by Appreciation. 

I do my best to remember to appreciate all of the wonderful things Zach does and the amazing man and husband that he is. Often he makes it pretty easy just by being himself. I don’t like to advertise it, but I was married before and it was no picnic. In comparison to that relationship Zach is a million and one times better in countless ways. And I appreciate that, I truly do. But on top of just being the great guy he is, Zach does a lot for our little family. Up until his graduation in December he was working full-time and finishing up his Bachelors. Plus mix in a wife, new baby, and a band and Zach’s plate was darn full. Even without school he keeps very busy. Despite that he manages to do laundry (Hey! Stop drooling. He’s taken, ladies), help keep the apartment picked up, feed Lil Man when he can, and even scrub a toilet now and then. Those are just the ‘big’ things that I can think of off the top of my head.

When I remember to, I like to tell him how proud I am of how hard he works for us. I try to say thanks when he does the dishes or offers to make lunch. From time to time I’ll even mention how much respect I have for him as a man, husband, father, etc. The first time I did felt pretty awkward but the response I got from Zach makes me want to bring it up now and then. I was surprised at how much HE appreciated my telling him that. Sure our guys like to hear that we love them, but often they just assume that we do. We are usually the ones that start to doubt a man’s love when it isn’t mentioned as often or the kisses are fewer. 

Don’t think I came to this realization all on my own. I was given an amazing book (oddly enough as a gift for my previous marriage...but that’s another story) called Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. It is a great book for engaged couples, couples having hard time, or happily married couples. So your marriage is wonderful? Why not make it better?! I like better.

Now you probably think I go around all the time saying thank you like a little parrot and constantly fawning over Zach at how absolutely fab he is. I don’t. In fact, I could probably stand to mention it a bit more. It’s always a constant battle with myself to remember to vocalize my appreciation. I find it easy to appreciate, I need improvement in the sharing department. I often forget or realize that while I’ve thought it to myself, I haven’t told him “thanks” or “you’re awesome” lately. 

Appreciation, it is truly something so simple that makes such a huge difference in a relationship, marriage or otherwise. Seriously, give it a try at home but extend it to your friends, your family, and see what happens!



Thanks, Barbie! Be sure to check out her blog and if you'd like to be featured on How I Rock My Marriage Mondays, email me! 
elffamilyblog at gmail dot com

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How To Show Your Email Address In Your Blogger Profile

First things first, I LOVE to get comments.  Who doesn't?  That being said, I love to respond to your comments, but sadly, many of you don't share your email address so it makes it difficult and then, how sad, you don't know that I'm trying to contact you because your email address isn't public, I can't find it on your profile, and it's not listed on your blog.  Boo.  (Sorry about the massive run-on...lol, I'll try to work on that.)

BUT I'm here to solve that problem!

Step 1:  Open your blogger dashboard.  (And no, I haven't switched to the new interface, I'm a creature of habit.) Now you if you're on your blogs homepage, just click Design, then Dashboard.  If you're logged in, but on another site, just type in blogger.com and it'll appear.  This is what it'll look like.


Step 2: Click on View Profile.


Step 3: Edit your profile.


Step 4: Check the box that says, "Show my email address."


Step 5: Save your changes.

YAY! Now you're done & I can email you back anytime you comment. This way you feel the love and I feel the love.  

Any questions?


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