How I Rock My Marriage: Amber


Hello Everyone. I'm Amber, my husband is Chad and we have a sweet little girl Morgan who will be 2 next month. I blog over at Life with the Wallaces when I have free moments to do so. Chad and I met in college at Mississippi State University during my freshmen year. Since I did not want to get married until I graduated college, we dated/were engaged for over three years. We will have been married for nine years in May. 

We think we have a great marriage, built on and strengthened by our faith in Christ. Sure, we have our small quirks now and then, but nothing major. You know the old saying "made for each other?" That's us. We complement each other very well. My strengths are his weaknesses and vice versa. 

 I do most of the cooking. When I met Chad, I swear he lived on fast food and cereal. If I am gone, and its up to him for dinner, its usually fast food. He, in return, does a lot of the cleaning. I really can't remember the last time I vacuumed. He is a bit of a history buff. He's really a walking encyclopedia. Really. Test him. He was on our college's college bowl team, and almost made it all the way through to Jeopardy. The other night, with a friend, he was discussing the intentions of the Brazillians when they built Brasilia as their capital in 1958. Really? When we vacationed in Washington, D.C., a couple summers ago, we would really walk from landmark to landmark and he would bore me with stories. Did you know that a tornado saved the United States from falling to the British in 1814? I have seen the path of said tornado, with no historical markings. He is such a geek. Me? I can't tell you who is running for president! 

But don't give him anything with numbers. I pay all the bills and handle the family finances. If it were up to him, we'd have a larger bank account, but a bunch of unpaid bills! Another good thing about being married to Chad is that he is a human GPS. In 12 years of marriage/dating, we've been lost one time, in Chicago. We've been all over the country, and places we've never been, and there was one time he messed up in Chicago. I get lost quite a bit. When we first moved back to Mississippi, where I grew up, I got lost and had to call him for help. 

 He helps to rock our marriage because he is really supportive and encouraging. I had a semester in college where I struggled, and he got me through it. When I decided I wanted to teach, he helped find a way to make it happen. I'm so grateful that I am now getting that opportunity as he goes through a career change. Parenthood has changed our lives for the better. Like I said, we have an almost 2-year old running around. Chad drops her off at daycare every morning and I pick her up. I change most of the diapers, but every once in a while he will. That little girl loves her daddy though. He has a special connection with her.


So that's pretty much our marriage in a nutshell. Its not perfect, but we are working on it!

Thanks, Amber! 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

p.s. If you're new to the blog, missed some of the past HIRMM posts, or 
just want to reminisce, click here to read back through them!

On strike.


Some of you may have seen my post on facebook about the
 hubs' surprise visit this last weekend.  
4:30 a.m. to be exact -- he rolled on into bed.  

I can't tell you how amazing it was to finally have the 
other half of our giant king sized bed nice.

And the best part?  He's still here!!!

His company is in the process of contract negotiations and because 
they couldn't reach an agreement, his union voted to strike.  

Yep, strike.

So the hubs is home, and while he's not getting paid, I'm lovin' it!

(And yes, I'm secretly hoping they strike another week!)

Sister, sister.


So, my little sister is getting TWO weeks!  This is nuts folks.  She's the one who would never get married, who we joked would become a cat lady, who loved dating and hated commitment...and then she met M.  And well, the rest they say is history.

In honor of my sister (and my weekend trip to Kansas City to help her celebrate her bachelorette party), I give little sister and I.

Summer 2007
M's 21st birthday & me rocking the dark hair.
Ahh, as drunk college roomies circa 2004-2005.

As littles, I believe it was the first day of K for her, 2nd for me.

College roomies.

Rocking it out at Barefoot Bar in Okoboji, 4th of July 2009.
My sisters & I at my wedding 5.30.09.
And while we haven't always gotten along (high school anyone?), we've always loved each other.  To best little sister ever, thanks for being you!

So, tell me - do you have siblings?  Brothers, sisters?  Older, younger?  

Stick to Kids ::Review & Giveaway::


Last month, Thad and I traveled from Iowa to Texas to visit the hubs.  And while airports sound extremely thrilling to navigate with a 20 month old toddler, I had my fears.  Thankfully, stickers are a lifesaver (and Stick to Kids tattoos are a peace of mind).
According to The U.S. Department of Justice, an average of 2,185 children are reported missing each day in the United States. If your child is lost, help him find his way home by keeping your contact information where he will never lose it. On them. 

Select a Stick to Kids unique design. Add a personalized message and place your order. You could include your contact info, a school name, the child's allergies or other medical alerts. Keep these tattoos handy in your car or your purse and whenever you go anywhere busy, use a Stick to Kids tattoo.
Thad was lucky enough to test out these babies and let me tell you, it eased my mind.  After our first trip to Texas in February, I was standing at the luggage carousel when we got back to Omaha and he was in his stroller.  I saw the luggage, took two steps forward to grab it, turned around and he was gone.  Gone!  He had escaped his stroller and thank God the woman behind me saw him and grabbed him before he ran off.  (I didn't have him strapped in because it'd never been an issue - boy did I learn my lesson!)  Literally, if ten more seconds had gone by, or had the woman not been standing there, I may not have seen where he ran off to.  Talk about terrifying!

Needless to say, when Anna from Stick to Kids contacted me about reviewing their identification tattoos for kids I was all over it.  These tattoos are super easy to use.  Just lay over dry, clean skin and top with water (I just used a moist paper towel) for 30 seconds, slide it off and wallah!  You have an awesome id tag for your little escapee!

And while my pictures aren't the greatest (thank you Android/moving toddler/and the fact that I applied the tattoo before bed the night before because I was afraid I'd forget the next morning and said toddler sweat/slept on it), you get the point.  =)

Each tattoo is able to be personalized with an image and three lines of text, up to 17 characters on each line.  They are also approximately 2x2 inches.  I was able to put Thad's first and last name on the first line, "mom" and my phone number on the second, and "dad" and his phone number on the third.  I figured this would be the best contact info should he escape from me during our trip through the airports.  These tattoos will also last for a bit.  Like I mentioned before, Thad actually slept/sweat on his the night before, wore it all day through the airport, and two days later I was still scrubbing it off.  While I could see this being frustrating for some, it's actually kind of reassuring that if your child wanders off, the tattoo won't be gone in the first 24 hours.

Overall, I'm actually very impressed with the quality, concept, and follow through of this product.  It's really very genius.  And while I'm not into micro-chipping child (or my dogs), I'm all about temporarily tattooing his ass to keep him safe.  So, if you're like me and have an escape artist for a child, check out Stick to Kids, it'll seriously give you a peace of mind when you're out in large crowds.

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The things my students say about me...


  • You have a big nose.
  • Your butt looks good in those pants.
  • Why don't you do your hair anymore? (After I spent 15 minutes straightening this morning.)
  • Your pants have a rip in them.
  • Where did you get your shoes?
  • You need new shoes.
  • Can we order pizza for lunch?
  • You're too skinny.
  • Did you gain some weight?
  • What's on your nose?  (Um, those would be pores, thankyouverymuch.)
  • Why don't you paint your nails?
  • You have too much makeup on. (Uh, that was the point - it was 80s
  • Will you wear yoga pants again?
Among a myriad of other highly inappropriate comments about schools, boyfriends, girlfriends, sex, life, drugs, and parties.  Sometimes I think their filters are as good as mine. ;)

How I Rock My Marriage: Tiffany


Hi there. I’m Tiffany, husband is Dan and lab is Sherman. I blog over at The Coffeehouse, just around the corner from ya. And I have a confession.

Actually, I have about sixteen confessions, however; you only get to hear about one of them today (baby steps people).

Confession: I totally think husband should be writing this post. 

It’s true. Husband cooks, builds things, fixes things, learns things (he learns!). And did I mention he cooks? I have posted numerous times over on our little blog of randomness about all of husband’s great attributes. He can pretty much do it all. Which is why he should be telling you how he rocks our little marriage. But, husband’s not here. He’s off doing something wonderfully amazing and extremely difficult like cooking. So, I am here today to talk about me. And how I rock our little marriage. Let’s start off with a few pictures so that I have time to make some stuff up real quick. Mmmmk?

Husband and I met in college eight years ago tomorrow. Yep, that's right. Tomorrow will be our eight year dating anniversary (yes, we still have one of those). Did the lovely Libby time this guest post right or what?

My anniversary gift to Dan ... this post.

Man I'm a good wife.

So, husband and I dated . . . and dated . . . and dated (anyone ever done that before?) and then finally decided to seal the deal in Mexico (we’re 80% sure we’re married), then back home for a big winter reception. I wish you all could have been there. I can just imagine the gift table now.
Moving right along ...
After marriage, we decided to take the next step and try for a lab. A lab people! Not a baby. Sherman is now one year old and 95 lbs. He has nicknames such as Shermie, Sherm, The eight dollar dog, The Lemon and Velcro dog. He is my favorite.

Awesome. I thought of a few things while we were reminiscing.

Now I don’t have to lie. Hallelujah.

I truly believe that the reason Dan and I are still friends to this day is because we laugh. Nope, it’s not rocket science, but it works. Husband makes me laugh every single day. We laugh at the good things and we laugh at the bad things. We enjoy one another’s company and laugh at ourselves and at each other (it’s healthy, trust me).

Other things I/we do …
  • Husband cooks, I clean (this is a compromise and it works for us).
  • We sometimes go to bed angry. Sorry, I know there are books out there that say “never go to bed angry”. I completely disagree. *gasp*. Sometimes husband and I bicker over the silliest things. We huff and puff and close our eyes. And we wake up. And we’re friends again. Maybe it just works for us. Or maybe those crazy 'ole books are wrong.
  • We take turns caring for our child. Yes, Sherman is just a dog. But he is also a lot of work. And the 5am and 5pm walks every single day get old. And the constant tennis ball throwing starts hurting your arm. And the monthly, if not weekly, trips to the vet (hence the names ‘eight dollar dog’ and ‘the lemon’) start wearing on your attendance at work. So, we take turns. And this saves our legs, our arms, our jobs and our marriage.
  • We hang out with family. This is a big one and the one I will be ending on. I married into a gigantic, crazy, lovable family. I already had a pretty awesome family to begin with, so this just made it all the better. We get together with family quite often. We get to be around other amazing marriages. We get to be around people who care about us and care whether or not our marriage lasts. Family. Love them.
Well, there you have it.

Our little marriage + a little Sherman.
It’s not much, but it sure works for us.

Hope to see you over in our neck of the woods.
Have a happy Monday and a happy Marriage!

Thanks, Tiff! 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

Time for a change...


Ignore the crappy rain day phone photos.
Ok, so way back when I posted about the crazy hail storm that damaged the siding, roof, fence, etc.  Well, the good news is, we're almost done (at least I think we're almost done) with the repairs.  However, we have some decisions to make.  We recently got our new fence installed (Amen!) and the new siding has been on for a month or so now, but now the question remains - do we re-stain the cedar shingles the same color (as they've traditionally been) OR do we update the color scheme - either by doing a shade lighter as the new siding or even the same shade as the new siding?

So, readers, this where I poll you - help me decide what to do to the house.  Remember, we're going to be listing this baby in another month and I want it to SELL, SELL, SELL!  So, give me your opinions, advice, and thoughts!  Oh and no worries, you won't hurt my feelings - let it out!

Do I ____________________

a.) restain cedar shingles a deep red
b.) paint them two shades lighter than the siding
c.) paint them the same color as the siding
d.) other - give me those ideas!

p.s. The trim will be repainted white and I'm thinking we need to add trim to the porch windows/door. It looks bit, well, um...white trash like right now.  Oh and if I had the time, the budget, and the know-how I would totally open up the porch again and restore it to it's Craftsman glory...ahh, dreams. Any other thoughts?

Here's is some inspiration for you to help you decide.

The Great Cloth Diaper Change


Over a year ago (say what?!) we made our switch from disposables to cloth.  While we've had our share of ups and downs (ammonia smelling diapers anyone?), I wouldn't go back.  

I only wish I could get my daycare lady to follow suit.  So for now, Thad is in cloth at home (weekends, vacations, and anytime that I'm home for more than a day).  Sadly, throughout the week we still rock disposables most nights because I can't justify using one diaper every night only to let it sit and fester while I wait for more before doing laundry.  

We've done quite a few cloth diaper reviews here at ELF (click here to see them all) and I'd love to support you this year in your switch from disposables to cloth (so if you have questions, want to know where to start, or anything else - email me!).  But no worries, I'm not going to be all "You use disposables! Ohmygosh.  Ugh."  Nah, I get it.  It's a personal choice.

You can also join us, the cloth diaper nation, as we attempt to break the world record for the most cloth diapers changed at one time!

For more information and to find a location near you, check out The Great Cloth Diaper Change.

Pity party for one. (TTC #2)


::warning: female tmi included::

I'm throwing myself a pity party.

I'm bummed, I'm pissed, I'm hurt.

I was hoping to be announcing "I'm pregnant!" by this point, but God had other plans (or so I need to believe).

This sucks.  In January, when we got the news that hubs was leaving for Texas, we threw all TTA (Trying to Avoid) measures out the window.


Then in February, Thad and I visited E in TX.


March went by without a visit, without any sex, and without a BFP.

And then came April.  Oh dear Spring Break.  You were perfect.  My first ever OPKs came up super positive.  We had sex.  We had a lot of sex.  We had so much sex I ended up with a UTI. (Eh, it was worth it.)

The timing was perfect.  Perfect I tell you.

I felt it was God's plan.

I had good vibes.  I had really good feelings about this cycle.  I was convinced I was pregnant.

I dreamed of ways to tell the hubs, the family, and thought about a December 28th due date.

BUT I still didn't know if I was pregnant.

With my PCOS, I have a luteal phase (LP) of 10 days.  So at 8 DPO, I started testing.  (With Thad, I got a BFP at 11 DPO...granted it was so faint I had to wake the hubs by shoving a pee stick in his face.)

Day 8 - BFN.

Day 9 - BFN.

Day 10 - BFN and on and on it went.

But then something weird happened.  Day 10 passed without a sign from AF.

This was abnormal.  My cycle is religious.  I ovulate, 10 days later the bitch shows her face.

Day 11, slight temp drop.  Still above coverline.  No sign of AF, hopes are wavering, but still high --- until 11 PM.

There it was.  That little bit of light pink staring back into my face from that ever so soft piece of toilet paper.  So light in fact, I convinced myself that it was implantation bleeding/cramping/dip in the chart.  So light that overnight nothing happened.

To be extra safe today, I wore a tampon - after all, it was still there when I wiped this morning.  (And Lord knows, I cannot risk getting blood all over my pants while teaching high school.)

Was it enough to fill the tampon?  Uh, no.

But don't get too excited.  Tonight....tonight we're bright red.

I'm defeated.

Fucking bitch.

Wordless Wednesday: Photo fun with mama.


p.s. Let's leave my roots out of this. ;)

The time I called 911.


So, yeah, because I deserve to be mother of the year I really shouldn't add to my plight, but really, I can't ignore what just happened (and I'm sure you'll love to laugh at me).

After our dinner of ravioli, garlic bread, and grapes, Thad was in deep need a bath.  Off we went.  Up the stairs, into the bathroom.  I started the tub, he started throwing all his toys in, and I left to grab a towel and wash cloth.

"Dohr."  Says the little man as I hear the door open/shut/open/shut.

Eh, it happens nightly.  I don't think much of it.

Until I try to open it.

::insert mama panic::

::jiggile, jiggle, turn knob::

Oh shit.

"Thad, open the door for mama."  ::listen as the little rattle the handle, but doesn't turn the lock::


And because our house was built in 1920 (and still has the original handles from that era), I don't have a damn skeleton key to get it open.

::insert major panic::

Water running (thank God our tub is a deep Jacuzzi tub and takes forever to fill/overflow), toddler in the room alone throwing every object imaginable in the tub or the toilet...fuck.

What do I do?

(Well, honestly, first I called my parents.  My mom was no help and dad wasn't home yet.)

So then what do I do?

Call 911.

I'm pretty sure the dispatcher thought I was an idiot.  "Can't you call a locksmith?" she says.

Um, yes, sure I can.  If you want my tub to overflow while I wait to get ahold of a locksmith after hours and pray he's quick to get here OR you can just send an officer to help me get in the damn door!

And no, I didn't really say all that, but that's sure the hell what I was thinking.

Anyway, she takes my name/number/info and let's me go.

I go back to begging said toddler to open/unlock the door.

Then I notice the screws.  Of course!  I'll just take the old thing off.

::runs to the basement for screwdriver::

Just as soon as I get the screws out, the officer shows up.  We couldn't get our fingers around the internal portion of the lock, but with the help of the pliers (and some cop strength), the door was OPEN!


Thankfully, the cop was young (he's got a 19 month old) and was super understanding.  Oh, that and he was there less than five minutes.

Dear Lord, what will this kid think up next?

Uprinting Giveaway!


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So, I'm going to apologize.


After our awesome trip to Texas, getting home late afternoon Monday, going straight back to work Tuesday morning, to waking up Wednesday with an awesome UTI (thank you, and now the wonderful storms we just dealt with this weekend...I totally forgot to schedule a How I Rock My Marriage Mondays post.

So, I'm sorry. 
::insert an extremely sad looking face here::
::don't forget the puppy dog eyes::

However, I have been in talks with some fabulous ladies and it looks as if I've got some wonderful Mondays lined up.  If you would like to join in the fun, please, email me! 
(elffamilyblog at gmail dot com)  

But for now, let's just get through Monday.  And to make up for my lack of prepping, I'm going to call today Manic Monday.  So, tell me, what is the most brain fart, mama brain, pregnancy brain type of thing you've done lately?  Because hearing that you're just as spacey as I am, well, it'll make me feel better.  And really, aren't we all just a little spacey sometimes?

Oh, so you're the dad. You sure about that?


So, God bless my husband.  While in Texas he pointed out something I'd never noticed.

"What a big guy!  How old is he?" asks the stranger.

"Almost 20 months," says the hubs.

"Look at those hands!" Comments another.

"Look at the size of those feet!"  Add a third.

::insert questioning looks from hubs to Thad and back::

"I'm pretty sure everyone thinks he's the mailman's."

LOL!  True story.  I had never even noticed these comments or looks before our last trip to Texas, but after E pointed it out at the restaurant it was funny to see how much it happened.  After all, the hubs isn't a very big guy (I'm talking six foot and maybe 150+ soaking wet - poor skinny fellow), but Thad?  Thad's a pretty big guy.  (Roughly 32 lbs. about 34(ish) inches tall.)

It's a bit of an odd sight I guess.


I slept with my 60 year old mailman.

Giveaway from PrintRunner! (250 Stickers) ENDS 4/16


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PrintRunner is not only provide sticker printing services but also other online printing services.  I can't think of a parent who couldn't use stickers - think book labels, toy labels, daycare labels, dvd labels, etc.  Oh and don't forget stickers for those items you sell too!  

PrintRunner has graciously offered 250 stickers 
for one lucky reader of ELF: A Family Blog.   

Mother of the year award goes to...



So, I have been telling myself since oh, um, December that I need to get Thad some new shoes.  In the last month or so I noticed that his other shoes didn't really fit.  Then, he started to say, "owie." whenever I'd put his shoes on (now to my defense, he says "owie" to everything - especially when he doesn't want to do something).  I started looking for new shoes.  They either didn't have his size or they were ugly (I'm not into cartoon shoes...sorry, not my style).

We got to Texas and hubs was all "He's still wearing the same shoes?" &  "We're getting him shoes today."

Um, ok.  I think they're just a little snug, but I've been trying to find some - so, ok...let's go shopping.

Yeah.  We went to a real shoe store, had his "little" feet measured and found out that he'd been wearing shoes THREE SIZES TOO SMALL.

Mother of the year award right here.


My FIL drives me batty!


::warning: language & tmi included::

Ok, so let me give you a little background info.  E's dad is an on again/off again drug addict (marijuana, meth, etc.).  He is also diabetic and doesn't always manage it well.  He lost his home when E was 17 and has never owned a home since.  He's moves around frequently, living with his on again/off again girlfriend, his buddies, and his mom (E's grandma).  It's ridiculous.  He hasn't worked in probably five or six years and lost his awesome union job after failing a drug test.  He told us he'd paid for our rehearsal dinner...yeah, well, that never happened.  And he's always wanting money for stuff.  He's a horrible influence and example for the hubs, but you can't choose your family...

Anyway, so March 30, E's dad stopped by to pick up Thad and I and take us to the airport.  How is this possible?  I told him to meet us at daycare (hub's aunt - E's dad's sister) and we can drive my car (because his fan is always dying).  And of course, he assumes he can use my car while I'm gone.  Fine, whatever.  I don't care.  Just don't wreck the damn thing.

Side note: I took the one dog I still have with me in Iowa up to my parents so that I could lock up the house and not have to ask his dad to only watch our one dog.

On the way to the airport he tells me "Yeah, Cindy's [his girlfriend] pretty excited about your trip. She's basically kicked me out while your gone.  I'll pry stay there a couple nights."  Um, ok, WTF?  You're so not staying at my house.  A) You didn't ask me or E. and B) There is no reason for you to stay. I took the dog to my parents. and C) I don't want you in my house, taking baths in my tub, and sleeping in my's fucking weird.

So I bite my tongue and tell E as soon as I land what his dad said. Neither one of us are surprised, but the shitty thing is, even if E told him not to stay, he would.  So whatever, I guess his dad is staying at the house...wish I would have known that before I drove three hours out of my way to meet parents.

So then, I get back from TX.  He picks us up at the airport (in my car - I will say he washed it), but returned it with low washer fluid and only a quarter tank of gas.  Eh, to be expected.  After all, he doesn't have a job so he doesn't have money.

I get back to the house and there is trash on my counter.  He used a bunch of my laundry soap so he could wash all the laundry he has in his van.  He gave his dog a bath in the baby pool and left it in the backyard with all the towels and he cut his dogs hair in the basement (and cleaned it up so-so).  I will say he did mow for me, but tracked grass all over the house and left it there.  He also ate a bunch of our food so that I'm like "WTF do I eat?"  After I put Thad to bed that night, I asked him if he could run to the store and get me some milk (he was finishing mowing the very back he hadn't gotten to before our flight got in).  He said sure, if I gave him the keys to my car.  So he took my car and the cash I gave him, only to return with the milk and no change.  Um, the milk didn't cost that much. "I owe you a couple buck."  Whatever...

And then the kicker.  I went to crawl into bed (he made up the guest bed and slept there, but obviously also had house guests because our second guestbed was slept in...WTF, thanks for having people over to OUR house) and turned off the lights...only to notice the DVD player in our room was on.

That's odd...I thought.

Checked the DVD player.

He fucking watched our porn - in our room!  WTF?????  Seriously dude.  Never again.  Never again.  How do I know he didn't fuck some random girl (or even his gf) in MY bed?!?!  I don't.

I am so disgusted right now.

Counting to ten & "more"!


This was when Thad was sick a few weeks ago with that horrible, sleep depriving ear infection.  He was so cute.  Since then, he's gotten a lot better at it and will even say "fohr" sometimes.  He still doesn't care for seven and eight though. ;)

This is this last weekend while we were in TX.  I've been trying to teach Thad some sign language since he's born.  I used to sign "change diaper" and "milk" all the time, but he was never interested.  I sign the alphabet when I sing it to him and often sign more when he's "asking" (aka whining) for more.  Last weekend, it finally clicked with him.  He'll also often say "mohr" when he does it.  We've been working on eat, please, thank you, and a few more, but for now. I'm happy with more. =)

(p.s. Why I am I teaching him to sign?  Well, in college I had a roommate that was deaf so I learned to sign a little - actually, a semester's worth of ASL.  LOVED it!  I often think about going back and learning to interpret. - Oh and weird fact, I used to dream in ASL - and Spanish when I took Spanish in high school.  Weird.  Anyway, we also have two sets of neighbors that are deaf and we also have a school for the deaf here in town.  I also figure there will be times he can sign something when he doesn't know the words.)

How I Rock My Marriage: Briana


Happy Monday, ELF readers! My name is Briana from Best Days of My Life.So here is a little bit about how my husband Russ and I rock our marriage. First, a little background: Russ and I have been dating since our senior year of High School (that's almost 13 years!!) and have been married for four. We have an adorable 16 month old, Carter.

Our Senior Prom - 2000
It might sound corny, but we are best friends. I think if you are going to stay (happily) together, you have to be. You have to be with someone that you can openly communicate with, someone that is on the same page with you, someone that can make you smile even on your worst of days. You also have to be able to find those special moments together, even when life is busy rushing by.

I'd like to say that we have a date night once a week or head out of town occasionally for a long weekend, but that's just not our life right now. Russ gets home late, I'm exhausted after a long day with Carter and other than our parents we've never hired a babysitter (besides the fact that I don't want to leave Carter with a sitter before he can talk, we really just don't enjoy being without him. We love having him around!).
Most nights Russ and I both just want to veg out come 8pm (when Carter goes to bed), so that's what we do. We actually break one of the "rules" of a happy marriage (at least according to Dr. Phil) and watch TV in bed. We have a handful that are "our shows" and we watch them together weekly. Big Bang Theory, Fringe, and Game of Thrones (how amazing has the 2nd season started off??!!) are a few of our "must sees."

I know this is not the most exciting way to rock our marriage, but right now it works for us. We get that quiet, alone time and for those 30-60 minutes cuddling with Russ is a way to reconnect. Sure there are other, seemingly more important things we do, but all I know is that at the end of a busy day there is no where I'd rather be than laughing with Russ over the idea of Sheldon dreaming of a talking Spock doll (B.B.T. fans will get that one...and yeah, I know we're geeks).

I'll end this guest post with a little advice on how to rock your marriage. Find something that works for the two of you, no matter how small. Find those little moments that bring you back together. As the philosopher Lao Tzu once said, "Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." It may not be the romantic evening of dinner and dancing or strolls along the beach, but while I listen to my little guy snooze on the monitor and snuggle up with my hubby, I know that life doesn't get any better than this.

Thanks, Briana! 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

Confessions of a mama: fears for 2 under 2. (guest post)


'Caleb' two years ago from my current due date.
Hello again from TX! It’s the Artsy Wife here of the Artsy Family. If you ever check my blog you’ll notice I’m terrible at updating, but when I do update I promise they’re decent. I think. Usually.

I’m now in my 3rd Trimester of my pregnancy with baby #2, our sweet girl! I am so excited to finally be at this milestone, yet at the same time I’m internally freaking out. I kind of freak out on and off since I got that positive pee stick back in October, but now that the date is nearly upon us, it is really sinking in. We won’t just have one child to care for. There will be two. Under two. Ok, so I don’t have it that bad since Caleb will only be a month away from his 2nd birthday when little lady arrives on the scene, but still. Has anyone heard anything good about the Twos? Umm, notsomuch no.

Sometimes my freak outs are about logistical things like getting them both in the car, quickly and safely. Or how to manage an infant carrier and a 2 yr old on the stairs since our apartment is on the second floor and I have a hard time hoisting that seat empty, much less with a baby in it, a toddler in tow, and on concrete stairs (what were we thinking?!). Other times I freak out thinking I will never be able to devote enough time and attention to both of my kids. Sure, I am blessed to be a Stay At Home Mom, but I also have things to do like cleaning and laundry, running my Etsy shop, taking care of my own health needs like exercise/hygiene and I KNOW how hard any one of those things is along with a newborn. Factor in newborn and a 2 year old. Ummm, crap. At least I’ll sleep hard when I sleep, right?, because I’m going to be ex-haust-ed.

I rarely freak out about the money, at least right at first. We plan to cloth diaper from the start this time, saving a bundle right there. I am also hoping to find success again with breastfeeding, another cost-saver in addition to the bazillion other benefits nursing offers. Sure at some point she’ll need more clothes, shoes, solid foods, but at least generally speaking those costs won’t start hitting for at least 6 months or so. We do have to get a larger car and while we are getting used and keeping it affordable, we will likely still have a chunk financed for a different vehicle after selling my car. It’ll be a low payment but on a shoestring budget any car payment is not something Zach or I are really looking forward to. Such is life though. We are left with little choice if we all 4 want to go somewhere together. Plus, this momma is pretty tired of sitting in the glove box during family outings in the car.

I’m sure a lot of these fears and anxieties will disappear when we meet our precious baby girl. Ok, I’m not sure but I’m praying like mad they do! I also know, just like each time something comes up that is worrisome, that God is in control and He will provide, even at the last minute and in unexpected ways. I try to take comfort in that when I have my moments of sanity between the hormonal breakdowns. I swear, something about having a girl has made me 10x more emotional than with Caleb. Must be all the extra extra female hormones buzzing around in there. But back to the topic at hand. 2 under 2 fears or even just having two kids period fears are apparently pretty common and entirely normal. Most parents struggle with how to love another child as much, how to provide for them, and just how it will change the family dynamic in general. Deciding to go for a second child is definitely something that requires just as much consideration as that leap to have the first and I’d say it is vital that both parents are on the same page. It doesn’t mean you’ll both be on the same page 24/7 but at least most of the time. It is nice when your spouse can be sane during your freak outs and vice versa.

Are you thinking about making that leap into baby #2 or even 3? What scares or worries you the most about adding another little person to your family? Share with the class. Half of us are probably thinking the exact same thing.

Crazy Dog T-shirts Review & Giveaway!


So about a month ago, I whored myself to the awesome people at Crazy Dog Tshirts...why?  Because if you follow me on Pinterest, you know I found the coolest Hunger Games tshirt.  And where did I find this genius shirt?  Um, from the awesome people at Crazy Dog Tshirts

Sadly, they are currently out of the Hunger Games shirt, BUT have no fear, tons of funny shirts are near!

For example, I chose to review this freaking hilarious Pluto Was Framed shirt (found in Best Sellers). Because seriously, who didn't love Pluto?  And poor Pluto - he was screwed something fierce.
Pluto was Framed t-shirt

And I got the hubs, this Sh*t Creek Shirt...hehe, from the Hilarious Shirts (good fit, right?) section.
Sh*t Creek Shirt
And so, confession time.  The hubs' shirt - um, yeah,, he hasn't even worn it yet.  But me?  I've worn it to bed a bunch of times.  Like super, perfect for sleeping, soft.  The Pluto Was Framed shirt, funny (even got some compliments the first day I wore it out), but not quite as soft.

Either way, both are awesome deals.  Sizing was true to size and shipping time was quick.  Prices are also great and super reasonable - Pluto is on sale right now for only $13.59, Shit Creek is only $16.99 - awesome, right?  Oh and no shinkage either - score!

So, after all this, the awesome people at Crazy Dog Tshirts agreed to giveaway$15 credit, redeemable at either one of their stores (Crazy Dog Tshirts or Nacho Mama Tees) - thank you tshirt peoples, we love you!

A little bit of random...all the way from Texas!


So, since hubs had to go back to work tonight, I've got a few hours to catch up on blogging.  And while I'm not promising I'll be back on all week, I'm going to take tonight to get some posts scheduled and some things lined up so ya'll (hehe...I'm in Texas..get it?) don't get bored and feel left out.

And now on to the randomness in my head...

1. I've got reviews up the wazoo lined up for when I return.  I'm really hoping to get one scheduled to go live this week (it's a ready...and it's for everyone, not just cloth diaper fans!) - so in the next couple months, be prepared to win some goodies - from tshirts to giftcards to cloth diapers - sweet!

2. I sold my first item! Booyah! How awesome is that? I'm not working on order right now since I'm in Texas, but I have plans to expand the shop.  If you have something in mind, but don't see it - let me know.  I'd love to help you out!  Can be jute related, painting related, etc. I'm woman of many trades. ;)

3.  Hubs and I watched Friends with Benefits last night. Hil-freakin-larious.  If you have not watched it and don't mind some up front sexuality, watch it.  I laughed more at that movie than I have in months watching anything else.  Pretty much rocked.
4.  We hit the Fort Worth Zoo yesterday.  We only lasted two hours (damn, but it was a lot of fun.  We did make it through the whole complex and Thad had a blast walking around (in and out the stroller walking around).  I'll say, I really liked how up close we could get to the elephants and giraffes, but other than that, I was kind of disappointed.  Maybe we're spoiled (or I'm biased), but I really think our zoo (Henry Doorly) blows it out of the water. 

5. Tried another Mexican restaurant last night.  (We tried Salsa Fuego last time and really liked it.)  Anyone every eaten at El Fenix?  Maybe I'm being judgemental, but any Mexican restaurant that serves "queso" from a can (you know, the yellow cheese sauce stuff) doesn't really count as a winner in my book, but then again, I'm am a queso blanco whore.  Eh, whatever...had a good marguarita though. (Any other Mexican restauarants in Fort Worth we should try?)

6.  I really love my husband, but the sexual anticipation is cracking me up.  He's like a school boy just waiting to get laid for the first  Wow.  He's so nice about it, almost dancing around the issue, but you can tell he'd rather just rip off my clothes and go at it.  (Oh and no worries, he's having his fun, but I'm telling you, before every sexcapade the anticipation builds all over me up.)

7.  Oh and Texas at the end of March/early April is a hell of a lot wamer than I thought it was going to be.  I'm talking high 80s daily.  This is something doesn't really happen in April.  So much for those three pairs of jeans taking up room in my suitcase (and hello random shopping trip to Target for tank, oops).  I'm loving it though.

8.  Speaking of loving Texas.  I want to quit my now.  So, anyone know of any places that are hiring?  (Bachelors and Master's Degrees here.)  Hubs' apartment lease is up in July.  I'd like to be moved out of house (with it sold, thanks) and have my ass down here by then.  Sooner?  Even better.  I just need a job.  (Andbutalso, best areas to work/live in Fort Worth?)

9.  Oh and Thad's new thing?  "Ahhhchooo!"  Although it sounds more like "Ahhhdooo!"  See for yourself....I love it. *p.s Ignore E's random profanity at the car who honks at us towards the That's what I get for recording at a stop light when he's driving.*

How I Rock My Marriage: Kyna


Hello, lovely ELF readers! I'm Kyna, from great expectations. I am a thirty-something wife to the most amazing man, and a very happy momma to the sunshine of my life, my little girl. I love my family more than words could describe, and I love my husband so unconditionally. Our marriage pretty much rocks! Yup, that’s right…our marriage rocks

(Image credit Nina S.)
 Why, you may ask? Well let me tell ya…

First, let me start off my saying, I have a pretty amazing hubby…so that alone definitely helps our marriage. I know sometimes I’m not the easiest person to live with. I can be stubborn and a lot of times just plain crazy and emotional. But Matt puts up with all of it…every day! And I love him to death for that…but we all know, that sometimes love isn’t everything. Marriage can be hard…not just sometimes…but a lot of times. Throw parenting into that mix and you can definitely have a recipe for disaster! 

Matt and I definitely do not have a picture perfect marriage. We’ve had some really hard times, but we’ve made it through. And I can definitely say one of the main things that has always kept us together is the fact that we aren’t just marriage partners…we’re best friends. I truly enjoy Matt’s company every day, just like I would with any other good friend in my life. Even when we aren’t necessarily acting “romantically in love”, we are always so comfortable with each other, can confide in each other, and love each other’s company. When you can truly call your spouse your best friend, you have an amazing bond that sticks through the rough times when romantic love might not have been enough.

I think another thing that always helps us, is the effort we make to do things with each other and truly enjoy life together. Matt and I truly want to hang out and do things together. We enjoy each other. I happen to personally know quite a few married couples who just don’t make the effort to go out and spend one on one time with each other. And most of those couples blame it on the fact that they have kids. Yes, we’re lucky…we have family in town, so going out for “date night” is usually fairly easy for us, but I also know a lot of people who use a lack of a sitter as an excuse, when it really shouldn’t be. Even if we didn’t have family around, we would try to utilize our friends or even just suck it up and find an affordable babysitter, even just once in awhile, so that we could go out alone. Not just because it’s healthy for our marriage (which it totally is!), but also, because we both really WANT to hang out together. We truly, truly enjoy each others company. If you aren’t making the effort to plan something and spend some quality time with just your spouse (no kids, no friends…just you two) at least once a month then find a way to do it! If you really can’t find a sitter, then plan a date night at home once the kids are in bed. Learn to enjoy each others company…learn to not just be marriage partners, but also friends that can hang out, laugh, and have fun together. 

Thanks, Kyna! 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