Monday, February 28, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!

Bridget over at Mama Belly Blog was sweet enough to pass along an award to me, and now it's my turn to pass it over to you lovely ladies (and the occasional fella!).

Here are the rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers, or less, up to you.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

7 things about me:
-I have read 12 books so far this year. THIS. YEAR. I'm a bookworm at heart.
-I'm extremely sensitive to noise. Dogs barking, children screaming, you name it, I can't handle it well.
-If I could have been anything in the entire world, I would've been an OB/GYN. I still consider going to medical school sometimes.
-I wish I wouldn't have cut my hair.
-I skipped first grade, and graduated from high school early, so I was 16 when I went to college.
-I changed my major six times. This may have been a direct result of the previously mentioned factoid, eh?
-I pick the chicken out of my chicken noodle soups.

And some of my favorite bloggers:
Ashlie at Souders' Saga
Rene at Just Jack
Butterbean at The Bee's Knees
Michelle at Domestication of the Once Single Girl
Jill at The Chronicles of Corbin
Brienne at The Life of the Zwickl's
Jennifer at Smiley Riley
Jen at Life Abroad
Anika at Awaiting Baby Boy
Alana at Life on the Mom List
Nina at Life Downside Up
Tiffany at The Nielson Family Adventure
Teresa at The Vogelgesangs's
Jennie at Beehive and Bird's Nest
Kristin at's 'Fant'astic!

There are two obviously lovely ladies missing from this list, Emily and Kelly, but I know they've already received this award, which is why. I highly suggest paying them a visit and checking out the hliarious happenings over their way!

Dear Critics.

To those who told me that my baby would never sleep through the night if I didn't leave her to cry it out to learn to self-soothe:


Girlfriend's been sleeping for TWELVE. STRAIGHT. HOURS.

She does self-soothe. She's capable of it because I've managed to raise her in the past fourteen months to be a self-confident toddler, one who knows that if she needs actual soothing, mommy and/or daddy are only a cry away, leaving her feeling secure and worry-free.

Booyah. In. Your. Face.

(Editor's Note: This isn't directed at any of you. The people who were critical of my parenting were mainly those mere acquaintances in real life that can't seem to keep their childless opinions to themselves, and not those who read my blog. But since I'm not a confrontational person, I either gloat here, or not at all ;P

Also, I recognize that CIO works wonders for others. No judgment.)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This Week (In Photos).

It's been exceptionally gorgeous weather here lately, with more on the way (75+!), and it's been bringing out some serious cuteness in Ava :)

Check it out:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I've Created a Monster!

An anal-retentive, neurotic monster that is. guys probably know that I'm a wee bit crazy. I like things clean and neat and organized and that's just how things have to be for me. Call it OCD, call it running a nice, efficient household, whatevs. Potato, potahto... I honestly have no problem fessing up to my neuroses about things being kept in their place, and it works in our household's favor. If you ever drop by unexpectedly, rest assured my house will be in order.

Where it's becoming a problem is with Ava. She's turning

In the morning, when I strip off my pj's and put on a more socially acceptable version of pj's to wear until my shower (yoga pants and a tank top), Ava gathers up the clothes on the bathroom floor before I can even get to them. At first I thought she was just being adorable and wanting to play with mommy's stuff, but now it's starting to seem more like the fact that clothes are on the floor is causing her actual emotional discomfort.

Aw, sweetie. I can so relate.

The thing is, I don't want Ava to be all crazy neurotic like me, at least not at this age. She is supposed to be enjoying making messes. And sometimes, like when she empties the toybox in her room, she seems to be fine with it. But if I take the Mega Blox and dump them on the floor, she seems hellbent on cleaning them up quickly. Hilarious to watch? Yep - a wee bit. But I've been making a concerted effort to let the house go a bit and not be so tidy just to prevent her from turning into a child worried about messes and not able to have fun.

Don't get me wrong - she can make a mess with her food and loves to be outside getting dirty, which I love (the latter, not the former!). I just really don't want her to stress. Tips? Anyone else's child doing this sort of thing?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - YUM.

Not to call anyone out, but D never cooks. At least, not unless it's a Sunday night in spring or summer, when he BBQ's and it's a little piece of heaven, both for the food and the break. But, seeing as how I've been stressed to the max, I came home from a playdate and mommy Stella & Dot (and wine and cheese!) party Saturday to this:

Love that man.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Love Motherlove.

This isn't the first time I've talked about Motherlove products on this blog (Don't you just love great deals on the internet?!). If you remember from when Ava was just weeks old, my lactation consultant recommended one of their products, More Milk Special Blend capsules, in order to help boost my dwindling supply, and I can honestly say I credit Motherlove with my ability to have made it through that hurdle to be a still breastfeeding mama today!

So imagine how happy I was when I was contacted by their wonderful PR person about doing a review! Seeing as how I'm not in those early stages of breastfeeding anymore - where their breast pads and nipple cream rule the world - or pregnant (praise Jesus! haha) - where their pregnant belly oil and rhoid creme would come in very handy - I asked to review two of their wonderful salves: Their Diaper Rash & Thrush Salve, and their Green Salve.

I can honestly say that both of these products are at the top of their category. I have been incredibly lucky in that Ava has never had terrible diaper rash (because I'm breastfeeding, perhaps?), but because of her tummy issues with dairy and eggs, occasionally we have a diaper that causes some immediate irritation. We had one such occasion just about a week and a half ago, and I put the Motherlove Diaper Rash & Thrush Salve on her tushy right before putting her to bed for the night. The salve is made with 96% certified organic products, and has a zero rating on the Environmental Working Group's toxin scale (meaning it has ZERO toxins!), so I felt comfortable putting it on Ava's sweet skin. And I was glad I did, since she woke up in the morning irritation-free!

The other product I received, Motherlove's Green Salve, is a lifesaver if you - like me - live in an area where humidity and nearly year-round warm temperatures keep the mosquitoes alive and well all year, leading to those pesky, itchy mosquito bites. While I try to keep Ava covered in mosquito-repellent, bites still happen from time to time, and Motherlove's Green Salve was able to take the itch right out, for me, and - seeing as how she left them alone to heal ASAP - for Ava.

Thank you, Motherlove, for such a mom-, baby- and Earth-friendly line of products!

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Past Week (In Photos).

Warning: insanely huge photo bomb. My way of catching up over the past couple weeks, especially since Ava is growing like a WEED (except cuter!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I'm a Bad Blogger.

Man...I'm a bad blogger these days. I have a review in the works, a post that's been in draft form for weeks (ironic, since it starts off, "I meant to post this days ago..." Oops!), and zero time and motivation to post this week.

Part of it is that I'm worried to death about what's going to happen this fall when my hours get cut back to ten. I mean, TEN HOURS?! What two-income family can survive on that? Not ours, that's for sure. Especially when I used to work 40-45 before the first hours cut. And as such, I'm starting to think maybe I should just find a new full-time position, rather than a second part-time. Which makes me terrible sad and upset and opens up a whole new set of issues, and basically I feel trapped. And screwed. And just really stressed and nervous.

As you know, I'm in the process of attempting to launch a business venture, From Two to Three. But even still, the BEST case scenario will put years between now and it being successful/profitable, and even still the market for these services makes me nervous. And, between my writing gigs, my actual job and business stuff, I'm ending up working from morning to night every day, and it's getting to me. Big time. In a nutshell, I don't know what to do, and don't know what is going to happen in the fall, and I'm FREAKING OUT.

On a more positive note, things are going great with our little family of three. Ava started saying "uh oh" yesterday, and has been saying "num nums" when eating, which is darling. She's also starting to get little there anything on Earth sweeter than baby curls? Certainly not adult curls - at least in my case, haha!

Anyways, just wanting to update and say hi and ask for any and all suggestions about what on Earth I can do to try to supplement my extra income this fall. I'm feeling so lost.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Toy Organizer That Saved My Sanity!

I recently received something that I always LOVE getting: a package from CSN Stores in the mail! I have shopped with them now on several occasions and have been fortunate enough to become a Preferred Blogger, and cannot tell you how happy I am with my latest purchase!

After seeing this fabulous toy organizer that Emily had for her adorable little guy, I just knew I had to have it! Enter CSN Stores. Not only was I able to shop from the comfort of my own home, in my pajamas, without having to drag Ava out in the cold (!!), but I was able to find an amazing toy organizer to meet our needs both on amazing sale (from it's already discounted price!) and with free shipping. This is one happy mama!

Not only did I have a great shopping experience, but I received my package super quick, despite not selecting any shipping upgrades. Is there anything better than coming home from a long day at work to find a package that you weren't expecting for days?

The organizer itself - a Honey Can Do Sort & Store Toy Organizer - is AMAZING. Seriously, I'm not what anyone would consider overly spatially aware. I have a difficult time assembling things, and usually collapse in frustration before I achieve the finished product. Not this time! I managed to put it together - with a little assistance from my teeny tiny helper, of course - in 15 minutes, and within 20 minutes from starting, my house was neat and organized into the toy bins, rather than cluttered and chaotic!

Check out our assembly process and finished product:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today we went to a Valentine's Day party with our moms group - SO fun! Then, I came home to have a dozen red roses delivered, alongside a box of chocolates and bath salts & bubble bath. D rocks my world!!

We don't have big plans for the evening, just dinner in from Central Market and a bottle of champagne, but look at that face above? Would I really want it any other way?

Happy Valentine's Day ladies (and gentlemen)!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Change is Good.

Five years ago (less, to be honest), you couldn't have paid me to stay home on a Saturday night. In fact, while we're being honest, chances are you could've found me out and about four or five nights a week. I was a wild child, y'all.

Tonight, though, as I poured my glass of wine and settled in to work on my business site (which was just updated, so you should go check it out and tell me your thoughts!), I thought of how things had changed. And while some changes aren't welcomed (like the new fence we had to commission once our former fence blew over last week), these changes? They most definitely are.

Tonight, my baby fell asleep in my arms, and her little locks of hair curled up as she sweat against my body. David kept telling me to go lay her down, but I just wanted to hold her and breathe her in while she's still little. Time, it is a-passin'.

Drinks and dancing into the wee morning hours? Fun while it lasts? But the sweet smell of your own baby and the sound of her teeny tiny snores last such a short time, and leave you wishing for them long after they're gone. I don't know many who grow up to say that about the bars and partying and debauchery of their youth, do you?

With that, I'm off to go snuggle my baby while I fall asleep, and to dream dreams made blissful by the sight I'll wake up to in the morning: my two favorite people, highly caffeinated coffee brewing and filling the house with the sweet smells of vanilla creme and hazelnut, and a day filled with little aside from the hope and possibility that only a new day with nothing on the agenda can bring.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nursing-isms, Part II.

Now that Ava's older, her nursing behaviors are changing, but still so, SO cute. For example:

-It's been cold here in Austin lately, and so Ava has taken to sticking the hand that's not wrapped around my back in the top of my shirt to keep it warm. Adorable.

-I can't tell if she's just hungry, or if since she's been nursing a bit more (her appetite for solid food has been down since her teeth are coming in and she's not feeling much like eating), the milk isn't coming in fast enough, but lately A has taken to smooshing her face into me and emitting a low "grrrrrrrrrr" over and over until the milk really starts to flow. Ahhhh precious!

-Not as cute? The other day Ava was getting frustrated, and grabbed me so hard that she got a nice spray of milk right in the eyeball. Haha! That's what you get, little lady!

What cute things are your still-nursing babies doing?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


There is a park in Austin that we frequent usually twice a week. It's near S's school, so we either head there if we have time to kill before picking her up, or - if it's a rare day where we're not speeding off to meet P at the bus - we head there afterwards, eager to play out some of that midday energy and try like hell to offset the inevitable 3-5pm blahs.

It's a beautiful park and it has a pretty regular crowd, which I always like. It's nice to let S run off onto the playscape with a little girl her age we've come to know, and for me to sit down on the gravel with A to dig in the pebbles and recognize other mommies and babies. I love that about Austin. It's a major metropolitan city, and yet, it lives like a small-ish town.

Another regular at the park is a homeless man, who sits on the same spot of the same bench day in and day out. In fact, I've never not seen him there, even when just driving by to get S from her school. It doesn't matter the weather or how inclement it may be, the season, or anything else. He's always there.

Here's the part where I admit that, at first, I was put off by his presence. He sits facing away from the main playground towards the open field and basketball courts, but still, I can openly admit that there is something slightly menacing about a homeless man hanging about a place where children come and go, is there not? But just the same, he has never done anything to make me uncomfortable in the past few months since we've made our visits regular, and, with the onset of freezing weather in Austin, I feel terrible for him. Sure, he's bundled up in his coat (for which I am eternally thankful - no one should have to be outside and cold), but still, it's cold out there, and I can also admit to my concern for his well-being extending far beyond the confines of the park, and to the wee hours of the night or early morning, when I'm up for no particular reason and busying myself with worry.

It should be said that Austin has a large homeless population. It is one of the only complains (aside from traffic) that I heard lodged against Austin on a regular basis, and I can understand why. Aside from the panhandlers you come across at major intersections, homelessness is worrisome because it's scary. It can happen to anyone, given either a string of bad decisions or just plain an unfortunate turn of events. It makes people uncomfortable, and questions those basic luxuries we feel we have a right to. You'd think that having lived her for ten years, I'd be a cynic to the homeless population, more annoyed or used to their presence than anything. But thankfully, I have a man in my life who's a certified bleeding heart, and keeps me compassionate against all odds. D is the kind of guy who - when everyone else accuses them of asking for money for booze or whatever other vice they're naturally assumed to have had to land them in their position in the first place - assumes the best in people, and always gives them money or food or whatever he has to part with. I LOVE this about him. I'm also a bit of a bleeding heart, and always have been. I was that child who felt the pain of the world growing up, and I haven't outgrown it, so Ava stands no chance at becoming an unsympathetic a-hole of a human being. Thank God.

Anyhow, the point of the story is this: While all the other families at the park yesterday cautiously avoided making contact with him, I talked to the man at the park yesterday, albeit briefly. I asked him if he was hungry, which seemed to catch him off guard, and he said that he was "ok".

"Are you sure?" I asked. "I have plenty of snacks in my bag. I'd be glad to share."

What he said then, though, later made me cry.

"I wouldn't want to take anything away from your baby, ma'am."

I assured him that he wouldn't be taking anything from her, and that we were about to head home where she could have a snack if she was hungry. He finally accepted, and before we left the park, he had eaten all four snacks I had given him, clearly not as "ok" as he had stated.

I also managed to get his name. I wondered how long it had been since he had spoken with someone, or had someone even ask him for it, and it seems so much more humanizing to know someone's name, and have someone know yours, doesn't it?

I think next time we go we'll take him a hamburger :) And I sincerely hope, above all else, that Ava grows up to be the kind of person who will feed the hungry, and give back to those who aren't as fortunate.

What are ways that you instill in your children the values that are important to you?

Wordless Wednesday - Happy.

Perhaps she's happy mommy's finally posting? Haha...happy Wednesday!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day!!!

Well, sort of. Some of us still have to go to work. I call bullshit. Totally not happy about having to still go in :(

At least we got to have a little morning snow day playtime!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

(Not At All) Wordless Wednesday. In Fact, WordFUL Wednesday Is More Appropriate.

Good morning! Afternoon? What the hell time is it anyhow?

This is the state of my life these days.

There have been many things keeping me away. See exhibit A & B for starters.

Exhibit A:

That's our fence. Or, what was our fence. Now we currently have one giant backyard which we share with the neighbors. The neighbors who, unless they've come by in the middle of the night, have yet to acknowledge this, and have not answered their door yet. Awesome.

Exhibit B:

I have come down with some cold-like illness that isn't enough to completely debilitate me, but that I can't quite shake. Probably because I'm running around working, writing, trying to launch my business, mothering, and finishing up the Millenium Trilogy. That last one may sound like an optional endeavor to you, but if so, you haven't read the first two. Happily, I knocked out the last of it this morning, and can proudly lay claim to having read all three books of The Hunger Games series and all three of the Millenium Trilogy since January 1. How? I rarely sleep before 1AM. Which, in writing, sounds incredibly idiotic of me. Anyhow, enough rambling, I'm feeling sick. The end. Hopefully it'll go away soon. Like, before I take up with a new book and start sacrificing sleep again.

In other news, sweet A is currently a terror. Like, throws herself on the floor and then scoots backwards while perpetuating a long, whiny cry...just for me. That's the real kicker. And no one believes me. Yesterday, looking flustered, the dry cleaner (yes, the same one who couldn't keep her hands off my belly) asked how A was, to which I responded, "Great, although moving quickly into the terrible twos and throwing some tantrums for her mommy!". And, per the standard response I've been getting when I admit my toddlers monster attitude some days, she said, "That beautiful baby? No way. She's a sweet girl."

Uh huh. If by sweet, you mean the devil incarnate.

OK, OK, she's not really that bad. I adore her, and for the most part she is a smily, happy little munchkin. But if she wants to be held (and since one of her molars on the left side has broken the surface, that's often) and I can't hold her that second (ie. I'm cooking/in the shower/bathroom/etc), homegirl throws a fit. If daddy wants to hold her and she wants mommy, down to the ground she goes. If she wants mommy to read Busy Monkeys for the umpteenth time that hour, and I instead choose to throw myself off the roof take a break to, oh, I don't know, eat dinner, dramamama possesses my child in a way that could quite possibly someday require an exorcism. GAH!

In other news, I have my first client for my business venture, From Two to Three, whom I'll be meeting with two weeks from today. AHHHHHHHHHHH! Exciting/nervewracking, no?!

What is everyone else up to? I feel like I've been absent forever!
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