Welcome 2017!

Whew!  Christmas has come and gone, and the New Year has arrived.

Here’s random sampling of some pictures from our holiday season…

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We did two Thanksgiving!  This is a sporting event that I suggest you properly train for.  We have perfected it over the years.  😉

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Plus a few more…img_4410img_4415img_4424img_4431img_4466img_4474img_4487img_4492img_4494img_4504

We are day 4 of snow, and I am so thankful to be home {except for an urgent care doctor trip + a library visit} with these people!  The Mr. had to work both weekdays, but he played it up with Holden over the weekend (and celebrated his 32 birthday!).  I just got the call that schools are closed tomorrow as well.  I know we will have to make it up in some form…I just love this unexpected time off!

2016 was quite a year!  Holden turned four, started Pre-K, played two soccer seasons, did awesome at swimming, and just plain grew a ton before our eyes!  We can’t forget the addition of sweet Helen Elizabeth back in April 2016.  She’s such a blessing, and we are all over the moon for our little girl.  She is small but quite strong in body and spirit!  🙂

I didn’t do any resolutions directly on January 1, but I have done some thinking about it and some areas that I would like to improve upon.

  1. Gossip ~ Isn’t this just a the hardest?!  It’s not like you are stealing, killing, etc. BUT it can steal your joy, and it can kill others’ happiness.  I find this one hard, because I do actually like to talk although I’m not really outgoing with a large social circle.  I really want to make the effort and succeed to not talk about others in a negative light EVEN if it’s just recounting facts (which is how I usually validate it to myself).
  2. Respecting My Husband ~  Whew!  This is a tough one as well.  I do feel like I respect the Mr.  HOWEVER, I tend to not do the best job that I could.  I must accept that I married an imperfect man (just as he married a very imperfect woman) who cannot give me everything that I need and want at exactly every moment of the day.  Just as I cannot do that for him.  The really struggle is when he corrects Holden.  This is a very tough one.  I really feel like parenting/education/kids is MY area.  I’m the expert.  Sounds a bit prideful, huh?  Although I would say I have put lots of time and effort into this area, I want to handle disagreements or critiques of how he handles situations for a time when we can talk about it one-on-one.  It is my hope that this will make us more productive parents and more on-the-same-page.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Ephesians 4:29

“God doesn’t want me to be a ‘fix him’ wife, God wants me to be a ‘love him’ wife.”

– Lysa TerKeurst

“My husband is one of my greatest blessings from God. His love is a gift that I open everyday.”

– Darlene Schacht

Do you make resolutions?  What is your favorite holiday, Christmas v. Thanksgiving?

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day?

Happy Tuesday!

5 for Friday

Hi there!  I’m so excited that it’s Friday!  Now, I’m on maternity leave right now, so it’s not exactly like I’m super excited to be off from work.  I am excited that the Mr. will be home for three whole days!  That means I will get to talk to someone who actually responds over the course of the day!  🙂  Here are five things on my mind this Friday…

{ONE}

Sleep Training – Gosh, it just makes me tired thinking about it!  We (not really…it’s mostly me) have been a little all over the place with how we are putting Helen down at bedtime.  I’ve read so many blog posts, online articles, actual books, and even a DVD about sleep and babies.  A lot is similar.  However, there are enough subtle differences that can really affect how you approach sleep and your baby…I specifically found lots of differences with how you approach that stressful time of the day from 5:30-9.  Helen is the fussiest from about 7:00-8:30.  In my efforts to help her out, I think I’ve actually hurt the situation by bouncing from one idea to the other.  Last night, we talked about our game plan and committed to following it.  It’s so nice to have a parenting parter aka the Mr. how is on the same page…most the time!  Just FYI – we are following the routine laid out in Babywise.  No negative comments!  It worked absolutely wonderfully for our #1 bambino.

{TWO}

I honestly miss caffeinated coffee.  This is my new French press…  I’m not sure I like it better than a traditional coffee pot, but I do feel less wasteful.  I’m the only AM coffee drinker at our house.  I always feel like I make too much.

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I’ve been on this decaf stuff since last fall.  When I first found out I was pregnant, I was even drinking only decaf tea.  I can’t wait for next spring!  There are so many things mamas give up and/or change when they are pregnant or nursing.  I plan to drink coffee with abandon, rub toxic chemicals aka those found in anti-aging creams and other assorted toiletries/cosmetics all over me, and possibly have more than .5 of a drink next spring.  I will not be the mom nursing her child into preschool!  No thank you.  Truthfully, I don’t enjoy breastfeeding!  There!  I said it!  I do it, because I want the best for my child.  I can’t wait to have nothing latched on to me, but I’m thankful I’m able to do it now when she needs it.

{THREE}

We are hoping to go to the beach tomorrow!  I’m very excited about this!  🙂  I got this new sunscreen spray to try out from Wal-Mart.  I know sprays aren’t the best, but it’s quite challenging to put sunscreen on your own back.

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This is the sunscreen I typically use on me and H…

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It has a great smell, but it does require some thorough rubbing to make sure it soaks in.

This will be one of Helen’s first big outings.  Girlfriend got a new outfit for the beach occasions in her future.

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Link here.

She also has some sunglasses and a hat from here.  I also got Holden one of these SPF suits when he was little.  Technically, you are not supposed to use sunscreen on little ones.  These suits are perfect.  I also used Holden’s when we would go on walks.

{FOUR}

Fun Food – We are supposed to go to a Norfolk Tides baseball game with Poppy (Moochie is watching the little girl.) on Sunday.  I’m hoping the rain stays away for this!  Afterwards, we are planning to grill up some hot dogs and other sides.  I’m going to make this dessert, Red, White and Blue Trifle, from Mix and Match Mama.

{FIVE}

Summer Plans – Holden has two more weeks of preschool.  Then, he’ll be home with Little H and I until after the 4th of July.  He’ll be attending summer camp at his preschool three days a week for half days in July and August.  We thought this would give me a little time with just Helen and also give Holden some fun activities to look forward to each week.  Since we’ll all be together each and every day for a few weeks in June, I’m trying to brainstorm ideas for what we’ll do.  We won’t be jaunting off each day, but I would like to plan a couple things each week to do…like the park, library, does the grocery store count as fun with two kids???  I’m hoping to share that list on Monday.

Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend!

Natalie

 

 

Stormy Seas

I survived Monday…I would say barely, but the truth is that I’m alive and well home with my favorites.  Do you every just have days that are yuck for no super bad reason?  I think it was the chillier temps (that totally didn’t work with my chosen outfit), not enough food in my lunchbox {why did just lettuce and a burger seem substantial…there was an orange but still!}, and just a case of the Mondays.  My poor husband came home to a sad dinner  and a whiney wife.  😦  I did make the smart decision to whine all at once when he arrived at home.  I think that was better than sulking and being stand-offish.  Don’t I sound fun!??!  I did attempt to make dessert.  What can I say?  I like to bake when upset/out-of-sorts.  Sadly, this resulted in way too many crummy cookies for me AND a bad batch of cookies!  They crumbled all to pieces once they came off the cooling rack.  It’s more like eating “chocolate chip chips” than chocolate chip cookies.  The Mr. is blaming it on my TJ’s organic brown sugar, but I’m blaming it on Monday.

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Let’s rewind.  Sunday was such a nice day at home (perhaps there is the sharp contrast to today?}.  Church, gym, and a nap/rest time {small ones for the Mr. and I} were perfect!  We also visited the oceanfront to see the big waves!

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The water was also up in the ditch behind our house which is tidal due to the creek that it connects to…

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It never made it past our fence though.  I’m so thankful that the hurricane bypassed us.  Feeling the wind whipping off the ocean down at the oceanfront just amazed me!  It felt so strong, and it was really nothing compared to what we could have been experiencing.

I did leave out one very important aspect of the Mr. and H’s Sunday…Legos!  They played probably about 4-5 hours total.  Lots of “Daddy, fix it!” as H would play with one Lego toy and snap off a piece.  I loved seeing them enjoying each other and the 563,478 pieces of little brightly colored plastic!  🙂  All of the Legos below were my husband’s.  They were washed and dried after being in storage.  It was quite a labor of love on the Mr.’s part.

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Overall, I’m glad to put October 5 behind me, and I’m looking forward to a fresh start for October 6.  🙂  Here’s to Tuesday winning over Monday!

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September Randoms + Paper Planner Talk

Hi there!  Another week since I’ve said hello here!  The work week is serious stuff!  I’m so glad it’s hump day as we have lots of fun weekend plans that we’re looking forward to.  Last weekend consisted of yoga class, bike rides, church and plus a lovely pick-up response from Holden which included thrashing about in mulch {apparently, he REALLY likes his buds at his new preschool and doesn’t want to go home with Mommy}.  We’ve made some improvements in that area, and I actually got a hug yesterday!  I did cheat slightly and pick him up during snack versus the outside recess time.  Here are a few randoms from my phone…

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How did he get so big?!?!

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Random weekday breakfasts for H and I – The top picture is a mixture of plain yogurt, grapes, and Kashi’s Heart to Heart cereal.

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My Constitution Day twin!  We didn’t plan to show up in our matching Target tops.  🙂

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Online dress shopping for my sister’s wedding – Everything looks good on those models!

September is the time I get all our holiday plans straight pretty much through the New Year.  I confess to having commitment phobia when it comes to my choice of planner.  In recent years, I’ve tried the Lilly Pulitzer planner

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the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley

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the MomAgenda Day Planner

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and I’ve even been using the cheap plastic one given to me by my school in recent weeks!  With the Lilly, I felt like I was being a fake-preppy as I’m not super preppy at all!  I did love the amply room to write in stuff on each day plus the monthly overview.  I like the Simplified Planner, but honestly, I don’t need each day broken down by hour with room to write.  It is also pricey.  The MomAgenda just was okay.  I’ve actually been making out okay with the cheap plastic one from work by color-coding work and home events.  However, it’s starting to look visually messy as things fill in and our days/weekends fill up.  I’ve never tried the Erin Condren LifePlanner.  They are beautiful but quite expensive.

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What is your favorite type/brand of planner?  I just like a paper product for list-making etc!  I think I’m going with the Lilly Pulitzer this year unless I find something better when I stop in Barnes and Nobles this weekend.  I guess I’ll be faking the preppy look with my planner!  Have a great day!

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Summer Fun List

Hi there!  Wow, aren’t you glad that we are already on the downhill side of this short work week?!?!  I know that Tuesday {and sort of today} was a hard one for me!  I was already at school at about 6:55 today.  Good.  Grief.

I was so, so, so tired on Tuesday that I even attempted to lay on the sofa with Holden after school.  We read about 5 books, looked at letters, and just generally whined about Mommy’s tiredness.  🙂

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Wowie, I’m glad to be not quite as tired tonight!  I confess I was really feeling super tired again today.  I had an early meeting followed by more testing and end-of-the-year paperwork.  I forced myself to put on some tennis shoes and sunscreen and walk with H and Roscoe to the park.  It is very warm and humid this week in Virginia Beach, but I’m so glad we went!  It is about a mile to the park.  Holden rode in the stroller today but played when we got there.  We also saw lots of geese today at the pond there plus one turtle.  On the way back, H decided to run after we saw a couple jogging around the neighborhood.  I may be biased, but I think he has great running form!  😉

In other breaking news, I’d like to share my completed May goals!

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Did a lot!  I finished my book and am now working on American Wife.  We picked loads of strawberries and have enjoyed our jelly already!  Holden has some cute sandals for summer as well as two pairs of water shoes.  One pair is for daycare water play, and the other is for home.  We didn’t get to the Memorial Day craft, but we did join in with the Memorial Day remembrance action at church.

On to SUMMER!

  • Skinny Dip frozen yogurt – a lot
  • Bowling
  • Sprinkler time
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Salisbury Zoo in Salisbury, MD
  • Cypress Park in Pocomoke, MD
  • Cloud 9 {we have a prepaid pass!}
  • Color Me Pottery {paint your own!}
  • Children’s Museum in Portsmouth, VA
  • Norfolk Zoo
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Visit family near and far
  • NASA Visitor Center – Wallops Island, VA
  • Boat Rides with Moochie and Poppy
  • Baseball Game
  • Beach – A LOT OF THIS!
  • 4th of July Parade – H always talks about the Christmas parade we went to.
  • Library Class
  • Swimming Lessons
  • Wedding Weekend {aka 2 built-in mandatory adult dinners with the Mr. 🙂 }
  • Play Dates with new and old friends
  • Trip to Asheville, NC to see my best, good friend 🙂
  • Concert
  • Date Night with the Mr.

Do you think that will keep us busy!?!?!

I know we may not get to all these things or perhaps even half of them.  I just love planning and thinking about all the potential we have for lots of summer fun.  Last summer, we worked an awful lot.  I’m looking forward to more relaxing and more FUN!

My personal goals for June are…

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I so want to keep up with some new friends that we have met through preschool and through my work this year.  I hope to set up some fun times for the moms and kids to hang out.  I’m about half through American Wife.  I’m having a hard time identifying with the main character, but I’m still intrigued by the book.  I hope to finish it in the next week or so.  Yoga, yoga.  Fell off the wagon with you again!  Back to it starting Friday morning.  I love the Good Morning Girls online Bible study program and am so excited there will be a Proverbs study starting up on June 15.  Check it out here.  I love Proverbs!

I’m thrilled to be getting ready for a little respite from the demands of the working world and be a full-time mommy even if it’s only mid-June to late August.  I LOVE being home with Holden!  I hope to work out some sort of loose schedule for our days.  I find things just go better for both of us if we have a plan AND if we cease the day first thing in the morning.  Afternoons are for relaxing/napping.

What are you up to this summer?

Are you a planner or fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-er?

Natalie

A Sprinkler, Strawberries, and Ice Cream…Is it summer yet?!?!

Goodness, it was hot today!  When I left work, my car thermometer said 92 degrees.  By the time I was home, it had dropped to the mid-80s.  Crazy, hot/humid weather makes me think of July not May.  We’ve been enjoying all those things that typically come with summer…like a sprinkler!

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Holden had a blast running all around the Nemo sprinkler that he got for his birthday!  Roscoe even joined in {and by that I mean was forced to} and got an outdoors bath on Sunday.

Holden and I worked up on some strawberries and made 13ish jars of homemade strawberry jelly.  They are safely tucked away in the freezer.  I don’t “can” food.  Nobody got time for that!

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My little helper was with me the whole time.  Here he is washing the berries or “giving them a tubbie.”

I used some more of the berries to make this delicious strawberry bread tonight.

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I found this recipe on a blog and copy/pasted it into Word.  Sorry, I didn’t keep the blog open and now can’t find the link.  😦

The Mr. worked super hard around the house on Saturday afternoon and Sunday doing various home improvements.  Love our new blue shutters and door!  Unfortunately, he hurt his should in the midst of all his hard work.  We’re hoping some rest and anti-inflammatory meds will do the trick.

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I also got about an inch taken off my hair and all my layers lightened up.  I love a fresh blow-out!  I treated myself with one of my teacher appreciation gift cards to some Skinny Dip fro-yo on the way home.  I love, love, love going there by MYSELF.  I like to eat it super slow much to the Mr. and H’s confusion and disdain.

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Today was quite a busy one, but we are now down to just two more actual Mondays {thank you Memorial Day for the Monday off!}.  I made some brownies to have for treats this week.

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You can see where the Mr. made off with a still warm one.  This is a super good recipe, but I think I prefer another that I’ve been using recently.  The other one uses real chocolate morsels and butter.  How could that not be better?!?!?!

One last random from the weekend…H listening to his daddy tell about how all the antlers came to be in our garage.  The Mr. went into quite a bit of detail {location, description, etc.}.  H was eating it up.  Boys.

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Excuse our messy garage and my drying rack.

Hope your Monday was productive and didn’t completely wear you down!

Natalie

The Wireless World and Us

HUMP DAY!  So excited that this longish week is “over the hump!”  One day of testing at school is under my belt, and I’m so glad!  Onto the other 7 {I think, but really…who’s counting?!?!}!

I’ll start off today’s post by sharing a little background info about me.  When I first found out I was pregnant with my son, I became very passionate about providing the very best possible environment for him to grow in.  I was his environment while pregnant, so I cleaned up a lot of my life.  I switched over the organic produce and dairy products as much as possible.  I looked up harmful chemicals and dumped a lot of nail polish, eye shadow, soap, etc.  I replaced these with more people-friendly options.  I also quit my regular coffee habit and switched to decaf.  I got serious about yoga, and serious means I actually did it once in a blue moon.  Another issue that I tackled was the internet.  Now, I love the internet as much as anyone.  I may even love it more than most!  However, I was not cool with the whole concept of “wifi waves” assaulting my body or that of my baby {Love the Mr., but I admit he wasn’t my first thought.  Now, I’ve changed my tune and force my protective ways on him too.}.  In our old house, our internet router was right by the wall of H’s nursery.  I made a special request for Verizon to walk me through entering the computer “mainframe” to cut off the wifi.  When we moved to our new house, I had the technician disable to wifi upon installation.  I’m 120% sure he thought I was insane.  He kept giving me odd looks the entire time.  I think he thought I was going to grow a second head when I told him that we also weren’t getting a TV package!  I mean, eat organic food and you’re totally “cool” and a “hipster.”   Say you think wifi is bad and iPhones are “carcinogenic” and you might get voted off the island!

I admit there are times when I want wifi, so I can stalk my favorite people on Instagram or peruse the internet to my heart’s content.  I’ve gotten several “looks” from family members and friends when I talk about my wifi/cell phone=EVIL obsession.  HOW-freakin’-EVER, I feel somewhat vindicated!  When I got my latest issue of Parents magazine {June 2015}, I quickly whipped out my highlighter to thoroughly read the article “wireless worries.”  Read for yourself below.  P.S.  I thought this article had a lot of “heavy hitters” in regards to research and quotes.

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I admit that I’m a rule breaker sometimes and do hold the phone to my head more than I should.  I also use my cell quite frequently as we do not have a landline.  Yikes!  After reading this article, I’m actually going to look into how much that might be.  I love Holden being able to talk to family members, but I hate that he has to use this potentially dangerous thing.  If we get a phone, I’m getting an old school cord phone.  Brining back the 80s!  I remember my grandmother having the corded rotary phone.  That cord would stretch across her kitchen when she was cooking something on the stove!  I’ve also tried using my “airplane mode” some today to reduce my own exposure.  Sorry if you tried to call me!  I was currently cleansing the radiation from moi.  😉  I don’t plan to get rid of my iPhone.  I do plan to tame that beast a little bit.  Who knows?!?!  Maybe I’ll have a regular flip on again someday.  Very vintage.  I thought this article was very good “food for thought” especially if you have little ones.  Their bodies are so much more fragile than ours.

What do you think about all this?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I heard a rather creepy question the other day on the radio – would you rather give up your iPhone for a week or sex for a week?  Women, overwhelmingly, decided they would rather give up sex for a week.  Very interesting, huh?

From the wifi-less house,

Natalie

P.S.  Don’t call me.  I’m on airplane mode still.  🙂