Monday, December 23, 2013

All it took was Faith


A little over two years ago I took a leap of faith. Or so I thought. I went with what I thought I wanted without thinking twice. I made a decision that I will always think back upon and wondered what in the world was I thinking. That decision was to work night shift. I wanted to be in an OB unit so bad and I wouldn't listen to anyone who would tell me how wrong this was. A newlywed, mother, and student doing a complete 180 with her life. I tell you right now that was NOT God's plan for me. Of that I am 100% sure.

Sometimes we want something so bad and even with the signs staring us right in the face, telling us don't do it, we still do. Because we want things done our way, in our terms, on our own time. Not thinking about God's plan for us. And he doesn't stop us either. I'm sure he thinks "OK, you want it this way fine. But don't start regretting it mid way through". Then we regret our decisions and pray and pray for God to stir us out of that situation. Is that just me? 

Last November I made another decision. A decision I believed would benefit my growing family. I decided to go part time because working nights was getting to be too much. I wasn't home enough and felt like I was missing out on watching my son grow and being there for him. I knew that working nights four days a week was not going to go well with a newborn at home. So I cut my hours in half before giving birth to spend some time with my oldest. 

While on maternity leave it felt so good to be home. And returning to work part time didn't seem that bad. The rest of the year went by smoothly. I have to admit night shift  has great perks. If I was doing it as a nurse and money wasn't an issue I'd totally keep doing it. But deep down I knew that this wasn't for me. Not yet at least. And this is when my prayers began. I prayed and prayed to get out of it and even before giving birth I applied to endless job openings and nothing. 

Don't get me wrong. I am thankful on being able to be home with the little one for the first year. To watch him grow and develop into a toddler. To document his first year and witness all his first. To see both of my boys create this amazing brotherly bond. It has been a nice thing to watch and experience. But I am ready for a change. 

 
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Over the summer I applied for several day jobs and I wasn't even called in for interviews. Then recession hit the hospital and cuts were being made, position were frozen and taken away. I worried. A lot. What if I was destined to stay night shift for years on end. I couldn't stay nights anymore and I needed to go full time ASAP. 

I started to pray even harder and looking at the good of every situation. Like I said, nights have it's perks and I know school would be easier this way. But I have to remember that school will always be there and that my family, happiness, and sanity must come first.

I wasn't sure what it was that I truly wanted, all I knew was that I needed to go back to full time or get a day shift job. There was a FT position that was going to be opening up, still night shift though. And then another one. I got the first one but at the last minute the girl backed down and just like that I had lost it. In a moment of desperation I went to the positions available within the network and saw a positioned that interest me a lot. I applied while saying, "Lord if it meant to be it will be and if not I will be patient". Not even a week went by when I was called in for an interview. I left that office with a good feeling. Next day I get a call back with an invite for lunch to meet the staff. Good feeling indeed. After rescheduling due to snow I made my way to the office again, and brought them homemade chocolate chip cookies, hey it was a lunch invite ;). That was two Thursdays ago. The supervisor told me that I would hear back either Friday or Monday but I just knew deep down that it would be Monday. I went on with my weekend at work hoping that it would be one of the last times I'd come in for that shift. 

Monday came and I went to bed after getting home from work. I woke up around noon, check my phone and nothing. I put up the volume just in case and try to fall back to sleep. My heart was beating so fast. I was so anxious. Not even 10 minutes later my phone rings. I look at the caller ID and I swear I hear God's voice telling me "good things happen to those who wait". 

I cleared my throat to not sound sleepy and everything I heard was music to my ears. "Offer. Position. Want you. Release date." I thought I was dreaming. 

After a few minutes it finally sunk in. God had heard my prayers. He hadn't forgotten about me. His plan for my life was getting back on track. 

I jumped out of the bed and ran to the kitchen to tell my mother. I called the hubby and texted a few people. It was impossible to go back to bed after that. I couldn't stop thinking that I needed to sleep because I still had to return to work that night but my excitement took over. I thanked God over and over again. Just 4 more shifts and I would be free. I would be working a normal 8-5 job. I would be home in the evening to have dinner with my family. I would sleep with my husband every night. I would read to my kids before bed and tuck them in, every night. I would have my weekends open to do as I please. 

Things are looking up for me and all it took was a little faith, some prayers, and lots of patience. 

In less then two short weeks we will welcome a new year. A new year that I hope will bring many good things. A birthday celebration. A new job. A wedding. New aspirations. New and better relationships. 

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The last 2.5 years of my life were hectic and long ones. But the wait to what's to come was worth it. I have a good feeling about this new path in my life. I look forward to the meal planning, free weekends, and evenings with the family. I am a little worried at the unknown but I wouldn't be human if I wasn't right?

I meet some wonderful people here and I know some have become life long friends. Every chapter has an end and this one has reached his. I'm off for a week now and I plan to make the best of it with my boys. 

I'm specially thankful to have a mother that can watch my kids so that they don't have to attend daycare. There are many blessings in my life, I need to appreciate them more. Not everyone can be as lucky. 


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Change is good.

What a difference a year makes. 

This year has been hard. Very hard. I've seen things and have dealt with things I would never imagine I would. This has been a year where I almost lost faith.  When I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. When I thought things were looking up, it didn't. This has been such a year that if I could I would erase of my memory forever. Part of the year that is. Because apart from all the bad I had some amazing moments. Like the birth of my child. 

Then suddenly, and recently, things truly began to change. Something small made me realized that I've been selfish. I'm not the only one with problems and there are others who have it 3x worse then me. I should be thankful to be alive and healthy. I should be thankful that my sons are healthy and so is my husband and my family. That I have a choice and that I can decide where I want the rest of my life to go. 

Looking back at this past year I've had some good moment. the birth of my son. Another year with my oldest. An awesome vacation and few getaways. I joined a link up "blogging with a purpose" that made me think about things I probably wouldn't have if it wasn't becsuse of it. I learned the true meaning of forgiveness. I realized that sometimes I have to think about me. What makes me happy. I became even closer with a very special lady in my life. I let go of people who weren't helping me grow. I learned so many things. When I think of all the good that happened this year even the worse of the bad wouldn't compare on how blessed I've been. You probably read a few times on my believe that everything happened for a reason. Well with each passing month I become even more convince. 

I wouldn't want to relive most of 2013 but I certainly don't want to forget it either because it made me become a better person. 2013 has taught me so much and I cannot wait to put it all to practice. 

2013 you were one heck of a year but you made me stronger then ever. I'm ready to tackle 2014 with all it's glory. 

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Another Year...

Without you. 

Another child you'll never get to meet. My heart still aches with the pain of you absence. The experiences I've been through, the problems I can't come to you with. I miss you more than ever dad. I don't think I'll ever really be over your death. So scary, so hurtful, so unfair. 

Lonely are the nights I don't kiss you goodnight. Sad are the days that you've been away. The love of a father to his little girl can't never be erase and I will carry your face in my heart for the rest of my days. 

I know that you're in a better place now and that someday we will meet again, but until then I will miss you and cherish the memories that remain. Even though you are gone you will always be my papi and I will always be your pamelita. 

I miss you more than words can ever explain. It's amazing how it's been 15 years already yet the memories of your love remain like it was only yesterday. 

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cloth Diaper: My Experience

Well. It's about time I finish this post. 

cloth diapers

After years and months of wanting to cloth diaper I finally got pregnant. Then after weeks and weeks of debating if I should really do it, doubting if I would like it at the end, and trying to convince the hubby that this was for us I went for it. I started my stash and waited for Adrian to be born. Then he was born and I freaked. So one day I simply decided not buy disposable diapers so that when we ran out I would have no choice but to use my cloths. I went cold turkey. 

After researching I found that Bumgenius were the most commonly used cloth diapers. Many of the websites and blogs I read for info suggested that you picked two brands to work with in case baby didn't like one you had options. Well I'm the type that believes that babies are just that. Babies. They can't tell you if they like one thing or the other. You assume they don't because they cry or look uncomfortable or whatever else so you try something else. Now I'm not saying this is the case with everything. Like bottles for example. If a baby doesn't like the feel & flow in one bottle no matter how many times you offer it he's not going to take it. But if you insists and insist and insist giving him no choice eventually he'll realize he doesn't have a choice and become accustomed to that specific bottle. Don't you think? I think we as parents are just not persistent enough and we want to please our babies so we look for the best possible way to do so. Either way that's not the point for today so lets get back on track.  

cloth diapers

I decided to only purchase the Bumgenius brand. The AIO Pockets 4.0 because the brands options were endless and I was getting overwhelmed. These ones had the most reviews and the best review so I said to myself "you know what? this is it. We will both learn to adjust to them eventually." In the end I wanted to save money more then anything and although there are many many different styles, designs, and colors I was pretty set on what I wanted. To save money while having my baby look stylish ;) 

We started diapering at about 7ish weeks old. At first we were using the prefolds with the thirsties covers. So far so good. But I felt that six cover was not enough. I don't know if I was folding it wrong (I was using the angel fold) or what but I would almost always end up with a mess. A poopy mess. So there went the covers. We would use up to 4 or more covers a day and then the next day we would only have 1-2 available and laundry wasn't due till the following day. Great! That was a problem. It kind of resolved quickly though because about a week later my kid stopped pooping every 2 hours and got a bit more regular and less messy.

cloth diapers

I still remember the first time I used cloth. I was home alone and super excited to try it on him. I waited for the first diaper change in the early morning and just loved how he looked. Super adorable I tell you. Minutes later I had called my mom to tell her and right in the middle of our conversation I noticed my kid was having a BM. I let him finish his job while still on the phone. Then as I started to change him I had poop coming out of everywhere in this diaper. Biggest.Mess.Ever! I had poop on my hands, his legs and toes, clothes, bed, everywhere. All I kept saying was I cannot believe this is happening to me.  I thought, God must be trying to scare me away from cloth diapering or something. Then I just burst into laughter right there and then all on my own. After the fact I had called my mom to tell her about my experience and she just laughed at me. How rude!

cloth diapers

At about 9-10 pounds I started using my BG supply. What a difference that made. With the mess that is. It was easier to put on and it fit perfect. My baby's bottom looked huge! But cute :) when I would dress him in normal clothes the diaper would take over it hahaha it was cute and annoying at the same time. Eventually my baby grew into the BG as it should have and we haven't looked back since. 

There's been exception to this of course, like when we traveled to Puerto Rico a couple of months ago. I was not going to spend my vacation washing diapers and driving around tje island with soiled, poopy diapers. So we decided to use disposables. Then a time before that when our washers got messed up and we couldn't do laundry. Yes I could have taken a trip to the laundromat but it was way easier to just take a little break from all the washing. 

cloth diapers

My biggest fear when I started CD'ing was cleaning the poop off of them. I always thought, eeeww that's gross. Not to mention I'm a visual person and not knowing what to expect was driving me crazy! I searched and searched and searched the web and nothing. How did a messy CD looked like? Can the poop really just come off like that? Can the diaper really last 2-3 years and another child, or two? So many questions I couldn't wait to test out myself. 

Then one day out of the blue, right before I started to CD, I came  across this blog. It showed how a dirty diaper looked like and how to clean it. After reading that I wasn't scared or worried anymore. It was exactly what I was looking for. If it wouldn't have been for that blog I don't know if I would be writhing about my experience today. 

I honestly have to admit that cloth diapering has been a great decision. Even the hubby who wasn't on board at first loves it. Of course that he doesn't help out with the washing or stuffing but he has no problem changing the diaper pooped or not. I plan to continue until AJ is potty trained and on to my next child as well. 

We did dealt with some ordor issues and that almost made the hubby throw out my stach and go back to disposables but luckily it got resolved. I google and read forums about it and then finally found some info on the BG website. I followed the instructions listed there and we haven't had another issue since.

cloth diapers

To wash my diapers I started using Green Mountain detergent and it worked just fine. I bought that over at cotton babies and it lasted about five months. Then next time around when I went to order it they had it on back order for some weeks so I ordered the BG brand and I'm still using that. I do a cold rinse with a hit wash and an extra cold rinse. The inserts wet bag and pail bag goes I'm the dryer and the covers I let air dry overnight. Iberia the summer I plan to changing my laundry time for during the day and taking the covers outside to dry.

I'm still a little iffy about the poopy diapers but not as much. It has changed quite a bit after starting solids and aiding formula so I started using flush able wipes and that makes it a little better but honestly I find myself rinsing out the pooped diapers and it doesn't face me anymore. I never thought I would get over it but I guess with nursing as a major I was bound to sooner or later ;) 

 
Overall cloth diapers works fur me, my baby, and my family. If you are thinking about trying it I say give it a go. You'll be surprise at how much you'll end up loving it. 

Two of my favorite blogs I used to get me started were a Heather Drive and My Life on Transition. Julia talks about it in great details. Kelly's mom is another helpful site and currently Kaitlyn from Wifessionals us doing a serious on both diapering. I recommend checking it out. She makes it look so simply and it is. Good Luck! 

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Our Favorite Things Giveaway

More gifts are coming your way! 

Dara from NotInJersey paired up with some of her bloggy friends, including myself, to host this giveaway. One lucky winner will take them all so rush over and enter! 

            a Rafflecopter giveaway -enter here!

Adrian 11 Months

Adrian

My sweet boy, lots of things have been happening this month. So much excitement. You had your first Thanksgiving and sure enough you enjoyed almost everything at the table. 

You started to sleep through the night the week of November 11. You usually go down between 8-9p and wake up between 7-8a, mostly 8a. This wake up time is perfect since that's when we have to leave the house to take your brother to school. I never thought this day would come and baby does it feel good. For everyone at home. No midnight crying that interrupts our sleep or no midnight feeding. Even after that long stretch of sleep you still manage to take two naps during the day anywhere between 1-3 hours at a time. And let me just say mama is not complaining. 

Adrian

You love to eat. No change there. You have been really liking green beans this month. You eat them like if they were French fries. Cheese too. I call you the cheese monster. You constantly are found snacking on a cheese slice or kix/cherious. So far it seems that you are not a picky eater. Everything that is eatable you eat without a problem, you get that from your brother. You had lasagna for the fist time this month and you loved it. I was surprised at how much of it you are. You are definitely my child! 

I had to start supplementing with formula on nights that I work but luckily you've only had about a handful of bottles with formula which makes me happy because most of your nourishment still comes from me :) since our freezer stack is pretty much gone daddy tends to give you formula more often then I'd prefer but you rather have me any day. I love that feeling. 

Adrian

You love to check your surroundings and explore. Any noise gets your attention whether is music or someone talking. And when you spot King you go after him likes he's the president or something. You love to touch him and squeeze his cheeks and pull him closer to you. It's the funniest thing. I don't know how he feels about it though, maybe he lets you since you feed him on the side. I think you do that on purpose too. Every time I put food on your tray I stand back and watch you and you grab one and put it in your mouth then you grab another and throw it on the floor. King usually hangs under your high hair so as soon as the food hits the floor he's all over it. Is like you too have a system going on. I love how good he is with you and how curious you are of him. He's def your puppy :) 

Adrian

You have a total of four teeth now. They all appeared within a week from each other. Quite the excitement there! Which I'm really happy it finally happened and has me surprised because it hasn't been affecting your sleep at all. Thank god. Except that you have gotten into biting and boy does it hurt. I honestly don't know how to stop you from biting me during a feeding. The only thing that has worked is when I pull you off and set you down so we can both get over it. You don't like it but it seems to get the point across. Most times. Luckily you are getting over that habit. The biting has decrease and with good timing because I was just about ready to stop breast feeding all together. Something funny I've noticed you've been doing is using your tongue to feel your teeth. Specifically the top ones. You just love to rub that tongue against it. So funny. Is like if you've just discovered both your tongue and teeth. 

Adrian

You love to say mama. And you know exactly when to use it. Mostly when I walk away or when you are in your crib and want out. When you are in need of me and that makes me so happy! Although you've been a little more fond of your daddy lately. When he gets home that the alarm goes off you look to the back door first to see if it's him. If it's him you start bouncing up and down with excitement and giving him the warmest welcome with your biggest smile. This makes my heart sing. I get so happy seeing the bond that is forming between the two of you. 

I swear you went through a massive growth spurt this month. You went from using 6-9 months clothes to 12+ months clothes. Finally! I guess you're not my peanut anymore. Ok maybe you still are. 

Adrian

You are obsessed with balls. Any size or color. Once you get a hold of one there's no pulling you away. You can entertain yourself for hours. You crawl into the smallest of spaces just to get a hold of it when it gets away. I thought it was so cute, until the Christmas tree went up and you kept going after my ornament balls. I had to leave two out just so you can play with then and stop going after the tree. That usually works until they get stuck under the sofa and you go right back to the tree. Boy oh boy. I even had to let you open an early Christmas gift, a ball, to keep you busy during the day. It rolls on its own and is so funny to watch you chase after it. Another obsession you have is opening and closing doors. Ever since you noticed that a door moves front and back you just can't get enough of it. How is it that the simple things get you going like that. This is such a beautiful stage. You know how to turn the light switches on and off. Every time we walk in a room I put you next to it and you know exactly what to do, I'm so proud of you :)

Adrian

Crawling is still your preferred method of getting around but you're definitely not opposed to walking by holding our hands or holding on to furniture or toys. Your brother walked a few days after turning 1, I wonder if you'll reach that milestone before or after his. 

You still like to share your toys or food. And you are continuing to listen to commands such as "come here" and "can I have that please". I make sure to use please and thank you so that you get used to hearing it and eventually using them too. 

This has been such a fun month. You have grown so much and are learning at such a fast pace. I can't stop thinking that soon you'll be walking on your own and talking in sentences. Where has the year gone to? I can't believe you're next monthly post will mark your first year of life. 

Adrian

Oh sweet AJ, I feel so blessed to have you as my son. I love you sweet baby. We all love you, including your puppy King. 

Love Mommy


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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

That's my son

Steven

There are a few things about our kids we never want to forget. That's one of the reasons why I blog. To record a moment in time before it is forgotten. A moment where years down the road I can incorporate in a wedding day toast. Or simply a graduation toast. 

Our children have this way of seeing the world. They are carefree. They speak from the heart. They are the most humble they'll ever be. Moments like these I want to hold on to and never let go. 

My son Steven is very outspoken. He gets that from his papa. 

He can also be very shy. He gets that from his mama. 

But there are times when he's just him. My carefree, outspoken yet loving boy. 

Two things happened several weeks ago that I want to make sure I don't forget. 

I was in the kitchen making dinner. AJ was in his high chair facing away from me giggling while his brother played fetch inside the house with king. Then a thought popped in my head. What if I didn't have the funds to buy my kids Christmas presents? How would they react? Mostly Steven. Would he understand? 

I called him over and said "Hey baby. Can I ask you a question." 

Steven: yea mom. 

Me: would you be mad if I didn't give you any presents for Christmas?

Steven: Mom. It's ok. It's ok if you don't give me anything. You already gave me something. You gave me my life and I'm so proud of you. That's my favorite present you ever gave me. 

I just looked at him and awe. Then gave him a hug. 

Steven: plus I'll get other presents from my dad and grandma and uncle and aunt and other grandma and papi and Sonia. But don't worry mom my favorite gift is my life. So you don't have to give me anything. I won't be mad. You don't even have to get me anything for my birthday mom because I understand. 

This sent such happiness to my heart. This day I learned that even when he misbehave I must be doing something right as a mother.

Steven

Then over the weekend we had a ninja turtle themed birthday party to attend. My husband was under the impression that the kids were suppose to wear costumes so he went ahead and ordered two. 

The day of the party arrived and I got the boys ready. We get to the party which was in this huge hall with 2 floors. We walk in and there are no kids on sight. We were told that the kids were on the second floor. Stevens runs up while we take a seat by some family members. 

Now let me just say that Steven has been super excited to wear this costume. He even tried it on several times just to make sure it fit him right and when Saturday came he was beyond thrilled. 

Let me also note that we had arrived late to the party. Something not unusual. 

Ok back to my story. So about 5 minutes later. Maybe less. Steven comes to me and says "Mom. I'm not wearing this." 

My response: baby but why, what happened? 

I'm thinking he was upset because someone else was wearing the same costume. I don't know. Then he says I'm the only one wearing a costume. Everyone has regular clothes on. I'm taking this off. 

Again my response: awe baby are you ok. I thought about how I would have felt. To walk in a room thinking everyone was going to love my costume and looking forward to seeing what everyone had on only to find out no one was wearing a costume. I personally would have been so embarrassed I probably would have wanted to leave the party. That's just me. 

So what ended up happening. My husband comes over and asks what's going on. Steven explains, takes off his costume (thank The Lord he ended up putting it right over the outfit he was wearing earlier that day. If not my poor kid would of had to wear that all through the party) and simply runs away to play with the kids on the second floor. 

What!? What just happened here? Wasn't he hurt? Embarrassed? Mad? Anything? 

That move right there made me realize that my son is much stronger then what I give him credit for. He can be put in situations like this and be just fine. Moving on like nothing ever happened. He gets that from his papa too. Definitely not me. 

My son is not a baby anymore. He's very well capable of understanding when he can't get something and doesn't let the little problems control or change his attitude towards something. 

Steven

My son is growing up. When did that start happening? 



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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Boys Wishlist




  
Holidays

I love shopping for the boys. Especially for AJ because I still get to buy him what I want rather then what he asks for, unlike Steven. Once they hit a certain age it gets a bit tricky. We decided to just get him a few toys because our family will be getting them both clothes. I much rather buy him things I want for him then getting a toy that's just going to be use a few times and does nothing for his learning. And being that his birthday is about a week later... yea, that's going to be interesting. I hope we get gift cards that way we can use it for things he will need in the future. I'm praying we don't get a lot of toys.

Steven is a big player so we decided to get him the X Box 360 now that the new one is out and get found an awesome deal on black Friday. Yes he might be too young for gifts like this but he knows the rules, no playing on weekdays and only a couple of hours a day. He didn't ask for this in particular because we own one that is like 8 years old. Seriously I remember having this when we first got together that the hubby was a big player. And since it's that old it lacks some features we decided to get a new one. I cannot wait to see his face! He was also in desperate need of a new scooter, the one he has now he's been having since age 3 and yea, it's a little too small now. He also loves to color and could use more crayons and color pencils. And those pajamas! I just now he'll love it. Especially because his little brother will get very similar ones and he's all about having his little brother wear the same thing he does. I'm thinking the pajamas will be the Christmas Eve gifts.

Aside the real meaning of Christmas, seeing my kids face Christmas morning while opening gifts is the the greatest feeling. Simply Priceless :)

What's on your wish lists?

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

holiday

Is hard to believe how much difference a year makes. Just last year around this time I was prepping myself to welcome my second baby. I had hosted my first Thanksgiving dinner. And we was in our own house that I had wished for so much on previous years. 

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law's house. Just close family, a turkey, and lots of food. That second baby will be turning 1 year old in five weeks. And I'm still thankful for having our own house. 

We should be thankful every day for all that we have but this special day is a day where we all are conscious and make it a priority to be thankful, give thanks, and teach our children. 

I, personally, am thankful for having a Heavenly Father that loves me unconditionally despite of my flaws. 

I'm thankful for my health and for being alive with the ability to care for my family, grow, mature, love, and forgive. 

I'm thankful for my family and friends. For their happiness and to have them be part of my life even if we don't speak often. 

I am thankful for the little things in life such as warm baths, tasty coffee, big brothers, helpful firstborn, a dedicate husband, and caring mom. 

More than anything I am thankful for love. True unconditional love. I know that feeling and I'm thankful I have had the opportunity to experience it. 

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Let us all continue to be thankful and continue with the holiday festivities! 

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

25 Days of Christmas



I've been feeling this holiday season for quite sometime now. And it has taken all of me to not put up any kind of Christmas decoration around the house. However, rest assure that as soon as Thanksgiving is over I will decorate right away. Probably even that night. Inside and out. 

While I wait for that day to come all I could do was plan ahead. Kind of like a Christmas bucket list. A pretty long one at that. I've been very disorganized the past years and it's about time I change that. With two boys in the house is time to give them holiday traditions to look forward too. I never had this growing up and I want to cherish every moment of every holiday with them. With my little family. 

Here are 25 things I'd like to try this year. Some are simple others a bit harder. Nonetheless I will try my best at completing them (or convincing the hubby) and enjoying the most wonderful time of year with my boys. All 3 of them!

1. Go see the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and walk around Christmas City
2. Put up Christmas tree and decor
3. Display Christmas countdown blocks
4. Watch the Live Bethlehem Christmas Pageant 
5. Send Christmas cards
6. Attend ugly sweater party
7. Have festive breakfast or brunch (inspired by Jessica)
8. Play Christmas Vacation drinking game (also inspired by Jessica)
9. Go ice skating and see the Christmas tree in NYC 
10. Make hands ornament for tree
11. Bake and decorate cookies
12. Drive through Lights in the Parkway
13. Plan a festive date night
14. Start 12 days of Christmas 
15. Pay it forward-pay for someone's coffee in line/drive thru
16. Donate food/clothes to a shelter
17. Take bake goods to ladies at work 
18. Build Gingerbread house
19. Watch movies and drink hot chocolate 
20. Take the boys to see Santa
21. Have couples night
22. Wrap all gifts on time
23. Stuff stocking
24. Open up Christmas Eve gift
25. Bake cookies for Santa

Movies to watch: Home Alone 1&2, Elf, Four Christmas, Love Actually, and pretty much all the movies in ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas. 


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Friday, November 22, 2013

Blogging Fears

We all have blogging fears at some point in this journey. Mostly in the beginning. 

We may fear "not fitting in" in the blog sphere. 
We may fear that after we make the choice to put our life out there, in writing, for others to read and criticize we won't be able to take the rude comments and harsh critics. 
We may fear voicing our own opinions and beliefs for fear that others might not agree with us and judge us. 
Another fear is that of having the pictures of our kids we so proudly put up to capture the moment or turn into a memory getting stolen and used for God knows what. 

At the beginning of my blogging journey I didn't pay much attention to the last fear noted. It was mostly at everything above that. Then when I became pregnant I started to think more about my blogging. How much is too much sharing? How do I take precaution? How do I protect my children? Myself?

I'm guilty of probably over-sharing sometimes. Not so much with my kids though. I hope. 

Even so, it worries me what some people can do with the stuff I share online. Especially my pictures. 

It wasn't till recently after reading a story about how a blogger's pictures and blog posts, were stolen and being used as someone else's. Even scarier was the fact that it was somewhere outside the United States. Then I read two other stories similar to this one. That was it for me. No more procrastinating on watermarking my pictures. I needed to find the best way to do this and lucky enough that same blogger posted a tutorial on how to watermark your pictures. I tried it and have been using it in my last few posts. Now only if there was a way to watermark previous pictures just as easy. 

I blog for me. To write my story. Our story. To print it and have it some place safe to look back on over the years. This is my journal. One that I decided, for whatever reason, to make readable by the public. Whoever they may be. Do I regret it? No. Not yet at least. Because I have learned things that have made me a better wife and better mother. A better person in general. And whether I have 1 or 50 followers I will always blog for me and my family. Yes, I will be more cautious on how much I share. Wouldn't want the wrong person to find my blog and use it against me, like the crazy-jealous-stalker I had before. And I will definitely do my very best to protect my children, husband, family, and friends from having their picture stolen. I hardly ever post pictures other than of my family but I do post pictures of others and I need to take responsibility for those images. 

Here's the tutorial I've been using. If you're not already watermarking your photos I advice you to take precaution. Is not as hard as you might think. 

The only thing I do different then Becky is that I use Blogstomp to group them nicely so instead of uploading my pictures to Facebook I open them from "Stomped" directly to paintbrush add the watermark and just re save it. It automatically saves in Stomped again and I send them all to Flickr to be uploaded to my blog post. All my ungrouped photos remain in iPhoto without being touched. However if I wanted to keep the grouped photos as well without the watermark all I have to do is use "Save As" instead of just "Save" in paintbrush. 


Misc


Misc


Misc


I also have the option to watermark via Blogstomp but it shows in the corners and I much rather have it in the middle since that's harder to "crop out". 

What will it take for you to protect yourself and your family?
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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Link Up: A Place & Event

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A Place:

After years and years of waiting to have a place of our own. A place to call our home. A place to make our home. There's no other place beside our house that I'm most thankful for. 

For starter, this house was a gift. It wasn't in the best of shape but little by little it is being transform to a place where we will always look back at and remember all the precious memories we created in it. The early years of our marriage. The place where our son learned how to ride a bike and learned how to be a big brother. The place where we brought home our second child. The place that taught us what were must have in our next house and what we do not need. The place where we learned the true responsibilities of a home owner. The place that saw me grow into homemaker. All of our ups and down. There is no mistaken that this is the most important place I could be thankful for. 

Little by little and one project at a time this house has become more then what it once was. From a cold, scary, tasteless place to a place that held my family together through it all and saw us each grow into our best version of one another. From my mother-in-law to renters and now us this place is more then a house we were gifted. This place is now Our Home and I will forever be thankful for it. 

An Event:

I can recall many events that I am thankful for for shaping me into who I am today. One very important event that without it I wouldn't be where I am today has been meeting my husband. 

That cold winter day of February 2005 in school where we first laid eyes on each other. Where we first exchanged a Hello and smiles. Without that day my sons wouldn't be here today, I wouldn't be a married woman nor a blogger. If that day I wouldn't of met my husband who knows where I would have ended up. I have learned so much. He has taught me so much. It has been a beautiful journey and I just cannot think of going through the last 8+ years of my life without him. He has helped me grow from a young girl into a woman. A wife, a mother, and even a better daughter. Thank you Steven!


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Sunday, November 17, 2013

My First Football Game!

Fall      

I had been looking forward to this day for weeks. I'm not into sports at all. Never was as a matter of fact. Not even in high school. I guess with not having a dad or a male figure around (beside my younger brother)  that was into them it never really made a difference to me. I would go to the school's pep rallies and games but it was more to be with my friends then anything else. And to root for my school of course. Beyond that there was nothing much. To tell you the truth I didn't even understand the game. Football more then anything since that was always the big thing in school. 

Then I met my husband and things didn't change. He played football in high school and played with his cousins and friends over the seasons but being that he would always end up with a fracture or broken bone he stopped that real quick and little by little he even stop watching the games all together. Just from time to time he would check scores etc.  

So every year when football season came around I would just go on my merry way like it was nothing. But this year. This year it was different. This year we made plans to go watch a home game 3.5 hours away from home to Penn State University and experience it all. The tailgating, shouting, cheering, beer drinking, after game parties, you name it. I was so excited.

That Saturday I had gotten out of work at 7am and I drove to my mother's to drop off the milk I had pumped at work and to change. About an hour later Hubby dropped the boys off and we got on the road. It didn't feel like we drove long at all. I guess with good company this sort of thing tends to happen :)

Fall

We drove straight to the stadium since it was an early game and we got there just in time. We parked, enjoyed a couple of cold beers while we stretched our legs and off we were to our seats. It was Amazing! I had never experienced anything like it. No wonder people go all out when football season arrives.

It was so much fun!

But I wasn't understanding nothing. #rookie

Fall

I sat there, so concentrated in the game and freezing my tosh off. Trying to understand what was happening and asking a gazillion question hahaha. Luckily the hubs and the other couple didn't mind. I hope. Then at the end of the game I finally understood a little bit. just a little. We went into overtime and we won! Woohoo. It was crazy. People were going wild. I was in LOVE!

We walked back to the car and cooked some burgers and yummy hot dogs while sipping on some cold beer and munching on chips. It rained a little but it stopped pretty quick. Then we drove to the hotel and I pumped, showered, and took my sweet time getting ready while everyone napped. I knew that I wouldn't be able to nap because then I wasn't going to be able to get back up for the night.

Fall

Fall

Later that night we were all ready to take the town. We went to a couple of bars and just chilled. It was a very nice time although I felt like we were in a Halloween movie. Everyone was all dressed up. Every single person. Except us. Super weird.

Our last stop was a diner for dessert. Boy was that good. So worth it! Then I was done. My body gave up and from that moment on I was like a zombie. Next thing I know we were back at the hotel and I was getting ready for bed.

The next day we walked up and down the main street shopping. We ate lunch and stopped by the creamery for some ice cream to bring home. We got the pumpkin pie flavor and happy happy joy joy which was a coconut ice cream and tasted pretty much like you were eating an almond joy bar. Then it was back on the road for the drive back home.

Fall

Overall it was an awesome experienced and I can't wait to do it again. I'd love to take the boys at some point too. I'm sure Steven Jr. would enjoy it so much. I know I did.

I still dont understand the plays much or what most things means during a game but I'm confident that with time I will be just like those friends of mine that enjoy football so much :D



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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lactation Cookies Recipe

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These babies have been my everything lately. I'm sure that they are also the reason for the +3lbs I've gained. But omg are they good. And they sure do a great job at helping me lactate more. It did however take about two weeks before I saw a change in my supply.

I heard of lactation cookies so many times in forums and while searching for ways to increase my supply but I was scare to try them. First because the two main ingredients intimidated me, I have no idea why. And two because I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to control my eating them, hahaha. I have to admit though, I'm glad I tried them this late in the game otherwise I would have never gotten rid of my pregnancy weight left and probably would of added an extra 10lbs to that. Yikes! So as delicious as they are just be very careful with how many you eat in a day. Most I ate was 8. Shame on me.

recipes

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
2 -4 tablespoons brewer's yeast

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
3. Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
4. Add eggs and mix well.
5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
6. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
7. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
8. Stir in oats and chips (I didn't use the chocolate chips the second time around and they turned out great anyways)
9. Scoop onto baking sheet.
10. Bake for 12 minutes.
11. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

You can find the original recipe here.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and that they help with your supply!


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