I'm a 20-something new mommy who recently left my gig in the science industry to become a SAHM. I'm enjoying every second of my life here in Ohio with my husband and my sweet baby girl. Come along for the ride!
Okay. Let's start from the beginning. Matt and I were venturing out to Gatlinburg around maybe 8-8:30 p.m. one evening. We had one of those cabins with the walk around porches, you know? So we were making our way around the back to the stairs where all of the cars were parked. I heard something coming from the dumpster that was at the bottom of the stairs. Sure enough, I see two little eyes poking out staring back at me. Like a freak, I take off running back into the cabin. I may have even screamed "holy shit" several times, most definitely loud enough for my in laws to hear me. Score one for daughter in law of the year.
I retold the craziness of my encounter with the raccoon, psyched myself up (with the knowledge that the only thing standing between me and my fudge was that little beady eyed bastard), and headed back outside.
We made our way slowly to the stairs when suddenly the raccoon jumped out of the dumpster and started after us! I ran to the other side of the cabin and found myself at a dead end. Matt was close behind me trying to shoo the monster away with what I believe was a fleece hoodie. Very intimidating. Apparently this raccoon had no intentions of backing down as it continued to back us into a corner. So I did what any sane person would do. I jumped up onto the railing and jumped off the cabin.
Technically, Matt jumped off first. And I thought to myself, "Okay. I guess we're really jumping!" And then I jumped.
I'm not sure how to describe how high we were. But it was high enough that you had to think twice about jumping for fear of hurting yourself, but not high enough that you wouldn't do it. I contemplated jumping on one of the cars but I figured a huge ass print on my FIL's Infiniti would not be the best present to give. Especially after the "holy shit" incident.
We ran to the car, jumped inside, and had ourselves a good laugh about how crazy it was. I mean, we were chased by a raccoon! And we jumped off of our cabin! Too funny. Unfortunately I came away with two scraped knees to prove it.
When we got back, we found out our little friend had made it's way onto the porch and brushed up against Matt's cousin's leg! And if you can believe it, he thought it was a cat! Ah! After everyone was finally inside, the raccoon stood outside the sliding glass door, peering into our cabin for most of the night. Needless to say, it was a good thing I wasn't there to witness that.
Now I know these little guys must be accustomed to having people around all the time, but come on. Is that really normal? Eek! It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it!
A few weeks ago Natalie and I took our first solo plane ride into Nashville to visit my aunt and uncle. We had an absolute blast there. We spent Monday-Wednesday with them in their gorgeous home and soaked up all of our one on one time with them that we could. I cannot tell you how incredibly these two are. Do you have those people in your life that you know God hand picked just for you? Well these two are it for me. I didn't come from a truly Godly home, but the best decision my parents ever made in terms of my faith was choosing these two as my godparents. And I'm thrilled Natalie will have them as her examples as well.
before we left for the airport
view from our room onto the golf course
We took nightly walks with their dog Kali, ordered pizza, ate chocolate dipped strawberries, Skyped with my sweet, mama-to-be cousin in South Korea, and just relaxed. Do you know what a weird feeling it is during nap time not to have something to clean or cook or someone to call? It was amazing.
this is how Natalie sleeps...head right in the corner...every.single.night.
Thursday, Matt flew into Nashville and we made the drive into Gatlinburg. His side of the family rented a cabin and we all stayed together. It was...interesting. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was lovely to see everyone and I am so glad Natalie got to spend time with her extended family. But seriously, we did nothing. All these people want to do is sit in a cabin all day and talk. Call me crazy but if I'm going to drive my booty all the way to Gatlinburg, I'm going to at least go into the city and get myself some freaking fudge. So after we put Natalie to bed on Saturday evening, Matt and I headed out by ourselves. I got fudge, wine, and ended up having just the best night with my hubby. And let me just add that after I have wine, I am much more open to just sitting around and talking. Win, win people. Win, win.
every good road trip needs a stop at Shoney's right?
someone is rapidly growing out of her clothes...
Our last day we did head out to the outlet mall and enjoyed a full day of shopping. Somehow only Natalie and Matt ended up with anything. Not sure how that happened. Why do moms always get the shaft? Hm. We made the drive back to Nashville on Sunday (holy traffic Gatlinburg!) and flew back to Cleveland on Monday. Although we had some serious travel issues (i.e. flight being delayed then cancelled...and 16 hours of traveling) we made it home in one piece. My sweetie did develop her first cold when we were away and is still suffering from a runny nose. And to top it off, we have tooth number 4 coming in. When it rains it pours, huh?
Matt's sundae. Perhaps we should've gone with the regular?
And coming up...how I was almost killed by a raccoon. And no I am not lying.
My sweet girl, you are 8 months old! I just cannot believe how quickly you are growing up. Every day I turn around and you are another month older, doing something new, and growing like a weed. You amaze me, sweet pea, with all of the things you have learned and I am so thankful to be here for each step of your journey.
You are wearing mostly 9-12 month clothes and size 3 diapers. You're still nursing 4 times a day with two solid meals a day. And as usual, you're sleeping like a champ. You're down by 7 and up again between 6:30-8...only to eat and go back down. You also nap twice during the day, both of which last 30-45 minutes.
We've started you on a sippy cup with some water for practice. You have completely mastered getting the water out but don't really understand the concept of leaning your head back to get to it. Mommy holds it up for you and you drop your hands and make me feed you. Lazy girl...
Since you were getting so big, we switched out your infant carrier for your big girl car seat. You really seem to like it! You're also sitting in highchairs and the shopping cart like a big girl. We cannot go anywhere without someone commenting about how beautiful and happy you are. A smile rarely leaves your face. Your Daddy and I are so thankful you are such a happy girl!
The only time you fuss is when you're tired. And fuss isn't really the best word. More like scream. You're completely fine and then suddenly it's like a switch turned on and you MUST GO TO BED RIGHT THIS SECOND OR I'M GOING TO KEEP SCREAMING LIKE A MANIAC. Your favorite place to do this is in restaurants. We love that.
You are scooting around like crazy these days! If anything is on the floor, it's fair game for you. You've mastered a type of army crawl and can get to anything you want. You can get on your knees but then fall to the floor and pull yourself forward with just your arms. It's quite the sight.
You're very much into blowing raspberries and love when we do it to you. You're new favorite toy (besides Sophie of course) is your Taggie ball. Girl, you cannot get enough of tags. I don't get it but you seem to find them everywhere. You've also started clapping this month! You've been banging toys together for a while so I knew it was only a matter of time before you dropped them and just used your hands.
We've been working on a few signs this month (milk, eat, all done) but I'm not sure you get what I'm doing. You have signed milk a few time when you are actually nursing...but it looks more like you're just opening and closing your fist for fun. Who knows? Maybe I'm not giving you enough credit.
Your top tooth came in giving you three now! You look like such a little lady with all those teeth. Gone are the days of your gummy smiles.
We tried out Little Gym this month and you seemed to really have a good time. Mommy is planning on taking you back sometime next year when you can be more interactive. We pretty much do all of the activities at home already.
You graduated and moved up to a new nursery at church. You're with all these walking, crawling kids and not with the babies anymore. Mama had a hard time with the transition. I have no idea how I am going to handle actually sending you to school. Where's my baby?!?
Your Aunt Jessi and Uncle Dave came to visit you over Labor Day and you had so much fun! They were so sweet to you and it was nice to have some new company over. We took a trip back to Indy for a quick weekend visit and you did so well. I'm glad you sleep well in your pack 'n play. That sure does make traveling so much easier. And when we were there you got your first ride in a park swing! Oh that smile! You and Mommy also flew down to Nashville all by ourselves to visit Aunt Tami and Uncle Dale. To say you were perfect on the plane would even be an understatement. It could not have been easier. Unfortunately, our plane trip led to your first cold which you are still getting over. Everyone should buy stock in Boogies Wipes the way we're going through them over here.
We're creeping closer and closer to your first birthday, little one, and I am filled with so many emotions. I'm so happy you are growing into a beautiful, happy, sweetie pie of a girl. But I long for my little, squishy newborn sometimes. But I chose to be joyful through all of your days and thank God for every second we get to spend together.
I could not love you more baby girl. God gave me the sweetest, most precious gift when He blessed me with you. You fill my heart with such love I sometimes feel like it with burst.
The lovely people at My Memories recently contacted me to review their digital scrapbooking software. With it, you are able to create scrapbook layouts, photo books, cards, videos...all sorts of neat things. I had just started working on a photo book for Natalie's first year so this software came at the perfect time.
I was able to download it right to my computer in just minutes. Although I was a little intimidated by all of the choices I had at first, I do think the software is very user friendly. I used one of their templates and whipped up this little keepsake of my sweetie in no time. I was able to add photos, text, and other embellishments to the pages. Instead of doing just a scrapbook, I decided to go ahead and make it into a video and add Natalie's favorite tune at the moment. This song is on repeat at our house as it's the only way I can get her to eat her vegetables...funny...seeing as it's a song about fruit. So, what do you think?
Likey?? Well y'all are in luck! I'm giving away a copy of this software FOR FREE! It's $40 on their website so this is a serious steal people. Want to get your hands on this? Here's what you need to do:
1. Visit their website and tell me what your favorite digital paper pack or layout is.
2. That's it.
I really hate those giveaways that make you go to Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media site on the planet to enter. So I won't make you do that. If you would like to visit their blog, Facebook page, or follow them on Twitter...go for it! But you don't have to in order to win. You love me, right?
So comment away my friends! I'll choose a winner randomly on Sunday, October 2nd. Good luck!
Disclaimer: I received a free download of the software in exchange for my honest review of the material.
For your Thursday pleasure, the randomness that is Jenny:
My sweet girl turns 8 months old today. She has three teeth, is practically crawling, and has started college. At least that's what it feels like to me.
My sister let me borrow the Hunger Games (I know...I'm the last person on the planet to read them) and I actually thought, "Hey, I can read that on the plane on the way to Nashville." Then I remembered that I can no longer do such leisurely things like read on a plane.
I'm going back to Purdue for a football game this October and I am beyond excited. I haven't been back to campus is so long.
We're leaving Natalie with Matt's parents for the day and I am already having to calm myself down when I think about it. Like my blood pressure starts to rise and my breathing quickens. It will be the longest I have ever left her with anyone awake (compared to 2 hours) and I am so nervous.
But then I think, hello psycho. She's 8 months old. And they are her grandparents. What do you think is going to happen?
Sometimes being a parent is hard. It sure does change your priorities but nothing changes for anyone else. I think that has been the hardest part of having a child for me. The amount of people who are not in your "new baby" situation that have no idea what you are going through and just do not understand what new, everyday challenges your life has turned into. You're not the person you used to be. You've changed. At least I did.
I'm currently watching the last season of Friday Night Lights and I do not want it to end. I didn't love the show at first but it has definitely grown on me. I am so in love with Coach Taylor it is bordering on unhealthy. And Tim Riggins. Oh, gotta get me some Tim Riggins.
Netflix is seriously the way to watch T.V. people. I rarely even turn on the actual T.V. anymore. Except to watch Days of Our Lives of course.
Speaking of Days, all of my favorite characters are coming back in this big new launch of the show on the 26th and I am so excited I can hardly see straight! How do I know this? Well, there is a chance I get Soap Opera Digest. Wait, wait, let me explain. Matt saw it on DealNews one day for free so I signed up. I would not pay for Soap Opera Digest. But now that I have it, I love it.
Weight Watchers is going pretty well. I've had a bit of a rough few weeks with having my sister in town (aka: Red Whoopie Pies) and being out of town. But I'm just a few pounds away from pre-Natalie and I am so excited about it. It only took me 8 months...which in my opinion is awesome seeing as it took me 9 to put it on. Let's not mention the 40 additional pounds I need to lose after that okay? Oh my life is a diet.
In lieu of a formal Menu Monday post, I thought I would instead share with you some of the recipes I have made over the last few weeks. Be sure to stick around. There's dessert!
Probably the best meal I made was this 3 Meat Pizza Casserole. I fixed it when my sister was here and it's a good thing. Matt and I would've never finished it by ourselves. Well, maybe if we ate it all week. Which come to think of it would not have been a bad thing.
It says to use a 9 X 13 dish, which is what I did, and it was practically overflowing. In fact, when I came down from putting Natalie to bed I thought I smelled something burning in the oven and sure enough it had leaked all over the place. As an aside, hello family members that were sitting right there the whole time? Get with it! My house is practically catching on fire and you're just sitting there watching T.V.?
I did make a few changes to the recipe. I left out the ham because I'm more of a pepperoni and sausage only kind of girl. So technically I made a 2 Meat Pizza Casserole. Also, the recipe called for 1/2-1 lb. of pepperoni. I had an 8 oz. bag and didn't have nearly enough room to use all of it. The recipe instructed you to only put it on the top of the casserole. Next time I would use it all but also include more within the actual dish.
But y'all. This was fantastic. Not good for you by any means. Not at all. But if you're looking for a dish to feed to a hungry crowd, this would definitely do the trick. It could feed at least 8 no problem.
Next up, Bubble Up Enchiladas. These were also quite delicious. I have no idea why they are called enchiladas when they're made with biscuits and not tortillas...but hey...I didn't name the recipe so I just went with it. Fantastic. It's supposed to be all healthy but I didn't go that route. I used regular biscuits and ground beef. Oh yes I did.
I made some cupcakes for a former co-worker and decided on Annie's Cookies and Cream Cupcakes. I did sneak one before I gave them away and I'm so glad I did. The cream cheese icing was to die for. And the cake was so moist and yummy. Totally worth the 11 points. Yes. You read that right. I wasted 11 points on a freaking cupcake. It was that good.
Another main dish we tried was Chili & Cheese Macaroni. It was pretty good. Nothing blew me away about the dish...but worth a shot. I'm not sure I'd make it again but it was alright. Have I sold you on it yet?
When my sister was here I felt the urge to bake. Perhaps it was the bottle of champagne we were drinking? Or the wine we had later? Not sure. But I was taking requests. My BIL wanted something red velvet and cream filled. Hm. Strange combo I thought. But I remembered these beauties and whipped them right up.
These Red Velvet Whoopie Pies were fantastic. They were also 11 points but I think I made them too big. You definitely could make them smaller for less of a diet buster. Next time I think I will add some milk to the icing though. It was way too think to use in a pastry bag and pipe on to make it look pretty. But this wasn't a "let's make something that looks pretty" occasion. It was more of a "let's make something that tastes delicious and sugary" occasion. Done.
Lastly, I threw together some Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies the other day for a friend. We were finally able to get over to see her beautiful baby girl and I didn't want to show up empty handed. I decided on these as my darling husband gave me zero notice (as in maybe 3 hours beforehand) and it was the only recipe I could find where I had all of the ingredients. I thought they were super yummy and I would definitely make them again. In fact, I'm wishing I would've saved myself some. Hm. Fail.
As you're reading this, Natalie and I are flying the friendly skies to Nashville, TN to visit my godparents. I am so excited to spend some real, quality time with them. Our visits are few and far between and I intend to remedy that situation immediately. They are amazing, Godly people and I want Natalie to spend as much time with them as possible. And their sweet daughter is newly pregnant so they need to get in some practice with the babies!
Here they are at my wedding. Don't you just want to squish them they're so cute!?! Oh I cannot wait to get there!
Matt will be joining us on Thursday and then we'll be driving down to Gatlinburg for the remainder of the week for a family reunion with his side of the family. I am less than thrilled about this trip...but the cabin looks amazing so I am trying to be optimistic. Perhaps the view will make up for awkward silences and snide comments? I'll let you know. At least I have that great excuse now for when I don't want to do something..."I'm so sorry I can't go to dinner with you guys! But it's Natalie's bedtime. Maybe next time?" Nursing saves me again!
Over Labor Day weekend, my sister and her husband came over from Chicago to visit. They hadn't been here since Natalie was born in January so it had been quite some time. Needless to say we were all very excited to get together!
We had a wonderful weekend full of catching up, playing with Natalie, and of course...food. I'll post a little more about that later this week. But their main focus this weekend was helping us paint! And when I say helping us paint, I really mean doing it all. I rolled some...but after attempting Natalie's nursery I quickly came to realize that painting is just not one of my strengths. I'm not ashamed to admit that I pretty much suck at it. So when my sister offered up her services, I jumped at the chance.
After much consideration, we decided to begin with the dining room. There is a chair rail in there so I was forced to pick two colors, a daunting task to say the least. Especially when the husband was no help at all. Unless you call giving no suggestions but shooting down all of your ideas helping. Which I do not.
So I said forget him and I did what I wanted.
Here are some before shots:
Well, they were kind of before shots. Just picture this without the sheet on the table and it's pretty much how it looked before.
So how did it turn out?
I am in love with it. I think the colors turned out just perfectly and I could not be more pleased. I'd eventually like to paint the tray ceiling the Mahogany color but I guess that will have to wait until next visit, right Jess?
Y'all seriously have to watch this. I mean, it's priceless.
We took this last week when Natalie was waking up and we got a big surprise. Could not have planned this if I tried. Just promise me one thing, okay? If you ever meet her, don't ever tell her about this, okay?
My sweet little 2000 Taurus that's on her last leg?
Honestly, she's not so little. But that's beside the point. She's dying people. And it breaks my heart. We've been through a lot together. I've had her since 2005. During that time I've gone to grad school, moved to Cleveland, started and quit my first big girl job, gotten married, and had a baby. She's made the drive from Indianapolis to Cleveland more times than I can count. I've tried to treat her well, but let's be real here friends. I'm never going to win any "driver of the year" awards. But her missing passenger mirror, scratches on the fender, and dents in the passenger side door show character in my opinion. Plus, they weren't all my fault. Wait. Were they?
Near the end of June I took her to get an oil change and they gave me the bad news. The gist (because I cannot even begin to explain to you what is wrong...I don't speak car) is fixing her isn't worth it.
Since hearing those words, I've been on the hunt for a new vehicle. So, almost three months. Three months I've spent driving only to the gym and back because my car is unsafe. Three months of only being able to look at cars on Saturdays because I have a husband that gets home when the dealerships are closed and a baby that goes to bed at 6:30 p.m. It's been a struggle. But that struggle, has finally come to an end.
Last weekend I bought a new car!!!! Well, it's new to me. We don't do new in this house. Neither Matt nor I have ever had a car payment and I'm not sure we ever will. We live by the motto of not buying things you can't afford. So we waited and searched and finally found my sweet new ride!
(this is not my exact car...I'm too lazy to get up off the couch and take a picture)
Now I have things like a sun roof, a CD player, and a radio that shows the name and song of the artist the station is playing. I've hit the big time people. Step aside.
In all seriousness, I could not be more excited about my car. I've been wanting an SUV for so long and it's the perfect time for one. My little girl sure does require an astonishing amount of gear. Her stroller alone barely fits in Matt's trunk. So this beauty, it's just perfect.
I did give the Taurus a long hug goodbye in the dealership parking lot before I drove away. No. I'm not kidding. And I actually feel bad for trading her. I feel like she knows. I have issues. But she's served her purpose. She was a great car and had a really good life.
Goodbye sweet Taurus. I'll miss you!
Now, what to name my Bravada? I feel like it's a boy. Any ideas?