Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February Photos Week 3

Day 13: Blue
There is lots of blue in my house.  Wonder Bug is just one of the many things that has taken over my living room that is bright, bold blue.

Day 14: Heart
Of course the heart on Jackson's Valentine's bib is the heart I decided to use to represent the day of love. 

Day 15: Phone
Yes, I used my office phone.  Yes, I suck. Sorry...it was easy and I was still sick. 

Day 16: Something New
The elephant humidifier for Jackson's room purchased to help my poor baby's sinus issues he so luckily inherited from me and his dad. 

Day 17: Time
A clock in my living room was that was given to me as a wedding gift (the first time). I love this little clock. 

Day 18: Drink
My sangria swirl margarita at lunch at La Margarita during a date with my hubby.  We don't get time alone often enough.

Day 19: Something You Hate to Do
I can't think of any household chore that I really like to do but folding and putting up laundry is one I just can never seem to find time for. This hamper has been here for at least 2 weeks.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It Struck a Chord

It is no secret to those who have known me for a while that there was a time not that long ago when I didn't want children. I didn't think I had the maternal instinct and I just couldn't see myself with kids. We used to joke in college that I was going to be the favorite "aunt" of my closest friends' children. Ironically, I am the only one of us with a child now.

One of the things that worked with my first husband was that he felt the same way about having children as I did. Towards the end of our marriage, my thoughts on the subject were beginning to change and that added to the problems between is. Ultimately, I realized it wasn't that I didn't want kids but that I didn't want them with him. Getting divorced at 30 led me to believe I wouldn't have a chance for motherhood. Chris even told me once that he believed I would be happy whether or not I had a baby but I knew in my heart of hearts I really wanted to experience it. I am glad that changed and that I have Jackson now.

However, I am sure there are those who were surprised when I announced my pregnancy. I know it was hard for my sister-in-law to hear I was pregnant after she had been trying for years with no luck and I had spent that time proclaiming my lack of desire for a baby. She told me once she wanted
us to be pregnant together. In the end, that was true for a short period of time.

I do not believe for a moment my sister-in-law or any of my friends would hold my past feelings of my head. Things change and people change. So imagine my surprise when my aunt mocked me this weekend about my past lack of desire for children as I shared stories about Jackson with her. To say it hurt would be a bit of an understatement.

This evening I was watching Grey's Anatomy from last week. One of the story lines revolves around a couple on the edge of a divorce. The underlying issue was the wife's lack of desire for children which led to her having an abortion. The husband just couldn't understand how she could possibly not want kids. I just wanted to scream at the tv. I got it because I had been there. I knew what it was like to not have that desire and to have people think there was something wrong with you because you felt that way. And here I am now living proof that people can change. I wouldn't trade my baby for the world but please don't mock me because I once had a different opinion on the subject.

Valentine's Day in Pictures

Chris and I aren't big on Valentine's Day so we decided to go the low key route this year.  That ended up being a good thing since Jackson and I were both sick with sinus infections. (What is it with us and sick on the holidays this year?)
I walked into the room and Chris had left my gift with Trevor so I added his to bed so we could open them at the same time.
I decided to dial in dinner since I felt so bad and opted for the Heart Baker pizza from Papa Murphy's.  We got one of these on our first Valentine's together so I think I am going to make a tradition from now on instead of going out to a fancy dinner. 
Mom got Jackson this sweet bib for his first Valentine's Day so I had to make sure I sent him to school in it despite the fact he was a snotty mess. (No fever though.) 
Here is Jackson's Valentine's to us.  I just love the tiny footprints at the bottom. And I love that our daycare makes sure to send home something we can keep for years to come. 
Jackson's haul. I mean what 6, almost 7, month old doesn't need a ton of treats and cards on his first Valentine's Day. Personally, I was a tad shocked when they handed us the list of classmates to bring cards in for.  Fortunately, we had extras of Sean's cards to send with J.
My sweet Valentine. Despite not feeling well, he still looked adorable.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February Photos Week 2

Day 6: Dinner
 Crunchy Beef Casserole, mixed vegetables, and a Dr. Pepper of course.

Day 7: Button
The button on J's play mat. This one gets pressed a lot and the music tortures me because I will get it stuck in my head all day long.

Day 8: Sun
I didn't really see the sun all day since my building has no windows so I opted for something sun related. I did get a good view of the setting sun as I was doing 75 around the flyover to the toll road on my way home from work.

 Day 9: Front Door
The inside of my front door.  The other side is red, crimson red, of course.  One of the things I loved about this house when I bought it.

 Day 10: Self Portrait
A typical look from me: bored at work and ready to go home.

Day 11: Makes You Happy
I was heading to Babies R Us for formula and diapers when I saw this sign for the World Market two doors down.  How could I resist.  Mama needs some wine!

Day 12: Inside Your Closet
What? Everyone doesn't have have a safe and gun belt in their closet?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Followup to the Elephant Saga

I decided to post a quick followup to the Elephant story I posted earlier today.  When I got home, I was able to snap some pictures of Elephant in his current state.  

Here is what Elephant looked like in happier days before he encountered the rough life of living with Maverick. (This is Elephant the 2nd.) 

Here is what Elephant looks like now.  Such a stark comparison of the life one could lead.

More Pinterest Recipes

I really think Chris and I are getting the hang of this menu planning thing.  I typically spend some time on either Saturday or Sunday selecting the recipes I'd like to use each week and comparing that to weekly ads for any deals that make help make my decision.  We are also trying to be better about eating our leftovers.  By doing this, we have been able to make most of our meal plans last us two weeks instead of the one they were originally planned for.  This is really helping our grocery budget go down.  I am still getting most of my recipes from Pinterest and we've been pretty pleased with a lot of what we have tried.  Here is a list of the ones we have tried recently:

Mexican Casserole: This one was easily a family favorite.  We ate off the casserole two nights and Sean asked for seconds both times.  Even Chris, who doesn't like beans, thought this was great.  I did leave out the onions and we used mild Rotel to save on the spiciness.  This one will be added to the recipe box.

Crockpot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti: This recipe was super easy and, unlike most slow cooker recipe, didn't take a long time to cook.  However, it was almost too cheesy.  Once again, I left out the onion and green pepper (none of us like onion) and used the mild Rotel.  I also opted for the full fat version of all the ingredients.  Chris and I agree to make a few adjustments to this next time we make it, including adding more chicken and cutting back the Velveeta by about 1/4.

Picante Pot Roast: This was great for a quick meal and added a little extra flavor to a basic pre-made pot roast. I used the HEB brand (for those of you in Texas) pot roast for this and it was very good.  We didn't care  for the texture of the couscous so we are planning on trying either a flavored rice or risotto next time.  Also, Sean complained about the spiciness even with me using mild salsa so I may try so some sort of sauce like Sarah mentioned instead of salsa next time. I definitely think this is a recipe concept we could play with and build on.

Cowboy Casserole: I really liked this casserole.  I don't think Chris was 100% sold on it but he didn't hate it.  We agreed that the hamburger meat need a little extra flavor so we are going to try adding some Silly Salt while browning the meat next time.  I will say that this made a lot and we chowed down on this and ate every bite of it over the course of a couple of days.

Chicken Rice-a-Roni Casserole: I was prepared not to like this very much because I grew up hating Rice-A-Roni.  However, I was wrong.  It was quite tasty with an interesting mix of flavors thanks to the Rice-A-Roni and fried onions.  The creaminess vaguely reminded me of the chicken poppyseed casserole I love so much.  This was another winner.

Steak Tips Over Rice: Another super easy recipe. I mean what could be easier than stew meat and canned gravy.  I opted to serve this over mushroom flavored rice and I thought that added an additional bit of flavor to the recipe.  Our only complaint was that the gravy was a tad salty.  I might look for another version of the gravy next time but this is one we will do again.

Crunchy Beef Casserole:  I really didn't care for this at all.  I had high hopes after the success of the Rice-A-Roni casserole but this one failed me.  I wasn't a fan the first time we ate it and I really wasn't a fan when we tried to eat the leftovers.  It just didn't heat up well.  This is one that I don't think we will try again.

The Saga of Elephant

When I was preparing to bring Maverick home as a 7 week old puppy, I purchased a couple of stuffed animals for him to play with. I thought Mav would love them and it was cute because Mav would try to get both Bear and Duckie in his mouth at the same time. However, I quickly learned that stuffed toys do not last long with my dog. Bear made it a couple of weeks and we went through 3 Duckies in the first couple of months. Since then, I have avoided giving Maverick stuffed toys because I hated cleaning stuffing up after the dog demolished the insides of the toy.

About a year ago, a friend of mine gave me two stuffed elephant dog toys. One for Maverick and one for the yet to be determined baby. I gave Maverick his elephant and he quickly removed the stuffing and the squeaker (I think he hates the squeakers) and I set about the task of cleaning up after him. I was waiting for him to discard the body of Elephant so he could be disposed of properly. Only Maverick wouldn't give up Elephant. He kept carrying around the lifeless body of that poor toy. So I let him keep it. Occasionally I will find a small piece of Elephant laying around the house.

This morning I walked into the kitchen to get the boys' stuff ready for school and I found this: a lone elephant paw.

I sent Chris a text asking if he had seen the rest of Elephant because I hadn't seen him in several days. I did finally find his remains crumbled up in a corner by the back door when I was letting Maverick in for breakfast.  By the looks of it, I'm not sure that Elephant is going to be with us much longer.  Poor Elephant!  Maverick loves that thing too so I don't understand why he continues to destroy it.

Now the question is this: should I give Maverick Elephant the 2nd, who is currently snuggled among the rest of the stuffed animals in J's room, to replace Elephant the 1st?  The dog really does play with the toy a lot so I am sure he will be sad once Elephant reaches his final demise.

Monday, February 6, 2012

February Week 1

I decided this month it would be easier to post my photo-a-day pictures weekly instead of trying to post them daily. So here is my first stab at weekly posting.

Day 1: Your View Today
My view every day Monday through Friday.

Day 2: Words
This is a fortune I got from a Chinese restaurant years ago and I have had it taped to my computer ever since. It's just a great reminder to keep trudging on.

Day 3: Hands
I took this picture a couple of weeks ago and thought it was perfect for today. Jackson feel asleep holding my hand and I just thought it was the sweetest thing ever.

Day 4: Stranger
Sitting in the food court at the mall waiting for Chris to bring me my dinner while I fed Jackson in his stroller. There were tons of strangers around.

Day 5: 10 AM
I didn't get a picture at 10 AM yesterday because I was busy and I forgot so I snagged this screenshot of my phone today instead.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Can We Talk About January?

It's February, finally! January was a terrible month in our household.  I should have known it was going to be bad when Jackson woke up with a 102 temperature on Christmas morning.  New Year's Eve was spent nursing him back from the respiratory infection he had had all week. So we started the year with a sick baby and the month of January just went downhill from there.

Less than two weeks later Chris and the boys were meeting Clay, Jenny, and me for dinner in South Austin after I got off work. Chris's car broke down on the way there and they barely made it to the restaurant.  Turns out the clutch went out and the the flywheel was cracked so the repairs were only a band aid and the car needed to be replaced.   That led to us spending the next Saturday at the car dealership working out a deal on a new car which required me to get rather huffy with the auto loan department at USAA for giving us conflicting information. We were able to work everything out but it was a long and frustrating day.

One week later we were lucky enough to welcome Baby Blake into the world.  That night Maverick and I were snuggled soundly in our bed while Chris was at work.  After sleeping for a couple of hours, I woke up to a smell, which with a dog sleeping next to you isn't unusual. I didn't expect what greeted me when I turned on the light though. Maverick had gotten sick all over the bed. It was bad...really bad.  So I was stripping the bed, cleaning the mattress, and bathing myself and the dog at 2 AM. Unfortunately the mattress didn't recover so well from the incident and we had to replace it last week.

Throw in medical issues for me stemming from my c-section and dental work and January was a total drain on our finances.  I am so glad that month is over and we can move on to a smoother month and hopefully year from here on out. In other news, Baby J turned six months old on the 20th. He can sit up for a few minutes on his own and he is trying to crawl.  We also started solids this month. Jackson has done surprisingly well with them.  You can't get the spoon in his mouth fast enough.  I think carrots are his favorite so far.  At least there are a couple of bright spots in an otherwise crappy month.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What am I getting myself into?

It is February now which hopefully means the awfulness of January has passed and 2012 will start to brighten from here.  I have decided to take on a couple of challenges in February because...why not?  The first one is a continuation of last month's photo a day.  I found the list for this month on Fat Mum Slim's website and, while I wasn't always great at posting my pictures, it was fun taking them.  Here is what we are working with this month:

My second challenge for February is going to be the really hard one.  Jenny announced on Twitter at the beginning of this week that she and Kristie had decided not to do any spending on themselves for the entire month of February (it's a short month, right?).  I thought about it and decided I want in because I am trying to tighten our budget a bit anyway and I've already given up buying unneeded makeup for myself.  What's skipping a few more unnecessary purchases?  The first thing I wanted this morning was a doughnut on the way to work.  Well, that's not allowed.  Here are the rules of the spending hiatus:

No spending on:
  • Clothes 
  • Accessories/shoes
  • Unnecessary things for the home
  • Dining out solo
  • Makeup/personal care items
  • Just because items
 I am allowed to buy:
  • Gifts
  • Groceries
  • Necessary things for the home
  • Necessary items for the boys and Maverick
  • Dining out with others
  • Replacement items for things that run out
This is going to be tough for me. I like to shop. I like to spend my Friday afternoon free time strolling around the mall or my favorite shopping centers looking for deals or items I just can't live without.  But this is something I need to do.  Hopefully this will help me cut out some of my unnecessary spending and will help me gain better spending habits.  Wish me luck!

Finishing Up January

Day 23: Something Old
I really love my something old but I can't wear it anymore.  My fingers have gotten too fat.  This is a ring that my grandmother passed down to me.  She had the stones from her wedding band and engagement ring made into this ring after my grandfather passed away.  I absolutely love this ring.  It's probably my most treasured possession.

Day 24: Guilty Pleasure
You all know my love for makeup.  Here are my Sephora and Ulta VIP cards to prove it.  I could spend a small fortune in both of these stores.  Nothing makes me feel better than a fresh makeover. 

Day 25: Something You Made
So I cheated a bit on something I made. I realized all the stuff I have made in the past is at my parents' house.  I guess I grew out of my craftiness as I got older (or I never had any to begin with). Technically I did make Jackson with a little help from Chris.  I did all the baby baking. 

Day 26: Colour
Purple and Black. Houndstooth, no less.  I finally got to wear this dress I purchased right before I found out I was pregnant with J and I love it.  I loved it when I bought it and I love it now.

Day 27: Lunch
Cabo Bob's, oh, Cabo Bob's...my love for you is unwavering.  This is by far my new favorite lunch spot near my office.  Yummy tacos on homemade tortillas.  Dublin Dr. Pepper (how sad will I be when their supply runs out...stupid Dr Pepper parent company!). This place just has it all for me.

Day 28: Light
The ceiling fan in our living room.  I love this fan.  It's a vast improvement over the awful modern monstrosity that was in my house when I first moved it. I just wish it had a remote like the one in my bedroom does.

Day 29: Inside Your Fridge
I don't know why anyone would want to see inside my fridge but here it is.  Nothing exciting. Milk, various staples and condiments, leftover casserole, and of course Dr Pepper.

Day 30: Nature
This is not a new picture but it was one I had one my phone. I used to have a rose bush (vine?) in my front flower bed. Now there is nothing because all the plants in the flower bed died. Even that lovely tree behind the rose died and is no longer in my yard. I really do have a brown thumb.

Day 31: You Again
Me again. Looking a little more put together than in my last picture but not necessarily more chipper.  This was taken at 6:30 in the morning after I had just finished applying my makeup and fixing my hair (10 minutes total!) I look unamused and tired.  I was.