Thursday, February 28, 2013

Madilyn, 1/12

A picture of Madi, once a month, for a year.

A lot of Mom's started doing this this year but are doing it weekly. With so much going on, I think it's a little more realistic to do it once per month. At least for me, anyway. I've kept record of this all her life, you can see the timeline under "Watch Madi Grow" at the top of the page. But I'll post it here also. So... This is January. :)

I normally won't use a picture that has me in it, but I can't get over how sweet her little face is in this one.
This month she has started to say things that she's never said before, or phrases I mean. Like, when I picked her up from school, she said, "I'm excited to see you, Mommy. Mommy makes me happy!" *heart melts* Also, when we got to the park she said, "The park is fun.We get to plaaay and climb and RUN!" and she took off. I watched as she ran full speed towards the playground with her little curls bouncing and gleaming in the sunlight.

"You make me so happy too, baby."

Madilyn, 2/12

A picture of Madi, once a month, for a year.
I'm SO excited to see all of the pictures lined up when the year is over. She's so hard to get to sit still and just smile nowadays. (I managed to get her to smile in this one by telling her to say a goofy word that she couldn't pronounce.) I'm glad that I'll have at least one good picture of her face each month to line up and show how she's grown and changed over the course of a year. Also, IF I ever decide to cut her hair, this one will be a good one to look back at, lol.
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Monday, February 25, 2013

3 Good Things

I always look forward to the weekends, and before I know it, the week has begun again. I'm really feeling the beginning-of-the-week blues this week for some reason. Maybe it's because this morning it's rainy and cloudy, and my huge homework/project/household to-do list is staring me in the face. Either way, I thought that in an attempt to snap out of the Monday/Tuesday blues, I'd share with you 3 wonderful things from this weekend.
1. My garden is growing so much! It probably means nothing to you, unless you garden... but seeing those little seeds sprout up in the sunshine and start budding is so awesome. I can't wait to be able to pick off the strawberries and eat them this summer. I never thought that having a little garden would be fun, but it absolutely is. Every day, Madi and I go out and water it, and she helps me pick off the dead leaves and clear any tree leaves that have made their way into the garden bed. She adjusts the little stone turtle that I have in there to make sure he's "comfy." I seriously love it. And I'm planning on expanding it soon :)
2. We spent the majority of our time this weekend outside with family. The sun was shining bright all weekend and we totally took advantage. Saturday, we stayed home and hung out outside with my parents, and my neice came over. Madi absolutely adores Kylie and it's so cute to watch them play and interact. They threw rocks in the water, rode bikes, played on the swingset, and "helped" Pawpaw with his yard work. Then on Sunday, we spent the day with Mimi and Pawpaw. We just hung around the house there. We grilled some good food, had some good conversation, and played a lot in Madi's playroom.
3. I've been going to the gym 3 days a week for about an hour each time. Usually 1 1/2 hours on Saturday mornings. I get there at 8 when they open and it's always empty. There may be a few older people there, but other than that, I have it all to myself. I look forward to going all week. Those days are when I work out my entire body, so I spend a lot of time there and it's so nice to be able to have free range over all of the machines. I also do ab work on the days I don't go to the gym. I have a love/hate relationship with those though. ;) I seriously love the days I get to go to the gym. I got out of running for a few months and I've never felt so unfit in my life. After running consecutively for about a year, I could feel that my body was changing for the worse. I can confidently say that I won't ever let that happen again. Running and working out feels far too good to let it go again.
Those are my "3 Good Things" from my weekend. Here's to a productive week and a relaxing weekend up ahead. What are some of your highlights from the weekend?
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Currently, All About Madi

This post is a little bit late. I've been spending my days consumed with school and doing things with Madi. I spent all day today at a junior high school observing for my Education class so I'm looking forward to Spring Break and for things to *hopefully* slow down a little bit. I also have some projects planned for that week, so I'm looking forward to doing (and sharing) those. For now, I'm going to let you in on Madi's favorite things as of now.
Watching: This girl loves Caillou. But she's also discovered a few others that she requests sometimes. Like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Kippur, and Rugrats. It's funny to turn on Rugrats for her because I remember watching the same shows when I was a kid. I try not to let her watch TV all the time, but since we're out and about so much, I don't dwell on it.
Loving: The library. We went for a playdate with Izzy the other day and it was insane. They were more excited to be in a new place together than to actually read. But when we go there together, her eyes are wide with amazement at everything. She wants to get every book off of the shelf and take it home. It's also right next to the Waterway, which means I can let her run around after she had to be quiet and still in the library. We definitely utilized that during our playdate Thursday.
Listening to: The Tarzan soundtrack. I dug it out of an old CD case from years back. I remember listening to it as a child. But it has strong baselines and drums that she LOVES to dance around to. Her and her Daddy were dancing together to it the other day when I walked in the room. So sweet. When I have to take a shower real quick or something, I turn on her stereo and she dances and plays while I get something done.
Going: There are several places that she asks to go on a daily basis. Pretty much every morning when she wakes up she asks to go to the park. That's her absolute favorite place to be. She also wants to go to Granny & Pawpaw's house about 4 times per day. We're lucky that they're next door :) She asks to see Mimi and Booboo, and go have lunch with Nonna at her office. This girl is like her Daddy, always wanting to go, go, go!
Making her happy: The left over candy from Valentine's day, helping me with my garden outside, stomping in puddles after it rains, throwing rocks in the pond and watching it splash, giving PupPup kisses, looking out of the window as Nonna or Papaw get home, helping me sweep the floor, sliding down the BIG slide at the park, playing with Kylie, dancing and running 24/7, and seeing her Izzy every week.
 Inspired by Danielle at Sometimes Sweet.
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Monday, February 18, 2013

Rose-Colored Glasses

The fake smile she gives me when I won't stop bugging her for a picture ;)
There's been a lot of talk lately about how Mama bloggers lives seem perfect and peachy 24/7. Blogs full of filtered pictures of little ones smiling and the sun shining bright, never a stray hair in their face or messy clothes. I'll be the first to admit that my blog may seem that way. I post happy pictures and write about the fun things we do and experience. However, I have reasons for that. My life is not perfect and peachy 24/7 and I'll be the first to admit it.
I get credit for being a good mom, but the truth is, I'm a TYPICAL mom raising a TYPICAL toddler. There are phrases I repeat on a daily basis like, "don't splash all of your bath water out of the tub," "stop throwing things across the room," "you shouldn't pull your pants down in public," or the infamous "don't dump your plate out on the floor!" She challenges me in every way, just like any other toddler would. And sometimes, I don't react in the best way. I am a very patient person 90% of the time. But sometimes, we react in ways we don't mean to. We're all human.We all make mistakes, and we all have bad days. 
When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place of happiness. I wanted family to be able to read about the fun we have. I wanted to be able to share this with Madi when she's older and can appreciate all of the work I put into it. I wanted to share all of it with whomever wanted to read it. The reason for this blog is NOT to get on here and vent about how tired I am, or how many problems I have, or this or that. Everyone in this world is carrying burdens, everyone. I understand that. I have my own set of them. This blog is not here to push mine onto other people.
So, I write and post about the happy in our life.That is not me trying to be fake, or convince anyone that I live a perfect life in fairytale land. Because that is not the case. My personal pet peeve is people that are constantly looking at the bad, and ignoring the good. In a world where bad seems to be far more prevalent than good, this is my refuge. I can look and reminsice and smile. I hope that you do too, knowing that I'm sharing my piece of happiness with you.
Some pieces of happiness from the last few days:
900+ calories burned before 10am on a Saturday makes for a very happy day.
Hot cocoa in my favorite mug while studying.
Exploring outside with Madi for hours. Her natural curiousity is amazing.
This cute little stone turtle to put in my garden.
What makes you happy?
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

We Love Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's day. That's all there is to it. I love all the hearts, flowers, chocolates, everything. I even love that the weather is starting to warm up too around this time. I know that the "cool" thing to do nowadays is to hate it, but nope. Not me. And now that I have a little one to enjoy it with, it's 10x better! We started making handmade Valentine's for family a week and a half in advance. We painted, stamped, colored, made cupcakes and goody bags. We mailed out the Valentine's for family and took the goody bags to school for her party there.

While she was having her party at school, Clayton and I had a little picnic lunch at the Waterway for our date. It was short and sweet. :) and he gave me a James Avery necklace. I love it so much.

Then we went and picked Madi up from school. When we got there she was dancing around the room and jumping up and down with her friends. You could tell that a sugar-fest of cupcakes and cookies had just happened. So. Much. Energy. After her party, I took her for a play date with Izzy and she gave him a special Valentine card. He gave her a Valentine card and some candy too. They played together for a few hours at the park.


Who says parks aren't for Mom's too?
Saying goodbye.

I also put together special presents for Madi and Clayton :) I bought her a giant red Valentine puppy pillow pet. When I gave it to her she said, "OOOHHH, PUPPYYYY!" For some reason, I think she liked it ;) Also some Hello Kitty candy bracelets that I used to love when I was a kid. She agreed.

I had a lot of fun putting together Clayton's present. He's so easy to buy for, he literally likes anything. One time I bought him windshield wipers for a valentines day present (among some other stuff) and he still talks about how that was the best gift he's gotten in awhile. He likes gifts he can use. I used a little red chest and filled it with Hershey kisses in the bottom. I added his favorite candy, a card from Madi, a DVD he's been wanting, etc etc. But I also made him something. I never feel like I tell him enough how I feel. So I created an "I love you because..." jar. Inside were strips of paper that had different reasons why I love him. I have to admit I was kind of nervous about giving it to him. But he was grinning so big reading all the strips of paper. So priceless.

Madi had so much fun doing all of the preparation for Valentine's day. Which she pronounces "Clementine's day" or "Balemtimes day," she can't really decide what she wants to call it. I did too and I'm a little bummed now that its over. We hope that your day was filled with happiness and love, like ours was.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How I Keep My Picky Eater Healthy

I am constantly struggling with Madi and her eating habits. She won't touch anything green, and has just now started to eat meat. She loves chips, crackers, and candy. The only decent things she'll eat are fruit, cheese, nuts, and yogurt. But, that group of food lacks a lot of things that I need her to eat. So, I have started getting creative with how I get the good stuff into her diet without her knowing it.
This girl does not like to slow down to eat. She is always focused on something else and doesn't have time to sit and eat a meal. So, I make smoothies a lot. I blend up ice, yogurt, almond/coconut milk, fruit, and a crushed up (high quality) multivitamin and give it to her in a cup with a straw. Usually, she drinks it with no problem and can carry it around and drink it as she wants to.
She will always drink milk. So a lot of times I give her almond or coconut milk in lieu of cow's milk. I truly believe in variety. So switching it up allows her to get different vitamins/minerals/fats than she would normally. She doesn't mind the taste either. She thinks it's a smoothie. I, personally, can't stand the taste of almond milk. But hey, if she likes it, that's awesome.
I NEVER give her low fat/light/reduced fat anything. Kids with growing brains NEED fat to grow, in every way. Good fat, I mean. Not fatty fast food, but real food that naturally contains fat (yogurt, milk, nuts, etc). Giving them food pumped with fillers and lacking the essential fat is only hindering them. I buy Greek Gods Yogurt. It's full fat greek yogurt with no added sugar or ingredients. She loves it and I love giving it to her. All of those pesky fake carb-loaded foods are what I worry about giving to her, like nutrigrain bars, poptarts, cookies/crackers, etc. If you want to read my opinion on the importance of real food, you can read that HERE. But those brains need that fat to grow, so give it to them!
I also set up her food a certain way on her plate. I usually try to give her one thing she loves, one thing she likes, and one thing that she hasn't tried yet. I also try to give her the "main course" or the meat/protein portion first. If I give her it all first, she usually fills up on the stuff she loves and then just picks at the stuff I need her to eat. If she's hungry and I give her the meat portion, she'll eat it right up. Usually.
I crush up a multivitamin and a vitamin d3 tablet and put it in yogurt or a smoothie. Not all supplements are created the same. I use this brand, click HERE. That eases my mind a lot. Some days, she just isn't as interested in eating, but she always gets those two supplements.Or at least is offered them. She doesn't always finish the yogurt, but any little bit helps.
I try to give her a lot of tea (un/lightly sweetened), water, and milk. I don't usually give her juice unless it's in small amounts and 100% juice not from concentrate. That's just a quirk of mine though ;)
This girl loves trail mix. Raisins, nuts, yogurt covered raspberries, dried fruit, etc. I never pass up the chance to give it to her. Her diet doesn't include a whole lot of protein, and trail mix is mostly fats but the protein in it definitely helps some.
We play outside and are active and moving constantly. This little girl never lacks activity or sunshine on her skin. And when I get discouraged about the food part of her health, I remember her pediatrician telling me, "If she's hungry or lacking in something, she'll eat, I promise." So, these are the steps I use to help ease my mind, what do you do to make sure your little one is getting the things he/she needs?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

100 of My Favorite Things

Things have been going nonstop around here for days. Playdates, school deadlines, errands, preparations for Valentine's Day, etc etc etc. So, I thought that I would do a lighter post for this Friday. In an attempt to slow things down and take in the good all around us, and tone down the whirlwind of junk I have to get done... Here are 100 things that I absolutely LOVE.
Valentine's Day! Manicures, hot tea/coffee, when Madi holdsmy face and plants a big kiss on my mouth, surprising people with little gifts,smiling at strangers as they pass by me, running and lifting weights, havinglittle things to look forward to, getting sweet texts that immediately brightenup my day, Mumford & Sons, deep cleaning with the windows open, talking tosomeone new, going to the store all alone (mom-vacation), finding that perfectsong to run to, when people tell me I'm doing a good job on this blog, readingold writing from high school, long talks with my best friend, brand new pens,stretching before bed after a long day, when class lets out early, Saturdaymorning workouts at an empty gym, reading books of my childhood to Madi, warmbreezes in the spring time, sitting and talking with my niece, dinner dateswith Clayton, running in new places, sitting in the sand and listening to thewaves crash onto the shore, the big bang theory, clay face masks, writing handwritten letters, the quiet time at night after Madi is fast asleep in her room,lip balm, black coffee, freshly painted nails, inside jokes that leave youlaughing for hours, italian food, reading a good book, freshly washed sheets,hugs from my grandparents, making people laugh, painting Madi's fingernails,Pilates, calalillies, the color of the ocean in Playa del Carmen, Mexico,stretching out sore muscles, lighting candles in a dark room, falling asleep tothe sound of silence, living in the country, a clean kitchen, searing hot showers,finishing something that's been on my to-do list forever, swinging in our treeswing with Madi, talking with old friends, driving my car, Instagram, SHSU,riding bikes with Clayton, "fake" sushi, Target, sweet tea, learningabout health & fitness, re-runs of the King of Queens, rollerblading,acting like a kid again, laying out in the sun, Butterfinger, Cappuccinos,pictures of squishy newborn babies, new gadgets (iPad Mini!), naming thingsthat I own (Car; Bambino, Bike; Guinevere, iPad; Paddie), puppies of any andall kinds, little things in general, writing posts for this blog! planning forthe future, hearing people talk about their life, when big tough guys showtheir sensitive side, people who are proud of where they come from, incense,never running out of things to say even after 4 1/2 years together, my auntMissi's chocolate fudge, taking pictures, shooting guns, doing cartwheels in abig empty field of grass, daytime naps in bed with Madi, froyo dates, Destin,FL, road trips, Organix shampoo & conditioner, watching the sunrise on aclear morning, going shopping, the smell of rain, days spent with family, mynephew's giggle, long walks with no destination in mind, watching my littlegirl grow up, coconut milk & orchid scented body lotion, REM sleep, wakingup to the smell of breakfast cooking, exploring somewhere new, and spendinghours at the park with Madi on warm spring days.
 AND, sharing pictures :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Spring Projects: DIY Raised Vegetable Garden

For my first project this Spring, I conquered something that I've been wanting to do for awhile now; a garden. Every Spring I get the idea but never get around to accomplishing it. Part of the reason why I never do it is because the thought of wripping up the ground and creating a garden is SO much work. With a little one running around and getting into stuff constantly, I don't really have the time to work hours on end on this thing. So, after some Pinterest'ing, I came across Raised Gardens. You create a garden on top of the existing ground. You can create just the right soil you want, in the exact place you want, without messing up the ground or doing all the backbreaking work. Perfecto. I'm going to share with you how I made and set up mine. This is my first round at gardening so keep in mind that this isn't pro's work ;) just a rough idea you can turn into your own.
What you need:
Boards. My garden is 4x4 so I used 4 10in wide boards.
Posts. (If you want it to be anchored into the ground) The length of the board should be indicative of how deep you want your posts to be. I did 2' posts, so I used a 8ft board and cut it.
Mulch/Soil. I used Miracle Gro Garden soil (3, 2 cubic ft bags), and Scott's Premium Topsoil (6, .75 cubic ft bags)
My helpers :)
Set Up:
Start by assembling the walls of the garden bed. I'm not a big carpenter, but it's cake. See the pictures to see where to insert the screws and how to line up the boards correctly. If you're using posts to anchor the bed to the ground, make holes in the ground where your posts should be and insert it.
Next, you'll need to create some type of barrier between the earth and the soil. This keeps weeds from coming up into your soil. You can use weed blocking fabric, plastic, cardboard, or like I used... newspaper.
Then add your mulch and the plants/seeds that you want to put into it. And Voila! Easy as pie. Now you have a garden that you didn't have to rip up earth to get and can virtually be moved anywhere if needed.
Some tips:
Get vegetables that can handle the cold. Look of the last frost dates for your area to see how long it will be until the cold temperatures head out. It's still a little early here for summer veggies so I planted spinach, cabbage, and strawberries and left some room for summer veggies to be planted when it's time. The ones that I planted can handle the chillier weather.
Put your garden in an area where there's a decent amount of sunlight. Veggies need about 7-8 hours per day of sunlight. Research your plants to see how much water they need. Some like a lot, and some don't.
I used a mixture of Garden Soil and Topsoil because Garden Soil has a lot of fertilizer. You don't want that to overpower your garden. Topsoil will bring it back down to a more mild level. Garden soil, top soil; 1, 3.
You can make the garden more shallow than 10in. I read that most should be planted 6-12in into the ground, so I went with 10. But it all depends on what you'll be planting there.
I hope that this tutorial helps, and that it inspires you to make one of your own! If you have done a project similar to this, post your link in the comments so we can all see! I'm planning on making mine a little bigger and making a little one for Madi. Also, an herb garden sounds nice too! I spotted some pallets in my Dad's shed and my gears are turning. Pinterest will be able to help me get some use out of them, I'm sure. But those projects are for later :)