Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Back to Life as Usual

It's been a little quiet on the blog this month. I'll be honest, I haven't had a whole lot to say. Funny how thoughts and words seem to come and go. We've also been traveling and sick, so life as usual has been a little more challenging. We're back now- back to routines and clutter and out tiny apartment. We're embarking upon a new sleep plan with Eli tonight in hopes that he'll sleep for us.

I'll be honest, it's been a difficult month. Being a stay-at-home mom has not been easy for me. My days are long and sometimes boring. I feel simultaneously incredibly overwhelmed and understimulated. I struggle to keep my house clean but watch the hours slowly crawl by. I have no idea what I'm doing as a mother or a housewife. My house is a cluttered mess and my child isn't sleeping. I'm exhausted. Things will get better, right? I know this is a season, albeit a difficult one. Thanks for walking through it with me. I don't know how many people read my blog, but thanks to you, my loyal readers.

And more posts are coming soon.... I promise. :-)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happiness on a Cloudy Day

I woke up this morning with a cold, and have spent the day in my sweat pants try not to feel miserable. Don't you love those days? I'm finding it's even worse with a six month old. It's hard to keep him entertained when all I really want to do is watch television or sleep. Despite this yucky head cold, here's a few things that made me happy today:
  • My new pumpkin buttercream candle. It is de.light.ful.
  • Homemade bread. It tastes good dipped in soup, covered in apple butter, or just warm with butter. Not much is better when you're sick.
  • Soup for dinner. Enough said.
  • My laughing baby.
  • Good friends who care about me.
  • Gold and orange leaves that remind autumn is here.
  • Coupons. Seriously- they're awesome.
  • Peppermint Twine. Guys, Christmas is going to be adorable this year.
  • My furry/silky blanket. Sometimes you just need a grown-up-sized lovey.
Hope you had a good Tuesday!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for baby onesie stickers!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Little Baby Bumblebee Onesie Stickers

Happy Monday, friends! I hope this week finds you well and enjoying fall! The weather here is turning cooler and the trees are changing. I have bread baking in the oven and a cinnamon caramel candle lit. I absolutely love this time of year.

I have an exciting post for you all today! Last week I went to visit my best friend and her new baby, Carter, hence my silence on the blog. While I was there I took one month pictures of Carter, and then Ben and I took Eli's six month pictures over the weekend.

You've seen the fabulous stickers my friend, Joy, gave me that we use each month.

Well, I ordered some adorable ones for Carter as well! (Carter didn't have a white onesie, which was a major bummer, be we made it work!) Carter's stickers feature different colored balloons for each month.

While Dee from Little Baby Bumblebee and I were communicating about ordering Carter's stickers, she was gracious enough to agree to do a giveaway for you all! That's right- another giveaway! How awesome is that? :-) She offers stickers for baby's first year, plus maternity and milestones. She is so creative- offering over 600 items in her Etsy shop. I have been so happy with my onesie stickers, and have started ordering some for all my friends who have new babies.
Details on the giveaway? The winner will receive a gift certificate for $11.50 toward anything at Little Baby Bumblebee. That's enough to cover one set of stickers plus shipping! The giveaway opens today and ends Wednesday, October 10. Please head over to Little Baby Bumblebee and find your favorite stickers, then come back and leave a comment! Use the Rafflecopter Widget to enter:

(Oh and in case you're wondering, Carter's stickers are the Fun Party Balloons and Eli's are the Blue, Green, Brown Circles, Stars, Stripes Squares.)

Eli's 6 Months Old!

Happy half birthday, Eli! It has been a fantastic first six months. I love you!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Never a Dull Moment

This morning I woke up to a diaper blow out. Love those kinds of mornings. Eli and I climbed in the tub- him covered in poop and me in my pajamas, and did a thorough rinse off. Such excitement to start our day! I feel like this has been one of those weeks where crazy things just happen. Here's a run down on some of the adventures from our week.
  • Ben was out of town for a day, so Eli and I had a long day to ourselves. Those kinds of days call for naps in mama's bed and walks to the grocery store for snacks.
  • While I was eating dinner the other night with Eli in my lap, he reached out, stuck his whole hand in the middle of my bowl of pasta, and came up with a handful of noodles. We made a run for the sink before he got his fist to his mouth.
  • My cousin told me recently that a new trend is for married couples to combine their last names to make a new last name. So rather than hyphenating Smith-Jones, for example, you could be Jomith or Smones. I discovered if Ben and I combined our last names we could be the Ramens. Yes I do mean like the crunchy noodle packages.
  • I put jeans on Eli for the first time this week. It was adorable.
  • It's feeling like fall here this week! I added a few decorations to the house and I'm enjoying a carmel candle too. I am ready to bake some pies and jump in a pile of leaves!
  • We went to the Melting Pot with some friends this week and had a blast! A night out is always wonderful. The funniest part of the evening was that my friend Joy and I both wore dresses that were a little too short, and spent much of the evening pulling them down. Our husbands just laughed at us. Especially when our dresses were accompanied by Berry Sexy drinks.
  • Ben just handed Eli to me... Eli looks up at me smiling while chewing on some computer piece he found on Ben's desk. We did a quick trade for Pooh.
I don't think our life ever gets less crazy. Maybe someday? Hope you all have a great weekend! And stay tuned Monday for The Domestic Engineer's first giveaway! You won't want to miss it!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

For the Love of Sweet Potatoes

We started Eli on baby food this week! Here's a snapshot of our adventures with sweet potatoes (his favorite so far!).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesdays on the Homefront

Friends, it has been a whole week since I have posted. A whole week! Goodness, I need to get better about posting at least a couple times each week. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Cooking: Baby food anyone? We started Eli on baby food this past week, which has been so fun! He makes lots of crazy faces and spits out a great deal of it, but we're getting there. I got this awesome cookbook from my aunt called Sage Spoonfuls and I love it. The book divides the recipes into sections based on your baby's age, and reviews health issues, allergies and much more. I highly recommend it!

Cleaning: I'm really trying to get better about keeping on a cleaning routine. I have been fairly proud of myself for how much I'm able to get done during the day! I'm so grateful for nap time, even if Eli is still learning how to sleep for more than 30 minutes in a stretch.

Creating: Ben wrote on our to-do list whiteboard last night "finish baby bumpers" in big letters with underlining. Oops! I meant to have them done before Eli was born, and that obviously didn't happen! Now that he is sticking his legs out the crib slats, it's time to get those made. I'll be sure to post pictures when I'm done. I also painted wooden letters that spell out Elijah this week to hang about his crib. Once both the bumpers and letters are in place, the nursery will be almost complete!

Loving: Eli and I have been spending almost every afternoon at a park near our apartment. He loves to lay on the blanket and look up at the trees, and it gives me a chance to read. I haven't done a lot of pleasure reading in years, what with school and then the business of life and work. It's so nice to have a chance to read again! I'm currently reading a couple of books: the second Hunger Games book Catching Fire and The Night Circus. I'm working on creating a list of books to read. What are you reading and what books do you recommend?

Living: We went camping with our friends Joy and Jordan this weekend, and had a blast. I'm not much of an outdoorsy girl, but I was surprised how much I enjoyed camping. Maybe I'll be a true Colorado girl yet! Eli came with us and he did fantastic. He loves being outside and seemed to love hiking too. It was fairly chilly since we were in the mountains, so we had him all bundled up which was pretty much adorable.

Learning: Guys, parenting is tough. Seriously. As I type this, Eli and I are in the midst of a naptime battle. I put him down at 10:00am, and he slept for 20 minutes. It's now 11:20. He's still in bed, and has been crying ever since. I'll go in every 5 minutes or so and comfort him until he falls asleep. But as soon as he notices I'm gone (maybe 30 seconds?) he starts screaming again. Nap time has been so difficult for us! Here's to hoping he begins to learn how to sleep on his own. (Update: After finally deciding to rock him for awhile, he fell asleep! Hooray!)

All links are through Google Affiliate Ads.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DIY T-shirt to Baby Onesie

I love baby onesies. What I don't love are baby t-shirts. Really, who came up with the idea to put a little guy in a t-shirt that rides up every time they wiggle? Eli was given several t-shirts at baby showers, and they've just sat on the shelf because I don't like them. Now, though, I've found a way to turn t-shirts into onesies so he can wear them!

What you'll need:
  • One baby t-shirt
  • One onesie that's the same size (ie- both the t-shirt and the onesie in my pictures are 0-3 months)
Begin by cutting the onesie in half. I found the best place to cut is about an inch below the arm holes. This should leave you with two pieces: a little "mini shirt" and the bottom half. My friend Joy suggested using the top to make a baby dress- I think that might be another project on my list now!

Once you have your onesie cut, take the bottom half and lay it inside the t-shirt. You'll want to be sure it's placed low enough to snap the buttons, but not so low that the t-shirt looks funny. The goal is to be able to put pants on the little guy and have the t-shirt look like a real shirt. Does that make sense? :-)

Pin the onesie inside the t-shirt, and then take it to your sewing machine! Stitch a line across the t-shirt on both front and back, connecting the two pieces. You'll want to be sure you only sew the front of the t-shirt to the front of the onesie, and vice versa so that you don't sew the entire thing together. With my striped t-shirt, I sewed right along one of the stripes to conceal the stitching. (Also, because you're using knits, there is no need to finish the edges of the onesie. But, if you want, you can always serge or zigzag the top before putting the two pieces together.)

And there you have it! Easiest tutorial ever, right? Dress your little one up in some cute overalls or pants and you've got a great look!

Eli with his aunt and uncle rocking the t-shirt and overalls!

If you make this, I'd love to see your pictures! Please post links in the comments section so I can see your creation.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend in Pictures

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! We had a great time this weekend hanging out with friends, painting our living room, and going to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge! The Cycling Challenge is where pro cyclists ride through the entire state of Colorado in just 7 days. We were able to watch Day 6's start in Golden. We even managed to get a spot right by the starting line so we say all the cyclists take off. Also, Patrick Dempsey made an appearance. He was like 10 feet from us! Ladies, he really is as attractive in person. (Don't tell Ben, but that may have been my favorite moment of the day!) 

As you can see, Eli had an awesome time too. He rocked the Baby K'tan and his adorable hat, and slept through the start of the race.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesdays on the Homefront

Cooking: I made mango curry for dinner last night and it was delicious! It's the perfect summer recipe to feed a hungry family. This morning our house smells like an Indian restaurant... fans are running at full speed! I think I need to buy some candles too.

Cleaning: Shall we make this decorating today? I bought some new curtains at Ikea last week and I love them! I've never been very good with curtains. They are usually the last thing I buy and I'm really picky. However, I always forget how much they soften a room and make it look finished! Suddenly our hand-me-down bedroom set from the 1970's doesn't look quite so bad. I'm inspired to buy curtains for the other windows in our apartment now too!

Creating: I've been working on a few sewing projects for Etsy lately. My mom lent me her new sewing machine, so I've been enjoying being spoiled by all the special features! Speaking of Etsy, I'm going to be doing a series of posts and giveaways this fall related to baby items on Etsy. Are you exited? Stay tuned for details!

Loving: This cooler weather! Fall is my very favorite time of year. I love the aspens changing color, the weather, the scarves... oh my goodness I'm so excited! Poor Ben, the moment the weather dips below 90 I'm dancing around the house talking about cinnamon and pumpkin spice lattes. I'm really hoping this fall is a season of order and peace for us as I find my new rhythm with Eli and really enjoy our life. Also, how ridiculously cute is Eli in his fall pajamas?

Living: Little man woke up at 6:45 happy as can be this morning. Not being a morning person, I was not nearly as cheerful about it. I tried putting him in bed with me, but he just laid there and hit me in the face until I got up. After a cup of coffee and some delicious cookies from a friend, I felt a great deal better! I'm thankful he normally sleeps until 8 so I have a little time to myself!

Learning: How are your mornings going? I haven't been doing nearly as well as I could be with my morning goals, but I am making progress. Most days I'm up by 8 (the goal is 7) and I've laid out clothes the night before or done the dishes a few more times than usual. I'm hoping to get better at waking up early so I can add some Pilates or yoga to my morning routine.

Well, happy Wednesday! And welcome to all my new followers from Tea on Tuesday!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nursing Nutrition

As a nursing mama, I'm finding that I am always hungry. Like honestly, always, always hungry. I'm also eating a great deal more every day. I ate an entire Chipotle burrito by myself in one sitting a few weeks ago. I am finding it can be difficult to keep up with the amount of calories I need to maintain a healthy weight and supply for nursing. In our weight-loss obsessed culture, googling "how to gain weight" produces a disappointingly small number of results.

In addition, Eli has a milk allergy so I have had to cut out all dairy products from my diet. As you might imagine, the number one suggestion for adding calories to your diet is through dairy. So, I am on a mission to find easy ways to add healthy calories to meals for nursing mothers. And I would love your help! Please comment with any tips or suggestions, and refer your nursing friends to my blog. I'm hoping to find recipes, snack ideas and lots more! I know that weight can be a really sensitive issue, but I hope that other moms who are struggling with this will join with me so we can feed our babies and be healthy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Making the Most of my Mornings

Crystal over at Money Saving Mom started a new series called Make the Most of Your Mornings challenging moms to make their mornings count. I have been contemplating this issue over the past couple weeks, and I really want to establish a morning routine now that fall is almost here. Because of Eli's schedule, I haven't been beginning my day until 9 or even 10 most mornings. I find myself feeling off-balance and behind all day from sleeping so late. I am not a morning person by any stretch, but I would really like to be better about starting the day off right. I've also discovered that the best time for me to have a little me time is in the morning.

Crystal has been presenting different challenges to her readers each day, which I have really been trying to utilize. Here are my morning goals so far:

  1. Wake up every morning between 7:00am and 7:30am.
  2. Go to bed every evening at 10:30pm (11:00pm at the latest).
  3. Accomplish 5 things each evening to give my mornings a good start:
    1. Lay out clothes for the next day
    2. Pick up around the house for 5-10 minutes
    3. Clean the kitchen
    4. Make a list for the following day
    5. Get ready for bed (makeup off, wash face, etc)
I'm two days in, and I've gotten up at 7:30 both days! I'm still working on bedtime, but it's been 11:30pm, then 11:00pm, and tonight it will probably be 11:00pm again. Not too bad! I've gotten 1-3 things done on my evening list each night, so I feel fairly accomplished there. I'm hoping that I can get those things done most nights to give myself some morning peace. I am so excited about this challenge, and I hope to report good results!

Would you be willing to join me in making the most of your mornings? Be sure you head over to Money Saving Mom to join Crystal's challenge! And if you do, please comment and let me know! I'd love to check in with each other and keep one another accountable.

Monday, August 13, 2012

How *Not* to Take Your Little One on Vacation

We took a trip up into the mountains this weekend with Eli. It was his first overnight trip and the little guy did great! Ben and I though... well, let's just say we're still learning how to do this whole parenting thing. Here's a few tips we learned not to do next time:

1. Carry your child around outside at high altitude on a sunny day for a few hours with no hat or sunscreen. That little red nose is something every pediatrician loves.

2. Try to put your child into your new hiking backpack marked "for children who sit well" when he hasn't even sat up yet. When he screams, just try again. It's bound to work eventually, right?

3. Realize your mistake about the sun the day before, so dress him in a jacket, pants, socks and a hat to keep out the sun. When he cries, just keep walking.

4. Lay your child down in the grass to get some wiggles out, noticing only after he's coughing that he has been shoving handfuls of grass in his mouth. Protein anyone?

5. Forget that hotel rooms are cold and put your child to bed in a onesie with no socks or pants. Although the two-chair makeshift crib was pretty awesome (it really was!), the fact that he's freezing all night was not.

6. Stick your child in a creek up to his knees. If he looks grumpy, just do it again. That means he loves it.

7. Forget to clip you child's nails for a few weeks, and then wait for him to give himself a nasty scratch on his face that bleeds for a few minutes.

In all seriousness, keep your child safe and happy, and enjoy your trip. Traveling with kids can be a lot of work, but also a lot of fun!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Growing Pains

Today is day three of intense teething. I'm beginning to wonder if the little guy is every going to pop through Eli's gums. He's been fussy, clingy, exhausted, and even feverish at times. He's constantly chewing on something and loves his teething ring. The poor guy will smile at me and make sounds like "I love you but this really hurts, Mom."

I am exhausted. I saw every single hour on the clock last night, getting up and down with him. Ben has been working long hours the past couple weeks and today he's down in southern Colorado on a construction site. He may not be home until late tonight.

I have nothing left this morning. I barely got sleep last night. I took a 5 minute shower today but had to listen to Eli screaming the whole time. I'm not sure how to keep going, but yet I have to. These are the days when, quite honestly, I want to be back at work dealing with spreadsheets and students. Yet here I am, unexpectedly a mother. Can I be surprised by joy today? I hope to be. As Eli stares up at me adoringly, I know this will all be worth while. And maybe today we'll finally see that tooth.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dear Coffee,

I know we haven't spent a lot of time together since I got pregnant last summer. I hope you won't hold that against me today. See, my sweet son has woke up at least 10 times last night and I'm completely exhausted. Plus, my family is coming over tonight so I've got to clean the whole house and bake a dessert. So if you could give me the magical powers that come from drinking you, that would be much appreciated!

A very, very tired mama

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Four Months Old

Here we are at four months already! Time has really flown. The weather has been so beautiful that we did Eli's pictures outside this time. I really love how they came out!

This month Eli's personality has really begun to shine. Ben and I are having so much fun with him! He smiles, laughs and coos at us all the time.

He is even more curious this month, taking in the world around him. He particularly loves being outside and looking at trees.

Eli's had a lot of big accomplishments this month! He's rolled over both ways, laughed much more often, grabbed toys, and begun mimicking sounds we make.

Right now he's laying in his crib cooing and talking to himself. It's so cute! We stopped swaddling him last week now that he can roll over, and so it's been a challenge to keep him asleep when he has so much freedom. Sometimes when I go to get him up he's turned in the opposite direction than when we put him down.

I am still struggling with this transition, but I'm finding it is beginning to be easier. I realized this week that I cannot live in a hurry any more. Our days each have their own rhythm and I'm learning to go with the flow. Motherhood is such a huge change, but a good one. Here's to another great month!

All pictures copyright Firebird Imaging. Images may not be reproduced for any purpose.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Homegrown Rhubarb Pie

My friend Erica has an absolutely amazing garden filled with every kind of vegetable, herb and fruit imaginable! I aspire to be like her some day. When we spent time with her and her husband last week, she sent me home with a bag full of rhubarb, and today I finally had the time to bake a pie!

Pies haven't always been my strong-suit, but this one turned out to be delicious. The crust was especially yummy! I used a recipe for Butter Pie Crust and Fresh Rhubarb Pie to create my pie. Here's how you can make your own!

Homemade Pie Crust
I googled a lot of different pie crust recipes and chose this one because it doesn't have any shortening in it. It makes enough for one top and bottom crust, or two bottom crusts. I also found that using my KitchenAid Stand Mixer was way easier than mixing it by hand.

1 cup cold unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold water

Cut the butter into small cubes. Put flour, sugar and salt into mixer and mix briefly (use the paddle attachment) to combine. Add butter, and then run the mixer on low for several minutes until it's crumbly and the butter is pea-size or smaller. Add cold water and mix until it turns into a dough. Be sure not to over-mix!

Turn dough out onto counter or cutting board. Separate into two balls and roll each to 1/8 inch thick circles. Use one circle for the crust and the other to cover the filling. I found that if I turned my cutting board upside down over my pie plate, I could gently lower the dough into the pan without making a giant mess of things.

Once you have your bottom crust in the pie pan, you're ready to add your filling!

Homegrown Rhubarb Pie

4 cups chopped rhubarb
1 1/3 cups white sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter
That delicious pie crust you just made!

Begin by slicing up your rhubarb. I found it was easiest to make 1/2 inch chunks by cutting down the stalks two at a time. Once you've got that completed, mix together your flour and sugar. Dump about 1/3 cup of the sugar mixture into the bottom of the pie pan.

Then add your rhubarb.

Cover the rhubarb with the remaining sugar mixture and dot with the butter.

Now just add your top crust! I find it helpful to press a fork around the edges to help seal in the juices of the pie.

And so you're ready to bake! Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then another 40 minutes at 350 degrees. I also covered the edges of my pie with foil to keep from burning it.

I had a little dough and rhubarb left over, so I made a couple mini-pies as well. For those, I rolled out dough and lined a ramekin with it, dumped in about a teaspoon of sugar. I then added the rhubarb and followed with a couple tablespoons sugar and a top crust.

I baked the mini pies for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. As a final note, be sure you bake your pie on a cookie sheet or foil! I used foil, but apparently not enough as I started a small oven fire. I know, I'm just that awesome. Thankfully my pies turned out fine, but be safe!

Enjoy your pie tonight warm with vanilla ice cream, or cold tomorrow with lunch. (Or maybe breakfast if you live at our house!) As you can see from the picture above, I'd already started eating one of the mini pies. They are delicious!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Our Weekend in Pictures

Thanks to my cousin Erin for the awesome pictures! Please respect her photography and do not reproduce these for any reason.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wednesdays on the Homefront

So I know it's actually Thursday. Sorry for the quiet week! We've had family in town and been pretty busy enjoying time with them. Pictures coming soon!
Cooking: My mom came over yesterday and we bought cupcakes. One of them was a chocolate cinnamon cupcake that was delicious. I'm inspired to try adding a little cinnamon to my chocolate cupcakes next time!

Cleaning: Friends, my house is a disaster. I cannot seem to keep it clean for the life of me. Also, our carpet smells like mildew. Not sure what that's about. I was having a meltdown with Ben last night on the couch (don't you just love those?!) and I told him how I used to juggle so many things, but can't seem to keep my house in order now. Honestly, 15 grad credits plus an internship plus marriage- yet I can't seem to keep a clean home with a baby. This whole motherhood thing is proving to be more than I expected.

Creating: I've been making dresses and aprons for Ben's cousins this month... until my sewing machine broke last week. I'm so accident prone! But no worries- I'm on to greater things while I wait for it to be mended. I've decided it's time to make a list of projects I'd like to tackle and gifts I'd like to make. Stay tuned for the list in the next few weeks!

Loving: Sleep. I know, every new mom says that. But after a few weeks of Eli sleeping through the night, he chose to take the weekend family was in town to get up every three hours. He's back to his normal hours, plus he and I got a nap in today! It was delightful.

Living: My cousin has been in town this week! She and I haven't seen each other since my wedding and it has been too long. She stayed at our apartment this past weekend and we had a wonderful time reminiscing and catching up. I haven't stayed up that late since college!

Learning: My cousin and I had a lot of talks about family and personal growth. Then during my cry session last night, Ben and I talked about those issues in more detail. I am learning so much about myself right now. I realized I'm living in a dream world sometimes rather than in reality. I realized that I'm expecting perfection out of myself in every situation when that isn't possible. I also realized that relationships are hard work, and sometimes the best thing I can do is take a step back and wait for awhile.

That's all for today, friends! My little man got his 4 month shots today and he's a bit cranky. Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Joy Comes in the Morning

I'm up early this morning. Sleeplessness hit-- again. It's funny how this happens every year during wedding season. I wake up in the middle of the night, try to fall back asleep, and begin to think. I think about the weddings I've attended recently and how beautiful they were. How happy the bride and groom were, and how everything seemed to be just as they'd always dreamed it would be.

And then the familiar ache hits. I didn't like my wedding. Don't get me wrong, it was a beautiful day. People who attended will tell you how special it was, how lovely everything turned out. And they are right. I loved the order of our ceremony and the pastor we chose. The reception site really was nice. This is the part where I feel like a horrible person. People in other countries don't have enough food to eat and I'm complaining about my wedding.

I think what all the emotions funnel down to is regret. I regret so much leading up to that day. I regret not doing the things that Ben and I dreamed about, like an ice cream bar or an outdoor wedding. I regret not choosing a dress I fell in love with, but instead just picking something because I was so tired of trying them on. Most of all, I regret losing my own voice. I didn't say no. I didn't voice my opinion like I should have. I let my dreams, my vision for the day, be trampled by someone else. I chose the "modest" wedding dress because nice girls shouldn't wear strapless, even on their wedding day. I didn't tell the hairstylist I didn't like the way she did my hair, because that someone thought it looked good. I let myself be led around by guilt instead of standing up for what I knew I wanted.

I wish I could go back to myself during that time and tell me how many sleepless nights I would spend regretting that day. I wish I could explain that even the best photographer can't make you look beautiful if you don't like your dress or your hair. I wish I could tell myself that I would cry when I look at my wedding pictures.

It's been a year and a half since that day. I got out of bed this morning and decided something: it's time to move on. No, my wedding wasn't everything I hoped it would be. I certainly didn't feel my most beautiful, nor do I look back on that day with a lot of joy. Yet I married my best friend that day. That's what really matters, in the grand scheme of life. I got married to the man that I love and we have a wonderful life together. It's time for me to stop crying and keeping myself up at night and move on.

Ben promised that someday we'll do a vow renewal ceremony, and I can pick out a dress that I love. But until then, I can find other times to feel beautiful. I can dress up for other occasions. I was looking at our picture wall this morning and realized that I want to be surrounded by pictures that make me happy. So today, the wedding pictures are coming down. It's time to move on to a new phase of life. I am finally independent of the guilt and the compulsion. I am free, and I am loved. Who needs a wedding when I have a life filled with love?

This post was more for me that for you readers. Thanks for listening, though. I realized that I needed to write all this down- to make the choice to move on and have people hold me to it. So thanks for reading today. Also, anyone need a wedding dress? I've got one I'm looking to get rid of. It's time for freedom and joy in my life, not regret.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Makeup For Busy Mamas

I've never been a big makeup girl. While I'm pretty sure my sister has a lipstick for each day of the week, I get by on chapstick and a little powder. Since Eli was born, my time in the mornings has gotten so short! I've realized, though, that I really want to look presentable. I don't want to be one of those moms who looks like a hot mess every day when her husband comes home. So, here is my basic makeup routine, plus my date night extras.

Lavera Foundation: I read about this on a blog somewhere, and decided to take the plunge ordering it online. I've never really liked liquid foundation but I love this! It's an all-natural, German-made foundation that smoothes on easily and has light to medium coverage. I just squirt a little on my wrist and apply with clean fingers. There's only a few color choices but I found that it seems to blend to my skin color really well.

L'Oreal True Match ConcealerGotta love the under eye circles, blemishes and redness that comes with being a mama. I ordered this concealer when I bought my foundation and I love it! It provides a little extra coverage where I need it, and was under $10! I apply it after my foundation and under my powder.

Homemade Face Powder: Before switching to Lavera, I used the Bare Minerals line of powder foundation. I found a couple blogs that talked about creating homemade Mineral Veil, a Bare Minerals product that helps cover shine and set your makeup. I made my own by combining equal parts baby powder and corn starch, and put into an old (washed) powder jar. I apply it after my foundation to help set my makeup and remove any shine. You could also add a little colored face powder to give it a slight tint if you wish. Best perk of all? Unlike the Bare Minerals version, it's basically free!

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer: This is my lipstick alternative most days! I love that it moisturizes and adds a little color.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara: I'm told this is a cult classic, and I love it! I have it in black and it's great for day or night. I apply a little to my top eye lashes most days, or do both top and bottom for date nights.

Bare Minerals Face Color in Warmth: This is a little date night extra. I've had this bronzer for forever and I love it! A little goes a long way and looks great on cheeks or eyes.

MAC Lipstick in Viva Glam V: The lady who did my makeup for our wedding used this on me. I bought mine at Nordstrom, but couldn't find it on the website so I linked to Macy's. Another date night extra, it is that perfect natural color that adds just enough color to make you look lovely.

Note: I've linked to these items where I bought them, but I did not get any payments from the companies I linked through.

Hope I've inspired you to look beautiful for your man without taking a lot of time! What's your favorite makeup product?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Link Love: July

Lately as I've been exploring blogs, I've come across some really fantastic articles or websites I'd love to share with you all! Now that I have an incredible 8 followers (amazing, right?!) I thought it might be fun to have a monthly link up. I'll begin it by sharing a few links I've come across and enjoyed recently. Then, you'll get a chance to link up your own blog post! I'll keep the link up open until the end of each month. All I ask is that you put my button either in your post or on your sidebar. I have a couple to choose from in my left sidebar. I look forward to seeing what you link up!

Here's my list for this month:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Three Months Old

Here we are at 3 months! Eli's first year is flying by so quickly. This month, in particular, was filled with big family events and lots of happy moments.

Some favorite moments? Eli's smile. He came alive this month, with all kinds of new facial expressions and smiles that make his whole face glow. I love that he recognizes Ben and I now.

He's also becoming really talkative and some days he coos and coos!

I feel like, as a mom, this month has been easier than the first two. I'm getting more sleep (Eli is sleeping through the night now!) and I feel a lot better about life. I'm also beginning to make the transition to being a stay-at-home mom, even though I do still miss my job.

I think Ben and I are beginning to adjust to life with a baby as well. We're really enjoying taking him places with us and watching him discover the world around him.

All pictures copyright Firebird Imaging. Images may not be reproduced for any purpose.