I Was Wrong

Well, C had her 2 year check up appointment yesterday. She's growing right on track and the doctor was very impressed with her skills. And when I told him she's still breastfeeding he said "well, all I can say to that is AMEN!" I love that man. It sure is nice to hear such encouraging words regarding breastfeeding at this age. Most people are shocked that we're still doing it, and not shocked in a good way. Oh well.

He did recommend that we do a repeat renal ultrasound. When she was 10 months she got a nasty UTI, and an ultrasound showed some swelling around her right kidney. We thought it was due to the infection, but the doctor ordered a repeat ultrasound 6 months later. That one showed the swelling was still there. No worse, but no better either, which was puzzling. She did have one more UTI during that time period, though. Knock on wood, she hasn't had one since then. But the doctor wants to do another ultrasound just to check on the kidney. I think he just wants to keep an eye on it, make sure it doens't get worse. I feel like its fine, though.

When I showed him the rash on her bottom, he asked what I was treating it with. I told him everything I've tried. He said "well, that's all good and right for yeast. But this is not yeast. Its eczema." Eczema!! When the rash first popped up, I looked up eczema because it looked like that to me. BUT every website I read said eczema almost always spares the diaper area. So I dismissed that idea. Should have gone with my initial thought!

We've been treating her for yeast for 2 weeks now, trying to DRY it out. Turns out that is the WORST thing to do for eczema. This stuff needs LOTS of moisturization. Its essentially super dry skin that's irritated. I feel so bad that we've treated this all wrong. But the doctor assured me that I had done the right thing and she will be fine. He prescribed a strong hydrocortizone cream. I put it on her twice yesterday and it did start to look a little better. I started slathering her with lotion, too.

Last night she was really itchy, so I gave her children's Benadryl before bed. Thankfully, she slept all night, though she was itchy again when she woke up this morning. I slathered on the prescription cream and some Eucerin lotion and that seemed to help. But my mother-in-law said at lunch that poor C has been itching really bad, and not just on the rash on her butt. She's itching all over. Poor baby. So today I had DH pick her up some children's Zyrtec. We'll try that and hopefully it will give her some relief without making her so sleepy.

I can relate to her itchiness. I have extremely dry skin, too, though I've never had eczema. I had bad allergies as a child (and asthma, which means C probably will too, eventually), and now I'm good except for my skin. I itch all the time. But I never get a rash, so its wierd. Today I am itching like crazy! I don't know if its the weather, or sympathy itching for C (haha - mother's intuition?), or what, but I had to take Benadryl earlier (not that its helped - ugh).

Hopefully we can get this under control and get my baby some relief. If she's not better by tomorrow I'm gonna call the doctor again and see if there's something more he can give her. I hate seeing her like this!!

I'm so bummed that we'll be dealing with this monster now. I know lots of kids outgrow eczema, but some don't. Either way, we'll have to deal with it for years. I just hope we find the right product(s) to help C. And I hope I can figure out what triggered this flare up and avoid it in the future. I'll be spending all my free time now on eczema research. Fun, fun.

On the bright side, at least now we know what we're dealing with, and we have an appropriate attach plan. And all my diapers are super squeaky clean! haha. If any yeast spores were thinking about settling in there, they have definitely been eliminated. Nothing bad could have survived that assault, haha!


Potty Training Update!

I think the last time I blogged about our adventures in potty training, C wasn't too thrilled with the idea. Last summer, she was well on her way to being potty trained - I could take her out of the house in big girl panties and she'd do really well. Then suddenly, she decided the potty was terrifying. For months she wouldn't go near it. Nothing happened to her on the potty, so I'm not sure where the fear came from, but you know how kids are, especially toddlers! Kind of like the weather in NC - if you don't like what you're getting, wait 5 minutes!! (Speaking of that, we had sleet/freezing rain/snow on Friday, today its 39 degrees, and in a few days its supposed to be in the 70s!)

Thankfully, about a month ago C decided she does, in fact, like the potty, and doing her business in it. My mother-in-law had her in big girl panties for a large portion of every day, though not all day, and she was having 2-3 accidents a day. But she was trying! At home, however, she just wasn't into the potty. I could get her to pee in the potty right before her bath, but that's about it. We kept trying, though, since she was interested during the day.

About 2 weeks ago, a rash popped up on her hiney (not in the typical diaper rash area, on her butt cheek). It looked like a bug bite, so I didn't think much of it until it started itching her a few days later. Well, the area got bigger, redder, and started to look raised up. I finally realized it was probably yeast and started treating her with Lomitrin (athlete's foot/fungal cream). She had a rash similar to this when she was younger and the Lomitrin cleared it right up. Unfortunately, that didn't happen this time. I've had my mother-in-law keep C out of diapers as much as possible since letting the rash get air seems to really help more than anything.

Thankfully, C has really taken to potty training now. Some days she doesn't have any accidents! She only had 2 all weekend with me, and one was completely my fault (she told me she had to pee, but I thought I could wash her hands first - we were eating lunch. She tried to hold it but couldn't!). I even took her to church in panties yesterday! We were there 2 hours and used the potty 3 times, but that's okay. Her bladder is small. ( : At a wedding shower yesterday, she used the potty I think 4 times in 2 hours. Whatever it takes!

I think she's a ways from being able to go without a diaper at naptime and definitely overnight, but this is a really good start! Yesterday she was even telling me when she had to go potty, as opposed to me having to ask her every 10 minutes. Progress!!

As for her rash....we're going to the doctor tomorrow for her 2 year checkup, so I'll definitely have him look at it. Yesterday I bought some Monistat and started putting that on it. I also started her on probiotics. 2 hours after using Monistat on the rash, it looked a LOT better and wasn't itching her anymore. Last night, though, she obviously slept in a diaper, and this morning it looked terrible again. :( Tonight this mama might just have to be brave and let that baby sleep in panties! I'm sure if its not better by tomorrow the doctor will give her a prescription.

I did try home remedies, too, in case anyone is interested. Apple cider vinegar seemed to irritate the rash more (which is odd because everything I read said ACV was very soothing to a yeast rash). Soaking her in baking soda didn't do a thing except relieve the itching while she was in the bath. I've cut out her bubble bath, and only use soap on her when its absolutely necessary (its winter, she's not gettin that dirty every day), and have stopped washing her hair every day (so she's not always getting shampoo on her skin). I don't know how long probiotics take to work on yeast, but we just started those yesterday and I didn't expect an improvement overnight.

The diapers will have to be treated for yeast, too, or it will keep coming back. *sigh* Friday I got some soap nuts and washed the diapers in that on Saturday, but they need more than that. The health store in town was out of grape seed extract, which is what is supposed to help kill yeast in diapers. I found out this weekend, though, that tea tree oil does the same thing. And I found out today that Walgreen's carries TTO (its in the ethnic hair section for some reason), so I'm heading over there this afternoon. TTO + Oxiclean + soap nuts = hopefully bye-bye yeasties! Let us pray.

I hate that my baby has had to suffer through this terrible rash, but at the same time I'm tickled that she's really potty training!! :D

Bible In One Year App

One of my resolutions for 2013 is to spend more time with God. My plan is to pray more, read the Bible more, read more "spiritual growth" books, and help others more. Its day 28 of the new year and I'm doing pretty well in my goals, except for the help others part. Though I did have an idea last night that will hopefully come to fruition sometime this year!

I think I mentioned before that my friend's church has started a book club this year. Its called 5 Star Woman. In the club, we read a book every month and the church has meetings (twice a month, I think) to discuss the book. Unfortunately, I probably won't ever be able to attend any of the meetings (they're on Monday nights at 7, and its over an hour drive for me), but I am trying to follow along, and my friend passes on the extra stuff to me after the meetings. I am very behind on the first book. For some reason, I just can't get into it. I think its because I started it, then decided to start a new "for fun" book (part of the series I blogged about Friday). I got so into the new book that reading something nonfiction just seemed so boring! I read a little more on Saturday, and I am not allowing myself to purchase any other books until I finish this one for the book club. I know it'll be good for me, so I'm gonna stick with it.

I also decided to read through the Bible this year. I have read the entire Bible before, but it was years ago. And it took me THREE YEARS to finish. I know, I know. In my defense, I was in college at the time. Still no excuse. I am determined to read the whole thing before 2014. I have a great study bible that I got as a teenager, and its got a one year plan in it. But I decided to try something different this time. I wanted a way that would almost guarantee I'd actually do the reading, a way that would enable me to always have the Bible with me (or at least that day's reading) without having to actually carry a heavy book around.

So I searched for an app! Obviously, reading the Bible from an app doesn't give you the same feeling as flipping through the crinkly pages of an actual Bible, but I figure if it gets the job done, why not? I think Jesus would use technology to get the Word out there, if He were here now. Back in His day, they wrote stuff on stone tablets. You don't hear anyone condemning people for not reading God's Word that way nowadays, do you? So I'm completely cool with using modern technology to learn about the Word.

Anyway, I already use my iPhone first thing every morning to record my waking temperature (my husband and I practice Natural Family Planning - more on that later!). My logic was if I had a Bible app on my phone, after I recorded my temperature I could just open the app and do my reading for the day. For a few weeks, that was a wonderful idea. And then my daughter decided she didn't like to sleep at night anymore - not for long periods of time, anyway - and I was like a zombie in the mornings. Still am, actually. :/  So lately I've been doing my daily readings at night, while I'm rocking her to sleep. I prefer to read from the Bible early in the morning - I feel like it just starts my day out better - but I gotta do what I gotta do these days!

I have done pretty well with keeping up with the readings. Sometimes on the weekends I get behind, like this weekend. Last night, I had to do Saturday's reading as well as Sunday's. But that's okay.

The app was free in the app store, and its called simply Bible In One Year, or BiOY as it appears on my phone. I thought about shelling out the few bucks to get a paid app, but I decided to give this one a try, and I am so glad I did. I love the way its set up. The author is Nicky Gumbel, a vicar of a church in London. Admittedly, I haven't read much about Mr. Gumbel or his church, so I can't say anything about that. The church is called HTB and I can't figure out what HTB stands for, haha. Mr. Gumbel is also the founder of something called Alpha, which seems to be an organization to introduce the Word to people. I am gonna have to read more about these two groups, because they both seem very interesting.

Anyway, Mr. Gumbel's app has daily readings from the book of Psalms or Proverbs, the New Testament, and the Old Testament. After each section of scripture, he gives a commentary. They're usually pretty short, but enlightening. Each day's reading is prefaced with a short story that ties into the day's reading. At the end, Mr. Gumbel's wife Pippa always adds a little tidbit, just something that stuck out to hear in the day's reading and her reaction to it. Its always a very short paragraph, but I enjoy it.

Because of this app, I actually look forward to reading from the Bible every day. Let's face it, some of that stuff is pretty dull. And a lot of it is hard to understand (for me, at least). I like having someone help me to understand what I've just read every day. I'm even enjoying reading the Old Testament because of the way Mr. Gumbel has broken it down.

All in all, I am thrilled that I decided to give this app a chance. If the author decides he needs to start charging for it, I will gladly pay the fee - that's how much I love it. For now, though, I am tickled that I don't have to pay for it! Don't you just love how no matter what you need to do, "there's an app for that??" ( :


High 5 for Friday!

Seems like the only time I am able to blog is Fridays! But that's alright. ( :

I've had a pretty good week. I've been extremely tired since my child has not been sleeping well (except for that blessed Wednesday night, when she slept all night long in her crib!!), and I've been staying up way too late. I am determined to start going to bed earlier, though! 12:30-1am is way too late for this workin mama.

 So, without further ado, here's my 5 highlights of the week!

1. Sunday night we went to the local Olive Garden for my niece's 18th birthday party. It was my first time at that location (they just opened last summer) and I was really looking forward to it. Turned out, I wasn't all that impressed with the food. Olive Garden is one of my favorite places to eat, so I was pretty bummed this one didn't live up to my expectations. But the fun time with my family more than made up for the food! We had a great time. I don't get to hang out with my sister and her kids that often, so it was nice to get that opportunity. And of course, C kept us all entertained!

2. Last Saturday, I rode my horse Wiley. I'm trying to ride every weekend now. I just feel so much better when I get to ride. Wiley did pretty well. I didn't have high hopes since the last time I rode him he laid down....yes, he literally laid down on the ground while I was on him! Luckily I was able to get off before he crushed my leg, but woah. Kinda scary. Crazy pony. Anyway, Saturday he was good. We had some discussions when I asked for the canter, but I was prepared for that since we haven't cantered in a really long time. Like over 2 years. (Long story.) In the end, I won (of course) and he gave me a nice little canter, both directions.
3. Last night, C and I went to a Thirty-One party at my friend's house. We had so much fun! Thirty-One is kinda a big deal here in the south - not sure if that's the case all over the country. They have all kinds of cute bags, totes, purses, baskets, etc. in really pretty prints, plus everything is monogrammable! Monogramming is another big deal here in the south. We like our initials on everything. I haven't really jumped on that bandwagon so much, though I do appreciate a nice monogram. I have a Thirty-One skirt purse and one of the skirts has my initials on it. (By the way, the skirt purse is the absolute BEST purse I have ever had - seriously! Its the perfect size, very comfortable on my shoulder, and I love that I can change the look in about 15 seconds, without having to move all my junk.) Last night, I ordered another skirt for my purse, a cute scarf to use as decoration on my purse (I know, I know, its another southern thing), and a camera strap in a really fun print. I also qualified for one of their new products at 1/2 off, so I got a hang-up family organizer. I can't wait to it to come in and I can put it to use! 

4. The Premonition series by Amy Bartol. Love love love!! I'm a huge bookworm, even more so since I got my Kindle. I can't remember how I stumbled across this gem of a series, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. I think the series is geared toward a younger than me audience, but I don't care. I am also obsessed with the Twilight series, so there ya go. ( :  (Oh, and I loved the Hunger Games series, as well, though not as much.) The Premonition series starts off with Evie, a college freshman looking to make a new start. In time she discovers she's half angel, and other angels - both fallen and divine - are out to get her. Of course, she gets a love interest (two actually - an angel and a human) and makes some great friends. They all go through some intense events together, which I won't talk about because it'll ruin the book for you! I was hooked from the first page of book 1. I just finished book 2 this week (which is why I have been staying up way too late - its hard to put down!!), and I purchased book 3 yesterday. Though I need to read my book for the women's church group first (more on that at another time). For some reason, the books are super cheap on Amazon - like $3.99 or so each. I can totally see this series becoming a movie series, and if that happens I will be all over it, haha.

this was from 2008 - I used this pic as my entry for the RTF competition
5. Finally, an important part of this week for me was the Rock the Frock competition. Just Becca Photography hosts this competition every year. Its for any woman who can still fit into her wedding dress (whether she's still married or not). Its basically a chance for you to wear your wedding dress again! Since I am still in love with my wedding dress, I am all for anything that lets me put it on again. The contestants campaign for votes (which is done online and is free), and the three women with the most votes become the finalists. Those three get a free photo session in their wedding dress. You can do anything you want in your session. Some girls have done a trash the dress session before, some stick with more traditional stuff, really whatever you can dream up Becca can make happen. My dream was to get a picture of me galloping in a field on my horse. I did use Sunshine in my bridal portraits, and I did sit on her, but we were all so worried that I'd ruin my dress that I couldn't relax and get exactly what I wanted (though I was very pleased with my pictures, and still love them). Anyway, after the three photo sessions, a panel of judges will select the winner, who gets to appear on the cover of Down Home Magazine, which is a local magazine. There's a story on each of the finalists inside the magazine, but the main focus is on the overall winner. The winner also receives other smaller prizes.

I entered Rock the Frock last year and did pretty well. I don't know what place I ended up in, but until the last day I was staying in the top 5. My cousin ended up winning last year and her pictures were absolutely breathtaking. This year I decided to try again. Next year I might not fit into my dress, who knows! Well, the contest started at 6pm last Friday and ended at midnight Monday. I campaigned hard! I was so overwhelmed by the amount of support I had. People for campaigning for me and every day someone had a facebook status about me. It was so heartwarming. I stayed consistently in the top 5 every day (Becca did updates twice a day). Unfortunately, I didn't win. I finished FOURTH! So close! I couldn't even be upset though, because of all the nice things people were saying about me. I updated my facebook status to show my appreciation for everyone's support, and people were commenting on how I was the winner in their eyes and all this nice stuff. Almost brought tears to my eyes, and I am not a crier!

What was really amazing happened the next day. Becca e-mailed me and said that someone contacted her and said that I really deserved to win the competition, so they were paying for me to have my own Rock the Frock session! I was shocked and so grateful. It was my best friend and her husband, who live in England right now (he's in the air force). I couldn't believe someone would want to do that for me. I'm still kinda in shock about it. So, sometime soon I'll have a photo session in my wedding dress! I'll get my dream of having my picture taken in my dress on my horse. I am SO excited!!

So that's my exciting week in a nutshell. I am linking up with Lauren at from my grey desk blog. Welcome to any new readers that come over from Lauren's! ( :


Pamlico River

Last Sunday, we loaded up and headed east. (Maybe one of DH's New Year Resolutions was to take more day trips? Not complaining!! And this just made me realize I never blogged about our Wilmington day trip...) My husband's aunt and uncle have a house at the Pamlico River, which is on the coast (sort of). Its a little over 2 hours of drive time from home, so not too bad. DH went with his uncle a while back to the river and has been raving about it ever since. So when they invited us down for the day, we jumped on the opportunity!

We got up Sunday morning (though not as early as DH would have liked!) and hit the road. After a few wrong turns, we made it to the river around 11am. We had a delicious lunch, then put the boat in the water and set off. It was a gorgeous day, temps in the 60s, though of course it was cooler on the water. DH's uncle likes to go fast on the boat and then it was C-O-L-D!! I had to wrap a thick coat around C, head and all, because the wind was so frigid. But once the boat wasn't moving it was very nice.

The men did a little fishing, we all did quite a bit of eating (what is it about being on the water that makes you so darn hungry?!), and we all had a great time. After a while, C told me she wanted to lay down, so she laid in my lap and promptly fell asleep. (Hello, baby girl, why can't you do that at home??!)

The Pamlico River is cool because its all mixed up in ocean water. Part of it was brackish water, which is part saltwater and part freshwater, and then you cross a line and you're in all salt water. The difference was amazing. When we crossed that line into the salt water, the temperature dropped probably 20 degrees. Okay, maybe not quite that much, but it was a noticeable difference!

While C was asleep, we mosied on back to the brackish water, and wound our way along the river. That's the place where people do some good duck hunting, I'm told. (I could never hunt duck. We have 5 at the house and while they're not tame, I still consider them my pets, so I could never intentionally kill one!) But that gives you the general feel for the area. Very swampy looking, but beautiful. Ducks, pelicans, and seagulls everywhere. And fish jumping out of the water right and left. (Though neither men caught a single one all day, haha.) Back there, it was very peaceful. We were the only boat around, the sun was shining and keepin us warm, and it was so quiet.

DH and his uncle saw an eagle the last time they were there together. They told me to be on the lookout for it, but his uncle said it was kinda a rare treat to see the eagle. I of course had my camera ready, but since C was asleep and I had to hold the coat around her, I couldn't use the camera. So DH grabbed it and was ready.

And then we got lucky! Super lucky.

DH's uncle said he'd never seen two eagles together like that.

I've never seen one in the wild, so it was awesome to see these magnificent birds. They stuck around just long enough for us to get a few pictures.

But we caught up with them again later!

I was proud of DH for getting such good shots.

After the eagle sighting, we loaded the boat back up and left. It was starting to get pretty chilly by then, and the men had given up on catching any fish.

To wrap up our awesome day, we stopped at IHOP on the way home for some delicious pancakes. All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful day, and I can't wait to go back to Pamlico!

New Look

I have a LOT to learn about blog design. I don't know if I'll ever pick up any real skills, but I do have fun playing with the templates on blogger. Hence, the new look here. ( : 

I hope this makes the blog look a little more interesting. I know that the background image doesn't necessarily say "crunchy" or "country," but its a picture that I took at the beach earlier this month, and I absolutely love it. I like to look at it a lot, so until I get tired of it, it'll be here.

It may be the case that a simpler look is better, but we'll see. Its not like I have a ton of readers, anyway! Enjoy the new look while I work on some real posts! ( :


Quick Update

Blogging is not as easy as I thought!! When I decided to start this thing last summer, I assumed it would be super easy to always have something to blog about. I do have a ton of ideas, but I never have time to sit down and type! And then when I do have a few minutes, my mind goes blank. I really need to start a list or something of blogging ideas. Maybe one day I'll get it together and really make this blog something, because I do enjoy what little I am able to blog. ( :

Until then, anyone who might actually read this thing will just have to wait patiently! Patience is a virtue, you know. (hahaha)

We have been super busy lately. But what else is new, right? There's rarely a dull moment in my house! Last weekend was awesome. My friend came down Saturday and we rode horses. I wish I could do that every weekend! Then on Sunday, DH, C, and I packed up and headed to the coast again for the day. Well, sort of the coast - Pamlico River. I'll post about that trip later this week. I foresee more trips to that place in our future!

How am I doing on my New Year's Resolutions, you ask? (Didn't someone, somewhere wonder that? hehe) Well, hmm. Not so great. I haven't made a budget yet, I haven't started paying more towards my student loans yet, I haven't even started meal planning yet. I just haven't had the time to sit down and figure everything out. We don't stay home long enough, haha. To my knowledge, nothing is going on this weekend, so I should have a little time to make some plans. That's my hope, at least.

I have so many ideas swirling around in my head, ideas that may never become anything real. But that's okay. Inspiration is good. One thing I am going to try possibly tonight is rosemary bread in my bread machine. I've never had rosemary bread so I'm not sure exactly what it'll taste like, but it sounds delicious. I'm on a kick of trying new recipes. One night this week I made a Spam casserole. It was delicious! Even DH liked it. I'll have to post that one, though I didn't take a picture (it really didn't look very appetizing at all).

I am also reading a new book. I'm almost done with it, and when I finish I plan on writing a review of it here. Its an awesome book and has already changed my life. I know that sounds ridiculous and corny, but its true. I want to finish it before I say anything more about it, though.

I did decide on one final New Years Resolution. I want to get closer to God. You know, have less world and more WORD. I downloaded a Bible in One Year app to my iPhone and absolutely love it. I'll blog about it soon, too. (Hey, am I making a blogging list here?? haha) Every day, I read verses from Psalms or Proverbs, the Old Testament, and the New Testament, and then the author or the app has a commentary/devotional on the passages. I try to read the verses every morning before I get out of bed, but sometimes I have to do it later in the day. So far, I'm still on track!

To further accomplish my new goal, I am participating in a women's book club though my friend's church. My friend lives over and hour away, so I won't actually be able to attend the bi-monthly meetings, but they are working on letting me listen in via Skype. Either way, I'll read along with them, and my friend will fill me in on the meetings. We'll be reading one book a month. I haven't started yet, since I wanted to finish this other book first, but the list of books sounds amazing! I can't wait to get started. Oh, if only I had a few more hours in a day to accomplish all the reading and other tasks I want to do!

Look for more posts from me soon, all these ideas in my head need to get out! ( :


High Five for Friday!

It really doesn't feel like Friday to me. I've only worked 3 days this week (and three days last week). But so much has been going on that I'm still exhausted! Normally, we slow way down at work this time of year, but clearly this year is an exception. We're just as busy as ever (which is good). A lot has been going on at the homefront, too. So I'm thankful I have a moment to think back over the week and reflect on my favorite things.

1. We went on a day trip to the beach. Luckily, we only live about an hour from the coast. We just decided Sunday morning to get up and go somewhere, and on the road I told DH, "let's go to Wilmington." We actually ended up in Wrightsville Beach at a restaurant on the beach, which was awesome. After lunch, we walked around the beach until we were all numb with cold, then we headed back to Wilmington. We visited the Children's Museum, which C absolutely loved, and walked around downtown for a while. It was such a great day! We're even thinking of heading back there for our annual trip in February (we go somewhere every year around our anniversary).

2. I did some major cleaning/organizing in C's room on New Year's Day. And now she loves to play in her room all the time!

3. I broke out my bread machine that DH got me for Christmas. I love that thing!! Last year, I borrowed my friend's machine and made some delicious bread, so I knew I'd love having my own machine. So far, I've made potato bread, basic white bread, and "Special Winter Bread." My favorite so far has been the plain ol' white bread. I'll have to find the recipe and do a post on it. I took a loaf to a Christmas party last weekend and everyone raved about how delicious it was. I still gotta figure out how to make smaller loaves with that thing, though. My loaves are humongous!!

4. I took C on a play date on New Year's Eve. We all had a really good time until C realized she was ready for her nap. Major breakdown!! I mean major. We ended up leaving sooner than I intended, but I learned something valuable that day. C is capable of putting herself to sleep if she absolutely must. Good to know, though I don't plan on stopping to rock her any time soon. Its much more peaceful if I (or someone) rocks her to sleep. I know she's 2 now, but I'm not in a hurry for her to grow up. ( :

5. Morning cuddles!! During the work week, I always wake up before C (she comes to our bed at some point in the early morning, but she always goes back to sleep). She's super hard to wake up in the mornings, and really hates to get up, so I let her sleep as long as possible while I get ready for work. Since I was off work for 4 days because of the holiday, I got to sleep late with C most days, which meant plenty of morning cuddle time! On those days, she'd wake up, look at me, and smile. Then tell me to go bring her breakfast in bed, haha. (Which I didn't do!)

So those are the highlights of my week. Its been a good one overall. I'm linking up with Lauren at from my grey desk blog today. Here's to a good weekend!!

Blogger is having issues right now and won't let me post any photos. So I'll have to come back later to do that! Bummer.


Off to a good start!

I've started the new year off right! I jumped right back in with my organization/decluttering goals. Yesterday after lunch, I sent C to my mother's house for an hour so I could go through her toys. I am extremely pleased with my progress, especially considering I only had one hour!!

Here's a look at her room before...

Wow. Right? I can't believe I let it get that bad. And I kept it that bad for quite some time. *shudder*

I sorted through all those toys (oh, these are not even the toys she got for her birthday and Christmas - those are still in the living room and will be added in later, when the new wears off). I'm not throwing out anything, since hopefully one day we'll need them again. But a lot of this stuff she just doesn't play with any more.

Here's a shot of the pile of stuff I moved out to the barn:

It doesn't look like much, but there's a lot packed into that box and that Victoria's Secret bag! (And I do plan to get some plastic bins later this week, I just wanted to get this little project done ASAP!)

Here's what her room looks like now:

Let's all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Much better, right? The best part is she absolutely LOVES it! She's never really played in her room much, but now she does. Last night she kept running into the living room, grabbing my husband's hand and saying "come on, Daddy, I show you my room!" It was so cute.

She still has way too many toys for just one kid, but oh well. At least now she can see what she has. I found things she hasn't seen in months, and she still loves them. Once we get the Christmas tree down and get the living room back in order, I'll figure out where all her new toys go. Some will, of course, stay in the living room. I don't plan to ban her from playing in there! It sure is nice to see my living room floor again, though...!

I still have work to do in there. I'm too chicken to take pictures of inside that cedar wardrobe and her closet. Those are scary places. Mostly because they hold every item of clothing she's had since she's been born. And she's had a LOT of clothes. I bought Space Bags for them, and they're really cool, but I'm not 100% in love with them. They don't get as smooth as the commercials make you think! And they're heavy and awkward to carry. I might get some more plastic bins to keep them in (in the barn). But for now, they're all shoved in the wardrobe and the closet. Baby steps, baby steps...  ( :


A Fresh Start

I'm not one for making resolutions in a new year. I used to, but I realized that I never stuck to my resolutions, and always just ended up supremely disappointed in myself later in the year. So for years, I took the easy road and didn't resolve to make any changes or do anything special when the calendar flipped to a new year. Now I think that's pretty lazy. I think we need to set goals/resolutions for ourselves so we keep growing and don't get stuck.

I don't think its necessary to make resolutions in January, though. In October, I made some fall resolutions. I've done pretty well at keeping them: I made good on making memories with my daughter (we've done a lot of fun things with her recently, including an impromptu trip to the coast this past weekend, which I'll blog about later); I've done better about not being a lurker in the blog world (I have made an effort to post comments when I have a reaction to someone's blog post); I have spent more time with God (though not nearly as much as I need to - still working on that one); and I continued my efforts to organize the house. (That "resolution" actually came about earlier in 2012, so I've been at it for a while.) In fact, I did a little organization project just yesterday, which I'll blog about later (I say that a lot, huh? hehe).

The only fall resolution I haven't kept is to ride my horses more. I realized pretty quickly that it is still dark outside until pretty late in the morning. DH has to leave for work around 7:15, so if I'm gonna ride I have to do it and be back in the house by then. Well, it doesn't get light until about 6:45. That is not nearly enough time to ride and get the horses fed. I'm too chicken to ride before daylight around here. There are a lot of coyotes in our area and they really freak me out. They are not as scared of us humans as they should be, either. They come all in our yard after dark. I doubt one would actually attack me, but I don't like to take any chances. Last night when I was feeding the horses (after dark), a coyote was howling right beside the barn! I completely freaked out, ran to the house and made DH go out there with me with the gun. (Of course, the coyote had moved on by then.)

So, I'll get back to riding my horses more this spring. For now I'm just savoring what little time I do get to ride, and making the most of it. A few weekends ago, I hopped on Sunshine bareback and went down the road, to somewhere we've never been before. She was terrible that day, but it was still fun.

Moving on.

I'm considering 2013 to be my clean slate. I need a fresh start in several areas of my life. I'm not going to sit here and type up a huge list of things I want to accomplish or change about myself. I know that's too daunting for me. I've said many times I'm all about baby steps. ( :

Here's a few things I do want to accomplish/work towards/change this year:

~Potty train C. We're well on our way! She's been doing pretty well lately. In fact, she's in her big girl panties right now (watching Super Why on PBS while Mama gets some blogging done). Yesterday, she had 3 accidents, but I think that's pretty good. This weekend, she even pooped in the potty once! So I have no idea how long this process will take (we're certainly not doing the potty train in 3 days thing - way too stressful), but I know it will conclude this year!! And hopefully by the spring. Wouldn't that be wonderful??

~Continue to organize the house. My next project will be to tackle C's toys. She's 2 now, and we've still got her newborn and infant toys in the house, as well as a ton of toys she just doesn't care for. I'm not getting rid of anything (hopefully one day we'll have another child), but my plan is to buy storage bins so they can go out in the shop.

I also really want to work on the office. Every few months, I work in there (mainly on my desk) and get everything looking neat and organized, but it doesn't take long to get junky again. DH is actually really good about keeping his desk organized. But the office tends to be our place to stash random things that don't really have a home elsewhere in the house. Right now, its overflowing with extra boxes and wrapping paper from Christmas. And I mean overflowing. I'll have to take a "before" picture when I tackle that room. Its terrible. My plan is to ditch my desk. I haven't used it (other than to store junk on) since I completed my graduate degree. And that was in the summer of 2011. I do need a spot to store my laptop, though, so I'll probably get a small bookcase or something like that. Or maybe a small table. We'll see. DH and I have talked about that room becoming a nursery if we do have another baby, but that leaves the problem of where will we have an office. DH needs an office space since that's where he does all the bill paying and manages his business (he works a full-time job and has a side business as well). And there's no where else in this house for an office space. Hopefully one day we can build a house....!

There are other projects that fall under the "house organization" label that I want to tackle. But those two are the biggies, the ones that I know will make the most difference around here. Wish me luck!!

~I also want to get back to meal planning. I did that for a few months in 2012, and it was great. I didn't have a specific method, I just sat down whenever I had a moment and thought about what I could cook for supper the next few days. Sometimes I'd do a week or 2 at a time, sometimes I'd do a whole month. It really made nights much less stressful for me. I hate coming home from work, looking into the fridge, freezer, and pantry and thinking What in the world am I gonna cook tonight?! So I want to get back into meal planning. And do it better. Meaning, I want to grocery shop with meal planning in mind. I haven't decided which method I want to use yet, but I'll blog about it when I figure it out.

~I want to make a budget - and stick to it. I've been meaning to do this one for a while. But its time. I'm conscious about where I spend money, but it seems like it always runs out faster than I think it should. I don't mean I'm gonna cut out all my "extra" purchases - I regularly buy books for my Kindle on Amazon, and random things for C (though I usually shop the thrift store for her). I just want to know exactly how much I can spend each week/month on the extra things. And this will help me be able to finally start putting some money into my savings account.

~Along those lines, I want to start paying more towards my student loans. If I keep going like I am, I will have them paid off in 2020 I believe. That's a really long time, considering I got my bachelor's in 2006 and my master's in 2011. But I'm only making minimum payments. I hope to tackle them one at a time, starting with the smallest loan. I keep reading about the "snowball effect" and how great it is. So once I get my budget worked out, I'll start making more payments on that smallest loan.


My list is short, but I know that if I do these few things, my life will drastically change. Of course, I want to continue to do things like make memories with my daughter and husband, keep learning more about cooking, etc. Actually, I should probably go back up there and bullet point another goal: go on more dates with my husband this year!!

For now, its time to go clean up the Cheerios C just spilled all over the floor, then spend the rest of the day having fun with her. Its chilly and rainy here, so we're probably stuck inside all day, and I don't have anything planned. I got all my cleaning done over the weekend so I could spend today just enjoying her. Here we go!

Happy 2013 everyone! May this be our best yet!!! ( :