Sunday, July 28, 2013

WIWS / 7 of 7

Not only am I linking up with the fine folk over at Fine Linen and Purple today for the first time since May (!) but I am also completing Jen's 7 Posts in 7 Days challenge! I may not have been interesting or thought-provoking but by golly I did it!

The homily at mass today was both enjoyable and challenging and I am grateful to Leo for nursing quietly and docile-y enough for me to be able to catch it. I have a renewed desire to embrace joy and gratitude in my daily life and with God's grace (and enough personal perseverance) I may just get better! Apparently God heard me on this and decided to send a test my way because as I was typing a house centipede skittered over my keyboard. Oh, country life...... ;)

Anyways. Our little family got invited to lunch by Ben's predecessor and his wife and even though Leo was going stir crazy and in need of a nap, it was lovely! Yay for friendly people and beginning to find our (social) feet in Virginia!

Sweater : Pac Sun (ages old!)
Dress : H&M
Shoes : Zappos
Earrings : Etsy 

Quick Question : Does anyone know where I can find tutorials for easy hairstyles or just the basics of styling hair (e.g. everyday updo)? I can't even handle a messy bun and I don't know my way around a bobby pin so any suggestions or help would be grrrreat! 

~ Happy Sunday ~

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day 6

We picked up a dehumidifier for our basement at Home Depot today. There isn't one in town so we had to drive up to Winchester to get there but I love Home Depot so it was worth it. Am I the only person that just enjoys wandering around and dreaming at places like that? And I'm not sure if it's because I finally have a lot of dark wood in one place, but I have found that my preference in color has lightened considerably. For one thing it seems to show dirt less and for someone who isn't crazy about cleaning, that is BIG!

Speaking of cleaning, I went ahead and printed out this pin off of Pinterest in an effort to get on track with cleaning. It's been super helpful so far and honestly I think that I can keep up with it. If you're like me and don't know where to start or what to do, you may want to check it out too!

It just occurred to me that basically every post I write is super random. Some people can stick with a particular topic and just go with it - no problem. If you're one of those individuals, how do you do it?

Last thing : I got super excited because about 10 - 12 minutes from our house there is a Gold's Gym. Why is that exciting? Because they have childcare!!! I was super amped and started dreaming about how awesome it was going to be to have a place I could go to use actual, good exercise equipment and get into shape. That was until I looked into the price of membership. B-U-M-M-E-R! There's a phrase that says the best things in life are free. Gold Gym needs to get the memo! Okay, enough complaining. Off to YouTube to find some motivation and/or low impact workouts!

~ Happy Saturday ~

Friday, July 26, 2013

7 QTs / Day 5

--- 1 ---
This website should not exist. Why? Because when people like me get extra time on their hands they do stupid, obscene things like doctor up precious photos of their children.

Occasionally a group of moms get together in Front Royal for discount Margaritas and appetizers at a restaurant. In an effort to make new friends and "get out there" I went. Of course when I discovered that margaritas aren't 99% fruit I decided on a decaf coffee and strawberry cheesecake shooter (yes. always. yes!). Leo decided that it was a good night to go to bed too early and then wake up and keep Ben company.... oops...?

Here is our kitchen :

Kitchen / Dining Combo

I like to call this "Pharaoh Ant Paradise"

My FAVORITE new toy!
We are currently using a card table for meals. It definitely works but it is no mystery why people usually prefer to eat off of solid wood.

The living room :

Yes, that is a diaper pail in our entryway
The living room defies my cleaning and organizational efforts, I'm afraid. Until we get some proper shelving and storage in Leo's room the toys we use have a home on the living room floor. Sorry that I did not tidy up more for your viewing pleasure.

I'm going to have start posting recipes again soon because I've continued trying new things and have had some really fun successes! I must confess that I miss having a gas stove terribly. It took me almost 10 minutes to get a sauce to simmer the other day. What is that?!

I mentioned the other day that I'm in need of infant activities. I still am so please feel free to share your wisdom in the comments section, but I did discover the fun of water play with Leo. Just filling up the sink a bit and letting him kick his chubby feet in the water or "standing" in it is enough to keep him delighted for about 15 minutes. That may not sound like a lot to you but 15 minutes of a happy Leo to me is 15 minutes of BLISS!

I am a superstitious person. Well, not entirely. Just one thing : Journaling. I stopped keeping a journal a few years ago because every time I wrote about something it seemed to go wrong (especially relationships but other things too). So when I started dating Ben I couldn't bring myself to put pen to paper. I knew it was absurd then and I know it is absurd now but there it is. I have been given journals - beautiful journals! And I have been sorely tempted to write in them, especially the one I was given for Leo's pregnancy. But I just couldn't. There was this inane feeling floating about inside that What if I start writing and something happens with the pregnancy?. And now that he is safely born and thriving I still won't do it. Maybe one day, if I grow up and/or stop being ridiculous, I will grab a pen and begin again. Until then, at least I have my blog!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

~  Happy Friday ~

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Filler Post

This is unapologetically a filler post. It is unapologetic because today has been unusually productive and this has limited my ability to write/blog. I actually printed out a cleaning schedule and put it up on the fridge. What's more? I followed it! I swept the floors and mopped the kitchen! I look forward to the day when I get my birthday mop*** and am able to use it on our wood floors. Until then I will simply sweep, because there is too much wood for me to do it on my hands and knees.

So yes, I did the floors and got laundry done and made dinner and Leo barely napped today! It's still a far cry from where I want to be as a wife and mom, but it's a start and I need more days where I can say that.

I have officially bored myself. Since you have been such a good sport and not immediately exited this page I am throwing a few pictures your way.... because getting a glimpse of my life is totally a reward!....... Yeah......

Post hike

It's exhausting being carried everywhere

Sunset at the overlook

If only pictures could do it justice

Seriously, I need a better camera

We get to go home?!

This is MY bear

And I will eat him if I want

*** "Betty Friedan is turning over in her grave..."
       -    My husband reacting to how excited I am to be getting a really good mop for my birthday

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Five Favorites (Vol. 6)

Welcome to my little slice of Five Favorites, hosted this week by the fabulous Grace !

- -
I'm a big junkie fan. As much as I enjoy using it to browse for myself, lately I have had a grand 'ol time getting ideas for Leo. I love what my brother and sister-in-law did with their girls and having books on tape for them to listen to. I imagine Leo will listen to fewer stories involving princesses and maidens but hopefully he will enjoy it at least half as much as his cousins do!

- I Am a Bunny -

I can only imagine that one day I will have memorized this book and, in all likelihood, hate it. But not yet. It is the only book in Leo's rather vast library that he actually enjoys reading with mommy. Sometimes he tries to eat it and sometimes he squirms and fusses until we stop, but other times he sits very still in my lap and listens and looks with his big brown eyes. 

- Hiking as a family -

Fox Hollow Trail
Front Royal, VA
The past two Sundays Ben and I have taken our intrepid Leo hiking in the Shenandoah National Park. The entrance is only about 10 minutes from our house and given the fact that Leo is obsessed with being outside we figured purchasing an annual pass was a good move (it was, as it turns out). As a brief aside, when I say that Leo is "obsessed" with being outside I mean that he could be screaming bloody murder and absolutely inconsolable, but if you step foot outside he will calm down immediately. He doesn't care for strollers that much but as long as he is facing out (in arms or carrier) he is happy as a lark! So anyway. The two hikes that we have gone on as a family have been lovely. We were in the cool and beauty of the forest and Leo was so captivated that truly he didn't even make a sound for an hour (both times). The second time we were able to see the sun set over the mountains from a great overlook. Not a bad life.

- What About Bob? -

I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful.
I love this movie! I am pretty sure that I think of it at least once every day. Our son being named "Leo" also brings it to mind. Throughout my pregnancy (and yes, after too) my brother would often greet us by yelling "Baby! Leo! Marvin!". My nieces may or may not have been confused about his middle name for a bit. But since parenthood really has been all about baby steps, I can't think of anything more fitting....

- Connecting with People -

It's hard to believe that we have only been in Virginia for about a month. Part of that is due to the fact that things haven't been super easy. But a bigger part is just how much living we've done since moving here! This past week I had the opportunity to visit a close friend of mine who I have barely seen in the past two+ years. The drive was less than ideal (screaming infant for over an hour?! pinch me!) but having the chance to catch up and just spend some time together was awesome! Her kids are so sweet and they were just amazing with Leo and since Ben couldn't be there with us they drew pictures for him that they sent back with me. A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E! Ben and I have also had the chance to spend time with other friends (old and new) and that has been invaluable. And just the other day I was able to meet the incredibly sweet Beth after mass! I am so grateful for the generosity and kindness that we have been shown since moving here. God is good :)

~ Happy Wednesday ~

Dishwasher? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Dishwasher!

Okay, so here's me attempting to keep up with Jen's 7 Posts in 7 Days challenge. It is only 11:45 AM and the best way to express how it's gone so far is with show and tell -->

Sooner or later something has to make him happy, right?
Yesterday was tough. I thought it was tough when I sat down to write yesterday's post but it got worse after that. We made it though and after a good(ish) night's sleep and with God's grace today will be better. Or at least manageable. Either way. 

Remember how I said that the dishwasher was fixed? Turns out that is not as true as one might think. It's always fun finding that out after you've made dinner and used almost every utensil and dish in the vicinity. Thank God I have a husband who is the best of the best and washed (and dried!) them for me. 

The washer seems to have stopped destroying my clothes. The last few cycles saw the shredding of my favorite sweater/cardigan and two shirts. That was hard, especially since I don't have a massive wardrobe to begin with and can't really afford to go run out and tap into my inner shopaholic. Anyways, the clothes I washed yesterday survived and I was super grateful! For some reason when I went to wash the towels the washer got stuck on a rinse cycle (for six hours) so I'm not really sure what that's about. Maybe we should consider putting the plumber on speed dial? Is that the right person to call? Who fixes dishwashers and washers anyway? Clueless much?

Speaking of clueless, I am in desperate need of ideas regarding the care, keeping, and entertaining of infants! Well, not all infants. Mainly just one (Leo, in case you were wondering). As evidenced by the picture above I have been trying out a number of different things. I read to him ('cause infants love that), I talk to him (I'm boring), I sing to him, I hold him and show him different toys, play with him on the floor, put him in his bouncer, put him in bouncy seat, walk him, etc. I can only assume that I'm doing something wrong. I really need some new ideas so if you have any please go ahead and share them!

I'm going to end this post by saying that I've been reading more scripture lately and that has been both consoling and challenging. Consoling inasmuch as I have been reading passages that describe God's care and faithfulness; challenging because chapters like Proverbs 31 exist and when I read that I felt like I just got splashed with cold water. But that's a post for another day :)

~ Happy Tuesday ~

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just Another Manic Monday?

There's no other way to say it - I'm in over my head. In case you need me I'm going to be in bed with a giant white flag draped over me. OK, no, not really, but there sure have been plenty of times lately where that's how I feel. Why? Glad you asked!

Leo is teething. And just in case you don't believe me (like his pediatrician) go ahead and open his mouth and touch his two bottom teeth. They must have cut through overnight because one day he was all gums and then BAM! He's gnawing on my hand with two pearly whites! It makes a lot of sense out of the intense fussy period he's been going through and helps me feel like maybe it hasn't all been in my head after all. Here's hoping we get a reprieve sometime soon?
Leo won't use real teethers. This is a spatula.
Leo has gastric reflux. It's acid reflux but reworded for no reason! OK, maybe there's a reason for the rewording but it's lost on me. We suspected that he might have it for a long time but it was never confirmed until the other night when we were at the ER. Why were we at the ER? Because he had blood in his spit up. Yeah, it was awesome. 

My computers are dying. Yes, I have two (a desktop and a laptop). Soon I will probably have ZERO. Remember how I was trying to fix my laptop? Yeah.... that did not work so much. Not only did reinstalling Windows not help, my back up discs failed so I lost everything that was on my laptop. I would have used a jump drive or external hard drive but there was that whole issue with the USB ports not working. Anyways, the laptop has been kind of working lately and I've been able to make it work. Until now. I turned it on today and it made this INSANE beeping noise, flashed the "Welcome" screen a billion times, and then went dead. I was able to get it started up later but let's just say I'm not expecting a happy ending. Now, I expect this sort of nonsense from my laptop. It's always been a pain (that's what happens when you get 'em cheap!). But when I went to turn on my desktop the other day it started revving up until it sounded like a plane getting to ready to take off and then CRASH! It could be the fan. Or the CPU. Or the motherboard. Or I have no idea what I'm talking about and Google searches aren't enough to make me into a tech.

It looks like our dishwasher is fixed. Yes, it was broken. Or kind of broken. It ran but it managed to make our dishes DIRTIER than before. Not great. Turns out the hot water valve was off. Now that it is back on we seem to be in business. Our guest bathroom's shower now gets HOT water (instead of just lukewarm) so that's great. Still no luck with our main shower. Plumber was at a loss because the whole shower thing is something he's never seen before (perfect). More evidence that when it comes to home repair/design you KEEP IT SIMPLE! Don't pretend to be Bob Vila and Martha Stewart rolled into one. 

On a more positive note Orkin is coming out tomorrow to spray for our Pharaoh Ant infestation! Seriously I am stoked. We have had barely any other bug issues since they sprayed earlier this month and since I am the biggest scaredy-cat of all time, that is a huge answer to prayers! 

OK, I promise to not be so negative in future posts and to actually include pictures. Photo-free blog posts are the worst, aren't they?! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

7 QTs

--- 1 ---

The view from our condo
A week after moving into our new home The Smoky Mountains became our temporary home as our little family joined Ben's extended family for a wonderful vacation. I had never had the privilege of seeing the Smoky Mountains before and the visit, while brief, was filled with beautiful sites and lots of fun!

 Leo has developed a few new talents over the past few weeks. His chubby little fingers can now deftly remove his pacifier from his mouth. He cannot figure out how to put it back in however so this new talent has been a little frustrating. The best part? He looks at me like I'm the one taking away his happiness!

The new talent of Leo's that I happen to like is how he tries to give me kisses. Whenever I give him a kiss he puts his hands on my face and presses his mouth against my cheeks with a sweet little coo. I'm covered in drool at the end of it but I wouldn't miss it for the world!

Leo can now roll from his back to his tummy! He has been busy rocking from side to side the past few weeks but never quite made it all of the way to his tummy until a few days ago. Of course he hates tummy time and immediately became very cross but Ben and I were there to see it and oh so proud!

Ben and I returned from vacation vowing to eat more healthily and exercise. We decided we'd start off with a bang and try out the "Military Diet." We conquered breakfast with ease! And then gave up by lunchtime. Seriously, diets are the worst. Exercise is far more doable. Maybe. 

This has to be the most rainy summer of all time. My poor little baby boy is obsessed with being outside and we finally have plenty of yard to explore and BAM! Virginia enters monsoon season. When our A/C was broken that first week I decided to make the most of it and took Leo out in the rain to play for five glorious minutes! The novelty seems to have worn off, however, because we went out in the rain to get the mail today and Leo was not amused.

One of the biggest surprises of motherhood for me has been that I am a complete and utter sap. I talk a good game but when it comes down to it my emotions tend to lead the way (my poor, poor husband!). After Leo was born but before we came home from the hospital I tearfully asked my husband if he could move the bed so that I could have the baby's Pack 'n Play right beside me instead of a few feet away like we had planned originally. Being the great sport that he is Ben said OK and had it all set up for us when we came home. Four months later we now live in a space that is big enough for the baby to have his own room. The nursery is all set up except for the crib, which did not arrive until today (courtesy of my previous coworkers!). Now that the crib has arrived I now have no excuse whatsoever to keep Leo beside me at night. Still, I am a bit of an emotional wreck when I think of him sleeping in a different room (though it is only separated from us by a thin wall). On top of that the time really has come for us to introduce a nighttime routine that does not involve us walking and shushing him for 30 min - 1 hr every night. More on that in a later post.....

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

~  Happy Friday ~

Friday, July 5, 2013


- 1 -
We Moved

As I mentioned in my previous post we finally made it down to Virginia as of last Saturday. I must confess to shedding a few tears over the last few days when I have thought of Indiana and all that we have left behind. Front Royal is beautiful and I am sure we will be better off for having moved and lived here, but the pangs of a sort of homesickness are there all the same.

- 2 -
The Good

Thanks to my amazing, incredible, fantastic in-laws, there are almost no boxes left to unpack less than a week after arriving. I know, I know -- you wished you were related to them too. Sorry, they're mine! Our house is slowly becoming a home thanks to the countless ways they poured themselves out while they were here and as I mentioned to Ben, each room already holds a wonderful memory because of them. In our previous home we considered ourselves savvy to have managed to get our main piece of artwork up. It's an entirely different ballgame post-in-laws visit -- yes the artwork is up but so are the sconces, the hallways mirror, and several pictures that did little more than decorate our closet before now! There simply isn't enough room to describe all of the ways they transformed our week and helped out.
- 3 -
The Bad

We have no AC. Or rather, we possess the raw materials for air conditioning, but lack the benefit(s). It's been hovering at around 84 degrees inside these past few days and while that is admittedly doable, it sucks in a big way when you have grown accustomed to keeping things at 70/72 degrees. Honestly it isn't even that bad for me - I always run cold and I am fairly comfortable with the fans going and a window open here or there. You know who isn't happy? Leo! That boy is like a tiny (or not so tiny) space-heater and he does NOT particularly care for the current situation. Which leads me to......

- 4 -

Leo now loves bathtime. I guess being an overheated, sweaty mess will do that to you. Still, it's a real boon for me and so much fun to see him splash around happily and get to cool off. I really need to make a video and post it because he absolutely cracks me up in there. Leave it to Leo to make playing in the bath an intense and somewhat serious endeavor......
- 5 -

Our welcome party

I. Hate. Bugs! Arachnids, ants, spiders, bees -- I hate them all! And to think that I used to complain about our previous situation with the ants!!! After two days of dealing with copious amounts of these guys (and a few others I did not include in the collage) my amazing mother-in-law called Orkin and got us a year of service (!). They came out and sprayed and not only was the guy super nice and friendly but the inside of the house has been virtually bug free and the front stoop is far better! Thank God!

- 6 -

Our house needs a lot of work. But it's our house. That makes us one blessed family! And if I learned anything from the time spent with my in-laws it's that gratitude and a positive attitude go a LONG WAY! Whining and complaining come too easy for me, as do self-pity and anger and a whole host of other issues. So yeah, our house needs a lot of work but you know what? I need even more work if I ever hope to be the woman of God that I want to be, that my family needs me to be, and God calls me to be. 

- 7 -

Speaking of gratitude, I am super grateful that tomorrow our little family is hopping in the car and driving to Tennessee to vacation with my husband's family! I have never been to the Smoky Mountains before but I can't wait to experience their majestic beauty for the first time and soak in the fun and family time. God is good! 

~ Happy Friday ~

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Well we made it to Virginia folks! We arrived Saturday afternoon after a fairly easy drive from Indiana that was split between two days with my husband's parents and brother. There simply aren't enough ways to express how grateful I am that they came down and for the tremendous amount of help and support they provided. Seriously, they are the BEST!

This really isn't going to be a long post. It's just me saying SURPRISE! We made it. Speaking of surprises, our new abode has presented us with several. Not all of them are bad but it certainly has been an interesting few days. I imagine many a blog will be devoted to our adventures as new homeowners, to say nothing of life in the Shenandoah Valley! I will close with a quick photo that I took from our back porch last night...

Yes, those are trees + mountains

~ Happy Wednesday ~