Monday, June 30, 2014

20 Months - 6.30.14

Welcome to your twenties, Connor J!
Month after month, I think that this is my favorite time with you. But really... you are so much fun right now! You are independent, happy, energetic and just a constant good time. 
Life with you lately has been more fun than we ever imagined. You run, jump, hop, talk, laugh and scream... adding more personality to our world than we ever knew we needed. 
Our favorite words "okay" and "sorry" sound absolutely adorable coming from your lips. You refer to yourself as Con or Connie. Hearing you say Connie completely melts our hearts. 

We love you sweet boy. To the moon and back.
Momma and Daddy Papa

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Bucket List Week 2: Park Discovery
Click on the Bucket List photo to see our full bucket list.
Last week, we enjoyed some water fun

 The part of Austin we live in provides more parks than we could possibly discover and enjoy. However, one park we haven't visited before is the baseball park. After purchasing a tee ball starter kit for C, we headed to our local baseball field for a fun filled morning.

Connor loves playing bat and ball indoors so Mister and I were very excited to see what our little guy would do on the diamond. As soon as the tee was up, Connor went at it. We were pleasantly surprised by how quickly he picked up how to play.

 While Connor's form needs work, he had a blast hitting the ball from the tee. More importantly, the little guy has more heart than he knows what to do with. From batting, to running the bases to fielding fly balls, he was in little boy Heaven. 

Our summer has started off with a hit! I can't wait to see what we will do to make this summer one to remember. 
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chasing Hope Review & Giveaway

"When I'd finally pulled myself together enough to hobble back to the hospital bed, I felt my emotions evaporate. I was empty and alone. I had no baby to worry about and nothing to live for. There was nothing to survive for. I was ripped and bloodied and didn't give a crap anymore." Chasing Hope, Chapter 10

When James and I decided to start a family, we "got to know each other" three days in a row (which an online website told me were our best to days to conceive) and BAM! We made a baby. I had the most simple, easy pregnancy. 9 months later, we welcome our son into the world, never once thinking something would have ever interfered in us meeting Connor in October of 2012.

But the reality is, I'm the exception in many ways. My best friend Kari suffered two miscarriages before having her daughter in 2010. Other families have suffered loss after loss, while many are left to turn to their doctor and medical procedures to help them make a baby. I can't imagine the roller coaster of emotions these families experience. Simply put, becoming parents isn't always an easy as just doing it.

Chasing Hope is Amy and Kevin Daws' story of heartbreak, loss and the miracle of never ending hope. At 33 weeks pregnant, Amy is certain something bad will soon happen, it had too many times before. Deep down she fears it’s only a matter of time before the baby she’s carrying will die. Despite the fact that Amy had been repeatedly slapped in the face with multiple miscarriages, she still can’t seem to quiet that tiny voice in the back of her head that’s screaming at her to not give up hope.  

Amy stumbles through her journey with humor and warmth, all while dealing with the neuroses that came along with getting her hopes shattered time and time again. All she has to do is close her eyes and she’s lurched back to the memories of her losses; on the floor in her bathroom, in the hospital, and even at her place of work. No one knows what the internal mind of a woman who’d lost five babies and suffered so many let downs goes through. 

Maybe you are like me in regards to getting pregnant. Maybe you know all too well what Amy has gone through. Maybe you are some where in the middle. No matter what your journey to motherhood was/is like, Chasing Hope will make you see pregnancy in a whole new light. Amy's story will have you appreciating every day with your little one a bit more. For those of who blinked and got pregnant, you'll appreciate that luck so much more after reading this book. More than anything, if you are in the midst of your own journey to motherhood, Amy's novel will have you chasing hope as well.

One blog reader will win an eBook of Chasing Hope simply by following the easy prompts below!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Captain Connor

I once shared how Connor is a traveling pro. He has been every where and I mean every where. To date, CJ has traveled close to 18,000 miles to be exact. While I try to document the highs and lows of our travel, one of my favorite moments is when Connor was given the chance to hang out in the cockpit of our plane during our trip to IL in May. 

As we boarded the plane, our flight attendant waved to Connor and introduced him to the captain and co-captain. The captain (holding Connor here) asked if we would like to grab a photo of Connor "flying" the plane. Of course, we would love that! Connor instantly grabbed the steering wheel (is that what it's called on a plane?), all the while smiling from ear to ear.

I've joked that Connor has earned his wings already thanks to us traveling so often. He might have a few years still before that could really happen but on this particular day, sharing the seat with the captain was enough to make our little guy happy.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Bucket List Week 1: Water Fun

Most days, either before running errands/visiting friends or before dinner, C and I will spend a hour to a hour and a half playing in our backyard. Connor loves the outdoors so it's a great way to entertain him, as well get us through the hour before nap and/or the dreaded witching hour that hits us around 5 each evening.

But we are in Austin, Texas. Where the average temperature in ATX in June is 92. Factor in the humidity and it feels closer to 100 degrees. It's safe to say, the only way we can survive being outdoors in the summer is by spending every minute in cool, refreshing water. Lucky for us, we don't have to leave the house to enjoy some water fun.

Connor loves collecting rocks and has recently discovered the act of washing/cleaning. Add a squirt or two of Dawn dish liquid and now, he can wash his rock collection in his water table. Once he considered them clean enough, he laid them out to dry.

After cleaning our rock collection (is that one of the strangest things you've heard?), we moved onto playing in our pool. Except someone got sidetracked with a bucket we use to clean our feet off before getting into the pool.

Mr. Personality thought this was the best. thing. ever! Not only could he play with Jake and his pirate friends, but apparently, splashing and stomping calls for his single "OH!" face. I love spending my days with this little guy, discovering things through this eyes.

Once we got to the pool, Connor couldn't kept his hands off the hose. He recently discovered the wonder of the hose and all it does/can do. Today, he discovered that he could get "milk" - everything drinkable is milk - from the hose and drank into his belly was round and hard from so much water. We splashed, we swam with friends and drank "milk". The best way to spend a morning in our backyard.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Discovering Hats

As soon as I told my Mom that I was pregnant, she starting buying and buying. Her oldest and only girl, was finally going to give her a grandchild. She was over the moon excited. One of the things that she bought (in bulk) were the little baby hats/boggins. As an October baby, no doubt they each cap would be used. I mean, Connor was born in Ohio, the winters there are fierce. But much to our dismay, Connor hated, loathed, despised having anything on his head.

As the months went by, I notice that he not only disliked having his head covered but he wouldn't let us put sunglasses on him either. No sunnies in Texas? If you say so, C. 

However time passed and Connor slowing starting to enjoy hats. Not for a long period of time but I felt like the more he wore one, the better my odds were that he would keep it on. Then one day, he found his Daddy's UT (boo! hiss! - O! H!) baseball cap. And that's when the magic happened... #seriously.

Since that day, Connor is all about hats. He will wear them, even ask for one and 9 out of 10 times, turn it backwards for the cutest look ever. How cute is he with his hat and overalls? I mean, if this look doesn't say all boy, I don't know what does!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

His Promises

I don't talk about my faith much. I don't share my thoughts and opinions on my relationship with Jesus Christ. I can't tell you why I hold these feelings to myself. I think a lot of it has to do with that I don't want to come across holier than thou or judgmental. Because Lord knows, I'm just as much as a sinner as the next girl in line. In case you're wondering, I'm a Christian. I was raised Pentecostal and later attended a Baptist church. I see myself as Baptist.

But what you've may have read is how I feel as if I live a very blessed life. God and blessings are mentioned throughout these blog pages from time to time. But blessed isn't really the right word. Simply put, I'm in complete amazement of how much God has given my family without us truly giving all that much to Him. We don't attend church on a regular basis. I completely dropped the ball in regards to a Bible study I started. Life takes over and going to church and reading the word is pushed to the side.

Since moving to Texas 18 months ago, I've found myself praying more. Talking to God more. How did the move create this new found need for prayer and talk? I think it's due to the fact that I spend the majority of my days alone with Connor. For a while, I didn't have much of a support system here and I knew that if I opened my heart, God would take control and allow me to see what good could come from a move that wasn't my idea. 

I'm the type of person who needs to know what's next for me/my family/life. I am a planner. I obsess over the fine details and having things put into place. However, my time spent praying and laying it all out for God during our many conversations, has taught me a very valuable lesson: My plans are a distant second to what God has in store for myself and my family. While I've learned this lesson time and time again, it doesn't mean I've stopped trying to plan. That's just who I am.

As a family, we have a lot going on right now. Decisions to be made. A life to live to the fullest. God has shown me a path to what my family wants and what we have been praying for. And with any path, there are twists and turns, bumps and obstacles along the way. Along the way, I know that God keeps His promises. He keeps His part of the bargain. His plan is what will be fulfilled. Within His hands our happiness lies. 

Luke 1:45: Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

4 Ways to Find Balance as a Busy Mom

4 Ways to Find Balance as a Busy Mom

Photo adapted from this photo

Sometimes I think that one of the hardest parts of being a mom is finding balance. Every day we have about 100 things that we HAVE to do, and then we have about another 1,000 more that we would LOVE to do if only we had the time or the energy.   But we don't have the time or the energy. We already spent it all feeling guilty about all the things that everyone else somehow manages to do that we don't--like escaping from the house wearing clothes that aren't covered in baby spit-up, like exercising more than once a year, or like throwing an amazing Pinterest-worthy birthday party in the backyard of your gorgeous, Pinterest-worthy house. Or is that just me? :)   Well, it's time to stop the madness. I'm not perfect. You're not perfect. Nobody's perfect. And nobody is expected to be perfect. But we can be good moms--or even great moms!--if we stop chasing perfection and start striving for an appropriate balance instead. Here are four great ways to find it.  

1. Determine What Really Matters Most in Your Life

  You can have anything, but you can't have everything. Time that you spend doing one task is time that you don't spend doing another. And unfortunately those tasks that don't matter as much always seem to find their way to the top of the list.   One method of finding balance that I have to constantly use over and over again is reminding myself what is most important in life. For me, being a good mom and wife is at the top of my list. There are plenty of other things that I like and need to do, but I always need to remind myself that my family comes first. The dishes can wait. The blog post can wait. My kids are only going to be little for so long.  

2. Schedule Your Time Wisely

  Once you figure out where your priorities are, it really helps to schedule your time accordingly. This will help you make time for the things you need to do while preventing the less important things from taking over.   For example: I clean in the mornings, I work while they nap, and I set aside time to play with them without distractions in the afternoons. This way, everything gets done and no one thing can take over more than its fair share of my time. This also really helps me focus, because I know I only have so long to complete each task before I have to move on.  

3. Take Fun Breaks

  For me, at least, it can be really easy to fall into "focus" mode, where I focus more on crossing items off of my to-do list, and less on spending quality time with the real people around me. Not only does this cause burn-out, but it doesn't develop good relationships and it isn't much fun either!   It is okay to fall behind on the housework! It's okay if you miss a blog post. It's okay if you feed your kids whatever you could find in the cupboards for dinner because you didn't make it to the store. Take time out of your busy day for fun. What are you going to care about more in 30 years? The fact that you spent time with your kids making memories, or the fact that your laundry was always folded?  

4. Realize that No One Else Has it Together, Either

  I think it's so funny when people ask me questions like "How do you balance it all?" What makes you think I do? I don't! It's so easy to get online and see just one aspect of someone's life and think that it paints a whole picture, or that they really have it figured out. But really, we only see their Facebook highlight reel.   The ladies who post awesome crafts on Pinterest? They probably didn't do them with their kids (or they wouldn't have gotten such great pictures). The ladies who write inspiring posts on their blogs? They mess up too. The ladies whose houses look so beautiful when they post pictures online? They probably just cleared the clutter from that one spot for the picture (I do this alllll the time!) I'm not trying to be mean--just saying, we don't know the whole story. It's so easy to think that because we see a few great pictures, that their entire lives must be perfect, when honestly, they aren't.     So, it's time to stop the madness. Stop aiming for perfection--it's all fake anyways. Stop worrying about what other people have and do. And just live YOUR life! It's the only one you have. Might as well enjoy it!   How often do you fall into the trap of feeling like you have to do it all or be it all? What steps do you need to take TODAY to help you find balance?     

 Brittany is a stay-at-home wife and mother who loves Jesus and helping other people fall in love with him too. When she isn’t busy picking up toys or changing diapers, she blogs about finding God in the midst of it all on her blog 17 Hour Days. You can find Brittany on Facebook, Twitter and Bloglovin’.

Monday, June 16, 2014

iPhone Camera Roll - Part 1

Hello. My name is Stephanie and I'm addicted to taking photos of CJ Frankenstein. All. Day. Long.

But then again, that's not news is it?

Often times, I'm so quick to post a photo to Facebook or Instragram that I don't have any fresh photos left for this poor, poor blog. But lately, I've been taking tons and tons of photos and not uploading them anywhere. So what better way to share a glimpse of what photos can be found in my iPhone camera roll. 

While out to lunch one day, Connor insisted on trying my Maine Root Root Beer. After saying no for the 1 trillionth time, I just gave in. I mean, he was asking for it. And this is the face he made. After one sip, he was D.O.N.E. I guess he learned his lesson on trying to drink Momma's soda.

Every day Connor and I walk to the mailbox. On this particular day, C-Man was rocking some crazy hair. It was so full of volume and body, it added a good 3 inches of height to our little guy's frame. No matter how many times I sprayed it with water and combed it down, it just popped right back up. It was a bit of a blowout, minus copious amounts of hair product. Regardless, he was still awfully cute that day.

On Friday, I packed up Connor's highchair and brought out the big guns: A BOOSTER SEAT! Please tell me how my itty bitty boy is capable of using a booster seat? Well, he is. And from the looks of it, he is mighty excited to be doing so! Meals have been much messy than I'm used to but this is one milestone I think Connor is really loving! 

Happy Monday!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Favorites - Desiree & Jenn

I blog to document our lives. To create a way for me to have an outlet as a stay at home mom. Additionally, I use Wife Mommy Me to keep our friends and family back in the Buckeye State in the loop. Blogging as taught me more than I ever expected. From learning to feel comfortable putting it all out there to finding resources you never knew existed or that you even needed, blogging has open my mind in so many ways. One of the things I love most about blogging is the sense of community. Mostly, building relationships with fellow bloggers who took a chance on sharing their story, family, life with the all those (cyber weirdos included) on the world wide web.

Today, I wanted to give some recognition to two bloggers that I enjoy immensely, ones I connect with daily through their posts, emails and sometimes even text messages. Ladies that make the blogging world a bit smaller, more intimate. These girls are a part of my blogging and real life family and I hope you can enjoy them as much as I do. 

...Desiree from Macke Monologues...

 Desiree, in all her transplanted Cali beauty, is Mom to a little fellow I refer to as Cheeks. She runs, cooks, crafts, blogs with complete ease. She has really pushed me to work hard at putting myself first and taking control of my fitness and health. What I love about Des the most is she has the kindest, biggest heart. She is a beautiful lady, inside and out.

Jenn over at Ripples and Waves

Not only does Jenn write a daily read of mine but she is my cousin. With only a handful of years separating us, some of our earliest memories include each other. We weren't always close (due to matters out of our control) but we've always had each others backs. This wife and momma is ridiculously crafty and has mad skills with a camera in her hand. 

Be sure to visit Desiree and Jenn. While they both remind me of each other in some areas of their lives, they both bring so much joy, love and honesty to my world through their respective blogs. I promise you'll be thanking me for introducing you to such sweet gals. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Day at Zilker Park

This past weekend, we headed downtown to visit Austin's "most-loved park". Zilker Metro Park covers over 350 acres and offers a variety of activities for local residents. We visited Zilker during the Kite Festival last year and spent an afternoon riding bikes around the lake earlier this spring but Sunday was our first chance to really take in the sights.

What little person wouldn't love to enjoy a ride on the Zilker Zephyr miniature train? The train travels around Town Lake, giving you a chance to sight-see a bit. When your train ride comes to an end, you can spend time playing on the large playscape located next to the depot. I'm looking forward to taking Connor back and spending the morning on the playscape.

Barton Springs Pool is a natural spring-fed pool with a year-round average temperature of 68 degrees. The pool has a small wadding area that is perfect for someone Connor's size. He had a blast stomping, splashing and watching the everyone enjoy the cool water on such a hot summer day. What you don't see if him slipping on a rock and getting completely drenched.

Austin Nature and Science Center offers a variety of programs for children and adults. Unfortunately, for us, we weren't able to go inside the center as it didn't open till noon but that didn't stop us from checking out the surrounding area. Connor enjoyed climbing, walking and just discovering all he could. He loves exploring and the landscape outside of the center allow him to smell flowers, find rocks and see a (freakishly) large lizard. Our little guy loves nature!

We spent close to 2 hours just walking the grounds, checking things out. Connor is still young enough that birds and trees and rocks hold his interest. Give him a place to run and climb and you'll find yourself enjoying the day with the happiest boy in Texas.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Multiple Kiddos - A Guest Post

As well all know, I'm a full fledged one and done Momma. So when I encounter ladies who have a desire to add to their family, I can't help but think... what the Hell? Don't get me wrong, our little guy is nearly perfect. But the idea having another c-section, of starting over again, of all nighters, of someone depending on your 24/7 is enough for me to rip my uterus out. #serious.
But Mama from The Mama is one of those mysterious parents who welcome the idea of another child. And when I say welcome, I mean she is days away from having baby number two. Today, Mama shares her thoughts on transitioning from a family of 3 to 4.
Things are so exciting around our house right now.  Albeit, a little nerve wrecking at the same time.  We have a toddler named Liam, he is twenty months and we are expecting ANY DAY now, another little boy.  I’ve been talking a lot on my blog about our preparations as we get ready for life with two children, but Stephanie was the first person to ask “Why did you decide to have another?”  I saw this post writing itself, “why not?” was my initial response. 
Then, I started digging deep.  Digging deep for an answer for mothers with an only child.  Digging deeper to find an answer that honored mothers who have like 20 kids.  Now, here I am, behind my keyboard the day before this post is to go live. What did I get from my journey of multiple children having self-discovery?
That I must be nuts.
I must be insane.
I must hate sleep.
Love the smell of poop.
Desire to never wear a clean shirt.
Find stretch marks flattering.
Think a clean house is seriously overrated.
I must think date nights are boring.
For approximately 25 minutes, I couldn’t think of a positive aspect to having another child. “I’ve served my time,” I thought aloud.  My son is now weaned, he sleeps through the night, he’s potty trained and the two of us are efficient in our days.  I no longer beg my eyelids to stay open or curse my husband for having a job.  Knowing now, at nine months pregnant, there is no turning back; I chose to pray.
“Lord, remind me again why I wanted to do this all over again.  What was I thinking committing to an additional 18 years or so of caring for another human?  Have you met the kid I already have?  He’s spunky.  He’s adventurous, some might even say, hyper.  Am I really cut out for this?  Am I equipped to sustain them and nurture their spirits for as long as they’d have me do so?  How will I do this with no sleep?  Please remind me, God.  Why did I want this second baby?”
After saying a prayer similar to that one, I had to step away from the keyboard a while.  I was truly drawing a blank.  I knew why I wanted to give Liam a sibling, but the words were not in my mind or heart yet.
I needed dinner. 
I needed to play with Liam some this afternoon, and hear him laugh.  I needed to be reminded of the first time I held him.  I didn’t smile with joy, instead I wept.  I wept for this child, he was so beautiful and perfect.  Yet, stuck with me as his mom.  Would I fail him?  Probably a couple times.  Would I love him unconditionally?  Beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I needed to remember that the best decisions I’ve ever make had a little fear behind them, but I always learned later that they were the perfect decisions for me. 
I want to have several little people to love the way I love Liam.  I want him to know the love that comes with having a sibling.  A built in playmate, someone to argue with, someone to stick up for, and someone to make memories with.  I want to stay up late with another beautiful human I grew in my womb.  I really don’t hate scrubbing poo out of diapers, either.  I want to relive someone’s first words, their first steps, and watch them discover the world.  I want to share with this little people in my home, how much God loves them.  I want to remind them day in and day out that God trusted me with their souls.  I want to nurture them, bless them, and pray for them.  I want them to occasionally make me feel like a failure, so I never stop trying to grow as a mother.  
I want to hear these sweet boys call me “mom.” Both of them.
Mama, I can't wait to see you grow and discover all the joys of motherhood... again! Congratulations on expanding your family and more than anything, thank you for provided a post that made me truly understand what a Mom to more than one thinks of when making what I'm assuming is a tough decision. You have a beautiful point of view and the boys will be blessed to have you as their Mom.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

All The Happy

I'm a fairly simple gal. Really. The Mister might tell you different but honestly, it doesn't take much to make me happy. Lately, I've notice that I find bliss in the smallest of things.

Of course our son makes me happy. But the past couple of weeks with Connor have been ahhhmazing. He is FINALLY sleeping through the night thanks to the use of some essential oils. He has been in the best of moods and overall, makes my "job" as a stay at home Mom pretty damn simple.

If you don't like doughnuts, we can't be friends. Truth. My gosh, I love a chocolate glazed cream filled pastry. But it's been well over 19 months since I've had Krispy Kreme (my first pick and really, the best doughnut distributor ever).  I mean.. what kind of world am I living in? We don't get out and moving in the mornings too quickly so donuts aren't really an option. But Sunday, we planned our morning so I could get my eat on. So good. And so worth the calories.

There is nothing that makes me happier than being this man's wife and this sweet boy's momma. A family photo before date night was a must and I love how for the first time in ages, we got a good one with the babe smiling. I think it has a lot to do with our photographer. Connor loves his Favorite Aunt Ten. Every day spent with my guys is easily my favorite day.

I mentioned here that I was over making excuses and not treating myself/body the way I should. I've stepped it up this month with my workouts (thank to a Skinny Meg workout suggestion) and just in the last 10 days, I've notice a huge different in my energy level and that I sleep so well at night. Let's hope that when I weigh myself on June 30th, I'll see a drop in weight. Either way, this isn't going to be something I give up on. I have a number and goal in mind and plan to kill it. 

Between my guys and eating calories to just burn calories, life is good in my world. Of course, the moment I type/think/say that shit will hit the fan but that's okay. Because I've finally figure out that everything is just a phase and it does get better.

Share a little piece of your happy with me!
Enjoy your day! 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer Bucket List

The official start of summer is just 15 days away; can you believe it? As a family, we plan to make the very most of our summer. Now that Connor is a bit older and so much more mobile, we can really celebrate and discover this summer. With so much fun to be had, we plan to focus on completing our Summer Bucket List.

Six other bloggers and myself have teamed up to share some of our most treasured summer activities. Here are the ladies who are going to be linking up every Friday, June 20 to August 1.

Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Desiree with Macke Monologues | Jenny from The Chronicles of We
Becky of bybmg | Courtney from Sweet Turtle Soup | Elizabeth at Chasin' Mason

2 weeks today, each of us along with anyone who wants to join us, will linkup and share one of the 9 summer activities listed on our Summer Bucket list. What's on the list? I though you'd never ask:

Each week, we welcome our readers to share their summer memory with us through our weekly linkup. There are 9 total tasks but we will only be sharing 7. Our last week to linkup is Friday, August 1. When sharing your posts and photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, be sure to use the hashtag #SummerBucketListFun so we can check out what fun you're having this summer!

If you would like a copy of our bucket list, you can find it here.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

6.5.14 - 3 Years

In all my wildest dreams, I never knew I could love someone and be loved so much as we love each other. The last 3 years have given us twists and turns along with extreme highs and lows. But regardless, I know we have what it takes. We have each other and our little guy, the perfect combination of you and I, our complete family of 3.
 Today, tomorrow and every day after, I will always love you. 
You are my always.
Happy Anniversary Foxy Coxy.