Post Christmas mess

We are officially moving next week.  I cannot believe it’s happening so quickly!  It’ll be like this: my birthday, our wedding anniversary, an interment at Arlington Cemetery for Will’s great uncle, then moving day.  Four days of booked.   It will be so much at once but we can do it.  We’re going to postpone our anniversary celebration until we’re settled into the other house and can relax a bit.  Plus that will give us additional time to plan what we want to do as we really haven’t.

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We began tearing down Christmas decor on the 26th which is early for us.  We had to box everything up so we could move onto permanent decor and other “things.”  Our home looks like it was pillaged last night; there are boxes everywhere in our living area, both empty, half full, and closed up with tape.  By the evening of the 27th everything Christmas was boxed up, in the garage, or in our move-out staging area in one corner of the living room.  Our dining room is accumulated packed boxes and soon we will be packing our belongings upstairs.

I cannot wait to share all of our recent projects with you as we’ve been so busy with the holidays that I haven’t had time to write about them.  I will find time and share our recent fun after we settle in.  2016 has been a tough year for many but it has brought so many extraordinary things as well.  ❤

Christmas for a 17 month old

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Our house is decorated with three Christmas trees, garland, and random little decor “spurts” here and there throughout.  It’s a goal of mine to have my entire home decorated for Christmas some day.  Growing up I begged and begged to decorate for Christmas and would finally succeed on Christmas eve when we would put up a tree which would come down the day after Christmas.  I’ve begun decorating and celebrating Christmas since around Thanksgiving for a few years now and I’m hoping my children grow up to love the holidays as much as I do.

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This year we have our traditional Christmas tree decorated a bit less than we have in years past because we will be moving in January and our fancy, meaningful ornaments are so much more work to wrap and pack away, so they’re keeping cozy in their boxes this year.  This main tree is 7.5′ tall and is decorated in red and gold which is mainly to represent our Marine Corps life, but also to commemorate our Alma Mater, Norwich.

This year we also set up two secondary trees!  How fun, seriously these were more enjoyable for me than our normal tree!  In our dining room we have a white tree decorated with black, blue, and chrome balls, some light sabers, and starwars ornaments.  At the top of our stairs in our hallway right in front of a window that can be (somewhat) seen by the main road we set up our Elizabeth tree.  This tree is 3′ tall with pink ornaments.  They are adorable, there are sweets ornaments like cupcakes and candy, regular ball ornaments in gloss, matte, and glitter, and a few other pink-girly themed sets.  This year we will find a tree and ornaments for an Alodia tree.

Will has never quite had the same enthusiasm for the holidays as I have, though he is beginning to since we have children (That, or we finally have a good stash of decorations?)  He decorated our stoop with a nice garland and some c6 lights, set up two potted trees and restrung them, since they were dead when we accumulated them, and then lined our walkway and driveway with alternating 3′ tall candy canes and Christmas trees, all lit.

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Elizabeth accidentally broke 2 of the ornaments from our Star Wars tree before she realized they cannot be dropped on the floor.  Since then she has been gentle and listened well about being kind and not destructive.  I’m so happy we don’t have baby gates wrapped around all of our trees!  The presents are another story…  They’ll be out of sight/reach until she’s allowed to tear through them all.

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I hope Christmas always brings everybody cheer and that it is a time of warmhearted gatherings and relaxed/stress-free comfort. ❤

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DIY for “all the reasons”

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Okay you all know how cheap I am, seriously, I’ll do anything to help save a few bucks here and there.  Except extreme coupon, that is way over my head.  However, I fortunately am entertained by many do-it-yourself projects which actually end up saving me money in the long run.  While sitting in my living room I can see two projects that have been financial “wins” for my family.  The first is our TV stand, the second is Elizabeth’s learning tower.

Our TV stand is some sort of victorian dresser-type piece that was the worst condition of furniture we had ever tackled.  We learned so much while working on it and learned a handful of techniques as well.  Our TV stand cost us under $100 for the entire project which is hundreds less than most tv stands, let alone real wood ones.

The learning tower allowed us to take a stab at a very “hands on” approach to parenting.  Before our tower Elizabeth would cry at our feet simply because she was so interested in what we were doing on the counters that she couldn’t see.  With the tower she is able to watch what we’re doing from a safe distance, or right up in the mix.  It has allowed us to spend more time in there cleaning or cooking and has exposed her to those very life skills which she is already mimicking!  The learning tower cost us under $50 which is a fraction of what regular learning towers cost.

Yay for DIY!

Breastfeeding mamas

Seriously ladies, are you ever sick of dealing with people’s shit and know that your patience is shot all because you’re nursing?  I swear that hormones are so much worse when nursing than when pregnant.  During both pregnancies I would deal with the hormone changes and cravings, and being just plain moody; but it’s SO much worse when breastfeeding.  Any of you agree?

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Cravings are absolutely insane, my patience is so shot that I actually have to actively remind myself to have some during most situations, and I’m so irritable that you might as well just steer clear unless you want your head chewed off.  Pregnancy wasn’t quite so bad.

At the moment Elizabeth and I are both fighting colds.  Dealing with my own cold is a minor inconvenience.  I simply feel under the weather and move on with life.  Poor Elizabeth is simply broken, it is so sad.  Last night she had a 102 degree temperature when she woke up a couple hours after being put down for the night.  We gave her a little medicine and cuddled her until she began acting like she felt a little better, then I put her down again.  Around 2 she woke up, for the 3rd time, and Will decided to sleep in her room with her.  Thank God she is feeling a bit better today, it’s simply heartbreaking to see a tiny little human feeling awful.

A big sigh of relief for me through this entire everybody-get-sick phase is that through nursing, Alodia is gaining some great immune system boosts.  I am fascinated by how when my body is fighting a sickness it, by breastfeeding, fights sickness in her body as well.  It’s like the breast milk is a shield protecting her!  So cool, right?!

I have experienced a full circle this week all because of breastfeeding.  It’s causing me to be moody but also giving me a big silver lining while almost my entire family is sick because my little 2 month old is healthy and being kept healthy with breast milk. ❤

Silent night

Elizabeth and Alodia both have been going through a developmental leap recently.  Alodia thankfully handles these leaps very well, Elizabeth on the other hand gets immensely stressed out.  Since Elizabeth’s first developmental leap (more commonly known as week 4 sleep regression) was awful.  There isn’t a word I can think of to describe how terrible it was.  She wouldn’t sleep, she wouldn’t be comfortable being set down anywhere, she wasn’t comfortable nursing, she wouldn’t take a bottle.  Something that would work one night would be unsuccessful the next.

I spent one night in the garage with the door open and all lights off rocking her, bouncing her, walking around, sometimes walking on the sidewalk and driveway.  Luckily it was August in the desert so it was comfortable outside in the middle of the night and there were no bugs.

Another night I had to have her in our snugglebug wrap with her only in her diaper, and no shirt on me (yeah, I was desperate) for skin to skin time, but it doesn’t stop there; I had to walk in a circle with a diameter of about 5 feet between our dining room and our living room with the light on above the stove.  Walking in larger circles, in the kitchen, or in the living room weren’t sufficient.  Any other lights weren’t okay.

Other nights were spent on our back patio listening to the coyotes howling and yipping.  That 10 days was the most difficult 10 days of my entire life, nobody was around to help us out even for a few hours during the day, but we made it.

Alodia has never shown any signs of being phased by any leap she has gone through so far.  Sometimes she doesn’t want to fall asleep at night without nursing; that is honestly the worst thing about her leaps, it’s wonderful.

Elizabeth is between leaps right now, Alodia at the end of one of hers, and we’re all working on getting a good schedule.  During E’s most recent leap she didn’t want to go to bed for naps or at night.  Before the leap she would go to bed between 7 and 7:30, wake up around 7 or 7:30, take a nap from about 10 to 12, then another nap from about 3 to 5.  She slept a lot.  During the leap she would go to bed around 8 or 8:30, wake up around 6, and refuse to nap.  Since her leap has been over she’s been back to her 7-7 overnight and two, two hour naps a day schedule.

They are both napping right now.  Alodia slept in her bassinet for the first time last night, and slept through the night for the second time, and I’m feeling great because of it.  I’m sick, but feeling great in the mom sense of the word.

Motherhood is tough, but seeing Elizabeth hold Alodia’s hand last night just before she went upstairs to bed is what makes it all worth it.  I’ll refrain from going into her room to wake her up from this nap since I miss her sweetness.

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Mom guilt

I am a huge advocate for quick and easy in every aspect of life, concerning Christmas cards, I like to customize and order them online and have them ready within a day or two.  I typically do any cards through Staples copy center simply because I was treated very well by the company and bosses I had while I worked there in college.  You see, it’s such a simple process to get your customized holiday cards, announcements, invitations, etc. through staples copy center.  Their inventory can be accessed on their website or in the store and your photos and information is added easily.  The next step is to wait for the local store to complete your project and by the end of the following day you will have your product in hand!

I’m sharing this with you because I just submitted my order for our Christmas cards and I cannot wait to pick them up tomorrow and get them sent out on Monday.

Our Christmas card this year has two photos on the front; we included a photo of the four of us and an adorable photo (if I may say so myself) of Elizabeth.  I get extreme mom guilt when I do things like this because I feel as though Alodia is missing out, but I have to remind myself that she’ll have her time to shine as well, and that photo is simply just cute because she got up and walked away and our photographer snapped some shots.

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Old lady life skills

Sewing, crocheting, knitting, genealogy, cuddling up with a good book, interoverting (yes, I just created that word).  Sounds like a great retirement, right?  It also sounds like a list of my hobbies and interests, yet I’m not an old lady nor am I retired.  My husband told me recently that he had a realization which was basically along the lines of, “you know your hobbies are that of the life skills of an old woman.”  Uh, yeah, that’s true, but I didn’t quite realize how to digest it until a couple days later.  I was slightly offended until that realization.  I am an old woman!  

I enjoy peace and quiet, crafts mentioned above, cooking from scratch, and I’m known for baking treats that I don’t even like.  Being a picky eater doesn’t mean I should withhold my abilities to please. 😛

The biggest piece of advice I can pass along to you is the following: If you create a home made crowd pleasing dish from a treasured secret recipe, share it.  Pass on the love.  The only secret recipes I have are the things I make from a package.  Betty Crocker’s sugar cookies are the only secret recipe I have.  It’s so secret that I don’t even know it, and that’s why I can’t share it.  The same thing goes for hobbies and crafts, I enjoy sharing my skills and interests with other people who can cherish items they make so I do share information simply because everybody is a beginner once.  If I was always ignored or pushed aside when I inquired more experienced sewers then I wouldn’t possess the skills I do currently.  Share the love, people.