31 December 2012

12 in '12

I linked up with this last year, and feel like it was a nice quick reflection on the past year. Even though I don't really follow these bloggers, I had fun reading other people's posts!

12. Favorite movie you watched: Okay, so you want to know how many movies I saw in a theater in 2012? Try ZERO. And I think I only watched maybe three movies on TV/computer too. So instead, I will respond with Legally Blonde: The Musical which I got to see performed back in the summer (a friend of mine played the keyboards in the pit orchestra). It was great! If you're a fan of the movie, you should definitely see it!
11. Favorite TV series: It's still The Amazing Race, but I want to mention a show that definitely deserves more attention. ABC's The Middle. Hilarious. Sue is my favorite. (Also, it's set in Indiana with an occasional mention of my husband's hometown.)
10. Favorite restaurant: Hopjacks in Pensacola for their brie dip. I made sure to go there on our last night in town! As for Fort Wayne, I'm still exploring . . . but I already kinda miss Waffle House.
9. Favorite new thing you tried: Motherhood? Is that a cop-out answer? I guess the other thing would be parasailing. It was so peaceful.

8. Favorite gift you got: B got me a heater for "Christmas" but we started using it the day he brought it home (about 2 weeks before the holiday). Our bedroom is over our garage, our central heat is seemingly inefficient, and this space heater is the best present ever.
7. Favorite thing you pinned: Chicken taco soup. We need to make this again, stat!
6. Favorite blog post: It's my second most-read post, the Birth of Cora Elizabeth. (If you're wondering, my most-read post is my Homemade Protein Bars--thanks, Pinterest!)
5. Best accomplishment: Still breastfeeding! We definitely had our issues in the beginning, but we will make it to a year!
4. Favorite picture:
My brother-in-law took some pics for us at Thanksgiving, and this one is a favorite
As for pictures that I took, this one from July still cracks me up:

3. Favorite memory: Probably my birthday, even though most of the day had nothing to do with me. Celebrating someone else's accomplishments, which took my entire 28 years to happen, was much more enjoyable than just another birthday.
2. Goal for 2013: Make Cora's "first year" book. And finish the wedding album for my mom! (Only 3 years late now, sorry Mom!) Other than that, I'm not much into resolutions. We're looking into buying a new car for B and a house(!), so who knows what 2013 will hold? If anything, I'd like to go on more date nights. We've had TWO in the past 11 months.
1. One Little Word: Faith. I think that's a good focus for my family and myself in 2013.

25 December 2012

Happy Christmas, Y'all!

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to say "y'all" any more now that I live in the land of "pop."

Anywho, who wants to see our Christmas card? Okay, awesome. I made these on Shutterfly, and they came out great as always.
Yes, we are the W---------s. You can figure it out.
One thing I love about Shutterfly cards is how customized you can make the backside of it! It was a perfect place to announce our move and new address, and even throw in a few more pictures.

I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas Day!

23 December 2012

What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 8)

I'm back at this again!
It looks like the 5pm Saturday vigil is becoming our mass. I don't really like that, but B has been working every Sunday, so it's just another sacrifice of married life (and him being employed, which I am very happy about). I find the vigil is hard because it feels like just another thing "to do" on Saturday. I was bumming around in a hoodie and jeans all day, complaining about constantly being cold, and it just didn't feel right to wear that to mass. I looked like a mess and felt like one too. Changing my clothes immediately brightened my mood.

Don't mind the little bokeh spot
It probably also helped that of the five pieces I wore, FOUR of them were new (to me).

Button-up shirt: The Limited (thrifted way back in high school) // Vest: NY&Co. (hand-me-down from my sister) // Skirt: Ralph Lauren (thrifted) // Leggings (fleece-lined!): Target // Boots: Bare Traps from DSW (my Christmas gift from my mommy)

That third picture is THE COAT. I mentioned it a few weeks ago, and now it is finally cold enough to wear it.
Coat: Kenneth Cole Reaction from Burlington Coat Factory
The coat probably could stand to be a bit warmer, but at least I felt pretty and fabulous in it. I have found out that this coat exists in two other colors, but they are out of stock everywhere online. If they ever come back in, I'm buying both! I really like how the hood is removable (it zips off) and it looks good either buttoned all the way up or leaving the top two buttons undone.
I get cold very easily, so hood went up!
A few observations on mass for this 4th Sunday of Advent: sitting up front is the absolute-hands-down best way for me to pay attention. All of the other times we've gone to this church, someone's head has been blocking my view, and it causes me to lose focus. We found an open pew in the very front this time, and it was so much better for me. 

Also, I don't know what's up with this church, but the congregation LOVES to sing. It is fantastic. I love to sing, and at previous parishes I often felt like I was just an extension of the choir or a cantor-wannabe. (True story: at my church in Norfolk, a visiting priest made everyone sing "Jingle Bells" in the middle of July because he said that we didn't sing loudly enough.) 

But that is not a problem here. I first noticed this when we went to the most recent holy day mass. The choir (might have just been a few cantors, actually) did a song during the Offertory that I had never heard before. They don't generally do sing-along songs for that part of mass--they just show off their musical chops with something choral. Well, I looked around and I noticed all kinds of people singing along. And singing along to the different parts, too. Old blue-haired ladies and teenage dudes in letter jackets alike. I seriously did a triple-take. Maybe I can point this out and finally get B to start singing at mass.

I will leave you with this photo because it caused me to laugh hysterically:
Baby is a total camera ham (I promise I'm not scolding her) BUT WHO IS THAT ON THE COUCH??!?
This pretty much sums up our family.

21 December 2012

7 Quick Takes (Christmas Decor Edition)

This is going to be a mostly photo edition of 7QT! You get to glimpse at some (most) of our Christmas decorations. We live in a small apartment and have been progressively baby-proofing (we have a curious one). I'm also going to double-dip and add this to NFP and Me's Christmas Decor linkup.
--- 1 ---

My sister gave me this version of the Nativity for Christmas last year. When my parents were in town this past weekend, one of them (probably Mom) moved them to say "YOJ." Sigh.

--- 2 ---

Our stockings are hung by the chimney. Oh wait, we don't have a chimney and also have to push stuff up against the fireplace so baby can't climb into the thing (works most of the time). My stocking (on the right), I've had all my life, and B and Cora will be getting similar ones hopefully by next year. As a placeholder for B's, my mom got a cheapo stocking and printed out an iron-on to show him what his will look like. Also, I think something is in my stocking already from Santa Mom.
--- 3 ---

Baby has her own Little People Nativity (given to her as a Christmas gift last year, when she was still in utero). There's a sheep missing, probably under our couch or something. Usually this is all over the floor--she really likes that angel--but she's napping so I put it back together for a photo op.

--- 4 ---

Why yes, we have a real Nativity set as well. Family tradition to put an animal on the roof.

--- 5 ---

Are. You. Ready?
--- 6 ---

We originally had the Christmas cards hanging off the bar like we did last year. But baby grew an inch overnight or something, so they had to move. That's our utility closet. And check out another Holy Family decoration there on the table. All of my decorations have been gifts, by the way. Including our newest--this little guy on the bar:

--- 7 ---

Can't forget the tree! Pushed all the way back so baby can't get it. Except for the time she did somehow...
And her ornament:

--- 8 ---
Bonus take: gratuitous baby with Santa photo!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

14 December 2012

7 Quick Takes (Family Near and Far Edition)

Haven't done one of these in a bit, but so many scattered thoughts in my mind today so why not?

Link up with this gal

--- 1 ---
I had my first last name recognition in this town! Last week when I was dropping baby off at the gym's childcare, my name kicked up on the screen and the childcare worker asked if my husband or I was a teacher. She said she knew there was a teacher with that last name at her child's school. We have a pretty unique last name, but I did say, "Well, there's a lot of us." I don't know what all of B's relatives do, but I figured out within five minutes which aunt it probably was.

--- 2 ---
On the flip side of this, I had my first encounter with the "dark side" of the family. Not to air too much dirty laundry here, but since it's starting to affect my life I'm okay with mentioning it. One side of B's family had a big falling out among the siblings and a handful of them don't talk to each other any more (his parent is one of 10 kids). When I went to church with his aunt a few weeks back, apparently her brother she doesn't talk to was also there and walking behind us as we walked out. I've never met this person and was trying to sneak a look but failed.

The whole thing just weirded me out. I only have one sibling, and I couldn't imagine not talking to her if I ran into her randomly. (Although with only one sibling, you kinda know where they are at a given time.) I guess when you're one of ten, your siblings are more like cousins? But even then, I'd talk to my cousins.

--- 3 ---
I had the worst Wednesday night. The day itself went pretty well, but it all went downhill around 6pm. Here's a recap: managed to burn our dinner even though it was in the crockpot, got rear-ended at the first light coming out of our place by a girl who I'm pretty sure didn't have insurance, tried to find a movie at the library that said it was there but apparently wasn't anywhere to be found, tried to exchange something my husband bought for a different size but couldn't find it in Meijer after looking for half an hour, had a package I sent get labeled "missent" and spent too much time trying to track it and figure that out, and then once I finally got into bed the monitor started 'sputtering' quite annoyingly and then the baby woke up screaming within 2 minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

That makes me tired just thinking about it. But I also realize that most of that is a bunch of first world problems.

--- 4 ---
Wanna know how all of that was resolved? Dinner: we ate it anyway. Fender-bender: decided to let it go since my car is now over 5 years old and it was a small scratch. Library movie: never found it, even after stalking other library patrons to see who had it (checked online after it closed and still says it's there)--will try again today since you can't put them on hold. Clothes exchange: made my husband deal with it today since he's the one who actually knew where they were in the store. Package: giftee called the post office and it's still being sorted out but should make it to him soon. Monitor: changed the channel, which I seem to have to do once a month. Baby: nursed back to sleep.
This is me in the trunk of my car on the day I bought it . . . back in September 2007.

--- 5 ---
Speaking of the baby and sleep and my recent cry-for-help blog post, I checked out the "No-Cry Sleep Solution" from the library and am hoping it will answer my prayers. I've made it all of 20 pages in and all I've found out so far is that a lot of babies are far, far worse sleepers than mine.

--- 6 ---
If you're not doing anything tonight, you should watch Elf with Dwija and Cari! That was actually the movie I was trying to get at the library. I've never seen it, but I've heard good things. If I find it today, I might just join in. However, my parents are in town so who really knows what the day entails.

--- 7 ---
My parents are here! My parents are here! They drove up from Georgia last night (because they are nuts), and they are staying until Tuesday. They are currently both sleeping since they didn't stop and got here at 6am. We're taking Baby Cora to see Santa at the Y tomorrow morning and going to buy the baby a big-girl convertible car seat at some point. I'm sure we'll do other fun stuff too, and maybe I'll even tell you about it!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

11 December 2012

Overwhelmed and Underprepared

I've taken a step back from blogging lately. Actually, I've taken a step back from nearly everything, including reading, housework, and even taking pictures.

I am exhausted.

My baby is generally a good baby, but she has been putting me through the ringer lately. She's nearing a year old, and some days still decides that she wants to be very awake at 5am. I have a rule that our day cannot officially "start" until 6:30am, so on those days it seems I end up rocking/nursing her in the glider, praying that she'll go back down. She'll be almost asleep, and then once I put her back in the crib, she pops up to pull up on the crib and starts screaming her little baby head off. Crocodile tears and all. Some days it takes me 45 minutes to get her down for a nap, and then she only naps for 20 minutes. That's about enough time for me go to the bathroom and eat a snack.

This lack of sleep affects me so much mentally and emotionally. I usually break down at some point on those days. I want to be there playing with her, but those days I just lie on the side of the couch lazily watching her bang a block against the coffee table. Sometimes I pitch a fit to B about it the second he walks in the door.

And then I feel guilty. Guilty about how messy our bathroom is, even though I have no energy to clean it. Guilty about not singing or even talking to my little girl when I know she loves hearing my voice. Guilty about counting down the days until I start mommy-led weaning. Guilty about asking my husband for help in the middle of the night even though he works his butt off to support us. Guilty that I fantasize about dropping her off at her Grandma's for the weekend so I can get some decent rest. Guilty that in my angry fits, I am unjustly accusatory of my husband.

I know many people would tell me to remember that "this too shall pass." But the fact that I only have one child right now and know that I will have at least one more in the future doesn't make that statement very easy to digest. Yes, it will pass, but then I'll just have to do it all over again while dealing with a toddler-energy-ball. I have actually had dreams that I was pregnant again already, and in all of those dreams I was not happy about it. At all. Cue more guilt.

All of this is weighing down on me, causing me to not enjoy this Advent or even look forward to Christmas. I have hardly bought any gifts for family members, and haven't even put a card in the mail for my nephew's birthday which is in two days. It's not just physical, though. My heart has yet to "prepare the way of the Lord," and it has become just another season to get through until the weather warms up/my baby weans/B's job gets less busy. I realize that some of this is due to being in a new town and not having any mommy friends yet. I also realize that this is my first foray into full-time SAHM-hood, as I had to part with my fantastic and flexible part-time volunteer job once we left Florida. I realize that I should probably just give myself a break somehow, swallowing my pride to call one of B's aunts to help me out on occasion.

But yesterday, I forced myself to nap while baby was napping (thankfully, a long one). After he got home from work, B and I went to the gym together, dropping baby off into the capable hands of the Y's child watch. We lifted weights, spotting and encouraging each other through bench presses and barbell squats, and I remembered that our marriage is first, always. I love those gym dates. I also found the strength yesterday to get down on the floor and really play with Cora. Something I did caused her to emit her big, deep belly laugh. I hadn't heard that laugh in a while, and it came back as a reminder that sometimes, just sometimes, motherhood is a job that smiles back at me. I just have to let it.

02 December 2012

What I Wore Sunday (Vol. 7)

Check out the awesome sauce.
I tried yet another church today. Since B is off doing his Navy Reserve stuff, I went to mass with his aunt and uncle at a beautiful church downtown. While I was getting ready, I kinda sorta felt like I was prepping for a date! A date with Jesus, that is. A date that lasted only 45 minutes, which I found odd for the 9:15 time slot. But unlike a normal date, I don't have to worry if my date is going to walk me to the door or call me tomorrow. I sang "Jesus Loves Me" the entire ride home. (Not really.)

Not sure if I would wear this on an actual date. Also, I'm not barefoot.
Most of this outfit is secondhand in one way or another. My mother-in-law had a bunch of clothes that apparently don't fit her any more, including a handful of nice dress shirts and a few skirts. Some of them still need to be altered a bit to fit me well, but I'm not one to turn down great wardrobe staples! When I put this shirt on, even though it fit well, it overwhelmed my petite frame. I decided to roll the sleeves up a bit to balance it out. I also think my outfit would go better with some colorful flats or tights, but alas, I do not own either of those. Maybe another day.

Shirt: Eddie Bauer (secondhand from MIL) // Belt: also from MIL, she said it came with a pair of pants // Skirt: The Limited (thrifted) // Tights: have had forever and wasn't sure if they'd still fit // Shoes: RocketDog from Burlington Coat Factory

Oh, you may have noticed that I never wear earrings in any of my outfit posts. That is because I fall into the 12% of American women (I made up that statistic) who don't have pierced ears. My mom had a rule that you had to be 14--she doesn't have pierced ears either and most likely wanted us to be able to maintain them on our own. My sister got hers done on her 14th birthday. And I just never really wanted it. I still don't.  I know it's the norm in some cultures to pierce baby girls' ears, and that is fine, but I think I'll keep my mom's "14 rule" in this house. Even though my baby girl has minimal hair and looks like a boy. She also pulls headbands off in 2.467 seconds flat. Here's a gratuitous baby picture taken during those few seconds from we watched THE BIG GAME last night.

Cute baby almost makes up for disappointing game outcome. ALMOST.
(Oh, I forgot to mention the coat again from last week. I have indeed taken the tags off and started wearing it. However, it wasn't cold enough to wear today--in the 50's and rainy, so maybe next week I'll get a picture. I'm still loving it.)