Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving is coming to us, this year!  I have never hosted this holiday meal before, but I have to start somewhere.  The joys for being an adult.  (And yes, I get that I've been an adult for about a decade now).  My inlaws are flying in from California on Wednesday.  The closest major(ish) airport is about 90 minutes away, so thankfully, they decided to fly into our tiny regional airport about 10 minutes away.

My father-in-law is a vegetarian, so I need to be sure I have enough filling choices, besides the turkey.  People are really in it for the sides anyway, right?  Everything will be pretty traditional, but we went to Sam's Club on Sunday and they were out of turkeys!  Last year, when we waited last minute(the day of) to buy a turkey, Billy ended up bargaining with the poultry department on an organic bird.  So along with cleaning, and cooking, I also must locate a turkey for us this week.

Cleaning shouldn't be bad.  I think it's the cooking that could get tricky.  The goal is to have everything hot, still be hot when it's time to eat.  So with a not so large kitchen, and one oven, I'll have to think this one through.  That would probably be the only time, ever, that I would want a double oven.

And then four weeks later, it's Christmas?  Are they always this close together?  I've been keeping gift ideas for people on my phone, when I think of them.  As I was browsing a few weeks ago, I saw a few good deals, and then saw they were comparable to Amazon prices.  But with then shipping(because everyone is far!), it really jacks the price up.  For my FIL's birthday, it cost me $9 to send him a cup to California.  The conundrum is, that I often feel like the *click & send* option of online shopping for gifts is so impersonal.  I LIKE to send things in the mail...I just feel like it is more thoughtful, and shows the recipient that I made the effort to shop, wrap and send it rather than just a few clicks of the keyboard.  Know what I'm saying?

So cheers to a short week, and time with family and friends!  Look below and see that Will and Patton are becoming fast friends:

Sunday, November 17, 2013


This week was the monthly MOPS meeting, and I left with such great food for thought. MOPS has been great because it's not just a play date group; in fact, they provide childcare while the moms meet separately. I mean, how often do you have a chance to chat with friends without keeping one eye on a kid?

This month's topic was about mom comparison. It was something that I didn't think I really got involved with, but the more I thought about it - oh yes, I do.  And social media makes it so easy to get sucked in!  Not just with parenting skills, but who looks more well-rested, the bigger SUV, house, cuter kids clothes, more creative lunches, time for crafts, literally goes on and on.  

Now, I love facebook and it is how I keep in touch with many friends and look at their pictures(not for comparison purposes).  But how many people on there are I not close with?  And how do I spend my time...cruising their pictures too.  And when am I doing this?  During down time, when nothing really exciting is going on in my house.  Say...taking a break from laundry...oh look, so-and-so is enjoying a cocktail in the Caribbean.  Does that generally make me feel thankful for what I have?  Not as much.  And, I seem to often forget that we are looking at a VERY edited view of someone else's life.  It's easy to keep the ugly out.  Have you seen a picture of my messy house?  Obviously, not.

The more I began to think about it...the more my brain starting much time am I wasting looking at this on my phone?  SO MUCH.  So after the meeting, I deleted the app from my phone and have been far less distracted, and able to focus more on playing with Will and direct all of my attention to him when we're playing.  And guess what - I don't think I've missed anything.

Circling back to the social media and comparison topic...we talked about Pinterest too.  Someone said it is the devil's website - ha!  I'm not as big into pinning as other people, but I do find it useful for finding new recipes and some DIY and craft ideas.  It can see how it would get pretty easy to get carried away on Pinterest though...pinning new kitchens, bedrooms, vacations, and other things that we don't or won't ever have.  I think goals, and dreams are healthy, obviously, but it probably does not make me appreciate what I do have.  And let's be real - who is doing even 5% of what they pin?  Salads in mason jars?  Really?  Last week, our pastor had a great quote, which stuck with me and has great application to this topic - The degree to which I am blessed staggers me... the degree to which I take that for granted shames me.

What I think helps combat a lot of the comparison is connections with other moms/women.  Once you get to see their REAL life, you realize that they have similar struggles and vulnerabilities and it's not as perfect as the facebook photos.  We are all trying to keep it all together, and I think when you see that others aren't perfect - or don't have a child sleeping through the night either, you gain a sense of relief.  At least, I do.  It's a comfort and for me, provides a lot of support once everything isn't so hidden.

One last little note and then I'll get to then the weekly dose of Will pictures.  One person noted that she never wanted to have people over because her house was a mess.  Someone else said that people should leave your house feeling better about themselves, not feeling better about you.  Haha - well, folks, come on over to my house and you'll feel great about your own messes, I promise!

So a little bit of a soapbox this week, but I thought it was good to think about.

This week, sleep has not been too great.  Thank you, molars!  One day, my child will sleep through the night and I will rejoice!

Thanks for tuning in! :)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Around The House

I've been thinking about what to do with the blog now that I'm not doing the weekly first year updates.  I mean, are there things to talk about other than my baby?  ;)  Surely, I will be able to keep this up, even if it is just once a week.

So this week I'm going to share some helpful things that I have discovered for around the house.

First, item: this Bissell Steam Mop. I mean, who likes to mop?  Oh that's right, no one.  But this makes the chore a lot more bearable.  No more going back and forth to the sink or dragging a bucket around.  With a dog in the house, a baby with a leaky sippy cup, and a lot of food from the high chair on the floor, I needed to mop the floors once a week.  It's literally plug and play, and comes with reusable/washable scrub pads.  For wood floors, I think this is the answer, so water is not sitting on the wood, getting absorbed and warping.  So yes, if one must drag out a mop, this is the way to go!

I don't know if these little buggers are regional, but it seems quite a few people have these camel crickets(don't click if bugs gross you out) in their basements.  We had been chasing them around with the shop vac, thinking we were making a dent in the population.  We couldn't figure out how to get rid of them, and I was threatening Billy with chemical spray.  Until we discovered...DUCT TAPE!  They eat the adhesive and then get stuck.  I won't tell you how many we've caught, but it is a LOT.  Easy, and cheap if you need to tackle this problem!

Hard water problems?  Our dishes and glasses were coming out so foggy from the dishwasher.  So, everyone has hard water around here, and our neighbor pointed us in the right direction.  Lemi Shine!  I didn't know we could fix the problem, but it has worked it's magic!

Instead of lugging our giant vacuum cleaner for easy jobs, this Shark cordless vacuum has been great.  I have no idea why Billy came home with this, and at first I was against it.  But I use it all the time and lightweight enough to carry it upstairs without a problem.  Will likes to chase it around while I am using it too.  Even for just catching the stray dog hair tumbleweeds, I've used it enough to justify the purchase.

Ok, this last one is baby related, but has made our walks a lot more bearable for Will as the temperature has gone down, and especially on windy days.  If you have a Bob, or any jogging stroller, don't buy the $40 Bob brand wind shield.  Hop on down to BRU and buy this generic shield.  It has been awesome, and saved me from having to go to the mall to walk on less than ideal weather days.

Obviously, I will still post weekly photos of Will, too!
He started going down the slide in our backyard this week:
 He loves looking out the back door window:

 My preppy baby...who just tries to eat the zipper on his vest.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Burgh

Last week I made a little trip to Pittsburgh for a mini-baby tour.  As I was driving across the Liberty Bridge and looked left into Heinz Field, and right, at my old office, a wave of nostalgia hit me.  Don't get me wrong, I'm liking West Virginia and the friends I have made. People are friendly, it has a small town atmosphere, without being too small and always seeing the same people, and is a very safe community. But oh, I do miss Pittsburgh! I think unless you have spent some time in the city, you may have a certain impression of steel town. But not so! There is a lot to do, there are many parts of the city that are beautiful, and is actually rich with culture!  I am now only 2.5 hours away, so if we wanted to do a day trip for the zoo, aquarium, museums with Will when he gets older, it would be a pretty easy trip.  So here are some of the things I miss:

Pizza. Its everywhere and its almost all good! You will have to search for a chain pizza place, because there are few. And Papa Johns just doesn't compare!  Here in WV, we're back to Pizza Hunt or PJs. So sad.

Pierogies. Most grocery stores have one, maybe two varieties of pierogies in the freezer section.  Pittsburgh brings it to a new level with a whole section for pierogies. And churches typically sell them during lent. And you can't forget the pierogie race at Pirates games!

Speaking of the Pirates...Pittsburgh sports!  Even the Pirates stepped it up this year. And no one really cares that they are typically a losing team because the Penguins and Steelers are the real stars of the city!  Ok, so maybe not the Steelers right now.  I made the mistake my first game day in Pittsburgh, not wearing black and gold...just to the grocery store! There is some serious pride. But if you want to get a bunch of errands done, do it during a game. Stores are like ghost towns!

Mt. Washington. Where we lived. While the rental house we lived in left a lot to be desired, it had an amazing view, at the head of Emerald Park Trail, was close to the incline, and a dog park out our front door! So those are a few things wrapped into one bullet: unique public transportation, green space, and pet friendly! We loved our street and our neighbors. To our surprise, we found Pittsburghers to be extremely friendly. I think it's because of the common love of the Steelers...always something to talk about. This southern transplant assumed the northern crowd to be rude. You know what happens when you assume...

Ed and Med: this former steel town reformed itself for newer industries. There are a ton of colleges...Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Duquesne to name a few. Which is why it was so easy for me to find a job. And there are about 10 hospitals in 5 square miles of the city proper. Perhaps more. But they are outstanding and people come from all over the country for Children's Hospital. The one I delivered Will at is one of the top women's hospitals in the country.

Shopping: ok, maybe this isn't much different than any other big city. There isn't anything lacking and there are plenty of options in every direction of the city. Even Ikea! But let me say that I had 3 Targets to choose from in a 10 mile radius. Here in WV: ZERO. I have to travel an hour to the state capitol for my Target fix. The silver lining is that I'm probably spending less money.

Fireworks: All the time and we had an awesome vantage point on top of Mt. Washington.  Seriously, the city must have a massive fireworks budget because every time the Pirates played, Bret Michaels was in town, or it was Saturday, it seemed like they had a show.  Eventually, I stopped going outside to watch.  Billy never tired of them though!
I'm sure I'm missing a few gems, but those are the major bonuses to living in the city that come to mind.  We miss it so much, but we do see the benefit of living in WV for now.  

In other news: I gave Will some mandarin oranges and he is a fan!  He is eating so much more now that he is just drinking milk from the sippy cup and not nursing.  In the morning, as I'm getting breakfasts for everyone and coffee ready, as soon as he sees me grab a banana for him, he starts making all kinds of excited noises.  He also mastered the standing up on his own and is walking pretty much full time now.
Best buds!