Sometimes and Always


I'm linking up with Megan for Sometimes and Always.

Sometimes: I tell myself that I'm going to invite the Kindermusik moms and babies over for a playdate.
Always: I chicken out.

Sometimes: I say that I'm only going to be on the internet for 5 more minutes.
Always: 5 minutes turns into 45!

Sometimes: I play little mind games with myself while I'm running to keep myself going.
Always: I look like a nutcase who talks to herself.

Sometimes: I say that I'm going to go to bed by 10:00 no matter what.
Always: It's at least 11:00 before my head hits the pillow.

Sometimes: I make a decision pretty quickly and swear that I'm going to stick to it.
Always: I change my mind at least 3 times!

Sometimes: I promise myself that I'm going to stay on track with my to do list.
Always: I get completely sidetracked and do a bunch of other things that aren't even relevant.

Sometimes: I wonder why bad things happen to good people.
Always: I remind myself that God is in control and he knows what he is doing.

Sometimes: I wish I was rich so I could buy anything I want!
Always: I know that true happiness does not come from money or things.

Sometimes: I look at my sweet baby girl and my handsome husband and I wonder what I did to to deserve everything I have.
Always: I thank God for my blessings and I pray for Him to keep them safe and healthy!

Life Lately


It's been hectic the last few weeks but I feel like things are finally slowing down a little bit. Here's a few random tidbits from our life lately:

We had a dear friend that we met in Burundi come stay with us last week and we had so much fun hanging out with her. We wanted to get some beach days in but it was actually pretty chilly so we did some shopping and a lot of eating.  It was so nice to have someone to talk to and hang out with during the day. I miss her already!

Emerson has grown by leaps and bounds even since I wrote her 8 month post last week. She is now crawling on her hands and knees a little bit, though she still prefers low crawling. She has learned to sit up by herself from a laying down position and she can pull herself up on her musical table without any help. Yesterday I laid her down for a nap and she was super quiet so I figured she had gone to sleep. All of the sudden I heard her fussing so I knew something had to be up. When I went in her room, this is what I saw:

She was pretty darn proud of herself, though she didn't know how to get back down. She did figure that part out today and can get up and down like an old pro. Needless to say, naps have been a bit more difficult now that she has figured that little trick out! :)

After tons of research I have finally decided on a big girl carseat. Injuries from traffic accidents are the number one cause of death here so we really wanted the safest seat possible. That's also why we bought our tank of a car. I ended up going with the Britax Advocate 70 CS. It was pretty pricey but since we only have one car we only have to buy one seat for now so it's not too bad.

I still haven't decided on an umbrella stroller. I want one that is super lightweight but also good quality. I forgot to mention that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the stroller that came with our Chicco travel system. It's a nice stroller but it is pretty heavy and bulky and it's hard to get it through the narrow aisles in stores here. We're going to keep it because it was great with the carseat and hopefully we'll be able to use it again with future little ones.  But now that E will be moving to a convertible car seat, I want a lightweight stroller for everyday use. My plan is for this to be the last stroller we buy and I know the only way that is going to happen is if we get a good quality one. I'd really love the Bumbleride Flite or the Uppa Baby G-Luxe. Any opinions on either of these? Or should I go with the trusty Maclaren? Or are there any more reasonably priced ones out there that will hold up? I mean honestly, it's hard to imagine paying $150 or more for an umbrella stroller!

Have I ever mentioned that I'm a bit indecisive? Haha. :)

I finally broke down and subscribed to E-Mealz. I went with the Low-Fat meal plan for two. This is our first week following it and it has been great so far. The recipes are super easy and they have been surprisingly good. The best part is that it comes with a printable grocery list. I HATE making the grocery list so this is awesome for me.

I found a coupon code for new subscribers so it made the subscription come to about 4.65 a month. You really can't beat that! I think the only obstacle will be finding some of the ingredients. Our grocery store will randomly stop carrying stuff sometimes so that can be a pain but I'm sure I'll be able to figure out some substitutions. I'll update you guys in the next few weeks and let you know if we are still liking it.

Yesterday we went to a golf tournament and we got to see Tiger up close and personal. I'm not a huge golf fan but it was still pretty neat. I have a lot fun pictures so look for a full post on that in the next few days.

I am still really loving My Fitness Pal. It's so easy to keep track of my meals and exercise and it's fun having friends to cheer you on. If you want to be friends on MFP, my username is littlemoments11. The more the merrier! :)

Speaking of, I really need to get my workout in so I guess this is enough rambling for one day.  I hope I haven't bored you to death with my randomness. :)

Happy Monday friends!

Fitness Friday


the blessed life

It's time for another Fitness Friday! I can't believe it's already Friday- I feel like this week really flew by!

How Did I Do This Week?
My goal this week was to avoid Diet Coke and just drink water and coffee. I'm happy to say that I did it! I had one Diet Coke last Friday after a week of not having one and I haven't had another one since. I have been drinking tons of water and I'm starting to crave Coke less and less. :) I also continued drinking Green Monsters for the first days of the week but I haven't had one in the last few days. Emerson seems to be having a little allergic reaction to something and I want to make sure it's not milk so I've been avoiding milk the last few days. I'm thinking about trying to make the Green Monster with almond milk this coming week just in case. Someone asked last week whether I use it as a meal replacement. When I have them, I replace breakfast though I have to say that it is more filling than any other breakfast I eat. When I have one I'm usually not hungry until well past noon. If you haven't tried it yet you really should!

Workouts this Week:
I am pretty happy with my workouts this week!

Sunday- 3 mile run
Monday- My Home Bootcamp (posted below)
Wednesday- 2.7 mile run
Friday- 45 minute treadmill interval workout (3 miles)  Upper Body workout (20 minutes)

Total Miles This Week:  8.7
Total Miles in 2012: 20 (Only 345 to go!) :)

I am super excited that I was really able to increase my milage this week.  I think I'm going to continue with 3 miles for another week or two and then try to go up to 4. I'm also working on increasing my speed. My average pace is around 11:15 per mile and I know I can do better than that. I'm also hoping to get more strength training in over the next few weeks because I really think it's the key to changing your body.

After doing the home bootcamp workout from Pinterest that I posted last week, I thought it would be fun to create my own. Of course, I am no fitness expert so I don't even know how balanced this workout is but I do know that it was pretty tough and I was sore the next day. I love doing interval workouts because the time seems to go by so quickly. If you have any questions about any particular exercise please email me. I found links that show proper form for almost all of these exercises and I'll be happy to pass them on. All you need for this workout is a pair of dumbbells and a timer. It takes 40 minutes from start to finish.

Weight Loss?
I lost one pound this week. That brings me to a total loss of 3 pounds since starting the Fitness Friday challenge and 42 pounds since I had Emerson. I'm about 6 pounds lower than my pre-pregnancy weight though I still have about 4-5 pounds to go to get to my happy weight. I'm so excited that I finally broke past those two pounds that I've gained and lost so many times over the last month or two. I know 3 pounds isn't really a huge difference and I'm sure nobody can tell but I feel better than I have in months. I think I can attribute it to working out. :)

Goal for Upcoming Week: Do 3 workout videos.
I have plenty to choose from plus there are SO many online- I really have no excuse not to meet this goal!

How did you do on your fitness goals this week? Head over to The Blessed Life and linkup.

Top 10 Baby Essentials: 3-6 Months


A few months back I did a post about my top essentials for babies 0-3 months. You can find it here. Now that E is 8 months old I thought it was a great time to share with you what I found to be the most useful from 3-6 months.

1. Snuza Halo Baby Movement Monitor

I honestly don't think I could have gotten a good night's sleep without this thing! Emerson slept in our room  until she was 5 months old and the Pack N' Play just wasn't comfortable for her anymore. When we decided to move her to her crib I was so thankful for this little device. It gave me peace of mind- which can sometimes be hard to come by with an infant. It's incredibly easy to use and portable so you can use it anywhere. We did have a few false alarms when she would sleep on her belly because it would lose contact with her skin but they were rare. I consider this a MUST HAVE!

2.  Bright Starts Play Mat

We got this one from Bright Starts because it matched her Tummy Time mat, but I really think any of these would be great. Emerson loved this! She batted at the toys and stared at herself in the mirror. I would have to say that this one of our most used items.

3. Fisher Price Love U Zoo Jumperoo

 We still use this daily! We got it when E was 4 months old. At that time she couldn't even reach the floor but we put some pillows underneath it and she loved it. Now that she is bigger she bounces like a crazy girl and loves playing with all of the toys. I like it now that she is crawling because I can put her in it while I shower, clean, etc and know that she can't get into anything.

4. Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair

 We started putting Emerson in her high chair when she was about 3.5 months old even though she wasn't eating. It was perfect for her to chill in while I made dinner or did the dishes. It reclines easily so she was able to sit in it even when she didn't have great head control. I love that it straps to a regular kitchen chair and doesn't take up tons of room. The cover comes off and is super easy to clean. I really can't stress enough how much I love this thing!

5. Sophie the Giraffe

I was skeptical about buying this teether because it really just looks (and sounds) like a glorified dog toy. But Emerson has loved it since the day it arrived in the mail.  We still take Sophie with us when we are out and about.

6. Bright Starts Sensory Giraffe

We have this hanging from Emerson's car seat handle. She plays with it the entire time she is in the car. It has a velcro tab that attaches it to the car seat so it's easy to get on and off. She loves the little mirror and rings that hang down. I don't feel quite so bad when she's in her carseat for a while because I know she's entertained.

7. Ergo Organic Baby Carrier

 Like I said in my previous post, I think a good baby carrier is a must! While Emerson is usually pretty content in her stroller, there are times that she just wants to be carried. We have the Ergo baby carrier and the Baby Bjorn (loaned to us by a friend). At this point we are still using the Baby Bjorn a little more frequently just because it's less bulky and allows Emerson to face forward. It just seems more suitable for smaller babies than the Ergo. However, now that she is getting heavier the Baby Bjorn really hurts my back after a short time so we are going to start using the Ergo full time. It is super comfortable and easy to use. I'm really glad we were able to have both but if I had to choose between them I would definitely choose the Ergo.

8. Sleepsack

We stopped swaddling Emerson right before she turned 5 months. Once we were done with the swaddle we knew we wanted a way to keep her warm and cozy without blankets. We started with a smaller fleece sleep sack from Carter's and now we use one from Ikea. It's very similar to the one in the picture.  Our house is very cold and Emerson is always nice and warm with her sleep sack on.

9. That's Not My....      Usborne Touchy Feely Books

E has tons of different books but these seem to be her absolute favorite. They have lots of different textures on each page and the text is short and easy to read. So far we have That's Not My Puppy, That's Not My Teddybear, That's Not my Mermaid, and That's Not my Reindeer.

10. Graco Pack N'Play in Posie

I didn't include this in my 0-3 month post but I would have to say that it is an essential from the very beginning. After we moved Emerson slept in it until we transitioned her to her crib.  We have kept it set up in our room and I put E in it when I take a shower. She loves to sit in it with books and toys. I do have to say that the Emerson did not care for the newborn napper and we probably only used it a total of 3 times. The attached changing station was very handy but she started getting too heavy for it at about 9 weeks (10 lbs.) and she would roll to the side during changings because it's only supported on one side. That being said I would still definitely recommend this Pack N' Play. It's super easy to take down and put up.  Ours was purchased from Babies R' Us and I know it wasn't anywhere near the price it is on Amazon.

Once again I want to point out that these are just my opinions about what has worked for us. Every baby (and Mommy) is different and I think you have to be willing to try things out and find out what works best for you.

While I'm posting about this, I thought I'd go ahead and share my input on bottles. Emerson still nurses, but she does occasionally get bottles when we are out and about. She had her first bottle when she was just a few days old and we did not experience any confusion or rejection. It was nice to be able bottle-feed her when we needed to.

We started off with the Playtex drop ins with the slow-flow. I loved them because they are so easy to clean. Trust me when I say that the less bottle cleaning you have to do, the better. I got this kit and it was perfect.

We still use the Playtex, but we have also purchased these Avent bottles with the slow flow. Even with slow flow, the milk came out much too fast for Emerson and she would choke on it. She started using them successfully around 4-5 months.

We still use them though we are transitioning to sippy cups since she isn't really attached to the bottle.

When reading posts like this I always find it helpful to hear what products people didn't find useful. I think this can be a touchy subject because, again, everyone has different experiences/opinions. So far we have been pretty successful with all of the products we received/purchased. However, there are two things that I thought were "must-haves" that we haven't really used all that much.

 First is the Bumbo. I really wanted one but the truth is we haven't really used it all that much. Emerson never really enjoyed sitting in it and would always slide to one side and lean over. I really don't think we got very much use out of it so I don't consider it a must-have.

The second is the Moby wrap.

Now I know there are many of you out there that swear by it but it just didn't really work for us. I was so excited when we got it and I really, really tried to love it but I never felt like I got it tied tight enough and Emerson never seemed comfortable in it. I'm chalking it up to user error! I hated trying to put it on when we were out and about because it's almost impossible to put it on without each side dragging on the floor. If I had to do it all over again I would go with the Baby K'Tan instead. It's basically just like a Moby but it doesn't require all that wrapping/tying.

I'm sure there will be many more "must-have" products along the way that just don't work for us and that's okay. It's all about trial and error! :)

I hope you guys have found this post helpful and please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions!

Emerson is 8 Months!


It is so very hard for Mommy to believe that you are 8 months old! We have so much fun together that our days just fly by. I feel like you are going to be a teenager in the blink of an eye. This month has been filled with lots of firsts. You have, just like always, taken everything in stride. You are such a sweet baby and it is impossible to have a bad day with you in my life. You make me smile all day long and you give me a joy that I never knew was possible. You, sweet girl, are the child that made me a Mommy and that has changed me for the better in so many ways. I love everything about you and I thank God for allowing me to have the most important job in the world. I have finally found my place and it is with you in my arms. You are going to do amazing things baby girl and I’ll be right beside you every step of the way.
8 Month Stats:
Weight: 18 lbs (according to our home scale) 50th Percentile
Height: 27 inches (my measurement)- 45th Percentile
We will get official stats next month when you go in for your 9 month checkup.
This month:
It has been, by far, your biggest month for growth- both physically and developmentally. You can do so many new things and you have gained such great control of your little body. You are still wearing Size 2 diapers but we are on your last pack and will be moving you up to Size 3 soon. You wear 3-6 and 6-9 month clothes. You nurse every 3-4 hours and eat 3 meals a day. You, just like your Momma, love to eat! You have tried so many new things including chicken, turkey, yogurt, and mango. You have almost mastered the pincer grasp and you love Gerber puffs. You have also learned how to drink out of a straw and love to have water from your sippy cup after you eat.
You finally got your first tooth! It’s on the bottom right and it so cute! The one on the left is working on breaking through so you will not let me open your mouth to take a picture. You did great with teething and only had one night where you didn’t sleep well. Other than that you were your happy little self.
You celebrated your first Christmas and had so much fun opening your presents and eating the wrapping paper.
CHRISTMAS 2011 137-1
You also got your first swing and you love going high like the big kids.
Your Mimi and Pa came to visit and we took you to so many new places. There were some days that we were gone almost all day long and you were THE best baby. You are so laid back and easygoing and it made sightseeing super easy.
You are still crawling on your belly but you get up on your hands and knees all the time. You rock back and forth like you are going to crawl and then you flop right back down. You have also recently started going what I like to call baby yoga. Your favorite move is the downward dog.
You are starting to take a few steps when we hold your hands and let you stand. You also love to bounce up and down.
You have become so observant (and maybe a little nosy) and love to watch what is going on around you and you will stare at people when we are out. You have also really taken an interest in your toys this month. Your favorite toys are your frog teether, your little lantern, and your musical turtle. You still love playing with things you are not supposed to- remotes, cords, and cell phones are your all-time favorites. You love your musical table that Santa brought you and will stand and play for quite a while. You can pull yourself up on it with a little bit of help.
You have started talking so much. You can say these sounds: da, ba, fa, ma. You do put them together into what sounds like mama and dada but you don’t associate them with anything yet. You also love to blow raspberries!
You are a Daddy’s girl and your whole face lights up when he comes into the room. There is no one that can make you laugh like your Daddy can. After your first feeding in the morning you always roll over to see if Daddy is awake. You will shimmy your way over to him and put your hand on his face.
You will wave hi and bye now- but only when you want to. You are also starting to recognize several signs. You definitely know milk, eat, and water.
In case you can’t tell by now little one, let me tell you one more time. I love you to the moon and back and I am so, so proud to be your Momma!
Happy 8 months beautiful girl!

Sunday Mish Mash


I have a few random things I want to share today.

-First I'd like to say thank you all for the kind words regarding my Grandmother. I am constantly amazed by the love and support in the blogging community.  Unfortunately I won't be able to travel home for the funeral. This is one of those times where living overseas is just no fun.

-I am still working on E's 8 months post. Her monthly posts always take me so long to write because I have so much to say and such a hard time picking which pictures to use.

-I think I have been in tropical climates too long because it is 61 degrees here right now and  I don't know what I'll do if we're ever back in a place where it gets really cold.

-I am so bummed that Picnik is going away! :( I use them for all of my Project 365 collages and I haven't found anything that is nearly as easy to use. Why, Google, why???

-We're dog sitting this weekend and it has been so much fun to see Emerson interacting with the dog. She loves her! I can't wait to see her with Oscar and Grace- though I do have to admit that this dog is MUCH calmer than those two.

-We got some Christmas money and I was seriously planning all the fun ways I could spend it. Then I remembered we need some new baby gear for Emerson. Once I made the list and started price shopping I realized that's exactly where ALL of the money will be going. :) We're in the market for a big-girl carseat, a light umbrella stroller and baby gates for the bottom and top of the stairs. Does anyone have any recommendations for any of these items?

-My friend Carrie is one of the Top 5 finalists for Marine Corps Spouse of the Year through Military Spouse Magazine. She needs our votes! If she wins she will go on to represent the Marine Corps for Military Spouse of the Year. Please, please take a minute and go cast your vote for Carrie.  I believe you can vote every 60 minutes so any and all votes would be appreciated!

Go here to vote.

Happy Sunday friends! I hope it is a blessed one!



She let me spend the night anytime I wanted- which meant I was there almost every weekend.

She was there for every figure skating competition and cheerleading performance, every school play, and every sporting event. Not just for me but for all of her Grandkids.

She made me the best homemade milkshakes you have ever tasted- usually vanilla with a little nutmeg sprinkled on top.

She would wash my feet with a warm cloth before we put on my tights for church.

She was a wonderful cook and made the best turkey and dressing you have ever had.

She could peel an apple and keep the peel all in one piece.

She went to church every Sunday and loved to teach people about the Bible.

She always made the most delicious fruit salad and homemade whipped cream for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

She was married to my Grandad for 62 years and they loved each other so much- for richer and for poorer- in sickness and in health.

She had 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 15 great grandchildren and she was SO proud of all of them.

She would do anything and everything for all of us.

She was our rock, our role model, and our mentor.

She was our everything.

And though we are all heartbroken and left wondering how we will ever get by without her, we know God is rejoicing to have such a beautiful and precious woman in His Kingdom.

We love you so very much Grandmother. Thank you so much for the wonderful influence you had on all of us and for showing us unconditional love. You and Grandad taught us all what true love looks like and I am so proud to be your granddaughter. You will be missed more than words could ever say.
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