August 31, 2011

How I met a star

It was this past Friday. The day was sunny and hot: typical for a summer day in the South.

We had already been to Sublime donuts and IKEA and eaten lunch at California Pizza. Our next stop was the reason for the trip.

I needed turquoise for our living room and Z Gallerie had it in bundles.

We had been in the store for about 10 minutes when I saw her. Immediately, my heart started to pound and I whispered to my sister... "that's the star of Vampire Diaries."

 (via Inside TV)

You see, the show is filmed in Atlanta. My brother and I follow the whole cast on Twitter so that we can know where they are filming and hanging out. We knew that eventually we could meet one or all of the cast members. Plus, we have a huge desire to be extras on the set. (I am a born star, you know, just waiting to be found.)

But I had no clue I'd be meeting her on Friday at Z Gallerie. It was a fluke, a gift from God, a moment I will not forget.

As my heart pounded and my hands got sweaty, I decided to approach her.



"Hi. I know this is probably totally not what I am supposed to do, but I just couldn't help it. I am such a huge fan of yours and your show. My husband and I just love it. It's seriously the only teeny-bop show we watch. We seriously love it."

"Aw. Thank you. That's sweet. Is this your son??"

"Yes. Bradley."

And I kid you not my son waved at Nina Dobrev. His first wave was to a star. He really knows how to pull out all the stops.

After a little more chit chat that I cannot remember for the life of me, I asked for a picture. Unfortunately, I was turned down. But my sister was a witness that this did indeed happen and, therefore, I am okay.

I also would be way more offended if one of the guys on the show turned me down... I mean, they are hot in a totally edible way.

(via CW)

Which leads me to Jeremy's comment when I told him my exciting news: "Is she as hot in person as she is on the show?"

And, guys, she is.

For all the ladies, she was buying sheets: 7 sets to be exact. They were a dark grey with a slight brown/purple tint.

She was nice, but not bubbly. I'm sure I caught her completely off guard. I just couldn't miss the opportunity to speak to her.

Now in writing this post, I do realize a couple of things.

1. This show is watched my mainly the tweens and teens. Jeremy and I have come to terms with this and are okay.

2. Most these fans literally scream and freak when the cast make an appearance. I know that I stepped onto that line on Friday. I am also okay with this.

3. Had she been one of the guys from the show, I probably would have ran over that line and then taken it to another level. Let's be glad my encounter was slightly mellow and I was not arrested in front of my 8 month old.

4. My brother happened to mention to me while I was making him awesomely jealous that she is in fact 22. So I freaked out over someone who is 5 years younger than me.

5. You should also know that we have the season premiere on our calendar: Thursday, September 15 at 8 pm on the CW. 

No worries. I have scheduled an appointment with my shrink. I am also researching casting companies, because I now must be an extra on their set.

August 30, 2011

Done and Done

Warning: I am operating as a single parent of a sick baby this week. This means that I am not thinking clearly, am fully exhausted, and have no idea what day of the week it is or what time it is. Therefore, I am not responsible for anything said below or on following posts this week. Thank you for understanding.

This past weekend I did it. I completed my first 5k run.

Yes, I felt like I was dying at the end. Yes, I was nauseous for about two hours after. Yes, I was shaking and unable to move the rest of the day. But I did it.

This was a huge accomplishment for me. For one, I hate running. I do not find joy in pushing myself to the brink of death in order to grasp a "second wind." Nor do I like to run until my legs turn into jello. Call me sane.

But one day I was possessed with a desire to run in a 5k. I think I might have been under the influence of osmosis from other runners; our town seems to be filled with them.

At the time, I was less than 3 months away from puking my brains out due to being with child. So, needless to say, running a 5k was put on hold.

It was on hold until the child came out and I got back into exercise. I knew I'd never accomplish such an out of place goal without a little push so I signed up for the first 5k that came across Facebook.

The unfortunate part of this detail is that as a novice to running I had little to no idea of how I should choose my first race. It quickly came out that I chose not only one of the hottest times of the year to run in a race, but I also chose the hardest race to run. I'm talking about major hills throughout the race.

From experienced runners I'd get a slight look down and a not so positive "You can do it" comment. From other novices I'd get "Um... that is going to be tough."

Then, Jeremy and I drove the course. We got lost and then realized that on one of those hills, my automatic car rolled backwards. I sat at the top of the hill and cried. Jeremy asked me why I didn't do more research. I asked if I had to run in it. He said we'd take it like champs and I'd have to up my ante.

So the week of the race I hit the gym hard. My first night I ran two miles without stopping. After I finished, three employees came up to me to ask if I was okay. They were quite nice. I pretended like I didn't think I was dying from a heart attack.

Later that night, I took off my shoes to find that I had also lost quite a bit of blood. This could explain why I had felt lightheaded. My sister asked me if my feet hurt. But alas my feet and legs had been numb since I ran those two miles which was about two hours prior. So no, I felt no pain.

I believe, I cried myself to sleep that night as well.

I thought about writing a farewell letter on here the day before the race. Letting you all know how much you mean to me and then how to arrange my funeral. But I decided that I needed to be positive the day before.

I tried, but honestly, I was a nervous wreck. I knew the course was hard. I knew I was not prepared fully for such a course. I was seriously afraid of embarrassing myself.

Here's a picture before the race:

And here's a picture right after:

The course was h.a.r.d. to say the least. At the first mile marker, I looked at Jeremy and said "that's it??" My body felt like I had run two miles already. The hills were seriously killer. And I'd lie if I didn't tell you that towards the end when I had to get over yet another hill, I started to get bitter. But Jeremy encouraged me and we trekked on and finished strong. My time was 41 minutes and a few seconds. Not too bad considering the hills and my lack of training on such massive hills.

At the time, I really thought I was dying and would never ever think of running again. But now that a couple days have passed, I really feel like I might need to do it one more time on an easier course and see if I can improve my time.

I told this to Jeremy and he said I need to train harder for the next one. 

PS Did you notice how his "before" picture and "after" picture look identical???? And, unfortunate for me, he did no training for this race.... stupid boys.

PSS He has also informed me that he wants to race in this race again next year except more competitively. I'm sure he's implying it would be without me. This almost makes me want to train on that course and out do him. Almost.

PSSS Seriously, thank you to all those who supported me before, during and after the race. You all were so sweet to me. I really do love you all.

PSSSS You should see my calves. They are beee-aaauuu-tiful. Runners calves indeed. I guess this means to keep them I have to keep running. Phooey.

August 17, 2011

Video of the Week: Crawling and Playing Ball

After receiving an e-mail from my Grandpa last week, I realized that neither have I told you Bradley officially crawls "normally" or shown you a video! I apologize.

PS If you don't want to watch the whole video, you should at least go to the end. It's funny.

PSS Bradley and Parker seriously "play ball" like this all the time. Parker will take him his ball. Bradley will throw it. Parker will watch. Bradley will chase the ball. Bradley will throw the ball again. Parker will continue to watch. I'm starting to think that Parker is making fun of our kid.

August 16, 2011

A marriage and a baby

Jeremy and I have been very fortunate in our first four years of marriage. It hasn't been completely fight free, but neither of us could say it has been hard either. I suppose it's because we knew each other so long before getting married. Plus, we were great friends before we even dated. So we just got more comfortable with each other in marriage.

Enter baby.

While our lives didn't change too much after having Bradley, our marriage certainly did. I remember the first couple of weeks after Bradley's birth the immense love Jeremy and I felt for each other. It was really wonderful and seriously there was no other time I felt closer to my husband. However, shortly after exhaustion began to set in and weigh on our marriage.

And to be honest, for the first time in four years, it was tough. I was tired, my brain wasn't working properly, and I needed/wanted more attention than normal from Jeremy.

At the same time, Jeremy was tired, he was trying to meet my needs by giving me breaks from Bradley plus figure out how to be a working dad, and he was just out of the habit of pursuing me.

It was hard.

Add to it that neither of us really ever dated each other. We were such great friends before we dated that when we started "dating" we pretty much did the same thing as before just added in kissing.

So for the first time in four years, we both had to be super intentional. Intentional with our actions and intentional with our time. Plus, we had to clearly communicate what we needed most from the other person. (Have you ever tried to clearly communicate on three hours of sleep?? It took us a while.)

The funk lasted about five months. It was hard, but so worth the outcome.

This past week a friend from our church sent out the music video of Andrew Peterson's song "Dancing in the Minefields". The lyrics are beautiful and so true. Here's a snippet.

Well "I do" are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard is a good place to begin
'Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price for the life that we have found

And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storms
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
That's what the promise is for

Jeremy and I so easily forget the beauty of marriage and its symbolism to Christ and the Church. How awesome is it that I have the opportunity to live out the gospel daily in my own home? That I can lose my life for another. That I can go "dancing in the minefields" and fully rely on the promise.

Yup, a marriage and a baby may be tough. But a marriage and a baby is full of blessings.

The music video via YouTube:

August 15, 2011

Baby Food Maker

We all know how I despise cooking. We also know how very bad I am at it. So you can only imagine Jeremy's reaction when I declared, "I'm going to make my own baby food for Bradley." I seriously recall a smirk, a smile, a laugh, then a serious face followed by the question, "really??".

Jeremy has no faith in me.

I figured I had a couple things going for me. One I didn't need seasonings. Bradley's food was supposed to be bland. Two it was also supposed to be basic: one ingredient. And three since Bradley was new to food, he'd have no idea if what he was eating was bad or good!

I couldn't lose.

So I started out with peas. I steamed them and then pureed them in my food processor. My food processor was happy. I think this was the first time I had used it since we got it as a wedding gift. Wait. I take that back. I used it once to make guacamole. It was unsuccessful so the food processor got banned from our kitchen.

Anyways. The peas turned out great! I couldn't believe it. So then I moved on. I found this great website to help me with knowing when to introduce certain fruits and veggies, which I needed to be careful about, and when I could buy organic. (One big tip I picked up was that when buying carrots, avoid the baby carrots. They apparently aren't as nutritious as the big ones.)

The website also taught me how to deal with difficult veggies like peas, green beans, and carrots. These are harder to puree because of their skin. So there are tricks like plunging the peas into ice water right after boiling them so that the skin will soften. I prefer to use frozen peas. It's easier to puree. The ice and water thing never really worked for me.

So anyways. I had been making Bradley's food for a while and began to stockpile it in our freezer. One day, I was making a ton and needed my food processor to be about 4 times larger and that is when I remembered my blender.

It's a Black and Decker and has a puree button on it. And here, internet, was a lifesaver. This guy pureed all the baby food like my food processor couldn't. It took less time and pureed it all super smooth. Honestly, I don't even have to plunge my peas anymore! So once again my food processor has been moved to the top shelf. Poor guy. He just can't get a break.

Here are a few other tips I've picked up along the way.
  • Apples can be baked, but it's much quicker and easier to peel them, core them, dice them, then cook them in a pot with just enough water to cover them.
  • Carrots should be bought fresh and peeled really, really well.
  • For peas, I have found that buying frozen peas in the steamer bags at Publix are the easiest to puree. 
  • Buy fruits and veggies that are in season. It's much cheaper. 
  • I simply mash up bananas with a fork and feed them to Bradley. He loves the slight texture.
  • Mango are done the same way as bananas, no need to puree, but avoid contact with the skin; it contains allergens. Bradley is actually allergic to them. The way we knew is that after he'd eat them, he'd get pimples around his neck and chin area. Apparently, this is common.
  • Meats are easy too. I boil the chicken and puree it just like I do the others. I sometimes add just a little of sodium-free chicken broth to add a slight flavor. 
  • Learn how much baby food a veggie/fruit makes. For instance, one sweet large potato makes 8 oz. of baby food. I have made the mistake of making way more baby food than I had containers for because I had trouble knowing how much to buy. It helps me be able to give Bradley a variety each week since I only have so many storage containers.
And in case you are worried about my son's health, Jeremy taste tests everything we feed him. He has been impressed. He has also wondered why I like making baby food, but still don't like making him food. I simply told him that Bradley doesn't critic me.

Also, just so you know, we have bought baby food in the jars. We bought more at the beginning because I was unsure of how well I'd do at making it myself. Now, we only have a little and mainly use it for when we are traveling or eating out and I don't have time to microwave his food before we are leave.

Jeremy has told me mine tastes better.

I have my suspicions though. He might have been sucking up at the time. I think he's hoping I'd get more joy out of fixing his food. But unfortunately, like the food processor, he just doesn't seem to have any luck.

August 5, 2011

A living room update

Dear internet friends,

Thank you. Thank you for allowing me to rant and rave about our living room. Thank you for the opportunity to tell you how horrible it has been picking out a layout, furniture, and design with my husband. Seriously. Because of you, my sweet, loving, wonderful husband has backed off. He has agreed that I can take more of a lead. He has given me freedom... within our budget. And I seriously have you to thank.

And just so you know. Within 10 minutes of Jeremy handing over the control, I ordered two couches, two chairs, a tv stand, and bookmarked a side table that will be ordered a little later. Yes, internet friends, we have made progress. (Plus, I was a little nervous he'd change is mind.) Unfortunately, almost everything I ordered is on backorder so you might have to wait until Christmas to see it finished. But it is ordered!!

We did get in our two chairs. They look so great and are super comfortable!

So seriously I cannot thank you enough.

PS Do you see how happy Jeremy looks?? Apparently, he likes my style. Who woulda thought??

August 4, 2011

A few of my favorite things

One thing I've thoroughly enjoyed from other bloggers is seeing the products they love, especially from the moms. I've gotten many products just from their recommendation so I thought I'd pass along the products that I couldn't live without right now.

1. Dwinguler Eco-Friendly playmat

I love, love, love this playmat. It's soft, flexible, waterproof, slip resistant, super easy to clean, and "green". I can leave Bradley on this mat and not have to worry about him falling and hurting himself which has been key lately since all he wants to do is stand. It also is so soft that it protects his boney knees as he crawls on it. Plus, he loves the bright colors and pictures. Parker thinks it's really comfortable too.

2. Shark Steam Mop

This product is awesome. We have all hard wood floors in our house and so sanitizing/keeping them clean with a little baby was a must especially as he got more mobile. This product does just that! I plug it in, let the steam get working, and then I get working on the floors. It's quick, easy, and does it's job well. I probably use it about every other time I vacuum and honestly have no complaints.

3. Go Crib

This travel crib is awesome. We love it. It's easy to pack up, light weight, outdoor friendly, and will grow with Bradley. Already he can crawl in and out of it through the side door. How much fun is this going to be when he gets older and we can use it as a fort???

4. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Puppy

This is Bradley's favorite toy right now.  It talks to him, sings to him, and teaches him. Bradley talks back, sings back, and laughs. It's really fun to watch him interact with this toy and I think Jeremy and I have just as much fun with it as he does.

5. Munchkin Fresh Food Freezer Cups

These cups are great for anyone making their own baby food. They hold 2 oz. of fresh made baby food and can be frozen, microwaved, and washed in the dishwasher. They are made of silicone so you can pop out the frozen food easily if needed. Plus they are easy to toss into a diaper bag if eating out. I really couldn't live without these.

6. Instagram

This app is my favorite. It's an easy way to take, edit and share beautiful shots. I'm addicted it. I especially love following other people and getting a glimpse into their life and seeing their wonderful photos.

So those are a few of my favorite things right now. What are some of yours? I'd love to hear!

August 3, 2011

Don't mess with us

This past week Jeremy and I had to take a stand to protect our home. You see, a pregnant squirrel thought we'd be sympathetic to her needs, you know, since we have a baby and all, and allow her to set up home in our attic for her babies.

Unfortunately for her, she was mistaken.

Jeremy talked to a few guys who recommended he use moth balls to ensure she'd leave. Have you ever been around moth balls?? Let's just say it isn't pleasant. The minute Jeremy opened the bag the house immediately began to fill with that horrible smell. So upon my complaining and begging, Jeremy took them outside and began to think and continued to ask around. Again, everyone said that moth balls were the way to go.

In the meantime, the pregnant squirrel was determined to use our house. She ate through a wood board near our roof. The board wasn't rotten and was recently replaced. She was not deterred. For some reason, our house was perfect.

At first she only worked on her nest in the early evening, but then she decided that wasn't enough time and decided to work on it during the day when I was alone with Bradley. This was not cool with me.

And let's just be honest for a minute. I was freaked. She was persistently clawing at our walls in particular the wall that led to my son's room. If she thought she was territorial, she had another thing coming. This was my home and my baby she was bothering. It was on. Donkey Kong style.

So after much complaining and persisting, Jeremy agreed to come home and deal with the issue at hand.

Since everyone recommended moth balls, he decided to throw some in the hole and seal it up. The process took a couple hours. And we are so thankful for a friend's help in all this.

Problem solved, right?

Nope. Not at al.

In case you were wondering, moth balls were created by the devil. Within 30 minutes, the smell filled Bradley's room and started creeping down our stairs. And, apparently, this smell meant that dangerous fumes also entered our home. Fumes that are clearly warned about on the box. 

So now I'm not only mad at the squirrel, but I am also mad at moth balls. And worried that my son is going to die from these stupid things invented for the sole purpose of stinking up homes.

Poor Jeremy then had to go back up to the roof, undo part of the board, pull out the moth balls, and reattach the board. Mind you, all this happened as I was trying to hold his ladder for him and run interference with our screaming child who thought we were abandoning him to play outside. It was an horrifically long day.

Thankfully, the moth balls were removed, we were able to air out the smell, and we moved on.

That is until the next day when the stupid pregnant squirrel decided to enter our house another way.

This time, however, Jeremy and I had enough. He sealed up her second entry point and then took care of her personally.

Yes, that's right. We are a force not to be reckoned with.


You should be.

That is, of course, if you are a squirrel trying to enter our home.