Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We Survived Another One

Just as I did last year (HERE) and the year before (HERE) this is our little recap of 2013! Hope you had a wonderful year and we are sending warm thoughts and wishing you all the best in the new year! We foresee lots of exciting stuff for our family!
 
January: We started off the year celebrating my birthday and then I hit the road to Charleston for my first work conference.
 
February: Bimmer made her first Valentine's Day craft project, we met Kimhead for lunch in Newberry, and Bimmer saw snow for the first time... even if it was just a dusting!
 
March: We enjoyed the sunshine, celebrating St. Patty's day, and spent Bimmer's first Easter in Atlanta.
 
April: We took our first real vacation (with no other purpose except to vacation) to Gatlinburg, TN. We also kept busy with all the spring festivals!
 
May: Bimmer turned ONE!!! We traveled to Hilton Head, the Fort, and the Great White North that month. Lots of miles logged, new states picked up for the baby, and joyful fun all around as Puff and I celebrated a year of parenthood to the greatest baby ever!
 
June: It was a little rough to find out that Puff was losing his job at the end of the month, but we kept ourselves busy celebrating Father's Day, having a date day to the mountains in the convertible, and watching Bimmer take her first steps! It wasn't long before she was off and running!
 
July: After years of trying, we finally got Kimhead to accompany us to the Coon Dog Festival! Bimmer loved watching the floats and the fire trucks. We spent time at the pool, had dinner with friends, and went to the park as often as possible.
 
August: Puff started back to work this month! And we celebrated by taking a trip to Asheville for our favorite comedy festival. The rest of the month felt like a blur since Puff was in Michigan for work for half the month!
 
September: We took our big yearly vacation to St. Simons & Savannah. I feel so blessed to be able to travel with Puff and Bimmer. We had such a good time playing on the beach, touring Savannah, and eating lots of seafood. The perfect way to spend time together as a family
 
October: Our craziest month here at Rushing Life. My parents came to visit, we went to Charleston to a wedding, we hit up the state fair and the BMW Euro Auto show. We had family photos taken. Favorite. Month. Always.
 
November: We had a nice family celebration for Puff's birthday, took a gorgeous walk in the mountains one last time before the weather turned chilly, and spent an overall decent Thanksgiving with the MIL. (Shocker!!)
 
December: It felt like we celebrated Christmas all month long. We celebrated with family and friends and checked out lots of Christmas lights. Bimmer had her first Christmas program at school and she really enjoyed opening gifts this year... even those not meant for her.
 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

19 Month Update

 
* At her last doctor's appointment, Bimmer weighed in at 27 pounds and is 32 inches tall. That puts her in the 92% for weight, but only 57% for height. Poor girl has her Mommy's belly! Doc Hottie asked me if she ever stopped moving and then told me that we "will have your hands full with this one." It probably didn't help that Bimmer was flirting with him the entire time.
 
* She has started feeding her baby doll a bottle all the time. It's pretty much the most precious thing ever. It actually makes me want to have a second baby every time I see her doing it. She has also become the baby hoarder and wants to carry around all her dolls and stuffed animals. She gets so excited when you let her sit in the recliner with all her babies.
 
* I expect her vocabulary to start growing exponentially in the next few months. Already in the past week, she has picked up on saying "boot" and "rain" and "whale," "doctor," and "color." She is also now saying "Elmo" very clearly, versus the "Momo" she has been saying. Over Thanksgiving weekend, she started with the "No." And now she's using it for everything. God help us!
 
* She has finally figured out how to climb up on the couch. She was so proud of herself when she learned. (Update: This comes and goes. If she can't make it on the first try, she just stands there yelling "Up! Up! Up!"
 
* As ridiculous as it sounds, we have had our first fashion meltdown. She threw an epic tantrum one morning when I wouldn't let her wear her boots to daycare. I'm such a mean mom, cramping her style.
 
* Bimmer is really starting to grasp and enjoy pretend play. She has tea parties and will get a wash cloth and pretend to give us baths. She also loves to grab any bottle that looks like lotion and pretend to rub it on herself. My parents sent her a kitchen for Christmas, so I'm anxious for her to play with that too!
 
* We are working on getting rid of the morning bottle. Bimmer is *not* happy with this. The first few mornings, there was lots of body flopping on the bed and floor and running to the corner screaming "No!" when we tried to give it to her. On morning 6 she took it fine, but only because I put chocolate milk in it. It's a work in progress, but I refuse to go backward now! Over a week in, she was still iffy about it. We've found that giving her a snack along with the sippy makes it less of a debacle. Although after two weeks, she realized that getting sick would revert her back to a bottle, since that's the only way she will take her medicines. One step forward, three steps back with this one.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Santa Claus Came to Town

Our family celebrates Christmas about ten different times. Or so it feels. We have separate celebrations with just about every combination of people imaginable. So when the MIL cancelled our planned weekend (talk about frustration to this woman here who had that on her calendar since last year - bitch has no respect for me and my plans) we just had to do our own family Christmas a little early. We didn't care... Bimmer doesn't quite grasp the whole "Christmas morning = Santa" thing yet, so we were in the clear.
 
 
Bimmer and I gifted Puff an oxford, a polo, some things to keep beer cold (don't really know how to explain them) and a super cool bound book of articles from NY Times weekend trips.
 
 
 
They gifted me a few necklaces, a ceramic picture frame, a Spartina wallet, and that West Elm throw I have been talking about!
 
 
 
We figure this is the last year we don't have to go overboard on the Santa gifts, so Bimmer came away with two new t-shirts, two Christmas-themed books, a blanket and pillow that had been mine as a baby, wooden building blocks, and bath magnets that were car-themed. Yup, she loves her some cars!
 
 
 
And yes, a few of those things had already been given to her previously that I set aside and rewrapped. Does that make me a horrible mom? Eh.... as long as this is her reaction on Christmas morning with all her gifts, I suppose it doesn't really matter.
 
 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmas!

Here's hoping everyone has a wonderful and merry Christmas. From our family, to yours!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Night, Night Sleeyhead

It's been more than 6 months since Puff and I cracked down on Operation Get in Yo Crib. (Read about the first debacle HERE and read about the success HERE.) So I thought you might need an update!
 
 
 
If I told you everything was rainbows and glittery unicorns, you'd just throw poo at me and call me a liar. That's because I would be totally lying. For the most part, it's better. That's the god's honest truth. Is it perfect? No. Does she stay in her crib all night, every night? Nope.
 
For about 2 1/2 months, she was in her crib all night, every night. We had a pretty strict 5am rule... she could get out of the crib and get a bottle if it were after that time. Then mid-September happened and she was sick and we were traveling and the snowball just kept rolling down hill. It's pretty much impossible for me, having a heart and all, to listen to my sick baby cry from her crib. So there were lots of nights of snuggling together. Or nights of her waking up at 2am for a bottle. We gave in. We felt like we didn't have a choice.
 
October was pure insanity at work. Sometimes we held hard and fast to our "rules" and sometimes we didn't have the energy. Somewhere around the start of November, we decided to get back into the routine. It only took a night or two of her whimpering in the middle of the night before she got the hang of the whole sleeping from 9pm til past 7am in her crib. No bottle. No snuggles. Just lots of mornings waking up with peed on sheets. Eh... I'll take it.
 
Naps are a whole other story, but that's my fault. I like to nap with her on the weekends. Probably because it gives me a big ol' fat legitimate excuse for taking a nap myself. (DO YOU BLAME ME?!?!) It's not hurting anything and she loves it. Even as she's rounded the year and a half mark, she still prefers to lay on top of me to fall asleep. I'm inclined to let her as long as she still fits.
 
So while we still have nights where she ends up in bed with one of us (like around Thanksgiving when she was having coughing fits in the middle of the night that would wake her) she's in her crib enough. She knows that's her bed and she goes down without fuss. Now if we could just get her healthy and get another bedroom, we'd be golden. Why do we need another bedroom? Because when either Puff or myself tire of sleeping with one another, we hit the road to the bed in Bimmer's room, which doubles as our spare room.
 
It's pretty hard to ignore her if she wakes up in the middle of the night, spies you from the crib slats, and stands up bawling while looking at you. Or waving and shouting "Hi-eee!!!!" Think she's spoiled much?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Three Cheers, the Holidays are Here

*Bear with me for about the next month as I keep you overloaded with holiday posts!*
 
The Sunday after Thanksgiving is always the day to decorate The Bungalow. I desperately yearn to be the super-mom who has garland across the mantle and Christmas centerpieces on the dining room table. And I will eventually be that mom... once we are in a bigger house where I have more storage. Until then, I'm doing as little as possible. In fact, having a toddler means doing even less.
 
 
 
I had bought a small tree after Christmas a few years ago, with the intent of making it my Dallas Cowboys tree. That hasn't happened yet, so instead, Puff and I made it a toddler-proof tree. Some cheap garland and shatter-proof ornaments later, and Bimmer had her very own tree. She would "ooohhh" at the lights every time we turned it on for her!
 
 
 
I took a crazy chance and put up our real tree in the sunroom and didn't do anything all that different to make it toddler-proof. The fact that it's in a room with a door I can shut helps. I normally at least decorate the mantle, but I just wasn't feeling it this year. All that made it were our stockings. But that was all that needed to make it so we could celebrate St. Nick!
 
 
 
The tradition I've started with Bimmer is that St. Nick (who comes on December 6th - it seems to be more of a Catholic thing) always brings Christmas pajamas and an ornament to be stored away for her for when she grows up and moves out on us! There are other things too, of course, but always those. I love that Puff and I get to start new traditions with our baby girl!
 
One of those that I'm not sure will hold is going to visit Santa. She did awesome last year, but this year....
 
 
 
The only Christmas tradition that Puff and I have celebrated every single year since we've been together is to go out to the suburbs to this crazy house to stroll through their yard to look at their lights. We tried to go several times, but the weather was always uncooperative. When we finally got to do it, Bimmer was fascinated! She was screaming "Ooohhh!!!" from halfway up the street. It melted my heart to get to spend that time with her and Puff as a family.
 
 
 
What traditions do you have in your family? I'm hoping to pick up on ever more as the years roll by!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Teacher, Teacher!

Bimmer has been in daycare almost a year now. It's hard to believe it's been that long since I had the ease of a nanny! Oh, the good ol' days.
 
With daycare now comes the necessity of the teacher gift. Let's bring in Pinterest on this one, shall we?
 
I wanted something super easy (since all my other shopping was already done) and cute at the same time. I wanted something to look a little creative, but without actually having to create it myself.
 
 
 
I found the perfect thing when I saw a cute little printable tag! It says "Wishing you cute and cozy toes all winter." Inside the bag, I put a pair of cozy socks and a bottle of nail polish. Topped off with some ribbon and the tag, and I was all set.
 
 
 
I sure home Bimmer knocks this Christmas gift out of the park. I'm already excited to start searching for things to do next year!

Friday, December 13, 2013

First of Many Christmases

It's almost amazing that Kimhead and I are ever able to see each other. We both have busy jobs, and throw in family, and life in general, and we both live and die by our calendars.

That's no exaggeration.

In fact, we gift each other a wall calendar every year. I expect it and depend on it. We've been doing this since college.

 

Yet, we somehow managed to squeeze in an afternoon together (thanks for driving to see us!!!) to do our annual Christmas gift exchange. Kimhead came to town and we headed out for lunch. After filling our bellies, we headed back to the house for a few hours of quality time together.
 
 
 
In addition to a wall calendar, we also started gifting each other an ornament a few years back. She gave me an adorable personalized one with our last name on it. It looks great on our tree! She also came with an armload of gifts for Bimmer. They included a few books, a Carolina hoodie, and a set of musical instruments.
 
 
 
It's so wonderful to have good friends like her. I'm so grateful we were able to spend a little bit of time together around the holidays. To watch Bimmer be so sweet and loving toward her warmed my heart. I love that she's getting to an age where she can be affectionate and fun with others that mean a lot to me and Puff. I know she's going to be a great "aunt" to Bimmer always!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shopping Reviews

I think the last time I did a monthly faves list was back in early summer. I won't bore you with those anymore, unless I find a product I am super excited about. However... I am going to bore you today with details on my experiences at 3 online retailers that I've tried recently. You've probably heard of some of them, maybe not others. It just seems that these sometimes-mom-run, online pop-up sale type websites are where it's at right now.
 
#1 - Zulily
 
 
 
This is probably the one you've all heard of before. I have ordered twice from them... once a t-shirt for Bimmer, and another time a bathing suit/cover-up combo for her. Both items were exactly what I expected, delivered promptly, and when I accidentally clicked "Buy" twice on one of them, they easily remedied that and cancelled one of my orders. HOWEVER... what I didn't realize was that they have a "No Returns" policy! I was devastated when I got Bimmer's adorable tankini that I hoped she could wear next summer and it didn't even fit her now! I suppose it's my fault that I didn't read all the fine print. That's my only gripe, and a pretty darn good reason why I won't order anything I'm not 100% sure about from here on out.
 
 
I would insert their logo, but can't find a version that is copy-friendly
 
I came across this from a friend via Facebook who was posting that they liked this page to be entered in a chance to win free items. This works a little differently thank Zulily. I'm pretty convinced it's a mom-run situation where they pick 3 items each week that they can order en masse from China, and they offer them to you at a steep discount. I've ordered twice from them... once a pack of 12 chevron bows for Bimmer, and the second time, a chevron scarf for me. I paid $12 for 10 medium sized bows, and maybe $6 for the scarf. The only problem is that there is no instant gratification with them. The bows took about a month to arrive, and the scarf took over 6 weeks. However, they are very clear about the shipping time frame when you order, so it wasn't a surprise. They have offered a lot of cute items over the past few months I've been stalking them. I anticipate something cute in the future that I just can't resist.
 
 
 
 
This website is a giant mix of who-knows-what. They offer daily deals that I get emailed to me. Sometimes they're clothes or kid related. A lot of the time, they are craft items. I've ordered three times from them and have been very happy with the results. I ordered a bunch of thin infinity scarves at $2.99 a pop and they arrived to my house within 3 days. The next order was a custom address stamp. It took about 2 weeks, since it was customized, but it was perfect when it arrived. I'm currently waiting for my delivery now of a $4 alphabet stamp set and $1 washi tape. I definitely would recommend this shop. Are they ever going to offer super quality items for $2.99? No. But that's a bargain compared to what I probably would have paid for the same scarf at a store.
 
Here's hoping you have gotten your holiday shopping done already (mine was done early November, and wrapped by mid-November - don't hate me) but these are a few good options for gifts throughout the year!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

GTL

Sometime in early November, I was taken over by aliens. And not the cute kind that pop out your hoo-ha 9 months later in the form of a cute adorable little baby. Nope... I was overtaken by something that changed me in a way I never thought possible. A mindset shift that had never happened before...

I joined a gym.

In my adult life, I've pretty much perfected the art of being a lazy-ass. I lay around, eat brownies, bitch about being fat, and then eat more brownies to drown my sorrows. I've been lucky enough to lose weight when I need it (almost 10 pounds for my wedding) and I was able to get back to my pre-baby weight after awhile without too terribly much effort. However, I'm at the top end of that 5 pound fluctuation I used to have pre-baby. I'd rather be at the bottom end. And stay there. But I'm realizing that post Bimmer, I need to give my body a little nudge.

The elliptical that is collecting dust in our sunroom is obviously not working. Lack of motivation runs rampant through me! What would be another solution? Well, I used to swim competitively. Maybe swimming would do the trick. Because deciding to do that as you are going into winter is always a bright idea! (Total buzzkill to force yourself to go outside after swimming with wet hair in the cold!)
 
I researched three local gyms and zeroed in on one in particular... it was the most convenient between the house and work, the cheapest, and they didn't close their lap pool in the 5pm-7pm window for classes. They offered a day pass for less than $10, so I didn't have any excuse. I could try it out a few times with no major commitment. And I did it. For a few weeks, I went twice a week. I made myself do a minimum of 12 laps, since that was what I did the first time. When I saw they were offering a discount to join the week of Thanksgiving with the donation of canned goods, I bit the bullet.
 
I showed up with my cans of sweet corn and a credit card and signed on the dotted line. A monthly membership. Something that would be automatically deducted from my account. A financial responsibility to maintain myself and get myself into better shape. If wasting money isn't a motivator, nothing is. Except maybe brownies. I'd like there to be a tray of warm gooey brownies waiting for me in the locker room each time I get out of the pool, if we can arrange that.
 
Puff and I are super unsure whether or not we will ever try to make Bimmer a big sister. If we do, it will happen next year. I don't want to go into another possible pregnancy with extra weight around my midsection. I need more energy and to be in a better place physically before we jump the gun on that. My goal is 5 pounds lost within the next few months. I hope to swim at least twice a week. And somewhere in there, I am going to take full advantage of my membership including Bimmer (she's free til she's 4!) and take her to have some quality pool time with Mommy. She will just die when she sees their baby waterslide!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap

We all know this isn't my favorite holiday. I'll say it again til the day I die... it's a paid day off to watch Cowboys football. However, now that Bimmer is here, I'm doing my best to wrap my head around liking this holiday and celebrating with family how grateful I am to have them.

 
Yes, this is what happens when your camera is on its last leg and it hesitates so badly this is the best family photo you get!
 
 
We headed to Atlanta to spend the holiday with the MIL. Instead of cooking for just us (especially since I don't care for a lot of the traditional Thanksgiving foods) we hit up the buffet at the hotel at Stone Mountain. We had a nice seat overlooking the lake and drove around the park afterwards. Bimmer was pretty well behaved, even if "well behaved" is all relative. Yes, there were shoes and socks on our table.
 
 
 
We spent a lot of good time with the MIL and trying to keep Bimmer from freaking out over her new kittens. She *hates* cats so that was interesting. Friday, we braved Black Friday with a toddler. Granted, we went out later in the day and went to a swanky Atlanta mall that didn't have many normal stores. We were there about 3 hours scouring for things for the MIL to buy our nieces/nephews. (Our attempts to get her to buy them cool trendy clothes often go ignored!) Bimmer did about as well as I did. In fact, I think I was ready to go before she was!
 
 
 
Friday night, we headed to see our good friends, since they had moved to a new house. They have six(!!!) kids and Bimmer just had a total blast. She got to jump on the bed holding Barbies with their daughters, we had homemade smores, and when I was holding their 6 month old baby, Bimmer melted my heart. She kept smiling at the baby and pointing and saying "baby." When he dropped his pacifier, she would pick it back up for him. She found an old bottle on the coffee table and tried to bring it to give to him. Yup - it had my ovaries hurting!
 
 
 
All told, the trip was nice. There were some moments, but I suppose that's always the case when it comes to in-laws, right? I was, however, super happy to get back Saturday afternoon so we could spend the rest of our long weekend preparing the house for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Santa's Wish List

When people ask me what I want for Christmas, I cringe. I'm just at that age in my life where if I need something, I go ahead and buy it. Plus, Puff and I are lucky enough that if we want something, we probably just go ahead and buy it too. I greatly appreciate those family members that understand the practicality of gift cards. They're not impersonal - they're preferred! Sometimes, we would just rather get a $100 Visa gift card that we can put toward groceries and dinner at Chili's versus $100 of useless crap that you think we want and need, when we really are just going to regift it or donate it to Goodwill.

That being said, sometimes it's necssary. So here are my top 3 things I would put on my Santa wish list this year...

 

I have been talking for a few years now about wanting a watercolor of The Bungalow. The new West Elm shelves we installed above our TV are just dying for this addition. The paintings can run anywhere from $100 to $600+ depending how large you get it, and how good of an artist you select. I have a feeling that by next Christmas, this will be proudly displayed in our house!

 

I have also been talking about this guy (specifically the gray/white one) since at least last fall. It was on my list to Puff last year (even sent him the link when it was on sale!!!) but it still never ended up under the tree. It doesn't match our current living room, but it matches the one in my head that I know we'll have some day. Plus, Puff absolutely hates the blanket I use now (it sheds) so you would think he would just go ahead and break down and get this for me already!

 

I've mentioned before that my DSLR is on the fritz. It's seriously. about. to. diiiiiiiiieeeee. It's bugging the shit out of me. So, yes, this will be a purchase that will be made this Christmas. We are hoping for those Visa gift cards (or cash!!!!) to put toward this purchase. We haven't decided which one we want yet, but no matter what, it won't be cheap. But for as many photos as I take, and for as long as I plan to keep the camera (basically, until it dies) I can totally justify it.

What's on your gift wish list this year? Anything you'll break down and buy yourself? Think your honey will pick up on your hints?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Shhh... You Can't See Me

As much as I love Kimhead, one recent day, I dubbed her Queen Buzzkill.

Why?

This....

 

I suppose we need a little backstory here, eh?

Back in college, I did my American duty and "supported" a few of our troops in the Army and Marines. Somehow in this phase of life (every girl goes through that, right???) I came to own a camoflage hat. A bucket hat at that... one that a toddler should wear at the beach. It was downright hideous. I have no idea why I ever bought it. But it certainly wasn't to wear out in public. However, once I caught wind that Kimhead was basically morally opposed to me wearing it, it became my mission to make her look at it as much as possible. There were lots of nights spent wearing it with my pajamas while I sat in my bed in our shared dorm room working on homework.

 

So, when I picked up my washed camo Tom's from a local store that special ordered my size, I knew I had to send a photo to Kimhead. I texted her and asked her if she knew where my camo hat was so I could wear it to match my new shoes. She promptly replied that she burnt it. No surprise there. I informed her that camo is the new neutral. (I was, in fact, inspired to buy these from a blog I stumbled across through one of Kimhead's favorite blogs... Mix & Match Mama... who also sports camo jeans that I'm obsessed with.) And what does Kimhead come back with?

She tells me that camo is being banned in schools because it's a gang color now.

WTF?!?!?

Anyway... it's a good thing I'm not in high school. Because I'm going to wear the shit out of these camo shoes. You would think she would be proud of me for being excited about shoes!!! (Ha ha ha... Kimhead, I still love you! Maybe one day I'll be excited about 4 inch heels, just for you!)