Friday, February 28, 2014

21 Month Update

* This girl has started to get mimicking down to a science. She sometimes busts out with things that I didn't even know she caught on to. (My apologies that all the following examples are hygiene/bathroom related.) First, she found a Q-tip in the bathroom trash and started to clean out her ears with it. Then, she got a panty-liner out of the cabinet, took the back off it, and stuck it between her legs. And lastly, I was peeing and she was in the room with me (we only allow her in there when I'm just peeing - gotta have some boundaries) and she looked at me and said "Book?" and then proceeded to bring me a book to read while on the toilet. I'm still not sure where she got that one! Definitely an eye-opener for me and Puff to start being more mindful of how we act around her!

* It felt like the minute I posted her 20 month blog, she decided to start picking up on a new word every day, and using it correctly. The first few were "milk" and "pizza." Then came "stuck" and "mess." She busts out with words I didn't even know she knew all the time. And is repeating words back to us quite frequently. One night, we went to the grocery to buy eggs and she kept trying to say it, but it was coming out "ass" so she screamed that through the entire grocery store. I love the innocence behind it! She also will sing the theme song to Elmo's World. That sweet little voice.... there's nothing better!
* Puff and I are really trying to let Bimmer have some taste of more independence. I feel like we don't try to follow her to every room of the house anymore. (It helps though that The Bungalow is little and we can hear from the other rooms.) It's nice if we are ever home alone with her and need to shower, because she can be trusted to chill by herself. We usually give her a sippy cup and turn on one of her TV shows. Usually, as long as the remotes and phones are hidden, she's pretty good. We want her to learn that if she's good, she can be trusted. In general, she doesn't get into too much that she shouldn't. I probably just jinxed us there!
* She still wants to be such a helper. She wants to carry laundry, clean out the lint from the dryer, throw things in the trash. She will carry her trash bag of dirty diapers from her room to the back door. One day, she even got out a new bag and was trying to change it herself. I am trying to let her help more with things like cooking (pouring ingredients together, or stirring) and cleaning (she likes to get a wipe and clean the tables, or her toys).
* Her latest favorite foods are pretzel rods and gummy snacks. I had waited *forever* to let her have those, but now that she's had them, she wants them all the time. We got her some Jake & the Neverland Pirates ones, so now she just goes to the kitchen and asks for "Jake." She will eat a lot of chicken (mostly grilled or baked) as long as it has dip on it. The girl loves to dip everything. And it doesn't matter in what... honey mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, cocktail sauce, Caesar, Ranch dressing. Whatever... as long as it's dip, she's game. We've been starting to buy her a kid's meal when we got out to eat. I don't feel so bad paying $4 for something when we can take home the leftovers and she gets two meals out of it. Her favorites when we eat out are hot dogs, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, or grilled nuggets. (She isn't too keen on fried ones.) So, essentially, she's a typical toddler. Randomly, she also likes ice.
* In a little nugget of hilarity, one night she was walking out of the room and kept saying "bye bye mama" over and over (and over) and so Puff picked her up and said, "You should say bye bye, bitch." And what does Bimmer say? "Bye bye, bitch." I think we are to the point now where we definitely have to start censoring our words around her! She can identify the letters "O" and "K" and when she sees the letter that her name starts with, she shouts "Dee Dee!"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Map It Out

Puff and I love maps. So much so, that we have an antique one framed above our mantle. And whenever we get around to moving and I get the gallery wall in my dreams, there may be one of these in our future.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want to let you in on a little secret....
As in, I hate it so much I have never used it. I am a map girl. I like to have printed directions, have looked at a map. I have a sense of direction and I want to use it. I can't relinquish all control to a machine. I want to have something hard and tangible in my hands if something goes wrong that I can read and get us to an alternate route.
When I was in middle school, I was on a family road trip and we found ourselves turned around trying to find our hotel in Washington DC. My grandfather was driving and there was a car following us in our caravan. We kept making wrong turn after wrong turn. I had the map in my lap and kept insisting which way we needed to go. When we finally got to our destination, over an hour later, it was the same route I would have taken us had they just listened. I will never forget what my grandpa told me... "Girls can't read maps."
I know he was frustrated. And in his defense, my grandma and her 4 daughters all lack any sense of direction. I can't fault him. But I knew I was right. I knew I was reading the map correctly. It has (thankfully) been a natural skill I have acquired and one I desperately hope has passed along to Bimmer.
When I give someone directions to my house, they are always insanely specific.
Take exit 72.
Turn right at the light.
Go to the third traffic light and turn left on to XYZ street. There is a Walgreens and a fire station on the corner.
Go to the second traffic light and turn right on to ABC street. If you go to the bank, you've gone too far.
Our house is the 14th house on the right with a big pine tree in the front yard and an aqua front door.
When the person gets there, I ask how my directions were. They *always* look at me and say, "Oh, the GPS got me here, but it was right on what you had told me."
::insert banging head against the wall::

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Break Down, Shake Down

Living in a town with no family (aka Free Babysitters) Puff and I don't get out as often as we'd like. We try really hard to go out at least once a month. So when February 2nd was jotted down on our calendars as a day to take a drive in the convertible to the mountains, I was sooooo pumped!
We tried a new babysitter this time (a teacher from her school) so she was really chill when we left. Puff told me that he needed to get gas, so we decided to stop at a place about 10 minutes from the house. When Puff started the car back up, it was making a revving noise... and his foot wasn't on the gas. I was definitely NOT too keen on taking the car to the mountains if it was making strange noises. Could you imagine getting stuck somewhere on a curvy mountain road with no cell phone reception??? And more importantly.... no bathroom?!?!?!
Fate intervened at the traffic light.
We pulled up to a stop and heard a loud pop come from underneath the car. As I turned around to see if we had run over something, I heard Puff say something about overheating. When I turned back around, smoke was billowing out from under the hood of our car. Puff drove over the median and headed back toward the gas station. Thankfully, we made it. Once the car stopped smoking, he put in some antifreeze. It was dripping a bit from underneath the car. I knew Puff's hope was to be able to at least drive it home.
Once he turned on the car, fluid gushed from underneath it. Nope... we were not driving it anywhere.
When life hands you lemons, take selfies.
The wrecker pulled in just as we were taking that photo. Yes he laughed at us. I will give a big ol' shout out to AAA, because they had someone out within a half hour to get us home.
The driver was great and not only drove us to the mechanic of our choice back in our town, but then also went out of his way to drive us home. Since we still had the babysitter awhile longer, we didn't even go into the house and grabbed my car and headed to brunch.
Bananas foster French toast can at least make the day a little brighter, right?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Golden Design

It's about damn time. We are about to get a little less golden.

Puff  bought The Bungalow in 2006. I moved in back in 2009. And all I have done since then is bitch about the gold walls AND ceiling in the living room. It also didn't help that he decided to decorate the room around the previous owner's horrid taste in wall colors... dark oriental rug, garnet sofa, and garnet/gold striped curtains.


I did tone down the curtains recently, which helped make the room seem less cave-like. I had heard on HGTV that using curtains the same color as your walls makes the windows seem bigger and takes away from drawing your eye there. New curtains will be on my to-do list here soon. But paint was top priority. (We had been spurred by the thought that we may put The Bungalow up for sale this spring, but have since changed our minds. Unless a can't-pass-up house comes along, then we may find ourselves scrambling.) So I finally had our painter come and quote a laundry list of updates... living room walls and ceiling, hallway, Bimmer's room, our room, office, laundry room, along with some other touch-ups and handy-man projects. Choosing what to do in Round 1 was super easy... living room, hallway and Bimmer's room.

Let's get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?
One more reminder what the living room used to look like....
And now what it looks like today....
The room already feels so much bigger and brighter! I'm still not 100% sure about the color (Antique White from Sherwin Williams) because sometimes it looks bright white and other times it feels more yellow. Regardless, it's a definite step up from what we had been living with. And it makes me hate the rug less. The next step in our living room update? Curtains. Then, pricing recovering that garnet wingback chair. I'm thinking navy houndstooth?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Life is a Highway

I think by now, you've grasped that we're a bit of a car family. Even before knowing Puff, I knew a lot about different makes and models. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't know all the options on a 1987 Buick Regal, but I know more than the average Sue. Being with Puff has just enhanced and broadened my knowledge. So, of course, we're always discussing our next cars or our dream rides.

Mine? An Audi A7.


Purr!!! I just want to jump on that thing and take it for a nice long ride. Yum!

But that's not reality. Our current reality is a 3-car family... my 2011 SUV, Puff's 1998 two seater convertible, and our 2009 family sedan, aka The Batmobile, that we purchased from my dad. In the past 16 years, prior to my current ride, I've had a fair share of vehicles. I've been spoiled enough to always have a brand new car and here's the lowdown...

* 1998 Toyota Rav4 - It was the best car for a teenager and I loved it! So many fond memories made in that thing!
* 2001 Nissan Xterra - I've always said it was my favorite, but I don't really know why. We called it "Rex."
* 2003 Jeep Liberty - It's name was "Mo" and it was a perfectly fine and reliable car, but it was just.... boring.
* 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe - It's name was "Lou" and I really wanted to love it... the size was perfect, had all the bells and whistles, BUT it had mechanical problems that no one could solve, so we got rid of it way before we had planned

When Bimmer was born, I thought the convertible was going to go bye bye, but it hasn't. And since it's paid off, I don't gripe about it too much. But Puff and I are always thinking about what could be next for our driveway. Right now we're hung up on a BMW 3 series convertible, probably from about 2008 or so, so that the entire family can go out for a ride with the top down...


As for me? Well, to be honest, I love my current car. The storage in the back is a tad small, but it's worked out OK. The backward facing car seat was also a problem, but that was temporary and not really the car's fault. So I think we'll keep Ozzy (that's its name) for as long as possible. But if something happened and I had to get something brand new right now? I'd be torn between a Ford Edge


And a Mazda CX9.


I figure we have a few years before we can put these dreams into reality. And by then, who knows what we'll like! What is your dream car? Do you have a reality car too?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Blunt Object

Ever since "You're Beautiful," I've been kinda sorta hooked on James Blunt.

I know, right? Totally doesn't seem like my schtick, does it?


But I'm a fan. I think because it is so different than what I normally listen to. It's perfect for a drive home when you just want to zone out, or when you're working and want some noise without necessarily wanting to rock out and sing along. (You do subconsciously learn the songs that way too, I've realized.)

So when the MIL got me "Moon Landing" for Christmas, I was pumped. I didn't, however, find time to even open it until the end of January. But the minute I threw it in my work computer on a Sunday afternoon when I needed to get a lot of shit done, I knew it was another solid output that I was crazy happy to listen to. I think my favorite track is "Miss America" but nothing is overly catchy, like there were a few on his last album. But it's totally a great album to put on at work and not find myself offending anyone!

Two thumbs up here, just as I give all his other albums. Just don't go looking for a lot of diversity in the sound... because, if I'm being honest, all the songs sorta kinda sound the same. Maybe that's part of the charm.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Valentine

I'm not crazy big on Valentine's Day. In fact, for the past several years, Puff and I have just exchanged a card and gone out for a decent dinner. This year is no different. (See the craft project we did with Bimmer last year HERE.) We went out last weekend with my old college roommate and some other friends. And we exchanged cards with each other, and gave a joint one to Bimmer. I'll stash it in her memory box for later.

We also gave Bimmer a new toy. It wasn't necessarily bought for the purpose of being a V-day gift, but the timing was right, so we rolled with it. The girl loves Minnie, and Puff loves cars, so when I saw the two joined together, buying it was a no-brainer. You press Minnie down and it rolls on its own. Awesome!

And for anyone wondering, we are finally thawing out after our massive snow. I would say we got about 5 1/2 inches of snow at The Bungalow, topped by a good bit of ice. We took Bimmer out yesterday for one more sledding excursion. For a few runs, I sat on the sled with her and Puff pushed us so we could go fast down the hill. I got a great Blair Witch style video of us that I will totally cherish always. Thankfully, the roads were passable by lunch yesterday, so I was able to go into work for a half day. School is closed one more day today, which means by Monday, Bimmer will have had 6 straight days of being home with her Mommy and Daddy. I certainly had fun with her this snow, but would have been OK with it just being one day's worth!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pax Packs a Punch

For as long as I can remember, I've had this strange fantasy of wanting to be a meteorologist. Specifically, on the beach reporting during a hurricane.
That being said, I'm generally intrigued by all major weather events. So when I was hearing days worth of "the storm of the century" I was glued to social media, the weather channel, local news. The forecast kept changing... ranging anywhere from a few inches of snow to a major ice storm where we would surely lose power. The final verdict seemed to be a day worth of an inch or two of snow, followed by a second storm that would drop 5 to 10 inches of snow. Do you have any idea how crippling ten inches of snow could be to South Carolina?!?
The last time it snowed (two weeks ago... read about it HERE) Bimmer was unsure about the white stuff. After the gorgeous snow on Tuesday, which didn't stick to any streets, but to the deck, yard, and trees, I took Bimmer out to test the waters. She liked that it was thick and fluffy enough to shuffle through it. But when she touched it with her hand, she grimaced and yelled "All wet!"
(This was her reaction once she got snow on her hand)

Trying to catch snowflakes
Today, we woke up to... well, nothing. I double checked all my sources and when both The Today Show and The Weather Channel were actively talking about snow in South Carolina, I knew we were in for it. By 7:30am this morning, the snow had started. And by 9am, it was pretty darn thick already. Puff got to stay home with us this day (which was great because I would've been worried to death had he tried to venture out to work) and before lunch, we took Bimmer out to play in the snow. It didn't start well... she fell down the steps from the deck to the yard. Thankfully, it had snowed so she had a cushion!

While we weren't outside too long, and the snow is *still* coming down, it was a sweet little moment in our lives. Bimmer got to play in snow for the first time, ride on a sled, and have her first face plant wipe-out when she fell off the sled going down a steep little hill in our yard. Here's hoping it's the last snow we have for awhile!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Give It Up

As much as I write, I read way more blogs. There are several that I've been diligently checking every day for literally years and years.
However, I've found that a few lately are just rubbing me the wrong way. There's nothing bad about the authors. In fact, they seem like sweet and good ladies. But they're making me feel bad about myself. So I've gotta un-favorite them.
Which blogs are they? Blue Eyed Bride and Sweet Southern Prep.
They're good blogs. I really like them. But lately, they've just made me feel.... well, inadequate. Or like a slacker. Or poor.
They both obviously are stay-at-home moms with time to worry about their blogs. They obviously have husbands who are well-to-do with good jobs. But I've got to quit being jealous and envious. I need to really get better about that in 2014, and they're NOT helping. I love reading about the brand new house they just built... but I find myself wanting that gorgeous new house with marble counter tops and a huge playroom. And that's not my reality. I love reading the daily updates on cute clothes... but I find myself wanting to shop (a lot) and I can't justify $200+ shoes.
I am wanting what I can't have. I find myself wanting parts of their lives that will never be a reality for me. And that has gotten me down. I am not a "keep up with the Jones" kind of girl, but that doesn't mean that I can't find myself being envious of others. It's just not a good look for me. So they've been taken off my daily dose of blogs. I may revisit them in the future. I hope that you check them out, because they're great reads. I just need a break. I need a break to snap myself back into my own world with my own little Bungalow and my own $22 shoes from Target.
I just need to learn to OWN those things a little more.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Motherly Body

A few weeks ago, a coworker sent out this link to a blog post about how to love your body after motherhood.
I think it speaks pretty much for itself. I just have to remember that this body was pre-Bimmer...
And that now, my body looks a little more like this...
And that's not a bad thing. I will admit to being grateful that I escaped without any stretch marks or anything more than a few extra pounds around the middle that I can't shake, and much bigger boobs. But I need to embrace these things. Because without them, I wouldn't have Bimmer. And she is worth any change to my body in the world.
I created her. And that's pretty spectacular.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spring, Where are You?

Yes, I realize it's only February, but come March, we should be rockin' some short sleeves in these parts, so I thought it might be time to update you on some of the spring/summer wardrobe I have already begun to buy for Bimmer.
First stop, Boden. I caught their end of the year sale and snagged a few things for her, like this short sleeve shirt (pictured over a long sleeve) but in red & white...
And I am totally ordering her this adorable little bird dress....
Vineyard Vines is going to be trouble. Right after I decide exactly what size she wears. I ordered her some shorts on sale in a 2T (that I hope to wear for her 2 year old photos this summer) and they're almost a little small already. Here's hoping she starts to grow UP instead of OUT in the belly department over the next few months. Because these are too stinkin' cute. I think I need some for myself!
And I did also snag her some adorable spring colored leggings for only $12 (which is the steal of the century from VV.)
Puff saw these overalls recently and they're on our list of things to get at the Osh Kosh outlet mall during our annual spring shopping trip (coming up soon!)
I have also discovered Garnet Hill. I ordered Bimmer both a bathing suit and a tank top from there on a 30% off sale they were running recently. Even without the sale, they were pretty reasonably priced, so I'm anxious to see how they work out for us and the quality.

Lastly, Old Navy. They are always hit-or-miss for me (and always a miss for Puff) but they've been kind to us in the kid's department. This spring, nautical is all the rage, and that tickles me to death. I love me a good nautical theme! Some of these pieces may or may not already be in Bimmer's closet just itching for the temps to rise so she can rock them!

I'm sure I will be back later this spring (or early summer) with more updates on her closet. I never thought I'd become the mom who loves to shop, but when it comes to Bimmer's wardrobe, I certainly can't stop!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Swings Both Ways

This past November marked the next chapter in the Robbie Williams legacy, as he released his latest album, "Swings Both Ways."

Now, I've been pretty vocal about my obsession with him and his awesome music. His last two studio solo releases ("In and Out of Consciousness" - a must buy, and "Take the Crown" - a good solid album) have gotten heavy rotation in my car the past few years. To be honest, they're probably about the only CDs that have gotten any play. I'm just that dedicated. Or that lazy to dig through old CDs to put new ones in my car. I digress...

I knew "Swings Both Ways" may not be my cup of tea. It's a follow-up to his super popular "Swing When You're Winning" from about a decade ago, which was a cover of a lot of old standards. I knew this new album would be a mix of covers and new tracks. I'm not always 100% interested in old standards (although his voice does always sound great) but I tend to like some of the new stuff. ("I will talk and Hollywood will listen" from "SWYW" is fabulous!) This album proves to be just as I expected.
I had super high hopes after the first two tracks, "Shine My Shoes" and "Go Gentle." But then it pretty much goes downhill from there. The swing version of "Supreme" and the title track are OK, but I don't even know that I would recommend paying to get them on iTunes. I knew this album would be different, and it is. It's not bad, it's just not the Robbie that I love. However, if you're into standards, you'd probably love it.
By no means am I giving up on my main man in music, but I probably wouldn't recommend this venture. Here's hoping it's not too long before he comes back with some great stuff for me to jam to in the car!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

You Down with OCD

Hello, my name is Gail and I have OCD.
Not the touch a doorknob three times before I open it kind, nor the mopping every day kind.
Selective OCD sums it up. Although it's not selective in the sense that I chose to have OCD. Because why would anyone choose that? I just have a few things that just have to go my way. Like at Jersey Mike's or Subway... if they have used a knife on another sandwich before mine, they need to wipe it off before they cut mine. Because I don't want mayonnaise remnants on my sub. I will have you remake it. Or handwriting... I don't like anyone else's handwriting on my stuff. It may be super pretty, but if it's not my font - because I write in all caps that lean slightly to the right, hence people calling it that - then I don't want it anywhere near my paperwork or calendars, etc.
And while everything in my house has a place, I'm not going to flip my lid if there's dust on my mantle or the blanket isn't folded correctly on the back of the chair. Will I eventually get to it because it will eventually bug me? Sure. But there aren't many instances where I will focus obsessively on something like that until it drives me bonkers. Do I color code things? Yes. When I had CDs and DVDs on display, were they in alphabetical order? Yes. Are the books on my bookcase in height order? Yes. C'mon now... I'm not an animal.
I have two large OCD obsessions....
#1 - Photos
#2 - Calendars
I have written before about my photo process (HERE) and how I need everything to be posted in chronological order - even if that's a pain in the ass to compile DSLR photos plus my phone photos plus DH's phone photos. God help us if Kimhead or my dad or someone else was involved too! They need to be labeled and all of that must happen before anyone looks at the albums. The one and only time I have had an honest-to-goodness panic attack was when I found out Kimhead had looked at photos I was uploading to my photo site following a trip to Birmingham before they were ready for anyone to see. I closed my office door and organized them for about 2 hours, not being able to focus on anything else. It was horrible, but I couldn't help myself. I learned a valuable lesson - keep the photo albums marked as private until I'm ready for them to be seen!
Now, calendars. I maintain quite a few. I keep a wall calendar at home as a "quick glance" reference for Puff and myself... which nights he needs to pick up Bimmer, days we're out of town, etc. I also keep a pocket calendar in my purse that acts as my lifeline. All my appointments (personal and work) are in there, pay days, when bills are due, when I'm going to start my period. If I order something online, the confirmation number goes in there. And then the ridiculous part... I always write down what I did and where I went that day. After the fact. If I talked to my dad on the phone, I write it down. If I went to the grocery store or Walgreens, I write it down. If I go to the gym, I write down how many laps I swam and if I weigh myself, I jot that down there too. I like to joke that if I'm ever interrogated about a murder, I can pull that out and remember exactly what I did on any given day!
At work, I keep two more. I keep a small calendar of the year hanging on the wall behind my computer, so I can always reference the date. And yes, it's color-coded. Yellow for weekends I have to work and pink for days off for either travel or holidays. My goal this year was to have pink in every single month. And I do! Yay! My other calendar is a weekly assignment book (like you would have used in high school) where I write down what I need to get accomplished each day. I work with a lot of deadlines and on lots of multiple projects at once, so I have to implement some type of organization system. I started this years ago and it just works for me. When I've called this person or met with that person, I squiggle a line through it and move on to the next task. It helps me prioritize and make sure I don't overlook anything! Kimhead is pretty organized too (although mine is much more OCD than hers) and she swears by a certain type of planner. It wouldn't work for me because there aren't lines and I can't handle anything to not be written straight. But you may love it as much as her (and many others) do. So check out her blog post about it HERE.
I did recently have a pretty-close-to-panic-attack about calendars in early January. I was trying to figure out my vacation days for the year and my comp days. (I am lucky enough to earn comp days for work incentives, weekends I have to work, business travel, etc.) They're implementing new policies on the comp days and I was trying to sort through all of the ones I have banked so that I don't lose any. Just as soon as I had updated my calendars, marking my days off and what type of comp/vacation day I was using, I got an email from my boss stating a change in the policy AND that I was earning an additional comp day I wasn't expecting. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?! Cue full on start-of-a-panic attack... rapid heartbeat, jitters, etc. I immediately printed all the forms I would need to fill out and turned them in. For the year. And if I had 2015 travel plans already in the works, I would have turned those in too! It killed me to have to go back and white out things on the calendars I had just spent hours (literally... I spent about 2 hours on a random Tuesday at work obsessing over this when I had real work to do) marking down. In the end, the only solution? Spreadsheet.
So, now you know my dark OCD secrets. Do you have any strange quirks that are more OCD than just things that bug you? Do you understand the full-on panic of something being not exactly right? Do you have selective OCD like I do?