Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ask, Seek, Knock

Bible Verse (2/24) 

Memorizing my first verse went a lot easier than I thought it would. Here we are at verse 2 or 24.

Scripture: "For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:8

Observation: Jesus wants us to ask for whatever we think we need. We might not get it, but if we seek him and let the Holy Spirit direct us, his will be revealed to us.

Application: In my prayers, I tend to do a lot of thanking (which is awesome), but I'm very vague when it comes to asking. I say a lot of "whatever your will is..." that way I'm not let down, if I don't get what I want. I should have the confidence and faith that I can ask for something directly.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the faith to ask, seek and knock, so that doors that I may not even know of will be opened in my life. Amen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When in Doubt, Add Butter

I have been a reading machine lately.

I would like to take a second to thank my children. Not for only being so stinkin cute, but for allowing me to read for pretty much 2 days straight. Playing together so nicely the last couple days has been amazing. Please continue this awesomeness! I understand a little bickering here or there, but for the most part lets just get along. You ladies have been great. And to Gatlyn, you are the man. You are so easy going and I love it. Thanks kids-Love ya!

I know, I know, I am ridiculous. But for real! I have seriously kept the house up and read 2 books this week. FYI-I didn't read at all Monday. Both were great quick reads and us moms need that! Am I right?

First book: When in Doubt, Add Butter By: Beth Harbison

I like chick lit books so this was right up my ally. If you don't like a book that is sometimes hard to follow keeps you guessing or even in tears. This is NOT the book for you;)

Here is a snip it for you.

"As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full.

There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an ├╝berwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to.

For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.

Great quick, read if you are looking for something!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Five Years

So five years have passed since Jess and I married each other. WOW! Time flies when you are having fun and or just plan busy. Good Lord life could slow down any minute. I just need to soak in the last 5 years for a minute. Well 5 1/2 if you count when we were dating. 

Don't you like to reminces with your hubby, boy, man, guy or whatever you call him about "the beginning". We seriously laugh every time we talk about it. From the time he was spitting his moves in the high school library to when I broke up with him before we were even dating. Long story, he won and look where we are. 

Then we go to the carefree summer nights and when his ring tone on my phone was this just can't be summer love by none other than thee JT, Justin Timberlake. Riding around in his black, stick shift, chevy truck, yes on the back roads. (We may even have hit, ok actually just swiped with the mirror, a mailbox. . .) 

Then we found out about Jo:) Which where I said, "I DO NOT WANT TO GET MARRIED." and he agreed. Then a couple weeks later Jess said, "I want to be with you forever and I want to be with you and the baby all the time." Therefore we were getting married. So my sisters and mom planned the wedding. I got down at the wedding being 7 months pregnant and had a good time. 

Then comes Jo and the hardships of being 19, married and parents. 

Then comes Raelin and we think we got this parenting thing figured out. So why not get a dog right? In comes Dixie. 

Then comes being homeowners. Which made us 21, married, parents, pet owners and homeowners. 

Then 2011 comes and we have Gatlyn. 

No worries. The list ends there. Until the kids get older then of course I will get another dog. Because I am a closet dog lover, well, now I guess I am out of that closet!

Jess is the man, my man and my kids man. We love him and all he does for our family. Even if he crosses every line possible. In that I mean the kids laugh when you trip them up the first time, but not the third. Or when the kids throw pillows at him, so obviously that gives him the right to do it back as hard as he can. Which a lot of these result into me saying, "C'mon Jess grow up. They are 4 and 2." or you can often hear me saying, "Glad I married the cool kid."

I love him. Even if he does pout all Sunday because I am beating him in Fantasy Football and then Monday rolls around and he pulls out the victory. And yes I never heard the end of it. Then when I actually beat him he won't talk to me and acts like I am a jerk for saying anything. 

Did this suddenly sound like I am bashing him? Because I didn't intend it to be, haha. But for realz, he is great. 

I am excited about our future and what we will make happen for our kids and us. Happy 5 years Jess, can't wait for the years to come! If you couldn't tell we take really nice pictures together:)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This Week for $50

It works best for my schedule to go grocery shopping on Wednesday or Thursday. So a week refers to Wednesday to Wednesday or Thursday to Thursday. 

This week for $50...

Things you can't really in the picture: a 2nd container of strawberries and a ring of smoked sausage
Quick Facts:
  • $72.54 worth of groceries for $54.31
  • $18.23 total in savings (including sales and mperks)
  • $6.60 extra in the budget from bottle slips (this is not reflected in my total savings)
  • $2.29 under budget for the week 

My Must Haves: 
  • dish soap 
  • dishwasher detergent
  • hair dye
  • flour
  • milk
  • coffee filters
  • coffee

Meal Ideas for This Week:
These meals use a combination of groceries from this week and items I have on hand

  • Chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs
  • Cheddar Wurst with homemade fries
  • Pizza Calzones and fruit salad
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Penne and smoked sausage casserole 

I also bought diapers and wipes today. Meijer is having Baby Week, and I was able to restock my diaper supply, and stock pile wipes. I bought a 136 count box of Pampers Cruisers and a 504 count box of wipes for a $1 less than the diapers would normally cost!
(Pampers Cruisers at $34.99 + Pampers Wipes at $10.99) - ($10 off instantly for spending $40+ in Pampers products + $1 off Pampers Diaper coupon + $1 off Pampers wipes coupon) = $33.98
This doesn't come out of our grocery budget. I don't have to buy diapers every month, because I stock up when I find a super good deal at Meijer or Target. Months that I know I'm going to have to get diapers, I usually budget around $40 under Stella.


I'm thinking of doing a post like this each week. Is that something some of you would be interested in reading? 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lessons in Vacuuming

The other day as I was vacuuming the cracker crumbs off my living room floor, I started thinking about how even learned to vacuum. Kind of strange. I mean, how often do you think of when you learned to complete a particular household chore?

You know who I remember teaching me? One would assume that it was our mom, but it was actually our dad. I distinctly remember him showing me how to go in the same direction and to use lines the vacuum left on the green carpet in our living room as a guide. He probably doesn't remember it all. Our dad has always had a thing for making sure the house is spotless whenever he was left in charge for a weekend. I'm sure my lesson came on one of those weekends, because those are the only time I can remember him doing housework.

Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, just as my mom was, I can better appreciate how nice it must have been for my mom to come home to a clean house.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Growing Gatlyn

Gatlyn is 15 months, which I had to like physically look at the calendar to figure that out. And yes, I just wrote that he was 13 months like 4 times today at a doctor's appointment. Oops! Not the first and sure as heck won't be the last I mess that up, at least I got his birthday right.

So it has been a little bit since our last up date, actually his birthday! Boy have things changed a bit since then!

Praise the Lord we have not had to deal with the flu or an awful cold as of yet. He has a little cough, so I put a vapor plug in the wall and am starting him with some breathing treatments. Hopefully this will keep it under wraps. He is also teething and you know the fun stuff that comes with that.

Gat has 4 teeth on top and 3 on bottom. He is going to have some big chompers! And they are taking FOREVER to come in.

He is now a whopping 18.8 pounds and honestly I don't know how long he is. But he is a short little fella. He is currently rolling over from back to front && front to back. That is exciting and pretty new, only been doing back to front for a month (and honestly not that often). With all of the time Gatlyn had to remain on his back he lost like all flexibility newborns have. So we have been slowly trying to get back that flexibility. This has been happening with therapy weekly (in our home) and also we (being Jess and myself) work with him daily. Anyway I guess what I am trying to say is that is why he is delayed. He wants to do stuff he just physically can't, which makes him more agitated. He is starting to get around on his own by rolling a little bit.

Medically Gat is breaking free of a lot of things. Let me just make it a list:)

  • No more valium:) (This was for his anxiety/muscle tone, just calmed him a bit)
  • No more reflux meds! (We had to start him on them when he got the stomach bug back in August/September) When he got the bug his Nissen was stretched, therefore he was spitting up all the time. Now that it is healed we are off the meds!
  • He also no longer has to take his multi vitamin with iron, which quite frankly was disgusting and I hated giving it to him. It reminded me of some vitamin I used to give my old dog, Kenya.
  • Only on his pump for 2 hours throughout the day. Which means 4x a day we turn it on for a half hour and he gets 75mL over that time, these are called bolice feeds. He is also on for 11 hours at night at 40mL. We are slowly progressing to try to get him to take more volume in a half hour. Then hopefully he will only have like 5 bolice feeds a day and no night time. (Which would be awesome, no more wet sheets in the morning? You would pee a lot too if you drank all night!)
  • We also went to the eye doctor on the 17th and found out he is clear of the eye doctor until he is 3! Then if he is still good then we won't ever have to go back. Miracle I tell you, blessing from God for sure. I love hearing and can't get enough of a doctor telling me he is a blessing. Or when they tell you over and over how you could never tell by his eyes he is a preemie and is so bright. LOVE. IT.
I just love all the good news! Okay, so we took some things out and are adding a few in;)
  • Gatlyn goes for his third hearing test on January 28th. Trying to get a grip on what is going on. He is "referring" in his left ear on some of their test. Don't know a lot right now, so more to come on that later.
  • Gatlyn has been drinking from a "honey bear" bottle. It is a honey bear bottle literally. Just no honey in it! They just stick a rubber tube in the top and I can squeeze the bear to make formula come out. Gat is really enjoying his vanilla formula. Not in large amounts or anything but we are definitely making some progress there!
  • He will eat about 2 ounces of baby purees now. He LOVES and gets SO excited when he sees me get the spoon and food out. He favors fruit flavors, specifically anything with pears. What kind he eats is not a concern because he gets all the nutrition from the formula. (30 calorie formula!)
  • His most recent addition is a black helmet. This is to help the shape of his head. Gat's head has been growing out instead of back. Therefore we decided we should work on getting that rounded out. The helmet only effects new growth. It is NOT squeezing his head or anything. It touches 2 areas of his head that we don't want to grow and then allow for new growth elsewhere. It is black helmet with a red strap. We have to get some decals to put on it. It will be his little redwings helmet (is there any other option!?! Go Redwings!) He just got it on Wednesday and we have a 5 day break in schedule. No worries, Gatlyn does not even care. He actually thinks he is pretty big stuff, I think he thinks it is a cool hat. It doesn't seem to bother him at all actually. Other than the fact he can reach the valcro strap and loves the sound when he scratches it.

Gat is really a sharp little guy. He is trying to make more sounds which is so exciting. He legit knows dada, mama, and uh-oh. We all get so excited when he says something that he will do it again and then wait for us to smile and say it back. I love that he is starting to "converse" with us!

happy. happy. happy.

I hope everyone is staying healthy, I hear there is a ton of crap going around! Wash your hands more than necessary;)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Groceries on a Budget (Part 2)

$75.84 worth of groceries for $53.12

You can find Part 1 here.

I spent a total of $53.12. I saved $22.72, without using any coupons!

I was surprised to go over $50. And didn't figure out how I went over until I got home and started pulling everything out my bags. See that blue Birdseye Voila bag on the left? Yeah, that wasn't mine. My groceries must have started to close to the lady's in front of me, and the cashier thought it went with my order. Oh well, at least it's something we'll eat. If that hadn't happened, my total would have been $49.13, 0.07 cents under budget.

In Part 1, I laid out three rules that you must be willing to follow, in this post I'll go into detail rule by rule. This is truly, how I make a $50/week grocery budget work.

1. You can't get to the store and be easily enticed by items not on your list.
Generally, I don't allow myself to purchase anything that isn't on my grocery list. It's a carefully planned list (see rule 2) and doesn't usually have much wiggle room. However, like any rule, there are exceptions.
For instance, yesterday I picked up 2 packages of English Muffins. They weren't on my list, but were on a pretty good sale—they're usually close to $2.40 a pack, and they were on sale for 0.99 cents. It was a pretty good deal, and I had a few dollars worth of wiggle room this week, so I went ahead and picked them up.
Another example from yesterday, I had a bag of frozen boneless skinless chicken breast on my list. They were in the sale ad for just under $8.00. When I got to the store, I was able to find a package of Meijer Fresh chicken breast with rib meat, and skin for $5.96. So, I picked those up in stead and gave my self a couple extra bucks to spend and was able to get some pineapple.
2. You have to take the time to prepare and plan before you go.
This probably should have been rule 1, oh well.
A couple days before I plan on going grocery shopping, I make a list of the things I HAVE to get. For me, that list is usually pretty short, because there aren't really many things I think we HAVE TO HAVE. This week it was bread, tortillas, vanilla and toilet paper.
Once I know my must haves, I open up the Meijer sale ad—right now I only shop Meijer, but I'm thinking of shopping Walgreens too, once I start adding coupons to my grocery routine—flip through it and check out what's on sale. This is the most important step because—aside from my must haves—I TRY TO ONLY BUY THINGS THAT ARE IN THE SALE AD. I very rarely will purchase something that's not on sale. Even produce and my must have items.
After going through the ad once, I go back through page by page and write down the items I think we'll need/use that week. Or if there is a particularly good sale on a toiletry or cleaning item, I'll add that to the list. Now, I know many people tout meal planning as the best way to control what you spend at the store. I used to do that, but I found myself picking meals where the ingredients weren't on sale, so it didn't really help me much. Unless there is a meal that myself or Tim really want that week, I usually just buy stuff I know is used in a lot of the recipes we like to eat. For example, I'm always stocked up on black beans, cheese, tortillas and taco seasoning, because we love tacos, and I have a ton of recipes that are different takes on them. I also always have pasta and pasta sauce on hand, as a back up to my back up meal. We don't love spaghetti, but it's cheap and easy to keep on hand. As I'm writing down what I want to pick up, I add up how much it costs. This is important because it lets me know how much wiggle room I have when I get to the store.
An important tip is to account for produce that is sold per pound. Like, yesterday apples and pears were on sale for $1.18 per pound, I went in knowing I wanted to buy 3lbs of each, which would put me at about $3.50 each. I figured that out before going to the store, and then weighed my apples and pears to make sure I was as close to 3lbs.
3. You have to be willing to give up some of what I call luxury items.
If you look closely at the photo of my groceries, you'll see that almost everything is the Meijer store brand. I honestly haven't noticed much of a difference in taste in anything. Also, I don't buy treats. Tim and I don't get cookies, Little Debbie cakes, or other things like that. Stella doesn't get Gold Fish crackers (unless they're on super sale) or gummies. If Tim or I want pop or alcohol that comes out of our personal fun money for the month.
A couple disclaimers:
I don't have to buy beef, this Summer we went in with my parents and the Schrocks and we have a quarter of a steer in our freezer. I do however typically buy some kind of chicken or pork weekly.
The quantity of groceries I get each week varies greatly. There have been weeks when we need bathroom cleaner, toilet paper, shampoo and conditioner, coffee, plus other must items, that I come home with very few groceries. That's when having your back up meals is key, and you also get a chance to use up some of the stuff that's been sitting around. This week was a particular good week, Meijer is having their 10 for 10 get the 11th item free sale. When I see that in the ad, I get super excited, because I know I'm going to be able to stock up on a few things. 

If you have any specific questions, I'd love to answer them! You can ask them in the comments or on the Twenty Something Mamas Facebook page

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Groceries on a Budget

When Tim and I decided that I wouldn't go back to work full time, I decided to find ways for our family to save money, to help make up the difference. So, I instituted a $50 per week grocery budget. That's $200 per month, and for us about a savings of $100 (I was spending about $300 on groceries per month before). Food, toiletries and cleaning supplies all fall under the category. It doesn't include diapers and wipes, Stella has her own category in our monthly budget. On weeks where I need to by multiple toiletry items, I've been known to go over by like $10, but I don't think that's too shabby!

My mama can't believe I can do it, and she keeps asking me to tell her how. I'll do my best to lay it out over the course of a couple of posts, but I don't really have any secrets. I just set my mind to it, and do it. I rarely use coupons, but I am going to start trying to use more to stretch my $50 even further. I feed a family of three (Love Bean doesn't eat as much, but she does eat what we eat). In the book "Miserly Moms" she feeds a family of four on $50 a week.

I've found there are three things you MUST be willing to do if you want to make $50/week work for you.
1. You can't get to the store and be easily enticed by items not on your list. When I first started, I would only take my $50 cash into the store with me, so I wouldn't be tempted to go over and use my debit card.
2. You have to take the time to prepare and plan before you go. This usually only takes me a half hour to an hour.
3. You have to be willing to give up some of what I call luxury items. Like some name brand products, cookies that can easily be made at home, and other things like that. A specific example for our family, Love Bean rarely gets Gold Fish crackers anymore, she eats whatever crackers I buy for the rest of the family, or Meijer brand animal crackers.
Next post I'll go over my prepartion and planning process, how I shop the store, and what I purchased for $50 on my last trip to Meijer.

I'll leave you with one money saving tip I've found works for our family. I buy a box of the individually bagged chips about every month and a half. Even though at about $9 a box, they take a 1/5 for my budget that week, it actually saves us money over time. We were buying 2 bags of chips a week, which was costing us $6 (if they were on sale 2 for $6). So over 6 weeks, that's $9 vs $36, that's a savings of $27!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bible Verse (1/24)

Mallorie checked in with you all yesterday on how she is doing with her 2013 goals, so I thought, why not check in with you today. As you know, one of my goals is to memorize 24 Bible verses. I'm planning on sharing all of them, so feel free to memorize them along with me!

When blogging about each verse I'm going to use the same format. It's a technique that I learned from my friend Sarah, who lead the small group I attended in Chicago. It's called the S.O.A.P technique. It stands for scripture (what Bible verse(s) are you referencing), observation (what's something that sticks out to you/what it the lesson that can be learned), application (how can you apply it your life) and prayer (a short prayer you can say and repeat when you need reminder).

Scripture: "Better a meal of vegetables where there is love, than a fattened calf with hatred" Proverbs 15:17

Observation: I think this verse doesn't only refer to food, but also to our material goods, money, and status. Having an abundance of anything is worthless, if we do not have the time and energy to show love to our family, friends and community.

Application: When Tim and I get down on ourselves for not being where we want to be financially, or because our TV isn't big enough, or because we don't have brand new cars, or the clothes we dream of, we need to recall this verse. And remember that it better to have few possessions and whole lotta of love, than it is to work our lives away to have all those things, but never get to enjoy them together.

Prayer: Lord, help me to remember that the things of this world are fleeting and to be thankful for all that I do have. Help me to know the most important thing is that I take the time to show your love to my husband and daughter. Because without love, none of it would mean anything.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Gaining and Losing

It is January 14th and I am already struggling with my goals for the new year. I have been at a stand still with my weight loss. I am not trying as hard as I need to be. So, this week I have a renewed spirit and am ready to get it done!! 

I thought I better figure out what is going to make me miss those targets I have set. Better yet, why not share them with you. Maybe before going through this new year you should look and see what will get in your way. Keep your eye on the prize and finish the race, ok maybe that was corny. (Oh well it just flowed right out) 

Maybe set a few dates to keep it real? Or better yet make a plan to set it out right. Or find a buddy who will keep you accountable. 

Here is my list of things that are going to give me some problem.

Losing Weight:

-Dr. Pepper
- Any type of dough
- Sour Cream and Onion Pringles
- Sour Cream and Cheddar Chips
- Peanut Butter Twix
-Arby's roast beef sandwiches and curly fries.

Gaining Money:

- Cute shirts that are "only" $3 or $4 for the kids. You add up a couple shirts each and that is roughly $25.
- Trips to the gas station for gas that end up with a pop or juice for each kid. Plus a bag of chips or something else for me:)
- Out of control/no budget grocery shopping
- I guess all my "impulse" buying would some it up.
-Fast Food
-Dumb driving (this would be just driving anywhere to go. Or unnecessary trips to GR.)

I pretty much have a handle on my other

Good luck to all of you and I hope you are making it happen in 2013.

Please tell me I am not the only one!?! What are your weaknesses?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Angry Bean

So in case you missed the big announcement on Christmas Eve, I'll fill you all in again. Tim and I are expecting baby #2!

Alexis (I think, maybe it was Mal?) lovingly named this little one, Angry Bean. Because from 6 weeks to 13 weeks, I had morning sickness almost every single day and pretty much felt and looked (if I didn't put loads of make-up on) as if the life was being sucked out of me. Since 13ish weeks, I've felt better, but still every now and then I'll wake up not feeling well. This has been a complete 180 from what my pregnancy with Love Bean was like. With her I never got sick and wasn't really that tired. Probably has something to do with the fact I was actually in shape when I got pregnant with Love Bean, and didn't have a 15 month old to chase around.

Other things have been different this time around as well.

Last time around I never had a single craving. I wanted to have one so bad too...I really thought maybe they were made up, and that woman just use them as an excuse to eat whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.

Well, I'm happy to say I have had ONE craving this pregnancy. It was before the Dairy Queen in Lake O closed for the Winter (thankfully!). I was at home, thinking about what to make for dinner, but all I could think about was a DQ Heath Blizzard made with chocolate ice cream. I made dinner, and tried to eat some of it, but it just didn't taste good, and I couldn't get the blizzard off my mind. I had Tim stop and pick one up for me on his way home. OH. MY. GOSH. when I took the first bite it was like heaven in my mouth. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my waistline), there have been no more ice cream cravings.

I do hope that I actually look more pregnant this time around. The day I delivered Love Bean, I looked like most woman do at 6 months. Although, only gaining 28 pounds was nice, and so was being back in my skinny jeans 6 weeks later. So maybe I don't wanna look more pregnant...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Twenty Six

Jamie is TWENTY SIX today!!

So I had a grand idea of getting some fun memories from a few people of Jamie. So we have a little collection of fun here and maybe embarrassing in some way or another. Hold on for a bit, it is a tad long, but we all got a lot of love for this girl!


will start of with a quick story of Jamie and I had together. She was 16, me 14 and we wanted to go to Lansing. Jamie had never driven there before by herself, so this was a big deal. I guess more so the fact mom said YES! Anyway we jumped in the silver Taurus and took off. If I remember correctly we were doing pretty good. Possibly even made a stop or two already. Well Jamie was trying to get back on the road and had to cross 2 lanes of traffic to get to the turn lane, so then we could try to get in the next lane. I don't even remember exactly what we did, ok what she did. But all of the sudden a car flew around us and through milk at us. Luckily I had my window up! We never told my mom until we were out of the house because we wanted to be able to go to Lansing again. haha!

Might as well fit one other driving story in here. We were on our way to Aim High from a lamb show at MSU. Jamie was driving and I was passenger again. Jamie couldn't figure out how to get there and I was trying to tell her what to do. (Was and still am better with directions) She seriously got off an exit and would get back on going the same way. No lie we got off on 5+ times. She kept doing the opposite of what I told her. Big sisters. . . 

The next one is not really an unsual scenario for sisters, I don't think anyway. Jamie and I were fighting (just verbal) and she started to walk away into her bedroom (which was mine too). I obviously couldn't let her just walk away, I had to get the last word in. So she slams the door, I kick it open (yes I was and still am dramatic). What does Jamie do, well of course is waiting there and SUCKER PUNCHES me right in the gut. That is the only time Jamie has ever physically hurt me that I remember. (I am told she did chuck a shovel at my head when I was young. She didn't want to be a big sister)

Alexis will eleaborate on this more later on down but, Jamie loved indians. Therefore we played Pocahontas a lot. And she got to be Pocha and would talk to one of the pine trees and pretend it was Grandmother Willow. Alexis got to be Naomi and of course I had to be John Smith. She was pretty protective over Grandmother Willow. She was the ONLY one who could talk to her. HAHA. 

Love you J:)

I also got Jamie's best friend Mandy to write up something. 

I have many memories of my best friend Jaime. One of my favorite one actually happened at-least once a week our Freshman year of College. It was called "futon of love time" isn't what you think. We would go over to the other residence hall to get snacks and pop (our snack selection was terrible) and then we would sit on Jamie's futon and watch Boy Meets World before class would start. I am pretty sure we started this tradition because we decided we should talk about Graphic Design stuff in between classes so we were "better students" but that didn't last long! From boys, to clothes, to finding new college friends for our "group", we never ran out of things to say. I think that 35 minutes in between class is what really made our friendship even stronger (Thanks, Cory Mathews). Even after Freshman year, our friendship revolved around corny television shows and vast amount of snacks, and I am not afraid to say that. I love you jobo, pekoshka, james, or whatever nickname I gave through out the week. Happy Birthday Woman!

Then Al chimes in here:) 

Jamie is THE definition of the oldest child to the tee. Urban Dictionary says the oldest child is 

".. usually the child that gets to much responsibility. Can be seen as an automatic babysitter. the oldest child also has much firmer rules then younger siblings. parents often forget what the oldest child was made to do at a certain age for example: at the age of 8 the oldest child is made to start doing the washing up but by the time the second child gets to that age the parent isnt making him do anything yet. the oldest chld gets the least attention as they are seen to be more capable. the oldest child often longs for the only childness they had for a while before there younger sibling was born."

We have heard Jamie preach on this over and over and beg for pity for having to be the oldest child. But when it comes down to it Jamie is just so darn good at it! 

There are so many crazy memories with J that I have no idea how to share them or how to pick just one. But when I think about what we pick on J about the most it is definitely her love for Indians she had growing up. 

She was weirdly obsessed with Indians. She wanted to read about them, paint them, live with them. She wanted to be one of them. When we were on family vacations of course we had to stop and look at every Indian exhibit. I'm thinking Jamie's love for Indians also drove her to her crazy idea of getting trampled by a heard of buffalo. When on a family vacay in Monatana we were driving through a park and began driving through this heard of buffalo. Jamie insisted on getting a picture so continued to climb to the back of our lovely forest green clubwagon van over our luggage and open the back door to get a close up. Well as most people know a van packed full of luggage and opening the back door does not go well together. Jamie then continued to start to fall out of the van and into this massive heard of buffalo. I don't remember how she managed to get back in I just know she did or she probably wouldn't be here today. ;

I also curious of the definition of a Jamie and found it necessary to include Urban Dictionary's definition of Jamie too.
Jamie: Super hot and adorable with an incredibly perfect butt; I wish I had Jamie's butt!

-Love Al

We even got Tim (her hubs) in on the action! 

One of my favorite memories with Jamie is when we had first moved to Chicago and we would go for walk and explore the neighborhood and ultimately the city, we wouldn't have an agenda just walk and talk.
Another of my favorite memories with Jamie is when went to the haunted jail in big rapids, for Halloween. Jamie was so scared to go but we made her go. While we were waiting in line there was a guy that didn't even work for the haunted house that kept scaring her before we even got inside. We finally got inside and she was jumping at every little thing, I tried to get her to go the next year and it was a big fat no. Lol
Probably my favorite memory of Jamie is when I first saw her coming down the isle at our wedding. That moment was the culmination of a bunch of arguments and a lot of stress. At that moment everything was perfect.
We all love you Jamie! You are an intelligent, loving, caring woman!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Babies and Friends

Growing up also means changing friends. Growing up while makin' babies makes that process a little trickier. 

In the meantime hold the babies tighter and step out of your comfort zone a little more. Or hang on to this blog. I am telling you it will get better. 

When I was 18, 3 months after I graduated I found out I was pregnant for Jo. 

At the time when I was pregnant my sisters weren't. We didn't have that in common yet. So it was even hard there. I went from being crazy, spontaneous, free Mal to a Mallorie that couldn't figure out where she belonged. Honestly, my mom is who I called to just talk. My mom helped me transition into adulthood by just treating me as a friend. She made me realize that this is what I want, I didn't want to be off doing what other 18 year olds were doing. And that is and was okay. I was put on this earth to be a mom.

Finding your way in this "grown up" world, with friends away at college can be hard. Or maybe you are still in college and have a little one or two at home. From experience I can tell you that the first year after I was out of high school was so hard for me emotionally. Luckily I had a few friends that would come see me or would still include me no matter what. Even when they were at school, I would get a text here or there.

This is where you separate your "real" friends from the rest. A real friend is perfectly ok just coming to your house and enjoying/tolerating your kids for awhile. A real friend understands that budgets are tight when you got wee ones and is ok with Big Boy;) Most of all a real friend will figure out a time to meet with you because you need a girls day/night. 

The problem was not just them though, it was me too. I couldn't, well really, just didn't know how to make the transition. The transition from being irresponsible to completely responsible for another life. I took it to the extreme. I didn't do much of anything but be a mom. 

REAL TALK, I was uncomfortable being a mom. Actually I was a SELF CONSCIOUS wife/mom/woman. What kind of mom was I going to be? What kind of mom did I want to be? What do I have in common with my friends? I can't even fit in my old clothes! They wouldn't even understand anything I am going through. Which that translated into me just kind of closing the door on friends. I wanted to do what they were doing, but knew I had different priorities and responsibilities to attend too.

I have been struggling with this for sometime, as I am sure some of you have or are. 

You still like to have a good time, but you can't just randomly pack up your kid at 9 o'clock at night to go to somewhere for some drinks or to hang. You can't pack up your kid at 9 at night for anything. My kids have been in bed for almost 2 hours at that point. You have to set dates and find a babysitter. 

Even harder for me was the "mommy guilt". It used to be really hard for me to be away from Jess and Jo. Well have one more kid and ask me how hard it was. Now that I have 3 it is like get me the heck out of here! haha! 

I had some of that right. But in the end I had to still do me. You adjust to being a mom and your friends adjust to it as well. I had to realize that it was OKAY for me to have fun. It was alright for me to leave Jo for a little bit. When I finally did this I realized I was a better mom when I got time to do what I wanted. 

Then once you get out, you have to let the "mom" in you go. And just have fun. Although I am awful at letting the mom in me go, I still can have a good time. I think anyone that has seen me out at any event, kid free, knows I can have a good time. That was hard for me to learn though.

Now when you see me out and about kid free I try to let go of the "mom" in me and just relax. Just go with the flow. Obviously my kids come up and I make the occasional (probably too many) mom jokes. Like when you go to a party and someone is like, "Just one more drink!" and you reply, "I have to wake up and be a mom tomorrow;)". I am a more confident mom. I know what I do is hard and I take pride in it. I now understand it is okay and people aren't judging me. 

I feel like social media is just a pain when it comes to being a young mom. You can sit there and get so caught up in the fact what other people your age are doing. 

If you are reading this and are the friend of a young mom, just a text would make their day. But even better don't think you have to have two lives. Mix them together;) Invite the mama out. Being a mom is tough! And when they say no the first 3 times keeping asking!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Personal Goals

Happy New Year! We all spent the night celebrating one last Christmas and ringing in 2013 with my parents. I think three drinks were spilled, one chair was broken, and one minor elbow injury was suffered by Andi when she was knocked to the floor during a battle for a spoon between Nanner and Uncle Tim.

My usual new year's resolution is to send birthday cards to all my friends and family, but I never even make it past Jan. 14, my dad's birthday. So, I'm giving up on that this year. I've came up with two new goals for 2013.

1. Memorize 24 Bible Verses; I think I'm pretty knowledgeable about the Bible, and I can give you paraphrased versions of many Bible stories and biblical principles, but I don't have very many verses memorized word for word. 24 seems like a pretty attainable number for me, that's two verses a month. To help me stay on track, I'll be sharing the verses here on the blog as I'm committing them to memory.

2. Do one load of laundry per day; I hate doing laundry, so much so that I put it off until Tim runs out of socks or underwear and then I spend like two whole days doing laundry, which makes me hate it even more because it seems never ending. So, I'm going to try to do one load a day in hopes that making it a small daily task, makes it feel more manageable.