Monday, December 30, 2013


In 2013, I had a couple pretty big life changing events happen. In June we welcomed baby #2, our Big Boy. This addition resulted me not being able to return to work due to the high cost of daycare. So I became a stay at home mom!!

I was really excited to not have to go back to work and be able to just stay home with my kids every day. I hated waking Princess up so early to just drop her off at daycare for 10 hours every day. Most days she just wanted to stay home, too.

When I first thought about staying home with my kids, I thought it would be so great. It is, really, but it’s also a lot more difficult than I had ever thought. You don’t really think about it, but when you have to go to work you develop a routine and a schedule to get everything done. But when you aren’t required to be up at a certain time it’s difficult to get dressed before noon. Then comes all of the chores and responsibilities. You keep telling yourself it will get done, but unless you set a specific day and time to get it done, it probably won’t get done.

So the key to being a stay at home mom and not just sitting around in your PJ’s all day and eating junk is to have a routine and a schedule. I failed at this. It’s been almost 7 months since our Big Boy was born, and I have yet to develop a routine of any kind.

I have let a lot of things go, like cleaning, bills, spending one on one time with my husband and my daughter, and most of all myself. So to fix this, I have come up with 5 goals that will help fix these problems and hopefully make me and my family happier in the New Year.


 It is so important for couples with children to make time to be together without the children. It becomes extremely difficult when I am always home with the kids. So making time to have a date night at least once a month, completely away from the children, is very important. It will not only strengthen our relationship but will also help stabilize our family. Our kids will grow up seeing that we will always make time to be together. I plan to set one day every month and make plans to go out. It doesn’t always have to be extravagant or anything. Just having a couple hours to go to dinner or something will be enough. Occasionally, if the finances allow, we will do something extra special. I plan to use some ideas that I find here at The Dating Divas.

Goal #2:               ONE ON ONE TIME WITH MY DAUGHTER

This is so important to me because I don’t do this enough. Since the baby came, I have noticed my daughter and I have not been getting along very well. Every day we fight. She is constantly pushing the boundaries with me and I have lost my patience with her. She is not nicknamed Princess for no reason. She definitely requires a lot of patience. So, I am hoping that by spending at least 30 minutes of one on one time with her every day it will help us to get along better. This time can be spent dong anything other than watching T.V. We could play barbies, or work on her letters, or paint. Just so that it’s about me and her. No little brother or even Dad. I have a ton a ideas on my Pinterest board for Educational Activities. As well as just some fun arts and crafts activities that will help keep these fun for her and easy for me!

Goal #3:                               LOSE 30 LBS BY JUNE 1ST

So I had lost most of the weight I had gained with baby #2 by just a few weeks postpartum. I was pretty proud of myself for it, too. But as the time has gone by, I have gained almost all of it back. I am so mad at myself for letting this happen. Especially that since I am always home, using the, I don’t have time excuse, doesn’t work. I have no excuse but pure laziness. So I have decided that if I lose 5 lbs a month, starting in January, I will be back down to a good healthy weight. Once I reach that goal I will set another goal depending on how much I still need to lose. But, I think that 5lbs a month is pretty doable.


I never thought it would be so difficult to keep up on the daily responsibilities when you’re home every day. But it is very difficult when you don’t have a boss telling what needs to be done and when. It’s especially difficult because there isn't really a start and end time for this “job”. It’s a 24/7 job, so it is easy to just say I’ll do it later or tomorrow. It’s a bad habit and I need to break it. So I am hoping that by setting up a scheduled routine, I can break out of this vicious cycle I am in. I have tried this many times already and I think the reason I keep giving up on it is because I’m trying to do too much in the beginning. I think that if I start small with just doing a few things every day, then slowly working up to a bit more, I will be able to stick to it. My plan is to have some daily chores that have to be done every day, like the dishes and picking up toys and clutter. Once I get good at keeping up on the day to day stuff, I will start adding in weekly chores. But I need to make sure to give myself a couple days to have a free day. That way I can have a “day off” if I want or catch up if I missed a chore on another day. This is my favorite example of a cleaning schedule that I found on Pinterest.


Now, for some, this may seem like no problem and you’re probably thinking why this would be on my top 5 goals. Well anyone that knows me, knows I am probably the most forgetful person ever! I have always struggled with remembering to do things. I used to get into so much trouble as a kid because of this problem. My parents never believed when I told them I had forgotten. But I think now they know, it was pretty true. I think I can incorporate this goal in with my routine. If I set times every week to take care of the finances, I think I can get it under control. This is the Bill Binder that I use to help keep my bills organized.

So, there you have it. My five goals that I hope will make my life easier, make my family and me happier, and maybe even teach my kids a thing or two about responsibilities and motivation.

What goals are you setting for yourselves for the New Year? 
And, no, I am not going to call them New Year’s Resolutions, because I plan to continue these well after the year 2014.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Year of New Christmas Traditions

This year the Princess is old enough to start doing some fun Christmas traditions with. So, I of course hit up Pinterest!

The first one we started was the "Elf on the Shelf" tradition. It was pretty successful, although I wasn't super creative with it. Luckily at only 4 years old just having the Elf sit in random spots around the house was enough for her. Her elf, Pebbles, will be leaving a "Goodbye letter" tonight and heading back to the North Pole with Santa Clause.

The second tradition I started was leaving food for Santa's reindeer on the lawn. I found this idea at Put A Bird On It. It's so simple and quick to make. Then the kids just throw it out on the lawn for the Reindeer to have a special treat. The Princess was so excited to try this tonight.
I was also going to try to do the leaving cookies for Santa thing, but in all of the craziness, the cookies did not get baked. But I'll try to do better next year.

The third tradition I started this year, was to read a new Christmas book before bed. I purchased "The Night Before Christmas" for her and her Daddy read it to her. I think she really liked having a new book to read that was all about Christmas.

Next year I would like to do maybe one or two more things, like maybe an advent calendar of activities, and doing the Christmas lights express with hot chocolate and jammies. But, we will have to see how it goes.

What fun traditions do you do with your families? What ones would you like to start doing?

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Beginning

It all started one day in April of 2006. I was a sophomore in high school, and just started my first job. I worked at Ream's Grocery, our local store. I noticed this really cute boy talking with the manager, and I couldn't stop staring. He was making everyone around him laugh, and he was laughing the loudest. Then one day he started bagging for me at my check stand, I was a cashier, even though he was not a bagger, but worked in the Western Wear department. From then on I would always ask to work the check stand nearest him and he always came over to bag for me. He got into trouble numerous times, but always came back. We talked and flirted for a while. He would come and sit with me in my breaks and would walk me to the door when my dad came to get me after my shift. Everyone started to notice, and started teasing us and saying we should just go out already!

I remember one night the manager was really getting after him to just ask me. He walked me to the door, and I remember standing there waiting. I kept thinking over and over, just ask me. But he just told me to have a good night.

Finally after about two weeks of talking and flirting, he finally brought up the subject of us dating. He asked me what I thought of what everyone was saying about us dating. I asked him if he would want to and he said yes. So, I told him that I thought we should.

Then he finally asked me on a date that following weekend. I was so excited. It was going to be my first date. Then I thought, crap now I have to tell my Dad!!
My Dad came in to buy some groceries, so I decided that was the perfect time to tell him. So I asked if we had any plans that weekend. Then I told my Dad I had a date with Jake that weekend. Jake was bagging for me at the time, so he was standing right there. My Dad turned and looked at him and said Hi. Then he turned back to look at me. When I had said that I had a date, he had just swiped his card. He looked at me for a few seconds, then said he couldn't remember his pin. I was trying so hard not to laugh! I told him the pin, then he said he would be back to pick me up after my shift. But he handled it well.

Our first date was dinner and bowling. We had a lot of fun. We got more comfortable around each other as the night went on. I remember one moment when we were high-fiving for one of gets a good score, when he held onto my hand for a few extra seconds. Boy did my heart beat go crazy after that. On the ride home I made sure to sit in the middle seat of his truck, right next to him.

From  then on we dated all through high school. He went to Hunter High and I went to Cyprus High. Two big rival schools! He was with me through everything that I went through during those years.
I got into a big fight with two of my best friends, and ultimately stopped being friends with them. My parents health went down hill dramatically and they ended up selling the house. I moved many times in the years following that. But Jake was my rock through it all.

We graduated in June 2008 and I quit Ream's a month later, Jake had quit a while before that. Then I got a job at a Veterinary Hospital, which I still work at. We got married in December after we graduated and rented an apartment together.
Then in June 2009 we welcomed our beautiful baby girl into our family. In December of 2009 we bought a house! Then in October of 2012 we found out we were expecting another baby! In June 2013 we welcomed a baby boy to our family.

I am now a stay at home mom to a four year old girl, and 6 month old boy. I absolutely love being able to stay home with both of my kids now. I was unable to do that with my daughter, and I hated having to leave her with someone else while I went to work.
This time with two kids, we couldn't afford for me TO work. I would literally be working to pay for daycare. So I get to spend every day with my kids. They drive me nuts sometimes, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I love my husband so much. He still makes me laugh every day. He works hard to make it alright for me to stay home with our kids.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The "Elf on the Shelf"

I am sure you have heard of it by now. Santa's little elf that lives at your house during Christmas time, and watches over the children and reports their behavior to the big guy.
I first heard of this tradition last Christmas. I didn't really know what it was all about. I just knew that mothers were going a little crazy over this little elf doll. It was all over Pinterest and facebook. There were pictures galore of this little elf getting "caught in the act" of doing something. Whether it was naughty or cute.

 My first thought was, "OK that's a little weird." This creepy little elf sits on a shelf in your home and watches your kids. Isn't it enough that Santa knows when they are sleeping or awake, and if they have been good or bad?

 Then I heard more of the story, and read moms reporting how helpful it is during such a stressful time of year. They said it's a fun tradition to start with children, and gives them that extra edge to keep children in line.
So then I thought I would look into it. And decided not to purchase and elf due to the outrageous cost. Really?! $30 for a little elf doll. You have got to be kidding me! There was no way I was going to spend that much money for that!!!!

 Then the weekend after Thanksgiving, my Mother-in-law sends me a text saying she bought one for my daughter. At first I wasn't sure I wanted to participate. I mean, that's just more work for me, right? So I thought about and decided I would give it shot. It couldn't hurt, and if it worked, well then great!! I could definitely use some help in the behavior department with my "Little Princess."

So that Sunday we introduced the Princess to her new Elf friend. Her Auntie read the story of the Elf to her. It was so precious to see her face light up and the book explained who she was and why she was here. And her reaction to the no touching rule was priceless. She was in fact holding the elf while the story was being read to her. As Auntie got to that part, she looked down at the elf, then turned and very gently set her down on the table and then folded her arms. She was so worried that she had already ruined the "Magic."
We then told her that it doesn't start until we get her home so she could still hold her if she wanted to. But she still didn't want to touch her very much after that.
Then came the part where Princess gets to name the elf. She picked out the name "Bianca", after a stuffed kitty she has. I thought that was an adorable name for the elf. But then just before we were leaving to go home she says she wants to change her name to "Pebbles." Because Auntie had brought up the Pebbles and Bam Bam dolls. So we told Princess she had until we got home to decide what the name would be, but as soon as we were home she could not change her name again.

So we now have Pebbles the elf roaming our house. Then I started thinking about the personality of our elf. Should she be a naughty elf, like so many others? Making messes and getting into things? Or will she be a good elf? Making friends and bringing presents?

Why on earth would I make the elf naughty? Isn't she supposed to encourage good behavior? How is her getting into trouble OK but not for Princess? What is that going to teach her? And why would I want to spend that much time thinking of the idea, setting it up, then cleaning it up and having to explain to my four year old that she is not allowed to do what Pebbles has done? NO THANK YOU!!
So our elf is a nice elf. She is kinda boring and just sits in different places around the house. I don't have the time or the energy to make all of these cute and creative "situations" that everyone else comes up with. I'm lucky if I get her moved by the time Princess gets up!! And I have already forgotten once. I had to tell Princess that she liked the spot and didn't want to move yet!

But I do have to say that she has helped out. I just remind Princess that she is watching and reports to Santa every night. That usually gets her attention!! And she loves looking around for her every morning. Luckily she is only four and finds simple things funny, so I don't have to get to creative!

I started out thinking the Elf on the Shelf was a little weird and creepy. But once I saw the excitement from my Princess, I realized this could be the beginning of a sweet and fun family tradition. Something I had very little of when I was a kid.

 What do you think of the Elf on the Shelf tradition? And what do you think about the "Naughty vs Nice" ideas?
Princess meeting her Elf 

This is where she found her the first morning.

She found Pebbles watching TV with Belle

This one really worried Princess. She was afraid little brother
would pull her down and ruin her!