Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shell-V Slouchy Beanie Pattern

This hat is made to fit me loosely, after making the band you can decide on your own if you need it bigger or smaller before continuing on. I will explain sizing adjustments.

For a picture tutorial check out my Facebook Album.

Yarn used- medium worsted weight yarn
(I used just over one skein of Vanna's Choice in beige)
Hook size- J/10 6.00MM
Sewing needle
US terms used throughout
Hat is worked from the band up to the crown

Sts used:
Sl st= slip stitch
Ch= chain
Sc= single crochet
Dc= Double crochet

Special stitches for this pattern
V Stitch= DC, ch1, DC in same space
Shell= 5DC in same space
Chain space= gap under a chain

Starting with the band

Ch 6 (more if you want a thicker band, chain should be the width of the band plus 1 ch)

Row 1: Sc into 2nd ch from hook and into each ch to the end. Ch1 and turn. (5sc)

Row 2: Sc into the back loop only in each stitch. Ch1 and turn. (5sc)

Rows 3-60: Repeat row 2. The rows of the band need to be a multiple of 6 (ex: 48, 54, 60, or 66.)

When you reach your desired length fold the band in half and sl st the ends together. Stitch through the back loop of the side closer to you and the front loop of the other side.

Transition from band to body of hat

Ch1 and turn band so sl sts are in the center. We will be working this pattern around the outside of the hat.

Sc into every row. Count at the end to make sure you have the same number of sc's as the rows in the band.

Body of hat

Row 1: Ch4, dc in same space(counts as a v-stitch.) *Skip 2 stitches, shell, skip 2 stitches, v stitch.* Repeat * to * around. You will end with a skip 2 & shell. Join- sl st into 3rd ch of the starting chain.

Row 2: Ch3, dc in chain space, dc in next st(counts as first shell.) *V stitch in middle stitch of shell, shell in chain space of v stitch.* Repeat * to * around. You will end with a v stitch. Join- slip st into 3rd ch of the starting chain.

Row 3: Ch4, dc in same space (counts as v-stitch.) *Shell in ch space of v stitch, v stitch in middle stitch of shell.* Repeat * to * around. You will end with a shell. Join- slip st into 3rd ch of the starting chain.

Rows 4-18: Repeat Row 2 & Row 3 until you reach desired size.

Row 19: Ch 1, sc in every stitch. Join with sl st in first stich.

Fasten off leaving a very long tail. At least a foot.

Now you will have a large tube so it's time to sew up the top!

Turn your hat inside out.

Lay it flat so the tail is in the center. Sew a stitch through both sides of the hat in the center.

Fold it the other way so the opposite corners are in line with each other. (Should look sort of like a flattened hour glass.) Sew a stitch all the way through the middle.

Now you will have 4 corners pointing out. Pull opposite corners to the center and stitch in place.

You now have 8 corners.

Whip stitch each gap closed, weaving the yarn back to the center between each section.

Sew in your tails and turn your hat right side out:)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I get it from my mama;)

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and wanted to write about it:). I know so many people who don't really like exercising and it's almost like a chore for them to fit it into their day. I'm not like this at all, I LOVE exercising! In my ideal world I would stay a homemaker forever just to make sure I could easily fit in my workouts. (That doesn't really work for our long term plans, but I'll save that for another post.) I absolutely love when my muscles are sore, the feelings I get from working out just make me feel more alive!

I think I get a big part of my attitude toward exercising from my mom. I'm sure she had times where she got out of the habit of exercising for awhile, like we all do, but overall when I look back at my upbringing, I think of my mom as being a very active person. From step aerobics to Pilates, running, yoga, I think my mom has probably done it all:). And I have, too! Because of her. I can remember being very young and mimicking some of the exercises, a lot like how my daughter does now. As I got older, I would actually join her in some of her workouts. I have some fond memories of me, my mom, and Denise Austin; I still workout with Denise from time to time:). When I was in high school, we even went to the gym together frequently.

My mom never preached to me about the importance of exercise and staying active. She didn't have to, she modeled it for me. I think our actions speak so much louder than words, and actually seeing my mom stay active over the years has really been inspirational for me.
So mom, thank you! Because of you, it's easy for me to get and stay in the habit of exercising. Because of you, my girls will grow up knowing how important it is to stay active and healthy. I love you, mom!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Keep forgetting to update:).

It's been almost a month since my last post! I've sort of gotten into "vlogging" lately, so have been forgetting to update here. If you pay any attention to your YouTube subscriptions, you should subscribe to my channel:). I've posted at least once a week for the past three weeks and plan on keeping it up. Here's the link.

I've taken up crocheting, so a lot of the videos have been about what I've made, but I also post my monthly dreadlock progress updates and will probably start posting miscellaneous vlogs about life and some hooping videos once I pick the hoop up again. I haven't hooped in quite awhile! I miss it and definitely need to schedule regular hoop time:).

I've started so many new things in the last couple months... running, hooping, crocheting! It's hard to make time for everything, but I've recently started yoga, too and am hoping it will help me find balance in my life:). I think the main part of finding balance is going to be spending less time on the computer, so I've kept that in mind lately, and have been doing pretty well the last couple of days.

Fitting in all my new hobbies, along with school work, housework, and just generally being a mom is tough, but I'm managing! I much prefer squeezing things into a tight schedule rather than feeling like I never do anything. For the longest time it just felt like I was just on the computer and being a mom, with the occasional spurts of housework which seemed to always overwhelm me. Being busy and trying to fit things all into one day actually seems to make me get more done when it comes to everyday tasks and I don't get as overwhelmed. Funny how that works out:).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Life is great!

I can't believe how much time has passed since my last post! Normally when I don't post it means that I'm depressed and just don't have much to say. Well, not this time! I haven't been posting because I've been busy and have tons to say! Let's see if I can get it all out into some sort of organized chaos:).

In the exercise/fitness area of my life, I have become really active! I workout 6 days a week, Friday is my rest day. I run on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; six workouts left for Couch to 5k! On Monday and Wednesday I do a Zumba workout with the Kinect and whatever else I feel like doing on those days. On Thursdays I not only run, but also go to a fitness class at the gym on post. And starting this coming Saturday I'm going to be going to a belly dancing class, as well! If you've heard the phrase "a body in motion, stays in motion," that is totally what is going on with me! I started with just a couple workouts a week, but before I knew it I was trying to plan something for everyday. I actually have to force myself to rest on Fridays! I think I'm going to start doing yoga on my run days, too. I did it today and it just felt so great to stretch out my legs and just relax.

Moving on to my dreads... They are really coming along! Everyday I wake up and my hair looks different than it did the day before. I made a video a few days ago, so I'll just post that. I love my hair, hehe:). Oh and sorry in advanced for all the noise in the background, lol. That's Adelaide playing in the little kitchen.

I also made a video earlier this month of me hooping. It had been a month since I started hooping.

Earlier this month Adelaide turned a year old! Can't believe how fast the time has gone by. For fun here's a link to my birth story with Adelaide:) I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Adelaide started walking right around 10 months. She's growing up to be such a funny and friendly little girl:). McKaleigh is going to be 3 years old soon, so hard to believe. She recently has become hooked on playing on the computer. Every time I step away even for a minute, she'll get on the computer and navigate her way to webpages she thinks are interesting. It amazes me how well she can use the computer!

So overall, life has been great! There's probably more I could find to talk about, but this post covers too many topics as it is:).

Monday, August 22, 2011

C25K is back on! Plus dread update:).

I'm back at it! While my mom and sister were here, I got into the habit of walking or running everyday, and I've really stuck to it! Tomorrow I start week 4 of the Couch to 5k plan and there's a 5k in early November that I'm planning on actually signing up for:). It feels so great to get outside every morning and I'm even starting to get a bit of a tan. I normally am more about safe sun than I am about being tan, but I have to admit, I look better with a little bit of a tan:P.

Got off track, lol, oh well, I don't claim to be a pro at this blogging stuff or anything. I just sort of write whatever comes to my head. It's my "secret public journal," as Mike Birbiglia would say;).

So anyways, in a pathetic attempt to stream this all together, you can see how tan I've gotten from all my running and walking in these pictures I took to show the change in my hair! It's been almost 8 months since I stopped brushing:).

I love this little squiggly one in the front.

Baby dreads:).

Back view, under the first layer of dreads.

That's really all I had to say... Things are going great in my life, overall! I hoop almost everyday and have been having SO much fun learning and perfecting new tricks. Once I hit the one month mark since I got my hoop, I'll be posting another video:).

Monday, August 15, 2011

My First Hooping Video

I made my first hooping video today! I mostly made it for my own benefit, so that a few months from now I'll be able to see where I started. I've had my hoop for less than two weeks, and honestly I'm really proud of how much I've learned in this short time! And tonight I tried two more tricks that I got almost right away!

So here is my video:)

Hooping is so great for me in so many ways. Before having kids I used to smoke, and every so often I would miss smoking. I didn't really miss cigarettes, but I missed those quiet moments outside, all by myself. So now I have that with hooping! And it won't kill me;). I'm so glad I've found hooping, I think it's just what I needed. It's something that is all mine, not related to being a mom or wife, it's just something that is all mine. I think everyone needs something like that.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I LOVE my hula hoop!

I got my hoop today and already love it! Before, I could never even get a hoop to stay up around my waist, but having a good quality hoop makes a huge difference! I can keep it up for a pretty long time now and have started to attempt some tricks. Two tricks I got today really gave me a hard time, I did each of them really well once, but definitely am no where near mastering them, haha. I feel so happy, hooping really does lift my spirits in a way nothing else has. There's just this feeling of elation:). When I get some tricks down I'll have to make a little video to post. I definitely want to record my progress so in a few months I can look back and really see how much better I get.

Here's a close up of the prettiness:)

Also, my mom, brother, and sister are here! They're just visiting for a little while, but it is SO nice having them here. I love having the extra hands with the girls and just having more big people to talk to, lol. I hope this time doesn't go by too quickly, but only a few months and we'll be living in the same town. I'm definitely looking forward to that.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The poofiness has subsided a bit:)

I thought I would add some pictures of what my hair looked like a week after I TnRed all of it. I took two or three showers that week and it settled things down a lot. I'm really happy with it:).

They're staying together for the most part:)

Also, I'm taking up a new hobby! The fires have been ridiculous lately and I haven't gotten a chance to run, so that's being tabled for the time being. Anyways... I was watching someone's dread progress vlog, she was 6 months into letting her hair naturally dread, and had the most amazing young natural dreads I've ever seen! That's beside the point though:), at the end of the video she showed the new LED hoop she had gotten. It was a very large hula hoop. I was slightly confused, so off to Google I went, and I found the most amazing videos of people "hooping!" I got really excited about it, it just seems so fun and really appealed to me. I got on etsy and ordered a hoop from Stephanie, who I found through She has an etsy shop, Spread It Round Hoops and I ordered a custom hoop from her! I got to pick out the size and colors and she has been wonderful to work with! She's making it this weekend and it should be ready to ship on Monday. By the end of the week I should be ready to start hooping! I am very excited! And to give you an idea of how awesome hooping can be, I will leave you with a video:).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dreadlocks, C25K, and more reasons to hate Georgia

I was looking through pictures on the other day. Each time I would see a picture of a set of dreads that I really liked, I would go through and see what method they used. Every single set I liked was started by using the twist and rip method, so I decided to take the plunge! Over the last six months my hair has completely sectioned itself naturally, but really only the top layer of my hair was really starting to knot up. Since the look I wanted is normally gotten through twist and rip, I decided I should probably use that method too. I need to take pictures today because after a shower they are not as puffy, lol, but they definitely need some length and weight to them before they'll look really good. Hopefully that will happen over the next 6 months:). Here are pictures from right after I did them all. (The first pic is just after doing most of the front.)

I have no cool way of moving on from the dreadlocks, so here is my awkward transition. Today I did the second day of Couch to 5k (C25k.) I'm excited to get into running, but it would be so much easier if I didn't live in Georgia! In Iowa almost all morning are nice, even on the hottest days, it is still nice in the morning. Here in Georgia you have to get up before the sun if you want to run in nice weather! And that just ain't happenin'. Not to mention it is smoky half the time, because there are constantly controlled burnings. I'm probably going to kill myself trying to run in these crazy circumstances, where it's hot and smoky. Today the smoke didn't seem so bad, so I went running anyways. I have to take the girls in the double jogging stroller, so I'm not so sure I should've gone :/. It's the only workout I can do completely in peace, since the girls are content in the stroller and can't really interrupt me. Plus, if I wait until the smoke rises then it's already too late in the day and it's just torture to be outside at all.

Right now these first workouts are pretty easy, walk for five minutes as a warm up, then alternate running one minute and walking a minute and a half for like 20 minutes, then another five minutes of walking to cool down. I'm not sure how many times I do the alternations because I have a nifty C25K Android app that does it all for me, making a little chime when it's time to switch from running to walking. I have to do this first workout one more time and then I switch to the week 2 workout. I'm really hoping I can stick to it!

And as a little update, I have not had a drop of alcohol since before my post about two weeks ago. I'm really trying to keep it up! Although I've been having a Netflix Grey's Anatomy marathon over the last couple of days and they drink all. the. time. Sort of makes me "thirsty," haha, but I'm staying strong!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I just feel like rambling!

I've wanted to blog for the last week or so, but just don't know what to write about, so I thought I would just ramble and talk about whatever!

My hair has been doing awesome things since the last time I took pictures! I can't believe how much more knotting I've had. I would post pictures, but I promised myself I wouldn't take pictures too frequently, because I figured the more spaced out I take them, the better I'll be able to see progress. I might take some pictures at the 7 month mark, although originally my plan was to wait until 9 months, keeping up with the every 3 months thing. I've also been thinking about making a video, since it's so hard to see my awesome baby dreads with my crappy camera (aka my phone, haha.) It's such a fun experience because you get to see the dreads being born and growing, they have such a mind of their own:). As my hair gets longer, I love it even more, I'm so excited for the months (and years) to come!

Adelaide is 10.5 months old and taking lots of steps! McKaleigh didn't walk until a few months after she turned a year old, so it's really weird to see Adelaide making these attempts! It seems like every day she can take another step than she could the day before, it's pretty fun. McKaleigh and Adelaide also spend a lot of time playing together, which just makes me so happy:). It's fun watching them become friends.

Michael is coming up on orders for Korea, reporting in January. After the holidays, the girls and I will be moving to Iowa to be closer to family. I'm so excited to live in my hometown again. More and more I'm realizing that I'm really not cut out for the military lifestyle, so this will be a much appreciated break from it. I'm going to miss him so much, but at least it's not a deployment!

Overall things have been great for me! The house is messy, but in a manageable way:). I put everything off til the last minute in my class, but somehow still manage to have an A! Life is chaotic and crazy and I'm happy! I love being happy:).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

April was a great month...

...and I'm hoping July can be just as great. Looking back through my posts I saw a little spurt in April where I posted more often than I usually do. Then in May and June I posted ONCE each month. I'll let you in on a secret... when I'm happy- I blog, when I'm not happy- I don't blog:/.

I have natural tendencies toward depression. There's a good chance it is genetic as there is quite a bit of depression in my family, but whatever makes it happen, it's something I battle with on a regular basis. Knowing it may be genetic actually really helps me in being able to accept that this is part of who I am. It gives me courage in figuring out what steps to take to live my life to the fullest, anyways. I know that I can be happy, it's just a matter of keeping myself out of ruts, ruts like the one I experienced over much of May and June.
I have found a main culprit in the depressive ruts I have experienced in the past year. Alcohol. Alcohol drags me down into a depression. I mean it makes sense, it is a depressant afterall, but the effects remain long after the buzz is gone. It seems that after a night of drinking I am down the entire next day, and then for some reason I feel an urge to drink that night, and the next night and the next. It is an awful vicious cycle that I have one hell of a time breaking. Then finally I look around at the house and want to cry because I feel so overwhelmed at all the housework I have gotten behind on, because of feeling depressed and not wanting to do anything. That feeling usually lasts for a few days, until something in me snaps and I say "enough!"

Thankfully, I have had my "enough" moment, once again. Today has been a far more pleasant day than the days we've had recently. I feel proud of what I have accomplished today. I don't feel overwhelmed by what needs to be done. I feel capable and strong and in charge of myself and my feelings. It was hard to write this, because society makes us feel as though having these feelings makes us weak, and I hate appearing weak. There is something freeing about admitting these things, though, and if anything I will have this post to refer back to when I feel myself slipping back into a rut. I will have this post to remind myself of how good things can be and how I am in control of my life, I just have to take control of it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dread Progress- 6 months

It's been 6 months already! Things are really starting to get going now, but it's really not that easy to tell in pictures. I'll post them anyhow:).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why we don't say "Good Job"

That's right. In my house we don't say "good job," well except for maybe sarcastically/jokingly when someone has goofed something up. The only other exception is when interacting with our dogs.

It is often said that as an alternative to punishment, we should instead praise our children when they are doing something good. This isn't the opposite of punishment, praise is a verbal reward and as Alfie Kohn has put it rewards and punishments are simply two sides of the same coin. Both are focused just on getting our kids to do what we want them to do, they are "doing to" approaches, as opposed to the "working with" approach that I prefer. But I will get more into that in another post.

Back to why we don't say "good job." There are many reasons we avoid the phrase, one of them being that I find it to be manipulative. I haven't always been anti-"good job," and I found that I almost always said it in response to McKaleigh doing something that was pleasing to me. I was using my "good jobs" to get her to do what I wanted, which I am not okay with. I want my daughter to do good things because she wants to and because she understands why they are good. I don't want her to do things just to make me happy. Now when I hear people say "good job" it makes me cringe. I can't hear it without thinking of how condescending and manipulative it sounds.

Among the other reasons, which you can find in Alfie Kohn's article "Five Reasons to stop saying 'Good Job!,'" are that it creates praise junkies, steals a child's pleasure, causes children to lose interest in whatever they were praised for, and actually reduces achievement.
When I first heard about praising being bad I thought it was silly. In fact, I thought it was cold and heartless not to offer praise, but really I think that's because I didn't have a good understanding of what praise really was. Praise is a positive evaluation or judgment. Sure it may be positive but the key word here is "judgment." We are constantly placing our judgments onto children. Here is an example of why that can be damaging in an excerpt from Alfie Kohn's book "Unconditional Parenting" (pg 156):
Recently, I found myself at a crafts activity sponsored by a local library in which children were invited to create snowflakes out of pipe cleaners and beads. A boy of about four or five sitting near me showed his mother what he had done, and immediately she gushed about how wonderful it was. Then, since I was the only other adult at the table, he held his snowflake out so I, too, could see it clearly. Instead of offering an evaluation, I asked him whether he liked it. "Not so much," he admitted. I asked why, and he began to explain, his tone suggesting genuine interest in figuring out other possible ways he might have used the materials. This is exactly the sort of elaboration and reflection that are stifled when we slather our kids with praise. They tend to stop thinking and talking about what they've done as soon as we pass judgment on it
There's so much more I could say on this topic, but I will let you do your own reading, since I don't feel that I could say it any better than Mr. Kohn:).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I feel great, but there's one thing missing

For the last couple of days I have been doing so great with housework. Throughout the whole week I don't think there was really a time that I would've been embarrassed to have someone come to the house. Of course there's the regular mess of toys and books, but other than just the evidence of children being children, the house has looked pretty nice. I didn't make a plan or strategy, I'm just doing it! It feels great to do some cleaning first thing in the morning. I get all the dishes put away and clean up the clutter on the living room floor, then steam mop the heavy traffic areas of the kitchen and after the girls are up, I vacuum the heavy traffic areas of the living room. It is such an amazing fresh start to the day and just gets me off on the right foot!

I've also done some new things this week. I baked bread for the first time yesterday and am giving it a second go today. It wasn't a complete failure yesterday, but not necessarily a success either. I should have waited to see if it would rise a little more, but I was getting impatient. I have the dough in the pan and am waiting for it to be done rising right now. Although I think even if I did bake it right now, it would be a lot better than yesterday's loaf:).

I did a little search for some simple crafts to do and found things to do with newspaper and magazines. I made a few coasters yesterday using nothing but a pair of scissors and pages of magazines that I folded up and wove together. It was super easy, but fun to do, and I love the way they look:).

Now for the thing that is missing. Exercise! I love working out, really I do! I'm just having trouble finding the time to do it. I normally stick to workout DVDs and hope to start running, just around the neighborhood, but I haven't been getting out to do it lately. Every time the weather gets bad I get out of the habit of running, and Adelaide is at an age where she won't really let me do a workout DVD. At one point I was working out in the morning, but I just love using that time to clean, and don't really want to mess with what I have going with my morning routine. I think I may have to settle for doing basic exercises intermittently throughout my day. I know eventually I want to work out like I used to, but I think right now I'm just going to concentrate on developing these cleaning habits.

Hope everyone else is having a great week! Yay, tomorrow is Friday!

Here are links to the bread recipe I used and a tutorial for the coasters

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dropping the Expectation

This post is going to be about parenting. Dropping the expectation refers to deciding that for a while that one thing that you've been trying to get your kid to do, but they just won't do it, well you're going to stop trying to make them do it. It's not putting up a white flag and giving up, and it's not a permanent situation. In our house there are no white flags, because my children are not my adversaries. Dropping the expectation is about deciding that this problem can wait and be gotten to later. It means that there are other things you'd like to work on and improve first, and this particular thing can wait.

We have dropped an expectation in our house, one that I know brings struggles to nearly every parent at some time or another. We have dropped the expectation of bed time. Over the last couple of weeks bedtime has been very stressful. She never seems ready for bed and when we take her to bed it seems like a back and forth for most of the night and it is stressful for all of us.

Sleep is one of those things that you cannot force another human being to do. Most people can't even force themselves to sleep! And I know that the last thing I want to do when I'm having trouble going to sleep is to lay in bed, something about it makes me feel like I'm just becoming more awake. So I give the same consideration to my daughter.

Throughout a child's development they will go through a lot of changes. What we had been doing for bedtime used to work, in fact it worked for quite a long time. Now McKaleigh has reached a point where her needs have changed, what used to work doesn't work anymore. So instead of just arbitrarily continuing to force that old routine on her, we are taking a break, and as a family we will figure out what she needs in order to make bedtime a peaceful time once again. This week we will take note of when she wakes up and when she starts to seem sleepy, once or twice we will ask her if she would like to go lay down, and that's it. There will be no "It's bed time, let's go" or carrying her to bed crying. Monday and Tuesday both ended in her falling asleep in the living room and that's okay, this is only temporary. I'm hoping that throughout the next week we will be able to figure out what is going to work for her and if it takes longer, so be it.

"Dropping the expectation" is what Ross Greene refers to as Plan C. Here is his video on Plan A, B, and C. Very good information!

And just to leave you with some food for thought, I think Alfie Kohn's book Unconditional Parenting complements Ross Greene's approach very well. Here are the principles of Unconditional Parenting.

1. Be reflective.
2. Reconsider your requests.
3. Keep your eye on your long term goals.
4. Put the relationship first.
5. Change how you see, not just how you act.
6. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
7. Be authentic.
8. Talk less, ask more.
9. Keep their ages in mind.
10. Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
11. Don't stick your no's in unnecessarily.
12. Don't be rigid.
13. Don't be in a hurry.

These two men have really helped to change my views and I think their works are eye-opening. I hope to blog about each of these principles in the future.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Disappointing Easter Weekend

The weekend wasn't monumentally disastrous or anything, but definitely less than ideal and very disappointing.

On Saturday we got up earlier than we normally do on a weekend to get ready to go to the Easter Egg hunt on post. We got there 30 minutes early and already the crowds were huge. It was at a sports complex and each age group was on a different baseball diamond. We were all waiting on the outside of the fence with only a medium sized gate to go through as the entrance.

What was supposed to happen: 10-15 minutes before the start of the hunt all the kids were supposed to be placed in a holding area in the outfield and then were supposed to wait for the signal to run out on the field and start collecting eggs.

What actually happened: the first couple of parents who went in were either greedy or stupid and decided to just rush the field as everyone else was funneling through the gate. Including parents, there were easily 250 people there for McKaleigh's age group, probably more than 100 kids. This resulted in the first dozen kids filling their baskets and the other 90% of the kids getting nothing, or maybe one or two eggs if they were lucky. The whole thing was over in about 2 minutes, way before the hunt was even scheduled to begin. McKaleigh didn't get a single egg, it was so disappointing! At least she is still too young to really understand what happened, but I feel really sorry for the 3 and 4 year olds who knew that they were supposed to be getting Easter eggs and ended up with nothing.

You could see everything running smoothly in the other age groups, which made it all the more disappointing. We just left right away so we wouldn't have to deal with traffic, then we made a trip to Savannah to try and salvage the day.

Easter Sunday was equally disappointing for me. I bought dresses for the girls and was looking forward to going to church. To make a long story short, we didn't go, McKaleigh was being much more temperamental than usual and I just dreaded the thought of sitting through a service with her. Adelaide is at an age where she would probably be difficult to handle, too, and Michael can't quite handle both of them for too long, so going on my own wasn't really an option. Instead I just took a really long nap, sleeping is what I do when I'm sad. Next year,the Easter bunny will be stopping by our house while we're at church.

Update on my weekend goals: After I wrote my last post, I went out to the garage and started doing a little work. Moved some boxes into the closet, went through a few other boxes and sorted out what was garbage and what can be kept, sold, or donated. Michael eventually got all of his Army stuff put away. I still have a lot to do out there until it's really satisfactory, but I did get some stuff done.

I'm not mad at myself for not finishing the garage because I was still very productive this weekend. I went through the whole kitchen, had some stuff taken out to the garage that I plan to sell, threw away a lot of stuff, and put a lot of other stuff in a more appropriate place. I used my new steam mop and mopped every inch of floor in there. Want to know a dirty little secret? I hadn't mopped the floor in any way whatsoever since the time we moved in, in November of 2009! The floor surprisingly did not turn the mop pad completely black, it was pretty dark, though. I have been meaning to buy a steam mop for so long but just didn't have the money. I finally had some PayPal money in my account from selling a carrier and used it at and had the mop shipped site to store for free! It's so easy to use! I even used it this morning to mop the heavy traffic areas. I think I'm going to be addicted to having clean floors now.

Tuesdays are my dedicated cleaning days, so I've been getting a lot done today. My reasoning for Tuesday being cleaning day is that it's the first day of my school week. I can spend all day cleaning and not have to worry about my school work because I have 6 more days to get schoolwork done. When I get in the mood to clean later in the week, I usually have to resist because I have schoolwork to do. That's what makes Tuesday my perfect cleaning day. I've done laundry, cleaned up the kitchen some more, tidied up the living room (which is immediately made mess again), and vacuumed! It's been a good day for me. I know some people probably do this stuff all the time, but seriously, for me it's a big accomplishment to get so much done in one day! I'm hoping to clean the main bathroom today, too! Right now I'm taking a little break:).

Hope everyone else had a great Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crawling, falling, and haircuts

Well a lot has been going on around here!

Adelaide is now fully crawling on hands and knees, rather than dragging herself around on her belly. She's getting pretty fast already! Adelaide has also been pulling herself up, a lot! But she still doesn't have very good balance, so she falls over a lot, too. Yesterday she spent a good portion of the day pulled up next to our big bin of dvds, digging through them.

McKaleigh's pretty baby curls are gone:(. She decided she was going to cut her own hair. She attempted a week or two ago, so I found all of the scissors I could and put them up. Well you know those scissor style finger-nail clippers you find in baby first aid kits that you always get at baby showers? She used THOSE to cut off her hair on the front half of her head. This resulted in an amazing mullet. So we took McKaleigh to the salon and in order to make her hair less mullet-y, the curls had to go. She has a cute little bob with layers, and the back is adorable, but she had cut off so much in the front that all we can really do is wait for it to grow out. She has wonderful timing considering that I was going to have family pictures done soon. Guess those will have to wait a month or two.

An update from my goals for the weekend... Big. Fat. Fail. I *did* manage to declutter a bookshelf, which looks pretty nice now. I really have to nag the hubby to help me go through the garage. It's just awful in there and I'm dreading it. Half the mess is his Army stuff that he just needs to put away, and then another big portion of it is stuff that was left in there from someone who had been storing their stuff here. I was supposed to just put it on the corner for the trash man to take away, but anyone who knows me knows that I can't just throw out perfectly good items that could be used by someone else! So now I have to sort through it all to see what is actually trash and what I can donate, because I refuse to send perfectly good items to sit in a landfill.

Hubby has a long weekend, so we should be able to get some stuff done, yay! The garage WILL get cleaned out this weekend! It's like the starting point, so that I have a place to put all of the things that I want to get rid of. Now to decide whether or not I want to have a garage sale...

Friday, April 15, 2011

I sort of feel like super mom

Seriously, I've been doing regular upkeep housework daily and have been keeping a pretty good pace on my school work, too. I'm enjoying this random streak of extra motivation, and have kind of felt like if I stop for too long it will go away. I think that's part of the reason I've been getting so much done. I always have random days where I get a ton of stuff done, and then lots more days where I don't do anything. I think I just need to accept that that's just how I am, instead of getting down on myself on the days that I haven't done much.

I do still intend to purge my house of unnecessary stuff, slowly but surely it will get done. I already started with our clothes, the next step I want to take is cleaning out the garage so I can start putting the items I want to get rid of out there. I already have a bunch of plastic toys out there from when I decided I wanted to limit the number of plastic toys in the house. Just have to get the other stuff in there organized and maybe even moved into the house. I can't wait to go through the closets. We have so much stuff in our closets that we can probably get rid of, but I've just never taken the time to sort through everything!

My goal for this weekend is to clean out the garage and the master bedroom closet:). And if I get those two things done, it would be nice to get started on sorting out the stuff in our guest room. The guest room has become our storage room for all of the random things that we don't know what else to do with!

Wish me luck:). Maybe I'll post before and after pics, haha!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Thought I'd follow up my more serious post, with a fluff post about what's going on in my life:).

With all this work I've been doing for school, my housework has really been falling behind! I decided that every Tuesday would be a cleaning day, where I don't really worry about school work and just get as much cleaning done as I can. I have gotten quite a bit done today. I did all the laundry in the house, which was a lot! I went through my dresser and took out all of my winter clothes to be put away, and then also sorted out some stuff that I want to get rid of. I had my hubby do the same thing, because his dresser is always overstuffed! I went through the girls' clothes too, put away the stuff McKaleigh has outgrown for Adelaide to wear later, and then put all of the clothes Adelaide has grown out of in a bag to be sold or given away. Not even close to being done with sorting out their clothes, and then I have to figure out what I'm going to do with it all!

I also sorted through all of the recycling and organized it, so the kitchen doesn't seem so chaotic. I definitely need a better recycling system, after a week or two the kitchen is just out of control with boxes and papers and glass bottles all over the place!

Most of the messes in my house come from things that don't have a place of their own. My wraps make a huge mess along with blankets, because I just don't have anything to hold them in, so they usually end up on the couch or in a laundry basket. Part of my spring cleaning plan is to figure out what items need a home and go out and find something for it. I also want to *purge* as much as I possibly can! The less stuff we have, the less of a mess there can be! Right?

I would love to be more of a minimalist. I have no idea how we acquired so much crap! And the thing is, we don't have all that much compared to a lot of people. I see some people who have an entire room just packed with toys, we have no where near that much, and I'm still planning on getting rid of a few toys, (mainly those that light up and make noises *gag*.)

So who else is doing a bit of spring cleaning, or maybe some purging? I'd love to hear what sort of things you are doing to control the chaos:).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dread Progress- 3 months

So about a week or so ago I hit the three month mark on letting my hair dread naturally! Here are some pics of the progress:).

I''m really excited about the progress that has been made so far and can't wait to see how it will look when I get to six months!

Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm taking my life back!

And deleting Facebook!!! That's right! I'm getting rid of Facebook.

It so frequently dictates my mood. I read something that really irks me and I just get so worked up. I've decided that those who really care about me will find another way to keep up to date with my life. I'll find elsewhere to upload pictures for my relatives who live far away from us. People who want to know what I'm up to will find a way to get a hold of me. Plus, without spending half of my day on Facebook, I will have way more time to call my friends, haha. Facebook has made people lazy. You don't actually have to talk to people anymore, just read how they are doing on Facebook. It is ruining relationships, in my opinion.

I have already deleted all of my Facebook friends and all of my profile information. Once I move all of my pictures, I will deactivate my account altogether.

It's almost like a weight being lifted. I feel free!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One year "no 'poo"-versary:)

Today marks the one year anniversary of when I stopped using shampoo!

My routine has changed a lot over the last year, but I definitely don't regret the decision. For a long time I was using apple cider vinegar only and that was working really well. I only switched again because of the dreading process. ACV is a little too conditioning alone for dreads:). I'm back to baking soda and have added a few drops of tea tree oil and lavender, mmmmmm, smells so good!

This year has gone by so quickly!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Should we stay or should we go?

If you are the spouse of someone in the military, you've probably had thoughts similar to the ones I'm going to talk about in this post. Should we continue to be a military family or should we leave this lifestyle the next chance we get so that we can settle down somewhere.

A little background on my husband and my childhoods:

When my mom was pregnant with me, my dad was stationed in Korea with the Army. He came home for the birth, then had to go back. When he got back, we moved to Fort Hood, TX and lived there for two years. My dad got medically discharged and we moved back to my hometown. We lived there until halfway through my 9th grade year, then moved to Ft Jackson, SC because my dad had gotten back into the Army. We lived there for two years and moved back to my hometown, when my dad deployed.

So, for 14 of the 18 years that I was at home with my parents, I lived in one town. My mom and dad both grew up in that town. I got to graduate from the high school my parents went to. My grandpa still lives in the house that my mom and her eight siblings grew up in. That's what my normal is, and that's what I've always wanted for my family, but obviously this dream is not compatible with the military lifestyle.

My husband has been a military brat for almost all of his life. His dad was in the navy, his parents divorced when he was a tween and his mom remarried a man who was, and still is, in the Army. My husband has always lived the military lifestyle. The longest he lived in one place was about five years. He lived in eight places, that I can think of right now, before he turned 18. He doesn't understand my need to be settled into one place, because he's never had that.

So now for the pros and cons.
If we stay in the Army:
-We may have to move as often as every 3 years, but this also means the girls may be able to see different parts of the country and maybe even other countries.
-Will never really be able to buy a house without worrying about selling it if we have to move.
-Job security, this is huge for us. I think one of the main reasons my husband wants to stay in is because it's a reliable job, the chances of getting "laid off" are pretty slim unless you mess up. And even if he were to have to discharge before retirement we'd probably have plenty of notice. It wouldn't be like a two week notice or anything like that.
-Almost guaranteed upward mobility- it's very well laid out that if you do xyz in x amount of time that you will get promoted. Even if it takes you awhile to get promoted, there are raises for time in service, every two years.
-He will be eligible for retirement when he's around 40 years old. At this point he can stay in to get a higher percentage of retirement, or he can start a new career and eventually will be able to draw two retirement salaries. The con to this is that it won't happen until the girls are almost done with high school, which means we wouldn't get to settle down until the girls are almost out of the house.

If we get out:
-The uncertainty is scary, very scary. There's really no telling what will happen.
-Lack of job stability is definitely a huge con, although there's a good chance he could get hired in a federal agency of some sort, which would ease this a little.
-Potential to make more money, but also the possibility of making less.
-Would be able to buy a house and not have to worry about selling it a year later. Which would mean I'd get to paint my walls and renovate and the girls would have a childhood home.
-Girls would be able to grow up in one town, they'd have the same friends throughout their entire lives, if they wanted to.
-We'd have more control over our own lives. We could up and move where ever and whenever we wanted to, as long as we could find work in that new place. The town we live in wouldn't be determined by the Army.

When it comes down to it, my husband will probably stay in the Army. Even if we'd be happier out of the Army, it's a hell of a lot scarier, and I don't know if we could deal with the uncertainty. We had planned to leave at his ETS date, but the talk got brought up again yesterday. I saw the midwife who had been my midwife when I was pregnant with McKaleigh. She was a Lt Colonel in the Army and just recently retired. She's now working at the birth center where I had Adelaide. So hubby and I got to talking about how she's not very old at all, has a military pension and now has another job. Once again the appeal of being able to retire at such a young age came up. So who knows what is going to happen now. If I was a gambling woman, I'd probably bet on things just staying the same.

As Dave Ramsey has said "Change is painful. Few people have the courage to seek out change. Most people won't change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change." Right now, I guess this just doesn't hurt enough. But I'm scared that I'll always regret that my girls didn't have a hometown.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Getting back to normalcy

The hubby went back to work this week. I was dreading it and looking forward to it at the same time. Part of me wondered how on Earth I would be able to handle both girls all on my own. Another part of me was ready to get back to normal life and was getting a little tired of my husband being here all the time;).
Overall, this week was GREAT! I got up at a decent time everyday, worked out 4 of the 5 days, and didn't spend too much time watching TV or being on the internet! We stayed home for most of the week, but on Thursday we went to an indoor play area AND went grocery shopping. It went so well, I can't believe I haven't gone more places, just the three of us, before. Yesterday, the weather was so amazing. I put Adelaide on my back in the mei tai and McKaleigh was in and out of the stroller, while we went on a walk. We live on a circle that's a little over half a mile long and we went around it twice! The sun actually made me a little warm in my long sleeves, but the cold breeze helped a lot.
I'm so happy with how this week went and I hope we have plenty more like it.
Update on the girls- Adelaide is rolling both ways and McKaleigh is saying more words everyday:).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to Clean the Microwave- without commercial cleaners

The microwave is pretty much my least favorite thing to clean. Such an odd angle to scrub at and everything seem SO stuck on there! The solution is pretty easy honestly, but it works so well!

Step one: Use your vinegar/water spray and wipe down the whole inside, getting the loose stuff out first.

Step two: Put some baking soda in a bowl and add in just enough water to make a paste out of it. It doesn't take that much water at all.

Step three: Spread the paste all over the inside of the microwave. I used a plastic baggy over my hand to do it because I couldn't find my cleaning gloves and I didn't want the paste to irritate my skin. Let this sit for a minute or so, longer if the mess is really bad, lol.

Step four: Get a wet rag and wipe the paste off, using a bit of pressure and a little bit of elbow grease. It should come up without too much effort.

I just did this and was amazed at how easily all the gunk came off of the top of the microwave! I used the left over paste to make it super easy to clean off the rotating glass circle thing... not sure what that thing is called, haha!

Happy cleaning!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Parenting pet peeves #1

This post will probably be the first of many, haha, thus the "#1."

The other day while talking to someone, the subject of me not cooking with plastic in the microwave came up. It's just something I don't do, I try to limit my use of plastic all together, but this is one of my firm rules. The other person's response was that our food is in contact with all sorts of plastic in the process of it getting to our house. I then replied with something along the lines of "yes, there are things I cannot stop from happening, so shouldn't I limit exposure when I can?"

I just don't understand the notion that our kids will be exposed to bad things, so there's no sense in putting up safeguards at home. My girls will certainly be exposed to alcohol at some point in their adolescence, but I'm not going to be the one offering it to them. There will be people out smoking on the streets, exposing them to second hand smoke, but I'm not going to allow people to smoke in my home. I don't get how someone can't see that plastics are the same way for me. It's not really a matter of debating the safety of plastic, but rather a matter of protecting our children from things that we don't think are safe. My children will be exposed to plenty of things that I don't deem okay or safe, so isn't it my job to limit that exposure when I can? Obviously, with the task of also educating them on those dangers. Protection without education won't do that much good in the long run.

So there is one of my big parenging pet peeves. I will continue to protect my children from things that I see as dangerous, even if there's no way to stop them from being exposed to those things outside of our home.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions for 2011

While looking around for ideas for New Year's resolutions I found an article with the top ten resolutions. Most of them are pretty typical, but I thought I would list them here and then write a little bit from me:).

1. Spending quality time with family and friends
I'm a more family oriented person, I don't really have friends that I hang out with typically. I'm also a stay at home mom, so I'm not sure if I can really spend more time with my family. I would however like to change what I do with my family. Less TV and computer time, more time playing and being active. We have good days and bad days as far as that goes, but this year I'd like to definitely see a lot more good days.

2. Time for fitness
I always feel great when I work out. I love working out. There's something so difficult about finding the time to workout when you have a toddler and baby. I mean, honestly, I could find the time, but it's such a nice excuse, haha. Even when I do technically have time usually someone wants my attention. Still, I'm going to try to workout, at the very least, a few times a month. Ideally, I'll work out a few times a week, but the lower my expectations, the more likely that I will meet them:).

3. The battle of the bulge
Luckily, this one doesn't really apply to me. I still weigh more than I did when I got pregnant with Adelaide, I do however weight less than I did when I got pregnant with McKaleigh(who is my older daughter.) That's right, I weighed less when I got pregnant the second time, haha. I wouldn't mind being that small again, but the number isn't a big deal to me. I would like to get rid of a little bit of belly fat I have left, but muscle tone is what's really important to me, even if that means actually gaining weight.

4. Quit smoking
In January 2008, the day I found out I was pregnant with McKaleigh, I quit smoking. I didn't smoke again until the summer of 2009. It was about a two or three week "relapse" and then I quit again and haven't smoked since. So technically I have already quit smoking, but I honestly feel like I will always be quitting smoking. Just one cigarette makes years of not smoking seem to all go down the drain. I really don't want to ever smoke again, I feel like a slave to the cigarettes when I smoke. So I guess it's still a resolution to continue not smoking.

5. Enjoy life more
I really feel like I do a pretty good job enjoying my life, so can't say that this is one of my resolutions.

6. Quit drinking
Maybe some day if this really becomes a problem it will be one of my resolutions, but I haven't gotten there yet.

7. Get out of debt
We won't be able to get completely out of debt this year, but we are definitely actively working toward that goal. By the end of this year I would like to get out of our current car, buy a cheaper car, pay off a personal loan, and pay off the hubby's credit card. Then all we'll have left is a small student loan, my credit card, and a larger student loan.

8. Higher learning
Nope, I don't really have any intention of doing school this year. Reading the article they talk about more than just actual school, so I guess maybe I could do something along these lines. One of the things listed is learning a new language. Michael and I have been talking about learning German, so maybe this year will be the year.

9. Helping others
This is something that I always want to do. Sort of like exercise, I have trouble finding the time. I honestly don't think that this will happen a whole lot this year, but is definitely something I want to do when the girls get a little older.

10. Getting organized
Organization is something that I am always craving, but I have such a hard to getting there! I want to slowly, room by room, declutter this entire house. I've been making progress lately, so maybe this will happen this year. I don't like chaos and crazy messiness! It's sort of hard to avoid when you have a toddler, but I know I could do a lot to less this if I can just declutter.

Something that isn't on this top ten that is important to me: my impact on the environment. I want to try to lessen my footprint even more. I'd love to stop using paper towels for the most part, maybe even invest in some family cloth. I'd like to get closer to full-time cloth diapers with Adelaide, and get McKaleigh using the potty so we can stop diapering her all together! We already do a pretty awesome job with recycling, but I'd like to try to limit how much ends up going into the garbage. It would be great to send out only one bag of trash a week, or less! I might look into some composting methods, but with renting I'm not sure we'll be allowed.

So overall, I have a lot of high hopes for 2011. I'm sure in some areas I will fail, some places I will excel, but it's all about the journey:).