Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Girlfriend Guide: Deanna from Delirious Rhapsody

Welcome to this week's edition of The Girlfriend Guide: brought to you by Deanna 
from Delirious Rhapsody!  I have adored Deanna for quite some time now: she has a 
very unique voice and chronicles her journey through motherhood in a way that brings 
a smile to my face daily.  She is real, honest, and able to see the humor in any situation: 
my kind of girl.  I hope that you enjoy her insight into a very special friendship! 

Hi! I'm Deanna and I blog over at delirious rhapsody. I'm a stay at home mama of two 
wild little boys, Gage Hendrix, who turned four in July, and Owsley Duncan, who will be 
one in November. I'm a quirky gal who likes good music, spending time with the family, 
being outdoors, and crafting/baking. Oh yeah, and I love to blog too!

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Today I'm going to put a little twist on 'The Girlfriend Guide.' While I have good friends 
that would help me at the drop of a hat, I feel that (aside from my husband) one of the 
people who knows the most about me, and I feel totally connected to, is Lindsay, 
someone who I have never even met in real life. She lives 730 miles away from me, and 
yet I feel like she's my cosmically aligned soul sister. She really gets me, and she takes 
me for who I am, flaws and all.


I feel like a lot of stay at home mamas can totally relate with connecting with someone 
online. And I feel so blessed to have Lindsay as part of my life, even if she is inside 
my computer screen or stuck in my phone line.

1. Introduce us to your best friend! When, where, and how did you meet?
I have been online journaling in some form for the past 12 years. Shortly after my oldest
son was born, I joined a Weight Watchers community on livejournal and posted
some progress pictures. Lindsay came and visited my journal, and we clicked. I feel like
over the past four years, she has learned more about me than people who have known me
my entire life.
2. What is your personal definition of friendship? 
Having that someone special in your life who love you for you. You take the good as
well as the bad, no questions asked.
3. What qualities do you look for in a girlfriend? 
Trustworthy, understanding, a good sense of humor, open-minded.
4. How do you balance spending time with friends and fostering 
relationships with work and family? 
I really struggle with this one. Especially since my husband works two jobs so that I can
stay home with the boys. So I feel guilty if I don't spend the time that he actually is home
with him. I want to make time for your family, but at the same time, I want to take
some time out for myself. Fortunately for me, many of my 'real life' friends have children,
so we can hang out while we have a playdate at the same time.
5. What advice would you give other women about having healthy, 
happy friendships? 
Don't give up on your good friends. I can't tell you how many wonderful girlfriends that I
have lost contact with, for one reason or another. And it's really sad, because at one point
in my life they were very special to me.
6. How has having strong friendships enriched your life? 
Good friendships make me feel free. They help me be the person that I want to be, and
there is nothing as amazing as connecting with someone who understands who you are.
7. What is your favorite girlfriend memory you have shared? 
Lindsay probably doesn't even remember this, but one evening we were talking online. I
have body issues at times (I used to be a bigger girl, and sometimes that's what I see when
I look in the mirror.) I was telling Lindsay that I was thinking about getting pregnant
again, but I was so scared of gaining weight and not being able to lose it again. And she
told me that I had the rest of my life to lose weight, but if I wanted another baby, that's
what I needed to do. That really stuck with me, and was pretty much a slap in my face to
stop being so selfish (even if that's not what she intended for it to mean.) So basically,
Lindsay is one of the reasons my son, Owsley, was born. Thanks, Lindsay. :) I love you!

Thank you so much for sharing, Deanna.  So many of us can relate to the friendship you
share with Lindsay.  It truly is amazing to "meet" people online who share common
interests and experiences and having these support systems are truly a blessing!
If you are interested in participating in the Girlfriend Guide, contact me at the
email address below for more information!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Take a Trip

My dear friend, Vanessa, from Little Gray Pixel just started the most amazing feature 
series: Take a Trip.  I shared a post today about one of my favorite vacations: our family 
trip to Hilton Head Island.  Head on over and check it out!  Vanessa's blog is filled with 
the most beautiful photos and I look forward to her posts everyday.  She is such a kind 
soul and I know that you will find something inspirational in her world.  


Brees Elizabeth is 9 months old!

I am so late with this post, late for Brees's 9 month wellness visit, late getting photos
printed and posted.  But honestly, this month has flown by.  And in all the activity, the
hustle and bustle and daily events, this little baby has become a talking moving girl before
our eyes!  Not only did I have a difficult time rolling this post out, but getting photos of
her sitting in one place was next to impossible.  We've got a curious little explorer
on our hands!
Here are her stats:
Feeding:  We are still nursing every 3-4 hours around the clock with 3 solid meals a
day.  We have been experimenting with different textures and introducing new foods
weekly but so far she has been uninterested in anything other than purees.  When it comes
to solid foods, Brees could really take them or leave them.  She is a boob girl, it's
her drink/food of choice.  And with my new job hours, I only have to miss one feeding a
day, making us both very happy as she gets to nurse more and I get to pump less!  
This month, she did take a liking to oatmeal, toast, and applesauce.  Cheese, yogurt,
and pasta, however, ended up on the floor.
Sleeping:  Brees is still napping 3 times a day with her afternoon nap lasting the
longest: usually about 2 1/2 hours.  She wakes up 1-2 times per night to nurse.  She
began waking up around 2 every night and refusing to go back to sleep, instead playing
and jumping and crawling all over her sleepy parents.  We decided, for all of our sake,
to break this habit before things got really out of control.  So, for the last week, when
she wakes for her middle of the night feeding, I nurse her, change her, and then put her in
her bed next to ours.  She was not very happy about it at first, but after a few nights and
a whiny adjustment period, is now falling right back to sleep in her crib.  We
will probably transition her to full-time sleeping in her crib next to our bed soon as she
grows and becomes more active.  
Health: With 8 teeth in her sweet little mouth, oral hygiene has become part of our
daily routine.  Brees now gets her teeth brushed twice a day using Gerber Grins and 
Giggles Infant Tooth and Gums Cleanser.  She had a mild cold right along with the rest
of the family but recovered quickly with no trip to the pediatrician needed.
Milestones:  Brees can now stand without holding onto anything for support.  She is
cruising along the furniture and letting go when transferring from one piece to the next.
She says a whole slew of sounds but "Dad" is her favorite.  She crawls into and
onto everything and is really, really fast.  She has just started to wave "Bye bye" and
will sometimes say "Baba" simultaneously.
Playing:  Brees does not waste much time on toys but instead prefers to climb inside
the laundry basket, pull books off the shelves, tear their pages out, and eat the paper,
hide the remote, eat our cellphones, pull everything out of the pantries, and knock
down trashcans.  She is very, very active and so quiet, you never know what she might
be up to.  And then, when you discover her destruction, she flashes her adorable smile
and crawls over and gives you a kiss.  They learn so young...
{And in honor of her 9 month birthday, here's a tribute to the most important
number 9 of all!  Ever wonder about her name?  Here's a not so subtle hint...}
This month Brees:
  • Went on her first boat ride and swam in the Atchafalaya River
  • Started crying when I left her with the babysitter in the mornings, crawling after me with the saddest pouty face
  • Helped Mama celebrate her birthday
  • Got more bumps and scrapes and bruises than ever thanks to some serious crawling and exploring
  • Made diaper changing and getting dressed an athletic event, sometimes requiring TWO adults to hold her wiggly body down as she squirmed her way around the changing table
We love you, sweet angel, oh so much!  You have the 
most precious spirit and fill our days with so much love!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Steppin' Out Saturday

This weekend, we stepped out for a Mamas and Babies Girls' Night with two of my very
best friends.  It was super low key and exactly what I needed after a long work week.
The temperature actually stayed in the upper 90s all day and we were able to step
outside without feeling like the apocalypse was near.  I got so excited by the promise of
cooler weather to come that I slipped on my new red velvet flats!  Every girl should own
at least one pair of red shoes: I instantly feel like dancing when I put them on!  I
bought Isabelle's dress at the French Market in New Orleans when she was only 3 years
old.  I knew it would be several years before she could wear it but just couldn't pass up
a hand-made linen tie died dress!  Yet another piece of her wardrobe I wish were available
in adult size...The girl's got style, that's for sure.  

Here's what we wore:

Momma Go Round

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sweet Friday

This week, I experienced my very first home health nurse horror story.  I was admitting
a new patient to our services and visiting her for the first time.  Her home was in
terrible condition: holes in the floor, the roof collapsing in some places, and NO
air conditioning.  Did I mention that it's 100 degrees in Louisiana right now?  I sat at
the kitchen table with my computer, examining her and entering her information into
our system.  Roaches crawled across the table, flies hovering around the room, and I
fought with every ounce of myself to maintain my composure.  Until, something moved in
the corner of my eye, something SMALL AND FURRY.
I looked down to see a mouse crawling over my foot, as if my sneaker were an
obstacle in its path, and then scamper across the kitchen floor.
Yes, friends, a mouse CRAWLED ON MY SHOE!!!!!!
Surprisingly, I didn't scream or jump out of my chair.  I think that I was in shock.  I did
say, "What the..was that a mouse?!"  to which my patient calmly replied, "That's alright
baby, that's just a little ole' mouse, ain't gon hurt nobody.  Didn't scare ya, did he?".
Umm, YES!!!  He did scare me, very much so!!  And these roaches are scaring me, and the
fact that you are smoking a cigar while simultaneously wearing oxygen is really
scaring me!!
But of course I didn't tell her that.  I just smiled my Southern Belle smile and assured her
that it was fine, no problem here, where were we?  I finished the assessment, my feet
crossed and lifted off the floor, and gave her a big hug goodbye.  When I got into my car I
took a hand sanitizer shower, rolled the windows down to air the cigar/fried chicken smell
out of my hair, and promptly called my case manager to report the patient's living situation
to social services.  I then called my mom and proceeded to freak the freak out,
all professionalism out the door, did this really just happen?!!
Yes,things like this really do happen.  People really do live in such poor conditions, no
means of living any other way.  I've sent 3 different patients to the emergency room
this week for heat exhaustion and dehydration due to a lack of air conditioning.  People
with no medicine because they can't afford their refills, no family to support them in
their hour of need.  And so as much as I want to scream every time I think of that
mouse crawling over my foot, I also have to be grateful for the life that I have, the home I
am blessed with.  Take pride in my job and my role as a patient advocate and try to get
these people to higher ground.  And hope, pray, and wish with every fiber in my being
to NEVER come that close to a mouse again!
This weekend, we plan to enjoy a movie night with girlfriends, catch up on a few
projects around the house, and watch some pre-season football.  It has been so hot here,
with no end in sight, and we are spending most of our time indoors for now.
Naked babies and cold lemonade is where it's at these days...
I hope that you all have a lovely weekend, no rodents involved!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thank You and Solutions

I wanted to say thank you to all of you for your kind words and support regarding
the night Brees fell out of bed.  It was truly terrifying to wake up in the middle
of the night to my baby girl literally on the floor but you were all so encouraging with your
lovely comments and emails.  Many of you shared stories about your own babies falling
out of bed and I appreciate your candidness so much!  One of my favorite things
about blogging is the community: networking with women who share the same
experiences and empathize with the stories I write about.  
I also received several emails offering suggestions and solutions for making co-sleeping
safer, to give us peace of mind, and to help prevent any more accidents.  Thank you for
those!  After reading through your emails and doing a little internet research, we decided
to purchase a set of Magic Bumpers.  These firm polyurethane foam wedges are designed
to serve as alternatives to bed railings.  You simply put them under your fitted sheet and
the non-slip surface of the foam prevents them from moving.  We liked this option
because they are soft and compact and don't take up very much room in our bed (Shawn
was having nightmares about the pregnancy pillow days:).  Also, they are portable and fit
any bed which means we can take them with us when we travel to ensure safety on the go!
I was a bit skeptical about two foam wedges preventing my baby from rolling out of bed
but was pleasantly surprised that they stayed in place as promised!  Granted, these are
not meant to keep Brees from CRAWLING out of bed, their only intention is to prevent
her from rolling out.  They can later be used for her toddler bed as a railing for
extra security: multi-purpose baby items are awesome!
I have honestly rested better the last few nights, knowing that there is now a barrier
between Brees and the floor.  I'm so pleased with these bumpers: they are inexpensive,
easy to use, and offer a practical solution.  I get REALLY excited about things like that...
Again, thank you all for your love and encouragement.
It meant more to me than you'll ever know. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

An Evolution

While I was sick and under the weather this weekend, I caught up on my gossip
magazines and all the enlightenment that goes along with.  I read an interview with
Katy Perry, the lovely pop star whom Isabelle thinks is a real life Barbie, where she
credits the "success" of her marriage to the fact that she does not even OWN yoga pants.
Her relationship is the picture of emotional health due to the fact that she is always
perfectly sexy for her man and NEVER desecrates her body with such deal breaking pieces
as jersey knit pants and t-shirts.
I took one long, hard look at myself in the mirror, ELEVEN years into my married life,
and let out a huge laugh!  According to Katy Perry, Shawn and I must be doomed!
Here's a look into the evolution of our marriage, as told through my pajamas:
1.  The early years
In the beginning, it was all about lace nighties and silky underthings.  These were the days
of waking up first and hurrying to brush my teeth before Shawn realized that my
breathe smelled less than ideal in the morning.  This was back when Shawn didn't know
that I, like other humans, pooped, got bikini waxes, and could eat a dozen doughnuts in
one sitting.  I was super wife: perfect and totally put together at all times!  This was the
time of getting to know each other, living together day in and day out and figuring out
who we really were, both as a couple and as individuals.
2.  Getting to know you, the REAL you
I eventually dropped the "perfect woman" facade because, well, it was ridiculous.
This man loved me for who I was, not because I was some perfectly hairless,
body odorless, gastrointestinally challenged Barbie.  I started wearing pajama sets:
pants with matching tops, cute tanks and silky shorts.  They were cute and sexy yet
much more comfortable and practical.  Because who really wants to watch Monday
night football in a negligee?  And, amazingly enough, Shawn still loved me!  He still told me
on a regular basis how beautiful I was, regardless of the fact that my butt cheeks were
no longer hanging out the back of my jammies!  This was the time of becoming
more comfortable with myself, less insecurities and more self-love.  Believing in myself
and learning what was really important in life and love.
3.  Diapers and breast pads and vomit: Oh my!
 And here we are today, eleven years in: 4 pets, 3 college degrees, 2 kids, and 1 house
later.  My pajamas currently consist of the softest, easiest to pull up and down pants I can
find (for those nights when you have to use the bathroom while simultaneously holding
a baby) and Shawn's ratty old t-shirts (because they are so big, they are easy to just pull
up for a baby who is still breast feeding every 3-4 hours throughout the night).  It's all
about function and comfort and wearing things that can endure leaky boobs and baby
spit-up.  This is real life, people.  This is the time of growing from a girl to a woman,
knowing exactly who I am and being completely comfortable in my own skin,
celebrating every part of ourselves, even the not so glamorous sides. 
And so, as I looked at myself in the mirror in my cut-off Tool shirt from the 1998 tour,
I kind of wanted to call Katy Perry and assure her that the success of her marriage
has NOTHING to do with her pajamas or whether or not she wears yoga pants.
Because, inevitably, your husband is going to eventually see you at your worst.  He's the
one who's going to hold your hair back when you get food poisoning from your
favorite Chinese restaurant, he's the one who's going to help you hold your legs up
spread eagle as you birth his baby, he'll be right by your side when your toddler
projectile vomits into your bed in the middle of the night, he'll run to the store for you
to purchase giant maxi-pads.  If he's a good husband, that is.
And you'll do all the same for him.  
After 11 years together, many trials and tribulations under our belts, growing and
learning and living life alongside one another, the "success" of our marriage can be
attributed to one thing: hard work.  Every single day, in sickness and in health, bed head
and bad breathe: it's all about showing up and giving 100%.  Our marriage survives
not because of what we look like on the outside, but because we have a deep rooted
mutual respect, trust, and acceptance of one another.  I may not look my sexiest right
now, but my husband loves me all the same.  He tells me so often: how beautiful I am
when I'm nursing our baby in the early morning light, how gorgeous I look making his
favorite french toast with his two daughters playing in my feet, how happy it makes him
that I know just as much about football as he does, how pretty my voice is when I sing
along to his guitar.  These are the things about me he sees: not what I wear to bed.  These
are the qualities that bind us together and make our love real.  And as I look back on
the evolution of my pajamas, I see a relationship that has grown in strength and truth, a
life that has been built on real experience.  This is real life: working 40 hours a week,
taking care of kids, cooking and cleaning, tending a garden, walking dogs, Girl Scouts
and dance class.  And in between all of that living, we are happy to steal a few
moments together whenever we can.  At the end of the day, when we rest in each
other's arms, we are well aware of the fact that things aren't exactly how they used to
be.  We're both a little chubbier, a tad bit frumpier, a few more lines forming around the
eyes.  But we are in love, we are shooting for forever, and these things come with the
package.  We accept each other, every ounce of it.
These days, it's come as you are, old band shirts accepted.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Steppin' Out Saturday

Saturday, the girls and I all woke up feeling REALLY under the weather.  We were
feverish with stuffy noses and all had a major case of the BLAHS.  Since Shawn is away
for work, my mama came over with baby/breastfeeding friendly meds, lots of fluids, and
a few Cajun home remedies you probably wouldn't even believe.  We stayed in our
jammies all day and slept our summer colds away, waking up long enough to put down a
little soup and crackers before drifting back off.  By that evening, we woke up feeling
semi-human again, our nasal passages clear and our energy levels revived after some
much needed rest.  We decided to get dressed and treat ourselves to a nice dinner, just
the three of us.  I let Isabelle choose which means we of course ended up having burgers
and shakes: her favorite.  Mine, too, actually:)  After dinner, we headed home to resume
our positions in bed, the girls dozing peacefully while I cheered on my New Orleans
Saints.  We are on our way to recovery and anxiously awaiting our Daddy's return...
Here's what we wore:

Momma Go Round

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sweet Friday

After a very long and busy week, I am SO glad to welcome Friday and the promise
of a relaxing weekend!  Isabelle is officially a second grader and brought home an A on
her first Spelling test, two new books to read from the library, and an excellent
conduct report.  We have a new chore list in place that allows her to earn rewards each
week and she has been doing a wonderful job adjusting to her new routine.  She also
started her fifth year at her dance studio, slipping on her brand new ballet slippers
and stepping up to the barre like a pro.  I have beamed with so much pride this week at
the sight of this precious girl.
She is a social butterfly with an amazing charisma.  She is creative and smart and has so
many interesting things to say.  On her first day of school, she bounced out of bed and
got herself ready with a smile that stretched from ear to ear.  We had waffles for
breakfast and spent a little extra time on her hair, she had her look all planned out.
Her biggest concern on her first day was Brees: would she be okay at the babysitter's
house without her big sister?  Who would look after her?  Would Brees be waiting for
her when she got home?  They've spent every minute of every day together all
summer: there was definitely a little sisterly separation anxiety going on.
Shawn and I brought Isabelle to school and walked her to her classroom.  We strolled
behind her as she confidently navigated her way through the familiar hallways, smiling
and waving and exchanging pleasantries with each and every child she passed.  We
managed to shoot a few photos before she gave us big hugs and kisses and then,
very patiently, said, "It's okay, Mom and Dad.  You can go now, I'm totally fine!".
I felt the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes and my heart almost danced out of
my chest.  Our sweet baby girl: so mature and full of life.  But, as parents, these are the
kinds of moments we hope for: our daughter feeling comfortable and sure of herself.
Seeing her so happy and in her element makes me feel safe, lets me know that she is on
the right track.  And so we stole one more kiss and then left, hand in hand, looking back at
her over our shoulders a dozen times.  She was busy unpacking her book bag, welcoming
the new kid in her class, getting her day started.  Shawn and I got into our car and
hugged each other so tight: it was a proud parent moment.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cousin Love

This past weekend was all about cousins: cousins visiting from Texas, cousins sleeping over
at our house, playing and laughing and drooling all over our cousins!  My family is big, and
by big I mean that we have over 60 cousins all of whom we see on a regular basis.  And
we just keep growing: it seems as though when one baby is born, another is coming
right behind.  My cousins April, Lacey, and I all have babies 8 weeks apart.  It is
so amazing to see these little ones form bonds and begin lifelong relationships, just as we
did when WE were the little ones.  It was such a fun weekend: listening to the older girls
talk about boys they like and what music they are into, watching the younger girls hang
on their every word and emulate their mannerisms, and of course laughing over the
babies "playing" together AKA pulling each other's ears and sharing germy pacifiers.  
Here are a few of my favorite photos of the cousins in action:

And, because getting a photo of my husband so rarely happens these days, I just had to
share this moment I captured of Shawn and Brees.  He would much rather be on the
other side of the lens but, when the mood is right, he sometimes forgets himself and you
catch his gorgeous smile, that charismatic spirit that draws me to him so passionately.
 Brees looks so much like her daddy: I love photos of the two of them together and
comparing their eyes, their smiles, even their ears.
She, just like Isabelle, is her Daddy's girl...

My heart always rests well after weekends such as these because of the connections,
the inspiration I draw from these people I love so much.  Being surrounded by good
people who positively influence us is very important to Shawn and I.  And the cousins fit
that bill perfectly: they, regardless of their ages, are a part of who we are and make us
better people.
And that is a beautiful thing...