Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday Wish List

I figured I would start doing a wish list every Wednesday. There are just too many awesome things out there (that I find while browsing the internet aimlessly) not to share.

Today's wish list consists of one of my all time faves, products with quotes. I used to search high and low for the perfect quotes, print them out on cool paper, and frame them to give as gifts. Not sure why I ever stopped doing that. Once when I went through a nasty breakup, I framed a lyric from a Sheryl Crow song, "If you'd like to reach me, leave me alone." I hung it proudly on the wall in my new, single girl apartment to assert my independence. Every time I looked at it hanging there, I smiled and gave myself a mental pat on the back for being so liberated. Yes, I was a dork. Still am.

Now, on to the good stuff.

I love the color and fabric on this bright little cushion from Rockett St George. The quote is perfect. This would make such a cute gift. And not just for me. :)

I have admired Quotable Cards products for years. They make awesome cards, magnets, totes and journals like this one. It's more fun to pour your thoughts onto paper when you have something this cute to write in.

Not only is this You are my Sunshine chair unique and inviting, but I particularly love it because I sing this song to Will every night before I lay him down in bed. I have done so since he was just a peanut in my belly and he still doesn't mind that I'm off key. Kids are so accepting.

When I came across this hand painted picture frame found in HopeStudio's Etsy store, I teared up a bit. Don't tell anyone. Stuff like this really gets the mommy in me.

I LOVE this Antiqued Wooden Picture. The quote is fantastic and the distressed look of the wood makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I need this in my home. Badly.

You probably noticed that 3 of today's 5 items were from the same store, Rockett St George. I couldn't help myself. I found their site yesterday and was sucked in immediately. Their stuff is to die for.

It's Wednesday. I can see the weekend from where I'm standing.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tough Choices

Rob and I both work full time away from home. It's tough. It's hard not being with Will every day. It's hard dropping him off in the mornings, wondering how he is doing and missing him like crazy. Having a great sitter to drop him off with really softens the blow. It makes it so much easier to leave him when I know that he is in loving and capable hands each day. I can actually come to work and get my job done when I'm not worried about how he's being treated or if he's enjoying himself.

So, it was as if someone had punched me in my stomach yesterday when our beloved sitter turned in her notice. She has decided to home school her daughter and needs to focus all of her attention there. I completely understand and applaud her for doing so, but it makes things extremely difficult on Rob and I. Sitter shopping brings me to my knees. I can handle dirty diapers. I can deal with toddler tantrums. Sleepless nights aren't that bad. But searching for someone to care for my child on a daily basis is enough to send me into full blown panic mode. Leaving our children behind in the hands of someone else is one of the hardest things we have to do as new parents. You see all these horror stories on the news and you just get terrified to walk out that door and leave them behind. And I know there are wonderful people out there, but weeding through all the stinkers to find those jewels is no easy feat.

The last time we went through this process, we found this lovely woman to watch Will in her home. The first day we dropped him off, we pick him up to find that she has left him with her drug addicted daughter while she went to a Dr's appointment. He never went back there. We took vacation time off of work and continued our search. We met a woman who sounded perfect on paper. She had experience, she had references, she was CPR certified, and she had a nice and educational curriculum for the kids. When we got to her house, we were greeted at the fence by her three angry pit bulls. We squeezed our way past them only to make it into her home and find artwork of nuclear war and a pretty extensive book collection on Adolf Hitler. Oh, and she had about 4 teeth. And no, I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP. It all (unfortunately) really happened.

So if I seem a tad bit stressed and all my hair turns gray, herein lies the reason. I'm not trying to be a grouch, I just want someone great to care for my son when I can't be there. I want someone who pays attention to him and doesn't stick him in front of the TV all day. I want someone who will get down and play with him in the floor. I want someone who changes his diaper when it's full. I want someone who will sing with him and practice his ABCs. I want someone who reads to him. I want someone with nice small dogs. I want someone that isn't fascinated with Hilter. Is this really too much to ask? Where are all the normal people?


Monday, April 27, 2009

Playing Dress Up

I live my life in jeans. I'm not a sloppy person or anything, I just prefer jeans over most other pants, especially in the winter. You can dress them up or down. They are forgiving if you've put on an extra pound or two, and most importantly, they are comfortable when chasing around a toddler. I have my priorites. Being able to wear pretty much anything I want at my job makes it much easier for me to fall into the "jeans every day" trap. If it weren't for their lax dress code, I'd be in skirts and heels every day. Basically, I blame them.

However, when summer comes along, though I do still wear lightweight jeans, I also start wearing a lot of skirts. Southern summers are just too dang hot to walk around in demin all the time. I like to throw on a flowing skirt, a tank and some flip flops and call it a day. Since our humidity reaches about 110%, you really have no other choice. You might melt into a puddle on the spot if you aren't dressed appropriately. This change in my wardrobe brings on many questions and comments from my friends and co-workers though. I wear a skirt to work and they're all, "Oh, you look nice today," or "Well, look who is all dressed up," or "What's the occassion?" I find myself wanting to answer them, "Don't worry, I don't have an interview." The office chauvinst did come up with another possible reason for the absense of my jeans this morning when he asked, "Didn't get a chance to wash a load of jeans yesterday, huh?" I bit my tongue and resisted the urge to say, "No, Rob does all the laundry for our family," though that isn't true in the least. He hates laundy and trades back rubs to get out of touching it. But that's another post entirely.

Hopefully everyone will realize as the spring and summer drones on that skirts are just going to be a part of my life for a while. Otherwise it's going to be a long few months of questions and surprised looks. I promise that when November rolls back around, I'll jump back into my beloved jeans and everyone can breath a sigh of relief that the world is as it should be.


Friday, April 24, 2009


I have been complaining to my husband for quite some time about our camera. It's a cheaper digital and just doesn't take the kind of pictures I would like for it too. Since I have taken photography classes and have owned much nicer cameras, having to make the step down and use this one bothers me to no end. So, I would scour the internet and dream about all these nice digitals that I just knew Rob would never agree to. I emailed him links and would say things like, "Ooooooh, look at this one!" and "Imagine the kind of photos we could take of Will with this one." I hit him where it hurts. He loves our child more than anything, so I had to plant in his head all these super nice images of Will we could capture. I'm evil like that.

On Wednesday, Rob comes to my desk and hands me a box. He tells me that this was suppose to be my Mother's Day gift, but if I don't like it, the time is running out to return or exchange it, so he needs to give it to me now. I hesitated for about 1 second and then ripped into the paper to find my dream camera. He knew I was going to love it, because it was the exact one I had been whining for in all those guilt emails I sent him.

I can't wait to get out and take some pictures with it this weekend. If this experience has taught me anything, it's that nagging your husband does pay off from time to time. Persistance is key. Oh, and I have the best husband ever. But I already knew that.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Wish List

I stumble across some amazing design and products while browsing the internet. I would love to buy each and every one of these, but until I hit the lottery and no longer have to operate off of a family budget, these beauties will remain on my wish list. If nothing else, it's nice to admire them and dream.

Since it's going to be sunny and 80 degrees this weekend, this Fatboy Headdemock Hammock looks awfully appealing. I close my eyes and just imagine swaying in the breeze.

This trio of vases set is quite possibly one of the prettiest things I've ever seen. I especially love the dandelion design. These and everything in Pretty Random Objects Etsy store are original and beautifully made.

I love this Tulip Field photograph, because as you know, I love tulips. And the fact that spring is nipping at my heels isn't doing anything to help lessen this obsession. I may need a tulip intervention.

I would love a couple of these Red Letter Pillows to toss on my bed. So simple and chic. I think they are just delicious.

Wallpaper has come a long way since the days of uninspiring floral patterns. Rob would never let me get away with it, but I adore this Explosive wallpaper and a ton of the other designs on Trends site. You definitely make a statement with a rooms like these.

A girl can dream....


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Baby Fat

Something unexpected happened to me when I found out I was pregnant. I became really hungry. Not just regular run of the mill hungry, I mean like, chew your arm off hungry. Eat an entire gallon of ice cream hungry. Knock people down and push my way to the front of the Taco Bell line hungry. You get the point. I found myself famished at all times. I wanted to (and did) eat everything in sight. I figured since I was eating for two, an extra serving of mashed potatoes or 8 more slices of pizza wouldn't really hurt anything. I was very emotional about food too. I would throw toddler style tantrums and find myself crying my eyes out if I couldn't have food in my mouth at the very moment my stomach decided it was time to eat. I once even hallucinated that Rob was drinking whiskey at 10 in the morning because I hadn't eaten breakfast yet. Turned out that ominous whiskey bottle I saw sitting on the counter was ketchup he had set out to go with the hash browns he was cooking me. He never made me wait for breakfast that late again.

By the end of my pregnancy, a funny thing had happened. I had managed to pile on 65 pounds in the 30 weeks since I had found out I was pregnant. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that eating all that mess is going to make you fat, but I must say, I was quite surprised when I stepped on the scale at the hospital the day I delivered and put up a big 195. I was equally disappointed that Will didn't come out weighing 25 pounds, because his mere 7 pounds and 4 ounces meant that the weight attached to my body was all me. This hateful nurse at my OBs office had been warning me that this was going to happen. She lectured me about gaining too much and about how it was going to make it so much harder to get off once the baby comes along. She even wrote down my weight gain in my chart with red pen at one of my visits to signify something along the lines of an "F" for nutrition and willpower. I wouldn't listen though. I ate more just to spite her.

Let's see a visual demonstration of what can happen after too many cheeseburgers, Milky Ways and extra cheese pizzas.

Pre-pregnancy Leslie

Leslie 3 days post pregnancy
Yowers! Not only do I look as though I may eat that sweet baby I'm holding, but you will also note that my boob post pregnancy is about the same size of my head pre-pregnancy. And that was a day before my milk really came in. My body was an animal I no longer recognized.

So I've decided, if I become pregnant again, the way to remedy my excessive eating is to stick this picture of me with the two chins and ginormous boobs on the fridge. Every time I go to grab an extra pudding cup, I'll remember how hard I had to work to get all this weight off and go for an apple instead. I'll think about the early morning treadmill runs and my trainer yelling, "No breaks, push through the pain!" I realize that gaining weight is a natural and necessary part of any pregnancy, but the way in which I packed on the pounds was far from healthy. The weight I gained got me disapproving looks by the evil nurse and red marks on my medical records. I'm determined next time around, to stick to weight gain that only requires blue pen.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Still Alice

When I was in my teens, I volunteered at a nursing home in my little town. We did different things for the residents, filled up their thermoses with ice, dropped off their mail, read books and newspapers to them, painted the ladies' nails and wheeled them down for dinner. It was a humbling and rewarding "job." Visiting the patients there gave me perspective that a lot of 15 and 16 year old kids didn't get to experience. Two days a week, I was surrounded by more combined wisdom that I had ever been around before or since. I know that I walked away from that place gaining more than I actually gave.

Volunteering there was the first time that I ever came face to face with Alzheimer's disease. A member of my extended family was a patient there and she had the disease. It made me sad to see her knowing that she didn't know who she was anymore. She had been a preacher for many years, but the disease had turned her in to a person that her family didn't recognize. She cursed and was angry a lot which was totally out of character from the woman she once was. I figured I would be pretty angry too if I woke up every day not remembering the one before or knowing where I was or how I had come to be there. She (of course) wasn't the only patient in the home that had Alzheimer's. There was one poor old man that we would find wandering out of his room naked all the time. He was so disoriented and had no hold on reality. He didn't know he was naked. He probably didn't grasp the concept of what naked was anymore. I, being a weirdo teenager, was a little scared of him and the others that were like him. I didn't understand the disease and the way it affected the mind and I had several misconceptions about it that stuck around with me into adulthood.

Last night, I finished reading the book, Still Alice about a successful Harvard professor who in her 50s is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. Before reading it, I naively assumed that Alzheimer's only struck old people. I never considered it as disease that someone as young as my parents could be diagnosed with. This book really opened my eyes though. It is beautifully written and you get sucked in to Alice's world immediately. You follow her through the first signs of the disease presenting itself in small ways, to her shocking diagnosis, and throughout the progression of the disease. It is a heartbreaking account. Although you know already that there is no cure for Alzheimer's, you still root for Alice and hope that by some miracle, she will get better by the end of the book. I won't spoil it any further, I'll just say that I think everyone should read this book. It will touch you. I will scare you. It will open your eyes. I pray that no one in my family is ever hit with this terrible illness and I await news that researchers and doctors will find a cure for those that are afflicted. Until then, there are going to be many real life Alices out there living and dying with Alzheimer's. It's a sad story, but one that I needed to hear.

Friday, April 17, 2009

We Meet Again

Friday. At the beginning of this week, I thought this day would never come. A wise man once said to me, "If you wait around long enough, Friday always comes again." That wise man is named Charlie and he works here in the shop making cables. There are no windows in the shop. There is no view to the outside world at all. For all those guys know, Armageddon could be taking place a few feet away and they'd be none the wiser because of the thick concrete walls surrounding them. I would lose it if I had to work back there. I would have marched in with a sledge hammer and started hacking away at the walls to make my own view. It's bad enough being cooped inside all day, but at least I can see that the sun is shining. I can see the grass and the trees and people strolling by. I know that there is life going on outside of this place where I am sitting. Poor Charlie can't see any of this, yet he still has a great attitude about him. "Wait around long enough and Friday always comes." I needed to hear that this morning. On Monday, I may find my way back to the dungeon where he and his crew work and ask him to say it to me again. Maybe I'll lend him my sledge hammer as well.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mother's Day Gift Picks

Mother's Day is a little over 3 weeks away and since I like to prepare ahead of time and not wait until the last minute to do my shopping, I thought I'd post some of my favorite picks for Mother's Day gifts. (Note: I am this way not because I am "on the ball" or responsible in any way, but because I'm a total freak when it becomes to planning. I am that woman who obsesses over the slightest little details of her two year old's birthday party to the point where her husband threatens to have her committed.)

Now that I've revealed my one and only flaw (ha!), let's get this show on the road.

Eggling Crack and Grow Flowers
from UnCommon Goods - I love these little "do it yourself" plants. Too cute and very inexpensive. This looks like a plant even I could grow. That's saying a lot.

Mum Gift from Lush - If you have never tried Lush's products before, you must do so immediately. They are handmade, wonderful little bath products in beautiful packaging. Your mom will love you for this one. P.S. If you do order Lush for your mom, you must treat yourself to some as well. It's a rule.

Letterpress Recipe Cards and Recipe Box from 1canoe2's Etsy store - For the mom who loves to cook, I think this is such an adorable little recipe box and cards. I love that the cards and the box are made by hand. This is a cool and unique gift.

Home is Where My Mom Is plaque from MudHutt's Etsy shop - This cute little plaque will put a smile on your mom's face. I think it's simply lovely.

Custom Handprints Necklace from MyLittleChipmunk's Etsy shop - If you have turned your mother into a grandmother, I'm convinced she will love this necklace. You send your child's handprints to the seller and she turns it in to this beautiful keepsake.

Photo Books from Shutterfly - If you want to put your own creativity into something more personal for your Mom, try creating a photo book online. You can include family photos, add captions and make a beautiful book that your mom will cherish. I have personally made these books for a few family members and they absolutely love them.

Headache Hot and Cold Therapy Packs from TheFerrisWheels Etsy Shop - I'll give you my life's savings (which isn't much) if you can find me one mom who doesn't get headaches from time to time. This gift would be especially helpful for mothers of small children. :)

Real Simple Magazine Subscription - My sister-in-law gave me this gift for Christmas and I look forward to receiving the magazine in the mail each month. It's filled with great recipes, organization tips and decorating ideas. A great gift for any woman.

Brownie Sampler from ASugarAffair's Etsy Store - I haven't personally tried these brownies, but I would like to. Really soon. They look absolutely decadent and this seller has rave reviews from buyers saying how delicious her creations are. I tend to trust the masses when it comes to brownies.

Conversations with My Mother book from Amazon - A great way to find out more about your mother's life. Give it to her to fill out or sit down together to discuss the questions. This would be a wonderful heirloom to have in your family and will turn out to be a gift for you as well.

That rounds out my picks for top 10 gifts. If you don't like any of these ideas, go to your nearest spa and purchase a massage package for your mom. The Daughter (or son) of the Year Award will be all yours.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


My boy has soul. He's only two but understands fully that when you hear James Brown, you get your butt moving to the beat. We discovered that he also likes to sing along and shout out all the "Ugh"s "Owww"s and "Huh"s right along with James. I attempted to capture this on video, but did so on a day where he had only slept 45 minutes and had played his heart out. A mom should know better. Needless to say, he's not as enthusiastic as he usually is, but you can get the picture. Some parts of this video are downright boring, (i.e. when he proceeds to look in between his toes for sock lint), but others are pure poetry.

Click the title of this post to take you to his video.


Monday, April 13, 2009

My Guy

Not only was yesterday Easter which is cause for a big celebration in our family, it was also my husband's 30th birthday. I love that man with every fiber of my being.

Before we fell in love, Rob was my best friend. The thing I love most about our relationship now, is that he still is. Though we have many more stresses, decisions and diapers in our lives these days, we still come together and truly enjoy each others company. He knows me and I know him. I can't ask for anything more than that.

On Saturday before he had even read my blog about the fields in Holland, Rob took birthday money that he got from his grandma and bought me flowers. Tulips, in fact. He's the man who slept in the floor of our nursery the night we brought our son home from the hospital just to make sure he would be okay. He cooks breakfast for us every weekend. Actually, he cooks more meals in our home than I do. He takes our boy to the lake to feed the ducks. He calls his grandma just to chat. He vacuums without being asked. He leaves the last handful of popcorn in the bowl for me. He hugs my dad goodbye when we leave my folks' house. Every night before coming to bed, he walks into Will's room, covers him up with his blanket and tells him he loves him one more time. That's the guy I married. I'm proud to be his wife.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Bring on Spring

I am in love with Spring. After months of cold and scarves and coats, I long for sunshine and flowers. I found these images online and they absolutely took my breath away. I didn't know fields such as this even existed. I really need to venture outside of the US one of these days. Tulips are my favorite flower and if I could see this with my own two eyes, I think I might die of sensory overload.

Tulip Fields in Holland. Incredible.

The idea of this much beauty in one place is mind-blowing to me. I can hardly comprehend the sheer size of these fields, so I sought out a close up picture of these fields and found this stunning image.

If this doesn't make you wish for Spring, you're officially dead inside.
Happy Early Easter.

*Images found on Oh Happy Day*

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dirty Little Secret

There are many things that will happen to you and your body that no one seems to mention before you have a baby. There are lots of ugly truths that aren't in the What to Expect When You're Expecting guide. Don't get me wrong, they do a great job of suffiently scaring the living daylights out of you. You may find yourself afraid to go to sleep at night for fear you may roll the wrong way, land of a vein, and block off the baby's blood supply. No joke, it's in the book.

What they don't tell you are things like this; lactation consultants will swarm your room shortly after you've slaved through 16 hours of labor, grab you by the boobs and start milking you like a dairy cow. This is the point of motherhood when you lose every ounce of modesty you once had. It only takes a few minutes of them smashing, squeezing and showing you how to make a "hamburger" with your boobs while shoving them in the mouth of a screaming newborn that your dignity goes flying out the window. They also fail to mention that after you pump your milk, your nipples will take on a new life. They will stick out about an inch from your boob and look all flat and lifeless. You won't regognize them. They're a bit scary even. I guess if you think about the dynamics of a breast pump, it's pretty easy to predict this would be the outcome, but you just aren't concerned with things like that at the moment. You will look at your poor nipples, apologize profusely for the abuse, slap on some nipple cream on and go back to your desk to process payroll. This is the life of a working mom.

The one thing that I really have a beef about however, is the loss of bladder control. I have friends with kids. I have a mom, a grandmother, aunts and neighbors who all have given birth before. And I must say that I'm a little miffed that none of them thought to grab me by my shoulders, look my in the eyes and say, "You're going to pee on yourself after this baby comes." Is a little heads up too much to ask for? Kegels don't help. I did those suckers every day of my life for a straight eight months and I still have a dribble here and there. Having a c-section doesn't help either, just so you know. You body still knows that a human has been inside you and proceeds with letting a tiny bit of pee escape when you're least expecting it. So, here's my advice to expecting and new moms when it comes to this dirty little secret.

1. Accept that the phantom dribble is a reality.
2. As soon as you have an inkling that you may need to go to the bathroom, run for it.
3. When you open the door to the bathroom, don't look at the toliet. There is something inside our heads that triggers the dribble when a toliet is spotted and you are two steps away from getting your undies down.

If with all of these tips, you still happen to experience the dribble, (and you will) know that you are not alone. We've all stood in the bathroom, looked in the mirror and felt embarrassed for ourselves. It happens to the best of us. And though it sounds like a total cliche, believe or not, it really is worth it.

Happy Friday!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Here I Sit

I have a blog for my 2 year old and everything is written through his perspective. He details accounts of what has been going on in his life and posts videos and pictures of himself for all to see. (Apparently, he's a genius.) It's a great way for our families and friends around the country (and world) to keep up with him and gush over all his cute pictures. He's easy to gush over. He's pretty much the most beautiful child ever born. Except baby Jesus, of course. But then, I guess I am a tad bit biased when it comes to this subject. Everyone just loves the blog though and gets personally offended when "he" doesn't update often enough. I just want to snap back, "Look, he works full time, he makes dinner every night, he changes poopy diapers, he goes to the gym, he does laundry. He's really busy you know!" Oh wait a minute...that's me. But I digress.

I am a little jealous of Will in that he gets this wide open space on the web where he shares his life and allows anyone who is willing to listen in on his existence. It must be really liberating for him. So I've decided to join the bandwagon. This page will be about me. (Gulp!) As a mom, it's hard to have and want things that are just for yourself sometimes, but I've given into the pressure to have something that's mine. Just mine. Of course I will talk about my husband and my little guy here. It's impossible to separate their lives from mine. Yes, I'm my own person, my own woman, but we are one as a family. They are a part of me and I am a part of them. Without them, I'm not the same me. I pray it stays that way always.

So here it is. I'm putting it out there. I'm a wife. I'm a mom. I'm 31. I work. I play. I cry when I'm sad. I laugh a lot. I love many people. I'm just trying to get it right one day at a time. And I know that I'm not alone in that at least. At the end of the day, I think that's what we're all trying to do.

LouEffie (I'll explain the origin of this name later)