Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Letters to My Daughter #1

Having a daughter is interesting for a female. As a woman myself, sometimes I envision what she'll be like when she's my age. I think about the traits I hope she gets from me, and more so the ones I hope she doesn't. I wish there was a way she could learn from my mistakes without having to make them on her own. Of course that's not possible. I'm sure every mother wishes that for their child, son or daughter. Instead, I have to hope that she at least trusts me. That she will take my words to heart when I tell her important things like the letters I'm about to write.

Dear Harper,

Be Unapologetically You.

Don't second guess yourself. At 11 months old you are already beautiful and smart and funny! Daddy and I laugh with you every day. You have brought us so much happiness in such a short time. I can tell you're going to be a lot like both of us. You are determined and most of the time you won't take no for an answer! (I really wish you would when I tell you not to touch the electrical outlet!) You have so much energy and you're so curious...some might even call you nosey. You love to explore even the simplest of places, like under the coffee table or the bronze studs on the back of the couch. My point in saying all this is that you are an absolute joy and I don't want you to ever forget that. Life gets tough sometimes and people can be cruel. People can make you think twice about who you are or if you're good enough. Please don't let them. Just be you. Because YOU are wonderful. Don't start sentences with things like "This may sounds stupid but..." Learn how to take a compliment - because you're bound to get them all the time. Be a good friend. Treat people the way you would want to be treated. Be kind. Sometimes you'll make mistakes, that's part of life and how you learn and grow. But when you do, be quick to apologize. And when someone hurts you, know that they've made a mistake too and be quick to forgive. Be unapologetically you. Be authentic. It's the most beautiful thing any person can be. It takes a lot less energy to be yourself, and people will respect you for it. When I look back on my life, most of my regrets involve a time when I was trying to be someone I'm not.

Love,

Momma

Friday, May 16, 2014

I Have a NINE Month Old?

How is it even possible that these last nine months went by in the blink of an eye...when the nine months prior crept by at a snail's pace? I guess it really is true - time flies when you're having fun. We're not just having fun, though. We're also having long days and sometimes nights. Harper had her first real sickness, her first beach trip and she's eating real food now! She is partial to sweets, which is no surprise considering who her parents are. It's also no surprise since I was an even bigger sweets fan while I was pregnant. She's eating healthy sweets, of course, like strawberries and bananas. She does get the occasional naughty treat from daddy or her Nana, both of whom she has wrapped around her little finger. Okay and maybe from me, too! It's hard to say no to that face - we should probably work on that very soon. She has definitely tasted donuts and ice cream and sweet tea, which is ironic since all the other food she eats is organic. It really makes no sense. She likes veggies, too. So that's good. She likes fish. And she LOVES puffs. Whoever invented puffs, thank you! I can keep her relatively quiet in a restaurant or in the car just by offering some puffs. The only problem is, much like her mother, she never knows when to stop eating! As long as I will feed her, she will eat.

She isn't quite crawling yet, but she's doing the common backwards crawl and manages to get around in weird ways, like rolling and scooting. In other words, we can't turn our backs for a second. We've had several close encounters with her reaching for things that could hurt her or picking up things off the floor and trying to eat them! It's a constant struggle to keep her contained and safe. Her dad and I are definitely getting our exercize keeping up with her these days.

She says "words" (I'm not convinced they're more than sounds at this point) like "Da-Da", "Ma-Ma" and "Na-Na". It is interesting that she would say the names of the three people she sees the most, though. So maybe she is learning words, she just isn't quite sure who they belong to all the time. Some days I'm "Da-Da" and so is her toy and so is a bird in the grass. "Da-Da" is definitely her favorite word.

When she's not sick or teething terribly, she's a pretty good sleeper. She sleeps from 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. It is pretty early, but she's decided that's her wake-up time and no matter what I do she rarely sleeps later than that. Oddly enough, when she does sleep til 7 or later I wake up anyway, thinking something must be wrong. Oh the joys of parenthood! Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever really sleep soundly again.

As much as I hated hearing this when I was pregnant (and miserable) it really is totally worth it. There are moments, and I'm sure at some point I might even say days, where I want to run away or at least scream - but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. We are having so much fun, our little family of three. It really changes you as a person, to have a child. It makes you see the world differently. In some ways your'e softer, in other ways stronger. At the end of the day, every day, I feel like the luckiest girl on earth to be this little pumpkin's momma!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Baby's First Easter

Ok, so these were obviously taken pre-Easter, since Easter isn't until this Sunday...BUT I couldn't help myself. I had to share! Tabitha Safdi did an amazing job. It probably helped having such a talented baby, but that's just my purely unbiased opinion. Check out her website. And no this isn't an advertisement -I paid her! Happy Easter and Happy Spring, everyone!






Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Importance of Good Girlfriends

Once upon a time I was one of those girls who didn't really understand the importance of girl friends. I've always had one or two best friends at any given time, and I never saw anything wrong with it. By the way, there isn't anything wrong with that. But as you get older, it helps to cast a wider net. As adults we all have less and less free time. We fill that time with work, obligations, our family and if there is any time left - we get to spend time with our friends. It sounds depressing, but in reality it makes me appreciate my friends and what they add to my life so much more. I work hard to make time for them, because without them I don't know how I would survive.

Since having a baby nearly 8 months ago, I had not been away with my girlfriends until last weekend. It had actually been longer than that, maybe close to 2 years! I didn't know how much I needed that trip until I was there. Real friends are the ones you can laugh with, cry with, be yourself with and share too much with...sometimes all in one night. I am so fortunate to have such a great group of real friends. It's very easy for people to get caught up in the day to day stresses of life and not set aside time for friends. And in my case, now that we have a child it's even more difficult. With that being said, it's also more important. As important as it is for my husband and I to get away once in while and be "us" - not mom and dad, it's just as important to carve out time with my girlfriends. We have dinner once a month, and that is sometimes the highlight of my whole month. We laugh and we gossip. We share our annoyances and our funny stories. We share accomplishments and disappointments. We call each other out sometimes, but we're always there for each other. Husbands are great. Family is wonderful. But there is nothing that can take the place of good friends. I feel sure someone older and wiser gave me this advice, but I can't stress enough how true it is. Treasure your friends, because the older you get - the more you need them and the more they will come to mean to you.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How Amazon Changed My Life

Sometimes I become enamored with innovators. For good reason though; usually because they make my life easier or more enjoyable. Amazon does both. And much like other innovators I've crushed on (i.e. Apple) they're always coming out with something new to keep me interested. When Amazon opened a distribution center here a few years ago, I was invited to take a media tour. I was blown away at the sophistication of their logistics. It's mind blowing. The creators of Amazon deserve every penny they've made, in my opinion.

In 2012, maybe early 2013, I signed up for Amazon Prime. This was absolutely life changing just by itself. It's $79 a month but includes free streaming video (like Netflix), one free Kindle download a month and the real selling point... FREE 2-day shipping on almost everything. If you know anything about Amazon you know this means you can have just about anything shipped to your front door in 48 hours or less. For FREE! I easily made my annual fee back in the first month.. Between the free shipping and the fact that I cancelled Netflix - no question, it was well worth the sticker price.

Shortly after Harper was born, someone told me about Amazon Mom. You just sign up, there is no fee for Prime members, and you get discounts on things you are constantly buying - like diapers, wipes, baby food, etc. Of course the savings are appreciated, but the best part - especially for a new mom - is that it comes right to your door. In 2 days. For FREE! Do you have any idea how hard it is to go shopping with a baby? And it only gets harder if and when you go back to work. Your window of opportunity shrinks to nearly nothing, and with the little free time you do have, the last thing you want to do is spend it doing a diaper run. This has greatly improved the quality of my life!

Recently, I looked into Amazon's Subscribe & Save program. O.M.G. Stick a fork in me, because I am done. Now, not only do I get things like diapers, wipes, coffee, paper towels, toothpaste and more delivered to my front door (for FREE), I get all of it at 20% off. Yes, 20%! I love a good deal, I do. But typically it takes 40% or more to really move me. But this is 20% off your entire bill...on things you have to purchase anyway. It's free money. A lot of time when things are on sale I make impulse buys, telling myself "gosh, if I even wear this twice then it's worth it...at this sale price!" But I'm talking about non-perishables that you have to buy. Toiletries, dry goods and yes...for our household these days...diapers.

Having a baby certainly has changed my life, but Amazon has helped out tremendously. I can't recommend it strongly enough for new moms or anyone who like to save money.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Our First Christmas

We did something pretty spectacular for Christmas this year. Something I have never done before, and can't wait to do again & again. We stayed home...alone. I had never spent a Christmas away from home (home being my mother's house) until I got married. In 2011 we spent Christmas Eve and woke up Christmas morning at my in-laws house in Greenville. This has nothing to do with my in-laws but it was awful. I cried both days, missing my family and our traditions so much. It's a sacrifice that you're expected to make when you get married, but it's harder that you think. So that would make Christmas 2013 only the second time I've ever woken up away from my family on Christmas morning. But this time it was different. Better. Special.

We have a baby now, and by definition we have a family of our own. I decided what better time to start our own traditions than Harper's first Christmas. Sure, we could have waited until she was older, until she could really grasp what was going on, but why? Full disclosure, this decision was as much for me as it was for her. It was for us...my little, perfect family of three. We woke up Christmas morning & opened presents, had breakfast, watched Christmas movies - just like the Christmases I fondly remember as a child. We stayed in our PJs until nearly 4pm, we took a stroll around the neighborhood. It was the most pleasant, relaxed holiday I've had in a very long time. Of course I missed my family, but not like my first Christmas away. It's different when you're with your own, singular family. We drank mimosas and lit a fire in the fireplace. It was the kind of Christmas I've dreamed of the last 20+ years as I've packed up and rushed around from one house to another. I actually got to enjoy Christmas this year.

I know next year Christmas will be even more exciting, and will likely gain momentum over the next ten years. I simply cannot wait! I remember my teenage years, missing the magic that Christmas once held, wondering if it was ever possible to feel that way again...and it is! From now on I get to see Christmas through a child's eyes. I can't fathom anything better than that. The added bonus is that I get to decide how and where it all takes place. I want for Harper the wonderful, magical Christmases that I had as a child, and part of that included staying home. I want her to leave out cookies for Santa and lie awake trying to hear him on the roof. I even want her to wake us up at some ungodly hour because she just can't stand to wait any longer! Christmas has always been my favorite holiday -even with all the traveling we've endured, but now it has it's spark back.

2014 is here, and it blows my mind that an entire year (+ 1 week) has passed since I found out we were going to have a baby. She is now the center of our universe, as she should be, and it's hard to believe that 2014 is probably going to be even more exciting than 2013 has been. I hope all of you are as hopeful and inspired about this new year as I am!

xo

Friday, October 25, 2013

Going Back to Work

I'm writing this post because through the magic of the Internet I hope someone else stumbles upon and it knows they're not alone! Going back to work was a lot harder than I thought it would be and not as hard as I thought it would be at the same time. I think I can clarify by saying that leaving Harper that first morning, after spending almost nine weeks with her, was physically painful. Going back to work wasn't hard at all. I felt like people were genuinely glad to have me back and it didn't take as long as I thought it would to get up to speed.

If you have the option, I do highly recommend a "transition week". The first week I was back at work my mom came and kept her all week. I knew that would be a tough week for me, getting back into a routine and getting caught up at work, and I didn't need the added stress of also leaving Harper for an extended period of time with a stranger. It worked out really well. I missed her like crazy, but I never worried about her care. My second week back was actually harder, because my nanny started and leaving my precious angel with a practical stranger was not as easy to do. The girl I hired seems quite capable, but the guilt floods in anyway. And during the day I thought "I can't believe I'm paying someone (a lot) to do what I should be doing! She should be paying me!". But each day it gets a little easier. I attribute a lot of that to the fact that I love my job and I am so incredibly busy all day that the time just flies by...and before I know it, it's time to go home to my sweet baby girl!

I never, EVER saw myself as a stay at home mom. I'll admit that I have, once or twice, judged women who gave up promising careers to stay home & take care of babies. I just didn't get it. But like most things surrounding motherhood, you aren't supposed to get it until you are one. The minute Harper was born it was if God gave me the password to this secret society I was now a part of. My view of the world in general would forever be changed. All of a sudden I'm that lady yelling at the UPS man for speeding in front of our house, and I'm advocating for bars in 5 points to close at 2am to help curb all the crime & violence. For me, when I became a mother I also became a "mom" - without the jeans at least. With that being said, I immediately felt bad for questioning other mom's choices on child care, on staying home, on everything. When you're a mom all you do is make choices all day - hoping they're the right choices - that the outcome will be what's best for your baby and your family. And it's mostly trial & error. A lot of it can leave you feeling like a complete failure at times. So yes, I take back my harsh judgement! I get it, and I'm sorry.

The choice to go back to work is not an easy one. Just like the choice, when given one, of child care options is not either. Our choices were limited by the fact that we haven't gotten into day care yet. Most people's choices are also limited by things like proximity and finances. If my mom lived in town, she would no doubt keep Harper full time until she goes to day care - but that's not feasible with her being two hours away. Financially, it would be hard to swing a full time nanny. We're very fortunate my mom is helping us two days a week! But in the end you do what you have to do. For me and for our family it made the most sense for me to go back to work. I truly believe that my life, my marriage and in turn Harper will be better for it. So while it still hurts a little everyday when I leave her in the care of someone who isn't me - I know I'm doing the right thing. My sweet husband said that at any point if it was just too hard I could stay home and we'd just figure it out. It's very nice to know it's an option. I'd hate going to work every day knowing it's because I had to, and not because I wanted to.

For anyone out there struggling with this, just know that you're not the only one. It's 2013 - women work. There are very few modern families with stay at home moms these days, especially permanently. Most of my friends who did stay home at one point, went back to work once their kids were in school. That's hard too! Getting back in the work force after an extended absence is not always easy. Men are also a lot more helpful these days. Long gone are the days of men going off to work everyday while the little misses stays home to cook, clean and care for children. If that set up works for you, great. But I know it wouldn't work in my house, for my family...and again it's about what's right for YOU. Don't let anyone judge you or influence you based on what worked for them, or what worked for them 20 years ago especially! Every mom I know is just trying to do the very best she can for her family, and as long as you're doing that - you're doing ok, probably better than ok.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Welcome to Motherhood

{written on 8.24.13 -I wanted to wait until I was no longer medicated to post!}

You know all of the cliche things you've heard about parenthood, how it changes your life forever, how your world never looks the same, how your heart pours out love you didn't know existed...well? It's all 100% true and then some. I think the one I got tired of hearing the most over the years that also rings the most true is that you can't possibly get it until you have a child of your own. I thought -well how pretentious is that?? But it is in fact true. I've loved a lot. Friends, family, pets, my husband, my nieces and nephews...and nothing even comes close, nothing even begins to compare to the kind of love you feel for a child of your own. It's so big and so overwhelming that it's terrifying. I lie awake at night thinking crazy thoughts, imagining what I would do if someone tried to hurt her, peeking over her crib just to be sure she's breathing, giving thanks to Him for the most precious gift I've ever received and wondering how in the world I got so lucky. It's mind boggling to think you can feel this way about someone you just met -someone you didn't know you were missing!

The funny thing is - in my last post I wrote that if one more person tells me how worth it everything is that I'm going through I'm going to scream. I will undoubtedly say that to every pregnant person I know now. Because it is! And once you've experienced it -you kind of feel like its your duty to spread the word. The real kicker is that when you're pregnant you think "oh my gah -I can't do this anymore! I'm miserable!"- then you go through labor & delivery which is no picnic. But recovery/ post-birth has BY FAR exceeded any horror stories I could have told while I was pregnant. This is the part no one really tells you about. Or maybe I just didn't listen? And no, I won't gross you out with details here -just know that once you have the baby, the "fun" is far from over! But, like everyone told me -it really is SO WORTH IT! 

I've never been so happy and full of love in my life. It's the first time I feel like I really know the meaning of unconditional love. Pure love. Maybe even the way God loves us & wants us to love one another. I know it sounds silly, but I just feel whole now. And to think I never felt incomplete before.     She is literally the best thing that's ever happened to me, and I'm giddy that I was chosen to be her mom! 

*note -I wrote this from MY perspective. It is MY blog after all. I don't want anyone to think I'm not including Jerry in this love fest, because he is very much on board. Obviously. But this is about motherhood...which I think any mother would tell you is just different. Not better -just different. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hosting a Miracle is Hard, Y'all

So I am officially on the countdown to not being pregnant having my baby girl! Only five weeks & five days until my due date. There are only a few things I'll miss about being pregnant...eating indulgently without the guilt, people constantly offering to do things for you and feeling miss thing move around in my belly. I can't think of one other thing that is at all appealing about being pregnant. It's currently 93 degrees out, with a heat index of 108 and humidity hovering at about 80%. I can't name a body part that feels good. It hurts to sit, it hurts to stand, it hurts to lie down, it hurts to bend over. My heart sincerely goes out to people who have a terminal illness that has them in pain all the time. It' s NOT fun. And if one more person gushes to me about how it's "so worth it!" I'm going to scream. Don't you think I know that? Do you think I'd be going through all this if it wasn't? I've had to give up high heels, I have to take 6 pills a day. Every other week I have to get weighed in, pee in a cup and have my finger pricked, along with other bodily violations I won't mention. I can't wrap my head around people who enjoy being pregnant. The first 12 weeks I was sick and tired, all the time - not just in the morning. The second 12 weeks, while by far the best, weren't that much more fun as I began to outgrow all of my clothes and was told to stop working out, and repeatedly told to stop doing pretty much everything else productive! No running, no lifting, no stairs, NO LIFE!

This third trimester (12 weeks) is even worse than the first. I'm back to being pretty tired, and although I don't feel sick all the time - a whole host of other fun symptoms have taken up residence; i.e. insomnia, joint pain, more heartburn, always being uncomfortable, constantly having to pee and pregnancy brain! It's real I tell you. I never really believed in it - I thought "surely pregnant people are just feeling distracted, it doesn't actually affect your brain". Oh yes it does. I'm on a medicine to prevent early labor that I have to take every six hours, and I will pop a pill and then two minutes later second guess if I actually took it or not. I was driving home the other night and literally forgot where I was when I got to an intersection! I had to ask my co-pilot (my directionally challenged husband) where we were. Mind you we were only two miles from our house, at a busy intersection that I frequent roughly three times a week. Weird, right? It's just bizarre - the whole thing. I mean there is a new tiny human growing in my belly, what's more bizarre than that?

Because of some issues I had with pre-term labor recently, my doctor made the statement that she could be born as early as the end of July & be perfectly healthy. I know you shouldn't wish for an early labor BUT as long as she is healthy, she is free to come on out & meet the world. A lot of people are excited for her arrival, no matter when it ends up happening. No one is more excited than her momma. No, not just because I am over being pregnant (which I totally am) but I just can't wait to meet our daughter! It's so exciting knowing your life is about to be turned upside down in the best way possible. It's crazy to me how much you can love someone you haven't even met yet. I'm excited to share that with Jerry, as it's obviously different for moms and dads to be. I'm excited to finally "get it" from a mother's perspective. It's just a lot to even wrap your head around at this point, yet I am anxiously counting down the days. (40...maybe less!)
thanks & photo credit to my Aunt Pat for taking the most flattering picture possible at this point!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Decisions, Decisions


Believe it or not this post will not be about a baby. Or even about me at all. Just a tangent I'd like to go off on for a few minutes. So I'm watching the finale of Mad Men last night...one of the best shows on television in my opinion...and there was a scene that really annoyed me. Ted is the married boss of Peggy. Ted & Peggy have danced around their mutual attraction all season and finally culminated it last night, only for Ted to rescind all of his promises three scenes later. He tells Peggy that one day she will thank him for making this decision (to move to LA, therefore ending their affair) and she retorts "Well aren't you lucky? To have decisions." For a split second I feel bad for Peggy. Maybe because I've been there at some point in life, feeling as if someone else is making a decision for me. But then I just got annoyed with her. She had decisions too; decisions that led to her being in that position in the first place. She decided to have an inappropriate relationship with her boss. She decided to sleep with a married man. Why does she get to play the victim? Ted is actually doing the right thing (of course after doing the wrong thing) by taking his wife & kids and moving across the country to try and put a stop to his wandering ways. He's a good guy, and although good guys sometimes make mistakes - good guys try to right their wrongs. (Yes, I'm fully aware these are fictional characters, stay with me though.) Peggy on the other hand acts entitled to this "relationship" and these promises he made - promises he made while married to someone else. I wanted to shake her. I've known quite a few girls, unfortunately, who gone down the path of "dating" a married man and the pattern is always the same. The girl usually tells herself that he just isn't happy with his wife, eventually he'll see how happy they can be & he'll leave her...and of course he never does. Like ever. It's so demoralizing to women in general when you see this situation unfold. Especially in the end when the "other woman" is the one left feeling heartbroken and victimized. Really? Give me a break. When you play the role of the other woman, you don't get to play the role of the victim. Those two identities are mutually exclusive. I guess what I'm trying to say is don't be a Peggy! A) For starters don't date married people...I mean that one's pretty morally obvious. but B) Don't pretend that you don't get to make your own decisions. If a situation seems unchangeable - then find a new situation. It's the only chance any of us have to be happy. It all goes back to the serenity prayer...

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Just a Little Life Update

I know everyone is on pins & needles wondering "what's the latest with Liz??" Well I'll tell ya! I'm almost 30 weeks pregnant, which means just 10 weeks to go. My due date now coincides almost exactly with the opening of the space I've been hired to oversee. Perfect, right? Our house is still on the market, and while we have had plenty of calls, emails and looks - no offers yet. So yeah, a pretty stress free life for this little pregasaurus.

I'm not sleeping all that well, and I have a lot general aches & pains - but I had the grave displeasure of reading a story yesterday about a woman who lost her baby at 30 weeks after a seemingly normal pregnancy! Needless to say, this news didn't help with my already mounting sleep problem...nor did it help put my mind at ease. Every pain, every twitch, every possible symptom is suddenly cause for alarm! I'm serious when I say this is the hardest thing I've ever done. For one thing, pregnancy forces you to go with the flow. Babies sort of do their own thing and come when their ready {hopefully} so it's very hard to plan things, which naturally drives me nuts. Being a first time mom just magnifies all of it. I don't know the difference between "round ligament pain" and a pain that might signal something is wrong. I don't know what amniotic fluid smells like {yes, this is a real question people ask on message boards}. I don't know how much {or little} weight gain is normal & healthy for my body and my baby. There are guidelines, sure. But a lot of it's genetic and every body is different; every pregnancy is different. It's a lot of guessing and speculating, even on the part of the doctors. If you know me, you know this doesn't sit well. I score very high in critical thinking and I prefer clear cut answers. Babies just don't operate that way - and I guess pregnancy is just preparing me to be a mom. I mean it's not like children come with instruction manuals, unfortunately.

Anyway, this Sunday is Father's Day. I've been so abundantly blessed in that department it almost seems unfair. Jerry has no idea the opportunity that lies ahead of him by having a little girl...a built in number one fan for life! I'm a huge proponent of sentimental gifts. My thoughts on Mother's & Father's Day is if you don't bring tears to their eyes, you failed. Am I right? Well I have one for Jerry that is so good I can hardly wait. He's a tough {emotional} nut to crack, but I think I might get there with this one! Still working on my own pop's gift...but it does include a gift certificate to Litte Pigs BBQ, so there will likely be tears of joy either way. We're having brunch at my brother's house instead of fighting the crowds, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Hope all you dads out there enjoy your day!

Liz

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Just a Tad Overwhelmed

So we are officially in the homestretch! In about 3 months, depending on when little one decides to join the party, we will officially become parents. It's exciting and terrifying at the same time. Here's the best part - we haven't done anything to prepare for this. This is so unlike me. Jerry is usually the "fly by the seat of your pants" person in this relationship, not me. Especially something this big and important! We just ordered nursery furniture over the weekend. We haven't toured the hospital, picked out a pediatrician, taken the birthing class...I haven't even read a book! Ok I did read one book, "Belly Laughs" by Jenny McCarthy. Hilarious, yes - but not exactly educational about what to do with a baby. Needless to say I have some summer reading plans! Speaking of plans, I should have a birth plan too, but I don't. Why do I need a plan? Most of it's out of my hands anyway. The only thing I want to be abundantly clear on with my doctor is that HELL YES I want an epidural. Everything else won't really be up to me.

On top of all this, our house is for sale. I'm justifying our lack of nursery preparation by this fact. I don't want to decorate a nursery so we can turn around, sell our house and do it all over again. At the same time, I hate waiting until the last minute. I mean this is one of the fun parts...and I don't want to be stressed out by having to throw it together at the last minute. I basically have it done in my head, so I'll hopefully only be left with the execution. What really stinks is that because I'm pregnant I have to depend on others to do most of it. I can't move furniture. I can't paint. I can't lift anything heavy. Oh well...it is what it is! I'm very good at directing.
In brighter news, I have my first baby shower this weekend. So exciting! I can't wait to see everyone and open all kinds of tiny, adorable pink things. I'm so fortunate to have so many people who already love this little girl. She is one lucky baby! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

More Than Halfway There!

Just thought I would give a little update - for anyone interested and to make a note for myself so I can look back on this one day (like a year from now when I might think I want to do this again). So on a fun scale of 1-10, pregnancy is maybe a 2...just above having your tonsils out. I've never had mine out, but I've heard it's completely miserable. I wouldn't say being pregnant is completely miserable, but I've done a lot more fun things in my time here on earth, that's for sure. It's still amazing -the good parts. I never tire of feeling her kick, and it never ceases to amaze me all the weird things that are going on in my body. I mean y'all -I'm creating a person! I know people do it everyday, but it far surpasses the coolness of anything else I've ever done in my life, no question. I can't really imagine anything I could ever do going forward that would be as awesome as this. With that said, it's no walk in the park either.

Sleepless night don't begin when you come home from the hospital. They begin when you basically have a 10 pound weight strapped to your belly. My back hurts, my hips hurt, and my stomach always feels weird. I have heartburn at least 22 hours a day. My allergies & sinuses are working overtime and with all the extra blood pumping through my body & lack of a good night's sleep, I feel sluggish a lot. The good news is - it's all "normal". So yeah - this is what you have to look forward to when you decide to reproduce! With Mother's Day coming up in a few weeks being pregnant really makes me appreciate what my mother went through in order for me to be here today! No kidding. It's a lot of sacrificing, a lot of being uncomfortable, and eventually a lot of pain - although I'm trying not to think about that part yet. But on the bright side people are especially kind & considerate when you're pregnant. I don't mind that at all. People go out of their way to tell you how great you look, even when you feel like a cow. People treat you like it's your birthday everyday - very sweet & considerate of your feelings..."what do YOU feel like eating?". Or maybe they've had a bad experience with hormonal pregnant women & they're just terrified to upset you. Either way, I'll take it. Every doctor's appointment that includes an ultrasound make your heart swell just a little bit more until you think it could potentially explode before you can fit anymore love into it. Even the sacrifices already seem worth it. It's crazy the way the human mind & body work together to do big things. From day one, all the things you're supposed to give up like alcohol, tuna, sushi, etc. don't feel like a huge sacrifice when it comes to the health of your baby. It's like women (I guess I should only speak for myself here, but whatever) have a built in mom gene that activates immediately upon finding out that you're expecting. It doesn't really feel like I'm being deprived of things, it just feels like I'm doing the right thing. It feels like there really isn't anything I wouldn't do or give up to protect her. That's not to say that I can't wait to go out for sushi and champagne the minute we get home from the hospital, either!

So all in & all things are going really well. Baby girl is healthy & growing normally...actually she's slightly ahead of schedule, which makes me really happy. I'm still hoping and praying for her to come BEFORE football begins! There are so many reasons, and yes - most of them are selfish. 1. I don't want to be 9 months pregnant during the first game, nor do I want to watch it from a hospital bed. 2. I don't want a Labor Day baby...all the good doctors will be on vacation that weekend, and some 28 year old intern who I've never laid eyes on will deliver my baby! Labor is already the thing that I worry about most, I don't need that added to it. 3. The cut off for school is Sept 1, so if she comes after that date it puts her a whole year behind (and it's one more year of child care to pay for...which costs more than the private school she will likely attend, FYI) 4. This summer will no doubt be miserable for me, so the sooner the misery ends, the better. As long as baby girl is healthy and ready to make her debut - I'm ready too!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's a GIRL!

I don't think I even blogged about this - which is fine because everyone knows by now -but we're having a GIRL! It's weird. Jerry's family history (there hasn't been a girl born in his direct lineage in nearly 100 years) indicated the chances of us having a girl were slim to none. I never even entertained the thought of having a girl. So when we found out, not only was I in shock, but it was like starting over in my head! All this time, even before even getting pregnant, I had always thought of my future children in hues of blue and green. But it's pink for us for now! Three different unltrasounds have shown that she's a girl, so the hope that Jerry was holding onto at first is all but gone. I have no doubt that he will be so in love with her he won't know what to do. Come August, I will officially be the other woman in his life!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Are You Actively Building Your Personal Brand?


I was in a meeting earlier this week, and I have to admit that I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. It was an all day meeting, from nine to four and I was sure my attention span would be shot before lunch. Much to my surprise, the meeting started with a fun exercise that I would encourage anyone to do themselves. The “instructor” began by talking about an employee of ours who died very unexpectedly the week before. He mentioned how people spoke of him in his eulogy, his obituary and overall what a wonderful legacy he’d left behind. While it’s a terribly sad story, it segued perfectly into his topic about building a brand. He asked of all of us if we died today, what our legacy would be. What would people say about us at our funeral and around the office? Do people see us the way we intend to be seen?What are you doing to build your personal brand?

Here is the exercise. Take a minute or two and write down what you see when you look in the mirror. This is just awarm up, to get you thinking about yourself. Then, write what your ideal brand would be…what you want people to say about you when you leave the earth, or even just leave the room. Then he had us draw a logo for our personal brand, but you skip this part if you’re short on time. Next, write down 3 people (or groups of people) that you care deeply about the way they perceive you. For example, I opted for the broader sense and wrote down family, friends and employer. Finally, write an action plan for how you can build this as your personal brand. One idea in the meeting was to live your life as if the three people you wrote down are in the room with you. Would it change your actions if these people were there? Would they be proud of what you’re doing?

I’m not sure why, but this experience really spoke to me that day. Am I living the life that leaves behind the legacy I really want? Do people see me the way I want them to? And if not, what can I do to make it happen? A personal brand is really no different than a business’s brand. If Apple or Nike put out bad products, would they be the recognizable, trusted mega-brands we know today? No. You can’t fake it, with a product or with yourself. Live an authentic life the way you want to be seen and you will.But it has to be in everything you do – your actions, your attitude and your words. With every decision you make you have to consider how it affects your brand.

Am I a Control Freak?

I’ve been accused of being a control freak, maybe more than once. At first I resisted the label. It has a negative connotation. Who wants to be seen as controlling OR a freak? Not me. And I truly didn’t believe it was accurate. So I started thinking about it, in instances where others felt I was being a control freak; why am I feeling the need to control this situation? The more I analyzed it – the more comfortable I became with it. Yes, maybe I am a control freak, but what I realized is that my need to control something has nothing to do with the person who may feel that way. It has every bit to do with self-preservation. I don’t have a desire to control other people; I have a desire to control what happens to me. And unfortunately, the actions of others very often have an outcome that directly affects me. So I’m not controlling, and I’m not a freak. I just happen to care about myself enough to want to help steer things in the direction best suited for me. So I guess you could say I’m a self-serving control freak.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Buy Our House!

Our house is for sale! We have a 3 bedroom, 2 full bathroom bungalow home in the Shandon neighborhood of Columbia, SC. Original heart pine floors, renovated kitchen & bath, additional closet space in master bath & 3rd bedroom. Large family room, formal dining room, adorable breakfast nook. House has original transom windows above the doors, crown moulding, 6" baseboards. Very true to the original style of the early 1900's with plenty of upgrades. Located on an elevated corner lot, walking distance to local restaurants, bars & shopping. Zoned for great area schools. One car open garage, with attached partially covered deck (including a ceiling fan) perfect for outdoor entertaining. Quiet, friendly neighborhood close to just about everything.

Click here to see photos  http://www1.snapfish.com/snapfish/thumbnailshare/AlbumID=6139763017/a=13776139_13776139/otsc=SHR/otsi=SALBlink/COBRAND_NAME=snapfish/
1850 square feet
3 BR, 2 BA
$315,000

Friday, February 22, 2013

And Baby Makes Three

Well it finally happened. The stars aligned and God decided it was time for Jerry and I to start a family! We've just announced that we're due in late August/ early September. Of course I'm hoping baby R makes his or her debut in time for momma to cheer on the Gamecocks against the Tarheels without my blood pressure being a health concern! I'm 13 weeks and 2 days as of today. Baby R is the size of a lemon...the fruit comparisons are my favorite! I'm feeling ok, much better than I was a few weeks ago - that's for sure. I have to eat constantly to avoid feeling sick, but surprisingly I haven't gained any weight yet; very likely due to the fact that naturally I've stopped drinking. Of course Jerry is going about life as usual because that's what men do! (Seriously girls- just know that when you get pregnant your whole life gets turned upside down from day one - but his doesn't really change at all until the baby comes. So keep track while you're pregnant of all the things you want him to make up for!)

Our friends and family are all very excited and so are we! We find out March 15th if we're having a boy or a girl. I never entertained the idea that a girl was a possibility, since Jerry is one of six boys & has four nephews. It would appear the Reardons just don't produce them. But our ultrasound tech seemed to think otherwise at the 12 week appointment. Of course she couldn't say for sure, so we'll have to wait & see - but all the old wives tales point to girl as well, if you believe that sort of thing. If anyone could break tradition that strong it's Jerry and me. Non-conformist to the bitter end! I could not care less what we're having, believe it or not. I'm just thrilled every time we get a good report from the doctor that baby R is healthy and growing. Jerry desperately wants a boy, but this might be a good lesson in "you can't always get what you want". God gives you what you need, not what you want. So we'll be just fine either way!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Be Grateful



For the month of November I want to take the opportunity to be a little more thankful for all my blessings. I'll (try to) update it daily! They are in no particular order.

1- I am thankful for good parents. They helped mold me in to the person I am, taught me kindness and gave me strength. My life would be completely different without them - so thanks mom & dad.
2- I am thankful for good friends. The older I get the more I realize how important they are. They make my life a little brighter and a lot more fun!
3- I am thankful for a bye week! As trivial as it might sound...I haven't slept in in months, I haven't been able to do anything without factoring in a football game since Labor Day weekend.
4- I am thankful for an extra hour of sleep. It would be easy to complain about the fact that Daylight Saving Time is outdated, and that it will now be dark when I leave work every day...but I always use it as a way to reset my internal clock.
5 - I am thankful for my determined spirit. I'm convinced if I put my mind to it, I really can do just about anything.
6- I am thankful to be an American. We often forget how lucky we are to live in a free country where we elect our leaders via democracy! It's inconvenient, everyone is tired of hearing about it - but we're so lucky to have that privilege!
7 - I am so glad to live & work in a diverse place with open minded, free thinking people.
8 - I am thankful that I have a job in this economy.
9 - I am thankful to work with and for people I genuinely like!
10 - I am thankful that I live in SC. Mid-November and 75 degrees & sunny.
11 - I'm thankful for my extended family that is growing by leaps & bounds. Got to spend some time with my "newest" nephew today. Made me even more excited for the two that are on the way in December and February!
12 - I am thankful that I have health insurance. Went to the dentist today & it didn't cost me a dime. I'm not 100% in favor of Obama-care, but I do think everyone deserves affordable healthcare.
13-I am thankful for my husband. He is so passionate about life and so caring for people that it's contagious.He loves me, but challenges me, and he makes me laugh every single day. I can hardly remember my life without him in it, nor could I imagine it ever again.
14 - I am thankful for my supper club. We meet once a month for dinner and it truly is the highlight of day each time. I already said I was thankful for my friends, but these girls are extra special!
15- I am thankful that I have faith...that I know everything happens for a reason and everything happens in His time. If things are meant to be, they will be.
16- I am thankful for the abundance of food we'll be sharing at work today. It's officially my favorite day to work at WACH Fox!
17- I am thankful for days that I get to sleep in with my husband. They are too few & far between these days.
18 - I am thankful for the miracle of life. How amazing is it when people you love create new people?!?
19 - I am thankful for every opportunity I've been given if life...and just as thankful for those that didn't pan out. I've never been more sure that everything happens for a reason and God DOES work in mysterious ways!
20 - I am thankful for Urban Nirvana...I know, it sounds shallow. But it is my favorite retreat from the stresses of daily life.
21 - I am thankful for short days and short weeks at work! Ready to enjoy this holiday.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I can't get Marcus Lattimore off my mind. I know I'm not alone in this, and usually when something is bugging me it helps to write. (hence the numerous unsent angry emails I have saved...maybe I'll share some of those one day) So like a lot of other fans, bloggers and people who can't get Marcus off the brain -here is my open letter to our most beloved Gamecock.

Dear Marcus,

I've had the pleasure of watching you develop into an absolute star from the day your name was mentioned in a recruiting report. We were ecstatic the day you committed to South Carolina because of what we hoped you would bring to the football field. Boy did we get more than we ever bargained for or deserved in you. On the field you've been so much fun to watch. It didn't take long for your name to become common place in the homes of people not just in South Carolina but all across the nation. You were a standout; a legend in the making. I was so proud to call you a Gamecock. It felt like you brought the entire Gamecock Nation out of a slump we'd been in for so long. Sure, we'd had some good seasons and some really good players, but you were different. You were special. There was an obvious, albeit intangible, quality about you as a person on & off the field that made an entire fan base fall in love with you. Your values, your humility, your work ethic, your constant praise for your teammates, coaches and mentors...I rarely remember hearing you talk about yourself unless asked a direct question.

When you got hurt in 2011 I remember exactly where I was & who I was with. It was a road game, so I was at a restaurant watching with my brother, my husband (a Clemson fan) and my best friend (a Florida fan). I remember feeling scared for you, and sad for the loss to our football team. I remember thinking "Why Marcus? Of all people, why him? He didn't even have the ball!" It seemed unfair. But I also remember the genuine, heartfelt concern from my husband and friend, whose teams South Carolina had yet to face that year. Of course no one in their right mind cheers for a college athlete to get hurt, but this was different. There was a such a high level of respect for you that it didn't matter that losing our star RB might actually help their teams later on, they were sincerely disappointed for you as a person.

Here we are, only a year later and again I beg the question, "Why Marcus? Why him? After everything he's been through...why did this happen to a kid who does everything right?". I've always been told that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers, and that's the only thing that gives me any comfort right now. I know if anyone on earth can get through this, can overcome the odds, can come back better, stronger and faster - it's you. You did it before and you'll do it again. Failure just isn't an option for Marcus Lattimore.  I haven't cried many real tears over football, surprisingly enough. But on Saturday when I saw the look on your face I felt like it was happening to my best friend, my child, my brother. That's an awesome quality to have that kind of effect on people and it will ensure that you are successful, no matter what the future holds.

Football is a game. One we take way too seriously a lot of times. But your success off the field, in the game of life, is what inspires people. It's what makes little boys want to wear a #21 jersey. It's what makes grown men encourage little boys to look up to a guy like you. It's what makes all of us, Gamecock fans, football fans, human beings stop and think about what truly matters in life. It's the reason that players, coaches and celebrities alike were tweeting prayers for you after your injury. It's the reason that 70,000+ joined together in prayer for you on Facebook withing just hours of hearing about what happened. There is nothing I would have loved more than playing for a national title this year, and at one time it was an actual possibility. Having been a Gamecock fan my entire life I can honestly say - we've come a long way baby! And we owe a lot of that to you, Marcus. It doesn't look like we'll be headed to Atlanta to play for the Conference title this year either, but at the end of the day, I would trade all of those possibilities just to ensure a speedy & painless full recovery for you. I know I'm also not alone in hoping that the best is yet to come for you in your career. You deserve it. You've earned it. And I'll pray every day that it happens for you until the day does. Gamecock Nation needed you Marcus Lattimore, and now you need us. You will have our continued support and prayers even if you never step back on the field at Williams Brice.

Forever to Thee,

Elizabeth Reardon

GO COCKS!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Four Years Ago

So it's a Presidential election year, in case you live in a cave & didn't know. Mitt Romney is challenging incumbent President Barack Obama with the major issues being jobs, healthcare and naturally...the economy. I want to be very honest here -I've never voted for a Democrat in a federal race. I didn't vote for Obama in 2008. That's right. I'm embarrassed to tell you that yes, I voted for McCain/ Palin in that race. John McCain was a fine candidate and I preferred his fiscal plan at the time, but Sarah Palin? Of course now I can't believe I did that.

So the GOP recently had a campaign of sorts about "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" I don't know if was a digital only campaign, or if it aired on TV - but I did see it promoted on Twitter and it begs the question, was I? Well, let's see.

Four years ago today the company I worked for was barely able to keep the lights on in our Columbia office. I managed a head hunting firm and when people aren't hiring and there are lots of unemployed workers in the market - well, firms don't really need to pay a staffing service do they? On top of that, some of the clients I did have were getting behind on their payments which means no commission checks for me. Within two months our Columbia office closed it's doors. I was then forced to take a job that I didn't really want because the job market was so bad. It wasn't until September of 2009 that I found the job I'm currently in and have been since that time. When I started my current job we were on a mandatory furlough of one unpaid day a month. We had a a sales staff of less than ten and were so far under meeting our sales budget that we didn't even have enough inventory to make it possible.

Fast forward four years.

I've been promoted within the company I work for and given a raise. We've increased our sales staff to 15 and hired two full-time sales assistants. We're no longer on a furlough, and we actually had back to back record breaking months in sales revenue. I pay all my bills upon receipt, I'm able to save money even and still live comfortably. (don't tell my employer -I still deserve another raise!) My husband's law firm is having a very good year (knock on wood) and in general I have to say my life is in fact better off than it was four years ago. I'm not saying that necessarily makes Obama the better choice, that's up to each of you individually. But based on the change I've personally seen in four years, and the fact that President Obama is fighting for equal pay for women and equal rights for all of us (and Romney is not) I'm going to be hard pressed to vote against him.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Religion, Politics and College Football

In my opinion THIS is the holy trinity of what should never be discussed in mixed company. I don't ever shy away from open, honest discourse even with people I don't agree with. Scratch that - especially with people I don't agree with. When it comes to religion and politics I can usually disagree with people without being a complete jerk. I actually like to hear others people's views on things, and once in a blue moon I've altered mine because of it. It's the only way we grow as people...by living and learning from each other. Now college football? Forget it. All bets are off, sorry. But as of late, thanks to the digital world in which we live, I've learned that my views are not only different from a lot of people I consider friends, but downright offensive to some of them. 

A hot topic as of late, which sort of falls into the category of both religion and politics is gay marriage. This is something I feel really strongly about. Why you ask? No, I'm not gay. I do have gay friends. I have gay family members. But even that really doesn't have anything to do with it. I support my gay friends & family members, of course, but even if I didn't know a single homosexual personally, I would still feel the same way. I took to Twitter and Facebook during the Chick-Fil-A nonsense and didn't leave my views on the subject to the imagination. But I haven't really taken the opportunity to fully explain why I feel this way. 

For starters, I am a Christian. Yep. I'm a Christian who supports gay marriage. I support gay marriage not in spite of my Christianity but because of it. Christians who oppose gay marriage love to quote the Bible to support their stance, so I have found a few verses in that big ole book to support mine. Quite frankly I had a plethora to choose from. 

Lev 19:18 - Love thy neighbor as thyself. 

Matthew 7:12 - Do unto others as you would have done to you. 

Psalm 33:5 The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love

Proverbs 8:17 I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.

And even if you believe homosexuality is a sin...remember

Romans 3:23  We have ALL sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. 

In the same book (Leviticus) which people often take verses from & use to say homosexuality is a sin - it also says that non-virgin brides, people who have pre-marital intercourse and adulterers all be stoned to death...so be careful what you wish for. 

Here's the thing - I would never try and change someone's religious views on this subject. It's a delicate topic, and I'm respectful of people's RELIGIOUS views on it. If you think it's a sin, we can agree to disagree.  If you think it's a choice (I will likely judge you) but still agree to disagree. But how is it Christian to fight against someone's civil rights? How can people use Christianity to mistreat a certain group of people? If you truly think it's a sin -fine. Don't do it. But to take it as far as saying people who "practice this lifestyle" shouldn't have the same rights that you do doesn't seem very Christian to me at all.  And as a Christian myself, it kind of offends me. 

It probably didn't hurt that I also recently read The Help. Yes, I know - I'm about two years late, and no I haven't seen the movie. Anyway, when I was reading that book I couldn't help but think -wow, this really wasn't that long ago in the grand scheme of things. This happened during my parents' and grandparents' lifetime. How could this be? How could good, Christian people have treated other good, Christian people this way? And now my generation, and generations to come will read about that era in history books and think -how terrible. I can't believe the government allowed that kind of gross mistreatment to exist. How could they think separate but equal was ok? How could they not let people into the grocery store or the library based on their skin color? How could they expect black people to use a separate bathroom and separate water fountain because someone convinced the whole southeast it was unsanitary otherwise? It seems absolutely crazy now - but it did in fact happen. I truly believe that sometime in the (hopefully near) future - people will feel this way about "that time we wouldn't let gay people get married"...because let's be honest -it's the same damn thing. It's discrimination based on a factor that is beyond someone's control. I firmly believe people are born gay the same way people are born black. Why would you chose to be discriminated against? To have legal rights taken away? To be judged, ostracized, even shunned? Why would any human being choose that for themselves? And let's just say for argument's sake they did choose it, and/or it is a sin - so what? We all sin, every single day. Doesn't mean you can take my legal rights away because of it. 

Another twist in all this that no one seems to really be addressing is why the hell is the government involved in the marriage business anyway? Marriage was created by the church and should be governed by the church. It's really none of the government's business.  If a church wants to deny groups of people the right to marry - that's their business. But the government? Last time I checked, gay people had to pay taxes too. This IS a civil rights issue. I don't see how anyone could see it otherwise, and I'm open to other people's views. I will respectfully disagree with people who think homosexuality is a sin all day long, but you can't withhold equal rights from "sinners" or anyone else or we're all screwed. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Want to Be a Runner

The title of this post is absolutely untrue. It would suit me just fine if I never had to run again...especially on a treadmill or in this God forsaken heat. But that's just it-and maybe that's a better title "I Want to Want to Run". And real runners want to run. They say it's cathartic, makes them feel good.  Don't get me wrong -I run. If I miss a cardio class, can't get to the gym or only have 30 minutes to work out -I'll hop on the treadmill  or head outside begrudgingly. But I don't want to. I don't enjoy it. I spend every minute counting down until I can stop. I want to love it, I really do. I even downloaded an app called Couch to 5K -but the thing is, I'm not a couch potatoe. And I know how to run...is there an app that will make me enjoy it? I do like the fact that you can do it anywhere -and there is very little skill involved. Think about it -do you even remember the first time you ran? Probably not -you were likely less than two years old.

So I've devised a plan. I think if I ran more often and with a purpose I might learn to enjoy it. So I'm going to commit to running at least 2.5 miles at least 3 times a week. I've done it twice this week -and it already feels a little better. Maybe because I've set a goal. And this is step 2. (writing it down). Step 3 will come when it cools off around here. I plan to run my first 5K. It's weird to admit I've never run a road race. I mean I'm in decent shape, I work out regularly, I eat healthy, etc. It's just not something I've ever been interested in. My husband ran the Chicago marathon when he was my age -so I think I'll survive the 3.1 miles. I do the Heart Walk every year -I'll just have to speed it up! I really hope I'm able to do the Color are Rad run that's coming in October -but it will depend on scheduling. Have you heard of it? Check it out -looks so much fun! Hey -did I just type that? Fun running? I'm halfway there! http://www.colormerad.com/

Cool  new kicks I got to help motivate me. They glow in the dark!
If there are any runners out there who have some tips or advice for this novice -by all means -speak up!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Just Catching Up...

I promised myself I'd blog something good again someday. But I've missed some VERY important things since last time I posted. My last entry, quite frankly, sucked. Sometimes I wish my blog was still private so I could just come out and say what I feel. But it's not -so sometimes entries become watered down and boring because I'm tip toeing around what it is I'm really trying to say. Then again -it's a blog, not a journal. That's what best friends are for.

In recent months two VERY important people in my life gave birth, and one more announced that she's going  to soon! My cousin Jennifer gave birth to a healthy and down right adorable baby boy - Benjamin Wyatt, and my best friend Jenny finally had Livi!! I love the name - short for Olivia Marie. She is just as precious as her momma! I'm going to see them in August and I can't wait to get my hands on her.

Last but not least, my youngest sister Chesley called to tell me she and Will are having a baby too! Babies, babies everywhere! I love it. Mostly because these are all babies I can visit and play with any time I want - but they're not mine. Look  how sweet!

Livi (with Kari and Jenny)

Wyatt with om, Jennifer. (Dad, Oneal -not pictured but this is my FAVE!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Much Would You Pay for Hangover Relief?

If you know me at all, you know that I am prone to hangovers. Yeah, I know -they're 100% self-inflicted, it's not like saying I'm prone to migraines or sinus infections. But there are some lucky people who have a great deal less trouble the day after a late night of imbibing the spirits. I am not one of those people. I fit into the other end of that spectrum; meaning I can often be hungover from just a few drinks with dinner. It's miserable. A smarter person might think "hey, just stop drinking". But until I am with child perhaps, I just don't see that being a viable option.

So anyway, like with the aforementioned pregnancy - the only tried and true path to prevention is abstinence. As I said - not an option - so I've been looking for alternative measures I can take. I can't tell you how many Google searches I've done for the prevention and treatment of hangovers, which mostly produces a bunch of common sense answers or weird old wives tails. Recently, one solution found me. How you say? Through the power of social media. Twitter to be exact. One more reason I prefer Twitter to Facebook. I was in conversation with a couple others about hangovers and was approached by the makers of Tibi Tonic.  From a marketing perspective - this is a genius way to engage with potential customers. Seriously, to all the product brands out there,take note! I responded to them and basically said "If your product is so good - prove it. Send me some. If it is - I'll tell the world."

So they did. It arrived in just a few days, and just in time for a weekend away!  And ironically, they sent just enough for two people for two nights out on the town. So very smart. Well here goes the account of the weekend. Is it a cure all? Did it completely prevent my hangover? No. But I don't believe there is a product out there that can. Hangovers are God's way of trying to encourage us to remember moderation. Imagine a world where no one ever got a hangover. As lovely as it sounds (selfishly), I have to admit that it would likely  be terrible for society as a whole.

The really good news is that it tastes good. I'd liken it to a sports/ juice drink. And if you don't agree, it's only three ounces. You can still manage to get it down. I also like that it's not something you have to take or drink while you're out - just once before you start drinking and once before bed. (unlike the last hangover product I blogged about)

Night # 1.  - Let me preface by saying that I broke a lot of my own hangover prevention rules on night one. I didn't eat enough - before or during - I didn't drink any water until I got home, and I mixed too many things. Ouch. I should have felt like death on Saturday.

Drank Tibi Tonic.
Shared a bottle of champagne. Cheers!
Drank a draft beer before dinner.
Shared a bottle of red wine with dinner.
Dinner was two shared appetizers, steak tartar & mussels, and some bread. (i.e. not enough!)
Drank two glasses of port after dinner.
Drank my second Tibi Tonic upon returning home, and drank 2 sips of a bottle of water. Weak effort!
Slept approximately eight hours.

The morning after. So upon waking I didn't feel that bad. I genuinely expected to be bed ridden for the day...which would have really sucked considering we were out of town with lots of things we wanted to see & do. I was able to get up and get ready and make it to breakfast by 9:30am. I was able to eat breakfast with no problems or aversions. (a huge plus in my book) I was then able to do an outdoor walking tour of a plantation, eat oysters for lunch and by 1:30pm I was having a cocktail on the roof of the Bohemian Hotel! Honestly, for me especially, that is nothing short of amazing. The most bothersome symptoms of a hangover for me are headache and nausea.  I had neither of those. I was tired, and did take a nap later that afternoon...but I doubt there is a tonic available for sleep deprivation.  Someone get on that, would ya? So all in all I give Tibi Tonic two major thumbs up for completely saving my Saturday! With a Friday night like that - I usually would have spent the following day in bed feeling absolutely miserable.

NIGHT #2

Drank Tibi Tonic.
Drank one vodka drink & one beer at dinner.
Ate a big dinner - appetizer, entree, dessert. (this helps, people!)
Had a glass of port after dinner.
Had a glass of champagne to end the night.
Drank the other Tibi Tonic.

Woke up feeling like a champ! Didn't have a single symptom of a hangover.

All in all, I would have to say IT WORKS. Again, it's not a cure- it's a preventative measure. And you're not going to wake up wanting to run laps or anything. But it does significantly reduce the main, most debilitating symptoms of a hangover.

So check them out - http://www.tibitonic.com/ I was not paid to write this...simply given the chance to try the product for free...which was very, very kind of them!








Monday, February 27, 2012

The Obligatory Birthday Blog

So I've been a little slack on blogging so far in 2012. Sorry about that, for anyone who cares what I have to say. I have to apologize for missing two incredibly important birthday shout outs too. To the two most important men in my life, a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY and I love you! My husband turned 40...yes 40, on January 31st and my dad had a birthday just before mine, on February 21st.  But enough about THEIR birthdays...let's get to mine!

I turned 33 on Saturday and every year on my birthday I can't help but reflect on what another trip around the sun has brought to my life. Honestly, it's really strange. When I turned 30 I had a good, long cry when I stopped to think about where I was in life in comparison to where I thought I would be at that point. But every birthday since then, that concept has felt laughable. Why should I care what a fifteen year old me, or even a twenty-five year old me thought oh so many years ago? Quite frankly, I don't. Not anymore. I realized in my mid-twenties with each passing birthday I cared less and less what others thought of me. And now at thirty-three I don't even care what the old me thinks! This is great news!!

The thing is -I'm just really happy. I'm blessed with good health, a loving husband, the best friends & family anyone could hope for, a job I love...I mean my biggest fear in life is simply losing all the goodness I have in my life. I really can't complain. So what if I'm thirty three and haven't had kids or made a million dollars and no one outside of my small circle knows who the hell I am? I haven't won any awards, I haven't accomplished anything outstanding...and I truly don't care. Because my life is so good that it sometimes feels unfair. I don't mean to sound full of myself, I'm just feel really grateful for all the things I have in my life that really matter. They're not "things" at all really. Anyone can have "things". Where I am at thirty-three is exactly where I am supposed to be. No doubt. And I'm going to make an effort to enjoy every single day.

Saturday night some friends and I met at Cellar on Greene for an amazing birthday dinner! We shared good food, good wine and a good time.  One friend even came in from out of town just for my birthday. How lucky am I? All in all it was a great day and night - that reminded me of how loved I am. It's exactly the kind of birthday we should all have every year!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Finding Balance in 2012

So instead of making a bunch of lofty resolutions that I know I won't stick to- I'm keeping it broad this year.  It's always seemed sort of funny to me that most people decide each January to do things to better themselves.  Why January? It's not like time actually ends just because the year does.  Nor does time begin with a new year.  Time is never ending...so why is it once a year at the same time we all collectively vow to be better people? Shouldn't we always be striving for that?

So this year, instead of vowing to "get in shape" or "save more money", I'm vowing to find balance.  My problem is that I always try to do things full force, or not at all.  And as soon as I exhaust myself doing something full force, I tend to give in and just stop. So instead, why not be reasonable about it? Instead of saying I'm going to lose 10 pounds and run a 1/2 marathon this month - it's more manageable for me to look at each day as a new opportunity to make good decisions. If I make it to the gym today, I'll allow myself that glass of wine at dinner.  If I don't make it to the gym, I won't beat myself up over it...I just won't have the glass of wine.  Life is too short to feel guilty over eating a piece of cake, or not working out one day, or splurging on a new cocktail dress.  I want to be fit, but I also want to enjoy life and all the wonderful culinary delights it has to offer. I want to be fiscally responsible, but I also like the finer things in life.  It's all about the give and take. If I buy an expensive pair of shoes I've been eyeing - well it might be a while before I can make another purchase like that. Maybe I'd rather get the less expensive pair AND a new top to go with it? Or maybe not. Balance. Finding it in everything you do could just be the key to happiness.

Another caveat to this is being realistic.  You'll set yourself up to fail if you make grandiose resolutions like giving up carbs, or trying to attain the physique of your Pilates instructor (who naturally...doesn't eat carbs).  Don't set a goal of buying a pair of $1200 boots.  For most rational people, those are all unrealistic, and in the end unfulfilling. Set reasonable and attainable mini-goals for yourself - ones that seem within reach.  The satisfaction you get from reaching those can serve as a springboard to larger, loftier goals.

It's not a resolution, it's a lifestyle change. A mindset change, if you will. It's knowing that anything you really want in life is worth a few sacrifices.  It's knowing that you can't have it all, but you can still be happy with what you've got.  My favorite quote of late is "If it's important to you - you'll find a way.  If not - you'll find an excuse."  This is so true (for me anyway).  Don't say that getting fit is important to you, then continuously find an excuse not to work out. If it was important enough - you'd make it happen.  Maybe you sacrifice that extra hour of sleep in the morning, or even harder for some - you give up happy hour with friends...but in reality, if it's important you will find a way to fit that in.  Anyone who says they don't have time to work out is making an excuse. You have to ask yourself - which is more important to me? Eating the cupcake, or getting the body I want? And believe me - my answer to that question will change daily, sometimes more.  In the end - it's all about finding balance.  Eat the cupcake (take), but then get to the gym (give).

So this is my plan.  I feel like with balance comes peace.  I hope I'm right, and I'll let you know in an update soon!  Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Musings on Social Media

I have so much to say that I don't know where to start.  This isn't my first post about social media and I'm sure it won't be my last.  It's funny - the last time I blogged about social media it was 100% in response to me being frustrated with a certain few.  And I probably shouldn't have taken to my blog to vent those frustrations.  I mean - a list of Social Media pet peeves? Who do I think I am? Social Media is ever evolving, and there are no experts.  Be wary of someone who uses that term.

Remember when you first joined Facebook? Remember how calm & quiet things were when you were just figuring it out and had only double digit friends? It was nice, right? And then word got out.  Next thing you know - that guy you sat next to in 10th grade science wants to be your friend.  Huh? We weren't even friends then, why would we be friends now...I haven't seen you in 10 years? But then you look at his page and see that you have 100+ friends in common, some of which are your real friends in real life, and you don't want to be that one cold-hearted person who ignores the friend confirmation.  So reluctantly you add them as a friend and he's the first of hundreds to come with whom you will repeat this process.  (This person will also turn out to be the one to send you Farville, Fishville and Mafia Wars requests until you're forced to unfriend them).  The more people you add to your network the more limited you feel.  You might as well be taking out an ad on tv with every status or photo you post.  You're no longer just sharing with friends; you're also sharing with acquaintances, co-workers, your boss, your clients, your parents, your neighbor, etc.  Luckily, Facebook has offered increasingly good security settings which allow you to share some things with only certain people.  It's a God send, really.  If not for adding those features, I think Facebook would have eventually become a desolate wasteland...just like it's predecessor. Myspace.

Then along came Twitter.  Remember when you started to get irritated by the high school like drama of Facebook & decided to try out Twitter? Again, it was so nice being there with a "select few" who knew about it and an even more select few who participated.  While Facebook is known for lots of oversharing, most people don't send out tweets until they get a handle on what Twitter is and how it works.  People post more often, but it's limited to 140 characters.  While you can add photos, videos or links - it's not a place to store lots of things, like Facebook.  No one is going to tweet all 179 photos of their kid's first birthday party.  It's also not mutually inclusive in the relationship you have with people.  Whereas on Facebook when someone adds you as a friend and you have to accept it...Twitter allows you to only follow people that you want to follow....not the people who want to follow you.  Just because someone follows you doesn't mean you have to follow them back.  (Some will tell you that you should - I disagree except under certain circumstances).  I thought I had found a safe haven on Twitter.  People tend to be a little more honest there.  I'm not quite sure why.  Originally I thought it had to do with the smaller network, but I now have 500+ followers and yet I still feel more liberated in what I can say. A recent "situation" finally made me realize it's about anonymity.  People can reach out to you on Twitter even if they don't follow you and you don't follow them.  And because Twitter is mostly short messages, not full pages with lots of personal information & photos & a wall for people to write on...there is a sense of anonymity there.  It will sound weird to anyone not on Twitter - but I've gotten to know people there. I've made friends even - friends I probably wouldn't have met otherwise.  It's not easy to explain the vast difference - but if you're participating in both you know what I mean.

On the subject of anonymity...wow.  What a powerful thing that can be.  I was recently included in a situation where people were saying things to me and about me on Twitter that I am 100% sure they wouldn't have said in real life. Somehow - hiding behind a tiny photo and an IP address gives people a sense of bravery they don't posses in real life. It's sad really.  Raise your hand if you have "friends" on Facebook who don't speak to you when you see each other at the grocery store.  Raise your hand if you have "friends" on Facebook who are quiet and reserved, shy even, in real life - but the life of the party on the internet!  You know the one...the one who updates their status every hour to tell you that the "funniest thing just happened" to them,  and every post ends with "LOL" and a :)  To me, that's a sad state of affairs.  If that's the person you WANT to be - then be that person!  And if you're a hateful bully on the internet - don't expect to be part of my network.  Life is too short.  Get up from behind your computer and get one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pretty Pumpkin How-To

So I have a confession.  I'm the biggest girlie girl when it comes to certain things.  (shocking, I know)  I don't like camping, I get weak at the sight of blood, I don't like to get my hands dirty and I don't like things that make a mess. Even as a child, I didn't play in the sandbox because I despised sand in my shoes and under my nails.  Agh!.  My skin just crawled thinking about it.  Anyway - due to this irrational fear of all things icky - I am not a fan of pumpkin carving.  It's a mess! And then the stupid thing rots on your front porch, inviting a host of bugs & other gross things like mold and fungus.  So this year I decided to buck tradition and decorate my pumpkin, sans knife.  They turned out so cute! I thought I'd share the VERY quick & easy how to - even though I'll probably lose of a lot of credit.  They look kind of fancy, but anyone can do this if you have 15 minutes.  Really.

You will need:
-acrylic paint
-small flat paintbrush
-festive ribbon
-scrapbook paper (one that coordinates with the ribbon)
-Mod Podge (you can get it at any craft store)
-sponge paint brush
-scissors
-2 large-ish pumpkins & 3 tiny ones

Start with the scrapbook paper. On the backside, trace the letter of your choice in reverse. If you don't think you can draw the letter backward - you can trace it on the front.  Just be sure to cut inside your ink.  Also - make sure it's the right size to fit your pumpkin!  Hold the paper letter on to your pumpkin & using the sponge brush, brush over it with Mod Podge until it feels secure.  Tie a ribbon around the pumpkin stem, and voila!

For the painted pumpkin, you just paint your initial using the acrylic paint & flat brush.  I googled "Calligraphy R" to find a good one that I liked (and one that looked doable for a non-artist) and just went for it. If you're less compulsive, it would be smart to trace the letter on the pumpkin & paint over it.  Then, just tie another bow on top and it's complete.

The three baby pumpkins were painted the same - by hand.  I didn't dare try to mock a nice font on such tiny pumpkins free handed.  But I think they turned out okay.  I added little bows to each of them as well.  That's it!

See? I told you it was easy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Can't Help But Wonder

It's Sunday, October 16th and we learned this afternoon that Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina's leading rusher) will be out for the remainder of the season due to torn ligaments in his knee requiring surgery.  This news comes just days after our fifth year senior quarterback was dismissed from the team.  Of course selfishly I'm sad because of the blow to our already struggling offense.  But more than that it makes me wonder more and more why bad things happen to such good people.  I won't name names, but we've had (and probably still have) some worthless, no good excuses for student athletes on our football team. If I can think of one person in the last ten years that exemplifies the kind of character I would wish for my own son to have someday it would be that of Marcus Lattimore.  He's poised, humble, polite, hardworking and of course - loves his mamma.  He leads by example and plays football with as much heart as anyone I've ever seen on the field.  He never takes all the credit, even when it's due; he's the definition of a team player, and he does all this while serving God & even sharing his testimony with his teammates and the public.  He uses his status to reach people in a positive way.  I seriously can't say enough good things about this kid...emphasis on the word kid. He's 19 years old and is more accomplished on and off the field than a lot of people my age.  So back to my original thought pondering...why does something like this happen to a guy like Marcus Lattimore? Is it life threatening? Not really.  Is it season ending for our team? Shouldn't be. Is it one more thing Marcus Lattimore will have on his list of obstacles he had to overcome to achieve greatness? Absolutely.  And I truly believe that he will fully recover & be just as good if not better next season, thanks to his impeccable work ethic.  As sad as I am for him, and for what it means to our football team this year, I know that everything happens for a reason.  We aren't always meant to know what it is - but there is one.  I believe that.  It also creates opportunities for other guys to step up and become play makers.  Our team has been riddled with injuries all season, but we still have some healthy guys that can use this opportunity to get better, faster, stronger.  Marcus Lattimore proved he was a baller in his very first game...even more so in his second.  But we have other guys who can come out of his shadow now and hopefully do the same thing.  Then next year we'll have a few guys like Lattimore to carry us even further.  Here's hoping, right?  Here is my favorite Marcus video...it really conveys the kind of guy he is.  Godspeed on your recovery 21! Gamecock Nation LOVES you!