Thursday, September 29, 2011

product of the week: elf on the shelf

In the spirit of kicking off Christmas shopping, which I have officially started as of yesterday, this week's product of the week is the the Elf on the Shelf.

I've been looking forward to starting this tradition.
Glad I've got a really cute reason to order one this year.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

what's on my mind: where is the love?

I've actually decided to start writing more on my blog.  I did fairly regularly while I was pregnant with Preston, but as my time became limited I slowly but surely have stopped documenting my feelings on here.

Not only do I want to write about and document this time in my life with my sweet family, I find that writing and actually typing the words on the screen help me capture that true emotion I feel right then and there.  So I'm starting a series entitled what's on my mind

That being said, here goes.  Here's what's on my mind currently:

I'm struggling. I'm struggling with how to balance being a career woman, mommy, and wife at the same time. Here's the problem.  Being a career woman is easy simply because it's not really an option right now.  Bills have to be paid and my son and I need health coverage so a working mom I am.  Being a mommy, well it isn't easy, but it's new and fun and exciting.  Being a wife, well, it seems that has been put on the back burner.  Not intentionally,  but it's not as new, and sometimes especially when trash cans aren't rolled out for pick up it's not near as fun.  Don't get me wrong I adore my husband, but in the process of trying to figure out how to juggle all three roles now it seems that I'm always dropping the ball on my marriage.

I don't like it.  It's important to me to have a solid and secure marriage.  In fact, next to my relationship with my Lord, I think my relationship with my spouse should be the next most important thing in my life followed then by my relationship with my kids.  I want my kids to grow up in a home seeing that their mommy and daddy really love each other not because they just hear us saying that to each other but because they can see that love through our actions.

I knew that maintaining what I feel like is a well-established relationship with my hubby would be a challenge after a baby.  Others have warned me about this, but I thought I had it all figured out. I envisioned routine date nights and heck I even thought we would be planning our first trip sans baby by now (what was I thinking, right?)  Turns out, though, it just isn't as easy as I thought it would be.

Turns out routine date nights cost money since our family members who volunteer to watch Preston live a minimum of a couple hours away.  And about that trip... turns out that I can't imagine leaving Preston overnight yet.  The mere thought of being in a different city than P gives me anxiety.

Preston is the best thing that's ever happened to us as husband and wife and I love him so, but I realize that Mr. Gherkin and I must make time for ourselves as a couple.

So, umm, I get it... a beach trip might now be very realistic right now, but I've got some other ideas in mind.  I've got some date nights in the works (like dinner for my birthday next month and a couple of board game nights planned which we can do after the baby goes to sleep so we don't have to pay a sitter).

What about you?  Do you and your spouse have any special rituals you guys follow to keep the spark alive, the lines of communication open, and to help ensure that your marriage remains a top priority?

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Memories suite promo code

 When I posted the winner of the My Memories software earlier I forgot to mention that My Memories has offered a promo code for my readers. 

The promo code is good for $10 off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the store which equals a $20 value!

Feel free to read my post about My Memories here if you missed the giveaway.

Now all you have to do is head on over the MyMemories Suite (link is clickable and website also listed below*) and enter the following promo code:


It's as simple as that.  Enjoy!

winner, winner: my memories suite giveaway

Lisa, you won the copy of the My Memories Suite software. I will e-mail you soon with the details. Congrats and hugs to you and Field.  

p.s. Let us see those Christmas cards when/if you make them. 

preston-isms: @ 8 months

The guy is a mess.  He never sits still.  Ever.  His sleeping habits are getting... awe, never mind about that.  (We don't talk about things that are going well around here for fear of jinxing our good streak.)

Here's what's been happening around here.

First up, I lost (as in misplaced) Preston last week. Mom of the year right here, folks.  Seriously, he was content on his playmat surrounded by a butt-load of toys to entertain him, I turned my back for one minute, and when I turned back around he was gone without a peep.

I could suddenly feel my heart beating in my throat.  How could I lose my baby in my own house?  After what seemed like eternity (when in all actuality it was merely a few seconds) I found him in the laundry room completely fascinated by the dryer. 

This happened not once but twice.

Preston thinks his new radio flyer wagon (it was supposed to be a Christmas present... I have no will power) is the coolest thing ever, and I think the fact that his daddy takes him around the block every evening in his little red wagon is just about the sweetest thing ever.

Happy weekend, people!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

product of the week: southern pecan

My favorite coffee comes from a local restaurant called Buffalo Grille and is, hands down, their  southern pecan flavor.  We rarely venture out for breakfast anymore on the weekends (we prefer to snuggle with this little face instead) so when I discovered that Green Mountain made a southern pecan flavor I waited patiently until it was time to reorder k-cups and snatched them up.


My house smells so yummy in the morning. Did I mention that I get coffee delivered to me in bed every morning 'cause I do and it's awesomeness.  My husband rocks and spoils me

Monday, September 19, 2011

looking back.

After seeing Maria Fe's flashback posts over at Hello Jack, I sat down during lunch one day and went back through my old blog archives.  This picture was taken a year ago this week. I was 24 weeks pregnant.  It is probably one of my most favorite pregnancy shots.  I miss being pregnant.  **sigh**
(Hope Mr. Gherkin skims over that last part.)

Also in reading back at my old posts, I was a total basket case (rightfully so I think), but man I'm glad you guys put up with me :) I'm so thankful that all turned out so well with Preston and for my little family. We're beyond blessed.

Jeremiah 17:7

Also, if you have a minute please send up some prayers with Miss Quinn's name on them this week.  She's having a heart cath today and her open heart surgery is scheduled for next week.

Friday, September 16, 2011

a giveaway: My Memories

My Memories has offered one lucky reader the opportunity to win a copy of My Memories Suite software for free (a $40 value).

My Memories is an award winning digital scrapbook software that is extremely easy and fun to use.  It's also rated #1 by Amazon and TopTen Reviews.  The software allows anyone to create digital scrapbooks, photobooks, cards, calendars and gifts without having to buy expensive and complicated software programs.

My Memories also gave me a copy of their software to play around with, and I love it.  I haven't had much time to play around with it (so is the life of living with a child who doesn't sit still...ever), but here are a few things I've done with the software so far.

First, I spruced up my twitter page with a new background provided by My Memories Suite. You can check it out here.

Then I tried my hand at making a photo page which took me all of 3 minutes since it was so easy especially with the drag and drop feature.

After seeing this idea online (thanks again, Pinterest) I found a background page from My Memories Suite called burlap, printed it on cardstock, framed it in an extra frame we had laying around the house, and made a little DIY dry erase board for our mudroom.

Here's the low-down on how to enter:

Visit the My Memories website, look around, then come back and tell me what you would do if you won the software. What would you create?  Be sure to include your e-mail in the comment so I can contact you if you win.

That's it and that's all. A winner will be announced a week from today, on Friday, September 23rd along with a special promo code for the rest of you guys.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

up all night.

The Gherkin and I have been looking forward to the new show Up All Night with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. These two are new parents, with a new baby, who, much like us, are trying to figure out this thing called parenting. 

I swear they took some of their lines directly from inside the walls of our house, and yes, we're still up all night in this house.

So serious talk now... why won't my baby sleep?  What am I doing wrong?  Do you have a secret?  If so, spill it now!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

winner, winner: Every Falling Tear album

Here are the winners (chosen via of Matt Hammitt's new album, Every Falling Tear, that I blogged about here

Congratulations! I will e-mail you three with details in a bit. 

Thanks to all who entered.  The album is available now, and remember a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Whole Hearts Foundation for congenital heart defects. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

product of the week: clairebella iphone cover

I've drooled over the Clarebella iPhone covers ever since seeing them while browsing, Layla Grayce (which just happens to be one of my favorite online retailers and their blog has been a favorite on my blog roll for quite some time now) one day.

I initially used a Kate Spade cover for my phone, but it was a complete waste of money to be brutally honest.  It always came apart, and I know this may sound weird but it seemed slippery and I was constantly dropping my phone. So I broke down and order a personalized Clairebella cover (it was a end-of-maternity-leave treat for myself actually) from Layla Grayce.  It's yet to come apart, it's easier to grasp, and it's purdy.

Stay tuned for another fun product of the week next week.  Toodles.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

love this.

Praying for lives lost, those who lost, our country, and our kids this Sunday morning on 9.11.11.

Friday, September 9, 2011

baby proofing.

We spent a good part of our labor day weekend completing our attempts to baby proof the house. 

After crawling (so I would be at baby level) around the house on Friday morning (don't laugh... I saw it on Bethenny: Happily Ever After so it must be legit, right?) I made a to do list of all that needed to be Preston-proofed. 

I made sure all electric outlets were covered.  I moved all the small (go-straight-to-my-mouth type) items far out of Preston's reach, and tied up all the strings on the blinds. 

After waking up to this (see below) last Wednesday at about 3 a.m., we mounted his monitor to the ceiling.

One thing I realized about half-way through is that baby proofing is not aesthetically pleasing.  I loathe fireplace padding, but what else can I do.  It's up.  I hate it.  Anyone else have any better ideas?  Share them if you have them, puh-lease.

I moved all cleaning products out from under the sink and hung them with a tension rod in our laundry room storage closet.  (Thanks pinterest for that idea).  So there's no need to child-proof the cabinets now with those annoying little cabinet locks since all the chemicals are put away and the cabinets are full of only tupperware, pots, and pans.

We order these (for less than 5 bucks --- thanks Amazon) and secured all heavy pieces of furniture and our two large floor mirrors to the wall. It took no time at all to secure the furniture.

Last but definitely not least I secured the treadmill (you know that thing you are supposed to turn on every once and a while... that thing that helps your pants not fit so tightly) by wedging a dowel rod between the belt and the floor.  So if P ever hits the release apparatus causing the belt part to fall the dowel rod will prevent it from falling on him.  It actually works well, and just to be on the safe side and because the belt part weighs a ton we're going to add one more dowel rod.

Phew.  I'm glad that part's done.  I was stressing about it.  Did I miss anything?  Anything else needs to be Preston-proofed?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

every falling tear: a giveaway.

You guys know my love for heart babies runs deep, right?  I read about any and all heart babies whenever I can, and I have loved following Bowen's Heart.  Bowen was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome just a few months before Preston was born. His daddy, Matt Hammitt, happens to be the lead singer for Sanctus Real, a Christian group.

At a time in my life when I felt so alone, constantly feeling beat down and at times hopeless, I found someone else who was going through a similar situation.  Someone else who was also barely hanging and yet unknowingly provided encouragement and inspiration to others through their blog and their music.

Matt wrote a number of songs since finding out about his son's diagnosis and during Bowen's open heart surgeries, and those songs are to be released on September 13th in an album called Every Falling Tear.  A portion of the proceeds from the album sales will go directly to a foundation the Hammitt's created called Whole Hearts Foundation, a movement towards hope for families and children suffering from congenital heart defects.

I cried (and I mean the all out lip-quivering, ugly cry) when I watched the video of Matt below for the first time.  "All of Me" is one of the singles on his new album, and I know this story and these feelings all too well.

"All of Me" from Ryan Lynch on Vimeo.

Matt's label sent me a CD (I'm listening to it right now... love it), and they've offered to giveaway three more CDs to my readers.  To enter all you have to do is leave a comment by Wednesday, September 14th and be sure to include your e-mail address if your blog account is not linked to your e-mail.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

product of the week: affordable & great-smelling

I love (and I mean love) the Bella by Illume diffusers that are available for the low, low price of fifteen bucks at Target.  My favorites are the Vanilla Amber and Capri Olive & Lemonwood scents.

I stuck one of the vanilla amber diffusers in our closet and within a couple of days Mr. Gherkin was inquiring about what made our closet smell better than dirty sneakers so good.  Score.

No compensation was received for the writing of this post, and this post reflects my own personal opinions.

Monday, September 5, 2011

easy canvas prints

The folks from Easy Canvas Prints printed my favorite August photo for me, and I love it.  Ordering was made easy with their super friendly and easy-to-navigate website.
They have a number of different options (different sizes and different wraps).
I chose the 8x10 size because I knew I wanted to hang/sit it somewhere cozy, and I chose the colored side wrap (in a warm brown) to create a pseudoframe since the image wrap didn't work for this close-up shot (image wraps do crop the photograph a bit).

Now I just need to decide where to place it:

on a shelf in our family room...

... or above my vanity so I can see that sweet little face every morning 
while I'm getting ready.


Thanks Easy Canvas Prints for the printing and shipping of the canvas.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

mr. preston @ eight months

I'm amazed how much Preston has changed and how independent he's become in just the past two weeks.  He's crawling, pulls to standing, feeds himself puffs, rides in a big boy car seat (and ohmygoodness, why didn't we do this sooner... he loves it), and is getting the hang of the sippy cup. 

Finally gave in during our photo shoot this evening and stuck the sticker on the back of the onesie.  Guess it's appropriate since that's the side of him we see more of these days. 

This is by far the best age yet.