Thursday, May 29, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Week #2

Throwback Thursday
Week #2

To encourage myself to continue to write and blog I am starting to participate in Throwback Thursday. I see people doing this on Facebook all the time and I never take the time.   I am on my second week and I can say it was really fun trying to find this weeks TBT! I don't have many old pictures because they were thrown away when we moved... (I wasn't around to claim them, so they went in the garbage)... I am linking up with The Mom Creative for Throwback Thursday Stories.

This photo is of my brother Steve and I circa 1984 (my best guess).   I would have been around 5 and he would have been 3.  Steve and I are not close siblings which is why I think I like this picture so much. We both look happy. Truth is, we are polar opposites and really don't get along very well. I think we get along because we are siblings.  He's quite possibly the most patient person I have ever met and me? I have ZERO patience and you'll hear me often say "Give me strength..." 

Without giving my family history, Steve and I simply took different paths in life. He didn't love school and I could never get enough of it.  He took a while finding a job he liked and I have had the same one since I was 19.  We have different views on nearly everything, money, politics, how to raise children, and how much we are willing to tolerate from a family member who is dishonest and always is a victim (aka -our mother).  I was done with her addictions years ago and he has been her go to for everything.. Unfortunately when it comes to that addiction, they feed each other.  It breaks my heart and I pray that eventually the cycle will be broken.  He is a great father to his girls but needs to let go of the chemicals he depends on to get through each day. which brings me back to why I love this picture so much. We were so innocent and not introduced to the pain and ugliness that addiction can cause a family.  We were young, happy, and in love with life back then :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Finish This! Week #21

Finish This!

This game is called "Finish This," and all you have to do is finish the following prompts and link up your post below! You can also visit the other hosts of this party on their fun blogs: Nicole {Three 31} Lisa {Coastlined}, Jen {The Arizona Russums} and Becky {The Java Mama}.

Jen and I the day "after" our girls day!  We like to have fun :)

The best mistake I ever made… hands down was having George.  Adam and I are not married.. we've been together for 4 years.. George is a product of a fun girls day.. pedicures then stopping for lunch that went from 1 beer to several by the time we got home... I had stopped taking birth control a year prior because a. I was never home and b. I did not like having to be on it.  Well folks, it only takes 1 time and 37 weeks later George arrived :) sweet when people look at George and say "All because 2 people fell in love..."  Meanwhile Adam and I are secretly thinking.. "All because two people tied a jag on and got a little rowdy..."
From this mistake, I learned… how to be selfless and that kids really do grow up fast.  I have also learned how much WORK it takes to raise a child.  When they say it takes a village it certainly does!  Again, I am blessed that George has such awesome grandparents who help us out quite a bit!  ..and I also learned not to drink with my neighbor otherwise George might end up with a sibling long before I plan for it to happen!

When I’m anxious, I tell myself… Really?  Friends, let me be honest here.  I am anixous all of the time.  I try to be "chill" about certain things (did I just age myself with "chill?") but truthfully anxiety is my middle name.  I am anxious about everything and anything...  How will I accomplish X.. When will I lose the weight... We have X, Y, and Z going on this weekend, when will I ... George is fussy again = anxiety.  George isn't pooping quite the way babies should poop (we've battled with constipation and hard poop) = anxiety. I just talked about poop on my blog = anxiety. See?  Yes. I AM WOUND TIGHT. 

All I really want to do is… move to the South where it's warm and people are friendly. They say "yes sir and yes ma'am" - which when I say these things up here people scold me or give me a dirty look because up here "sir/ma'am" refers to old people. I want a big house with a wrap around porch and want to drink sweet tea (even though I haven't acquired the taste of it yet). I want to be a Southern Belle. I want to be involved with volunteering and only work part-time... and yet, I work full-time, don't drink sweet tea (fact: I can't live without Mtn Dew.. Yes I know how bad it is for me) I live in Wisconsin where it's freezing cold AND heck my blog is "UP NORTH MAMA" ...  But a girl can dream, right?!

Now it’s your turn. Answer these prompts in a post on your own blog or, if you do not have a blog, simply add your responses in a comment. Join us next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer the prompts below!

Prompts for WEEK 22 (June 4) are:
I conquer fear …
I follow my heart …
I feed my soul by …
I used to worry about ____ but then I …

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Throwback Thursday -- Week #1

Throwback Thursday

To encourage myself to continue to write and blog I am starting to participate in Throwback Thursday. I see people doing this on Facebook all the time and I never take the time. So today it begins!!  Since it's a little late in the day I'm doing a short-term throw back.
My sweet baby George is going to be 4 months tomorrow!!  I simply cannot believe it :)  So to celebrate my Throwback Thursday I'm sharing a pic of him after he was first born and one we took this week before he left for the morning.  George always loves to smile in the mornings (He's definitely a product of Adam and I - both morning people!)
My sweet boy was 5lb 5oz when he was born...and now he's well over 14lbs.

I can't begin to say how many people stopped me and told me it was going to go fast.. Well Georgie, you are already 4 months old... Pretty soon I will be walking you to kindergarten, teaching you how to drive, hugging you on graduation day, sending you off to college, and then we will both be on TV for the NFL draft... because we both know with those shoulders a career in the NFL is in your future!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finish This! -- Week #20

Finish This!

This game is called "Finish This," and all you have to do is finish the following prompts and link up your post below! You can also visit the other hosts of this party on their fun blogs: Nicole {Three 31} Lisa {Coastlined}, Jen {The Arizona Russums} and Becky {The Java Mama}.

My favorite receipe is... My homemade lasagna... I make a scratch sauce that cooks all day marinating all of the spices together.  The big trick is when you're layering the sauce, cheese and noodles, to add a thick layer of parmesan cheese on top of the sauce (before the mozzarella cheese).  It cooks right into the sauce giving it a heavenly taste!  Yum! 

I believe in... the power of laughter and a smile. The unconditional love of a child... That sometimes ice cream does make it all better... That exercise will kill any bad mood Im in... having a happy child is better than a clean house... and of course God the Almighty, Jesus Son of God and Mary, the Momma of all Mommas.

I need to set boundaries... with Adam. This is one of those things that we are really working on. I feel like I prioritize the family and put them at the front of my list. I try to do things as quickly as possible to not place any undue burden on others. But for Adam, he can go take 5 hours to golf, then come home, work on the yard and not think anything of my time or spending time with George. He’s very good at putting himself first and that’s where I need to start setting those boundaries. If he wants a morning off, then perhaps he needs to get his golfing in and the yard work in because it’s been very stressful on me when I spend 90% of my time taking care of George and very little time for me. (Rant over).

I started living when… I turned 30. For so long I was always so concerned about doing what everyone else wanted me to do. I was the first person to graduate college in my family but I think back and I did it for my family, not for myself. So when I turned 30 I started to make decisions with myself in mind, not what everyone else wanted. I went back to school for my Master’s in teaching and people definitely questioned that decision because I already had a good job. But it was for ME. Something I WANTED to do. And when I took a leave of absence from my company and spent 2 of my 4 months student teaching in England, that was for me – no one else. I was able to travel and experience something entirely different. No, I'm not even teaching now, but that's always something I have to fall back on if I needed to. However, now that I’ve become a mama, my life has reverted back to that living for others first. I’m still working on that balance of family and me time.

Prompts for WEEK 21 (May 28) are:
The best mistake I ever made …
From this mistake, I learned …
When I’m anxious, I tell myself …
All I really want to do is …


Monday, May 19, 2014

Subscription Boxes


Ahh dear friends... I, Kristen, am an addict to Subscription Boxes.  And I'm afraid what this addiction might turn into.  I feel like a little kid again, wondering when my next box might come in the mail!  I have only tried 2, yes 2, but I am fearful of a link I just stumbled upon.  All of the subscription boxes reviewed. Yes, anything you've ever wondered about with a subscription box? She reviews it there.  This was a serious danger zone for me because after reading that link I am now subscribing to another box and am contemplating a fourth. What is wrong with me?!

So far I have tried:

Stitch Fix:  My first fix came in April... now I signed up for this in June of 2013 and was waitlisted but never really paid much attention to ordering when I came off the waitlist because I was preggo... so in February I thought it might be fun to try..  Well my first lesson learned - there's ANOTHER waitlist.  Yes, so you wait to get into the program (which I'm not sure if that's the case anymore) and then another wailist to get your first "Fix."  So that's my caviot to the program - you have to be patient for your fix... Let me tell you about my first fix.

My stylist hit my size dead on.. and this is my post-partum baby-body size.. The fit was beyond excellent!  Unfortunately, the styles and colors weren't quite up my alley.  The boyfriend jeans fit incredible - Ladies, incredible.  I say this because Jeans are IMPOSSIBLE to find/fit and the fact that my stylist mailed me a pair of jeans and I'm post-partum and they fit, is a HUGE deal.  Now, I didn't keep them because they were $148.  Ouch!  And SUPER sad face.   The tops were a little trendy and a few of them had V-Necks .. Unfortunately not my pace..

One of the things that they recommend is that you put together a Pinterest Page with Stitch Fix as one of the categories, so I have ramped mine WAY up!! 

I just think getting clothes mailed to me that I can try on in the comfort of home without any sales pressure and without having to lug my little lug out to the store is awesome!!  So if you are at all interested (and I'm not getting paid to promote them, but if you sign up through my link I do get a bonus) please check it out. It is quite exciting to get a "fix".  SUPER IMPORTANT - I'd recommend signing up right away for an ongoing monthly fix.. because if you don't you'll have to wait like 2 more months after your first one like I did... lesson learned!!   Stitch Fix Link    Next month I will post pics when I get the next box!!

Birch Box: I was so so so excited to try Birch Box after seeing all of the ads for it on Facebook (seriously - I fell for the Facebook Ads) but again, LOVE getting fun stuff in the mail :)  Birch box has some ridiculousy great products out there - unfortunately they never seemed to land in my monthly Birch Box.  I got some funky green nail polish and I think I have about 20 samples of face lotion.  Between my Clinique Bonus (I insist on getting) and my Birch Box stuff I could outfit a small village with lotion samples (anyone have a suggestion where I can donate this stuff to?!).  Simply put Birch Box didn't meet my expectations of awesomeness. But you never know, you might need a dump truck full of face lotion OR you could get the wicked cool stuff they often advertise!!

Now... I have signed up to try Ipsy.  This apparently is the place to go for fun makeup/skincare/hair products and you get full-sized products... I just hope I don't get more lotion samples!! I will post my review once I receive my first Ipsy Box...   If you sign up through this link - then go to Facebook you can also work through not being waitlisted.. But apparently you have to sign up first, then Facebook second.  (Lesson learned after A LOT of clicking!!).   My Ipsy referral link

My next potential sign up is to (stop being selfish) and try some baby products. I am considering Bluum.  Anyone tried this?  It is geared specifically towards the gender and age of your child, or you can gift someone a box and it will be the same for them.. Right now they have a special with the coupon code HALFOFF (I don't get anything for promoting this --  but you have to go through the following link to use the coupon code  so if you have any interest (and aren't already an addict to so many subscrption boxes) and sign up please keep me posted!!

Update: I did it. I confess I did. I signed up for Bluum too!  So if you have any interest, here's my link where I can earn points if you sign up through my link :)   And I found out the coupon half off really isn't a big deal. When you type that in, it brings you up to options for an ongoing subscription that somehow work out to be a better deal (?)    Bluum Box 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Finish This! -- Week #19

Hike to the Falls on Mother's Day

Finish This!

This game is called "Finish This," and all you have to do is finish the following prompts and link up your post below! You can also visit the other hosts of this party on their fun blogs: Nicole {Three 31} Lisa {Coastlined}, and Becky {The Java Mama}.

Sharing a smile on Mother's Day

A lesson I learned from my mom...Okay this one isn't quite the easiest to answer.. and without giving you my entire life story my mother is not part of my life and has not been for a majority of it. So I am going to change this to a lesson I learned from my dad... My dad is tough. And I mean phyiscally and mentally tough. I watched him have an infection in his cheek lanced without any type of novacaine. I have watched him battle Stage 3 Lymphoma and now Prostate Cancer. He doesn't give up and he's straight tough. So when I was in labor with George I kept saying I wanted to be tough like my dad. I was scared to death even just having my water broke but I knew that if I focused on the strength he has shown through his challenges I could get through it. I remained calm through my entire labor and delivery and proved to myself that I too am strong :) (PS - I had an epidural - I wanted to be tough, not a hero!).

To burn calories or walk.. or lift weights.. or lift George. or hike.. I LOVE being active so anything I can do to get us outside and moving I am on it! If it's crummy out, I actually like going to the gym and really hitting it hard. I have time to focus on me and reassess my fitness goals. And I have ZERO shame in sweating at the gym. I am red faced and a hot mess when I leave that place and let me simply say that I feel awesome when I've worked that hard. I deserve to look that good :)

My best hair day was... I think I'm still waiting for it. I wore my hair long for 4 years.. but only because my brother's girlfriend owns a salon and put extensions in for me. In the last 2 weeks I cut it all off and even though there are still some extensions in, it is shoulder length and I'm part of the mom club now!!

I am grateful for... Adam's mom. She has taught me what the true love of a mother really should be like. She is a God loving, strong, capable woman who has been by my side since I started dating Adam. I am so blessed to have her in my life!

Prompts for WEEK 20 (May 21) are:
My favorite recipe is …
I believe in … 
I need to set boundaries … 
I began living when …

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Feeling the love...

So this week I am away for work at our corporate office in Bloomington, Illinois. It's my first overnight trip away from George and I was quite sad to leave him. However, I have been so blessed that between my daycare lady, my boyfriend and his mom each has sent me pictures that make me feel so loved while I am away...

But today what is truly making me feel awesome at this very moment are the comments I receive on my blog posts. I am not a blogger by any stretch of the imagination...I always wanted to be part of the "What I Wore Wednesday" linkup from the Pleated Poppy - but let's face it, me getting dressed up, taking pictures of myself, and then posting them is a lot of work... and then to try and be fashionable on top of it is simply out of the question while I'm "in transition" with this postpartum baby body I rock.

I came across the linkup for "Finish This..." And found myself enjoying the outlet of writing. So I thank you NICOLE (Three 31), LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), and BECKY (The Java Mama) for hosting this each week and for allowing me to be part of something so spectacular. I sincerely appreciate you all.

I thank you all for following along each week as I write my "Finish This" answers and for your comments that are so loving and supportive!


Finish This! -- Week #18

Finish This!

This game is called "Finish This," and all you have to do is finish the following prompts and link up your post below! You can also visit the other hosts of this party on their fun blogs: Nicole {Three 31} Lisa {Coastlined}, and Becky {The Java Mama}.

George was baptized this past weekend.
Isn't he sweet in his little baptism outfit?

I feel an adrenaline rush... Oh I used to feel it when I would get the call that a new storm had hit and I had to report for work. I had less than 24 hours to pack for what could be a 6 month assignment or two week assignment - you simply never knew. I was off to a new adventure with new friends, new sites, and all kinds of new! One year I was out for 11 months straight (talk about a strain on a relationship!) but went to Tennesse, Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, New Jersey, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri and finally to Minnesota. Oh how I miss that "rush" of getting the deployment call. (Disclaimer: when I stay "storm" it's not all utter destruction. It could be hail or light wind damage as well).

I feel energized when I run.  I feel strong and powerful when I'm running. Even though I look like I am pulling an oversized refrigerator behind me, I simply don't care. I feel capable and full of energy while pounding the pavement or treadmill.  (Even if it's for 30 seconds before I walk again!).

I feel small when I'm in a crowd.  Uugh. This is a literal interpretation. I am a season ticketholder for the Minnesota Twins and I get bumped into, overlooked, spilled on more times that I can possibly count when we go to game. I simply do not know why people cannot see me. I'm 5'4" and not a little person! 

I feel big when I'm clothes shopping.  Again, literal interpretation.  I'm having personal challenges right now with body image. I knew this was going to be difficult for me after having a baby. I have struggled my entire life with self-image and my weight.  The funny thing is now after having G, I would give anything to be my pre-pregnancy weight (which I used to think was heavy!). 

I feel indestructible knowing I have God on my side. I am a woman of faith, although it's not something I blog about. I know that I can do anything I set my mind to - through Him all things are possible.  Phil 4:13.

I feel stupid when I'm new in a social situation.  Non-literal interpretation. I am akward and uncomfortable and really do not enjoy being social with groups of people. This sounds ridiculous but I'm so much more of a one on one kind of person. I love to talk to people and love the art of conversation.  (Dialogue friends - not monologues and one uppers!)  But when I'm in social situations my stories never come out right (the blank stares you get from people when you're done with the story and they are waiting for more.. happens all the time..)

I feel smart when I get calls or messages asking me questions about my old job.  People still see me as a resource even though I've moved on from my prior role and I feel needed and smart when called upon.

Prompts for WEEK 19 (May 14) are: 
A lesson I learned from my mom ...
To burn calories, I … 
My best hair day was …
I am grateful for …