Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's Resolution

is to learn to smooooth hip hip like THIS GUY!

So. much. love.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

1 Year Blog Anniversary!

Today is my one year blog anniversary. That was by the far the quickest year of my life! When I started this little blog, I had one baby. Now I have a toddler and a newborn. Life is so rapid. I love it! I thought today in honor of my anniversary, I'd do a little getting to know me post, since I have really ever introduced myself. (oops...:)) Enjoy!

I took this little form from Aly at Analyze This. Thanks!!

Name: Kate. Just plain Kate. Not Katherine, Kathleen, Katelyn...just Kate. It's also NOT Katie.

Ahem. Sensitive subject.

Height: 5'5. A nice, average height. Unless you want to be a Rockette...ha!

Relationship Status: Married to Dave for almost four years. Time flies!!

Location: Pennsylvania

Occupation: I own my own dance studio. It's a blessing, stressful, creative, amazing.

College: Allegheny<3 When Trace is in Kindergarten, I plan to go back to school at a Pitt campus by my house for a degree in business.

Sorority: Kappa Kappa Gamma! I advise the chapter at Allegheny now and have advised the Penn State Kappas in the past. Next to opening the studio, marrying Dave and having the kiddos, rushing KKG was the best decision I've ever made!

Family: 2 parents, still married, a younger sister and 2 older half brothers. We don't talk about them, though.

Car: A green Cadillac SRX.

Lucky Number: 13

Music Preferences: HUGE showtunes fan. Ben Folds is my absolute FAVORITE. I love Christian music too, it helps me stay positive and focused. I like top 40, of course, but nothing really vulgar or about violence. I really like acoustic music, acapella, country...okay I like it all.

Favorite Quote: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt and "Now I'm changing the world one sequin at a time." -Lady Gaga

Random Things about me:

1.) My daughter is named after Gilmore Girls. True story.
2.) I stole my son's name from the little brother of one of my favorite students. He doesn't dance or anything, but I loved his name!
3.) Trace's middle name is Joseph...after my dad and Joe Paterno. Sad, but so true.
4.) I am a huge Steelers fan.
5.) I could eat at the Cheesecake Factory every day and never get sick of it.
6.) I not so secretly want to be put on What Not to Wear. I want them to tell me how to look cute in my dance teacher clothes!
7.) I love to cook but hate my small kitchen.
8.) I love to change my hair color.
9.) I consider my students to be my best friends.
10.) I love going to church.
11.) I want to be an amazing seafood chef!
12.) I sort of really hate shopping.
13.) I have been to 47 states.
14.) I was an exchange student to Russia in high school for a month.
15.) I think Avatar is a pretty movie but just about the dumbest storyline of all time. Blah!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Girl Talk Hop: Favorite Gift

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! We certainly did. Rory was a blast on Christmas day, calling all the gifts "Pezzz!" instead of present. She is fantastic. She even shared pretty well with her cousins. That's a relief! I was nervous.

This week's Girl Talk Blog Hop Theme is favorite gift.

I have three, I just can't choose!!

1) My beautiful Kindle...

The only thing I asked Dave for and its awesomeeeeeeeee. I already bought 3 books for the price of one regular new release. It fits beautifully in my purse, Rory can't close it and lose my spot...I'm just in love. :)

2) A Keurig Mini Brewer

Every year, my dad gets a special gift for me and one for my sister. One year it was my d40, then my red KitchenAid and this year it was my new boyfriend. (haha) A Keurig mini brewer. It does one cup at a time, which is all I need because Dave doesn't drink coffee. It is just a genius little invention! Dave is getting in to it too, making hot chocolate. Yeah, he's 10 years old sometimes. :)

3) A Coach bag

This is what I bought with my Christmas money. I don't want to buy clothes because I'm losing weight and who wants to buy clothes at this size?! NOBODY. Give me 3 months and I'll buy out the mall. ;) But a purse looks great at any size, for sure. This is pretty close to mine, mine is bigger and has a little more leather on it. I got it at the Coach outlet. It was originally 348 bucks (!!) but at the outlets, it was 200 then I got 30% off. I mean, hello Merry Christmas to ME! :)

Join in! My birthday is next week and I have no idea what to ask for, so reading your entries would be a big help. Dave is getting crabby with me about it! haha

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas from these two...

(P.S. Doesn't she remind you of Jovie from Elf?! Totally!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A little black and gold Christmas

Some observations...

1) Daniel Sepulveda. Holy moly hottness!

2) I think I will start showing Rory the part where James Harrison demands good behavior and scare the living daylights out of her when she's having her tantrums.

3) The D-Line are pretty darn good singers!

4) LOUDER! Especially Rookies...1...2...3...Pouncey Solo! :)

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas at Studio K

This week is always a "waste" week, for the most part, at the studio. The kids are crazy with anticipation for Christmas, plus everything they are doing in school is Christmas themed and adds fuel to the yule fire. :) In years past, the week before Christmas break was always bring a friend week. The ENTIRE studio could bring friends and their families to watch class.

Insert Miss Kate's annual nervous breakdown here.

This year, I just. couldn't. do. it. I knew I wouldn't be sleeping well, knew I would be tired and good. So we're having an all studio Christmas party on Thursday instead. Muuuuch better.

Last night, I had two classes of lower elementary kids. I made both classes stretch and do their warms ups and some fun things across the floor. (That's the part they like, they tell me. :)) Then we played some fantastic Christmas games!

The first is so super fun, I order you to try it...if you have kids. You might feel a little stupid playing with your husband. (Although, it could make a good drinking game if you are in to that! haha)

Melt the Snowman

Materials: Glass Chalk (available in the car care aisle of Wal-Mart), Tissues, Water and a window/mirror

Draw a snowman on the window/mirror. Make it as complicated or simple as you want. Make sure it's pretty big, you're using each circle of the snowman as a target. The biggest circle is 5 points, then ten, then fifteen. We made the hat worth 50 since it was muuuch taller than my kids. Soak your tissues in the water and wring them out some. These become your snowballs.

Let 'er rip!!

We laughed so hard at the "snowballs" stuck all over our mirrors at the studio. (Note to self...take pictures today) It looked like giant spit wads. Hilarious! And sometimes the kids would hit the target perfectly, other times they were way off. We laughed and laughed and laughed. I made them do it backwards one round, through their legs...whatever crazy we could come up with. Super easy, super fun.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Kickin' Chicken Quesadillas

Ohhh my goodness, these quesadillas are *AWESOME.* I planned my pre-Christmas week dinner menu entirely off of Pioneer Woman. Don't ask me why, I just felt that it was...festive? haha Each recipe this week is a new one to me and I'll share the ones I liked.

Dave and I invited his parents over for the Steelers game and dinner tonight. I made these quesadillas and everyone agreed they were super delish! (SUPER easy too, fyi)

You will need...
Cooked, shredded chicken (I used 2 large cans of chicken breast because I was in a hurry lazy today)
1 small jar of Taco Sauce, whatever flavor you like
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 medium yellow onion
1 regular sized bag of Mexican blend shredded cheese
Salt and Pepper
Minced Garlic, if desired

2 cans of chicken and the above amounts made enough for five well-filled quesadillas.

1) Finely dice onion and peppers. I used a red, a yellow and an orange pepper because that's what Wal-Mart had that looked the best. Whatever colors you like work great.

2) In a large skillet, heat oil. Once heated, add in garlic, onions and pepper. Saute until soft and onions are translucent. You could add the peppers later if you like a little crunch to them.

3) Turn down heat. Add taco sauce. Add shredded chicken. (Drain, if you used canned!) Combine.

4) In frying pan, melt butter. Place one tortilla in frying pan. Add chicken mixture, top with cheese. Lightly butter one side of another tortilla and place, butter side up, on top of cheese and chicken. Smush with a spatula. (Smush is a technical term!)

5) When bottom tortilla looks good and crispy, flip quesadilla over. This is a little tricky! I used two spatulas. It was rough the first time, then it got easier. :)

6) When both sides are crispy and cheese is melted, remove from pan. Cut into wedges.

7) Repeat until all your delicious filling is gone!

You can serve them with sour cream, quacamole, salsa...whatever you like to dip them in! They are saucy and cheesy, so you don't even really need any sauce. Mexi-rice would be a great side dish. I did brocolli cheese steam fresh because that's what sounded good to me tonight. :)

Seriously, these quesadillas are amaaaaazing! I highly recommend them! Thanks Pioneer Woman!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rory on the slide

Yesterday at the mall, Rory figured out how to go up and down the slides all by herself. She's officially a big girl!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas and an Epic Fail

Christmas is seriously 6 days away? What?! How?! That means Trace is 6 days away from being 2 months old. Whoa. That's without a doubt the fastest 2 months of my life.

I'm seriously unprepared for Christmas. I have everything bought, just missing one gift card for my grandpa. That's the easy part. The part I hate is wrapping. UGH! On Thursdays, I have an hour break while the studio's ballet mistress teaches advanced ballet. I took some presents up there to wrap while I was on my break. I was sitting there, with one of my favorite students who was on a break, jamming to Elton John Pandora Station on my phone, wrapping some of Dave's presents.

Who walks through the door?! DAVE!! AH!

I can't tell you the last time Dave and Rory surprised me by visiting. They even brought me dinner. So sweet, but of all the nights to come! (haha) Luckily, Allison threw herself on top of the last few presents so no surprises were revealed. I almost died laughing. What are the chances?!

Yesterday I had an epic fail. It's really funny now, but wasn't at the moment. I was getting gas after taking BOTH kids by myself to Wal-Mart to finish Christmas shopping for Dave. We had gone to Wal-Mart with relatively no meltdowns (an accomplishment, for sure.) and had a nice lunch at McDonald's. I had to get gas and get to the doctor's office for Rory's flu shot. (Ha. Almost had a typo there...)

I'm innocently getting back in my car after finishing. There's a big box truck backing up in front of me and I couldn't tell how far he was backing up. I tried to sneak in my car, opening the door only a little ways. Well, Trace started crying at that exact moment so I was looking IN the car instead of paying attention to what I was doing head and my door are now *best* friends. I honestly thought I gave myself a concussion. It hurt SOOOO bad. I sat there in Country Fair, willing myself not to cry and trying to compose myself so I could drive us to the doctor. Ughhhh!! I had a headache the rest of the day and now a lovely bruise is showing up. Plllleaaassseeee bruise be gone by Christmas. I would like a nice family picture without requiring too much photoshopping. (although taking ten pounds off would be nice...;))

Anyways! Not much to report today. My pity party I threw in the middle of the night yesterday has ended. I'm just dealing with it all and not complaining anymore. I don't like that side of myself. Trace is still having problems, but we'll figure it out. Rory is doing pretty darn good lately. We're transitioning to a big girl bed in February and then starting potty training in May, if not earlier. Where is my baby?! I have a big girl now! I wish you could all meet Rory. She's really...entertaining to say the least. She knows how to put on a good show, that's for sure! :)

We're off to Pittsburgh for Dave's follow up Lasik appointment. Think I can con him into the Cheesecake Factory for dinner? That just might be pushing my luck...:)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Girl Talk Hop

Today let's talk about Christmas and answer a few questions...
1. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
White Christmas!! It's such a wonderful, happy, classic movie. I don't remember ever NOT loving it. Rory and I watched it yesterday and she was mesmerized. The dancing and singing can not be beat. It doesn't get much better than Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby. I mean...come on! :)If you've never seen it, rent it or put in your Netflix queue. Totally worth it!

Elf is a very close second. Third place goes to Holiday in Handcuffs. It's a Hallmark Channel movie with Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart. Adorable!

2. What is your favorite Christmas song and why?
I love "Do You Hear What I Hear?" It's so poignant and beautiful. We sang an arrangement of it in my show choir in high school and it gave me chills. Beautiful!
My favorite secular Christmas song would be "Sleigh Ride," specifically Michael W. Smith's version. So fun!!

3. What is your favorite ornament or Christmas decoration?
Hmmm...I love this hand painted glass ball, painted with pansies, that my favorite dance family gave me on my first Christmas married to Dave. :)

4. What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
Growing up, I loved sitting at the top of the stairs on Christmas morning, waiting for Mom to give us the okay to come down. She'd play carols on the piano and the anticipation was palpable! :)

Now...I guess it would be my surprise present for Dave each other. I always get him one over the top present. Two years ago it was a Wii (me present too! :)) and last year it was tickets to a Steelers game. Tune in on the 26th to see what this year's is. :)

5. What is your favorite Christmas memory?
Oh my goodness, I have so many. When I was 7 or 8, 101 Dalmatians was re-released into theaters. I was obsessed with the one dog, Patches. I asked Santa and my parents for a stuffed Patches. Not expensive, not hard to find and really all I wanted! I was so crushed on Christmas morning to not find it under the tree. I remember trying so hard not to be sad, but I was. Then later, we went to my Grammie and Poppies. Under the tree was the illusive Patches waiting for me!! My Uncle Codfish (Barry) got him for me. A Christmas Miracle!

Pregnant Photos

lThe Absolute Best Pregnancy Photos EVERRRR

Okay, so I am a fan of The Bump on Facebook and I was getting ready to delete them actually, seeing as I am not and will never be pregnant again (PRAISE THE LORD!! :)) When I clicked on their page, they had the above link posted.

Please check it out. You will pee your pants with laughter!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lasik...or how my husband can see me in the middle of the night now.

Friday my husband, Dave, had Lasik eye surgery. Prior to 11:00 am on Friday, he had awful vision. Contacts or glasses at all times since he was a little kid. Not that unusual, but he HATED it. He says his ears were two different heights which made his glasses sit crooked on his face. I easily saw Dave adjust his glasses 100 times a day. On days he wore his contacts, it was even worse. He has allergies and naturally very dry eyes, which makes for uncomfortable contact wearing. After the surgery, he had to keep his eyes closed for 6 hours and he has 3 different types of eye drops to take for the next couple of weeks and that's it. EASY!

In this words "It's a Christmas miracle!" He can see so well...SO WELL now! There's some dryness, but Dave described the level of discomfort being the same as a GOOD day of contact wearing for him! The procedure literally took 10 minutes. I got to watch on a screen in a waiting room. It was really interesting and not at all gross. No blood or anything gross. I was fascinated!

Yes, it was expensive but Dave has a flexible spending account through his work and he used that to pay for it. It was totally worth every cent because he is LOVING it. No more discomfort, no more worrying about his eyes drying out cutting grass (he's a groundskeeper, remember!) It's just so much better. He's happy. I'm happy. And, always a bonus, we went to the Cheesecake Factory so...I was MORE than happy! :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reverb10: Day 5 (on Day 10!)

I am doing two days together. I've been really hit or miss with Reverb and I apologize (mainly to myself) for that. I need to make time to write. UGH. But anyways! I'm combining two days' prompts into one post because for me they go together...

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)


December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

I sometimes find myself living in an ideal mindset even when my life isn't ideal. I build things up to be not what they are. I get to a place where I am comfortable and everything feels "right" and then I convince myself no change will occur. I get this way about the studio often. I get so relaxed and "used to" the way things are that I dread the graduating of seniors, the discovery of new activities that take away MY girls...just the general ebb and flow of life.
This year I was forced to let go SIX of my all time favorite students and ultimately 6 of my dearest friends. Five seniors and one alumni who chose a different path. Five partings were expected, one was sprung upon me and broke my heart.
I taught 3 of my 5 seniors last year for TEN years. They were some of my original students in high school and I grew to think of them as my own daughters in ways, sisters in ways and best friends in yet other ways. We connected on the level that they fed my need to teach and create and I fed their need for a mentor. We were for many hours and many days a week inseparable. This is a natural bond that develops between many coaches/teachers and students when you are spending 5 hours a night, 3 or 4 nights a week together. You bond covalently. Your atoms meet their atoms and BAM. A brand new element is formed: the element of friendship. I've said it many times, dance friends make the best friends.
This year I lost 6 of my molecules. (Humor me.) I didn't get a choice, I didn't do anything wrong. I had to simply stand by and watch my molecular structure shift. I felt it deep in my core. My world was rocked and not in a good way. I think the hardest part was that I was expected to just smile and be gracious. I didn't want to be gracious. I wanted to scream and be selfish and pull my atoms back in. I wanted to stand up and say NO. There's other ways to do this, you don't have to break this bond we've all made. I am thankful I didn't say how I was truly feeling because I would have lashed out, out of fear and anxiety.
I let go of my seniors, grudgingly, but really rather easily. The others...not so easily. It's so hard to let go, to release into the universe unexpectedly, someone you feel you've invested so much time into. I really care for the person in each of my students and often find myself working to help them find the best versions of themselves. I had to let 2 girls I spent countless hours counseling, helping, praying for go and I had no choice.
The wisdom I gained from a really rough and tumble spring is simple. All I can do is hold on to today. I can't plan the future for anyone but myself and even then it's a gamble. Anger does nothing and selfish thoughts are best kept to one's self. Not everyone is as honest and kind as they look. Sometimes someone you think is on the same page as you is in a completely different book. The best thing I can do is try my hardest to make a difference and just let it be.
The wisest decision I made was keeping my mouth shut. I never spoke a word to anyone at the studio about how I was feeling about any of the above situations. I zipped my lip up tight. I knew no matter what I said, good bad or in between, it would be fodder for the gossip mill and bring nothing but more grief. I wanted things to remain as calm as possible, remember I was pregnant. I worked really hard at keeping my thoughts to myself. I did vent to Dave and my mom, of course. But they are safe. That's the okay place to vent and release.
It played out well to keep my mouth shut. The best way to avoid being misquoted is not to say anything at all. I wasn't letting anyone know (and still no one knows) how I was really feeling each step of the way. No one could run around and gossip about it because I wasn't giving them anything to talk about. Easier said than done, but I did it. Kate Gosselin said it best..."I take the high road because to me, that's the only road."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Random (full of pictures!)

Just some things on my mind...

1) I am currently breaking my number one mom rule. Trace is sleeping in his swing. Ugh. I will pay for it later but I needed some time to myself.

2) Speaking of Trace...

He's just "popping in" to say...MERRY CHRISTMAS!

3) Rory wants you to know...

that sometimes your hair gets static-y but it's okay. You're still beautiful.

4) They are learning to get along...

Sort of. Note the evil glint in Rory's eye...

5) But it's okay! Because...

Like Buddy the Elf says...SANTA'S COMING! I KNOW HIM!!

I apologize for the crappy phone pictures. My camera is in my car and frankly, I haven't had a second to run out and get it. We got 38 inches of snow (!!!) Monday and Tuesday so that complicated our entire week. Dave worked 14 hours on Tuesday trying to get the schools in his district clear and safe from the snow. It's been a long. long. long. week. Tomorrow Dave has his Lasik surgery...say a prayer!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A straight up mommy blog

The adorable Katie over at Loyal, Loving and Learning wrote this post yesterday and it had me thinking all day. I'm going to write my own take on it.

By the way, if you've never checked out Katie, you should! She's so sweet and has the most beautiful little lady since Rory was born. ;)

Things I never imagined about motherhood: Rory vs Trace

Bottle Feeding
I planned to breast feed, but that was not in the cards. I never really thought I'd be a bottle mommy, but now that I'm here, 19 months since the start, I can't imagine doing it any other way. I do get my feelings hurt quite often by people who are so strongly against bottle feeding and preach so loudly about breast feeding. There is nothing wrong with formula, people. Rory is the perfect example. She's tall, strong, healthy and was quite the little pudge ball until she started walking. :) I anticipate Trace will be the same way, considering he's 6 weeks old today and already gained over 2 pounds since birth.

Sleeping Problems
Rory is a sleeping champ. CHAMP. I used (most of) the principles in Babywise to train her. And YES! It's training! She had to learn. Rory was born May 6 and she slept through the night for the first time on July 3. She's never been a good napper but considering she slept through the night (and I mean 10 hours!) by 9 complaining here. She still isn't a fantastic napper. Right now, it's been an hour and 45 minutes since I put her in her crib and she's already singing and talking in there.
Trace...poor buddy. He has had a terrible time getting his sleep in line because of his ears and his belly. I never imagined when I was pregnant that I would have a tough sleeper this time around. I assumed I would just train him up the way I did Rory. Not the case for my little man. I'm still coming to terms with it and reminding myself that it will get better! I'm still using Babywise because it will work eventually and helps me keep my day organized. (Notice I said I the entire way through...poor Dave has to get up at 2:30 in the morning for work, so he doesn't have much of a role in sleep training right now. He would if he could, but he can't!)

Rory was a thumb sucker. HARD CORE. I was nervous about it, only hearing horror stories about trying to get kids to stop. She stopped on her own last Christmas. She got a terrible cold and just quit. I think the taste of her thumb changed because of her cold or maybe she couldn't breathe well enough out of her nose to suck and breathe at the same time. Who knows. The thing is she quite 100% on her own.
Trace alternates between his thumb/hand and a pacifier. (Binkerton, as I call it. Who knows.) I am so surprised to have a binkie kid. It's also kind of annoying! (haha) I can't keep track of the silly binkies no matter how hard I try.

Asking for Help
I rarely asked for help with Rory. (Dave was working on a golf course at that time, Rory was born in May. You figure out how much time the poor guy had to help! He changed jobs in June of that year and it's been the biggest answer to prayer EVER.) I tried to do it all on my own too much. I was beyond exhausted, overworked, stressed out and on edge. All. the. time. I was embarrassed to admit I needed help (why?!) and scared to ask people to help me out.
If you knew my parents and my in-laws, you'd know they'd be more than thrilled to help out whenver they can and I needed it! I have no idea why I was so nervous to admit I needed help with Rory. Even just someone to come hang out here with me so I could get things done around the house...I didn't do it. I tackled it on my own and it resulted in anger between me and Dave and more stress on my shoulders.
I wised up with Trace! I ask for help when I need it. I insist that Dave take some of the night shift on the weekends when he's home. (He doesn't mind!) I let my mom take the kids overnight last week so I could actually sleep. I accepted meals from friends, let my assistants at the studio actually DO things, got help with costumes...I went from 100% self sufficient to 85% and it felt WONDERFUL. I am better able to enjoy my kids because I know I am not standing on the branch alone.

Post Partum Depression
I am a PPD patient. I actually deal with clinical depression, caused by a chemical imbalance, every day of every year. I was diagnosed 6 years ago. Being pregnant and the resulting emotional let down post-delivery aggravated my depression with Rory something FIERCE. I was crying more often than not, I was irrationally emotional. I eventually had to get my perscription altered and amped up some until I was able to get a grip then I could resume my normal coping mechanisms.
With Trace, I saw it coming. I felt the emotions creeping up on me like a shadow. The anxiety, the fears, the irrationality of it all...I felt it. I stopped it. I talked to the doctor and we took care of it before it became an issue. Because of this, my recovery and post-partum time has been so much better this time around!
That being said, I encourage ALL women to be up front with their doctor regarding their emotions before, during and after pregnancy. PPD doesn't always result in medicine, though in my case it did, there's tons of things you can do to help deal with your emotions and keep yourself sane. Talk before it gets worse! Even if you are technically depressed or diagnosed PPD, the coping mechanisms can be used in every day life. (Interestingly, blogging/journaling is highly recommended!)

I'm blessed and I know it. Two different kids, two different paths. No two days are ever the same and I wouldn't change it for anything.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Calling all Colic/Reflux Mommies...

Okay, here's the deal. Trace is NOT diagnosed with either colic or reflux issues. He currently has an ear infection, which is complicating his digestion issues. We can't get an accurate diagnosis (just fussy, lactose intolerant, colic, acid reflux, etc) until his ears clear up and we can get a good grasp on just how bad the gas issues are. I'm not nearly as overwhelmed now with the whole situation. It doesn't feel as desperate and scary, knowing that we will figure it out. Yes, I know there's not much we can do, especially if he is indeed colic, but identifying the problem and knowing that it will pass is so comforting.

I'm looking for suggestions on gear that helped out other babies, colic or not, settle down. Trace doesn't like his crib at nap time. He does great in there at night, but not during naps. Fine, he'll sleep in there for his naps eventually but for right now it's much more important that he SLEEP and settle down, let his belly relax and give himself (and me!) a little break.

Any suggestions on comfy bouncers or cradles? We have a swing, which he likes okay. We have a bouncy chair but it's not very cozy, certainly not for sleeping for an entire nap in.

I'm also looking for any and all tips on settling down a colic baby. (Even if he isn't "technically" colic, he is certainly presenting all the symptoms!) I know there's no medicine or cure for colic, but there are techniques and that's what I need to learn about!

Help a (tired, worn out, headache-d) Mom out!

Friday, December 3, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Day 11

Day 11: New Year's Resolutions

I don't usually make New Year's Resolutions, but this year I have three.

1) Finish losing weight! Yuck. I can't even talk about it I'm so disgusted with myself lately. (We call that the post baby body blues around here.) Soon enough it will be better though! Slow and steady.

2) Increase my savings every month

3) Work every day to be a better mom and wife.

I guess my resolutions aren't really resolutions, they are more goals. I'm not resolving to quit smoking or anything, I'm just setting what are (hopefully) attainable goals.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Reverb10 day 2

Today's prompt is as follows:

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)

I am a writer at heart. I love to write. I toyed with the idea of being an English major for a long time, because of my love of literature and writing. I wanted to be an English teacher so I could (hopefully) inspire some others to write and read. (Not to mention, I had some serious kickin' English teachers in high school myself!) I ultimately didn't go that route because teaching dance is more natural to me.

Why did I stop writing? I have no idea. For the longest time, I wrote every day. Something at least. Poetry, prose, short stories, half a dozen starts on novels, children's literature, name it, I wrote it. I especially enjoyed writing children's books and plays. I stopped writing because...well I have no idea. I need to write. I need to relax and purge my thoughts and emotions on to the page.

What's hindering my writing? I could claim life as my scapegoat, but everyone has a life. I'm quite certain that JK Rowling had a life while writing "Harry Potter." If my memory serves me, she had a child and at least one job. That's life, baby.

Life. No longer an excuse.

I can't eliminate my life grind. What I can do is carve out time specifically each day, every other day even, and devote it back to writing. Something specifically for myself would be really great right about now.

12 Days of Christmas: Day 10

Favorite Christmas Song

I can not for the life of me pick just one song, so I will list some of my favorites. Some of them are from my show choir days, so they are kinda obscure.

1. Do You Hear What I Hear?
2. Away in a Manger
3. Issay Issay
4. Dona Nobis Pacem (The Peace Carol)
5. Michael W. Smith's version of Jingle Bells
6. White Christmas
7. The French Carol (The real name is slipping my mind and I apologize!)
8. African Noel
9. Breath of Heaven
10. Mary Did You Know?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reverb 10: Day 1

A BIG thanks to Kelly for blogging this today. I'm really excited about this challenge. I think it will be cathartic, for sure.

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

2010: Challenging.

I almost feel like choosing Challenging is a cop out. But I was challenged in so many ways. The year started off great, a trip to Disney with Dave. I came back with a little souvenir that wasn't delivered until October 25th. (Get it? hehe) Pregnancy was always challenging for me. I got sick, I was in pain, I had heart rate issues, breathing issues...challenge. I inadvertently lost a very good friend in the spring and had some major changes to the studio that I didn't see coming or do anything to deserve. CHALLENGE. There was of course all the usual challenges of my job, complicated by the sucky economy. Trace was born and I'm exhausted. Did I mention he's colic? Yep. Challenge. I'll make it through, though. I have to. I rise to challenges because that's what I was raised to do. I grew a lot this year and I'm pretty proud that in the end, I can look back and know without a doubt that I kept my mouth shut when I needed to and stood up for myself when I needed to. Thank the Lord!

2011: Inner Peace
I'm not crazy, I know there will be tons of challenges to meet in 2011. I would like to get through it all with my inner peace in tact. I want to remember that it's all a part of God's plan, not mine, and it will all work out exactly how it's supposed to, regardless of how I feel.


Trace is a mystery to me. I have no idea how to pacify him. He cries. All. the. time. At first it was just in the evening, when Dave was home. The last few days though, it's become 75% of his wake time is crying. Not just whimpering or whining, full on bawling. I feed him on schedule and he's hungry on schedule. (I've tried extra formula, just to be sure.) He won't nap because he's too busy screaming. I figured he'd eventually wind himself down so I sit in the recliner and rock and sing to him and all the while he screams.

It was so bad on Monday night, I had to call and beg my mom to come down and try to settle him down. She did and it took her about 45 minutes to get him calm. After she left, he whimpered for about another hour before he finally fell asleep. At least it wasn't screaming.

I asked the pediatrician about it on Monday and we have Trace on gentle formula now plus 2 ounces of diluted apple juice once in the evening to ease his constipation-like symptoms. It seemed to help yesterday evening, he umm...went to the bathroom? 10 minutes after the apple juice and was much more pleasant the rest of the evening. But then this morning the vicious cycle began again. All morning, it was screaming. At the moment, he is (finally) sleeping in his swing. I don't usually let him sleep in his swing, but he's not screaming and that's a blessing. (With Rory, once I let her sleep in her swing or chair, that's the only place she wanted to sleep. It was crib or nothing for that kid!)

Please pray for us. For me. For Trace. I can't take many more days of the constant screaming. I'm at a loss for what to do and my head hurts so bad. I have to work, I have to clean, I have to cook dinner, I have to take care of Rory and all I have been able to do is hold a screaming infant all day long until I have to go to work.

Heaven help me.

12 Days of Christmas: Day 9

Favorite Holiday Recipe

I *love* to cook and bake. I really do, especially around the holidays. The last few years, I've been making cookie trays and plates to give to friends and my assistants at the studio as gifts. (I'm also really into making cookie mixes in a jar this year! More on that on another day...)

My favorite recipes are as follows...

Oreo Balls

1 package of Oreos
1 8 oz block of cream cheese (Whipped in a tub works great too!)
1 bag of chocolate chips (Have oleo on hand to help with the melting)
Assorted toppings

Crush up Oreos. Mix with cream cheese. Form mixture into bite sized balls. Put the Oreo balls on a cookie sheet. Let rest in fridge for a half an hour or so, to firm up. Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan with a little oleo. (I guess you could use that chocolate that comes in a tub for melting, but I bet it's way more expensive.) Dip balls in the melted chocolate and put back on cookie sheet. While chocolate is still melt-y on the balls, you can add sprinkles, chopped nuts, peppermint (my fave!), whatever you little heart desires! You can also wait until the chocolate hardens and drizzle with melted white chocolate. After the dip and decorate process, put cookies sheet of Oreo Ball Deliciousness back in fridge or freezer to harden. Store in a tupperware container. Easy! Quick! Cheap! Delish! Always a crowd pleaser.

Carrot Casserole

1 pound of carrots (I always buy 2-3 pounds, because this is a huge hit with my family. Also, buy regular carrots not baby. You're chopping these suckers up anyways, and long carrots are seriously half the price of baby!)
8 oz of Velveeta (Again, buy extra for more carrots. It's not an exact science.)
1 can of cream of celery soup (I don't usually add more of this, because it's hard to add an extra half of a can. ha!)
Cheddar French's Onions

Chop up carrots into bite sized pieces. Saute them until al dente on stove top. (Once in a pinch I used canned carrots and skipped this process. Turned out just fine, but the old fashioned way is better!) Once carrots are soft, pour them into a casserole dish. Melt the velveeta on the stove with a "glub" of milk, as my mom would say. It's just enough milk to help the cheese melt and become creamy. Start with too little and add more. Once cheese is melted, add in soup and combine. Add in dill. (A few's more to taste than anything!) Pour mixture over carrots and stir gently. Bake uncovered at 350 for an 50-60 minutes. Top with Cheddar Onions.