Monday, February 20, 2017

{First} Overnight Getaway

Well friends, I did it. I left the kids overnight for the first time to go on a mini vacation (besides a hospital to give birth). It was kind of nice to getaway however I can't say I'll be rushing to do it again anytime soon.

"Get a night away from the kids" they said. "You'll get some much needed sleep" they said. Lies. Lies. Lies. I slept worse being away from the kids than I do when I wake up 47093742 times a night at home with Mason.


Michael and I went to the tip of the state (almost to the UP) to go snowmobiling on a charity ride called the Grace Performance Snoblast. The last time I participated in one of these rides was in 2010 and the last time I rode a snowmobile was 2013 (due to being pregnant during the winter of 2014 and 2015). Needless to say, it was a tad bit over due for some fun on the sleds. Plus, Michael has never done a big group ride like this before, so it was a new experience for him!

As I mentioned a couple posts back, I was pretty nervous about leaving the kids. Thankfully, they seemed to have survived just fine (better than me obviously!). I don't think my MIL would have told me of any problems even if there were any knowing I would freak out and drive home immediately. The not so funny thing she did share with me when we got home was that little miss Remi decided to climb out of her crib one day. Thankfully, we haven't had another one of those episodes.

Brief recap before an iPhone photo dump...

Thursday, Feb. 9th - In the afternoon we headed north. We left during naptime which was slightly easier to leave and not have to hear R scream (because she does anytime I leave her). Although after the fact I felt like a jerk for leaving and then having her wake up to someone else at the house. With a couple stops, it took us about 5 hours to arrive. We stayed at the Crooked River Lodge. It was a very nice place! We checked in and then attended the "Check in reception" party. Mom and Greg arrived shortly after we did so we visited with them for a few before we headed to our room to catch some sleep.

Friday, Feb. 10th -  The ride began at 9am. We had breakfast in the hotel lobby and I pumped. Michael went out to get our sleds ready around 8. Of course mine wasn't starting, but he eventually got it going. We hit the trails. Made a few stops for fuel, lunch at Moosejaw Junction (plus a pumping session for me) and then one more stop at Clyde's for drinks. Made it back to the lodge around 5 with just enough time to pump, get ready for the evening, and get on the shuttle to a restaurant for dinner. I pulled the old lady card and chose to go back to the hotel by 9 so that I could try to get some more rest. Key word: try.

Saturday, Feb. 11th - The morning began the same way as Friday... We hit the trails again by 9am and headed toward Mackinaw City. Our first stop was around 11am at Breakers on the Bay. Michael blew a belt shortly before that so he was late to getting there. Then we continued heading towards Mackinaw City for lunch at Dixie Saloon (and a pump session). Made one more drink stop at Ed's bar before we arrived back at the lodge around 4:30. Got ready for the evening before the group (85 of us by the way) was picked up by buses. We went to a very nice dinner and reception party where they did raffles and thank you's to the sponsors. After the dinner we headed to the casino in Petosky. It was just after midnight when we got back to the lodge and crashed!

Sunday, Feb. 12th - We got up bright and early so we could head home to our babies!

Overall, it was a decent little getaway just the two of us. Considering it was busy non stop and I didn't sleep well, I definitely didn't come home rested like I had hoped. The biggest thing is, I did it and we all survived just fine! So maybe next time I won't be so anxious about taking an overnight trip! 😌



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ML | Half Birthday | 6 Months Old

Weight/Length: 19lbs 9oz | 28.25" Tall

Clothes: Squeezing into some 9 months... but wearing mostly 12 months

Sleep: He's still sleeping in our room. Either next to me or in the pack n play. Typically goes to bed around 9:30-10pm. Sleeps anywhere from 2-4 hours. Eats. Goes back to sleep for 1-2 hours. Repeat. Some nights are still better than others but for the most part we're not always up every hour like we have been for the last 5 months. Since he's not the greatest sleeper, he's not much of a napper either. He takes 3-4 short naps a day (morning, early afternoon, late afternoon, evening). He really likes to snuggle and since he's not quite ready to have blankets, I wound up getting a bigger sleep sack and he seems to like that. Definitely looking forward to more sleep but I'm not sure I'm ready to do sleep training yet...

Eating: It's been a week since I've nursed him due to his biting habits. I just do not have the patience or pain tolerance to deal with that. So we've been pumping and bottle feeding. Which isn't what I wanted to do, but I'm not ready to switch to formula ($$$). We also started solids and some days he likes to eat while other days he pinches his lips and turns his head back and forth trying to escape the spoon. So far he's tried blueberries, pears, peaches, apples, sweet potato, squash, green beans, peas, and avocado.

Diapers: Honest size 4

Appearance: Still lots of blonde hair! He kind of has a reverse mullet - party in front (long hair) and business in back (bald). LOL! He got his first haircut just over a month ago and he needs another one already! Blue eyes (like Mama and sissy), two teeth, chubby cheeks and legs!

Nicknames: Chub chub, Chub chub boy, Hungry hungry hippo, Bubba, Bubba Chubba, and the best of all - according to sissy "bay Main" is her version of Baby Mason. 💓

Firsts/Doing/Learning: Crawling allll over, pulls himself up on to everything and anything, sits up, crawls from one end of the house to the other searching for Mama or sissy, everything to the mouth, had to lower his crib because he stands up as soon as he wakes up,

Likes: Watching Remi, Mama (whimpers & cries if he sees me & someone else is holding him), pulling himself onto the couch, blankets (especially the tie ones), the cord on the vacuum, cell phones, snuggling.

Dislikes: Getting his diaper changed, getting his ears cleaned out, waiting more than 2 seconds for food.

Mama's Feelings: Things are starting to get easier. Mostly due to his reflux getting better, he's been a much more happier baby. Even though he still doesn't sleep well, you wouldn't believe the difference of waking up every two hours versus waking up every hour. Ha! The anxiety and PPD is getting better as well, but leaving the house is still not my favorite thing to do. Mason is such a Mama's boy so of course I take advantage of loving up on him all the time. It's been fun to watch Remi interact with him now that he's more mobile. It's the cutest thing when they are just looking at each other and giggling. Some days are harder than others... I've learned that I'll probably always be exhausted... but being a Mom is still my favorite thing ever. 💙

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What if I change my mind?

Michael and I are taking a little get away soon... just the two of us. For the first time in years - 674 days to be exact. I'm excited to get away... But, what if I change my mind? 

Since we gave birth to our daughter in March 2015... we've had three nights away with just the two of us. Just for the record those three nights were:
1) July 31st - the night before my scheduled c section
2) August 1st - the day I gave birth to our son
3) August 2nd - the second day of hospital recovery after ML's birth

My point is that those three days/nights aren't really considered "fun" or "quality time" as husband and wife... yes we've had occasional "dates" alone to the grocery store or out to eat. But that is not the same as an enjoyable overnight trip. Well... I assume based on pre-kids. 😏

I'll be honest, some days I'm at my wits ends with these kids. But I've always had a hard time leaving them. Whether it was when R was an only child or since I've become a mom to two under two. Sometimes I feel guilty for leaving them even if it's for 2 hours to take a trip to the grocery store kid free. I find myself rushing back home because I feel guilty that I left them. I don't stop wondering what they are doing or if they took a nap okay without me there to put them to sleep. Or if they miss me like I miss them. (I know, I sound insane)

When I found out my Mom and Greg were doing the Grace snowmobile ride again this year, I thought I'd mention it to Michael. It would be good for us to do something as husband and wife like we used to. We haven't rode our sleds in years due to me being pregnant the last two winters. I used to go riding on this trail ride with my friend Greg years ago and it was always so much fun. Michael's never went before, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to go. (Throw that budgeting goal out the window... whoops)

I mentioned it to Michael and he seemed interested. I was worried about committing to the event because what if I change my mind? After weeks of pondering... we took the plunge and registered for the ride. To say that I have had anxiety about this trip is an understatement...

What if we paid for the registration and as the trip approached I decided I couldn't leave the kids?

What if I miss my kids so terribly that I need to go home?

What if Remi won't go to bed without me tucking her in?

What if ML gets used to a bottle and doesn't nurse anymore? (I'm okay with this fear now that he's becoming a biter)

What if ML won't sleep because he's used to co-sleeping with me and I'm not here? (judge if you will)

What if I change my mind and I'm four hours away?

Don't even get me started on the fears I have of something going wrong while I'm gone.

Long story short, I'm leaving my babies for the first "real" time overnight. Three nights to be exact. On the plus side, Michael and I will get to focus on each other for a change and I'll maybe get some sleep (that is if I don't stay awake thinking/worrying about my babies).

Keep me/us in your thoughts and prayers if you don't mind.... and send wine. 😊

When was the first time you left your child(ren) overnight? Was it worth it?! Just say yes. 😉

Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekending | Frankenmuth Snowfest

You guys, we left the house and got some much needed fresh air over the weekend! 

On Friday we had a showing on our house so we needed to leave. Rather than go sit at a family members house a few miles away, we decided to make a day of it and head to Frankenmuth's Snowfest. It consists of a competition of snow and ice carving sculptures along with some other activities. Some are small and some are humongous. I was a little hesitant because of the long drive (causing two screaming kids) and the cold weather (causing two sick kids).... but we took on the challenge. 

A few years ago (pre babies) Michael and I went to Snowfest and had a great time! Although this year our trip was more revolved around the petting zoo than the sculptures and hot alcoholic beverages... 😆

Since we went during the day, the sculptures weren't completed. So that was kind of a bummer. I enjoyed seeing them complete more so than watching them be worked on. Completed or not, the little ones had zero interest. So we visited the petting zoo and had to pull Remi away screaming because she didn't want to leave. She refused to get back in the stroller and insisted on walking. Meanwhile, ML was not a fan of being bundled up or sitting in the stroller either. So clearly we failed at keeping both kids happy. 

Side note: We borrowed this double jogger from a friend to try out because I can't decide what kind of double stroller to get and they are SOOOOO expensive! Do you have any suggestions for a double stroller? Preferably jogger or all terrain. 

Besides braving the 32° windy snowy day with two little ones, our weekend was pretty uneventful. Well besides watching ML climb everything in sight as you probably have seen on facebook or snapchat! That kid is going to be an animal! Crawling, standing, and pulling himself up onto everything before he's even 6 months old?! Send help. Oh, and we did have another showing on the house on Sunday as well. We visited Michael's Mom during that showing rather than take another adventure. Fingers crossed that perhaps one of the showings brings an offer! 

How was your weekend?! Do you bundle up your little one(s) to take outside in the winter or do you opt to stay inside?! 

Linking up with Biana for weekending recap!

Look at those CHEEKS!! 😍

After they both cried for 30 mins (ML) and 45 mins (R)... they finally crashed! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Coffee Talk

Hello friends! If we were joining each other for coffee this morning, here are a few things I'd have on my mind to chat about! 

First, I better tell you that I don't drink coffee... so I'm probably drinking spark or water instead. ;)

I'm sure my babies would be the first things on my mind, as always... Mason slept ONCE for 6 hours. We're back to the every 1-2 hour wake up nonsense (when do I start sleeping training?!) like he's been doing since he was born... but that one long sleep period... let me tell ya how amazing it was! Can we do that again?! 

Let me also tell you about how that stinker not only started crawling at 5 months... but now he's pulling himself onto things. Big things. Like the couch and the end of our bed! Why is this happening so soon?! Lord help me. Then there is sassy smarty pants, Remi Roo. Who is learning new words by the hour and it blows my mind! The best thing was when I got her to say "I love you" one time. So precious. Most used words on a daily basis is... Mote (remote), Mous-he (Mickey Mouse), Ninny (Minnie Mouse), Nacks (snacks), Mo (More), No no no (usually to Mason), Bubbles, Night Night. 

Next month we are taking a 3 night trip up north snowmobiling. This will be the first time I've left ML and the second time I've left Remi. (The only other time I left her is when I was in the hospital having the baby). To say I'm nervous is an understatement. 

Okay, I could talk about my kids all day... moving on. Since we're going on 2 years of trying to sell our house and 8 out of 10 showings give feedback that the kitchen is too small... we have decided to take the plunge and expand the kitchen and do some updating. Michael and I had a little day date and we picked out colors, flooring, countertops, and got prices on everything down to the light switch/outlet covers. We are hoping to begin this project in a couple months! Stay tuned! For now, we took down a set of cupboards above the island to open things up a bit. 

New countertop choices on top of the old countertop that will be removed.

Michael and I have both had several doctor appointments lately to get some health concerns addressed. Spoiler alert... I was in the ER at one point. Thankfully, we are in better shape that each of our symptoms had appeared. I guess we just wanted to get a jump start on those insurance deductibles for the year... 

Breastfeeding. I'm just not a fan. We're still trucking along but I am pumping and bottle feeding 3-4 times a day and then nursing at night/morning. I'm not a fan of being so constricted to nursing or to pumping, but we're making it work for the time being. I'm happy we've made it this far. After the first few weeks/months of hell, I didn't want to give up and let all my efforts go to waste. Right now my goal is two more months and then the freezer stash will get him to a year possibly. Time will tell... 

Oh my goodness... are you watching This Is Us?! I'm a little late to the party on this one as I'm just getting caught up on my DVR recordings... but so far, I'm obsessed. And that's pretty impressive since I'm not much of a TV watcher!

I caught up on some sewing projects and I've been really contemplating doing a little side business. I also made my first crib sheet and that was fun! All of these items were for baby girls and I absolutely loved both of these prints! 

Pictured below is some burp cloths, carseat canopies (that can later be used as a small blanket), and reversible carseat blankets (that can be used on any 5 point harness system seat/swing/stroller to protect the seat from accidents, allows easy cleaning, and most importantly is a safe blanket to keep the baby warm! 

The world scares me. The politics. The protests. The shootings. The human trafficking Michigan is number one and it's bad in nearby areas. I highly dislike living in this scary world not to mention raising little ones within. My little sister's high school had two gun threats last week. The thought of an act of violence being carried out and potentially harming my sister almost brought me to tears. One thing I pray for every night is safety for my loved ones. 

I officially resigned as Treasurer of our local QDMA branch. Although Michael and I are going to stay on the board as directors. It is something we enjoy being involved with. However, one of my goals for the new year was to stop over filling my plate. Removing this extra duty off my shoulders will be a huge relief and hopefully free up some of my spare time. Spare time? Ha. As if. 

Budgeting. I stink at this. Send help! I registered on Mint and Every Dollar. I'm not really into either app so I'm thinking about being an old fashioned gal and using pen and paper. I've enjoyed reading other's (Thanks Amanda and Kristen!) budget tips and tricks so keep those coming in you have any!

If you haven't noticed, I've taken a step back from social media. Which goes hand in hand with my goal for the new year of being more present. I enjoy the "social" end of it - keeping up on everyone's happenings and interacting with friends/family/blogger friends, however, I hope it will allow me more time to interact in a more meaningful way (text message, phone call, email, read/comment on blog post, etc).

Two places you can find me more often is here or on Snapchat (justjuliejoy)! Thanks for sharing a few cups of {insert drink of choice} with me! 

What is your morning drink of choice? Tell me what's on your mind via coffee talk! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lasagna Soup | Freezer Friendly + Dairy Free

A few posts back, I mentioned making this delicious recipe. As promised, here it is! 

When Jessi mentioned making (and loving) a lasagna soup recipe a year ago, I made a mental note and have been wanting to make it! With the cold weather upon us, I knew it was a must to make asap! 

There are three great things about this recipe... 

1) It's a one pot recipe (who doesn't love a lesser mess in the kitchen?!) 
2) It's freezer friendly (who appreciates a prepared meal stowed away?!) 
3) It can be made dairy free! (hello healthier alternative!)

I did some tweaking to the original recipe to 'soupe' it up a little (see what I did there...) as well as added the option to make it dairy free - which I did and you'd never know! Soup-er delicious! ;) 

 1lb ground burger (beef, venison, or sausage)
 1 large yellow onion diced
 4-5 cloves garlic minced
 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
 24oz spaghetti sauce (I used a quart (32oz) of my homemade sauce)
 8-10 C chicken broth
 14oz can diced tomatoes
 2 tbsp tomato paste
 2 tsp balsamic (or white) vinegar
 1.5 tsp sugar
 1 tbsp dried basil
 1 tsp parsley
 1 tsp oregano
 1 tsp salt
 1/2 tsp pepper
 1-3 bay leaves
 10 uncooked lasagna noodles (the old fashioned kind)
 Fresh chopped spinach (optional)
 Fresh sliced mushrooms (optional)

• Optional w/o dairy: 1/2 C coconut milk
• Optional w/ dairy: 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
• Optional toppings w/ dairy: shredded mozzarella cheese, grated parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese

 Heat large soup pot. Brown meat with onion. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Drain fat. 

 Add spaghetti sauce, 6 C chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, spices, lasagna noodles, spinach, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer until lasagna noodles are tender. 

 Discard bay leaves. Add in 2-4 C remaining chicken broth for desired consistency. Add in optional coconut milk or heavy cream, if desired. 

 Garnish with optional dairy toppings, if desired. 

Serve with a side of garlic bread!

Since this recipe made a large serving size for just one person (well 1.5 people if you count R) I was able to freeze the majority of this for another day! The recipe would also be easily doubled for a larger meal or for freezing! 

Thanks again Jessi for sharing the original recipe

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2016 Review || 2017 Preview

In true "mom of two under two" fashion, it's the start of the second week of the new year, and I'm just now finding the time to process it all. I mean seriously, where did 2016 go?! Besides our sweet baby boy joining our family, 2016 really won't be missed. It's no secret around here that I've been riding the hot mess express for.. well, um... months... but I'm really hoping to change that with this new year. Of course, there's only so much in my control, so it's more of a mentality thing I need to focus on... Send help. ;)

January - We took our first family road trip to Louisville, KY for the QDMA National Convention.

February - We announced the news that Remington was going to be a big sister! I took R outside to play in the snow for the first time.

March - Our baby girl turned ONE!

April - We celebrated Remington's birthday with family and friends. We accepted an offer on our house and began moving out!

May - We purchase a new camper and moved into it. We took Remington to the zoo for the first time.

June - The sale of our home fell through. We then decided we had to move back in before baby #2 arrived. We went on several camping trips and spent lots of time outside.

July - We partially moved back into the house while still partially living in the camper. Remington attended her first tractor pulls over 4th of July weekend. We had maternity pictures taken by Shanell.

August 2016 - We added a baby boy to our family!

September - We went back to living in the camper so we could be with Michael more often. Remington participated in her first Boo Bash halloween camping trip. 

October - My best friend had her rainbow baby, Olivia Brynn. R and I had a day date and took a trip to the apple orchard for the first time. We moved completely back into the house and winterized the camper. 

November - Michael came home for Thanksgiving. We celebrated our little turkeys and family. My Mom turned to big 5-0 and we had a surprise party for her! 

December - We counted down the days until Michael got laid off for the winter! We celebrated Christmas a lot (5 times to be exact) and I took the kids to see Santa. We also took the kids to see Christmas lights and R enjoyed it much more this year than last. 

Looking back on 2016, despite the struggles, we did have a lot of fun and made a lot of memories! Of course there were also weddings, babies, family gatherings, and much more to add to the list too! 

Sometimes it's hard not to get hung up on the bad times, and that is something I want to work on for 2017. I'd like to focus on being thankful for the blessings I DO have rather than dwell on the bad days or things that I don't have. 

I hope to work at getting us on a budget. 

Be more of a minimalist. 

Take care of my health, skin, and body. (Afterall, I do turn 30 this year...)

Make more time to "date" my husband. 

Be present. Not only with detaching from my phone but also enjoying/living in the moment rather than always thinking about what I need to be doing next or what I could be doing instead of what I'm currently doing.  

And my #1 goal for 2017.... SELL THIS HOUSE AND MOVE! 

Wishing you a healthy and happy New Year!