Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Now that 2013 is coming to a close, I would like to take a moment to review the awesome moments of this year! There is so many great things that happened.
I began the year, already pregnant. I was 13 weeks along on Jan. 1st, 2013. That was really a interesting way to begin the year.
We spent a lot of time searching for a new home and getting ready for baby to arrive. We found out at the end of January that we were having a baby BOY.
Then finally on June 27th, 2013 we got to meet our little man! Aries Michael Moran was born at 8:11am, weighing in at 8 pounds and 4 ounces. It was love at first sight for sure.
Now not too long after that we had another addition to the family, only in a different way. Justin's mother Kim decided to join us and move to Ohio. Aries gets to see his grandmother everyday, and he is very attached to her.
Now time flies when you are having fun, and time did fly. Bottle after bottle, and day after day, our little man grew and our family got closer. Aries turned 3 months, went to the fair as a family, and went to see Ronald McDonald.

Then we all had a super fun Halloween!

Thanks Giving was fun, we all went to Kims and ate a huge meal. Then went Black Friday shopping for Christmas gifts. 
Then we had a super fun Christmas! First we took Aries to see Santa!
We had our Christmas Eve at Kims house, and we all got wonderful gifts from each other. It was so much fun, especially Aries opening all his gifts.

Then Christmas day we were home opening gifts from Santa! I have to say we were all very spoiled.

I have to say over all this has been a pretty amazing year. So many changes and so many happy things. I am so excited to see what 2014 has in store for us!

Happy New Years to all my friends and family! I wish everyone tons of love, happiness, and health in the new year! Take this year and make your dreams come true!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Organization

Merry Christmas! Well, a few days ago anyways. Now that the holidays are over it is time to pack up all the pretty decor for next year. The first few days after Christmas I spend hitting up several stores to find great deals on wrapping paper, boxes, general decor, and some gifts for holidays in the next few months. This year I got 50 cent rolls of wrapping paper, I paid $5.25 for 30 pretty gift boxes, and unsure of how many or how much I spent on plain ones. We do gift boxes for adults when possible, because we tie closed with curling ribbon, and reuse the boxes each year, saving money and the environment. I got a few cute ornaments to add to our collection and a new star for the tree for only $5.

The tote pictured above is a new addition to our storage. A key factor in my opinion. No matter how we stored our wrapping paper it always got squished. Always. So we got three of these nice containers with clip on lids. The one pictured has roughly 30 rolls of wrapping paper in it, and I think I could squeeze a couple more in. I have another about half full of misc holiday wrap, like for birthdays. 

This year we expanded from one tote of lights to two totes! I got some cute lighted garland for sale. This year I also printed off labels from my computer to show the holiday and the contents.

We actually have 3 of these smaller totes full of ornaments. Most of them are plastic, but some are still glass. Keeping them in smaller containers like this we don't use any wrap or padding, and they don't get broken. Plus since the totes say ornaments on them, people know to handle them carefully.

Another new addition this year was this card tote I got at Meijers. It was only $6. I labeled the top and front, and it worth the money already. I found random partial packs the cards all over in the Christmas decor. I was able to throw away all those packs, saving space, and easily find them all in one space.

We own a lot of just random decor too. Things such as stockings, stocking hooks, wall hangings, tree skirts, glass figurines, lawn decor, rugs, and place mats. So total we have two of these larger totes full.

Sadly, although everything you see is all organized, and ready to be put away for another year, I am positive there is more Christmas decor hidden in my storage unit, just waiting to be discovered. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Mom I used to have

The Mother I Used to Have

When I was growing up it was just me, my brother and my mom. She was the strongest person I knew. My mother worked so hard, even working 2 or 3 jobs to support us. She had a beautiful home built out in the country for us, were we lived half my childhood. She was the kind of woman who could do everything! I mean it too. She could grow anything, from seed! Bring her a dead plant and she could bring it back to life. Given any challenge her green thumb could master it. She could raise animals. We had chickens that acted like puppies, because they loved her so much. The most hyper dog would sit at her feet and patiently to be petted. She could raise wild animals, as though they were regular house cats. Everyday, my mom never stopped amazing me. Not only could she do those things, she could sew, knit, cross-stitch, paint, and draft. My Mother could make anything. She designed and built her own furniture from wood, using every saw needed with precision and skill. Even building her own front deck to her home. She made her own crafts and sold them at craft shows. She could paint anything and did face painting too. She knew how to mix the colors just right to get the perfect blend and each stroke in just the right place. She mended my clothes and even made the most beautiful dress for me from scratch. Things didn't stop there. She could cook and bake as good as Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray. She would have shown those ladies up any day! She would use produce straight from the garden, baking and cooking from scratching, making meals that blew you away. As a kid did I always appreciate this, nope, because I thought all Mothers cooked and cleaned like a pro. 

There is so much more, there is always more. All the times she pushed me to do better and all the times she made sure I had everything I ever needed, plus more. I could go on and on about the Mother I used to have.
She was wonderful, she was great. I miss her. She isn't dead, but she is gone. Changed, for the worse. Everything she used to be I take with me, and work hard to be a amazing mom. There is a place in my heart that hopes someday, maybe she will come back again. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Traditions

This is year was a my little mans first visit with Santa. He did so well, and was pretty interested in him too. Now that he is here it has made me think of all the holiday traditions we had as kids that I want to share with him. Whether it be tons of gifts or decorating we want to make the most magical memories possible.

So here is my holiday tradition list!
1. We believe in Santa. Every year we counted down to his visit and could barely sleep on Christmas eve from the excitement of what would take place the next day.
2. Stockings. Our stockings were always packed with a mixture of toys and goodies. We also opened them first. Pulling out a few things on top and then eventually pouring them out on the floor.
3. Taking Pictures. My parents used to film us on Christmas morning, but it was very frustrating for us kids. We had to behave and sit still and the camera took forever to set up. Then later we got in trouble if we acted bad when we opened a gift, like if we didn't like it. So my family tradition is pictures only. Catch some special minutes on film, and then lots of pictures to remember the day.
4. Going to get our picture taken with Santa. It is super fun and special to get to visit Santa, sit on his lap, and tell him what you want for Christmas. 
5. Writing letters to Santa. I loved to write him a letter and usually draw him a picture too to send to him with my Christmas list.
6. Leaving Milk and cookies for Santa. We also would leave some carrots for his reindeer, since they work so hard. It was always a warm feeling to find in the morning that he ate the cookies, and some times would leave a little thank you note too.
7.Getting a new ornament every year. Every family member gets their own special ornament each year to decorate the tree with.
8.Sledding! I can't remember a year where we didn't go sledding. Outside for hours, only to come in and have hot chocolate. Pealing off out snow pants and jackets, tossing our boots by the door. The joy of not being able to feel our fingers and toes.
9. Baking Christmas cookies and hardtack candy. My mom always made home made hard tack handy in many flavors, and we loved it. Then we always made cookies and decorated them with sprinkles and colored sugar. It was so much fun.
10. Opening presents from friends and family on Christmas Eve. This was so much fun, because it basically split up gifts into two days. Making it twice the fun.
11. Hanging Lights. Now we didn't hang them as kids, but our parents did, and it made the night time magical. I loved it when they were done and we could turn on the lights for the first time. Then we would drive around and look at all the neighbors who did it too!
12. Singing! We would wake up to our mom blaring Christmas music on the stereo. It was so much fun to dance around the house singing songs about the holiday.
13. Our NEW tradition is going to be Elf in the shelf. I think we will have so much fun with this little guy in the years to come.
14. Cards. We love to send out cards each year to all our friends.

I am sure there are more, and we will make many more. But here are mine now!

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

December is Here!

December hasn't always been a great time of year for me. Growing up it was pretty magical, since my mom went all out for Christmas and decorated like it was going out of style. We woke up to cranked up holiday tunes and mom decorating the house like it was the last Christmas ever.  Then once I hit my late teens things kinda fell apart and then most of my adulthood it was kinda a hit or miss each year. The last four years with Justin have been pretty great, rich or poor. This year though has a magical touch that no other year has had.
Having a child to celebrate the holiday for makes it ten times more important and magical. We are decorating so much more, shopping more, and just all around getting into the season more. Will he remember this year? Nope. But we will. We will remember every smile and giggle. We will remember how much he loved the lights and the wrapping paper. I am more excited to see him open his gifts then I am to even open mine this year. I want to buy him a million things, but have kept the number a little lower.
This will be a December I will never forget. That one is for sure.
The picture above is of our very first live tree this year.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I chose to be a Parent

Today I posted my status on Facebook as this: "There was a point in time in my life where I swore I NEVER wanted to be a parent. Going through pregnancy and childbirth, plus the cost and hassle of raising a child, that wasn't for me. It was something I never wanted to do, and was pretty sure I was going to stick with that choice. The older I got the more those reasons for not having children seemed less important, and I slowly became more and more envious of friends and strangers with their children and babies. Although it was a surprise when I finally did become pregnant, I CHOSE to become a parent. In all honesty it is by far the best thing I have ever done. I have always been a giving person, and giving my all to this little guy has been some of the best memories of my life, and I can't wait to make more."

This is the truth. During my pregnancy I had a lot of doubts and fears about becoming a parent. There is so much I want to do and give to my son, he is such a amazing person already. Every time I look into his eyes I swear I see so much. He is full of joy and amazement, and that just touches me deep in my soul. I felt a connection with my son from the first time I got to hear his heartbeat. That was the moment it became real to me. The first moment I realized I was going to become a mom. I didn't always want to be a mom and from time to time those old fears came back to haunt me. Would I lose who I am because now I am MOM? Would I have any time for me or the things I enjoy? Would we be able to afford anything nice anymore? It is crazy because so little and so much has changed. Did I lose who I was? Nope. I gained to who I was. I am so much more now, and my favorite title is Mommy. Do I have time for me? Yep. I have the most wonderful son who is easy going, and gives me time to shower, play on the computer, get chores done, and relax. Plus my son has a pretty amazing Daddy too, who helps so much. Did this baby suck up all our money? Not even. I took up couponing, so his basic needs like diapers and wipes are met cheaply. I bought his clothes and lot of his toys used, so tons of money was saved there. Our biggest expense is all the money we plan to spend on Christmas, but we want to spend that. So has anything changed? We eat out a little less, we go to bed a little earlier, and we smile and laugh a lot more.

Did I make the right choice? Heck yeah. This is the best thing I have ever made, and I wouldn't change a thing about him.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Dogs and Kids

Before ever having a baby we had dogs. I have probably had dogs my entire life. Right now we have three wonderful little dogs that complete our family. Our oldest is Coco, she is 6 years old, and a chihuahua. The second is Cami, she is roughly 4 years old, and is a chihuahua. Then there is her son Furby and is only a year old, and he is also a chihuahua. We did have Quin a 4 year old Chihuahua for a while, but I sent him home with a friend. In our house the dogs are our other children and are included in a lot of things we do together. Our dog Furby has really bonded with our 4 month old son and constantly is checking on him to see if he is okay. I think animals look out for us like we do them. Here is a story of how a dog alerted parents of the babysitter abusing their baby. 

The pitbull was also known as the nanny dog, and was well trusted with children for supervision. You can read more about that here. I think dogs really can understand our wants and needs, and can know when we are in danger. I think they make amazing therapy dogs.

Coco has been in my life for many years, and has helped me with my anxiety and depression and helped keep me positive. How can you not smile when every time you walk in the door a small dog is over joyed to see you!

I really hope my son can enjoy this same bond with our animals. Also I think being around smaller creatures helps him to learn empathy for them, and then as he gets older he will learn to help with them as well. We all help take care of each other.

Furby has always been Justins dog, but since Aries has come along he has really bonded with him and worries about him a lot. I read here that they tend to bond to one person. Cami and Coco are really mine, and Cami likes to cuddle with Jeremy pretty often. Then Furby is Justins baby. Justin walks him and spoils him a lot.

With Aries being so much like Justin, I guess it only make since he watches over his favorite mini human. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

Happy Halloween!

This year was a extra special Halloween since it was Aries first Halloween! I love my little guy and made sure we went out of our way to do some super fun stuff. We got candy and spent time together as a family. This year Aries ended up going as two different things. Our first trip out we went to the mall to trick or treat and it was super warm. So he went in his skeleton jammies for the mall and when we went around the neighborhood we dressed him up in his dragon costume.

I dressed up as the Tardis from Doctor Who. I posted each as a link so if you don't know who they are. Take the time to look it up, because it is the most awesome show ever.

Justin went as a demon and was super cool. Aries thought his mask was funny.

In the end we had a pretty good time and got us all some yummy candy! Next year is going to be twice as fun!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Me, mentally

So everyday I go through a variety of issues, that are only known to me. It can be very hard and trying at times to deal with them, but I do the best I can. I seek out help, and I take medication. I don't want to be depressed and have my emotions out of control. Not everyone is familiar with what I suffer from and what they really mean.

OCD stands for obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic OCD is 'an anxiety disorder characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). With obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may realize that your obsessions aren't reasonable, and you may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feeling'
Basically things have to be done a certain way, a certain amount of times, at a certain time, and if you don't do it, you suffer. You become stressed and anxious, and it can even make you feel physically sick. It isn't the same for everyone. One person may have to wash their hands 3 times every time they wash them, where another person may have to always get dressed in a certain order, and if either of these people where to try to change what they do it can cause them distress.
Personally my OCD is very mild. There are things that stress me though, and I realize they can be silly things. I have to have all my bath towels folded and facing a certain way, and if I find them wrong I have to fix them. When I get out of the shower I always dry off in a certain order, just considering doing it a different way makes me feel like I am not dry.

Bipolar Disorder
According to the Mayo Clinic 'Bipolar disorder — sometimes called manic-depressive disorder — is associated with mood swings that range from the lows of depression to the highs of mania. When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year, or as often as several times a day. In some cases, bipolar disorder causes symptoms of depression and mania at the same time.'  
Basically is a condition that messes with your mood. It commonly causes very obvious changes in a persons personality as well. Some people can live with bipolar their entire lives and never really know it, be labeled as a moody person. While others notice the mood swings and the negative effect they can have on their life. 
Personally my bipolar has a severe effect on my life. It causes me to be depressed and no long want to do things I love. I love crafting, of all kinds, and more then once in a depression told Justin I wanted to get rid of all my crafting supplies. Also I can be manic, and usually at the worst time, like 1am. Times when I should be sleeping I feel full of energy and want to spring into action with a project I know there is no way I can complete. Then I also get severely angry, at the drop of a dime. It can be frustrating at times.

Social Anxiety Disorder
According the Mayo Clinic 'social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, everyday interactions cause irrational anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment.'
Basically talking to people, handling common interactions, making phone calls, can cause stress and even trigger anxiety attacks. 
Personally my social anxiety makes it extremely difficult for me to make phone calls, and make contact with strangers in new places. If I have been some where before I usually don't have too much of an issue talking to them, but if it is some where new, I can't even order food. It makes me feel sick to my stomach, and in severe situations it makes me have a panic attack where I feel like I can't breath and my chest hurts. 

I also suffer from general anxiety and depression but they mostly tie in with one or more of the above conditions. Life can be a day to day battle, but I realize I have these issues and I try my best to face them. I want to be the best person possible for myself, my son, and Justin. So it first takes admitting you have a problem and then taking steps to fix that issue. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Baby Learning

One thing that crosses my mind all the time and did when I was pregnant was how can I teach my son? How can I give him the best possible start in a large complicated world? The things I knew in 1st grade, kids learn at home and know by kindergarten now! So I am always looking for new ways to interact with Aries and teach him stuff right now! I found a great article on the Parents.com website that lists 50 Simple Ways to Make Your Baby Smarter. I read through the list and loved the ideas and already do some now. You can check out the list here.
Then there is another article that I read that shows how your baby is learning everyday, just through normal activities. You can read that article here. It is amazing how much information they take in everyday. Aries is just over 3 months old and how much he has changed in such a short amount of time is amazing. 
I am always wondering what Aries will do next, or what he should be able to do at his age. I want to make sure he is on track and doesn't show any signs of developmental issues. What can I say, I worry. WebMD has a nice piece that explains pretty well in this article. Growing and learning everyday, my little boy is on his way!

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Fitness and Pregnancy

My pregnancy was planned, we were trying to get pregnant. But at the same time I wasn't preparing my body to have a baby. I spent most of my pregnancy being miserable. My baby was healthy and well taken care of, but I was sick, sore and just uncomfortable. Had I been in better shape and taken better care of myself in advance I would have possibly done better.

So basically my big plan is to get my body back into shape and earn back my before baby body, plus some. So first we are starting out with walking. Getting my body used to moving around again. Then I want to add in playing Dance Central on the Xbox360. We haven't gotten the living room cleaned out enough to play yet, but will soon. I have also started looking for ways to eat healthier. I have started eating yogurt and cooking more at home. We only eat out once a week now and I am trying to eat more fresh things, like raw veggies. 

When we do decide to have our next baby, this mommy wants to be ready, physically as well as mentally. Also I want Aries to see me as a role model in his future health choices. I want him to chose to be active and eat healthy always. I love his Daddy, but he is a true junk food junky.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

My Top Five Baby Items

I think every parent uses different things on their babies, and even from baby to baby. I use stuff now that wasn't around when I was a baby and I will probably use different things on my next baby. For now though I do have my top five baby items I have used with Aries and loved. Now these are not in any certain order.
First: Baby Swaddlers
Swaddlers are blankets you can buy that have velcro so you can easily wrap them snuggly around the baby. This one in the picture was the first one we had, given to me by my amazing friend Linda. Kim, Aries's Grandma, went out and bought him more once we realized how much he loved them. He would flail his arms and wake himself up, so once wrapped nice and snug he slept great. He has outgrown them now that he is 3 months old, but they were a HUGE help at the time!
Second is Our Portable Co-Sleeper
This is considered a co-sleeper bed because you can actually put it in bed with you. He is still using this bed now. It was a great purchase because it made it really easy to move him from room to room depending on where we needed him to sleep at night or during the day. It also folds up for easy storage and transportation. In the picture below it is on a standard microwave stand. We have had it on the floor and on our couch. This piece will be used for our next baby for sure.
Number Three is Nuk Orthodontic Bottles
These were a fairly expensive purchase, but well worth it. Because of the orthodontic nipples Aries was able to get easier and better suction, and I don't have to worry about the effect the bottle will have on the development of his teeth. They also have a great air release system so he swallows as little air as possible. We are still using the smaller bottles on him as well.

Number Four: Bath Seat
My friend Blair gave me the most awesome bath seat ever. I have used this bath seat since he was able to take baths. At first he wasn't a fan of baths at all. Now that he is older he loves them and the water. He takes advantage of the way the seat is made and slides down in it so he can splash and kick more. I see him using this for quiet a bit longer as well.

Number Five YouTube
Okay, I know this one isn't exactly a baby product, but if it were not for YouTube we would have had to invest money in baby music CD's or something. Aries is a noise baby, he just does not sleep well without sound. So for the longest time we would search up videos of baby lullibies. Then we decided we needed a set song list, and made one. So every night we turn on Aries bedtime music and he knows it is time to sleep. If he sleeps during the day he listens to different music or the TV while he sleeps. Thanks YouTube!