Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Honest Opinion: Purex Baby Detergent

If you have been around here for any time at all, you know that I happen to be a Purex Insider, who gets updates on all newly released products from Purex. (If you don't know, you should start with this one.  It's classy.  Of course, when am I not classy?  I'm like the freaking Dowager Countess with my A++ classiness.  Also?  My wit.)

Which, may I say, is now one of my favorite laundry detergents.

But, since I took practically the entire last year off from blogging, I was clueless.

Speaking of...

I found this on Netflix the other day.

AS IF...

So many memories.

But I usual.


Apparently, sometime in the last year, Purex released Purex Baby Detergent.

Only, I was completely unaware that it was a new release, possibly because I was having a baby at the time....

And at some point after that, Walgreens had a sale on my favorite detergent, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle of Purex baby for the silly price of 2.99.

And people.

I was "like totally buggin'"

First of all, let me ask you, how do you rank your laundry detergent?

How do you determine what your favorite is?

I guess overall, I am pretty lenient when it comes to laundry detergents.

Mostly, I just want them to get the clothes clean.

And let me tell you, when Baby Girl was still in her infancy, back when we were going through the same 4 outfits every day and we had about 25 bibs and burp cloths in the house...getting clothes clean was CRITICAL.

Needless to say, I was doing laundry every other day, at least.

Thank God for those burp cloths....

Anyway, that being said, have you ever tried to clean crusted on milk out of a bib?

Or a burp cloth?

Especially one that you have misplaced for about a week?

Or a month.


It would probably be more accurate to talk about trying to clean furry milk out of a bib, because after a week, there is nothing crusty about the set-in stain....

Oh, no, after a week, the thing has taken roots and decided to build itself a full force bacteria tree to reside in.


Pardon me.

That may or may not have been the sound of me gagging.

My point being, that I have tried washing that kind of thing with my old detergent, and let me tell you - it didn't do the job.

I threw away more than one furry bib.

But that was never the case with Purex baby.

Now, admittedly, I did pre-soak them, but they all came clean.


And the scent???

You know how sometimes the free and clear laundry detergent leaves your clothes smelling like the inside of your dryer?

Well, this stuff smells like heaven.

And the top of a newborn's head.

Which is basically the same thing, so you get the picture.

It smells good.


And at half the price of some other baby detergents out there!

Or in this case a quarter of the price!

What I'm trying to say is if you have babies and you haven't tried Purex baby, you should.

It is in NO WAY a waste of your time or money.

And that's coming from someone who has gagged over my share of furry bibs.

No judging.

I'm wagering there has been/will be a furry bib in your life one day....

And you'll be happy to know that Purex Baby will be there to hold your hand.

Post-script: I was in no way compensated for this post.  I didn't even get a bottle of the stuff to try this time around.  I just want you to know that you don't have to spend fortunes on baby laundry detergent to get the job done.  Really, you are so lucky to have me in your life...really.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Helpful How-To: Creating a Mood Board

Would it be too much of an assumption to think that you saw my post about Little Man's Big Boy Room???

You know what they say about assuming....

And I'd never want to do that....

So, if you haven't, go ahead.  Click on over.  I'll wait.

And try to be impressed, despite the misalignment.

I haven't had much patience with my blog this week.

And apparently posting straight from the site I used to design the mood board, really screwed up the alignment, and I haven't had time to straighten it out.

Pun totally intended.

But for those of you who are wondering how I did that, let me tell you.

It's super easy.


I've used it on and off for a few years, but a few weeks/months ago when one of my favorite bloggers posted a 4 part tutorial series on using Polyvore for mood boards, I knew I was going to be making my way back over.

And as soon as I had the chance, Little Man's room design happened.

And since I love to share the wealth, and I know you have been wringing your hands in wonder to know how to make your very own mood board, let me make this easy on the both of us.

I refuse to recreate the wheel.

And as much as I would LOVE to take credit for it, since I love nothing  more than getting all the credit and all the acclaim, this is a big step....

Here is the link to House*Tweaking's 4 part tutorial on how to create mood boards using Polyvore.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

I hope you learn as much from her posts as I have!

Now, get to it!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Recent Reads: Delirium

As we all know, my obsession with good reads is pretty far reaching.

If it gets good reviews, I'm typically in.

So, when I first heard about Delirium, I knew it was a read I wanted in my hands.

Like yesterday.

On her website, Lauren Oliver has a tag line that says it all:

"Before Scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing."

And if that doesn't pull you in, well, then...





And then read it again.


Here.  Buy it here for your Kindle. And here for your Nook.

Because, PEOPLE.

I want to talk about this book.

In graphic detail.

I want to talk about Hanna.

I want to talk about Lena.

And I want to talk about Alex.

Oooooooh, Alex....

Ok, so if you know anything about my taste in books, you know how much I LOVE dystopian fictions.

I love the general idea that freedom can overcome oppression.

And this is yet another book where that is the theme.

And it will blow your mind.

The fact that the world could be indoctrinated to believe that love is a disease - nay, THE GREATEST DISEASE - is absurd....  Appalling, even.

And yet, Oliver rationalizes it in these books in a way that makes you second guess yourself.

But at your core, is the knowledge that robbing someone of the  the freedom to love with complete justification is simply...disturbing.

And automatically makes you want to fight for Lena and Hana and any/all future generations.

I automatically felt a kinship with the characters.

Felt drawn to them.

Felt compassion for their plights and sympathetic to their fights.

And the fact that I fell in literary love with Alex "at first sight" is pretty much undeniable.

Have you started reading it yet?

I will warn you, you will have your heart broken.

And then put back together, and then broken - lather, rinse, repeat.

This is another book that is well worth your time.

And, as is the thing these days, it is one of a series of books.

And the second book - Pandemonium is every bit as good.

I personally liked Pandemonium better than Delirium.

The story is much more intense, even if it is a little harder to follow.

Book 3 is scheduled to hit the shelves sometime this spring. (please, please, please Ms. Oliver, hurry up.  I am chewing my nails off to find out what happens to my favorite characters in book 3...don't make me wait too much longer, please????)

So, yeah, excellent books?


Exciting read?

Mmm Hmmm.


Just Slightly.

Now get to reading!!!

Post Script:  If you have read these books and you haven't read the e-books Hana and Annabel, Don't miss them!  Worth every penny!

Monday, January 28, 2013

ABC Themed Toddler Bedroom

I have been working on a design for the Little Man's Big Boy Room for a while now....

This is one idea I threw together one night last week.

Do you know what is really frustrating?

When life throws a whole bunch of curve balls at you.

And then you lose track of the one thing you have been trying to do for a year.

Of course, that isn't this project...

Actually, this project is just pushing that one even further down the line.

But that's life.

As for this project, I'm not totally sold on it.

I don't like the creamy undertones with the white furniture.

Call me crazy, but that just erks me.

But there are elements I do love.

Like that pouf.

Does that pouf just have you at "Hello", or what?!

I mean, it reaches out and grabs your soul!

Like those Dementor things in Harry Potter.

Only if a Dementor was yellow and wearing a smile instead of black with a hollowed out face.

You get what I mean, right?

I mean, I could draw you a picture, but my artistic skills are....


Just think, Walmart smileyface.

It's way less complicated.

And already in your permanent memory bank.

You're smiling, aren't you?

You can thank me later.

Back to the idea bout those vintage-y alphabet cards???


Wanna know a secret?

I actually ordered those MONTHS ago.

For educational purposes.

And then when they arrived, I changed my mind and decided they had to be wall art.

As soon as possible.

Possible still hasn't happened, yet.

But hopefully, getting to this stage means, I am closer.


Now I know you are all looking at the daybed and going, "Is that what she's going to make the poor kid sleep on?"

And just so you know, yes.

But I plan to do it a little more like Layla did over at Lettered Cottage.

But we'll see....  I'm guessing that a bookcase and a possible window seat may also end up in the picture, if I can convince Techy to let me use my big girl tools a little more.

And if not, well, what Daddy don't know won't hurt him, right?

Anyway, I would love to have some feedback on this, so feel free to let me know your thoughts, and for those who will/may ask, below you will find a breakdown of all the items and the stores they are from.


ABC Themed Toddler Bedroom

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Coolness Points

I work really hard to build up coolness points.

I know it may be shocking to you, but in high school, I was never a member of the cool crowd.  I think maybe it was my blue rimmed glasses that were so big they barely fit on my nose. 

In college, I moved up a level, but I was still just barely above the kids who spent Saturday night in the computer lab.

Post college, I didn't have anyone to be cool to, unless you count mom and dad, because yes, I moved home after college.  (I just tanked your opinion of me, right??)

It's a wonder I ever found anyone to marry....

Thank God for blogs, right?

Otherwise, I'd have about 4 friends-and that's including my husband and 2 kids.

But here I get to pretend like I'm cool.

Here I get to make you think I'm cool.

I totally have you all fooled right?

(HINT: the answer is YESSSSS)

Well, let me burst your bubble.

Your opinion of me is about to change.

Because, if you happened to be one of the people sitting in church with me, you would totally know how uncool I really am.

I wish I could explain it to you.

I wish I could blame it on hard times or soft hearts, when in fact, it's just me.

We all know, I am an emotional nightmare, right???

I mean, I cry at Folger's commercials.  

You know, the Christmas one, where the brother comes home from Africa???


That should explain a little bit, but...

In church, I come unglued every.single.week.

I embarrass Techy on a weekly basis.

It's a wonder he still sits with me.

Coolness points melt away in the face of raw emotion.

Tears seem to wipe any remnant of a relatively sophisticated demeanor away and leave you standing, vulnerable - heart on your frantically waving sleeve* - before any and all around you. 

And then, when you realize that you have made everyone around you feel uncomfortable while they watch your emotions roll down your face, you can't help but be embarrassed.

Sometimes, like today, I feel like I need to apologize for my behavior.

But what does that say for my faith?

And the fact that I can't help but be emotional about God doing His thing?

Because, I certainly can't apologize for that.

So, how do I rebuild the coolness points?  

I personally think the best way is to play it cool and be all, "if you don't like it, I'm sorry for you, cause I think you just missed out"

At least, that's what Techy would say, and I think he is SERIOUSLY cool.

*I may be southern baptist, but I may have a little pentecostal in my blood - I don't speak in tongues or anything, but I do get emotional and yes, I might raise my hand/s in church.  Cringe, if you will.

Post-script:  If you knew what was going on my life right now, and the things God has been using to deal with me, you probably would get excited too.  Or you would think I am crazy, but personally, I think everyone needs to have a good, old-fashioned confrontation with earth-shattering faith, and that's what I have been experiencing since November.  This morning in church when my all time favorite singer belted out her take on one of the songs I laid claim to back in December, I could barely contain myself.  

People, He's good, all the time, and he deserves our praise.  And I just couldn't hold a thing back. I'm sorry if I make you feel awkward, or if this makes it even worse.  But I am broken and he is Holy.  And that is all.

In case you are wondering what the awesome song is/was:

Please hear my heart.  
One day, I may find the words to explain why this song speaks to me, but today, it's enough just to hear it.  And sing it.  
And know.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fitness Friday: Week 38

So this week I went to the doctor.

Because, you know, I could.

My last physical was about 8 months after I had Little Man.

I figured it was about time for another check in on you know, the inner workings of my body.

And let me tell you people, I had the most delightful thing happen.

My nurse mis-weighed me.

As we all know, I weighed in at 145.4 lbs just a few days ago.

But when the nurse tried to weigh me, she couldn't figure out what was up and what was down.

I could tell by the weight on scale that I should have been weighing in at around 149.

But she, you know, couldn't.

(raise your eyebrows with me....  I forgave her, though, when I figured out she was not a nurse...just a tech in training....  Blessyerheart....)

Of course, that was with all my clothes on and about a half gallon of water floating around my midsection...

But for some reason, she read it at 142.

And then wrote down 132.

Which seriously is the best and worst thing that can ever happen to you when you weigh 145.4.

It goes a little something like this - doctor comes in the room, reviews chart, says, "Wow, you are like the picture perfect patient!  And your weight is absolutely perfect!  Great job!"

And then you go, "Thanks, thanks, I've been working really hard.  You may be my favorite person ever..."

Blubber, blubber, blubber....

To which the doctor replies, "Well, I mean, 132 is amazing for having had 2 babies!"

To which you (glumly) reply, "Oh...erm, no, I'm not 132.  I think she meant to write 142."

But it's more like 147...

Of course, I didn't say that part...


I didn't want to crush her dreams of having a near perfect patient.

Doctor: "Well, 142 isn't so bad either!  You're in great shape and you're doing all the right things..."

Me (embarrassed): "Well, I'm trying, but I seem to be stuck...."

Doctor (embarrassed):  "Oh.  That's...hmmm.  Well, that's normal.  And we will check your thyroid today, just to make sure we don't need to adjust anything...."

And I wish that were the most embarrassing moment while there.

But alas, my life would never be complete without embarrassing moments to make you people happy.

Things like walking in to another patient's exam when you think you are walking into the waiting room.

Things like saying humiliating things about what you consider to be abnormal body parts.

And then realize the doctor doesn't think that's abnormal at all.

Or you know, has never heard of anything like that before and doesn't know what to say....

But, all in all, another week is down, and another weigh-in is behind me....

And here's where it shakes out:

Down .6 from last week's weigh in

And .2 from my lowest weight this time around.

Overall, I am down 34.2 lbs from my starting point of 179.

That's only 7.8 lbs from my pre-preggo goal weight.

Maybe I'll be there by my birthday, since it won't be by Baby Girl's birthday, which is a scant 2 weeks away.


Now, pardon me while I go binge on salad in celebration of that .6 lbs.


Momma just got closer to her goal.

Can't give up now!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Honest Opinion: Saving Memories with Us

Photo books are all the rage right now.

Shutterfly and Snapfish have sales almost every single month.

Everyone I know is doing it.

I don't remember it being quite so popular when we started doing it back in 2008.

I don't like to take credit for things, but it had to catch on somewhere, right???


We got the idea from someone else, too. 

I'm nothing if not unoriginal.


We have been doing family year books for the last 5 years.

Yep.  Just like school year books. 

Only better.

But I should probably clarify.

Because technically, we did it for 3 years and are in the process of finishing the last 2 years.

This is what a move mid-year and halfway through a pregnancy will do to you.  

Put you years behind in your photo commemorating. 

If it makes you feel better, I am all the way up to March 2011.

At this rate, I should be caught up...never....

But I digress....

Photo Books....

I have used almost every program out there for making them.

And our personal favorite - Blurb.

Not that I don't love the other programs.

Snapfish has some of the most adorable page designs ever.

And Shutterfly has not only awesome page designs, but absolutely precious embellishments.

And Artscow has a little bit of everything, and the price is absolutely right, but it ships from China, so be prepared to wait for a small eternity.

Not an option when Techy is involved.

Although at this point...

But for our year books, we always, always, always use Blurb.

For large books, Blurb's price is considerably lower, while maintaining the quality and care that we can't do without for something this meaningful.

For example, 2010's year book was 160 pages and cost us 59.95.  (before shipping and taxes)

The same book at Shutterfly would have cost us at least double that.

Snapfish has a preset limit of 150 pages, so....


My point?  

Other than the fact that we are completely awesome for creating family year books every year???

And other than the fact that the cover of 2010's photo book features my bad hair day?

Can you believe my husband would immortalize 2010 with my BAD HAIR???  

I digress...


My point, CLEARLY, is that for big books, you should probably look into Blurb.

And save pretty Shutterfly and Snapfish books for your 20 page my-kid-just-sneezed books.

But that's just my opinion...

Take it or leave it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Helpful How-To: Reverse! Reverse!

I love the Cha-Cha Slide, don't you?

Can anyone tell me why we don't get to do the Cha-Cha Slide any time other than at weddings?

Has anyone else ever wondered why/how their Nanna is so amazing at the Cha-Cha Slide?

Where on earth is she going to practice those moves?

Or LEARN them?

Are they teaching it during rec hour or what???

Anyway, that is totally not what this post is about.

This post is me asking, nay, BEGGING for help.

(Get it?  Reverse?  As in I usually give you advice, but today I'm asking for it...clever, right?)


I have this friend.

And this friend has a 3 year old...

And this 3 year old has been potty trained for well over 6 months now....

And recently he has had some...erm...poopy issues.

Last week friend experienced her first bout with toddler constipation.

Talk about a crappy situation.

Too far?

Yeah, well, you know me....

Anyway, the issue was quickly resolved, but there have been some lingering issues.

Some dangling participles, if you will.

Said 3 year old is frightened, and I mean TERRIFIED to go poopy.

He doesn't want his "bottom to hurt".


People.  This is what consumes my life.


Who am I kidding, here.

This is my life.

This is my kid.

Oh how far we fall....

So, tell me, how do I fix this issue?

Other than adding plenty of juice and fiber to his diet?

As it is right now, he is terrified to go, so he will hold it, which in turn, just starts the vicious cycle all over again.

Now, there aren't many things that take me down or that I don't know how to deal with...

But poop is one of them.

So tell me, WHAT DO I DO?????

I need advice, like YESTERDAY!

Please, please HELP ME!

I need it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recent Reads: The Timber Wolves Series

Start your eye rolling now.

It's completely understandable.

When one of my best friends from college and lifelong reading buddy threw The Timber Wolves Series at me, I most definitely rolled my eyes.

I mean, I loved Twilight as much as the next person, but haven't we had enough of the werewolves for a while now???

At this point, I view anything vampire or werewolf related as copycats.

Which is why I continue to avoid True Blood, Vampire Diaries and Teenage Werewolf.

If I'm going to watch barely believable accounts of vampire/werewolf  interactions, you can bet your boot straps it's going to be the original barely believable account of vampire/werewolf interactions.

But, being the amazing sport I am, I promised to at least give it a try.


To say I loved it would be a slight understatement.

To say that I was OBSESSED with it might come close.

Like saying that Michael Jackson had a thing for plastic surgery.

Now.  Lest you make the same assumption I did, this book is nothing like Twilight.

Scout - the main character is strong, decisive, and (mostly) confident.

I won't pretend that this is a series that Little Man will learn about in American Literature, but as for a gripping read about werewolves.  Um.YES.

As for a gripping read in general with a decent storyline?  Yep.

As for a gripping read with a twisted but amazing romantic storyline?  ABSOLUTELY.


Tammy Blackwell, the author, has been kind enough to write At First Sight - a companion book that gives you extra insight into the main characters' backgrounds, thoughts, and opinions.

I warn you, though.

You should not, I repeat NOT read At First Sight until after you have finished the original 3 books. (spoilers, spoilers, and more spoilers)

Additional warning, once you've read At First Sight, you will not be satisfied until you have reread all three original books.

But you won't mind.

I promise.

You know, if you are into that sort of thing.

I think we all know that I am...

UPDATE: Miss Tammy read this post and commented!!!  People, I think I just peed my  pants!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fitness Friday: The Monday Version

Wow.  That was lame of me.

I totally skipped posting on Friday and the only excuse I have is laundry.


I think I have crossed a line.

Laundry just became an excuse....

Would it help if I said I actually did 6 loads of laundry on Friday?

Wait.  That was Saturday.


What DID I do on Friday?

Oh. Right.

Grocery shopping.  Price Matching.

Another post for another day.

Be excited.

After all, I saved over $100 on my groceries on Friday.

Now back to my fitness.

Or lack thereof...

Because I haven't lost an ounce since the week before Christmas.

Correction: I was down .2 during that miserable cleanse, but then I gained it back.

This is not looking to be a good omen for having the weight off by Baby Girl's birthday.

It is, however, doing amazing things for my initiative to run.

If you followed my weight loss journey after Little Man, you probably aren't surprised.

I hit the same plateau last time, and it wasn't until I started running that the rest of the weight came off.

So here's where I'm at these days.

I am up .4 from my lowest point this time around.

And still 8.4 from my goal/pre-prego weight of 137.

And this weekend, I took that especially hard.

But I'm also PMSing.

So lest you think I am completely down on myself over what is essentially "just a number" this is just a bad week for me to have gained weight.

Techy kindly reminded me that it could also be a reason for my weight gain....

Thanks, honey, I'll be sure to remind you of that next time you PMS.  It totally helps.

(So.much.sarcasm. So.much.eyerolling)

I know, I know.

There's always an upside....

After all, I'm sure that's just muscle...muscle weighs more than fat.

And if it's not muscle, surely it's just water weight....

And if that's not the case, I'm sure it's got something to do with not changing up my workout enough over the last few weeks.

(Just so you know, I added the elliptical back in after almost 3 months off of it, not to mention I started running again for the first time since October...)

But the truth of the matter is that it's been 5 weeks of not losing weight and I am cranky and frustrated.

I don't hate myself.

But I am extremely frustrated with the plateau.

Does that mean that I see Gilbert Grape's momma when I look in the mirror?

Heck, no!

Does it mean, I think I am a lousy human being whose life is defined by the number on that scale?


But it is frustrating.

No one is going to look at me, right now, and think, "She's a chubby girl."

I'm pretty much out of the fat zone.

But I am not where I want to be.

And I don't think there is anything wrong with being dissatisfied with that.

After all, that is what challenge is all about right.

And I'm here to keep it real.

Because I want any of you who are on the same wagon to know that this is life.

This is real.

It's frustrating.

And sometimes unsuccessful.

But I've made alot of progress over the last year.

33.6 lbs of progress.

And it was an EXTREMELY STRESSFUL year.

And I have the rest of my life to lose 8 lbs.

But for those of you who wondered what 145.4 lbs looks like, here ya go:

It's not perfect, but it's a heck of alot better.

And that's something to be very thankful for!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Honest Opinion: Our Perfect Imperfect Home

Our Georgia home is anything but perfect.

I mean...

It's ORANGE....

And it's can be kinda hard to find....

But on the upside...Techy loves all the privacy...but seriously.

All the naked time is starting to get to me.

And the deck is kinda oddly placed on the side of the house rather than on the BACK of the house facing our lake.

And the dining room chandelier is older than I am.

But people...


I know.

All you see is the orange wall.

But what I saw was gorgeous plank ceilings...

And the mantel that I have waited FOREVER for....

And then I walked into the kitchen...
(don't mind my mess...I am still in the process of cleaning up Christmas chaos)

And yes.

The kitchen is most definitely tan on tan on tan with a black stove thrown in the middle of it.


There is so much space.

And so much food prep space.

Someone really thought that out.

Like way more than a fake dead girlfriend...

And then when I realized that I could stand at that cabinet and look out at the lake...

I didn't even have to see the rest of the house to know that I could live here.


Nevermind the fact that it was on almost 3 acres of land.

Or that yes, we own 1/4 of the lake in our back yard.

Or that it is one of like 2% of houses in Georgia with a basement.

I don't understand that at all, people.

No one here has basements!!!


WHERE do you put your STUFFFFFF?

And seriously, haven't you seen Wizard of Oz.

Where do you go????

(Sidenote: tornado's are like my biggest fear.  Right next to that alien from the Flintstones - what is creepier than aliens invading prehistoria - and a mullet-comeback....  Terror, people, TERROR.)

But yeah, the icing on the cake was the bathroom.

Ok, so I'll admit the wall paper is HIDEOUS

But the bathtub...



This is my own personal heaven.

Makes sense, right???

Now, when are you coming to visit me??

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blip vs. Bullhorn

Today is supposed to be Helpful-How-To's.

And I had one planned.

But like I said on Monday...

I tend to blog about things that I am obsessed with concerned about.

And today, the only thing on my mind is my mom.

Because yesterday, I almost lost her.

Yesterday, around 3:30, while I was feeding Baby Girl, my phone rang.

It was daddy.

And usually, I would panic.

He never calls me.

But yesterday, I just thought, Yes, Dad, I'm going to join the NRA as soon as possible...

And then I said, "Hello?"

"Leah?!  Hey!  Your momma's been in a really bad accident.  She's least I think she's ok.  She's talking and stuff, but they wouldn't let her walk and she's on the way to the hospital, she ran off the road and a fence post came through the windshield right next to her head, went clean through the car and busted out the back window...LEAH??  ARE YOU THERE???"

I was too busy dry heaving to respond, Daddy...sorry about that....

"Yeah, Dad, I'm here.  She's ok?"

"I think so, I mean, she's on her way to the hospital now and they are going to do tests to make sure....  You ok?"

"Yeah, Dad.  You ok?"

"Yeah.  I'm fine.  You should see the car....  I don't know how....  I'll call you when I get to the hospital, ok?"

And then I got this in a text:



First of all, how is my mom's head still attached?

I got that picture and I fell apart.

You know, AFTER I knew she was alive, I fell apart.

The thing is, I tried to call my mom 4 times yesterday morning.

And I gave up after the 4th try.

And for all I knew she could have still had some serious injuries.

And I had no way of reaching her.

And I had given up when I had the chance.

I literally shook all over, broke into a sweat and burst into tears.

I scared Baby Girl half to death with all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

And I didn't get to talk to my mom until 9 pm last night.

I'm still a all of it.

I took alot for granted yesterday.

And got a helpful reminder that I shouldn't do that.

Sometimes these things can tend to be just a blip on the radar of life....

But I'm going to try to take it as more of a blaring bullhorn of a wakeup call.

And thank Jesus that she still has a head, she still can talk to me, and that I can still race home to get a giant hug from her as soon as I can catch the first flight.

She's the best mom I've ever had, and I'm not quite ready to let go of that....

Now, go give your mom (or any mother roles in your life) a giant hug and kiss.

And cherish every moment - you just never know what tomorrow may bring....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Recent Reads: Divergent

Remember that time I read round the clock for a week when I discovered The Hunger Games?

It's no secret that I love to read, but since the big move, my reading has been really intermittent and more or less rereading of some old tried and trues.

But over last summer, I got my hands on Divergent by Veronica Roth.

I don't remember where the recommendation came from, but suffice it to say, it was an EXCELLENT recommendation.

The Good:

The story line is solid and quick moving.

I think I read it in 2 days.

And I'm a slow reader.

Much like Hunger Games, this dystopian novel is packed with action, adventure, self-triumph and yes, romance.

The characters are strong, endearing and completely relatable.

I can assure you that if you were a fan of the Hunger Games, you will have no problem falling in love with this series as well.

The Bad:

There's not much I can find to complain about in this series, other than the fact that I have to wait for book 3 to arrive.

But since I'm just this side of scary-stalker-blogger girl (I am totally winning you over, right? You sooooo wanna be my bff, huh???  #wiiiiiiiink), I (thankfully) did your research for you:  

Should you decide to jump on the Divergent bandwagon with me, you will be relieved to know that, as per Ms. Roth's blog, she has finished writing book 3 and is currently editing the "as-yet-untitled third book".

Which, of course, means something to the effect of, we won't have to be left wondering what happened to all our favorite characters like some still-bitter-fans-of-Heroes are.  

And I'm sure, if it's anything like the first 2 books, it will completely blow our minds.  

In case you can't tell, I give this book 2 thumbs up!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Among Other Things

One week into my New Year's Resolution and BAM!

My world has been ROCKED from the ground up.

After 2 years of trying to ignore the entire world's ravings about Downton Abbey, my sister fell under the spell.

Now, I can avoid the tug of the British period drama for only so long.

But the moment my sister fell under the spell and began whispering sweet nothings of Downton Abbey amazingness in my ear, I was done.  

The universe really knows how to get me.

My sister is truly my Achilles heel.  

I cave to her.


I wish I could say that I'm not allowing it to interfere with my life.

But if you have seen Downton Abbey, I venture to say that you recognize the fallacy in a statement like that.

And if you have been reading my blog for any time at all, you probably also know that I tend to blog about the things that I am absorbed in....

I should be more sorry for that.

But in the case of good television, one should never hold back!

There seems to be so little of it these days.  

So perhaps, I won't apologize.

After all, if I held back more, you would miss the opportunity to hear the inner workings of my mind....

And isn't that what this is all about anyway?

That's what I thought.


Back to Downton Abbey.


And a little more than attached to these new friends.  

I know you will find it surprising to learn that I am extremely opinionated on EVERYTHING that happens on this show.

Shocking, right?

This coming from the girl who screams next moves at every Bachelor like football fans scream at their favorite players on Sunday afternoon.

By the by...

I have become so absorbed that I have put even Uncle Si and Leslie Knope on the backburner until I get caught up with the rest of you.  

Consider this a warning.  

It is highly likely that there will be many Maggie Smith references in the future.

You can thank me later!!!

I know you will...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fitness Friday: To Catch You Up

It's been more than 35 weeks (tomorrow will make 36...) of dieting and exercising to try to get this baby weight off.

And my last post about it was 18 weeks ago. (Which, by the way, I just realized someone had commented on and I just read it for the first time.  It almost made me cry!  Thank you, commentor!!!)

Apparently, 18 weeks ago, I was weighing in at 154.2.

And over the last 18 weeks, I have run, biked, strength trained and dieted my way down another 9 lbs.

I did the cleanse last week in hopes of shedding some quick pounds, but that didn't really work out as planned....

So now, I'm left with 4 weeks to lose 7 lbs.

Talk about depressing.

For someone who hasn't lost more than a lb a week in over a month, it's probably time to be realistic, but I'm always hopeful.

But at this point, to hit my goal, I'd have to lose 2 lbs a week for the next 4 weeks.

And that might be a little impractical.

Not to say that I'm not going to give it all I've got for the next 4 weeks.

And in the meantime, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Honest Opinion: The New Year Cleanse

If you haven't been around here long, or you haven't been digging through my archives, you probably don't know that I am completely and TOTALLY obsessed with my weight.

It's a problem, I admit, but one that I try to keep a firm grip on.

(For all those who are wondering, I have a whole section of posts dedicated to fitness and 3 sections of posts dedicated to my weight maintenance, my most recent posts can be found here.

But for those who know me best, it's probably no surprise that my dedication to get the rest of this baby weight off (in case you don't know or forgot, I had a baby last February, blew up like a house and have devoted the past year to working it off, yada yada) I decided to start my year off with a cleanse.

Because, I assumed it would help me shed some of that holiday weight faster.

And because I wanted to kick start my metabolism into thinking, "THIS is the year we let her wear a bikini!"

But mostly because, you know, I wanted to be healthy and stuff.

Alas, I have flaws that could possibly inhibit my ability to complete said cleanse:

1.  I like food ALOT.

2.  I can't survive on a no-indulgence-for-weeks-on-end schedule.

3.  I tend to believe that the key to healthy weight is exercise and not diet.

Knowing that, I realized pretty quickly that I couldn't be dedicated to anything food/diet related long term.

Now, rest assured extensive research was done before choosing what cleanse I chose, i.e., I googled "healthy 3 day cleanse", saw Dr. Oz's name, remembered that my mother in law once called him "the King of Poop", thought, If he's the King of Poop, surely his cleanse will get me to where I want to be. Then printed it out and headed to the grocery store.

Because that's how I roll.


I had to make some substitutions.

And being me, I planned to workout at least 2 of the 3 days.

I know.


But that meant I would have to supplement, since Dr. Oz's idea of protein was 1 tablespoon of almond butter a day.

And then I had to substitute strawberries for raspberries when my grocery store didn't have them in stock.

And lemons for limes that my 2 year old apparently dropped out of the grocery cart.

The long and short of it - I cheated left and right.

But here is the plan I (mostly) followed:

Day 1, I followed everything by the book.

Or as closely as my lame attempt at buying groceries could get me.

And gagged my way through all 3 shakes.

The lunch time shake was seriously a come to Jesus moment.

The consistency of kale, cucumbers, celery and coconut "oil" (think crisco) is pretty much the most detestable consistency known to mankind.

Think vegetable flavored blubber.

Mind over matter, people.  Mind.over.matter.

Day 2, I chewed the celery and blended everything else.

If anything, it got worse.

By day 3, I was willing to chew it all, but opted to chew the celery and cucumbers and blend everything else.

I still gagged through it (something about the kale is really, really awful) but at least the flavor was better.

The dinner shake isn't too bad, if you blend the kale up very finely, and breakfast can be yummy if you add enough stevia to it....

I will admit, the cravings were rough.

Lunch time was horrific.

Watching my 2 year old munch chicken nuggets, knowing that I had to chug almost 40 oz of gelatinous vegetables is enough to bring Chuck Norris to his knees in tears!

And believe me when I say, I looked forward to the protein supplements everyday.

Only partially because they taste like chocolate and are actually the consistency of liquid.

Somehow, though, I survived it.

It wasn't fun.

Or easy.

The headaches were HORRIFIC.

But I only had those on the days that I exercised.

I have heard several people who drink caffeine say that they attributed their headaches to the lack of it, but since I don't drink caffeine and still had headaches, I can only assume that was due to the lack of calories while my body was trying to make up for what I had burned during my workouts.

Did I mention how stupid that was??

All in all, it's over.

For those of you who are wondering if you should do a cleanse, or if you should do this cleanse, here's what I have to say:

1.  Don't expect to lose gross amounts of weight on this cleanse.  I lost a little over 2 lbs.  Not bad for a 3 day cleanse, but nothing compared to what I was hoping.

2,  This cleanse is full of alot of water!  What little weight you will lose will probably not be in solid form.
King of Poop is a very loose term based upon this cleanse.  I'm really not sure their shouldn't be a coup in the land of Poop.  Just sayin'.

3.  If you are looking for a quick cleanse, I would give this a shot.  But I would also recommend chewing alot more that sipping.

Post - Script:
It's too soon to tell what improvements I will see after having completed this, but I will try to follow up on this next week.   Feel free to let me know what you have tried and what impacted you most about it!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Helpful-How-To: Miracle Cream

Have you ever had one of those days when everything goes wrong?

And then it gets worse?

That's just what kind of day I was having the day I learned about the miracle cream.

It was one of those days when both of the kids had been sick.

And all the bills were due.

And the dog pooped in the floor.


AND I was having a bad hair day.

In a nutshell, it was a VERRRRY bad day.

Baby Girl was cutting teeth. (She has been for a small eternity...)

And her diapers were...well, if you have ever had a teething baby, you know...YUCK.

And with that comes a wicked diaper rash.

Think open sores.

Think baby-sobs as soon as you open the diaper.

I think I cried.

And I know she did.

It was pitiful.

So I did what every good mother does.

I dropped everything and ran to the store to buy every diaper rash cream they had.

And when that didn't work, I panicked.

Had it not been 8 o'clock at night, I'd have called the doctor's office.

But instead, I called my sister.

And being the wealth of information that only a mom of 3 can be, she told me to Google it...

That she had heard of a miracle cream that could be made from common household items.

Gosh, she's brilliant!

And not just when it comes to numbers!

Within minutes, I had found the secret!

Apparently, the secret concoction involves equal parts diaper rash cream, oatmeal, and...drumroll please...


I know.

It sounds crazy.

But the explanation* made sense.

And desperate momma's will try almost anything.

So I mixed up a quick batch and slathered it all over the scary rash.

Then wrapped her up tight and put her to bed.

And proceeded to twiddle my thumbs for the next 12 hours waiting to see if it worked.

And chewed every nail off.

Fingers and toes!


Only Techy does that....

But yeah, I passed the night with bated breath waiting to see if it worked.

And, obviously, I am posting this, so....

It worked!!

You're totally shocked right now, right?


I'm really good at punch lines.

But by the next morning, the rash wasn't just better, it was almost GONE.

Sadly, I have had to keep the concoction mixed up, because every 2 weeks or so the teething diapers return along with the rash.

Someone remind me how long teething actually lasts????


Lucky for me, the miracle cream works FAST.

Otherwise I'd have no fingernails or toenails by now.

Just kidding!!!

But in case you ever need it, now you know!

Be glad you know me.

Now you don't have to google it in a panic when your it happens to your teether!

*the active ingredients neutralize the acid in icky diapers.... Nuff said!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Blog Updates - Twenty Thirteen Version

Don't act all surprised. 

It's been over a year since I have ACTIVELY blogged.

This blog is long overdue for some updates.

And it should probably be more than just the header font.

Although, really, isn't it pretty???

It's not as impressive as anything going on on Pioneer Woman, but I also don't have my own TV show or book deal, so we're working with what we have here.

You'll love me anyway, right?


I need love.


In the words of Vicki from Real Housewives of OC, "My love tank needs to be full!"


I can feel it from here.

It's ok. 

I rolled my eyes a little too.

And lost a contact in the process, but back to the blog....

Having considered every angle of reviving this blog into something worthwhile, I have also had to think about what I have to talk about.

These days, it's diaper rash and preschool's and the best laundry techniques.  

How Donna Reed of me, huh?

You just googled Donna Reed, didn't you?

I'm so old school sometimes.

Confession: Turner Classic Movies got me through alot of boring summers in high school.  19 year old Leah's favorite actress of all time was Maureen O'Hara.  

Things you never knew you didn't want to know about me....

I seem to be rabbit trailing alot today...  


The updates I plan to bring this year.

I was thinking...

I want to schedule topics again.

Does that work for you?

Or is that not enough "on-the-fly" for you.

Because sometimes "on-the-fly" Leah can be a little scary.

And talk about things like gun control.

I figure that in order to help prevent that from  happening, I would TRY to schedule more regular posts.

Mondays can be devoted to "on-the-fly" moments. For all those brave readers out there.
Be excited.

Tuesdays.  (Today doesn't count, mkay???)  I'm reading more frequently these days, and we all know how I love to spread the word on good fiction! Right????  So I thought I could use Tuesdays as book review days.  But if I don't have any good reads to recommend, you can count on a random-Leah-rant.  I know how much you love those....


Or how much I love those...same difference....  

Wednesdays will be bringing back Helpful-How-To's for the compulsive know-it-all buried just beneath the surface of my skin.  She's extremely obnoxious and needs an outlet for her all-knowing wisdom.  You can thank me later.  Like when you're at a party and I'm not telling you how to do something even better than you did it.  I'm know.  It's obnoxious.  I'm sorry.  LOVE ME! (see above)

Thursdays won't change, either.  My Honest Opinions will be back, because if there is one thing this momma needs (other than love...and an outlet for knowing everything...I may be a little needy...that's totally cool, right?), it's the opportunity to be completely opinionated about something.  Hopefully, I can avoid politics and religion and any other taboo topics that could possibly send you running, but I'm not making any promises!!!

Friday will become Fitness Fridays.  This will include all my previous weight-loss posts and all the updates I hope to provide you on how I am accomplishing my New Year's Resolutions.  

Saturdays will probably remain silent, but I plan to revive the short-lived Sunday Sermon Series this year.  Because, wow.   If there is one thing about the 2012 that was awesome, it was how God came alive in my life more than ever.  And I want to share that with all of you!  

How's that for a 2013 Blogging Game Plan???

Are you as excited as I am???

(Say yes!  Say yes!)

And as always, if you have any suggestions for improving things over here, feel free to let me know!  

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome Back, JACK!

Let's just pretend like the last year never happened.

You know, the one where I blogged less than most people floss.

But I'm back now....

I know, I know, I've said that before....

What an amazing year 2012 was.


I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one saying that they are happy to have 2012 behind them.

Although, I can say, 2012 did bring me a new hero.


Yeah, JACK!

I will give you credit for that one, 2012.  Nice work.

Now, on to 2013!


How did you celebrate?

We were in Maryland/Delaware for the long weekend with the in-laws.

Have I ever mentioned what an amazing cook my mother-in-law is??

Our New Year's Eve celebration included our own take on surf n turf - deer steak and my mother-in-law's famous crab cakes.

Just typing the words made my stomach growl.

And cry.

I have to say, I might give away one of my arms for a good crab cake.

But after dinner, we, of course, we watched Dick Clark's New Year's Rocking Eve....

Because we are lame.

And, oh, yeah, we have TWO KIDS.

Did it annoy anyone else that they abbreviated it all night?

I mean, really, you don't even want to know how long it took me to figure out what NYRE stood for.

And can we all talk about poor Ryan Seacrest?

Is he sweating that one out or what?

You know he's all, So still?  We're still keeping HIS name on this???

Poor Ryan....

But all in all, I guess it was an okay way to spend New Year's Eve.

And we didn't have to pay the dinner bill or drive home, and we were warm the entire time!


(SIDENOTE:  Do you hashtag?  I love hashtagging.  I hashtag everything.  Texts, thoughts, conversations with Techy, etc.  Why hasn't hashtagging been around forever?)

And since no New Year/Welcome Back to Blogging post would be complete without it....

And since I know that all of you who aren't following me on every form of social media* out there have been patiently waiting to know, I did make some New Year's Resolutions.

Things that didn't make the list that should have:

1. Blog more, OBVIOUSLY.

2.  Watch more Duck Dynasty, pattern your life after Si, Finish every sentence with the word, "JACK!"**

But you get the general idea, Most of my goals are the same as everyone else's in America.

I'm not that creative.

But what I lack in creativity, I make up for in follow-through.

Don't believe me?

Well, let's just wait and see where 2013 takes us, shall we?

Hop on boys and girls, this may get bumpy!

* Why aren't you following me?  Is it because I don't have "buttons"?  Cause I can learn to make "buttons" if you really want to follow me.  No pressure or anything.  Here's my number, so call me maybe.  Oh, yeah, 2012, good call on that one, too....

**If you aren't on the Duck Dynasty band wagon yet, I'm sorry for you.  If you've been wondering what all the hype is about, this guy explains it far more eloquently than I can.