Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Little Family of Three

Thought I would just take some time this morning to give an update of our lives right now (when T.J. is sleeping, I take advantage of it!).  Warning: This post will be full of "mommy bragginess", so if you don't want to have to hear all of that, please exit stage left.

T.J. is at such a cute stage right now.  He is talking up a storm, mimicking everything we say, pulling up like crazy, moving along furniture to get to things, still crawling like it is going out of style, and standing on his own for a few seconds at a time.  Will he be walking by his first birthday?  Who knows!  I believe I walked by my first birthday, but Travis was a later bloomer on that so T.J. could go either way.  The great thing is knowing that he is progressing beautifully and growing up well.  More than anything, T.J. is a social butterfly.  He waves on a visual cue or verbal cue ("bye-bye"), claps when told to and when he gets into the rhythm of the music, and occasionally will lift his hands in the air when we say, "Praise the Lord!"  =]  He smiles at people and sings with us and just generally brings joy to people all around him.  Everything about him is my "favorite", but I would like to point out a few that might bring a smile to your face:

1. He is obsessed with Travis.  Oh. my. goodness.  When Daddy walks through that door after work, I might as well be a dirty sock lying on the floor (...well... no, I take that back... he probably would be interested in a dirty sock- gross.).  He crawls over to Trav while he waits at the door.  But this isn't just any crawling- no no!!- he puts his head down so he achieves a better wind-stream as he plows toward the front door to get to his dad.  Daddy makes him laugh and smile, and... and... where is that noise coming from?  What is that higher pitch???  Who is here????  Ohhhh!  No worries, it was just the "keeper of the boobs" talking... IGNORE!

Don't worry, though.  I love every minute of being ignored when Daddy is home- I love to see their special bond.  =]

2. T.J. will now snuggle so hard!  Oh my goodness!  He will wrap his tiny arms around our necks and bury himself into us.  Of course, sometimes this involves biting.  But don't worry, after he has cried a few times, we realize we cannot bite him so hard.

Okay, okay, before you call child services, I will say that obviously he is the one biting- derrr.  We promptly stop him from that out of well... pain.

Just the other day "our song" came on Pandora- "You'll be in My Heart" by Phil Collins from Disney's Tarzan- and he just lit up and started kicking his legs.  Thus, I began dancing with him (as I often do- it is like a dance party up in here most of the time, FYI.  Yes, it is embarrassing... yes, I sense your judgement... stop... okay fine, just judge- it is kind of weird.).  When we started dancing, he just put his arms around my neck and squeezed tightly!  So. sweet.  My heart pretty much melted (which, if you consider, is actually terrifyingly gross sounding).

3. So you know how I said that T.J. will occasionally lift his hands when we say "Praise the Lord!"?  Why am I asking you?  You can't respond.

Anyway, so on Sunday, my mom, dad, and I all had him doing that throughout the day.  He got so used to it that it became second nature.  Well, at one point we were in the car and Mom was telling Lindsey about it.  T.J. was already asleep in his car seat by this point, but, I kid you not, when my mom told my sister about it on the phone and said, "We say, 'Praise the Lord!' and yadda yadda yadda...", T.J. (IN HIS SLEEP) raised his arms instantly!  I nearly died.  Too funny- we had the poor kid so trained that he literally could do it in his sleep.

All right, well I told you I would update you on "our lives", so I guess that involves Travis and me- the boring ones of the family.  I will make this short.  We are fine.

HA!  Just kidding!  I got more for ya!  We are doing very well.  Travis is still working at Morgan Stanley, and I am still a stay-at-home momma!  I just recently got back from Tennessee where I got to enjoy the lovely crisp, cool mountain air while helping my parents decorate for Christmas (and by helping them decorate, I mean keeping T.J. from eating the garland and wreaking havoc the whole time).  Travis is still singing in a barbershop quartet and chorus and has been performing in a few gigs recently.  It is so nice to know that he can still pursue his passion for singing despite being "grown up" and in the real world.  He sings beautifully, and I don't want that to go to waste!  =]  Although, as much as I love listening to him sing barbershop and Broadway songs, etc., I think the time his voice is most beautiful to me is when he is singing lullabies to our son.  Okay, okay, I know I am corny... blah blah... ::vom::, etc., but it is true!  And if you know Travis and me at all, you know that our whole life together has been extremely corny- theatrically corny.

Anywho, so things are going fine for us!  We still are a one car family as of now, and we are still living in a two bedroom condo as of now- both blessings from the Lord!  And we are still happy- a happy little family of three!  =] 

Erica J Grant Photography
--Update me, friend!  What is new with you and your family?  Please leave a comment giving me an update or just to tell me what you thought of this post!  It would be much appreciated!--

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Be Informed...

Whether you are religious or not, conservative or liberal, etc., etc., I think you would agree that part of what makes this country great is our rights- including the right to practice religion and run a company with that mindset.  And considering the fact that we are supposed to have a capitalistic economic model in this country (though we are leaning toward socialism more and more each day), this should work just fine to allow "the people" choose.  People can choose to not go to Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, or Forever 21 because of the Christian beliefs at the core of each of those companies.  If "the people" all choose to not shop there, the companies will go out of business.  However, if people do choose to shop at those companies, they will thrive- so be it.

I as a Christian may decide not to support a company that uses "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" because I feel that "Christ" should be kept in Christmas.  I may decide as a Christian to not support companies that openly support and donate to abortion and gay rights causes.  That is, and should be, my prerogative.  If you disagree, if that "offends" you, well... I don't mean any disrespect but I really don't care if you are offended.  I stand with Christ alone.  The Bible is my belief system.  period.  I should be able to open up a business and still stand as strongly as ever with my Biblical belief system.

 Just as someone who believes in liberal causes can open up a business and run that business with those beliefs being at the core.  Donate money to those causes, shout from your business's rooftop about how much you LOVE those liberal causes for all I care!!!  If I have a problem with it, guess what?  You won't get my business...  Isn't that the way it is supposed to work?  The people decide whether or not a business survives based on how often they shop at that business or use that business's services.

...Well, I wish.

Check the article below out.  Whether or not you believe in Hobby Lobby's opinion, please try to switch out that opinion for one you believe in, and see if you agree or disagree with the government's intervention in this matter.  If you think you have an "open mind", prove it.  Try to see this situation with your own views in mind to see if you truly agree with the government's use of power- regardless of the "cause" Hobby Lobby is supporting.


Our freedoms are being taken away, and we need to speak out about it.  Christians, conservatives, Tea Party-ers, where are you?  Where are you on voting day?  Where are you when your right to your beliefs is being challenged in the government?  Where are you when companies that need your support are struggling in a fight against evil?  We need to rise up with God's strength and power to fight for Biblical principles in which we believe- before you know it, we will no longer be able to "legally" believe anything from the Bible.  Our Bibles will be taken away because having them will be considered a "hate crime".  It isn't long until we will be hiding and meeting secretly to study the Bible and worship Jesus.  If you don't think that could happen, you need to get informed.  In other countries around the world, people are doing exactly what I just described... if we don't fight back, we will be in the same situation.  We are so blessed to be able to worship freely and study God's Word freely, but if we sit idly by as the government becomes more and more involved, we won't have those freedoms anymore.  Don't be so sheltered that you miss what is going on in the world- being aware is part of your responsibility as a Christian: get informed so you can fight the good fight.  Watch the news.  Read articles.  No, it isn't enjoyable to see all of the terrible things going on in the world and at home.  However, hiding from reality doesn't make it go away.  Ignoring your emptying bank account won't suddenly create funds just as ignoring the government stripping you of freedoms won't allow you to exercise those non-existent freedoms.

More government isn't good for anyone, I guarantee it.  You know who had ultimate government control?  Hitler.  Use your knowledge of history to combat against repeating it.

Ignorance may be bliss for a while, but ultimately it will lead to our demise.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things


Okay, so a "few" might be an understatement... are 20 things considered "a few"?  Meh, guess it doesn't matter since I am going to talk about all 20 anyway- HA!  I have provided plenty of links (look for the words in GREEN) throughout the post, so please check out the companies, recipes, websites, and people I reference.  Get psyched... here we gooooo!  =]

1. Little Green Pouch

I have to give a special shout-out to my friend, Katryna Atkins who posted about the Little Green Pouch on her Facebook.  I became curious, looked it up, fell in love, and decided to give them a try.  If you have ever seen those baby/toddler food pouches at the checkout area in the grocery store, then you know what these are.  The difference is, they are reusable, dishwasher safe, and freezer safe!  I put my own, homemade organic baby food or store bought, organic, baby yogurt in the pouches.  Once T.J. gets the hang of it, he will be able to feed himself by sucking the food out of the pouch!  It also makes it easier for us to take baby food on the go as the pouches don't spill as easily as the jars!  Check out the website by clicking.... HERE!

2. Super Girlie, Fantastically Sparkly, Princess Nail Polish of Awesomeness

This awesome nail polish that my husband so lovingly let me buy on a whim is by OPI and called "Servin' Up Sparkle".  Every princess has to have her sparkly nail polish!  =]

3. Thoughtfulness + Cinnamon

 I have always love the cinnamon brooms they 
have at the grocery store around this time of year.  Well, Travis isn't the biggest fan of them.  I saw them in the store and was tempted to buy one but didn't.  Travis stopped by the store to get something one night and came home with this yummy-smelling, harvest-tastical broom for me!  SO thoughtful- I think I love his thoughtfulness more than I love the broom!

 4. Homemade, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Since we are the topic of harvest, what is the best part about harvest-y time?  Pumpkin Pie, of course!  My husband is gluten intolerant (as are my mom, sister, and mother-in-law), thus I needed to make sure I baked a pie he could enjoy!  This is the very first pie I have ever baked.  It turned out pretty good if I do say so myself!  Even my mom, who is NOT a fan of pumpkin pie, said that it was good!  =]  So happy I didn't fail miserably- haha!!!

5. Yankee Candles

As some of you may know, my favorite thing is scents.  I have a million and one different perfumes, use Listerine like it is going out of style, never go easy on the deodorant (TMI, I know, but really... who wants to smell like B.O.?), and LOVE LOVE LOVE air fresheners and candles.  If you are a candle person, too, then you know that the best smelling longest lasting scented candles are Yankee candles.  They are delish!  Recently, they had a buy 2 get 2, so my sister and I (being the brilliant women we are) decided to go halfsies each buying one and thus each getting one.  Then I had a fun, cheesy idea- I have those sometimes... and by sometimes I mean always- of each picking one for ourselves and picking one for the other person.  I chose "Pumpkin Buttercream" for myself and for Lindsey.  She picked "Be Thankful" for me and... derp... forgot the one she got for herself (comment with the answer, por favor, Lindsey).  I am pretty much obsessed at an unhealthy level.

6. Cheap Frames

Hobby Lobby, I want to thank you for having a 50% sale on lots of adorable frames.  I also would like this chance to berate you: STOP HAVING SO MUCH AWESOME, FUN STUFF THAT I WANT TO BUY!!!  MONEY DOESN'T GROW ON TREES YA KNOW!!!  WELL... IT ACTUally kinda does... considering that paper money is made out of... well... paper...

7. Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Botanical Cleaner (boy that was a mouthful!)

This is a cleaner that is botanical ("of, pertaining to, made from, or containing plants"- thanks!) so it can be used on surfaces where food is placed without having to be rinsed first.  If you look at a lot of your all-purpose cleaners, the packaging will instruct you to rinse surfaces (after using the product) that come in direct contact with food.  This is due to chemicals and such.  Well, with a baby around, with a highchair, and with making my own baby food where some of the ingredients may be lying on my counters before using them, I really appreciate having a cleaner that I can trust to be safe after simply spraying and wiping- no rinsing required.  It even says that if you need to disinfect using it, you can spray the area needing disinfecting, leave it to dry, and then not need to rinse it!  Awesome. stuff.  Not to mention, I LOVE the lemongrass citrus scent- it is so mild and clean smelling without smelling "chemically".  LOVE this stuff- I highly recommend it!

8. Chai Tea

Chai Tea with a little milk and honey makes for a delicious morning!  Yummmm!  =]  Simply put, it tastes like Christmas in a mug!  If you haven't tried it, you are missing out, my friend... or random reader I don't really know.  =]

9. Autumn Decor

Remember how I told you that I love candles?  If not, please refer to #5 and from here on out, please pay better attention.  Well, I fell in LOVE with this Yankee Candle three pumpkin tea light decoration.  Later on, I found a similar (but I little blinged out with some beads) single pumpkin tea light decoration at Michael's arts and craft store.  I snagged that sucker to Autumn-up my guest bathroom!  Love me some Autumn decor!

10. Will Power

Can I just say that the only way I have managed to become nearly 15 lbs lower than my pre-pregnancy weight (and nearly 20 lbs lower than my post pregnancy maintained weight for many months) is by the grace of God?  He is the only one who could bestow upon me ANY amount of willpower because I, in and of myself, have not a lick of it!  Thank you, Jesus, for being there to help me every step of the way with my weight loss!  Without You, I couldn't be doing it!  I feel so much better and healthier! =]

11. A Morning Bible Study

Speaking of health, the most important thing is spiritual health- being close to Jesus Christ.  When I start my day with getting in the Word, my day goes better.  It isn't necessarily that there are no trials, but God equips me to deal with the trials better.  I am currently working on Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible study.  Add a cup of tea or coffee and it is a beautiful thing.  =]

12. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

-Boil pumpkin seeds in one quart of water with two tablespoons of salt for 10-15 minutes.
-Dry said pumpkin seeds.
-Rub an obscene amount of butter on the baking sheet.
-Toss pumpkin seeds in the butter (on the sheet) and lay them out in one layer on the sheet.
-Roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-20 minutes.
-Salt to your liking.
-Eat your body weight in delicious pumpkin seeds.

13. Pumpkins

'Nough said.

14. T.J.'s Pooh Bear Outfit

Ummm, what's not to love?  ...It's stinking adorable!  "Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff!"  =]

15. Cooking With My Hubby

We made our fun, Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Peppers together- fun and yummy!  =]  Want to try them next Halloween?  Find the recipe HERE!  Bon appetit!

16. A Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte 

As much as I ADORE Starbucks and its Pumpkin Spice Latte, paying over $4 a pop for a drink wasn't working out for me.  Some nights, if you listened really hard, you could hear the soft sobs from our budget.  Thus, I decided to try a homemade version of this delicious Autumn treat!

17. Carving Pumpkins

Better late than never!  Travis and I carved our pumpkins on November 2nd!  Although that may seem silly because we completely missed Halloween, we did it!  Why?  Because we bought the pumpkins already and we wanted to carve them this year.  So... why not?  Sometimes it doesn't matter WHEN, just as long as it happens.  We don't want to miss out on something fun just because we missed the proper date!  We wouldn't not celebrate a birthday because we couldn't celebrate it on the actual date.  We still had a blast!  =]

18. My Handsome Hubby

I luff him!  =}  He is a sweetheart and so selfless.  He works hard at Morgan Stanley and then comes home and helps with T.J. and the condo.  He is a sweet, loving, and God-fearing man who also happens to be QUITE the hunk!  ;]

19. My Sweet Baby Bear

Our son T.J. has brought unspeakable joy into our lives.  He is not only adorable, but he also has the greatest personality!  He is sweet, easy-going, and already compassionate- even at 9 1/2 months!  He is truly a gift from the Lord.  We have been immensely blessed.

20. Jesus!

This may seem cliche, but with CHRISTmas quickly approaching (Yes, I know that we haven't even hit Thanksgiving yet, but trust me, Christmas will be here before you know it!), it is imperative that we remember the "reason for the season".  However, we need to be thinking about Jesus throughout the year.  He is the reason for our salvation.  He bore the weight of the world's sins on His shoulders and spent a moment dying in darkness separated from His Father.  All of this He did for you, the world, and me.  He should be everyone's "favorite thing"!  If you haven't given your life to Him, please take some time to get to know about Him and what He has done for you by reading the Gospel of John.