Out on the Farm

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Our plan this past weekend was to visit a farm that had a pumpkin patch. But we had rainy weather all weekend so we went when we had some clear skies on Monday. We visited Mulberry Lane Farms up here in Wisconsin and they had a lot of things to do and see for the little ones. Alana had many firsts! She got to hold a kitten, pet a goat, a cow and a chick and she got to ride a pony! We also got to pick our own pumpkins fresh from the vines! It was a lot of fun and we will be going back in years to come!

She wasn't as brave as her little buddy that was with us. She just touched the animals once and then was ready to move on. Alana's friend on the other had would go all in and hug the animals, it was really cute!


We're suppose to have some great weather this weekend so we're going to load up and go hiking! What are your weekend plans?


Busy Bee

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

And I fell off the blogging wagon again! I have been busy traveling back and forth to Texas from Wisconsin. The week after Labor Day I traveled to Dallas for my Nerium Get Real Conference which was amazing! My favorite part was listening to Mel Robbins! Loved it!


Then the following Friday, the 16th, I flew back down to Houston to monitor our move. Yes, we finally sold the house! It was really bitter sweet. My dad came for the weekend to help me pull all our stuff out of the attic and say "goodbye" and then I watched them pack all of our stuff up and I can't help but wonder where we are going to put all this stuff in our new house!

 

And this past weekend my in-laws came into town for a quick visit.

Busy, busy, busy! This week is finally back to normal! Today I was hopping all over the place doing drug testing for the new job, checking out new daycare, buying winter clothes and getting our AAA membership and insurance transferred to the state of Wisconsin.

It has finally started to get "cold" up in Wisconsin. I say "cold" because to locals its not cold at all, but to this southern gal ... I'm freezing! I am hoping we can do an apple orchard or pumpkin farm thing this weekend and really embrace the fall weather!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Day Trip to Door County

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Over Labor Day weekend we took a day trip to Door County, Wisconsin. Door County is the peninsula that jets out into Lake Michigan. Its full for small harbor towns that seem to be stuck in time. My favorite was the Swedish Restaurant that had a grass roof, in classic Scandinavian style, that had goats on top to "trim" the grass!


{Al Johnsons Swedish Restaurant}

We decided to go all the way to the tip of the peninsula and take the ferry to Washington Island. The ferry ride is short one, never more than 30 minutes. Once on the island we hopped on the Cherry Train. Its really a few trolley cars attached to a truck and it drove us around the island giving us a little bit of history and making a few stops along the way.

We stopped at the island's Art & Nature Center, Schoolhouse Beach Park, their Wisconsin Farm museum, and the Nordic Church. The island is FULL of other things to do such as their lavender farms and little tourists shops.


{Schoolhouse Beach, Washington Island}
We would LOVE to go back and take some bikes and bike around the island and/or take some camping gear up there for a weekend!

Hope y'all are having an amazing week!!


Point Beach State Forest & Manitowoc

Friday, September 2, 2016

A few weekends ago we took a short 1 hour-ish drive to Point Beach State Forest. Point Beach State Forest is located on the shores of Lake Michigan near Two Rivers, Wisconsin. It was a little too chilly to swim but I am looking forward to visiting again on a warmer day and maybe doing some stand up paddle boarding!


After we had lunch in the state forest we headed down to Manitowoc...well, because we had watched the Netflix series Making a Murderer. Along with being home of the infamous Netflix series its also the home of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. I thought the admission fee was a bit high but it was decent museum and it had tours of a working submarine. So we took the tour of the USS Cobia which was neat to see just how small these things are and how they work.


This weekend we head to Door County to visit Washington Island. Hope y'all have an amazing Labor Day weekend!

Toddler Road Trip Essentials

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

There were a few products I wanted on hand for our cross country road trip and temporary living.

First there are the diaper bag essentials of disposable bibs and placemats.

Then we purchased a ez pz suction plate, a Go Anywhere Booster Seat and I cleared an old iPhone downloaded with Fisher Price apps for those moments when nothing else would calm her. And of course a Pack-n-Play.


I love the ez pz plate, it just sticks to a flat, even surface and your kid doesn't pull the plate up and throw their food all over the place!

The travel booster seat came in SO handy when we were staying at the in-laws and its great in our extended stay hotel.

I love the Fisher Price apps because I know they are geared towards kids her age and she loves the music and tries to sing along :)

The Pack-n-Play is good but for her it doesn't compare to her crib, she misses her mattress. I even bought a foam insert for the Pack-n-Play and that didn't work either. So we have begun to let her sleep on the bed and we have bought a bed rail so she doesn't fly off the bed.

What travel essentials have you found that work great for you?!

Thirteen Hundred

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

1,300 miles was just about the ground I covered on my drive from Texas to Wisconsin with a 15 month old. Luckily I had my dad along for the ride to help.

We made 2 over night stops along the way; one in Arkansas to visit with my in-laws and then one in Springfield, IL.

Our visit is Arkansas was great, we actually stayed two nights just to relax a little before the long next 2 days. Alana got to hang out with her grandparents in the country and my dad got to see my in-laws place (after 6 years of being family).


Then, the next leg of our trip was from AR to Springfield, IL. We drove through St. Louis and got to see the Gateway Arch. We didn't stop because we really just needed to push through and be on our way. We made it to Springfield, unpacked the car, ate dinner and called it a night.


The next morning we only had about 5.5 hours of driving so it was the shortest of the 3 driving days. Driving cross-country with a 15 month old is no easy task. She was well behaved for about 3/4 of each day. She could have taken about an hour less of driving a day.

But the important thing is - we made it!



Coming to you LIVE from Wisconsin!!!

Friday, August 19, 2016

WOW, its been a really long time since I have been on this thing and maybe it was just my time to take a little blogging break. But I'm back and happy about it!

We are not "officially, officially" moved to Wisconsin but we're up here anyhow. Matt has been working at his new job since July, I quit my job in Houston at the end of July, made the 3 day drive to Wisconsin the week after and we got Alana enrolled in daycare part time to give me time to job hunt and house hunt. All while racking up the hotel rewards points in an extended stay hotel!

It has been very busy to say the least. Our first full weekend here we decided to make the short drive to Milwaukee for the Wisconsin State Fair and have some of their infamous cream puffs #pufflove. They were all they were cracked up to be!

Wisconsin State Fair Cream Puff & Alana enjoying some music
On my days off (the days Alana is in daycare) I am hoping to get out a little and explore our new surroundings, get some GOOD workouts in, work on my own business and apply for jobs.

This weekend the plan is to visit the Two Rivers area and spend the day on the beach on Lake Michigan. Hopefully it doesn't rain on us.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Hello...is This Thing On?!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Wow, can't believe its July! Where has the time gone?! I haven't blogged in a month! I need to get back on my game! So whats been going on?! We have been SUPER busy!


Almost 6 years ago to the day we made our first trip to Wisconsin. We were taking a day trip from the Mayo Clinic just to take a boat ride down the Mississippi in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Little did we know that 6 years later we would be moving there…whoa!



We took our first trip in late April to check out the area and make sure it was a place we saw ourselves. Then in early June we took our first “official” house hunting trip. And the following weekend I was back up for an interview. We’ll head up again for our final house hunting trip in early July.



This whole moving thing has its highs and lows. Sometimes I’m excited about it and I am looking forward to the adventure and other times I am literally making myself sick to my stomach because I am so stressed and nervous. And then sometimes I almost break out into tears at the airport when I think about how overwhelming all of this is.



I also feel like I am at a crossroads of some sort. As I waited in my car for my interview, since I was 45 minutes early, I found myself saying, “I don’t want to do this.” Maybe it is because I felt like the job wasn't right for me. I feel like I'm at a point in my career where I shouldn't have to take a job just to have a job; I need to make sure its the right fit or maybe I feel like I need to take a sabbatical and I’m not even 30 yet!! I really want a break. A chance to relax, and de-stress, a chance to take care of our daughter and do fun things with her. Like take her swimming classes, the splash pad, art classes…you know.



But what does having a second income mean for us… It’s the “oh shit” money. The money that we needed to take care of Lola in her time of need, the money that makes getting the car repaired a no big-y, the money that would make a hospital visit not such a big deal.



I had originally titled this post "Wisconsin and A Midlife Crisis" LOL


The 4th of July weekend is here and I cant wait to take some time a relax a bit. I may start working out again (I haven't since April since we have been doing a lot of traveling on the weekends).


And in other news...Our little bulldog puppy will be here soon than we thought since the mommy just went into heat! YAY!!!

Memorial Day 2016

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

We had a wonderful weekend! We celebrated our wedding anniversary and we took Alana to her first trip to the zoo and splash pad.

We had some pretty crazy rains again this Memorial Day which caused some major flooding. But we were able to reroute our roads and celebrate our anniversary with a nice night out to dinner.

Sunday we had our first showing for recently listed house. We got the text at 8:30am for a showing at 9:30am. We haven't received any feedback or an offer but maybe its on their "maybe" list. I also took Alana to Potteryland to make something for Father's Day.

Monday we took Alana to the Houston Zoo for the first time. She loved it! She was very excited to see all the animals! Two of my longest friends also joined us which I was grateful for (SVHS Class of 2005!). And after a long nap on the ride home and some lunch we took her to our neighborhood splash pad and she had a ball! I was surprised she loved it so much, I was worried the water shooting out of places would scare her but it didn't.


Alana really seemed to turn a corner this past weekend. She is a little over 13 months old now and is FINALLY getting her first tooth! With that first tooth seemed to have brought on a whole lot of confidence with it - she started eating chicken nuggets, she started walking while only holding one of our hands instead of two hands and she has learned how to maneuver her walker instead of just bumping into things. 

I am also SO excited to be qualified for an all expenses paid trip to Puerto Vallarta next year with my company Nerium! So if you are interested in joining me on this amazing and wonderful journey visit my web page - www.acayce.nerium.com


Hope you too had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

1,300 Miles

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

We're MOVING!!!!


Its a bag of mixed emotions. I am excited to move and excited to explore, do and see new things but I am also saddened by it since I have lived in Texas my whole life (except those 6 weeks I study abroad in Norway...but some people consider that a long vacation). And we're leaving our dream home (that Facebook reminded me was under construction 3 years ago). Our current house is perfect for us; it has high ceilings, 6" base boards and so many upgrades! And we finally found our taste in design and decorated this home to reflect it. Its also the house we brought our daughter home to and house we said our goodbyes to Lola in.

My husband got an offer that was too good to pass up for his career path. I am still looking for employment in our new location but I am hopeful. And if I don't find something right away I am looking forward to taking care of Alana and working on my Nerium business.

We are leaving Texas and moving to 1,300 miles north to Wisconsin! This will be the biggest move for us to date. I have bounced around all over Texas after graduating high school but never moved out of state.

Right now we are focused on selling our house, our house needs to sell for any other plans to be made and things to fall into place. If the house doesn't sell then Matt and I will live 1,300 miles apart until it does. We think that if it doesn't sell by Nov/Dec then we'll need to reevaluate things (either take a loss on the house or put it up for rent... hopefully we don't even need to go there). If the house DOES sell (fingers crossed) then we can get into a house up in Wisconsin, get all belongings moving in and start to get our life back in order.

And to make our new house even happier we'll be getting another bulldog at the end of the year! It will be a Christmas present for our sweet Alana :) and for me :D

So...if you know someone looking for a house in the North Houston area let me know!


Daughter's 1st Birthday

Friday, May 13, 2016

Alana's first birthday party was a few Saturday's ago and here are all the details on the decorations!

I bought most of the decor and supplies at Micheal's or Hobby Lobby (mostly Micheal's). And I had a friend help me set it all up for the big day! I ordered some things like balloons, popcorn and her outfits from Etsy. We didn't have a specific theme but we had a color pallet of pink, gold and white. It was so beautiful! I am so happy with how it turned out and that everyone got to come a celebrate with our little one!


For food we kept it pretty simple with sandwiches, chips, dips and finger foods. And then we had the dessert/candy bar! I have always love the look of these so I was excited to have one of my own. With the colors of pink and gold I did some candy shopping during valentines day to collect the pink kisses. Gold was easy with Reese's and Rolos. And to add something unique to the table I bought some pink and gold-ish caramel popcorn from Etsy. And besides the candy we had amazing cookies from Oh! Sugar, chocolate covered strawberries and rice krispies drizzled with white and pink chocolate and gold sprinkles.


I did a lot of Target Dollar Spot shopping over valentines day to get pink and gold items, a deal I found was this little gold gift bags that were already covered in gold glitter. I just added "thank you" to the bag and let people fill them with treats. I of course ended up with A LOT of extra candy.

I loved the party and decor! I think I did a pretty good job! :)

Alana's Birth Story

Friday, April 22, 2016

Our baby girl is one! WOW. thats crazy! Time has passed in a blink of an eye. And since it has been a year I thought it was time to share her birth story. So here is the honest truth in all its messy glory! 
...
It was a Monday morning around 2am when I woke up to go to the bathroom. I felt what might have been some discharge start to come out so I moved a little faster to the toilet and as I sat down water literally gushed out. I yelled for Matt, it took a few times for him to get up and as he walked over to me I told him I thought my water broke. He didn’t believe me. Then we looked at my PJs and yep, it looked like it was time. We weren’t sure what to do since my due date was 5 weeks away. So we called the hospital and I explained to them what was going on and the nurse just said, “Yep, you’re in labor. Come on in.”

We quickly packed the rest of our hospital bag, I couldn’t stand for much more than a few minutes without feeling the need to sit and let the water gush out of me. I put a puppy pad in the car and hollered for Matt to hurry the eff up! I was pretty excited about meeting our little girl, not once did I ever think that 5 weeks was maybe a little too soon.

Since it was 2:30 in the morning the roads were clear, thank god, and we made our way to the hospital. I called my parents and told them to make the 4 hour drive over because their first grandbaby was on the way. We called my in-laws, who live 8 hours away, to head on down if they wanted to be there for the birth of their first granddaughter. And I texted my best friend who was visiting her grandparents not to leave town because I was in labor!

We got to the hospital and as I got out of the car you would have thought my lady parts had turned into a waterfall…all modesty was officially out the door as I walked into the Labor and Delivery Unit with soaking wet shorts.

I got all checked in, they checked to see if I was dilated by fisting me…something I was not aware of (since I never made it to my 36 week appointment). I was not dilated at all, so the waiting began. The nurses did a great job of warning me that I might not get to hold her right away because the NICU nurses would need to asses her first. Then if they felt like she was fine I could hold her for maybe 10 minutes before they took her back to the NICU for further evaluation.

My bff arrived and we asked her to go to our house and take care of the dogs for us and to grab some more things from the house and off she went, she is SUCH an amazing friend! Then my mom arrived (my dad would come later after his doctor appointment he had in the morning). And then my in-laws finally arrived. Everyone was here! I got my epidural sometime during the day even though I wasn’t dilated at all. I didn’t want to be one of those women who waited too long and then couldn’t get it.

The epidural was an experience to say the least. The B stuck me 3 times before she got it right. When they put the meds in only one side of my body went completely numb, and then my blood pressure dropped, I turned very pail, I couldn’t hear anything, I could barely keep my eyes open and they put an oxygen mask on me. They quickly stopped the epidural drip and brought a new anesthesiologist to make sure this didn’t happen again. They decided to only use a half dose. And then I vomited everywhere…

Everything was uneventful after that. My doctor came and checked on me a few times and before you knew it was 9pm and time for bed. I tried to sleep but it is had when you have to flip over every few hours and you have all these wires connected to you. They had started the Pitocin before my doctor left but I didn’t really dilate at all (p.s. after you’re water breaks they want you to deliver within the next 24 hours so you don’t have a dry birth). Around midnight, about 22 hours after my water broke they stopped the Pitocin and laid me on my side with my leg propped up on a table.  And badda-bing-badda-bom, I started to dilate…and fast! They called my doctor so she could make her way in and right around the 24 hour mark we started to push. The contractions didn’t hurt, it was the baby ripping out of my vagina that hurt! I didn’t really push for very long before she arrived at 2:54am Tuesday morning.

She let out the littlest cry, I looked up to see my husband shed a tear at the site of our little girl. She was 4 pounds, 13 ounces and about 19 inches long (counting her cone head). While they got her cleaned up and did what they do, I was having my placenta pulled out of me like one of those magician’s never ending handkerchiefs and I got 2 stitches. I was able to hold her for about 5-7 minutes, giving just enough time for both sets of grandparents to see her before she was taken to the NICU.

{these are my absolute two favorite pictures from the day}
After the epidural wore off and I was able to walk, we made our way down the hall to see out little angel.

Her time in the NICU was short but that doesn’t lessen the sadness we felt when we had to leave her there and head home without her. We spent two nights at home without our sweet girl. She was moved out of the main area and into sort of an “evacuation” room where they keep babies that are starting to do better and on their way out of the NICU. But once she moved in there she got jaundice and needed the UV blanket. I’ve read that most babies need this but for us it seemed like a one step forward and two steps back sort of situation.

We were able to stay at the hospital again for her last night because we had to do what they call Care by Parent. It’s pretty much the hospital making sure that you’re capable of taking care of the baby on your own. We must have passed because they let us leave the next day and we were on our way home as a family. Finally.


I honestly cannot believe it has been a year, it feels like yesterday. Does it always feel that way? Will it always be so vivid in my mind? Will she hate me for posting this later?! Who knows...

Working from Home

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The past two days have been pretty crazy! We had a crazy storm come through Sunday night and caused major flooding on Monday and Tuesday. As a result of this the local schools were closed, which means daycare was closed too...which means we had to work from home. (p.s. I didn't know if school was closed, daycare would be closed #newmomproblems)

Working from home is pretty hard with a 1yr old. She did take some long naps which REALLY helped me get some things done!

{Creek near my house, Photo by Victor Molitor}

{Flooding in the Houston area, photos take off news site and Facebook}
{this is what working from home looks like}
We did have to go for a little drive so I could get her to fall asleep but it was quick and she napped for 45 minutes or so and I was able to get a lot of work done. It was pretty hard though, and your boss has to know you're really part-timing it since you have to feed, change and sooth your little ones multiple times a day.



Buying Second Hand

Thursday, April 14, 2016

I wanted to share a little lesson learned about buying used clothes. I am all about trying to save some money and buy things used; especially when your little one grows out of stuff so quickly.

I have bought some used clothes from a neighbor and from a resale shop. I was able to pick and choose from my neighbors pile and the resale shop. Now I don't really have the time to sort through everything at the resale shop, it can be a bit overwhelming.

My last used purchase came off of a Facebook mommy page.  This lady was selling a bunch of 18month clothes and shoes for $80. It sounded like a good deal to me (especially since shoes are so expensive).

When we met, it was a fairly quick transaction as we were both in a hurry. When I got home and started washing the clothes I realized that the smelled pretty bad; not like cigarette smoke or anything but just like they lived in an old, stinky house. I have washed them 2 times and they still have that distinctive smell to them (plus the detergent). My friend suggested that I put them in a box with scented candles for a month and then see what they smell like. So that is just what I did last night. In about a month we'll see what happens. I am hopping that it wasn't a total waste. But live and learn I guess.

So when buying used clothes from NOT a resale shop make sure you smell them first and ask if they came from a non-smoking home.

...lately...

Friday, April 8, 2016

So I have been MIA here lately and its not for lack of having something to say, I have posts typed, but I don't have any pictures. Ugh, the pictures is what it time consuming for me. And these last two weeks have been CRAZY! Last week I had a fabulous Nerium/Lexus event, my bff visited, I headed to ATX for the day Friday, had a Nerium party at the house, went to a Tupperware party in the evening, woke up the next day with pink eye and headed to urgent care. That was literally only 5 days in a row!

And then today, as my husband drives out of town I lock myself and my daughter out of the house! 45 minutest later the locksmith arrives and then lectures me on how I should have a spare key...ugh, duh! We usually do! And then he kindly takes $200 from me for 5 minutes worth of work. Clearly I am in the wrong business!

{Party Planning on the Left, Nerium/Lexus on the Right}
We have been very busy. I have been working on stuff for Alana's birthday party and we have also been applying for new jobs. Its no secret who I am and what I do, I work in Oil & Gas and its also no secret that that industry is at the bottom of the barrel right now. I just read that Chevron will be laying off 655 people in Houston and BP will be letting go 500 people in Houston... Saturating my job search even more. This is also making me realize how incredibly lucky we are to still have a job at this moment. Even though it might not last much longer.

This weekend will be another crazy one too.... God give us strength!


11 Month Update

Monday, March 28, 2016

Previous Updates: 10 Months9 Months | 8 Months | 7 Months | 6 Months | 5 Months | 4 Months

Did last week fly by?! I felt like it went really fast! And we're already days away from April! WOW! I truly cannot believe how fast time has flown! Next month we'll have a one year old!

Alana
Alana is going great! She is getting so big and at 11 months she was 18.2lbs (remember, she started out at 4lbs13oz). She is crawling and getting into everything! She moves pretty fast too! She is starting to use her walker but we still need to be present for her to use it or she will fall. She also got her glasses and does a fairly good job wearing them.

She is doing a fantastic job sleeping! Sleeping from 8 - 8:30 pm to when we wake her up around 6 am.

She doesn't have any teeth yet and we are FINALLY moving towards level 3 foods (with chunks). Previously she would instantly vomit when we gave her anything chunky.


Mom & Dad (aka Alexa & Matt)
We are doing well. Just keeping busy with work, life and Alana. We haven't been able to sleep in or have any "us" time since our trip to Boston. We will be working on trying to get a date night planned here in the next few weeks.

We have been a bit on edge with our jobs; we both work in oil and gas and things don't seem to be getting any better for that industry. So there's that. All you can do is keep on moving forward and hope you're not one of "the ones".

I have also been busy starting to put together and craft all of Alana's first birthday stuff. I told my husband that I'll start decorating over the weekends to I don't have to do it all at once.


Letting go of the Baby Monitor

Friday, March 18, 2016

When is a good time to let up on the baby monitor?

When she was first born I was sleeping in the room right next to her. So I used the monitor more for visual needs than to hear her. And it was located right next to the pillow.

When I moved back into the master bedroom I would keep the monitor screen on (you have the to make it black because the screen is VERY bright) and the volume on 3. I would still lean over to check the screen to make sure she was okay and to see if she had moved.


When she started pulling herself up we had to relocate the monitor to the wall. And now, at almost 11 months, I am starting to turn the screen off at night, like I said, that thing is BRIGHT! And I turn the volume on 2 sometimes if her sound machine is making too much noise for me.

She is a pretty good sleeper. We have a few sleep set backs, you can read about our 4 month sleep regression and we had another one late last year. It only took one time of letting her cry it out for almost 10 minutes and then she just slept through the night.

I'm not sure when parents take the monitor down for good...maybe when they are 3ish?

Anybody reading have older kids? When did you take the monitor down? 



Miraflex ~ Baby Glasses

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I had put Alana on my eye insurance during enrollment because her doctor had noticed a little crossing of one eye at her 4 month check up. She had already told me to make an appointment the with pediatric ophthalmologist because she had a lot of gunk in her eye and may need her tear duct opened up. After she didn't need her duct opened up I kept the appointment because of the crossing.

But then the crossing went away.

And then between months 10 and 11 months one eye started crossing again. I sort of panicked. I called the ophthalmologist immediately knowing he gets booked up pretty quickly. I was able to get an appointment 2 weeks out but told them if they had an afternoon appointment open up I'll take it. And they did! We were able to come in the next day!  

Alana did great during her visit, even the doctor commented on it. I was so amazed at how they handled her and got her attention so they could get her prescription.

Alana is farsighted (which means she can only see stuff far away). So when she was holding stuff close to her face she would focus so hard her eyes would cross. Then they would be so tired that one would stay sort of crossed.

Enter Miraflex, the no metal, unbreakable frames for kids and babies. Alana literally has the smallest size they make.

The first afternoon we put them on her she hated them and kept taking them off. But we distracted her with playing and toys and she seemed to do really well. And by the next day it was not an issue, she was keeping them on all the time!

I am a little sad that she needs glasses at such an early age. But glasses are inevitable for her since I have glasses, well contacts, all 4 of her grandparents have glasses and so does at least one of her uncles. But I am thankful that there isn't too much of a struggle to get her to wear them (I'm 100% sure there would have been if this started at age 2 or 3).

Did you have glasses when you were a kid? Or do your babies have glasses?

Balancing Act

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

There is no doubt that having a baby is hard. You have to learn to juggle your already crazy life + baby. I'm gonna come out and say it, we're not very good at it.

We finally decided that one of us will take her with us when we run errands and the other will get to work on the house: cleaning, laundry, yard work...the list goes on.

We did just that this past weekend and it worked out pretty well. I took Alana Saturday with me to a trip to Party City and Hobby Lobby for some shopping for her birthday while Matt cleaned the kitchen. Then on Sunday he took her grocery shopping while I tackled the MOUND of clothes that needed to be folded. They were gone for an hour and half and while I got everything folded...but it wasn't put up by the time they got home. I had hoped to clean our room too but that will have to be saved for next weekend. And we still have some yard work to do.


When we go out I wear Alana in my baby pack on my front. She loves being out and about but I really see it as a hassle. First I have to carry her diaper bag in and out of the stores with me. I would leave it in my car but Houston is known for its car break-ins and I wouldn't put it bast a crook to bash in a window for a diaper bag, so it comes with me. And I have a difficult time getting into my purse to pay when she is strapped on (I have forgone my designer handbag for a cross-the-body bag to fee up my hands).

When people tell me they are expecting again and then they will have 2 under 2 I try to hide the, "are you f**king nuts?!" look on my face. Matt says they are just better at it then we are, lol. And it may be true...but some of these people have family networks close by which we don't have. When we want to go out its not just dinner and drinks we're spending money on but its also the babysitter making the night cost close to $200+ depending on how many drinks we have.

I mean even after 10.5 months after giving birth I still have baby hairs growing back on my head (I have never used more hair product in my life to tame these sons of biotches) and I still have a very faint line from by belly button to bikini line from my first pregnancy. We still don't know if we want another, we're going to wait and see what Alana's needs are (I'll post about that at the next monthly update) before we jump in with both feet for another.


Do you want one, two or more kids?! Have a happy Wednesday! 

Picking the Right Sippy Cup

Monday, March 7, 2016

There are so many trial and error products you go through when you have a baby. I am sharing with you another one today...the sippy cup.

At Alana's 9 month check up her doctor told us that we could start to introduce her to a sippy cup. So we did. First we tried the Tommee Tippy sippy cups that have a hard spout, she didn't like it at all! So after a few weeks I called a friend and asked her what she did. She told me there are transition sippy cups that are sippy cups but with a spout made from the same material as a bottle nipple. The hunt for one of these was on!


I found the NUK brand transition sippy cup. She sort of would drink from it but not really. So one day, in an effort to get her to drink from it, I took a sip from it. It was actually really hard to get the liquid out! So I went to look for another brand, one with more flow. And I found the Philip Avent. And its perfect! She just drinks her snack from it right now but we're working our way up.

What sippy cups do you use? Did you get a winner on the first try? 


10 Month Update

Friday, February 26, 2016

Previous Updates: 9 Months8 Months | 7 Months | 6 Months | 5 Months | 4 Months

Alana
She is doing well! She has got the crawling thing down now and she just zips through the house! She is just like Lola and loves to go into our bedroom. She is pulling herself up and uses the couch as a guard rail and just walks up and down holding on. She knows how to sit from her standing position too and she can sit herself up when she is crawling around.

We are having some issues with her eating level 3 foods - every time we try to feed her a level 3 she throws up. And we are working on getting her use to a sippy cup. She also loves her Gerber Puffs and yogurt melts. 

We also found out that she needs glasses. So we took care of that and should have those pretty soon. If would recommend any parent take their baby to the eye doctor between 6 and 12 months of age. Getting vision issues caught early is key!


Mom & Dad (a.k.a. Alexa & Matt)
We are doing well. I am still saddened by the loss of Lola. Sometimes I still walk in and expect to see her. And I still talk about her all the time. We probably wont get another dog until some time next year - we're planning a long trip and don't want to have someone watch the dog or board it.

After 10 months post birth I can report that I am 2 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. I am hopping the get the rest off this summer.

We have a pretty low key weekend ahead of us. What are your plans?


Quick How-To on Rewards Travel

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A friend of mine had mentioned how her dream was to go to Hawaii but it just wasn't going to happen. I told her it could for almost nothing! I typed this up and sent to her and I wanted to share with everyone. It really isn't that hard to travel for free, you just have to be willing to play the game. See The Points Guy for a more in-depth points education! 


Airline (Houston to Hawaii on a United saver ticket is 90,000 for 2 people round-trip)
Chase Sapphire (1:1 transfer to United)
50,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on the card in the first three months
+ 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
110,000 points if both you and spouse get a card

Chase United (this bonus can bump up to 50,000 and you get 10,000 for every $25k you spend annually)
30,000 bonus miles after they spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
+ 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user (usually)
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
70,000 points if both you and spouse get a card

Hotel
SPG (Sheraton/Westin brands) American Express (this bonus bumps up to 30,000 once a year)
25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months
$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
50,000 - 60,000 points if both you and spouse get a card

Chase IHG Rewards Club (Holiday Inn brands)
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $49
120,000 points if both you and spouse get a card

Hyatt
Offers 2 free nights upon sign up. You plus a spouse could have 4 nights at any Hyatt, even their all inclusive resorts in Mexico! Hyatt has locations on Mail, Oahu and Kauai. 

Hawaii Hotels
Hawaii Island (The Big Island)
Sheraton Kona & Spa at Keauhou Bay = 10,000/night (5-6 nights)
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites: Kailua-Kona = 20,000/night (6 nights)

Maui
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa = 12,000 - 16,000/night (4-5 nights)
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa = 12,000 - 16,000/night (4-5 nights)

* A good alternative to a hotel is airbnb.com. We used this when we stayed in Maui and spent less than $100 per night. Now you probably won't be on a beach or in walking distance of a beach but you can't beat the price for Hawaii.
  1. So what you do is open award/mileage accounts with all of these brands first.
  2. Then apply for the credit card you want - First under your name, meet the spending limit and then use the referral link you'll get to sign up the other spouse. Usually these links offer 5,000 - 10,000 bonus points. Then your spouse reaches their spending limit.
  3. Then apply for the hotel card you want and do the same.
  4. After your trip, cancel your card.


A couple "disclaimers" for this type of travel
  • You need to have decent credit scores to get the credit cards
  • You need to have responsible spending habits. Use the credit card more like a charge card and pay off the balance at the end of each month
  • This may take you a year to do but you're getting a vacation for virtually free!
  • You'll want to do your best to take your trip within 12 months of getting the card or you'll get charged the annual fee at your 1 yr. anniversary. This may happen but you're still getting a trip for next to nothing.
  • Some costs: Annual credit card fees, taxes on airlines, resort fees at hotels



Happy Travels! 


Boston: The Rest of the Weekend

Monday, February 22, 2016

After the amazing food tour we headed to Newbury Street to do some window shopping and get a cupcake at Georgetown Cupcakes (like I needed more food). The cupcakes were honestly the best store cupcakes I have ever bought; but since I was so full from the food tour I only bought one. Walking down this street you'll get some pretty views of Church of the Covenant and the First Baptist Church of Boston.

{Boston Public Garden, Washington Statue, Church of the Covenant}
We circled around and walked back up Commonwealth Ave. and headed to Beacon Hill. we passed the Cheers Bar and then headed towards Acorn Street. Acorn Street is famous for its original cobblestone road. To learn more about the cobblestone roads and what became of them click here.

{Acorn Street, Beacon Hill}
We didn't really have anything left to do and we weren't hungry so we walked back to the hotel to relax and look up a place for dinner. It seems like a lot of the really good places to eat in Boston are family owned and aren't open for dinner or on the weekends which was a real disappointment and something I missed while I did my research. So we settled on a German restaurant, Jacob Wirth. We split a sampler and it was perfect.

We walked through Chinatown on our way back to the hotel and then we called it a night.

Between finishing the Freedom Trail, the food tour, walking from the North End to Beacon Hill we walked almost 10 miles! We really didn't even notice it and our feet didn't hurt either. I love this type of city life, where you can walk where ever you need to go. It probably one reason why I love Europe so much...but I also love my 3,000+ square foot house which I would never get in a city unless I was a millionaire.

The following day we didn't do much. We took the subway to the MIT museum because Matt had read they had robots and holograms. We were both thinking the robots would be working and the holograms were going to be like Tupoc and MJ and be like, real life. Well neither was true. The robots were just old robots that were on display with videos showing how they work and the holograms were equally as lame. The whole museum seemed to be a place where MIT grad students put their work on display and people pay to see it.

We had lunch at Area Four which I read had great pizza, the pizza was good but when we walked in the door at 11 for lunch and they asked if we had a reservation I was a bit shocked. I guess this is a really happening place! They told us it would be a 15 minute wait and we were literally seated in 5 seconds.

After we headed back to the North End to get some goodies from the places we visited the day before. We stopped in a cafe and grabbed a snack and headed to North End Park to sit and enjoy it.


We went back to Beacon Hill for dinner at this quiet but very good restaurant called The Paramount. After walking back to the hotel, the day's walking came in at almost 7 miles. We took our coats off and turned the TV right as the Super Bowl was starting and we called it a night.


Love the Workout, Hate the Rules

Friday, February 19, 2016

I have the rest of our Boston trip typed up but I just need to edit and add pictures, in the mean time here is my rant about Pure Barre...

I have talked in the past about how I have taken Pure Barre classes and how I love them. And I still love the work out but I am over the "rules" the studio has decided to enforce (who knows if it comes from corporate or not).

My relationship with Pure Barre started in 2014 when me and friend signed up for the $99 monthly unlimited classes introductory rate. Then they had a back-to-school special, 3 classes for $33. Then they had a Labor Day special that I decided to jump in on. I think it was like $120/month for 3 months. And then I got pregnant...and then I got HG and couldn't work out because of the constant nausea. After a hospital visit I asked them if they could pause my membership and they said no, that they could only extend it by a few weeks. Well it just didn't work out because I was constantly nauseous and I lost the money.

During my time away from the barre they enforced a new rule: If you need to cancel your class you have to do it 4 hours before the the class starts or you'll get charged $25. That's $25 on top of what you're already paying (whether it be a drop in fee or monthly membership). I don't really understand this because they aren't loosing any money by you not showing up since you pay in advance. And I don't think this 4 hour window works for parents with young kids or working folks. After all, I could register for a 6pm class and something comes up at work around 4 and I need to cancel...oops! too late, I'll get charged $25.

For Valentine's Day they were offering $10 drop-ins (regularly $25) so I thought I would take a class over the weekend. When I went to put my things in the locker I saw a sign that said, "We will no longer allow you to leave class early unless its an emergency." First of all, who are you to tell me what I think is an emergency or not?! And how do you know if I'm lying? And does this mean I can't step out to use the bathroom during class too?! And if you aren't going to ALLOW me to leave class early then you better start this damn thing on time! Which you NEVER do!

I'm done, over it, bye Felicia!

And I hate how the instructor always complements the other instructors/owners that are in the class too, "You're looking great Pure Barre Owner!" Well I would hope she looks great and is doing a good job, she owns this damn place...

Okay, I'm done :) Have a great weekend y'all!

Off the Eaten Path, Boston

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

We started the day by finishing the Freedom Trail (see the first half of the trail here). Making stops at:


We did not cross the river to see the USS Constitution or Bunker Hill.

After all of that we met up for our food tour of the North End. This was such a great tour and a great way to try a little bit of food from all the amazing places in the North End.

Our guide was Paula who owns and does the Off the Eaten Path tours. We started at 10:45 and met at the Paul Revere House. Then we headed to Galleria Umberto's for some pizza and arancini. Both were delicious! This place opens at 10:30 and closes when they run out of food. Best part is that nothing on the menu is over $5.



Then we headed to Cantina Italiana where we had some nice little pastas with red sauce. After the pasta we headed to The Wine Boggeta which specializes in natural wines. Then we went for dessert at Cocoanuts where we sampled some sweets and had some amazing caramels that didn't stick to your teeth!


On the last leg of the tour we headed into this little hole in the wall, literally, to get some of the best bread ever at Bricco Panetteria! They don't use mixers here, its all done by hand and its all amazing. And last but not least we headed into Cafe Paradiso for some cannolis (that were piped to order), espresso and homemade gelato.


I loved the tour and Paula did a great job telling us about the history of the North End and the history of some of the restaurants we stopped at.

This day is surprisingly not over, more to come!


An Introduction to Boston: Day 1

Friday, February 12, 2016

Our first weekend away from the little one! It was nice to have time for just the two of us!


When we flew into Boston we flew in during a snow shower. And because of that we sat on the runway for an hour while they de-iced the plane at our gate. Once we got off the plane we checked into our hotel and we hit the trail...the Freedom Trail! On our first night we covered 7 of the 16 landmarks:



7 – Old Corner Bookstore (a Chipotle is currently renting the building...how historic) 


This may seem like a lot but it was only 1.4 miles starting and ending at our hotel. After realizing that the place I picked for dinner was only open for lunch we walked until we saw something appealing, which was a place called The Back Deck. It was good and atmosphere was casual. Then we walked back to our hotel and called it a night.