Saturday, May 31, 2014

I Love Saturdays!

So yes, I love Saturdays, even though I don't have a job anymore. It seems as though I can get Bugz to do more things with me on Saturdays. Today was no exception. 

Thanks to Layna fussing all night, we were up early. Got to the Manchester farmer's market by 6:15am. Got some sweet potatoes, onions, radishes, sugar snap peas, and some pineapple zuchinni bread. Yum! We headed home after about 45 minutes, visited Shelia while we were there, then came home to rest.

We got a later start in the afternoon, but we ended up going to Mt. Juliet. Why did we go there?

Remember I am a bargain queen, and I got quite a few today!

We met this guy and I bought a color/night vision/sound/night light monitor from him for $25! Works perfectly!

From there we went to HomeGoods and TJ Max, which were both in the same store. We walked around both stores and I was not impressed in either one, especially for Layna's clothes. She started getting fussy, and we found this pink monkey toy that she liked. Got it for $5.50 + tax. When I got home I looked it up and I got a great deal on it!

Next up was Old Navy. Our main goal was to look at the Buy One Get One Half Off Shorts for Bugz. They were way too expensive, so we looked at Layna's stuff. I ended up getting her a cute pink spaghetti strap romper and some old school Jellies. Ended up spending less than $10! 

Last stop was at Lifeway Christian Bookstore. I knew I couldn't spend a lot, so I bypassed all the VeggieTales movies I want to get for Layna and all the home decorations I would have loved to have. I browsed through the Bibles and came across one that intrigued me. I had never heard of the version, and I really like reading and comparing different versions. I found a copy on sale for $5! Regular price was $19.99!

From there it was a flop. We ate at Steak and Shake and they messed up our order. And it made me nauseous. Bugz sliced his finger open playing with my cup holder in the car. Layna has been fussy all day and last night. She just fell asleep (7:30pm) and Bugz is asleep too. I'm debating watching Hitler, but as little sleep as I got last night, I'm about ready to crash too.

Bugz did mention something today that made me think of a new challenge. He said Layna didn't need anymore clothes, she would never wear all she has now. Challenge accepted! Tomorrow is a new month, and she is going to wear every outfit she has (that fits now) at least once, and I'm gonna take pictures! This should be fun! I won't post them every day, maybe once a week do a collage. Now to dig through her closet.......

Oh, and see the mat behind her Jellies? Its a play and kick with the piano at the feet. Brand new are $40 at Walmart. I got this one for $20 and it is in almost perfect condition! I am the bargain queen! 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Strange Happenings and Dreams

For some reason the last few days I have been extremely exhausted. I have no energy whatsoever. Today I almost fell asleep driving to work, and I feel like I could fall asleep now.

I know part of it is depression. I miss being with Layna, and the weekends are so hard for me because I have to give her up. I know I'm also upset about not getting to keep this job. I mean, I want to stay closer to home, and not working will mean that I'll get to spend my days with Layna, which is good. The problem is #1) Money #2) Am I not good enough that they didn't want to keep me? Am I that horrible? Is it because I didn't go to college? Did they call a certain someone to get a reference and get a bad one because she hates me? All of this is eating away at my mind and driving me nuts.

Last night I wasn't feeling so well. My stomach got upset after we ate at Burger King, and I felt nauseous. I had already taken Layna to the bedroom and put her in her pack and play so she could sleep, so I told Bugz I was going to go lay down. I put the heating pad on medium heat and laid it under my lower back, which also hurts when I get nauseous. I must have passed out. When I woke up, Bugz was in bed, and I was still on my back....and Layna was laying on my chest. I have no remembrance of picking her up and laying her there. I have no remembrance of Bugz coming to bed. Was I that tired that I picked her up and put her in bed with me without knowing?

That was enough there to worry me, but then I started having dreams. I first dreamed that we were at Grammy Sue's, but it wasn't her real house.....kind of like it was, but it wasn't. She had gone to the bedroom to take a nap (she doesn't do that, she sleeps on the sofa) and we were going through a big walk in closet. She had about 20 pairs of shoes in the bottom of the closet, and I was going to go through them and get rid of them. She wakes up and comes in there and I ask her to go through them so that we can get rid of some of them. She has a fit, no one is going to get rid of her shoes. She wants to keep them all. That's all I really remember about that part of the dream.

In another dream, there was a house on a hill with woods behind it. It was abandoned. There wasn't a definite story, whether the owners died or disappeared. At one point it was that they had died, and that our neighbor Scott knew them. We decided to go into the house and see what was left behind. Everything was as they had left it, nothing disturbed, as if they would come back home that evening. From the things they had in the house, they had both a boy and a girl. They had lots of almost brand new baby girl things, and I started gathering some of the things together to bring home with me, Scott had said it was ok. He said they would want the stuff to go to someone that needed it. We looked through more things and I came across a camera that I have been wanting. Then, over in the corner, I saw a stereo behind some other things. It was just like the old stereo that I have, that my Grammy gave me back in the early 90's, a floor model. It had an extra, larger set of speakers to go with it. I remember going back to wherever it was that we lived and telling Bugz that they had the stereo/speakers but they were too big for me to bring back with me. 

At one point, this older couple came up and tried to pass themselves off as the missing couple that owned the house. The cops were there and ran their drivers licenses and said that they were Impostors and not to let them have anything. They got in their vehicle and left. That's about all I remember of that one, too. 

What in the world is up with the strange dreams and the whole Layna deal? No wonder I am so tired this morning! I am sure I did not sleep well with her laying on me, and after we got up at 2am for a bottle, she was fussy and I had to keep her in bed with me again. I knew I wouldn't roll over and drop her or anything like that, but after picking her up without knowing it, I was freaking out and just kind of half slept after that. 

I am slowly waking up though. I am getting extremely pissed at the USPS. I have a tracking number that says my package had been delivered on the 27th at 10:18am. If was not delivered that day, nor was it delivered today. I have repeatedly called the post office this morning only to have it ring 20 times with no answer before I hang up. So now not only do they put our mail in the wrong boxes, but they say they've delivered something when they haven't. I'm about to leave a cherry bomb in the box for the idiot! If I could afford it, I would get a PO Box, but they would probably just screw that up too. 

Today is just not my day so far. And with my job ending this Friday, its just going to get worse instead of better. Say a little prayer for me. 

Memorial Day Fun

I am a bit behind posting about Memorial Day. It was such a fun, busy, tiring day. We got up early and headed to the Majors for an all day cookout celebration. We helped get the water balloons ready while Papa Billy cooked and Nanny and Holly got the fixings ready in the kitchen.

We had some great food; burgers, dogs, beans, chips, tater salad, and cake leftover from Sunday's birthday celebration. We ate till we were stuffed. Then it was on to the water balloon war.

I did not want to participate. I didn't want to risk the chance of getting hurt (because I am accident prone), so I took pictures. They were so silly! One side didn't want to get too close to the other side. Only one was slightly hurt; a smack to the face with a balloon, but he was ok. Think it smacked his glasses into his face and got his eye. He took off his glasses and plotted revenge. lol

After Bugz's team won, we did the balloon toss. Bugz and I got second place. If he had thrown the last one better we would have gone on a little longer. It was still fun though. The rest of the afternoon/evening was just sitting around visiting. A few got dunked into the water balloon holder, a few chose to get in. 

We finally headed home and ended a great day. Its always great to spend the day with great family and friends!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


So, I really don't know what to call it, honestly. I seriously thought it was Christening when children were babies, but our Methodist hymnal says Confirmation, and Pastor Linda called it Baptism.

Whatever it was, it was this morning during church. I was worried she'd be fussy but she did SO good! She smiled during the responsive readings and didn't cry as Pastor Linda poured the water over her head. She just grinned at PL as she spoke, it was so adorable. I almost wish we'd had a video of it.

Her godparents were up there with us and got to participate in the proceedings too. My grandparents were there, and my dad held Layna for the first time! We also got a four generation picture with Grammy Sue and Pop.

We went to Nanny and Papa Billy's for a late lunch and then we went to hear Uncle Randy preach a very good sermon. 

Now its bedtime! Getting up early for a cookout at Nanny and Papa's tomorrow. Good food, good company, and water balloon fights.Fun fun! 

Growing Up.....Kinda

It's funny, when I decided to do frogs for Layna's theme, someone told me she'd not like frogs and I'd have to change everything out.

Well, guess what! Out of all the toys we've tried to give her, she likes monkeys best! She has a little monkey that she will grab for (eventually) and chew on. Yesterday we went to Five Below (or is it Five and Below?) And they had Ty Beanie Babies for $4.99. We showed her a few different ones, but she reacted (smiled) at a little one called Petals. It was a monkey. I decided to get it, and I set it in the car seat with her while we continued shopping. I am looking at stuff on the shelf, turn to look back at Layna, and she has Petals in her hands chewing on her! So adorable! 

We get out to the car and I put her in the car with Petals and we stand outside a moment while Bugz smokes. I turn to look at her and see this:

She's loving her little monkey! So....Little Frogger just might have to be Little Monkey. Haha! 

I had her in this cute little outfit before we left and had to change her before we went out the door because she spit up peaches on it. She loved them, but they came back up. Poor baby. So I go in the closet to find something to change her into. I grab this cute red and white dress and we change and go.

At Hobby Lobby I take her to change her diaper. For some reason I decide to look at her dress.....its a Newborn size! Girl is almost 5 months and wearing Newborns! My pretty little girl. Maybe she'll have a growth spurt one day. If not, I'll have me a petite little monkey. lol

My little monkey is being Christened today. I can't wait. I only pray that she can live a better Godly life than I have.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Random Thoughts

1) I am totally about to fall asleep at the desk. My eyes are heavy. I need more sleep. Drinking hot tea with sugar, you'd think I'd have a sugar rush, but no.

2) We have to go to the funeral home again tonight. Bugz's good buddy's grandpa passed away on my birthday.

3) I had the most messed up dream last night. I dreamed it was Layna's christening. The church was packed, but Bugz's family wasn't there. My grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousin and her daughter were there. But then there were a LOT of other people I didn't know. The church was so full people were standing along the walls. I was sitting with Ashley and waiting on Bugz to bring Layna to church. When he shows up, she's wearing blue and pink, has blondish brown pigtails, and is walking! He said she had just started it. Then I find out why all the people are there; there's going to be a wedding too! Sister Sally was there, not Pastor Linda. I don't remember at what point I woke up, but that's all I remember. 

4) Have you ever paid attention to people you meet on the road? Have you noticed where their hands are on the steering wheel? Or if they are at all? My 35 minute drive to work has me noticing things like that. 

5) I literally cannot focus on things, that is how tired I am. I am struggling to hold my eyes open. 

6) I wore toe socks with my boots today. Bad idea. I am burning up!

7) After our Farmer's Market trip Saturday, not only do I want to go see more, I want my own garden. 

8) I am also now loving my goat cheese and would love to find other farms/people that make it, to have different varieties to choose from. Google, here I come!

9) I also want my own goats and would love to learn how to make cheese.  And yes, I will milk the goats too. I'm not above that.  ;)  Just might have to get this to wear when I do get my goats.

10) It is 11am and I am still sleepy! I have got to wake up!

11) I have to go to Verizon and get my phone straightened out.

12) I am now getting a bit hungry on top of being sleepy.

13) I am so ready for 5 pm, I miss my little and big baby.

14) I lost my Tenncare insurance because I am working. Do they not care that I am a single mother, and even though I am working, I can't afford health care on my own? I lost the Families First assistance, too. Which means there will be no help for diapers and other essentials that she might need. And when this job ends, beings its temporary, I will have to go up there and start all over again.  :/

15) My back has been hurting lately, I pray that its not kidney stones again.

16) My dizziness has gone away, but have been feeling nauseous lately.

17) I need a job being a paper pusher, or a fact checker, or something that I don't have to interact with people. I work better that way. Give me invoices to match up or key in, put me in a room, and leave me alone. I can do it. People annoy me, and their attitudes get to me too much. I'd rather not be around them.

18) I really wish they'd just hire someone for this position. I am getting tired of answering calls from the people they interviewed, wanting to know if they are still interviewing, if they are still in the mix for the job, have they hired anyone yet, etc etc etc. Seriously, I am tired of it. 

19) If you go into a place of business and there is a window that you have to talk through to interact with the person on the other side, do NOT hang your head in the window, arms over the wall into their space. It is none of your business what is on their desk, what they are doing on their computer, or what they have behind their desk. The wall is there for a reason, stay on your own side. Otherwise you just might get hit with that sliding glass window you see open there.

20) I am also getting tired of those pop-ups that say "Celebrity hotter than spouse". Who cares?? I mean, its nice to see celebs marry normal people, but who's to say they aren't "hot" or attractive or good looking? Just because they don't fit the "Barbie" image doesn't mean they aren't pretty. And you wonder what is wrong with young girls (and even boys) in this day and age.

21) I really miss being at home with Layna. Would love to be holding her right now, teaching her how to use the spoon, making her smile, taking a nap with her. 

22) I hate bidding on things on eBay! (think I mentioned this before, but I really do hate it)

23) I need to start on my minimalist living, now that my cash flow is going to make me be that way whether I want to or not. 

24) I bought bread yesterday for my sandwiches.....and it has milk in it. Lord bless me that it doesn't make me sick for lunch today.

25) My randomness has run dry for the morning.  

Family Weekend Day 2

So I know I am late. Things have been hectic for me these last few days for some reason. There will be two blogs today, this one and one randomness, because I feel random. 

Sunday was day two of the family time weekend. We went to church and had a little visitor sit with us throughout the sermon; little Lexxi. She was playing with Layna, and Layna would smile back at her. It was so cute. We had a great sermon, and we also found out the dates for our VBS next month, just don't know the times yet. 

After church we went next door to the schoolhouse for the England reunion. Can you believe that I left my camera in the car and didn't once take it out? Me, the one that can't go anywhere without a camera! I didn't even take any with my phone! My cousin Brittany took one of Layna with her son Weston, but I never really saw anyone else take any pictures. Its strange how we went from video taping (yes, WAY back when, in the '80s) to taking pictures, to eating and leaving quickly. That just goes to show you how society is changing. Back when, Sundays were for relaxing, spending time with family. Now its another retail day, people having to work, kids having ball games or practices, families always on the run. Its a shame we can't go back to those lazy Sundays.

Speaking of which, we did some running too. Because of our long fun day Saturday, we had to get Grammy Sue's groceries on Sunday. I was a mean person and asked Bugz to help me, so we could get done quicker. We went and got her money and list (and let her hold Layna while she took her bottle), then we headed out to get groceries. 

It was quite funny, Bugz did more shopping than I did! We went to K-Mart and I just wanted to go in quickly and get one thing (which they did not have) and leave. He ended up walking almost every baby isle, then we went to sporting goods, electronics, then on to toys. THEN we left. LOL! Wal-Mart was a little better, especially since they don't have squat to choose from for babies. We got her groceries and headed home, but not before a stop at Sonic, where I got a cotton candy slush with Nerds. Not great, not bad, wouldn't get it again. The peach with the Nerds was better.

By 7pm we were sitting in her living room, groceries put away, and trying to go home. Thanks to Layna getting fussy, we finally got home. I don't even remember what we ate for supper, I was that tired, but I was glad our little family got to spend another day together. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Family Weekend Day One

Yesterday was a fun filled day of adventure. Bugz let me decide what we were going to do (and hell froze, so we headed to Nashville.

First stop was the farmer's market. Wow that place is big! We put Layna in her stroller, picked one end, and started walking. Let me tell ya, if we didn't live in this scrappy place, I would have gone nuts buying flowers and plants for a garden. There was so much to choose from! I ended up with a chocolate mint plant, which I have a hard time finding.

There were a lot of high priced strawberries, which in my opinion didn't really look all that good. There were a lot of good looking veggies, but I ended up not buying any.

We went to a permanent flower market on the end and they had a lot of cool stuff. I could have gone crazy in there! I contained myself and bought a little ceramic frog.

As we made our way up the other side I got excited when I saw little goats on a table. Sure enough, he was selling milk, cheese, and yogurt. I bought two containers of cheese and got a brochure for taking a tour of the farm. That made the trip totally worth it.

We walked through the food court, and tho we weren't hungry, everything looked so good. There was an Indian place, so I am definitely hitting that one up next trip.

Once we realized we were really close to Antique Archaeology, we decided to go there next. The place was packed. There was a chick singing in there, too. It is WAY smaller than I thought it would be! On tv it looked huge! We had a hard time maneuvering Layna's stroller for the size and all the people.

We took a look at everything, fell over at the high priced t-shirts, and didn't have any luck finding Mike or Frank. I bought Bugz a shot glass for his collection and we headed out.

We rode around here and there and wound up at Green Hills Mall. I had never been, and neither had Bugz, although he built part of the parking garage. We parked and went in. Let me tell ya, I won't go back. You have to have lots of $$$$ to shop there. We made it halfway through and Layna started throwing a fit. We both lost our tempers, so we went to the car, cooled off, and left. I did find Shalimar while we were there tho. Its an Indian restaurant over by the mall that I've heard is fantastic. Will have to go back and try it out.

After a quick stop at McDonald's, we got back on the Interstate and headed towards a Goodwill that we saw off to the side on the way in. Once we figured out how to get to it, we pulled up and the sign said both retail and outlet. Well, we didn't know what was what, so we picked a door and went in.

BOY did we we not know what we go ourselves into! It was a huge room with scales and huge blue bins on rollers FULL of stuff. You literally had to dig. It was so bad they sold gloves for $1 at the registers, so you could dig without getting dirty.

After a few minutes of digging, we realized that all this stuff was more than likely the stuff that didn't pass the test and didn't make it into the retail store. There were all kinds of things! The first bin I dug in I found one of those sofa tables, the one with the hinges on the bottom that goes over the arm of the chair/sofa. It had a $5.99 price tag on it, but I grabbed it anyway, it would come in.handy.

Once we dug through about 6 bins or so, Bugz points out a sign on one of the pillars; everything is sold by weight! Books were so much a lb, home goods were less the more lbs you bought. It was all so cheap! Making our way around, I ended up with a stadium seat with a back on it and carrying strap, a hard case car cooler/warmer that would probably hold a 6 pack or two and has a carrying strap and cup holders (untested, of course, have to plug it in the cigarette lighter), and about 5 books.

Bugz notices a sign that reads "Golf club bag and 14 clubs $6.99". He got excited like I did with the goat cheese. Granted, they were in rough shape, but to just practice with that was a steal. He picked them out, and got a great bag. We went to check out and got all that for $20!

We drove around to the front of the building and went into the retail store. Ended up with four dresses for Layna, a little owl kitchen timer, and a pair of pink plaid mud boots, all for $17.

By this time it's 7pm, and we'd been in Nashville since 11am at the farmer's market, so we head home. A long, fun family day. I hope we can do it again soon.

Today is the England family reunion after church. Good food and great family. Should be another great day!

Friday, May 16, 2014

35 Years Ago......

May 16, 1979 was the day I was born. I don't know much about that day, nothing was ever really said about it. Was it a hard labor? How long did it last?

I do know that they didn't know if I was a boy or a girl, but I don't know which they wanted. I'm sure my dad wanted a boy; what guy doesn't, right?

I don't know if they wanted more kids, or why they didn't have more than me. I do know that they were married 7 years before they had me, but I don't know if it was by choice or if there were problems.

What I do know is how much they loved me. How much they did for me, provided for me, took care of me. We may not have had everything, but we had each other, and that's what matters.

I just hope I, we, can show Layna the same.

We went out to eat tonight, my little family, for my birthday. Of course we went Mexican, because that's my favorite. We had a great time and good food, although my stomach was a little upset by the time we got home.

Tomorrow plans to be another big day, if it all works out. Can't wait!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Price to Pay for Beauty

So as you read that title, I bet the first thing that popped in your mind was makeup, plastic surgery, and starving diets to lose weight.

Well, that's all true too, but that's not what I'm talking about today.

Today I'm talking about little girls clothing. Dresses, to be more specific.

If you are a repeat reader of my blog, you know I am a bargain hunter and a thrift/consignment store shopper. I am not above my daughter (or myself) wearing hand me downs and second hand clothing. Especially my daughter, because honestly, how many times can they wear an outfit before they outgrow it?

Now, if you have two kids, preferably of the same gender, then you are good to go in the clothing department.....if you kept what you had. Even though it may not happen, I will be hanging on to Layna's clothes for a little while, just in case. There are many articles of clothing in a Rubbermaid tote that either I bought, were given to me, or handed down, that she only wore once, or didn't wear at all. I am sure your child has the same. So no, I am not above going and buying a second-hand outfit for Layna, because I know that it is probably in good shape. And if it's not? I don't buy it! Duh!

I just don't get the outrageous prices on kids clothing, tho. I mean, like we just established, they don't wear them for long. There isn't that much fabric to them, they are so small (that's why plus size clothing is so expensive, right? Extra material.) And unless you are planning on handing it down to siblings when they outgrow them, then there's really no reason to pay that much for anything that your child might wear. 

I was never a pageant type girl. I didn't like the frilly fru fru crap that most girls were into. Yet I find myself looking at my adorable daughter and wanting to show her off. There is a church Homecoming that we will be going to in July, I believe, that has a baby show during there activities. I am thinking about putting her in it. It is nothing fancy, just little ones in their Sunday best and the winners get $1 (at least that was what it was when I last went, about four years ago, and that was when there were only two girls in the contest and they both won). Its more for fun than anything, so I can't wait to put her in it.

That got me to thinking that maybe I could put her in at the county fair. I mean, after all, who doesn't want to show their cute baby off? The problem? Where should I begin.

For starters, we've always wondered if the pageants have been rigged. People with money, or influence in the county, paying off the judges and whatnot. It was actually a joke one year when someone didn't win; we said her momma must not have paid them enough. 

Second off, the rules state Sunday casual. They do NOT wear Sunday casual. They go a little more than that. Not Toddlers and Tiaras far, but enough that what they wear to me is not Sunday casual. 

So, off I go on the Internet to look for a dress. 

Let me first say that you do NOT want to type in "3-6 Month Girl's Pageant Dress" into the search bar. I did that, and let me tell you my jaw dropped onto the keyboard! There were dresses like this:  Even though it shows big kids, it says they come in 6 month size too.

Maybe eBay will be better.

Well.....yes and no. 

They have some beautiful dresses, don't get me wrong. I absolutely fell in love with this one , but I refuse to pay $39.99 for a dress she will probably only wear once, MAYBE twice. I keep looking.

I find this beautiful one for $30.00, yet again too much. I am getting frustrated.

This one would be absolutely perfect, as she looks good in blue, and you HAVE to have the poofy skirt beings that she will be carried and the skirt has to show. But at $16, it is still way too much for me to spend on a one-two time dress. Now if she was winning a bunch of money in this pageant, maybe I could justify it. But she's not. 

I came across this beautiful yellow dress , and even at $10 I am hesitant. I bookmarked this one so I could watch and see how high the bid goes. 

I came across one that would have been perfect, price and all.....but it had 30 seconds left in the bid and I wasn't prepared. I would like to add that I HATE bidding. I hate the back and forth crap and the not really knowing if the seller signed in under another account and is driving up the bids. (It can happen!)

In my frustration I am ready to give up. I have till September, after all, to find her a dress. But I am addicted. I just can't stop. "One more page" I say, as I keep looking, hoping to find that great bargain on the next page. 

I get a good laugh as I stumble across this gaudy one at a mere $89.99 and am shocked that anyone would spend that much on a dress for a 6 month old!

So I decide to take out the word "pageant" and just search for 3-6 and 6-9 month girls dress. Page after page of non-dressy dresses, with the occasional expensive one thrown in. I came across the cutest little dress that is not baby show fancy, but I may just have to get for her anyway. She would wear it more than once, so it would get a lot of use. I bookmarked it so I could watch the bids on it, see how high it goes.

In the end, I bookmark a few that I like that are within my price range, but that have 3-5 days left to go on the end of the auction, so they may or may not be in my price range by the last day. I will keep an eye on them though. 

This ordeal, this quest to find an inexpensive little casual dressy dress, has made me want to run a rental business. Buy up a bunch of these dresses then rent them out to people like me who don't want to spend that much on a dress to only wear once. $5-$10 a day to rent a dress (depending on the dress) and a $5 cleaning fee that you would get back once the dress is returned and is not stained. Would anyone be interested in something like that? Would someone rent a $40 dress for $15 to do a pageant or pictures, or even a wedding? Here I am saying I wouldn't want to spend even $10 on a dress that she might only wear once, why would I pay $15 for one I wouldn't keep?

Clothing just costs WAY too much! Both for kids and adults. I think I might learn how to sew.

*BTW, I think I found a dress. Finally. 

Day One Photo Challenge Has Moved!

If you came here to see day one of the photo challenge, I have moved it. I did not want to clog up my blog with photos every day for 30 days, so I made one just for the challenge. You will find it here:

I decided this might be much easier to keep up with them all. But don't forget about this blog! I will still be having deep thoughts and jotting them down on here.

Thanks guys!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

30 Day Photo Challenges

On Sunday there was another topic brought up that I'd like to talk about.

I had wandered down to the water on my own not long after we got there, and my photographer eye saw a perfect picture spot: On the hill, sloped down behind it, trees and the lake, sat a picnic table. I could just see the three of us sitting there on the table, with the water behind us, and have a great family picture done.

I come back up the hill and I tell Bugz I found a spot I wanted to have a picture of us taken at. He gets huffy and says he's tired of taking pictures. You see, if you remember, we took those at Short Springs, and he didn't want to do those either. He also got irritated earlier that morning when I asked him to take pictures of Layna and I while we were dressed up for our first Mother's Day. So needless to say, me mentioning that I wanted another picture of us together.

He said that we didn't need a picture of EVERY moment of her life. "Here is day 48, here is day 92, here is day 115!" My sis-in-law tried to help defend me, but I jumped in. I made the comment that my mom hated to have her picture taken, so there aren't a lot of pictures of her, let alone us together, and as for family pictures, there may be three or four total over my 24 years with my mom of the three of us together. Pictures, and very few videos, are all I have left of my mom. If it weren't for those pictures, I'd forget what she looked like.

I don't want to do that to Layna. I don't want something happening to me and/or her daddy and her not have pictures to remember us by. I want her to look back at pictures and see a happy family, a family that loved doing things together, having fun.

As he was being a smart a*% and talking about taking a picture of every moment of her life, it got me thinking.....what if I did a 30 day challenge? What if I took a different picture every day for 30 days and documented it in a photo album? It would be something that she could look back on when she's older and maybe even share with her own kids. It would be something that I could look back on and remember how much fun (or how stressful) it was to take them all and put them together.

I mentioned the idea to Bugz, and he said she's too little to do 30 different things. Well, I Googled a list today, and I found one. You can find the link below:

30 Day Baby Photo Challenge

I have a feeling that some of these might be a little hard, especially since I work during the week, but I am going to take the challenge! I think it is something that will be a great keepsake as well as a bonding experience with Layna. And if I can recruit Bugz to help me, it might be good for us all, as a family.

Upon searching for a challenge list, I came across a Pinterest page that has a TON of challenges on it! So I get to thinking, why don't I do one too? I couldn't exactly do the one for Layna (no one wants to see my bath time!), so I had to look over all these and find one for myself.

30 Day Photo Challenges on Pinterest

After looking over a few of them, noting that some are somewhat month-specific, like fall photos in November, I finally settled on one.

My 30 Day Photo Challenge

This was the one that I thought had the most easy things I could find to shoot (hopefully) and between Layna and I, we should have a blast trying to get this put together.

I will definitely be saving the Pinterest thread, for new challenges to follow once I finish this one. The month-specific challenges could be fun! Or I could make up my own combining some of the lists together. Now, if you know me, I love organization and whatnot, but I like to break the rules sometimes. This would be one of those times.

Normally you would start a 30 day challenge at the beginning of the month. Well, not me, at least not this time anyway. I am going to start as soon as possible! I know it will be difficult for me, beings I am working most of the day during the week....I will only have a few hours in the morning and a few in the evenings to get some of them done, so I'm going to break another rule. I am not going to follow the challenges in order by number. I know that's part of the "challenge" of it all, but with an infant, and me working, some days the challenge might just be impossible (like out & about or flowers, or even bath time, beings infants only get one-two a week).

So.....who's up to join me in this challenge? Yesterday I challenged you to clean and minimize your life, will you take this challenge too? You don't have to follow the same challenge that I did; just pick a challenge from the link I posted, one that fits you better, and go for it! You might have more fun than you think! If you decide to accept the challenge, let me know. I would love to see what you come up with! Maybe even start your own blog just for your 30 day challenge! Or, if you don't want to do that, make a scrap book, like this one and you can have each 30 day challenge (if you choose to do more than one) on a different page! The possibilities are endless!

Beings that we're talking about pictures, I was a little late in posting Layna's 4 month pics. There were a couple reasons : #1 She didn't smile and #2 I got her weight wrong. But after some creative editing on my part, I got the weight fixed and I ended up LOVING this little face she made. Who says she has to smile every time, right?

BTW, I never got that family picture at the lake. Figures.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Minimalist Living

As we were driving home from Tim's Ford State Park yesterday, we were looking at houses on the road as we passed. Bugz would point out houses and say how much money he thought he could build them for. I was pointing out the colors of brick and mortar that I did and didn't like.

He pointed to a small house and said he could build it for little of nothing, and the first words out of my mouth were "It would be alright, but we'd have to get rid of some things."

So then I got to thinking. Could we really downsize to fit in a small house? Could we really let go of things so that we could afford a small house?

I am not ashamed to admit that it would be very hard for me, but if it were just me, I could do it. I could live in one of those tiny houses that you build on wheels and drive wherever you want it to be. But now that I have Layna and Bugz (and Sadie the large indoor dog) it would be MUCH harder.

So let's delve into this a little deeper here.

What is more important in your life, people or things? If your house was on fire, you would obviously worry about your family first (including dogs), but could you leave everything else behind? Or would there be something else you would run back for. Is it something you could live without, something that you WANT instead of NEED?

I will admit, it would probably hurt, but I could let go of everything but one. I would be lost without my family pictures. Photos, photography, means everything to me, especially now that my mom is gone and I have Layna. I had a friend who's mom died from a house fire incident, and they lost their house completely, so not only did he lose his mom, but most all of the pictures of her. So yes, it would be extremely hard to lose my pictures. Everything else can be replaced.

But why is it so easy to say that, yet its another thing to actually do it when you aren't in a situation like that?

I have a chest of drawers, a dresser, and a walk in closet, and I STILL have clothes all over the top of the dresser, in a clothes basket on the floor, and I have three Rubbermaid totes full of clothes that I had outgrown and was hanging on too in case I lose the weight again. I had already gone through all those clothes once and gotten 5-6 huge black garbage bags full of clothes that I didn't want anymore out of all of it. There is still that much more left. Could I make myself cut my wardrobe down to just the minimal essentials? Could I live with 2-3 pairs of jeans, a few shorts, 3-4 nice dress outfits (work clothes), a couple of dresses (for special occasions) and a few t-shirts? Could I do without the 50 pairs of socks and mismatches in the drawer? Or the 6 pair of pajama mix and matches that I never wear?

I have a bookshelf full of books that I want to read, but don't have the time to and probably never will. Should I keep them for that one day, eons later, when I might be able to read them? Who am I kidding? I love to read, but I haven't picked up a book in 4 months. When am I ever going to have time to read them all?

In the kitchen there are tons of pots and pans, cups and bowls, cooking utensils that I never use. Yet there they sit, taking up space. And let's not forget about the junk drawer! In my case, the drawer got filled when I first moved in and I haven't touched it since. Would it be safe to say that if that stuff has been in that drawer untouched for two years that I don't need it and I could toss it all? I'd venture to say if I went through it there would be at least one if not two things that I would just "have to have" before I tossed the rest out.

The bathroom. Well now, we all know that is a hot spot for women. Shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays, makeup (not for me!), lotions, on and on and on. How many of you have three or four bottles of shampoo and conditioner in your shower? I know I have two shampoos, three body washes (one almost empty), one conditioner, one face wash, one feminine wash....and that's just mine! The man has his two bottles on the other side of the tub. Do I really need that many bottles in the tub? Kinda....I mean, each one does something different (except the body wash). But what about those 5-6-7-8 bottles hiding under the sink? The ones that get half used or not at all and you toss them under there. Or that unused curling iron, straight iron, extra blow dryer, 50 bottles of nail polish you haven't used in 10 years?

The more you look around, the more you see in your house. I have a jewelry box full of rings I've never worn, necklaces I never will again, and earrings that I can't wear because they hurt my ears. Why do I hang on to them? Why can't I let them go?

The Bible has many versus about material things, but the two that stand out most to me are Matthew 6:19-21 and Philippians 4:19, and no, I am not going to tell you what they say.....if you have a Bible, look them up. If you don't have a Bible, let me know and we'll get you one.

We can't take anything with us when we leave, and all it does is cause grief for the family members left behind. I guess I'm glad I'm an only child, and my dad is single (right now), so I don't have to worry about a fight with what's left of his stuff. But even when I inherit his stuff, am I really gonna need it? The land and house maybe, but probably not most of the other things. He won't take them when he goes, just like my mom didn't take hers when she went, and I won't be taking mine. So what's the point in it all, other than to enjoy life while we are here? Do you really need ALL that stuff to "enjoy" life?

Look at the first settlers, or even jump forward to the 1800's. Most people lived poorly, they didn't have lots of material items. They didn't have separate bedrooms (Remember Little House on the Prairie?), they made most their own clothes and handed them down as they grew out, so there weren't closets full of clothes.....did they even have closets back then? Probably not. There was no need for them. If you look at any older style house, they had tiny bedrooms, some no closets. My parent's house was this way, the bedrooms were small and one bedroom did not have a closet. Back then bedrooms were for sleeping. You got up, you worked, you ate, you went to bed. You sat around a fire in the living room and listened to the radio (if you could afford one - if not, you walked down the gravel road to the person that did have one). Kids didn't sit in their rooms doing their homework listening to music and watching tv cuddled in their beds. Life was simpler back then.

Could we go back that far again? I believe I could, except I would have to have electricity. I would have to have lights, running hot water, and a flushable toilet (one that doesn't have rats crawling down in the hole). As for everything else, I would be just fine!

I've been thinking about it a lot. How hard would it be to go off the grid? Raise cattle, chickens, goats, pigs for the meats, eggs, and milk. Grow a garden with every vegetable you can imagine. Solar panels could even run your power in your house as a back up, or even primary energy source, and other than the panels, its free! No electric or gas bill! Minimalist Living, no bills (utilities that is), almost self-sustainable. Pay off your car, home school your kids, and sell your extra garden goods for extra money, and you'd be set. The more minimal you live, the less money you need!

Just for curiosity, I looked up tiny houses. It is intimidating, scary, and interesting. I found this one, and it just might work: Tumbleweed Houses
The B-53

While this one does indeed have closets, you would still have to live very minimally. There would not be very much room in the bedrooms for anything more than a bed. And as in our case, there would not be any room for Layna's things. In our living room now we have her swing, bouncer seat, two jumparoos, a saucer rocker seat, and we did have her pack and play but we put it up for now. There's just not room. Does she need all those toys? Not really, but if anyone has had an inconsolable 4 month old, you know that anything and everything that works to get them calmed down at any time, you do NOT get rid of it unless it is broken. So yes, that would be a little harder, but other than that, it might not be too bad!

The funny thing about these houses is the estimates on how much it costs to build it. Now granted, I don't know anything about building houses, so I am only going by what the man has said. We have passed houses a lot bigger than this that he said he could build for the same amount they have listed for these. If that's the case, can you imagine how cheap it would be to build one of these on your own, without having to pay them? I mean, if you have little to no money (like we do) its nice to know that there is an option. You just have to be able to let things go.

So I am challenging myself and anyone else that might want to take this challenge with me. CLEAN HOUSE! Pick a room and work on it that whole day/week/month (whichever is convenient for you...for me, it would be a week or month, till I am unemployed again that is). Clean out every drawer, every nook, every cranny. Start tossing! Throw things away, start a yard sale pile, a give away pile. Take that yard sale money and save it for a much needed vacation (or in my case, diapers for Layna). Write off your donations on your taxes. You will feel SO much better knowing that you were able to let things go, that there is no more clutter. 

And if you are even in doubt about "Can I really do that?" Take a look at these houses.....If they can, we can too!

This one proves you can live in almost anything. Click the links under the pictures for more images of the "house".   (It won't let me copy and post pics from the site)

And remember, the smaller the walls, the closer the family!  :)

Mother's Day Fun!

Mother's Day was a new experience for me. It was the first one that I could really say, "I am a mom!" I never thought I'd say that, to be honest. And I am still in awe that I am. Some days its as if its not really real. I wouldn't trade Layna for the world! 

We got all dressed up....well, she did anyway....and headed to church. 

After church, we rushed home and got ready to go to Tim's Ford State Park to spend time with the in-laws and family. We rented a pavilion and had a picnic, complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, potato and macaroni salad, baked beans, and for dessert Sun-Drop cake! While Papa Billy was cooking the meats, we sat around and visited. 

There was even a little swimming done, although Austin said the water was cold. Can't tell by the look on his face, huh?

Once we ate, the guys (and Jas) played a game of Ultimate Frisbee (or at least that's what they said it was). Poor Bugz thinks he may have broken his little toe. That's what he gets for wearing flip flops!

Once all the food was packed away, we left the coolers behind, got out the stroller, and took off for a hike. Thank goodness it was on a paved trail this time, that way Layna could chill in the stroller and her aunt Nae Nae could push her, beings she had hurt her foot. 

As you can see, Layna fell asleep. She slept for the most part. They had convinced me not to take the diaper bag, just bring a few diapers and a bottle. Little did we know that we would walk for almost THREE hours! About halfway, on the way back, Layna woke up and got a little fussy. Uncle Randy carried her all the way back. After a little bit of her bottle, and some spitting up, she did just fine the rest of the way. Can't say the same for the rest of us, we were exhausted!

We saw lots of interesting things on our walk, too. From unfamiliar trees to "naked" cedar trees, to the creatures of the forest. And let's not forget the creepy spider in the bathroom! He was almost as wide (legs and all) as the palm of my hand!

After the long, exhausting walk, we sat down to rest before packing everything else back up. The kids played Frisbee while us old fogeys drank water, ate cake, and moaned and groaned about hurting. Bugz was the worst, tho. His toe got worse and worse the more we walked. 

As we were packing up to go, Nanny decided that she was going to let Randy take her for a ride on his motorcycle! I don't know if she's ever been on one or not, but the way she was talking, probably not. 

Once her got her helmet secure, they took off. They went around to the marina and cabins and then came back. I got video of her leaving and coming back. This is of her coming back. The leaving is on my phone and I can't get it to post. You can tell by the video though that she liked it.

We stood around a bit longer, then finally headed out. After a long afternoon at the park (1:30pm to 7:30pm), we were ready to go home. We had a bunch of deer telling us goodbye as we left; this was the only one we stopped and took a picture of. He wasn't scared of the car at all.

All in all it was a great day! Even thought I didn't get anything for Mother's Day, and I didn't get to hold Layna as much as I would have liked, just seeing her adorable face was enough to make my day.

On the drive home we got to talking about a topic that I will talk about in my next blog post: Minimalist Living. It should be a good one!