Thursday, September 29, 2011

First of all, tell me how you like this layout. It's something new that is doing and I thought I'd give it a shot. If it's too much and you like the cutesy background more, then tell me so. I like your feedback, readers. :)

So anyway, I’m a big fan of birthdays. I happen to think it’s important to celebrate the birthdays of the people you love because daggumit the world just wouldn’t be the same without them! Michael’s birthday was earlier this month and we jumped at the chance to celebrate with our first date night, sans Bria. It was hard but it was a breath of fresh air to go out and enjoy ourselves; just the two of us (que: Just the Two of Us by Bill Withers).

That morning Bria and I woke up early (aka, she woke up early and I followed suite) and went to the grocery store for a last minute cake-ingredient run. The trip wasn’t too bad considering she hates the car and when I got home she napped long enough for me to bake The Man’s cake! The recipe is called Better Than Sex Cake and I may have to agree…

Here she is, ladies and gentlemen:

Under that fluffy white layer of whipped cream (and Heath bar bits on top) is a caramel sauce soaked devil’s food cake (two layers please), and extra toffee bar bits throughout. Yes ma’am… its daggum good.

Here’s the recipe:

Better Than Sex Cake


  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 ounces caramel ice cream topping
  • 3 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed


  1. Bake cake according to package directions for a 9x13 inch pan; cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Make slits across the top of the cake, making sure not to go through to the bottom.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping, stirring until smooth and blended. Slowly pour the warm topping mixture over the top of the warm cake, letting it sink into the slits; then sprinkle the crushed chocolate toffee bars liberally across the entire cake while still warm. (Hint: I crush my candy bars into small chunks as opposed to crumbs - I like to have pieces I can chew on!)
  3. Let cake cool completely, then top with whipped topping. Decorate the top of the cake with some more chocolate toffee bar chunks and swirls of caramel topping. Refrigerate and serve right from the pan!

As far as presents go my big present to him came later that day when I purchased his tattoo, but we’ll get to that soon enough. I also bought him an iPod Nano with workout earbuds; now he can blast his metal when we’re working out (and while I tune into Lady Gaga/Black Eyed Peas/Rob Zombie… haha, weird combo I know). But the day before we made a trip to Michael’s dad’s house where Mike received his birthday presents early; a PS3 and a big bottle of vodka! So for the rest of the day, until it was time for our date, he played on his PS3. He also received some great gift cards!

Grandma (my mom) came over around 5:30pm to babysit Brianna. We said our goodbyes (and I gave my mom the 3 page notes I had written regarding Brianna’s bedtime routine and some tips on how to calm her down incase she had a full blown meltdown) and off we went.

First stop was Kooky Canuk on 2nd St., downtown Memphis. This restaurant has been featured on Man vs. Food, the tv show where the host, Adam Richman, travels the US and attempts to beat crazy food challenges. Kooky Canuk offers a HUGE burger; those that can eat the burger in under 60 minutes gets bragging rights, their faces in the Hall of Fame, and a paid-for burger. I never did see the episode where Adam Richman attempted to eat the huge burger but check this out:

Kookamonga burger challenge
-kookamonga burger is 4lbs of ground chuck, 2lbs of hamburger bun, 1.5lbs of lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and cheese totaling 7.5lbs!
-3,198 people have attempted to eat the kookamonga burger but only 8 have achieved Hall of Fame status.
-The kookamonga’s total amount of calories = 12,387 (266.8g of fat)!
-To burn off those calories you’d have to: go on a cross country hike for 30 hours, do low impact aerobics for 28 hours, sleep for 200 hours (ha!), rollerblade for 13 hours, or push mow your lawn for 30 hours!

Anyway, we did not attempt to eat the huge ass burger. We ate rather normal meals pretty and ate them rather quickly, then bolted for the door; we had a tattoo appointment to make and were ready to get away from the screaming kids in the restaurant (we love our screaming Bria but were looking to get AWAY from the children that night, not find more).

We arrived at Ramesses’ Shadow Tattoo Parlour right on time. I wish I would have taken more pictures of the place but let me just say that I LOVE this tattoo parlour. It’s small, its artistic, its appointment only and it  projects FANTASTIC work. Shannon, at Ramesses, first started working on my back piece YEARS and years ago. Since I first started going to Ramesses I have been a total of 4 times, and until my back is finished I will always go there. These guys (two brothers: Shannon and Kevin Johnson) are so good that they are booked a YEAR (yes, a YEAR) in advance. So we had these appointments scheduled and were so happy to spend our date night there. First of all, there were no children. The quiet time without Brianna was great; I missed her but I can’t say that going two months without a date night is ideal. Anyway, the guys were cool, and we left with some awesome work.

My back didn’t need much, just some fill in color.

The REAL TREAT was Michael’s birthday present: the reworking of his former tattoo:

Into this…

See the original snake inside the bottom part of the new one?

The former snake was a copper head that Michael got when he was a teenager. It had faded and blended together to the point of needing real touch up work. But instead of just touching it up he decided he wanted to cover it up with a new snake. Kevin managed to do that plus take it up a few notches and makes it bad ass. Now the snake is a temple viper. A picture of the real thing:

We’ll be going back in about a year to get the color added (and I will be adding some text and a broken rope to my back piece).

During our time at that tattoo parlour I was texting my mom, worried about what kind of hell Brianna was putting her thru (we have been trying to get her on the bottle without much luck. And without me there I was worried she wouldn’t eat, thus wouldn’t calm down, thus wouldn’t go to sleep, thus stressing my poor mother out). But to my ENORMOUS relief my mom informed me that not only was she now sleeping in her crib but she had taken the bottle! Not only did she take the bottle but she took 5 oz. from the thing! I was so excited and happy for my little girl. When we finally got home I thanked my sleepy mom profusely.

Unfortunately little B must have had too much formula too soon. In the middle of the night she woke up (like normal) and when I went to her I found her in a huge puddle of her own vomit (not normal). She continued to vomit for the rest of the night and didn’t really stop until 8am-ish. I stayed up most of the night with her, changing her clothes and eventually giving her a bath. I didn’t feed her any more that night for fear that she’d spit everything right back up.

So the next day both Bria and I were sleepy people, but the date night/birthday seemed to have been a success! We can’t wait for our next date night. :) We’re thinking maybe a movie and another restaurant (next time we’ll definitely find a place that’s less likely to have kids running amuk)? Any suggestions are welcomed!

To end this birthday post, I leave you with a picture of my beautiful two month old. I wish you could see her big smiles she gives us every morning, and now every day. She is becoming much more social and so far has a great personality and demeanor. She only gets fussy when she's sleepy/hungry but a well rested baby makes for a happy baby, and that definitely is the truth in our situation. We love you Bria Bug!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My sweet babies are napping, so I’m using this time to get some things done. First on the list? Blogging.
Now let me say one thing: I don’t know how stay-at-home moms make it work. And by “it” I mean = taking care of baby, getting household chores done, making dinner, groom themselves, and having extra time for fun/creative/crafty things. Perhaps when their children are a little bigger and they don’t need constant feeding/soothing/playing/holding. Don’t get me wrong; I would LOVE to be a stay at home mom. Spending this invaluable time with my Bria has me wishing I didn’t have to go back to work next month… but even if I were to stay home I don’t know how I’d get anything done. She naps, yes… but I can usually only get one load of laundry done during said nap and that’s if I’m lucky. I feel like I have so much to do and such little time to do it all. Thank goodness I have a wonderfully helpful fiancĂ©; he helps me in every facet of our home lives. And God bless him; he helps while dealing with a crying baby and a hormonal fiancĂ©. Geesh.

In other news, we brought Peyton home! Peyton is Michael’s black and white fluffy cat. He’s adapting well but we think it’ll be a while before he’s feeling “at home” here. Picture soon to come.

Lack of pictures making you a frustrated reader? Well my point n shoot camera doesn’t work anymore. It won’t turn on, regardless of how long I charge it. The thing isn’t even a year old so I’m gonna try to take care of that situation soon.

Brianna will be two months old on Tuesday! We’ll also go to the pediatrician on Tuesday for her two month check up (which consists of her first round of immunization shots… I’ve heard those things leaves babies wailing crying and sleepy. Wish me luck). The Home Front 2 Month Update: She’s sleeping in her crib! It took a good two weeks of crying (baby and mama) and very long nights before she got the hang of it but now we’re looking at 5-7 hours of crib sleeping a night. I still wake up 2-3x a night, depending, but it’s wonderful to be back in bed with The Man. Also, when she is on her tummy she holds her head up while pushing against the mattress with her hands – and this happens for a good 10-12 seconds at a time. She is also sitting forward on her own (while holding mom’s hands and sitting at a 45 degree angle on mom’s lap)! She’s smiling, giggling, and we’re seeing the beginning stages of cooing too (she keeps saying “guh guh guh”). Her happiest moments are in the mornings, or after naps. When she sleeps well her wake times are better. On a bad note B still isn’t liking the bottle (VERIFICATION: she had no issues with the bottle and formula for the first month. After month one she would have no part of it). Starting tomorrow we’re doing a hardcore bottle training (like we did with the crib). It’s gonna make for an interesting (and hungry) week, but it must be done.

MOSTLY because it’s Michael’s 26th birthday this week (Wednesday to be exact)! The man of my dreams and I are going to celebrate this upcoming weekend and Grandma Balla will be babysitting our sweet Bria. In an attempt to make our first night out (and B’s first real babysitting experience) a good one, we need to get her used to the bottle (and pacifier would help too). As far as birthday plans go? Well, it will be our FIRST date night since Brianna was born (two months!) so we’re gonna do the usual dinner and a movie. M still has yet to decide which restaurant he wants to go to; if anyone has suggestions, leave them in the comments. Regardless of where we go, what movie we watch, what we eat, or what we do… I’m excited to spend some time with my future hubs, sans baby. We love her but we also love each other and we definitely need some “us” time.

On the fitness front, we’re doing pretty well. Within the past week I brought my run time down 5 minutes per mile. I’m still only at 15 min/mile but it feels good regardless. Michael and I try to spend an hour at the gym three days a week (although going more often would be wonderful, we just don’t have the time). Grandma Balla comes to watch B during that time and as far as I can tell she enjoys doing so. We’re sticking to our meal plan… kinda. We’ve switched up a few days and cut some corners here and there but we stick to healthy eats whenever we can.

My project list is a mile long and I still wish I had more time to get things done. Right now I’m looking at: Painting B’s room, buying and hanging curtains and rods, and creating a Craft Corner. I’m hoping I’ll have a working camera soon so I can show you step by step how I’m getting these things done.

Anyway, that’s all I can think to write right now. I’m sorry it takes me forever to write posts; life is just busy! I can’t wait for everyone to meet my little angel (those who haven’t yet met her) and we’re thinking she’ll meet just about everyone during the next few months (weddings and trips galore). Stay tuned and keep coming back! Maybe one of these days you’ll have some visuals to go by (pictures).

Friday, September 9, 2011

I may be pushing it and I might need to do myself a favor and lay down before I test this luck too much and realize how dumb I am three hours later sans sleep. But I’m gonna try to make this quick.
I’m referring to my lucky streak of a sleeping baby! IN her crib. Wahoo! We are 2 hours in and rocking on. Since Monday we’ve been trying this whole crib thing. Monday was okay, Tuesday was TERRIBLE, Wednesday was good, Thursday was AMAZINGLY terrible. Will Friday be a winner?
Anyway, I’m hoping for some headway here because my strange nightly sleeping patterns are doing no one any favors (except that she slept so terribly last night that she had a super ultra deep sleep nap today that gave me enough time to straighten my hair and feel pretty again).
Today we ventured to the mall (which brought two things to my attention: ONE, that it takes me 2 hours to get ready to go anywhere with baby now and TWO, instead of listening to the local rock station like I used to now I’m blaring white noise in the hopes it’ll calm sweet Bria down)! It was nice to get out and walk around, especially with such nice weather we’ve been having lately. Michael and I looked at wedding bands, I tried on some different frames, and I received a belated birthday present. Check it.
(Bytheway, no I don't know why my hand looks blue. I promise my hand usually looks a normal-human shade of olive)

I’ve been wanting a watch ever since I got my blackberry. In the past I would tell time using my cell phone, because it was on me 100% of the time. Because I hate my blackberry I don’t keep it nearby like I would have in the past so therefore I am a time-clueless moron. My sweet man intended to buy a watch for me for my birthday but I made it difficult (I have a hard time letting people buy me presents because, although I’d love to have them). But we finally made it to the mall and HERE is my beautiful watch (classic, preppy, and will match my traditional wedding band)!
Tomorrow we’re headed to the Germantown Festival. I’m really excited to get out and about again; being stuck at home is not for me. Brianna loves the outings too (except for the car part); anything that has to do with her being in the baby backpack and me walking around (she doesn’t like me to be stationary) is her cup of tea.
Hopefully some pictures will be on the way too. I left my Canon EOS D40 at Michael’s dad’s house so I need to make a quick trip to pick up the big lug.
(She’s STILL sleeping!!)  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

This week is a week of change – all for good but all with long roads of pain, sweat, and tears.

This week we started:
-transitioning Bria to her crib to sleep at night.
-working out at the apartment gym.
-the beginning of our strict weekly meal plan.

I’m jealous of those ladies who have babies that sleep in their cribs without a problem. Heck, if she would sleep in a bassinet/on the couch/in a rocker/in a swing I would be happy! But no ma’am… my dear daughter loves to sleep ON ME and nothing else will do. Sure, she’ll go a few minutes, maybe even an hour sleeping else where but if she wakes up and realizes she’s not in mommy’s arms then there is an atomic meltdown. Unfortunately for her mommy is going back to work next month and would really like to lay down flat, in her own bed SO we started the transition. First of all let me say that when I have my next baby I will let him/her sleep in the nursery every night while we’re at the hospital; my daughter’s love of sleeping on me was probably my own fault. I let her get used to sleeping on me in the hospital and I should have started her right away in the bassinet. But anyway, too late for regrets. The first night (Monday) was not much of a success. The first half of the night wasn’t too bad; I got B to sleep after our bedtime routine and she slept on/off for a few hours. When she woke up she would grunt herself back to sleep. All good. But the second half of the night we weren’t so lucky. At one point she woke up and grunt herself back to sleep so she started wailing. I came to the rescue, calmed her down, got her back into a deep sleep but as soon as she hit the bed she would wake and freak. This went on from about 1am til 6am, at which point I gave up and let her sleep with me until 9am. Needless to say mommy is pretty tired today.

But we’re not giving up! Night two will be commencing shortly (bath time in about 2 hours) and I’m hoping the rest of the week yields some sleeping results! Please cross your fingers, say a prayer, and don’t call me. LOL… I have a feeling I’m gonna be dead to the world until this sleeping business gets sorted out.

My mom came over after school today (3pm ish) and per our agreement, she watched B for about 2 hours (actually we agreed on 1 hour but I lost track of time). During that time Michael and I worked out in the apartment gym (and we made a Target run, tanned, and showered, which is why I went over so far on time). I’m proud to say I achieved my daily goal of running 1 mile, albeit slowly. I ran said mile in 20 minutes (groan) and then followed up with some weight training and basic side crunches. We won’t get another chance to work out until next week (while my mom, dad, and brother go to IL for my cousin’s wedding (ARTHUR AND CYNTHIA: I WISH I COULD BE THERE!!!!!!). Next week our workout schedule will be as follows: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday my mom will come to the apartment for an hour while Michael and I work out. On the off days we’ll either go to Shelby Farms or workout at home. Either way I LOVE the burn! It was rough getting back in the gym, considering it’s been over a year since the last time I was in a gym. But the clean, open, tired-because-I-worked-hard burn is awesome!

Michael and I sat down last week and wrote out a meal plan that we are going to follow until…… who knows when. This will allow us to watch our calories and our pocketbooks. When we know what we need to eat it makes preparing daily meals easier, and shopping for groceries easier too.

Monday – Salad with chicken
Tuesday – Chicken with veggies
Wednesday – Fish Day
Thursday – Turkey Day
Friday – Quiche Day
Saturday – Chicken with veggies
Sunday – FREE

Monday is pretty straight forward; we make a salad and grill some chicken to top it. Easy, healthy, and yummy. We’re experimenting with different dressings and different chicken marinades.

Tuesday/Saturday is pretty straight forward too; we prepare chicken (usually marinated and grilled) and some type of vegetable. We have peas, green beans, beans, potatoes, etc. Another easy meal. The only creative side to this dish is the marinade.

Wednesday is salmon or tilapia night! We can cook the fish anyway that we come up with, and we may also incorporate a salad or healthy carb on the side.

Thursday is turkey day and we most likely mean ground turkey. We’ll most likely make ground turkey burgers on these days but we may also make a pasta or stew or soup, etc.

Friday is quiche day! I experimented with my first quiche this past weekend and now that I know how easy and delicious quiche is I am ready for more! We can experiment with a variety of veggies and meats.

Sunday is a free day so whatever we come up with we can eat. Lately we’ve used some gift cards on the Free Days; but just because it’s free doesn’t mean we can’t eat healthy!

With that all said, I can’t say that we have truly had many amazing dishes so far. They’re pretty basic but when we do hit a high note on a recipe I’ll be sure to post it for all to see.

To start off the recipe sharing right, here is the quiche and crust recipe that was a hit for us this past weekend…

QUCIK N EASY QUICHE CRUST (note; I have to triple this recipe to make enough)
1 C. flour
½ tsp salt
¼ C. olive oil
¼ C. ice water

1.     Mix flour and salt with fork.
2.     Beat oil and water with fork to thicken.
3.     Pour into flour and mix with fork.
4.     Press into pie pan. Now it’s ready to fill with quiche filling and bake.

2 Tbl butter
1 onion, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 C. chopped broccoli
1 unbaked pie crust
1.2 C. Shredded mozz. Cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1.2 C. milk
1 tsp salt
1.2 tsp b. pepper
1 Tbl butter, melted

1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2.     Over medium-low heat melt butter in saucepan. Add onions, garlic, and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until veggies are soft. Spoon veggies into pie crust and sprinkle with cheese.
3.     Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over veggies and cheese.
4.     Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until center has set.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Well hello internet! We are back and I can honestly say I missed the internet; I didn’t realize how much I relied on to talk to fellow moms like me, going thru the same things. I know I could talk to people around me who have had babies, so they know the drill. But (I’m ashamed to say this) I really want people to think I know what I’m doing and that I have an angelic baby girl to show for it. Truth is babies aren’t cut and dry and although it seems like everyone else’s babies are perfect I know that they have projectile pooped, had sleep troubles, cried when they were put down so mom could use the restroom. I know they created a scene in public and they went thru growth spurts that brought mom and dad to their wits end. My Brianna is beautiful and wonderful but she isn’t easy – and sometimes I really don’t know what to do but I try everything that I know, then I go onto and I ask these other moms for help. Its nice that we can all be candid with each other and ask for help – its nice that none of us are pretending to have perfect little angel babies. I’m looking at the list of discussion topics right now and here is an idea of what we’re all dealing with:

-cradle cap (baby dandruff)
-diaper troubles (babies pee coming out of the diaper
-heat rash
-silent acid reflux
-exorcist baby (projectile vomiting)
-constipated baby (and using a thermometer in the butt to help it all out)
-NOT constipated baby (enough said)
-growth spurts (constantly hungry/fussy babies)
-Post partum depression and having a short fuse
-having worse b.o. after baby is born (apparently you stink worse for about 9 months so your baby can smell you. Weird!)
-feeling helpless/tired/cranky/clueless

So I guess this post is just a confession. I’m not perfect and I’m learning as I go. My baby is beautiful but sometimes she wears a stained outfit and some times we both go a few days without actually changing outfits. The dishes in the sink are dirty, the clothes on the floor are dirty, the boxes that need to be unpacked are… not unpacked. But I don’t care. We’re a big ole happy pile of imperfections. 

BUT, now that THAT is out of the way, how about I update you?

Brianna is 1 month and 2 weeks old (7 weeks total)! I think she’s about 12 lbs. now and I swear I can tell that she grows more and more every day. We’ve switched to 1 diapers, instead of newborn (which sucks because I still have  TON of newborn size diapers). We’ve also rotated thru some clothes; a few things don’t fit anymore! I don’t know why I am so psyched about the simple act of watching her grow but I am. I can’t wait until she’s into size 2 diapers and wearing 3 month old clothes (mostly because she has some majorly cute clothes waiting to be worn).

According to my doctor I am 11 lbs. away from my beginning weight. And now that I have been given the o.k. to exercise I’m hoping those 11 lbs. will melt off FAST. Michael, my mom, and I have created a schedule – 3 times a week grandma will come babysit Brianna for an hour after work so that M and I can workout at the apartment gym. I’d love to be able to run the Susan B Komen 5k this October, but we’ll see how everything goes.

We’re in our new apartment and little by little (very little, some days) its becoming home. My mom and friend Heather helped me paint the living room recently. It’s a great gray-green slateish color and it really warms the place up. Next is B’s room – which will be a soft milky green and finally we’ll paint the master a deep, intense blue. We had an issue with roaches the first week or so but the place has been sprayed (thank God) and we haven’t seen a roach since (THANK GOD). Our neighbor upstairs thinks he’s fat; we’ve seen him and know that he’s a pretty small dude but the way he walks sounds more like an angry rhino stomping on a roach, than a small guy walking calmly. His loud walking got so bad we switched rooms with Brianna – they’re about the same size. Other than these things I guess we should be appreciative of our home; I’m just glad we have a place and like I said, I’m trying to make it feel like home.

Michael is applying for school so we’re very excited about the possibility of him starting this winter. Everyone cross your fingers that he gets accepted and we receive more financial aid!

We’ve also been discussing marriage a lot more lately. J The prospect of spending the rest of my life with Michael and Brianna makes me the happiest woman alive. You may be hearing about an impromptu wedding at the courthouse in the near future! Our reception is still planned for a yearish from now, however.

More about Brianna: she smiles sometimes but I haven’t found a foolproof way to get her to grin. She “talks” sometimes too! Her eyes are still blue, her hair is still brown (although seems like its getting lighter) and she is as adorable as ever. For a while we had issues with her skin; she started having baby acne but that quickly turned into an all-body rash. Luckily changing detergents has solved the problem. Her skin is baby to being baby smooth. 

Things that we’re looking forward to:

Sleep training! Now that we have Brianna’s room relatively set up I’m excited about getting her to sleep in her crib. We begin “training” this Monday – which means I will be a very tired, and possibly very cranky mama.

Brianna turning 2 months old! I love watching her grow! From the articles I’ve read at 2 months we may start getting a sense of her personality; what makes her tick. She may be able to hold toys, or at least swat at them if they’re held in front of her.

Visits from family! We’re expecting to have my cousins Jordann and Mindy here at the beginning of October. I’m SOO excited to see them, and I know they’re excited about Bria. Now it’s just a matter of getting her crib trained, bottle trained, and people trained… that way she’s not so cranky when she sleeps in her crib/someone holds her/someone feeds her… that’s a lot of prep! I better get busy. 

Michael’s birthday is this month! I can’t wait to celebrate my Number One’s birthday with a date night. Although I see him every day I can honestly say I miss him. Going out without Brianna will be nice (although nerve-wracking, I’m sure). We love our baby girl but we believe that keeping each other #1 is IMPORTANT. After all Brianna will grow up and we’ll be left alone, the two of us, all old and wrinkled. Making my husband-to-be my #1 is key.

B at 1 month