Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 has proven to be THE most eventful year of my life. Every single major event occurred in 2011: first it was pregnancy, then engagement, then the birth of my daughter.

Now it is a promotion and getting married!

Yesterday I received the best news of my career, thus far. The job I have been aiming to climb to for the past two and a half years was finally offered to me! As of December 7th I will be a PAS Analyst (Portfolio Administrative Services) with CB Richard Ellis, the leading commercial real estate company in the world. This promotion is a God-send and in every way I thank Him for this opportunity. Not only will I be able to provide more for my family but we are now moving in the direction we’ve been aiming for, for years. We’re fine in Memphis Tennessee right now but as some of you may know we would love to relocate in a few years, and with this job the thought of relocating is not just a dream, but could possibly lead to a reality.

And to top off an already wonderful day Michael and I decided to get hitched! We’re so happy to be Mr. and Mrs. But let me tell you how weird it is to be a WIFE and to have a HUSBAND and to get rid of the last name I’ve known for 25 years only to welcome a new name. It’s weird. It’s all madness. But it’s Good Madness. I couldn’t ask for anything else.

But I’m getting some interesting feedback from people that kind of makes me realize how materialistic/superficial we are now a days. A lot of people have asked me what I wore and if I’m sad I didn’t get to wear a wedding dress. And I get surprised comments that we didn’t have a ceremony or reception. And to be honest a part of me wants all that; I wish we could have gone all out. But the rest of me realizes how UNIMPORTANT all of that is. The marriage is what matters, not the wedding. So I’m kind offended that some people may think I’m missing out or that my marriage isn’t as exciting as others’. My marriage is just as happy and just as wonderful as any $100,000 wedding would be.

That being said… Michael and I are fun people so we DO plan on marking this major event thru vacations and parties. Because I don’t see the point in spending as much on a wedding as we could on a new car/new house/etc. we won’t be having your traditional wedding, but we plan on taking a long honeymoon and while on that honeymoon we want to exchange our vows (just the two of us). Following that trip we’d like to throw a reception (or by then it may be a One-Year Party), inviting all of our family and friends to celebrate the belated event. But honestly I don’t want to be consumed with this party, and I don’t want it to affect our marriage. If we can’t afford it then we won’t do it and I’ll be perfectly happy that way, I promise.

However, a free wedding would totally be a win (everyone loves spending other people’s money). There is contest out there with a grand prize being a Hawaiian Wedding (plus 30 guests flown in for free). You must submit a picture plus a letter explaining why you deserve said wedding. Here is my list (you know me and my contests; I never win but I hoped Michael would find this list sweet yet funny)…

Dear [_____],
Why should Michael and I win your Hawaiian Dream Wedding giveaway? Let me count the ways:
10) We have fun in the kitchen, whipping up great (and sometimes not so great) food and I’m dying to buy some Mr. & Mrs. Aprons!
9) We have similar birthmarks on our hands and arms = we’re MEANT TO BE! Duh! ;)
8) We both desperately need tans. I’m half Mexican so you’d think it would come naturally; sadly, that is not the case.
7) I love birthdays/Valentine’s Day/Christmas/and practically every holiday so celebrating our wedding on Valentine’s Day is in perfect tune to our personalities (see the attached video I made for Michael last Valentine’s Day).
6) We need a vacation; we have only taken ONE vacation since we’ve been together (to Jasper AR) and we don’t know when we’ll get another one.
5) Our family members deserve a trip to Hawaii as much as we do; taking them along with us for the ride would be our gift back to them for doing so much for us.
4) We don’t have the financial means to throw a big party, being on one income with a newborn, so we’re planning on going to the courthouse to make it official. But having a Hawaiian ceremony would be a cherry on top of the cake (the MARRIAGE is important, not the WEDDING).
3) We support each other, and our dreams. Our hope is that Michael can attend school to become a game warden and I can one day follow my dream of becoming a stay at home mom, and a photographer. Until then Michael is the stay at home dad while I work full time!
2) If I had to choose again, I would always choose him (and he says he’d always choose me too).
1) The most important person in our lives: Brianna Catherine Ryan, our daughter, who was born on July 20th, 2011. She’s the apple of our eye, the cheese to our macaroni, the icing to our cake, the smile to our faces, the sugar to our kool aid, and she deserves it as much as we do.

Don’t you think we should win? Yeah, I do too.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This article had me cracking up today at work (I received it via email from a good friend of mine). If you like sarcastic humor and have had any exposure to babies... you'll love this!

Things I Hated (And a Few I Loved) About Parenting a 1-Year-Old
Posted by Linda Sharps
on October 11, 2011 at 7:01 AM
A friend of mine recently celebrated her daughter's first birthday, and when we were talking about how fast the year had gone and the fun of first birthdays, her voice suddenly trailed off a bit and she eventually said, "So ... 12 months seems like a really hard age so far. Did you think it was challenging?"


Does a pope wear a funny hat in the woods while standing in a pile of bear crap? You bet your ass I thought it was challenging.
In fact, I wrote some notes about what life was like with my youngest son, Dylan, when he was 12 months old. I call it, creatively, My Least Favorite Things About 1-Year-Old Babies.

They walk, yet they are babies. This is a horrifying combination and should be forbidden by nature. I feel it is a massive Darwinian fail to design babies to be able to heave themselves up on wobbly legs and stagger around like PEOPLE, when they are clearly INFANTS, as evidenced by their total lack of knees/knuckles and their propensity for ferreting out every single choking hazard in the entire house and cramming it in their cry-holes.

Speaking of, they put everything in their mouths. Here is a partial list of what I once fished out of Dylan’s mouth over a 24-hour period: a Curious George sticker, a Band-Aid, a small rock, fifty thousand pieces of paper, a pen cap, his brother’s shoe, a chunk of what I fervently hoped was dried mud, and one mysteriously non-Duplo-sized Lego that must have manifested itself out of another dimension because I swear to GOD I had already hidden all the chokey-sized bricks what the HELL. This was the same baby, mind you, who routinely gagged on RICE CRACKERS and mostly turned his nose up over chunky foods, probably because I didn’t WIPE THEM ON THE FLOOR FIRST.

They have a hair-trigger gag reflex. I became so reluctantly experienced at dealing with a Surprise Cough-Barf, I had an entire honed, efficient tactical action plan involving paper towels and Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender Spray and baking soda and simultaneous bath-preparation and laundry-starting activities and, frankly, this is not one of those life skills I ever wanted to be good at. Dear child: yes, post-nasal drip is gross, but re-enacting the pea soup scene from The Exorcist is infinitely more disgusting for all involved parties.

They are emotionally unstable. Whine, whine, whine. I can’t reach that ball, someone took the pen cap out of my mouth, I don’t like these shoes, this diaper change is filling me with rage, I’m riddled with invisible demons and I don’t know what my problem is so I guess I’ll just scream for about a goddamned hour straight. God, it’s like their brains are still forming, or something. Like they have limited communication skills and get easily frustrated and are constantly bonking their heads on things. SO IMMATURE OMG.

In other words: yes. It's a very challenging age. My god.

However, in the interest of fairness, I do have a few things I love about 1-year-old babies, such as:

They dance. There is nothing, NOTHING like seeing a 12-month-old bopping along with Eninem’s “Crack a Bottle." Uh-oh uh-oh, bitches hoppin’ in my Tahoe.

They love to laugh. Like when you get down on your hands and knees and pretend to be a bear and crawl after your baby going RRWAAR!, and their eyebrows shoot up and they go shriiiiiiiiiiek with pure insane joy before they laugh so hard, they fall over and hit their head on the entertainment center? That’s pretty rad.

They talk all the time, about GOD KNOWS WHAT. “Ba blah da doe blmphz da DER DER pah gee DOH,” they say, and you go, I know, right?

They're full of love (when they're not full of rage). They are in the perfect sweet spot between actively choosing to be cuddled (vs the passive human-represents-food pleasure of the newborn) and figuring out that almost any other activity is more fun than snuggling with Mom. They run full-tilt into your arms. They press their cheek against yours. They sit back to drink you in, then lean forward to sigh happily against your chest.

Their butts are ridiculous. I defy you to gaze upon a 12-month-old’s naked bottom and not feel certain the world is in fact filled with unicorns and rainbows.

I know everyone always says that you should enjoy whatever age your child is, because you'll miss it so much later—but I can't say I miss my children as 12-month-olds. I mean, okay, maybe I miss their squishy little bodies, but that's what photos and loving memories are for.

Friday, November 11, 2011

So in 44 days B will, unbeknownst to herself, be celebrating her first Christmas! I’m excited but next year I’ll be a little more into it because she’ll be a little more aware (although probably won’t yet understand).
Regardless the first Christmas is always exciting and I hope she gets a kick out of the tree, the stockings, the lights, the music, the pretty wrapping paper, the yummy smells, and other sensual stimuli. One day, when she’s old enough, we’ll include her in family traditions: decorating the tree while sipping hot cocoa and listening to Christmas music (and singing along terribly). Baking Christmas cookies to leave for Santa, and setting carrots out for the reindeer. Opening her present-filled stocking on Christmas Eve.
Oh and don’t get me started on the babies that will come after B. I can’t wait for the Good Madness that fills our home during the holidays. The torn and shredded wrapping paper that litters the floor post-presents. The huge breakfast spread with family members sitting around the table. Video footage to be watched for years after. And silly Christmas photos taken every year in front of the tree. I’m sure mom and dad (Michael and I) will be exhausted and wondering what the heck we got ourselves into, and I may be crazy for wanting all of this… but I have a feeling it will all be worth it.
But as for this year. This very special year when Michael and I spend our first Christmas together as a family, with Brianna. This special year when Brianna’s big eyes looks in wonderment at the lights and the tree. This year will be like no other – it will never be replaced or mimicked. So I’m going to cherish it.
One of my favorite parts about Christmas is the giving. I absolutely love finding presents for people that they actually want and will enjoy for years to come. Unfortunately this year we’re going to be a little tight on cash. I can’t get into the beautiful details of the presents I’m getting for folks (my loved ones read this blog!) but I will tell you that I’m SO EXCITED! (And THANK YOU pinterest)
As for Brianna, this is her wish list for all those interested:
1.       Savings Bonds – These will be devoted to Brianna’s college fund. They will be as good as gold to us.

2.       Cloth Diapers – In an effort to save our family money I would really like to give cloth diapering a true go-round. If it works well then our cloth diapering investment will be outstanding, considering we’ll end up using the cloth diapers for our future children as well. Make and Model of choice = Bum Genius Freetime All-in-One with snaps or Bum Genius 4.0 One Size with snaps (a dozen diapers would be great!). www.bumgenius.com

3.       Highchair – B is quickly approaching solid-food-eating days. We’d like something that can grow with her (aka, safe for little infants yet something she won’t grow out of in a few months).

4.       Baby Bullet – Again on the topic of solid foods. From all of the reviews I’ve read about the Baby Bullet it seems like this is the easiest way to go. www.babybullet.com

5.       Clothes and toys – Educational and age appropriate toys for infants who are attempting to roll over, crawl, and walk.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We are 15 days away from Thanksgiving, can you believe that?
This year for Thanksgiving we plan on staying in Memphis and having our first Family Thanksgiving (although B won’t be eating turkey and mashed potatoes, we really want to start the tradition early). Of course we’ll spend some time with extended family but the dinner itself will be at home, at our dinner table. So I’m already looking for recipes (one of my favorite past-times). Instead of a turkey we’re thinking of having individual Cornish Game Hens. And for the sides we’re wanting healthy version of the traditional. For dessert I’m thinking we’ll splurge a little by having a pie or cobbler. If I can I will post our Thanksgiving menu and then later will show some desserts.
In the thankful spectrum of Thanksgiving, I know I have a lot to be thankful for, and I wish I had more resources to give back. I wish I had more money so that I could buy and donate food goods. I wish I had more time so that I could volunteer. These are things I will do again one day but this year I am focusing on my new family. I know that I need to be more appreciative, and more thankful for the blessings that I have. I need to be more loving towards my fiancé and devote more attention to my daughter. I need to worry about providing for my family, and I need to concentrate on keeping a clean home for them to live in. I need to thank them for the small things that they do, and I need my actions to speak for themselves. I need to appreciate every minute of every day that I have with Bria. I need to be the listening ear, the shoulder to lean on, the heart to empathize with, and the hand to hold for my fiancé. I need to stop talking and start listening. I need to stop wanting and start being content. I need to live for them, and not myself.
I am thankful for the toothless grins.
I am thankful for conversations with my mom.
I am thankful for a tall fiancé who can reach the shelves that I can’t.
I am thankful for warm baby cheeks, pressed to mine.
I am thankful for the big strong arms/hands of my fiancé – they are good for hugging.
I am thankful for all of our health.
I am thankful for advice, suggestions, wisdom that come from my in-laws.
I am thankful for a chance for a new day, every day so far.
I am thankful that there are churches everywhere so that I might find one that suits my family and me.
I am thankful for a paycheck that comes twice a month.
I am thankful for quiet nights.
But I’m also thankful for middle of the night feeds, when I can gaze at her sleepy face.
I am thankful for morning phone calls with my cousin.
I am thankful for inside jokes.
I am thankful for each and every sunrise, and that I may see it every morning on my way to work.
I am thankful for my gifts, even if I have not figured out how to use them.
I am thankful for silly moments with my fiancé.
I am thankful for moments when my fiancé brings me back down to earth.
I am thankful for mistakes that I may learn and grow.
I am thankful for the unplanned pregnancy I had because although the timing was off the gift is life-altering.
I am thankful for blue baby eyes and the cowlick in her hair.
I am thankful for our bedtime routine, when I get to spend one-on-one time with B.
I am thankful for the opportunities I get to show Bria that I love her.
I am thankful that I live in Memphis Tennessee; no matter how much I complain if we hadn’t moved here I wouldn’t have Michael or Brianna in my life.
And finally I am thankful that they are in my life. I can’t imagine an existence without them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

So I’m a masochist.

I’m about to start this new diet and it’s probably the worst possible time to do so. Thanksgiving is TMinus 17 days away. And there is only 23 more days left in November entirely (can I stop a second and say WOW… time is going by so fast). But then again I think this might be the best time ever to attempt a diet like this one. If I can make it thru THE food holiday of the year while eating healthy… then I’ve truly avoided gaining the winter weight. Depending on how November goes I may continue the diet into December, to again avoid the winter weight gain.
As time goes on I’ll let you know how difficult this diet is for me. I can tell you right now that chocolate, candy and cookies will be the hardest. The rest may be pretty easy: I rarely eat biscuits, cake, donuts, or muffins. I rarely have pastries, white bread, chips, or fast food. Nutella, peanut butter, and ice cream aren’t even in the house (thank goodness cause I would have a problem avoiding those as well).
Wish me luck!
Inspiration photo 1, to lose weight!

Friday, November 4, 2011

So Halloween has passed and now we're nearing Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. This time of year (and especially now that I have my own little family) has got me thinking about family traditions. I have always loved my family time and the few traditions we've practiced throughout the years, so now I can't wait to start making memories with our daughter. She may not remember this first year of traditions but I promise to start taking more pictures, so that we can remember.

So, here are some family traditions (with pictures) I have for inspiration:
-pumpkin carving at halloween, of course

-friday night movie night (and popcorn/Subway/pizza/something else). growing up Vinnie, mom, and i would have a friday night pizza and movie night. Michael's family did something similar with movies and Subway sandwiches. i'm all about movie and _____ night, whether we stick with the yummy and healthy Subway sandwiches or do something fun like homemade pizzas.

-baking cookies on Christmas eve for Santa

-making tamales sometime in Nov. with the hispanic side of my family. we wait until the holiday season because we make SO MANY tamales, and it takes SO MANY hands and SO MUCH time. getting everyone together like its a holiday party is the perfect backdrop for making warm, spicy tamales!

-emptying everyone's stocking on Christmas Eve night. i have no patience -- i want to unwrap my presents and i want everyone else to unwrap theirs!

-decorating the tree, while sipping hot cocoa (or a hotty toddy for mom and dad), and listening to christmas music.

-birthday morning balloon surprise (fill the room with balloons at night so when LO wakes up they are surprised with a room full of balloons)

 And then use the balloons later to hang above the dinner table for the birthday dinner.

-birthday dinner, favorite dish

Of course this would be my choice.
 -new years fondue. its a fun, yet slow way to eat a dinner and dessert!

-thanksgiving rolls (everyone to write what they are thankful for on a small peice of paper, and roll it up in a dinner roll. during dinner you open your roll and try to guess who wrote which thanks)

-birthday and/or new school year pictures. i saw this and thought it was such a great way to make that day (first day of school or birthday) special. take a picture and photoshot on name, age, grade, favorites, friends, etc.

-sunday family dinners. okay so this one should really apply to every day of the week but with two working parents (who knows, maybe mama will be a stay at home one at some point in the future) we might have to do quick, easy, rushed dinners. but at least during Bria's younger years i really want to focus on sitting down at the table every evening for dinner -- even if dinner is soup and sandwich. as she gets older i'd like to focus on Sunday nights if i can't do more than that.

okay so the list is pretty long. as our family grows i hope we get more and more into these events, and we don't lose ourself in the hussle and bustle of every day life. i may be daydreaming here but its so important to me to develop a strong family circle and i guess as we near the holidays i am becoming more and more excited about the future of our family.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

(I typed this up this past weekend. So pretend like you're reading this on Saturday.)


Today Brianna...

1) Rolled over! This morning I set her down on a blanket on the floor (tummy-down) and went into her bedroom to get some toys. When I came back in the room she was on her back! I wasn't all that surprised because she has been trying to roll for weeks now but I praised the heck outa her and made her do it again -- two more times. After the third go-round I tried to video it but she was thru with that business and began getting fussy. More rolling practice tomorrow!

2) Laughed! This evening I set her down in her bouncy/exersaucer chair and tried every goofy face and silly sound in the book, in an attempt to get her to laugh. Finally I started playing pick-a-boo by hiding below the exersaucer and bouncing up. That did the trick and she laughed for me, twice! Michael was a witness so if you don't believe me, ask him.

I'll try to get you some videos of these accomplishments soon. I'm so proud of my little B!

Other topics of interest:

Halloween is this Monday but the competition at work has come and gone. I can now reveal to you that our theme was Batman. We decorated our room to be Gotham City, Arkham Asylum, and the Bat Cave.

All the kids loved the batman costume my boss was sporting!

Don't mind my make up-less face.
I was The Riddler.
The Bat Cave.
My work group.