Just a Girl in a Football World

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, today is the official start of football season. Don’t feel bad, apparently I’ve been living under a rock because I was informed yesterday by my husband that “pizza night” had been moved to Thursdays. “Why?” I asked. “Because, tomorrow is Thursday night football!” This may sound like he’s a die hard football fan but in all reality neither one of us are. We just like pizza.

I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and was ten when they announced that we’d be getting an NFL team. So I am proud to say that I’m a Jaguars fan because I’ve been there from the beginning. No band-wagon fan here! Logan is from Tennessee and always grew up cheering for the Titans, but has lately switched his team to the Denver Broncos because of his love for Peyton Manning. I’m a Manning fan too, so I’ll cheer for them when they’re not playing the Jaguars.

Don’t get me wrong, there are other things I like about football besides the food. I like getting together with friends to watch a big game, I like cheering and the camaraderie that it brings, I like wearing a jersey (so no one can see my stomach bloat after I’ve eaten too many wings),  I like dressing up sometimes in my teams’ colors and getting to wear anything jaguar (or leopard) printed, I like the excuse that it gives to be able to sit on the couch for hours at a time, I like tailgating, and I like making crafty things in my team colors and decorating.  So while these things might not classify me as a “die hard” football crazed fan, I’d like to think that there’s still a place for me in this big football world. Even if it does put me in the “girly” category.

I believe that we can all find a balance though between the football obsessed and the “eh, football is on” people by following just a few simple rules.

  • Please do not update your news feed with a play by play and score updates throughout the game. I promise if I can read it then I can check my phone if I really wanted to find out the information.
  • Please refrain from yelling at the TV or using profanity when watching the game or talking about the game afterwards. I promise it is just that, a game, and the players and coaches can not hear you. I am all about some cheering, but no need to get nasty.
  • Please do not get upset if someone does not like your team-college football is the worst. And it always seems like the people who never even went to that college are the most annoying. How much fun would it be anyways if everyone cheered for the same team?

By abiding in these few rules I think this football season could be the best one yet! Ok, I’m laughing too. Not many people are going to be reading this post unless they’re bored during halftime. But please people, spread the word and let’s keep it classy out there! Are you ready for some footballlllll???

The Stewarts +1

If you’ll remember a few months ago I joined a blogging group of military wives that are located here in San Diego, and I’m so glad that I did! I have met some of the nicest girls. Emily is one of those girls (check out her adorable blog, Just the Stew of Us), and I was happy when she told me that she and her husband were expecting their first baby and she wanted me to take some pregnancy announcement photos. I am so glad to have these learning opportunities to grow my photography skills-and from this session, I learned that you can never get to your shooting location too early (I got a little lost, and with traffic on top of that I was losing some serious sun by the time we arrived) and that I definitely need to invest in a flash. With that being said, I think there are a few keepers and I’m glad to have been able to hang out with Emily, Ryan, and my lovely assistant, Katie (who is another blogger over at Going Coastal with the Plumes). Thank you Katie for helping and sacrificing your toe for this shoot (there may have been a minor mishap on a rock).

Emily and Ryan are college sweethearts from Texas A&M. Ryan is a Navy helicopter pilot, and within a few weeks of me taking these photos, he set off for a 10 month deployment. 🙁 Yes, he will miss the birth of their first child. Emily is incredibly strong though, and has the support of so many friends and awesome family. It’s women like her that keep the home fires burning and enable their servicemen to do their jobs without having to worry about what’s going on at home. Please leave her some love and tell her how awesome she is.

For their pregnancy announcement, they wanted to use books that were Ryan’s when he was a kid.  Guess How Much I Love You was even in Easton’s library! She titled the picture, “Bedtime in the Stewart house is about to get reallll interesting this February!” They are too funny!

Emily also just announced that they’re having a BOY! I might be slightly biased but having a boy first is pretty awesome!

Congratulations you guys-can’t wait to meet him!  I wish you all the best and that the next 10 months fly by as fast as a helicopter.

Easton’s Library: February 2014 Edition

Since falling in love with the “What Does The Fox Say?” video, Easton was very adamant about wanting to own the book. After singing it to him (yes, I sang the entire book), Easton was even more smitten. He thought it was hilarious! He sits through the entire book, attentive and alert. I was so excited to have replaced his previous favorite book with this one, but Logan and I quickly realized this was not such a good thing. Easton will drag it onto our laps while we’re watching TV and I’m usually the one who gets suckered into belting out the tune. It’s a good thing Easton doesn’t mind my poor vocal skills.  He always claps after I finish – such a gentleman! Logan on the other hand, is covering his ears… rude!

Easton was so excited to share his new favorite book with Aunt KiKi and Uncle Ryan when they came to visit. Who can pass up a smile when reading this classic?

We couldn’t leave out a Valentine’s day book though, since it is February. Easton loves the “If You Give A Mouse…” books by Laura Numeroff. His Aunt Kiki got this for him last year for Valentine’s day. He loves flipping through the board books himself and even brings them in the car with him.

This book, “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!” follows Mouse as he prepares Valentine’s day cards for all his friends. In the end, he is met with quite a treat of his own! Such a cute read, and perfect for Valentine’s day.

Happy reading!

Décor Diaries: Love Is in the Air

 had a difficult time this year figuring out my Valentine’s day decor. I have made a few Valentine crafts projects in the past and made a few new things this year. But after I put it all up, it looked like Rainbow Brite threw up in my home, which can easily happen with all the pinks, reds, and purples associated with the holiday. Logan said it looked like Easton had decorated it. Haha! Point well heard dear husband, and I agreed. So I took it all down and started fresh.

Morley, the moose, got a smashing black bowtie and Logan cut out the wooden letters that I then spray painted. I also made the arrows displayed in the glass apothecary jar and the simple heart garland.

I love how the arrows turned out!

And of course, my chalkboard could not be forgotten! This one was a little more challenging, but I’m proud of the finished product. Red roses finish off the mantel and add a pop of color.

Can one’s home be decorated for Valentine’s day without candy? I think not!

More red roses decorate the kitchen table. Roses really are a staple for Valentine’s day, even if you bought them for yourself!

I also have a winner to announce for the Valentine’s wreath giveaway… the lucky winner is Barbara Powden! Thank you to everyone who shared and commented!

Torrey Pines

A few weeks ago we headed out to hike Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, one of the wildest stretches of land on the Southern California coast and the only place where the endangered Torrey Pine tree is found. So many friends kept mentioning how it was their favorite hike, and how awesome the views were, so we were excited to finally get to hike it.

Easton (as you can tell) is loving his new hiking carrier. And I am loving that I don’t have to be the one to carry him!

The hiking trails zigzagged around on unpaved roads but was fairly easy for even the novice hiker.

We stopped a few times to admire the views – they were pretty awesome.

There are 8 miles of trails here to hike. We decided to hike the trail that ended up at the beach.

Easton enjoyed getting out of the carrier to stretch his legs.

After relaxing for a bit we headed back to the car, this time walking along the beach.

This will definitely be a hike worth sharing with our California visitors. Plus you really can’t beat the weather here. 70 degrees and sunny isn’t too horrible for a morning hike!

Pumpkins Gone Glam!

Looking for an inexpensive way to turn your Halloween pumpkins into glamorous Thanksgiving decor? Look no further than a spray can!

I literally became obsessed with gold glitter after using this stuff! (They also carry it in other colors as well.) I was spraying everything in sight! (I would have sprayed my husband and the dogs if  they’d let me!) It just adds that little bit of glam to spice up a Thanksgiving table or mantle. You can glitterize pumpkins, pinecones, wreaths, anything for fall.

The white pumpkins look better when the lights hit it right but the orange pumpkins really pop.

The pinecones turned out great too!

I also dressed up a few other larger pumpkins that will be displayed around the house. With just some glue and glitter you can really make plain ol’ pumpkins sparkle!

Look for all these and more Thanksgiving decorations around the house next week on the blog!

Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom

I have a confession to make. I always thought that stay at home moms were lazy. GASP! I know, crazy right? I guess you never really understand something until you’ve done it. Now don’t get me wrong, there are lazy stay at home moms out there. The moms that stick their kids in front of the tv all day and don’t cook or clean. The moms that play games on their phones or computers while their child is begging for their attention, those moms.  I was so ‘gung ho’ about being the best mom I could be to Easton and wife to Logan. I wanted Easton to be engaged in new things everyday, read to, allowed to explore new places, and most of all, loved. And I wanted my husband to come home to a clean house and dinner on the stove. I didn’t think doing all of those things was too much to do. But what you’ll never understand until you experience it yourself is just how exhausting it all is, trying to be the perfect wife and mom.

After talking with several of my close friends that all happened to have little ones close in age to Easton, I learned that many of them were feeling the same way I was. So happy to be able to spend this time at home with our new babies, but drained from the mental and physical strain it was taking on our lives. One friend stated how hard it was not talking to any adults all day, only her baby. Another stated that she felt depressed somedays because of being cooped up in her house and not interacting with the outside world. I could totally relate! Feeling this way was making it hard to be the perfect wife and mom.

While browsing the internet on the topic, I came across this great post by Nicole Smith, titled, “The Darker Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom”. She pretty much nailed it on the head so I thought I’d share an insert from her post.

Stay at home moms can be very lonely. Despite what the books and movies and even prime time TV would have you think, many stay at home moms do not meet up for mommy classes, play dates and lunches with the girls. Most of our days really are spent at home with the children. With that isolation can come low self-esteem and depression. Talking to a babbling infant all day long can be very tedious and exhausting. It can be a lonely world we live in and so the first thing we want to do when our partner walks through the door is talk their ear off because finally someone who has a vocabulary larger than their weight understands the words coming out of our mouths. The Internet and television can often replace our closest girlfriends and is an easy trap for us to fall into. Many stay at home moms don’t even realize how lonely they truly are until depression sets in. If you were to walk into your local elementary school with all the stay at home moms lined up, you wouldn’t be able to tell the depressed ones apart from the other stay at home moms. Oddly enough, many of us will admit that though we get lonely, we don’t really do anything about it.

Resentment happens. This is probably the hardest one for many stay at home moms to admit but I will be happy to tell you that I for one can be resentful of my working friends and husband. It is not an easy thing to do some days; stay home and maintain the house, the children the family and keep it all running smoothly. Stay at home moms are under a scrutiny that if we admit to resenting our working counterparts, then we have some how made the wrong choice and we should get up and go to work. Well, it is not like that at all. We don’t resent and envy every day. We have bad days just like anyone else, where we wish we could trade lives with some other mom, or we wonder how things would be if we worked. It’s not bad, it’s just normal.

I can remember one day when Easton had been extremely fussy all day and hadn’t napped well. I think I heard him whining even when he wasn’t!  Anyway, dinner time came around and I sat down to feed Easton in his highchair. I could already tell this was going to be a struggle as he arched back when I tried to put him in his chair. I took a deep breath and collected myself though and began feeding him. After a few bites he became agitated again and slapped the bowl of food out of my hand. Food went everywhere!! I was so over it and so upset that I yelled, “NO” at him. He of course, taking after his mother, began to cry. Logan came in from the garage and asked what was going on. After I told him, he said “ok, but that’s no reason to yell at him”. He then took the bowl of food and told me he would finish feeding Easton while I took a break. And of course, wouldn’t you know, Easton sat there like a good boy and ate all of his food. Was I frustrated? Yes. But I was more upset at myself that I had yelled at Easton. I felt bad the rest of the night and the next day. Major fail in the perfect mom department.

Through that experience though I learned that I definitely didn’t want to be that parent that lost their cool. I had to do something to keep myself happy in order to take care of Easton and Logan. Because what’s that saying? “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy!”

So that led me to create a list of things to do to help stay at home moms keep their sanity and beat the blues. I’ll admit, sometimes I have a hard time doing everything on this list ,but at least I have an idea of where to start if I feel myself getting too complacent on the couch or snippy with my boys.

  1. Get up and dressed everyday-ok this is a tough one for me because I love my pj’s, but I definitely feel like doing more when I’m dressed in decent (maybe even cute!) clothes.
  2. Have a routine- we all know that babies do best on routines so why not one for us?
  3. Go outside- a little vitamin D never hurt anyone and you’d be so surprised how much better you feel once you do!
  4. Schedule play dates and activities through the week- kids love playing with other kids and moms love having someone else to chat with. Plus you’re less likely to cancel if you’ve got something planned with another mom.
  5. Work out- even if it’s just for 20 minutes. I always feel so much better after a workout and ready to tackle the day, or some poop.
  6. Have a hobby- whether it be crafting, or blogging, do something fun that you like to do. (insert husband)
  7. Take time out from baby. (insert babysitter or husband)
  8. Don’t forget about YOU- mani/pedi, hair cut, a good wax, whatever it is, when you take time to make yourself look good, you feel good!
  9. Call friends when you need a pick me up! (Not the ones without kids, your other mom friends that can relate!)
  10. Get plenty of sleep! (I always kick myself the next day when I’m dragging because I stayed up too late to blog or catch up on tv shows.)

What about you? What sort of things help keep you out of a rut and supercharged? One of my friends told me when she’s feeling down she cooks! haha! I thought this was quite funny because I absolutely hate cooking but I realized, to each their own. Whatever it is that makes you happy, do it! Your little one and husband will thank you!

Happy Veteran’s Day

“This nation will remain the land of the free, only so long as it is the home of the brave.” -Elmer Davis

It is sometimes easier as a military spouse to be reminded of the sacrifices our service members make every day, but I can also admit that I am sometimes guilty of forgetting just how awesome it is to live in a country that has the rights and freedoms that Americans have. These freedoms would not be possible if it were not for our military men and women.

Thank a veteran today, and everyday for the selflessness they attribute. And to the ones that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

And to my favorite veteran of all, my husband.  (Logan was in the Army reserves before joining the Marine Corps.)

It warms my heart when I hear of random acts of kindness but it always brings tears of joy when it involves a service member. So awesome knowing that there are some truly appreciative and thankful Americans out there! So don’t forget to thank a veteran today, and everyday. Freedom isn’t free. Happy Veteran’s day!

Fun with Friends

While home in Jacksonville, I was able to squeeze in visits with most of my friends. It’s always great seeing friends and picking up where we left off. The only big change this time was that most of my friends now have babies themselves!

I got to see Rebecca, her husband Josh, and their son, Nolan, before I left Tennessee. The Hewiett’s live in Huntsville, AL which is about 3.5 hours away from Jackson, TN. I have known Rebecca since middle school and love her family dearly. The last time I saw Rebecca we were both pregnant, so it was awesome getting to see each other and have our sons meet for the first time. Yep, that’s right. We both had sons and they are only 17 days apart!

Nolan and Easton playing in their pj’s!

Rebecca and me with our boys!

Then, while in Jacksonville, I met up with my high school friend, Traci. She had a baby girl, Charli, almost exactly 3 months before Easton was born. She just so happened to be moving from California to South Carolina and was spending a few weeks with her family as well.

Charli was a bit more advanced then Easton, and I think it shows from these pictures! He did not know how to handle her hugging all over him!

Next up was my friend Chelsey, whom I met in Memphis, TN. She is my fellow crafter and we enjoyed double dates at Mellow Mushroom quite frequently. She just recently moved down to Orlando, FL and drove up to spend the day with us. Her daughter, Veida, is four months younger then Easton.

And yes, Veida was born with all that hair!

One Saturday we decided to head down to the Riverside Arts Market where we met up with another high school friend’s family. My friend, Mikki, lives in Charlotte, NC and so sadly was not there, but I have always been close with Mikki’s family and wanted to see them while I was in town and let them meet Easton.

Moving right along, we have my good friend Sarah’s mother, Margaret. I have known Sarah since elementary school and our mothers are good friends as well. Sarah is living in New Orleans with her husband, Michael, right now while she attends med school (so she’s a little busy). Margaret lives in Orlando, FL  and wanted to stop by to meet Easton while she was in town.

And last but not least, Rebecca came into town, so we were able to meet up again before saying goodbye. Here’s a group shot of everyone at lunch. So glad that I could see them one last time!

And that completes my week of visiting with friends! The Lord has blessed me with some awesome people in my life, and I look forward to all the new ones that I’ve yet to meet!

Life hands us many different things, good and bad. One of the greatest gifts we receive is the love of a good friend.  -unknown

Diy: Sunburst Mirror

One of the craft projects I did for Easton’s nursery was to make a sunburst mirror. I found the idea on another great blog and wanted to share with you how to make it.

Supplies:

  • 14 packs of 8″ wood shims from Home Depot
  • Wood glue
  • Masking tape
  • 7″ wood embroidery hoop from Hobby Lobby
  • 7″ mirror from Hobby Lobby
  • Paint
  • Leftover piece of wood
  • Hot glue gun
  • Electric sander

I first started by gluing 8 shims together starting with the middle one and gluing each one slightly shorter then the first. Then I taped the group together so it could dry. Repeat until you’ve done all 14 packs of shims. Whew! (I worked on this while Logan was at work one Saturday. Excuse the photos, they were taken with my point and shoot.)

After they had dried, I removed the tape and glued each group together. When that was dry, I sanded the entire mirror down. This is where the true beauty of the wood really came out. I thought about just putting a clear gloss over the wood but I had already decided to paint it yellow for the nursery (maybe I’ll do a natural wood one later). The picture below shows half of the mirror sanded down.

My husband then cut out a circle from some leftover wood and secured it to the back of the mirror with screws. This insured that it would stay together and give it something to mount onto the wall from.

Then I painted the mirror. I used a yellow color but wanted it to appear almost white washed, so I diluted it with some water. I also painted the wood embroidery hoop. After they were dry, I hot glued the embroidery hoop onto the mirror, then the mirror onto the sun.

I love how it turned out! It was such a nice addition to Easton’s nursery.