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Wanting Off the List

One of my favorite things to do since living here in Japan is walking to the post office and receiving mail. As sad as it may sound to you friends who live in the States and have unlimited amounts of fun activities to do each day, it’s true.

It’s a fun mother-daughter date, that we probably get all too excited about. I mean, getting a card in the mail from a loved one? It’s a great day. A package? Even better.¬†My heart rate is increasing just thinking about opening up that little metal door to see the desired yellow slip of paper with my name on it, representing a package of something wonderful that was sent to us. Gifts, purchased items, heck — I even get excited about surveys and insurance envelopes!

Unfortunately, lately we have been receiving un-welcomed things in our box. They come in the form of a catalog. These annoying “books”, addressed to me {but might as well have had Brooklyn’s name written in big, bold print on the front}, have pictured in them lovely dolls, or toys, or clothes that my 2-year-old is inevitably drawn to and immediately desires.

Yes, I’m talking to you Land of Nod. And American Girl. And Pottery Barn Kids.

Apparently these companies have our names on a list entitled, “Has young child, perfect prey” and sends them to us at timely intervals. Just when I was able to hide the last one after hours of being looked at, the next one arrives.

I’m sure it’s partly my fault. I buy one backpack from Pottery Barn kids, and will now forever be haunted with my purchase by my child picking out ten more things from their catalog that costs ten times what I want to pay.

Good job, children’s companies, on your marketing ploys. They are in full effect and working perfectly for you. But, as a concerned parent for my daughter who is picking out all these wonderful things that she will never be getting, maybe you could take our name off that list and put it on the “tortured long enough, take one year sabbatical before continuing.”

I’d really appreciate it.

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What I Wore:: Holiday edition

Feeling a little under the weather today, so I thought it would be a good day for a blog post. I have decided that moms are not meant to get sick, mainly because we are not allowed the luxury of taking a sick day. Hopefully it’s just a 24-hour thing and tomorrow will be a better day.

We are going to Okinawa for our Christmas vacation in a few weeks. I recently purchased some lighter weight dresses to wear by the beach, since they are on sale at the stores this time of year and it’s also a bit warmer in southern Japan.

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Dress: Old Navy // Nylons: Vera Wang // Shoes: Easy Street

I received this red dress in the mail last week and thought that it could also be used as a Christmas-y dress, paired with black nylons, shoes and accessories. So, here is a what I wore post, holiday style! Maybe my next one will come to you from the beach! ūüôā

I have yet to find a good place to take these pictures in our new place. I’m hoping to get a nice floor mirror for Christmas — hint, hint — we shall see!

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I Finally Found It

About a month ago, I polled my tall friends on their favorite pair of jeans. If you know me well enough, you know I’m not much a jeans girl. I don’t think I have ever been.

When growing up, I never had a favorite pair of jeans. I was too tall and lanky to find that “perfect” pair that most seem to have. Since college, I have¬†maybe¬†purchased two new pairs, and have hardly worn them. (I guess being pregnant twice since then has also had something to do with that.)

So, a couple months ago I began my quest to find that “perfect” pair. I know I have a really long inseam that is hard to shop for, but I also know that companies have started to cater towards us tall ladies more now than ever before. After seeing the many responses of my friends (thank you, all, for your input!), I decided on purchasing a pair from Gap. Reasonably priced, yet good quality.

Yesterday, they finally came. I picked them up from the post office, drove home quickly, raced upstairs, and ripped open the package. I could hardly contain my excitement (yes, I am that type of person where receiving a new pair of jeans in the mail is a very big deal) as I put them on. And, to my delighted surprise, I knew I found them.

My favorite pair of jeans.

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Gap 1969 Long and Lean jeans

Perfect length, great color, and very comfortable! Thank you, Gap, for this great find!

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Running Tunes

As many of you probably know, I love running.

I’m currently¬†training for a Frostbite half marathon in January (maybe this will help ensure I don’t gain the holiday weight?), and as with most runners, I love a good song to pump me up and keep me going on those long, monotonous runs.

Yesterday, it was down-pouring most the day, which meant I had to do part of my run on the treadmill (which I affectionately call the dreadmill). While I was pushing through those grueling miles, I thankfully had my power songs to help keep my tempo up and finish strong.

I thought I would share my go-to songs and in turn, you could share some of yours so I can add more to my ever-growing list!

My current top ten workout songs:

1. The Cave (Mumford and Sons)   Seriously, its got the best beat! My current fav. 

2. Good Feeling (Flo Rida)

3. I Won’t Back Down (Blake Shelton and Dia Frampton) ¬†¬†I prefer this to the original by Tom Petty – my husband thinks I’m committing a sin by saying that…¬†

4. Just Dance (Lady Gaga)

5. Party Rock Anthem (LMFOA)

6. Show Me What I’m Looking For (Carolina Liar) ¬†Slower song, but still love it!¬†

7. Breaking (Anberlin)

8. Chicken Fried (Zac Brown Band)

9. Meet Me Halfway (the Black Eyed Peas)

10. Your Love is My Drug (Ke$ha)

I would love to hear what tunes you love to work out to!

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Toddler meal:: Breakfast

I don’t know about you, but I always get very excited when I make a meal that my toddler eats. Like most, Brooklyn is a picky eater. I was thrilled when I made this for her and she gobbled it right up! It also helps that it took about 5 minutes to make. Double win!

Ham, Cheese, and Egg sandwich:

1 english muffin, toasted

1 egg, fried

1 slice of ham

1 slice of cheese

Place the english muffin a toaster. Start frying your egg on the stove. Once the english muffin is toasted, set on a plate and place the slice of ham on one side, and the slice of cheese on the other.

Once the egg is done, place on the sandwich and put them together, completing the sandwich.

Pair with a sippy cup of OJ (I always do half water/half juice) and you have a happy toddler!

*I apologize about the picture quality. I only had time to use my iPhone.

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Operation: Monthly Meal Plan

With Adam coming back soon(ish), I decided to create a monthly meal plan to help make dinners easier. Because, as most “single” moms with deployed husbands know, we consider a bowl of easy mac a successful meal these days. Well, that doesn’t cut it when my husband is back home. I figured I would take some time now to prepare a meal plan, so we can enjoy being with him instead of using all that time thinking about what to make and then preparing meals.

I thought I would share my ideas with you. It’s my first time doing this, so don’t critique too much, okay?

1. Hit up the internet and browse cook books. First, I needed to come up with what we are going to eat. I decided on compiling 20 recipes for the monthly meal plan, because there are always those nights we eat leftovers, go out to eat, or get take- out pizza. And, with it being the holidays soon, I thought 20 would suffice. I went to the trusty, infamous Pinterest to get most of my ideas and filled in the rest with our favorites.

2. Create a word document. When I found a recipe I liked, I would put it directly into a word document. I opened up each recipe that looked good and checked the ingredients because while it may look scrumptious, I know I will only make the quick, easy recipes. So, I would suggest going to the actual website and checking out the recipe first before putting it into your word document. I wrote each title of the recipe followed by the website link directly to that particular recipe. This will make it very easy to open up the document when the time comes to make it and I will be led directly to where I want to be. Quick and easy!

3. Plan. I look at my calendar. I note which days we already have blocked off for date night, squadron functions, or holiday parties. Obviously, I will not be cooking on those nights. I drew up a quick calendar on paper and wrote in what I was going to make and what night. I will keep this and hang it on the fridge for that month so I know (and Adam) what we will be having each night. This also helps for those crockpot meals that you need to prepare before hand or if meat needs to be taken out early to thaw.

4. Grocery shop. You can decide how often you want to grocery shop. Due to our smaller fridge and freezer space, I go shopping once a week. I put together a grocery list of those meals for the week and see once what I need and what I already have.

5. Enjoy!!¬†My goal with this monthly meal plan is to save time, first of all. It will also save money because there’s nothing better than going to the grocery store having written down exactly what you will need for the following week. It helps cut down on last minute impulse buys that I am guilty of.

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Just Let Them Be Little

At times, I find myself wishing for the next stage in my girls’ lives.

When my frustration over Brooklyn’s two-year-old whines are pushing me towards the end of my rope, or Scarlett’s sporadic sleep schedules are making for a rather exhausting night, I tend to think about the future when I won’t be constantly cleaning up after them and changing numerous dirty diapers all day long.

I sometimes dream of the day when Brooklyn can tie her own shoes, brush her own teeth, and not have the annoying whine-cry that she has seemed to perfect in about two days’ time. Or the day when Scarlett will take long naps and sleep through the night without me needing to rise and break up my peaceful slumber.

But then, remorse fills me. I can’t believe I am actually wishing away my daughter’s need for snuggles all day long, her request for singing song after song while sitting on my lap, laughing and looking at me like I’m the coolest person there ever will be.

Or the way my baby girl sleepily opens her eyes during the middle of the night after I pick her up, immediately drawing close to me, and knowing that everything is right again. And the biggest smile you can imagine when I walk into her room, lighting up her face because I am near.

My girls need me to live in the now. I realize that once this stage is over, I will miss it so much. That sweet, sweet smell of freshly washed baby skin. That little hand holding mine as we cross the street because she’s scared of oncoming cars and she knows mommy knows best….

I will miss it all.

And so, even during those frustrating times, I am determined to live out each day not wishing these magical times away with my girls.

Because even though I see “good” in the coming stages, I also see “bad” in leaving these behind.

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Products I like:: #1

I was blog surfing the other night (one of many things I look forward to doing after the girls are in bed — that, and eating chocolate) and saw a really cool idea that I will be adopting for this blog. The blogger had a tab on products that she likes. Once she comes across something that she will definitely be using again, eating again, etc, she then blogs about it and keeps a nifty little tab at the top where you can browse at your leisure.

So, consider this my first “Products I like” post.

(Source)

The BOB double stroller is one of my all-time favorite things that I own right now. I know I’ve talked about it in a previous post, but I can’t have a Products I Like tab and not include this! I seriously would be heartbroken (and lost!) if something happened to this stroller.

I run a lot throughout the week (currently 40-50 miles per week to give you an idea) pushing my girls in this stroller. They love it. I love it. It is completely worth the money and I have gotten at least 5 other people to purchase a BOB stroller as well. (I really should get paid from the company every time I convince someone to purchase one of their strollers!) If you are a runner, or just looking for a good stroller to hold over for years and years, I would suggest getting a BOB. It is top rated amongst running moms.

I bought the single BOB Ironman in 2010 right after Brooklyn was born, and purchased the duallie BOB revolution this year. Both are still in great condition and I plan to hang on to these for years to come!

*I am not being paid to write these posts. They are purely my opinions on products that I come across and love.

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Currently Enjoying…

…Modern Family:¬†seriously, so funny. If you haven’t watched this show, please do. You can thank me later.

…fall clothes:¬†leggings, sweaters, boots, scarves… ahh, I love every bit of it!

…a new hair style:¬†I did it. I cut my hair. Like, a lot. I got 6-7 inches off and while I’m not the dare devil type to do drastic things with my hair, I went in with a picture of a hair style I liked and came out looking like a new person! And, the verdict is:¬†I love it!!

…nap time:¬†enough said.

…Zulily, Ideeli, and Rue La La:¬†Um, how could I¬†not¬†have gone on these websites before? They have everything I will ever need for our girls (and much more)! You need to check this website, this website and this website out.

…skype dates:¬†being able to talk with Adam and see him is wonderful. He even got to “tuck” Brooklyn into bed last night and say her bedtime prayers with her. They both needed that, I think.

…birthday packages: living in Japan means mail doesn’t always get here on time. My mom sent a birthday package out and while she felt bad that the package didn’t arrive exactly on my birthday, I think it was pretty cool that my birthday celebration could be extended by a few days! So, no worries, Mom! I actually enjoyed getting to open it yesterday versus on my birthday!

…home sweet home:¬†scent in my Scentsy burner. Smells so good!

…Crystal lite Raspberry lemonade

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Gone

Today, it hit me.

I no longer have my own privacy.

You see, this morning {like every time I need just a couple minutes to myself to regroup}, I put in a video for Brooklyn in hopes of her being so distracted that she doesn’t notice I’m not in the room.¬†I slowly inch towards my bedroom, quietly shutting the door and sit down with a sigh of contentment.

Silence. Glorious silence. 

I usually give it two minutes before I hear a pitter patter of toddler feet come running down the hallway, yelling “momma,” then the pounding on the door begins. Some days when that break is¬†really needed, I’m able to move to the back bathroom for one extra minute of solitude before her patience (and mine– from her yelling) runs out.

Well, this morning, it happened. She opened the door!

Brooklyn has only ever pounded on the door before, waiting for me to come and let her in. Which meant, I was in control.

That no longer is the case. Many thoughts went through my head.¬†Where will I go now? The bedroom was the last resort, a place she wasn’t supposed to be able to enter without my help! Now,¬†I’m¬†the helpless one!¬†

Having your sacred place of quietness taken away is a feeling no mom ever wants to have. While we love our children dearly, sometimes we just need those couple minutes of time away to re-energize before the hours of headache and chaos begin again.

So, now I have a new problem to figure out this weekend: if shut doors won’t stop her anymore, what will?