Monday, June 28, 2010


I'm back from a month long family reunion in Washington. My entire family, except one brother in law, was home. I couldn't mention it earlier because part of the trip was surprising my best friend who I hadn't seen in six years. More on that later.

Anyway, I am pretty depressed about being back in Tennessee. I love it here....except in the summer. Yesterday as I packed my bags, my every fiber was crying out "No!!! Stay here with the people you love. Stay in the cool seventy degree mountains. Stay home!" I walked outside, closed my eyes and let the cool breeze chill my tear streaked cheeks. I tried to memorize the feeling of being home.

When we got off the plane in Chattanooga, it was midnight and 82 degrees. Right now it's over 95 degrees and unbelievably humid. I need to get out the door for groceries, but I just want to sulk.

But, to look on the bright side, Shane had the entire house clean (he joined me for the last week of my trip) so I don't have to worry about anything but unpacking. He also surprised me by painting the kitchen this really cool Khaki color that I love. Also, I had the most incredible package waiting for me that I giggled over for an hour (you know who you are and THANK YOU!!)

I have over 800 photos to go through, so you know you will be seeing what my little family was up to.  A lot of them will be over on my family blog. I did add some photos to my last post if you want a glimpse.  For a few days though, I'm just going to drink Diet Coke and try not to cry.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Strawberry Picnic

I've been planning our little strawberry outing all month to get just the right picnic photo. But as I looked my photos over, this shot of my baby stuffing his face was the best moment from our lovely family outing. Blanket ignored, crustless sandwiches untouched. One happy little baby plopped down in the dirt. Sometimes you just have to roll with it, otherwise you'll miss the truly sweet moments

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Check out more of the adventure:

Even cuter with the dirt.

"Is this one good mommy?"

The boys went a bit crazy seeing this basket placed in front of them.

Pretty Abby.

Little Paige - this isn't the most flattering of your photos, but we laughed so hard, I had to stick it in here.

The kids were so messy after the picking was through, we loaded them in the car and continued our picnic at home (after a bit of washing).

I can't imagine a better summer delicacy than homemade strawberry shortcake with strawberries straight from the patch. Or a better day spend picking them.

Miss you guys.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Why I always keep frozen tilapia on hand

She has no idea how good she has it. What are your favorite summer meals?

By the way, I just finished The Help and it was such a wonderful novel. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone looking for a summer read that is more than just fluff, but still  very entertaining. I rarely give a book 5 stars on Goodreads, but this one was no question. I love summer. Time to turn off the TV, sit out on the porch and read! What are you reading right now? Anyone else crazy excited for Mockingjay???? I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Huggies Denim Diapers...CAKE!

Whoo hoo! The Huggies Denim Diapers are on the shelves! Just in time as about 19 of my friends are having babies in the next few months. One of my friends had a shower last week that I sadly could not attend, so I thought I would send something in my stead. She's having a boy, so I decided on a cowboy denim diaper cake. (If my friend was having a girl, I would have done a "Diva" cake with a fuchsia and black theme. These diapers are awesome!)

The cake was surprisingly easy to put together. I followed these instructions (thanks for the link Sarah Jane). Instead of using ribbon, I found cowboy fabric that I loved and folded it to resemble ribbon. You could always sew it..if you are one of those over achiever types. Me, I just folded. The bottom of the cakeboard is covered with a bandana I bought at a craft store for under a dollar. All the fabric was under $4. I used about 60 diapers.

No, I didn't make the booties. I'm really not gifted in the sewing/kniting/crocheting arts. (Though I do tie a mean scarf.) You can pick up your own booties at Forever and a Day. (Really great prices!) Other ideas for decor I considered were plush horses and toy cowboy hats.

I used size 3 diapers so my friend wouldn't have to tear the cake apart right away.  Inside is some yummy smelling baby lotion.

So cute! You know Collin will be wearing these denim diapers all summer long. With Tennessee as hot as it is, a diaper is all my baby needs!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh wow. So THIS is PMS.

Warning. During this post I will be using the word "period" a lot. So if you are the gender that is lucky enough not to experience this happening first hand, I would slowly back away from the computer now.


As a teenager and through college, I thought most of my friends were a bunch of whiners when it came to PMS. I understood the disgusting tragedy of the actual period. Don't tell me it's a beautiful thing. It's not. Once, the boy I had a huge crush on informed me of a "leak". Tell me that isn't the most horrendous tragedy of a 14 year old's existence. I was wearing pink umbros at the time. Oh the horror. And cramps? I would spend days doubled up. I still shutter when I think about it. But PMS? I never got it. Never felt any cravings, mood swings, exhaustion...none of it. I thought I must just be lucky that way.

After marriage I discovered something wonderful....birth control pills. Oh, these new best friends not only keep me from overly stressing about having a honeymoon baby, but they made my periods go from 6 horrible days to one barely noticeable 24 hour event. And PMS? Still just some mysterious phenomenon.

Shane and I started trying to have a baby after we had been married for a couple years, but after 12 month of no success, I started taking fertility pills. I wasn't prepared for the effect they would have on my emotions. I've always thought I was a pretty emotionally stable girl, but suddenly I was crying. All the time. We had just moved to Chattanooga and I had had to quit my (loved) job at an art gallery. Here I was, unemployed in the blistering heat, reading the classifieds while watching "A Baby Story" marathons.  It was a strange time. Thankfully it only lasted a few month and the effects wore off. A year later I finally got pregnant and felt great. I looked back at that time and thought I must have been experiencing something like PMS.

So moving on to present day. I now have two darling children. Collin just stopped nursing. I was taking birth control pills with low estrogen so they wouldn't effect my milk supply, but they aren't very effective once you stop nursing. My doctor prescribed a new birth control pill and I thought nothing of it. Well let me tell you, that is ALL I have been thinking about this week. If you are a facebook fan you know why. I am having the most heinous PMS imaginable. Seriously, they could write me up in a textbook. I'm sorry to my friends who I though were making this all up. This is nuts. I feel like I should be cast in an annuale commercial.

This past week has been awful. I wake up and I want a smoothie. But not my normal banana, strawberries and soy milk smoothie. No, what I am really craving is one made with brownies, diet coke, Tylenol and valium. I just want a funnel and to get that concoction in my system as fast as humanly possible. Luckily, I've refrained and stuck with my normal smoothies for breakfast, with brownies and diet coke for lunch and dinner.

Shane was out of town for a bit, and I was a little bugged at him about something. Something relatively minor, but as we discussed it, I could feel my rage starting to expand until it became it's own entity. I don't know if I can remember half the things I was yelling about, but I couldn't stop the torrent of grievances pouring from my mouth. After 20 minutes Shane calmly asked "Are you done?" and then I started to cry. A lot. We have a "no yell" policy that I had just totally violated and I felt miserable. But not regular miserable. Pit of despair miserable. My moods were shifting so fast, it was making me dizzy.

The next day I was a little stressed. I was late to a birthday party and I couldn't find Lydia's car seat. Stressed might not be the right word. Hum, how should I say this? I was psycho-crazed. I started to scream. Not at anyone in particular, I just started screaming. And I couldn't stop. In my mind I was saying, "whoa Natalie! Get a grip!", but I just keep screaming. In front of my kids. In front of some friends who were watching Collin for me. Wow. I've been a mom for over 4 years I've never yelled in front of my kids. I saw Collin start to cry and that snapped me out of it. Literally snapped. Suddenly I felt fine. Well, not fine. More like I wanted some more brownies and to go sleep for a week.

So friends, this is my personal apology letter. I'm sorry to my girlfriends who I thought were making PMS into a big deal. I'm sorry to my sweet understanding husband. I'm sorry to anyone who had to be around me for longer than 2 hours. I'm sorry to my kids. I'm sorry to the cashier at wal-mart. (He knows why.)

PMS is officially over and I am calling the doctor for a new birth control prescription. If for some reason he advises against changing yet, don't come around me from July 11th- 16th. Especially if you see me holding a baseball bat.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Baby's first home

"Okay Collin, sit right there and I'll get a photo of you and your first house."

"Wait, no, stay there baby."

"Well, okay....

....this works too."

Post that made me laugh for days. Thanks Paige.

Friend Who Prefers to Remain Anonymous: "We should all go get in the hot tub. You want to?"

Paige: "I know it would be fun once we were there, but I don't feel like going through the hassle of getting there."

FWPRA: "Yeah. That's kind of how I feel about sex. And ribs."


Don't forget to enter the Huggies Giveaway!

Friday, June 11, 2010

My Famous "BFF"

Actual words heard coming from my mouth in a casual conversation with Shane:
"Why can't I have a famous best friend who will invite me to amazing parties and vacations and loan me her nanny every once in a while?"

Response from Shane:
None. Just a look of I'm not going to dignify that with a response.

Deep down, what he really wanted to say was "Wow Natalie" (No sarcasm involved) Who would you choose as your famous best friend and why?" Well Shane, I'll tell you.

Beautiful, talented and have you seen her California home?!
Maybe a little cooking in her glorious kitchen,
then spa time by her pool as we gab about our babies. A week long trip to Italy. Rome is
one of my favorite cities. I'd love to hit it with a local friend.

Um, only because she is my favorite person in the entire world!
Besides friends and family of course. :)

How can you not want to be her friend. I want to pull out the guitar and do a duet together.

One more shot of Zoey, just cause I love this swimsuit.

She and I would walk around London glancing into bookstores and talking at cafes.
Maybe a couple movie premires. Who knows?

Tina Fay

I actually might be too afraid to be friends with someone this funny.
But I still want to try.

Amy Robach
The only daytime TV I watch is a few snippets of the Today Show.
Everytime Amy Robach is on I think, "She and I would be friends". I know, random.

Scarlett Johansson
When I need a night to totally cut lose, this would be my girl.
So any of the above ladies, feel free to email me for a little lunch date. My treat!

Who would be your Famous Best Friend?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Come Chat with Me!

Don't forget! Today at 1:30-3:30 EST CDT (I will be hosting a "Naptime Chat" on the Huggies facebook page. I would love to have some blogging friends stop by. I even have a friend coming over to watch the kiddies so I can be on the computer with no distractions (during the day!!!).

On a side note, I'm a little bothered at mister Collin today. He is officially sleeping through the night (yippee!), but he has decided that 5:24am is his favorite time to wake up for the day. Oh, I know I should be counting my blessings, but really, I want to sit and stare at the wall in an exhausted stupor. I'm proud of myself though. No breakdowns or cry sessions. After the early morning blur, I seem to rally. Still, I would really like to sleep in until 6:30. I guess one can only dream.

Make sure to come chat with me today. I would love to hear your thoughts on the questions posed. It also gets you three extra entries into the Huggies Giveaway :)

As a little treat, click here for a $3 off coupon for Huggies Little Movers. (Click on Huggies on the left).

Thursday update- Thanks for everyone who participated. There were so many great questions! Make sure to get your extra three entries on tuesdays giveaway!
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