Wednesday, February 29, 2012

God, I'm rambling.

I grew up in a family that strongly believes in god. Dedicated, full of faith, speaking in tongues-type of christians. (I'm not mocking, btw. In case it comes across that way) My whole life has literally revolved around god. I went on to marry a man who also has a strong belief in god although goes about it much more humbly than I am used to. He's an eastern They seem to have a much more ritualistic way of going about things. Almost like catholics in ritual but not belief. At least, that's how I see it from my perspective. I am still learning.

As you can see, god is deeply imbedded in my life. As a result, I spend a lot of time thinking about religion, god himself (herself? itself?) and the way my life and path is affected by all this. You would think I would have my opinion on all this figured out but it's not really that simple. I've spent a lot of time sorting through my thoughts trying to understand what I, myself, actually believe. Lately, I am realizing that my confusion may lie in the fact that I don't believe as all my loved ones do. Well, not exactly as they do.

I believe in god. Heck, I'm basically married to a scientist....who believes in god. It's sort of a rarity and when I dive into his belief system he can be pretty damn convincing. But I think I have always believed in god. It's the way I believe in god that I think is different from those around me.

For instance, the last year or so has been amazing for us. We have been fortunate financially and we have been in such a good place emotionally since Raine has come into our lives. I've been asked if I thank god regularly for all these "blessings". I'm confused every time I'm asked because I wasn't aware that I was being blessed or that I am even deserving of said blessings. If they are indeed blessings, then what did Jimmy and I do to deserve them? And wouldn't that sort of also be along the same belief system as karma? I'm just saying ;) I guess I just don't see god running around blessing people for good deeds or following him accordingly. If that were the case, I'm sure many people would do these things just to get themselves some blessings and then what good would that do for anyone? I don't think god gave Jimmy that raise that helped us pay off our debts. I  think our very hard work is finally paying off. Seems simple really.

I read somewhere once "God is not concerned with your happiness. He's concerned with building your character". That rings true for me. If god had anything to do with where we are now than it was because our lives and circumstances made us who we are and he had a hand in that. That's even assuming he imposes that much influence. Debating on how god operates seems futile because there is no sure way to know. It's all wrapped up in faith really. Some would argue that we have the bible but.....well, I am not going to even go there ;)

I'm unsure really. I think I am okay with that uncertainty though. I'm not even sure we were ever really meant to be certain on god. Isn't that what faith is also? So much time is spent debating on religion and how others should live their lives. "Live and let live" Is my motto. It's not my business how anyone chooses to live, what they believe, or who they live with. I try not to spend too much time even forming opinions on these things either. I'm happy with my life. I like to see people happy with theirs as well. How they get to that place is not what matters to me. I like to think that god intended us to live in that way. Peace. Wouldn't the world be so much happier?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Instagram Lovins

Oy! It's been a long week. The start was perfectly acceptable but the end? Bargle. With Raine getting sick on Thursday I should have known it was only a matter of time till Jimmy and I came down with the bug too. Friday was our day and literally within minutes of each other. James said "ugh, I feel a little queasy" to which I replied that I did too and next thing we knew we were fighting over the bathroom.....I'll stop there. I'll only say this, the house we buy will have to have at least two bathrooms if not more. Just saying. 

I got to give it to Raine though. He perked up pretty quick and seems to be in good shape although a little more tired than normal. Not us though. While the worst part of it was over by Saturday afternoon we are still finding it terribly hard to even get out of bed. I count myself lucky that Raine has taken after his father in the cuddling department so he's perfectly fine curling up in bed with us all day. Hopefully we will be able to shake this thing soon. Of course nothing seems to keep me from my Instagram obsession ;)

1} The beginning of the week when I still felt top notch. Yes, that is a whole bowl of cake mix. I thought I was going to eat the whole thing. After about 3 bites though I realized I had jumped the gun a bit. Way too sweet for me. My scale is thankful though.
2} I'm not going to cut his hair but I may consider trimming the bangs a bit. It's either that or barrettes. I'm not sure I want to be that cruel though ;)
3} This is Raine's thing. No matter how caught up with playing he is, he still has to randomly come and snuggle quick with momma. No matter what he's doing I get a hug or he puts his head in my lap for rubbins about every 15 minutes. Oh believe me, I am loving it.
4} If he isn't snuggling then he's stuffing his face.
5} Jimmy is really enjoying his Valentine's day gift (before getting sick, of course) In fact, I'm surprised there is even any left.
6} Sick time snuggles. I really love this picture. I think this one will have to go on our picture gallery wall =)
7 & 8} Someone is better and eating like a piggy again!

Linking up with Jenni @ Story of My Life  for Best of Instagram =)

Friday, February 24, 2012

We have battled the sick and won.

Yesterday our soon to be 18 month old boy was sick for the first time. He's felt unwell before with teething, unexplained low fevers, and a runny nose or two but never sick. Not in the flu or even a cold sense. Never a cough or a steady temperature. The kid has never even thrown up before. Spitting up is different in my opinion. Seems like an entirely different occurrence to me.

There has been a bug making its way through my family and I expected Raine may get it eventually although I hoped we could dodge it but alas, he woke up puking his poor little baby face off yesterday =( Fever, vomiting, diarrhea.....the whole shebang. I was a little nervous at first because he wouldn't take anything to drink. He wouldn't even nurse! I tried coaxing him with juices and even some soda water but no luck. Afraid he may dehydrate I started syringe feeding him flavored pedialyte. After a few hours of that he began to finally perk up again. He took the whole thing like a champ though. Laughing and lightly playing in between being sick. Mostly he just wanted to snuggle up to us and sleep all day.

Turns out I'm pretty fantastic at this whole sick thing. I dove right in with only Raine's well being in mind. By Mid day I was loaded in baby puke and dirty towels and I didn't even bat an eye. My main focus was making Raine comfortable and I didn't freak out like I always sort of assumed I would. I kept a close watch on him to make sure he was okay but I didn't assume he was dying and rush him to the emergency room every five minutes as I suspected I might. It's funny how all these things I thought I would sort of suck at as far as being a mom have turned out to be the things that I'm actually pretty awesome at. Go figure.

Today Raine is feeling a lot better. Still running a bit of a temp but is back to eating lightly and playing as usual. Seems we both came through his first little sickness well. Now I have to clean up the resulting wreckage that is my house right now. I hear many loads of laundry calling my name...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Embrace the Camera: Instagram Style

Snuggles and cuddles are such a big part of Raine's personality right now. I would love it if he were to always be this way but I am told little boys just don't stay snuggly forever. I'm eating it up right now though, I promise. Ok, maybe sometimes not so much. Like when I'm doing dishes and he's clinging to my leg saying "up! up!".....who am I kidding? I'm eating it up those times too! The dishes can wait ;) 

In case he does stop loving the snuggles I'm glad I have an instagram problem. Now I have a reminder of this time in his life. 

Embracing the camera with Emily over @ The Anderson Crew =)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Guilt Ridden Parenting?

During this last year and a half of motherhood there has been one question that has been nagging me and it's this: Does anyone actually like being a parent?

I love it. Don't get me wrong on that. I feel like I am finally accomplishing something pretty amazing in raising my son. It just seems like there are so many parents that are stressed, exhausted, and grumpy with the whole process. I know they love their kids. I do not question that at all but do they find the actual act of parenting enjoyable?

I can honestly see why people wouldn't. I'd be lying if I said that during the four month sleep regression I didn't question if I had made the right choice in becoming a mommy. That was ROUGH and I have hit many rough patches since that left me on some shaky ground. Each time The Cuddler and I overcame any particular parenting obstacle though we have come out the other end feeling pretty pumped that we got through it. Usually feeling as if we accomplished a new level of parenting.

In the beginning I did a lot of research. I stressed myself out with all the research I was putting in. At times it was fun to understand how my sons brain was developing or to learn about different aspects of his growth. But you can only research so much and take so much advice before you begin to wonder if you're just doing everything wrong. Is the choice to cloth diaper the right one? One article says it's best while this study over here suggests it will cause more diaper rashes. I'd come across studies that would tell me what to do and then find others that would tell me that the same thing that one study strongly advised was putting my child in danger. Everyone has an opinion and needs to chime in too. My god, the judgments I've been victim to because I'm still breastfeeding my 18 month old would make any parent miserable.

I finally realized that being this way wasn't making the parenting experience all that positive. People have been doing this for years! The instinct is there I just had to locate it within myself and follow it. Follow my gut. I needed to stinkin relax! I also needed to stop feeling so damn guilty for not being perfect. No ones perfect. Getting frustrated when Raine cries doesn't make me a bad mom or mean I love him any less. Wanting a few hours to myself to just chill doesn't mean I hate my kid and don't want him near me.

So I took a step back. I took a breath and things came into focus. I made some decisions based on my instinct. I let the boy cry it out and he now sleeps 12 hours a night. I took time for myself more often without feeling guilty that I was abandoning him or diminishing his importance in my life. I refuse to feel guilty about my decisions because they are working for us. He's happier, we are happier. What's the need for guilt in that? I stopped letting people's opinions sway me and make me question myself. I know what's best for my family. I may mess up along the's how we will learn what works for us and what doesn't. There is no right or wrong way to be a mom or dad. There is only your way. And you know what? When we began to relax and were happier, so did Raine! He's one of the happiest little kids I know. Isnt that enough? Shouldn't that be what matters?

I think when I stopped feeling like I was messing this whole thing up, that's when parenting started to rock. I could enjoy my son instead of worrying that I was botching him up and raising a serial killer or something. I wonder if parents put too much pressure on themselves to be "perfect" and it makes parenting seem daunting. Eventually that just gets exhausting though. It would explain how very few people seem to be happy raising their kids. Even when we aren't putting the pressure on ourselves there are plenty of other sources to do that for us. Other parents, doctors, your wonder everyones miserable! It's everywhere and whether you choose to let it in your head or not, it still finds a way in there. It still gets me sometimes. I'll read something or someone will say something and I find myself going back to that miserable place but then I realize what's happening and push it away. 

Ok, so taking away the paci is going to be a pain in the rear end and Raine has entered the tantrum faze of toddlerhood. I know I got this. So and So may believe that I should have taken away the paci long ago and there is a hint of guilt when I ignore Raine's tantrums till he burns them off but I have done pretty awesome so far. I mean, the kid is still alive, right?! 

Relax. Take time for yourself. Go with your gut. If my theory is accurate then maybe parenting might seem, dare I say it? Fun! I'm not claiming to have it all figured out. I certainly don't want to tell people what to do either. Mostly it's just an observation from my own experiences. I'm just guessing like everyone else honestly. But I could possibly be right to, right? One never knows until they try it out for themselves...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Change. Does anyone like it?

Life is about to change quite a bit for us....again. Seems like a lot of changes are flying at me all at once. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit overwhelmed by it all. Anyway, Jimmy's job is changing a little bit. I'm a bit fuzzy on the details but I gather that it is more money but also that his hours may be a little funny which takes me out of work on my end because we don't have a sitter for Raine.

This is both awesome and kind of sucky at the same time. I get to stay home and be with my boy all day. I miss him when I go to work like crazy. It's a major change for me though. I've worked full time since I was 15. I'm not used to not pulling my own weight in a monetary way. Heck, many times I'm the one supporting everyone! This is going to be weird depending on someone else for a change.

I know I know, it's not as if I won't be pulling my own weight in other ways. Cooking, cleaning, minding the little and all that domestic jazz. I just can't help but feel partly useless. Not to mention that the idea of being domesticated horrifies me. There is nothing wrong with a woman that chooses to stay home and raise a family by the way. It's just not exactly what I picture for MY life. Jimmy promises it won't be that way though. He's certainly not expecting me to be some sort of submissive little housewife by any means. He still plans on equally contributing to the maintenance of our home just as he always has...even if I do sort of have to lay into him to get stuff done now and then ;)

I'm excited to be home with Raine. To have more time to start teaching him all sorts of fun things. I've noticed he blossoms with one on one attention from us. Back when he was being lazy about walking all it took was us taking a weekend to work with him and now he's a pro. That one on one time definitely suffers with both of us working. Mostly my weird hours (bartender) which tends to leave us both tired and less likely to engage Raine. We will both be more rested with me home and have more time together as a family. I'm excited to teach Raine to count, letters, to read etc. Jimmy has already started making the flash cards. That's his favorite part....flash cards.

I can't help but feel a little melancholy too though. I love my job. I'm a little sad to let it go. Bartending helps me socially. I stay to myself otherwise but at work I am a social butterfly. Once I leave there will be little of that. Sure, I have friends and family. Plenty of people around to chat up and spend time with but going to work forces me out of the bubble I tend to hide in sometimes. Socializing doesn't seem like so much of an effort at work. Isn't that odd? Usually I hear people feel the opposite about work and their private lives. I guess I'm weird in that way.

In any event, it's a change and we all know I'm not always keen on them. At least not at first. I never transition well but I'm sure it's going to be a good change in the long run. In fact, it's a change we have considered more than once since we had The Destroyer. We both knew that it was a change I probably wouldn't make though until my hand was forced ;) So here we are. Raine doesn't always like me all up in his playtime though and he also naps three hours in the afternoons.....I'm going to need a hobby or two.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Instagram Lovins

We celebrated Valentine's day this week which usually isn't a big thing around here for us. We don't need a special day to love each other. We have every day for that!! We aren't totally against it though and will do cute little things for each other....usually candy related as we....or should I say "I" don't really care to indulge in the sweets too much ;)

1} Jimmy grabbed me this little bear for Valentine's day. My stuffed animal collection can get a little out of control so usually I try to avoid adding more but I had been eyeing this little guy for a couple of weeks now. He had been sitting on the window of our local flower shop and every time we drove by it I announced my desire to have him. So James surprised me with him. His name is Jasper =)
2} Raine has developed this habit of taking his socks off (he still won't wear shoes. Can't explain that one) every time we get in the car. That's him in the process of sock removal.
3} Raine got a little elephant from his Grandma for Valentine's day too. He has plenty of stuffs too but seems to really be enjoying this one.
4} Raine may love to snuggle but he likes to play independently too. With all the toys he has I would hope so!
5} Jimmys Dum Dum lollipop tree. I made it for him for Valentine's day. I found the tutorial through pinterest. Follow the direct link here.
6} I also made Jimmy these little felt fortune cookies. Dana over at Wonder Forest posted the tutorial a few weeks back and I knew I had to make them. I think I will make them every year as a fun little treat for Raine and any other future children. Sort of a cute little tradition =)
7} Loving this single. Obsessing even. Wrote a post about it here.

Linking up with Jenni @ Story of My Life  for Best of Instagram =)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Embrace The Camera: Umm...Nice hair?

Okay. I'll be the first to admit it. Raine's hair is getting a bit crazy. I just don't have the heart for that "first haircut" yet! It's a big step for me I guess.....Plus, I like little boys with long hair ;) Of course, he's beginning to look like a shaggy dog with his hair in his eyes all the time and very much resembling his father when I haven't had the time to take the clippers to his head....

In my defense, it's usually not this out of control. He had just woken up so you are seeing little Raine's bed head ;) 

Embracing the camera with Emily over @ The Anderson Crew =)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Electric Guest

Have you heard of these guys yet? I'm predicting they will be the next big thing in say....the next six months. No joke. And if I am wrong well then oh well, they are all mine!

Made up of frontman Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton on the guitar, bass and drums. Asa just happens to be the little brother of Jorma know, the "I just had sex" guys? But don't let that sway ya. These guys are smooth. Sort of a Maroon 5 with a little of a late 50's twist. Add a dash of Motown to the mix and you have Electric Guest. I'm in love. I'm feeling pretty crappy today but these guys have me shaking that thang regardless. Plus Jimmy and I think Asa looks like the love child of two of our friends...I'd show you pictures to which you would agree but I may get in trouble ;) So check them out and then attempt to patiently wait for the debut album Mondo to drop on April 24th.

Our Alice in Wonderland Wedding

Happy Valentine's day! 

I thought today would be the perfect day to FINALLY post some pictures from our wedding. Took me long enough, right? I only got married in NOVEMBER!

We had a semi-vintage-rainbow-colored-Alice-in-Wonderland-themed wedding. Jimmy and I made our own invitations and favors (tea bags with "drink me" tags). Our centerpieces were random tea cups, tea pots, and clocks that we found at garage sales and the local goodwill. I wore a blue dress with white accents and a little top hat. The groom, groomsmen, and (later on in the evening) the bride all wore converse. It turned out so much better than we expected. Everyone loved it. I still have people telling me it was the best wedding they have ever been to. I may still sometimes wish we had done the quiet, cheap, beach wedding but I don't have one complaint about how it all turned out......well, maybe other than that it went too fast ;)

All photos shot by Hales Studio LLC

In the end it's all about representing ourselves and our love for each other. I think we pulled it off :)

For more on our wedding check out our Vows, The Wedding Party Introductions, and an Account of the Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Empowering Our Kids

I was at work last week watching the news (the only place I actually watch the news because usually I try to avoid it. It's too depressing.) and I caught the security video they were airing from a Georgia Walmart. The video shows a man attempting to abduct a young girl. She fights him off by kicking, screaming, and thrashing. Essentially deterring him in a public place. It was enough for him to release her and for her to get away. She says she learned to do this through "stranger danger" training from her school and parents.

First off, Bravo! I was so pumped to hear this story. This could have so easily turned into a very sad situation. My heart aches at the thought of it but not this time. This time good won over evil and all that jazz.

Where is this school? Because I'm sending Raine there. I don't recall this subject ever being broached when I was in school. Stop, drop and roll was heavily covered but the chances of catching fire seem significantly less likely than being abducted. At least, in this day and age. When I was a kid things were much different. For Raine's generation there seems to be much more to worry about as the world around us seems to go to hell in a hand basket.

Maybe things aren't so different though. When I was a kid, my brother and I were almost assaulted. It was avoided in the same way that this little girl escaped her attacker. I struggled, screamed, and I may or may not have given a few strong kicks below the belt (take THAT, Mr. Scurvy!) I grabbed my brother and ran home where I told my mother everything. I was only 6 or 7. My mother insisted on discussing this particular subject matter with us on a regular basis prior to this incident. I knew what to do. Those conversations gave me a better understanding and the chance to fight back. My luck was a little better that day due to those talks.

As parents it's never easy to discuss these kinds of things with our kids. Especially young kids that may not understand everything you're telling them. Too often we want to protect our kids. We don't want them to know that bad things happen in this world let alone tell them that they need to be prepared. We can sometimes even fool ourselves into believing that we can protect them from all of the bad things so there is no need to scare them by talking about it with them. I dread talking to Raine about this subject matter. The thought of possibly ruining his innocence tugs on me greatly but I will have this conversation regardless. It may save his life one day or protect him from being hurt.

Like it once did for his mother and now this little girl....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Instagram Lovins

It's been a crazy week between looking at houses, finishing up the new blog design, teaching the boy new things, and then of course there was work in between all that! See for yourself....

1. Raine's hair is getting ridiculously long. I don't have the heart to cut it though. I just adore little boys with long hair. Unfortunately it's taking on a mullet-like shape.
2. The kitchen in one of the houses we are looking into. It's at the top of my list but is located about 20 minutes away from where we currently live. I don't drive so it would mean I wouldn't see much of my family and friends =/ So much to consider. It's beautiful though.

3. Random picture of my favorite table. I love this silly thing.
4. Raine was extra snuggly this week. Oh, and he says "birdy" now =D

5. THIS is the house we ADORE. We haven't even seen it yet! Hopefully today though and I have a feeling it may just be the one. Let's hope!
6. Raine's Valentine's day gift from Grandma came a little early. It's odd how much he likes this thing.

Linking up with Jenni @ Story of My Life  for Best of Instagram =)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Conversations With The Cuddler

{Conversations with The Cuddler posts are excerpts of conversations with my husband, James. It's a peek at the hilarious, sometimes bazaar, always nonsensical topics that come up around here. In short, my husband just says the darndest things.}

James: I'm going to give Raine French fries.
Me: You ARE NOT giving our 18 month old fast food!
Jimmy: What of I asked them to cook it slow?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Something's not right...

You may have noticed some changes around here. I have an itch every once in awhile to change the layout or template but this time I went a little crazy and changed the whole blog. Name and all. I've mentioned that I've been feeling as if I'm changing a bit. My outlook is evolving recently. I'm just.....happy. My previous blog didn't properly represent who I am becoming. I felt that without intending to that it came off a little negative. I debated heavily on this change. It's a major overhaul but I think I made the right decision. I'm excited to post again :D I'm confident it'll stick this time....maybe ;)

So what's new in The Banana household? House hunting is in full swing and I'll admit, a little frustrating. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to find something that fits us. We keep jumping around in different price ranges and I'd say we have seen nearly thirty houses already without much luck. At one point we were certain we had found the perfect house. Unfortunately a few other people felt the same way and another offer was accepted before we could even write up our own. I cried like a baby for three days was a little down for awhile.  Even James was more than bummed. We were so sure that this house was "the one". It was like Jimmy himself had told me he wanted a divorce! It felt like a break up...I know, I'm dramatic. We picked ourselves up though and the hunt continues. That house is sort of set on a pedestal for us which makes the hunt even more difficult. I can be patient though. The perfect crazy, quirky home in which to raise our family is worth the wait.

Raine got his first fat lip last week. He was chasing Jimmy and he tends to bite his lower lip when he's concentrating on this case running. He lost his balance near a (thankfully padded) chair and hit his chin resulting in him biting his bottom lip pretty good. Seeing the blood had me panicked but I'm honestly proud that I handled it as well as I did. I thought little injuries would send me into massive panic attacks but I was able to clean him up while daddy comforted him and once we got passed the blood it wasn't much of a wound at all. He had a fat lip for a few days though. It was kinda cute ;)

The weight loss struggle continues. Obviously I didn't reach my goal but I still march on. I know my diet is much healthier but I think it's more exercise that is required. I've got an elliptical. I'm going to see if I can make some progress on that. I feel healthier though and that's enough progress for me.

Oh, I'm officially thirty! Honestly, I'm sort of proud of my age. I feel like a grown up now....well as much as I ever will be ;) I'm not sure what all the fuss about turning thirty is about really. James threw me a little "surprise" birthday party which was a fail due to my drunken brother letting it slip the night before. It was still good though. Yummy cake and all my favorite noms. Oh, and my hair is now multi purple! My friend who happens to be a hairdresser spent my birthday with me and colored my hair all sorts of funkiness for my birthday gift. I, of course, love it :) 

You know you do to ;)