24 Things Being 24 Taught Me

24 Things Being 24 Taught Me

Hello Everyone!  Tomorrow is my birthday and I plan on celebrating by going to the DMV, woohoo!  But in all seriousness I am excited about the birthday not the DMV though.

24 was a big year for me, so I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned with you all.

 

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  1. It’s okay to reboot, you’re still young.  This year I quit my job and became a stay-at-home mom until my daughter finished nursing.  Now that she’s finished, I’ve decided to go back to school and get my Masters in teaching.  My husband and I prayed about it and decided it was the right thing fir us to do.
  2. Take care of yourself.  I want to be able to run around and play in the front yard with my daughter when she’s a bit older, and to do that, I need to get into shape.  I’ve already lost the baby weight, which wasn’t much since I was so sick, and now I’m working on that extra bit that was already there.  I’m also taking care of myself mentally reading more and separating myself from negativity.  (The way I’ve done that is outlined here in my new morning routine.)
  3. Nursing is hard, but totally worth it.  I nursed Elizabeth until the end of her 11th month. It was an amazing experience that definitely led to a deep bond between us.  I’m not going to lie, it was challenging, some days it even sucked.  But once we got into a groove, it was an incredible experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
  4. Healthy food can be yummy.  I’ve been trying to eat healthier since deciding to take better care of myself.  One day, after I made a Turkey, spinach, Sweet Potato Skillet, my husband turned to me and said something along the lines of, “you don’t have to sacrifice taste for health.”  Granted, the only reason he said this was because he doesn’t like spinach… or sweet potato… or ground turkey.  Since then my healthy recipes have been tastier.  I think his favorite so far is my Ranch Burgers, or maybe the Stuffed Pepper Casserole, both of which are super yummy and under 400 calories a serving.
  5. Loose-leaf tea is soooo good.  If you’re into tea, you should totally try out loose-leaf tea.  I originally picked some up two years ago from Teavana when we went to Little Rock on a family trip, but my zeal for it didn’t last long.  I’ve recently picked it back up when I found some yummy loose leaf at my local Kroger.  I drink more tea than coffee now.
  6. Self help / advice books are not for me.  I’ve tried two different books like these this year, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick.  These were both good books with good points that I was very interested in, but I just couldn’t push myself to finish them.
  7. Trying new food is fun!  Cody and I tried Indian food for the first time when we were in Dallas in April.  SO. GOOD.  Chicken Tikki Masala with naan is one of our favorite things to eat now.  We haven’t tried any local Indian places yet, but it’s on our list of date night meals.
  8. Live theatre is something everyone should try.  Eh, let me rephrase.  Good theatre is something everyone should try.  My sister goes to an artsy school, and I went to their production of Once Upon a Mattress with my mom.  It was really good.  The next time my husband and I take a trip, we’re going to try to see something together.
  9. Audiobooks are the bomb.  My husband and I started using Amazon’s Audible this year for audiobooks (not sponsored).  He listens to them as he works, and I listen while walking the neighborhood or driving someplace.  This year we listened to, the last four Harry Potter books, Girl on the Train, and the two books in the King Killer Chronicles.  I thought it would be difficult to follow along with something that I hadn’t read before, but it wasn’t.  A word of caution:  the narrator must be easy to listen to or you will not enjoy it.
  10. Relationships take work.  Ding, ding, ding!  This is an obvious one, I know, but it’s something that I’ve dealt with this year.  One thing that I pride myself on is our communication, but this year, with his new work schedule and the demands of the new baby, we’ve been a little out of sync.  So we started a new routine that has really helped us connect on days that we’re in a funk.  Each night we take turns telling each other one (different) thing we love about each other, then our favorite part of the day.
  11. It is important to have one nice outfit that fits properly.  By nice, I mean nice nice.  This is the time that most of your friends will be getting married or celebrating big accomplishments that will require a nice outfit.  Something classy.  If you don’t know where to look, try here.  I’ve have a few dresses from here, and they are super classy and excellent quality.
  12. True, die-hard friends are hard to come by; once you find one, don’t let them go.  When you are no longer forced to interact with the same people every day, like in school, you have to work harder to keep friendships alive.  Like I said, relationships take work.  When you do find “your person,” put the work in.  You need someone you can go to and spend time with.  Even if you don’t physically see each other every day, don’t let the life get in the way of your friendship.

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  13. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL… RSVP!!  You’re an adult now, so be responsible.  If someone invites you to something and asks for an RSVP, do it.  Food prep, room, seating, it’s important to know how many people are going to be there.  Don’t be the guy who shows up unexpected, and don’t be the guy that the host is waiting on because you didn’t let them know you weren’t coming.  Also, RVSP at least two weeks before the actual event.  I threw a party this year that half of the guest list did not let me know that they were not coming.  I had cake and goodies left over for days.

  14. Don’t compare yourself to other around you.  We’re young, and most people in we crew are young too.  Don’t compare yourself to someone who you think has it all together because looks can be deceiving.  Everyone takes their own path to success and sometimes your select the scenic route that takes an extra twenty minutes.
  15. Start thinking quality over quantity.  This can apply to all aspects of your life, but here I’m talking about clothes again.  I love cheap Rue 21 clothes as much as the next girl, but you get what you pay for.  Wash it three times, and it disintegrates.  I’ve had to throw out so much this year because the quality just wasn’t there.  Invest in something that will hold up and makes you look like a million bucks (but it doesn’t have to cost quite that much).
  16. Being awesome is a choice.  Being “awesome,” confident, or even social is a decision.  Force positivity, tell yourself that you are great and you’ll eventually believe it.  Personal pep talks can be a life line when you’re exhausted and elbow deep in a poopy diaper, believe me.
  17. If you are unhappy or dislike something, change it now.  You’re an adult, but you’re still young.  If your unsatisfied with something, your body, your job, your relationships, now is the time to change it.  This has basically been my mantra this year.  I’ve switched careers and am working out more.
  18. There is no age limit for YA fiction.  I love young adult fiction.  They say that it’s for ages 16 to 25, but I don’t care.  I love YA fiction and probably always will, so I’m going to keep reading it.
  19. Adult coloring books are the bomb.  I recently bought myself a coloring book.  I’ve wanted to try it for a while but kept putting them down because I thought I didn’t have the time, or I wasn’t even sure if I liked to color.  Turns out I love it, and it’s pretty easy to find some time to squeeze it in my day.
  20. Buying baby clothes is addictive.  Seriously.  I think my new favorite store is Carters.  Everything is so cute and miniature!  I absolutely love it!  The dresses, shoes, headbands, all of it.  Even the little onesies.  Love it.
  21. You don’t have too many books, you have too few bookshelves.  Enough said.
  22. You can live with less.  Except books obviously.  Most people, myself included, have too much stuff.  Useless stuff that we can’t even remember why we bought it.  I ave thrown out or given away so much stuff this year!  It wasn’t “junk”  it was useful stuff that I just didn’t need or have the room for.
  23. Helping people is so good for you.  Giving gifts, time, whatever you can to those in need it is an amazing feeling.  People aren’t kidding when they say it’s better to give than to receive.  The feeling that you get from watching someone get something they truly want or need, it’s amazing.  We’ve went out of our way a few times this year to help others, and it was so fulfilling.
  24. It’s good to know how to make at least one impressive meal.  Everyone likes to impress people, that’s a given.  One of the most satisfying ways to impress someone is by cooking an amazing meal.  Then you’ll be known as that girl/boy who can cook that amazing ______.  Any time there is a pot luck, everyone is super excited to see what I’ve brought because I’ve mastered a few things. The older you get, the more likely it is you’re going to have to bring some food to something, so nail whatever that something is.

Goodbye 24, hello 25.  I’m excited to see what you have in store for me!

Thank you for reading my longest post so far.  Did you learn anything this year?  Share it in the comments below, and Merry Christmas!

What I Packed on a Weekend Road Trip with an Infant

What I Packed on a Weekend Road Trip with an Infant

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We took our first road trip with Baby Elizabeth to Dallas in April, in preparation for our big road trip to Orlando/Disney this month.  I consulted other mommy blogs, via Pinterest, on what all I needed to pack to keep baby (and us) happy on the car ride.  FYI, Elizabeth is a good car rider.  We live about 20-30 minutes away from “town” so she is used to riding around.  She doesn’t like being put in her car seat, but once the car is moving she settles down and usually falls asleep.

I love packing and planning out packing.  I HATE last minute packing, hints the planning.  I am the type of person who likes to be packed a week before leaving, that way you can make sure you are not forgetting anything and aren’t feeling harried.  (However, ever since I got married, I am becoming more of a last minute packer, and I HATE IT.)

Here is the first round of stuff I packed for Baby Elizabeth:

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I started out with my Guess diaper bag:

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I bought this diaper bad when I was still pregnant because I thought it was big enough to hold everything and looked super classy, even though a lot of my mommy friends told me to buy a backpack diaper bag.  I didn’t want some boring backpack, I wanted something cute.  Well, I totally should have listened to those mommy friends and went with the backpack.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this bag, but it’s basically a duffle bag.  Trying to tote a baby in a car seat on one hand and this over the other shoulder was super cumbersome and I knocked into everything.  So it was downgraded to Elizabeth’s luggage, and I got a backpack diaper bag from Amazon (I should have went to Target to look around first cause I later saw a super cute one I really want!)  I was able to fit all her clothes and mine in this bag for the weekend.

Night time:

What I packed: Three sleep suits, one being her super thick bear suit (because we keep the hotel room really cold to sleep), with three onsies to wear under it.  Also, a swaddle sack.

What I used: Two onsies and the bear suit. That’s it.  The bear suit kept her warm in the room Friday and Saturday night with a different onsie under it each night.  We didn’t use the swaddle sack, and haven’t swaddled her since this trip.  At the house, she now wears a Halo Sleep Sack.  (She hasn’t slept well this week, so we might go back to swaddling.)

Day Time:

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What I Packed: Four outfits, two for each day, and four pairs of socks.

What I used: Luckily, we didn’t have any blowouts on this trip, so I only used two outfits and two pairs of socks.

Miscellaneous:

The non-clothing items I packed:

  • Nursing cover (pictured top left) – I am still nursing, and this was my first time nursing in public so I made sure to bring it.
  • Hand pump – Just in case I needed to pump.  I didn’t use it
  • iPad – I attached my iPad to the headrest of the seat with a stretchy head band, so Elizabeth could watch Frozen there and back.  This helped keep her occupied for a little while.
  • Toy – I didn’t think to bring any toys for her to play with on the ride, but ended up picking up a ball rattle when I had to stop at the drug store for diapers.  I attached it to the car seat with a pacifier holder.  This had become her favorite toy and definitely keeps her entertained.
  • Car Bottle Warmer (pictured bottom left) – I thought I was being super clever bringing this along.  We had some frozen breast milk I had brought along in a bottle, so we could feed her without having to pull over.  Well, the bottle warmer didn’t work so we had to pull of the interstate onto a side road in the middle of nowhere and nurse.  On the long car ride to Florida, I am going to bring the hand pump and express milk directly into a bottle for her to eat if we are in an area where we cannot stop to nurse.
  • Stroller – For obvious reasons.
  • Baby Carrier – I also brought her baby carrier just in case I wanted to wear her.  I didn’t use it.
  • Bumbo Seat – I brought this because I thought she wouldn’t want to lay around the entire time we were in the hotel room if we were there relaxing.  We did use this, but not at the hotel.  We went to the drive in theater and had to get there 2 hours before show time to get a good spot and avoid all the traffic.  We used the bumbo in the car while waiting for the movie to start.
  • Small pack of diapers – Instead of packing loose diapers from the box at the house, we just picked up a little pack and used those.  When we go down to Florida for the week, we are going to buy a box when we get there so we don’t have to pack up any loose ones or take up any room in the back of the van.
  • Diaper bag (pictured) – This is the diaper bag backpack that I got from Amazon.  it is where I packed the everyday, always needed items like medicines, wipes, bibs, and the like.
  • Packing list (pictured) – A friend of mine bought me a pad of these new parent check lists as a gag gift.  It promises to get you out of the house in two hours flat and has items on it like, coping mechanism, breasts, brain, and baby.  Well, I actually used it to plan out certain things to pack and whether I was packing them in the diaper bag or the Guess bag.  It was surprisingly helpful, and I’m going to use them again on my trip to Florida.
  • Pack-n-Play – I didn’t want to use one of the hotel’s cribs, so we brought our own pack-n-play.  If I were worried more about luggage space, I would have just used their cribs and left it at home.

The take away:

So, from his trip, I learned that I over packed in some areas and under packed in others.  When it comes to clothes, I over packed and didn’t use several of the outfits.  When we take our longer trip, I will pack fewer back up outfits because we will have somewhere to wash our laundry if I end up needing more than one.  The areas I under packed were the entertainment areas.  I forgot to bring her a toy to play with and didn’t plan out any stops (because I thought she could make a three hour trip no problem.)  When we go to Florida, we are going to map out all the Rest Areas, so we can take little breaks.  I’m planning on bringing a little blanket that we can throw out and have tummy time for a fifteen minute break every four hours or so during the day.  We’re also hoping to leave around bedtime so she will want to sleep for the first half of the drive.

What are some necessities for you when traveling by your self or with babies?  Leave it in the comments below, so I can be better prepared next month!

10 Road Trip Necessities

10 Road Trip Necessities

Hi there!  This weekend, the husband and I, along with another friend couple are going to Branson, Missouri for a mini vacation.  We’ve been planning it since February and are very very excited to finally go!  We’ve got the whole weekend planned out and I’ll have a post about all our fun adventures when we get back! 

We’re leaving out Thursday as soon as I get off work, so for the past few days I’ve been trying to get a mental list going of what all I need to bring, because lord knows I wont actually start getting things together until Tuesday or Wednesday.  (I hate last minute packing.  I used to be the type of person who packed a week before you even had to leave.  I have no idea what happened, and whatever it was I wish it hadn’t.)  

Cute photo from our Dallas trip.

We are getting super close to the deadline, as you can see by my countdown.  It’s time to get serious and get everything squared away and ready to go!  So here is my list of 10 road trip necessities:

  1. A GPS – When we travel, we usually just used the map apps on our phone to get somewhere.  However, you should definitely invest in a GPS if you like taking trips.  You don’t have to worry about it using up all of your data and getting charged overage fees (unless you have truly unlimited date, then do what you want.)  Make sure you update it before you leave too, so it knows what roads have been closed and opened recently.  When we were in Dallas, our map app kept telling us to get on the interstate where it was closed down.  It took us forever to find another way to merge on.  It’s also important to help you find things along the way and once you’ve reached your destination.
    Also, another helpful hint with the GPS, have your copilot (if you have one) hold it instead of mounting it on the dash.  That way they can read the little streets to know how close you are to your turn.  Sometimes the narrator will wait until the last minute to tell you when to turn, or the picture is misleading, then you’ve turned yourself around and everyone is grumpy.
  2. A Good Pair of Sunglasses – There’s nothing worse than being in a car for a long period of time with no sunglasses, except maybe having an ill-fitting pair.  I recommend getting a regular pair and an amber colored or polarized pair.  The amber colored lens actually helps you see better in the rain as does a polarized lens because it cuts the horizontal light down.  But that is only during the day.  At night, it just makes everything dark (duh).
  3. Multi-Purpose Charger – This charger is the coolest thing I have ever seen and I will be getting one, just not in time for the trip this weekend.  You can see why this is a necessity.  Not only can you charge your cellphone and GPS, but you can charge your laptop or any other item that needs a standard socket.  And they are three-pronged sockets.
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  4. Neck Pillow – These things are beyond comfortable, especially if you get a memory foam one.  These would be great for the driver or the passenger.  Just be sure not to fall asleep if you are the one driving!
  5. Music – If you’re going on a road trip, your favorite radio station isn’t going to make it the whole way.  Unless you want to surf the channels every hour and a half or so, I’d bring something to listen too.  Whenever I’m taking road trips on my own, I actually bring audio books instead of music.  This doesn’t work so well when there are other people with you.
  6. Something to Read or Watch – You’ll need something for those down time moments.  Anytime I don’t bring a book or my iPad because I think that we will all want to talk, someone falls asleep and the ride is silent for at least an hour.  A book or iPad doesn’t take up too much of the precious space in your vehicle.  Bring it.
  7. Paper towels – Or anything to pick up a spill.  Even if it’s just a bunch of adults going, there is a very good chance something will be spilled and you’ll want to clean it up as soon as you can.  If you don’t already keep paper towels or napkins in your car, you should.
  8. Snacks – You always need snacks.  Always.  It’s much cheaper to get them before hand instead of at a gas station.
  9. Comfy Clothes – You’d think this is a given, but sometimes you forget that you’ll be in a car for an extended amount of time and those shoes you wore start to hurt and your belt starts to pinch.  Also, along these lines, remember wear you headrest is and fix your hair accordingly.  I usually throw mine up in a top knot.  If I do anything low or to the side, it keeps my head from resting against the headrest and my neck aches by the end of the first hour.
  10. Sleep Mask – If you are alternating driving with someone else and they don’t need you to keep them awake it’s great to try to catch some rest before you reach your destination.  That’s where this beauty comes in.  You’d think it would be hard to sleep with something on your face, but it’s not.  These things block the sun out perfectly.  So if you drove from 6 am until noon and then switch, this can block that noon day sun and let you nap for an hour or two.  These are also great for when you reach your destination.  Use them when camping and you can sleep in.  Most hotel’s come with black out curtains, but if your sharing a room with others, it’s nice to have these so you don’t wake up when they cut the lights on.

And that’s it, my top ten road trip necessities.  What do you think of my list?  Did I miss anything that you must take when you go on road trips?  Leave it in the comments and let me know!  I look forward to sharing with you all the fun I’ve had on the trip next week!