Saturday, November 30, 2013

The First 24 Hours in Cloth

We successfully made it through our first day of cloth diapering. Adalin's bum is clearing up faster than I imagined it would, which makes me extremely happy. Her butt looks so cute in cloth!

This morning she woke up much happier than yesterday. Her butt looked about 60% better after just 12 hours. I was thoroughly impressed. There wasn't any leakage from the diaper, which I was nervous about. She pooed a little, but nothing major. It was nice of her to grace me with an easy first change.

Later in the morning, we got "fluff mail," as cloth mamas call it. Adalin was more excited about the box than the diapers, but hey... you win some, you lose some.

I now have 12 FuzziBunz, 2 bottombumpers, two BumGeniuses, and a Charlie Banana. So far, the BGs and bottombumpers are my favorite. I ordered three (two BGs and one bottombumper) more tonight, so they should be here by the end of next week. 

She has had a few major poops today, but I take the liner and all that goes with it, and stick that in the toilet. Then I dunk the poopy part of the diaper in the water to get off as much as I can before I put it in the wetbag to wait to be washed. I plan on washing every day to every other day, depending on my schedule. 

I'm excited to see how she does all day tomorrow. She has on her first FuzziBunz tonight, so we'll see how that goes. I think my biggest fear was the poop explosions. Even though she hasn't had a huge one yet, she had a pretty decent one and I handled it okay. I'll be washing the first soiled load tomorrow, so I'm sure that will just be quite a treat. 

Well, I'm off for the night. I'm exhausted, and need to catch up on sleep. I'm going to keep blogging about my experience with this. It should be interesting to see what I'm thinking next week.

God Bless ♥ V

Friday, November 29, 2013

Eventful Black Friday

Well, after two long weeks of battling with a nasty diaper rash on Miss A's little bum... yesterday Jimmy and I got fed up. We switched her to cloth diapers!

It hasn't been a cheap switch, I've spent about $370 in the last 12 hours. It was rather painful, but I'm excited about it. I'm convinced that the chemicals in disposable diapers are adding to Miss A's pain, so we are only going to use them while we're traveling from now on. I ordered 12 diapers off of Amazon today that will be here tomorrow, and bought five more from a local natural mamma store today. We have two Bum Genius diapers (one pocket, one AIO), two Bottom Bumpers, and a Charlie Banana in the house tonight. Twelve FuzziBuns are coming tomorrow thanks to Amazon's overnight shipping. I'm still prepping the Bottom Bumpers and one of the Bum Genius diapers since they're organic and bamboo. I'm excited to keep these on her butt now. I'm hoping that we'll love these as much as I'm expecting to. I wish we would have switched sooner. 

When I first put this diaper on Miss A, she wasn't quite sure what to think. I did double the liners tonight, since I'm still not 100% sure what I'm doing and I don't want her leaking in her sleep. Once I get the hang of this more, I'm sure she'll be much more comfortable with them. It only took me like five minutes to put this on her. I know I'll get faster in time though. I'm still figuring out how I want the snaps to be. I love that they're so adjustable.

On another exciting note for Miss A, she's been three days without a bottle now. My goal was to have her on solely sippy cups by 18 months. It looks as though we beat that goal by two months. I'm going to keep one around for a few more days, but as long as she continues to drink her milk from the sippy, the bottle is getting pitched. I'm so proud of our little girl. 

We also took our family Christmas photos today. I've decided I'm not posting them until I mail out our Christmas cards. I'm excited for those too.

I'm off to go do another load of laundry. I have one more cycle left before these diapers will hit the dryer! So excited for a full day of cloth tomorrow! I will definitely continue to post my experiences with starting cloth at a later stage. 

God Bless ♥ V

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I'm Thankful For (Part Three)

This is part three of my 2013 What I'm Thankful For series. See part one here and part two here

Today was an awesome day overall. This morning, my husband was thrilled to see frost on the ground. That's as close as we get to snow down here, so it was welcomed with open arms. He and Adalin played outside with the dogs while I whipped up cinnamon rolls and an apple pie (which turned out delicious, I might add).

Thanksgiving dinner turned out great, we had ham, mashed potatoes, corn, and biscuits. Though it wasn't as hardy of a feast as many, it was perfect for the three of us. We finished off the evening with a walk down the road to some friends of ours to watch a little football and enjoy good company. Now that Miss A is knocked out from an exhausting day, here we go!

21. I'm thankful for my ErgoBaby carrier. I didn't baby-wear enough to say so when Adalin was actually a baby. I had a cheap Evenflo carrier that didn't fit properly, and made my little girl's legs turn purple, so I never used it. I have a close friend who baby-wears almost constantly, and we got to talking about the Ergo. I'd seen it around a few other times, and thought I might like it better than a wrap or another type of carrier. Dang, are they expensive though. Anyway... on my trip to Michigan in September, trying to navigate the Charlotte NC airport with a one year old, stroller, carry on, and diaper bag was no easy task. I decided it would be easier if I could have another free hand to manage all this stuff. I found a great deal on Amazon and my loving, wonderful grandparents bought it for me (thank you times a million, again). It's amazing. When Miss A is not feeling well, in the Ergo she goes. When we're out doing something and I need both my hands, in the Ergo she goes. She rides when we go for walks, and even around the house when she's feeling needy. It's amazing. I can wear my 24.5 pound chunker on my front or my back, with no issues whatsoever. I'm still kicking myself for not getting one sooner.

From before our walk this evening
22. I'm thankful for awesome neighbors. Even though we don't know the people who live right next to us very well, we've got some great friends in the neighborhood. There are actually three families that we know pretty well here, one of which is moving several states away in a matter of days. I'm so sad to be losing them. I know we'll stay in touch, but I'm still a little torn up. Another one of the families have a daughter who is only eight days younger than Adalin. They get along great. I love hanging out with them, watching football, letting the girls play, and eating some pretty tasty food. They're great. The last family, we don't know too well. He worked with my husband when Jimmy first got to Fort Stewart. We've hung out with them a few times since, but not as frequently as I would have liked. It's still nice knowing another family in our little subdivision though.

23. I'm thankful for hair color. Anyone who knows me knows that I change my hair color like the wind changes direction. It's nice to be able to change things up once in a while. Who knows which color I'll go next?!

24. I'm thankful for non-stick spray. I can count how many pans I would have ruined if it weren't for good ole Pam. That stuff is like magic.

25. I'm thankful for online shopping. This year, I'm really not feeling like fighting the crowds on Black Friday. Instead, I'll sit here on my comfy couch, browsing different websites to see where I'm going to get the best deal. All this saving money, without having to threaten someone within an an inch of their life over a pair of shoes. I'll admit, I may have a slight addiction, but it's one I can control (most days). I have already saved $50 on one of Adalin's Christmas presents!

26. I'm thankful for leftovers. Guess who isn't cooking the rest of the weekend? This girl! We have leftover pizza from last night. There's also ham, potatoes, corn, and biscuits from today. I'm sure I'll probably cook a little bit on Sunday, if my husband is lucky.

27. I'm thankful for stretchy pants. Come on, it's Thanksgiving. We're all thankful for them. For real though, Victoria's Secret yoga pants are pretty much my favorite thing ever. So comfy!

28. I'm thankful for my daughter being an easy sleeper. As much as I loved rocking her to sleep when she went through a short phase that allowed me to, I adore being able to tell her "Let's go to bed baby!" and have her run into her room, only to knock out without a fight after only a few moments. She's been a great sleeper for a long time, which makes life much easier for this momma.

29. I'm thankful for Downy Unstoppables. I can't use scented detergent since I have super sensitive skin, but the Unstoppables don't bother me so I love them. We use the purple kind and they work great. 

30. I'm thankful for my blog. This is post number 100 for this year. It's been great being able to share my experiences with motherhood, Adalin's surgery, deployment, and life in general. I'm thankful for all my readers who care enough to read these long and rambling posts. I'm thankful to be able to speak my mind without a crazy backlash for a controversial opinion. I'm just very thankful.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I know this one will be one we remember for years to come. I'm off to go online shopping to snatch up some good deals! 

God Bless ♥ V

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What I'm Thankful For (Part Two)

This is part two of my 2013 What I'm Thankful For series. See part one here.

Wow, it's been a busy day, but I think I can finish this up before midnight hits. Here we go!

11. I'm thankful for modern medicine. Twice now, modern medicine has helped out my lovey bug. When I was 20 weeks pregnant, they found a CCAM on her right lung. Through the wonders of present day ultrasounds, they were able to closely monitor her. They determined that it would be best to deliver her at a hospital with a NICU, as a safety precaution. Luckily we didn't need it, though she did have surgery six months later. The second modern medicine benefit my little girl is experiencing is ear tubes. She's been suffering for months with ear infection after ear infection. Today, we made the decision that tubes are the best option for her at this stage in the game. So, a day shy of the one year anniversary of her lung surgery, she will be getting ear tubes. I'm terrified for her to have two surgeries under the age of two, but the doctor eased many of my fears today by reminding me that ear tubes are far less extensive than removing a third of her lung.

12. I'm thankful for faith. These last few days have been rough for quite a few people I know. I sat 1,000 miles away, as a great friend of mine said goodbye to his mother who had been fighting cancer. Today I found out that yet another woman from our church is dealing with a serious medical condition, and is also in the end of the second trimester of her pregnancy. It can be hard to keep faith when bad things happen, but through prayer I've felt a stronger connection with God in the past couple days than ever.

13. I'm thankful for college. Even though I'm absolutely terrified to return to school in January, I'm excited to get my degree. I like learning new things, challenging my brain, and push myself to try something new. I've met some great friends at college. It has been a great experience.

14. I'm thankful for the commissary. I've saved tons by shopping there. I don't realize how much extra I spend on groceries by going to Kroger or Food Lion until I have an entire cart full of food for less than $120 at the commissary. That would easily run me over $150, or even $200 at another grocery store. I'm all about saving money.

15. I'm thankful for Pinterest. I get so many ideas from there. Between home decor, food, DIY projects, and photography ideas, I credit a lot of my creativity to Pinterest.

16. I'm thankful for I won't lie, I just spent the last 10 minutes browsing their website for Black Friday deals. I'm stocking up on healthy snacks for our trip home, as well as some other toddler essentials.

17. I'm thankful for Direct TV. Even though it's a huge distraction, I sure do enjoy it. Big Bang Theory every night? Yes please!

18. I'm thankful for Subway. It's pretty much the only fast food I eat. I guess I do eat Hardee's too, but Subway definitely takes the cake.

19. I'm thankful for my tattoos. I like to think of them as self expression, in the most permanent form. I don't have any more planned for the immediate future, but who knows. Maybe I'll surprise myself.

20. I'm thankful for cookie dough. Nothing more needs to be added to that one.

I made it with a whole hour to spare. Happy Thanksgiving Eve! I'll do my best to post part three tomorrow.

God Bless ♥ V

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What I'm Thankful For (Part One)

Rather than doing a daily post this month with something that I'm thankful for, I decided to three posts with 10 things each day. So here goes nothing!

1. I'm thankful for family. Between the family that raised me, and the little family I have of my own... Family is something that I cherish greatly. Having my family whole again for five months now has been such a blessing. I can't believe that my husband has been back from deployment for that long already, but wow has it been great. Watching him bond with our daughter is been the greatest gift. Watching her grow up and learn something new every day has been more than I could ever ask for. I'm really missing my Michigan family lately, the holidays are meant to be spent with family. I know we'll be back for Christmas, but I'm still missing them a little bit extra this week.

2. I'm thankful for our dogs. Even though they're a pain in the butt some times, they add so much to our family. Between putting up with Adalin and always being ready to cuddle, we couldn't ask for better pups.

3. I'm thankful for the Internet. This year, I've seen it do amazing things. It allowed me to stay connected with my husband through deployment. It allowed him to watch our daughter grow from thousands of miles away. It lets me stay in touch with my Michigan family and friends, as well as others around the globe. I was so privileged to watch a soldier see his daughter be born through Skype. I know this may seem like a silly, or even superficial thing to be thankful for, but I really am. It has given me connections that I thought I would have lost when we moved to Georgia. It has also allowed me to grow my business to something I never thought it could be.

4. I'm thankful for stability. I feel like this is extremely general, but it's true. I'm thankful for my husband's job stability, providing us with financial stability. I'm thankful for stability in my marriage and family. I'm thankful for the stability in Adalin's growth and development. I don't like unexpected change, so stability is definitely a blessing.

5. I'm thankful for photography. Not only does it provide a career for me, but it allows me to keep memories that might be lost otherwise. It allows me to express myself, to challenge myself, and to educate myself. It allows me to grow and learn more every day.

6. I'm thankful for heat. Today is a nasty day. It's raining and cold, but I'm cuddled up in a nice warm blanket in my heated home, enjoying myself. I can't imagine living without heat. I know that we're extremely spoiled with how much we have. I'm thankful for that.

7. I'm thankful for working vehicles. There is rarely a day that I don't drive somewhere. Driving around town, to sessions, to the store.... we do a lot of driving. Going home for the holidays or in the summer would be much more difficult if we didn't have nice vehicles. I love my little car, though it's not the most family-practical car for us now. The dogs can't fit in there with Adalin in the back seat. Thankfully, the truck has plenty of room for all of us.

8. I'm thankful for smart phones. Though they really are a modern convenience, they definitely have become a necessity in my life. I know that I could live without it, but I'm glad I don't have to. It makes staying in touch with everyone so much easier, and also helps my business. I can accept credit cards as a payment method on site. It's amazing.

9. I'm thankful for our yard. I can't imagine not being able to let the dogs out to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I would probably die if we lived in an apartment where we had to walk them out for potty breaks and play time. I love not worrying about them when they're outside. I love having bonfires, relaxing in the hammock, and letting Adalin run free in the yard without worrying about her getting ran over, or kidnapped.

10. I'm thankful for Amazon's free two day shipping. Seriously, the best invention ever... just saying. I depend on two day shipping like it's nobody's business. Those days when I realize Adalin only has 20 diapers left, or those days when I realize that we need to do our family photos ASAP and we don't have everything we need... Amazon is there.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this list :)

God Bless ♥ V

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Amy's Cute Creations Review

*This is a sponsored review. I received a discount in product price in exchange for an honest review and photos of the product. These opinions are my own and are not censored by the sponsor.

Recently I had the privilege of working with Amy's Cute Creations. I'll start by saying that Amy is awesome. Those of you who know me personally know that my daughter is slightly extremely obsessed with Curious George. She has too many monkeys to count. Last year, we had a crocheted giraffe hat for her, since Mommy was a tad obsessed. This year, it only seemed fitting that we get a monkey one. I found Amy's page  through a friend of mine on Facebook. I sent her a message showing her the kind of hat that I was hoping to get, and she went to work!

A mere eight days later, she had it ready to go! She sent me these photos:

It really is as amazing as it looks. Not only did she match the flower to Miss A's coat, but it also fits her perfectly. It's warm, and my little hat-hater actually keeps it on! I was worried about keeping her ears warm while we went back to Michigan for Christmas this year, but my fears have completely vanished since she has started wearing this hat around the house pretty frequently. To be completely honest, sometimes I hide it from her because I don't want her to hide it from me.

Here are some of the photos I took for Amy: 

Overall, I give Amy's Cute Creations an A in my book! 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I'm Swamped.

I thought I'd take the next five minutes of my life to say that I'm swamped. I'm overloaded. I'm ridiculously busy. In the photographer world, everyone talks about not overbooking October because everyone wants family photos at the start of Fall. Woo! I didn't do that. But then November came, and wow. I haven't sat down long enough to take a deep breath in weeks. There just isn't enough time in a day.

In the past six days alone, I've done three homecomings (and another tomorrow), two family sessions, and a senior session. I also have a holiday mini session tomorrow as well. That's eight sessions in a week. For me, that's a ton. I'm exhausted, but loving life. This is what I wanted. I wanted to be busy, to be the "go-to" photographer for homecomings, family photos, and for awesome senior photos. I'm starting to feel like people might think of me as so.

This coming weekend, I'm hosting Christmas mini sessions at a tree farm. They're going to be awesome. I have four booked so far, but I'm hoping to get a few more added on before Saturday.

Here's a look at what I've been up to:

I hope you enjoy those as much as I do.

God Bless ♥ V

Friday, November 15, 2013

Slow Down

Lately, I feel like time is completely flying by. I can't believe it's already Friday night. I have no idea where Tuesday went. Really though, what did I do with that day? Time just needs to slow the heck down. My sweet little baby is growing up way too fast. Our little puppy is huge, and almost 7 months old. Also, my husband and I are very quickly approaching our fourth year anniversary for being together (not married). Where has the time gone?

I feel like I don't have time for anything anymore. I haven't seen some of my closer friends in months, and haven't spoken to others in even longer. I haven't skyped our families since I got back to Georgia. Where is the time? I know I've been working a lot more with the rush for holiday photos, but still... I feel like as soon as I wake up, it's time to go to bed.

There have been so many times this week that I've sat down to blog, yet it didn't happen. I'm taking advantage of my five free minutes before I prep for a homecoming ceremony tonight. I'm beyond ecstatic for this ceremony, which is my first welcoming a female soldier home. It should definitely be one for the books.

After this homecoming tonight, I have several shoots this weekend. We're also hoping to get a Christmas tree this weekend too. I want to pull everything out of the attic to see what all I bought last year on clearance. I know I got some great deals, but who knows what all I've got stowed away up there. I'm so ready for the holidays. I plan on spending a lot of extra time focusing on family these next few weeks. That means less electronics, and more time face to face.

I'm off for the night! Sweet dreams.

God Bless ♥ V

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Photog Frustrations

Since this blog is now about everything life, I feel the need to blog about my most recent frustration as a photographer. I desperately want a new camera. The one that I have now was great for me to learn on, but now that I have found my style, figured out how to change settings to get the shot I want, and realized the limitations of my camera... I realize how much more I could do with a better camera. I have had my eye on the Canon 6D for quite a few months now. I had originally planned on upgrading to a 60D (not as much of an upgrade) in August, but was talked into investing in more lenses instead of a camera that still wouldn't do as much as I'd like. The 6D usually retails for right around $2,000 so it's not just a drop in the bucket. Near the end of last month, the price dropped dramatically, down to $1,573 on Amazon. Score right? If only I had $1600...

Well now, I'm growing more and more impatient. Though I have over 25% of what I need for this upgrade, it's taking forever. I have been saving for months, but something always comes up. It's extremely frustrating for me. The price went back up this past weekend, to $1900, so it's out of reach again. I'm starting to seriously consider taking a personal loan out to pay for it, because then I'll be forced to save (or pay) a certain amount each month. Every time I get to the point I'm at today, "I'm doing it. I want this camera," I talk myself out of it. I know that it would feel amazing to pay for it on my own, without the help of a bank... but dang it! I'm impatient! I've had my heart set on this for so long. I know that just because you want something, doesn't mean it's going to come easy. Just because I've been saving, doesn't mean it's just going to appear. Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait until you have the means to get what you want.

I'm trying so hard to be patient. I feel like, even though $2,000 is a lot of money, it's not that much money. I don't feel like I should have to save for months and months and months to get to the point where I won't feel guilty spending that much. Sure, I could take a chunk out of our savings and buy the thing.. but where does that leave us? What if something we actually need comes up and we can't afford it because I wasn't patient enough to just save my pennies for this? That's why I want to do this on my own. What if there's an emergency and I need to buy a plane ticket home? What if I total my car? What if one of the dogs gets sick and has an expensive vet bill? I don't want my camera desires to take away from our financial security. Honestly, I don't think I'll ever be able to spend $2,000 on myself and not feel guilty, but maybe I'll surprise myself.

I need to give a huge thank you to my husband for being so supportive of my dream, and for being tolerant of all my whining about this lately. I seriously have dreams about this dang thing, and wake up frustrated as crap because some crazy woman "took the last one on sale for 50% off." I think there's something wrong with my brain. So, husband, thank you for putting up with my crazy self. I know I don't make it easy sometimes.

I'm off to figure out what I'm doing with my afternoon. I still have camera on the brain, so I'll probably do something photo related.

God Bless ♥ V

Thursday, November 07, 2013

You're Beautiful Baby

Have I mentioned how gorgeous my daughter is? Seriously, I know I'm biased... but I just can't get over her cute self lately. Look at these test shots I took at a tree farm yesterday:

I'm off to go play out side with this precious little cutie. Have a great Thursday everyone!

God Bless ♥ V

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Exhaustion has officially set in. I'm whooped. The last four weeks have been torturous. That's right, it's been four weeks of ear infections for Miss A. We have been to Winn so many times this week, I'm starting to lose count. She's been poked, prodded, and traumatized by all the medical attention she has received lately. Today, we went in for a check-up; no shots, no medicine, no tests. All we went in for was to check her ears, and to get answers for about a million questions. The second she saw the nurse, freak out. The second I put her on the scale, freak out. The second the doctor walked in the room, freak out. I'm so exhausted.

I'm so tired of having to sit here helplessly while I listen to my baby cry. I'm tired of not being able to take her pain away. I'm tired of not sleeping because I'm stressed out about her possibly getting tubes, or not getting tubes, or whatever they decide to do. I'm tired of feeling like a bad mom when I need 20 minutes to myself. Literally, I've been locking myself in the bathroom so I can have a few minutes of quiet. I turn the water on, put headphones in, and just tune out the world. But as I'm tuning out her screams, my head fills with it's own screams. All I can think is how I feel like a crappy mom for not being able to take it. I can't take it anymore though, the constant screaming... the hitting... the grouchy baby that is not what I'm used to... I just can't take it. I want my happy, smiley, loving baby back. I want these medicines to work. I want her to feel good. I want to want to spend every waking second with her, and not look forward to my husband coming home solely so he can watch her while I go hide for my mommy time.

I'm just exhausted with everything. I feel like I could sleep for days. I'm off now, to enjoy the next 45 minutes while my poor baby sleeps. I so desperately want her to feel better, I'm making myself sick.

God Bless ♥ V

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Stupid Ear Infections

I am so sick of Miss A getting ear infections. I seriously hate them. I'm actually unsure how many she's had now, since they're so reoccurring. Do I count them by the number of antibiotics she's been on? or the times she's been to the doctor for them? or by the times they've completely cleared up? She's been suffering for three weeks straight now.

We took her to the ER today after she woke up acting really strange this morning. She kept screaming for no reason. We took her temperature and it was 100.9 so we went in. By the time we got there, it had jumped to 101.8. After about an hour and a half wait, they got us in. Sure enough, another ear infection. The doctor said that she's in "antibiotic failure," and that they're out of options for antibiotics. She got a set of two shots today, to be repeated tomorrow and Monday, as a last resort. They're also referring us to see an ENT specialist to discuss tubes in her ears. When this option was put out there, I completely broke down.

I can't imagine my baby having to have two surgeries before she's two. I'm still traumatized from lung surgery. I keep flashing back to sending her in with the nurse. I remember walking into the PICU and seeing my little baby, puffy and not yet awake from the anesthesia. I remember being scared to death the whole time she was in the operating room. I know that tubes aren't nearly as extreme as removing a third of her lung, but it's still surgery. She'd still have to be knocked out for it. She'd still have recovery time. It scares me. How am I twenty years old, and have never had surgery... but she's less than a year and a half and has had a major one, and is being recommended another? I don't get it. Life isn't fair.

On a higher note, the ErgoBaby carrier saved our butt today. I seriously love this thing. She knocked out on me for about half an hour in the waiting room, then again after she got the shot. This kid doesn't sleep anywhere but her bed and car seat, so I was extremely thankful that she fell asleep in the carrier today. I love having her close to me, while still having free hands. I highly recommend it to anyone with a chunky babe. She's 24 pounds and some change now, and doesn't hurt my back or shoulders at all. I wore her about 80% of the time we were in the ER today, and I'm not the least bit sore from it.

I'll keep you all posted as we find out more. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for her. 

God Bless ♥ V