Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dance Fever! Among Other Things

Currently, I am sitting here in the living room while everyone else sleeps. Pandora Radio plays quietly in the background and I am finishing the last of my Dove chocolates from Valentine's Day. Its so late, but I cannot seem to get to sleep. I figured if I am already awake, why not pump one more time for the night and finish this post? I am so hyped today after talking to my director about my dance schedule and plans for this spring! I just thought I would share a little bit with you, my fantastic readers!

We have a very busy next few months for dance. In March, we will be learning Michael Jackson's Thriller and preforming it, plus learning some break dancing. Then in April, we will be learning the showcase dance and preparing our costumes. The showcase is that last Saturday in April, a whole month earlier than I originally thought! I am super excited to start the showcase choreography! I have both the songs picked out already!

For my 4-6 year olds: They will be performing to the Jackson Five's "ABC Song." I want my girls in primary colors and black, with their hair curled. They will be doing lots of moves with their coats, it will be adorable! I think that I will probably be dancing with them on stage, since they are so young (they are the youngest group performing) but it will still be great! I love this idea!

For my 6-8 year olds: They will be performing to Daft Punk's "Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger." They will pretending to be robots for this song, I told them about it Monday and they are already so into it! I would like them to look like robots and we will be doing this by making costumes out of cardboard boxes and pipe cleaners, other cool stuff like that! I would like their hair crazy and up. This one will be really cool, I have ideas for them making machines and having them be turned on and off at the beginning and the end!

We will also be performing with the Tap/Jazz class after us, bringing our showcase dance number to four dances. That will be a great showcase, I cannot wait for it now! Time to start planning and all that fun stuff!! Yay!

I am very excited to share with you what Aunt Natalie is having! I was going to wait until Friday, but even I cannot wait that long lol! I thought she was going to have a boy and let me tell you...



She is having a BOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are so excited for them! Another boy in the family wow! They already have his name picked out too, but that's for another post! For now, congratulations Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake. We love you so much!


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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday!! February 27, 2013

Happy Hump Day everyone! This week has been one awesome one for us and a very exciting one. We have lots of things to love! So here is this week's What I'm Loving Wednesday!!! Be sure to check out Jamie's blog This Kind of Love to see her WILW and other fun stuff! What are you loving today?



I'm loving... that my good friend Kelsie had her baby boy yesterday morning! I will get to go up and see them tomorrow! Now just to wait until then and also when they come home so that Alan and Anna can meet him. :) Congratulations Kelsie, Keith and Kelton! We love you all!

I'm loving... that my other friend Chelsey and her husband just welcomed another little boy into her family as well! This will be their fourth foster care child, they are so blessed! Next week she is on Spring Break, so we have plans to get all the kids together. Cannot wait! Congratulations Chelsey, Dan, Colton, M and Baby K! We love you all as well!

I'm loving... that we finally got our income tax return and can start buying some much needed stuff for our family. This year we are hoping to buy a new cell phone for me, new beds for everyone, dressers for the kids and maybe a down payment on a new car. Yay!

I'm loving... that today Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake find out today if they are having a boy or a girl. They are currently in the appointment and I am ever so anxiously awaiting her texts! We will get to look at that adorable little baby growing inside her belly, I am just so excited! I told her that I had to be one of the first to know lol, since she was the same with Alan and Anna. I will be sure to post  about it Friday hopefully. I do not care what she is having, I just cannot wait to know!

I'm loving... these Pinterest finds today:





Hollow out a log to plant flowers in, love this idea. Using old toys as dresser knobs, too cute! Would be a cool idea for the kids' bedrooms or the playroom. Recipe for swirly cakes, want to do this for Anna's smash cake this year! Pizza grilled cheese: my new guilty pleasure lol. Using wine bottles as a self waterer for you herbs. Could go right in your kitchen window! Love this idea!


I'm loving... that we start to learn Thriller in hip hop class tomorrow. The kids are pretty excited and I told them that they could wear their Halloween costumes to the performance for their parents in March. It should be really cute, my first group of kids just loved it and their parent's did too!

I'm loving... that I will be having two big performances to prepare for in the next two months. One in March and one in April. I need to start the choreography for the one in April already! We are getting close! :)

I'm loving... my family, my friends, my job and my life.



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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Alan's First Gymnastics Showcase

I want to quickly take the time to wish my good friend Kelsie a good and quick delivery! We love you hon, cannot wait to meet Baby K! :)

I wanted to write a more in depth post about Alan's showcase, complete with the video I made of it and a few pictures. I would first like to say how proud of Alan we are, he is getting so big and so good at doing new things. We love you so much little guy. He was very super excited to show us his newly learned moves, he could hardly contain himself! Here are the explanations of each move he did, a few with photos. The video is at the end. Enjoy everyone!


The Bridge
 
To do the Bridge Move, you lay on your back with your knees up in the air and you hands by your ears, making your elbows stick up in the air as well. Then you lift your belly off the ground, stretching your legs and arms out as you curve your body up. Hold it for as long as you can. Alan was so excited, he did the snail move first lol and then did not put his hands by his ears. Silly guy!
 
 
The Snail
 
To do the Snail Move, you lay on your back with you legs down on the ground. Then you try to touch your feet over your head, while keeping you arms to your side and your body straight. This time, Alan did the bridge move first and then the snail. I think he may have just mixed them up a little in all of his excitement.
 
The Handspring Jump, also known as the Two Feet Jump
 
To do the Handspring Jump, you run slowly towards the handspring jumper. Jump off with two feet and land on the padding with two feet. Stick your landing with a tada! Alan loved this one! He ran real fast at the handspring jumper, and landed on his knees lol. He gave us a very nice tada afterwards though! Good job big guy!
 
The Backward Roll
 
To do the Backward Roll, you lay down on an incline with your head going down and your knees up. Place your hands by your ears again, and push off with your feet. Have someone guide your feet over your head and land them down. Keep your chin tucked the whole time! Alan also enjoye this one. He did very well and finished it off with a tada and a cartwheel!
 
The Cartwheel, also known as the Donkey Kick for the little ones
 
To do the Cartwheel, you step and place hand on the floor. Go onto both hands and take feet off the ground. Land one foot after the other. Alan was very enthusiastuc to show us this one. He could hardly wait his turn lol! He did a very good job on this move, as well as all the other ones.



TADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Monday, February 25, 2013

Too Many Subjects to Put in One Title

I did have a totally different title at first but I just kept adding and adding to the post as the weekend progressed. Now after rereading the whole thing, the title made no sense at all lol. It was a really cool title too. So lame that I had to switch it out for this cop out. Such is a writer's life. :)

Anyways we almost broke our family's clean record this weekend. Technically Alan did lol. And by that I mean our family's clean record of having no broken bones. Yes, you heard me correctly, no one in our family has ever broken a bone. Not Lon, not I, not Alan, no one. It is quite a feat that Lon and I have lived through our whole childhood without breaking any bones, we were both wild children. This is super nerdy but I am kinda proud of it lol. I know, how ridiculous is that????? But its true.

Well this weekend, we almost broke our clean record.

Friday night I had to run to the store to grab a few neccesities for the house and it was almost bedtime, so I put Anna down for the night and left Lon in charge of Alan's bedtime routine. I went to the store alone (it was simply heaven lol) and I returned home an hour or so later to a slightly injured Alan and a completely heartbroken Daddy. Acordimg to Lon, they were wrestling just before bed (instead of reading, I know, how bad lol!) and somehow Alan got his arm under Lon and there was a loud POP!! and Lon stopped immeadiately. According to Alan, Daddy won lol. Silly guy! :/ Alan's pinky finger was swollen and Alan did not want anything or anyone touching it. Convinced it was broken, Lon iced it, splinted his finger, and gave him some Tylenol for the pain. He was so upset that he may have broken his finger. I can feel for him, I would feel the same way if it was me who had done it.

Thankfully, Alan was okay enough to go to bed for the night. We decided not to take him in to the Emergency Room and to take him in to the Children's Clinic the following morning. He slept well and the next morning, it was almost like he had never gotten hurt really. He would forget about it and run around, jumping and playing around wildly like he had never hurt his finger. I got him scheduled to see the on call doctor before I had work. I love my pediatrician's office because even if my children's doctor is not there, we can still do a walk in with another doctor. I can always get an appointment for my children, even if its last minute and on the weekends. Love the hospital my family belongs to!! :)

We got Alan all checked out (by the handsome new doctor I might add, SWOON, sorry Lon lol) and it was determined that his finger definitely was not broken, just dislocated and relocated shortly afterwards. That was probably all that caused the instant swelling, not a broken bone. Alan was not as convinced that it was not broken, so we wrapped it back up for him. The doctor said it could still be a little sore from the dislocation, so leaving it splinted to his other finger for a few more days would be alright. He would definitely be okay by Wednesday for gymnastics class though. Thank goodness! I swear that we have been into the doctor's office so much more than last year, our insurance may drop us lol! Just joking, but in all honesty its driving me a little crazy. I just want my kids healthy again lol! They hate being sick and are not themselves when they are. It stinks. However, Lon and I are both very happy that Alan did not end breaking his pinky finger. I was so worried about him for multiple reasons.

We have still kept our clean record! Yes lol!

The Preschool Screening went well, Alan listened and did everything to the best of his ability and did a fantastic job! The only thing the counselor had to tell me at the exit interview was that he really should get his vision checked by an eye doctor. Apparently, he failed his vision test three times. That is enough for me to take him in lol! Poor guy! The counselor assured me that it would probably just mean glasses. I was worried about him having similar eye issues to his father but she said it was most likely nothing that extreme. Good! We would take glasses any day!

This week is a very busy week for my family! Tomorrow, my friend Kelsie is having her baby boy and on Wednesday, Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake find out what they are having! We are very excited, I cannot wait to go visit Kelsie and Baby K in the hospital! Alan and Anna will have to wait to meet their new friend until they are both home from the hospital, because there is a no children policy at the ward right now due to the Influenza outbreak. Its pretty bad here. But we will be over there lots, helping her out those first few weeks. I cannot wait! And as for Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake, I hope they have a boy but I will be happy just to know what they are having lol! I do not really care, when it comes down to it, I just want to KNOW!!!! I am beyond ready to start shopping for this kid lol and spoiling him like I do Alan and Anna. I already bought her six onesies in unisex colors when they were here last but I want to buy more lol! I just love baby shopping and really, both of my kids have enough clothes right now. I cannot wait to hear what she is having, I will go right out and get her something lol! You all just wait! :)



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Friday, February 22, 2013

I Knew There Was a Reason We Never Moved!!

This NBC post has been popping up all over my Facebook and Blogger newsfeed all week. Since my family lives in the third best place on the list, I figured that I might as well give into the trend and write a post about it myself. You know, since I have like, personal experience on it and whatnot. If you want to see the full article and countdown, check out the link above. But for now, here is the top 10 Best and Worst Places to Live, courtesy of the Today Show and Best Life Magazine.

Top 10 Best Places to Raise a Family in the US

1 Honolulu, Hawaii
2 Virginia Beach, Virginia
3 Billings, Montana
4 Columbus, Georgia
5 San Diego, California
6 Des Moines, Iowa
7 Minneapolis, Minnesota
8 Madison, Wisconsin
9 Colorado Springs, Colorado
10 Santa Rosa, California

Top 10 Worst Places to Raise a Family in the US

10 Springfield, Missouri
9 Dayton, Ohio
8 Corpus Christi, Texas
7 Flint, Michigan
6 Columbia, South Carolina
5 Waco, Texas
4 Philadelphia, Pennslyvania
3 Fayetteville, North Carolina
2 Beaumont, Texas
1 Clarksville, Tennessee

I knew there was a reason Lon and I never moved out of town when we got pregnant lol! Honestly, we were thinking of moving to Bozeman or Missoula and starting a new life there when I was pregnant with Alan, but we decided against it. I did not like the idea of living in a different town than most of Alan's family. So we stayed. By the time Anna was born, we were already saving up to buy a house in town and haven't had a single thought of looking out of town. Now we are looking at house loans and planning on buying in the near future, we will be permanently living in Billings.

I feel like this post was a little bit of a sign for us lol. Like, stay here Andersen family, this town will treat you well. Lol, how silly is that? But its true.


I like Billings for my family's hometown for many reasons, let me see if I can actually name them all lol. I like the schools here. My mother teaches here so I know most of the teachers and the ones that I do not know, she usually does. I know which schools Alan and Anna will most likely be going to, and I like them all. We have found a good pediatric clinic and dentistry for our children, as well as a hospital that I even do not mind staying in. Which is saying something! Almost all our of family lives here and the ones that don't live decently close by. There are more than forty parks for the kids to play at, all with different things to do. We love the parks here! Oh and the Rims, the Rims!!!!!! They are amazing and elegant and beautiful, one of my favorite parts of this town, one huge park really! Love the Rims, just love the Rims. There are other fun family places like Chuck E Cheese, Geyser Park, The Reef, Sunset Bowling, Zoo Montana, Shiloh 14 Movie Theatres, Oasis Waterpark, the Imaginarium and the Metra Park, where the state fair and events like Seasame Street Live and the circus are held. The neighborhoods are nice and safe, most neighbors have families themselves and there are usually lots of kids for our children to play with no matter which block we live on. The air quality is very good here, we live in the beautiful Big Sky of course! It is very clear lol! The Village Inn is also here. It is a major part of our live as well as Lon's family's lives. They run the whole business as a family. And it is one of the most popular pizza places in town! We love the VI so much!

Do you live in one of the towns on either list? Why do you like where you live?



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Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Ballet, Gymnastics, and Other Wildness

I was going to post this yesterday but I figured that a post about Anna's current health condition was a little more important. :) She is doing quite a bit better now that she has been taking meds for a few days now. But let me tell you about the frustration I have for these things...

At first, I did not realize there was a difference between bulb syringe and a nasal aspirator, now I realize how wrong I was lol. I bought a nasal aspirator for Anna, when I actually wanted a bulb syringe. Ugh! But we got Anna some baby saline solution that has worked AWESOME for us. Score!

Tuesday night, my sister treated my mom and I to Swan Lake at the Alberta Bair Theatre. The Russian Ballet Company performed it and let me tell you, it was quite phenomenal. I just loved it! The RBC usually performs with SCB every winter in the Nutcracker, they are a wonderful group of dancers. Swan Lake is like one of my favorite ballets too. It was a great treat, thanks Aunt April! I even got a picture with the Evil King, he was one of my favorites lol. Aunt April made fun of me for it the rest of the night, but at least I got a picture. :) My mom totally cut April out of the picture though lol, oops!


Aunt April posing with her pop can lol, classy. :P
Seeing the ballet got me thinking: What if I applied ballet influences to my hip hop classes to help them learn?

Now you are probably are scratching your head trying to figure out how I will incorporate BALLET into HIP HOP, well stop fretting and just let me tell you lol! For those of you who are dancers, or those of you who pay alot of attention to dance, you will know that in ballet the dance movements are based off of variations. For example: You will do 3-4 steps over and over, in several variations, to make a dance. Wow, I really cannot seem to explain that right. Does that make sense? So if I apply that to hip hop, not only will it get them to remember the individual dance moves but it will help them remember the order of the steps in the dance. I hope to try this Monday!

Yesterday was Alan's gymnastics showcase. I was able to get time off of work and see the whole thing. One happy mama here! :) He did so good! He was very excited to show us his tricks, that he would barely sit still lol. But he still did very well. I filmed it on my iPod so that Lon could also see it and it could go in our home movie archives too. I spent almost all day today working on it but wouldn't you know, I left my computer at home when I came to my parent's house. Darn! So I will do my best to post it tomorrow or Monday. It is the cutest little video ever! I am pretty proud of my video editing skills too yo! Lol, I cannot wait to post it now.

Tomorrow we have Alan's screening for public schooling and preschool. I am a little apprehensive to how it will all go, but I am confident that he will do his best. I have to bring Anna with me though, hope she will not be too much of a distraction lol!

We were supposed to meet up with Alan's friends Teagan and Harper with their mom this morning, but we were too late. :/ We missed Teagan's birthday party last Saturday due to work, so I was really hoping to see them. However, we completely missed them or they forgot lol... I am hoping for the latter really. I feel so bad! I still let Alan play for an hour there though and while we played, a little girl brought in her Polaroid camera and started taking pictures. I had forgotten how much I had wanted a Polaroid camera. They are very portable and produce pictures right away, which I just love. I have never minded the quality of the pictures, I just love the look of them! Maybe I will not get a digital camera with our tax return, and instead get a Polaroid. Or even better! I can get a digital camera  AND get my Polaroid. Thrifting!!!!!!!! :D



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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sick Again, Darn!

I finally was fed up with Anna's nurses telling me she just had a cold over the phone when I knew it was something else. Call it motherly instinct, but I think the fact that I had spent the past few nights sleeping on the hardwood floor next to my daughter's bouncing chair just to keep it bouncing because she could not comfortably sleep in her own bed and was still waking up every few minutes to cough might have clued me in also. Maybe just a little lol. So I caved and took her in to see the doctor yesterday.

Let me tell you a little something about doctors and I. Being the naturalist that I am, I just plain do not like doctors and do not always agree with them. My personal philosophy is most ailments can be taken care of by drinking more water. We are mostly liquid creatures afterall, most of our ailments root from dehydration or lack of water intake. The next step is food and nutrition. When it comes to me, personally, I will do just about anything to get out of going to the doctor lol. My children are different though. I do my best to keep them out of the doctor's office but if they need to go in, I will not hesistate to take them in. Regardless, this trip was not happily antcipated.

I had both children with me and Alan was insistent on us going to the mall play area instead of Anna's doctor appointment. It was somewhat of a struggle getting inside there because of this. There may or may have not been some bribing of candy lol. :P Don't judge. They were very busy today and did not have time to weigh her. Darn, I was hoping to see if she had gained any weight since last month! I am pretty sure she has, I will just have to weigh her later at my parent's house. We got checked into our little room and while waiting, I read several books to the kids. Alan is really getting into books lately, which I just love so I will gladly read him book after book after book after book lol. I was a big reader as a child and I hope to encourage that in both of my children.

Anyways, one of the books I read was An American Tail: Fievel Goes West from when I was a kid myself. Alan found it and insisted I read it first because it was a "boy book" lol, but I told him that this movie used to be my favorite when I was little like him. He really enjoyed reading it too. I will have to make a point to go find that movie now...


Did you ever read this book or see the movie when you were a kid? Love it!

After the doctor checked out Anna, she scared me a little by saying she was going to have the nurse come check her Oxygen levels. Uh, I didn't think she was THAT sick. Thankfully though, after several minutes of monitoring, her levels averaged at 91 percent. A very healthy level for a sick little girl. :) After a few more tests and some more monitoring, it was determined that she has bronchiolitis and an ear infection in her right ear. The ear infection is still in its beggining stages and she prescibed only a pain killer for her ear, no antibiotic. Same with the bronchiolitis infection, she said that it was already too far along for the medicine to be effective. But I have to do ear drops saline solution at least three times a day. This will be hell for both Mama and Baby alike. My poor girl, I have to attack her ears and nose three times a day! No fun! Her doctor also mentioned how this infection has a tie to asthma in later life, they are not sure if it causes it or is an early sign of it or what not. But that does not make me very happy. I struggled with asthma all of my childhood, it held me back from doing a lot of things that I wanted to. I hope that my daughter is not the same way!

My sweet little girl will not sleep anywhere but on me, she gets real mad whenever I put her down. I can barely go pee without starting World War 3 with my daughter. She screamed herself hoarse earlier because I had to make Alan lunch. :/ She won't even tolerate her Moby Wrap right now, I think she is already so uncomfortable that the closeness of it would only make her clausterphobic and anxious. She fought me the couple times I tried it. Currently, I am camped out on my bed with her. We are surrounded by laundry and toys from Alan, since he cannot be very far away from me either lol. Anna is finally comfortable and asleep, thank goodness! She will only sleep soundly for a few moments before being harshly interupted by coughs but she sadly enough has gotten used enough to it that she will sleep through them. As long as she is comfortable and healing, that is all I can ask.



I want this happy baby back! Where did she go?  I do miss her so very much. Please get better fast Miss Anna Ariel. Mommy and Daddy and Alan just cannot stand to see you sick like this! :(



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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On Being "Good Enough"

We all want to be perfect, don't we? I think that everyone does, even if they don't always admit it. Even just maybe being "good enough." I wrote about being perfect in terms of beauty earlier this month. Oftentimes, I struggle with being good enough myself. Good enough as a person, good enough as a daughter, good enough as a sister, good enough as a friend, as a practicing Buddhist, as an adult, as a wife, as a parent, the list goes on and on. Most nights, I lie in bed awake for hours after everyone else has fallen asleep, thinking of all the things I should have done and all the things I still need to do. I lay there in bed, literally frozen there, thinking about everything. I do not enjoy it one bit, I wish I could sleep but I just cannot. It is very stressful for me, I have not admitted this to a lot of people. As most of you know, I did have generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive complusive disorder, which means that even though I have gone through tons of therapy and personal growth to overcome them, I do still have the tendancy to go back to them at any given moment. For those of you who have mental illnesses, you know that it is almost a constant battle to stay "normal." I think that has a lot to do with it. But why?

Honestly I think it has several reasons, a few that we don't even realize ourselves.

Television. That's a big one. We see perfect families and people on television all the time, on a daily basis really. Whether they are real or fictional, it does not really matter. We are conditioned by them all the same. Because the truth is even reality television shows are not fully real. People act differently in front of a camera, period. Peers. The people around us greatly influences our personal views of ourselves. For example, someone who is bullied will most likely not be happy with themselves or their life. Celebrities. Similar to the first one, but also different so I had to add it. We all see celebrities, either in public or their daily lives, and think that's how it should be. That is the way my life should look. Once again, almost everyone does this whether they admit it or not. Its why people complain about celebrities having too much money. They subconsciously think that they should have the money too. Upbringing. In certain situations, a person's upbringing will affect this. If you are raised with high expectations in everything you do, as an adult you may struggle with feeling this way a lot. I can attest to this, but for slightly a different reason. I was not raised with high expectations by my parents, but I sure did have my own high expectations for myself that I had to uphold. I was not diagnosed until I was quite a bit older, but I am pretty sure I have both GAD and OCD as a child. I had to be perfect then, just like now lol. Mental Illness. Like I just mentioned, having certain mental illnesses will do this to you. I have had these illnesses and have struggled with perfection because of it.

What can we do about perfection?

Tell it to shut up! Do not listen to it! We are perfect as ourselves because we are ourselves! We need not try harder to be perfect when we are so perfect already! You are amazing, wonderful, beautiful, and PERFECT all because you are you!!

And also:
Love Yourself
Breathe, Deeply
Meditate
Be Yourself
Get Yourself a Present
Be in the Moment
Love Others
Hug a Child
Be a Human
Exercise to Clear Your Mind
Find Nirvana, Like Really Look For it
Kiss a Baby
Spend Time in Nature and With Animals
Live Life Like its Your Last Day on Earth
Share a Secret
Be Charitable
Spread the Love
Be Still.

What is good enough for you in your life? Do you often struggle with perfection? Please share with me your thoughts and feelings! We are all along the wonderful journey of this life, let us share experiences to gain knowledge. Okay, that's enough of me being philosophical.

In other news:
Anna is sick again. Ugh, Lon and I honestly think its this house. No, not in some weird Amityville Horror sort of way lol but our heating system is old and out dated, thus dry heat and lots of colds for all of us. Me no likey. :/ I am taking her to the doctor later today because her cough has finally gotten bad enough that I no longer think it is just a cold. It reminds me of Alan's croup cough he had when he was a baby. Let's hope that the doctor can figure out what ails her!

I am just totally OBSESSED with this new mom blog I found this weekend called Modern Colors. And when I say "new mom blog" I mean newly found mom blog as well as new to motherhood blog. Miss Hollie's beautiful bouncing baby boy is around a month old, if I am correct. Oh I love newborns and new motherhood! There is something soooooooooooooo very special about those first few weeks after birth. Not to mention that she herself is awesome! From her Renaissance Faires to her super cool artwork to her son's awesome name River to her random quirkiness, I seriously may have found another online blogging buddy for life lol.

Gush!

I hope everyone has a great day today! I will be sure to keep everyone updated on Anna. Please send her well wishes and healing thoughts!



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Monday, February 18, 2013

Natalie...

It took me so long to think of a good title for this post. I struggled with a good one quite a bit, which is odd because usually titles come so easily to me. But this post is different. It is very important to me, and for some reason I struggle to think of a title because of it. But in the end, the most appropriate title is the person who this post is for, I believe.

My sister Natalie and her boyfriend Jake came into town this past weekend. If you remember, my sister is eighteen weeks pregnant with her first child. We are very excited for her and Uncle Jake, it fantastic being able to see them too! Natalie is just starting to show a little bit, her baby bump is soooooooooo adorable. We all had a great time together going out to eat at Texas Roadhouse and swimming at the Reef, taking some fun anniversary photos for Lon, and even taco soup night at my parent's house! I love when my sister comes to town to visit! There is always yummy food, happy children, laughing adults and a feeling of togetherness. I feel that my intermediate family is truly whole. And it is. Unfortuantely we were all too busy loving and living life that we all forgot to take any photos lol. Don't you love when that happens? Le sigh. Our memories are still there though, and when it comes down to it, that is the real important part, right????? I think so. 

Some random thoughts from this weekend's events: Sisters are special.

They are always there for you, from the very beginning. They are so much like you, yet so different in their own unique ways. They know your deepest, darkest secrets and are your first best friends. They are the first people you call to get an opionion, or if you need help. I love both of my sisters to death, as well as my three sister-in-laws. We all have very special and unique bonds to each other, ones that I wouldn't give away for even the whole world. This new bond forming with Natalie however, is something completely brand new and fascinating to me.

In case you have not realized, Natalie got pregnant almost exactly a year after I did. Everything she is experiencing in her pregnancy, weekly milestone wise, is like a year behind what I experienced. A perfect example: Natalie and Jake have their 20 week ultrasound this Wednesday, February 27, 2013 while Lon and I had ours Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Isn't that just CRAZY??????? :D Its weird and cool all at the same time. I mean, it feels like I am reliving it all over again. From the morning sickness to the multiple hospital and doctor visits (my sister and I tend to be hospital prone I guess lol, especially when pregnant. Lon and Jake have their hands full with us!) to the crazy cravings to the baby name discussions. Everything, EVERYTHING is so close to the same time period as I was with Anna.

 
See what I mean? Even our belly photos are only a darn day off! Btw, do you like the difference in photo quality lmao? You can definitely tell which one was taken by a regular cell phone (MINE) and which one was taken by an Iphone (Natalie's). I do enjoy it very much so though, and I know that the four of us (Natalie, Anna, my neice/nephew and I) will be very close because of it. Hopefully Anna and Natalie's baby can be as close as Natalie and I were as children. That would be the coolest!




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Friday, February 15, 2013

Eleven Questions About Me

How was everyone's Valentine's Day yesterday? Ours went great! Alan's little party had a very nice turnout, we all had a blast together! I will be sure to post about that sometime next week. I do not think that any of us took a single photo though lol, how silly are we! Lon surprised me with a dinner date to Applebee's KID FREE and then we went shopping for a movie (the new Judge Dredd, AWESOME), which was all awesome. I also got chocolates, yum! I am really picky about chocolates lol and he made a point to get me the PERFECT box of chocolates for me. Oh how I love him so much. He is just so perfect for me! Thanks baby!

I am so very excited because Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake are coming to town today! Yay! We have quite a bit we want to do with them here, I am just not sure what the exact plans are yet. But Alan has been asking for Aunt Natalie since he woke up lol. They are buds since he was born. :) We just cannot wait to see them! Have a safe trip here guys, but GET HERE FAST!!!! We miss you too much to wait much longer for you lol.

Unfortunately there will be no Five Question Friday today, due to Mama M's youngest still fighting the flu. I can empathize with her, we had Influenza A last month. I hope you all get better fast! However my blogger friend @ Tales of a Young Mama participated in a fun little blog hop questionaire thing recently, so today I will post that in place of FQF. Works out pretty nicely, right? I thought so. I hope you all enjoy it! Be sure to check out her post and let me know if you particpate in this as well! Have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend everyone!

If you HAD to change your name, what would you change it to?
As a teenager, I went through a "phase" where I just plain hated my name. I placed quotations around phase because it was quite a long period of time. Like most of high school. I had a lot of self esteem issues in high school though, I think that was the real reason I disliked my name so much. As an adult now, I am very happy with my name. I do prefer to go by Jillian over Jill but I really do not mind that much.

I guess if I HAD to change my name though, it would be to Marleigh Josephine. I love both of those names so very much, but my husband would never let me use one of those names for one of our daughter's name lol. But I just love the name Marleigh so much!

Are you a collector of anything?
Oh yes! I am an avid collector of elephant figurines! I have been collecting them for aboct seven years now, and have around forty to fifty elephants in my collection. When its not a holiday season, they are displayed all throughout my living room. I love my collection so much! We have Valentine's Day stuff out currently, but I cannot wait until after Easter when my collection can come out again!

What is your first thought when you wake up?
First thought? I wake up and one million thoughts explode in my brain.

Must take Alan potty for the first time in the morning. And wake up Lon. And change Anna's diaper. And get Alan breakfast. And Anna a bottle. And wake Lon up again. And pump. And refill Alan's drink. And make Lon and I breakfast. And set Anna up to play. And make sure Lon is up for the day lol. Then, eat breakfast. Throw in a load of laundry. And make sure Lon gets out of the door to work on time.

I daydream of my days before being an adult when I only had one thing on my mind when I woke up. Going back to sleep lol. There's no space for that even now! :P Okay I am done complaining now. I like being a housewife really, I promise lol!

Do you prefer sweet or salty foods?
I think that it really depends on my mood. At any given time when I am eating, I will prefer either of those, or sometimes both of them together lol.

Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
Not having to worry about money. I hate that the most about being an adult. That and not getting to go on cool vacations with my family like I used to. Because of money. Blargh! :)

Are you a morning or night person?
Definitely a night person. I used to be an insomniac afterall and sometimes still have tendancies now. I do not do good with mornings and am usually a little grumpy, especially if I did not get enough sleep. But being a night person stinks too sometimes because I want to stay up late, then do not get enough sleep, then am grumpy in the morning. Such is life lol. :P

List 5 items on your life’s to-do list:
Truly learn of my heritage and family history.
Buy a family home.
Participate in someone else's labor and delivery.
Visit another country.
Become an adoptive parent.

Share one thing that people may not know about you.
I am a Lord of the Rings fanatic. Like read all the books, seen every movie, know all the characters, can speak the languages, fanatic lol. I was just OBSESSED in high school and my love has continued throughout my adult life. I almost died when I found out they were making Hobbit movies. Just ask Lon lol. I just love LOTR because it is timeless. There will never be a generation not fascinated and mesmerized by Lord of the Rings. It truly is one amazing book series.

What is your all time favorite song, movie, and book?
This is so hard! I hate "favorites" questions, I do not like to pick one favorite. However, I will tell you my current obsessions and favorites lol, if that works?

My favorite song: Suit and Tie by Justin Timberlake featuring Jay-Z
My favorite movie: Children of Men
My favorite book: Into the Wild

Do you have any hidden talents?
I can find my way around a piano well enough to play basic sheet music, sing pretty decently and I know how to play all of the instruments in the clarinet family. I am surprisingly a very musical person, not just a dancer lol. :)

Are you a really clean or super messy person?
Lol at this question. I like to "think" that I am a really clean person, or convince myself that I am. But I am a pretty darn messy person. I try so stinking hard to keep my house clean and yet, it never seems good enough for my expectations. It is probably just my OCD tendancies in the back of my head, but I feel like the messiest hoarder ever lol. Take a look around my house and that is not the case though. Not sure why I feel like that but I do know that watching Hoarders or Hoarding:Buried Alive really helps me feel better about my house. And really makes me want to clean more at the same time. :)

So that is that! I hope you all have a great weekend! I know that we will! I just got the confirmation from Aunt Natalie that they are headed our way! Oh boy! :D



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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!! I love all of you today! Thank you for reading Free Range Family! You are all fantastic!


Lol, I had to. I was looking through Google images and when Lon saw that one, he insisted that I post that on my blog. So there you go lol. Enjoy it! Today we have quite a bit to do. Alan has his Valentine's Day party at Off the Leaf, I have to prepare Lon's gifts (bacon roses and a Heart Attack) and we are also hoping to get in for a tax return appointment at some time too. Oh and I need to stop by my parents too for the kids. But that's besides the point.

For Valentine's Day, I made Lon bacon roses. I do not have a picture of the ones I made, but here is a Pinterest photo of them:


Lon just loved them lol, he thought they were hilarious. Alan made him a "Heart Attack," where he attacked Lon with a ton of hearts that we had made. Each with there own special reason why Alan loves Lon. We have yet to do this to Lon, we plan on attacking him when he comes home from work. Oh how I wish I had a phone! I so want some pictures of this! Here is the Pinterest one, so that you get an idea:


An EXTRA special happy Valentine's Day to my husband. To this day we have been together for four years, five months, one week and two days. That is 1,622 days! It is crazy to think that we have a little more than half a year before we hit FIVE YEARS!! I am going to save all the mushy-ness for him lol and instead share with you a timeline through photos. Enjoy!


 

 



I love you Lon Andersen!

What are your plans for today? Do you enjoy Valentine's Day, or is it just another day for you? Regardless if you celebrate today or not, I hope you all have a wonderful day today!



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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday! February 13, 2012

I have a lot to love today, with Valentine's Day right around the corner. Tomorrow, the kids and I have a ton of fun planned lol! Yay!

I'm loving... that tomorrow is Valentine's Day and we have Alan's little party at Off the Leaf! We totally cannot wait, I have so much planned!

I'm loving... all the cool Valentine's Day ideas I got from Pinterest! Yay, what did I ever do without Pinterest before. I have made my family's Valentine's Day very special and I spent almost nothing! Yes!

I'm loving... that next week is Alan's gymnastics showcase! Lon and I will both be there, snapping pictures like the next gymnastics mom and dad lol! But I will be fair and not full of drama! :P I cannot wait to see his skills, he has already shown me some of the stuff he knows. I cannot believe how smart the kid is!

I'm loving... these Pinterest finds from today!




Idea for the kids' graduation invitations, love this one so much! Will have to remember it! Monster rocks, great craft idea for Alan and his buddies. And we have SO MANY ROCKS too lol! Superhero costume tutorials, a must save for Alan and probably Anna in the future. :) Photo inspiration for Anna's nine month photo shoot in April. Another reason why Aunt Jill will be the best Natalie! :D

I'm loving... all the exciting things that will be happening for my family next week! My friend Kelsie will be having her baby next week and a few days after that, Aunt Natalie and Uncle Jake will find out what they are having! So very VERY excited!

What are you loving today???



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CHD Week: Day Six

Today is the second to last day of CHD Awareness Week. I hope to get a last post out tomorrow, but with everything we have going on tomorrow for the holiday and with tax return stuff too, I am not sure if I will. So do check out today's posts! I hope you enjoy them! I know that I did!

Day Six:

Krista @ One Woman's Dreams wrote today about Miss Annabelle finally feeling better (A BIG YAY FOR THAT ONE!!) and about making the local news for her heart group's annual CHD Awareness week luncheon. Good for them! I have yet to watch the video (both kids and the hubby are asleep right now lol, will watch it in the AM hopefully) but I am very proud of them!

Kaari, Ewan and Austen's Aunt from @ Team Ewan posted this on their Facebook page the other day and I missed it. Very cute, thank Kaari!

 
 
That is all I have on my blog feed for CHD Awareness today. There will probably be alot more tomorrow because of the Valentine holiday. I really will try to post the final CHD post tomorrow. I hope you take the time to check out these blogs and do more research on Congenital Heart Defects. It could save a life.
 
 


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Blogging Therapy

I mentioned writing a post about this in an earlier post of WILW. I know that other bloggers can probably also relate to this, that they find their blogging theraputic. In fact, I know several mommy bloggers who have posted similar posts on their own blogs.

But for me, its not just blogging. I have always found writing in general to be very calming for me. Typing as well. I think that blogging is just a further step towards therapy, so to speak, because it is sharing all of my thoughts with everyone on the web. There they are, raw and uncensored, for the world to see. That's what is the best part I think. The fact that I can have people read my thoughts and feelings AND GIVE ME SUPPORT WHEN NEEDED. Yeah, that's it. That's the most important part.

My blog is theraputic to me in many ways.

What I'm Loving Wednesday: Forces me to find the positive in my week lol, even if its just the worst week ever. I find these posts very therapeutic.

Anna and Alan's Monthly/Yearly Posts: Where I reflect on each month/year's milestones and obstacles, I find these posts very therapeutic as well. I love remembering each precious moment and each stressful period. They help make us better as parents. :)

Currently posts: These posts are like the ones that ask me how I am feeling right at that moment. It puts me in the spot, right then and there, living in the moment. I like doing these posts and now that I think about it, I would like to another one soon too lol.

My blog is also a lot like my journal, in some ways. This is another way its therapeutic for me. I have always found it good for me to reflect on each day and my emotions of it. Is blogging therapeutic for you? What do you use for daily therapy?



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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

CHD Week: Day Five

I have been very busy preparing for Alan's Valentine's Day party at Off the Leaf on Thursday, but I wanted to get in another CHD link post! I hope you take the time to check out these wonderful people and get an insight into an someone else's life. New perspective is always good. :) Enjoy everyone!



Day Five:

Krista @ One Woman's Dream wrote about feeling empathy for her heart mama friends in her post today, titled the Percent. I especially appreciated this post, heart mamas are some of the strongest women you will ever meet.

Little Johnson Heartbeat shared some ways to take action for CHD awareness today, once again having an adorable little printable to go with it! I love all of these printables she has for us, too cute!

Jill @ The Real Life of a Red Head thought about "what should have been" with her son Joshua. This post had me tearing up for sure. I am guilty of doing this with children Rosalie's age, I definitely feel for her.

That is it for the CHD activity on my heart blogs today. Check back tomorrow and Thursday for the last two CHD posts!



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