Sedona, Arizona.

ONROCKS

Sedona, Arizona is one of those places that I think everyone needs to see in their lifetimes. The red rocks look completely photoshopped. For example, the picture above doesn’t look real but I assure you that I was hundreds upon hundreds of feet in the air on a cliff.

Last week we took a trip out there to meet up with my husbands side of the family. Instead of going “home” for Christmas we decided to do a little vacation instead. I couldn’t be any more happy with the decision we made. Traveling with two little ones isn’t easy but going to a place like Sedona was worth every second. It isn’t the best vacation spot for toddlers with all of the cliffs, obviously, but we found plenty to do with them.

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Everett, who is 4,  hiked quite a bit! He did several miles at a time with minimal complaints. Where as Aria, my 2 year old, wasn’t having any of the walking. This made long hikes with everyone difficult but it worked out fine having someone stay back at the resort with her.

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The coolest hike the husband and I did was up to Devil’s Bridge. It really showed me exactly how out of shape I am. The hike was a total of about 5 miles with a lot of up hill climbing and rock climbing. Totally worth it once you get all the way up. You can’t tell exactly how high it is in this photo and my husband isn’t the greatest at capturing pictures but this is the top of Devil’s Bridge.

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Overall it was a fantastic trip filled with some of the most gorgeous scenery I’ve ever seen. Pictures truly don’t do it justice. I’d recommend leaving little ones at home if at all possible so you’re able to do more. If you do bring them you won’t be able to do a lot of the long hikes but it’s still unbelievably breathtaking.

31 Things.

It’s my birthday! Not quite the most exciting of birthdays {Thirty-One} but a birthday none the less. Since I love goal setting and planning I thought it would be a lot of fun to make a 31 year old “bucket list” 31years1. Really buckle down and work on hand lettering. Hand lettering is super relaxing and I want to spend lots of time over the next year getting good at it.

2. Sticking with the theme of 31, I’d like to set my goal for this year to read 31 books. If you have amazing book suggestions drop them in the comments or add me on goodreads!

3. Start eating better. I’m setting a small goal of a fresh fruit or veggie daily. I’m not off to a good start as today I had Taco Bell for lunch and pizza for dinner.

4. See Billy Joel live in concert. This is happening in April. STOKED.

5. Spend more time with friends. Life with toddlers gets so hectic but time needs to be made to make sure it happens more often.

6. Spend time with adult coloring books.

7. Learn to drink without a massive hangover. *wishful thinking*

8. Save some money.

9. Go on a couple weekend trips. Explore the state we live in and the surrounding states more.

10. Pay it forward a few times.

11. Spend more time utilizing my planner.

12. Finish the restoration on my kitchen table.

13. Come up with a reasonable cleaning schedule that keeps my OCD in check but doesn’t take up all of my time.

14. Survive a cross country drive with two toddlers.

15. Make a genuine effort to blog more. I love it, I just don’t make the time to do it.

16. Attend some continuing education vet tech classes.

17. Practice with watercolor paints more.

18. Start on that novel I’m always talking about writing.

19. Learn how to edit the “look” of my blog without deleting the entire thing like I ended up doing this past week.

20. Learn the art of patience with toddlers.

21. Take the kids to the park more.

22. Have more playdates with the kids and friends.

23. Get Aria potty trained.

24. Have more date nights with the husband.

25. Get ourselves adjusted to a good schedule. We have had issues with schedule changes every 3 months and now that we’re going to be a bit more constant I’d like to establish our constant.

26. Learn how to meal plan and actually stick to it. Utilize that crock pot more!

27. Go to the movies. This might sound so trivial but the last time I saw a movie in theaters before “Sing” last week was years.

28. Calm down on the Cherry Coke and drink more water.

29. Learn my camera and photoshop a little better and use both of them more.

30. Raise chickens!

31. Help more wildlife [that I can actually release!]

 

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

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It’s unbelievable to me that another year has passed and here I am writing another Christmas post. It feels as if last Christmas was just a blink ago but I guess that’s what it’s like raising little humans.

I’m beyond excited about tomorrow morning in this house that I’ll probably have trouble sleeping like I did when I was a kid. Having two children that understand the concept of Santa and Christmas morning revives all those amazing childhood feelings. It’s not all about the presents but there is just something so magical about the belief in ole’ Saint Nick and watching their eyes light up as they come down the stairs to a tree stuffed with gifts underneath. I just can’t wait.

So on this Night before Christmas I wish everyone the Happiest of Holidays. May your hearts be full and never happier <3

 

Time Change Blues

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We’re a couple weeks into the time change and the kids and I are having the hardest time adjusting to it!  It’s amazing at what just an hour difference makes in a day but I’m noticing it to the fullest.

First of all, Everett was a late sleeper before this happened. I was constantly having to wake him for school but now he’s up and ready 2 hours before his normal wake up time. The second the sun even thinks about rising, he’s up. It seems like he has more energy than ever before at this time too. He’s not just awake and ready to watch a little TV and relax while mom has coffee. He’s demanding breakfast and energetic play time.

Aria on the other hand is deciding to sleep in way later than before. I have to wake her in the mornings that we have somewhere to be which is disastrous. You don’t want to deal with the wrath of waking up the sleeping bear; which I’m having to do 3 days a week.

Nap time has become non existent for me. I’ll put them down and they’re just bouncing around their rooms and destroying everything site.  Before the time change I could always count on at least a 2 hour nap from both kids. This was crucial for me to get things done around the house and of course work on my blog. I blame this lack of nap time for my most recent internet absence.

Then comes bedtime. I’m ready basically as soon as the sun starts setting. My body is like “HEY, IT’S DARK! GO TO SLEEP!” This isn’t really practical at 5 pm, especially since 3 days a week my shift at work begins at 5. The kids don’t seem to care if it’s dark or if I tell them it’s time to start winding down, they don’t want to go to bed any earlier.

So, I’m sleepy and have less time to get stuff done with this “extra” hour of sleep.

Screw you daylights savings time. Arizona has the right idea. 

Another Hard Toddler Lesson Learned

This past week was our counties big fair. We live in a pretty small town [to my standards] so when events like the fair happen pretty much everyone goes. It’s just how it is. I’m not sure if anyone remembers, but last year was my first year going and my camera was stolen from my stroller. So this year I was extra cautious to make sure nothing got stolen but go figure we still ran into some bad luck.

My son is obsessed with Pokemon. He wakes up talking about them and goes to sleep with them. It’s all I hear about all day long. So after using up all of our ride tickets we decided to let him play some games and try to win a prize. Of course he needed to win a pokemon plush.

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$15 dollars later and who knows how many darts the toy was his. I swear I’ve never seen this kid happier than when Piplup was handed to him.

Fast forward about 20 minutes and we were walking to the car. Everett was slow poking next to me. We had about a 1/2 mile walk and when we were almost to the car he shouts “HEY! Where’s Piplup?”

He managed to drop the toy and not notice on our walk back to the car. I went back looking for it with no luck. I’m sure someone either picked it up or it was kicked under a car.

We used the opportunity to teach him about responsibility and taking care of his things. I know he’s only 4 and the lesson is a hard one to learn. I can’t explain how happy he was when he won that toy only to lose it not even an hour later. I think of the situation like me getting a brand new pair of Tieks and then scuffing and ruining them the first time I wear them. It’s a total bummer but it teaches you to be more careful with your things.

fair1Regardless, the kids still had an amazing time.

… & I’m over here like at least this year we only lost a $15 item instead of my camera.

Squirrel Rehabilitation Update #1

I haven’t taken on any wildlife in quite a while. I rehabilitated one rabbit over the summer and one tortoise last spring but that was it for the past few years. I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had the time to commit to anything; until now.

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If you know anything about me, I’m a sucker for squirrels. So last Saturday this little lady was brought into the clinic I work at was desperately in need of medical attention. She had fallen from her nest and was roughed up by what looks to be a cat. Normally if people find squirrels on the ground we tell them to leave them unless they are injured or in some type of immediate danger; this girl was one of the exceptions.

I immediately warmed her up and started the rehydration process. Being cold and dehydrated is a death sentence for these little guys. Also, antibiotics were given right away. Cat bites, assuming it was a feline who left those wounds on her, can be lethal even if they’re tiny. I then brought her home on Saturday night and she wasn’t really eating for me. I couldn’t get her to suckle from the syringe but she was swallowing. I was basically forcing her to eat every 2-3 hours during the day which is appropriate for a squirrel her age. From her appearance, my best guess is that she was around 4 weeks old when I got her on Saturday. Her eyes are still closed but she’s got a great full coat of hair.

As the week has went on (it’s now Wednesday) her improvements are amazing. She had a big wound under her left arm that is almost undetectable now. She wasn’t using that arm well because of pain and swelling but is holding on fantastic in just these short 4 days. She’s now suckling on her own from the syringe and taking larger amounts of puppy replacement milk at each feeding.

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She really cranky when I wake her up to eat but becomes extremely excited as soon as she sees the syringe of formula. I’m just waiting on her eyes to open so I can start introducing solid foods into her diet. It’s going to be a long (6-8 more weeks) process but I’m excited to get her strong and release her back to mother nature.

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*Note: in this series of squirrel updates I won’t be giving a lot of instructions on how to raise them. I don’t feel like that is my place. If you find a squirrel and need assistance I always advice people find a local wildlife rehabilitater and seek guidance there. Don’t trust the internet. It’s a scary place filled with a lot of whack information.

It’s a Really Hard Time to Be a Parent

There’s no doubt about it, almost every aspect of parenting is hard. I without a doubt believe the popular quote I see floating around that states “Behind every good parent is a parent that’s pretty sure they’re screwing it all up.” We are our harshest critics and don’t need the extra worry and critique that this day and age of social media brings us.

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Parenting has always been difficult but I believe that this current generation has it harder than it’s ever been because of one thing: the internet. 50 years ago parents would talk to their doctors and friends and now, for some reason, we choose to turn to doctor google and social media for answers to our “problems.” The days where we would just trust our instincts seem to be dwindling down. If your child has a rash from a new detergent they’re having a reaction too, the internet will tell you it’s a type of infectious bacterial/fungal/viral rash that can only be treated by essential oils, a special $600 bottle of lotion, IV antibiotics, and of course not using that detergent anymore.

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The screenshot above is one of many things I’ve run across in Facebook groups that literally made me shake my head.  I obviously am not about to call people out on my blog and I don’t think that this person did anything wrong by asking. She is legitimately worried that she cleaned her tub that her son uses with bleach. She is what I think of as a victim of social media and the internet. I’m sure somewhere she saw how “dangerous” bleach is, even if used correctly, and doesn’t want to risk it. How do you think all of our tubs were cleaned when we were kids? Bleach. I was surprisingly relieved when I read the comments because they were 90% reassuring and rational. 90% is way more than I was expecting which is sad.

Another thing, we all love sharing pictures of our kids on social media. Pictures of our kids in school, pictures of our kids at the park, pictures of our kids doing crafts, and pictures of our kids in the car. On TONS of pictures in the car, I see parents posting a little disclaimer with the caption. Like “We were parked that’s why his straps are like this!” or “I fixed the chest clip right after I took this picture!” It’s great that people are so aware of carseat safety but it’s sad to me that people are almost afraid of what others are going to say about it. I saw a picture with a similar caption and literally couldn’t see anything wrong with the way the child was strapped in. Maybe that makes me ignorant, blissfully so.

I could go on and on about this topic; sharing examples of what I’ve seen but the thing is, I’m sure you’ve all seen it too. My advice is trust your gut and take everything you read and hear with an entire margarita with extra salt. Cheers mommas!

Happy 4th Birthday Everett Joel

I don’t know how it happened but this little dude turns 4 today! 4 years ago I was made a mother and my life has been flipped upside down but in the best way possible. This little man is so full of energy and has be constantly laughing until tears roll down my face. He’s incredibly smart, almost too smart for his own good. He uses words like “atrocious” and “putrid”.  I have no idea how he has time to learn so much because he’s always on the go and such a busy body. I love this little man more than words can describe.

Happy Birthday Everett.

We’re traveling today to Michigan to have a little celebration with both sets of his grandparents, go to my cousins wedding, and enjoy some fall in the midwest!

October is RSV Awareness Month

This post was sponsored by AstraZeneca as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

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October is one of my absolute favorite times of the year. In Georgia, October means finally cool temperatures, fall activities, and color changes! Unfortunately, with all these added activities and weather changes usually comes some type of illness for my family. It feels like every single fall, the kids come down with something. October also happens to be National RSV awareness month so there’s no better time to talk about this virus!

I chose to participate in this campaign because I have a personal connection to this ugly virus. Both of my children had RSV as babies; neither were very severe cases and did not require hospitalization. Regardless, I know how nasty RSV can be and if I can help even one person prevent their baby from getting it or help them to recognize the symptoms early, then I’ve done my job.

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What is RSV?

RSV is also known as Respiratory Syncytial Virus. It’s an extremely common and contagious virus that mainly effects children under the age of two. It’s so common, that nearly 100% of infants will come in contact with it by their second birthday! With that being said, I was amazed when my oldest son was diagnosed with it and I had never even heard of it! How is it possible that I wasn’t aware of something that is the leading cause of hospitalization of children under the age of one? It’s time to spread the knowledge and protect those little lungs!

What are the symptoms?

  • Be on the lookout for cold and flu like symptoms!
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Fever (Especially over 100.4 [rectally] in children under 3 months)
  • Blueish color around the mouth and fingernails
  • Fast or troubled breathing

What are the risk factors?

The most common time of year for RSV is November through March so this is the time that parents need to be on high alert. Unfortunately, premature babies (before 35 weeks) are more likely to develop severe forms of the virus. They don’t receive as many antibodies in utero to help their bodies fight and they often have underdeveloped lungs that have narrow and fragile airways.

How can you prevent RSV?

Of course, as parents we always want to prevent our children from any kind of harm. RSV has no specific cure so prevention is key! It’s very much like preventing any other virus which includes proper hygiene and sanitation techniques.

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Writing this post completely brought me back to how miserable my kids were when they had RSV. Like I mentioned above, they had “very mild” cases which didn’t require any hospitalization. My son had it when he was about 18 months and my daughter about 15 months. They both had terrible cold symptoms and were completely not themselves.

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That’s a picture of Everett when he was out for the count. It was days upon days of just laying around, pushing fluids, and trying to recover. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like had it been worse; unfortunately for many it is a lot worse.

Do your part this cold season! Help spread the word on RSV and make sure you’re using proper hygiene. If you or your child is experiencing symptoms, stay in! To learn more about RSV please visit the RSV website.

My First Tarot Card Reading

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The other night while browsing Facebook, I noticed a thread about “the strangest things you’ve bought on Etsy.” Among tons of completely off the wall things there was a comment about a tarot card reading. I always had the stereotypical image in my head of what a tarot card reading would be like. You know, you walk into a dark room smelling strongly of pachouli and see a woman in full gypsy like dress with a crystal ball in front of her. Well, it’s 2016 and you can get a reading on the internet now.

I couldn’t help myself, I just had to try it. 

I contacted Tasha with Tarot Like It Is on Etsy to go ahead and give it a whirl. It was simple. I messaged her to tell her it was my first reading and sent her a picture of myself. She explained the process a little bit and said she would do my reading the following day and send me a message.

The Reading:

Hey Erin! I’m going to do your reading now. I really am excited ha. With my readings I personally believe I am connecting to your spirit guide through the cards. Some don’t believe that but I personally do and it takes a LOAD of weight off my own shoulders. 🙂

So when I refer to “them” or “they” that’s what I’m referring to.

So with this reading I’m going to shuffle and just allow them to give your four messages and see what they have to say to you.

The first card I drew is the emperor. Okay so generally what this card talks about is spirit is talking about you listening to your mind over your heart a little bit more. They’re saying you don’t always want to do it but sometimes you just have to and it makes for some of the best decisions in life. The logical part of your brain is what’s going to allow you more self control and bring more of the focus that you’re needing now. Also though this can talk about a literal man in your life, normally older, almost a fatherly energy who really has your back right now. He would be in your life to teach you have to have a calmness and a sense of order in your life. This shows him as a valuable asset to you and if not a literal person just the energy that you’re needing to really get things accomplished right now.

The second card I drew is the page of wands. Again spirit is talking about the energy of easy distraction so it appears it’s a theme in this spread so it should be a theme going on for you right now in your current life. However, I feel they’re also saying you’re warm and ambitious even if you don’t know the exact steps to get you to where you want to be. With this card spirit is encouraging you to follow a dream you may have thought of in the past. That would lead you to new adventures both for body and spirit. I see it bringing you a lot of peace and fulfillment. This could also be a dream you’re currently working on but had been imagined in the past. This is just a positive affirmation that they’re agreeing with you it is something great for you to do. Spirit is saying now is a creative time for you and they WANT you to dream and to hope and believe what the future can hold for you.

The third card I drew is the heirophant. This card can represent a drive to find your higher truth. To create harmony in your life and find balance where you may have been lacking in the past. This could be the project the second card said or it could be more metaphorical and in your head. That being said – this says you still struggle with the right thing to do sometimes or to know exactly what you’re supposed to do. They’re saying you do what is “right” for you. This card represents personal inner drive and the want to need to grow right now in some way. Again I feel this is there way of validating their approval.

The fourth and final card I drew is the nine of swords. The final message spirit wants to give to you – they want to address anxiety. First thing – they’re saying to pay attention to your breathing and it can bring more calm into your life. They’re asking you to really try and understand what you’re worried about or where these fears and worries are coming from. Are they things that are truly likely to come to pass or are you worrying unnecessarily about things? They want you to see yourself clearly in the roles of your life. Try not to blame others when something is not their fault and don’t allow them to place blame on your shoulders as well when things are not your fault. If you can be logical *maybe what the first card is getting at* and you can see with clear eyes – you can unload some of the anxiety you feel. If there’s nothing you can do about a situation basically – just let it go. The worries and the fears. This card is also saying now is a time to be cautious about self-medicating in any way. Had to throw in that last bit just in case!

My Interpretation and Reaction:

I had a blast reading what she had to say. Personally, even if I didn’t want to take it seriously, it was worth the small fee for entertainment purposes. Although, a lot of it is extremely relevant to my life.

  • I definitely have a tendency to make decisions based on my heart rather than logic. I’m not sure who the “fatherly” figure she talked about is but she’s right on with the fact that I need calmness and a sense of order in my life. I can’t get anything done if things are out of sorts and I need order to focus.
  • Distraction can be a huge problem for me. I’m currently writing this post and noticed my bed was a mess and had to get up and fix it in order to continue to focus on what I was doing. It’s hard to have my 100% attention on anything because of my toddlers so distraction is becoming a constant and sometimes it’s hard to adjust to that. I also have a pretty good idea of what that creative dream that the second card talks about is.
  • I’m always wanting a little bit more for myself. I always want to do something else or take steps to be the best person I possibly can. The third card make me feel like that isn’t a bad thing, it’s ambitious, and that’s awesome.
  • The fourth card really hit home for me! I’ve been overly anxious lately for what feels like no reason at all. It reminded me that I really can’t sweat the small stuff and just need to let things be. I can’t control everything so there is no use being anxious over that.

So, I had tons of fun with my first Tarot card reading and took a lot away from it! I would honestly recommend Tasha to anyone who has an open mind or wants to have a little bit of fun! You can view her Etsy page here.

*Note: I was not solicited to do this post, it’s just a post based on my personal experiences.