In new schedule Work

The End of the Stay at Home Mommy

I started back to work this week.
Not full time (yet), but this week it was time to start prepping the pool for the 2013 season.

On one hand: exciting! By Friday the entire pool was painted, the locker rooms were cleaned and stocked, a basic inventory has been done, and a whole lot of scrubbing and sweeping has occurred. Oh, and the birds nests. We got up into the rafters to shoo out the birds that thought it would be a good idea to nest there.
This upcoming week we get to start painting the pump house, locker rooms, guard room, managers office, concessions etc. Plus Justin and I have to figure out some details for orientation, I have to take a couple more short classes, and (my biggest concern) I have to learn how to handle the chemicals for the entire facility. It's busy, slightly intimidating work, but it's my pool, it's being outside and I love it.

Other hand: I don't get to spend 24/7 with my little guy. Now I get up in the morning, make sure I pack him a good lunch, sippy cups, diapers and anything else he may need and take him to whoever's house he is going to spend the day with. I do love that it means he is spending time being more independent (and he does so good being away from me, no separation anxiety at all from what I can see) and that he gets to interact with other babies and children and learn from them. But it's hard for me to not be with him. What if I miss his first steps? What if he starts to forget who I am? What if I no longer see him often enough to know which sippy cup is his favorite and which squeal means that he wants to play chase? I keep reminding myself that I am doing this FOR him, not for me. I plan to use my income to help us be more eligible to own a home, a real house with a big yard that Jace can grow up knowing as home. I will be able to provide him with the things that he needs and the food he requires to grow. I don't intend to use the money to foolishly spend on myself: he is my priority. But it's still a lot more difficult than I thought it would be to say goodbye to him in the morning and know that it will be hours before I see him again.

The upside is that, for now at least, I have been done by 3 or 4 in the afternoon, which means I still have a few hours to play with him, go for a walk with him and Luna, and feel connected to my baby. My housework is suffering a bit, but it really does take time to adjust to a new schedule. I hope to get into a rhythm soon, and for now am just appreciating the time I do have with my little love.

xoxo,
Camille

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In childbirth Labor my experience

Things No One Tells You About Childbirth

I was scrolling Facebook the other night and a friend posted a status about not being able to eat because she's just had wisdom teeth removed. All I could think about was being probably 18 hours into labor, painless because of a very effective epidural, and being so hungry that I would have eaten ANYTHING.
And being of sound mind (ha) I begged Nathan to go get me food.

Nathan: You can't eat, if you have to have a C-section and be put under anesthesia or something you can't have food in your stomach.
Me: I don't care, I want food.
Nathan: You will care if you have to have a C-section and they can't do it.
Me: I still want food.
Nathan: What if they have to pump your stomach before surgery?
Me: You don't seem to be understanding me. I. Want. Food. *pause* Now.

See, no one ever mentioned to me that no matter how many hours I was in labor that I wouldn't be permitted to eat. And with my nutrients going to Jace instead of me, I felt even hungrier.
Another thing no one mentioned? Labor made me very very sleepy. Now, if I had chosen not to have an epidural and was in a lot of pain, that would probably be different, but since I was fortunate enough to not feel pain, I slept a lot. It was basically my body being like "I'm doing enough work, I don't have the energy to deal with your overthinking and stressing, so sleep. Thanks."
It's completely unpredictable. I was induced at 8:00pm April 9, and they planned to come in the next morning to break my water and let the process continue naturally. So for a few times when the doctor would come in to check me I would have progressed. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, and then toward the end, not at all. For me, at least, there was no way to know what my body or Jace was going to do and in what time. Jace was not born until 5:33pm via C-section April 10.
It's so emotional. Okay, that one we are warned  about. But I still wasn't prepared, when I first laid my eyes on Jace I felt a combination of joy, awe, and terror. He was going to come home with me, I was now responsible for his happiness, nourishment, growth, and learning. I thought he was beautiful, but so scared to hurt him.

Now, what I'm telling you only comes from my experience, and my story will be very different from every other birth story, but these are just some things I felt that it was worth sharing, especially for anyone that plans to have kids.


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In pinterest recipes sour patch grapes

Pinterest Snack Time

Every so often I go on a Pinterest kick and try to make all kinds of things that I've seen and pinned. And while I tend to pin a lot of desserts, I try to make the healthier ideas first.
Like the Sour Patch Grapes.
I love gummy candy. Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, gummy worms etc. I will sit and eat a whole bag without even noticing how many I've eaten. It's an issue. Especially because there is nothing at all healthy about those snacks.
However if you take green grapes and coat them with watermelon jello mix the taste very candy-like, but obviously healthier. And I like to pop them in the freezer because, well, frozen grapes are yummy, frozen candy like grapes= AMAZING.
The hubby and baby love them too.
But, as a disclaimer, I told a couple friends of mine to try them. One thought they were awesome, the other's description "Ick."
So I guess it's not a universal yummy. However, I made my second batch last night and was still in love.


Could it get any simpler though? I'd recommend putting the watermelon mix into a tupperware container and shaking it, then put the grapes into whatever you want to store them in and pop them in the freezer.


If you end up trying them, let me know what you think! Or if you try them with a different flavor of Jello mix.

xoxo,
Camille

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In blogging friends

Learning through Blogging

Facebook is great, a waste of time too, but I love that it allows me to stay connected with people I would otherwise have lost touch with. However, it only allows me to see a tiny glimpse of their life. Of course, those that I am closer with I also keep in touch with via telephone/text etc. Or in person.

But I've recently found that blogging is such a wonderful way to connect on a deeper level to those I do not often spend time in person with (and even those I do!). When people write they are better able to share what they are thinking and feeling because they have time to edit, to change, and to phrase their thoughts in the most accurate way possible.

For example, I've known Holly and Kelly since freshman year, but getting to see their insight through their writing make me feel closer to them. Not to mention the laughs: they have decided to do a sporadic but ongoing series called "Schtuff Twin Girls Say." Please, read it and chuckle.

I've also discovered how nice it is to bond through blogging: my friend Victoria is a newly-wed and I love getting to see her learning to be a wife because I know that I am still learning as well and feel closer. I also get to share in excitement (like getting her wedding pictures), and remember how much fun it was for me to go through all of my wedding pictures!

Even those who post only sporadically at best make me happy because I still know that I am seeing more of their life than Facebook would allow me to be part of. My friend Gabby and I went through pregnancy together and now our son's are growing up together and reaching milestones. I know that we are bonded for life over this, even stronger than we were before.

I wish more friends of mine would blog (hint hint to those reading this!), or if you do have a blog, comment and let me know the web address so I can check it out! It's not always easy to find a time to skype or get together, but it's still important to know what our friends are feeling.

And I hope that my friends get to know more about me through my blogging and my writing challenges!

xoxo,
Camille

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In animal advocate fostering pets TLC Animal Refuge

Protect the Fur Babies!

If it wasn't already obvious from my posts: I am an animal lover. And protector. And advocate. And I fulfilled a dream two months ago when I adopted the adorable Luna from an animal shelter (she's my first ever dog).
Earlier this year I fostered a couple of kitties that I named Vadar and Leia. Today, I'm fostering again. TLC Animal Refuge  has had a lot of pregnant and new-mom kitties show up, so I volunteered to take in a litter until they can find their forever homes.
They got here today: Momma cat is named Wendy, she will be heading to Petsmart in Richmond soon to help find her forever home. She is SUPER sweet, likes other cats, and even likes Luna! I'm already in love with her, so I want her to find an amazing home where she will get lots of love and attention.



Oh, they all have an extra toe! They are Hemingway or Polydactyl cats!

The kittens don't have names yet, so I get to name them! Right now they're still a bit skittish, but with my very hands on approach I don't think it will take long to get them social and loving.
If you're reading this and in the Berea/Richmond area I urge you to consider fostering: they provide the food/litter etc, and you would truly be helping to save a life. All you need is to make a little space for them and take the time to give a little love. There is no love like the love you receive from an animal, especially one that you've rescued.
And, if you're interested, there three cuties need forever homes, do you think that could be with you?
For further contact here is the facebook page to see adoptable pets and how you can help!

And, it seems obvious, but if you have pets PLEASE have them spayed or neutered! There are too many animals put down every day, help stop this by being responsible pet owners.

I'll continue adding pictures of them as well:





xoxo,
Camille

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In cake smash First Birthday Friendship Saul Good thankfulness

Baby Birthday Weekend!

This weekend was AMAZING.
Truly, I am so grateful to God for the life I have. Friday night Lindsay and Bethany arrived (about one in the morning...) and it was so good to catch up with friends. Honestly, we have been friends for over half my life now: since around age 10 and we're 23 now.



Saturday morning we got up and they helped me do everything to set up for Jace's party! I'm not sure I could have done it all without them (thank you thank you to both of you again!). We set up all the decorations, prepped food, and hung up pictures from our shoot with Ray. Jace had so much fun at his party, and we had everyone that came sign a cute collage for him.


Jace was adorable opening his gifts, the only problem was taking a gift away to give him a new one to open. But he definitely had fun, and crawled all over playing with everyone. And I was amazed at how many people came to celebrate! Jace had his friends Tyler and Clay (both 3 weeks away from him in age), and then many of Nathan and I's friends came to help celebrate. Even better was that everyone genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves as they snacked on kiddy food and complimented the Finding Nemo decor that had taken over the downstairs.



Then today we got up and went to church where Renny gave the sermon today because Pastor Tim was out of town, and it was a really thought-provoking message. He asked us to think about who was dearest to us, and to me that is Jace. Then he told us to consider sacrificing that person to save a stranger. If I am honest with myself, I could not do it. Sacrifice myself for those I love: yes. For Jace especially I wouldn't think twice. But to sacrifice that sweet baby? I could not do it. Yet that is was Jesus was, He was the Son and it really made me think about my relationship with God.

Afterwards we all went up to Lexington to Saul Good for a mouth-watering lunch. Nathan and I consider it a favorite restaurant, and Lindsay and Bethany were both impressed too. I had chicken and waffles (yay Southern food!) and everyone had to try it. Then we got desserts to split: a half-baked cookie sundae and chocolate fondue. It was all perfect and we left extremely full and happy.
Then it was off to Half Price Books where we all found a few new treasures. I picked up a couple books and discs to work on learning Arabic (hopefully it won't be too long till I can check that off the bucket list!), and the newest book by Mitch Albom: The Time Keeper.
Since I so loved the five people you meet in heaven, I'm hoping to be inspired as I read it. Lindsay found a leather-bound copy of Lewis Carrol's works, and Bethany picked up a book for another friend.



Saying goodbye to them was hard, the weekend did not feel like nearly enough time. But I know I will see them again soon, and that even if it's not for awhile, nothing will change between us. We have been friends for 13 years, and will stay that way for the remainder of time. And I'm so thankful for them and for their encouragement and support. They are the friends that tell me I am a good mom, support my choices, and tell me the truth when I need to hear it. What more could you want in a friend?

I hope your weekend was spent enjoying time, hopefully with some good friends!

xoxo,
Camille

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In parmesan ranch chicken strips pinterest recipes

Let's Talk Food

Today is another "when did I become a single mom?" day. Basically, I'll see my other half about 11 tonight. So, spending the time to prep food for a nice dinner wasn't really on the top of my priority list. Last night, however, I went all out.
I found a recipe on Pinterest for Parmesan Ranch Chicken Strips. I've made it at least twice a month since I discovered it. Hubby loves it, baby loves it, and it's baked not fried which makes me feel a bit better about it.  This is the original recipe, but I would give a little advice. I cut the chicken into thin strips or nugget sized chunks. Also, the original recipe makes a LOT of breading. And once you've dipped chicken in it, it cannot really be saved. So I make less than the amount called for and can bake it for a shorter time.
However, I no longer stop there. I've found that ranch and marinara go extremely well together, so I take the chicken strips and use them in chicken Parmesan.
Nathan raves over it, and he is a self-declared foodie, so I tend to feel pretty accomplished when he talks about how good something was hours or even days later, and requests it again. I've also made it and had a friend over to eat, she greatly enjoyed it too!
If you end up loving this and think you might like other recipes I have found, I have a board on Pinterest titled Recipes Worth Making Again. I only move things to that board that I have successfully made and enjoyed (or I thought was okay and the hubby loved it). Another time I'll have to post my recipe for Peanut Butter Soup: every time I mention it I get the question "What's that?" so I'll have to make it and share some pictures. That is one dish that EVERY time I have ever made it I have been asked for the recipe (which I originally got from an adventurous eating friend).

xoxo,
Camille

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In blogging writer writing challenges

Challenging my Writing Self

All right, time to be serious. I can only improve as a writer if I write. Consistently. With discipline.
So I have started a blog for my writing challenges. Unlike this blog, I will post every day, and I will find different challenges. Currently I will be doing a 30 day challenge that I found on Pinterest, after that I will move onto something new. I'd like to have a variety: poetry, letters, emotional prompts, fictitious prompts, and whatever else I can come across.

If you're interested I'd love for you to check it out, and maybe do the same! Or if writing isn't your thing, make a commitment to something else that you are passionate about that has fallen by the wayside. My husband swears he used to be interested in drawing, but in our three years together I have rarely seen him draw. So maybe I should challenge him to do one sketch a day, just for the next month, and see if that reignites his passion.
 If you do take on a challenge I'd love to hear about it, and follow the progress if you choose to document it in a blog!

xoxo,
Camille

Update:
A couple friends of mine have opted to do the writing challenge too!
Here is their blog:
http://thehandkchronicles.blogspot.com/


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In Charity Miles dogs sunshine

Go Outside!

No, seriously. Whether it's for 15 minutes or for most of the afternoon, GO OUTSIDE!
Where I'm sitting it's about 70 degrees, sunshine, and a spring breeze. What could be more perfect? I've gone on two walks today, both of them about two miles in distance, and I feel great. A little tired, but great. Of course I feel better having walked for a cause: today Autism and the ASPCA.
My hubby and I both ate lunch sitting out on the back deck, and Jace is loving the warm weather. He adores being outside.


Jace now has his own chair on the back porch to hang out with me and daddy.


Luna is definitely my dog, she loves the sunshine as much as I do!


I also picked up some flowers for the back porch today, aren't they stunning?

Go out, take a walk, head to the park, play with some sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles, just embrace the day!
Hope your adventures bring you joy!

xoxo,
Camille 



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In family time grandparents

Forever a Kid at Heart

   I didn't post this weekend because I was lucky enough to have my parents come down and stay for a visit. I love getting to see them, but at the same time it still seems so bizarre. It's been almost 5 years since I actually "lived" at home, and our visits are now less and less frequent because somewhere along the line I became a grownup. I have my own family and responsibilities, bills to pay, work to attend to, and pets to care for.

   Yet, whenever my parents come down part of me still reverts back to a childish state of mind where I will always act as though my parents know best. I want them to make the decisions for what we will do, and on some level I want my mom to take care of me. We even do a lot of the same things that we did when they would come down to visit me my freshman year, we go out to eat, go shopping, my mommy spoils me by not letting me pay for anything... the only real difference is that we stay at my townhouse instead of a hotel and mom spoils her grandson to the moon and back.
   Most of the time I am very content and happy with my role as a mom and wife. But sometimes it does make me a little sad that I will never be a kid again: carefree and ready to take on the world. I won't live in the bedroom that was always mine, I will never again call Newton Falls my home. However, I know that I was ready to move on with my life, and ready for the challenges I have taken on. It's just that being around my parents makes me think, and, as always, makes me remember fondly my childhood.
   

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In DIY laundry pinterest stay at home mom thrifty

A Very DIY Week!

I am an addict.
A Pinterest addict.
I spend entirely too much time sifting through images of delicious food, brilliant craft ideas, and interesting facts and tidbits.
Of course, I don't feel as bad about it because I actually DO a lot of the things that I pin, rather than just pin them and forget about them.
So this week I got super ambitious and thrifty.
First, I made my own laundry detergent. It works so well, smells amazing, and is so much cheaper! Now, since I do laundry for three people (plus the pets on occasion), I do an awful lot of laundry. Which uses a lot of detergent. So this savings is going to be such a blessing. Here  is the blog where I got the recipe (not to mention her other fun and crafty ideas!)

Second, I made my own dishwashing tablets for the dishwasher. Again, three people that mostly eat at home create a lot of dishes. And the Cascade dishwasher tablets are expensive. Here  is the recipe! Obviously I just put my homemade ones in with the remaining Cascade ones, but I've done one load in the dishwasher and am so far pleased with the results!



Third, I made my own dryer sheets. I bought two $.47 washcloths and wonderful smelling fabric softner for $3.47. I soaked them, let them dry, and can now use each of them in about 10 loads in the dryer. So far I've only done one load in the dryer, but I'm hopeful that they will last the 10 times!

What are some DIY projects you've attempted that have succeeded?

xoxo,
Camille

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In dreams fundraising Italy singing vocal

A Musical Shout Out!

An unbelievable, life-altering opportunity.
That is what a friend of mine has had fall into her lap. Alex and I were roommates from freshman year on at Berea College. She was a music major, specifically vocal. Voice is her passion, and she is planning to attend graduate school to further her ability. But, out of nowhere, an unbelievable opportunity came her way. She has been invited to sing in ITALY. She would spend three weeks there: three weeks of learning, performing, and growing as an artist.
So now she is passionately undertaking the task of fundraising to find a way to get there.
She is going to be doing a fundraising concert, and has put up a website. If you are able to donate she has some cool and fairly amusing payments you can claim. Here is the web address:

http://www.gofundme.com/2hxp48?pc=fb_cr

If you're interested in hearing her sing, here is her YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqfhtMx-L9fdF2172taPtAA/videos?view=0&flow=grid


It's exciting to get to see someone live their dream, and it's even more exciting to get to help make it a reality.

xoxo,
Camille

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In animal advocate dogs don't bully my breed end pit bull discrimination. Pit bulls stereotypes unfair judgements

Misconceptions

Something has been bothering me for a few days now, and I'd like to get it out in writing. While at the Easter Egg Hunt there was another woman with a small dog, and of course Jace crawled right to the dog. She picked up her pup saying she thought he would be fine, but small dogs have a higher likelihood to snap at a baby. She then continued her thought by saying that the big ones are the ones you don't have to worry about, well except for Dobermans and Pit Bulls.
Wait.
Yep, yet another misguided person is convinced that a Pit Bull is more likely to rip your hand off than let you pet it. Now, when the dog has been brought up and trained to be a fighting dog, then yes. Just like any other breed of dog that is mistreated and forced to fight. But Pit Bulls actually have an AMAZING temperament.
How do I know this?

I have one.
Luna is an almost six month old Pit Bull and Boxer mix. And she is a lover.
Allow me a few examples:
Luna and Jace play tug of war. This is usually how it goes: Luna has a toy that squeaks and is playing with it. Jace gets interested and crawls over, grabbing a part of the toy while it's in her mouth. She gently tries to tug it away, succeeds, and sits down about two feet away. Jace crawls back over and the process starts again. Never does she growl at him or get rough, and Jace laughs as she tries to pull the toy back.


Luna enjoys a good doggy nap in the sunshine. Loves it actually. So in the afternoon she'll find a good spot where the sun is coming in the window and plop down. Jace will crawl on top of her, sit on her, pet and drum on her, and she is just fine. If she gets really annoyed, she stands up and walks away.

Therefore it bothers me greatly that there is so much hatred toward this sweet breed of dog. And that the hatred comes from ignorance. A little simple education goes a long way! A dog is an animal, so yes, they cannot be 100% predictable. And a bigger dog does mean that they are physically capable of producing more injury. But for someone to think that Luna is a danger just because she is part Pit Bull? That is unacceptable to me. I would trust Luna with Jace more quickly than I would trust some people with him. I mean, a human from Berea commits a crime, so therefore all Berean's are bad? I don't think so.

I know I am only one person, but I hope very much to help tear down this awful stereotype.




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In single moms

Props to the Single Moms

Single moms. And mom's that are the spouses of active military. How do they do it??
I am not a single mom, I have an excellent partner that loves our son and is very engaging and active in his life. However, he is also a college student. That is set to graduate in a month. So for the last two weeks (and this week will be the same) I think I've gotten a modest taste of single parenthood.
Nathan wakes up in the morning and helps with either Jace or Luna (we alternate who has to go out in the cold at 7am) and then he gets himself ready to go for the day. Two days a week he comes home for lunch, usually while Jace is napping, and then he is gone again. Normally he then gets home a little after 5, which is about the time I could use ten minutes to myself. Or just some conversation. However, with all the chaos in the final weeks before graduation 5:00 has vanished as the end of my single shift. Now it's more likely to be 8. Maybe 9. The latest so far has been 11:30.
Now I'm not saying it is more than I can handle, humans are amazing for their ability to adapt, but I will say this: it is extraordinarily lonely to not have him here to help me. And it gives me a new respect for the women of the world that care for their children alone always, or for extended periods of deployment. I am not sure how they do it, but they have my unabashed awe and applause.

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