Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sharing the BIG News.

The minute I found out I was pregnant, I was basically busting at the seams to tell SOMEONE the big news. OK, that may be a little bit of a stretch. I actually enjoyed having a 'secret' that only B and I knew for about a week. Then it got really hard to keep quiet.

After all, this was THE news I'd been wanting for a while, and although it still seemed so surreal, I knew it was only a matter of time before I shared it with at least a few people.

When it came to telling our families, I wanted to do something a little more special than just blurting it out. I let B take the reigns with telling his family. He decided to make a small announcement right before dinner at our Family Christmas. It worked out perfectly for the setting, and everyone was so excited.

With my parents, I wanted something a bit flashier. Maybe even something they could keep after the big announcement. I scoured the web, and ultimately turned to Personalization Mall for the perfect frame. 

Once the frame was ordered, I had to decide exactly how we would tell them. They were coming into town to celebrate Christmas a little early this year, so I knew I wanted to do it in person once they arrived. But, short of throwing the frame at them as soon as they walked through the door, I needed a plan.

When the day arrived, the framed sonogram picture was all wrapped up, but there was still no real plan set in place. About an hour before they arrived, my genius husband thought it would be fun to tell them that we had one gift for them to open today, and that it had something to do with the plans we had made for everyone for that afternoon. Perfect! 

It took about an hour or so for everyone to arrive and get settled in, and shortly after, we showed them the early present. We just happened to be deciding what to eat for lunch at the same time, so the gift bag proceeded to sit on the coffee table and stare at me for a whole ten minutes before my Mom finally put down the menus and picked up the bag. 

The joy on my parents faces when they realized what was wrapped inside that bag is something I will never forget. We shared hugs, laughs and a few tears, and it certainly made for one of our most memorable Christmas' to date! I wouldn't change a thing about the way we shared our news with our families. I can hardly believe that over a month has gone by since we started spilling the beans. 

We are happily sailing through the second trimester and cannot wait to find out the baby's sex in a few short weeks! I am sure I will come up with a few unique ways to share that big news as well. 

I'll be back with more bumpdate info and pictures early next week!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dateviataion Custom Coupon Book Giveaway WINNER!

I was supposed to announce the winner for this giveaway yesterday. But, I was out of town overnight on Wednesday and ended up getting home much later than anticipated last night, so this morning was the perfect time!

Thank you all again so much for participating in this Datevitation giveaway. It was so much fun for me, and I can't wait to give B our coupon book and start taking advantage of those date nights!

And, the winner is ....

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SO WHAT! Wednesday A Winter Edition

It's been a while since I've jumped in for Shannon's So What! Wednesday, and it felt like an appropriate week to get back in on the action.

This week, I'm saying So What! if ....
  • I started Season 1 of Scandal on Thursday and was completely caught up by Monday evening. It is a great show, and super addicting.
  • I'm using my mini bump as an excuse to wear all things cotton, snug and comfy. My husband must be starting to wonder if I own anything other than leggings and long-sleeved cotton tops.
  • I believe that if it's going to be this cold, we have to get some snow! I'm holding out hope for this 'supposed' storm that will be moving through the Mid-Atlantic Friday.
  • I am in a DIY rut. I am dying to find some new projects to craft/make/bake, but haven't found anything that is exciting me yet! Back to my Pinterest boards I go ...
  • B believes that this baby was one of the Ravens good luck charms, and I am 100% OK with sharing in that sentiment for the next ten days. Go Ravens!
  • I have been eating some form of dessert almost every night for the last week or so. Whether it be ice cream, hot chocolate or the brownies my hubby made for us last night, I'm starting to wonder where I am going to hide all of these extra calories. I have a while to worry about that, right?!
  • All I want right now is one full day to prop my feet up on the couch and indulge in snack food and my full DVR. Does that make me fat & lazy right now? Oh, well.

Phew, it sure feels good to get some of that out in the open! Go ahead and join my fellow preggo buddy, Shannon and say So What! this week! 

And, please feel free to share some fun, seasonal DIY ideas if you have any! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

14 Week Bumpdate!

Another week has flown by already. And this was one for the record books. There is one happy husband living in my house, and he swears that the baby is good luck since the Ravens are going to the Super Bowl! I'm just going to go with it. I love the sentiment and what a year it has already been in our house.

Things around here are still going great. We are getting more and more excited to find out if our little bundle is a girl or boy, and only have about three more weeks to wait! For the first ten weeks, I just had a feeling that this baby would be a girl. But, over the last few weeks, I have changed my mind and now I'm thinking boy. Plus, practically everyone thinks we're having a girl, so I bet it will be a boy!

  • How far along are you? 14 weeks as of 1/22/13 (today!) 2nd trimester has begun, woohoo!!
  • How I'm feeling: Feeling great for the most part. I'm starting to get my energy back and even mustered up the strength to purge a few closets in my house over the weekend. Still having a few headaches here and there, and the heartburn has already arrived. I have chronic heartburn normally, so I have a feeling I'm really going to be in for it once the third trimester arrives.

  • Total weight gain: 0.5 lb as of 1/8/13 - and apparently already looking like I have chipmunk cheeks in some pics!
  • How big is baby? Size of an orange!
  • Maternity clothes: Same deal as last week. A few tanks and tops from Old Navy; otherwise living in comfy, cotton threads 90% of the time.
  • Stretch marks? Not yet, but my belly button is already going crazy.
  • Sleep: Sleeping pretty well. Still up a few times a night to pee and tossing and turning a little more before I get comfortable.
  • Best moment this week: Booking our ultrasound appointment to find out if we're having a boy or girl. I am DYING to find out so I can start planning the nursery.
  • Movement: Still feeling bubbling sensations from time to time. 
  • Food cravings: Still loving desserts. I'll eat candy, ice cream, fruit, and anything else sweet most of the time. And my love of macaroni n' cheese has not wavered one bit.
  • Food aversions: Nothing, really. What I'm in the mood for changes a lot, but there isn't much that I'll completely turn down.
  • Labor signs:  Nope.
  • Belly button in or out: It's scary that my belly button is already on the move. I can only imagine what it will look like in another month or two.
  • What I miss: Drinking a glass of wine while cooking dinner. Is it too early to say that?!
  • What I'm looking forward to: My 16 week appointment on 2/5 and finding out the sex right around Valentine's Day! I can barely contain my excitement. Call me impatient.
  • Milestone: Still relishing in the sound of the baby's heartbeat and B and I had our first real conversation about baby names. It went pretty well but nothing will really be narrowed down until we know if it's a little girl or boy. 
  • Thursday, January 17, 2013

    Simple & Delicious Crockpot Pot Roast :: A Recipe

    A few weeks ago, when we were just back from vacation, and getting our house and lives back into some sort of order, I got re-inspired to introduce a few new recipes into my kitchen.

    I have heard many, many good things about cooking a pot roast in the crockpot. Luckily, one of my besties had a great recipe that she shared with me. 

    Easy Crockpot Pot Roast Recipe (originally found here)

    4 lbs. chuck/pot roast (I bought a 4 lb. pot roast and it cooked well)
    1 packet dry onion soup mix
    1 cup water
    3-6 carrots, chopped (recipe recommended 3, I would say 5-6 is better)
    1 onion, chopped (I used one whole, medium white onion)
    3-6 potatoes (I recommend using at least 5 red potatoes)
    2-3 stalks celery, chopped

    Begin by rubbing your meat with salt and pepper on all sides. Brown on all sides in large pan coated with olive oil over high heat. About 4 minutes per side.

    While your meat is browning chop up carrots, onion, potatoes and celery and set aside. 

    Add meat, water and soup mix packet to crock pot and set heat to high. Then, add your chopped veggies. 

    Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 5-6 hours.
    When there is about an hour left of cooking time, shred the meat up; it should fall apart easily. 

    I cooked our roast on high for about 5 hours. I think 6 hours would have been the best amount of time for my particular crockpot. 

    This was my first time cooking a roast myself and I really enjoyed it. It was easy, tasty, made for great leftovers and definitely husband approved! Just the simple smell of pot roast makes me think of my grandmother every.time. So, this meal brought back good memories.

    I will definitely add more veggies next time because 4 pounds of meat is a lot! I was also told that adding garlic and/or cooking wine adds more flavor. 

    Looking for the perfect, easy winter recipe? Definitely try this one out!

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Instant Date Nights! A Datevitation Review & Giveaway!

    Are you stumped every year when Valentine's Day approaches? You want a cute and simple gift to give to your man, and you don't want to break the bank, but you have no idea where to start?

    Well, I have a solution for you this year! Have you heard about Datevitation is the web's first online platform to create a custom love coupon book. Unlike the pre-packaged love coupon books on the market, you pick the dates and can customize the text to your liking.  Once you are done customizing the text in your book, Datevitation will print it out and ship it to you in a ready-to-gift box. You can see exactly how the platform works in this demo video.

    We are big on 'date nights' in our house. Although they don't always happen often, or on a schedule, we like to make time for each other and get out of the house, or even just spend a quiet night at home doing something fun. This coupon book was the perfect way to re-energize our date nights.

    Datevitation allows you to choose from over 200 date ideas and customize your book with names, text and occasion. 

    A standard coupon book contains five customizable pages and goes for $20, but for the rest of this month, you can get $10 off your personalized book with the code LOVENEST!

    I am a sucker for a good 'takeout and a movie date,' so I made sure to throw that into the mix. But you can choose anything from at-home date nights to adventurous activities, or even something more private and sexy!


    The best part is that I am hosting a giveaway as well! One lucky reader will get a coupon code for a FREE 5-page customized Datevitation coupon book in time to surprise their sweetie for Valentine's Day!

    Simply use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. One (1) winner will be chosen on Thursday, January 24th and announced here!

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    'Little M' :: First Trimester Summary

    In case you were hiding in a hole of some sort this past Sunday, the big secret that we have been keeping is finally out! We are super excited to announce that our family will be growing this year. Yes, we are expecting and I am due on or around July 23, 2013.   We could not be happier and feel truly blessed and thankful that God has answered our prayers and we are on our way to becoming parents this year. 

    To be honest, the whole thing has been pretty surreal and overwhelming so far. A lot of the time it doesn't even feel real. I have been lucky enough to breeze through most of my first trimester with no morning sickness (knock on wood!). I have been tired pretty much all the time, and lately have been getting more headaches than ever before, but I am thankful I feel as good as I do.

    I can hardly believe that more than 13 weeks has gone by already! We officially found out we were pregnant exactly 2 months ago (11/15/12) and it feels like yesterday. We don't have any real crazy story as to how we found out, or how I shared the news with B, but I'll share the boring details anyway, so I can remember them!

    November 15th was a Thursday and B took off of work because we had an appointment with a fertility specialist that morning. We had gotten some very preliminary testing done (basic labwork, etc.) just to rule out any major complications since we had been TTC for several months. We set up the consultation with the specialist just to get some advice and his opinion on what to do next since all of our tests looked good. 

    The funny part was that I was expecting my period any day, but it still hadn't come. I wasn't really 'late' yet, but it was getting close. B and I joked that morning that we would have that kind of luck to find out we were pregnant the day we finally caved and went to talk to a specialist. It's funny how God's plan is always so far beyond our own

    We finished up at the appointment quickly and had what we thought would be the next phase of our 'TTC plan.' Schedule a few more labs and then see how things go for a while. 'No need to be concerned at this point,' the doctor had told us. So, off we went.

    The thing I was most excited for that day was going to test drive new cars. I had finally convinced B that there was no time like the present, and since he had the day off of work anyway, we decided to give it a shot. I had almost forgotten completely about our TTC journey when I was test driving my dream car that afternoon. The Acura RDX that would become ours just a day, and some big news, later. 

    We arrived back home that afternoon and I scurried up to my office to get a few things done. We had dinner plans with B's parents that night, so I was in a bit of a hurry. While I was sitting there at my desk answering emails, something came over me. I thought about our appointment again and how my period still hadn't arrived. I wanted to take a test, but I had already been disappointed a few times before when I tested a little early. I decided I would wait until Monday.

    Not more than fifteen minutes later, I found myself in the bathroom with an unwrapped test in my hand. 'I guess this was happening today', I thought. I told myself I wouldn't be upset when it came back negative and would test again after the weekend, if need be. 

    Then I waited that dreaded three minutes, pacing around upstairs and hovering over the test to make sure I had done everything 'right.' 

    I was in a state of utter shock when a very light second line began to appear. I started to freak out and just went with my gut reaction. I grabbed the test and hurried down the stairs. I all but shoved the test in B's face as I asked 'does that look like a second line to you?!

    I think B was just as shocked as I was. He was a bit skeptical of that faint second line, so we decided we would buy some digital tests on our way home from dinner that night.

    I don't know how I made it through dinner that night when I had ONLY ONE THING on my mind. But I did, and we hurried off to the nearest Walgreens on our way home. As soon as we got home I took the test. And, about two minutes later we had a big fat POSITIVE result staring us back in the face. We were floored. And amazed at God's goodness. It is so funny how one small stick can change so many things. 
    So, here we are in January. Celebrating the holidays was extra special this year. Telling our families and friends was so much fun, and something we will never forget. But, I'll share more about that another day.

    My plan is to write a 'Bumpdate' each week from now throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. I got the 'Bumpdate' idea from one of my besties, and I am so excited to begin tracking our progress!

  • How far along are you? 13 weeks as of 1/15/13 (today!)
  • How I'm feeling: Feeling great. Lots of fatigue; pretty much feel like I could sleep 16 hours a day. Getting headaches more often for the last two weeks, and hoping that part subsides. But, I am really lucky that I have felt great for the most part!

  • Total weight gain: 0.5 lb as of 1/8/13
  • How big is baby? Size of a lemon
  • Maternity clothes: Ordered a few Old Navy tanks just to have and I may never take them off. Like, ever.
  • Stretch marks? Nada
  • Sleep: I want to sleep all.the.time. I have never been so tired and feel like I could nap three times a day. And I am NOT a napper. Up at least once each night to pee. Already.
  • Best moment this week: Heard the baby's heartbeat at my 12 week appointment on the 8th - definite the best sound I've ever heard and made me totally emotional! B wasn't able to make the appointment so I recorded the heartbeat on my phone. I listen at least three times a day.
  • Movement: Nothing yet, although I do feel bubbling sensations from time to time. 
  • Food cravings: Sweets. I find myself wanting candy, desserts, even yogurt and fruit as long as it's not salty.Oh, and pasta. I really love pasta.
  • Food aversions: Nothing really. Other than the smell of salmon, and occasionally I don't feel like I need to eat dinner. Been trying my best to get protein down even if I'm not hungry.
  • Labor signs:  Nope.
  • Belly button in or out: I have always had an inney/outtie. It should be interesting to see what happens with that! I have just started to notice that it's already becoming a bit more of a 'soft outtie.' Uh oh.
  • What I miss: Still wanting my normal energy level to reappear. I hear that will more than likely happen in the next few weeks. I also can't get comfortable when laying on my right side anymore.
  • What I'm looking forward to: My 16 week appointment on 2/5 and the 20 week scan on 2/27. Hopefully finding out the sex that day!
  • Milestone: Heard the heartbeat for the first time, bought my first maternity tanks and had B start taking weekly belly pics, which we clearly still  need to practice!

  • Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for being with us through this journey thus far. We hope you'll stay a while and see where the next six months takes us!

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    Entertainment Center Organization Project

    Ever since we arrived safely home from our vacation in South Florida on January 4th, I have been in a craze to organize and purge my entire house. I like to think that I do this annually, but it really just happens whenever the mood strikes. And strike it did that fateful weekend. 

    What better way to hold myself accountable this winter than to link up for 'The Dog Days {of winter} Are Over! Organize-It Challenge! This link party is begin hosted by AP, Mandy and several other fabulous bloggers beginning today! 

    Now, of course I had to employ the strength and help of my husband. But, that turned my plan of 'organizing-everything-right-NOW' into more of a two month ordeal. You see, before we can organize the basement storage areas, we need an outdoor storage shed, and on and on.

    So, I decided that I could take a few small projects into my own hands and work on them whenever time allowed. I started with tasks like the linen closet (again), bathroom vanity and our main floor entertainment cabinet.

    Our entertainment center on this main level is a very simple black wood piece that I bought at Target about eighteen months ago. It has cabinets on either side and the center is open shelving for your electronic equipment. Inside each of the cabinets are also two shelves.

    We are big movie people in our house, so we have a large collection of DVDs. There were few things that annoyed me more than staring at stacks upon stacks of DVD cases when I opened the cabinet doors. So, I simply took a few baskets that I already had around the house and used them to organize our DVDs by 'category.'

    Now we have a basket for workout DVDs, romantic/girly movies, 'guy approved' movies and the fourth is sort of miscellaneous. I also store my Kindle, extra books I'm reading and my Sex & The City series inside the cabinets to hide them.

    Now, I am so much happier and at ease when I go to look for a movie when I realize that everything is neat and organized. I think I'll be buying a few more baskets over the next several months as I tackle the rest of the house!

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    How Did We End Up With A Dog In Our Bed?!

    When we got a puppy, we already had an idea in mind of what type of 'dog parents' we thought we would be. Fun but firm, loving, but with 'pet' rules.

    What rules, you ask? Well, through our hours of watching The Dog Whisperer, we had determined that our puppy would need to be crate trained, and would need to have boundaries, like not using our furniture. And, this puppy would certainly never gain a spot at the foot of the bed. After all, our bed was a place for just us, and I sleep best with the maximum amount of space possible.

    It only took about two months for the furniture thing to go out the window. We rescued Riley when she was very young. I believe that she was only 5-6 weeks old despite being told she was the standard 'eight weeks old.' Because of her age, and the adjustment, she wasn't a very good sleeper for quite a while. While her middle of the night bouts ended quickly, we simply could not get her to sleep past 6AM. Ever.

    So, one morning while we were visiting friends on Long Island, B decided that the easiest way to coax her back to sleep was to let her lay on the couch with him. They both fell asleep and the rest is history. Since we have two sectional couches at home, it hasn't been a very big deal to allow Riley to take up some of the space when we're having a movie night, etc.

    Fast forward about twenty months. Shortly before the holidays, I was out of town overnight for business, and I learned that B had let Riley sleep 'in my place' in the bed overnight. While this seemed innocent, I secretly worried that it would become more routine over time. Just like the couch did. 

    Before I knew it, I had convinced myself that Riley and I would both sleep better after B left for work if she joined me in the bed for an hour or so each morning during the week.

    I'm sure you can guess that one thing then led to another, and we now have a 65lb. lab sleeping in our bed about 3-4 nights per week. How did this happen? Trust me, I know we have no one to blame but ourselves, but short of buying a king sized bed in the immediate future, I see no other solution than to try and get her out of this habit. It might be harder on me than it is on her, but I think it's time for me to put my 'Momma' foot down. 

    Anyone else have this problem with their dog(s)?!!?

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    'New Year's Mode' See Also: My Version of A Resolution in 2013

    Whew, how could it possibly be that Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and our trip to Florida are already over?! This last four to six weeks has been a complete whirlwind in our house. 

    Once again, I let my DSLR sit in my office cabinet and missed capturing some special moments this holiday season, which I now regret. I blame the iPhone and it's 'decent' camera and convenience for this. 

    Right after Christmas, we packed and geared up for our second annual 15-hour car ride to South Florida. My parents have a vacation home in the Palm Beaches and we typically head down there to celebrate New Year's each year. 

    While the drive was both long and somewhat bring, it was all worth it once we made it there and had a full week to relax and enjoy my family, some sun and lots of relaxation. For some reason, this year really didn't feel like the traditional 'New Year's'. Perhaps this is because B and I have always had grand plans for NYE (ever since we graduated from college), and now that is just not what we're looking for anymore. At this point, I'd love nothing more than comfy clothes, a bottle of champagne and a great movie lineup. Look what 29 has done to me.

    But, now we're back home. Our bags are unpacked and I have managed to get some parts of my life back in order over the last few days. This past Monday really felt like my official kick off to the New Year. I gathered up my calendars, meal planner and monthly planner and set out to get my January organized. There is something about jotting everything down on my calendars that really soothes my soul. 

    While I was sitting there Monday morning, sipping on what was left of my Keurig coffee, and staring at a brand new year on my calendar pages, it got me to thinking about what I really want to accomplish this year. 

    I use the word 'resolution' pretty lightly. Mostly because, for as long as I can remember I have always 'resolved' to 'work out more,' or to 'read my way through the Bible this year.' None of these things have come to full fruition, so I thought I would take a slightly different path this year, and just set out some simple, measurable goals for myself. I'm not sure exactly how many there are yet, so here goes, in no particular order.

    1. Purge & Organize Closets & Drawers. Almost as soon as we walked through the front door after our trip to Florida, I got this sudden urge to start purging my whole house. We've lived here for about 14 months now, and I just know we are starting to pile up 'junk' in some closets and drawers. I really want to get my house organized and streamlined this year. Think big, start small, right?

    2. Stick to a Weekly Schedule. Since I run my business out of my house, some days it's really hard to find the motivation to sit down and hammer through my to-do list. Because there is laundry that needs to be done, and the dishwasher needs to be emptied, and I just want to finish watching that one episode of Sister Wives first. My home is my favorite place to work, but it is also full of distractions. This year, I want to be better about managing my time during the week, and be purposeful about blocking out time each day to answer emails, phone calls, to write, to do. 

    3. Be More Budget-Conscious. I've mentioned it here before. B and I are 'graduates' of the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class. Although it's not for everyone, I truly believe that it was one of the best things we did during our time as an engaged couple. Being on the same page about finances is tough, perhaps one of the toughest things married couples have to deal with. But, I'm still working at it, and this year, I want to be more aware of how I spend my days and our money. We have a pretty good working budget, but I want to see if we can get more out of it. I have always toyed around with the idea of becoming a 'couponer,' and perhaps this will be the year?!

    4. Focus Less on the 'Little' Things. I will call myself a bit of a perfectionist. I tend to have a little OCD when it comes to things like having my bed made within an hour of waking up. And, I never go to bed with a dirty kitchen. Like, ever. While a tidy house will likely always be important to me, I want to try and focus a little less on how often I clean my kitchen, or whether or not my bed is made by 9AM each day. If skipping the dishes means more time with B, then I want to choose that instead. 

    5. Enjoy the Time We Have Left As 'Newlyweds'. Of course both B and I are hopeful that this will be the year that we begin to grow our family. But, whether it is or isn't, I want to make sure to treasure the moments that we still have left with just the two of us. To talk, to laugh, to watch movies, go to bed early or sleep in late. To go on dates and spend time with friends. I have a good feeling about what 2013 will bring, and I want to make sure to treasure my husband as much as possible. 

    I think this is a good place to start. I'm happy with this set of 'goals' and want to hold myself accountable to them. I'm excited to be diving in to this new year. Bring it on, 2013!

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    2012 Resolution Check-In: A Guest Post from Mandy

    I am sure that, by now, all of you recognize Mandy from Mommy Musings. She is a girl-Mom and another favorite daily read of mine. She is also a fellow Jersey girl, and I just love her for that! Today, she's rounding out our week with a post about the resolutions that she made for 2012, and how she did with keeping up with them! Please stop over and show Mandy and her girls some love!

    I could not be more excited to guest post for Pam while she's down in Florida {though I'd much rather be down there with her}

    For those of you who don't know me, I'm Mandy, the voice over at Mommy Musings.  

    I'm a Jersey girl {who actually lives not that far from where Pam grew up!} with two little girls {Emmy and Charlie}.  I'm a former teacher turned SAHM and always supporting my cop husband Skip!

    I'm a big fan of this time of year as I love a fresh start.  I make resolutions every year and this year is no different. 

    I also like to take a look back at last year's resolutions to see how I faired.  That's what I'm here to do today!  So let's take a look. 

    2012 Resolutions
    1. Get back into pre-baby shape.
    Done!  Now I'm not totally happy with my body and it's always a work in progress.  But I lost the rest of my baby weight in February of 2012 and have been working on toning it!

    2. Organize and de-clutter the house.
    This is definitely something I worked on and got much better at this year.  Skip and I still want to tackle the attic but a lot of things were donated this year!

    3. Take more pictures and videos.
    Still bad with the videos...hangs head in shame:(  I haven't been taking more pictures with my good camera but there have been more than enough I Phone pics taken!

    4. Take more time with Skip.
    I don't think married people with two kids ever get enough date nights out, but we definitely do get out regularly.  We make sure to spend quality time at home together too. 

    5. Be more in the moment.
    This is something I am always thinking about and making a conscious effort to do.  I've definitely gotten better about it over the year! 

    6. Make sure those around me know how much I love them.
    I really did make more of an effort with those I love this year, and I hope they noticed!

    Overall pretty good this year!  How are you about keeping up with your resolutions?

    Friday, January 4, 2013

    New Year's Eve Traditions: A Guest Post from Kelly

    Today's post comes to you from another one of my favorite bloggers, and fellow newlywed, Kelly. Kelly writes over at Today Was A Fairytale, and not only has she been a guest blogger here before, but she is also one of my amazingly loyal sponsors! Kelly is sharing some about how her and her brand new hubby spent New Year's Eve the past few years, and I just love their traditions!

    Hello Loves! For those of you that don't know me, my name is Kelly. I blog over at Today Was A Fairytale.
    I'm so excited that Pamela has opened up her blog to me today. She really is one awesome lady :-)

    I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas! This is my favorite time of year. There is just something so magical about Christmas. I could go on and on but since Christmas is over {tear} I want to talk about New Years Eve.  I'm not talking about drinking and making lots of noise at mid-night, although that does happen sometimes too, I'm talking about the time and memories that we make with our friends.

    We spend New Years Eve with our friends, Paul and Brandi. This is the one holiday every year that we all get together. There are three couples and a bunch of single friends that come together with  We normally get to their house around 7:00pm and don't leave until around 2:00/3:00am on New Years day.

    There's lots of food, loud music, ping pong and watching the ball drop. I'm not sure why, but Brandi normally ends up in an arm wrestling match with the guys..

    and the girls take their annual "New Years Eve picture" with whatever females happen to be there.

    At midnight I get my first kiss of the year from Dennis {this will be our first New Years as husband and wife.. yay} and then my second kiss from our three year old nephew, Josh.

    Everyone normally does a shot of whatever they are old enough to drink and we go outside and make lots of noise. I'm sure their neighbors just love us, but hey, it only gets that loud once a year so they don't normally say anything.

    To me the holidays are about family and this group has become like family over the years so it's nice that we get to ring in the new year together every year.

    What do you love most about New Years Eve / New Years??
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    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    'I Have A New Year's Eve Confession': A Guest Post from AP

    Today, my SIL stops by to share a little about her real feelings on this whole New Year's thing. You probably already know AP from her blog, I Love You More Than Carrots, and yes, we are real life 'sister-in-loves' married to brothers and both living in Maryland.  Small world, right?!

    I hate New Year's Eve. 

    There I said it. Go ahead and throw stones.

    I hate New Year's Eve. I hate the parties. The resolutions. The glitter. The forced fun. Pretty much all of it. Why? I haven't the slightest idea. I mean, I like parties and I like the idea that a brand new year offers the promise of a fresh slate but the actual eve? The celebration? Those annoying noisemakers? Hate it. Hate them. As for resolutions? Don't get me started. I'm a horrible resolution maker let alone keeper. 

    In fact, give me my favorite jammies, a bottle of Vueve Clicquot and a bedtime of oh, say, 11pm and I'm happy as a clam. 

    Some may think that having kids did this to me. Made me less of a New Year's Eve fan but that's not the case. Even prior to having kids I hated getting dressed up, schlepping somewhere in what is likely to be melting snow and frigid temperatures only to stand around in a crowded bar (or even Times Square) watching and waiting for that godforsaken ball to drop. Yes, you heard me right. In my younger years I took part in what is the quintessential of New Year's celebrations and watched the infamous ball drop from a hotel room high above Times Square. And for a few years after that? The Husband and I celebrated surrounded by friends in rented out bar spaces. One year we even had some fancy-shmancy dinner reservations, got all dolled up and celebrated with a restaurant full of strangers. 

    Sounds fun right? Meh. It was. A little. But I'd much rather celebrate in pajamas from the comforts of my couch. A couch that doesn't involve insane bar cover charges or some drunk fool shamelessly hitting on me or dry-heaving down the back of my overpriced little black dress. 

    Can there be a New Year's Eve Scrooge? If so, I'm your girl. 

    I may not get dressed up but I'll take the excuse to buy an expensive bottle of my favorite champagne and curl up on the couch any day. Here in blog world you'll probably see tons of fancy New Year's Eve posts filled with sparkles, fancy clothes and grand plans. But not here. 

    This is much more my speed. 

    We may even throw in a board game or two. Rebels, I know.  Please tell me I'm not alone?

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    2013 Means New Beginnings: A Guest Post from Courtney

    Happy New Year, everyone!!  Today, one of my favorite ladies is sharing with us about her 'year in review.' Courtney is such a beautiful person inside and out, and we have so much in common! Make sure to check out her blog if you haven't done so already! 

    I’m very happy to be guest posting for sweet Pam again! If you don’t remember me or are new to this blog; I’m Courtney from WithGratitude and I did a guest post earlier this year talking about our Baby Bucket List before starting a family. Fortunately we have been blessed to cross a lot of those things off our list this year. Unfortunately, it’s because we still have not been blessed with a baby yet {hopes are high for 2013 though!}

    ·      We were able to put more money into our savings account each month
    ·      We got A LOT of traveling in this year to Mexico, New York, Nebraska and Washington and a lot of other weekend trips we snuck off to. We also already have several big and smaller trips lined up for next year and I can’t wait to go out and experience some things we haven’t had the chance to do yet. Las Vegas is #1 on my list for 2013! =)
    ·      Both of us were more sporadic in our date nights and planning events with friends. We stayed out later and slept in more.

    I have to say, even though it’s hard being patient sometimes waiting for one of the biggest blessings life has to offer, at least you can have fun while waiting!

    But now that 2012 is coming to a close, I find myself looking back on this past year to appreciate all of the things we’ve gone through; blessings and struggles alike. I am a Type-A personality and with that comes the territory of making lists and crossing things off as they get accomplished. So as each year draws to a close, I like to look back and see the ups and downs of everything that happened throughout the last 12 months. My husband, Jeremy, and I had a roller coaster of a year but we were also taught a lot of lessons through it.

    We were taught like never before that patience is a virtue as we await our dream of starting our family and adding a baby into the mix. 

    We were taught to treasure every single moment with our loved ones after my grandma passed away suddenly this past summer and my Dad was diagnosed with cancer last month.

    And we were taught that above all else, we need to trust God’s plans above our own.

    And in keeping tradition with “my lists,” I’ve decided to add one more and make a New Year’s Resolution of things I hope to accomplish in the year 2013: like I said, I have high hopes for this one!

    1.     Not to take life so seriously! I am constantly working at enjoying more and worrying less and this year I’m really going to try and take that to heart.
    2.    This may be opposite from most: I am going to gain weight this year and I’m not going to freak out about it. My doctor has showed concern for my weight as a possible problem to us getting pregnant and I’m committing to gain as much weight as it takes until we see that positive pregnancy test.
    3.    Spend as much time with loved ones as possible because as I said earlier, you never know when it will be the last time you are with them.
    4.    Be more optimistic.
    5.    Spend less time on social media. I’m cutting back my “wasted” time off and restricting myself on most of my favorite sites. I want to be more productive with the time I have and not feel like I wasted the last hour browsing Facebook and other blogs.
    And that’s it! I’m hopefully keeping things short and simple this year. =)

    I hope that everyone has fun plans for New Year’s Eve and getting to start things off right for 2013.

    We will be looking forward to a skiing trip in a couple of weeks and then a Mexican trip to our favorite resort soon after.

    Adios 2012!