An Uncomplicated Life Blog: November 2014

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Five for Five Friday!

Jaelan tagged me in a Five for Five post... So I thought, hey! This works for a Friday, since I'm all about the "five things" on Fridays. It's a fun "getting to know the blogger" game.

Here are the questions she sent:

1) What food is your all time favorite?
I only get one? Nooooooo! I'm a lover of food, and a self-proclaimed snobby foodie. But if I only get one, I'll go with cheese. Not that American Kraft singles crap; no no, a good, aged, smelly cheese. Yesssssss.

2) Your favorite dessert?
Don't hate me... But I really don't like sugar. I'm not just saying that! Sugar to me tastes like food that has been over salted to you. But since we're talking about sugar, I guess I'll go with wine (in the form of alcohol sugars!) No sweet wine - yuck! - dry wine. Red in the winter and white in the summer. Mmmmm!

3) What would you train for if you had a free day?
Does this mean "if I had time to train for something" or "if you could spend your day doing something physical"? Honestly, I'm not looking to "train" for anything right now! I've done full and half marathons and endless 10k's and five miler road races. I mentioned it here before, but right now, I'm not into running at all. If this meant the latter, then I'd play on my yoga mat all day, hopefully at an awesome workshop with other yogis!

4) What is your favorite piece of training equipment?
Currently, my yoga mat! I've never been into high tech stuff that spit out stats at you. When I do run, I like to crank tunes and space out, not listen to how well I am or am not preforming. So... an iPhone?

5) Something you are grateful for right NOW!
My handsome husband, ADORABLE son, and cute lil' doggies!


 I hope that was a fun read that amused you while you're Black Friday shopping, or turkey detoxing, or hanging with your family!

I'm linking up with Lauren, one of the few folks posting on this Black Friday!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ways to Stay Active During the Holidays

The biggest feast of the year is tomorrow! You're either dancing a jig and drooling at the thought of all the goodies you're going to dig into, or cringing at the thought of what it will do to your waistline. Perhaps both.

Regardless of your stance on holiday binge eating feasting, we all know it's important to stay as active as possible. But with the travel, and staying with family, and a schedule that's tossed right out the window, sometimes that seems impossible. Not so! I remain active on all vacations and trips to visit family. Here are a few helpful hints I employ to keep my body moving and my mind sane.


One -- Pack like you're planning to move your body! If you don't bring your sneaks, you definitely won't be moving. Bring appropriate shoes and clothing to get a walk or a run in, whether it's outside, on your granny's treadmill or at the gym your family belongs to. You can't use this as an excuse to lounge on the couch eating three extra helpings of cookies if you indeed came prepared.

Two -- Actually get out there! If your family likes to get the party started early with morning mimosas, wake up a half hour early. Not only will getting your blood flowing and heart pumping feel good, your mind will benefit as well, giving you more stamina to converse with Aunt Jane about why you're still single. For the tenth time in two days. Taking that half hour for yourself is a great physical and mental break from the stress of the holidays!

Three -- Make it a bonding experience! Maybe you've never really talked to your cousin Vinny before, but you know he likes to run. Set up a time to go with him. My sister and I always go to yoga together when she comes to visit me. Perhaps you could explore a new studio by taking a drop-in class with your mom. If you're a social exerciser, this is a great way to spend time with your family! And far more healthy than slitting a second piece of pecan pie with that person.

Four -- Pack light weights! If it's too cold to get outside, there's no family treadmill, and nobody in your family enjoys being active, pack some light weights and do a HIIT or interval training workout in your room. These types of workouts burn mega calories, usually take 20-25 minutes and feel GREAT. You can find tons of them on Pinterest or YouTube. Pull our your iPhone, put on a workout and get your sweat on before mom has even gotten up to make coffee yet.

Five -- Drink water! More water than you think. All those dishes are LOADED with salt. If you're like me and enjoy an extra pour of wine to celebrate, all that alcohol is dehydrating you even more. Flush out the sodium and last night's libations by keeping a water bottle by your side. If you return to your normal schedule hydrated, you'll have more energy to hit up the gym/barre class/yoga upon your return, which will get your body back on track all the more quickly.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow, full of friends, family and great memories! Moving your body and staying active is a great way to stay physically in shape during these celebratory months and a great mental boost to get you through extended family time ;)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mommy Monday: Christmas-y Weekending Vol. 2

Second and final holiday post that is far less about mommydom and more about glitter. Just a heads up.

Last week I told y'all that we had pulled all the decorations down and started getting the house ready for Christmas. But since we didn't get the tree up, it was more like we pulled everything out and left it in sporadic piles all over the house. We did a good job of making a massive mess, and a terrible job of decorating.

Christmas ornament madness on our dining room table


Alas, this weekend we were on a mission for a tree! We went to a tree lot near our house (we were actually going to brunch at a restaurant there) and stopped in to see what the deal was the "real Christmas tree scene" in Dallas (everyone I know seems to have a fake tree. And I've never seen a pine tree, not even one, in the Dallas area. Too hot for those evergreens here!) Low and behold! These bad boys ranged from $150-$300. For a tree. That we'd have up for five weeks. And would die, leaving needles all over my floor.

I shouted a big WTF on social media, and got numerous replies to head to Home Depot. I also got a hilarious text from a girlfriend that there are *some* zip codes in Dallas where people will purchase their trees there as opposed to driving an additional half mile for a reasonably priced one just to tell their friends where they got the tree. Oh Dallas... Get over yourself. Being a pretentious rich person who pays $300 for a tree isn't cute. Also? Nobody cares about your tree.**

I digress!

So hubby went to get the tree at a "less exclusive shop" and Henry and I headed to pick up a stand at Target. Now, it's been MONTHS since I've been to Target on a weekend. I have the luxury of going at 11am on a weekday, everyday, any day. And let me tell you, I forgot what a mad house that place can be! Holyschmoly. Lesson learned: stick to my mid-day mid-week Target runs.

Ta-da! The tree is up. Lights on. Ornaments hung.

Mix n' match sentimental tree


And this white tree (West Elm) is up too!

White, silver and gold "feather" tree


I'm a big fan of "sentimental" ornaments - you know, things you pick up while traveling or buy to remember a life event? There is nothing better than a mismatched tree full of memories! In light of that, here are a few of my all-time favorites hanging on the tree this year:

We got this in Maui during our honeymoon

Kirk got me this for my 30th, my first birthday as a mom

We got this last year when I was about 16 weeks pregnant at Christmas

I got this almost five years ago, when I got Otis as a puppy. Striking resemblance!

We picked this up on our trip to NOLA two years ago. We both LOVE that city!


I think we're ready for the holidays now. The mess is gone and the house is decorated.


**Whole Foods even had free-range, organically grown, anti-biotic free and ethically slaughtered Christmas tree's for $60. I don't know what the special deal was with those pricey trees, but if you're looking to get ripped off  want to brag where your damn tree is from and you live in Dallas, head to the corner of Mockingbird and Abrams. You'll find them there.


Friday, November 21, 2014

High Five for Friday!

If you follow this blog regularly, especially on social media, you know that I was MIA for most the week. Our household got rocked with the sickness. All the sickness! All of it.

Both Henry and myself. It was a rough one.

In light of nasty stomach bugs, sinus infections and general colds, here's what I'm thankful for:

1) Hot baths. Nothing like a good mineral soak when you feel icky.

I've shared my love for Aura Cacia bath soaks before. They're amazing. If you haven't yet, try one!

2) Tissues with lotion added to them. Man, do noses get raw quickly!

3) Baby Vick's Vapor Rub. It's much more mild than the traditional stuff, and they added lavender and rosemary to the mix. Henry loves it rubbed on his nose, chest and feet.

This has been Henry's salvation this week.

4) Cold bathroom floors mixed with warm bathroom floor rugs. I don't think I need to explain that one further. Don't act like you've never been there!

5) Of course when I'm unable to leave a tiled room, if you catch my drift, my husband is away on a business trip. And since I'm a SAHM, Henry is still my responsibility. This week brought new meaning to "mom's don't get sick days." While hubs couldn't be here, he knew we were suffering. And sent flowers from his trip to St. Louis. Awwwww!



I hope nobody was as sick as we were this past week! Here's to a healthy, happy weekend :)


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Firmoo Who?

I got an email from a company called Firmoo, asking me if I'd like to be sent a pair of prescription glasses to review on An Uncomplicated Life Blog.

My eyes are so bad, I'm legally blind. I bought (designer) glasses in 2013 and spent nearly a grand on them. So, errrr, YES! I would indeed love a pair of prescription glasses to just show up on my front door!

They sent me a code to enter at check out and gave me free reign to shop the site. There was a great selection! And after pulling up the website, I saw that the name was Firmoo with the two o's being the lenses of glasses. I see what you did there.

Firmoo wayfarer tortoise specs

The site allows you to upload a pic of yourself, then will overlay the glasses on your face so that you can digitally "try them on." There are also a range of faces you can apply them to, selecting the one that most closely resembles yours, or seeing how the frames look on a variety of face shapes. Finally, people send in shots of themselves in the frames, and you can see those too. Glasses are insanely affordable, with most costing just $36.


I went with a tortoise wayfarer shape, since my current pair is an over sized tortoise-rectangle shape. I've learned that tortoise is the best with my coloring, by far. I was also afraid the black frames might look cheap since I couldn't see them in person before I ordered them, and let's just say I'm a tad picky about quality...

Firmoo specs!

After you pick your frames, you have to enter your glasses prescription. I had just been to the eye doctor for new contacts, and she had given me a print out of my glasses prescription (not the same as your contact prescription, if you're wondering. They're different numbers!) This was a bit confusing, since the format she gave me and the online format weren't quite the same. I winged it and thought, "meh, they're free!" Turns out, I did it right, but if you do this perhaps you'd want to email for help to ensure it's correct.

After that, you have to select your lenses. Of course, the thickness Firmoo would pay for in my free pair wasn't covered under my horrific prescription. I had to purchase thinner lenses. Now, this would normally elicit a massive eye roll from me, but y'all - my prescription is BAD and has no business being in anything but the thinnest of lenses!

Uncomfortable with the close up! I really don't want you to see how thick my prescription is...

Since I wasn't sure if I'd even like the frames, I went with the cheapest option. I also added an anti- glare coating, because I've already learned these lessons, and YES you absolutely need all the up-charged coatings when getting glasses. You'll just be mad if you don't get them! With the thinner lenses and the coating, I ended up paying $14.90 for these "free" glasses. Not bad in my opinion!

And I like the specs! I wouldn't say I love them, but I like them. They're growing on me.

Bottom line: Would I ever use Firmoo for my primary glasses? No. I'm too picky and want to ensure they look good. I also like to have one very nice pair that are covered by all kinds of warranties. But for secondary or for "fashion" specs? Yes, I'd order another pair when my prescription inevitably changes again!

Ok, got it together for the close up.

Have you ever ordered something like this online? Where do you shop for glasses?

*I was sent a complimentary pair of prescription glasses in exchange for my own opinions about Firmoo. No compensation was received for this post.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Blog Baton!

Hey readers, do you Insta?

If you know how to open an app, this answer must be YES. If not, get yourself an account pronto and join in the fun!

I'm taking over The Blog Batton account on Instagram for the day. Come follow along and see what An Uncomplicated Life Blog is up to on the World Wide Web.

http://instagram.com/theblogbaton


And since you enjoy Insta, check out the Instagram link-up that runs through Wednesday. There's still time to get in on the fun!

http://www.anuncomplicatedlifeblog.com

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mommy Monday: Christmas-y Weekending

I'll be real honest here: This post has more to do with decorating for Christmas than being a mom.

But I'll tell you, all the fun of getting ready for Christmas is 1,000 times more fun when you have a wee one! Henry LOVES Christmas lights. Kid started at them like he was in a trance.

About the Christmas tree: We I got rid of Kirk's fake tree last year. It was from the days with his ex-fiance. After Christmas was over, I pulled that thing straight to the curb with a "Free!" sign. Then watched a dog pee on it. And smiled a little.

Anyway, so we're going to get a real tree this year. They're insanely expensive in Dallas (no pine forests near by...) but we don't want to get a nice fake one until we're in a home we own - which will be early in 2015. This is just a really long way of saying our tree didn't go up, but we did lots of other fun things to prepare for Henry's first Christmas!

For example, our Christmas cards came in the mail. B Loved Boston had a post about these last week, which reminded me I needed to get on it. So I did. Thanks Biana!

We've got engagement photos, wedding photos and maternity photos all represented with a few Henry shots for the 2014 card! Ummm, because between 2013-2014 we accomplished all these things.
Then Saturday afternoon, I was on a mission to find Henry some Christmas jammies. I had checked out Target on Friday afternoon, and they were already sold out of EVERYTHING. I bought the last hat and set of mittens! I texted one of my good friends who is Texas born and raised with a  "What in the actual heck is going on here?" She smartly replied that "Texans get scared when they hear 70 degrees in the forecast, and run out and buy up all the warm clothes." Ahhhh, so next year I'll get Henry ready for fall in July or August so that I actually have some selection.

Finally found these cute jammies at Carters. They were the last pair in his size.

Christmas jammies!
Then on Saturday night, we got wild and crazy! We opened up a bottle of wine, cut up some cheese and crackers, and pulled out the non-Christmas tree decorations. We have the holiday place mats, the wreaths and the stockings out.

Yes, that's a Santa playing the bagpipes. My husband is Scottish. And weird.
That's how we spent our Saturday! I can't wait to get the tree up. I'm pushing for next weekend. Henry loved sitting in his bouncer and watching all this madness, especially when my husband attempted to untangle several strands of lights...

Are you a "progressive" and like to decorate early, or more of a "traditionalist" and wait until after Thanksgiving?

*Sorry for the mediocre photos! With the daylight gone at 5:30, it's all fake light. Boo.

Friday, November 14, 2014

High Five for {Christmas Spirit} Friday

I'm breaking down... And decorating for Christmas this weekend. Go ahead, judge me.

Hubs pulled all the boxes of goodies down from the rafters in the garage and they're just lining the hallway, taking up space. Clearly, I have no other option than to decorate, right? Right.

In light of that, here is my Top Five reasons I love the holiday season... Even if it's a bit on the early side:

1) Christmas crafts! Now, I love doing fun artsy things. I love it even more when I do it with friends. Check out my friend Meghan's Etsy shop! This lady has serious talent and puts my crafting to shame. Also awesome? I finally talked her into starting her own blog so that she can share her amazing ideas with you all. Check her out at MaybeMeghan!



2)Three words: Christmas. Tree. Decorating.

3) Christmas cookies! I don't really like to eat them (but I'll take that bowl of queso with a mountain of chips, thanks) but I do love the way they smell baking and all the sparkly sugar crystals and colorful frosting decorations are fun to look at.

This is a cute one that doesn't seem to complicated! 5 Best Christmas Cookie Recipes
Find 25 of the best Christmas cookie recipes here!
4) Sweaters! Even though we live in a Southern border state, it still manages to get chilly here in Texas. For about three months out of the year, I get to pull out fuzzy sweaters, tights, leggings and boots. You know, what 90% of my wardrobe was when we lived in Minneapolis! I love fuzzy sweater time.

5) Fancy holiday coffee drinks! Is there anything better than a latte to warm you on a cold day? Nope! The only bummer is the price tag of those drinks... So if you're looking to get hooked up with a Starbucks gift card (plus a credit to an awesome Etsy shop for gifts!) then enter this giveaway:a Rafflecopter giveaway


I hope everyone has as much fun this weekend as I plan on having as we decorate the house for Christmas!

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

November Big Picture InstaLink - Come and Play!

Have you linked up with us yet!?

Making Mrs M and I have been scheming this link up for months and it's up and running. Get in on the November action to win the sweet giveaway below!

http://www.anuncomplicatedlifeblog.com

Big Picture InstaLink (BPIL) is a little bit different than your run-of-the-mill link up party. Here's how it works:

1) BPIL runs throughout the month, and each month is a different theme.

2) BPIL is an Instagram linkup. Simply link up with your Instagram account (not your blog URL) on the linkytools below and use the current month's hashtag on Instagram to participate (use the hashtag on many photos throughout the month)!

3) BPIL is all about building community and finding common threads that connect us all. Interact, interact, interact!

November's Big Picture InstaLink Details:
It's November, and you know what that means. The holidays are officially here! Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. We thought this month we would start the linkup off with a "Give Thanks" theme.

Thanksgiving is all about counting our blessings, so by using this month's hashtag, #GiveThanksBPIL, post photos throughout the month of things you are grateful for! You can post photos of your family, your home, a delicious meal, or even those warm fuzzy socks by the fire. Whatever gives you a sense of thankfulness is fair game!

We cannot wait to see all of your photos and we are eager to start building this community. As a thank you for participating, we are giving a whole bunch of amazing Thanksgiving-themed goodies away!

Winning is simple. all you have to do is link up with us, enter the rafflecopter below, follow both Jaelan and my blog on Bloglovin', and post five photos with the hashtag #GiveThanksBPIL by the end of the giveaway deadline. One winner will be chosen randomly by rafflecopter on November 19th and the prize will be delivered well before Thanksgiving dinner is served. Entries will be verified, so just be honest. :)


Included in the giveaway loot is:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays cookbook - for when you just don't know what's missing on your menu
A festive apron - to help keep your Thanksgiving outfit spotless despite the mess you make in the kitchen
A pumpkin shaped casserole baker - YES, this is oven safe!
Festive dishtowels - to help you keep that kitchen clean (or hey... just to look cute)
Leftovers Stickers - to identify what's in that tupperware your packing full of yummy food for later

Now the fun part! Let's get this party started. Grab the button above, link up, and let's start connecting!a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How To Do Chatturanga in Yoga

Perhaps because I've "fallen out of love" with running for the time being, I've really picked up my slack in going to yoga classes.

When I first started taking yoga classes in 2011, I had NO idea what I was doing. I parked my mat in the back of the class, and would look at the other students when the teacher would say the name of a pose in sanskrit, leaving me thinking, "What in the what did she just say?!" A lot of those first classes were just trying to make it through without falling on my face.

Since then, I've attended a large handful of yoga workshops, and completed my RYT 200 hour training to become a yoga instructor.

I learned that each pose actually has quite a bit going on in it! The more I grow my practice, the more I understand that the "easy" poses are quite possibly the most challenging. I thought I would break down some of the most common postures so that you can head into a yoga class with confidence. I don't list out "correct form" for you to simply look like a rock star on the mat; no, it's important to have correct form so that you don't injure yourself and so that you get maximum benefits from a pose.

And side note for all you runners, yoga is an absolute MUST if you want to improve your running and stay injury free. Go check out a class!

Yoga Pose: Chatturanga
Correct form:
Shoulders should be directly over wrists, elbows pointing forward, abs engaged to hold your body in a straight line.

Before bending elbows, lean forward so that your shoulders are over your wrists.

Bend elbows to 90 degrees, arms hugging the side body the whole time.

Make sure to avoid:

Can you see how my shoulders are behind my wrists and my rump is up in the air so that my abs aren't engaged? Bad form!

My arms are coming out to the side (like a traditional push up) instead of hugging my sides. Bad form!

Because push ups are a ton of work, I flopped down to my belly, bent my arms further than 90 degrees and my arms are still wide. Bad form!

Chatturanga is one of the most difficult yoga poses. (Trust me, taking these photos was a challenge!) If you're not quite strong enough to hold yourself with your elbows only bent to 90 degrees, put your knees down. That's completely okay, and in fact, usually encouraged in the beginning of any yoga flow to allow your body to warm up first! It's when you flop, don't engage your core and hold bad form that you run the risk of injuring yourself.

I hope that helps in better aligning your chatturanga's during class and gives you more confidence as you head on to your mat - whether it's your first yoga class or you're a seasoned pro!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Mommy Monday: Who's Your Mama?!

We dug out the baby pics this weekend! As Henry gets bigger and bigger, it's fun to compare the images. One thing is for sure: Henry is his daddy's son!

Me at about one year old. Hey 80's!
This kid definitely inherited my chubby cheeks. We're talking cheeks for DAYS. We also have the same eye, mouth and lip shape. He got my blonde hair and wacky hairline.  Oddly enough, my husband was blonde until he was about eight, so we'll see if Henry keeps it real, like moi or if he ditches the lighter side of life to darken into brown hair. (Do we call men brunettes?)

Henry, just shy of six months old

Baby Henry, I mean Kirk. This is my husband as a baby. AKA Henry.

Outside of these things, Henry is all my husband! All of it. Same facial expressions. Same skin tone. Same mannerisms. Basically, we have a mini-Kirk. A few people are kind enough to tell me that Henry is starting to look more like me (he was a carbon-copy of Kirk at birth) but really, let's get serious: I carried this kiddo for nine months, labored for 24 hours and endured a emergency c-section... And he has little of my gene pool. After all that work... Maybe the next baby will get more of me?!

It's fun to watch Henry change and grow, and compare pictures to when we were babies! I can't wait to see who's personality Lil' H takes after more. It's also going to be a blast to add to our little family, and note the differences between siblings and ourselves, too!

Ahhhhh, eventually. Eventually. Everyone calm down, we're not up to that challenge yet.


Friday, November 7, 2014

High Five for {Bid'niz} Friday!

This week was FULL of  extreme highs and some crappy lows for An Uncomplicated Life Blog.

First, I had an explosion of business opportunities reach out to me. Some really exciting stuff, y'all! I started this blog to have fun and keep my mind active while I stay home to start a family, and it's exploded into so many business partnerships and marketing collaborations. I never dreamed it would take off like this, and I have all of you to thank for that! Thanks for being my loyal readers, friends. This whole adventure has been nothing but a BLAST.

Second, and less fortunately, I got my first negative comment from an anonymous commenter. This person was on a mission. If you were one of the bloggers I reached out to for tips on how to manage that, a heart felt thank you!

Back to the positives, here's a recap of the other awesome moments of the week:
 
1) Making Mrs. M and I launched our Instagram link up! If you haven't checked it out yet, and are a fan of Insta, make sure to link up with us (and check out our awesome giveaway!)

Come link up at www.anuncomplicatedlifeblog.com

2) My favorite barre teacher is finally back from her maternity leave. Rachel - thank you for coming back! Nobody has the moves, cranks up the tunes, and works the booty like you.

3) The weather has FINALLY cooled off here in Texas. This means soup weather, which is my favorite thing to cook and eat! I threw together this Pinterest recipe (with a few changes) and it was deeeeeelish. {Changes: add 3 bay leaves; use red fingerling potatoes, substitute a real onion for onion powder.}

The beginnings of corn-potato chowder

4) I got the wheels turning to start to teach yoga (again). This place pays for my childcare while I teach. Whhhhhaaaaattttt?!?!?!? #amazeballs

5) Hubs and I were channels surfing one night when we landed on Tosh.0. Now, I don't find this dude remotely funny. His delivery is seriously lacking. But hubs was like, "People tell me I look like him nearly everyday." So I went on a goole-image-rampage, and wouldn't you know... Truth! I was amused.

Same nose, face shape and forehead. Whoa.

I'm going to continue my bloggy-business-high straight into this weekend. I hope you all have an equally awesome time. Make sure to checky-check out these beauties' blogs, too:




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Monday, November 3, 2014

Launch Party! Big Picture InstaLink

Hey friends, it's finally here! Making Mrs M and I have been scheming this link up for about two months and today it's live on both of our blogs! It's with enormous excitement that we introduce you to a fun new linkup:

http://www.anuncomplicatedlifeblog.com

Big Picture InstaLink (BPIL) is a little bit different than your run-of-the-mill link up party. Here's how it works:

1) BPIL runs throughout the month, and each month is a different theme.

2) BPIL is an Instagram linkup. Simply link up with your account on the linkytools below and use the current month's hashtag on Instagram to participate (use the hashtag on many photos throughout the month)!

3) BPIL is all about building community and finding common threads that connect us all. Interact, interact, interact!

November's Big Picture InstaLink Details:
It's November, and you know what that means. The holidays are officially here! Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. We thought this month we would start the linkup off with a "Give Thanks" theme.

Thanksgiving is all about counting our blessings, so by using this month's hashtag, #GiveThanksBPIL, post photos throughout the month of things you are grateful for! You can post photos of your family, your home, a delicious meal, or even those warm fuzzy socks by the fire. Whatever gives you a sense of thankfulness is fair game!

We cannot wait to see all of your photos and we are eager to start building this community. As a thank you for participating, we are giving a whole bunch of amazing Thanksgiving-themed goodies away!

Winning is simple. all you have to do is link up with us, enter the rafflecopter below, follow both Jaelan and my blog on Bloglovin', and post five photos with the hashtag #GiveThanksBPIL by the end of the giveaway deadline. One winner will be chosen randomly by rafflecopter on November 19th and the prize will be delivered well before Thanksgiving dinner is served. Entries will be verified, so just be honest. :)


Included in the giveaway loot is:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays cookbook - for when you just don't know what's missing on your menu
A festive apron - to help keep your Thanksgiving outfit spotless despite the mess you make in the kitchen
A pumpkin shaped casserole baker - YES, this is oven safe!
Festive dishtowels - to help you keep that kitchen clean (or hey... just to look cute)
Leftovers Stickers - to identify what's in that tupperware your packing full of yummy food for later

Now the fun part! Let's get this party started. Grab the button above, link up, and let's start connecting!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mommy Monday: Torticollis Baby Needs A Helmet

We've known since Henry was about six weeks old that he had torticollis in his neck, likely due to him being in the breech position since 30 weeks gestation.

We were given a number of exercises to do with him. Repositioning his head, stretching the stiff side of his neck, increased tummy time.

We faithfully did all these things with him for months. Finally, at a special appointment with his pediatrician to check on this progress, she referred us to a physical therapist. And also a helmet specialist to measure his distorted head.

What Henry's helmet will look like to correct his misshapen head

See, when a baby constantly lays on one side of his head due to a tight neck, the side that he's always laying on begins to flatten. Babies have soft heads, and when that weight is consistently on one part of the skull, it smushes it flat.

For the past two weeks, we've been having a number of appointments to get Henry assessed, measured, fitted and evaluated. It's been exhausting. The conclusion is that he'll need weekly physical therapy AND a helmet to help reshape his head.

See how Henry's chin is off to one side? He can hold it at mid-line, but usually (and especially in a car seat and in his crib) it drifts off to his side, which is a key sign of torticollis. Also, FOX HAT.


We have no idea how much of this is or isn't covered by insurance - my pedi did a really good job of closely documenting all the exercises and time I spent with him to document that the PT is a "medical necessity" to be covered. The helmet? Hit or miss. An $8,000 hit or miss. Some policies have clauses that exclude this type of "optional" treatment. Some cover it if the baby's measurements are off enough to justify a need.

But, don't get me started on a$$hole health insurance companies.

He'll need to wear the helmet for about two months, give or take a few weeks. I find it rather endearing, but the second some random asks me if my kid is special needs, I will cut that person down. I'm not kidding, y'all save up some bail money for me. I have no idea how long his physical therapy will run, but I do know that we have to drive 45 mins each way for his appointments because the Dallas location is on a three month waiting list. Torticollis is incredibly common, and misshapen heads are too, with all the back sleeping babies are doing these days.

We're thankful that I stay home with Lil' H and therefore have the capacity to deal with all this. I feel for anyone working outside the home who has to struggle to manage all this craziness.