Friday, September 30, 2011

A Refreshing Look

So if you haven’t noticed, I have been busy re-designing the look of the blog.  If you have checked the blog in the last several days you may have come at some point in the middle of redesign, sorry about that…there were a couple days where the blog looked like a total mess!  There are SEVERAL new features and links now.

I have included some pictures on the side that link to different posts that I have written in the past.  Since I am new to this whole blogging thing I don’t have many posts to refer to but I plan on changing these often.  At the top you will also notice I have included tabs.  I used to have “Eli’s Weekly Photo Project” on a completely different blog because I was such a newbie I had no idea how to link the 2 in a more convenient way.  Now you can easily click to his photo project page along with some other pages I have included.  One of the other pages I included that is worth noting is the “Our Wedding Album” page.  Three years ago I spent countless hours editing hundreds of pictures from our wedding.  In an effort to save money, I hired a photographer to simply take pictures and send them to me on a disc unedited.  I was delusional about the amount of time that would need to be dedicated to editing to get a half way decent picture.  Not to mention, the photographer didn’t bother white balancing inside the church and all of the pictures were yellow.  I broke out into tears when I opened the disc thinking they were not salvageable…luckily Digital Image Pro (basically Photoshop for people who don’t know Photoshop) came to the rescue.  After editing I made my own album using Picaboo.  I thought since Picaboo is already hosting the album I might as well include it on the old blog.  It is fun to go through; so many good memories from our wedding.

Yeah, we may have broke it down on our first dance...go check it out! ha
In the midst of making all of these changes, I have discovered I have an obsession passion for blog design.  I am by no means any good at it but I have fun tinkering and learning what can be done.  A lot of customization can be done with CSS coding, but I do not know any CSS coding so I have been putting in some major hours researching all the codes that can be used to get a very personal customization.  The only coding background I have is from college when I took C++ and I don’t remember any of it.  I will say though that I think it has helped me pick up on the CSS coding…on a couple of occasions something would not turn out how I wanted and I was able to identify the part of the code I needed to change without having to look it up.  This could be pure luck but I like to pride myself in thinking that it was all talent. ;-)  I don’t think that I have very many people reading this blog that actually have their own blog, let alone need any tips from me so I will spare you all on the details for how I got my blog to look this way.  If you do have a blog or are starting to think about making a blog and would like to know what I did just leave a comment or email me!  My contact information is listed under the “Contact Me” tab.  With enough response I will gladly post about my endeavors (the good, the bad, and the ugly) with blog design.

And again, for those of you who only read this blog to get another cute picture of Eli (probably most of my readers), here you go…

Monday, September 26, 2011

Shake it, Shake it, Shake it like a Polaroid Picture!

Ok so my blog post actually has nothing to do with this title but for some strange reason Outkast’s Hey Ya song is on repeat in my head and I couldn’t resist a little slight shoulder shimmy as I write this post.

Something about it just makes my Monday a little better…you should try it.  Go on, no one is watching…give a little shimmy and shake it out like a Polaroid picture!!  (Insert pause for timeout to shake it!) Don’t you feel better?  Haha  Ok, now that we have that out of our system…on to my eventful weekend.

As mentioned in my earlier post here, I have made a declaration to get back into shape.  Along the same lines, I also have motivation to get back on track with eating healthy.  The thing I have found about eating healthy is that it has to be planned.  Whenever dinner planning has been pushed aside and we find ourselves looking at each other asking “What’s for dinner?” at 8pm, you can pretty much guarantee that whatever food we inhale after that phrase will not be the healthiest of options.  Not to mention it also puts a dent in our wallet.  So, I have been doing some research on how other mom’s get it all done.  Lucky for me, there are hundreds of thousands of people blogging now and many of them are Moms like me who have been blogging about ways to be more efficient at home.  The problem used to be finding these helpful blogs but not since Pinterest has come around.  For those of you who are not familiar with Pinterest…let me introduce you to a website that will most likely begin to consume your life internet surfing.  Basically it is a place where you can create dream boards of anything you like.  I really cannot explain it in few words, just go to the link and explore it.  That being said, I have found several different blogs that offer all kinds of recipes.  I found this one blog where this woman does something called “once a month cooking” where she cooks one day a month and freezes all the meals.  This process usually takes up an entire 10 hour day which is where I was turned off because that sounded like the most awful day ever. Haha  Then she posted here how she came to an epiphany and cooked her once a month cooking in 3 hours by putting together crock pot bags.  This is when my excitement started to soar!  I could actually do this! So I decided to tackle this project over the weekend.  With the Sunday football games (we won't even mention the Falcon's game) rolling in the background I began the process of cutting up vegetables.  Having to stop occasionally to feed Eli caused, what took her 3 hours, me to take 5 hours but still much better than the 10 hours she referred to earlier!  I used the exact recipes that she mentioned in her post.  The reason I chose to use her recipes first was because of all the vegetables she used.  I have a very hard time consuming the proper amount of vegetables each day and by overloading them at dinner I might be able to stay on track.  I cut up so many different items that my hand is actually physically bruised where the knife sits against my finger.  Good thing I shouldn’t have to do this for a couple of weeks at least.

My finished product- The sauces in the bags looks kind of gross, I should have snapped the picture prior to shaking the bags...oh well!
 So today is the first day of the crock pot meal trial.  The first one we are trying tonight is called “Healthy Mama’s BBQ chicken”.  I hope that my 5 hours on Sunday were not wasted on something that doesn’t turn out well.  I am pretty hopeful though because when I walked in the house after work it smelled AMAZING!!! Did I mention that during the 5 hours of cooking, Eli got to spend some precious time with his daddy?  He was a good boy and took a good nap during the day.  I was even able to take a little snap shot of his classic rump in the air sleeping pose.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Declaration

Ok, so I have been avoiding writing this post for awhile now because frankly I have been tired.  I think the first 13 weeks with Eli finally caught up to me after Stacey’s wedding.  Before that point I felt like I was on top of the world.  I would wake up at 5am, go to work, come home, put Eli down for nap, do Insanity workout, make dinner, do bedtime routine with Eli, eat dinner, get bottles ready for next day, get ready for bed, pump one last time before going to sleep and then FINALLY zonk out at about 10:30pm.  I may have missed a workout on one or two days but for the most part, I was on top of it.  I would pull the motivation from the dread of having to wear that bridesmaids dress. 

Then wedding weekend came and the levels of stress combined with the massive amounts of things going on really took its toll.  I thought I was going to die the week after the wedding.  My eyes were on the verge of rolling in the back of my head anytime I sat still for more than five minutes.  My daily routine became wake up at 5:30am (after hitting my alarm 3 times in a row), go to work, come home, sleep with Eli on the couch or put him down for nap and sleep by myself on the couch, have Mark wake me up when he got home, occasionally find the strength to make dinner, throw bottles together for Eli, pass out in bed by 9:30p or 10p.  For some reason, although I was so tired, I couldn’t figure out a way to make it to bed before 9pm.  I was seriously struggling.

Then last week on Tuesday I brought Eli home from daycare and put him down for a nap.  He slept for 2 hours and Mark picked him up out of his crib and brought him outside where I was brushing Toby out with a cloud of furr surrounding me.  Eli was hungry so Mark passed him off to me and I immediately noticed how hot he felt.  Mark reminded me that we had been sitting outside so I dismissed it temporarily.  After I finished feeding Eli I was still concerned that he felt abnormally warm, so I went to change his diaper and decided to take his temperature to put my mind at ease.  He was displaying no signs of illness so I assumed my imagination was getting the best of me.  I pulled out the thermometer and took Eli’s temperature and the digital gauge started reading at 101 and rising!  There had to be something wrong with the thermometer…I mean he felt warm but the thermometer eventually landed at 102.7!!!!  I called Mark into the room and told him our thermometer must be broke.  He agreed that it had to have been since it was reading so high.  He jumped into the car and ran to the convenient store to purchase a new thermometer.   After opening it up he tested it out on himself to get a perfect 98.6 degree reading to be sure it was reading properly.  So in it went for another reading…the digital response soared to a whopping 103.4 degree fever!  This is when the “first time” parents’ panic went into full effect. 

Mark told me to throw Eli in the truck and I managed to grab my cell phone on the way out the door to call the emergency pediatric number as we headed for the emergency room.  Eli sat in his car seat smiling at me as Mark raced to the hospital.  Our imaginations were running wild…thus leading to this convo:

Me: “Mark he is smiling at me back here…how can he be sick and smiling at me???”
Mark: “Maybe he is so sick he is delirious and can’t even cry!!”

Yep, we were probably a little dramatic…but that fever seemed way too high!   We had been sitting in the ER for about 10 minutes when the pediatrician called me back.  After giving her a rundown, she put my mind at ease by telling me to go home and give him Tylenol and cool compresses.  She said that she thought he would be fine until we could get him into the doctor the next morning.  The fact that she wasn’t TOO alarmed by the high fever I began to calm down a bit.  We drove home, gave Eli Tylenol and I hopped into the bath with him to give him an appropriately cool bath.  His fever dropped and he slept through the night. 

To make a long story short, at the doctor’s the next day they could not find anything wrong with him.  We spent the day getting urine and blood tests done, all of which came back negative.  The best guess the doctor could give was that he had Roseola, a virus that came with several days of a high fever followed by a rash.  It was nothing to be overly concerned about but just something that he probably caught from daycare.  Eli’s fever maintained at about 100 for the next 3 days and then finally broke.  We never really saw the signs of a rash but after doing some research found out that not all babies even get the rash, so who knows!  Although I hated that my baby was sick, he was in a relatively good mood and I got to spend 3 whole days away from work at home with him!  This is the part that I was excited about because not only did I get to spend time with Eli but I got to catch up on my MUCH needed sleep.
Trying to get his temp down...he was tired and hungry too.

Sleeping and holding his blanket...a new thing he does now.
So… now I am out of excuses.  Although I will probably never truly be completely well rested (who is though?) I am in a much better position than I was a week ago.   So this is where me avoiding writing this post comes into play.  I now have to get my butt off the couch when I get home and get back into working out and making dinner.  I know I will feel better after doing these things but it is taking that step to actually get it done.  I could always find excuses for not working out…too busy, too tired, too SOMETHING…but I don’t want to be that person that let’s her body go after having kids.  I have always inspired to be that “in shape” mom that no one can even tell has ever had kids.   I don’t want to look back at my pre-kids years and think “those were the days when I could wear that or when I could do that”.  So why am I telling you all this??  Well because I know that it is a lot easier to not do something when no one is watching.  When you publicly tell anyone who listens (or in this case reads) there is a little bit more accountability there.  So I am putting it out there.  I want to get back my muscle tone and feel good in everything I am wearing.  I don’t really want to focus on weight because my weight is nearly back to my pre-pregnancy weight but my size is not.  I apparently had much better muscle tone before and we all know muscle weighs more than fat.  So this is my declaration to becoming a physically fit mommy.  The first step, cleaning up that hand me down jogging stroller I got from our neighbors and getting my butt off the couch to use it.  The hardest step…getting out the door!
Before the run
Someone was happy about getting out of the house!
Yep, I am that big of a dork
Starting the run...
After only 1.5 miles...I guess it can easily be said that I have room for improvement!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Boy and His Dog

What is it about a boy and his dog that puts a smile on your face?  I could just eat these 2 up!!  I got a little happy with the camera one day...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Football Fever

 So I planned on posting this before that embarrassing showing the Falcons displayed this afternoon, but as usual, I was late.  I am totally bummed because we all were wearing our Falcons gear (Eli was in black and red because his Falcons outfit is for 9 months), but the game started before I was able to snap a family shot and before the game was over Mark had already removed his jersey in disgust and in hopes that it somehow may be able to change their luck.  Unfortunately that was not the case and none of us were in the mood to snap the Falcon family shot after the game.  I was able to get a picture of Eli sleeping through the Pre-Game show so all was not lost.  So here is to hoping that the Falcons decide to show up next weekend and the Harper household will once again be happy. 

Now on to the post I wanted to post earlier...

Football fever has begun.  In my “Before Mark” days, I remember enjoying football.  I was never a HUGE fan but wouldn’t mind watching the game when it was on and I never missed a big game.  In my “Dating Mark” days, I dreaded football season.  Football season starts at the draft for Mark.  I still to this day do not understand the fascination with having to actually WATCH the draft.  I mean maybe the first couple picks but after that what is the point?  You will find out eventually who was picked for what teams and who was not.  But I will get off my soap box and simply leave it as something I will never understand.  While dating, I thought of football season as the thing that took my boyfriend away and distracted him enough that we were never able to do anything.  Not only would we have to watch Mark’s heart and soul the Falcons play but we would have to watch EVERY game so that he could cheer on all of his fantasy football players.  At the time that included every Sunday football game and Monday night football, not to mention the countless hours he would spend researching each player and making trades.

I am not sure when it began to change, probably shortly after we were married, but Mark began to realize how his obsession made me despise football all together and I began to realize that I was hating something that I actually used to enjoy (I am sure this had nothing to do with my stubborn attitude-ha).  Actually, looking back at it, I think things began to change when the Falcons picked up Matt Ryan.  I guess I could thank Matt Ryan for peace and enjoyment during football season in the Harper!  Mark still plays fantasy football but keeps the endless hours of research to a minimum and only requires us to watch the Falcons games, which I am totally stoked about because I have grown to love watching each and every game.  During the day I find myself looking up stats on the Falcons and doing research on their next opponent.  I even find myself watching sports center WITHOUT Mark and pride myself for finding out about something before he knows and being the one that tells him something about football.  Although Mark only requires the Falcon game be watched we usually end up watching every game we get televised, which means we end up spending 3 days a week watching football; hence the title of this post “Football Fever”. 

I am not ashamed to say that I am totally excited for football season, and even more excited to introduce Eli to the Falcons.  It goes without saying that Eli will undoubtfully be a Falcons fan.

On Saturday we had the college football games on and Eli say in his little Bumbo chair with FULL attention on the game!

So it appears it has already must be part of his genes!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oooh Butterfly!

At the daycare Eli is at they have a privacy room so that women can come in and nurse their babies during the day.  I go during lunch and enjoy my special "mommy" time.  Eli loves this room because there are banners hanging from the ceiling.  There is one in particular in the shape of a butterfly and there are many times that Eli becomes so distracted by the butterfly that he won't even eat.  I always get a kick out of his fascination with it and thought you all might enjoy! :-)

The infamous butterfly

Oooh Butterfly...

Can't...Stop...Staring at...Butterfly...

That dang butterfly won't stop talking to me!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wedding Weekend

What a wonderful, event filled Labor Day weekend we had! Mark and I took Friday off work in order to get up to Newnan at a decent time before the rehearsal dinner.  We pulled into the parking lot of the hotel at around 2:20p and I dropped Eli off with my grandparents and Mark took me to the nail salon to get my nails done with my aunt Kellee and Stacey.  Meanwhile, Mark grabbed some lunch and then the “check engine” light made its dreaded appearance.  Long story short…Mark and my dad had to take the car to 3 different places before it was determined by the Ford dealership that the alternator was bad and needed to be replaced.  May I remind you that all the while we are all running around like chicken’s with our heads cut off trying to get stuff in order for the wedding and make it to the venue by 5:30p.  Nothing like adding some more excitement stress to an already jam packed event.

I had no idea how I was going to juggle matron of honor duties along with taking care of Eli.  I just prayed that there would be enough hands around to be able to pass him off if I had to.  Who would have guessed that he would be so good that I would hardly have to pass him off at all.  Our morning started at around 8:30 am when all the bridesmaids made their appearance at our hotel room to start getting their hair done.  Eli was very content throughout the morning and by the time my hair appointment came around he was sleeping in his pack n’ play.  At 3pm we were stuffing Stacey’s car full of our dresses, shoes, and all of Eli’s belongings to rush to the wedding venue.  I set up Eli’s bed upstairs in the bridal suite and while all the other girls got their dresses on I fed Eli.  He immediately went down for a nap and continued napping throughout all of our pictures.  At about 5pm (an hour before the ceremony was to begin) I woke Eli up and fed him and carried him downstairs to my mom’s cousin, Tonja.  Surprisingly enough Eli sat in his little bouncer happy as a little lark for the entire ceremony and was even content for the pictures after the ceremony.

During dinner I decided to take the downtime to rush upstairs and feed Eli.  I figured that the DJ would allow at least an hour to eat dinner before any other major events would take place.  The unfortunate part about my dress and breastfeeding was that I had to completely remove my dress in order to feed Eli.  My mom followed me upstairs to unzip my dress and I put on a nursing bra and a pair of shorts to feed Eli.  I am sure I was a sight to see…heels, huge earrings, bra, shorts…yeah I was definitely looking hot! Haha  So I was about 15 minutes into feeding Eli when all of a sudden I could hear the DJ downstairs announcing the first dance!!!  WHAT?!!!??  I couldn’t miss the first dance…Stacey hadn’t told me the song they were going to dance to because she wanted everything to be a surprise and I was MISSING it!!  My mom was up in the room with me and I suddenly remembered there was a balcony upstairs that looked over the dance floor.  I told mom to go look, but I couldn’t stand missing it.  So I stood up and rushed over to the balcony and hid behind Mom in order to see the first dance.  I prayed everyone would be focused on the bride and groom and that no one would glance upwards to see me half naked hiding behind my mom on the balcony.  The first dance was so cute.  Stacey and JT had taken some dance lessons and learned a cute little swing dance number for their first dance…I was glad I didn’t miss it (half naked or not!).  For those of you at the wedding…if you start going through your pictures and happen to see me on the balcony, please please do not publish to facebook!!  In fact, could you crop me out completely and burn the remains? haha 
Note that I cannot be seen on the balcony

Once half naked girl on balcony...THANK GOD

I then watched the father-daughter dance and then headed back to the room to finish feeding Eli.  He was just about done when the wedding coordinator called up to me and told me they would be doing the speeches for the toast shortly and I needed to be downstairs.  I threw on my dress, dropped Eli off with Mark and gave my speech.  It went much better than I anticipated….I was able to make it through the speech with minimal crying!  For those of you haven’t noticed…the wedding is at the toast and cake cutting parts and I have yet to be able to sit down and eat or drink anything!  I went straight from the cake cutting to my table to grab some food but was stopped by about 15 different people who I hadn’t seen in forever and wanted to chat.  By the time I made it back to the table, Chase came and got me to tell me that Eli was upstairs with Grandma and that she thought he needed some more to eat!  So I ran back upstairs to once again remove my dress and feed Eli.  I fed Eli until he passed out in my arms and laid him down in his bed at about 8:30p.  I put my dress back on and headed back downstairs.  All of the food from the buffet had been taken down and I was left with the few bites I had put on my plate at the beginning of the evening.  I inhaled the bites on my plate and then headed to the dance floor with Chase.  For those of you who don’t’ know Chase, he is a dancing MACHINE!!  ;-)  Eli slept in his bed for the rest of the wedding while Chase and I tore up the dance floor! 

The wedding went wonderfully and was absolutely beautiful.  I cannot wait to see the professional photographs!  For those friends with me on Facebook you have seen all the photos from the wedding already.  For those that are not here is a few of my favorites.

Stacey and JT's mom


A $5 bib from Target was the perfect outfit for Eli