Tuesday, March 24

One Lovely Blog

I was so touched when I checked my email and found one from sweet Danielle, a fellow twin mom I found thanks to the weekly currently link up, nominated me for the "One Lovely Blog Award"

“The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer or up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and to also help the new blogger reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “lovely” by the fellow-blogger who chose them. This award acknowledges bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to connect with their viewers and followers.”

When I started JJ's Ways, I was in college and we were required to keep a blog for a summer class. God, 2009 seems like forever ago. Then I kept it going for a bit, sharing snip its here and there. Over the years I've changed so much, and when I finished up at Alabama and began my post-grad life in Montgomery, I picked up the habit again, mainly to share the stories of my not-so-normal career choice.

I have no idea where this space on the internet is going to go over the next few years. My goal is to keep it alive, sharing our daily snip-its, big milestones and fun nonsense. As a person with a career in writing, who often writes draft after draft of something, you'd think I would be better about blogging.

As part of my nomination, I am to share seven things about myself and nominate up to fifteen of my favorite blogs. Fifteen seems like a lot. The first one seems easy, considering what I do for a living. The second is the challenge. I follow a wide range of blogs, some written by friends, some written by strangers. Some that warm my heart, some that annoy me. Some riddled with affiliate links and "AdChoice" banners and some that don't have any ads at all. They all have a place in my daily Bloglovin' feed.

First things first, seven things about me you might not know.
  1. I'm super sickly. Stomach bug's going around? I'll get it. A kid at the daycare has pink eye? Give me two days and I'll be in my glasses. My immune system is just complete crap and has been that way since I went through puberty. I know, I'm super weird. 
  2. My father is a Finebaum character and I don't know how I feel about it.  
  3. I take really horrible pictures. My phone camera sucks, and I rarely lug out my DSLR. Every "good" picture of my children has been taken by someone else. 
  4. I have a terrible habit of staring at people.
  5. I oddly have an obsession with serial killers. I love knowing how they work and what sort of disgusting things they've done. Speaking of, if you are into that sort of thing, watch The Frozen Ground immediately.
  6. If I haven't been to Pure Barre I likely haven't showered.
  7. I give up sweets every year for Lent and every year around week three I become a super struggle and just want a cupcake ALL THE DANG TIME.
My nominations for blogs—honestly, I don't know if there's anyone out there that hasn't gotten this yet. Does that make me a loser if I'm just now getting it? I will say the curently link up has helped me find a lot of blogs I otherwise wouldn't have known about. It's funny how the internet works in that manner.  

Friday, March 20

Friday Favorites

Ahhh! Friday! I both love and hate this day. I love having two days off from work, but I also hate that my children aren't exactly at the point yet where I can tell them EVERYONE sleeps in on Saturday, none of this 6:15am bullshit, thanks, entertain yourselves, I'll be up and ready to play with you around 9:30.

Friday Favorites

-ONE-
I am currently obsessed with this collection from Nora Roberts. I have no idea where I got it, probably a yard sale, because my cover is definitely not the one Amazon is picturing, but I found it on my shelf and CANNOT put it down. I've already read the first two books and am thisclose to finishing the third. Please tell me I am not the only Nora Roberts lover in the world?

My copy's cover, via

-TWO-
One of my favorite dinners to make right now is Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta. A Pinterest tweak of course, I blogged my version of the recipe for Alabama Women Bloggers Foodie Friday series. SO GOOD.

-THREE-
Hilarious, no?
 

Cheers to the freakin' weekend! I'm having a yard sale tomorrow and saying a final goodbye to a large portion of my college and single girlhood things...it's bittersweet. I'm honestly a little nervous to actually pull off the yard sale but hey, it's hopefully going to save me a trip to Goodwill and make us some money to redo the living room and buy some plants for the front porch!

Wednesday, March 18

Five Months

So, better late than never on this, as per usual boys. #mommaworks

Five months has absolutely FLOWN by! You're firmly eating baby purees and cereal. I'm so proud of you. Y'all constantly babble to anyone in ear shot. This month you both finally noticed each other and melted my heart! You now babble at one another and smile when you see each other. Sometimes you'll even hold hands. You love school and Miss Renae more than anything and we are so excited to have found that wonderful haven for y'all. You both absolutely love your big brother and he's pretty smitten too!
You really are the happiest babies I've ever seen. You get really mad sometimes, but you're just generally happy.
We just changed pediatricians (and didn't go this month) so I have no clue how long y'all are or how big. I weighted you by weighing myself and then with you each in my arms. I'm not sure that was the most accurate because there's no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks Momma weights what the scale said...

Fitz, we've taken to calling you Fitzy and you're still just as Fuss Budgety as ever. Though lately, you throw a lot of side eye at Alex. Which I find hilarious but I probably shouldn't encourage. You're definitely a better eater—dude you never, ever miss a meal. You get so frustrated when you try to roll over and can't seem to make it work. You love your door jumper, but only in small increments. After about 25 minutes you are so.over.it. You give the biggest and best smiles. Your hair is starting to get a little out of control, with weird tufts of curls on the side. Your first haircut is quickly approaching I think!

Alex, you're still my sweet little Squeaks. You eat a little slower, a little more mindfully than your brother. Squash is NOT your friend—at all. I haven't seen you that upset with your stomach since the untreated malro days. You love pears, it's probably from my sweet tooth you've inherited. You're the sweetest boy. Still smaller than Fitzy, but you're catching up, quickly. You and Charles have totally hit it off this month. I think it's mainly because you both are fascinated by moving pictures: TV, computer games, iPad games, iPhone games, you name it, you and Cha love it. It's so odd, but I would swear on my life you actually watch TV when we sit you up on the couch.

Tuesday, March 17

St. Patrick's Day 2015

I love me a holiday. I mean, I am all about them. Normally I decorate my door, dining room table and mantle and use fun paper plates and napkins for the duration of the holiday season. However, this year, my St. Patrick's Day stuff stayed in a box until Sunday. #fail

We've made up for it though, using my cutesy shamrock napkins for every meal since, and I was still able to teach one of my absolute favorite lessons of the Faith Formation year, St. Patrick's Day! This past Sunday the third installment of Miss Jessica's class learned all about the life and times of St. Patrick, while having some fun along the way.
via
As with years past, we filled out a worksheet sharing a few facts about St. Patrick. New this year was a video clip I found on some Pinterest round up, I think. It's from "up North" so my kids giggled at the narrator's accent the entire time, but it was a nice, succinct video that introduced a little of St. Patrick's history.

We made spoon saints again this year, and I finally got a picture! Personal victory!
Love this St. Patrick made by sweet KTH
The kids did great, as per usual! I was able to get all the supplies for all 22 of my kids for about $25 using a coupon at Michael's. Just my luck the paper wasn't on sale this week... I got the 12X12 pieces of green and yellow paper, then using my paper trimmer cut them into four separate pieces to pass out for the vestments. Instead of glitter this year we used metallic puffy paint and that worked out really well. There was a ton less mess.

Since St. Patrick is known for using the shamrock in the Irish countryside to teach the Trinity, and the Trinity is a concept we work on all year, I incorporated it into the spoon saint project. Just as a shamrock has three leaves but is one plant, God is three persons in one. The kids really seemed to get it—I was so proud! We wrapped green pipecleaners around three fingers and twisted them into a shamrock shape. It's so simple!

All you do is loop the pipecleaner around your first three fingers, wiggle the fingers free and bend the circles into place. Some kids struggled with this, and I ended up doing a lot of them for them, but some kids got it quickly and were able to help their friends. I loved seeing the team work!  I used the same somewhat crappy word search as I did in the past because I just flat ran out of time to make my own. It's not terrible, it's just not exactly what I would like for the lesson. There's always next year.
Hope your St. Patrick's Day is filled with all the blessings of St. Patrick, and a little Irish luck.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Monday, March 16

Day in the Life

For this week's currently, I thought I might change it up a little bit. Yesterday at Church, and Thursday at Pure Barre, and Saturday when my Momma visited, I was asked the same question, "How do you do it all in a day?"

So I figured again, more for my own record keeping sake, I might as well write down what the week days look like around here. Now, there's always wiggle room, like last week when I had two receptions after work, or this morning when I didn't quite spring out of bed on time. But, basically, this is what a typical work day looks like for this girl.

Typical Work Day
Between 5:15-6am–Wake up, This varies on the day but I am usually up no later than 6:15am every morning to straighten up the house, get a load of dishes going, sometimes a load of laundry and prepare the twins' stuff for school, laying out their clothes, making their breakfast.

7am—Babies and Mark are up, and they get snack bottles and some veggies with cereal. I'm usually still messing around getting things in place and getting dressed for work. Mark is responsible for feeding and dressing the babies.

Between 7:50-8:05—This is the ideal time we are out of the house and en route to school. Doesn't always happen this way, but that's the goal.

Between 8:20-8:30—Drop off at school, check in with Miss Renae, head to the office.

Between 8:45-9:00 (hopefully earlier but this is the more realistic window)—Arrive at work and pretend not to be late.

9-11:45—Work

Noon—Lunch, on Fridays (and sometimes M/W) this means quick Pure Barre class.

1-5–Work, though sometimes I will duck out for 4:15 Pure Barre class.

5:30—My preferred Pure Barre class time, I go almost every single week day and greatly prefer the after work class with my #PBBFF Effie and our group of ladies. Sometimes this is replaced with receptions, fundraisers, meetings or Junior League stuff.

6:45—Begin getting things together for babies' baths. Baths start no later than 7.

7-7:45—Babies are bathed, "greased" (lotioned and powdered) and receive a large Mylicon filled bottle. We try to feed a little bit of veggies or fruits here, but usually they just want bottles.

By 8pm—Babies are in their cribs, unswaddled, lights out. After prayer time, they are usually snoozing.

8:15—Mark and I eat dinner, and watch a few episodes of something. Lately, it's been Sons of Anarchy, but thankfully, we just finished the series this past weekend. I try not to work on homework or freelance projects during this time, saving them for Sundays after Church.

10pm—Bedtime, I'll straight up our room a bit if it needs it, pick out work clothes for the next day, take a shower and get into bed. I usually am asleep no later than 11.

Between 4:30 and 5am—Sometimes Alex will wake up overnight hungry and sometimes he won't. Since he's still very small, and struggles with gaining weight, we will feed him. Fitz will sleep through the night.
_____________________
Laid out like this, it doesn't seem like a lot....Maybe I should try to squeeze something else in. I've clearly got a little time left over. Hahahahahahahaha, pardon me, I need another cup of coffee and a cupcake.

Friday, March 13

Officially MidTwenties

Texted to me by my college BFF Riley, before she surprised me at my birthday dinner!
Has it really been over a month since my birthday? Wow, time sure does fly when you're on the wrong side of mid-twenties. Ew.

I'm writing this more for my own documentation than anything, because this might have been one of my best birthdays yet. I got to cuddle with my munchkins and celebrate with a killer pure barre class. I can't deem it best because I'm campaigning super hard for a pink princess casino party, WALTER MARK ANDERSON IV.
Three of my favorite people and champagne. Lots of champagne.
When Mark and I talked about a small birthday dinner, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. We're pretty involved in the local food scene, thanks to a blog and facebook community Mark runs. I originally wanted to go to Central, but as we starting thinking about whom to invite, the list grew and grew…and grew some more to nearly 50 people!

Central didn't quite have the options we wanted, so we made the change of venue to neighborhood favorite True. It was one of the first meals Chef Miguel made for many of us (including myself) and I'm excited to see what he's going to be doing to the restaurant. They will be rebranding later this spring, focusing more on Italian options, but I have to say…after this meal, I'm confident I'll try anything he makes.
Birthday girl dinner: Pimento cheeseburger with cheese grits. Excellent!
Will's "stupid good" roasted chicken with greens, mashed potatoes, and a garlic cream sauce.
Mark's "delightful" schnitzel with greens.
I was so incredibly honored to see people from every facet of my Montgomery life. It was truly an honor everyone made it out.


As per my usual style, I was over top with my champagne drinking and loud kissing, in my mink coat. A night to remember for everyone!

Tuesday, March 10

Currently


I'm joining Becky's link up for the second time in a row, look at me being all good about blogging. I love this link up because it really does push me to keep a record of life—one of the reasons I try to keep this little online diary going.

I'm joining in on Tuesday instead of Monday, since this weekend was one of the most odd in my life as a mom. I felt like I needed to write about it after I digested exactly what happened.

So here's what's going on around the Anderson house these days.

Making... St. Patrick's Day plans. One of my favorite lessons during the faith formation year is our St. Patrick's Day "party." In years past we've done wooden spoon saints, but this year I feel like mixing it up. Anyone have any great ideas? I've looked at Pinterest, but nothing's tickled my fancy.
Miss Jessica's first class

Watching... The Bachelor. OH. MY. GAH. I really wasn't a huge fan of Prince Farming, but this season. Y'ALL. I will forgive Ashley Salter for being an Auburn alum.

Enjoying... the final few seasons of Sons of Anarchy. It seems to be dragging a bit, but I’m looking forward to some actual action in terms of plot (not just violence) that I've been told is soon coming. We are currently on Season 5; Episode 8.

Loving... This: 23 Times D.W. Was The Realest Bitch Who Ever Lived
via tumblr

Thankful... That I can write a check for Fitz & Alex's spring pictures, because clearly, I'm no photog.
"Upgrade cameras already woman," my child probably.

Quote of the day... Truth.
source unknown

Monday, March 9

To the Woman at Target Saturday

I'm sure you didn't mean to. I'm sure you weren't just another one of those people who love to start “Mommy War” battles. I'm sure you were just a person with an opinion.

See, at first, Woman at Target, when we bonded over the terrible baby tank tops, I thought I found another annoyed mom. Because, seriously, WTH with the tanks Carter's? Instead, you jealously asked, “Aren't you relieved you don't have to actually take care of your kids?”

When the look on my face changed from a frustrated smile over what I could possibly send my boys to school in for class picture day to “Are you kidding me?” You followed the unanswered question up with, “Well, I mean, since you send them to daycare.”

Still, nearly two days later, I'm speechless. You're right, I don't change my son's diaper at 10am on the average Tuesday. I'm not the one that gives him his baby puree at 3:30. But, I am the one that takes care of him.

I work so he can have clean diapers, and so we can pay it forward a little with Every Little Bottom. I might not have the afternoons alone with them to hang out and go for a walk when it's nice. Instead, I'm listening to my interview tapes, furiously transcribing: living out the dream I had before I became a mother, the dream I still have, the career I love.

See, what I didn't say when you asked me that question Woman at Target, when I elected to sputter  about needing diapers and hurrying away, was that for all the pity you have for me, I have it for you too.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the women that stay at home, y'all push me to do Pinterest crafts and bake reguarly. Without you, I would probably re-watch every single episode of Grey's Anatomy. But you seemed so hell bent on making the distinction, that I don't take care of them. You must have such a closed off mind.

When you saw me I had my infants solo because my husband was off with my step-daughter. She's no Mia Hamm, but she's chosen soccer as her sport and we try to make sure he goes to nearly every game. Instead of dumping them at my in-law's for some free babysitting, I wanted to get them out, experiencing the world, showing them sights and sounds they wouldn't see from the comfort of our living room.

But I knew it would mean getting almost run over in the parking lot (twice this past weekend, but whose counting?) Watching people let the door slam in my face, or not give me room to push my double stroller. If I wasn't taking care of my kids we wouldn't have made it out of the parking lot, much less through the doors and to the back of the store, to the baby department.

You should know, Woman at Target, that when I did finally make it to my car after pushing my double stroller with diapers balanced precariously on the top, I cried. Because part of me wants to be the one to give my son his baby puree at 3:30 Wednesday afternoon. But a bigger part of me wants to be making plans to head to South Carolina in two weeks story gathering. Who are you to tell me which way is better?

I'm a great mom. I'm sure you are too. Isn't that enough?

Friday, March 6

15 for 2015 Update: February

It's already March? You've got to be kidding. In my mind, yesterday was basically my birthday. Tomorrow the twins will be five months old. This blows my flipping mind.

Since it's a new month, I feel like I should at least update my little online diary of what I hope to accomplish for 2015. I knocked off a few things in February—nothing holds a person accountable quite like the internet!

15 for 2015 
Hit the Pure Barre Montgomery 250 Tuck Club (Accomplished in January)
Spend another long weekend in Curacao  
Show Fitz and Alex the beach 
Take an entire month and not buy a single piece of clothing (or accessory) for myself 
Finally re-decorate our living room 
Update my phone software (Done in January)
 Visit Kimber, Gentry and Saylor at the farm in Pennsylvania 
Go home for Alabama Homecoming 
Write my Nanny once a month: January: I actually failed on this one, but I mailed my Momma a nice note so I'm going to count that. February: yes! Even remembered to stick in the box tops I'd been collecting for her! …still forgot to stick in some baby pictures, but hey, slow climb to greatness.  
Try 15 new recipes: 1: Creamy Italian Chicken Crockpot Bake I made up using a random collection of things in my fridge in desperation the other day: 1 lb. chicken breast; 1 tablespoon of butter; about 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning; 1 tablespoon of parsley; 1 cup of chicken stock and 1 block of cream cheese. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred with a fork and mix well. Layer with cooked pasta or rice and garnish with parsley. Makes enough for two solid dinner portions and two solid lunch portions. Mark deemed it a new favorite! 2: Cajun Cake recipe from Southern Living Annual Recipes 1987 edition
Completely clean out my closet 
Take about a zillion more pictures Working on it. Example A, Future logger? 
Clean out the storage unit and sell the furniture we are never going to use 
Show Mark Philadelphia and the Porecca family
___________________

So with 59 days down, we're still on that slow climb to greatness. At least I made some serious progress, in my mind at least, this last month.

Monday, March 2

Currently


I am excited to be linking up with Becky at Choosing Happiness for the weekly Currently post. I actually found this in a round about way from one of the other girls in Alabama Women Bloggers, and I'm so glad I did. Maybe this will help me blog more? Oh who am I kidding? I was going to spend Sunday writing about my trip to New York and instead watched The Glades on Netflix in my pajamas.

Enjoying... Binge watching! About three months ago (when football season ended) we cut cable! Now all we do is binge watch things on Netflix, with the exception of Grey's Anatomy, The Bachelor and Castle, which I keep up with via Hulu. We're getting REALLLLL close to finishing Sons of Anarchy, and will start on the newest House of Cards. Mark was with the big kids Sunday, while Alex and I stayed away thanks to a case of pinkeye running through the house. I started watching The Glades. I'm on the fence. Some episodes I love, some are a little boring. Anyone else seen this show? Mark's not a huge fan, but will watch if I've already got it on.
via

Attempting... To catch up on everything life related. This week is another crazy one at work, but I really need to get my ducks in a row for March. (HOW IS IT ALREADY MARCH?) Yesterday Fitz rolled over again, which basically means he's ready for college, and I'll be damned if that happens before I have a chance to get some decent pictures of him immobile. Squishy babies that fall over because their heads are too big are just too cute for words.

Shopping... We are officially eaters now. Today marks Day Two of carrots. As I am always ill-prepared, we only have four spoons and two portable snack containers for school. I'm super lucky this is all happening at the same time Babies R Us has munchkin dining accessories BOGO 50% off. Any gadgets out there I just HAVE to try? We have two of the early baby food feeders and I have to say, I love them. So easy to use when I'm too lazy to go through the whole highchair, spoon mess. Plus, Fitz and Alex really took to the carrots well out of that compared to the spoons.
I really need a mani...

Excited about... Heading home this weekend and spending some quality time with my family! Fingers crossed no one gets sick!

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