Cold weather, fair rides and judging


OK, my blog has been a bit heavy, sappy, and over the top sticky, sweet "Mom blog" lately.  I know.  I think so too.  Let's take a break from the heavy, sappy Mommy posts so I can share this super crappy iPhone pic from yesterday.
It was in the mid 40's yesterday afternoon when this picture was taken.  I was wearing a sweater, cami undershirt, jeans, and tall Uggs.  I was still freezing my chichi's off.  The little girl is wearing a thin Roca Wear jacket, sun dress, and open toed sandals.  The poor little girl must have been so cold.  Her Mom is wearing a jacket, high necked top, terribly fitting jeans, and cheesy fake Uggs.

I totally get it that beauty is painful but seriously, she was like 4.  She does not need to learn that lesson yet.  Maybe she was being a stubborn brat and refused to put pants on... Then be a parent and refuse to take her to the fair if she refuses to dress in weather appropriate clothes!  Maybe the Mom didn't realize that it was going to be so cold out?  Well, that might be true but she certainly didn't make the same mistake in her own wardrobe as she was covered head to toe!

Anyways, since I am sitting so tall up here on my high horse, it is really easy for me to see my daughter in the background of this picture.  She is wearing a pink polka dot jacket.  Can you see her back there?

Well, as I was so busy waiting in line for my daughter to be able to ride this little fair ride, taking this picture, and judging the heck out of this Mom in front of me, my little Eva ran around like a caged animal, trying to find a hole in the fence so she could sneak through the wall to get to the ride.  She was tired of having to wait in line and thought that she should be able to just run onto the ride.  Like any clever wild animal, she found a weakness in the fence and immediately attempted to make a run for it.  Right after I snapped this picture, I had to scream and run over to the other side of the ride to snatch her back out from between the fence before she was smooshed by the moving fair ride.  She had already squeezed more than halfway through the lose fence post.

Apparently the universe thought that I needed yet another reminder about judging other Moms. Well played universe.  Well played.

(read another judgy Mom post here.)

9 Months of Grief


For the sake of continuity and recording my reality, I wanted to do a quick grief check in.  In 2 days (on Eva's 2nd birthday) it will be 9 months since my Mom passed away from brain cancer.  This month felt calmer and less sad.  It felt less desperate.  Of course I have cried over the course of the past 30 days but this month was easier.  I think my main source of sadness this month has stemmed from being in the midst of pure joy with my Eva and then feeling a wave of sad realization that my Mom will never get to partake in any of these wonderful moments.
Me and my Mom when I was pregnant with Eva
9 Month Summary: I miss my Mom.  I wish she could be here to see how much fun we're having but this month I haven't felt like drowning in the bottom of a 1.5l bottle of cheap cab and I don't think I sobbed outside of the shower once.  This is a step in the right direction.

Got it universe. I embrace it.


Ever since I made the decision to stay home, a kajillion pound weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  I feel like I keep being struck, like the universe is trying to force me to make a realization.  I feel like I am being  physically knocked upside the head hammer filled with gratitude.  I love my daughter.  I love being with her...  My life is really good right now.
As I picked her up today, waking her up from her nap, we sat on the carpet and cuddled as she attempted to continue sleeping in my arms.  

I was hit by this realization... 
This is as good at it gets.  Seriously.  I will never have a sweeter daughter than this one right here in this moment ( least until she's past her 20th birthday).  
And let's get real.  Regardless of my many diets I pretend to go on, I will probably never be thinner than I am today.  And as I quickly approach my thirtieth birthday, just a few short weeks from now, my wrinkles are not really going to diminish and the cellulite on my arse is not going to disappear.  This is probably as good as it's going to get.
My life will probably not ever be "easier" than it is right now.  I have very few responsibilities.  My only real job in life right now is to raise my Eva, feed my husband every couple days, and keep some semblance of order and cleanliness in our home, all while keeping up with my favorite TV shows, taking trips to Target, and playing with horses. 

Life is pretty darn good right now and I embrace that.  I see it.  I am thankful for it.  I recognize it.  

I embrace it.

Pinterest foods: Healthy, easy, and fatty delicious.


You know how when you're trying to watch your calories and eat right that ALL you can think about it food?  Welcome to my life.  So as I was perusing Pinterest this afternoon looking for recipes (because that is exactly what someone who is on a diet should be doing), I found the following recipes that I am going to try this week.  One super healthy, one super easy, and one super fatty that will taste delicious.

Super healthy: Baked parmigian zucchini chips

Super easy: Crescent roll nutella bites

Super fatty deliciousness: Blueberry lemon yogurt bread: 

SAHM and OK with that?!?


Like millions of women across the world, I have been struggling with whether or not I should go back to work.  I have mentioned it bunches (here and here) but I have really struggled with this decision for months.  I have had much angst, anxiety, and sadness surrounding this life altering decision over the past 6 months.  Just to recap, I finished my Master's degree in Psych a year or so ago and had always planned on going back to work when my little Eva was two years old.  Well, she is two.  My husband still doesn't want to have another baby.  He paid a lot of money for my degree.  I complain about being bored at home.  I feel like I should be working and using my degree and making money... 
To be honest, I had not been able to find a position that both pays enough money for me to get out my yoga pants and makes sense for me and my family's situation (within 30 minute commute, uses my degree properly, opportunity for advancement- either in the position or as a long term goal).  Finally last week, I got offered "that" position.  One that, for the most part, "made sense".

Guess what, I cried my eyeballs out.  I cried when I was putting my interview outfit on.  I cried on my way home from the first interview imagining being away from her for so many hours a day.  I cried when I got home and talked to B about it.  I cried on my way to my second interview knowing that I was the top candidate.  I cried when I went to Eva's toddler play date that morning.  The sadness that I felt when thinking about missing her special day to day moments, milestones, and giggles did not feel "right".    

I realized that even though I thought I was ready to leave her, I am not.  I know there are lots and lots of women who work and have babies.  Some of these ladies work because they have to.  Some of them work because they want to.  All of us must make decisions that are right for ourselves and our own families.  

After months of internal turmoil, I finally came to the realization that I don't want to work.  I don't want to leave my baby  Even though she is two.  Even though sacrifices will continue to have to be made.  Even though I finished a Master's degree.  Even though I think that I "should".  It has been very hard for me to come to terms with the fact that it is OK for me to say that.  I don't want to leave my baby.  I am going to say it one last time.  I don't want to leave my baby...  And I finally think that that's OK.

Hug horsie?


Today we went to a Volunteer Appreciation Party at the barn where I volunteer with an equine therapy program.  The Maryland weather was absolute perfection today with a slightly sticky 78 degree afternoon and clear blue skies.

I told Eva we were going to go see horses when she woke up from her nap.  When I heard her start to stir in her crib and I went in there, she was smiling saying, "Horsies? Horsies?"
 After we got there, she ran from stall to stall petting each horses nose and saying, "Hug?  Kisses?  Hug horsie?" before moving on to the next.  
 I started riding when I was 4.  I plan on starting her when she is the same age.  I can't wait to encourage her obsession with horses.  I am so excited to sit in the dirt and watch her lessons, wake up early for shows, be annoyed at having my washer and dryer filled with yucky, hairy clothes and wraps, and spend all of our spare money on her hobby...  2 more years...

Easy peasy cinnamon apple muffins


I don't share recipe's on this blog very often because I do not pretend to be a chef.  I am not an expert on anything kitchen related.  I have to share this recipe though.  I made it for us the other morning and it met all of my requirements for new recipes.  I mentioned them once before (here).

1.  Easy
2. Cheap
3. Husband will really like it or my vegetarian self can eat it.
4. Composed of things that I already have in the house.

I found this particular recipe on the back of the Aunt Jemima box.  It met all of my recipe requirements.  Most importantly, I had all of the ingredients in the house and I bet that you do too.  

This breakfast cake was super yummy.  It was a hit with all three of us.  If I would have had some powdered sugar in the house, I would have made a quick frosting for the top but instead I enjoyed the cake with maple syrup while Brian topped it with some Hershey's chocolate syrup(?!?!).  Also, the recipe called for this to be made into individual muffins instead of a cake but since I didn't have any muffin paper things, I made a little cake instead and it was still delicious.  

Try this recipe.  It is yummy and I will bet you have all of the ingredients in your cupboard right this moment.  And it has apples in it which makes it a fruit serving instead of a cake.

1 cup Aunt Jemima pancake mix
1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

4 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Yields 12 muffins

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.  In medium bowl combine pancake mix, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon.
2. In small bowl whisk together milk, oil, egg, and vanilla; add to flour mixture.  Stir gently until dry ingredients are moistened.  Stir in apples.  Fill cups.
3. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over each muffin.  Bake 16-18 minutes.  Let cool 2 minutes before serving.

My doppleganger


Hooking up with arguably the funniest blogger out there, Raven from A Momma's Desires and Pacifiers, for her "Dopplegangers" post.  I guess we should start at the beginning.  Here is what I look like.
Here is another recent face shot.
OK.  Now that we got that out of the way, there is only one person that people have repeatedly told me that I look like over the years.  It is this lady.
Unfortunately, as I was googling her trying to find a picture where we looked similar, I literally could not find a single one.  Not one single picture that I would say there was a super strong resemblance.  

Unless you add cocktails.  Then my eyes disappear and some resemblance appears.   
Following Raven's advice, I went on   "My Heritage" , a website that analyzes your face and compares it to celebrities to help you find your celebrity doppleganger.  I am so glad that I did it because now I know who my REAL doppleganger is.
Dick Fosbury, whoever the hell you are, you sir are my celebrity doppleganger and I couldn't be more pleased. 

Help me out.  Who is my doppleganger?!

Military Monday: Marcella- Camp Pendleton, CA


The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

I need more entries and duplicates are welcome!  If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Name and blog site: Marcella at Life of a Military Family,

Branch of service:

Where currently stationed: Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, CA
How long have you been there?: 2 years

Favorite restaurant in the area: We don't eat out the much, but we will definitely miss In 'n Out when we leave!

Previous duty stations:
Spent time at a lot of TAD locations, but we lived at MCAS Beaufort before here, (SC.)

3 favorite things to do in your current city: Sports, The Beach, Shopping
Favorite duty station so far: MCAS Beaufort. I know Camp Pendleton is huge and there is so much to do in Southern California, but we really liked the close knit community in Beaufort.
Who is your hero? Well my husband is my number one of course, but in today's society, I look up to anyone that puts others first over themselves!
What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station is? It's huge!  My husband actually works at the north end and we live at the south end and our base housing is in a very crammed area with no yard. :(
Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend?
As I said before, we love sports, so having so many professional teams close by is a treat for us. We try to catch as many games as possible, especially baseball throughout the season.
There is also a nut farm not too far from here that has awesome pumpkin patch in the fall and a lot of other special events year round. We try to make it to those every year!

Life does not suck


Life is really good.

My sweet Eva is totally potty trained.  After 23 long months, I am not changing diapers anymore.  Do you hear the angels singing and the clouds parting to allow a ray of sunshine that is shining just on me?  I do.
Two years old is by far my favorite stage yet.  She is sweeter than ever, follows directions well, talks like a valley girl hopped up on Xenadrines, and plays nicely by herself for minutes at a time.  She is mastering the art of negotiation and giggles knowingly as she manipulates her Daddy.

I lost two pounds this week.  I worked out hard all week and ate well.  Yesterday was my "cheat day" and I celebrated by enjoying Olive Garden bread sticks, salad, linguine marinara, fried lasagna pieces, chips, and candy.  There is nothing like throwing an entire weeks worth of dieting away in one day.
I got a new iPad.  My old one got trashed by a certain favorite two year old.  The screen was broken and eventually got so bad that it needed to be replaced.

Which brings me to... Draw Something!  So fun.  Find me (jamiejoy1).  Let's play.
So... can you figure out what I just drew for my husband?  Can you tell what it is?  It's a three letter word.  Stop judging.  I never said I was GOOD at it.  :)
I am loving being a Mom more than ever these days.  Here are a few moments this week that made me melt down into a puddle of Mommy mush.

Happy Sunday folks.  Whether you're spending your day cuddling, doing homework, drinking with friends to celebrate Sunday Funday (ahhh, the good old days), going to church, or whatever else strikes your fancy today, I hope you hug your loved ones tight and smile bright because really life does not suck.

PS- I am starting to use twitter more.  Follow me here (handlingwithgrace)

Hello creeper


When was the last time a shady character stopped you in a random place and tried to persuade you to take pictures for them?  Mine was yesterday.  Yes.  Really.
Picture this.  I am walking through Walmart (I know, I know.  You can judge me.  I am judging me too.  The thing is that I needed some little meltable things for my Scentsy burner and I think the Walmart Better Homes an Gardens ones are have a stronger scent than the Scentsy brand ones.)  Anyways, so I am walking through Walmart pushing a cart with my two year old sitting in it when I spot this random guy aiming his cheap flip phone at me.  I am sure I made a weird face as I glanced from his camera up to his face and then that super awkward moment happened where he glanced at me right as I was glancing at him and we made eye contact for just a moment.  I hurriedly looked away and kept walking in the opposite direction all the while playing "What Is That Called?" with my daughter- a game every mother of a two year old is sick of knows well.

So, a couple minutes later as I am explaining to Eva the difference between dresses and PJ's, the shady character taps me on the shoulder from behind.  I turn around and proceeds to tell me how much he likes my "look" and that he is a photographer who shoots for the Baltimore Ravens and other organizations.  As he repeatedly looks me up and down from head to toe, he explains that he is getting ready to shoot a motorcycle calendar and he thinks I "would be perfect for it because,... wow".

He assured me that he wasn't going to ask me for my information but hoped that I would contact him "anytime", he left me with his card which, to no ones surprise, had no website on it- just his name and email and the word "Photgrapher" underneath his name.  It was crinkled and dirty like he had been holding it in his sweaty hand for the past month or two.  I smiled and thanked him and walked away embarrassed and totally icked out.

After I paid for my smelly burner things and a couple grocery items and was walking out towards the parking lot, I turned around and saw him standing there staring at me...  This time I didn't give him the satisfaction of glancing up at his face...

Just icky.  Makes me think though, that must work sometimes.  Right?  This wasn't a young guy.  He had obviously been around the block a couple times.  I definitely didn't get the vibe that this was his virgin, "You're so gorgeous, I NEED to shoot you for a calendar" encounter.

How about you?  Any creepy encounters lately?

Where I ask for a "like"


Alrighty, folks.  I have been nominated for a Best Military Spouse Blog award through  Here is where I ask you to go here and "like" my nomination (pretty please).  You don't have to have a military blog to vote for me (just register- It takes one minute) and you can vote for more than one military spouse blog (if you like more than one that are nominated).  Just click "like" on my nomination that is half way down the first page.  Voting closes today at 7pm EST so hop over there soon please!

Click here and click "Like" next to my nomination (Erin nominated me).

If you're feeling especially generous, you can also click on my profile and "Favorite" it while you're there.  My profile can be found here

Thanks, guys!

Over-praisers anonymous


I have a confession.... I am an over-praiser.  My kid says, "Yay!  Good job! Woo woo woo!" after she does, well, pretty much anything.  As she is praising herself, she looks over to me and B for our validation and to be sure that we are also throwing her a mini party for her tiny success.

She pees on the potty and screams "Candy, candy! Good job! Good job!".  She pulls her pants up herself, and exclaims, "Yay! Good job!".  She pulls her chair up to sit next to me on the floor and squeals, "Good job! So strong!".  She shares a cracker with Kingston and squeaks, "So good sharing!".

As a psych major, I know that over-praising is not ideal for helping a child develop a strong sense of identity, achievement, and personal responsibility.  Good job should be replaced with statements acknowledging the skill that they showed (ie, "You held the ramp the whole way up the stairs!") or with nothing at all- allowing the completed task be the child's reward.

The problem is that I just can't help it.  I am so proud of every achievement, no matter how small, that I can't help but slobber her with praise.  It's even worse than that.  I often, not only squeal with joy over her achievement but then I rush over, swoop her up and kiss her all over while rocking her and saying "I love you so much.  You're such a big girl.  You're the best baby!" over and over.  

I say, "Oh, Eva you are the best!" and she will quickly correct me with an addition of, "... in the whole wide world".    

Luckily, for me and everyone else around us, she is not a brat ... yet.

Easter Wrap Up.. and the scariest bunny ever


Easter 2012 was a hit.  After doing a "practice run" mini egg hunt on Friday with a Mom's group, Eva was all ready for the big egg hunt on Saturday.  On Friday she didn't understand the point of picking up the eggs and certainly wasn't in a rush to do so... until she found out that there was candy inside.
Neither B or I are very competitive.  At this point the verdict is still out as to whether two non-competitive people produced the worlds most competitive egg hunter or she just has a killer sweet tooth (that she definitely got from her Momma).  She probably picked up at least double the eggs of most of the other kids.  She ran full speed around the park picking up eggs and heading towards the next.  She was intense.  
We had a really great day but seriously, how SCARY is this Easter bunny?
Holidays are better when you have kids.  I get to buy candy and blame it on making memories for her.  Then, I get to eat the candy as quickly as possible so that she gets less of it.  Being a parent definitely has upsides.

Military Monday- Samantha: Norfolk, VA

The Military Monday duty station feature on this blog is designed for us military families to meet our fellow military spouses and also to learn about duty stations across the world.  We all get to (or have to depending on your outlook and particular set of circumstances), move every couple years to different duty stations that are scattered throughout the country and the world.  This feature will allow us the opportunity to explore these different areas of the world before we get there.  

I need more entries and duplicates are welcome!  If you are interested in being highlighted for this feature, please send me an email.  

Name and blog site: Samantha from Forever & Always a Soldiers Girl

Branch of service: Navy

Where currently stationed: Norfolk, Virginia

How long have you been there?: Two months

Favorite restaurant in the area: Machismos, it’s a wonderful little burrito bar with the best nachos and tortillas!

Previous duty stations:
This is our first duty station.

3 favorite things to do in your current city:
1.Taking the dog to the beach. Living by a beach my whole life just gives me the natural feeling of needing to go whenever the weather is right!
2. Visiting the many malls in the area. There are four within 20 minutes of Norfolk Naval Station.
3. Concerts at the Norva. It’s a smaller bar like concert setting but it’s such a great place to go for concert! Always cheap and fun entertainment.

Favorite duty station so far: Since I’ve only been in Norfolk I’ll have to say here!

Who is your hero? My hero has to be my husband. He keeps his cool no matter what and has such a level head. He’s inspiring beyond belief.

What is the biggest draw back to where your current duty station? The biggest drawback for me would have to be either the “grey” weather that we have so often, the horrible traffic (you literally have to hit an interstate to go anywhere), or the distance from our home in Florida.
How strong/ or not is the sense of community in the area? The military community is strong. There are so many bases and weapon stations in the area that the whole community is basically military. It’s nice to have such a helpful group of neighbors.

Are there any local festivals you have been to or are planning to attend? It's not exactly local, but Washington DC is only 3 hours away, and I will be attending the centennial of the cherry blossom festival this year. I also hope to hit the beach concerts a bit this summer. We have a great schedule of artist coming! 


Real men wear babies


Just bumped into this picture on Perez Hilton and had to share.
What is cuter than a Daddy wearing his baby?  Nothing.  Nothing is the right answer to that question.  
{picture is from our NYC trip in February}

Hope you're enjoying your Saturday.  When Eva wakes up from her nap, we are heading out to an Egg Hunt that is being held on base.  Happy Easter weekend!

It's the little things: 17


It's Friday which means that it's time to take a moment out to celebrate the little things that make it all worthwhile.  I am in a bit of a rush this morning because we are headed out to an Easter Egg Hunt so please excuse my lack of sarcasm, snark, or humor this morning.  

With everything going on, it's important to remember the little things in life that make it all worthwhile...
It's the little things:  Thank you Pinterest for another cute idea.  By bringing these little babies to the Easter party get together, I should be able to get my "Stay-At-Home Mom Who Spends Too Much Time in Front of The Computer" Award.

It's the little things: Loving my equine therapy volunteership and this sweet girl.  She is an Andalusian mare who is lazy, stubborn and slow... a perfect lesson horse.

It's the little things:  ROCKING my run the other day after posting about being a fat a&^%.  I bumped up my normal 5 miles and ran 7 miles in 68 minutes.  I was excited to be sore and stiff (because everyone knows that means you're getting skinnier) but no such luck.  Not a sore muscle to be found (I also didn't really get out of breath during the run).  Guess this proves my sister right that running is not enough to make me skinny and I need to do weight training?

It's the little things: My mini me.  Love her.  

It's the little things: Happy wife, happy life.  

What are YOU thankful for this week?

Fatt a*&^


I have consistently been gaining weight for the past 6 months...  About a pound a month.  I feel gross and icky.  I tried on my summer shorts last night and threw up in my mouth a little.  They are literally unwearable.  I've been running (15 miles a week) but not like last year (closer to 30+).  I am a sugar addict.  I don't eat meat so I eat carbs all day long.  My "happy" weight is skinnier than my body's natural weight.  I carry all my in my butt and hips.

This is what I want to look like.

This is how I feel.

OK, that's all I am going to write because that's all that was on my mind this morning.  I am off to run.  Hope everybody is having a good day!

*special thanks to pinterest for the motivation*

Terrible AND terrific two's


Eva is almost two years old.  The two stage is fascinating.  Yesterday I spent most of the day thinking, "This is why some Mommies eat their young!".  It seems like everyday is this careful dance between her being the sweetest, most silly little girl and this toddler who barging full speed into the terrible two's with her Mommy's stubbornness and her Daddy's temper.  75% of our days consist of hours and hours filled with dancing, "I love you's", pleas for cuddles, and full belly giggles.  But let me tell you, that other 25% is rough.  
I am lucky in that her vocabulary is developed far beyond what is average for her age group.  She can clearly tell me what she wants and doesn't want and where it hurts or whatever else is going on.  Does that mean that she doesn't regularly throw herself on the floor whining incomprehensible gibberish, screaming, moaning, and crying?  No.  It definitely does not. 

While she was a crazy monster yesterday who forgot every word in her vocabulary except, "NO!" and whining "ugghhhhh!", today she is peaches and cream.  She is a smiley cuddle machine.  She's been on point with her pleases, thank you's, I love you's and kisses.  

It is a good reminder that days like yesterday are temporary.

So, after our rough day yesterday, I think I deserve a new spring outfit.  I am going to head over to Target to pick up this little number later.
I tried it on the other day.  I like that it is short in the front because I am super short and have wide hips and feel overwhelmed in  long dresses but since it is longer in the back, it is a bit more toddler friendly.  I didn't buy it the other day because I didn't really like how the little ruffle boob thing hung but since I immediately regretted not buying it, I am going back.

Happy Tuesday!

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