February 29, 2012

Things I Like About Me

Today, inspired by my friend Lindsay, I'm linking up with the blog, Just.Be.Enough., to eek out a little love for myself. 
This concept goes so against my natural tendency toward self-deprecation and my total inability to take compliments. It would be far easier and much more fun for me to make a list of things I'm not good at or wish I could change about myself. But over the last couple of years, I've felt who I am as a person slightly slipping away in the face of my quest to give myself over completely to the job, privilege, joy of being "Wilder's mama." 

Although I absolutely love staying home with Wilder and wouldn't trade it for anything in the world, for me, being a stay-at-home-mama makes it all the more difficult to find an identity outside of that. I think a list of things I like about myself will be a good start to remembering who I was for the 27 years prior to the earth shaking event that is becoming a mother. So here goes...

1) My one big talent is editing. I can read anything once and almost always find one or more typos, grammatical/spelling/punctuation errors, or inconsistencies even in things that would have (or should have) been proofread over and over before being published. The most recent example would be The Hunger Games trilogy and don't get me started on Nicholas Sparks' novels -- my misty eyes can't even obscure the errors in those books, although I do love them ;) And it's not just books, it's signs, brochures, websites, pretty much anything in written form. It's a blessing and a curse really, but I do like it about myself.

2) I'm not a girly girl. Although there's nothing wrong with that, for me, I like that I'm fairly low maintenance. Growing up with a brother taught me to be tough and hang with the boys and I think perfectly prepared me to be a mom to a little dude. 

3) I'm good at driving. Although Paul might beg to differ on this point, he can't deny that he has relinquished the driver's seat on more than one occasion when it's time to parallel park. And if we're in a hurry to get somewhere, it's going to be me driving. I guess it helps that I've been driving the same car for the last ten years because I can squeeze into parking spaces and out of traffic jams like nobody's business. 

4) I am an encourager. I love to make people feel good about themselves and encourage them to do what they love and be who they want to be. 

5) I am a positive thinker. I'm always searching for the good things in every situation. Silver linings are a specialty of mine. 

6) I'm a nice person but I'm not afraid to stand up for myself (or anyone else). I'm polite but not too polite to keep my mouth shut when something's just not right. 

7) I feel things deeply. Sometimes I wish I didn't care so much about what is fair or right, especially when there's nothing I can do to change the situation, but I guess I'd rather feel things than be numb or jaded. 

8) I'm not competitive. Although I think a little competitive spirit might take me further in life, I've learned to accept this fact about myself and embrace it. I'm glad to not be a slave to the desire to be the best. 

9) I love food but I've never struggled with my weight. I'm not prone to overeating and I'm not tempted by sweets and I'm infinitely thankful for that about myself. 

10) Last but not least: I'm a great mom. Although I know I still have a lot to learn, I'm pretty proud of the job I've done so far. And I'm especially proud that I've done a good job while living nearly 2,000 miles away from anyone I can drop Wilder off with if I want to go get my hair did or just collapse on the sofa for an hour.
So there they are. Some things I don't dislike about myself. It was touch and go for a minute there. By #5 I was really struggling to come up with things but somehow I made it to 10 and, I have to say, I feel pretty good about myself now. I think we could all benefit from reminding ourselves of our good qualities every now and then. 

The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Want to make your own list? Link up with Just.Be.Enough. by clicking here.

February 25, 2012

Lessons Learned from My One-Year-Old

By the time I was 12 I thought I knew everything there was to know about life. Over the next 15 years I discovered over and over that I had been sorely mistaken. But by the time I was 27, I had graduated college, gotten married, and lived in three different states. I thought for sure I had life figured out. So how is it that there were so many important lessons I never learned until someone just over a year old taught them to me? How can our children show us so much about a world that we have lived in much longer than they have? 

Wilder has taught me that good friends are almost as vital to life as food and water...
He has taught me to be open to new people and experiences and to step outside my comfort zone...
Our Instagram friends, the Statsons
(pardon Wilder's I need a nap NOW! face)
He has taught me the importance of constantly reading and learning...
He has taught me to nourish and cherish important relationships...
He has taught me to seek out fun and adventure...
He has taught me to not freak out over messes...
And maybe most importantly he has taught me to not take life too seriously...
I'm so lucky to have this tiny wise man in my life.

February 24, 2012

Website Review: Become.com

I'm excited to have been asked to do my first blog review by Become.com. Become is a comparison shopping website, sort of like Bizrate and Nextag. They search the internet to find the best deals on whatever you are looking for, from 8-ounce coffee cups to door handles for a Ford Explorer to acoustic guitars. They will seriously find you the best deals on anything you could possibly imagine.

But after clicking around and exploring the site a little I discovered that Become is much more than just a shopping website. It's a site for product reviews and all kinds of helpful consumer information, like Top 10 Lists and Buying Guides. They also have a section for coupons and deals from tons of different companies and stores.

Become also has two other things that I thought were cool that other comparison shopping sites don't have. First, they have a section called Interesting Shopping Insights, which includes How-To's and what they call "infographics" -- visual representations of data or knowledge. Become's infographics cover topics ranging from The Evolution of Outdoor Grilling to Six International Versions of Your Favorite Media Sites. I had fun just browsing through them. Secondly, they have a blog network called PocketChange that boasts ten different niche blogs devoted to providing consumers with the latest and best information on products for baby, pets, the home, etc. 

So the next time you need to find the best deal on a product or just need information on it give Become.com a try! 

Here are a couple of product searches you can click on just to see examples of Become's format and results:

Note: I was compensated for this review by Blogsvertise but the opinions expressed herein are my own.

And the Winner Is....

Wilder and I are super excited to announce the winner of the Thimblepress giveaway...


The Random.org number generator produced the number 3 and Kristin had the third comment on the giveaway post.
Kristin wins a print of her choice from Thimblepress Designs! Congratulations, Kristin! Let us know which print you choose! 

Thank you to everyone who entered and a special thank you to Kristen Ley of Thimblepress Designs for participating in the giveaway! 

February 20, 2012

~~~~~~~~Thimblepress Giveaway!~~~~~~~~

I have been wanting to do a giveaway on this little blog for a while now as a way to say thank you to my wonderful readers. My goals were to give away something you guys would be excited about while also helping to promote a small business. So when I saw on Facebook that a friend from Mississippi State had opened up a new Etsy store to sell prints of her beautiful artwork I knew that's who I wanted to approach about participating in a giveaway. 

Not many people can say that they knew from age 5 what they wanted to be when they grew up but Kristen Ley went to her kindergarten's career day dressed as an artist and never wavered from that aspiration. She has explored many different forms of art through the years, from painting to sewing to woodworking, and graduated with a degree in graphic design from MSU in 2007. Then last year she purchased an early-1900's letterpress, hauled it on a tiny trailer from Kentucky to Mississippi, and opened up shop as Thimblepress Design Studio based out of her hometown of Jackson. 

Kristen's Etsy store offers beautiful, high-quality prints of her original watercolor paintings of landmarks in Jackson, Starkville, and Oxford, Mississippi. There are many familiar spots to choose from, but here is a small sample:
Most recently she has added a collection of prints inspired by the Disney World ride, It's a Small, Small World, which she says fascinated her as a child. I absolutely love the vibrant colors and abstract quality of these designs. I think they are perfect for kids' rooms or nurseries (Hello? Awesome baby shower gift!) or for any space that needs a splash of color. I recently bought one of them for Wilder's room and I can't wait to get it framed and on the wall! Here are a few of the Small World prints that are available:
So, now that you know a little bit about Kristen and her work, let's talk about the giveaway. I'm so excited to tell you that the prize is a print of your choice! If the winner has connections to Mississippi, as I know many of my readers do, they may want a print from one of the Mississippi collections. Or, if the winner would rather, they can choose one of the Small World prints (12x18 or 12x12 size). Kristen also has a set of Jackson, MS, greeting cards that the winner can claim. Everyone has different tastes and preferences so this way the winner is sure to get something that they absolutely love! Are we all on board? OK, moving on to the rules...
To enter the giveaway: "Like" Thimblepress on Facebook and then come back to this blogpost and leave a comment saying that you have done so. You can find the Thimblepress Facebook page by clicking HERE. Don't forget to come back and tell me that you "Liked" Thimblepress -- your comment on this post is your entry into the giveaway!
There are also a few additional entries you can do to boost your chances of winning:

(2) Visit: the Thimblepress Etsy store and leave a comment on this blogpost telling me your favorite print from Kristen's collections. Visit the store by clicking HERE.

(3) Follow: @kristen_ley on Twitter and leave a comment on this blogpost saying that you've done so.

(4) Tweet: I just entered to win a print by @kristen_ley of #Thimblepress on @southnrsinsocal's blog! (and let me know by leaving a comment on this blogpost)
**If you do any of the additional entries, be sure to leave a separate comment for each! It's like putting your name in a raffle -- the more times it's in there, the more chances you have to be drawn.**
Comments will be closed at 12:00 PM Pacific (2:00 PM Central) on Friday, Feb. 24. I will then use Random.org to choose the number of the winning comment and announce the winner. 
I'm excited! And I hope you are too! Be sure to check out Kristen's entire collection on Etsy if you haven't already. 

P.S. You don't have to sign up or sign in to post a comment -- just enter your comment, select Name/URL from the drop down menu and enter your name (and website if you have one), and hit Submit! But please let me know if you do have trouble with the comments :)

February 17, 2012

Wilder and the Ladies

We've had a really fun week around here even though it's been pretty rainy most days. We didn't go to the Wild Animal Park last weekend because it was too cold and was supposed to rain off and on so we'll have to do that another time. Paul was busy preparing for midterms over the weekend anyway so Wilder and I went downtown to visit him one afternoon. We took the trike and strolled up and down the Embarcadero looking at all the people and ships. One Indian lady stopped us and asked to take Wilder's picture on his trike. Wilder was fascinated by the boats and seagulls but after strolling for a while we could tell he was getting tired of riding so we stopped at a big grassy area next to the Midway battleship to let him run around.
Then we walked over to check out the huge statue of the sailor kissing the nurse. There was a big group of Japanese school children on a field trip and they all but mobbed Wilder trying to take pictures of him and touch his hair. He wasn't afraid and just kept studying them right back. Then he led them over to show them his trike and then he fell down on the grass and started rolling around. He was totally showing off and eating up all the attention. That kid is such a ham! It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. 
Tuesday was Valentine's Day so I had to get some pictures of my little love like I did last year. What a difference a year makes!
He was being so silly!
That afternoon, Wilder and Lexi had a little Valentine's Day date at the library. We exchanged Valentine's goodies and listened to the storytime. 
Showing off his V Day gift from Lexi
 Wilder and his Valentine
 Wilder had some business he needed
to take care of on the computer while
we were there ;)
Paul and I aren't super into Valentine's Day. We just did some cards and flowers and ate one of our favorite meals at home that night. Wilder sure enjoyed his Valentine's Day -- balloons, cards, and packing materials from packages!
 My mom sent him a card that plays
Who Let the Dogs Out and he thinks
it's totally hilarious
Yesterday we went to the park next to Fiesta Island to play and have a picnic with Rachel and Lexi. The playground there is absolutely huge and the babies had so much fun. I got this fedora for Wilder a few weeks ago and it's still slightly too big but he looks so darn cute in it!
 He was able to climb up and go down
this slide all by himself and he couldn't
get enough of it. He did it over and over
and over and smiled the entire time.
Then we went over to a grassy area to eat lunch and Wilder and Lexi had the best time chasing all the birds that were stalking our food. 
Tonight we had a little family date at On the Border (we had never been there but we had a gift card so figured we might as well check it out). The food was pretty good but the best part was watching Wilder. He was thoroughly entertaining us and the table next to us. He has the nosiest, most obvious stare -- he turned as far around as he could in his highchair trying to observe everything the other people were doing. And then a waiter or someone else would walk by and he would grin up at them. Then he would point to something across the room. Then he would pull up the tablecloth and play peekaboo with us. He had quite a large time to say the least ;)
Well I hope everyone has a good weekend! Don't forget about the Thimblepress giveaway starting on Monday! Check out Kristen's Etsy store if you haven't already -- I think you will love her stuff!