Friday, December 12, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday-Get It Together


1. So, I have about five (no joke) unfinished blog posts, and every time I sit down to actually, you know, finish writing and post, life happens. Life meaning kids deciding if they DON'T EAT SOMETHING RIGHT THIS SECOND THEY WILL SURELY STARVE TO DEATH, Alessandra pulls the cloth wipes out of the warmer and throws them all over her room, Murphy slyly pulls a loaf of (homemade!) bread off of my kitchen counter...you get the picture.

2. Will is back in the field until Sunday. I feel like I should just say, "Will is gone...again...he'll be back...sometime." He usually returns right as my sanity is getting ready to say "sayonara" once and for all. Fortunately, this is the last stupid field problem before he finally graduates from this ridiculous class and we can LEAVE!

3. Yes, I know. Easy on the caps lock before I hurt myself. What can I say, this past month has been a bit, what's the word...trying. There. Italics. Ya happy?

4. Fort Benning sponsored a wonderful program called "Trees for Troops," in which families all over the country generously donated Christmas trees for families here at base. All the families needed to do was show up, present an ID card, and claim a free Christmas tree. Wonderful, right? Only by the time Will got off work (I had no hopes of going solo, as my degenerative disk disease is too far gone to lift a 7ft. tree to the roof of our car on my own), almost all the trees were gone. Sad face. However, Home Depot came to the rescue and supplied us with a beautiful tree, that was a whole 50% less than the trees we purchased in Shreveport.

5. Ah yes, leaving, as mentioned in Take #2. It looks like we are definitely moving to Colorado next month, which frankly is just fine with me. Will was initially hoping to take another class-fortunately, one that does not involve frequent trips to the field-but since we've been here 10 months already, the Army doesn't feel like amending Will's orders. So, a move to Colorado in January it is! That should be quite the adventure.

6. I made the (loving? foolish? brave?) decision to let the kids help me bake gingerbread cookies this morning, and later decorate them. I'm predicting sprinkles all over the floor and frosting all over the wall. 'Tis the season, amiright??

7. Proud Catholic parent moment: a few days ago, I heard Tony playing in his room, and praying the Our Father. Granted, it sounded a little more like, "give us today lots of bread, and forgive us for trespassing on playgrounds, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temples, but deliver us from Evan."

You're getting there, kid.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum.

Friday, December 5, 2014

7 Quick Takes-Mother of the Year



1. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, I feel so on it as a mother. I can take my kids out in public and I'm met with approving nods at my children's model behavior, we can get through a long car ride without any meltdowns, and Tony and Alessandra play nicely with other children at the playground. I'll smile warmly and give myself a mental pat on the back, congratulating myself on raising such lovely, gentle, calm children.

Well.

2. Will is once again in the field, four days this week and four days next week. Such a schedule makes for a stressed out mama and cranky kids, but hey, such is the Army life, right? I can totally handle this on my own. Unless, of course, your kids both come down with a nasty cold at the same time, and your son develops a miserable ear infection as well. And said ear infection makes a violent appearance at 10pm, and your son spends the rest of the night screaming and sobbing in pain, while you curse the Army for taking your husband out of the house for days on end.

3. But hey, you still got this! Calm and cool, you pack up two coughing, sneezing, miserable kids and trot them off to the doctor's office to get a prescription for your little boy, and possibly an exorcist for your daughter (had to stop at church for that one; sadly, exorcists are in short supply at most doctors offices). Pick up prescription. Head home, medicate and feed children, put everyone to bed. Take care of the dog. Attempt to get some much-needed rest for yourself, only to be woken at least once every 2 hours, because when your daughter coughs, she wakes herself up and is unable (or, more likely, unwilling) to self-soothe.

4. The following morning, irritable and exhausted after getting barely any sleep, make sure to stub your toe as hard as possible on the dining room chair. Before you've had your cup of coffee. Mistakenly believing that you are alone, mutter a string of curse words that would impress even your 4-time Iraq War veteran husband. Spin around in shock as your 3-year old says disdainfully, "Mama, you say a lot of bad words."

5. Realize you should probably have a little Come to Jesus talk with yourself regarding road rage as well. You know you might have let your temper get a little out of control when the stoplight turns green, the guy in front of you hesitates, and your son says, "Hey dude, light a fire under it! Light's only one shade of green!"

6. The following afternoon, you also need to have a (strongly worded) heart to heart with your son about hoarding. Specifically, rotting food. Upon entering his bedroom to institute Mandatory Quiet Time, you will smell a foul odor. You will follow the smell to the closet, at which point you will discover two rotting apples in the corner. After removing them with a broom and dustpan, while wearing rubber gloves, you will ask your son WHY in the world he felt the need to store half-eaten food in his closet. His answer of, "Because I felt like it" will not exactly reassure you.

7. But don't worry! Really! Your husband will be home tomorrow, at which point you can shove the children in his arms the second he walks in the door, and retreat to your bathroom for a luxurious bubble bath, a few candles, a good book, and NO ONE will disturb you.

For a whole 18 minutes.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum

Friday, November 14, 2014

7 Quick Takes-Shake It Off


1.  Over the past three weeks, I've heard Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" approximately 135 times. Tony and Alessandra have decided that this particular song was meant for them, and it MUST be played whilst driving, first thing in the morning before Mama has her coffee, while they're "helping" me make dinner, and after nap time. I have to admit, it's a catchy tune, but at this point, I can feel my right eye twitching when I hear the first few notes of the song.

2. On the other hand, I have to give Taylor Swift credit. Tony and Alessandra can be in the absolute worst possible mood, and all I have to do is turn on my iPod, put the song on, and they're out on the dance kitchen floor, shakin' it like nobody's business. They're like, "well, today sucks and everything sucks and we're going to make everyone around us miserable and HEY THAT'S MY JAM!! Watch me shake it off!"

3. Speaking of Apple products, my birthday present from Will arrived a few weeks ago! A brand spankin' new iPad2. It is glorious. I am in love.

4. Will is in the field until Monday evening, so I've been a) trying to keep the kids as occupied as possible, so they won't be too upset by Will's absence to take it out on me, and b) saying lots of prayers that my back won't give out on me. I saw my ortho surgeon earlier this week, and while I can tell he's leaning towards spinal fusion surgery, he's going to run a few tests (blood work, bone scan, and something called a discogram, which makes me think of a bunch of people in bell bottoms standing on my front porch singing "Stayin' Alive." Anyway. Carry on). Soooooo still kind of in limbo, but unfortunately still in pain.

5. If anyone wants to break into my home and steal our remaining Halloween candy, I would be very grateful. If you let me know in advance, I'll even leave the door unlocked for you.

6. I was wondering if Facebook and Instagram could clear something up for me. I know that these two social media powerhouses don't hesitate to ban even the slightest suggestion of a mother breastfeeding her child, but despite the claim that Kim Kardashian broke the internet, I'm still seeing pictures of her ample (I'm being nice), or photoshopped (not so nice) "I just took a bath in olive oil" derriere all over my news feed.

7. I know, I know. Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.

(I'll show myself out now).

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Jumping on the Jamberry Wagon


  So, Jamberry Nails.

  If you're on Facebook, or Instagram, or social media of any kind, chances are you're familiar with the Jamberry obsession that has hit everyone with the X-chromosome. I have at least eight friends on my Facebook page who are JB consultants, but I was resistant to the idea for a long time. Why? Glad you asked. Allow me to explain:

1. The process looked really, really complicated. I don't do complicated. Plus, I remembered those stick-on, press-on nails I used when I was in elementary school, and the results were dismal, to say the least.

2. While I thought some of the designs JB advertised were cute, I thought some of them were more appropriate for a 12-year old girl (ex. the turkey nails for Thanksgiving), than a newly 33-year old mom.

3. I have fairly short nails. Being a violinist since the ripe old age of six meant that I was allowed to have long-fake-nails for high school dances and my wedding. That was pretty much it. Even though I don't play as much as I should, I'm uncomfortable with even slightly long nails, and I tend to think that bright nail colors and designs look odd on short nails.

4. I'm cheap.

5. I'm lazy.

  I eventually visited the main JB website, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I really did like a lot of the designs and colors. There are some beautiful glittery, sparkly nail sheets (all the ladies out there who hate trying to remove glitter nail polish...can I get an AMEN???!!), cute designs that weren't too over the top, and a helpful instructional video for all of us in the back row who tend to screw up any type of beauty application. Something else that caught my eye was the lasting length of the nail wraps. I rarely go to salons to get mani/pedis anymore, because as I already mentioned, I'm cheap, plus within one or two days of getting a manicure, the polish is chipped and it looks like butt. What's the point of spending upwards of $30 if you can't even get something that lasts beyond a week? Slowly but surely, I was warming up to the idea of JB, but still not completely ready to take the plunge.

  A month or two ago, my friend Shaunacey became a JB consultant. She offered a free half sheet of wraps for anyone who was willing to write a review, so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to set aside my fear of anything related to beauty products  hesitation. I won't lie, I was a little bit intimidated when I opened up the package from Shaunacey. She suggested I watch the instructional video on the JB website before attempting the process (no worries there, sister!). I was fully expecting for the filing, buffing, applying, blow-drying, and shaping to take well over an hour, but I'm happy to report I was done in less than 30 minutes. I imagine once you get used to the whole process, it will take even less time. Here are the pros:

1. It really isn't that hard. Trust me, if I can do it, anyone can do it.
Beginning the harrowing ordeal...

Success! Now to trim and file that bad boy.

1 nail done, only 9 to go!
2. I really liked the nail wraps Shaunacey sent to me. They were cute and fun, but not too loud for my taste.

3. If you screw up a nail, it really isn't that noticeable. If you're painting your nails and you accidentally brush polish on your finger or over the nail, you're going to be cleaning that up for a while. 

The Cons:

1. It was slightly awkward trying to manage the application of the wrap with the orangewood stick, all while trying to blow dry the wrap. (However, I imagine it's much easier if you have the JB portable mini-heater). 

2. I had somewhat of a difficult time applying the wraps on my dominant hand. I'm a righty, so trying to apply and trim the excess wrap off of my nails on my right hand was definitely kind of a challenge.

3. Every two minutes Will would look up from what he was doing, and remark, "Man, I'm glad guys aren't expected to do stuff like this." Okay, so that had nothing to do with the wraps, but I felt obligated to add it. 

However, the end result was totally worth it. Even Will looked surprised, and told me my nails were "very pretty." Coming from an Army guy who spends day after day in the field on a tank...that's a compliment of the highest order.

  So, I think it's safe to say JB has a positive vote from the Tenney household, and I'd like to thank my friend for giving me the opportunity to finally give it a try. If you're interested in trying JB but don't know where to start, visit Shaunacey's page here. The JB wraps are always "buy 3 sheets, get 1 free!" and they can be ordered from anywhere in the US or Canada.

*Other than the free half sheet of nails, I did not receive any compensation for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes-Happy Birthday to Me!


1, Today is my 33rd go-round on this planet, and I have to say, I don't feel any different. Not any older. Certainly not more mature. My birthday experience was already enhanced by a 6:40am text from my father, not only wishing me a happy birthday, but informing me that there was snow up at the cabin in Wisconsin. Sigh.

2. I received a package from my parents yesterday with these delightful, beautifully decorated sugar cookies from a bakery in Milwaukee. So much deliciousness all in one box.

3. My super awesome husband bought me the iPad Air 2, and I am beyond thrilled. Unfortunately the iPad had to make some kind of detour to Korea, so tragically I will not be receiving it on my birthday. 

4. Tonight is a first for all of us; our very first time trick-or-treating on a military base. Being the lazy thrifty woman that I am, I will be purchasing bags of candy from Target this afternoon, in hopes of massive discounts. You have to figure, if you wait until the day of Halloween to buy candy, they're already trying to make way for Christmas decorations, right? 

5. In addition to the tasty Halloween cookies, my parents also combined their miles and got me a round-trip ticket to Milwaukee this upcoming week. For two days. Since my back pain has gone from bad to worse, I'm seeing a neurospinal surgeon in Milwaukee for a consult/second opinion. My doctor here in Georgia suggested spinal fusion surgery, and I wanted to make the rounds (so to speak) before scheduling anything that drastic. So if you have any prayers to spare, I would greatly appreciate them.

6. In costume news, Tony is going to be a "inja turtle" (Michelangelo), and Alessandra is going to be a spider. Wrestling a fussy, already-sugared-up toddler into a costume with multiple legs attached to the body? Yeah, that's going to go well.

7. I received a birthday card from Will and the kids this morning, and it was one of the best presents ever. Seriously, nothing makes me happier than hand-written cards from my loved ones. When Will asked Tony what he wanted to write in my birthday card, Tony's response was, "Should I have some birthday cake?" Alessandra's response was to slap the card out of Will's hand, and to dump her lunch all over herself. 

That's love, baby. 

Happy Halloween! For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dream Home

  Having gone through this whole, "Let's pack up all our worldly belongings every two years and move across the world/country!" thing a few times now, I've done some serious reflecting on our next home in Colorado. I've heard from multiple sources that on-base housing isn't really all that great, but there are many beautiful, spacious homes within our budget that are always available for rent in the area. Since 2005, I've dealt with everything in our living quarters from:

a. Teeny, tiny, poorly designed kitchens.
b. Appliances from the 1970's.
c. Linoleum floors that looked filthy, even when they were clean.
d. A duplex where we actually had to walk outside, then go down two flights of stairs to get to the basement (i.e family room).
e. No air conditioning or screens on the windows (I'm looking at you, Germany).
f. No closets in the bedrooms *cough cough Germany again*.
g. A million different windows, rendering all of my previous window treatments and hardware completely useless.

  Therefore, I now have a pretty good idea of what I wish for, nay, what I require in what will eventually be our new home in Colorado Springs, CO. Mock me if you wish, but my requirements include the following:

a. A big kitchen with lots of counter space, cabinets, and relatively new appliances. Sorry, but I am so DONE with crappy kitchens, especially considering all the cooking and baking I do.
b. A walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Between all of my clothes, shoes, Will's clothes AND his Army getup, tiny closets no longer suffice.
c. A storage area/attic.
d. Fenced in backyard, for both the kids and the dog.
e. And, most importantly...a finished basement.

  Why a finished basement, you ask? Because despite my best efforts to keep Tony and Alessandra's toys confined to their respective rooms, every single day I find toys everywhere. Legos on the kitchen floor. Baby dolls on the living room couches. Thomas the Train puzzle pieces underneath the dining room table. Monster trucks in the bathroom. Bath toys in OUR bedroom. It's ridiculous. I've had many a fantasy of gathering up all the toys in the house, and throwing them down the stairs, one by one. Unfortunately, we live in a 1950's ranch style home, and we don't have a basement. Now, just to show you that this is really about making a special play room for my children, and not me being "Mom Who Wants to Erase Any Evidence That Children Live In Our Home," let me assure you that I plan on rocking this finished basement. It will be the playroom to end all playrooms. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to my children's Heavenly Playroom. I've been dreaming of a reading corner (complete with beanbag chairs, and framed photos on the wall of cover pages from beloved childhood books), an imagination area with a play kitchen, a Fisher Price home, a Little Tykes tool shed, an area with building blocks, an "art" corner with an easel and paints, a little slide with gym mats...it's going to be amazing. Epic. Every kid in the neighborhood will want to come over and play, and I'll even get one of those video monitors (massively discounted at a consignment store, naturally), so we moms can sit upstairs, chatting over wine and cheese while keeping a watchful eye on our darling children playing happily downstairs. I have visions of this:
One day, I will win the lottery and buy everything in a Pottery Barn catalog.

Or this:

Or this:

Buuuuuuut I think it's safe to say we all know how our playroom will look after approximately 30 minutes with my children.
And this is on a good day.
  Yeah. I am demanding a finished basement because I'm tired of stepping on Legos (those things hurt like a beeyotch, in case you haven't had the pleasure), but perhaps I should adjust my expectations a bit, hmm?

Friday, October 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes-A Blessing and a Curse


1. Sooooo does everyone remember when I wrote this post last month? I had a lot of hope that the epidural injection would work for my back, and I would be able to live-relatively-pain free?

  Yeah. It didn't work.

2. Well, I take it back. It sort of took the edge off my pain for about a week and a half, and then my back went back to normal. And by "normal," I mean, "worse than ever." It got so bad one night that I started having spasms, and I was shaking and crying. Will was trying to get ready to go to the field for a 4-day stint, and he was in a complete panic. He ended up calling his commander the next morning (because my back was still in really bad shape), and told the commander what was going on, and explained that he couldn't leave me with two small children when I was having all these health issues. The commander, bless his heart, was very understanding, and he told Will he could withdrawal from this month-long course with no negative consequences, and he could re-enroll next month. This rarely happens in the military, and I am beyond grateful. So, while I am once again trying to make appointments with my specialist, and get some extra pain medication, at least I can take comfort in the fact that my husband is home with us for the entire month to give me a hand with the kids.

3. Speaking of kids, last weekend (yes, riding high on pain pills), Will and I took Tony and Alessandra to a pumpkin patch. I was quite impressed; free admission, $3 hayrides, and reasonable priced pumpkins. The kids had a blast, and someone we managed to convince Tony that the $6/person bouncy castle was really very boring, and he would have a much better time at Monkey Joe's. Don't get me wrong, I think bouncy castles were one of the greatest inventions of all time, but $6 for one kid to bounce around in a mediocre castle?
Proud owners of pumpkins that we will promptly forget to carve and decorate for at least another week.

4. It's October 10, and it's been in the upper 80's/low 90's all week. Not cool, Georgia. This is Fall. FALL. What's next, shorts and tank tops on Christmas Day?

5. Tony is completely daytime potty trained (finally, thank you Lord). Nighttime? Not even close. He's still wearing a pull-up, or I would be washing sheets and blankets every single morning. Parents, when did your children get the hang of NOT peeing themselves at night? I'm a desperate woman.

6. I have been binge-watching season 3 of Call the Midwife on Netflix. It's turned me into a blubbering, emotional mess.

7.  In the midst of everything that's going on with me, health-wise, I am incredibly thankful that I have never had to experience the heartache that this family is going through. I can't imagine losing one of my precious babies, and I am in awe of their courage and faithfulness. Please pray for them.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!