Friday, November 30, 2012

The Education of Produce

I am very passionate about education and gaining knowledge. Teaching by example from the first steps on is an integral part of parenting. While every parent has a different "parenting style" and opinion on different methods, this one philosophy holds true.

For example, Jen's twins think fresh vegetables and fruits are the best snacks ever. They ask for them. They have been known to go "steal" them out of the fridge to eat. The Things would not not doing this if their mom didn't set a great example of what to eat. At two years her boys are learning to eat healthy, through examples.

Another great thing Jen is doing is training to run a 5k with me in January. Take control of her physical health through exercise is a wonderful example for the boys as well. Getting outside, walking and running from a young age so it is a true habit before they go to college - what a gift. No "freshman 30" for those two!

And it started from birth.

These examples, through action, are so powerful. I didn't eat incredibly healthy during college, but I didn't go overboard (except for moonpies, just ask Jen). However, when I was ready to start eating healthy as much as I could, I didn't have to do research or ask a doctor, My parents had set an example my entire life.

 The Happiest 5k on the Plant

Words are powerful as well. If you complain about math, talk about how hard it is, or how much you hate it, or make comments that people who enjoy math are weird... How do you think that will ultimately affect your child's schooling and future decisions?

Being a parent is so hard for that reason. Everything we do and say is noticed and affects our kids. That is so frightening.

When I think about Blair and I becoming a parents, its these thoughts that are sobering. Who we want to be, vs who we are, how we see ourselves, vs how we really are, well, those are issues we discuss at length.

This past year has been one of growing for us. We are working on establishing better eating habits, regular homecooked meals, exercise as a lifestyle and becoming fiscally responsible. I know our kids aren't going to be perfect. And I know that we are going to make lots of mistakes. But striving to be better people - that counts for something. Something deep within us. When you fall in love, you want to be the person they love, be the person they deserve, because you love them. Children are even more. A depth that a non-parent can see, but the fullness of the beauty and fear and hope won't be fully realized until they hold their own child for the first time.

I can't wait.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

To Tree or Not to Tree

This is the boys first Christmas living in a house larger than a shoebox.  Don't get me wrong, I (mostly) love the house in Washington, its got character. What it lacks, is good space for just about anything (really, any sense of clutter makes you feel like a candidate for Hoarders). So, no tree for the last 2 years. I did decorate 3 years ago and then it took me til April to take them down, damn morning-allday-thissucks sickness.

So the discussions this last weekend was "to tree or not to tree" or in layman's terms.. Real or Fake?

I love real trees, LOVE! The smell, the nature, the awesome, the memories of childhood. But, Oh the mess, the watering and dear lord, will the dog(s) pee on it??

But Fake, no watering, no mess and alas, no smell, no dog pee. But will it last, is it environmentally friendly? I killed one of these on my own. On my own. Its embarrassing and hilarious. It also begs the bigger question; If I can do it what can my offspring do?

I wish I could settle this by just getting a real, plant-able tree but it may prove to be cost-prohibitive.

We shall see what the decision is this weekend.


Family stockings: D, O, Mom, Dad, and the puppies. The 4 small ones hand made by me. 

So, for those burning to know. Mom asked me to add an ornament to the back of the tree (facing the window). Me, ever so lazy, just leaned from the glider rocker to add it. The glider tipped with me in it, into the tree. I had visions of how it was to be a present and I felt like a dumbass. I yelled for my mom, who laughed and then yelled for my dad, who again laughed. I was under this tree for 15 minutes, with them laughing at me. The glider and I were fine, the tree lost power to the bottom 3rd of the light string. Oops.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!! I hope you have a lovely one. Don't forget to say a prayer for all those who have to deal with the Black Friday Shoppers and madness the media and sales that will still be there in a week creates.

Here are some funny e-cards that made me think of the holidays (except I had an awesome Thanksgiving and am now working for double-time-and-half today and tomorrow (WHOOO, working in the 911 arena makes bank on holidays)

Don't forget to thank our Troops!!

your e cards
e cards
Divorce E-Cards: Someecards You Wish You Could Send Your Ex (PHOTOS)
e cards

Black Friday Hatred

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pocket Change is Precious

What goes hand-in-hand with children and babies?


Budgets, gadgets and gizmos!

You know that saying, "if you wait until you have enough to have kids, you'll never have kids"? Well, I agree... and disagree. What happens far to often is that even if people get more money through raises or better jobs, their spending just goes up. Holy crap, do you know how much you spend to go eat at Taco Bell twice a week?

It is insane. Dollar menus and Dollar stores are great - except that even those dollars add up. Love soda? Grab just one a day? Still spending $30 to $40 dollars a month, which is at least $360 a year! What do you do?

You take control. It is your money. You are the one spending it. If you have to sit down every night for year and go over what and where your money went that day to gain control do it. The rewards far out weigh the hassle.

Don't believe me? Well, starting now, not the first of the year, but now, this second this day, I am laying claim and taking responsibility. I bring home under $14,000 a year. And we are living and thriving off of that income. We are putting money into savings.

How? Simple.

Every week I sit down and look at every dollar spent. This really keeps us focused, that vending machine snack might mean no date night later. Yes, our budget is that tight. And that is okay. Once we have more money coming in - we will be doing the same thing. Good habits, fiscal education are irreplaceable gifts to give your children and they are best taught by example.

Yes, I am extremely enthusiastic about this life-long endeavor and I am inviting you to follow along. At least once a month I will be posting about what it takes to live a financially responsible life.   

It's going to be awesome.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Downsizing so that Upsizing Can Happen

Jen hasn't been feeling that great this week, and frankly, neither have I.

But a post must go up!

My darling husband and I have been, begrudgingly, looking at our "finances" if that is what you call a college budget, or pretty much a pay-check to pay-check existence.

In the spirit of "the future" we have decided to go look at a trailer to possibly move into next month. It would save us at least $200 a month that we could (and will) put into savings. Every. Single. Month.

It is time and past that we get aggressive about money and savings and being grown-ups.

I hate it.

I happen to like our little house quite a lot, thank you very much. It is 105 years old. every wall in the house is a foot and half thick adobe. It is quiet. I don't like the occasional mouse, or the ants in the summer. Or the waffle-board ceiling, or the excessive electric bill in the summer because it has central air that was installed backwards. But - it isn't a tiny trailer with no yard.

And, I must confess, this idea of moving to a cheaper place? Yeah, it is mine. Paradoxical?

And who found this other place? Me.

I'm having to remind myself a lot that this little town is just a place of long transition for us. 2.5 years until B graduates.

As long as there is room for our books, and the treadmill we ordered and our bed, and as long as the floor isn't falling in or something horrible like that, we will move. and I will grin and bear it. Because someday, not today, or next year, but someday. I'll build a house. And it will be perfectly imperfect.

we have 4 more bookshelves that you can't see here. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Part 1. Why Julie Writes Here About Babies.

This was rather hard for me to write. In fact I had a mini-meltdown with my husband because of this. I didn't realize over these past 11 months how hard I've had to work to not be bitter. 8 years is a long time. I could have gone so far and done so much. True-fully, the only thing that keeps me from bitterness, is knowing that the path I've taken is how I met my husband. I love him. And I'll love being parents with him. I'll love growing old with him. I love him now. So I don't regret - much. But some... yes! Hells yes! 8 years of my life lived in an exhaustion so deep that brushing my teeth was a task that could wear me out? 8 years because NO doctor would LISTEN when I insisted something was wrong? I do resent that. Yes. It does color my thoughts. How could it not? 

I read a lot - maybe even an excessive - amount of articles and studies on everything related to pregnancy, birth and all that comes along with baby.

I study and I take notes. I am by no means an "expert" - whatever that is in women's health care. But I am passionately pursuing knowledge.


The short story is... I don't trust doctors. This shocks a lot of people. I have my reasons, however, and those reasons are the long story, they are the why. The what that drives me to know as much as I can of all options I will have, both good and bad, before I even get pregnant.

When I was 18 and in the middle of my first semester of college I went to the doctor with an achy body and excessive tiredness and mild fever. Instead of testing me for things like Mono, the doctor decided after 5 minutes that I had the beginning signs of MS. I was sent to the hospital to get an x-ray of my back.

I would like you to know that I now have photographic evidence that I have no excuse for slouching.

A week later I returned to the doctor's office, I was beginning to have trouble breathing. Turns out I did have Mono. A raging case of it. They gave me steroids and warned me to not attend any classes or work for a week because the steroids would kill my immune system and I would get very sick.

They then scolded me, telling me that if had come in any later that day I would have had to go to the ER and get a tube down my throat to help me breathe because it was swelling shut. Why hadn't I come in sooner?


Being the open-minded person I am, I don't want you to think that that one experience colored my view of doctors.

That would be the next EIGHT years of doctors' visits that did that.

I never recovered from that excessive tiredness. In fact, it just got worse. And worse. And worse. By the time I was 23 I had seen many doctors. None of them could discover anything wrong.

Perhaps because they ALL did the same three tests and nothing more. Thyroid, Anemia, and Mono. Sometimes the Mono would show green. Of course, they would tell me, you are having a relapse.

I knew something else was wrong. I couldn't walk three blocks without being so exhausted I needed to take at least an hours' nap. This wasn't just "relapses" of Mono. This was something else. But all doctors refused to do any other tests. They were unnecessary in their Ph.D'd opinions.

I had always been severely skeptical of Alternative medicine. I even viewed any vitamin other than a multi-vitamin with suspicion. Science is good. Science saves lives.

I hit a breaking point after a doctor, in refusing to do any other tests or blood work (and I had very good insurance) told me that it was obvious from my symptoms that I wasn't sick. I was depressed. I needed mental healthcare.

This was infuriating - as much as I had the energy to be infuriated. I was beginning to learn that I knew my body best. I had good instincts. I could trust myself. I wasn't crazy, there was something wrong with me. It would just 3 more years to fully find out. (and I am not referring to depression when I say crazy, depression is a real, serious, disease.   It is a battle I hope to never have to fight.).

I went to my mom, I told her every little detail. I asked her to take me to Oklahoma. I wanted to go see my grandparent's "vitamin guy". A tiny little shop in a tiny little shopping mall called "Mawmaw's and Pawpaws". My grandmother made me an appointment so I could sit down and talk to this guy.

It was wonderful. He listened. He looked at my pupils. He asked a series of questions, the answers to which were everything I had spilled out to my Mom. She was there with me, nodding along.

I had Adrenal Fatigue.

He gave three types of pills, one, that was mainly hops, would help me sleep and quiet my mind (I have insomnia) and then a liquid multi-vitamins (eewww dirty prune juice would taste better) and Adrenal Support.

Within two weeks I felt so much better. I felt human again. It was huge.

Problem is? Adrenal Fatigue isn't recognized by a large percentage of doctors. Heck, when I Googled it after the vitamin guy suggested that was the issue - I was hugely in the realm of there-is-no-way-this-is-going-to-work. But it did.

Two months after this diagnosis (that yes, was denied by doctors). I met the man who was to become my husband. *cue the awwws*

Two months after that we had our first date. He lived in Colorado. I lived in New Mexico. After our second date I knew I'd be moving to Colorado. Two months later I did. (this is relevant, I promise.)

I have to tell you something about my husband. When I met him, there could be weeks at a time in which he could not remember drinking water. Not due to alcohol, he doesn't drink. No, because he would drink up to TWO GALLONS of Diet Pepsi a day. He lived off of gas station cheese pizza, plain cheeseburgers and an occasional Chipolte burrito (steak, cheese, rice).

I have no idea how he didn't end up with scurvy.

In horror, I began to cook him meals (he worked nights so dinner was his breakfast) he likes Italian food and biscuits and cornbread. So I thought, hey! I'll ease him to eating home-cooked and healthier meals. I'll make what he loves and slowly introduce something new.

By the time we became engaged, a year after we began dating, I felt as exhausted as I had before the discovery of Adrenal Fatigue. Nothing was helping. I had to quit my job and rely on my fiance for rent.

Three months later I moved back to New Mexico. I moved in with my parents. We were planning on making our home there anyway, and the wedding was taking place in my parent's backyard. I needed to find a job so that the soon-to-be Hubster could start college. My mom is a SAHM, she did all the cooking and after three months of living there it was wedding time and I felt good. (yay! wedding!)

Two months after our wedding, two months of living with Hubster and cooking for him I was completely done up. He took a full time job even though he was taking 18 credits and I quit. It was miserable.

After resting for a couple of months I felt a little better. Just enough better that when my husband decided on a different school, in a different town, I went and got a job and found us a house there while he finished up his current semester. A month and half later I was struggling. Again, the crushing weight of useless exhaustion was riding my shoulders.

One week before Christmas my Mom was diagnosed with Celiac. We had never heard of it before. She was told it could be hereditary. I started a Gluten-free diet right then and there. It took a few weeks, but I began to see and feel dramatic changes.

I did still end up quitting the job I held. Working 12+ hours a day in a negative environment doesn't exactly speed healing. Now, eleven months later, eleven months healthier, I can't believe how far I've come and how badly off I was. How much I was used to life sucking. It was the norm.

I'm going to end this here for now. This was the light version. The emotions I have tangled up in all of this, is more than I can handle fully writing about now.

But really, there is a very big part of me that wishes I could just go have a baby in the middle of a field at mid night under the stars and not have to involve doctors AT ALL. (this won't happen my husband would have a heart-attack) But I will not be having a baby in a hospital. Only if there are massive complications. I cannot emphasis enough how much Celiac has affected my life or how much doctors refusing, flat out refusing, to test me for more, has colored a lot of my world. People go through much much worse, so I don't mean to complain.

 But my husband and myself will be in charge of our children's births. Period.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day

Today is Veteran's Day. And we here at What Best Friends Talk About, would like to take a moment to say thank you.

And we would like to encourage you to say thank you as well. It doesn't matter what your political or religious affiliations are. Our military, past and present, they are sons and daughters.

They are someone's child.

Husband, wife, father, mother, brother sister. We thank you. You've got our backs always. All over the world. The least we can do is say thank you. To say, we see, we know, we appreciate. We've got your backs here at home.

Thank you.

check out the links below, words aren't ever enough. Even $2.00 can make a solider feel remembered. Say Thank you today with action and deed, not just words.

Julie & Jen and family
Photo: For Veterans day, will you giveback to help a wounded veteran? Donate to help Bradley Ivanchan who lost both legs from an IED.

This money will help to provide a handicapped accessible house and vehicle.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Best Friend's Talk About, Still Talks

  • Me: Hi, Whatcha doin'?

    Jen: Laying in bed, watching Mad Men... you?

    Me: Just ran to the grocery store and got a peppermint mocha from Mcdonalds.
    And fries.
    In my pjs, and hoodie and fuzzy socks.
    Because I am CLASSY

    Jen: Hey, I went to the dentist today in my cleaning clothes.

    Me: Booyah! I am organizing my kitchen, it will be fab and totally make up for wearing flour covered pjs to the store where I know everyone.

    Jen: Rofl! totally!

Gratuitous Wedding Pictures Since I Have No Cute Kids

I have been working on a blog post about myself, to let ya'll know a little bit more about me and where my thoughts on all things baby related come from.

But it has been oddly tiring to write. I don't particularly care to relive things, that just plain suck(ed).

But on too something more interesting at the moment!

Marriage and weddings. Jen and I are both married. We also both know that you can be parents in all different ways.

It's generally easier for us to say "husband" because that is what we have. Being politically correct is boring and time-consuming.

Here is my man, isn't he handsome?

I adore my husband. Sometimes we fight. Sometimes they are stupid fights and sometimes there is actually an issue to be worked through. Sometimes it takes some time. But I know that he loves me always. And he knows that I love him. 
The first time he saw me in my dress <3
(P.S. my Mom and I made my wedding dress)

B. 's favorite picture
I look forward with all my heart to seeing B. become a father. He'll be a great one.
I love my gold shoes
The wedding ceremony, in my parent's backyard
My favorite

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The day I discovered my kids were coke addicts

Ok, so not really. But they ARE baby powder fiends. They get a little puff of powder at nearly every diaper change (this is the desert and they aren't used to the heat) as it keeps those rashes to a minimum. They love to pretend to put powder on their brother at every change.. because they LOVE to help.

This morning, T2 learned a neat trick.. How to OPEN the powder. Bugger was paying attention. After they were changed and dressed, the diapering accessories were placed in their spot on the counter. Now, I know that the boys can reach said counter and love to see what's there, that is why the knives are locked up, but they hadn't bothered anything related to the powder/ointments, etc.

Now, I tell two 2 year old boys to put their shoes on while I get dressed, as we are leaving to run errands. I took 3 whole minutes to get dressed. Three. This is what I come back to:

This is after the removal of the pillow fort and dusting the children off. 

Looks easy enough, right? A little vaccuming and I'm done. Did you know that stuff clings to the air and travels easily??

Like this:

A whopping 25 feet from the initial incident. 

The floor I just steamed 3 days ago.. yeah, covered in dust. 

LJ for scale.. I swear I spent time cleaning only a few days ago.

Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the boys before I dusted them off. I quickly shooed them to another room, turned on Caillou and went to work. Truly, I think they realized we were going to leave before Caillou came on and they needed a diversion. 

Touche little ones, touche.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Being a Girl Can Really Suck

This is the best interpretation of a period...ever.
You know everyone's favorite sign of not being pregnant? 

Did you know that stopping taking the Pill can make you depressed? I started taking it because I have cramps so bad they make me throw up - yay. I stopped because it made me so late I thought I was pregnant. And I got SUPER down and sad and scared and all screwed up. And then I was like, screw this, I don't want to take that again and have that happen.

Right now I forget why I care about being so sad. Surely it won't be so bad? OR maybe I should just get pregnant now.... I can't be the only woman who rationalizes like this.

Even this doesn't seem so bad right now

Friday, November 2, 2012

Baby Fever and Christmas

It is less than 2 months to Christmas.

I LOVE Christmas.

Although, it has been kinda lonely lately. We are all grown up now, my siblings and I. Used to, all my cousins and aunts and uncles would get together on Christmas Eve. Over 30 people. Delicious food. Presents. Excitement. And then Christmas Day, early mornings, stockings, sweet moments with my little brother and sister and my parents.

Now we live too far away from the cousins to regularly have a big Christmas bash. Now, even when my siblings and their spouses added to the mix it is...quiet.

Christmas makes me want little voices and little feet.

Yes. I have baby fever, I've had it for awhile now. Why else would I write a Mommy blog?

But I have a husband whose just started school. And we are just getting our feet under ourselves after three moves across two states in the past year.

So I wait. And I get tired of everyone "predicting" when I'll cave and have a baby. Or the incessant questions of 'when'. It's a given my husband and I will be having a baby first of my siblings. My sister and SIL, whom I love dearly, want a baby to "play" with. They want to be Aunties.

I'm ready to be a mother.

Of course, my husband and I know when we'll start "trying" (a verb I hate in conjunction to pregnancy.) But where would be the fun in fully admitting that?

Also. trying means sex which I love to point out to my sister and gross her out. HA!

And, while people will tell us -way to frequently - to enjoy this time of "just us two" (as if we didn't do that) When you agree to get a treadmill as your Christmas "present" to each other this year, well the romance is hard to see.

I'm not complaining.I want that damn treadmill.

 But I am ready for a little one, with all the magic in their eyes.

baby first christmas 2
 photo by funkeemonkeeland


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hi, I'm Jen. I am the mama of two adorable little hellions. The wife of an incredibly smart (a**) man that keeps me on my toes. I have two Ewoks, protective little things that keep us safe. I can at times have horrible grammar, punctuation and spelling but I know the difference between their, there and they're. I love rocks, being outdoors and most of all, my three men.

Last night was our first Halloween in an actual neighborhood. Living rural had its pluses and minuses.. but that is for another time.

So, my hubby (who I'll figure out a nickname for later) is a commercial Glazier. A glazier is someone who installs metal framing, glass and other shenanigans in residential and commercial buildings. As a commercial glazier, he works on tall buildings. He has a crazy amount of safety gear to wear on a daily basis but it keeps him safe. So we dressed Thing 1 and Thing 2 up just like Daddy.


My guys are rocking Carhartts, hi-vis t-shirts,  hard hats, safety harness (in hi-vis colors) and of course the all important pumpkins. Note: Daddy doesn't take one of those to work.. yet. Their hard hats say "Apprentice: Class of 2032." and have the emblem of their dad's local. 

And now that I'm done sounding like an advertisement.. (really, I blame Netflix. And my hubby.. damn them both for getting me hooked on Mad Men) I'll just let this be the end of the post. 


Halloween, Lived Viacariously Through Pinterest - Not Creepy At All...

I had to work Halloween night, so I didn't get to see any adorable little kids in adorable little costumes that would make my heart go *squee*, before I loaded them up with sugary madness to send home to their parents. *Muhahahaa!*

Oh well that is what Pinterest is for right? I trolled around envisioning forcing dressing my future munchkins as:

Coppertone Girl Halloween Costume! BAHAHAHAH!
I just LOVE this one

Cabbage Patch costume. I'm dying!!
I think this is my favorite....

There are no words....
cardboard box + solo cups = lego costume (AWESOME!)
It is cute I'll give you that - but how do you think they  got inspired by the solo cups?
Baby Ewok. this will happen. how can it NOT?
It is nerdy and awesome. I love it.

Precious Halloween costumes
Breakfast at Tiffany's? How sassy can a four year old be?  Very sassy!
Babies in Madeline costumes

Baby Chick Costumes for Halloween pic from!/2009/10/family-and-spring-chicks.html
Seriously, this is hysterically awesome, fluffy balls! *dies*