30 August, 2013

Seven Quick Takes {1}

So my What I'm Loving Wednesday link up hasn't happened in over a month. I think I'm going to move over to the Seven Quick Takes with other Catholic Mama Bloggers for a little more community.. So here goes my first attempt :)


One

Football season starts this weekend...er, tomorrow!  I'm not super plan-my-weekends-around-games type fan, but we usually try to watch most of them with friends and family.  Our The Shirts came in this week.  Even Evie is ready to cheer for Old Notre Dame.

Two

We had hired a nanny for the Fall, but she was offered a job to start in September so after only a month she's leaving us. Fortunately with enough notice I was able to find Evie a MMO program that still had openings for the year. When I took her in for a tour, the director agreed that she could actually do the Pre-k 2 program since it was a young class this year and Evie is old for her grade. The hours work great for my work schedule, and the cost is (obviously) cheaper than an in-home nanny for one child.

Three

I'm back to work, full swing for the Fall Confirmation season.  We are three weeks out of closing out registrations and we already broke our record breaking class.  This year we have 207 candidates....and counting.

Four

Because I'm back at work, which sometimes includes evening meetings, we did some batch preparations for CrockPot using mamaandbabylove's new fall cookbook. LOVE her recipes because they're seasonal, use real food and they're grain free.  We estimate we cooked the entire Fall cookbook for $175-200, including meat.

Five

I don't think I've mentioned it yet....my parents bought a boat. A pontoon boat with a ski package. I'm kind of giddy.  Evie and I have used our "day off" to bum around the lake with my parents eating ice cream at the marina for lunch. Rough life indeed.

Six

We've had a hint of the summer cold go through the house. Nephew Zachary brought it with him from Savannah and gave it to Miss Evie, who lovingly passed it on to her Mama. So far nothing more than mild fevers and a little head congestion.  Hopefully my obsession over Emergen-C will prove beneficial.

Seven

Last weekend I went on the Freshman Retreat with our parish. Normally that's something Eric does as a volunteer but somethings got mixed up on his schedule and the participant number jumped at the last minute so I decided to go. I hadn't been on a retreat that I wasn't in charge of in YEARS.  It was super fun. Unfortunately I forgot my mudpit and ropes course attire (and a pajama shirt) due to last minute packing, so I photographed the afternoon fun!  It was great to sit in a small group and to hang out in the cabins with the girls.  It was SO fun :)

28 August, 2013

Don't Get Mad, Get the Camera: Tostitos Edition

My Dad's go-to parenting advice for any new parents is "Don't Get Mad, Get the Camera"  This advice sounds horrible in the moment, but we've loved that my dad practiced what he preaches. We have some of those most HILARIOUS photos of us growing up.  Things like, ya know, my brother and sister playing in the toilet, or my brother making his first peanut butter sandwich on the floor in nothing but a diaper and cowboy boots.

I've been wanting to document more of these moments around our house. 

No time like the present.

Today Miss Evie has been in no less than 3 outfits, some combined with an article of her crab pajamas. By this point in the evening I didn't even care that she wasn't wearing pants.


She's been sick with a head cold.  She's barely touched her food, but ate up some left over guacamole.  She said and signed that she was done with dinner so I let her loose. 

 But she ran to the pantry, found the bag of Tostitos and helped herself...to a giant party sized bag.
 That is now all over the floor.  And she cried. 
 So I let her "help" clean it up with the broom and dust pan.  Which she missed the trash can by about 3 inches when she tried to empty the dust pan, only making a bigger mess and making her more upset. 
She finally put her self in time out (poor thing! I wasn't even upset) while I got out the vacuum.

Just one more reason why I think Dyson should pair up with DisposAll for a Toddler Edition of their vacuum. 

23 August, 2013

How My Miscarriage Change Me

Ever since our miscarriage back in April, my relationship with God has changed.

During my mourning and grief I kept asking myself, WHY GOD WHY?  I'm healthy, we've had a successful pregnancy, we want this child, and so on.

It didn't seem fair.

A some point during all this struggle I had taken Evie shopping.  We were at the grocery store just before dinner and she was begging me for a "peezey pouch" (squeeze pouch).  I knew that she might have a melt down if I didn't give it to her, but I also knew we were going home for dinner and I didn't want to ruin her appetite.  As her mother I could see the big picture of the situation. I knew what was best for her despite of her whining and near tantrum.

It got me thinking.

This is exactly how God works with us.  As the all-knowing Father, he sees the big picture when we cannot.  When we're that kid in the grocery store begging for a snack.  He sometimes says, "Wait. I have something better"

I always knew this about God, but I didn't know it until we lost little baby Albert.  Doesn't the Lord grant us the desires of our heart?  Why would he take away this child from us? Something that is inherently good.  Something that is made in His image and likeness.

....Something that for whatever reason, God knew it wasn't the right time for us. Just like Evie begging for a snack - food - something inherently good, doesn't mean it's the right time.

It's hard to understand that in the midst of mourning. It has taken me a few months of processing to really know in my heart that God has a plan. We have to pray for him to reveal it, trust in it, and hope in it.

Easier said than done, huh?


20 August, 2013

A Day In the Life

Welcome to the Buergler House on this drizzly rainy Monday. I've been wanting to do one of these for years but never took the time.  Here's a glimpse at our day balancing home life, raising an almost two year old, and a part time job at our Church.  It's not a typical day, but it's not an out of the ordinary day. Enjoy!


5:03 - Wake up. Check clock. Why am I awake? Seriously? I was supposed to sleep in today. Mind starts racing to all the things I need to do for work.

5:47 - Evie is stirring. Hmm. That's weird. Does she usually do this? Please don't wake up.

6:00 - Eric's alarm goes off, but it's Monday after a retreat weekend. I bet he hits snooze and we can lay and chat for a bit.

7:00 - Alarm goes off again. Eric gets in the shower I check Facebook and Twitter on my phone waiting for my turn in the shower.

7:08 - Shower, contacts, yoga pants and a tshirt. We're not going anywhere for a while. Might as well be comfy.

7:30 -  Evie's up. Eric grabs her while I finish getting ready.  He gets breakfast started.  She's delighted that Daddy is still home.

8:00 - I take over breakfast duty. Eric leaves. Hhmm.. What to do today? What should we have for dinner?

8:30 - Sit down to tackle that work to-do list I made in my head while laying in bed.  Turn on Curious George. Send work related emails and a follow up phone call.

9:05 - It's ONLY NINE O'CLOCK. For real. What are we going to do today?  Ignore this question and play on the floor with Evie.

9:45 -- Check freezer and fridge for things to scrape together for lunch and dinner: frozen crock pot meal? check. broccoli? check. things to make lunch nachos? check.  Evie sees me in the fridge and freezer and asks for ice cream, brownies and "nakey" (chicken) nuggets. Um, no.

10:16 - Evie's playing independently. Guess I'll fold diaper laundry so I'm not tempted to use disposables for no reason.  I should probably wash another load while I'm at it. Toddler pee stinks if it's left too long. Check work email.

10:29 - Peek in on Evie. She's taken apart the diaper bag and is setting up a changing station for her dolls. This is new for her and too cute. Try to sneak a picture.

10:31 - Take Evie and the clean laundry upstairs. Put away laundry let Evie play with upstairs toys. "No Evie, you may not put the shampoo bottle in the butterfly net and throw it"  Head back downstairs. Start dirty laundry.  Why oh why did she mash avocado on the white shorts? Mental note to check the rest of the laundry for stains.

10:54 - Play pretend with Evie: change dolly's diaper, put her down for a nap, swaddle, repeat.

11:43 - Snack time? or is it lunch time? Let's see how much this little girl will eat.  And coffee? How did I forget coffee this morning?  Switch laundry. Load and run dish washer

1:09 - Put Evie down for a nap after she tried to lick the dust pan.  Ew. Time for my lunch and a little mommy R&R since I have to work tonight. Start with prayer time, then some Netflix. Check work email on iPad while watching Dawson's Creek.

3:06 - Wake up on the couch. How long did I sleep? Thank goodness for a little snooze! Check the monitor - Evie is still asleep. Wow, that's nice.

3:43 - Nana and Zachary arrive for a surprise play date with Evie, but by some miracle, she's still sleeping.

4:12 - Evie's been asleep for 3 hours. What? How? I go wake her up so she has time to play with her cousin.  Take the babies outside to play in the water table. It's the first break in the rain we've had in 4 days.

5:31 -Nana and Zachary leave. Check crock pot meal. It's ready. Get ready for work and warm up a vegetable side dish. Broccoli or corn?  Corn. It's been in the fridge longer.

6:19 - Finish scarfing down dinner. Chewing while putting on make up in a gift.  Forgot to pray with Evie. Sit down for a few minutes to pray and eat with her so I can feel like we had family meal time.  Eric should be home soon.

6:34 - Kiss husband hello and goodbye. Give baby girl a kiss and I'm out the door to work.  I text Alyshia work questions while I'm stuck at red lights.

6:59 - Arrive at the office. Gather paperwork to prepare for our Teen Leader Meeting.

7:30 - Promptly start our teen leader meeting with a prayer, and quality time listening to their first two weeks of school.  We go over their schedule, the Confirmation classes, and other things.  Share a few laughs and wrap up in quality prayer time for their intentions and those in Egypt.

9:06 - Debate stopping for a milkshake on the way home, but I decided to get one with tomorrow's lunch instead.  Arrive home to Eric folding laundry to a stupid movie.  I engage in a little Twitter banter with our teen leaders. Yes I know we just left each other.

9:42 - Found a book on the Kindle that I'd started on a plane ride but never finished. Head up stairs to get ready for bed and to read while Eric finishes his movie. Eric comes up stairs and we chat. Turns out he mowed the lawn, put Evie down, cleaned the kitchen, emptied the dish washer, and started folding laundry. How did he do all of that in two hours? Miracle Man I tell you.

10:45 - Lights out. Bedtime prayers. Reflect on my day. Pray that I will fall asleep after taking a nap. And in seconds I'm out.

14 August, 2013

Corsetti Kids Cabin Weekend

When we were younger my mother would load the four of us in our awesomely large conversion van complete with high top, TV, VCR and Nintendo.  What we lost in visual swagger we gained in entertainment value.  That van was awesome.

We'd drive the then twelve hour trip (thanks to the old 55mph speed limits) from Tampa, Florida to Highlands, North Carolina where my grandparents have a cabin.  How my mother survived it, I still do not know.

We spent the entire summer hiding in the woods, digging in the creeks, and playing in the field.  Priceless memories.

Now that we're fifteen-twenty years older, married with kids of our own, we've agreed to rally the troops for one weekend of family togetherness at the cabin with my grandparents.

We play cards, do puzzles, cookout, and let the kids run amuck.

The cabin doesn't have a television, it only gets one radio station, and there isn't any cell phone service. Each visit forces us to unwind, talk and play.

This year we took little trips out to take the kids hiking and to go in to town for ice cream treats.  And we can't forget the late night drinking and story telling around the dinner table and s'more fire.

We cherish every moment of this cabin weekend.  As do my grandparents.



We look forward to another fun summer weekend next year!

12 August, 2013

Evie: Twenty One Months


Measurements:

Weight: ~30-31 lbs 
Length/Height: ~34 inches 
Eats: 3 full meals, 1-2 snacks, 12oz cow's milk, 10-15oz of water, almost grain-free
Diapers: Size 5, but I should be buying size 6 for nighttimes for the extra absorbancy
Clothes: A few larger 2Ts, mostly 3Ts and some smaller 4Ts
Sleep: 8pm bed, 6:30-8:30am wake, one nap 1.5-2hrs long.  Her afternoon nap is cutting down, but she's picking up a little extra at night

We think she is in the middle of a growth spurt. She's been napping extra long and eating quite a bit this week!

Firsts/Milestones:

All four canine teeth came in at the same time. The tops a few days a head of the bottoms, but quickly and painlessly.

Eating new, tricky foods on occasion: baby carrots, peanuts, and popcorn.

First attempt at escaping the crib.

Her speech is getting clearer, and her vocabulary is growing faster than I can keep up with.  She makes a lot of words plural though, like "waters" "bottles" "hairs" though  I am hearing this less and less.

She knows all her body parts, dozen of animals + noises, basic clothing, variety of foods and all her family (including who is related to whom).

Eric is teaching her to sight read. She can read "mommy" "daddy" "hair" "foot" and "nose"  She can also recognize logos for Moe's and Starbucks (or Mommy Coffee as she calls it)

Evie can put together small phrases, "Thank you, mommy" "Delany. Fall Down. Bump. Head. Hurts" or my favorite when I'm done blow drying my hair, "Mommy. Hairs. All done."

She practices her new vocabulary repetitiously, sometimes tweaking the pronunciation.  

She is also working on possessives, "Mommy's flip flops"  "Re-bie's nose"

After the first few successful poops in the potty, Evie became terrified of the toilet. So we stopped using it.  I'm sure she'll be ready soon.  I am hoping to work with her after Christmas, if not before.

She is finally starting to run and be a little more sure on her feet, though I'm starting to notice her run as a little pigeon toed, which I hear is normal for this age.

Likes

Hair bows and/or ponies
Video chatting
Playing with cousins "Connors" "Zeck-a-Ree" and "Yook" (Luke)
Going to church to see "JEEEeez-zus"
Picking out her own outfits

Dislikes

When mommy or daddy says NO
Not getting her way
Telling her that her screen time is up for the day




Fun Things:

Evie LOVES to watch "tee-tee" (TV) especially "Monkey George" (Curious George) and  "Mick-a-Mouse" or "Road-e Rally" (Mickey Mouse Road Rally).  She loves her Mickey Mouse Road Rally iPad app, among others as well.

She's gained more confidence the last few weeks. She's started jumping on the furniture, climbing things, etc. Stuff most boy-mom's have been dealing with for months now. 

She's getting more social. She's very outgoing with family, but she's finally starting to warm up with strangers. She thinks she's on a parade when I take her to the grocery -- waving and saying HI to everyone that walks by.

Evie continues to be a little observer. She watches new things with keen interest and curiosity as to how they work.

Evie loves her grandparents, and aunts and uncles like crazy. She especially loves her G. Daddy and cousins. She talks about them all the time.

We finished with her babysitting co-op this spring. We were sad to say goodbye to a great nanny and great friends. We had a youth group alum watch her during July, and a new nanny starting for the rest of August.  Then she's off to a MMO/prek 2 program for the school year (I'll explain more later).

Evie is doing GREAT with her fork and spoon skills. She now insists on eating off a plate with a fork. She can even drink from bottled water without help.

Not-so-fun Things:


Once she cut out the second nap (third bottle) a day, and I added a daily serving of prunes her constipation issues have stayed at bay.

Evie has started to experience Night Terrors.  If you don't know, as I didn't, they're a nightmare that the kid has and they stay semi-asleep while having a tantrum.  There is nothing you can do about it. In fact, it's only worse if you try to comfort them.  She's had had 1 in Nashville, 1 at the cabin and 2 at home. 

With her new found love of running, Evie has been tripping quite a bit. Poor thing has constant skinned knees! (a friend who is a PNP is going to check her ears and vision just to rule out anything serious!)


Watch Evie Grow:  Eighteen Months |  Fifteen Months | Twelve Months | All Monthly Updates

08 August, 2013

A Family Session: Meet The Whittakers + What I Learned

High school friends and now co-workers, I have been blessed to know Mandi for almost half my life, and her husband James for almost a decade.

An artist at heart, James is also dabbling in photography but the family needed someone to take on-location photos of all three of them.

I am honored they thought of ME!

We had a great time!  They came prepared with stunning coordinating outfits as well as several pose ideas of their own.  Even working with their seven week old, Layla, the session went by quickly.  In fact, we were all shocked that we worked for a solid three hours.

It's such a joy to work with such happy and loving families!


What I learned with this session:


Technically Speaking:

  • I am officially a RAW convert. No looking back.
  • We had a later start than I wanted so by the end of the shoot the sun was too harsh.  
  • Mostly used my Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 SP XR Di II VC lens. Again, great for some of the narrower spaces at one of the locations.
  • I'm taking fewer shots of each "look" Though I'm not taking enough time to factor in all the details of the pose, AND lighting, AND composition. I had to throw out a lot of great shots because of an awkward crop (missing toe, etc) or not carefully posed hands (ie resting on crotch weird, baby grabbing boobs, etc)

Subject Matter:


  • The difference between a 13 day old and a 7 week old is amazing. Layla still can't quite focus her eyes, but there were hints of it that I could capture. And she has a much more animated face!
  • The more subjects the more to factor in the pose: the perfect smile, the best chin tilt, baby hand positions, etc.  I can see why photographers have a base price for a family of 3 or 4 and then charge extra for additional family. It's a lot more to consider with each pose.

Me:

  • Getting more critical - I can already see a difference in just a shoot or two ago
  • Faster editing
  • Being able to tell which presets will look best for each look much quicker.
  • I need to slow down and focus on three things: pose, lighting and composition IN camera

I am still working to build my portfolio.  Discounted photo sessions at a location of your choice along the GA-400 corridor are still available. Please email me: elizabeth@thebuerglers.com


07 August, 2013

Opening a Window

You know that old adage,

"When God closes one door, He opens a window?"


I always looked at it in terms of jobs or careers.  I never really thought about this in any other context until this morning during prayer time.

Several months ago I felt the calling to really examine my health. The Standard American Diet (SAD) wasn't cutting it for me.  I knew that the depression, anxiety, acne, allergies, weight gain, stomach issues, mood swings, were not normal nor did I need a pill to control them (please note, there is a time and place for medicine and medical intervention).

I discovered great resources like The Primal BlueprintMama and Baby Love, and Hungry for Change that taught me I was right.  The SAD is no way to live.  Breaking free from the bonds grains and processed and/or fake sugars has freed me to a happy and healthy life without medication. YAY!

However, when I started changing my lifestyle to be more and more grain free, I was angry, I mean ANGRY with God.

Why would He give me a love (might I say, gift?) of baking yet, I felt like He was taking it away from me.  This was my livelihood! I mean I could continue to bake, but the temptation of snitching bites of cookie dough or licking the frosting knife too great.  It's a slippery slope that takes me back to a dark place.  No need to regularly play in the devil's playground.

How could God take something inherently good (food! and sharing it with family!) and let it be something evil for me?

I wrestled with this for many moons.

In talking with friends and my spiritual director, I've learned that balance and moderation are key.  Anytime you take something to excess it because dangerous / evil.  Or anytime you significantly lack in doing something good, same thing.

Also, I was called out - I find it easy to surrender suffering to the Lord, but had I truly given thanks and glory for the gifts and talents that I have?  No, I had not. I had/have taken them for granted.

During these weeks and months as I've felt the door of my baking days close, the Lord has opened a new window of opportunity  to share my craftiness - photography.

This is a healthy, creative outlet that I can share with friends, family, and hopefully soon, clients.

I am thankful for this gift. I am thankful the Lord has given me the clarity to see and seek HIM in all things; the joys and the sufferings.

I look forward to the ever-evolving things the Lord will show me by following his call and responding with a YES even though I don't know what the future holds!

02 August, 2013

So Easy Being Green

A few weeks ago I wrote about being intentional, and how it's deliberate baby-steps towards an end goal. 

One of those end goals for Eric and I is to find simple things we can do to be good stewards of our treasure (read: money) and the earth.  Also known as cheap and green. It's part of our duty on this earth as part of Catholic Social Teaching.

Here's a few simple things we do around out house that help save us money, but also help save the earth.


Cloth napkins.   
Level: beginner
Cost: free to $

So this one is super easy.  Take those $10 Kohl's cards that come in the mail and march yourself to the clearance kitchenwares section. Snag 2-4 cloth napkins.  I've built up our stash to 10-12 over the years.  In the four years we've been married I've only bought 1 package of napkins. We just throw the cloth napkins in our regular wash as needed.  And they only take two seconds to fold.

  I know this isn't saving hundreds, and that paper is technically biodegradable, but the little things add up :)


Berkey Water Filter.
Level: beginner
Cost: $$$

After a ton of research on water filtration systems, Eric settled on this water filter. It's so incredibly awesome it can take food coloring out of water.  Booya!  While the upfront cost is expensive, it's relatively cheap to maintain.  It has cleaner-than-bottled-water taste (because it IS!).  We just fill up our reusable water bottles before we leave the house.  Over time this will actually pay for the filter and then save you money, AND think of those millions and million of plastic bottles you WON'T be contributing to the land fill.  Mother nature thanks you.


Garden.
Level: beginner + a little spare time and willingness to learn
Cost: $ to $$

Eric literally planted our garden on $50 or less in less than half a day (including intermittent toddler chasing).  I spent maybe 5 minutes a night maintaining it.  We used giant pots that we've accumulated + the previous home owners left us, a few starter plants and a little elbow grease and we have a blossoming potted garden.  Growing your own produce means healthy snacks on your doorstep.  No travel for you or the produce, no middle man mark ups, and no harsh fertilizers or pesticides. 
And as an added bonus: free toddler entertainment watering and picking


What are some super easy green / money saving things you do?

01 August, 2013

Well, Hello There!

Hi.




It's been a while, but I'm back!

At first my self-imposed blogging time out was for practical purposes.  I noticed that most Julys I spent with family or pulling late-nighters in the office getting ready for my busy season to begin again.

However, as the month unfolded I found that the time management skills I had acquired in the last year left me home and bored this July.

It was everything in my power not to blog more than the two posts I did.  But it taught me a lesson.

This month I learned just how much time I spend behind the computer blogging, editing pictures, and reading Oh! The! Internet!  Without blog posts to write, I didn't edit or take as many pictures, and therefore didn't read The! Internet! nearly as much (at least on my computer).  But rather...


....I got on the floor and played.  I played trains. I played tea party. I read countless books. I played snuggle with my baby girl because she's only a baby girl once.

....I cleaned.  With busy season around the corner, I wanted to tackle some deep cleaning projects.  My bathroom now smells industrial. Ah, success!

....I hung out with Eric.  I mean, now that we have Evie we spend considerably more time home, but it doesn't mean it's actually together.  This was like lets-go-for-a-walk together time.  So needed.


 I have next week off from work, a little calm-before-the-storm action, so hopefully we'll be seeing more of each other then.