Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Birth Story... Sort of...

A hearty welcome to the newest member of the Mann family, Reece.  As a new family member, I thought it might be appropriate to share her (sort of) birth story.

It all began two weeks ago, when I was talking to my dad on a Sunday night about how I wanted to get half a dozen eggs in an incubator and hatch some baby chicks for my kiddos.  My siblings and I hatched chicks for our science fair projects in elementary school and it was a lot of fun.  (It was also pretty convenient because we just passed down the same poster board and it didn't take very much effort, not to mention it was a HUGE hit at the fair.)  So I share my plan to get some fuzzy little chick-a-dees with my dad and ask if he could help me get a little coop ready in the next couple months so we can have farm fresh eggs sometime next fall. 

Fast forward 24 hours.  When I get home from work Monday night, Dad shows up on my doorstep telling TC, "Hey come over.  I got you something."   And there is Miss Reece, a freaking full-grown hen in an office paper box with holes punched in the lid.  Dad goes on to tell me that he was talking to some guys at work and told them I wanted to get some chickens, and one of them went home on his lunch break and brought back one for me.  Reece sat next to his desk the rest of the day, until she started making a lot of noise and he eventually had to take her out to his car. 

So there I was with no coop, no food and ONE full-grown chicken.  Not exactly how I imagined this scenario go down in my head, but hey, the end result is (sort of) the same, right?  So we got a make-shift pen together and I ran to Cal-Ranch for some feed. 

When she laid her first egg the next day the kids were so excited.  Matt?  Not so much. 

Matt:  What are we going to do with the eggs?
Me:  Uh... Eat them.
Matt:  Are you serious?
Me: Yeah. 
Matt:  Gross.

Reece is what we call a "free range chicken" AKA a chicken who is generally running amok loose around the yard. "Free-range" can sometimes lead to less than ideal situations.  For example, this weekend TC and I were eating chicken nuggets on the patio while Reece ran around in the yard.  I went inside to get a drink, and came back out to find TC generously sharing his nuggets with Reece.  I'm pretty sure that is considered cannibalism.... and I have some serious internal conflict about it.  She also really likes grapes and she stole a cupcake right out of TC's little hands last night so I'm pretty sure she likes those too.

My husband thinks I'm half insane.  But he is the one who is crazy - I think Miss Reece is egg-cellent! (See what I did there???) 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Halloween 2012

Happy Haunting!  Here are a few pics of the babies in their Halloween costumes this year.  TC was Spiderman, and miss Hazel was a Peacock.  I made her costume this year, and I loved the way it turned out (well, mostly because she is adorbs).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Real-Life Hunger Games

Oh, you thought I was referencing the popular book series turned Hollywood blockbuster?  Negative.  I'm talking about the real-life Hunger Games aka Weight Watchers.  Waaaaaayyy more scary than kids being forced to fight to the death in my opinion. 

I love both of my kiddos.  Love them to the moon and back.  But do I love the way motherhood looks under my clothes?  Not so much.  (Relax, no pics.)  When I had Hazel in September, I asked my doctor if there was any way that he could do a quick tummy-tuck when he was finishing up the C-Section.  I was totally serious.  I guess he didn't realize I was totally serious because he ignored my request and left me to deal with the aftermath on my own.  Thanks for nothing, doc.

Working out has never been a problem.  I actually really enjoy it.  But with a full-time job and two babies under three, I don't have a ton of time to spend at the gym anymore.  Not an excuse, just reality.  Being limited on time for activity, I decided to focus on dieting to get the extra weight off.  After a few months of resistance I finally caved and signed up for Weight Watchers (which from now on will be referred to as WW pronounced "dub-dub").

Here is something I really struggle with:  I hate diets and I love food.  Just like the kiddos, I love it to the moon and back.  Actually, when TC is having one of his "emotional" days, I just might trade him in for a rich piece of cheesecake.  Don't judge me.  You haven't seen his melt-downs.

At first progress with WW went really slowly.  It may or may not have been a result of me cheating a lot... I really can't say for sure.  When I would cheat once, I would end up "crammin' for the famine" and would start again "tomorrow".  It didn't really work out so well. 

Last year, my dad lost a bunch of weight (like 60-something pounds) and has kept it off.  Little by little, he started walking then running every night after work.  This spring he started running in 5K races... like running the whole thing.  My 57-year-old dad.  Running in races.  We did the Susan G. Komen "Walk for the Cure" last month and he convinced me to run with him.  I ended up running out of oxygen somewhere in the middle and had to walk part of the way to regroup, but as I watched my dad run all the way to the finish line, I realized that even though my dad is almost 30 years older than I am, he is a whole lot healthier than I am.

So I decided to cut the bullshit.  No more cheating, no more soda, no more sweets.  I started P90X this week (which is a whole new level of hell that I won't get into right now) and it's working!  A while back I bought a pair of jeans that were too small because I found them for next to nothing on eBay (I know, I have a disorder) and I couldn't get them up.  Last week I put them on and not only could I fit them over my booty, they buttoned! Woot, woot!  I have lost 52 pounds since having the babe and I weigh less than the day Matt and I got married.  I wont lie, I still have a long way to go, and I still haven't reached the weight that is listed on my driver's license, but at least we're going in the right direction right?

It has been hard.  Whoever said "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" is full of shit.  Chocolate tastes better.  Waaaaayyyyy better.  But new jeans aren't so bad either...                  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Finances... Boring....

I haven't always been greatwith money.  Acutally, saying I have never been great with money would probably be a more correct statement.  Every month, by the end of the month I look through my bank statements looking for some accounting mistake that will explain who has been robbing me blind from my account.  I'm pretty sure at this point, I own half the stock in Starbucks and Matt has been single handedly keeping the vending machines at his work in the black.  Is this some kind of sick joke?  Am I on Punked?  Alright Ashton, you can come out now...  Is the real reason we never seem to have any money because we blow it all on [delicious, creamy, caramel-swirreled] lattes and potato chips?  Outrageous.  

Confession:  I also have an addiction interest in online shopping - acutally it's more like an addiction to getting good deals online and have them conveniently shipped to my house where they are waiting on the porch when I get home in little brown packages.  I looove me some good deals.  I can only imagine this is what drugs feel like.  Groupon, Woot, Zulily, Amazon and Living Social are like crack to me.  So what if I bought a digital food scale or an ant farm for TC that are still in their boxes... They were 70 percent off people!  Who can pass up a deal like that???

So, as one of my many New Year's Reolutions - I am getting control of my finances.  (Confession #2:  I did not really want to make this a resolution this year - but I was pretty much forced into it by Matt.)  So I signed us up for Dave Ramsey's 13-week Financial Peace University.  This class is awesome.  The only regret I have is I didn't take it 10 years ago when I didn't have a rent payment or $800 a month in daycare expenses.  But you gotta start somewhere right?

So we got our tax return (that I had planned on using for vacations) and paid off all of our debt.  All of it.  I'm talking the I-don't-owe-anyone-anything kind of all of it.  I admit, it sucks that we didn't get to do anything fun with it, but it does feel good to not have to worry about 3 of our monthly bills ever again.

This week we have been working on a budget.  I hate this "b-word" worse than the real "b-word".  So I  did a little planning for March and so far I have done a pretty good job sticking to it.  I am aware it has only been 6 days into the month, but so far I haven't bought anything from my "crack" sites.  GO ME!  I can honestly say this is the longest stretch in my life that I can remember trying to be really careful with money.  Six days... Sad huh?  Now hopefully I can keep it up and watch my little stack of money grow!   

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Happy Haunting!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  In college, I used it as an excuse to dress up as a skanky (insert anything here) by stuffing tube socks in my bra to create awesome cleavage (sorry Mom) and get away with it.  Now, I use it as an excuse to dress my kids up as (insert anything here) and take them house-to-house to get lots of free candy... and get away with it.

This year, we dressed TC up as a Minion off of "Despicable Me".  I thought it was hi-larious. 

Matt said the gloves really "tied the whole thing together".  Good thing, because if they didn't he might just look like a weird kid with goggles.  Isn't he adorable?

Here's a real treat from the family Halloween party.  Guess who Brody dressed up as??  Twinners = Winners.  Thanks for the laugh, Brody!

I wanted to take them trick-or-treating this year (reason why mentioned above) but neither one of my babies were cooperating.  Lamest. Kids. Ever.  You will also notice TC is no longer dressed as a Minion, but an elephant.  Last minute, he changed his mind and wanted to be Dumbo (he has been obsessed lately).  Luckily he doesn't eat very much and his costume from last year still fit perfectly.


Here is a little family photo - TC is a little pissed off because I made him wake up to trick-or-treat.  Sorry buddy, but I'm not going to get both you and miss Hazel all dressed up looking cute enough to eat and drive accross town for nothing - I'm pretty sure you'll thank me later.