I have a fish instead of a dog.

A couple of summers ago I wanted a chocolate lab so badly. I was going to name it Guinness Bailey (Irish Car Bomb, anyone?) and put cute green collars on it and spend all my extra money on it.

Instead, I got a beta fish. He's blue and green and his name is Guinness Bailey (Guinny for short).
I got pregnant three months later. I'm so glad I chose the fish. A baby and a puppy? No, thanks.
One time I dropped him on the counter when I was changing his water and didn't want to touch him so I used an envelope to pick him up and put him back in his bowl. I was shrieking the entire time and my roommate never came out of his room to see if I was okay. He said, “I thought if you were really hurt you would call my name.” Men. Anyway, this all happened on March 16th. I call that a St. Patty's Day miracle! It happened well over 20 months ago and he's still swimming along.

Uncle Michael. You don't want him around in a fish emergency.

I made a deal with Clay (who cares if he's only 15 months and doesn't understand) that we could get a puppy when he's potty trained. He'll probably want to name it something stupid like Elmo. Sigh. I don't really care though. I have puppy fever.

 

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Five

I'm changing Fridays up a little bit around these parts. I hope you enjoy!

Five things I loved this week:

1. As I've mention ten bazillion times, I'm making ALL of my Christmas presents this year except for two. I started last Friday. So, hey caffeine and late nights! It has been fun though- searching for the right color and pattern or craft for each person! The pattern above is from Aesthetic Nest . I altered the pattern a little bit because my mom wanted a “regular scarf” versus a cowl.

2. I was inspired by Little Bit Funky to take the half finished hoop I had and turn it into a cardholder. Now I just need some Christmas cards…hint hint. Haha.

3. Fun secret Santa packages are the best! Especially when they include a gift for Clay!

4. Clay had his 15 month checkup on Wednesday and the doctor proclaimed it the best checkup Clay had ever had! No fluid in his ears, no wheezing, weight staying up and consistent. Happy mama right here.

5. I've already shared this but it just makes me so happy I had to share again! I might be in love with our Christmas tree this year.

Five posts I liked this week:

I Should Have Been an Electrician by Karly Kim (because this is something I would do…)

Three Gifts and Why I Love It by Jeannette at Life Rearranged (implementing this idea! Clay has way too much stuff!)

Christmas Sugar Cutouts by Desiree at Macke Monologues (I've been searching for a great sugar cookie recipe forever!)

Readers vs Followers by Kelli at She Crab Soup (something every blogger should think about!)

Confession: I Did Not Enjoy My Wedding by Kate at The Florkens (if I ever get married, this is why I would consider eloping)

What I wrote about this week:

Phew. (a Thanksgiving weekend recap)

5 things to love about winter (my attempt at not being so bah humbug)

The Story of Us (the first part of the story of our unconventional life)

 

What was your favorite post that you read this week?

Linking up with H54F, InstaFriday, and Five on Friday!

 

The Story of Us

I've started this post ten bazillion times in my head and finally I just set an alarm for thirty minutes and made myself start. I figured thirty minutes is enough time to get started but not so long that I get scared.

Why hesitant?

Because this is the story of Clay Lucas.

You see, I've been wanting to share the rest of our story for awhile now but I wasn't sure how much I wanted to share and if I would want Clay to read all of the details when he got older and let's be honest, some of you will probably judge me.

But I've decided to share.

Why?

Because Clay is starting a new daycare and I was filling out forms when I came to this question:

Uhh… We aren't together. We aren't separated. We aren't divorced. I guess that leaves other, but what do I put there? Friends raising a baby? There certainly isn't enough room for the whole story.

2011

Without getting into the dirty details, Mike and I saw each other a lot this year. In November we had a “visit.” (Oh, gosh. Judge me for writing “visit.”) Anyway, a couple of weeks later my other visitor was late so off I go to the grocery store. I guess I should just stop and say that I just had a feeling I was pregnant from a couple of days after so I was watching that calendar like a hawk. Anyway, I take the test, go back in and see only one line.

Woohoo!

But wait, I look closer…is the second line supposed to be a very very very faint line.

Umm, no, Jessica, it's not.

So I immediately text my three closest friends at the time (two of which are guys) and from that moment I knew I would never be alone in this pregnancy. Rhonda, Brian, and Troy were just three of the friends who stood by my side and are now an Aunt and Uncles to Clay (and Brian is Clay's godfather).

This is the part where I have to stop and majorly brag on all of my friends. Especially Amy and Liz. Amy was there from my first doctor's appointment to the delivery room and Liz walked with me, we started our blogs together, and she helped me organize, go tour daycares, and throw an Olympic party (very important)!

So there I was. 26 and pregnant. Living in a city with no family. Not even sure what Mike would say, let alone how involved he would be.

So I told Mike. The day after his birthday. Happy birthday! Right… Anyway, he was shocked to say the least.

I knew I would keep this baby and raise it. I've wanted nothing more than to be a mother someday since I was little. You might think I'm crazy, but I think that's what God put me on this earth to do. Yeah, I have a job, but my career is being a mother.

Okay, I got sidetracked. Like I was saying, I knew this baby would be mine. I knew it would be hard but I was going to do it. At this point I had no clue what Mike's involvement would be and to be honest, I don't think he knew. We weren't together and we weren't going to try to force something that just wasn't there. So while I was scared out of my mind at this point, I was also excited. I was going to have a baby!!

2012

Now came the time to tell everyone. Friends were the easiest to tell. My boss was a little harder to tell but she's been completely supportive since day one so I don't know why I worried. Then came the hard part. Telling my family.

I had to tell my mom first. How did I tell my mom, you ask? I wrote her a letter. Yes, a letter. You see, I was raised in a Southern Baptist church. Being pregnant and unmarried is bad. So I wrote my mom a letter, because I'm a wuss. My mom's reaction? She was upset because I would be raising her grandbaby in another state, four hours away.

Obviously there was some shock but I only ever heard one negative comment from a crazy aunt and who really cares what she thinks anyway??

At that point in my pregnancy, I was assuming that I was going to be raising Clay by myself (with so much love and support from family and friends!) and while Mike was supportive of my decision, I don't think he knew if he wanted to have any involvement at all.

I want to say here that I don't blame Mike for not knowing. He was 25 and single and had just found out he was going to be a father.

I'll pause the story here to save you from a lonnnnnnng post.

5 things to love about winter.

My feelings about winter can pretty much be summed up by saying this:

Cold toilet seats. Getting out of the shower. Dry hands that crack and bleed. Wet, cold snow.

I hate it all.

In an attempt to be a little less bah humbug about winter, I bring you

Maybe I'm a little obsessed with the Rhonna Designs app. And yes, I know the words are completely off center.

1. Blankets. Everywhere. I do love a good blanket and in the winter I get to use them alllll the time.
 
2. Hot tea and coffee. All day long. Needing to warm up is the perfect excuse for my fourth cup of tea.
 
3. The holidays. Namely Christmas. I get to go all out decorating for Christmas and no one can say anything like they do when I put out my St. Patty's day wreath. Plus, I kind of love seeing people open the gifts I get them.
 
4. Slippers, sweats, and sweets. The three S's. The first two happen quite a bit during the winter and because of that, I don't feel so bad when A LOT of the last one happens.
 
5. Football. Lots and lots of football. Sadly, it will leave us at the beginning of February and we'll be forced to spend the rest of the winter alone. Sigh. Until then, Clay and I have a nice Sunday routine of watching football and napping on the couch.
 
And that is all. As soon as Christmas is over, spring better get it's behind back here. STAT.
 
Are you a lover of winter? If so, can you explain the appeal to me?

Special thanks to Kelli from She Crab Soup for inspiring today's post.

 

Phew.

Well, we made it through another trip to Tennesseee (I make that sound like it's difficult to visit my family, but have you traveled with a toddler?).

Anyway, I'm fortunate enough that we don't have to split Thanksgivings between Charlotte and Tennessee, so we loaded up and hit the road early Thursday morning with just enough time to change before my family ate at one. We get to my mom' sat 12:30. She informs us everyone already started eating.

What? If you tell me you're eating at one, then eat at one!

In my family's defense, we do a very laid back Thanksgiving. My cousin wore basketball shorts so he could eat more…

But still…

Oh, and did I mention that Clay was kind enough to pass along his fever virus? So in addition to all the madness, I felt like straight up poo.

Never fear though! I got to spend the rest of the day watching football, eating, and decorating my grandparents' house for Christmas (our yearly tradition).

Friday and Saturday were a big blur of shopping, eating, loving, sleeping in (thanks, mom!), and finally starting to make Christmas presents (remember, I'm making all of them except two).

Then yesterday we had to come home. Coming home is always a little bittersweet. I'm sad to leave my family but I love being in my own home, sleeping in my own bed.

Then this happened:

I shared this on Instagram last night, but for those of you who are lame (jk.sorta) and don't follow me on IG, I started a new tradition with our Christmas tree. In years past, I've had very girly, very coordinated Christmas tree decorations but after last year, I just decided that wasn't going to cut it since I have a little man in the house now. The new rule for our Christmas tree is that the ornaments have to be handmade or have to be ones that were given to us. Then every year I can share with Clay all the memories our tree holds!

Yes, I made a paper chain for my tree. My mom had some scrapbook paper in the perfect Christmas colors. I'm in love.

Off I go to fill my ears with the beautiful Christmas music from NSYNC.

Try not to be too jealous.

 

15 months

Yikes! I just realized that I forgot to do a 14 month update on Clay so we will just skip ahead to 15 months which is this Thursday.

I know I've said this before and I am a little biased, but Clay is an exceptionally happy and social kid (most of the time). Like sometimes I'm confused because Mike and I definitely aren't extremely happy (read: peppy) or social people… And some how I gave birth to a morning person. Gasp. Haha.

Since Clay's last update we have an official diagnosis of toddler asthma and if things don't improve in two months the doctor wants to run tests, including one for cystic fibrosis. For now I'm just going to pray like crazy that it is just toddler asthma.

We've also found Clay a new daycare. We went for a visit last Friday and fell in love! As of now he'll be starting there after Christmas break. Yayyyyy!

Currently…

Clay's favorite toys are… His rocket ship that he pushes around instead of riding, his huge stuffed dog Oppie, and the big Legos.

Clay's favorite foods are bananas and pasta. The kid eats everything though.

Clay's clothing size is… 12-18 months but he's wearing a few 24 months.

Clay's newest “tricks” are barking, walking, trying to run, playing peekaboo, testing my patience (haha, but really), giving high fives, and opening doors to closets.

Clay weight and height are: 25ish and 31ish? Does that sound right? Haha. We go for a checkup next week.

Clay's vocabulary consists of: everything. He basically tries to repeat everything you say. The most common things out of his mouth are: all done, what's that, outside, and dada (of course).

Clay loves music and dancing, talking on the phone, facetiming, watching football, reading, giving hugs and kisses, being in public, smiling, and getting into mischief.

Linking up with Time for Mom and Baby Talk.

 

Hooray for Monday and a giveaway!

Okay, maybe not really hooray for Monday, but this is a three day work week for me. And by three day work week I mean two half days and a full day so I think that qualifies for a hooray for Monday!

This weekend was just what we needed before the rush of the holidays starts. Well, minus the fever that Clay had half of the weekend. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

Anywho, on Saturday Liz came over for a girls' morning (because we're too lame to stay up late) and I finally finished sorting through Clay's old clothes. Then we ran errands to my two favorite stores: Target and Michael's. We made so many laps around Target that I'm surprised baby Carter didn't decide to join the world on Saturday. Plus I found one last case of the Blue Moon Harvest variety pack. Best trip ever? Yes. Yes, it was.

Then Saturday afternoon the fever hit. The 102 degree baby shivering fever. Things were not pretty. We had to call in reinforcements (a.k.a. Dada), but we made it!

Then on Sunday we went to Target and Michael's again. Because who am I to deny Clay a trip to his favorite store?? Haha…

After that it was time for football and making Thanksgiving treats.

And more football. Clay was pretty excited that the Cowboys won because that meant his teams were 3-0 for the day.

Then even more football and Christmas crafting.

Sadly, our night ended with a fever and Peyton losing. It's okay Peyton, I still love you!!

Gosh, we don't like football around here or anything…

 

Now I have a treat for you: a chance to win $40 in Paypal cash! Woohoo!

All you have to do is follow me and these other great ladies (which you should be doing anyway, right?).

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Caffeine may or may not have been involved in the writing of this post.