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This past week Mark had a job interview in Illinois of all places.  Now that I stay at home full-time this meant “no way am I staying home for 3 days by myself with Christopher!”  I might have said something like that.  So, we decided to drive the 10 hours to Illinois with Christopher in tow and stay in a super cheap hotel.  Here are some things I learned on this trip…

1.  Child-proof pill bottles make excellent toys in hour 8 of the trip when your child has gone through his entire bag of toys.

2.  The duffel bag containing said toys makes a great toy in hour 9.

3.  Screaming takes on a whole new level of annoying in hour 9.5

4.  Make sure you hide the phone in the hotel room or your child will try to call Japan.

5.  Hotels are actually pretty well child-proofed, except for the phone thing.

6.  Make sure your hotel has a pack-n-play for your toddler to sleep in, we called ahead.  They will give you a sheet for it as well but, I prefer to bring my own.

7.  Keep your childs shoes on, and maybe your own, in the hotel room because his socks turning brown from the floor will really gross you out.

8.  Make sure to bring your night light from home and any other bed time things, it makes it way easier for your child to sleep.

9.  Go to sleep the same time as your child unless you want them to scream and yell for an hour until you finally do go to sleep.

Overall, Christopher was really well-behaved.  The main problem we ran into was the we had to be in the car for an excessive amount of time over a 3 day span.  We tried to make sure every time we stopped to let him run around for a few minutes just to let off some steam and that seemed to help.

As far as the job interview, it went really well and we’re waiting on some details to be worked out before we hear more.


As Big As A Pregnant Cow!!!

Really?!?!?!?  For those who know the SNL skit . . . here is the 2 by 2 version. 

I was at Marshalls on Wednesday looking for some new towels for our master bathroom.  An old woman (around 70) approached me and commented on how adorable my little girl looked . . . like any mother, I agreed whole heartedly! 

She then proceeded to turn and look at me and ask, “When are you due . . . like yesterday?”  REALLY?!?!? 

I proceed to tell her that I am due in August.  She says, “That is gonna be one BIG baby!”  REALLY?!?!? 

I laugh it off, but inside I am fuming!  Who says that to a pregnant woman?  Don’t people (especially other women) know that I already feel as big as a cow and that making comments does not help?  REALLY?!?!? 

Afterwards, I tell my husband what happened and he proceeds to tell me that I am not as big as a cow and not to worry about the crazy old lady.  Then he took me out on an impromptu date.  Leave it to that hubbie of mine to make me feel all better. 

But REALLY?!?!?  What was the worst thing someone said to you while pregnant?

-Amanda- High Fire Mommy

Just a quick thought . . . why am I the only person in this house who knows where anything is?

Take yesterday afternoon, I am finally getting around to brushing my teeth and putting on a little bit of makeup.  My little Ivy is sitting in my lap carefully applying powder to her little face with mommy’s powder brush.  She is a girlie girl.  She signs to me that she wants juice, so I call to my husband and ask him to bring us her juice cup.

He calls back in response, okay.  Not one second later, he asks, “Where is it?”  I say in the living room.  He ask, “Where in the living room?”  At this point, I am dragging Ivy out of my lap, getting my very pregnant body up off the floor, and waddling into the living room.  Of course, the juice cup is on the side table staring at my husband.  Grrr.

The phrase “Where is it?” is a constant in our house . . . it is probably use a dozen times a day.  Is my husband blind or am I the only one who knows where anything is in this house?

Love lots,

Amanda- High Fire Mommy

Ivy hanging out in her crib! Wallpaper mural inspiration in the background.

When I selected the theme for my little girl’s nursery, I learned a few things along the way that saved us money in the long run: 

#1:  Choose something that will last through the toddler years or perhaps even longer. 

When considering a theme, look for something that can be easily adjusted as your little one grows up . . . for example, sports are great for a little boy, but leave out the teddy bears with baseball caps wall border.  You can always add plush animals around the room when your boy is little and replace them with sports gear and memorabilia as he grows up.  For a little girl, nothing is sweeter than flowers, but choose a flower that either has a modern graphic edge or has a variety of mature colors besides the typical baby, bubble gum pink. 

#2:  Stay away from the pre packaged “Baby Bed-In-A-Bag.” 

You know the wall at the baby superstore that is lined with every adorable bedding set known to man . . . each costing at least $100.  Stay away!  First of all, it is suggested by the American Association of Pediatrics that an infant not sleep with a loose blanket, sheet, or bumper pad.  Secondly, the baby superstore ups the prices because they have the market cornered.  Instead, spend your money on color coordinated sheets, a crib skirt (buy your own fabric to make your own), and matching accessories.  Most people just end up hanging the expensive quilt/bedspread on the wall as a decoration rather than putting it to use. 

#3:  Do pick and choose!  

Love the idea of ballerinas!  Don’t buy every ballerina that you can find!  Instead, choose two or three ballerina accents that successfully pull off your theme without going overboard.  These are pieces that can easily be switched out for your little ones latest favs in the future. 

#4:  Invest in furniture that can be utilized for quite awhile. 

We all know that a three-in-one crib is great for toddler beds and the future big girl or big boy bed, but consider the finish as well.  Although the white crib with handpainted roses and vines might be adorable, is that really going to be useful when your little one is a tween? 

As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I immediately started decorating the nursery in my head.  Should I do pink, should I do blue?  But when we decided to wait on finding out the sex, decisions became a lot more difficult!  Not wanting to do the typical green and yellow nursery, I set out to find something different.  I considered farm, alphabet, and even sesame street as my little girl seems to be so fond of it, but in the end, I selected the following. 

Fabler pattern from IKEA

This is a pattern from IKEA.  The theme is called Fabler and it consists mainly of whimsical animals riding in different types of fantasy transportation.  Hence, the elephant in a teacup and the giraffe in a strawberry.  I was drawn to the colors and the whimsical qualities of the characters.  The Fabler theme also comes with a children’s book that teaches home is where you are loved . . . fitting for a new baby.  Of course, the bedding, sheets, stuffed animals, storage boxs, etc are all available through IKEA, but so far, I have only decided to utilize the curtains.  More ideas and DIY projects to follow to help incorporate the theme. 

Below are the paint samples that I have been considering.  We are installing a chair rail (which I will write a how to about later), so I needed a color for the top and a color for the bottom.  I finally selected the butter and turquoise combination feeling that it was the most gender neutral and worked best with the light in the room.  

Possible color selections for nursery.

When considering paint choices, hang up the options plus any type of inspiration bedding or fabric in the actual room.  Look at them for a few days and even ask family and friends to point out their favorites.  Never choose a color that will overpower the room or the theme . . . always choose one that is versatile and enhances your theme. 

One of my favorite tools at the local DIY store is the pamplet containing every paint chip known to man!!!  I love to pic these up and take them home, because most of the time, they have colors that I never noticed at the store. 

Paint chip sampler.

For the nursery and pretty much every other room in our home, we utilize Freshaire Choice paint carried at Home Depot (  It is VOC free in the paint and in the colorant.  It has no paint odor and much better to breath.  The typical paint takes up to a year for the VOCs to disperse.  The paint costs about $30 per gallon which is about $8 more than most, but we think the benefits are far more important than the savings. 

So, I am off and painting (mostly working late at night, yikes!) . . . on coat number 2 of the butter color and all seems to be going well!  Will post the pics of the completed painting this weekend. 

Keep on the lookout for the next part of Nursery on A Budget Series:  Chair Rail. 

Love lots, 

Amanda- High Fire Mommy

I’ve been MIA for the last week because I’ve been visiting my mom and sharing in a huge moment in my little brother’s life. 

My brother and I are 2.5 years apart and definitely haven’t always gotten along.  When we were little we used to tease each other mercilessly and there were several knock-down drag-out fights.  But,  when Little Brother got to the point where he was taller than me, I thought it was probably a better idea to stop the fights! 

Our father was sick for most of our lives and we went through a lot of stuff that kids shouldn’t have to ever experience.  I believe these experiences brought us closer as brother and sister.  When I left for college, Little Brother was still a sophomore in high school and I missed out on a lot with him.  When he decided to go to the same college I was attending, I thought it was super cool.  I tried to get him in with my group of friends and invited him to the same parties.  But, he had other plans.  He made his own friends, he made better choices than I did and ultimately, was way more awesome than I was at going to college. 

I couldn’t have been more proud when Little Brother was accepted into one of the best Optometry schools in the nation 4 years ago.  I was even more proud to find out he was voted by his colleagues as Most Outstanding Colleague and gave the student speech yesterday at his graduation.  Sure, the day was ugly, it rained and Houston is a pretty crappy place anyway but, it was Little Brother’s day.  And I know our Dad was looking down and swelling with pride just as I was. 

I can’t believe Little Brother is all grown up, a doctor with a wife and soon a house.  It seems like just yesterday we were running around being silly kids. 

Congratulations John!  I know you’re going to be an awesome doctor!

Well, Baby #2 is on the way and should be making his or her appearance in mid-August.  Hot Texas summer plus pregnancy does not equal relaxation!  But I do have something fun to work on in the mean time . . . the baby’s nursery!!!

Since we did not find out the sex of the baby, we will be creating a gender neutral nursery.  My husband and I are always interested in saving money and hope to come up with some great cost-effective ideas for this little one’s room.

Today, I got Ivy up for an unexpected morning nap and we dove into the guest room (aka: soon-to-be nursery).  Our current goal:  Remove all furniture and unwanted items from room.  After I had pulled a ton of stuff out of the closet and drawers, only then did I realize that I meant to take a picture.  Pictures below and please know that this room is never that messy!!!

What can you expect to read about over the next few weeks?

*  Selecting furniture on a budget.

*  Gender neutral themes.

*  Choosing a paint color to match your theme.

*  Installation of chair rail.

*  Installation of cost-effective closet organization.

*  How to create unique window treatments.

*  The little touches that make you feel at home!

Hope you enjoy the series and please leave any questions that you might have!!!

-Love lots,

Amanda – High Fire Mommy

Today like so many moms across the country, I woke up to my little Ivy talking and laughing in her crib.  I smiled . . .

We stayed at my in-laws house the night before in order to set up and take down a wedding in the area.  Ivy was a gem yesterday and the wedding went off without a hitch.  Great start to the weekend.  We spent the evening with good friends and watched them smile and giggle with our little girl.  We got to bed late after taking down the wedding . . . back to the smile.

I stretched in bed and turned to my hubbie to tell him that Ivy was awake.  He got out of bed and brought her back to say good morning.  She flopped herself across the pillows and prepared to have a grand old time, but Daddy swept her of into the kitchen for breakfast, while I snuggled back into bed for a little while longer.

My one request for Mother’s Day . . . donuts!  What can I say, I’m pregnant and I want donuts.  Geoff and my father-in-law picked up kolaches, glazed, and blueberry donuts, my favs!  I enjoyed the morning stuffing myself with yummy goodness and watching a little bit of Avatar.

Ivy gave me a wonderful card about how she had to look in the “awesome mom section” to find my card!  LOL!  Geoff surprised me with an Expectant Mom Package at a local, well known spa and salon.  It includes an hour prenatal massage, shampoo and style, as well as a makeup session with the makeup artist on staff.  I can’t wait!!!

We had lunch with our in-laws and then headed back home.  My mother and sister came over later that evening for dinner and to spend some time with Ivy.  I included a photo of the tablescape that I put together for the dinner . . . love the pink and green!

Pink and Green tablescape for Mother's Day!Detail of pink aqua beads

The day was relaxed and full of family . . . what more can a mom ask for!?!?!  Besides donuts.  Nothing eventful, but still so many memories.  So as I prepare for bed, I will complete the assignment for the last day of Mother’s Day Mania.  Writing a letter to my little Ivy.

Dear Ivy,

Today is my second Mother’s Day ever.  You are fast asleep in your crib tightly holding onto your pacifier and snuggled up to your Glow Worm.  Daddy and I smile at each other realizing we completed another day.

Today is a day that you laughed, cried, talked, walked, played, hugged, and smiled.

Today is a day that you taught us to love more, laugh more, relax more, and share more.

Today is another day that I got to hold you, soothe your cries, tickle you into fits of laughter, and tell you to be gentle with the puppies.

Tomorrow may be all of these things and more.

I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as I am going to love you tomorrow.

Sleep tight, Ivy.  And thank you for making Mother’s Day so special.

Love, Mommy

Ivy on Mother's Day 2010

Amanda- High Fire Mommy



Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there.  You are awesome!  It’s the last day of Mother’s Day Mania over at Mama M’s and today we’re writing a letter to our first born that gave us this awesome job.  I hope everyone has a great day!!

Dear Christopher,

You made a dramatic entrance and haven’t stopped since.  You are the light of my life and I can hardly remember what I did before you came along.  You make things interesting every day.  I love watching you discover new things and taking steps to your independence.  I also  love when you come running back for an extra hug or a hand to get down a step because you’re not quite ready yet.  Take your time.

This past year and half has flown by and I expect the next 17 will as well.  I want you to remember that Mommy and Daddy love you no matter what.  Although we would love you more if you chose to play the saxophone…no, it’s okay if you decide percussion is for you. 

You were a miracle baby and you have great things ahead of you.  I can’t wait to see what you do in your life.  I am already so proud of you.  And remember watch your step.

I love you,





It’s almost the end of Mother’s Day Mania over at Mama M’s and I’m visiting my own mom this year for Mother’s Day.  I missed out on 5 Question Friday and I’m a little late for Saturday’s What do you love about being a mom… but, it’s still night time so, I’m going to sneak it in 🙂  Just a note, yes it is 4:15 am while I’m writing this because my child has been awake since 2 and after playing with him for an hour and a half I’m trying to wait him out to go back to sleep.  And now… what I love about being a mom…


The look they give you when they first wake up and you come into the room to get them


The complete adoration in their eyes because they don’t know what imperfect people parents are yet

Smashed food in their hair

The look they give you when they learn something new

Bath time

Baby “dances”

When they fall asleep on you and everything just seems perfect

And on that note, I’m hoping Christopher falls asleep soon!  Happy almost Mother’s Day!