Thursday, April 30, 2015

Owning It!

Linking up for "Own It" via The New Mrs - basically you "own" your quirks, craziness, what-have-you :)

This should be fun! Anyway, here's what I'm "owning:"

Things I've always "owned"...

1. I hate hate hate birds. They freak me out big time and always have. I literally almost cried the other day while Eric and I were strolling Wells around a local pond. There were geese in the water that looked like they were coming our way up onto the shore...I just about lost it and made Eric get on the side closest to them. At the zoo, I cannot handle bird shows, and I most definitely do not do those "feed the birds" exhibits. Honestly, my heart is palpitating right now just thinking about it. Whew, next topic.

2. I have crazy, thick, huge hair. Like, I would have been the coolest girl around if I had grown up in the 80s. I get it from my mom (who did in fact grow up in the 80s and rocked that ginormous hair) and it is straight up out of control. Let's just say, heat is my friend - I have a heavy duty straightening iron and curling wand. If my hair is smoking, the job is getting done :) Ha!

I present to you this gem from about 6 years ago. Just a glimpse into how big my hair can get. And this is it with product. You do NOT want to see it without. Trust.

3. I cannot stand food/drink noises. I HATE smacking...the Lord's way of growing me in this area was apparently having me marry a noisy eater. I have to remind Eric at least once a week to not smack - it honestly has gotten so much better in the almost 8 years we've been together. I really do have to control myself, though, when it comes to listening to people eat and drink - no joke, if I am around a noisy eater/drinker, I have to tune it out or I will go insane.

The ONLY person who gets away with food-smacking in this house!

4. I LOVE politics. I listen to talk radio everyday in the car. I am a news-reader and watcher. My husband and I are both very politically-minded people. I am thinking of helping out locally when it comes to the campaign of my favorite 2016 presidential candidate. I get excited just thinking about it! #nerdalert

Things that I am "owning" lately:

1. I have turned into quite the late night snacker. Bowl of cereal? Scoop of ice cream? Bag of chips? Don't mind if I do!

2. I am a laundry failure. I pride myself in being domestic. However, laundry has always been the chore I hate the most, and lately I have been sooooooo bad at getting it done. Maybe it's the extra loads that come with having a baby in the house, maybe it's the busyness of having a baby in the house, or probably a combo of both. But man, we had a shamefully large pile of clothes to wash this weekend. I am happy to report that they are all washed and clean...but I have yet to fold and put mine away. Again, laundry.failure.


3. If Eric is not home, I have to fall asleep to a movie or show. Eric's new job puts him getting home late some nights of the week. I am a HUGE chicken, so, being the only adult in the house when going to sleep is a big scary deal to me. I have to fall asleep with something on the TV (well, laptop - we don't have a TV in our room).  

And there you have it!.

So what are your quirks & crazies??? Join in on the link-up and OWN IT!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What's Up Wednesday?

Joining in on the first What's Up Wednesday link-up with The Larson Lingo, Pinterest Told Me To, and Mix & Match Family!

What we're eating this week:
Monday's dinner cooked in the crockpot allllllll day (YUM!). I didn't necessarily follow a strict recipe; I just threw in a roast with carrots, potatoes, onions, chicken broth, ranch seasoning, and italian seasoning. Seriously, it was so yummy. Last night's dinner was a new recipe for us and was SO GOOD. Honestly, you need to make these Quinoa Black Bean Tacos right. this. second. I don't usually plan very far ahead for dinners, so who knows what's up for the rest of the week. :)

What I'm reminiscing about:
Family vacays. Maybe because summer is coming, maybe because Eric has longer (and weirder) hours with his new job. But I love spending time with our little family and look back fondly on all of our getaways no matter how big or small or long or short.

Disney vacay! 

What I'm loving:
I am LOVING all of the new things that Wells is learning. He is 10.5 months old and seriously seems to be learning new things every single day. He has recently added brushing his hair (what little he has, that is) to his ever-growing bag of tricks.

What we've been up to:
April flew by! We visited family in North Carolina for Easter, attended a beautiful wedding, and went to a small town local parade (a yearly tradition for my family). I cannot believe it will be May in 2 days.

Having fun at the NC Zoo. 

What I'm dreading:
Shopping for a bathing suit. I feel simultaneously good and bad going into the season body-wise. Breastfeeding has been my friend - I am about 15-20 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight, which is great! But my new mommy body, though smaller, is more flabby and less toned for sure. I love picking out bathing suits but trying them on is no fun with all that florescent lighting and three-way mirrors - seriously, can we stop with that already??

What I'm working on:
I have been slaving away at making a certain little guy's birthday invitations. I would like to say I am in the home stretch, but that would be a lie. Ha!

What I'm excited about:
Planning Wells' birthday celebration. It is going to be a Fiesta-themed 1st birthday party! Shout out to the Mexican side of my family :)

What I'm watching/reading:
Gosh, I feel like I have really dropped the ball when it comes to reading. I LOVE to read but I am so bad at picking out books. Any recommendations? My interests are kind of widespread - I love chick lit (ie: anything by Sophie Kinsella), biographies, parenting books, etc. And does anyone have a devotional book that they really love? I am on the hunt for a new one. As far as watching TV goes, we have a few shows that we watch (or at least catch up on episodes online): The Middle, The Goldbergs, Modern Family, and basically the Wednesday night line-up on ABC. Apparently, Wednesday nights have got it going on!

Beverly Goldberg! Love her!

What I'm listening to:
I am a big Pandora listener. My top stations: Whitney Houston, Boyce Avenue, and Disney (don't hate).

What I'm wearing:
As I said above, I have lost quite a few pounds over the past number of months...which means that none of my pants really fit anyomore. I think I'd be more excited if I had money just sitting around waiting to be spent on a new wardrobe. But sadly, that is not the case! I have purchased (or received as birthday gifts) a few new bottoms that fit and that I love...these shorts and these pants from Banana Republic and these pants & jeans from Belk.

What I'm doing this weekend:
On Saturday I will be getting my little sister ready for her school's Spring Formal. I'll be doing her hair & makeup and taking pictures of her and her date. No way is my sister old enough to be going to a dance. Tears may be shed.

What I'm looking forward to next month:
Summer break! Woo hoo! I am a communications assistant at a private school, and school lets out on May 22nd. Also, our neighborhood pool opens in May! I am really excited to take Wells on regular trips to the pool. While I am still on the lookout for a new bathing suit, Wells somehow already has 3 or 4 swim trunks. What in the world?

What else is new:
We have a huge unfinished room in the bottom level of our house, and we are {hopefully} going to start getting underway on remodeling soon. I have already started a Pinterest board (obvs) - and we are thinking that we will be able to transform the space into another bedroom, bathroom, great room, and storage room. Lots (and lots and lots) of work ahead, but I am so pumped!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What's in a Name?

Doing my first ever link-up today! Joining Andrea at Momfessionals for "What's in a Name?"

I have always always always been obsessed with baby names. Like most little girls, I had a lineup of name choices for my future child when I was still a child myself! I thought probably way too hard about naming the sack of flour child that we had to care for in HomeEc - shout out to little Molly :) 

So, fast-forward from flour-baby Molly in 9th grade to real life baby on the way 10 years later! Once we found out that the little bambino was a boy, Eric and I immediately had a name ready: Wells Benjamin.   

I had first heard the name Wells about a year or so before I got pregnant.. While channel-surfing, I stopped on a show called Pregnant in Heels starring maternity clothing designer Rosie Pope. Her son's name is Wellington which is so stinkin' cute for a little British boy. But what really caught my attention was her nickname for him: Wells. I tucked that name away in my brain and never forgot it. When I found out we were expecting, that name popped into my mind. I shared it with Eric who really like it as well. We like names that are unique and original (without being cray-cray), and I think we chose well on that front since we don't know any other babies named Wells. I also have a thing for last names as first names, apparently, as almost all of my top choices for baby names are last names. We do sometimes have issues at the pharmacy - "yes, that's Wells Hankin...Hankin comma Wells," but it's all good :) We chose Benjamin as the middle name because that is Eric's middle name. I love that he is named after his daddy.

We kept Wells' first name a secret until he was born (Wells' birth story here). I think that we will continue to do that with future babies, too. Of course we have to let the initials out of the bag for monogramming purposes, though! :)

We love our little Wells Benjamin and cannot imagine him with another name!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wells is TEN Months!

We are in the double digits in months! Whaaaaat? Here you go - the ten month stats are below.

Weighs: Wells is still in the 21 lb range. He has hovered around this weight for about a month or two now.

Sleeps: This child has absolutely no regularity when it comes to sleeping at night! The minute he goes a few nights (sometimes even a couple of weeks) waking up only once, he changes it up. I am beginning to wonder a) if he will ever have a normal, set sleeping schedule, and 2) if he will ever sleep through the night (it's only happened like three times...ever)! That kid is lucky he's cute.

Eats: Still eating like a champ. We purchased this cup the other day, and it has quickly become our favorite cup ever! Wells has always loved drinking from a normal cup, but that is obviously not the neatest way for a baby to drink. Well, no messes anymore! He can drink from it like a normal cup (without a ton pouring into his mouth at one time), and it does not spill all over the place. It is soooo cute seeing him holding and drinking from it. And he LOVES using it. Highly recommend!

Wears: Mostly 9-month and 12-month clothes. Sometimes a 12-18 month or 18-month item thrown into the mix. He is still in a size 3 diaper.

Plays: Wells has learned to throw a ball now. It is so fun to just sit with him on the floor and throw back and forth (side note: they say it's too early to tell, but I think he will be right-handed...if he picks up the ball with his left hand, he will switch to his right to throw it). He also likes to play the "uh-oh" game...which is fun for him but not so much for us. Picking up the same toy over and over after he drops it and says "uh-oh" loses its cuteness after a few minutes. Ha! The little heifer still will not crawl...although he is acting like he might want to in the near future. But by that time, I am pretty sure he will be walking. He has taken a couple of steps on his own (when we let go of his hands). I don't think it will be long before he is toddling all over the place. He also really loves when I sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" - he gets a huge smile on his face every time I sing it to him, and I am pretty sure I saw him try to do the whole "up the water spout" hand motion the other day. Be still my mama heart. He still loves being outside, getting baths, and walking all over the house in his walker.

Milestones: And Wells' third word is..."Hey!" He will tell you "hey" and wave like a crazy person. Love it. He will also wave bye-bye but will not yet say it. Also, for about 2 months now, I have been asking him where his nose is and then pointing to my nose and then to his nose. I asked him the other day where his nose was and he pointed to my nose. Close enough!

Gosh, this little guy seriously gets more fun with each passing day. I cannot believe that in two months (well, less than that since I am yet again late posting this), I will have a one-year-old. Say it ain't so!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Cutest Baby Gate Ever!

Many months back, I approached our friend Jon with Pallet Rewind about making a baby gate for our house. You know, back when I assumed my son would be crawling if not walking by now. Silly me. The boy will not crawl to save his life, but I really do think he will be walking very soon - which brings us back to the baby gate. We live in a split-level house. Our main living space is on the second floor...aka the world's most un-baby-friendly play area. We knew from the beginning that we would have to buy a baby gate and that it would have to meet the following criteria:

  • Must be heavy duty: We plan to have a couple more kiddos in the next few years, which means that we will have a gate at the top of these stairs for quite a while. The gate would need to last and also be durable enough to stand the wear and tear that babies/kids inflict on everything that they touch.
  • Must be hardware-mounted: Because the gate is at the top of a flight of stairs, I want something that will stay in place. A pressure-mounted gate was not an option.
  •  Must swing open: Because this is a main entry point that we use every time we come home or leave home, the gate needed to be as convenient as possible. Having to fumble around and slide a gate open and closed was not something that I wanted to deal with.
  • Must be wide and tall: The stairway is very wide; the standard baby gate size is not big enough. And because I fear that my children will have Eric's daredevil genes (not my overly-cautious, scaredy-cat genes, unfortunately), I wanted a gate that was tall enough that no toddler would be able to scale it and climb over. 

Quite a list of must-haves. And let me say that when Jon showed up on Friday to show us the gate and install it, all of the requirements were met! My heart skipped a beat when I saw the gate. It is sooooo pretty and so well-made. It is exactly what I wanted (only better). It looks great in the house - so much better than the store-bought baby gates, even the more expensive ones. Seriously, take a look for yourself...

I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!

Thanks so much for making us the cutest baby gate that ever lived, Jon! To all my local friends who are looking for an alternative to the store-bought baby gate, check out Pallet Rewind.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Tuna Cakes: Don't Knock 'Em Until You Try 'Em!

I'll admit it - something about the two words "tuna cake," just doesn't sound that appealing. But if you can get past the name, you should definitely try these yummy discs of deliciousness! These are quick, easy, and really tasty (and chances are, you have most if not all ingredients already on hand). Eric and I both love these tuna cakes, and tonight was actually the first night I've made them since Wells has been born...he definitely ate almost an entire tuna cake himself - what a piggy.

3  (5oz) cans of Albacore tuna, drained
1/2 Tbsp cajun seasoning (I use Old Bay)
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use Panko)
1&1/2 tsp salt
1&1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder

- Mix all ingredients in medium bowl until combined well. 
- Form into 3-inch patties.
- Heat skillet on medium (if not using a non-stick pan, spray cooking spray in pan to prevent sticking).
- Cook patties over medium heat. Flip patties over to ensure even cooking on both sides. When browned and cooked all the way through, remove patties from pan and put aside to keep warm while cooking the next batch,
- Serve warm. I always make a dipping sauce to go with them. (If you want a no-hassle dipping sauce, whip up an easy tarter sauce of mayo, chopped dill pickles, and lemon juice.)
- Enjoy!
*This recipe will make pproximately 8-10 tuna cakes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What's In Wells' Easter Basket?

If you're wondering what exactly to put in your baby's Easter Basket (like I was), check out the items I put in Wells' (9 months old) very first Easter basket.

1. An Easter Carol: This is Wells' first Veggie Tales movie! I was a huge Veggie Tales fan as a kid and hope that Wells will grow to love them too. 

2. The First Easter: I wanted to include an Easter-themed book. This adorable board book tells such a cute story about the First Easter (a little lamb visits the empty tomb). It is so sweet! 

3. Yogurt Melts: My boy loves to eat. And what Easter basket is complete without something edible? He had not tried yogurt melts yet, so these were perfect. The verdict is in: Wells is a big fan of the melts - surprise, surprise :)

4. Bubbles: We recently introduced Wells to bubbles, and he loves them. So, I thought that would be a good item to put in his basket. When I saw these carrot-shaped ones at the dollar store, I knew they would be perfect. 

5. Frog Wash Mitt: Wells is a big fan of bath time. I thought this frog wash mitt was so cute, and kind of Spring-ish, right? I thought it was cute for the basket.

I really feel like I set a pretty good precedent for how the Easter Basket situation will go down in the Hankin household from here on out. This being our first Easter with a baby, I've been pumped about the basket for way longer than should be deemed normal. But I am so proud to report that I did not go overboard. As I said, I think that Wells' basket will be the standard for all future baskets for him and subsequent Hankin kiddos. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Budget was kept! Well, to be honest, I actually did not have a set budget, but I really kept the costs to a minimum. Eric and I are pretty conservative with our money - even in gift giving. We like to spend money on experiences more than material presents. We like to gift each other with short weekend getaways or tickets to a concert, etc. for birthdays/anniversaries/Christmas. I really like that about our relationship and hope that we will continue to carry that into our growing family. We do give gifts, but we don't go overboard. 
  • It was just enough! Though the items Wells got in his basket were not ones that he necessarily needed, but they are items that will definitely get their use! I don't like to buy items that I know are going to get played with for 2.5 seconds and be lost or broken or forgotten. For example, Wells has quite a few small stuffed animals. As much as I wanted him to have an adorable bunny in his basket, he just didn't need another stuffed animal. I wasn't willing to spend money on something that would get lost among the other stuffed toys - especially since he just isn't those types of toys yet.
  • The true meaning of Easter was represented (the book and DVD). I want Wells (and our future children) to see past the chocolate and egg dyeing and baskets and understand the real meaning of Easter. I know that some Christians choose to forego all commercial Easter activities (egg hunts, Easter Bunny visits, Easter baskets, etc.), and I can understand where they are coming from. I am totally fine with my children participating in these activities as long as they know the real reason they are celebrating. Again, that kind of ties into why I am glad that we won't be getting all extravagant with our kids' baskets...I don't want them more excited about getting "stuff" than about Jesus being risen from the dead!
Wells' first Easter basket was a success in my book, and I look forward to all the years of baskets to come!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

If Jesus was my son, we'd be in trouble...

Tomorrow will be my first Easter as a mother. Oh yes, the little man's basket is ready; we've dyed and hunted the eggs; and you better believe his Easter outfit is ready to go (and color-coordinated with his mommy and daddy's outfits...naturally). I have always loved holidays - and they are all the more fun with Wells. I know he won't remember his first Christmas tree or having green pancakes on his first St. Patrick's Day...but I don't care one bit. It's fun for me, and I know he will appreciate all the festivity when he is older :)

But anyway, back to Easter. I was reflecting earlier while in the shower (let's be honest, as a mother that is one of the only times that you are alone to actually get any thinking done!) about tomorrow's holiday. Easter is a time of celebration most definitely. A time to reflect on the greatest victory in history. The Lord of the universe rose from the dead! The very truth that makes Christianity different than other religions - we serve a LIVING God. But in order for Jesus to rise from the dead, he had to be...well, dead. And it was that death that I was reflecting on earlier.

A gruesome, painful way to die, absolutely. But Jesus was willing to take it all for us. However, it wasn't really Jesus that I was thinking about it. It was his Father. The very One who sent his son to die. The very One who sent his son to die for us. And it was that thought that I couldn't quite wrap my mind around. Only a lunatic would do that.

Let me start off by saying this: in the last 9.5 months, I have become a new person. Having a baby changed my life more than I ever thought possible. It's one of those things that you cannot fully prepare for. The love that you are suddenly overwhelmed with is unreal. I can remember one evening when Wells was only a week or two old. I was home alone with him while Eric was on a short trip to the store. He was asleep in his swing, and I was sitting in front of him singing, "You are my Sunshine." On the surface, you might think that that is sweet and totally normal. Not so much, I couldn't even get through one verse due to the sobbing (my sobbing, not Wells'). I would try over and over to get through it but couldn't. It's laughable now, but I was a serious mess - filled with so much stinking love that I couldn't even sing a song with a hypothetical situation of someone taking my baby (my sunshine away). Y'all, it was not pretty. Sure, I could blame it on the hormones (because goodness gracious at the hormones that invade your body after birthing a little human!), but the truth is, I was in love in a way that I had never known. I had been given a precious gift - one that I could never imagine letting go.

The hormones have died down now (although my husband may beg to differ at times), but the underlying feeling is the same. I'll admit it, I put the "mother" in "smother." And yes, I know I will need to back off a little so that I don't raise a wimp, But I am straight-up obsessed with that little guy. And as a mother of an infant, I kind of think that is the way it is supposed to be. He relies on me (and Eric, of course) for everything. I am there for him always and will do anything to protect him...anything. I mean, I have to fight the urge to do physical harm to the nurse who gives Wells his shots. I have turned into quite the mama bear.

If you're still with me, the topic at hand really is Easter, I promise! I just had to give you some back story! Like I said, only a lunatic would send their son off to die. God not only endured watching Jesus go through the worst pain (physically, spiritually, emotionally) ever, but He orchestrated the whole thing. What?! How could a father do that to his own son? I would bet that this is something that a lot of nonbelievers can't get past - heck, I can hardly get past it. But the reason is: he really was a lunatic - truly crazy...but the thing is, He was crazy about us. He loved us so much that he allowed his beloved Son to do what no one else could - save us from a life without Him. When I think about the love I have for my son, my sweet Wells, it's hard to imagine a love much greater. But God's love for us is an infinite amount greater - it has to be when you think about the sacrifice he made. Yes, Jesus paid the price (his life) for us, but God, his Father, paid a price even higher (am I even allowed to say that?). This is something I never thought about before today. Something that hits so close to home now that I have my own son. But it is something I really needed to think about. As a new mom, I am busy, busy, busy. I am lucky if I get a few minutes of down time a day - and as I said earlier, that might only be a shower! I needed a reminder of the love God has for me. I needed a reminder that no matter how busy I am, I need to take time to reflect on Him, talk to Him, listen to His Word. It is the least I could do for someone who did the unthinkable for me.

There's no way I could have made the sacrifice that our God made, and I wouldn't want to. If Jesus were my son, we'd all be in a whole lot of trouble. There is no way in this world that I would send my son to pay a debt that wasn't his (let's be real,  I'd probably even put up a fight if he had to pay a debt that was his!). But thanks be to God for the unimaginable, immeasurable, unconditional love that he has for us, the very ones who were the reason his son had to die. doesn't get any stronger than that.

Happy Easter, everyone!