06 July 2015

2015 Resolutions: Mid-Year Check-In

I made me some resolutions (slash to-do list) way, way back 6 months ago. Let's see how they're panning out.

1. Have baby, name the baby!
Done, and done! I had said in January that naming was harder than birthing, but I got a stubborn one who had to be induced at nearly 2 weeks late. Named in about an hour after birth, little Audrey Francine has been a pretty awesome baby so far.

2. Still be pumping at work a year from today.
As much as I was dreading pumping, I'm doing great! And I don't dread it. I got my routine down and my supply is doing beautifully. I can pump out her full 4oz. feeding in less than 15 minutes usually (and in my first morning session, it's more like 6oz.) It's too early to say, but I think I'll make it the year.

3. Decorate Cora's room.
Done! The only thing missing is the curtains that I haven't made yet. B has contributed, too. Her room runs really hot in the summer and he bought these tinting decal sticker thingies for the window that have really helped!

4. Read 12 books.
Well, I thought I wasn't on track because my book club read the same book for 6 months (which did not help light any fires under my bum), but actually I've finished exactly 6!

My book list so far, and I'm currently reading another two:

1. Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs
2. The Beginner's Photography Guide by Chris Gatcum
3. Marriage: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick
4. Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella
5. Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
6. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

And yeah, 2 of those (numbers 3 and 5) are sorta what I call "throwaway books" that I read in like a day. Totally counting them.

5. Run ONE race.
I have gone running once so far since giving birth (one mile, and it was S L O W), so I'm sorta on track! I think my goal is to run the River City Rat Race in October.

6. Host 4 dinners at our house.
We've had one. And does Cora's birthday party count? Or hosting Book Club? (Things to ponder.) My sister and her family and my parents are coming in town this week and we're having a baptism party, so I think I'll count that somehow as another.

7. Learn how to use my fancy camera.
I read the photography book, sorta figured it out but still haven't invested the time or energy to do everything on manual. But I do know my other settings pretty well and have gotten decent shots.
Taken a few months back while Cora ate a snack and I messed around with manual settings.

8. Get that blasted passport already.
Still need a push on this. Maybe we just need to plan a trip to Canada so I get it done.


Basement Update:
And this was on last year's list, but it keeps evolving, so I thought I'd share. I had the goal to clean/fix up the basement back in 2014.

Before everything, here was what we were working with:


Mid-year check-in (a year ago from now) it looked like this:

Nice, right? Except then life happened.

End of the year, it looked like this:

And now, thanks to my wonderful husband, it looks like this!

I had no idea we had beanbag chairs until I took this picture. Where did they come from?
Yep, B's homework table is still there. And the beach chairs stay . . . We'll get a couch eventually.

So those are my goal updates. I think I have a good chance of hitting them all within the next 6 months. How are you doing with your goals?

23 June 2015

5 Faves: Birthday Freebies (That Are Actually Free)

Have I ever mentioned that I'm a freebie-hunter? (Um, most likely.) A motto from my days in AmeriCorps was, "If it's free, it's for me!"

So of course I sign up for the inbox freebies from every company under the sun. I have a 'spam' email account set up specifically for all this junk. My birthday was the beginning of this month, and here are my top 5 birthday freebies that DON'T require you to make a purchase. Just walk in and receive!

ProTip: Don't let them guilt you into buying extras. That's what the other 364 days of the year are for. Just go by yourself (or with your twin?), leave the wallet in the car, and enjoy!

Firehouse Subs

This is the only one that doesn't require a coupon, but it's the only one you HAVE to do on your actual birthday. Just walk in and show your ID, and get a free sub! Hooray!

Baskin Robbins

Free ice cream. Cone or a cup (I always go cone.) Yum! Sign up for the Birthday Club here.

Noodles & Co.
I decided on Pad Thai with shrimp this year, but I highly recommend the Mac & Cheese!
I hadn't heard of this place before we moved to Indiana, but turns out it's an actual chain, and it's quickly becoming a favorite of mine. And it's probably one of my fave birthday freebies because it's a free meal (up to $9 worth!) that easily feeds me for TWO meals. Join the EClub here.


Free Rooty Tooty Fresh n' Fruity pancakes. I learned from my stingy husband that the best way to do this is as a to-go order. Feel free to tip if you want, but I didn't. You can even check this one out early since they send you the same offer just for signing up! Join the eClub here


Okay, this one is a little wonky, but bear with me. It's not good enough to just sign up for CVS ExtraCare. You have to sign up for the CVS Beauty Club as well. But once you do, you get a birthday coupon in your email for $3 off $3 for anything in the store. I usually buy candy, but this year I did popsicles. In the interest of full disclosure, I usually do pay a few cents toward my purchase on this deal. 50 cents for this year, but I think that's been my biggest. Join the ExtraCare Beauty Club here.

Honorable mentions: 
  • Culver's - free sundae (wasn't sure how large this chain was since I had never seen it before we moved north, but looks like it's in about 22 states now!). Sign up for the eClub here
  • Starbucks - free drink; have to register a gift card online, so it technically costs money. Register a card here.
  • Moe's - free entree requires drink purchase ($2.15 here incl. tax), but I love Moe's and that giant burrito served me 2 meals. Join the Moe's eWorld here.

Linking up with #5Faves at Call Her Happy

12 June 2015

Camel Rides, Fat People Crying, and a New Belly Button (7QT)

Baby Audrey is 8 weeks old! Read her birth story if you're into that sorta thing.

So...the blog has been quiet other than the [video] House Tour I posted earlier this week. Enjoy these quick(ish) takes of how I spent my 2 months of maternity leave.

My husband did his annual "2-weeker" for the Navy Reserves back in May. That's in quotes because it actually was 19 days. I remained with both kids at home and only lost my ish a few times. I spent Memorial Day weekend at my in-laws' house to regain my sanity. (I basically just nursed baby, slept, and watched Netflix while my MIL handled Cora. It was glorious.)
Daddy and his Purple Ladies
B visited Pompeii during his time in Italy. His thoughts: "It's like going to the zoo, except if all the animals were dead."

In other big news, Cora had surgery this past Wednesday. She has had an umbilical hernia since birth that never closed (and never will--it should have closed by 2 years old), and that's something that apparently is better to get fixed now before she starts school. My kid now has an innie belly button, but it still looks a little weird to us. :-/

The idea of surgery freaked me out since I've actually never done one. Even my wisdom teeth were taken out under just local anesthetic (it really wasn't bad!). So her surgery was probably harder for me than it was for her. It was a quick procedure and we were home for dinner that night. She's doing fine, and you would never even know it happened except that she's refusing to bend over sometimes. But for the most part, she's back to her semi-obnoxious 'threenager' ways.

I go back to work on Tuesday. I like my job, and boy do I neeeeeed a break from the 3-year-old, but I'll miss my little peanut. I was somehow handed the World's Easiest Baby. Seriously. She even sleeps for an 8-hour stretch at night right now. (I'm currently waiting for the other shoe to drop because this must be some sort of dream.)

B will be a stay-at-home dad this summer, and I'm hoping he can bring everyone for lunch some time. Food Truck Thursday picnic?

This past weekend our town hosted a [very] small Arab Fest, and I dragged B and the girls so they could get in touch with their heritage. (I'm half-Lebanese.) Cora rode a camel and made a bracelet and I ate kibbe.

One of my favorite summer shows is Extreme Weight Loss on ABC. B has dubbed this one (and all weight loss shows) as "Fat People Crying." Have I ever mentioned that B has a type of blunt honesty about him? It's not always endearing. But on the topic of weight loss, check out this awesome article at Patheos by Rebecca Frech on her weight loss and why she's ticked that people keep asking her what her husband thinks about it.

I celebrated my 31st birthday last week on the 1st! It was the day after B got back from Italy. Our original plan was to hit up a baseball game here, but it was too cold! (A June birthday should never be 'too cold' on this continent, but it was.) I did however to my annual birthday freebie spree, and I will be sharing my favorites with you soon. Here's a preview to tide you over.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain't the Lyceum