31 December 2014

2014 Resolutions Recap

I had a fitting 14 resolutions for 2014. I did a check-in about halfway through the year, which you can read here. Or you can skip that noise and see how I fared overall.

1. Organize the basement. Make it functional. Make it awesome.

Well, it WAS organized back in July when I did my last update. It's kind of a mess again, but looking at the before picture makes me realize that we're still better off now, even though we still need a blasted shelf.

Long time ago
Mid-year check-in
Current state. Trampoline and bassinet were gifts/hand-me-downs from people,
 and the high chair will be back in the kitchen by this time next year.

2. Start a toy rotation for Cora. Maybe once a month swap stuff out.

Did this for a while, with reminders in my phone and all, then stopped, mostly due to laziness. Purposely stopped when she began daycare full-time because there's no real need for it any more. I still should probably donate a bunch of toys we have in the basement.

3. Weekly Family Meetings!

Still going strong. Still in the bathroom. We keep changing the days of it due to B's class schedule, but hopefully something will work this semester.

4. Potty train Cora.

Fully daytime potty-trained! Even for naps, which is good because it's all-or-nothing for her daycare class. Night-time is still diapers, even though she whines about it. (We tried 3 nights in undies when she started resisting, and only the first night was dry. Another time...)

5. Use time outs for Cora.

I KNOW she does these at daycare. She does them here, too, sitting on the stairs, but we generally have to stand somewhere nearby or she'll just get up and run away. Ugh.

6. Conquer Cora's picky eating.

Nope. I don't even know what to do here any more, and I'm too tired to worry about it at this point. So she just gets her cottage cheese/yogurt/peanut butter bagel (seriously, that's all she'll eat at dinner), and we have a lot less screaming and tears and we can all eat dinner in peace.

7. Get new passport.

Argh. Has not been done.

8. Make a home management binder. Not sure if I want it as detailed as the one I read about in Organized Simplicity, but there should be some type of manual on running this house if I fall into a hole.

It's currently a few documents that sit in an online file. I have no idea how to manage a home that I only spend about 3 waking hours in per day

9. Keep up with the budget on YNAB. (I just bought this thing!) And in effect, tithe more.

Yep! I LOVE this budgeting program! And I do feel like we tithed more. Now that I'm pretty sure our income is steady, we'll be tithing automatically online each week.

10. Read 7 books. And actually finish them.
  1. Unplanned by Abby Johnson
  2. Pope Awesome by Cari Donaldson
  3. Girl At the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther
  4. Strange Gods by Elizabeth Scalia
  5. Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler
  6. New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler (my first textbook-style read this year, and it went pretty quickly)
  7. Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert
  8. These Beautiful Bones by Emily Stimpson
  9. My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbll
  10. Modern Real Estate Practice (19th ed.) -- I read this entire textbook, so I'm counting it!
  11. A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans

I had already read 7 by my mid-year check-in so I upped it to 12. I didn't hit that number, but I didn't know then that I'd be reading an entire real estate textbook and trying to pass a licensing exam. Curveballs and whatnot.

UPDATE: Thanks to Goodreads, I realized I had left a few off!

     12. Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews
     13. 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan

11. Learn 5 new dinner recipes.
  1. Sweet & Sour Meatballs in the crockpot (we love these!)
  2. ATK Cooking School Hearty Vegetable Lasagna (this was a "labor of love" and was way too involved)
  3. Gouda/Cheddar Mac n' Cheese (from Betty Crocker) -- my fave! just made it again the other week
  4. Spasagna (B was not a fan, but I liked it. Especially because it fed me for 4 days and I didn't have to wonder what was for dinner when I got home.)
  5. Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings
There were probably more, but that's what I remember. B did a really good job with cooking this year, too, learning recipes from our ATK Cooking School book! He definitely has more "chef-like" tendencies than I do.

12. Get pregnant. (!!)

Hooray.

And thank you for the prayers. I had a lot of anxieties through the first half of this pregnancy and am finally feeling more at peace now.

13. Make 2 friends in this town. Like, actual friends that give me their phone numbers and call me to hang out.

I think I can safely say I made about 5 new friends! And I also have co-workers that I go to lunch with sometimes, which is nice.

14. Run 2 races. Setting the bar low . . .

I ran 6! Even 2 while pregnant. Go, me!

  1. 5-Kilt
  2. Frontier Run n' Fun
  3. Nun Run
  4. Matthew 25 5K
  5. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Miracle Miles (never did a recap on this one, sorry)
  6. Galloping Gobbler
My favorite victory picture

It looks like I hit about 10 out of 14. Not too shabby. For someone who has barely blogged in a while, I sure have a lot more to say in regards to the new year and the old year and maybe some plans for next year. And I have 4 days off, so hey, maybe I'll actually take the time to write it all down.

14 December 2014

Race Recap: Gallopping Gobbler 4-Mile

My first Thanksgiving Day race! (And possibly my last?) It was cold. Like, under 30°F. I ran a race last March in this type of weather, but I wasn't pregnant then. Or trying to keep my mother warm.

Oh, have I mentioned how awesome my mom is? I figured I would be going to this race solo, but my mom was in town for the holiday and wanted to support me. She didn't run or walk it, and I wasn't even going to suggest it to her. I did loan her a pair of fleece-lined leggings, since her Georgia version of 'winter attire' was quite lacking. Mom luckily got to stay inside a warm building for most of the time I was running.

Only picture you can even tell I was pregnant. (I could tell because I the blue shorts I had wanted to wear don't fit over my fat butt any more!)  A day shy of 21 weeks.
As for the race event, it was . . . eh. It was so bare-bones. "Packet" pick-up consisted of your bib and a t-shirt that didn't even have the year on it (very possibly re-used from last year). But I did get to pick between pink and gray. There was organization to the race, but it kinda felt like the guy in charge just isn't interested any more. (He didn't cash my check for nearly a month, so I was starting to think it got lost in the mail.) The post-race food consisted of a long line with only a bottle of water and some nasty "corn cake" (think rice cake but Indiana-style) sample. Blech. I think all the fastest people got bagels and fruit or something, but I guess they ran out for all of us 'slow' people. (Um, I still finished in the top half! Color me unimpressed.)
Oh, how pregnancy changes things.
I definitely would have been in the next corral up a year ago.
The course, however, was beautiful. We ran about a mile down a street, and then turned into a large cemetery. There were about 5,000 people doing this race (both the 4-mile and 15K races started shared a start and the first 3 miles), so you could see a whole train of people snaking through gentle rolling hills of the cemetery. It was mostly quiet, even though I had my music playlist running. I felt pretty good the whole time, minus some tightness in the bottom right of my baby bump. I couldn't figure out if it was round ligament pain or a stitch-in-the-side. Could have been both, honestly. I just put some pressure on it and mostly ran through it except for one small part of a hill in mile 3.

Fun race story: I overheard a conversation from two 20-something gals behind me. One was saying how she and another buddy come to this cemetery and run all the time. "Yeah, it's beautiful. And there's never anyone here." I turned back and threw in my 2 cents, "Except for all the dead people."

Nary a chuckle. C'mon, that totally deserved a chuckle.

About to cross that finish line!
My final stats for this one:
Chip time: 42:48
Age Group Place: 50 out of 135
Overall: 1192 out of 2495

The website put my pace based on the gun time, which is stupid, so I looked it up on whatsmypace.com (love that site!), and it was 10:42/mi. Not great, but not shabby.

While I was happy to run this race, I was probably even more happy to finish it. Winter running is not my cup of tea. At all. (I don't even like tea, so is anything really my cup of tea?) If I do another Thanksgiving Day race, it most likely won't be this one. I think I would have been happier at a smaller race and a shorter distance.

05 December 2014

A Gender Reveal!

I am 23 weeks pregnant today!

. . . Which means that we had the "big ultrasound" almost 3 weeks ago. And we kept a secret from everyone, until Thanksgiving Day. (If baby hadn't been 100% healthy, we wouldn't have kept any secrets.) My parents had come up for the holiday week, and we were doing the big feast at B's aunt's house. I figured it would be the perfect time to announce if Cora would be getting a brother or sister.

For my sister and her family who live in GA and weren't with us in person, I made a word search and emailed it to them! There were a LOT of kinks in this (repeated words, etc.), so just know that if you want to go that route. I used this website, though, and this right here was the actual word search I sent if you feel like doing it. (You'll probably find some errors or such, but you'll figure it out.) The leftover letters tell you a phrase with the answer. It's easiest to do these types of searches if you circle each individual letter instead of the whole word.

As for the rest of everyone present at Thanksgiving dinner, we did a balloon pop. There were a lot of kinks in this plan, too. (Can anything ever be so easy for me??) But here's the video, and with the sound on you can hopefully figure it out (even though B accidentally had his finger over the mic for the first part):

We did pink and blue balloons so people could pick a side (since it wasn't actually a gender reveal party where people come dressed for their 'team'). All of the blue ones got chosen, as I think people were just hoping for the one-and-one. We had to fill the wrong ones with white confetti (confetti being torn-up crepe streamers) because you could totally tell if the color didn't match.
Some things I'd do differently if I use this idea again:
  • Use helium-quality balloons. They're more opaque. The crappy blue balloons I got at Wal-Mart for a buck were basically clear and we had to dig out some other blue ones from our party stash.
  • Don't use pink and blue balloons. Maybe black and purple and designate which goes for which, and fill them all with the correct color. People had no idea what the white meant, since all I told them was "you'll know if you're right."
  • Maybe only use black and make people get into teams on each side of the room.
  • Have people hold the balloon in front of them or over the head. Just trust me on this; I had done a practice balloon on my dad, and he held it above him and it was awesome. Plus, he clearly could see the color because it was falling on him.
  • Have someone help me pass out stuff (B filmed the whole thing, and I ended up cutting the video down because it was rather boring and you couldn't hear anything because his finger was over the mic). Also figure out a way to give the pins out quickly, since his aunt accidentally popped her balloon while I was still passing pins out. (White confetti came out and nobody knew what it meant). I had threatened that if anyone popped theirs early, they would have to clean up the mess. (That was moot because all participants did a good job of cleaning up!)
  • Another idea I kept seeing when doing research: only one person gets the 'reveal' balloon. Everyone else has white confetti so that one person gets to shout it out.
  • Get a better videographer. (Sorry, B.)
Maybe the proverbial next time we'll just do a cake like everyone else, but I think everyone present thought this was a fun activity to throw into the Thanksgiving celebration.

03 December 2014

Not Blogging Here, But Apparently Elsewhere

Time to dust off the ol' blog.

Over a week ago, a guest post I wrote for Poekitten (a blog friend I've actually met IRL!) was published. Her adorably cute 2nd baby girl was born a few weeks back, and she actually likes to keep things active over there so I helped her out with a post sitting in my drafts.

It's about the "Potty Parade" that I did with Cora (way back in August, I think?). Here's a snippet:
"I now have a 2-year-old who is mostly potty-trained (except nights), but it took some work to get there. We were doing great at home, but my daughter HATED public bathrooms! She mostly hated the noisy flush. Automatic, manual, didn't matter. She even cried about going into the bathroom with me when I needed to go. Luckily, she's a holder, so it was never a question of accidents. It was more just getting her comfortable with other toilets.

I knew we had to fix this, so I picked a nice day and we went on a Potty Parade . . ." Read More

Hope you enjoy it and some of Poe's other guest bloggers. Also check out the rest of the Many Waters blog, including the awesome recipes page with the Beef & Noodles recipe that I always use now!

07 November 2014

My Life Exhausts Me, But At Least My Daughter Is A Genius (7QT)



Well, I think the title of this post says it all. I have way too much going on right now. I'm now 19 weeks pregnant, I'm still in the learning curve of my new job, my husband is a grad student who doesn't get home until after 6:30 four nights a week (so I have to get dinner cooking as soon as I get home), I'm dealing with a sometimes-ornery toddler, and I'm attempting to stay fit and healthy. Oh, I'm also a student taking classes 3 mornings a week to get my real estate license (required for my job), so I'm reading and studying (read: falling asleep in my textbook) every night. To top it all off, I ended up having a medical issue this Monday (unrelated to pregnancy and rather minor) that left me in a good bit of pain. I'm mostly recovered but still have a big bandage on my back.

At least I voted on Tuesday.


So, yeah, it's exhausting, but I'm enjoying my new job! It's a lot of different stuff every day, and I've gotten the chance to design two ads already. My portfolio is happy, and I'm learning lots of new stuff.


Cora is doing great at daycare. After about a month, they decided to move her up to the 3-year-old class, even though she doesn't turn 3 until late January. I was a bit skeptical, but it seems to be a good fit for her! Not to get too much into mommy wars territory here, but if we had waited until "3 and ready" to potty-train, this couldn't have happened. (She actually started at daycare in the 2.5-and-potty-trained class, instead of the 2.5-and-not class.) Also, it's $20 cheaper a month for us now! Win win.

She can spell her name aloud and count to 25 on a good day. She knows some numbers in Spanish (thanks, daycare!) and a handful of sign language. (Yeah, I'm bragging, but I'm also writing it somewhere so I can remember for later.)

Speaking of my little genius, here is a video of her putting together a 24-piece puzzle with no help last week. (I sped up a good chunk of it.)


Belly picture? You got it.
This was at 18 weeks even.

It snowed on Halloween here, just for the exact time we went trick-or-treating. We bundled up and hit about 7 houses. But I made sure Cora got to the one that gives out full-size candy bars! She enjoyed being Minnie Mouse.


And she is now prepared for winter, thanks to the snowsuit I just got her. (Burlington for the win.) She calls it the "Minnie Mouse coat" for obvious reason.

I'm thinking I might have to cave and buy a maternity coat this time around. Also, we can't put Cora in the car seat in that coat. What a pain in the butt. Can you tell I'm already dreading winter??



For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

06 October 2014

Accidental Hiatus

There are a lot of reasons bloggers take unannounced or even accidental breaks from updates. No need for apologies, of course, but some possibilities for reasons:

Husband going to grad school? Check. Basically single-momming it a few days a week.

Starting a full-time job? Check. No more naptime blogging for this one.

Celebrating an anniversary? Check.
That's 5 years, folks.
Oh, and another big reason some of us might put blogging at the bottom of the priority list?

Yep, check.

Baby #2 due April 3rd.

13 September 2014

7 Quick Takes: Working for the Weekend



I'm alive! (Always a good thing to celebrate, right?) I started my full-time big-girl job (career?) last week and have gotten into a bit of a groove with it. Still a lot to learn, but we at least have our daily family schedule working with few hiccups.


Cora is absolutely LOVING daycare! This child is very social, so I never had any worries about her. We both went to drop her off on the first day last week, and she just marched right up to the breakfast table, pulled out a chair, and sat right down. Hardly looked back at either of us. Her teacher said it would be okay to call them to check in that first day, and that most parents do. B and I looked at each other and both said, "Yeah, we probably won't."

We didn't.


First day of school picture? Yeah, I took one.
That's her "daycare bear." She still does not know how to name things.

And here's my first day of work selfie, in my car because I got there a bit too early:


And my building:
I'm in the top floor of the building on the left.
The smaller building on the right is a long-standing novelty shop/Fort Wayne institution called Stoner's.

This downtown-working thing is . . . quite interesting. We had a bomb threat in the building the other day and had to evacuate. There was a gas leak evacuation last week that I somehow just missed having to deal with. My parking is about a block away. Fine for now, but we have really long and snowy winters here, so I will have to wear boots and tights and bundles, and then change and look presentable once I get in the building. Can't wait. (Except that I can.)

The good news is that I work 8-5 and most of my co-workers are 8:30-5:30, giving me a full half-hour to shake the snow off. But then if I want to go out for lunch? Suit up again and hike it around town to get some food. This is probably why Waiter on the Way is so successful around here, now that I think about it.

Okay, enough about work. My brain is too mushy to think of anything else halfway-interesting to say, so please enjoy this silly song about pants:



I got nothin'. If I think too hard about this, I'll never hit the Publish button.



For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

28 August 2014

Pick Two

I remember an old saying from my college days: Sleep, party, study: pick two. Of course I did all three, but I would say partying was pretty light for me. And only existed on weekends.

I have realized that in other parts of my life it's sorta like picking 2 out of 3.

Planning your dinner? cheap, fast, healthy: pick two (no, going to Subway is not considered 'cheap' in my realm). Finding a place to live? cost, location, safety: pick two.

Now that I'm trying to figure out the balance of being a working (outside the home) mom, I have a new dilemma: see/take care of your family, take care of yourself, take care of your house: pick two?


Of course I would love to do all three, but I know the difficulty of that. I was raised by two working parents, and they did a great job of taking care of us. However, we had a cleaning lady for the house part  (it still was pretty messy on those off-weeks), and I really don't think either of my parents did a great job of taking care of themselves. My dad now goes to the gym every morning bright and early, but it was long overdue and he has more health issues to overcome now.

I know I will put my family first, but I feel like I need to choose the second piece. It wasn't that hard to decide, but it may be harder to execute. I will put my health above having a clean house. Let me repeat: my health is more important than a clean house.

When you really think about it, someone else can come clean my house (if we have the money or I beg my MIL or whatever), but nobody else can run 3 miles for me. This will involve more sacrifices on my part, either getting up to get to the gym when it opens at 5am or staying up later to work out after Cora is in bed. Working out was easy when I was a full-time SAHM because it was part of our routine. Every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday at 9am, like clockwork. Hopefully I can get into some sort of groove with a schedule and not burn myself out.

Have you ever had to pick two?

Sidenote: I just found out there is a word for this, and it is called a trilemma. Mind = blown.

14 August 2014

Re-Joining the Rat Race

For a long time, the little blurb about me on the right sidebar of this page claimed I was an "escapee of cubicle life, faking my way through domesticity."

The latter part is still mostly true, but I am officially un-escaping office life! I just accepted an offer for a full-time, Monday-through-Friday, during waking hours, honest-to-goodness-put-your-big-girl-pants-back-on JAY OH BEE. Nay, a career. My official title (for the curious): Brokerage Assistant.

After B left his job back in May with sights set on grad school, we mutually decided I should start looking for work. I was hoping to get a few temp gigs here and there, maybe some part-time work, who really knew. Well, nothing of that sort was panning out. Don't get me wrong, I still love the idea of part-time work, but it was all selling myself short, and I knew it. This one position kicked up on monster.com, and it almost seemed tailor-made for my experience and education. Luckily, the company saw that as well. After 2 rounds of interviews (I somehow dazzled them with my winning personality in that 2nd one!), I got an offer the next day.

And I'm excited! I'm energized by the company, and I know it will be tough. But being a SAHM is tough, and I'm not sure if I really ever quite got the hang of it. The truth is, I never fully desired to be a SAHM, but instead fell into it after we moved here to Fort Wayne. So here I am, just shy of 2 years later, joining the ranks of the WOTHMs (work-outside-the-home-moms). Sure, I was raised by one, but that doesn't mean I'm not scared to death of it. It's all about finding balance, and I'm not sure I ever even achieved that when staying home.

For those of you who worrying about the 'gap' from staying at home, fear not. At least in this town, it was never frowned upon. I usually didn't bring up the fact I have a child in interviews (they can't discriminate based on it, so they usually don't ask), but I think it was often inferred. My previous experience, even from 5 years ago, did most of the talking for me, and I just led them back to that.

I have no idea where this path is going to take me, but I'm fired up and ready to start the journey. Here's to new beginnings!

05 August 2014

Ultimate!!

Do I have any other ultimate frisbee players out there in blog-land? It's actually something that B and I sorta "clicked" over when we initially met. Little did I know that he basically played a whole different sport than I did. He played for a club team at Notre Dame (name: Papal Rage)--they went to tournaments most weekends, called plays, had practices. I learned the sport from barefoot hippies on the Myers Quad at Georgia. We had an intramural league, and it was mostly just running around in circles trying to catch the disc.  When I lived in Jacksonville, I found a group to play with that was definitely of the barefoot-hippie ilk.  I just thought that was how the game was played . . . until I moved to Norfolk.
B's team: Gang Green
B had a group in Norfolk that played the version of the sport he knew.  It was definitely a learning curve for me. Basically, there was a lot more strategy to it, based on forcing the opposing team to go a certain direction when you're on defense. My knee started messing up during all that, so I ended up just watching B play when we were out there. He found a group to play a few pick-up games with in Pensacola, and they were more my speed. However, I was 9 months pregnant at the time, so no playtime for me.
B is the one on the left about to catch the disc
Now that he is unemployed about to start grad school here in Fort Wayne, I convinced him to join a summer league that I found online. They play once a week, and his season just ended yesterday. I brought Cora out there a few times to run around and watch Daddy do his thing. She liked to cheer, "Go Daddy! Go green!"

Watching B play was a lot of fun for me, too. I realized how much I miss it, and hey, maybe I'll join next year's summer league?
video

I love my sigh at the end of this. I was really into the game!
(This is my first time using Blogger's video uploader, so I hope the quality is good enough so you can figure out what's going on.)


p.s. If you don't know anything about the sport of ultimate, it's basically like soccer without the dribbling. Here's the wikipedia link, if you're so intrigued.

31 July 2014

Race Recap: Matthew 25 5K

This is the first race that I've done 2 years in a row. It felt different, even though it was the exact same course. I have made a running buddy in the past few months, and I convinced her to do this one with me. I told her about my success last year, since it's such a small race, so we were both out to win! (We're in different age groups, thankfully.)

Running the same course 2 years in a row is actually really nice since I could compare my time against the exact same thing and see improvement.

The weather was great (actually a bit cold, even though it's July), and I felt like I got a decent warm-up in. We were waiting at the line for probably less than 2 minutes before the horn went off for the start. No fanfare, just start. Even though it was shoe-chipped, it's such a small race that there's no chip time vs. gun time kinda thing. So it was very good that my friend and I basically had our toes on the starting line.

I know that my friend is faster than me (we do longer distances together where we just chat and take it slow). My goal was to try to keep up with her, or at least keep her in my line of sight. We stayed together for about the first three-quarters of a mile, and then she took her lead. Around the one-mile mark, I tried to look at my watch, but it had failed to start. Ah, well.
Right when I lost her. Those are my blue shoes and the top of my head behind her.
Around the half-way point, I realized I wasn't feeling so good, with some uh...bathroom issues going on. (I'm not going to delve any further into this one.) I just tried to chug along as best I could, willing myself to go faster if anyone passed me. I got passed a lot because I obviously started out way too fast. I had my headphones in and tried my best to let the music motivate me.

The good news is that I shave a minute off my time from this course last year!

My final time was 27:12 (last year's time was 28:17)

Unlike last year, however, I did not win my age group. But I came in 2nd!!

Here's a not-so-great pic of me receiving my trophy
There were 5 ladies in my age group, and once I saw the 1st-placer get her trophy, I remembered her passing me in the third mile. I tried to keep up, but she ended up beating me by 13 seconds. I came in 24th overall, out of 113.

Aside from my race, the best part of the day was that my running buddy WON the race! Top Female Finisher! She got a much cooler trophy that a local metalworker/artist made. It was super heavy!


Doing a race with a friend was great! I hope to do some more with her again, but maybe I'll just not try so hard to keep up in the beginning.

25 July 2014

7 Quick Takes From the Lake


Actually being hosted at Svellerella this week, and I don't think you'll be disappointed by taking a gander at that lovely blog.

We're at the lake right now!* Hooray! (I just got the Blogger app and am giving mobile blogging a whirl. Any suggestions for apps very welcome because I'm having a hard time with pictures on this one.)

*Okay, actually I had SO much problems with four (four!) different blogging apps that I am now back home with an actual computer finishing this post up. APP SUGGESTIONS MANDATORY.

Oh, and then I'm going to the Brickyard 400 in Indy on Sunday (weather permitting, I suppose). My first car race! Ear plugs have been bought.

Hey, did you know that it's NFP Awareness Week?

In case you didn't know, I've never taken any form of birth control, and I learned Natural Family Planning (NFP) during our engagement. I learned all about my fertility and my cycle, and we have used that knowledge to both avoid and attain pregnancy. Knowing all of this stuff about when I ovulate and how my body shows signs of that has been so powerful. It makes me mad that I didn't learn this stuff in 7th grade health class.

There have been a lot of great NFP Awareness week posts, and I haven't read most of them. However, I did read this one by Kendra and it struck a chord with me. We are currently trying to have another baby, and it has been much slower-going this time around.

Speaking of being at the lake, I caught this little guy today.

I've only been fishing like 3 times in my entire life, so I was excited.

The other day, I posted this picture and explanation on Facebook:
Okay mommy (and daddy) friends: we need advice. Every time we put her down for nap or night, even when she's dog-tired, she spends at least an hour destroying the place and climbing up the window. At least she found the bed again today; we usually have to move her from the floor. I really don't want to put the front rail back on. This has been going on for weeks now. What to do?

We got some really great responses, but all we have really done so far is remove all the clothes from the dresser, and the glider and ottoman have been moved out. (The glider was actually becoming a safety hazard because she pulled it over one night and was sitting on top of the over-turned chair when I checked on her. Yikes!)

I'm very open to more suggestions and we'll come up with a plan to start implementing next week. Yes, the bookshelf is built-in. Yes, we have a consistent bedtime and naptime routine (the same routine, both times). Yes, she has a consistent bedtime. Yes, she will be getting a twin bed soon, but probably not for another few weeks.

I got to cross something off my running bucket list the other day. I showed up for the weekly pub run at the running store, and they were doing a prediction run! That means you predict your time, and the closest to it wins! [No watches, no phones, no music allowed.] You can win the whole thing without having to be fast!
I yanked this from the store's FB account; this is from a pub run I went to back in June.
I'm to the right of the girl in the yellow headband.
Well, I didn't win. I actually finished a good 30 seconds under my prediction. The winners finished closer to 2 seconds off theirs. But it was a lot of fun! And we got free sandwiches afterward, so I was a happy girl.

I'm in an awesome book club here in Fort Wayne, but July kinda snuck up on us, so we had craft night instead. It was great!

We all sewed these grocery bag holders (with a machine that someone brought), and I'm so proud of mine.
Isn't she pretty?

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15 July 2014

I Pick Things Up and Put Them Down

After over a year of just messing around with weights in the gym with no real focus, I have started a lifting program!

I had been wanting to do one for a while, after B said I had "eff-around-itis" when it comes to the weight room (although he used a much less-PC term). So I finally kicked my butt into gear. I wanted one designed for women, so I got the book New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler, and read it cover-to-cover before doing anything.
Did I get this from the public library? Mayyyybeeee
I started day 1 and screwed myself over (started too heavy, crazy DOMS), so I decided to wait until after our vacation was over and start again. I did Day 1 last Wednesday, and I have been sticking with it.

So far, I'm really liking this program. It's a 6-month program with different stages and a Workout A and Workout B in each stage. I like variety! There's also a good variety in the workouts themselves--barbells, cable stations, dumbbells, and even the Swiss ball. You have to keep a workout log each time you go to the gym, and now I have them in a handy-dandy binder for reference.

Here was my starting point from each of the first 2 workouts:
Squat: 24-lb body bar
Deadlift: 40 lbs

Seated row: #5 (I think it's 25 lbs?)
Lat pulldown: #5 (25 again?)

Step-up: 10lb dumbbell (20 lbs total)
Shoulder press: 10lb dumbbell (20lbs total)
Lunge: 10lb dumbbell (20lbs total)

Yes, the weights are LOW (for me, I have actually done much higher just doing a few reps), but that's how it is designed. The first few workouts are high reps at lower weights, then you gradually move the opposite direction for higher weights and lower reps.

I'm excited about this. After 3 workouts, I already feel stronger and more confident. Sometimes just having a clear sense of direction can do that for me. Since you're wondering, yes, I am still running! I have a 5K this weekend, actually. Stage 2 of this weight program starts including cardio interval training, and I'm definitely hoping that will help my 5K times.

Any other lifters out there? I'd love to hear if you ever did a set program like this!

10 July 2014

2014 Resolutions Check-In

We're past the halfway point of the year. Hooray?! Again, I'm not one to think that time is passing too quickly/slowly, so insert your own comment here.


Here is an update on my resolution list 2014, and relevant comments:

1. Organize the basement. Make it functional. Make it awesome.
Not quite awesome yet, but it is functional now!

Here are some before pics. This place was a mess!


And now for some after:
Still need to do something or get rid of the blinds on the right

Decided to set up the table instead of letting it fall on someone.
I still have a few things to do down there, like get some pictures up on the wall. Buy a new shelf for games and books. So far, so good, though.

2. Start a toy rotation for Cora. Maybe once a month swap stuff out.
Being doing this on and off. We have 3 sets of toys, and a reminder in my phone goes off during her nap every other Monday. Sometimes I ignore it. The truth is that she mostly plays with the stuff we leave out all the time (toy kitchen and tea set, Lego duplos, books from the library). But when I change stuff out, she notices eventually. I should probably just sell/donate at least half of it at this point.
The other toys in a corner of the basement. She does like to play with them when she's down there!
Also, the fish painting will be going on the wall.
3. Re-start Weekly Family Meetings!
Ugh, we were doing so well until recently. B joined a sports league that has games on Mondays, which was our meeting night. We just moved them to Wednesdays, but sometimes I go to a running club that night. We do like to do it while we give Cora a bath. All of us in the bathroom together. And Cora loves us reading from her kids' bible.

I just started a weekly chore chart now that B is home with me, so maybe we should just move it to Sunday night so we revise our chart as part of the meeting?

4. Potty train Cora. Goal is to be daytime-trained around age 2, no later than 27 months. 
She's now in undies all day except for naps and night (started right around 27 months!). But this child is a holder and refuses to use a public toilet. It was really bad on vacation--once or twice she held it for more than 12 hours. She often goes only twice a day and then in a diaper at night. She is self-initiating, though (finally!), so I'm gonna go ahead and say she is day-time trained!

5. Use time outs for Cora. She still doesn't quite understand it and won't sit in the chair.
Still working on this. She knows what it is and talks about it and sometimes puts herself in time-out for no reason. But when we give an actual timeout? I have to hold her down sometimes. And then she laughs. And then she kicks the wall. Then she laughs some more. I don't think she gets it. Anyone have tips for this? Should I use the high chair and face it toward the wall? Or is she too old for that?

6. Conquer Cora's picky eating.
We've had a few small short-lived breakthroughs, but we definitely can see that only serving her what's on the table is our best shot at this. Now we just need to follow through with it. She eats oatmeal and drinks milk at breakfast, and I like that but not her other meals. I just don't even know with this. I have to bring food to restaurants because she literally will not eat anything on the menu, not even your typical 'toddler food' like mac & cheese or hot dogs.
We went to Waffle House on our vacation, and all she ate was ketchup. (And yes, she just scrapes it off of whatever you put it on. No trickery gets by her.) She drank her milk, though.
7. Get new passport. This has been on my long to-do list for a while.
Has not happened. I currently cannot leave the country. Time to get the wheels a-movin'.

8. Make a home management binder. 
I've started a file on my computer, and as of now it has less than 10 documents in it (including blank chore chart, blank menu plan, doctor info, etc.). It's a start!

9. Keep up with the budget on YNAB. And in effect, tithe more.
I don't reconcile accounts as much as I should, but I'm doing quite well with this. I wish I could get my husband on-board with using the app and inputting purchases right after he makes them, but he won't do it. I do about 80% of the shopping, and he knows to give me receipts, so we're making it work. As for the second part, we have been tithing about 20% more this year. We're still tithing even through this period of unemployment, thanks to YNAB's way of budgeting for a month ahead.

10. Read 7 books. And actually finish them. I was really bad in 2013 in regards to reading about 80% of a book and then not finishing it. It kinda drives me nuts when I think about it. (Most of the books are back on the library shelves, so it's not like I'll be finishing them tonight.)
Done!
  1. Unplanned by Abby Johnson
  2. Pope Awesome by Cari Donaldson
  3. Girl At the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther
  4. Strange Gods by Elizabeth Scalia
  5. Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler
  6. New Rules of Lifting for Women by Lou Schuler (my first textbook-style read this year, and it went pretty quickly)
  7. Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert
Joining a book club has definitely helped with this one, so I'm upping my goal to 12 now.

11. Learn 5 new dinner recipes.
  1. Sweet & Sour Meatballs in the crockpot (we love these!)
  2. ATK Cooking School Hearty Vegetable Lasagna (this was a "labor of love" and was way too involved)
  3. Gouda/Cheddar Mac n' Cheese (from Betty Crocker)
Shredding the cheese for the best macaroni ever
B has been learning some recipes from our ATK Cooking School book, too. I hope he makes the pasta with the fried egg on it again. Yum!

12. Get pregnant. (!!) And pray I don't have another miscarriage, will ya? Because that sucked.
I gave blood back on June 3rd, and you cannot do that while pregnant. I also drank way too much at a wedding on July 5th. You do the math.

13. Make 2 friends in this town. Like, actual friends that give me their phone numbers and call me to hang out.
I haz a running buddy! And went to the zoo with a different friend and her kids. (She invited us!) I have also brought meals to 2 friends who had babies. Feels good, man.

14. Run 2 races. Setting the bar low because I'm not sure how much I'll be able do if #12 happens (see: bad knee).
Ditched the knee brace this spring, and I've already done 3!
  1. 5-Kilt
  2. Frontier Run n' Fun
  3. Nun Run


I just signed up for another one in July (and will hopefully be there with aforementioned running buddy!) and will be doing the one our church puts on in August.


Overall, I'd say it's good progress with my resolutions! Some of the Cora ones are slow-going, but when you think about it, I made goals for her, but I can't control everything about her so we can only expect so much here.

20 June 2014

7QT: Big-Girl Beds, Toddler Hugs, Wine Cake

Actually hosted at Team Whitaker today.


My husband B is on his annual 2-weeker with the Navy Reserves. It came up suddenly at his drill weekend, and within a week he was on a plane to Naples, Italy.
Airport hugs: Cora has never been away from her Daddy for this long.
She also has now hit the age where she understands he's gone. So that's new.

That means Cora and I will be driving to Georgia by ourselves next week, and B will be meeting us a few days into the trip. (He'll miss one baptism but make it in time for a wedding.) I've done a 2-day drive by myself with her before, so hopefully it will go as well as it did last time. She's a good car traveler, no fancy gadgetry required.

Cora got to spend a couple days without us last week. She and her Grandma were basically joined at the hip for 4 days, and then 2 days after she returned, her daddy left. All that means is I have a child on my hands that has regressed with potty-training, is pushing all my buttons and throwing fits about everything and nothing. Typical toddler? Probably.

She also had 2 nosebleeds Monday morning that I got the joy of cleaning up.

Speaking of nosebleeds, I took a picture of her aftermath on my phone. I had forgotten that we had put Dropbox on B's phone in addition to mine, and he set it so that any picture taken automatically backs up into the cloud. When we got to talk to each other Monday night, B mentioned that he'd already seen a picture on his phone of our kid covered in blood. At least she was smiling!

I refuse to put that picture up anywhere online, so here is a picture of a cake I made for B's grandma this past weekend:
Still working on my icing penmanship, but I was going for the French Script typeface

We had some Navy friends come stay with us on Wednesday! They're moving across the country (CT to WA, we knew each other way back in our VA days), and Cora and I provided a free place to stay and a hot meal. We hadn't seen each other since I was pregnant with Cora (during another one of their moves), and they have added a #3 since then. All of our girls had a blast together! It was crazy noisy in here. And two minutes after they left, it was strangely quiet.

They were towing their van stuffed to the brim with belongings. So smart!



We took the front rail off Cora's crib when she returned from Grandma & Grandpa's house. She did well with it until B left. We had a few rough nights, but now I think she gets the idea. I had started writing this earlier today and was going to comment how she has slept in the bed every time. I knew it was too soon.

After crying, screaming, getting Mommy to re-tuck her in for over an hour, and finally throwing her blankets over the gate, this was her nap today:
I have zero mommy guilt about gating her in there, since you were wondering.

B's Mt. Vesuvius selfie:

(Don't be too jealous, he's working 12-14 hour shifts every day, and this was taken while still on the base. The last time we Skyped, he was yawning after every sentence.)

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