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. (!!)


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!