Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My First 5K

I did it. I RAN A 5K!!!!
Much better.

My sister-in-law and I decided a few months ago that we wanted to run a 5K. She had started running several months earlier, while I was kind of half-heartedly attempting to get back into the Couch to 5K program, and signing up for an official 5K race sounded like good motivation for both of us. We had plans to run the trail between our houses at least once a week, once I was more up to speed, but life gets in the way, and we only managed to get out there twice. But I did run on the treadmill five to six times most weeks, with the sole purpose of not embarrassing myself serving as the main reason I managed to find the time I needed to do it.

(Of course, the secondary reason I made the time is that Doctor Who is available through Amazon Prime on my iPad, and it makes great treadmill viewing, and running gives me a good excuse to grab the alone time I need to make it through an episode, so...yeah. Hooray, exercise!)

On race morning, while we were killing time between registration and the start of the race, we were sizing up our competition. There was the guy that takes racing vurrrrry seriously, with his sweatband and shorty-shorts, stretching next to us. There were the kids that were running and jumping and acting like the three miles they were about to run was nothing for which they needed to conserve energy. There were the people RUNNING TO THE STARTING LINE, as though the 5K was only part of what they intended to run for the day. (In fact, we saw one of those people still running an hour after the race, I don't have it in me to ever be one of those people, but that's impressive, right there. Also, it makes my knees hurt, just thinking about running that long.)

And then we decided that our goal for the day was not to be the last people to finish.

My poor sister-in-law, you guys. She is so much taller than I am, so her strides are longer. She's in much better shape than I am, so her endurance is better. And yet, she stayed with me the whole time, letting me set our pace. She joked that her only concern was that the rest of the pack would get too far ahead of us, and we wouldn't know where the course went next. I joked back that I would allow her to cross the finish line before me, at least, so she wouldn't be the last person to finish the race.

But! We weren't last! In fact, we were 42% of the field away from being last! For my first ever 5K, I will take it.

As demoralizing as it is to see someone trot on past you while PUSHING A STROLLER, for crying out loud, and as painful as it is to run uphill over and over again when the course claimed to be flat, we ran the whole way. Well, we ran 99.9% of the whole way, anyway. There was this one hill, towards the end, that was a STEEP em-effer, and we made it three quarters of the way up before we walked the rest of the way. I was basically moving at the speed of a walk while 'running' up it anyway, so it just made sense to dial it back a little. But that was maybe less than a minute of walking, and we finished out at a run, even when we had to run uphill to get to the finish line, where Brigid, Caitlin and Steve were waiting for us.

And you know what? No matter where I finished, I did finish, and I will call that a success. I have had this on my list of things I've wanted to do ever since I was trying to get back into shape after having Brigid, so three and a half years later, it feels pretty good to check it off, finally.

Now, my SiL is talking about downloading a 10K training app, and she asked me if I wanted to join that crazy train with her. I'm going to have to think about that one...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The List - September Update

You know, I actually feel like I've made some progress toward my goals this last quarter...

1) Lose the pregnancy weight. - I am back at my pre-pregnancy weight, which is awesome. My body shape still isn't what it used to be, which is not. But, it happens, you know? I'm kind of getting over it now.

2) Give up meat for a month. - No.

3) Complete the Couch to 5K program. - I DID IT! And not only did I complete the program...

4) Run an organized 5K. - ...I DID THIS, TOO! My SiL and I ran our very first 5k last weekend, and we actually RAN it, hills and all. Except for one very small part, where we walked for about a minute when the hill was not a hill, because I'm pretty sure it was actually a mountain. Other than that? I RAN A 5K!

5) Clean/reorganize my closet. - Sort of, if you count getting the closet cleaned up to put the house on the market. Organized, though? Not really.

6) Take a belated anniversary trip with Steve, a long weekend somewhere without the kids. - No.

7) Make a meal entirely on my own (I don't cook, so this might be the biggest one of the year!) - I've taken over dinner duties on the nights I'm home with the girls all day. It's not the best, most of the time, but I think (hope?) I'll get better over time.

8) Create an art wall in my staircase. - My house is on the market. This won't be happening this year. year? Maybe?

9) Organize a workspace for me. - No.

10) Attend The Blathering in Charleston. - I will be on the road to Charleston in less than 48 hours. ALL OF THE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!

11) Read at least one book a month. - Let's see, through June I had: In the Garden of Beasts (Erik Larson), Wild (Cheryl Strayed), Discovery of Witches/Shadow of Night (Deborah Harkness), Wedding Night (Sophie Kinsella), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Rules of Civility (Amor Towles), The Casual Vacancy (JK Rowling), and Summer at Tiffany (Marjorie Hart). Since then, I've added The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky), Austenland (Shannon Hale), These is My Words (Nancy E. Turner), and Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell), which puts me at thirteen books through nine months. I win.

(Plus the seven Harry Potter books, reread. I really like counting those, too.)

12) Take Brigid and Caitlin to South Bend for a weekend (preferably a football weekend). - We did it! We even took Brigid to her first football game, which she wanted to leave during the 2Q. We...did not leave. I did enjoy showing the girls the campus, though.

13) Research/practice meditation. - No.

14) Find a yoga studio and start taking classes regularly. - No.

15) Find a 'mommy and me' class of some sort for Brigid and I to attend. - No.

16) Write something, anything, not blog related. - No.

17) Take one lunch break a week, even if it's only 15 minutes, to sit somewhere quiet and recalibrate/reflect/replan the next few days. (when I go back to work...) - HA! HAAAAAAAA! No. (still, again.)

18) Start taking outfit photos again, in an effort to wear everything already in my closet instead of shopping for new items. - Eh. Maybe.

19) Be more consistent in updating my family blog, because my parents give me a hard time when I let it lag, and my personal blog, because I'm not as happy with myself when I let it lag. - Still no.

20) Start reading my favorite blogs again, since I haven't even LOOKED at my reader feed in months, and I miss keeping up with it. - No.

21) Find a general practitioner and get a physical. - Not yet.

22) Throw Brigid a NYE party next year, complete with hats, noisemakers, and fun food, since she was really excited to stay up until midnight this year, but I was so tired from the baby's schedule that we faked midnight for her at 11PM. - I have a few more months on this?

23) Send more mail...thank you notes, birthday cards, and 'just because' messages. - I've been better-ish. But there's still room for improvement.

24) Try a juice fast/cleanse. - I probably won't do this. Most likely.

25) Decide, once and for all, what I want to be when I grow up, and formulate a plan to get myself there. - Blergh.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Reading Rainbow

Apparently, I can write more words than any one person should about favorite movies and television shows (if that one person is not a movie or television critic, anyway), but then the words dry up, and I forget to post again.

NOT THIS WEEK!! This week, I'm linking up with Ginger's Bring Back the Words prompt around what my favorite toys were as a child, which is actually a surprisingly short list, given how many toys were in my house at any given moment when I was growing up. In fact, there's really only one item on that list...


Now, before I could read, I had a few toys that I liked. When I was three, I wanted a barn and a farm and a horse for Christmas. This was the first Christmas my mom and I shared with my soon-to-be-step-dad, and when I unwrapped the Fisher Price farm set he'd put under the tree for me, I think I knew right then and there that he was a keeper.

(I was right, by the way. He's still a keeper, 30 years later. I am an excellent judge of character, obviously.)

Then there was the American Girl doll I got when I was...10? 11, maybe? I'd wanted a Samantha doll more than ANYTHING ELSE IN THIS WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD, and there she was on Christmas morning. The pictures from that day are a great testament to my joy that morning, but they're also a testament to pre-teen braces, frizzy hair, and remarkably pasty complexion, so...yeah. I think those pictures are in a box at my parents' house somewhere, maybe (hopefully?) never to see the light of day, again.

(Along with the video of my Jr. Miss competition (IT WAS A SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITION!) when I was a senior in high school. I think I've safely hidden that away somewhere, because it was awful. Picture a group of high school girls dancing a horrific dance to Jailhouse Rock by Elvis, in white sweatsuits with black electrical tape lines on them, made to look like jailhouse uniforms. Then imagine the ridiculous answers given to terrible pageant questions, and that is maybe the most cringe-worthy tape of my life. So. Bad.)

But books. Well, books were my life when I was growing up. I would read anything and everything I could get my hands on. I'd read every book in the young adult section at the library that earned me extra points in the Summer Reading Club. I'd read all of the children's books my little sister brought home to read, to her if that was an option, but even to myself, if it wasn't. I'd read really age-inappropriate books, now that I think about it, that I found on my grandpa's bookshelf. I'd read cereal boxes at the kitchen table, just to have something to do.

My mom loves to tell the story about how I got lost driving home from my piano teacher's house, even though she lived five minutes and one turn away from me, because I'd turned the wrong way. Turns out, when you start reading the minute you get into the car, you're not going to know how to get yourself around the small town you've lived in all of your freaking life.

Go figure.

My mom actually had to ground me from reading from time to time, because I wouldn't get anything else done. My room would be a mess, my homework would be incomplete, my chores would be unfinished. Seriously. My mother. Would ground me. From reading.

Who does that?

I hope beyond anything else that I am able to pass this love of reading on to my girls, because I don't know what I'll do if they don't enjoy it like I do. Brigid gets two books read to her every night before bed, and I'm trying to get back into the habit of it with Caitlin, as well. I am SO DAMN EXCITED for the day when I think Brigid is finally old enough to read the Harry Potter books with me, and I have a box full of old Nancy Drew books in the basement with her name on it. Lord of the Rings, Madeleine L'Engle, Narnia, The Babysitters Club, whatever new series they have out for kids now. I want them to want to read it all.

Just as soon as they learn how to read.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Reliving Notre Dame

I try to make it a point to always wear green on the Friday before a Notre Dame game, because I am just that much of an ND homer. I may or may not have bought this skirt from the J Crew outlet with just such an event in mind...
Of course, this week, I had to move my pre-gameday ritual up a few days, because Steve and I took Thursday and Friday off to actually go to Notre Dame for the game, but still...I think I got my point across.

We went back to South Bend for a game in 2011, but we'd left Brigid with my mom for the day (my parents live about two hours away from SB), and we'd just driven up and back that same day. We didn't leave the tailgate lot, except to go to the stadium and walk to the bookstore on the edge of campus when the game was over, so it had been awhile since I'd been on the actual campus. It's changed so much, but hasn't.

When I was in high school, I applied to Notre Dame to give my parents bragging rights. I thought I could get in to the university, and I wanted them to be able to tell their friends that I had, in fact, done so, because, I don't know. I was a snotty high schooler who wanted to show off, maybe? But I had absolutely no intention of going there for four years, because I wanted to move to the city. Sure, that city happened to be Indianapolis, which is maybe no great shakes to most people, but it was a big deal to me, since my closest neighbor when I was in high school was the cow that lived in the pasture across the road from us. I was going to Butler, and that was that.

But there was no point in letting my official college visits go to waste, even if I'd already made my decision, so when my best guy friend and the guy I happened to have a crush on at the time asked if I wanted to take a day to go visit Notre Dame with them, of course I went. Spend the day in school or take a four hour roadtrip with a cute guy? Please.

I was 18. I think we all know where my priorities lie.

It was cold and rainy when we got there, so we decided to skip the official tour. After all, none of us were planning to go there, anyway. My friend was moving to Boston. My crush wanted to go to Duke. Why did we need to learn about the campus?

Then we stepped inside the Basilica to look around.

Look, I am Catholic. I was baptized Catholic. I attended Catholic school through seventh grade. I taught kindergarten Sunday school when I was in high school. I've spent my life at church. But I struggle with it sometimes, and I am not as active as I should be. And I definitely wasn't as full of faith as a teenager as some people I knew at the time. And yet, the minute I walked into that church, I knew.

This was where I would spend the next four years of my life, and I have never once regretted that decision.

Six years later, I would get married in that church. Nine years after that, I would take the daughters I share with the man I met just across the quad from that church to Mass there. And I would feel the very same feelings of coming home each and every time I walked into that building.

Notre Dame is my happy place, and I think it always will be. I've been telling Steve for years that I think I'd be happy working on a college campus for the rest of my life, but I think I've been wrong. I don't think I'd want to work on a college campus, I think I'd want to work on this college campus...

...if working meant sitting outside, under a tree, with a book, in the spring and fall, of course. I may end up being the first person in history to retire to South Bend, Indiana, I think.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I'll be sad to leave behind...

If we do end up moving in the near future (I am so very superstitious and paranoid about the universe, I'm afraid to assume that we will, in fact, be moving until we do, in fact, move. So please excuse me, but I'll be speaking in nothing but hypotheticals for the foreseeable future...), there are a few things about the house that I'll miss. I mean, it's hard NOT to miss the place where you brought your babies home for the first time. Especially when you put so much planning and effort into that place...

This nursery is by far, my favorite room in the house. We did the shelf around the room on our own, pulled from a site that Steve found online, using basically these exact colors of light blue and green. Even though we knew Brigid was going to be a girl when we were planning this room, I was in the denial stage of 'I don't want my baby wearing nothing but pink. I want greens and yellows and I WILL NOT GIVE IN TO GENDER STEREOTYPES!!!' And I didn't. Until my daughter learned to speak for herself, and then, well...

Might I introduce you to the room she helped us design, once we decided that letting her pick out her own 'big girl bedroom' might be a good way to help her come to terms with the new baby?

There is pink in this room. Lots and lots and LOTS of pink. And a princess chandelier, just for good measure. I don't mind, though...I actually kind of love this room more than I expected to. I think it's the blue, particularly the Tiffany blue of the accent wall. I don't know many people who hate the sight of Tiffany blue, you know?

Ideally, I'd like to just pick up the 2nd floor of my house and move it to a new location, which is not at all unreasonable, I don't think. Now, I just need to figure out who I talk to about making that happen...

(Caitlin's furniture, which was Brigid's furniture before her, came from a baby boutique north of Atlanta, whose name I don't remember, except for the glider. The glider came from Babies R' Us. Brigid's furniture all came from IKEA, including the chandelier and the little pink chair, although it was a 'natural' color until we spray painted it pink. The comforter and curtains, we picked up from the Pottery Barn outlet.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I know this is my fault, because I am the driving force behind wanting to move someplace new, but I am SO TIRED of spending time working on a house that I don't want to live in anymore. The painting and planting and floor redoing and packing and decluttering and OMG MAKE IT STOP. Please. Just make it stop.

I have a room full of boxes and furniture that need to be taken for storage, because it's not stuff that we're getting rid of, it's just decorative stuff that's making the house look too full, and the house can't look too full when you're showing it to prospective buyers. I have a deck that needs to be painted if it will ever, for the love of all that is good, stop raining for more than six hours at a time. I have a yard that needs pavers laid, pine straw spread, and bushes trimmed, if it wasn't a thousand degrees out, in those six hours when it wasn't raining. I have a basement to organize, a master bedroom to clean out, an almost 4-year old's room to declutter, if I could just stop doing laundry and dishes and watching my kids for a good 48-hour period so I could make some actual progress. I have a garage to clean out. And carpets and windows that need to be cleaned. And doors and windowsills that need to be painted. And maybe a bathroom tile that needs to be fixed.

And that's all before we go through the process of listing and showing the house, and then hopefully selling and packing up the house.

And all of a sudden, I'm starting to remember why I said I never wanted to move again when we were moving into the house we currently live in. I'm going to record one of those video diaries of these next few weeks, to keep in a safety deposit box, so in the event that I start to get the itch to move again after this whole ordeal is over, Steve can force me to watch it on repeat until it kills that itch dead.

It's the least I can do after putting him through all of this, right?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

TV Time

Well, last week I had so much fun participating in Ginger's favorite movie link-up that you'd better believe I wanted to participate in this week's favorite television show version.

10) Alias - I've always said that I want to be Sydney Bristow when I grow up, because seriously...she kicks so much ass. Steve and I started watching the show randomly one summer in the middle of its run, because I think maybe he found a deal for season 1 on DVD? And he's never been one to pass up a good deal? Even if that deal is on a show that neither of us had shown any inclination to watch prior to that moment? Whatever. That DVD was my first taste at binge watching an entire season of one show, and well, I was hooked after that. I have, however, never quite forgiven Jennifer Garner for breaking up with Michael Vartan in the middle of the show, to go marry Ben Affleck, even if the Garner-Affleck kids are some of the cutest kids on the planet. I'M STILL NOT OVER IT, OK? This has not stopped me, however, from adding it to my Amazon Prime watchlist, because I intend to watch it from beginning to end, all over again, sometime in the near future.

9) Charmed - I don't know what it is about this show, but I love it. STOP JUDGING ME! *ahem* The show runs on TNT now, and they were just starting with the pilot episode during my first week of maternity leave after having Brigid, so through the magic of the DVR, I was able to record and watch the entire thing from start to finish. The supernatural overload may have had something to do with the voices I could have sworn I was hearing in the white noise machine when getting up with Brigid during all of those sleepless nights, come to think of it...

8) Bones - I just love the relationships between all of the characters. The science stuff is interesting, I find the murder stuff a little gruesome from time to time, but the characters keep me invested in the show, no matter what.

7) Parks & Rec - It's not weird that I want to go knock off Ann Perkins and then take her place as Leslie's best friend, right?

6) New Girl - I know she's kind of a polarizing figure, but I LOVE Zooey Deschanel, and I want most of her wardrobe from the show.

5) Downton Abbey - I'm giving Downton this spot on a trial basis. It has A LOT to do before it can make up for what it did to me last season.

4) Friends - I will watch these reruns whenever they are on. Who DOESN'T watch these reruns whenever they are on?

3) Seinfeld - I've made Steve watch the reruns throughout our relationship, because I got tired of quoting the show to him, only to have him look at me like I was nuts. Not that he doesn't have a point, when I can relate most of life to Seinfeld, but still. I needed his support. Our family favorite is probably the Festivus episode, because we have a lot of fun interpreting Caitlin's baby shrieks as 'I've got a lot of problems with you people!' Well, I have a lot of fun doing that. Steve might just be humoring me at this point.

2) West Wing - This is such a great show. It is so well written, with such great characters, that I am still sad they didn't just leave it on the air. I absolutely would have watched Jimmy Smits as president for another 4 years, if it meant they weren't taking Josh Lyman away from me. This is my current Amazon Prime binge-viewing obsession.

1) Gilmore Girls - I want to live in Stars Hollow. Not in some small town somewhere in New England. Just Stars Hollow. I'd also like to be able to think as fast as Lorelai Gilmore talks, if that's not too much to ask.

Honorable Mentions:
The Office - Jim and Pam's wedding might have been one of my favorite episodes of any television series, ever.
The Bachelor/ette - Who doesn't like a nice hot mess to watch every now and then?
So You Think You Can Dance - Those kids have some serious talent.
Community - It can be up and down, quality-wise, but the up can also be really, REALLY up.
Dawson's Creek - Mostly because I have nostalgic memories of gathering in my dorm's common room to watch it with a whole group of girls in college. It's on my watchlist for future start-to-finish viewing at some point, too.
VEEP - Hilarious. The show is FREAKING HILARIOUS.

I'm sure I'm missing something, but this is what I have at the moment. What about you?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Let's all go to the movies...

When I was younger, writing was my creative outlet. It was the one area where I had any sort of artistic talent, and I genuinely enjoyed getting lost in the words rolling around in my head, as I tried to put what I wanted to say on paper as quickly as it wanted to come out.

Then, I went off to college, where my writing-intensive Government 2nd major fell away as I became focused on the spreadsheets and formulas and calculations of my Finance 1st major. I never quite lost my love of writing, but I felt like, somewhere along the way, I'd lost the ability to write how I wanted to write. I started my family blog in 2010 as a way to bring some of that joy back into my life, while also documenting my daughter's life for my out-of-state family, who never got to see her as much as they'd like. Eventually, that became my family yearbook, printed out every year by my husband for us to remember the events of the previous year, followed religiously by my mom and grandmother for pictures of my girls, used by my mother-in-law to share our lives with her friends. And I love that they all have the opportunity to do what they want with that space, truly. But I also feel that because that is what that space is used for, it needs to be primarily a picture book, with the words providing a secondary focus for people if they can bring themselves to look away from the smiling baby that has to be included in every. single. post. to prevent my mother from asking me when I'm going to start posting more pictures of the girls for her to see.

So, you know, the words. I'm still trying to bring them back.

A couple of weeks ago, Ginger started this Bring Back the Words weekly prompt that I've wanted to participate in every time she's mentioned it, but, for various reasons, I just haven't. Well, maybe not various reasons. Maybe just one. 

It's time, ok? I just never seem to have time. I always see the weekly prompt, think to myself 'THIS IS THE WEEK I'M GOING TO PARTICIPATE!!!', and then before I know it, the week is over, the next week's prompts are up, and, I don't know. It just hasn't happened, yet. BUT!!!!

This is the week! Because this week? Well, Ginger is talking about movies. And, my friends? I have some THOUGHTS on movies.

So, let's jump in, shall we? Here are my 10 favorite movies of all time:

10) Can't Hardly Wait - This movie came out the year I graduated from high school. So of course we watched it at least once a week in college, because 'OHMYGOD, that's like, so US!' Sorry I'm not sorry.

9) Match Point - I don't know what it is about this movie. I watched it originally because Matthew Goode is on my 'list' (you know what I'm talking about), and, well, that's reason enough for me to watch something, right there. But, I really loved it. And I found myself actually rooting for the villain to win in the end, although that may have had more to do with my strong dislike of Scarlett Johansson as an actress than the movie itself, but still...I'm going to give credit to the movie. It is good. 

8) Rudy - I went to Notre Dame, so I'm a little biased, here, but this movie makes me feel ALL of the feelings. I can remember my roommates and I feeling beat down one week towards the end of a semester, and we spent a Saturday watching this movie and sobbing like fools. Because Rudy! He beat the odds! He played football at Notre Dame! The fight song! Woo! By the end of the movie, we were so full of school pride, WE probably could have made that tackle against Georgia Tech, and getting through the semester didn't seem like such an ordeal anymore. Also, my husband (also an ND grad) starts tearing up at the music from THE OPENING CREDITS, so, it's kind of a big deal in our house. Side note, the first: I've heard the real Rudy speak at a pep rally. He's terrible. Also, I think he was kind of an ass when he was actually at Holy Cross/Notre Dame. But still! Rudy!

7) Elf - This movie makes me happy. I love everything about Christmas, and I love Will Ferrell, and I refer to my daughter as an angry elf all of the time when she gets pissed off. It was on Showtime the other night, and I watched it because I was sad. It helped...

6) Love, Actually - Happy, Christmas, everything I said above, etc, although you will have to replace Will Ferrell with Colin Firth and Hugh Grant. And I have no problem with that. They would be why this movie is ranked ahead of Elf, honestly.

5) Newsies - Fact: I have been in love with Christian Bale since I was 13 years old, when my high school music teacher had us watch Newsies in class one day. He remains my longest running relationship, to this day. For Brigid's first Christmas, I bought her Newsies on DVD. SHE NEEDED IT, OK?

4) Chasing Liberty - I like the idea of running off with a hot British guy in a foreign country. Or, I did, anyway, back in the day. Now the thought of sleeping outside all night on top of a building in Prague just makes my neck hurt. But still...I'll watch the movie anytime it's on.

3) Harry Potter (any and all of them) - I'm going to include this as one movie, because I will absolutely watch all eight of them anytime they are on t.v. In fact, ABC Family just did a Harry Potter marathon last weekend, and even though I came in late, I still managed to catch three of them while I was painting my staircase (don't ask...), and honestly? I'm disappointed I missed the first few they showed. I would have had it on all day, if I'd known it was available. Side note, the second: We are going to Disney in November, with a stop at Universal, first. I have informed my husband that there's a chance I will never actually make it to Disney, because I'm partially convinced that I'm meant to live my life as a character actor at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I think this would make me happy. This doesn't make me weird, right?

2) Center Stage - The first time my roommate made me watch this movie in college, she was acting all swoony over Cooper Nielson, and I thought she was crazy, because no. Not attractive in the least bit. She just smiled at me and promised to check in with me again at the end of the movie. Yeah...she was absolutely justified in being swoony. There is just something about a boy who can dance, you know? This is one of two things that stay on my iPad at all times because I never get tired of watching it, and the ballet scene at the end is surprisingly effective background noise for a workout.

1) Pride & Prejudice (the long one) - Ok, so I know this isn't technically a movie, since it was a BBC miniseries, but I don't care. It is six hours of Colin Firth being Mr. Darcy, and Jennifer Ehle as the most perfectly awesome Elizabeth Bennet, and even though I have seen it a million times already, I've never hesitated to watch it again when I have free time. It is the one thing that I will never, ever, EVER take off of my iPad OR my iPhone to free up space, and if that isn't true love, I don't know what is.

Honorable Mention: A Charlie Brown Christmas (not really a movie, I guess, but I have so many happy feelings when I watch this show, dating back to how much I loved Christmas as a child, that I couldn't leave it off of the list.), Hoosiers (I'm from Indiana. It's a requirement if I ever want to be allowed back in the state.), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (I like the Bryan Adams song, and if that's wrong, then I don't want to be right. Also, I have a weird attraction to Christian Slater in that movie. I know...I don't get it, either.).

And that is my list. Tell me...what have I missed? Where am I wrong? What are your favorite movies?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Health & Wellness Goals: August

I have, officially, seen my pre-pregnancy weight on the scale, which would be a great feeling, except for that part where pregnancy shifts everything around, so even though the scale might say that you're where you were before, your clothes are telling you that the scale is wrong. My calves are bigger than they used to be, my belly could kind of still pass for a pregnant belly if I'm not completely careful in what I wear, and there are some back bulges where I'd SWEAR there weren't back bulges in the past. But it's fine, for the most part. I'm eight months removed from having Caitlin, and for the most part, I can basically fit into my closet again.

It's fine.

Except...well, it's not always fine. Some of my dresses just don't fit well. Some of my boots seem to cut off circulation below my knee. And most of my t-shirts have had to be retired.

I'm not naive. I understand that bodies change with age and REALLY change after pregnancy, and I don't ever expect to look like I did in my 20s again. But I'm also pretty sure that if I went to my doctor right now, she'd tell me I'm overweight for my height, and that's something I'd still like to fix. Then there's the part of me that knows, at one point in my life, I was able to run more than three consecutive miles without feeling like I wanted to vomit or die or vomit, then die. And that part? Right there? She is beyond annoying and has convinced all of the other parts of me that I should get back to that point, while signing me up for a 5K to push the issue. I kind of hate her sometimes.

(I think tonight is going to be one of those times, when my C25K training app jumps from 10 minutes of running without a break to 20 minutes of running without a break. Way to ease me into things there, fellas!)

I feel like I am starting to get the exercise thing back under control, which always makes me feel better, but it's probably time I tackle the diet side of things, too, because guys? My sweet tooth is out of control. If you could have SEEN the number of tootsie rolls I put away last Friday in a binge of stress eating, you'd have been either impressed or disgusted, depending on your view of whether stress eating tootsie rolls is a good thing or a bad thing. I'm kind of inclined to consider it a bad thing at the moment, so I'm putting myself on a no-sugar plan for the month of August. No more stress eating candy or raiding my freezer stash of Girl Scout cookies (which are, uh, gone anyway after last week's craziness...). Sugar has been causing headaches and upset stomachs for me lately, anyway, so now seems as good a time as any to see just how much better I feel off of it for 31 days.

Who knows...maybe I'll even come out of it as one of those people who can have a small piece of dark chocolate here and there, and feel completely satisfied when it's gone! OR EVEN ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO CONSIDERS FRUIT A VIABLE DESSERT!!! That could be me, come September, right? RIGHT?!?!?

(Wrong. I am an 'eat every piece of chocolate within a 2 mile radius of my current location' kind of person. I will never be one of those moderation people. I hate those people.)

(In an 'I'm completely jealous of those people' kind of way, of course.)

(Why can't I be one of those people???)

Friday, July 26, 2013

We made a decision! Sort of!

We had a realtor over to our house last night, and we walked through the whole place with her, and she pointed out what we did and did not need to fix before we put our house on the market, and we told her we'd have everything ready to go by September 1st, and she said we'd list the house after that. Then she left, and I started crying.

Because all of a sudden it hit me that even though I am the driving force behind all of this, even though this is what I want for the family, if everything goes according to plan, we could be out of the house before the holiday season. And if it only goes partially according to plan, we might not be in a new house before the end of the year. Suddenly, I'm facing no decorating for Halloween or Christmas, no trick-or-treating with the neighbors, none of the fun things that I look forward to the other eight months of the year (because my holiday season starts in September, of course). And even though I know it will all be better in the long run, a lost holiday season makes me sad, because I'm up against the clock already on having kids young enough to fully enjoy the magic behind my favorite time of year, and I don't really want to waste any of the time I have.

I tried to explain all of this to Steve, and he basically looked at me like I'm nuts, which...he does have a point. I feel kind of nuts right now, and I'm more or less banking on feeling this way until the process is settled one way or the other. Either we'll sell the house within the 30-days-on-the-market time frame our realtor has set out for us, and I'll deal with whatever comes our way after that, or we won't sell our house in 30 days, and we'll pull it off of the market until spring. Whatever happens, we will be fine. Everything will be fine.

I just wish we were to the 'fine' part already...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Inside My Head

When Steve and I bought the house we're currently living in, we bought it for the future. We were two childless people, living in one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in the area, with four empty bedrooms to our name and a primary school a block away from us. We were set for the long-term.

Then Brigid came along, and we started making friends with other families in the neighborhood. A new couple moved in next door to us, and suddenly, Brigid was referring to their son as her boyfriend, and Steve had a beer drinking buddy, and I had someone to carpool with to neighborhood girls' nights out. They had their second son a few months before Caitlin was born, and now we have a whole group of kids planning to grow up together. When a planned trip to the pool with a bunch of neighbors was rained out last weekend, we invited them over for dinner so the kids could play together a little longer, and the adults could drink wine, and it was just a nice way to end the weekend. A few weeks before that, it was a Sunday night pizza run for all of us together, after the neighbors had taken Brigid to the pool for the afternoon, so Steve and I could finish a home improvement project we'd been working on for weeks.

We've truly found ourselves in a really fantastic situation, and I couldn't be happier about it. But, for some reason, I just can't leave well enough alone. I can't be content with everything we have going for us.

Our house, our neighborhood, our current lifestyle in general, it's a two income party for us, and I honestly don't know how much longer I want to keep us a two income family. I want to stay home with my girls so much, there is an actual aching feeling in my chest when I think about it, and I can feel the panic/anxiety/need/some other emotion that I can't quite define rising in my throat, trying to fight its way out. The deep breathing and distraction techniques I've used to fight the random bouts of anxiety I've dealt with in the past only get me so far these days. I'm on every stress-fighting natural supplement I can find. I try to run the noise out of my head on the treadmill. I keep myself up later and later every night, because I can only fall asleep if I am so exhausted, I can't keep my eyes open for another minute, but even then, if Caitlin gets me up anytime after 4:30am? I'm usually up for the day, because there's no way I'm falling back asleep.

(Well, unless I'm running on 3 or 4 nights of 5 hours of sleep. Then I'm ok with it...)

I spend so much time thinking about how wonderful it would be to stay home with my kids, to work around their schedule alone, not their schedule, my schedule, Steve's schedule, and my mother-in-law's schedule, since she watches them three days a week. I think of how I can be responsible for dinner, so Steve's not rushing around to do it the minute he gets home, because I know how much that stresses him out. I think about how I can do the grocery shopping during the week, so our weekends are reserved for fun activities with the girls, instead of the chores that we haven't had time to do on the weekdays. I think about taking Brigid to a weekday ballet class, so our weekends can be flexible.

And I want it to be that way. Just like that.

But then I think about the money I'd be giving up. Am I actually doing wrong by my daughters, if I can't give them everything I always thought I'd be giving them? Is it wrong to move them away from such a great situation, with friends next door and down the street? We bought this house for the future, and we will lose money on it if we sell it now. Can I live with that? Or will I feel like I'm being selfish to the detriment of my family? Sure, where we'd like to move, we'll be closer to Steve's parents, which he says is where he'd like to be, but he's going to have a longer commute if we move there. Will he resent that, over time? He married someone who was willing to pull her own weight, financially, and if I'm not that person anymore, will that just increase his stress levels, knowing it's just him, now?

I know what I want to do. I just keep thinking it would be so much easier if I could do it in a way that's not an option for us. And I'm worried that what is an option for us isn't actually the right option for us. And around and around and around again, this is the whirlpool of thought I feel caught in, almost daily. I just want someone to tell me what we should do, what will give my family the happiest future. I just want someone to come be the adult for me for awhile, so I don't have to do it anymore.

And barring that? I just want to win the lottery, so I can move us all to our own little island, and this time period just becomes something we laugh about over fruity drinks on the beach, because ha ha! look how stressed we were when life involved something else besides drinking fruity drinks on the beach! isn't it nice that we don't deal with stuff like that anymore?

That's not too much to ask, right?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I don't know if there is anyone out there still listening to me or not, because when you only post once every three months, and you just haven't been able to visit/comment on other blogs recently like you used to do, and Google decides to ditch its feed reader, giving everyone else the perfect opportunity to weed dead blogs out of whatever new feed reader they're moving to, you don't expect many people to stick around, waiting anxiously for your return. But I have things to say, and even if no one is listening, and I have things to figure out for myself that I can only figure out if I put it all down on paper, first.

(My head, it is a noisy place these days. I can't keep track of anything in there, anymore.)

I want to get back to posting outfit pictures, because I've been on a stress-shopping binge, lately, and my newest no-shopping stint will begin on August 1st, which means I need to get back to appreciating what I already have, instead of wanting everything that I don't.

I want to talk about make-up, because, well, see the stress-shopping binge, above. I love make-up, I always have, and ever since Style Lush went quiet, I've lost the outlet where I could talk about all of my favorite products. And favorite products? Hoo, buddy, do I have them.

I want to talk about my feelings as a working mother who no longer wants to be a working mother, the constant beating my emotional well-being has taken as I've struggled to lose the baby weight after Caitlin's arrival in my life, the struggles I've faced in trying to teach Brigid right from wrong. And my fear that I am not doing right by her in this process.

I want to talk about all of the stress and anxiety that has slowly taken over my life this past year, in ways that I've never truly appreciated until I actually sat down and thought about how hard the simple things in life have become.

And I want to talk about how happy I am that my life is where it is, in so many ways, despite all of that other stuff that keeps getting in the way.

I have things to say. It's time I got back to saying them.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The List - June Update

I feel like I say this every time I manage to make it back to this space after a long break, but I miss writing here on a regular basis. This is my own little corner of the world, and I start to feel bottled up when I can't take some time for myself. Unfortunately, between work and the girls, time for myself seems non-existent these days, and I'm just not sure when it's coming back...

Anyway. The list.

1) Lose the pregnancy weight. - 27lbs lost. I'm three measly pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight, and yet, it still just doesn't feel right. With Brigid, when I lost the weight, I went back to being myself. After Caitlin, though, something changed, and my pre-pregnancy weight just doesn't have the same shape it used to. It can be so disheartening to see a familiar number on the scale (FINALLY!), but still not fit into half of the clothes in my closet. However, I am taking comfort in the fact that even though I FELT overly large in the strapless, empire-waisted bridesmaid dress I wore in my brother-in-law's wedding a couple of weeks ago, the pictures don't make me look nearly as bad as I had been preparing myself for, mentally, ever since they were taken. So. Bright side.

2) Give up meat for a month. - Not yet.

3) Complete the Couch to 5K program. - No new injuries to report, but no new progress on this, either. I blame the seventeen home improvement projects we have going on right now, which eat into that tiny little hour of alone time I have between getting the girls to bed and collapsing in bed myself.

4) Run an organized 5K. - See: No Running In Two Months.

5) Clean/reorganize my closet. - No.

6) Take a belated anniversary trip with Steve, a long weekend somewhere without the kids. - Still in the works.

7) Make a meal entirely on my own (I don't cook, so this might be the biggest one of the year!) - Eh, at this point I might call boiling some pasta, heating up some sauce, and opening a bag of prepared salad 'cooking' and mark this one off of the list.

8) Create an art wall in my staircase. - We...might be moving? Maybe? We've discussed it anyway? So, I don't know what to do about this now.

9) Organize a workspace for me. - No.

10) Attend The Blathering in Charleston. - STILL REGISTERED!! STILL SO EXCITED!!!!

11) Read at least one book a month. - Let's see, through May I had: In the Garden of Beasts (Erik Larson), Wild (Cheryl Strayed), and Discovery of Witches/Shadow of Night (Deborah Harkness). Since then, I've added: Wedding Night (Sophie Kinsella), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Rules of Civility (Amor Towles), The Casual Vacancy (JK Rowling), and Summer at Tiffany (Marjorie Hart). I'm at nine through seven months. I used to get through nine in less than two months. Sad.

But, Harry Potter books, reread. I should probably cut myself some slack...

12) Take Brigid and Caitlin to South Bend for a weekend (preferably a football weekend). - We're currently trying to get up there for Labor Day weekend.

13) Research/practice meditation. - No.

14) Find a yoga studio and start taking classes regularly. - No.

15) Find a 'mommy and me' class of some sort for Brigid and I to attend. - I should try to find a new one for us.

16) Write something, anything, not blog related. - No.

17) Take one lunch break a week, even if it's only 15 minutes, to sit somewhere quiet and recalibrate/reflect/replan the next few days. (when I go back to work...) - HA! HAAAAAAAA! No. (still.)

18) Start taking outfit photos again, in an effort to wear everything already in my closet instead of shopping for new items. - Eh. Maybe.

19) Be more consistent in updating my family blog, because my parents give me a hard time when I let it lag, and my personal blog, because I'm not as happy with myself when I let it lag. - Still no.

20) Start reading my favorite blogs again, since I haven't even LOOKED at my reader feed in months, and I miss keeping up with it. - Sort of. Some of them.

21) Find a general practitioner and get a physical. - Not yet.

22) Throw Brigid a NYE party next year, complete with hats, noisemakers, and fun food, since she was really excited to stay up until midnight this year, but I was so tired from the baby's schedule that we faked midnight for her at 11PM. - I have a few more months on this?

23) Send more mail...thank you notes, birthday cards, and 'just because' messages. - I've been better-ish. But there's still room for improvement.

24) Try a juice fast/cleanse. - I'm doing this dandelion tea thing? Which kind of has made me feel better? But which has also prompted Steve to ask me if I'm preparing for some kind of drug test he didn't know I had?

25) Decide, once and for all, what I want to be when I grow up, and formulate a plan to get myself there. - Blergh.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The List - May Update

Last year, I made it a point to revisit my list of goals for the year at least once every three months, so I could see what sort of progress I was making towards them. This year? Things have gotten away from me a bit.

Between the new baby, an overactive toddler, and a job that takes up more of my time (and causes more trouble) than both of my girls combined, it's all of a sudden May, and I have no idea how we got here. update:

1) Lose the pregnancy weight. - I have lost about 20lbs since the start of the year, which is excellent. Less excellent is the fact that I gained more than 20lbs with Caitlin, so I still have some work ahead of me.

2) Give up meat for a month. - Not yet.

3) Complete the Couch to 5K program. - I keep trying. And I keep injuring myself, outside of the whole running thing. First, it was slipping on the stairs at my in-laws' house, and messing up my ankle. Then, it was falling in the parking garage at work, and tweaking my quad muscle. I'm sure, once my leg stops hurting every time I awkwardly squat to pick something up, I'll manage to throw my back out, or something.

4) Run an organized 5K. - Not if I can't quit falling while doing absolutely nothing athletic, I won't.

5) Clean/reorganize my closet. - I bought some skirt hangers that I love. That's about it.

6) Take a belated anniversary trip with Steve, a long weekend somewhere without the kids. - Still in the works.

7) Make a meal entirely on my own (I don't cook, so this might be the biggest one of the year!) - No.

8) Create an art wall in my staircase. - I've bought a bunch of frames. And I have them laid out on the floor of the front room. But that's as far as it goes right now.

9) Organize a workspace for me. - No.

10) Attend The Blathering in Charleston. - I REGISTERED! I'M GOING!! I'M SO EXCITED!!

11) Read at least one book a month. - I guess, since I didn't specify that the book a month didn't have to be a book I'd never read before, I'm actually ahead of the game on this one? Actually, even without that clarification, I'm still kind of on pace, but so far I've read: In the Garden of Beasts (Erik Larson), Wild (Cheryl Strayed), and Discovery of Witches/Shadow of Night (Deborah Harkness), plus I'm currently reading Wedding Night (Sophie Kinsella). So...five, right?

cough*Plus I reread all 7 Harry Potter books, just because I wanted to*cough

12) Take Brigid and Caitlin to South Bend for a weekend (preferably a football weekend). - We're currently trying to get up there for Labor Day weekend.

13) Research/practice meditation. - No.

14) Find a yoga studio and start taking classes regularly. - No.

15) Find a 'mommy and me' class of some sort for Brigid and I to attend. - Brigid is currently enrolled in a ballet class at the Atlanta Ballet Company, where I get to go sit in class with her while she 'dances'. I don't get to dance, though, and I think the ABC is really missing out on something special here by not letting me participate, but whatever. What do I know, right?

16) Write something, anything, not blog related. - No.

17) Take one lunch break a week, even if it's only 15 minutes, to sit somewhere quiet and recalibrate/reflect/replan the next few days. (when I go back to work...) - HA! HAAAAAAAA! No.

18) Start taking outfit photos again, in an effort to wear everything already in my closet instead of shopping for new items. - Once I fit into more than three items in my closet, I will get RIGHT on this.

19) Be more consistent in updating my family blog, because my parents give me a hard time when I let it lag, and my personal blog, because I'm not as happy with myself when I let it lag. - I can usually manage to get something into the family blog about three times a week, even if it's a throwaway picture post (because, let's be honest, that's all my family cares about, anyway), but this blog has been sadly neglected this year. I need to change that.

20) Start reading my favorite blogs again, since I haven't even LOOKED at my reader feed in months, and I miss keeping up with it. - I transferred everything to a new feed reader! And I added a few that looked awesome! read them? I'm still trying to find a better balance for my time.

21) Find a general practitioner and get a physical. - No. Although having one might have come in handy when I thought I had pinkeye, but Not yet.

22) Throw Brigid a NYE party next year, complete with hats, noisemakers, and fun food, since she was really excited to stay up until midnight this year, but I was so tired from the baby's schedule that we faked midnight for her at 11PM. - I have a few more months on this?

23) Send more mail...thank you notes, birthday cards, and 'just because' messages. - Sort of. It comes in spurts, and I am not consistent at all. But I'm trying to be better about it.

24) Try a juice fast/cleanse. - No.

25) Decide, once and for all, what I want to be when I grow up, and formulate a plan to get myself there. - I know I want to spend more time at home with my girls. I know I don't want every waking moment to be consumed with work, to the point that I am using my personal phone as a wireless hotspot to work from the car as we're driving home from Indiana on what should be a vacation day, because there is some work emergency that needs to be addressed. I DON'T know how to get there, though. So...uh...TBD? I guess?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fun With Make-Up

Last weekend, I spent Saturday night out with several ladies much, MUCH younger than myself, in honor of my soon to be SiL's bachelorette party. It was fun, and exhausting, and a little crazier than my 33-year old body can handle these days. And I learned that while I still like to talk to just about anybody who will have a conversation with me while I'm out, I now find myself doing things like discussing career paths with the 29-year old engaged bartender who is studying to be a chiropractor and giving parenting advice to the guy who's wife is pregnant with their first kid (a girl!) at the bachelor party drinking next to us. So, you know. I am a BLAST to have at parties, obviously.

Anyway, as I've gotten older, I've started using a lot more make-up in my everyday routine, to try to mask a few of those telltale 'yes I have a baby at home, and no I haven't had a decent night of sleep in something like 10 months' signs, and let me tell you...the rabbit hole that is internet make-up advice is just as fun/exhausting/crazy as any bachelorette party with a bunch of mid-twenties people in attendance. But! Most of the time I don't wake up with a splitting headache in the morning after looking at you tubed make-up tutorials, so I'll have to give the nod to the internet on this one.

My newest obsession? Tightlining.

It's an eyelining technique that involves lining from underneath your lashes, to accent your eyes without the heavy handed look you (or I, in any case) can get from regular eyeliner. I followed the advice I found here, and for my first attempt, I was pretty happy with the results:

Of course, the look took A LOT of Q-Tip clean-up, because I had eyeliner all over the place, but it's definitely a look I want to keep practicing, because I think I could make this an everyday thing for myself, once I get a better handle on it.

Side note: The other night, I was watching Two Weeks Notice with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant, and all I could focus on was Sandra's eyeliner. Because in almost every movie she is in, I always love the look of her make-up, and now? I AM TOTALLY IN ON HER SECRET! Watch your back, Sandy. I'm coming for you.

(Because, the only thing separating me from Sandra's superstar life is the eye make-up techniques, right?)

Side note, the second: I used this Stila Smudge Pot and a flat eyeliner brush for my first attempt.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Remember Me?

I signed up for this absolutely awesome thing that Doing My Best has been hosting for awhile now, a 'Crappy Day Present' Exchange. The thought process behind the exchange is that we all have crappy days, and wouldn't it make that day just a little less crappy if you had something fun from someone nice to open when you're feeling blue?

The answer, of course, is yes. And even though this is my first time participating in the exchange, I've had so much fun shopping for the person I am sending a CDP package to, I think I can already claim that this whole thing works like it should. Except...

Well, I was supposed to do a 'getting to know you' post for whoever has my name to look at for ideas. And I kind of got busy. And I kind of forgot. So, I kind of failed on that part. But! Better late than never? Maybe?

1. What time did you go to bed last night and were you alone?
Around 11PM, and no. Not if you're counting one husband, two dogs, a remarkably brave cat, and a rogue toddler who joined us at 4AM.

2. If you could be given ANY gift what would it be?
A free house so that I could stay home with my girls. That would be awesome.

3. What was the last film that really moved/disturbed/thrilled you and why?
If I say the last Harry Potter, does that make me really, really behind the times? Because it was. And I am.

4. What is your favourite TV show of all time ie you've seen them all, can watch it over and over again and quote lines from it?
It's a toss up between Gilmore Girls and Seinfeld.

5. Whats your favourite way to wake up and whats the first thing you do?
On my own (ie not by one of my girls waking me up way before I'm ready). Check Twitter and drink coffee.

6. What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name?
I don't know. I've been Tara for long enough that I think I'd have to stick with Tara. Unless...could I call myself Kate Middleton? Would that make me Kate Middleton?

7. If you had to do a bushtucker challenge (you have to eat insects/grubs etc) what would be the worst thing you had to eat?
I couldn't do it. They would ALL BE TERRIBLE. Except maybe ants. I could probably do ants.

8. Whats the worst/most embarassing CD/Album you've ever owned and do you still have it?
I lived in Cincinnati when the Reds opened the current ballpark, and they distributed this CD of songs by Blessid Union of Souls written specifically for the team. It was terrible. SO BAD. And yet, I listened to it A LOT. And I made other people listen to it. And I still have all of the songs memorized. But I don't know where it is right now, and that makes me sad.
9. what would be your dream vehicle (bikes, cars, boats, batcar and millenium falcon is allowed!)?
Ooooh, a boat. A really nice one. Because if I could have my dream vehicle, I'd also like to be living in my dream location, so I'd need that boat to get around in Venice.

I deleted question 10 because it was dumb, and I don't want to renumber all of these.

11. What characteristics do you dislike in yourself?
I get flustered very easily. If I only have a few seconds to make a good impression, I don't. You need to have prolonged exposure to me to fully grasp my charm, I think.

(Also, I'm very sarcastic. But I actually kind of like that about myself.)

12. Your favourite item of clothing and why?
My gray scarf from Land's End. It's the perfect piece of travel clothing, because it doubles as a wrap, it dresses up any outfit, and it keeps me warm on the plane.

13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be and who would it be with?
Europe. All of Europe. I want to go to Ireland/Czech Republic/GermanySpain/Portugal/Greece and spend more time in France and go back to Italy.

14. If you could have any animal/creature, What would be your ultimate pet be?
I want a Harry Potter owl.

15. What did you want to be when you were little and do you think you ever will be?
An novelist, and probably not. I don't have the creativity...

16. Whats the next planned event you're looking to in your life?
A beach vacation with my family.

17. What were you doing before you started this?

18. What was the last thing you ate that you really shouldnt of ?
A Reese's peanut butter egg.

19. If you were an ice cream/haagen daz/ben an jerrys flavour what would you be?
I have absolutely no idea.

20. Who was the last person you spoke to that you didnt want to talk to?
I don't think I should answer this one...

21. What was your favourite toy as a child  . . .and now?
I was less of a toy person and more of a book person as a child. Now? I'm an iPhone person. ALL. OF. THE. TIME. on my damn phone.

22. When was the last time you cried laughing and why?
I don't remember why, but I know it was only a couple of months ago. I was pregnant at the time, so I might have been a little hysterical? I feel like it maybe involved dirty jokes...

23. What is stashed under your bed/mattress?
Does cat hair count? What about dog toys? ALL OF THAT STUFF ENDS UP UNDER MY BED.

24. What did you dream about last night?
I didn't. But my husband dreamt he met my golf crush, so I want HIS dreams next time...

25. What are you really afraid of?
Anything happening to my children. Terrified.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Luck of the Irish?

My St. Patrick's Day outfit, sponsored by my favorite maternity skirt, which I ABSOLUTELY intend to keep wearing as long as the elastic holds up, and a pair of Spanx, which I also intend to keep wearing as long as I can still pass for slightly pregnant anytime I wear anything that isn't loose and flowing.

The tank top is a maternity find, too, from Target, and I would kind of like to keep buying every color that they make, because I love how long they are. But also? I would very much like to quit wearing maternity clothes because, you know, I do own other clothes that I would like to wear again someday...
Skirt: Motherhood Maternity
Tank Top: Target
Cardigan: Banana Republic (outlet)
(The cardigan! The cardigan isn't a maternity item! That sort of counts, right? Even though I was wearing this cardigan at the end of my pregnancy?)
(Whatever. I'm getting there. There are more non-maternity clothing items that fit me now, compared to where I was at the start of the year. I just really wanted to wear jeans and boots to the St. Patrick's Day festival we went to on Saturday, but that wasn't an option. I'm tired of it not being an option, that's all...)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Welcome Back

Today is a hectic day. Once again, the concept of a deadline seems to be something that most people just don't understand. But, I'm trying to be better about managing my stress. I'm trying to take it all in stride. I'm trying to remember that I can tell people what needs to be done all day long, but I can't actually do it for them.

I'm trying to relax.

And it seems to be going better than I thought it would.

Over the last several weeks, I've realized that I never knew what a miserable pregnant woman I was until I stopped being a miserable pregnant woman. My hormonal tendencies during pregnancy are...not good. I was angry, all of the time. I was annoyed with the slightest little thing. I didn't want to be around people. I just wanted to stay home in my sweatpants and play with Brigid. I honestly thought that nothing would make me happier than quitting my job to stay home with my girls. And honestly? I'm still not entirely convinced that this isn't the case.

My twelve weeks at home were awesome, and I'd have no problem going back to that place in a heartbeat.

But at the same time, I like my job again. I like having responsibilities outside of the home, and I like the adult interaction that being in the office provides. Things are crazy today, but I am not the ball of rage over other people's actions that I would have been six months ago, and that makes me happy.

I'm finally starting to feel like myself again.

It's about time...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

All of the Pretty Necklaces

Part two in my new 'Everything I Learned About Organization, I Learned From Pinterest' series?
(Ok, it's not really a series. But seriously. Pinterest, man...)

The corkboard was an old one that I rescued from an office move, years ago, and I've held on to it all of this time, knowing I would find a use for it eventually. And I did! I'm not sure Steve would consider me needing a place to hang all of my necklaces a valid reason for moving this thing all of the way from Cincinnati with us, but he would be wrong.

I would very much like to find some wall space where I can hang this, but right now, it's sitting on the floor of my closet, propped up against some drawers. And every time I open my closet, I get happy all over again, because...pretty colors! tons of options! necklaces I haven't worn in for-e-ver because I forgot I had them!

(Now, who wants to be responsible for reminding me I have NO! MORE! SPACE! when I threaten to go jewelry shopping again?)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Changing Course (Again)

I hate tracking calories.

I hate searching for foods, logging every single thing I eat, and annoying my husband when we go out to eat by spending twenty minutes trying to make sure I've included everything from my meal in my tracker. And I especially hate that the entire process, even though it seems to work in the short term, never seems to be a long-term solution for me, because I get tired of it so easily.

But, my sister-in-law has been using the My Fitness Pal app for months, now, and she looks fantastic. And my mother-in-law has started to use it, too. So has my father-in-law. And so has Steve.

(And here's where I admit that I am a competitive and vain individual. All of the family has jumped on the weight loss wagon because my brother-in-law is getting married in June. And I'll be damned if I'M going to be the family member that ruins the pictures, ok?)

So, in the last two months, I've tried logging calories and activity through my Fitbit, only to be derailed by my typical calorie counting complaints. I've tried restarting the C25K running program, but I've been knocked off course by a nagging ankle injury I got falling down the stairs on Christmas Eve. I tried to go with the strict no carb diet that helped me with my first pregnancy weight-loss, but I'm just not seeing the changes I feel like I should be seeing (Mostly, I think, because I'm eating waaaaay too many almonds for my own good. They're a healthy snack, when you're not eating a thousand calories worth of them a day. Go figure.)

So, I'm back to tracking calories. The key benefit on this app, though, is the food scanning feature, where scanning the barcode with my phone automatically uploads the calorie content/nutritional information, and that doesn't seem nearly as tiresome as manually looking up every little thing I want to eat. I'm hoping that this will provide even MY lazy dieting self with enough convenience to make the process stick this time.

Only time will tell, I guess...
Week nine weigh-in
Weight, as of 1/7/13 (initial BBL weigh-in): 175lbs
Weight as of 3/11/13: 162lbs
Weight lost: 2.5lbs over the past 2 weeks, 13lbs overall
And just so it doesn't seem like I'm ALL doom and gloom on this weight loss process, today was the first day I've actually started to feel a little more like myself again, like I CAN see a change in things from where I've started. I know I've eaten well for the last week. I know I've been able to squeeze in some physical activity for at least a few minutes every day for the last few days. I know that what I'm doing, it's working.
It's working slowly, but it's working.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My Parents Are THE BEST!

Y'all! My parents bought a townhome on the beach.

I just...I can't even. I am SO excited about this place.

See, we've been vacationing at the same spot in Panama City Beach, FL for something like a million and a half years. And every year, while we were there, my parents would talk about how fantastic it would be to own one of the townhomes in the complex where we were staying. And they would talk to some of the owners who lived there full-time. And the maintenance staff on site. And the office manager. And anyone else remotely related to the property, in the hopes that they could somehow, someday, buy one of the places that never seemed to be for sale.

And all of that talking? It finally paid off when my parents received a call about a year ago from the office manager, telling them that one of the families who lived there was thinking about listing their townhome for sale. And somehow, through the craziest bout of meant-to-be-perfect-timing ever, my parents found a buyer for the house they were living in in Indiana that had been on the market for years, downgraded to a smaller house still in Indiana, and used the difference to fund their dream purchase of a townhome on the beach.

And, of course, being the perfect, always loving daughter that I am, I agreed to help them manage the property, since I am the closest one to it at five hours away. And, if that means I have to go down once a month to check on how things are being kept up?

Well...I guess that's just a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
My life is SO TOUGH, you guys.
Side Note: We do have the place listed on VRBO (where Steve and I are managing the rentals), at really reasonable rates, if you're looking for a great vacation spot. It's pretty quiet and somewhat secluded on this part of the beach, most of the time, but there are also fun family activities nearby, if spending all day doing nothing on the beach isn't really your thing...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sometimes, Pinterest comes through for you...

When you get right down to it, I'm not really a neat person. I'd like to think that I am, and when you compare me to everyone else in my family, it might even SEEM like I am. But I'm not. I'm terrible at organization, I like to own A LOT of stuff, I'm too lazy to always make sure things are put back in their proper places, and I JUST REALIZED LAST NIGHT THAT THERE HAD BEEN A QUARTER OF A BIRTHDAY CAKE SITTING ON MY DINING ROOM TABLE FOR TWO STRAIGHT WEEKS!

Come on. Who does that?

(And also? I'm not sure if I'm more disgusted with my housekeeping skills, here, or with the fact that I let birthday cake go to waste somewhere other than in my belly. It's probably a little of both.)

But, despite all of these annoyingly unhelpful personality traits, I also hate, hate, HATE clutter. I get antsy if things start piling up for too long.

I am just a walking contradiction, I am. You can imagine how pleasant this makes me to live with, right?

But every once in awhile, I come across an idea that allows me to pretend that I have things under control, even if it just applies to one very, very small area of my life. Like, say, under my bathroom sink?
I SO wish that the Pinterest picture I pulled this idea from had the proper link attached to it, because I want to call whoever first thought of this to tell them how brilliant they are. BRILLIANT, I SAY!

No more knocking a million bottles down to reach whatever is in the back of the cabinet. No more over-buying product that I already own, because I didn't realize I already owned it. No more under-utilizing the millions of samples that I have, because I didn't know I had them.

SHELVES THAT TURN! UNDER MY BATHROOM SINK! Why do I not think of these things, when they seem so obvious after someone else points them out to me?

I, uh, may have made Steve come in to share in the glory that was my organized bathroom cabinet when I'd finished putting all of my stuff back on the lazy susan. And I may, sometimes, just open the doors so I can bask in the glow of my neat little life. Apparently, my happy place is now under my sink. Go figure...