Thursday, January 4, 2018

Reflection on 2017/Life

We accomplished quite a bit in 2017. We started off the year with a new baby and the Hubs worked several days a week on turning our 2-car garage into a pantry plus master suite. Our bedroom is much quieter on the west end of the house since it is farther from the highway and I think we have more insulation in the walls and ceiling than the main house. 
I finished my 3rd and 4th masters classes, and earned As in each class.
A turned 3 in September and after introducing her to the potty chair over a year ago, she finally potty-trained Thanksgiving weekend. She still wears pullups overnight and during naptime, and if we have a long trip to town planned, but is mostly in undies. 
C has 6 teeth (4 on top, 2 on bottom). It seems like she ALWAYS has a cold. She's back on antibiotics again as of yesterday because her runny nose and cough that started 2+ weeks ago hasn't gone away on its own yet. A came down with another cold, too, but has only had it for 2 days or so. (But I'm home with her today because we thought she might have pink eye; her eyes cleared up after she was awake for a bit this morning though) 

When I laid out my goals for 2018, one of the items was budgeting. I may have found a solution. I was using, and while I love seeing all my accounts in one place, it wasn't helping me budget. I switched over to You Need A Budget (YNAB). There's a free 34-day trial, and since I'm a student I was able to request an additional year for free. So I'll try it for this year and if it works, I may purchase it next year. I daresay after stressing over money my whole adult life, YNAB makes budgeting fun. Yeah, I know that sounds crazy. 

For the last two weeks I've meal prepped for lunch. This week I focused on packing more veggies, and actually packed so much I couldn't eat everything. I'd have to look back at my planner for last week's lunches, but this week I packed:
morning snack: red grapes, coffee
lunch: carrots, cherry tomatoes and sliced bell peppers with hummus; a wheat wrap sandwich with cream cheese, pesto, an arugula/spinach blend and roast beef; ramen/cabbage slaw 
afternoon snack: Greek yogurt (Aldi has a delicious toasted coconut flavor...) and a piece of good dark chocolate
And I've been tracking my water intake again. It's difficult for me to drink water when it's cold outside. 

Breakfasts this week were wheat pancakes with peanut butter, and strawberries. and of course coffee. (a necessity with sick kids)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Goals for 2018

As I indicated in my last post, I would like to blog again and I would like to set and achieve some goals for 2018. If I share them here, maybe I'll be more likely to achieve them all...

Financial goals:
1. Pay off house renovations. This should be complete by March
2. Pay off appliances. This should be complete by July 
3. Save toward a down payment on a new-to-me car. I love my Mazda 3 hatchback, but it doesn't have enough leg room for A, and all four of us can't ride in my car anywhere. My tags are due in July, but because of items 1 and 2, saving for a car isn't in the cards for the first half of the year. I would like $5,000 saved plus whatever I get for trading in the Mazda (or selling it outright). I think this is doable by December. 
4. Budget. I started using last year but stopped while I was on maternity leave. Then it was hard to pick back up because I hadn't stayed on top of categorizing expenses. 

Personal goals:
1. Garden. With the kids this has been difficult the last several years. Even if I need to take several vacation days to put the garden in and harvest, I need to commit to it for my mental health. Between work, school, the kids and the hubs I don't get any "me" time and I often feel I need to recharge. 
Subgoals: a. Add 2 more garden beds
                 b. plant 3 more spruce trees
                 c. Plant the 2 replacement apple trees and 1 apricot in March
2. Blog or Journal. At least twice a week. This may be here, or it may be in handwritten journals. I started journals for A and C earlier this year and every couple months I try to write down funny things they've said or done, and milestones they've hit. 
3. Complete at least 4 Master's level classes. If I can take a summer class, and then two classes in each winter and spring semester, I'll be complete Summer 2019. Then I'll only have the thesis/internship paper and presentation to complete. So far there aren't any classes posted for summer 2018 so I may have the summer off. I'm flipflopping between "yay" and "well, that sucks" haha
4. Be a planner. This year I've used a planner for keeping track of meals, errands and tasks. I would like to be better at planning things in advance.
Subgoals: a. plan breakfasts, lunches and snacks to assist with goal b.
                 b. Lose weight. According to my height and weight, I have another 15 pounds to lose. Once I stop breastfeeding in January, after C turns 1, this should be easier. I'm down 10 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight with her, but I am ravenously hungry all day because I'm still pumping at work.
                 c. Exercise. Not sure where this will fit in with work, 2 classes and the kids, but it needs to be a priority, too. 

Oh, and I'm posting in the middle of the day today because the Hubs had 2 wisdom teeth removed this morning and I'm home baking Christmas cookies. Except in my infinite wisdom I remembered to buy flour, sugar, brown sugar and chocolate chips but forgot about oatmeal and eggs, so I have to make a trip to Dollar General...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Two years ago I made a list of goals for the year and emailed them to myself. When I completed a goal, I would re-email myself the updated list.

Then I found out I was preggo with C. and the list of goals got sidelined because of doctor and hospital payments. Things like finishing the kitchen (new appliances, new countertop, fixing the asymmetrical cabinets at the sink) got put aside.

For 2018, I want another list of goals. Hopefully posting on my blog will keep me more accountable. I'm still working on my list, but blogging again is on the list. I like these journal prompts even though they are old list.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


No, this post is not an advertisement for the Insanity workout.
And it is not meant to demean anyone who actually suffers from being insane.
It is a (humorous) look at several hours of a day in my frantic life.

Please note I wrote this four months ago and am just getting around to posting it...

My brother likes to remind me the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

He obviously doesn't have children, right?

It's 4:50 p.m. I'm at my desk at work, wrapping up end of day items. Making sure all the open documents on my computer's desktop are saved in case there is a power blip overnight. I pack up my empty lunch dishes, put my books and phone in my totebag, and verify my sunglasses and keys are right on top.

I grab my bag of pumped milk from the department breakroom, which thankfully is right next door to my office. Literally, I share a door with the breakroom.
I fill up my water bottle and A's Peppa Pig sippy cup with cold water and ice, just like she likes.
I sit back down at my desk to respond to a last minute email that popped up.

Next thing I know, a coworker is saying "Good night Anna, see you in the morning". I look down at the computer clock, realizing it's 5:03 already, and rush to get out the door. This wouldn't be such a big deal except it takes me 30 minutes to get to the sitter's house from my work when traffic isn't bad and I have to pick up the kids by 5:30. And I never know when I'll get stuck behind that one green minivan driver who insists on going 40 mph in a 55 mph zone where there's no opportunity to pass.

In the car, I typically listen to NPR (I know, I turned 30 and now I listen to talk radio. I feel old). This is almost the only way I get news anymore.  When I tire of hearing about the newest disaster our new president has created, I turn on country music and sing along. Sometimes I talk to myself about how to handle an issue at work, trying to talk out the best way to handle it.

At the sitter's house, I almost always make 2 trips to the car. The first is to put the diaper bag in. The second is for A to walk out to the car and climb into her carseat while I walk around to the other side to click in C's carseat. On the ride home, A tells me about her day, usually telling me what she ate for lunch (probably falsely, because she can't really eat Ramen every day, can she?) If she's lucky, I've remembered to pack an applesauce pouch and cheez-its for her to eat on the drive home. If not, I prepare for a hangry meltdown by the time we pass Grandma E's house. (I know A, Momma gets hangry, too!)

Getting in the house is also a task. I can't leave either kid in the car with the doors closed because HOLY COW the heat index is over 100 this week. I usually get A unbuckled from her seat and tell her to walk to the front porch for me. (Thank goodness we live in the country and our house is 1/8 mile off the highway. How do city folk with no garage get their kids inside without accidents?) I get C's carseat out and both of them inside. Then I bring in the diaper bag and my totebag. If I've made a Target run at lunch, there are usually several more trips into the house.

Then the unpacking and repacking begins. Mind you, by this point it's only 5:45 pm. I've been away from work for less than an hour.

Depending on what I wore today, I usually change into junk shorts and a tshirt now.

We cloth diaper both girls. I unpack the dirty diapers and re-pack clean diapers. 2-3 times a week I machine wash the diapers, which adds to the evening frenzy. I pack new clothes for both girls because both had blow-outs today. Cloth diapers have reduced those from when we were using disposables, but HOLY COW three days of no pooping for C after she started peas and green beans, need I say more?!

I unpack C's dirty bottles and toss them in hot, soapy water in the sink. I breastfeed C still as she's not even 6 months yet. I breastfed A until 13 months. I unpack my totebag, washing my lunch dishes and last night's dinner's pots and pans once the bottles are clean. Then I prep the bottles for the next day and place them and a package of baby food in C's lunchbox in the fridge.

I make sure whatever we're having for dinner is thawed enough to cook tonight. If not, it goes in the sink in warm water.

By this point, it's usually 6:30. I sit down to nurse C, who is now, also, hangry. The hubs is just walking out the door at work right now. Sometimes he messages and asks if I want him to bring home Mexican for dinner. Sometimes I say yes. It's the one meal I know A will eat. She loves refried beans, chips and queso dip.

Oh wait, I forgot to get a snack for A. So I stand up, making C angry, and get A a pouch or string cheese and more water. My brain is fried. Between my job as a code official and two crying children, sometimes I just want to curl in a ball and be left alone.

I try feeding C some babyfood. She's been really good at trying new things. In the last several weeks, she's tried sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, peas, green beans, peaches, apples, pears. A  is vying for my attention to read to her or play kickball or some other activity I wish I had more time for.

It's a little after 7 and the Hubs comes in the door. A still gets excited when she sees his car pull up and exclaims "Daddy's home!!". I love it. At this point, I hand off C to him for a couple minutes so I can pee in peace. Then I put C on the floor to play and start dinner while the Hubs showers.

By the time we eat dinner and get the girls ready for bed it's after 8:30 usually. Then I shower, and start working on homework. I can barely keep my eyes open past 9:30, especially when reading textbook assignments.

This is most every weekday night. I know eventually things will slow down a bit. At some point I won't need to prep bottle bags and diaper bags. But we'll trade those tasks for homework and practicing musical instruments and sports. At some point I hope to trade some of the tasks for things I want to do, like gardening and feeding chickens and goats.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

2016 reading list

The art of crash landing

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

Do you hear that?

That is the sound of baby A and the hubs both taking a nap.

That is the sound of silence before the craziness that is Christmas at my great Aunt's house begins.

That is the sound of me enjoying an entire bottle of beer with no interruptions.

This year I did less for Christmas. Partly because it was decided last year we are only doing presents for the kids. Partly because I forgot to bake cookies and make sweets. (Or partly because the Hubs ate all the sweets I made last weekend? There was some fudge and cookies leftover from the stash I sent to my brother in law and sister in law, and it's all gone. And well, the weather has been so nasty fudge wouldn't have set up. I made fudge once during a storm and ended up using it as cake icing.)

This year the Hubs got me a Fitbit Charge HR for Christmas. It came in the mail a couple weeks ago and I've worn it for the last week already. I am shocked/saddened by how little walking I do at work if I have meetings for a majority of the day. I am excited by how this little piece of technology encourages me to get in at least 10,000 steps per day. And (slightly embarrassed?) that sometimes that means jogging in place for 5 minutes at the end of the day. But at least I get my steps in. At least I'm not sedentary.

This year is the first year we've set up a big tree. The Hubs scored it on sale after Christmas last year.  A fake tree that looks surprisingly real, with lights already attached. Just plug it in and add ornaments. I am excited for new personalized ornaments each year. I am excited to start new traditions with our little A.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

It's been awhile

So the old man in my previous post... his house is being repaired by a local charity. He moved in with a family member while the home is being repaired. When I last visited, the living conditions were worse then they had been in May, and we started moving forward with getting him out of the house completely. But now things are getting better and I'm not so scared of him living there anymore

Baby A is 14 months old now. She is trying to talk. When I pick her up from the sitter, she runs to the door screaming "mama mama", and when the Hubs gets home from work she runs to the door yelling "dada dada". She is starting to repeat what we say to her now. She has a puzzle that has a horse, a cow and a sheep on it. I'll say "What does the horse say?" And she'll say "nay-nay" over and over again. She also knows that cows say "moo moo" and dogs go "bow wow wow". She knows where her belly, ears, eyes and and nose are. And she likes to lift up my shirt and show me where my belly is, too.
She is not sleeping through the night yet, and still wakes up around 1 and 4. Usually at 1 I can rock her back to sleep, but at 4 she needs a bottle. At least she goes to sleep better now. We have a routine now: pajamas, bottle, rocking/singing "Twinkle Twinkle" and then she goes to bed half awake. Sometimes she will cry a little, but usually she snuggles up with her bear and falls asleep. That's how she takes a nap, too.
She eats quite a bit now, and I am trying to diversify her meals, but it seems so hard when produce is out of season! She loves canned peaches and mandarin oranges, and she'll eat almost half a can of mixed vegetables in a setting. She also loves turkey lunch meat and cheese. And bananas. Sometimes she'll eat almost an entire banana for breakfast. She's a fan of cheese-scrambled eggs and sausage patties. And Grandma Betty's mashed potatoes.

The Hubs is out deer hunting today. I hope we get a couple deer for the freezer this year. One of his coworkers got a deer this morning; it was his first deer and he didn't know how to gut it. So he called the Hubs, who left his treestand on opening day to help the guy out. Sometimes I think he's a better person than I could be. I honestly would have told the guy to find other help, that I was busy. The guy told the hubs "This is good karma. You helped me out so you have to get a deer now."

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