Toss Me a Shovel

Toss Me a Shovel

Dudes.

Rut City. Burnoutsville, USA. Bluuuuuurrrrgggsberg.Population, me.

I got home from a bloggers meetup two Sundays ago, realized that it was, in fact,Sunday, and I just kind of shut down. The thought of Monday being the next day just wiped me out. I felt like an aging blogger who was out of touch and a mediocre mother/wife, and all I wanted was to run away to the mountains where I could drink warm beverages in perfectly-fitting flannel while someone else took care of all the actual log-cabin upkeep. In my head it looked a lot like an Eddie Bauer catalog. I seriously looked spectacular in those imaginary long underwear.

I wouldn’t say I’ve completely left the rut . . . I’ve got a cold and I don’t think that’s helping, but I’ve at least gotten most of myself out of it. I think I’ve still got, like, a foot dangling in there right now, but it’s definitely progress.

I even called and asked my Mommy to come help me . . . and she agreed. So that’s totally awesome.

On Saturday, I went to something called Barcamp, which is basically a big get-together of people who are passionate about things. People give talks on things that are important to them, and I ended up learning a lot. I went with my friend Erin from Human Illustrations(Seriously guys, buy things from her, because she’s the coolest.) and it was such a great day. It was a much-needed reminder that we’re all interesting, and that everyone’s got something to contribute to the world. It was incredibly motivating and inspiring, and then I got home and realized that I just didn’t have the time to do anything I felt motivated to do.

Womp, womp.

Now, I realize that that’s not actually true. I do have time, but it involves waking up at 5 a.m. every day. This is something I can do when Lucy feels like cooperating, but the random 3 to 5 a.m. wakeups that she likes to pull make that damn-near impossible.

I know that some of it is me getting organized, and the other part is me accepting what I’ve got going on right now. I hate it when those annoying clichés that people throw at you ring true, but I know the “It goes so fast! You’ll be wishing your kids are little again before you know it!” statement is one that I won’t be able to escape.

So, my plan is to take advantage of my mom being here and get my house clean . . . tackle a couple of those projects that have been getting in the way, and then go from there. I just haven’t been able to get caught up on housework lately, and I think getting back up to speed on that is going to do wonders for my morale. Getting bogged down in mundane tasks without being able to make any headway is a surefire way to feel burnt out.

Anybody else fall into a rut lately? Do you have any suggestions for getting all the way out? Do you need a ladder?

Goals Again? Craziness.

Goals Again? Craziness.

This picture . . . clearly didn’t work out. It was supposed to be a “progress high-five!” photo, but our camera’s broken and our video camera’s still feature is not so awesome.

I think the fact that I have blogged about my goals more than once in a two-month span is pretty monumental. Hopefully it’s not getting obnoxious for you guys, but, on my end of things, it’s really helping me keep focused.

The school year has started for Paul, and that means our days have become very looooooooong. When things get long/boring/stressful for me, I usually reach for a bag of chocolate chips. So far, however, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding that golden bag of delicious Nestle tastiness. I’ve been counting calories, and, despite the fact that I had a dream last night that a big scary muscly guy told me that counting calories was the wrong way to go about it (it was a weird Big Brother-style house-mate situation . . . I think he was about to make me eat a raw-egg smoothie), I’m pretty happy with how things are going.

I can’t really remember when it was that I hopped aboard the healthy train (this time around), but I’ve lost almost twelve pounds since I did, and my friend and I are halfway through week seven of this eight-week 5k program.

Friends. Friends, THIS IS EPIC.

The last time I exercised regularly for more than three weeks was my Sophomore year of college. I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about Sophomore year, but if you haven’t, it was definitely my Golden Age. Classes done, every day, by noon. Lunch with my best friends,every day, followed by an hour of As the World Turns, then an hour of jogging two miles around the top level of the UNK gym.

Every day.

I’m pretty sure I was in the best shape of my life then. I was working out at a gym, too, in the late afternoons, and I actually looked kind of ripped in the arm-region.

Jeeze, I sound like I’m talking about a completely different person.

ANYWAY, enough with the memory lane. My friend and I cannot believe how far we’ve gotten, and we’re pretty sure it’s because of each other. Moral of the story? Get yourself an Accountabilibuddy. Unless you’re a lone wolf . . . then you probably shouldn’t. You should also probably get yourself a leather jacket, a motorcycle, and a desperate need to be alone on the road. I guess if you’re a lone wolf you’ve probably already got all three of those things, and are very annoyed with me telling your business. Moving on.

So, here we are. I’m not completely out of my maternity pants yet, but my clothes are definitely fitting better. I’m feeling better, and I’ve also got a pretty awesome friendship growing as a result of this journey. Win, win, win.

Also, my 10-pound-reward is a haircut that is scheduled for Friday, so I’m pretty pumped about that.

What about you guys? Any goals you want to put up on the internets? Tips for not running out of steam? A general opinion on Ben Affleck playing the new Batman?

Goals Again!

Goals Again!

Our camera’s broken right now, so instead of posting a progress picture of myself in my new “reward shirt,” I’m posting a picture of me from college (about to start debating something, I think), because I look quite good in it and I’m feeling incredibly nostalgic about college this week.

You know, in the few times I’ve done “goals posts” in the past, I’ve always been pretty disappointed in myself when it came time to update . . . so I probably just didn’t update. This time, however, I’m trying to hold myself accountable.

Practically ten minutes after I posted that last post on goals, I went on a solo-trip with the kids. It was a family affair (which means plenty of deeeelicious, mayonnaise-coated salads . . . I’m not being sarcastic; I love mayonnaise), and Paul had to work, so I was by myself with the two kids. This meant that I didn’t have many opportunities to exercise . . . kind of. I’m sure I could have gone, but I just hated the thought of having Lucy scream her tiny, powerful, ear-splitting lungs out at someone for 30 straight minutes while someone else had to watch Charlie. ANYWAY, what this all amounts to is that I was a full week behind my friend in Couch 2 5k.

Now, if you’ve been with me for a few years, you’ll have probably noticed that I CANNOTFOR THE LIFE OF ME stick with an exercise program. That makes the fact that I ran extra that week to catch up to my friend kiiiind of a big deal. We are both now on the same page and are plowing through Week 5. Oh my goodness, get out of my face, Week 5.

Week 5 has been . . . rough. It’s teaching me that all or nothing isn’t always the right road to success. I tend to quit things that I feel I’ve already screwed up. For example, this program is an “8 week” program . . . but we’ve honestly been doing this for probably 8 weeks already, and we’re only technically on “Week 5.” Things come up, and some of the workouts are difficult enough for us that we decide to do them again before we move on. What I’ve decided, though, is that it all looks like exercise, regardless of what week we’re on, and that is nothing but good.

It’s all worth it, though. Since I started, I’m about 9 lbs down and feeling pretty good. Imostly fit into one pair of my non-maternity (you know, sometimes you just have to unbutton the top button in situations that call for it) jeans, and they look pretty darned great with the “Week 2 Reward” shirt I got a couple weeks ago. I’d show you a picture, but our camera broke. Boo.

After all this talk about immediate, physical goals, I think it’s a good idea for me to look ahead. I need to look waaaaaay into the future and carve out some goals for myself. Eventually, my kids will be in school and I don’t want to be caught with my pants down. Well, if they just happened to fall off because I went down a pant-size, that would be cool . . . but you know what I mean. I don’t want to be standing in my living room without a plan, wondering what the hell to do with myself. Here are 2 SUPER BIG goals.

Be Debt Free.
We drank the Dave Ramsey Kool-Aid a few years ago, and have been trying to stick with it ever since. Since we don’t really have the income right now to be tackling any debt snowballs, we’re simply trying to maintain. When Paul graduates and gets hired, though? We’re going to be Debt Ninjas. Jeeze, can you imagine not owing any money to anybody? Not even your parents? Some of you might be there already, but I’m not, and I’m hugely looking forward to it.

Go back to School.
Guys, sometimes I just want to close my eyes, snap my fingers, and find myself sitting in an uncomfortable little chair/desk combo, sipping on a latte, and listening to one of my favorite professors talk about a Victorian novel while simultaneously mesmerizing me with her light-up pumpkin earrings. I miss college like crazy. Even the pompous douchebags who talked in class just to hear the sound of their own voices. I want to listen to their stupid, arrogant voices and think about literature. If I’m going to be totally honest, I really don’t know what my end-game would be. Do I want to teach? Publish? I don’t know. All I know is that I miss English classes. A lot.

So, there. I updated. I’m not exactly where I’d like to be on all of my goals, but I’m working on them. So, in the spirit of forced accountability via the internet, what are your goals? Remember, if you put it on the interwebs, you have to achieve them, right?

Gooooooooooooaaaaallllll(s)!

Gooooooooooooaaaaallllll(s)!

I’ve got some goals up in here, kids.

. . . Was that offensive? That I referred to you guys as “kids?” One time a lady called me “young lady” at a speech meet I judged in college and I swear I got so pissed all of the liquid in my eyes evaporated and turned into steam. So . . . sorry about that.

Anyway, I’m just coming down from a shopping high, and I’m in a pretty good state of mind about these health-related goals I’ve set for myself. So, here they are.

 

Complete the Couch to 5k plan. For realskies. No, seriously, I’m serious.
I’ve started this plan a few times, and the furthest I got was the 5th week in this 8 week program. We were living in Lincoln, and Paul and I were running it together with Charlie in the stroller. After the 5th week, we moved away and never picked it up again. I’ve tried it a few other times and never gotten past a week and a half.
This time, I’ve started it with one of my spunky and beautiful friends. (Yeah, I’m talkin’ about you, lady.) We have officially finished Week 2, and we celebrated this afternoon with iced coffees and a shopping trip. We set out to buy one shirt that we felt good in, and we both met with success. I actually did a little dance in the dressing room when I put it on.

 

Get the ever-living hell out of these maternity clothes.
Full-panel pants when you’re pregnant? A very comfy miracle. Full-panel pants when you’re not pregnant and it’s summer time? About as much fun as wearing full-panel maternity pants in the summertime.

 

Fit into my NaNoWriMo T-Shirt.
So, I’ve got a fairly small frame and I usually order a small T-shirt, despite the size of certain assets that I possess. This time, however, the NaNoWriMo people meant business when they said “small.” There is no way I could fit into that shirt right now, but I earned the damn thing and I SHALL WEAR IT! I SHALL!

 

Please note that I’m not throwing out any goal-weights here. I do have a goal-weight in my mind, but it’s not really a huge priority. I swear you’re not going to find me mumbling to a stalk of celery in the closet and drinking my own tears. I just want to avoid the soul-crushing experience of having to go jeans shopping, which means that I need to fit into my old ones. I want to have more energy, and I don’t want to spend 25 minutes grumbling into my closet every time I want to go out somewhere.

Operation: Afternoon Sanity

Operation: Afternoon Sanity

Okay, folks. Here we go, embarking on yet another adventure in parenting betterment.

Charlie has almost entirely stopped taking naps. Naps used to happen when I would (EXTENDED BREASTFEEDINGALERT) nurse him to sleep. That’s just how he always went down and when I officially finally weaned him, the afternoon naps were no longer guaranteed. For a while, I could plan our days to end up with us driving home from somewhere at about 1:00 . . . this would result in him falling asleep on the way home. Nap time would ensue, blog posts would get written, work would get done, and I would be caught up on the current season of Bones.

Well, since we recently switched Charlie to a forward-facing seat, the car-naps too have ended. There’s just too much cool stuff to see, now that he’s looking ahead, and will still be awake after 45 minutes of driving around.

I know that I’ve probably got some readers thinking, “I don’t get it. You put them in their bed, tell them it’s nap time, and shut the door.”

I get that, but that’s just not how we do stuff around here. Our house has developed into a pretty open-door-type household, and for us to just shut Charlie in his room after 2 and a half years of nursing him to sleep and laying down with him at bed-time would make it seem more like a punishment than an institution of structure.

We’ve been parenting in the way we felt would work best for our family, and it’s simply time to adapt to the changes.

Today, at 1:00, I laid down in bed with Charlie, a book, and a bowl of goldfish. After about an hour and a half of him not falling asleep, I told him he could get out of bed, but he needed to stay in his room and play with his toys for 30 minutes.

(I’d like to clarify that, in the above picture, the bowl has a few chocolate chips in it, Charlie is wearing socks on his hands because I hadn’t yet given in and turned the heater on, and I am NOT trying to get him down for a nap, because that would a terribly stupid way to do so. It’s just the only recent picture I had of him on his bed in the afternoon. Also, I turned the heater on shortly after taking that picture.)

I’m pretty sure he made it for 30 minutes. I forgot to set a timer because I’m awesome like that. I did, however, get most of this blog post written and an important email sent out, so it wasn’t a total waste. This will happen again tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that, and so on and so forth. I’m hoping that, eventually, as he gets more used to lying down in bed, he’ll be able to relax enough to fall asleep. He needs a nap. I know he needs one, because at about 6 PM he gets suuuuuuper cranky and tired. If he falls asleep at 6 PM, though, he will absolutely wake up at 3 AM, totally ready for the day.

Nobody wants that.

So we will soldier on, lying down in bed with books and goldfish every afternoon. At the very least, I’m getting to lay down with my feet up for an hour, right?

As always, I’m totally open to advice, if you guys have it. Just keep in mind that my semi-crunchy-partial-hippie blood runs strong and free through my veins, the way that mid-90’s Cher song runs through your head after leaving the grocery store.

Kitchen Help

Kitchen Help

I’m not sure if all of you are familiar with pregnancy legend and lore, so I’ll fill you in before I launch into this . . .

Apparently, when a pregnant woman moves into her 2nd trimester, she becomes full of energy and awesomeness in general. The woes of the 1st trimester are behind her, and the mounting physical difficulties of the 3rd trimester are months away. Her skin begins to “glow” and she can supposedly move mountains while washing dishes and providing scheduled craft times that result in perfect macaroni pictures of Albert Einstein.

I’m pretty sure I missed the announcement for whatever 2nd trimester train I was supposed to hop on. I’m tired. My body hurts, and I’m pretty much at a loss right now when it comes to entertaining my 2 year old. All I really want to do is turn on some cartoons and snuggle Charlie while I sleep.

I’m well aware that that’s not something that I can do all day. It’s just not okay. But it sure would feel nice at the time.

I have an idea, though, and I need you guys’ help.

Charlie loves to help me cook. He likes to put vegetables in bowls as I cut them and line things up on trays before they go into the oven. When I’m done cooking dinner, he gets mad because he can’t help anymore. This is absolutely something I need to take advantage of.

I always look at those “once-a-month-cooking” websites and think, “Man, that’s a nice ideaand all, but how in the hell do they actually make that happen?”

Well, I’m not really interested in cooking an entire month’s worth of meals in one shot, because I really don’t want to be eating frozen food all month . . . but if Charlie and I could spend a couple hours a day making a few meals, I think it would totally solve my child-entertainment/not-wanting-to-make-dinner problem.

Here’s the deal, though. I have pretty much zero crockpot/casserole recipes in my repertoire. I don’t want to make any cream-of-shwatever-soup stuff. Paul’s not a big fan of casseroles anyway, but I think he’s just got stroganoff and chicken-and-rice stuck in his brain. I know there are some tasty, non-artery-clogging casseroles out there, and I would love to have a stack of them in my freezer. What’s that, you say? Betty Jo had a baby? Good thing I’ve got a casserole in my freezer! You say you don’t feel like making dinner tonight? Let me just whip this baby out of the freezer here . . .

Aaaaand you get my drift. When Charlie gets bored and we’ve already watched 2 Little Einsteins in a row, I can say, “Hey, buddy, you want to help me cook?” and he’ll say, “Yep,” and we’ll frolic happily in the kitchen productively. Right?

Anyway, I’m reaching out to you, my friends. Do you guys have any tried and true casserole/crockpot recipes to give me? I don’t really want any links to “365 days of slow-cooker” things, because I can find those on Pinterest. I’m talking about your favorite recipes that you love to make over and over again. Please share them in the comments, as I know I’ve got friends out there who would be just as interested as I am! Thanks!