Wednesday, January 30, 2013

February - To Do

I can't believe it's almost February.  January went by so fast!!

Here's what's going on in February.

Key Dates
February 13th - Brother-in-law's birthday
February 14th - Valentine's Day

Give Banshee her meds.  - here's hoping we go 2 for 2 so far this year.
Send birthday card to Brother-in-law.
Valentine's Day.

       - Do something crafty or bake something fun with Madeleine.
       - Get Valentines & candy for Madeleine's daycare group.
       - Date night with Bill.
Finish any outstanding House Fix-its.
Find a plumber
- our upstairs bathroom is leaking through to the room beneath - ugh!
Continue the Big Purge.
Put the house up for sale!!

That's right...we are moving!!  Where to...I have no idea!!

Basically, we know we don't want to stay in our current house.  It's actually big enough for our expanding family, but I'm not fond of the public school system there.  It probably would be okay for elementary school, but I wouldn't want to send my kids to our public high we'd have to go private if we stayed.  I'm not sure I want to do that either.  So, we want to move somewhere that has really awesome public schools.

Besides that, we've really gotten to the point where it doesn't make sense for us to put much more money into our house.  We won't see a return on it.  I'm not even sure if we'll see a return on what we already put in.  The house is far from how we would want it, so we'd never really be happy in it knowing we couldn't do all the upgrades we'd like.

Finally, this was our first house.  We went from a 700 square apartment to a 1700 square foot house, so it was all very new and exciting.  However, after living there for 4 years now, I realize there were things we didn't consider before we bought it.  Things that didn't even cross our mind.  Now, I have a much better idea of the type of house that will work for how we live.  Things like layout, yard size, privacy, etc.

So, hopefully we'll have it up for sale by the end of the month, and we'll see what happens.  We're actually not going to look for a new house right now either.  Bill's father, who lives in California, also owns a 2-bedroom townhouse condo near my work here in Wisconsin.  He comes up every couple months or so, and stays for about a week.  So, essentially, it is vacant probably 10 months out of the year.  After the house sells we're going to camp out there for awhile to save money while we figure it all out.

It's a bit of a crazy plan, I know; especially with a new baby coming in a few months; but we've thought long and hard about it and are ultimately really excited about this change.  We have a lot of work still to do on the current house to get it ready though, so here's hoping for a very productive February.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fixer Uppers

I've pretty much completed my January "To-Do" list.  There are a few stragglers, but I still have a couple of days left yet.

- Give Banshee her meds!! 
- Put away all Christmas decorations.
- Send birthday cards to all Brothers-in-law.  We still need to write Bill's brother a little note while he's at basic training.
- For the inlaws (who are divorced), figure out a small gift and/or schedule time for a visit and/or dinner for each of their birthdays.   We did a nice dinner at his mom's house.
- Buy gifts (if necessary) for Little Christmas.
- House Fix-its.  95% complete 
- Start the Big Purge!! 

We did go from talking about the house fix-it projects, to actually accomplishing almost all of them.  And when I say "we" I really mean Bill, because I hardly did any of the work.  He's pretty awesome that way. 

There were five mini-projects to complete:
1.  Paint the front door.
2.  Paint the back door and kitchen closet door.
3.  Patch the holes in the upstairs hallway from the pipe we removed.
4.  Patch the crack in our bedroom closet.
5.  Fix the guest bedroom door that was coming unhinged.

I didn't really take before and after pictures of everything because 1) I am a bad blogger, 2) most of this stuff is not too exciting, and 3) this is not a DIY blog (at least not yet), so there will be no step-by-step tutorials.

I do have a few pictures for Projects 1 & 2 - painting doors.

Back in 2011 we painted all the trim on our first floor white, but for whatever reason we never finished painting the doors.  I know we didn't paint the front door because I wanted to just replace it, but for the back and closet door I have no idea why we never finished.

I did manage to find a shot of our front door from 2011 when we were refinishing the floors, so here's the before of that:
It was stained on the inside, and painted maroon on the outside.  It also had a very gross sheer curtain on the interior covering up the windows.  It was ugly, but offered privacy, so we kept it.  Now it looks like this:
Bill painted it back - both front and back, and we removed the ugly curtain.  I still would prefer to have a solid front door, but I'm getting used to the openness of it.  Oh, and like I said, this is not a DIY blog, but I will tell you that we used Glidden Trim & Door Paint.  I had seen a commercial for it awhile back, and had wanted to give it a try.  I really like how it turned out.  It's high gloss, and looks really sharp in person.  A few things to point out though, is that this is an oil based paint and also it is not low-VOC.  I would defintely use this product again though.  (Oh, and Glidden did not pay or sponsor this...I wish!)
We also painted the back kitchen door and closet white to match the rest of the trim in the kitchen.  It took four coats (probably why we put it off so long).  I did two (this paint was low-VOC) and Bill did two.
You can see them both in this picture.  Basically, they were wood toned and now they're white.
As far as the other items on the list...
Last year we removed a pole that was in our upstairs hallway.  I don't remember now what was venting through it, but when we re-did our downstairs bathroom we rerouted whatever it was.  The pole was no longer needed, so we had it removed.  We were left with about a 3" diameter hole in the floor and ceiling.  No more though...Bill patched both the holes.  We still need to slap some ceiling paint on the top, and cut a piece of carpet to cover the bottom; but we're almost there. 
Also last year, we noticed that water was leaking into our master bedroom closet.  The closet is part of a small edition that was added to the house at some point, so its roof is not the main roof of the house.  Basically, the roof of the edition was gone (animal and wind damage), so we had it more leak.  However, we never patched up the cracks left from the water damage.  Bill has since patched and sanded them, but we still need to paint.
Finally, the guest bedroom door is coming unhinged from the doorframe.  Bill has his plan to fix it tonight actually, so this one can be marked as done too.
So, there you have it.  Again, props to Bill for tackling all of this.  After each project gets finished or near all we keep saying to each other is "why did we wait so long to just get this stuff done?"  Are you guys tackling any projects that are long overdue?  Do you get 98% of a project done, but then run out of steam?  I know all these little projects are easy to procrastinate on; especially when there is not a big "wow" moment after finishing them, but it feels really good to have them done.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm Just A Tad Stressed At The Moment

It's time like these that life starts to get in the way and the blog gets pushed to the super far back burner, and I start to wonder if I should even keep this blog going.  Ultimately, I like blogging though, so even though I doubt anyone even notices when it has been quite a few days between posts (cause hardly anyone reads this thing) I still feel bad about it.  I already knew that I can't be a post a day blogger...that is unless anyone wants to pay me to do  Okay fine, but, I was hoping to be able to keep up the two to three posts per week schedule.  However, even that is proving difficult right now.  I'm going to keep at it though, and hopefully times like this will be few and far between.   

So, that was my long winded explanation to let you all know that I'm STRESSED OUT!!

"Why?" you ask.  Well...

1 - Madeleine is potty training.  And frankly...she's rockin' it.  We started about three weeks ago, and it is going really well.  The first two days she had a couple accidents.  Then she went about two full weeks with no accidents at all.  She wears underwear all day (no pull-ups), but diapers still for naps and overnight.  I think we got a little over confident this past weekend though and were a little lazy.  We were taking her 15 minutes after she drank anything, then about every 1.5 to 2 hours regardless.  I was thinking she was okay to just tell us when she had to go now, but she still needs the schedule.  There were quite a few accidents over last weekend because we waited too long to take her.  I still think she is doing awesome for a 26 month old, but this is all new too our routine and takes some getting used to.

2 - Work is crazy.  Last November we were told that our company was merging with another company, and that there would be redunancy lay-offs in the new year.  So, for the last two months I wasn't even sure if I was going to have a job come January.  Thankfully, I did not get laid off, however things are different.  I was pretty much running on auto-pilot and now, in some ways, it's like I have a brand new job even though it is with the same company.  I have a new boss as well.  I'm hoping it all calms down in the next few weeks, but it's a lot of change in a short amount of time and it is draining me.

3 - I'm sick.  I've had a terrible head cold for the last week.  Since I'm preggers...there's not a lot I can take for it.  The worst part is that I can't sleep at all.  For the last five nights I wake up around 2-3am, and just can't get back to sleep.  I am so tired, and I'm starting to get irritable really easily.

Between all this, being 6 1/2 months pregnant, and all my normal day-to-day things I'm responsible for at home it's been a little much.  I literally want to do absolutely nothing when I get home from work.  I try to at least muster up enough to be there for Madeleine and Bill, but even that is tough sometimes. 

The good news is...I'm starting to see the silver lining.  I asked my OB today if there was anything I could take to help me sleep at night, and she said I could take Benadryl.  I'm going to try that tonight and hopefully get a good night's sleep finally.  My cold seems to be on its way out as well.  Every week at work seems to be getting a little better, so hopefully I'll get used to the new normal there soon.  Even Madeleine's potty training, although different, is going better than I expected.  As long as I stay on top of things I don't see any issue with her not being completley potty trained soon.

So, basically, by the time all this stuff is not stressing me out anymore will be just around the time I have this baby, and then I'll have brand new stuff to stress me out.  Ooh, it's a vicious circle.  I'm just trying to take it one day at a time, and hoping that old adage that God does not give you more than you can handle is true; because don't think I can handle too much more right now.

I actually have in the midst of all of this done a few things that I'll be posting about soon, so stay tuned.   

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cool Beans! A Liebster!!

I wanted to thank Amy from Anthologie for nominating me for a Liebster award!  This sounds like a really cool way to give small blogs (or microscopic ones like mine) exposure, so I'm pretty excited! 

What is a Liebster Award? A Liebster award is given to blogs with less than 300 followers as a way of making them more well-known. The rules for the acceptance are:
1) Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you
2) Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back
3) Answer the 10 questions posed by the blogger who nominated you
4) Select 3 – 5 bloggers for the award
5) Pose 10 new questions to the new nominees
6) Post the award on your blog

Here are my questions from Amy:
1) Why did you start blogging?
Although this is a new blog for me, I actually started blogging back in 2007.  My first blog was a movie review blog of all things.  Later I switched to a more lifestyle type blog.  This was all prior to Facebook, so I guess I started blogging to just talk about things that were going on in my life or interested me.
2) What are your blogging goals?
I've struggled a bit since becoming a mom with keeping up with everything...including blogging; so my blog now is focusing a lot on organization, time management, and making the most of what little time I get to spend with my family.  I use my blog as a tool to keep me motivated and organized.  I hope it helps those who read it do the same.
3) What is your favorite article of clothing?
I'm 6 months pregnant, so clothes haven't been on my radar much these days.  Normally though, I really love coats.  I own more coats than anybody could possibly need.
4) What is your favorite blog that you read?
Right now it's YoungHouseLove.  It's a can't miss for me.  I find those two crazy DIY kids so inspiring.
5) Facebook or Twitter?
Neither!  I was on Facebook for awhile, but I gave it up a few months ago and haven't looked back.  Don't miss it at all.
6) What is something that currently challenges you?
Lately I seem to be having more challenges than not.  I struggle with time management and organization.  I struggle with balancing work with my home life.  I struggle with being a good mom and wife.  I feel like I could go on and on.  I'm just taking it one day at a time, and doing the best I can.
7) Paper calendar or electronic?
Definitely paper.  I use my outlook calendar only for work meetings; otherwise the whole families' schedules/appointments are on a paper calendar in our kitchen.
8) What is your favorite cosmetic?
I'm terrible at make-up, so I don't really have favorites.  If nothing else, I put on foundation and mascara everyday though; both are Maybelline.
9) As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don't really remember if there was something funny from when I was small, but as I got older I really wanted to be a book editor.  I liked the idea of reading manuscripts all day.  Actually, it still sounds pretty good to me.  If I had to do it over again I would probably pursue that, or get my PhD in British Literature.  I would love to be a professor at a university and teach Jane Austen.
10) What is one of your goals for 2013?
I actually have a few goals for this year, and you can read about them here.

Now for my nominations!  This was kind of tough because a lot of the blogs I read I know have way more than 300 followers.  Here's three I like though that I'm hoping don't.

1)  Emily Style - Emily is a very active San Franciscan who loves biking, fashion, and the opera.  She seriously does more in one weekend then I do all week.  Oh, and as her blog name suggests...she has great style.  I especially love her determination to entertain with real silver, china, and cloth napkins!!

2)  Anthologie - Amy nominated me, and was recently nominated herself; but her blog is still one I  enjoying reading.  She's actually a blogger friend turned real friend.  I can relate to a lot of her posts on parenthood and Milwaukee, plus she has terrific style and is a really good crafter.

3) Toadfrogs and Elephants - I met Holly through a book club, and have enjoyed reading her daily blog about her life and two young sons since.  Her and her husband are pretty awesome DIYers too.

Here are my questions:
1) Why do you blog?
2) Do you have any pets?
3) Where is your dream vacation destination?
4) What is your favorite blog that you read?
5) What is the best book you've read lately?
6) Who is your celebrity crush?
7) What would be your dream job?
8) What did you do on your last date night?
9) What is your favorite food?
10) What is one of your goals for 2013?

Friday, January 11, 2013

January - Status Update

I feel like January is halfway over, and I've barely started my To-Do list!!

Here's what has to be done...
- Give Banshee her meds!!  I actually remembered, although she got them on 1/2 instead of 1/1.
- Put away all Christmas decorations.
- Send birthday cards to all Brothers-in-law.  Almost done.  I sent 2 out of the 3.  For my brother-in-law, Eryk, who is in basic training right now, we were told not to send him a card or acknowledge his birthday. Apparently, they make the new recruits do extra work to get them.  I was told writing a normal letter is fine though, so we still need to do that.   
- For the inlaws (who are divorced), figure out a small gift and/or schedule time for a visit and/or dinner for each of their birthdays. Halfway done with this one.  We hosted Bill's family for his Dad's 65th birthday.  We had 12 people over on a Thursday night for pizza and cake.  Now we have 10 days to figure out something for his mom.
- Buy gifts (if necessary) for Little Christmas.  Didn't even have to do was a gift free Little Christmas this year. 
- House Fix-itsWe've talked a lot about what needs to be done, but haven't started anything yet.  Hoping to knock a few off the list this weekend. 
- Start the Big Purge!!  I started, so I guess I can cross it off the list.  I'm making my way through Madeleine's room right now, and hope to start our bedroom next.  It's slow going though.

Since I like posts with pictures best, here's a quick pick of all my nieces and nephews (minus 2 that life in Las Vegas) from my father-in-law's birthday.  It's an interesting mix on Bill's side with the age range spanning 2 months to 21 years, but they're all awesome!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's Back!!

What's back?   Why, Downton Abby of course!!!
(Warning...this post contains spoilers.)

I tell you, after the weekend we had I was looking forward to nothing more than parking myself on the couch for two hours and escaping to 1920's England for awhile.

To give you a quick recap, when I woke up on Saturday morning I stepped downstairs to see Bill holding Madeleine in the kitchen, her crying, and blood.  She was wearing one of her Princess skirts, and must have tripped on the hem of it or something.  She fell and split the inside of her bottom lip wide open.  It seriously looked as wide as the Grand Canyon to me.  We thought for sure she would need stitches, so we headed to the ER.

Turns out, we might have slightly jumped the gun, as by the time we got there and settled in it had already started to close itself up.  The doctor checked her out and declared no stitches were needed.  Yay!  We were in and out in about an hour.  So, classic overprotective parenting on our part; but I figure better safe than sorry.  I would rather have gone and had it been nothing, then not have gone and had her lip be permanently scarred or something because we did nothing.   

Later that day we made the 2 hour drive to my parents' house for their annual "Little Christmas" party.  I got to catch up with some Aunts/Uncles/Cousins that I don't see very often.  We were back home by 8:30ish.  It was fun, but all that driving in one day takes a lot out of you.

As if this weren't enough craziness for one weekend, in the midst of all this I have been dealing with a pregnancy symptom I never had with Madeleine...round ligament pain.  Has anyone ever had this?  It's seriously a bitch.  The "round ligament" encircles the uterus; and you can, I guess, pull it like any other muscle. (That may not be exactly what happens, just my interpretation)  Anyway, I've had a sharp stabbing pain on the right side of my body below my belly, but above my groin since Friday.  It varies anywhere from a dull ache to crippling pain where I can hardly walk, so yeah, that has been fun to deal with.  The best could potentially last the remainder of my pregnancy!!

But back to Downton Abby.  Did you watch it?  I thought it was really good. Although I was quite surprised that Matthew and Mary got married in the first episode!!  I totally thought they would be engaged for awhile, and maybe end the season with their wedding. 
So, with that out of the way, it looks like this season will be focusing on whether Downton Abby will be saved or not.  The Earl has lost everything; while Matthew just inherited a fortune...a fortune he doesn't feel entitled to.  (I get his reasons, but I'm with Mary on this one...SAVE DOWNTON!) 
They showed scenes of Lady Edith in a wedding dress.  I didn't pay attention if that was scenes for next week, or just happening sometime during the season.  I predict she's going to marry the old guy, but he'll die shortly thereafter.
Lady Sybil is pregnant and her chauffeur turned journalist husband is finding it hard to fit into the household he once served.  Although, it seemed like he was making a bigger deal out of it than any of them were.  They all seemed very welcoming.
Not too much changed for the downstairs staff.  Anna is working on freeing Mr. Bates from prison.  Mrs. Hughes might have cancer (of the breast, I assume).  There's a new footman.  Other than that, it seemed very business as usual downstairs.
The best parts, as always, were Dame Maggie Smith's scenes.  Her character is hilarious, and seeing her going up against Shirley Maclaine was great.
I think my favorite part of the episode was the running joke around the men's jackets...tails or no tails; white tie or black.  It was so funny.
And speaking of clothes, I'm looking forward to seeing the ladies wardrobes transform as the 1920's progress.  The daytime wear for the ladies yesterday was very drab, but there were still lots of sparkle and beads on their evening dresses.  All of it was very shapeless though.  I would look horrible in those styles.
All in all, I thought it was a really great start to the season, and I'm looking forward to watching the rest of it! 
Photo Source here

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Coolest Thing I Did Last Year...

at least in the "making memories" category.

At the beginning of last year I decided to jot down every night something fun or cute that happened that know, those everyday moments that make you laugh, but are easily forgotten.  I wrote at least one for all 365 days of last year.  Sometimes they were easy to remember, and sometimes I was racking my brain at the end of the night asking myself "did anything at all happen today?" 

It's nothing pretty, just an old moleskin notebook I had laying around, and my handwriting is terrible throughout most of it, but I'm so glad I did it.  Bill and I have enjoyed going back and re-reading them here and there throughout the year.  He'll randomly name a date, and I'll read the entry.
I debated whether or not to keep it up this year, as it was hard to do everynight, and if I skipped a night it was even harder to remember.  Ultimately I decided that I am going to keep doing it, but not necessarily every night.  As Madeleine's vocabulary grows, I imagine this year it will focus largely on those "kids say the darndest things" moments.

Here are a few of my favorites from the past year:

1/16/12 - Madeleine eating an entire meatball like she was eating an apple.  She totally went to town on that thing!!

5/13/12 - Madeleine walked right up to Bill, stopped, and just yelled at him "Mom!!"  It was so funny, like he wasn't paying her enough attention and she was mad about it.  I hope she starts calling him "Dad" soon.

8/30/12 - I was reading to Madeleine before bed, and she kept waving at all the characters in her book.  After I laid her down in her crib, she looks up at me, waves, and says "bye".  It made me laugh.  I waved back, and told her it was good-night, not good-bye.  She definitely went to bed happy tonight.

12/7/12 - Madeleine was doing her alphabet puzzle today.  Whenever she couldn't find where a piece went she would shrug her shoulders and fliper her hands over like "Where is it?"  Then, if she tried it somewhere and it didn't fit she would say, "no".  The cutest thing though was when she found where it went she would say "There it is" although it sounds like "ere-e-is".  She was doing it all day, it was so cute.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!!

Bill and I had a quiet New Year at home.  Madeleine went to bed at her normal 7pm, and we stayed up watching Season 2 of Portlandia.  We may or may not have made it to midnight (cough cough...we went to bed at eleven...cough cough).  I know, epic fail on our part, but we joked that we were just celebrating on East coast time.

On to 2013 though....

I can't tell you how excited I am for 2013.  It's going to be a big year for us with the new baby, and some other potential things on the horizon.  So, I debated whether or not to make any actual resolutions this year, (especially because this whole blog is like one giant resolution to better myself) but there are a few things I want to focus on this year.  So, here it goes...

1.  Record those memories - I've fallen a little behind on a few of my, for lack of a better name, memory projects.  I need to catch up on these, and make sure I'm on top of it going forward.
 - 2011 and 2012 Photo Books
 - Madeleine's Christmas Memory Book
 - Madeleine's Baby Book
 - Purchase Baby Boy's Baby Book
 - Figure out a video storage system and edit videos

2.  Get in shape - I debated making this one public or not, but it is what it is.  I need to lose a few pounds.  This one is obviously on hold until after the baby is born, but come April I want to lose the baby weight plus an additional 20 pounds.

3. Take better photos - I'd like to learn more about how our camera works.  In addition, which I think will make an even bigger difference, I really want to learn how to edit the pictures I take.  My editing skills consist of removing red eye and clicking the "autocorrect" button in Microsoft Office 2010.  That's it.  I'd like to start learning Photoshop or some other editing software.

4.  Make music - I grew up playing the piano and violin, but I never do that anymore.  Bill also gave me a guitar a few years back, that I've really only toyed with since then.  I'd like to learn one or two songs on the guitar, and be able to play them well and from memory.

5. The Big Purge - I mentioned this one already here.  It's going to be a big project, but I'm actually looking forward to it. 

6. Work on my style - I feel like I've lost my sense of style in the last few years.  Between my weight gain and becoming a mom; I don't know how to dress my body anymore, and even if I did I'm not exactly sure what my style even is anymore. 

7. Go Green - I definitely want to start being a bit more eco-friendly.  I don't see myself setting up a worm compost system in my basement or anything, but I'd like to start making some small changes here and there.  I especially want to start switching some of our cleaning agents to more green options.  I don't want my family exposed to a bunch of chemicals anymore.

8. Learn to sew/crochet - I've been wanting to learn to both sew and crochet forever!!  My mom gave me a brand new sewing maching like 3 or 4 years ago, and I've literally never even turned it on;  crocheting just looks really fun to me.  So, I'm hoping to add these new skills to my repetoire this year.

I'm going to stop the list here because the above looks daunting enough already.  That's eight things to work on this year.  Wish me luck!