Monday, May 8, 2017

If I had all the time in the world..

I would take a ballet class. It was my favorite dance class in elementary school, and I love how my body feels when doing similar moves in workout classes. So strong, yet graceful. 

Speaking of workout classes... I think one day (if I ever get to stay home), I'd like to become a Jazzercise or Zumba instructor. Jazzercise isn't nearly as fun, but the routines are also much simpler so it seems less intimidating. But I love Zumba much more-- it's SO fun! 

I'd also volunteer with a pregnancy resource center like EPS or do something to give of my time and talents to pro-life organizations.

I'd like to learn to embroider cute wall hangings...

AND I'd do all of that while listening to a million books on tape.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Summer of Home Improvements!

Our siding is not in good shape, somewhat due to us being new homeowners who didn't realize it needed to be painted the moment a spot appeared or else it would all rot, and somewhat due to it being in crappy condition when we bought it four years ago. Anyway, a lot of thousands of dollars later, and our house is going to become dark gray with white siding! I'm still deciding on a door color... do I go with black? a fun color like yellow?

We also need a brand new deck because ours is rotten... another few thousand...

Oh and we need two new windows... another $1500...

So at this point, I figure we should just spend another $2500 and fix everything else in the house I dislike too!

Scott isn't quite so sure, but I'm trying to convince him to let a painter do the rest of our tall interior walls in the living room, add a tiled backsplash to the kitchen and get new countertops, and get new carpet in the basement + painting the wainscoting gray.... Hahaha.

Before and after photos to come as the projects get completed =)

Friday, April 28, 2017

My Current Loves

1. Streaming various Jillian Michael's circuit workouts through my smartTV. I have been loving these since there's a different move every 30 seconds or so, and the whole workout is only 30 minutes. I don't get bored or tired too quickly; it's easier to stick with a difficult move if I know the end is literally just a few seconds away. Plus, I've been in a strength mood lately instead of cardio.

2. Crushed Red Pepper. It adds just enough kick to grilled or sautéed veggies. Delish!

3. It's Cold Brew Coffee season again =) I like the Stok brand from the store, but I also make my own for way less money! It turns out REALLY strong when I brew it following the provided directions, so I normally do about 6oz cold brew, 4 oz water (or milk) and some creamer over ice. Perfect afternoon pick-me-up!

4. Side french braids. So simple, yet fancy.

5. Spray paint.... I had acquired a bunch of random pots for plants, so I spray painted all of them turquoise. I also spray painted a [very old, originally purchased for my mom for $3 at an auction in 1964) dresser for Norah. I added some white ceramic flower nobs and added this adorable contact paper ! In love.

Spray painted pots + new flowers + new summer rug

6. Norah turns ONE on Thursday. She's been taking a few steps here and there for the last few weeks, but hasn't taken off yet. She isn't a fan of naps, but sleeps from 6:30pm-6:30am every day. Lately, she's wanted less formula and WAY more food--- having 6 teeth helps! She loves fruit, sweet potatoes, and cheese best.

Easter pic!
7. And Luke is great too! Ornery as can be, but adorable. Last week we took him to get a hair cut. The whole way there he kept saying, "Lukey is gettin a hair cut! I cited!" And then he screamed at the top of his lungs the ENTIRE time. Once we got in the car he said, "Lukey screamed. I was naughty. Mommy's mad." *giggle*   Honestly... if he wasn't so cute...

Easter pic

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ways I'm Rockin' Motherhood

So Hannah over at Gokie Notes tagged me to post about the ways I'm rockin' motherhood lately. So... I couldn't resist even though I've blogged like 2x this whole year!

Going with the Flow
I'm a surprisingly "chill" parent, which is surprising because I am not that way in most other areas of my life. When Luke dumps out 3 consecutive boxes of toys on the floor, he gets a look and then we move on and play. When Norah knocks her food off her high chair tray, I just clean it up when I get a chance to. But nothing like that makes my blood pressure rise or my anxiety kick in.

All of these veggies ended up on the floor... 

He decided to use some lip stick as war paint... 

Singing Songs
I love that Luke and Norah both seem to love music and dancing. Every night before bed Luke and I "snuggle" which consists of me rocking him as we say a prayer and he requests songs. Sometimes he sings songs with me like "Twinkle Twinkle" or "Jesus Loves Me", but other times he just says some of his favorite items and waits for me to make up a song on the spot, like "Dump truck Song" or "Daddy Song." Music is important to Scott and me, so I like encouraging it in their lives too.

Cheap Clothing
Totally stealing this from Hannah, but I also love finding great deals on kid clothes. I always get hand-me-downs from nieces and nephews, plus my other sister is a pro at finding the best deals on Buy-Sell-Trade sites. And I can score a mean deal online at Kohls by stacking coupon after coupon and getting free shipping (usually I spend less than $3 an item!).

He dumped out ALL the toys, but did settle on a book =)

As a teacher I realize how important fostering a love for reading is at a young age. I am always encouraging Luke to read books and it's pretty easy for him to push back bedtime by asking to read another.... because I will read 6 books in a row! Sometimes I catch him reading on his own and it melts my little heart. Norah has just started showing any interest in them, so I keep busting out the Touch and Feel ones! Luke often requests to visit the library and he helps me search for truck books he wants.

I am currently handling errands with both of them like a champ. I've figured out what combination of Ergo, double stroller, single stroller, type of cart needed, etc. at each place I frequent. I actually like bringing them along most of the time. When they aren't with me I have to stop myself from narrating the whole event out loud..... I'm not alone in that right?

Somehow, in the last 1-2 months, I've actually found a manageable balance between my various responsibilities. Yes I've been busy with work, grading papers, writing papers for my grad class, cleaning, laundering, and all of that normal house stuff, but I've also felt the "margins" of my life expand too. Scott and I let each other sneak downstairs for a 30 minute work out video most nights after dinner. We've had time to watch a show every night or to read a chapter in a book. I'm an introvert so I don't need a lot of time with friends, but I've been able to get some of that in too.

I often feel guilty if I want to meet a friend for happy hour or do something on the weekends since I don't see my kids that much during the week as it is. But, I've been trying to make my time with them more purposeful and being present instead of browsing social media or cleaning. I'm slowly realizing that not only is having some time for myself good, but letting Scott be with them by himself is good too.

Friday, March 24, 2017

What I've Been Reading...

Well hey! I'm on spring break so thought I'd update y'all on what I've been reading (and audio book listenting to) so far in 2017!

Young Adult Literature
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
      -- Quick dystopian tale of a boy on New World-- a place where everyone's thoughts are heard in the "noise." All of the women were killed in a war with the Spackle (native creatures to that planet). But then the main character meets a girl who has landed from Old World... and typical everything is not as it seems plot takes over. Eventually they get chased and hunted by the crazy mayor of his town as they try to uncover the truth about New World. I devoured this: fast-paced, mystery unfolded at a perfect rate, action, but NOTHING positive happened and it was only the first of a trilogy: B

The Pact by Jodi Picoult
     -- Some of my students read this for a choice novel, so I read it too. (Too much sex. I couldn't believe it was "approved" for freshmen.) Told through flashbacks, we try to figure out the truth: did Emily kill herself? Did her boyfriend, Michael, kill her in a suicide pact? The story featured the teen relationship and their parents' relationships; it was fascinating, complex, and unraveled at just the right speed: A-

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
      -- Narrated by Death, he follows an orphaned girl named Liesel as she grows up in Nazi Germany. I appreciate that this book focuses on German citizens who weren't fighting in the war instead of the normal Holocaust books. I think it presents a different layer and perspective. Lyrically and beautifully written, by I reread this since some of my students read it as a choice novel. I honestly didn't like it as much this time around, which may because I listened to it? I found myself zoning out more often than not: B-.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
      -- Told from three friends' perspectives and set in the Bible belt of the South, this book examines the ideas of friendship, poverty, and familial expectations. It was hard to read at times because some of the parents were abusive either emotionally or physically, but a powerful story. A-

The Gender Game by Bella Forrest
      -- Dystopian America has split in two: Patrus, a country run by men where women have no rights and Matrus, a country run by women where men have no rights. The main character is set to be executed for killing two women in self-defense when the government offers her an olive branch: move to Patrus to complete a super secret, and dangerous, spy mission. Of course she falls for a man while trying to navigate the new world, and yet again (like every dystopian novel), realizes things aren't exactly what they seem. Read it in three days though, so I was hooked! Unfortunate it's a trilogy... sometimes I just want the FULL story in ONE book. Is that so much to ask?? B+

Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz
      -- A high school senior wins a National Scholarship (full ride to any Ivy League school), but she can't accept it because ... she's in the USA illegally from the Philippines (her parents' work visas expired, but they stayed anyway and didn't tell her). Interesting perspective about illegal immigrants that isn't the typical image portrayed. I liked that part of the story, but then she falls in love with this boy and acted like she was 12 instead of 18, so that annoyed me. C+

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling -ish
     -- Hated this. I didn't think any characters were true to their characters from the books. D

Salt to the Sea by Ruth Sepetys
    -- AMAZING WWII novel. Normally I hate historical fiction, but this was great. Just go read it. A+

The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse by Art Bennett
   -- If you haven't read this, GO DO IT! I laughed out loud so many times at how accurate the descriptions were of Scott and me. A

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines
    -- They're so sweet =) I liked learning their back story! I can't wait for the next season of Fixer Upper to hit Netflix, and we're visiting the silos in July! A-

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
     -- She has such an interesting take on religion, truly a mix of everything! (And so much Catholic thought and quotes from saints and stuff, but she is actually a member of a church her family started 40 years ago...) Nice, quick reminder about how being truly present in our lives is more important than hustling to get things done. B

The Walls are Talking by Abby Johnson
     -- Multiple abortion workers' stories about their time working in abortion facilities. Eye-opening and heart breaking. A.

Currently Reading:
Fearless by Sonia Corbitt (Bible study (ish) book about fear and spiritual warfare)
Holding the Universe by Jennifer Niven

I'm always listening to an audio book in the car, plus reading a non-fiction and fiction book at home, which allows me to get through quite a few books!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Current Favs

1. Dole Sesame Asian Salad Mix. I buy the family sized bag ($6.50 at HyVee) and split it into three lunches. I LOVE the mix of flavors, dressing, and crunchy things; the variety makes this fun to eat instead of boring like a normal salad... I've eaten this as part of my lunch every day for the last two weeks. The Chipotle and Cheddar version is a close second fav.

2. Dunkin' Donuts. I'm seriously obsessed. Last week there was a COMPLETELY FREE item every day of the week through their Perks App. Plus a free coffee after the Huskers get 350 yards of offense.. and basically free stuff all the time. (I've received a dozen FREE donuts THREE times now too. Not through the app or anything, but I order a drink and then they have leftover donuts to give away... SCORE.) I go way too much.

3. All American Boys.I read this book for my Young Adult Literature grad class... and I am a bit obsessed. Written in alternating perspectives, Rashad and Quinn, All American Boys tells the story of police brutality and racial inequality through the eyes of the black victim and a white observer. I loved how the authors made this story complex; the characters' voices were real and honest, and it leaves you pondering many things during this time of Black Lives Matter protests and National Anthem kneeling. Check it out!

4. Peach Pear La Croix
I'm glad I reconsidered my previous dislike of La Croix and jumped back on this bandwagon. LOVE it. Favorite flavors: Cherry Limeade, Grapefruit, Mango and Peach Pear. (Didn't love Coconut or Cran-Raspberry.) ALDI carries their brand of this in the liter sized bottles for only 59 cents each! And it comes in like 4 flavors.

5. Where do Diggers Sleep at Night?I checked this out from the library since Luke is in a truck-car-construction phase, and it was a hit! He points to every vehicle and says "Digger sleepin." "Ex-ca-va-turrr sleepin." "Boat sleepin." His little voice is so cute... I can't get enough.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Random 7 QTs

1. I miss blogging, but I normally blogged during lunch or part of my plan time at work, and this year I have a new prep.. so I have NO extra time whatsoever. At home, I'm not normally by my computer much and the Blogger app is yucky. However, I'm shooting out a quick hello into the universe today!

2. Norah is 4.5 months old. She got croup early last week, a quick dose of steroids, and acted her normal happy self. BUT HER SLEEP has been wrecked. I'm blaming it on the croup.. or maybe the 4 month sleep regression.. or her new ability to roll over.. I don't know. But she had been getting up ONCE a night for over a month.. and now we're back to like every 2-3 hours.

This has also led to her sleeping in our room.. because if she wakes up before 2am, I'm still in a major sleep haze and I honestly fall asleep while nursing her on the footstool in her room. Which sort of scares me, so I just bring her back into our room. Agghg.

3. Luke is freaking hilarious. He talks ALL the time and every day says a new word I didn't even know he knew. Yesterday he pointed at a motorcycle, proudly declaring, "Mo-ter-cy ... cle." He'll be two in LESS THAN A MONTH (Wha???) and is obsessed with all things truck: dump, mail, trash, moving, fire, monster, etc. And cars. And boats. And planes.

4. We joined a different parish (St. Vincent de Paul), and I'm sort of loving it already. I filled out an "interest" survey last week, and I've already had THREE people contact me about various ways I wanted to get involved. I'm pumped because I'm signed up to sing at one mass in October and I would've never gotten around to setting that up by myself for months. Saturday we're going to a "Pumpkin-Painting Pajama Party" sponsored by the Parents of Young Children group... we're hoping to meet some potential couple friends. Ha.

5. Our AC broke, Scott had to get two new tires, and my UNO grad class bill was due... all in the same week. WHY MUST ADULTING BE SO SPENDY? Seriously though.. a whole month's paycheck later...

6. I cannot get motivated to get back on the clean eating and exercising band wagon. I did SO WELL for two months.. and now I've been stuck for the last two. I hate how lazy I am some times!

7. I realize Christmas is forever away... but I LOVE buying presents for people. It's definitely one of my love languages. I've already been curating some Pinterest board wish lists for everyone in my family =) Thanks to Kohls' crazy awesome sales, Luke will be getting a 3 truck shirts and a set of construction equipment pajamas for his birthday.