Monday, June 19, 2017

New Deck!

Condition of old deck: peeling paint, rotting boards, yuck

The stairs didn't actually touch the ground on the right-hand side.... 
See giant bird nest that darn bird built 2x, so I just stopped knocking it down.

After 2 workers worked an 13 hour day, we have a new deck! Yay! I even requested a gate so Luke can play on his water table outside alone for a little bit and I don't have to check every two seconds that he hasn't run into the yard and to the front. 

Luke was so entertained!

We still have to decide on a stain, but SO MUCH better =)  Let's just say the guy made more today than I make in an entire month, so apparently I went into the wrong business. But, I have NO IDEA how to build a deck, nor do I want to, so I am just glad it's the first project -mostly- done!

Looking for new cushions for those chairs... any suggestions where to look?

Love the gate!!

Unfortunately, the deck people didn't really clean anything up, so there's dirt and saw dust everywhere, the landscaping stones are scattered around, and they didn't move any of the furniture or grill back up there.... and we need to sand a few places down that are ridiculously sharp and splintery, but it was "cheap" as far as decks are concerned, so I guess we get what we pay for in that regard.

Aaaand some progress pictures on the rest of our house =)

New trim boards and siding, caulked and ready for paint
Some rough paint job for now... it's dark gray and will have white trim. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Norah's 1st Birthday!

Norah turned ONE a month ago already. She's a delight!

Here are some pictures from her party =)
I was pretty proud of her month picture banner, but she has barely changed at all since month one!

"Under the Sea" theme, so I made everything have stupid pun names
My mom made delicious cake balls!

Add caption
She loved the cake! Ha! And she had about 3 headband changes throughout thanks to my sister. 

Some more about Norah:
She loves fruit, ham, hamburger, noodles, cheese, and graham crackers. (And uses a fork really well!)

She still has a bottle before nap and bedtime (with just whole milk). No more formula! Yay!

She is walking everywhere and climbing on everything.

Norah still takes two naps, usually totaling 2-3 hours and sleeps from 6:30pm to 6:30am.

Her hair is still too short for any sort of ponytail.

She weighs 24.8 lbs (94%) and is 28.5 inches tall (10%), which translates into size 5 diapers, 18-24mo clothes, and size 3 shoes.

We love her =)

Friday, June 9, 2017

7 QTs

Just to pop in during nap time...
A random picture of Norah from her 1st birthday last month. 

1. For the last few months I've been reflecting on what is motivating -or discouraging- for me in terms of food, heath, fitness, etc. I think I'm kind of weird about a lot of it... but a few things I have discovered: if I buy sweet treats like cookies or ice cream, I will eat all of it in a few days. I have little will power over sugary goodness. But otherwise, I always get at least 2 servings of fruits and 2 servings of veggies in each day (which I think is pretty good?).

2. Along the same "health" line, Jazzercise had free classes in May. I went 22x. I love the feeling of "cheating the system." It's normally $70 a month, so I took total advantage of it! And I just joined for June, July, and August as a teacher special. Surprisingly-- I've been going at 5:30am at least 2x a week and it's so energizing! I love that I can workout, shower, and drink at least part of my coffee before anyone else is awake. It seriously makes the rest of my day so much better.

3. One other thing... I started drinking 32oz of water each day in May. I have always been told you should drink HALF your body weight in oz (which would be like 80oz for me...) and I hate water. I never drink it. But I figured I could commit to ONE of my giant Methodist water jugs each day. And humbly, I will admit that I honestly felt better. In fact, I noticed a big enough difference that I'm now drinking 32-64oz a day... I know. I'm awesome. My body loves me for it.

4. Home Improvements... ugh. They finally started today! But by the end of July we will have mostly new siding, 2 new windows, a new deck, new basement carpet + tile, painted wainscoting in the basement, painted house, and new sinks in the kitchen and 2 bathrooms. I am going to be SO GLAD when it's all over. (And since Scott and I are NOT handy, the only thing we are doing is painting the wainscoting and doing some peel-n-stick vinyl. Ha.)

5. Iced coffee... yum. I've just been throwing some ice cubes in my now-cold-coffee around 11am and calling it good.

6. Never go to UNO for any degree related to education. It's a joke and a complete waste of money. So disappointing.

7. Any suggestions for awesome things to do or see in Waco or Dallas? Scott and I are going (for 6 whole days with no kids!) in July. I have a few restaurants (and obviously Magnolia) on the list, but otherwise we haven't planned much.

Thanks for reading my random thoughts for the day! =)

For more Quick Takes... 

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.