Weekend Fun

Well, it seems like Mallory is over her little gastro virus so hallelujah for that.  She’s still snotty from the cold virus she had at the same time; we’ll be wiping her nose for the next few days, I’m sure.  There’s nothing like sprinting for a Kleenex every time she sneezes because of the twin fountains of slimy expectorant she brings up.  Yum!  Yesterday I saw the largest snot bubble I’ve ever seen in my life.  It was half the size of her head, I kid you not.

Today she was well enough to venture out to the library for a Valentine’s Day event that featured book reading, crafts, and rhymes/ songs.  We met up with my friend Claire, her daughter Emily, her friend Andrea, and her son Drew.  Mallory had a blast!  I don’t think she’s been around that many kids before 🙂  While she wasn’t able to really follow along, she was content to sit there in her mama’s lap and listen while playing with some stuff.  At least she wasn’t howling the whole time.

Afterwards, we hit up Max & Erma’s for lunch.  Our poor waiter…  having to deal with two 2 and a half year olds and a baby.  Mallory was just enamored with him.  She did fairly well sitting in the high chair until I let her play with one of the paper things that wrap the napkins and silverware.  She ended up getting a piece, it triggered her gag reflex, and I got to play clean-up.  Luckily, disaster averted and it was just a quick wipe up.  The whole thing got her tuckered out and she was fast asleep before I pulled into the driveway even though it’s less than a 5 minute drive home.  All in all, I’m glad we got out and hope Claire invites us to more Mommy stuff. I tell you, that girl knows everything mommy-related going on in town.

So she’s still sleeping and then we’re going to hit the grocery store.  I had to clean out a lot of the goodies in there yesterday because Ben got diagnosed with diabetes.  I figured the Ghiradelli Brownie Mix and Frosted Flakes were just too cruel to leave in the pantry.  Plus, I need to make room for all the healthy stuff we’re going to be putting in there… barley, brown rice, and quinoa.  High cholesterol and diabetes… ai yai yai.  As a  bonus, Mallory and I will be eating healthy as well.  I’m not about to cook two dinners, yanno.

I think it was the wake up call that he needed to get his life straight.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to get his major causes of heart disease under control.  Of the five risk factors, he has 4: smoking, high blood sugar (diabetes), high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.  Amazingly, all of them are controllable.  The doctor wants him to quit smoking right away and told him a minor weight gain (5-10lbs) would be acceptable by his next appointment in 12 weeks if he quit smoking immediately.  The major thing I see us having problems achieving is getting in 200 minutes of aerobic exercise a week.  Seriously, going from basically ZERO to 200 minutes / week is a big jump.  That’s 40 minutes five times a week or about half an hour every day.

I had him fill a prescription while I was there and then he looked at my chart and noticed that I hadn’t had a physical and bloodwork done EVER.  Needless to say, I have an appointment in 12 weeks to have mine done.  Doh!  I think it’s for the best though.  After we left Ben said that he got read the riot act even after he had lost 12 lbs… LOL.  Looks like we’ll both have to try harder.  Expect to see more posts in the future about our journey to get healthy.

Oh!  Just as a ‘shiny monkey moment’ – have you tried Recipezaar.com?  You can search for recipes based on ingredients.  I think I’m going to actually pay the $24.95/year fee and join because it’s a lot easier to manipulate stuff.  Plus, it allows me to have multiple cookbooks and I can take advantage of the menu planning / add to grocery list options.  I’ll share our cookbooks and meal planners when they’re active so you can see what we’re eating.  The most interesting recipe I’m trying this week is “Low carb shrimp with ‘grits.'”  Instead of grits, they make a neat concoction with cauliflower.  I figure we’ll have something New Orleans-ish for Fat Tuesday.

So how’s your weekend treating you so far?

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Sugar Sabbatical

Honey, oh Sugar Sugar, you are my candy girl and you got me wanting you

I have a love affair with sugar.  Plain and simple, if it’s sweet then I want it.   If I were a death row prisoner and needed to pick my last meal it would contain nothing but empty carbs and sugary goodness.  Candy bars?  Don’t need ’em.  I like the gooey stuff and baked goods.  Brownies?  Yep.  Cupcakes?  Two, please.  Hot cobbler with cold ice cream?  Palatory heaven.

In the past few weeks I’ve just been… bleh.  My skin doesn’t look its best because it’s alternately dry / flaky as well as covered in intermittent blotches.  I constantly feel just bleh.  When I think about how I’ve felt over the past few months I realize that it’s all tied closely to my sugar consumption.  Drinking Coke, triple triples from Tim Horton’s,  and little to zero water most days doesn’t help.  Plus,  having a bagel every morning for breakfast – more carbs that immediately convert to sugar in my body – isn’t doing me any favors.

I know it’s bad for me and could possibly lead to Type-2 Diabetes, but I don’t think about that with every sip of Coke.  I know that PCOS played a big part in not being able to conceive for so long, which is tied to sugar consumption.  Teeth?  Yep, rots them too.  Plus, am I setting a good example for the Squish?  Not a chance. 

When I was pregnant I scaled back my caffeine and sugar consumption and felt fabulous.   Sure, I was tired and run down from being pregnant, but that was a different kind of tired.  I think it’s time I get myself back on track and I am going cold turkey tomorrow.  I picked a Friday start date because my weakest moments are on weekends.  If I can ‘detox’ this weekend then I will have more success next week.  Plus, Mondays suck enough as it is without adding another thing to it.  An added bonus is that I will be dropping a couple hundred calories from my diet per day so a side effect should be some form of weight loss.

My plan is to drink oolong tea with honey (natural sugar) in the morning.   I’ve also got some oatmeal with fruit ready to go that will take the place of my usual bagel.  More fruit is planned.  Lunch?  I’ve got that covered as well with a can of soup that I’m packing.  I know it’s not going to be easy, but I think the result will be more than worth it.

Think I’m crazy?  Sound off!

Update:  Successful with sticking to my oatmeal and oolong tea this morning.  One of our consultants from Cleveland brought in pastries and other goodies and one of our customers dropped off two dozen donuts for letting them borrow our projector.  This is a massive test of my willpower.  I will reign supreme!

Update #2: It’s 10:11AM and my stomach is already rumbling.  Better plan for two packs of oatmeal on Monday.

Update #3:  It’s 11:52AM.  The soup is thin, but ok.  I would shiv someone with a ballpoint pen fashioned into a stabbing implement for a Fudge Round right now.

Two steps forward… one step back

I decided to take a bath last night.  It had been a rough crappy day at work and I figured I deserved the nice quiet downtime that reading in the tub brings me.  After all, I had already taken care of all Mallory’s needs (she was sound asleep in her crib) and even got the dishes and bottles done.  A success, right?  Wellllllll, not so much.  I was so comfortable ensconced in the tub with my book that I soon lost track of time and it was 9:45.  Did I head downstairs to unload the dishwasher, get bottle stuff ready for the morning, and pick out my clothes for the next day?  Of course not!  I climbed into my jammies and crawled underneath the covers.  My inner procrastinator assured me that I had plenty of time and that I deserved a night off doing whatever I wanted.  As a result, this morning was more off-kilter than usual and I ran out the door frazzled and running behind.

I’m still trying to learn why my inner procrastinator keeps sabotaging me like that.  Even more importantly, why do I let her??  I feel like I’m Charlie Brown and she’s Lucy.  Every time I go to kick the damn ball she yanks it out and I fall flat on my face.  I know what the result will be, but I’m so lured in by the promise of not having to do it now.

My overall goal is to be able to get into enough of a routine (through manageable babysteps – no pun intended) so that I can get everything done that I need to and have enough time in my evening to devote 1/2 hour to working out with the Wii and quite possibly working on a piece of jewelry or two.  Yeah yeah yeah, I know, I’ve been saying that forever.

Anyways, here’s what we have planned for our exciting *rolls eyes* weekend.

  • Tonight: Home Depot to get a new garbage disposal.
  • Saturday: Dog food, hair cuts for me & Ben, date night!  We’re going to go see The Book of Eli and go out to dinner.  My sister has graciously offered to babysit.  She can’t wait; she even called me today to make sure we weren’t cancelling on her. 
  • Sunday:  Duh.  Divisional Championship games.  I might even let Ben make me breakfast. 

I’ll also squeeze in some laundry, bill paying, and basic cleaning / organizing in there.  Not to mention grocery planning, grocery shopping, and cooking.  Ugh.  I think I’m going to start relying on my slow cooker / crock pot more.  I’m gonna put that baby to work!

Have a great weekend!

Week 38 – Still no baby…

Well, I pulled a pretty Kristy-like move yesterday and tripped over some stuff in the garage necessitating a trip to the OSU Labor & Delivery facility since I’m at 38 weeks and didn’t feel the baby move for a while after falling.

No worries – baby is fine, I’m fine (minus a few pulled muscles and assorted bumps & bruises), and all is well.  I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for a good 2+ hours and let me tell you, this kid can KICK when she’s being monitored. 

Good news is that it served as a dress rehearsal for the real thing – I’m all checked in and ready to go paperwork-wise when it’s show time.  Plus, I found out how quickly Mom and Jamie can get upstairs from the operating room.  I texted Jamie from the lobby of the hospital and she ended up riding on the same elevator as me.  Plus, Ben and I learned where to park, how to get into the L&D floor to visit, and all sorts of fun stuff.  We also learned where the ATM is because we’re idiots and don’t carry cash.

This was also a wakeup call for me that I need to slow down, take it easy, and let other people help me.  Yes, I know… read back a few weeks and I said the same things then but I really mean it this time.  Honest. 

This is my pledge to myself over the next 4 weeks or so:

1).  I will let Ben know when I need help with stuff around the house and actually ask him to do it.

2). I will take people up on their offers to help me even if it means swallowing my pride and letting them see I don’t keep a Martha Stewart house.

3). I will sit on my butt when necessary and not overdo things because I *have* to get them done.

4). I will keep my cell phone fully charged at all times and have emergency cash stuffed in my purse somewhere.  

5).  I’m sure Ben will have something to add here 🙂

So that’s it – still waiting for baby.  I hoped yesterday would be the day but nooooooo, it couldn’t be that easy.  Next Dr’s appt is on Thursday morning.

An ‘A-HA Moment’… 5 years too late.

I’ve really started stressing about what we’ll do about money leading up to and after the baby arrives.  You think to yourself, “Geez Kristy, you’ve had 5 years where you were trying to conceive to get your shit together moneywise.  Why aren’t you prepared?”  The simple answer is because we were thinking short-sightedly* instead of planning for a future that included more than just the two of us.

Looking back, there are a number of mistakes that we’ve made financially including having too many open lines of credit for big purchases then not paying them off, not socking enough away in savings / retirement / rainy day, and buying stuff we may not have needed at the time with money we didn’t have.  I’m ashamed to say it, but we’re perilously close to being the people that Obama is bailing out.  We’re one medical emergency or other similar disaster away from fiscal ruin. 

In hindsight, we probably overpaid on our house, too.  We rolled the closing costs into the mortgage and didn’t have to make a down payment because we used Ben’s VA certificate.   Home values in the Central Ohio area have been falling recently and I’m worried that we now owe more on our house than what it’s worth.  Quite frankly, I’m too afraid to look into the matter and don’t want to spend the $$ right now to get the house appraised.  With all the projects we have going on right now that have various areas of the house in disrepair I doubt we’d get a fair value.   My goal is to get enough projects done by December 31, 2009 to be able to schedule a home appraisal in the first quarter of next year.

I have no idea how our monthly budget is going to be impacted by the arrival of a baby, but I know there will BE an impact.  I learned a few months ago that while I’m out of the office on maternity leave that I will be making 60% of my SALARY only – no sales commissions will be included (per the short-term disability people, not my employer).  Many weeks my check is 1/4 to 1/2 salary and the remainer is made up of commission so those weeks off will be kind of painful for us.  To add insult to injury, the federal government will still take out all the requisite taxes on that 60%, leaving me with probably less than 45% of my normal salary and 20 – 25% of a normal take home pay check.  Way to screw working mothers, America!  Before I even qualify for short-term disability (maternity leave) I have to be off work for 10 days.  Coincidentally, 10 days is all that I receive a year for paid time off so I will be left with zero vacation or sick days once I come back.  The good news (if you can call it that) is that I will be paid normal salary for those 2 weeks I’m on vacation  so I will only get shorted for the 4 weeks remaining on the maternity leave.  Still, it’s going to be a blow to my budget which I’m trying to prepare for now. 

Yesterday, I had a revelation… I can’t deal with this financial uncertainty any longer.  I started reading a TON of personal finance /debt reduction blogs yesterday to see how other people have dealt with their debt.  I also made a list of all the debt we have – good (mortgage / student loans) and bad (credit cards) – to get a handle on where we stand.  I’m also a procrastinator so sometimes my monthly bills have been late by a day or two, which resulted in either late charges or interest rate increases or both.  I was able to call my credit card companies and get my rates adjusted, simply by asking.  One went from 19.99% APR to 6.15% APR.  I’m also scheduling the payment of my monthly bills ahead of time through my online bill pay service so that I don’t have to pay late fees / incur inflated interest rates again. 

One of the coolest tools I found was http://mint.com.  I got so frustrated by my Quicken yesterday that I almost had a meltdown.  Somehow, my savings balance reflected that we had $3,300 more than we actually had and I couldn’t get it reconciled for the life of me.  Mint allows me to pull all my stuff together into one place and analyze all of our spending.  A cool thing about Mint, especially since I’m a visual person, is that you can do fun graphs and charts.  I’ll do a full overview of why I love it later…

I knew that Ben and I spent a lot of money on eating out, but had NO idea of just how badly it impacted our budget.  I categorized for ‘groceries’, ‘Kris Dining’, ‘Ben Dining’, ‘Us Dining’ to figure out where the $$ was going exactly and was APPALLED by the numbers.  A whopping TWENTY PERCENT of the money we spent in February was on food-related items – close to $1,000.  That was a huge wake up call for me.  I could have easily put that $$ towards debt reduction, slapped it into savings, or put it in my emergency fund.  We’re being completely wasteful, not to mention lazy.  The only GOOD thing is that it’s not a fixed cost in our budget, but is one that can be easily halved with some careful planning, dedication, and foresight.  I can easily cut out close to $500 in unnecessary spending. 

So, what have you learned from reading so far?  Yes, we f’d up.  Yes, we are typical lazy Americans.  Yes, I’ve had enough and am working on getting us out of this mess… without having to rely on the federal government to bail us out. 

What about you?  Any thoughts?

~k 

Yes DK, I know… that’s an adverb of the poorest character but this post is about content, not style 😉

What’s on My Plate for Today…

It’s 7 AM and I’ve been wide awake since 6.  I tried to get back to sleep for 15 minutes but recognized it was a futile effort and came downstairs to watch NFL Total Access.  I know, I’m such a football nerd.  Since I’m up, I’ll probably head on over to Hydro Training (water aerobics) around 8.  Ben’s still fast asleep… I was nice and shut the bedroom door so he wouldn’t get bombarded by two puppies who are SO excited to see him first thing in the morning.

I went through this great 90 day goal planning workshop yesterday for my job and took away a lot of good strategies that I can put into practice for my personal life as well.  There was a really great ‘Decision Matrix’ where if you have a bizillion goals running through your head (admit it, we all have that mental list of things to do!) you can prioritize them one against the other in order to rank them.    I’d like to take 2 hours today to put together our 5 year, 3 year, 1 year, and 90 day goals together.  Maybe I can get this process started while Ben’s gone doing my Christmas shopping… let me know if you’re interested in learning more about this process and/or get the tools.  I’m more than happy to share!

I also need to get my bedroom straightened away *sigh*.  There are clothes EVERYWHERE – Ben’s dirty clothes on the floor near his bed, clean clothes of mine in the basket waiting to be put away, clothes on the floor in the closet that I have no idea what their status is, and stacks of my summer clothes that I need to get put away in the underbed organizer.  Of course, I have to clean out the random stuff in the organizer that I just stashed there earlier this year.  That’s my issue – stashing and dashing.  I don’t take the time to put things away properly and end up paying for it again and again and again.  I also need to investigate putting a tasteful trash can in our closet for the receipts that Ben leaves in his pants pockets, tags that come off new clothes, and the other detritus that makes its way in there.  I don’t even want to talk about the dust bunnies rappelling off the blades on my ceiling fan… it’s so embarassing.  So yeah, bedroom is high on the priority list because I need to get my sanctuary back.

Next on the list (if I don’t exhaust myself whipping the bedroom back into shape) is spending at least 1 hour in the room destined to become the nursery.  It is the very definition of stash and dash because it’s where Ben and I would dump everything that we picked up from the ‘public’ parts of the house when we were expecting company.  I have stacks of items to be filed, papers that need shredded, clothes that need to be donated to Amvets, and semi-full bookshelves that need culled.  Perhaps a trip to 1/2 Price Books will be on the agenda later tonight as a reward.  Part of my 90 day plan is going to be preparing for Baby’s Arrival (yes, I have deemed that it deserves capitalization) and getting that nursery put together is part of it. 

So… that’s what I’ve got planned for today.  I told you guys for 2 reasons.  #1 – When goals are written down they have a better chance of being accomplished.  #2 – You’re more accountable when you tell someone what your goals are.  I’ll update you tomorrow on my progress and you can either congratulate me or kick my ass for being a slacker 🙂