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Friday, December 28, 2012

Should those in glass houses eat pie?

If you're like me - average - then you've likely indulged in many a holiday treat these past few months.  And let me tell ya, I had some yummy stuff.  Here's an embarrassing, non-exhaustive list for the past 3 months:
  • Brownies with marshmallow centers (YUM)
  • Chow mein haystacks (totally addictive)
  • Magic bars (had too much and made me sick)
  • Mint chocolate chip cookies (making these next year)
  • Reindeer noses (easy cookie exchange recipe)
  • Egg nog (mmmmm.....)
  • An entire big bag of M&M's (that one hurt)
  • Mexican hot chocolate (perfection - if only it were calorie-free)
  • Homemade apple pie (mouth-watering)
  • Homemade pecan pie (that one hurt, too...after the third piece)
  • Pumpkin pecan bars (Krusteaz - don't tell my fam)
  • 80% of the chocolate candy from the boys' Halloween buckets (I wish they liked chocolate more)
  • Do I even need to keep going...'cause I could...
It was a slippery slope for me.  At first I thought I'd have the resolve that I had from last year.  I was seriously on fire last year: training for the 13.1, tracking calories daily, maintaining self-control.  I had it.
This year, however, was different.

It started with getting sick in September, getting a false positive test result that made me think I had an auto-immune illness, giving up my marathon goal, quitting running altogether, and then the timing of...{dun-dun-dun}...Halloween and its disgustingly delicious candy.

Now, however, I pretty much have one, maybe two, pair of jeans that I can wear.  And I refuse to go shopping for more, either; that's a give-up (and it's not in the budget).

The good news, however, is that I went to the gym yesterday and today, and I'm on my way back to fitness.  It really helps me to read my old blog posts because I do want to have that mindset toward wellness again.  I can get there; I just have to really focus and quit the stinkin' thinkin'.  [An AA slogan says, "Stinkin' thinkin' leads to drinkin'."  For me it leads to bingeing.]

However, I've kind of found myself in a bit of a glass house.  I had my My Fitness Pal account public for anyone to see and had a lot of friends on there, and while at first that was very motivating for me, I found myself getting too stressed out about what other people would think about my failures.  Sometimes the stress of it all would lead me to not log my calories at all.

It became too much of a mental battle for me, so I just decided to go solo again.  [If you were a MFP friend and noticed that I'm gone, please don't be offended!!]

We'll see if this works or not.  I feel like my blog is transparency enough, so I can maintain a little privacy elsewhere.

I do have about 4 pounds to get to my comfortable weight and another 5 to get to the unattainable goal I've had for forever.

[Disclaimer: I just realized that maybe if you're in OA and you're reading this you could be thinking, "Don't stay isolated!"  But for me, I don't know, I could be wrong, but I'm just your average holiday indulger - not an addict, so to speak.]

Friday, December 21, 2012

3,653 Days of Marriage

Happy Anniversary to my amazing hubby!  

The dried roses that my guests threw were from all of the roses
 that Michael had given me while we were dating. 
Today is our 10 year wedding anniversary.  We got married one week after my college graduation and four days before Christmas. What were we thinking!  In hindsight we should have waited until January, but it was still a very beautiful, Christmas wedding.

In celebration of our 10 years, I want to tell you 10 things I love about my hubs:

1.  He does not care what people think about him.  Sometimes this is a feature, and sometimes it's a bug, but overall it's a feature.  Fear of man can be crippling, but lives free of this!

2.  He lives intentionally.  He makes goals.  He plans for the future.  He reassesses the past. And he lives in the present with purpose.

Married about 6 months at the Garden of the Gods in CO
3.  He's a lifelong learner.  He's constantly thirsty for more information.  If he is curious about a topic, then he researches it.  If he wants to excel at something, then he studies and practices and masters it.

4.  He's just naturally smart.  I'm quite jealous that he has a memory like a steel trap.  Anything he hears or reads, he remembers.  He was born with a natural intellect, and of course he's nurtured it, too.

Reading a story to the boys on the Kindle
5.  He's a really good dad.  He loves his kids so much and parents them with the same intentionality in which he lives his life.  The kids love him to the moon and back, and that speaks to what a great job he's done with them.

6.  He's compassionate.  He has Jesus' heart for people that need some mercy.  He knows that he's been blessed in so many ways, so he wants to give back in proportion to what he's been given.

7.  He's in control of his emotions.  I can be a hothead at times (although I DO work on it), but even when he gets very upset about something, he is able to control himself and talk things out.  I'm really amazed by this and super blessed by it.

8.  He makes me a better person.  He truly wants to see me achieve my goals and dreams and works with me to make those a reality.  It's such a selfless and loving pursuit for him and makes me love him even more.

9.  He's very honest.  I always trust that his answer is really what he's thinking.  He doesn't beat around the bush, and we don't have to play games.

10.  He's committed for the long haul.  I have such security in his love for me and commitment to our family that worrying about it has never even crossed my mind.

I love you, Michael, and I'm so very grateful for every minute of the last 3,653 days.  It's been the best ten years of my whole life.


Happy Anniversary, Babe.  

We haven't aged a bit, have we?  Psh, lol.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hitting Reset

"pixie haircut faux hawk", "girl faux hawk", "new years resolutions", "hitting the reset button on life",
With the new year right around the corner, it seems like a good time to hit the refresh button on some areas of my life.  I guess I started with my hair.  ;) 

I've had every variation of a bob haircut for several years now, and it was just time to try the pixie on for size again. I gotta say, it feels pretty good.  I'll probably start growing it out again after this, but it's definitely fun for now.  Me and Samuel pretty much have exactly the same hair right now.  :-P   Good thing I'm secure in my femininity.  Hehe.

Another reset button I need to push is on my health! I know I'm not original on this one or anything, but man oh man, I sure was a glutton this last couple of months.  It's no surprise that my body feels like crizzapp when I eat that way.  I'm ready to fuel my body with good things again.

Mike Hewitt
I am also going to start jogging again.  My rheumatologist said that my issues were just caused by some crazy, unknown virus, so he wants me to add cardio back into my regimen slowly but surely.  I'm SOOOOOO ready to do that, too.  I'm a little bit hesitant that I'm going to get tired again, but I miss it so much that it's worth the risk.  

Today, Levi was messing around on the Apple TV, and he played the video from when I finished the half marathon at White Rock, and that was all it took.  I want another race so bad I can taste it!  I've decided that the first half of the year I'll work on my speed with shorter races, and then the last half of the year I'll work on distance.  I'm not setting any goals yet until I can see what my body can realistically do.  

So what about you?  Do you have something good for you that you miss so much that it's worth the work and risk?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Unthinkable

First of all, let me just say that my prayers are with all of the families of those precious lives lost in Newtown yesterday.  I was simply without words when I heard the news.  Shocked.  Dumbfounded.  Astonished.  My soul was wrenched.

I'm still very shocked and simply can't believe it.  There's no sense to make of it because it's completely absurd and nonsensical.  Evil and utterly revolting.

I'm certain that yesterday will be one of those days that we remember for the rest of our lives.  I still remember where I was when the Columbine tragedy happened, and I know that this day will no doubt be etched in my memory as well, maybe more so since I have kids that age.

My first grader was actually home from school with the flu, and I was never so happy for him to have the flu because I just wanted all my babies with me.  Since I was home, Facebook was a good community for me to debrief and digest the horror together.  My sweet friend Erica reminded me of this quote from a recent post:
Then the thought occurred to me that perhaps God put an innate fear of death in us humans so that we would try to live as long as we could because if we really knew how much we were going to love Heaven we wouldn't try that hard to survive.   November 7, 2012
Please don't read that as insensitive in light of the tragedy.  I surely didn't write it with this horrific event in mind.  But it does make me think of how my kind, loving, bigger than life, Heavenly Father is holding those kids in His everlasting arms right now, comforting them and loving them and hiding them in the shadow of His wings.

And then I was also reminded of this post last year when tragedy struck my family:
At the retreat I was on, the retreat director (an amazing 77 year old woman of God and former therapist) said that when people would ask her why God allowed bad things to happen her response was always that the best gift that God could give us was free will.  And sometimes people use that free will to make bad choices.  Sometimes those bad choices affect other people.
...
And the thing I always hold onto when bad things happen to good people and you want to ask, "Why did God allow that to happen," is that God never promised us that bad things wouldn't happen; in fact He promised us quite the opposite.  He said we'd definitely have trouble in this world, but we can take heart in Him.  He can be our comfort, our shelter, our peace, our kind, loving Father.  And then there's Heaven....ah, Heaven, the ultimate place of peace for the weary soul.  November 8, 2011
My prayer for all of the families and friends of the victims is that they would feel the loving and comforting arms of our Heavenly Father right now.

God, help this nation.  Mamas, hug your babies.  Love and peace to all of you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

'Tis the Season...for overeating and having the flu

still smiling - thank you Tamiflu
It's Thursday night, and I'm just sitting around the house wondering, first of all, why oh why did I open that almond and chocolate covered toffee that was supposed to be a teacher's gift?  And secondly, can the good people at Emergen-C make their product taste any more like vomit than it already does?  

Well, my big-boy, first-grader has the flu.  Yes, he got the mist, but it was evidently too early in the year (October), so it may not have been accurate at that point.  Now my baby-boy-almost-two-year-old has a fever and he just used a spoon that Samuel used.  :: sleepy-sigh ::  Such is life - gotta love it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Why I'm glad to be older

I told you about how we went to San Antonio for Thanksgiving, and we ate at my cousin and his wife's house. Well, pretty much every time I see them Michael prods them to recount a story that I would love to forget. I think they just like to see me squirm.

So here's the story. My cousin and his wife used to live in Arlington and were generous enough to let me live with them one semester in college. After I moved out they lived there for another couple of years before they moved back to San Antonio. During that time, they asked me to housesit or babysit from time to time, which I was glad to do.

They once asked me to dog-sit their dog "Whitie" for them while they went to San Antonio for the weekend. I gladly obliged. All I had to do was go over there daily to let him out and keep him fed and watered.

my awful college ID
Well, late 1990's Annie wasn't the same person as 2012 Annie. Late 1990's Annie had a paper day planner, but she didn't always remember to look at it.

I was off at some church college group function at someone's house and all of the sudden I remembered that I was supposed to be dog-sitting. It was SUNDAY night. I nervously sped over to their house in a mad rush, hitting the steering wheel several times and reciting, "Crap, crap, crap," over and over, hoping to get there before they did.

I speedily parked by their curb...as they were unloading the car. My cousin's wife greeted me and apologies and excuses spewed out of my mouth. I was so embarrassed and sorry. I felt so bad for little Whitie. He used to get bladder infections because he would hold it for so long because he would refuse to pee inside the house (dream dog), and the poor little guy held it for as long as he could. Needless to say, he was also quite thirsty and hungry.

I tried apologizing to my cousin as he was stomping by to finish unloading and quietly raging at me. Without even looking, he snapped at me, "Apologize to Whitie." My heart sank. He was so mad at me. And rightfully so.

I saw Whitie, and I think I tried to give him a little cuddle and apologized profusely. I offered to my cousins to help clean up, but they just wanted me out of there. I walked back to my car with my head hung in shame.

It took a while for them to get over that - and I patiently carried out my sentence. I would have been so mad at myself, too. Whitie, on the other hand, always hated me after that. He would growl and snap at me and remind me of what a reprobate I was.

As we were recounting the story, yet again, this past Thanksgiving, while being extremely happy that we can all laugh about it now (although my cousin doesn't always chuckle very heartily), I'm reminded that it's great to grow older.

Youth is fun, but gosh I sure was stupid. I really didn't think I was, either. I was just a silly little girl learning how to navigate life. Now, I'm 33 years old, and even though I'm older and have learned a little more about navigating life, I still feel like a silly little girl that has a LOT to learn about life.

I don't quite think I know it all anymore, and that's the great thing about getting older. The older you get, the more humbled by life you get (hopefully).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cookie decorating as it relates to boundaries with children...

My sister and her family came into town two weekends ago, and we had an AWESOME time.  I loved it!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to decorate Christmas cookies, and in my quest for anti-perfectionism, I let the kids have at it with the decorating.  I didn't micromanage it; I didn't have templates; anything went.

The results were pretty cute.  Of course, Isaac had some technical issues.

But the rest of the kids came up with some pretty cute designs.



Well, Mr. Levi let the creative juices flow.

'Wow,' I thought, 'That's a lot of icing.'

But he wasn't done.

"Are you gonna let him eat that," someone asked.  
Well, let me tell ya, the answer should have been NOOOOOOO!!!!

About an hour later there was vomit all over that same table.  Sometimes kids need to be told no.  :)

Happy cookie decorating.  :)


Thursday, November 29, 2012

This Guy...

"Dave Ramsey", "FPU", "Financial Peace University"
...pretty much changed our lives.

We had the chance as FPU coordinators to meet the big man, Dave Ramsey, a couple weeks ago with about 250 others.  It was pretty cool.  They talked about the stuff they have in the works, too - super exciting.

If you are still under the heavy weight of debt in your life, please consider taking a 9 week Financial Peace University course.  It will change your family tree!!!!

And no, I'm not getting paid for this - just a happy customer.  ;)

Shout out if you're doing a 
DEBT-FREE CHRISTMAS!!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

Hey bloggy friends!  I have missed y'all terribly!  I tell ya; I have had the worst case of writer's block, but I think I'm back.  I think I just needed a little turkey and LOT of pecan pie to get me started again.

I love Thanksgiving.  It's definitely my favorite holiday.  We sure are blessed.

We went home to San Antonio for Thanksgiving again this year, and I just have to give a shout out to my cousins for seriously doing it up right!  I so enjoy their Thanksgiving love.

Let me show you what I mean...(I won't post pics of the people because I don't know how they feel about that.)

I just love the nice touches like an ice-sculpture wine bucket...

They make all the food, and they just ask that everyone brings a bottle of wine and a dessert.  My dad gave me this great bottle for my 10 year anniversary coming up, so I decided to share it.  :)
 

My Granny has this gorgeous china, and we actually use it!!  Remember this post on that?  It's really cool how something like dishes can make a family feel closer; traditions connects us.

We also all sit at the same gigantic table.  One big family table.

And....I cut my hair again!  (Random note.)

I also love taking one day while we're in SA to take my kids somewhere cool.  Remember this place?

Thanks again, cousins!  We were blessed by your gracious hospitality - as usual.

I hope you all had awesome Thanksgivings, too!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Just a Little Health Update

I made this appointment with the rheumatolgist two long months ago, and it finally came today.  Long story short, I most likely don't have an auto-immune disease!  Yay!
Source

They're redoing my blood work to see if they can find anything else out (could have been a false positive on my original blood work), and I'll get those results in three weeks.  Then he wants to see me again in another six months.

As to the cause of my symptoms, they said that sometimes it could just be viral, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that that's what it was!  (I forgot to tell him about when I played with mercury when I was a kid.)

I am just so relieved that he's not worried about it.  I'm almost certain that God was testing me in this season of my life.  I think He wanted to see if I'd still love Him and trust Him even if I got the rug pulled out from under me.  Did I really believe that He's good ALL the time?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Life is too short...

Life is just too short to...

...watch too much TV.
...have to be right all the time.
...care too much what other people think.
...engage in petty conflict.


Source
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Source (I'm back on the java.)
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Random Thoughts On Mortality

Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. - Blaise Pascal 
Humans are amphibians - half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.
C. S. Lewis
Well, folks, we've lived to see another day - isn't that glorious!  Seriously, though, at the risk of sounding overly sentimental, we're not guaranteed anything.  I could drop dead before I even hit publish.  Death is the only certain part of life (well, unless Jesus comes back first, but you know what I mean).

I was thinking about death the other day, not because I often do or anything but just in the way that I think most people think about their mortality from time to time.  I was thinking about how good Heaven is going to be - the mystery that it is.

Then the thought occurred to me that perhaps God put an innate fear of death in us humans so that we would try to live as long as we could because if we really knew how much we were going to love Heaven we wouldn't try that hard to survive.

Kinda morbid but kinda cool, right?

Don't read me incorrectly, though, I'm still trying pretty hard to survive!  But thinking about Heaven takes the fear of dying away a little more.  Just a passing thought that I thought I'd share.   

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Super Mom in Hindsight

I told you how I'm doing this bible study called Seasons, and this morning in our group discussion there was a question for all of the older moms.  If I felt like going out to my car to get my book I could tell you word for word, but I'll give you the gist of it...

"super mom" "comparison is the thief of joy"
Source
She asked, with the advantage of hindsight, what would you tell younger moms about enjoying their current season of life (or something to that effect)?

My sweet group leader said, "You know, I look at all of you young moms today, and you just think you have to do it all and be Super Mom."  And she never said, "But DON'T!!" because she's much too sweet for that, but it was implied.

All the other ladies said pretty much the same thing, "Why did I try to do so much?" "Leave the cupcake making up to the ones that are good at it, and bring the store-bought ones."

And when we really get honest...."Don't try to live up to everyone's expectations."  "Say no to keeping up with the Joneses!"  Not that you don't do that, and I don't either...ahem...but I just thought I'd pass along the message.  ;)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Autumn Season of Life

We can not be green and bright year round. We are beautiful when we are red, orange and yellow. - Dorothy Beal from Mile Posts

I love Dorothy's blog.  She's a marathoner with three kids my kids' ages and pushes a triple stroller while training.  She's awesome, but lately I haven't been that excited to read her blog because it honestly kinda bums me out.  I haven't been able to run and had to give up my goal for a marathon this year, so I'm trying to get my mind off of it.

Something told me to read it this morning, though, and I'm pretty sure it was that still small voice.  Tears came to my eyes when I read:
Fall is a time of wonder. A time of renewal.
The fall of the leaves reminds me that nothing last forever.
That in life there are seasons.
We can not be green and bright year round. We are beautiful when we are red, orange and yellow.
It feels like a part of me is dying, a part that I really love. (Why can’t the crappy parts about me die, right?)  But I'm counting on God to make beauty from ashes.  

Ironically enough, I'm doing a bible study at church called Seasons where I'm learning the exact same thing, and I couldn't go this morning because we left the carseat in Michael's car and I'm stuck at home. God still wanted me to hear the message loud and clear.

That's just like Him, isn't it?
I'm blessed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A little complaining and a little Halloween

Oh boy, are you ready for a complain-fest?  No, you're right, it is annoying, so I'll spare you.  I WILL say that I'm very ready for my doctor's appointment with the rheumatologist on November 16th.  I so want some answers (although I likely won't get them right away).

Yesterday, I worked on the lawn while the little ones were in preschool, and since then I've been wiped out.  I've been on the couch most of the day, and I just told Michael that I'm letting them fend for themselves for dinner tonight.

Anyway, I hope you're enjoying this season.  It's my favorite.  I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from our pumpkin carving (taken with iPhone, sorry).  My dad was in town, and he was poo-pooing my idea to use a stencil to carve the pumpkins, so instead I had the boys draw pictures on paper and I used those pictures as stencils.

One of them is Samuel and the other is Batman.  Can you tell which is which?
"kids drawing on jack o lantern", kids, halloween, pumpkin, "Jack o lantern", templates, stencils"kids drawing on jack o lantern", kids, halloween, pumpkin, "Jack o lantern", templates, stencils

"kids drawing on jack o lantern", kids, halloween, pumpkin, "Jack o lantern", templates, stencils"kids drawing on jack o lantern", kids, halloween, pumpkin, "Jack o lantern", templates, stencils



Monday, October 15, 2012

Housekeeping Notebook



If you are on Pinterest at all, then you've no doubt seen a few dozen examples of a housekeeping notebook.  I'll admit that when I first saw one I thought it was cool but a bit of an overkill.  I mean, do you really need a chore list?  Can't you just look around and see what needs to be done?

Well, I've definitely been humbled, because I can safely say that I need one!  The older my kids get, the more complicated my life gets.  There are just so many moving parts, and it's so hard to remember everything.

Who remembers this guy right here from Covey's First Things First book?  Every single thing you do in a day falls into one of those quadrants.

Source
Well, I had been in the trap of just getting the the 1st and 3rd quadrants done and neglecting a lot of the 2nd quadrant things.  Shoot, even quadrant 4 stuff started seeming urgent (hello Facebook).

So I knew I needed more organization, but I genuinely felt like I had it already.  I have a pretty massive Excel spreadsheet with a tab for everything under the sun in it.

  • Routine cleaning checklist
  • Deep cleaning checklist
  • To do
  • Grocery list
  • Meal plan
  • Large item shopping list
  • Current financial plan
  • Long term financial plan
And that was good.  It was the start of some organization.  The problem is that, maybe I'm old school, but I needed it on paper.  (Wow, yeah, I'm old.) 

So I decided to actually use all of those printables that I pinned on Pinterest and put together a cute little notebook.  And it's working!  It feels so gratifying to scratch something off of my checklist.  It also feels great to write something on a paper list to get it off my mind.  

Most of my printables I got from this website.  They basically just compiled a bunch of printables from a lot of different blogs.  I just found the ones that suited me best.  This is where I got most of them.
Design Finch
A lot of the things I altered to fit my needs, but some I didn't.  Here's what I did.  


I went to Target and got a cute 1 1/2" notebook and a pack of pocket dividers.  Then I printed up about 9 months worth of lists.  I knew that I'd want some changes, but I didn't think that I'd set aside the time to do this again, so I just figured I'd write in the changes.


This nifty little printable has it broken down by days so that you can put what you need to do each day and feel the gratification of scratching it off the list. 

Then I took all of the nagging papers off of my bulletin board and put them in the pockets of the appropriate section.  For example, I need to buy lawn care stuff, so I put the brochure in the folder of the "To-Do" section.

My next section I printed two sheets for each month.  This one has a spreadsheet of a month broken down into four weeks, and you can mark on there when each chore needs to be done.  That one is found here.  There is a line for each thing that requires deep cleaning.



And then there's a more detailed list for each of those items.  That's found on the same site.


I love this section.  Meal planning.  I write it all out and then scratch it off once I've cooked it.  I can then save old sheets for ideas for later.  I can jot down things to add to my larger spreadsheet for grocery shopping on the right. 


And for the fun but stressful section....House Projects.  I jot it all down, and then for the current projects I keep all of the business cards, estimates, etc. in the pocket.  


Then there's a section that I can jot down blog ideas.  If you don't have a blog, then you can have a hobby section.  



I still need to make an emergency section, so it's a work in progress - like everything.  :)  Also, as the kids get older I'll have a homework section.  I just put it in the to-do section now, though.

I'll warn you.  It takes a lot of paper, printer ink, and a couple hours to get this done, but you'll make that time and energy back in PRODUCTIVITY!!!!  I promise!  

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