Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wise Words Wednesday: Procrastination

To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.  ~Eva Young

If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.  ~Olin Miller

(I couldn't decide which quote I liked better for this, so you get both.)

Oh my gosh you guys. I really thought I was going to get better about blogging more regularly. I'm so frustrated with myself because I started this blog with the best of intentions. I thought I'd post like 3 or 4 times a week and that would be no big deal, but I just still can't find the time because it seems like there's always something else I need or want to do. I end up starting all these blog posts, but have a hard time finishing and actually posting them.

I didn't think blogging would end up being a chore I'd put off until I felt bad enough about it to do it. I don't want to feel like this is a chore, I want it to be enjoyable (and quick and easy, which has been a problem lately with all the photos I want to edit before I post). Maybe I just need to stop over thinking things. It's not like I'm a writer trying to craft meaningful prose about every aspect of our life, or a photographer who takes perfect photos. I mean, that would be lovely and all, but that's not what I set out to do with this blog. I think I need to remind myself of that sometimes. Of course I want my posts to be interesting and my photos to look good, but I'm not trying to win any writing/blogging/photography awards or anything. I think I've been too hung up on trying to come up with the perfect way of saying what I want to say and getting the perfect photos, that it ends up taking too much time, so I keep putting off the post.

I also worry that my life is too boring to post about, which makes me question my decision to start a blog in the first place. Maybe I should get off my butt and start working on some projects around the house that I've been meaning to do for a while, so I have some more things to blog about. Eh, I'll get around to it one of these days. I've got a really long list...wonder why!?

So yeah. It's not like procrastination is a new thing for me. I just didn't think it would cause a problem with my blogging. Mopping, dusting, cleaning the garage, folding the laundry, planting some flowers, hanging new curtains—of course. But blogging? Dude. Ugh.

I guess the first step to {procrastination} recovery is recognizing I have a problem. And then waiting around to see if I actually do anything about it :)


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I may not be breaking any speed records but...

I DID IT!!!! 6.2 miles, baby, and here's the proof!

6.2 miles

I did walk for exactly 1 minute about every 1.25 miles, so even though that slowed down my overall time, I'm sure it helped with my overall endurance.

I gotta be honest--I seriously doubted it was possible for me to go that far, even after I officially ran 3.1 for the first time (ever in my life), especially since I felt all tingly and like I was going die. Plus, when I ran last week, I could barely go 2 miles so I thought I had peaked. Turns out I was just having an "off" day. Whew!

But I'm SO impressed with myself. I even graduated from my 8-week couch to 5K program 2 weeks early, motivated by a run with a local running club!

I don't plan on running for over an hour every time because let's face it, it's boring as hell (and I'd prefer to not run in the dark). But now I know I can do it and I'm a little less freaked out about my 10K on October 1. Let's just hope the adrenaline kicks in and I'm not having an off day then...

Oh, and by the way, I don't think I totally hate running any more. I solidly tolerate it now. And I fixed the whole running hurts like hell issue with a new pair of shoes. The local running store I got them from exchanged them for me. Score!

Another big score? My team came in 3rd place in the health challenge, so we each won $100. Paid for my shoes!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Dolla dolla birthday, Ya'll

Happy birthday to my wonderful husband, who turned 32 on Saturday (last week, August 20, another late post, I suck)! The in-laws brought over a fabulously yummy burrito dinner (Adam's fave) and his traditional birthday cake (yellow cake with chocolate frosting and M&Ms), and we all just hung out for a while. Very nice and low-key, just like he likes.

Adam's 32nd birthday

Adam's 32nd birthday

I've got to say though, Adam is THE hardest person to shop for! He occasionally mentions stuff he'd like to have, but almost inevitably, he goes out and buys it for himself right before his birthday, Christmas or Father's Day. This year, he mentioned a few times how he wanted new music to listen to while he's traveling and waiting around in airports all the time. I was starting to think about what CDs to get him, and next thing I know, he's downloaded a bunch of songs from iTunes!

I ended up with my go-to gift: the always classy t-shirt. He's a t-shirt hoarder collector so it's usually a good way to go. This year, I picked out a Brazil soccer shirt because thanks to some shoddy googling on my iphone in the middle of Target, I thought his fave professional soccer player, Christiano Ronaldo, played for Brazil. Turns out, that's some other dude named Ronaldo. Oops. He says he likes his shirt anyway, though. I also got him a Sprite shirt, which now makes him the king of soft drink shirts. I got him a Dr. Pepper one last year, and his sister Anna got him a Coke one this year. I guess it's a natural fit, combining his love of soda and his love for t-shirts :)

coke shirt

The boys had already told me they wanted to get him a Lego Star Wars toy because they've all been obsessed with that Wii game since Aidan got it for his birthday. I picked out a Lego set they could all assemble together, which the boys were super excited about.

But that still didn't seem enough, in terms of the effort and thoughtfulness Adam deserves. I wanted to do more to get the boys involved in picking out gifts, so I remembered something I read in a blog not too long ago about her annual tradition of taking her daughter to the dollar store and letting her pick out anything she thinks her daddy would like.

I thought it was a great idea that would work well for the boys. The only rules I gave were that it had to be something they thought daddy would like, or they wanted him to have (aka, they weren't shopping for themselves), and that they weren't allowed to have any input on what the other wanted to give (aka, no bossing your brother around and come up with your own ideas).

They did pretty well staying focused. Along the way, they got seriously tempted by these silly hats...

distracted by silly hats

...and by some 4th of July decorations. Silly boys.

distracted by 4th of July decorations

I let them each pick out four things, plus a card. I was hoping for a card that was inappropriately hilarious, like an "It's your birthday, Son" or a "Happy 60th birthday, Grandma!" card, but the one they picked out was actually very appropriate, and Adam loved it (he cracks up at those doggie denture commercials, so this was perfect).

Adam's birthday card

I bet you're dying to know what they came up with. Well, they were just dying to show Adam what they got, too. They were so excited, they could hardly contain themselves. They couldn't even wait until his birthday. When we got home that Friday, we quickly packed their items into gift bags before he got home, and they made a fort they could hide behind to surprise him when he walked in the door.


Of course they weren't hidden at all, and it took them a good 20 seconds after Adam walked in the door to actually jump up and say surprise. Clearly we'll need to work on their "surprise" technique for the future :)

So without further ado, here's what Logan picked out especially for Adam:

* a magic growing snake
* hair cutting scissors (a subtle hint that he and/or daddy need a hair cut?)
* a jar-opening gadget
* a baseball-shaped water bottle

dollar store water bottle

Aidan was a little more practical in his choice of gatorade, but also picked out an "original shammy" and a giant bendy pencil.


But he absolutely takes the win for most hilariously inappropriate gift for a grown man: a glitter baton (or wand, as they boys insist it's called).

glitter wand

I have no idea why Aidan thought Adam needed or would want a baton/wand, but I do know that Adam and I were practically rolling on the floor laughing about it. Aidan said he got it "because Daddy will think it's cool" and Logan agreed. You know what? They were right. He did think it was cool. Not because it was glittery or blue or because it was a baton/wand, but because Aidan picked it out especially for his daddy, with love. Memories were made, the boys felt important, and Adam felt special and loved. Mission accomplished.

As a bonus, Lorelai really loves the glitter wand, too!

Lorelai and the glitter wand

I can't wait to do this with Lorelai when she gets old enough! A new tradition has been born :)

Also, I FINALLY took down all of the decorations for Lorelai's party the morning of Adam's birthday, since a Lorelai name banner and pink flower pom-poms don't scream "manly 32nd birthday." But you know what does?

Spongebob balloon

Yep, a Spongebob balloon. Bet you'll never guess who picked that one out! ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wise words Wednesday: Eating healthy

The trouble with always trying to preserve the health of the body is that it is so difficult to do without destroying the health of the mind.  ~G.K. Chesterton


So I've been on this exercise kick lately, but not exactly a full-on health kick. See, I work out, but I snack on really crappy foods. I'm a junk food nut and I'm a complete sucker for sweet treats. At work, M&Ms, Doritos and Coke Zero are my weaknesses. At home, I have dessert pretty much every night, and on the weekends we'll eat Bojangles for breakfast more often than we should (we indulge a couple times a month in BoBerry biscuits, sweet tea, fries and bacon egg and cheese biscuits, YUM!) and I'm more likely to snack on chips or cheese balls than to fix myself an actual lunch.

In my defense though, I have to say that my main meals are generally healthy, especially the ones I cook. We don't eat a lot of red meat, I almost never use butter when I cook, we get lower fat dairy items, and we try to incorporate fruit and veggies into our meals (the kids almost always get a side of fruit, Adam and I usually don't though). Plus, I drink a ton of water.

I guess that, plus the fact that I've been exercising has been my justification for my junky snacks. The fact that I'm still below my pre-pregnancy weight is also a huge factor. I attribute that to some awesome breastfeeding-induced metabolism so lately I've been kind of dreading what will happen when I fully wean Lorelai.

I'm sure weaning isn't too far off, so that has spurred me to try and change some of my bad eating habits, so if/when my metabolism does change, I won't suddenly put on a ton of weight (fingers crossed!). I'm also hoping that if I eat better, I'll have more energy and it'll help me with my running.

I'm going to start small. My plan right now is to replace my afternoon Coke Zero with a green tea, replace the Doritos with reduced fat wheat thins or other types of snack crackers/pretzels (only a slight improvement, I know...) and to add fruit and carrots to my lunch. Plus, I'm going to try my absolute hardest to stay away from those M&Ms and only have dessert a few times a week.

I know people say it's the overly processed foods that can make you feel blah, but I don't think I can cut out salty snacks altogether, cold turkey. I don't care what anyone says, the crunch of a carrot does NOT replace the crunch of a chip!! 

This is going to be a definite challenge for me. If anyone can suggest some healthy snack or dessert foods, I'd love to hear them! Wish me luck!

Meanwhile, I'll be dreaming of...


Monday, August 22, 2011

Aquarium adventures

I mentioned waaaayyy back when (yep, you guessed it—things were crazy and I was lazy with the picture edits/uploads), that instead of taking our sunburned selves back out to the beach for a second day, we packed up and took a trip down to the Fort Fisher Aquarium in Kure Beach, NC.

Fort Fisher Aquarium

It was Aidan's birthday so I was very upset for him that we wouldn't be able to go back out on the beach like we had planned. It was supposed to be a special birthday beach trip, after all. Thankfully, he was SO excited to go back to the aquarium to show the rest of us everything he'd seen when his 1st grade class took a field trip there a few months ago. (Side note: who in the world thinks an all day, 5+ hour round trip field trip is suitable for 6 year olds?? He had a blast and they completed the trip without incident, but they left at 7:30am and didn't get home until 7:30 pm. GEEZ.)

Aidan was so excited to show Logan all of the alligators.

Aidan's head in an alligator

Albino alligator
Albino alligator

alligator in the water

Though Logan was slightly less than excited to see any of the alligators up close (despite them either being fake or completely behind barriers). Poor thing refused to pose with the fake alligator and it took some serious convincing for him to feel comfortable posing for a picture in front of the live one behind the glass. 

posing in front of the gator

Look at how Logan is holding onto Lorelai like he's protecting her from the alligator. Such sweetness.

Logan and Lorelai holding hands
Notice his sunburn? Ouch :(

Lorelai had no fear though. She loved looking at everything and was very fascinated by all the water and the huge fish.

Lorelai looking at the fish

Aside from the alligators, Aidan's favorite part was the touch pool. He touched starfish, horseshoe crabs and conchs. Unfortunately, Logan refused to touch anything, despite Aidan's encouragement. Lorelai on the other hand, probably would have jumped right on in if given the chance!

aquarium touch pool

We were even fortunate enough to catch my sister and her kids on their way into the aquarium as we were leaving.

Logan, Aidan, Shaun and Raina

It was a really great visit, and although our beach weekend didn't quite go as planned, I think things ended up working out for the better!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Lorelai's first birthday party

Yep, over two weeks later and I'm just now getting around to blogging about Lorelai's first birthday party. Laziness and craziness strikes again.

Lorelai's invitation
The invitation that never was...
As per usual, I procrastinated and didn't have enough time to get these invites I made printed and
sent, so I ended up sending an evite instead. Oh well.

We had her party at our house on July 30, and I don't know about everyone else, but I thought it was a perfect 1st birthday party!

the family

It was a pretty low-key event, as far as 1st birthdays can go, I'm sure. Pretty much just family, plus a couple of friends who I don't see often enough, so it was nice that they were able to come. We all just hung out and chatted, watched the birthday girl crawl around (and hang out in my arms), ate and opened presents. Wow, when I say it like that, it sounds totally boring. I hope none of my guests were bored!

Lorelai's 1st birthday party

Although I have it on good authority that the cousins had fun, if the level of noise is any indication :)

Shaun, Raina, Isaiah
Shaun, Raina and Isaiah

For such an informal gathering, I've got to admit, I did a lot of work behind the scenes on some little things that probably didn't matter in the grand scheme of things (or to Adam—he said "wow, you sure are putting a lot of effort into this party" like that was a bad thing. Silly man. He did say everything turned out really pretty though.) I tried not to stress myself out, but I really wanted to personalize this party and make it special for Lorelai.

Over the course of many nights in front of the tv, I made a crap ton of tissue paper flowers that I used as mantle decoration and hanging decorations. Thank you, Pinterest and Martha Stewart! I love how they turned out and added pops of color (for not a lot of money—I think I used 6 packs of tissue paper for $1 each at Walmart).

tissue paper flowers

I also made a personalized name banner and party hat out of scrapbook paper (on sale for $.25 per sheet, yay!).

birthday banner and party hat

Of course, Lorelai only wore the hat for like a minute, but it was worth it for those couple of pictures :)


I think my favorite decorative element though is the flowers. I picked up some fresh flowers from Harris Teeter (I didn't know what I was getting before I went, but ended up with hot pink gerbera daisies, lime green spider mums and soft pink carnations for $16 total) and put them in some recycled mason jars that I dyed blue with glass paint. I love how all the colors came together so perfectly.


I made cupcakes, and for the first time ever, made my own frosting. Usually I just buy boxed cake and frosting, but I wanted pink frosting, so I figured I'd give some homemade raspberry buttercream frosting a try. They were pretty darn tasty, if I do say so myself!

vanilla cupcakes with homemade raspberry buttercream frosting

And I think the birthday girl agreed. This was her first time having anything sweet like this, and I dare say it looks like she's got her mommy's sweet tooth!

Lorelai eating cake
Love Logan's face in the background.

Lorelai eating cake

Lorelai eating cake

I think she loved it so much she wanted to share with me. That's my girl.

sharing cake with Mommy

As for food, I knew I wanted it to be easy, so the only thing I made was some yummy skinny artichoke dip (Seriously, SO yum, it's my go-to appetizer now. I'll have to do a separate post with the recipe I got from my friend since I can't seem to find it online). We also put out chips and salsa, and got a couple of trays of pita sandwiches from Kroger. Easy peasy!

After all of the eating and cupcake smashing, Lorelai got down to business opening presents.

opening presents

Rather, the rest of the kids and I opened presents, and Lorelai tried to eat them. Of course.

eating presents

A look at the aftermath shows you that this is one very loved and lucky little girl!

present opening aftermath

All that present-opening was hard work, so she just wanted to sit back and relax with cold beer. Seriously, for some reason she kept making a beeline to beer bottles that were left within her reach. She kept grabbing at the one I was holding while I was holding her, and when I put it down, she pitched a fit and started pulling my hair. True story.

It's your 1st birthday, not your 21st, kiddo!
What do you think you're doing, young lady? It's your 1st birthday, not your 21st! :)

I'm just so glad we could have so many of the people that matter most to Lorelai there for her party. Like I said, she's a very loved little girl!

Grandpa, Lorelai and Grandma
Grandpa Houston and Grandma Cheryl

Grandma Ellie and Lorelai
Grandma Ellie

Aunt Anna and Aunt Jillian with Lorelai
Aunt Anna and Aunt Jillian

Grandma Blair
Grandma Blair

Happy 1st birthday, sweet girl! Can't wait till next year!

Mommy, Daddy and Lorelai

PS: Two weeks later, and all of the decorations are still up and surprisingly, the spider mums and carnations are still looking pretty good (and the daisies lasted until the other day)! After all that effort, maybe I'll just leave them all up until next year :)

PPS: (what, am I in middle school again with all these post scripts?!) I hit post too soon and forgot to add a couple of photos including the invite that would never have seen the light of day if not for this blog.

PPPS: haha, nope, that's it for real this time!