Monthly Archives: March 2013

Snow Day

March 25, 2013, the first snow day for our little family.  It was great!  We ended up with somewhere around a foot of snow from about 2pm Sunday afternoon until sometime this morning.  That’s a lot of snow for the end of March!  It’s melting off pretty quickly though.  Our street and driveway were completely clear by late morning on the 25th, and by Tuesday afternoon there was only about 2″ left on the areas where there wasn’t much drifting (There was a lot of drifting though.  I think there was one at least 2 ft tall in our backyard!) .

Image

The top 2 images are some of the snow. I really liked how the snow had a wavy pattern on the pergola. The bottom 2 are two snowmen that were across the street from each other in one part of the neighborhood. I especially like the flamingo in the bottom right!

We didn’t actually know until 6am or so that we’d be taking the full day off.  Eric and I both had planned to go in late because we knew the driveway would need to be shoveled and snowblown (is that the proper word for that?).  When we got up though, we found out that while neither of our jobs gave us the day off, Tyler’s daycare was closed.  Since neither of us really wanted to go in and miss the day while the other had fun with Tyler, we both decided stay home!  It was going to be a family fun day!  It actually did turn out to be quite a bit of fun.  Eric had to do some work this morning.  Evidently, crises happen when he’s not at work, but luckily he didn’t have to go in even though it seemed like he would for awhile.  I did some work this afternoon to get ready for a presentation for Wednesday, but we found plenty of time to enjoy the day.

Just a few of our activities from our snow day!

Just a few of our activities from our snow day! Tyler had some majorly staticy hair.  Guster and I went on a walk around the neighborhood.  Eric baked some cookies, and Tyler and I colored

I finished my chair cushions.  You’ll be seeing those next week!  I played with Guster.  Eric and I both played with Tyler.  Eric even baked some chocolate chip.  They were delicious!  I think he may be the new cookie maker at our house.  It was the Nestle Tollhouse recipe (which forever reminds me of the Friends episode where Monica tries to remake Phoebe’s grandma’s recipe.) Even though we didn’t go out and play in the snow (Tyler doesn’t have any boots or snow pants since for most of the winter he couldn’t even walk.), we had a fun day together.  It was a rare day to just enjoy the day without anything pressing to do or somewhere we had to be.

So Grownup

Another busy weekend is in the books.  I took Friday off to get things done around the house since we’d be gone a lot of the weekend.  Plus I needed to run some errands that are hard to get done after work (I have much shorter hair now!  Yay!).  Saturday morning we headed to Springfield/Litchfield/St. Louis for a whole bunch of activities.  We had lunch with Eric’s dad, step-mom and sisters in Springfield on the way down, and then dropped Tyler off for a fun night with Grandma and playing with his cousins while we headed to St. Louis for a friend’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Tik since I know you read this!).  Eric and I took some time to see some sights in St. Louis beforehand and went to BaconFest (why don’t I take pictures of these things!), went to the Western Expansion Museum in the Arch (we’ve both been there many times before but it was a good place to warm up a bit), and then we walked through the entrance to Comic Con (again why don’t I take pictures of these things) to see the costumes.  At BaconFest, we had a Toffee Oatmeal Bacon cookie and a Bacon candy bar.  Both were ok.  We also saw the “famous” 500 lb bacon log.  “That’s a lot of bacon!”.  Then we had a wonderful dinner with our friends, and spent the whole night worried about snow.  We were supposed to have lunch with Eric’s family to celebrate his birthday which is Tuesday!  We decided it was better to get ourselves home before the snow started, which we did.  It was a great weekend.  We just wish we hadn’t had to worry about the latest winter storm the entire time.  (Quick winter storm stats for Urbana/Champaign: the latest in the season 7in or greater daily snowfall total occurred on March 20.  It happened in 1906 with 14in and 1983 with 7.6in! So we have a new latest snowfall record for 7″ or greater storms!)

So now for the grown up part, because honestly yesterday we were pretty carefree with Tyler being with Eric’s mom most of the day and night.  We finally have “finished” our bedroom.  We got some new bedding which makes us feel like we have a very adult bedroom.  We got our new bedding from Linens N Things.  They’re an online store now.

Our new bedding with lots of pillows

Our new bedding with lots of pillows

What makes us feel grown up with this?  All the pillows.  We both have two kinds of shams and two throw pillows plus our regular sleeping pillows.  Other than needing some decor on our dressers yet and a few more pictures on the wall, I think we’ve finally finished with this room.  There is a small chance I may change up the curtains though to make them a little less matchy-matchy with the bed.  Once I actually clean the room a little better (i.e. get Eric’s clothes and the sheets that go with the bed off the floor), I’ll hopefully get some pictures of the rest of the room.  For now, we’re feeling pretty good that we have another room finished now!  Just 4 more to go!

Clutter Be Gone!

I have lots of projects that are way more interesting than these little projects to declutter my house.  Unfortunately they’re all half done, and are not in a good place for a show and tell right now.  So here’s how I cleaned up my house a little bit by taming my coupon piles and my torn out magazine pages.

This was something big for me .  I love to throw things away because I hate clutter.  A LOT.  The problem is I then go looking for something I threw away, and I’m disappointed that I no longer have it.  This is especially true of magazine articles.  I’ll remember that I tore out some gardening idea or a recipe or a paint color I loved, but I won’t remember the details of it any more of that.  I’ll know I tore that page out of the magazine months ago, but because I didn’t have anywhere to store it, I will have gotten tired of looking at it lying around and have tossed it a month ago.  So I was getting quite a stack of pages again and decided it was time to not just toss them but find a good way to store them.  Of course my first course of action was to look on Pinterest.  I found this and surprisingly that was the only idea I found there.  Luckily, I thought it was a good idea though.  I decided to do a little twist on it since I didn’t think I’d have that many articles (I only read one magazine, Better Homes and Gardens), and I went with an expandable file folder.  I found a cute one at Target.

My file folder for magazine articles

My file folder for magazine articles

It only has 5 pockets, but I really liked it. Plus I don’t think I tear out that many articles of different types.  My categories are “Desserts”, “Meals”, “Gardening”, “Home” and “Me Time”.  I think I could have used a “Kids”, but I hadn’t torn out any of those articles yet, so it got pushed back for “Me Time”.  Plus if I find I’m tearing out a lot in a category I don’t have I can always switch them. So far I only have a few articles in each category, but I have only been doing this for a couple months.  It gets the torn pages off my kitchen table or end table or wherever else they end up.  Plus I like that the file folder is easy to store anywhere around the house and portable to wherever I’m reading my magazine.

The other clutter that drives me absolutely bonkers is my coupons.  Before I decided I needed some organization, I was cutting them out and having great plans to use them.  Unfortunately, I’d forget and then not save the money (even if it was only $0.25), and beyond that was wasting my time cutting them out.  My old storage plan was just having a big stack of all my coupons in no particular order whatsoever, just how they ended up.  Now I know there are the extreme couponers who have binders that are seriously organized, and they take those to the store, and they save a ton of money.  That’s not me.  I don’t buy multiple Sunday newspapers.  I just cut out the coupons of products we use or might possibly use to save myself maybe $3 a grocery trip.  It doesn’t really add up too much, but at least I feel like I’m doing something. I didn’t need some big really well organized system that would take me hours on end because honestly I wouldn’t keep it up.

My small purse size coupon organizer

My small purse size coupon organizer

I just got this very small, very portable coupon organizer at Wal-Mart.  I don’t have a great system, and they aren’t labelled currently.  I just put things that expire within the same week in the same division and then I go through my coupons each week.  I wasn’t even doing this going through my coupons regularly before, so I’d have coupons that were over a month old.  This is much easier because I just have to throw out one group of coupons (no sorting) a week.  It’s must easier to sort them when I’m only putting the ones away that I’ve cut out each week!  I think I have been using my coupons more regularly since I started this.  I really like that I don’t have coupons blowing off my book shelf every time I walk by too.

While these aren’t big changes, they certainly help me feel like my life is a little more manageable, and that my house is a little bit cleaner.  I think it also saves me time in the long run even if I’m devoting a little bit more time to it once a week or once a month.  Plus I know that Tyler won’t easily be able to get his hands on these pieces of paper and destroy them.  Next up in my goal for a decluttered house is organizing the toys in the play room, and making our feet a little safer from toys!

Birthday Fun!

Time for the birthday post!  It was a good party.  After all the cleaning and cooking, it was all worth it even when it did result in a few arguments the night before!  We gave Tyler his presents from us before the party started to help keep him awake so that he’d take a nap right before the noon party.  We got him some Mega Blocks, big Crayons (to work on those drawing skills!), and a Radio Flyer wagon with seat backs and cup holders (which if it ever warms up we might get to use)!

Tyler opening presents

Tyler playing with his new crayons

Tyler playing with his new birthday presents

Tyler ready to go for a ride in the wagon

He was in his brand new 1 shirt for the morning “partying”, but during his 2 hour nap before the real party, he got it a little damp, so we had to change him.  This had to be my most disappointing part of the whole thing because I LOVED this shirt.  I got it on Etsy from the PatchesandPuppies store.

Once the party got started, it was a lot of fun.  We started with lunch, which I forgot to have Eric get a picture of, but I went pretty simple with just sandwiches, chips, veggie pizza, fruit and a salad that my mom made.  This made it possible for me to focus on making Tyler’s smash cake and putting those decorating skills I learned 4(wow it doesn’t seem that long!) years ago to good use.  I made funfetti cupcakes for everyone else and a 6″ funfetti smash cake for Tyler with a puppy on top and his name on the side.  I think it turned out pretty well.  Definitely not professional looking but good enough for our little party.  I got cute puppy cupcake toppers on Etsy as well from the iheartcupcakestoo store.  Honestly, while I try to be crafty myself, I love Etsy and what I can find there.

The cupcakes for all the big kids at the party

The cupcakes for all the big kids at the party

What the cake looked like before Tyler got to it.

What the cake looked like before Tyler got to it.

I was really hoping for a good old cake smashing with icing everywhere from Tyler.  Evidently he doesn’t like to get messy though.  He touched a little and then started crying and wanted out of his high chair.  Eric held him and gave him some cake though and for some reason that was ok!  Hopefully he doesn’t become addicted to sugar like his momma!

Tyler barely touched the cake, but at least got a little bit of icing on himself.

Tyler barely touched the cake, but at least got a little bit of icing on himself.

Eric giving Tyler his first real taste of cake

Eric giving Tyler his first real taste of cake

In the end, Tyler had a great day surrounded by his family.  He got A LOT of presents (so expect a how to organize a lot of toys post at some point!).  Eric and I couldn’t be happier how his big day turned out, and it will stay with us for a long time.  Now on to Tyler and Eric’s joint party this weekend!

Relaxing and playing with new toys at the end of the day

Relaxing and playing with new toys at the end of the day

Walking around

This weekend was the big birthday bash (1 of 2).  It was also his actual birthday.  I would love to post about that, but alas I took no pictures.  Sooooo I’m waiting until Eric has time to get the pictures off his camera.  It was a very nice party though, and Tyler had a good time, as far as I could tell, surrounded by a lot of family.  He was certainly very tired after it was all over.

Beyond the actual milestone of turning 1, he’s been showing us all kinds of new skills.  In the last 2 weeks, Tyler has really started walking a lot.  Even his teachers at school couldn’t believe how much he’s started doing in a very short amount of time.  I got a video of it on Friday the 1st.  He’s doing way better at this point though (although I think the video is adorable!), and walking has become his primary mode of transportation.

He’s also starting to make a little more sense when he talks to us now too.  He definitely can say ball (ba), mama, and dada.  He’s finally started waving too.  I was sitting across the room from him today, and he was looking at me.  I said “Hi, Tyler” and waved at him, and he waved right back.  Now if we could just figure out bye bye the same way!

Just today he’s started doing 2 new skills.  He started standing up in the middle of the floor without having to pull himself up.  I think this is what made him really start walking everywhere today.  The other is he’ll actually leave a room on his own.  I’m not sure this one is a great skill, but Tyler is certainly starting to show some independence.  I’m hoping this means he will not cling to me as much when I drop him off at daycare each morning.  It just breaks my heart when he cries when I leave.  Not that it lasts more than 30 seconds, but it’s still sad.

So now we’re quickly leaving babyhood behind and entering toddler-dom.  I can’t wait to see what it brings.  We got a taste of a tantrum today, so maybe I shouldn’t be looking forward to it!  It still means that my little guy is growing up way too quickly!

Does shoveling snow count as exercise?

I thought I’d give an update on my New Year’s resolutions as we’ve made it 1/6 of the way through 2013 now!

1. Blogging.  Well I think it’s fairly obvious that I’ve been doing ok with this.  I don’t always get my 2 posts in a week, but it’s close enough.  Honestly, my life isn’t exciting enough for 2 posts most weeks anyway!  So I’m going to call this one a success!

2. A New Hobby.  I’ve definitely taken up sewing.  Honestly if I had more time, I’d probably be doing it pretty constantly at this point.  I’ve created Tyler’s pennant, which I can’t wait to see hanging over his crib after this weekend.  Also, I made a chair cushion (only 1 I still need 2 before I’m willing to share it here.)  Sewing is hard, but I’m getting better.  It’s definitely been helping my math skills as well.  Beyond the crafty side, I’ve also been learning more Javascript at work which I think will make me more marketable at some point and time.

And now we get to the things I’m less successful at…

3.  Eating Better.  I’ve realized the past few days just how badly I’ve been doing at this.  Even though I continue to track during the day I have a hard time doing this at night.  I’ve definitely been incorporating more fruits and veggies in my diet, but I certainly haven’t cut down on the sweets.  I think I might have an addiction to sugar.  I get cravings throughout the day!  I also realized that Eric isn’t the best influence in my eating habits (i.e. wanting to eat out a lot more than we really need to be).  So I need to get back in the mind set of eating better.  Letting myself eat whatever for the last well year and 3 months really is a hard thing to overcome, but I need to be successful if I want Tyler to eat well too now that he’s on more table foods.

4. Exercising.  Besides the weekends, it’s really a crap shoot whether I get any exercise in during the week.  For the last 3 weeks or so I’ve really tried to get more exercise in by doing a 15 min “routine” I found on Pinterest.  To be honest the first day I tried it, I was sore for the next 3 days.  That means it’s a good workout!  I’ve only tried it 2 times though.  I need to make it at least a twice a week thing.  I also have been meaning to get up at 5am to run for half an hour before it’s time for work.  It’s become really hard to force myself out of bed that early though, especially when Tyler has rough nights (teething and colds have really hit us hard lately).  My current goal is trying to get some kind of exercise twice a week outside of the weekends.  Tonight I shoveled my half of the driveway, and I’m totally counting that!

I think for these last two I just need to become more accountable in someway, to myself and probably to someone else.  Seeing my weight during our “physicals” for life insurance this week really drove that point home.

So as for my resolutions, I’m kicking butt on two of them and not so much on the other two.  Luckily I’ve still got 10 months to figure it all out and be successful on all 4 fronts.  Wish me luck!