Posts filed under ‘Life in general’

So long, farewell, auf wienerschnitzel, goodbye…

I have had a hard time writing this post.

It’s been in my head for a year.  I have put it off, and put it off, and put it off.  But the time has come to take action.

I’m shutting down Blankies & Booboos.  It’s been a labor of love for me for five happy years now.  And I hate to see it go away.

But.

I have been thinking a lot lately about my kids and their privacy.  Alissa was a baby when I first started blogging here.  Now she is in grade school and Ashley is in preschool.  I love sharing their stories, but as they get older I hesitate to put too much about them out there.  I never, ever want them to be embarrassed or feel I have exposed too much of their privacy by sharing things about them with people they don’t know.

We are still very much in the era of blankies and booboos around here.  Both my girls love their blankies and Ashley is always covered in band-aids for her booboos, both real and imaginary.  Yet I see us slowly moving into the next stage of our lives.  While this blog hasn’t yet outlived its purpose, it may soon.

Don’t despair (or rejoice!) about my absence just yet.  I have a new blog project in the works that will debut soon.  Over the past year I have blogged frequently about my struggles with weight and my challenges with getting healthy.  My new blog will include stories from my personal journey, as well as posts about fitness, food, health news, and anything else that might sound interesting.  I hope you’ll follow me on the new blog once I get up and running.

I have appreciated all your comments, support, and participation in my giveaways.  There were days when my girls were tiny that blogging here kept me from losing my mind.  It has been comforting to know that many of you have struggled with the same parenting & life conundrums that I have struggled with over the past few years.

Thanks for everything over the past five years.  It’s meant the world to me.

~Amy

April 14, 2013 at 9:24 am 1 comment

What is going ON here?

Baby Blues Lack of sleep

Something unusual has happened at my house this week.

Something much-needed.

Something very welcome.

For the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long, I have slept seven consecutive hours.  And not just one, but TWO nights IN A ROW.

Somebody please – break out the band.  And the parade.  For this is a ticker-tape sort of moment.

I’ve written about it here before.  In fact, the last time I wrote about my battle with Mr. Insomnia was in 2011.  Hadn’t improved since then.  In fact, if anything it was worse.

And I was miserable.  Tired all day.  Frustrated at night, watching the hours roll by on the clock.  2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m. – I despise those a.m.’s.

There’s a reason why they use sleep deprivation as a method of torture.

I would blame it on the kids, and it WAS their fault for quite some time.  Ashley still gets up in the middle of the night from time, coming in to find me for some midnight comfort.  But for the most part, the lack of sleep is all me.  I have to pee.  My brain is racing.  My legs are restless.  I am hot.

If this is an indication of what menopause is going to be like someday – well, then, forget that noise.  I’ll just stay fertile until I’m 80, thank you.

A few more nights like this, and maybe I’ll conquer the world.

March 16, 2013 at 6:12 am Leave a comment

Hey, look! Blankies & Booboos isn’t dead!!

So, um.  Hi.

Did you think I’d forgotten about the blog?  It HAS been a while.  Apologies to my faithful readers, all 5 of you.

Things got a little crazy around mid-December.  Alissa’s last day of school was December 14th, and she had 2.5 weeks off.  I took a few days off from work as well, visions of leisurely mornings and lazy days swimming in my head.

Not exactly how it went down.  Instead, we spent most of those days running around crazy-like.  By the time school started back up again on January 2nd, I was glad for the regular routine to resume just so things could slow down.

What’s going on around here?  Let’s do a little run-down:

We bought a new car.  Well, not a NEW car, but a new-to-us car.  Wasn’t really expecting THAT little Christmas gift, but my 2003 Ford Escape was needing lots of TLC.  After conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis (sorta) we decided that it was more effective to get a vehicle now instead of waiting a year or two like we had planned.  We ended up with a 2007 Ford Edge, fully loaded.  It’s a zippy car.  I like most everything about it, except for the zippy payment it came with.  I have to admit, not having a car payment for a while has been nice.

And since we have a new car payment to make, I’ve added more hours at work.  Okay, so the car payment wasn’t the real reason that I did this, but it was nice timing.  My work load and responsibilities have increased, and adding more hours was just a necessary thing for the growth of the business at this point.  I’m still only working part-time; my current set-up is a nice balance of work hours and home hours.

In comedy news, I’ve decided to run a half-marathon in 2013.  (I’ll wait for the laughing to die down.  Done?  Okay.  Let’s continue.)  I set that for my big goal of the year.  Brad’s question for me was “WHY?  Why do you feel like you need to run a half-marathon?”  And my answer for him was this: Just to see if I CAN.  I have watched and been inspired by so many other women – women who are my age-bracket, with jobs and kids and life responsibilities.  They are women who have pounds to lose, women who aren’t going to win any of the races but find victory merely in finishing.  I want to see if I can join that group.

There’s a half-marathon here on May 5th and I plan to enter.  I have already started training for it, because I am going to need allllll the time I can take to prepare.  I may come in dead last, and I may have to walk across the finish line, but I will finish.  And since the race is on Cinco de Mayo, I plan to follow up my race that day with all-you-can-handle margaritas to dull the pain that comes from running 13.1 miles.

As a preview, I plan to do a weekly training wrap-up here on the blog, just to a) keep me accountable and b) motivate anyone else who might be thinking about taking a similar journey. Look for those wrap-ups once a week, probably on Mondays.

In related news, the other goal I’ve set for myself is to track everything I eat in 2013.  I’m not saying I’m going to stay on track every single day, but I’m going to log the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I use myfitnesspal.com, if you’re interested in doing something similar for yourself.  It’s a handy web-based tool that also has handy apps for convenience.  So far, we’re two weeks into the new year and I’ve logged everything.

Other than that, things are pretty dull around the Blankies & Booboos household.  We have lived in this house for six months now, and we’re still working on making it our own.  There are so many projects to finish, projects that seem little on the surface but always open up a pandora’s box of five other things that need to be accomplished.  Both the girls are thriving in school, and Alissa is starting to get involved in activities like Daisies.  Soccer will resume in the spring; right now, though, we are enjoying a nice lull in the activities.  I suspect that this is our last year before we really get sucked into the whirlwind of kids’ activities and sports.  I plan to fully enjoy the fact that we are still in command of the majority of our time, because I know that it won’t be long before our time is dictated by outside forces.

I hope to be more diligent about updating the blog this year.  I know you are all waiting breathlessly for each new post.  🙂

January 14, 2013 at 5:04 pm Leave a comment

It’s day 30 of 30. So what now?

Today is Day 30 of my Whole30.

I never imagined I would make it past day 1.  Instead, I went three whole weeks without a cheat.  Day 22 was a disaster, but I managed to pick myself up, dust myself off, and move forward.

I’m not done.  Day 22 proved to me that I still have a lot of work to do.  I’m going to treat tomorrow as a new Day 1, and I’m DETERMINED to do this without a cheat through Thanksgiving Day. I had originally decided I was going to go until my birthday on November 20th, but since it’s only 2 days before Thanksgiving this year, I’ll just wait until that day.

Only 27 days until Thanksgiving.  Easy, right?

Here’s what I’ve learned over the past 30 days:

  • I can survive without sugar and Diet Coke, the two things I previously wanted to be stranded on a desert island with.
  • Eating lots of protein keeps you full and keeps the snackies at bay.  Not exactly breakthrough research, but I can testify to the staying power of protein.
  • I actually like sweet potatoes.  Who knew?
  • It is very, very difficult to eat out and stay on plan.  And we do a lot of eating out as a society.  It’s no wonder we’re fat as a society, too.
  • Eating this way takes work.  My family eats processed foods because a) they are easy; b) I am lazy; and c) I am not a good cook.  Which leads me to…
  • Planning ahead is the key for success.  The days I struggled were the days without a strategy.  The first three weeks, I spent Sunday afternoons prepping breakfasts and lunches, and putting together my eating plan for the week.  Those were the easiest weeks for me.
  • I am surrounded by the greatest group of cheerleaders a girl could have.  Friends and family have supported me, motivated me, yelled at me (via the computer – Jacque!), and picked me up when I fell down.  I hope I can repay the favor to all of you.

As for the physical results, they are mixed.  Certainly, I have reduced my cravings for junk.  My pants are fitting better.  The first two weeks, I slept GREAT, better than I have in years.

On the flip side, my sleeping has been fitful at best these past two weeks.  I wonder if my hormones are still struggling to even themselves out, especially after I disrupted the progress with my dive into forbidden territory on Day 22.

I’ve lost 4 pounds.  Which is great, right?  I keep trying to see it as FOUR POUNDS!!  Instead, I see it as only 4.  Harumph.  I know there are other factors at work here; my broken sleep, especially, is probably hindering me in this regard.

I’m going to make some tweaks over the next 27 days.  I am going to start tracking on MyFitnessPal again.  The point of the Whole30 is to focus on quality; now I’m going to focus on quality and quantity.

Fruit and almond butter are both crutches for me.  Bananas, especially, got me through many sugar cravings.  I’m going to cut back on both of those items, limiting myself to two servings of fruit every day and almond butter just three times a week.  The bananas are going to be eliminated entirely.

I would highly recommend this way of eating to anyone who is looking  to get rid of the sugar / carb / junk food cravings and start eating in a more holistic way.  If you’re interested in learning more about it, the book It Starts With Food is a great place to start.  Or visit the Whole30 website to get more information about the eating plan.

October 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

Book recommendation: 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

ImageI follow a blog called Money Saving Mom.  Blogger Crystal Paine is local to me and she writes about all sorts of things: home management.  Deals & coupons.  Recipe ideas.  Her blog posts are always relevant and match up with what’s going on in my life.

Crystal recently did a series of posts about self-discipline.  She has released the series in a new e-book for Kindle.  The book is called 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life and is currently available for $0.99 (through October 26th).

As a blogger, I received a preview copy of the book.  She grabbed me in the first two pages, describing herself as someone who would attempt to overhaul EVERYTHING in her life, only to crash and burn within two days. The changes she made were never permanent.  That is SOOO me.  

Crystal also writes about feeling overwhelmed by life, simply because her lack of discipline created chaos and disorder.  I can completely relate.  I have a tendency to procrastinate and then run around crazy-like at the last minute, stressing about everything I have to do.  Housework gets put off until the mountain of laundry threatens to overtake my children. I don’t have a daily routine, and I constantly feel like I’m behind the 8-ball of my to-do list.

If you are someone who struggles with self-discipline, I highly recommend the book!

Click here to download 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life.

October 23, 2012 at 7:59 am Leave a comment

The times, they are a-changin’.

It’s been a summer of upheaval in our house.  The past three months have been a blur of new opportunities, big decisions, and new routines.  My head is still swimming from it all.  Let’s recap, shall we?

We moved.
On May 18, we listed our house for sale.  On May 27, we accepted a contract.  The good news was that the contract came with a 60-day closing, because the bad news was we had no idea where we were going to live.  So we looked – high, low, and in between.  We made an offer on a foreclosure.  No dice.  Then we found this great home in west Wichita, a property that had been on the listings for nearly two months and had recently been reduced in price.

Neither Brad nor I had done the sell-and-buy thing at the same time, and the hoops we had to jump through to get the deals done seemed insurmountable.  Sign here!  Agree to this!  Don’t agree to that!  We worked through the obstacles one by one, however, and in late July we moved in here:

our new house

Yes, it be green.  Bright, blazing hunter green with red brick.  It’s the Christmas house.  However, it had “good bones” so we were willing to overlook the green, which can be changed after a while.  It sits at the end of a cul-de-sac, tucked into a neighborhood with three parks and several little lakes and close to shopping.  It’s bigger than where we were, with a better flow and a nice open floor plan.  We are slowly getting settled; there are still things to hang on the walls, and rooms in the basement that haven’t been touched yet.  We’ll get to it.  Eventually.

As a result of our move, we spend a lot more time in the car.  Brad’s commute to work used to be 7 minutes; mine was 2.  Now it’s 20 for both of us, especially with road construction on the highway.  Church is also 20 minutes away now.  It’s an easy drive, though, and I enjoy the drive to work with the radio blaring and me singing at the top of my lungs.

Alissa started kindergarten.
One of the reasons behind our move was school district.  We had Alissa enrolled in a great elementary school, in the district I attended as a kid.  However, we really didn’t want to start Alissa in one school, only to move her to a new one in a year or two.  The timing worked out perfectly; we were in our new house on July 27th, and at enrollment for the new district on July 31st.

Alissa is in all-day kindergarten.  It’s the first year this school district has offered it, and parents can still choose half day if they prefer.  We debated about full-day vs. half-day for Alissa, but in the end we decided full-day works best for us.  She rides the bus to and from, and is quickly adjusting to her new schedule.  It hasn’t been an easy adjustment, however.  Alissa was used to a pretty loosey-goosey schedule, leisurely getting around in the mornings after a full slate of cartoons and picking at breakfast.  Now we have to get up! get dressed! eat breakfast! get your backpack! get out the door!  She’s adapted fairly well, considering she is not my morning child.

Ashley started preschool.
My baby is in preschool!  Ashley is going to half-day preschool three days a week.  She started last week, and she likes it a lot, although she gets in the car and immediately announces that she “misses Alissa.”  Not mommy, not daddy, Alissa.  While she’s at school, I go to work; the days she’s not in school, we hit the Y, or run errands, or hang out at the house.  If someone had told me how easy it would be to hang out with one three-year-old all day, I would have sent Alissa to kindergarten a long time ago.

I added one more morning at work.
Okay, so I still only work twelve hours a week.  Big eyeroll from you full-time moms, right?  But even that additional four hours a week has caused changes in our routine.  It’s one more morning I’m not home to do housework or write or get other things done around the house.  I love where I work, though, and right now part-part-time is the perfect fit for me.

We are starting to settle into our new routines and schedules, although I will admit that stress has almost done me in more than once over the past month or so.  I know some of you have been praying for us, praying that we would have strength and wisdom and energy.  Thank you for that.  We’ll see what fall brings with it for us – although I don’t think it can ever beat this summer!

August 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm 2 comments

The pursuit of life, liberty, and a dry place to sit.

The 4th of July always conjures up very specific childhood memories for me.  Dancing in the front yard of our tiny green house at dusk, sparklers and fireflies dancing through the air.  My North Carolina cousins – here for their biannual visit – gleefully and somewhat criminally blowing stuff up in the culvert outside our grandparents’ house.  Family picnics, tables loaded down with hamburgers and hot dogs and Mom’s potato salad made of mustardy goodness.

But when my family reminisces about 4th of July, one story must be repeated every year.  When I was a tween / teen, we were regular attendees at the annual Wichita bash, held at the WSU football stadium.  The evening promised concerts, topped off by a breathtaking fireworks show coordinated with swelling, patriotic music.

It was always a highlight of my year.

We chose different places to sit every year.  One year, we sat in the bleachers.  Another year, we sat in the grassy knoll, dragging our lawn chairs and coolers and blankets with us.  I preferred the grassy area, where I could watch the fireworks from a prone position, chin propped in hand.  

You always had to get there early, in order to ensure a good spot.  The year I was 12 – or maybe 13 or 14, I’m not sure – we chose to sit in the grass.  We staked our claim early in the evening, the sun still blazing overhead.  Music was starting, and fireworks were still several hours away.  

We sat.  We waited.  We people watched.  And as we sat, an unclaimed area of grass next to us slowly began to rise.  And rise.  And rise.  

It was as if aliens were surfacing from under the ground.  The grass rose higher and higher; a bubble of dirt formed.  

And then, the bubble burst forth with water.  Not a trickle, but a rush of water that worked its way into a fast-flowing current, down the slope into the crowd of lawn chairs and coolers and blankets.

It seemed that a water line had burst, stressed beyond capacity by the demand of all those toilets flushing.  Before it burst, the pressure in the line made the ground rise.  It created the illusion that we were being invaded from below, like something from a sci-fi movie.

And now, every time my family talks about the 4th of July, we have to tell the story.  I don’t remember any other specific details from those events; most of my memories have been downgraded to a general feeling.  

Yet I still remember the year the ground rose.

July 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

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