Sunday, January 27, 2013

Monkeying Around

I've got a car seat safety post I've been working on for a while and in it, I go into detail about not using heavy coats in the car seat. It's not safe but my post is still in draft mode, so I'm just going to provide a link to reasons why for now. That's not the point of this post. {Go here to read a post someone else completed while I pretend I've already published that post and move to this next post about solutions.}

For now, we get into the car, remove coats, buckle up and go. We get to our destination, unbuckle, put coats back on, and off we go. A lot of sites recommend car seat ponchos, a thick, fleece 'blanket' of sorts that can be lifted up behind the kiddo to be buckled into the car seat. No need to remove any coat for quick hauls in and out of the car.

Well, last week, I finally decided to give it a shot, after seeing it done on one of my many favorite blogs. {Seriously, the woman writing that blog is amazing. Read her stuff!} I took the kids to Jo-Ann Fabrics and let them each pick out a patterned fleece and a corresponding solid one. Two layers of fleece, plus a sweater that can be used in a car seat. We'll use hats and gloves as well. They should be fine. I hope.

Today I made Bella's poncho. It's adorable. I haven't used a sewing machine since high school so I could have done better but for the first time back in the saddle in about ten or more years, I'm pretty happy with how it came out! There was no specific pattern, I bought a yard of each fabric, took measurements and snipped and sewed away! The measurements I used were finger tip to finger tip with arms spread out, and back of neck to under tushies. For the hoods I pulled out current hoodies they are wearing. It's described much better in the blog I linked to above, where I got my motivation from to begin with!

She clearly was not excited at the prospect of putting down her toys to try it on.

And off she ran.

I did make a mistake when cutting the hood. But I'm pretending this was intentional. And I love how the ears came out.

She was so excited about it. Running around yelling, "Oooh ooh ahh ahhhh!" (monkey sound for anyone that doesn't speak toddler.)

This definitely gives me points towards #6 on my birthday list!!! Not cross-off worthy, but points towards it.

And in other news, we are in the beginning stages of potty training with Bella. With the luck we had with Benny, I feel like I shouldn't talk about it but I will. Take that, luck! For now, she is wearing underwear over her diaper and I take her to the toilet as often as I can, pulling both down at once to make it seem more like just underwear. She is loving it and doing great. I'm going to stay as close to home as possible this week, see where it goes! I bought her some Minnie Mouse (a HUGE current obsession) and Disney Princess underwear and her smile COULD NOT BE BIGGER when she got to choose a pair, Minnie Mouse of course, to put on! 

Fingers crossed. And anything else you can do for good luck. It's gonna be a fun one!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


When I first heard about the job opening, I was excited.
Eager to leave home.
Happy for a reason to look so put together every day.
I thought I might need a little more purpose.

Don't take that the wrong way. I wasn't some lost soul. I know I have purpose. I have an amazing husband, two beautiful children, an ENORMOUS family (from all sides). There was no question of my purpose.

Sometimes things can just get monotonous. Same thing, different day. Making the smallest effort in my appearance came as a pleasant surprise. I like to call it 'Blah'. I felt 'Blah'.

As the job's first day crept closer, I wondered if I had made a mistake taking the position.

As the first few weeks sped past, my laundry piles grew. Most of the piles were clean, just unfolded. The apartment was in a state of perpetual mess. Not dirty, just messy. That's what I kept saying, anyway. And dinners were definitely not as good as they used to be! I won't even talk about the menus. Those definitely did not exist since November.

I definitely enjoyed working. The job itself, not so much. The getting out and doing something, even for so few hours a day, that was great.

Last Friday was officially my last day in the office. I went in on Sunday for a few hours to close up things I was working on and went in again on Monday to hand the reigns back over.

On Tuesday, I did laundry. About eight loads. Add that to the six or seven loads lining up in the hallway, waiting to be folded. I believe I spent three hours straight folding laundry last night. And miraculously, I put EVERYTHING away last night as well. I should be calling Guinness World Records in truth! Physically doing the laundry, folding, AND putting it away. All on the same day. Unheard of!

Today, I lovingly cleaned. The kitchen, the living room, the play room, the laundry room, the bedrooms. All of it.

I love how sparkly and nice my apartment looks right now.

Tonight, Shuky and I went out to see a movie. And it was so nice coming back and seeing the floor free of toys strewn around, seeing the couch cushions in place, seeing the dinner dishes already in the dishwasher and the table already wiped down.

I will probably need to remind myself that I've said this but I love being a stay at home mom. At this moment.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ramblings and Musings on a Sunday Morning

Last night, Shuky and I cracked open a rare (for our apartment anyway) bottle of wine and caught up on some of our shows. It was great! We drank our wine out of plastic cups, which I found quite humorous, to put it mildly.

Before we moved to Ames, we put all of our finer things in storage (read: my father's garage/basement). We figured there would be very little opportunity for fancy entertaining, or even casual entertaining for that matter. We also were quite unsure how much storage space we would have in our apartment. Needless to say, I wayyyy overpacked and had piles of boxes sitting in my living room for the first few months after moving out of Postville. Eventually, we got those boxes back up to my dad's luxurious storage facility (read: expanding throughout his house). Then, we moved to a bigger apartment, but fear not. Over our slightly-over-a-year stay at our first apartment, we managed to add enough to our belongings to fully fill our new apartment and our newly acquired storage locker (read: an actual storage locker in our apartment building!).
I'm getting off topic here. The moral of this paragraph is that we don't have our nice dishes/glasses/serving ware here with us.

We have been able to have people over here and there, be it a dinner 'party', a game night, or even our exciting menorah lighting. We have just proudly used our fine, cheapo, plastic Target specials on the table. Or our even finer, disposable, ugly Sam's Club goods! And I'm totally ok with that!!

I'm not going to lie, it is definitely going to be awesome when we move wherever it is we will be moving from here and have to pack trucks in two cities to move to some far off, exotic location (anything that does not have IA at the end is exotic to me right now) and unpack MILLIONS of boxes and mismatched furniture and amazing goodness. We are going to need a big place.

By the way, if it were up to Benny, we would already have put down a deposit on a place in Kansas City. Personally, I would love to be on the West Coast, *ahem Sherman Oaks ahem*, and, while he may not admit it, Shuky wants to be in Florida. Good thing we are all flexible and easy to please. We could probably live anywhere at this point! Although, I wouldn't say no to vacation apartments on each coast if we do end up somewhere in the middle. Just saying.

There are a few websites I love to browse when I have things to do but would rather ignore them. So, all the time. They are my version of window shopping and drooling and dreaming and planning. I am TOTALLY open to suggestions of more sites like these to waste my time, I mean research  for our future.

Ok, so first of all, there is a blog that used to have the most amazing weekly feature called Home Tour Fridays, among other awesome articles and whatnot. Every Friday, she would post some amazing, glamorous, fantastical home. Every Friday, I would wipe drool off my chin and add things to my 'Future Home Wish List'. For some reason, she stopped for a while but this past Friday, she came back with a BANG!! I mean seriously. This house just makes my heart beat a little faster, especially that  dock. Oh, what I wouldn't do to have that dock to read a book and drink some tea. Maybe spiked tea. Maybe not. But I want that dock. Go check out her whole slew of homes she's shared with everyone. There are even some Des Moines homes I brought to her attention. Find the shout out to me!!

Zillow is more factual and technical. But it does the job. It is a database of houses for rent, for sale, recently sold, being foreclosed on, and those with a 'make me move' option. It's searchable by zip code, by city, by cross streets. It's mapped out, with prices, stats, comps, pictures, descriptions. It's perfect. When we start looking into areas, this is usually one of the first places I go to determine cost of living. I even have the app on my phone. Don't question me.

Trulia is basically another version of Zillow. Same story, different style. I use both to make sure I don't miss anything. I'm doing important research here.

I check Craigslist if I'm more familiar with the area I'm looking into, as that is not portrayed on a map.

Pinterest is where I store ideas about everything. I'm talking everything. Fashion, vacation ideas, housewares, kid stuff, just everything I find online that intrigues me. I have that one on my phone too.

Anyway, those are my thoughts and whatnot on this fine Sunday morning. I'm currently house shopping on the West Coast. I have a mansion on June Street (hello Hancock Park) and a hillside home overlooking Ventura Boulevard (hello valley folks!) open for studying right now. Last week, I learned all about beachfront living in Miami. No idea where my research will take me next week, but I'm excited to find out!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

30 Day Challenge

On my birthday list, number 5 was 'Set up a workout regimen and actually keep to it.'

I can only cross off the first part of that sentence at this point. Today I began my first day of Kosher On A Budget's 30 Day Challenge (follow progress on Twitter with #KOAB30DayShred). We are working with Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD and it is an intense daily workout of 20 minutes, ranging through 3 levels of insanity. 

Let me just tell you, day 1 totally kicked my butt. Literally. There is an exercise where you are kicking your legs back, high enough to kick your own arse.

I'm not quite as brave as most bloggers out there. I'm not about to tell you the nitty gritty details of how much extra weight I need to lose and post a picture of my roundness. Round is, after all, a shape so I'm in shape at least! 

I will just tell you this - I am headed from flab to fab.

No promises on how long. No promises to make regular posts about it. It may happen quick; I may blog about it often. Just being pretty non-committal over here in my comfy chair! 

Trying to feel my legs again.

My cousin's Bar Mitzvah is the first weekend of March in California. I will be there alone for all of ten seconds. Seriously. Ok, maybe not seriously but it will definitely feel like that! I get in Friday, midday, and I leave Monday afternoon. And the Bar Mitzvah is on Shabbos and Sunday. So this trip will be all about family. And I would love to look great in whatever I am wearing.

So there's a soft goal ahead. But again, as long as you are confident, you can look good no matter what. So, yeah. Non-committal. 

And now to finish folding my 8 million loads of laundry waiting in my hallway. Gotta work out my arms too, right!! ;)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Out With the Old!

We'll do the last post from 2012 a day late. Cuz that's just how I roll sometimes. But, we can pretend it's just me being different than all the other blogs that posted yesterday, wrapping up the year. Yeah, let's go with that!

I've been quiet for a bit because things have been a tad crazy. We got our Chanukah wrap up done in time to run back to Kansas City so Benny could go to the CGI Winter Camp. Which he did. And Bella actually ended up joining as well. But Bella also came down with some gastro-intestinal virus of some sort. We were really hoping it was the 24 hours bug going around but seven days later, we are giving up on that dream. She went to the doctor, it's one of those 'ride it out' type of viruses. As of yesterday, our pediatrician said maybe five to seven more days. Hopefully it stops before then. Not sure how many more nights we can spend up with her, or how much more extra laundry I can handle!!

The kids both really had a great time at the camp. I came back to Ames for a few days to get some work done (and what a few days those were but this is neither the time or place to vent about that) and went back out for the weekend. We came back all together on Sunday and have been keeping it kind of low-key since then. All two days since then. And by low-key I mean not getting out of pjs unless absolutely necessary. Like, to go to work. And that's it. Although, to be honest, I did venture out yesterday to do some grocery shopping.

Anyway, I've decided to skip the 'what I've achieved thus far and what I'd like to strive for in the upcoming year' bit.

Truth be told, it all boils down to one simple thing right now. Stay. Sane.

And I feel like that works for anyone out there, no matter what your situation may be. If you are staying sane, you are doing something right. Weight, money, hobbies, home organization - those can be dealt with no matter what year it is!

And now to close up my year in terms of pictures.

I took the kids for pictures this month, got a free photo shoot coupon with free prints so I decided to have some fun. We did regular cute pictures and then we went with a theme of 'A Touch of the Old' - a great time was had by all! If you haven't already seen them, enjoy them here!!

Here are some pictures of the blizzard we had right after Chanukah:

This is the same angle on our balcony, over a matter of a few hours, starting from the right in the middle of the night, ending at the left in the morning. The morning shot had to be through the screen, as it was frozen shot, whereas with the first three, I was crouching on the floor in front of an open door!

The next day, Benny had a snow day so we decided to let them play on the balcony in their snow gear. No need to trek all the way downstairs and then back up! They seriously had so much fun!