Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Our Bedtime Routine

A few months ago, I wrote about our morning routine, and I wanted to also talk about our bedtime routine. I love having these posts to go back and remember life at certain phases - not sure if anyone enjoys these posts, but that's why I like to write them. {grin}

We're in an interesting phase with the ages of our kids - like we are with most phases since our kids are so spread apart - but we have 1 kid who is capable of doing everything independently and another who can't do anything!

During the school year, my goal is to have Paige in bed between 7:00 and 7:30, Drew in bed between 7:30 and 8:00, and Trent reading in his room around 8:30. The summer is a lot more relaxed, but I would say on average it's about an hour later in the summer.

After dinner we start our bedtime routine with some assortment of children showering/bathing - they may not all be bathing but usually Paige does because she loves to take bubble baths! We aim for getting clean every other night on average. Trent showers by himself and the girls usually bathe or shower together in our bathroom. This is where I struggle - I want to also do some family clean-up time after dinner but haven't figured out how to fit that in there too...but it sure would help in my constant quest to keep the house picked up.

At this point, we've got everybody clean {or we skipped getting clean}, and Brent and I are dividing and conquering to get the girls in pjs, teeth brushed, etc. while Trent is usually trying to eat his second dinner. I also try to clean up the kitchen somewhere along the way, so I usually ask Brent to do the pjs/teeth while I clean up.

Now if I'm home, Paige loses her mind if I don't put her to bed. If I'm gone, she's happy as a clam to let Brent or anyone else put her to bed. But if I'm home - which I am 97% of the time - this one's on me. So Paige and I read a couple of books, we sing a couple of songs and in bed she goes. We have some quirks here - she sits in the rocking chair while I sit on the foot stool to read, she has to turn on the fan/off the light, we have to get 1 particular blanket to cover up with while we sing. Once she gets in her bed, she has to be covered up with 4 blankets. Yes, 4. Her bed is FULL of babies and toys, I sometimes wonder how she is comfortable!

Sometimes Brent puts Drew to bed, and that consists of some sort of silliness - he flies her around like an airplane doing all sorts of stunts quite often. {one of my personal favorites is when he turns the sink on and puts her feet in the water because it's raining on the plane}. If I put her to bed, we snuggle and read. Right now she's very into the Magic Treehouse books. We take turns reading, and she's doing so good! We snuggle after reading for a minute, and then I leave.

Trent will either read to himself, listen to an audiobook we've downloaded from the library, or he and I will read Harry Potter together. We're currently in book 6! For the kid that used to give us SO much grief at bedtime, we will just say 'Go to bed.' and he goes. It's amazing!

We've worked really hard to have the kids sleeping independently, staying in their beds, and not needing a lot of help falling asleep. It's TOUGH at times, but it's so worth it! I dread transitioning Paige out of her crib, because that's always a tough transition, but I know we'll survive.

And that's our bedtime routine!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Let's Talk About Podcasts

I used to listen to a morning radio show. When I say 'used to' I mean for about 15 years. But for the last 6 months or so I've really been enjoying different podcasts and wanted to share the ones I've been loving and see if any of you listen to any good ones I should be listening to!

There have been 2 'seasons' of Binge Mode - a deep dive through every episode of Game of Thrones and a 63-episode look back at the Harry Potter series. If you know me at all or have read my blog at know these are 2 of my favorite things. The 2 hosts, Mallory and Jason, are huge fantasy nerds [said lovingly], and I loved every stinking minute of this podcast and can't wait to hear what comes next from them!

Dirty John is a true crime podcast about a man named John Meehan who leads a life of deceit and abuse, and it specifically follows his relationship with a woman named Debra Newell. They met on the internet and within months were married. This was such a well-done story about such a difficult topic, and it was fascinating. There's also a Bravo show based on the podcast that I want to watch!

For full disclosure, I've only listened to 1 episode of Broken Brain, but it was so interesting! It covered how we self-consciously think about ourselves, for example 'I'm fat' and what that inner dialogue does to ourselves and how to end that negative self-talk. I really want to listen to more!

Holy cow! I think I said 'This is insane!' while listening to Dr. Death easily 15 times. Dr. Christopher Duntsch was a neurosurgeon in Dallas who physically injured {some paralyzed for ever} or KILLED over 30 patients. It covers many of his surgeries, the difficulty in getting him stopped, and when he was tried for his crimes. MIND-BLOWINGLY GOOD.

Spoiler alert - I read I'll Be Gone in the Dark this month, which is a book about the Golden State Killer. This podcast also covers the same topic. Why do women have a fascination with serial killers and true crime? Don't know, but I SO do. I have been equal parts creeped out {not a good idea to be listening to this one late at night while alone} and enjoying every minute.

Some others I've heard about and want to try: Stuff You Missed in History Class, Root of Evil, Culpable, Murderville, and What Should I Read Next.

What are you listening to that I might like? Share, share share!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Currently: Transitions

Current Book

So July is not going to be my strongest month of books - lots of fluff.
Verity - I read a scathing review of it that actually made me want to read it. 
And Erika and I are going to have an email book club meeting about it.
Of Blood and Bone - you guys know I love Nora haha

Current Song

Woke Up Late by Drax Project - another jazzercise find!

Current TV Show

Continuing my quest to actually LEARN some history - 
instead of just read my historical fiction!

Current Drink

Did you know there is a frozen John Daly?
I need this ASAP.

Current Shame-Inducing Pleasure

I stole the big kids' donut holes when they came home from my in-laws.
They were good.  I don't feel that bad. {grin}

Current Outfit

I'm wearing one of my uniform outfits today - Magnolia tee and jean shorts.
Yes, I'm wearing a hoodie - it's cold in my house!
Also, my hair is clean which hasn't happened a lot lately - 
too much jazzercising!

Current Celebrity Crush

How does Brad Pitt continue to age so well???

Current Mood

DREAD. I'm feeling all sorts of dread.
Paige climbed out of her bed twice in the last week.
I think we're going to transition her out of the crib.
I hate this transition SO MUCH!

Current Anticipation

Bad anticipation - transitioning Paige
Good anticipation - Brent came up with a great plan for my birthday!

Current Wishlist

Now that we are planning to transition Paige [SOB],
it's time to rearrange all the rooms!
Which is exciting but is going to be a lot of work.
We need new furniture and bedding for Trent and Drew.
Poor Paige will get Drew's hand-me-downs for now.
THEN we will have to move everyone's stuff 
{clothes, toys, books...all of it},
possibly paint?, redecorate walls, organize.

So basically I need furniture and a lot of time!
Anyone want to come paint and organize? Ha!

Current Film

Brent is actually intrigued by this one too!
Might be able to get him INTO the theater...

Current Picture

This kid is something EXTRA.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Dangle That Carrot

One thing I've figured out about me is my favorite type of competition is to compete against...myself. 

If I'm playing cards or a board game, sure it's fun to win, but I don't get upset if I lose. If I'm playing sports, I'm so nervous I'm going to mess-up, I usually try to avoid any action and not have anybody notice me. I don't really get this trait of mine because I normally LOVE to be the center of attention, but NOT when it comes to sports. I was great at defense in basketball, but as soon as I got the ball, I was trying to pass it away. In volleyball, I prayed the ball never came near me. Even as an adult, when we play sloshball, I'm so nervous when it's my turn to kick and pray the ball goes everywhere else when I'm in the outfield.

However, when I have a set of goals and the only thing I'm trying to do is prove that I can do something...I'm all in. Prime Examples: completing Whole 30 twice, Drew's unmedicated birth {Do you know how many people told me I wouldn't be able to do it? Oh yeah, watch me!}, using cloth diapers {same story}. Just give me a goal that's all about ME achieving something, and I'm your girl.

Enter...Jazzercise competitions! I've mentioned this before, but I'm participating in a summer challenge with a partner to get 80 classes together between June and July, and you better believe I've been obsessively counting my classes and making sure we'l hit it to win that prize. The prize? A bag. Is it about the bag? Not even 1%. I want to FINISH THE CHALLENGE. {There was one in February that I didn't compete in that I'm still mad about.}

Wouldn't you do jazzercise 6 times/week for this bag? {grin}

There's also a challenge to hit 150 classes in a calendar year. This challenge happens every year. And you can win...a tank top. But what does that tank top represent? That I crushed that goal. I started out the year slow, so I basically need to go 4 times/week the rest of the year to get there. Think I'll make it? You can bet I'm going to do everything I can to make it happen.

Keeping my eye on this prize!

Is anyone else like this? Only competitive with yourself? Or am I just a weirdo? Ha!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Freedom Fun

We had a really fun handful of days off celebrating the 4th of July! My company always gives us a 4-day weekend, and Brent front-loaded his hours, so we both had Thursday and Friday off, and then I took Monday off, so we really lived it up!

First, on Thursday, our neighborhood has a small parade, so we decorated our golf cart and rode in the parade.

I love that Paige's sparkler is covering Drew's face, ha.

We didn't win for best decorations on the cart, but we had fun riding around listening to patriotic music - Party in the USA anyone? I did try to get the Hamilton soundtrack going, but no one else was interested.

There was a pool party at the neighborhood pool, so we went up there after the parade.

Living her best life!

After naptime, we went to our neighbors' house {Karin and Kelby, who weren't there, ha, and where we went last year} with our other neighbors {Susie and Riley - Riley and Kelby are brothers} and had hot dogs and swam. Then we went to our house for sparklers!

I mean...

Friday...we chilled and had some tired kids!

Saturday, this girl and I had a mommy-daughter date!

Mississippi Mud Cake!

Saturday night, we went to a local restaurant with Brent's parents, called Dahlia's, that had outdoor seating, a small playground, and live music. They had a ton of shade, so it wasn't too hot, and we had a great time.

When you take your braid buns out!

Sunday we went up to the clubhouse for dinner and drinks with Riley/Susie and Karin/Kelby. Trent stayed at Brent's parents' house Saturday and Sunday night, so we just had the 2 girls!

When your friend loves your baby! LOVE.

Monday, I took the kids to a small, local water park near my parents' house. We had a great time and stayed about 5 hours. Paige skipped her nap and was a MESS when we left, so we went to my parents' after for a change of scenery.

I went back to work on Tuesday EXHAUSTED but happy! I was also really happy with all our outside time. With the exception of Friday, we way exceeded my 2-hours/day goal - Thursday was over 8 hours, Saturday was 2-3, Sunday was 2-3, and Monday was over 5! YAY!

We're going on a little mini-trip for a few days next week with Brent's mom, and we can't wait! Lots more swimming, fun, food, outside time, sunshine!!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Goal Update: Weight Loss...Has There Been Any?

It's kind of funny that I'm writing this post after a week of indulgence...ha. Gotta love American holidays that last longer than 1 day!

So long story short {that anyone who has been reading my blog for any amount of time knows} I gained a lot of weight after Paige was born from Zoloft and have struggled to lose it because I like sugar and alcohol and carbs. {grin} Last summer I did the Faster Way to Fat Loss [FWTFL], really liked it, and lost about 10 pounds but fell off the wagon and gained everything back, sigh. 

I made a 2019 goal of finally losing the weight. BUT 2019 started and kept going and kept going...and I wasn't doing much of anything {besides my new love for Jazzercise - found out yesterday I've hit 50 classes for the year!}. My BFF wanted to try FWTFL, and she signed up and we agreed to do it together. That was at the beginning of May. We both agreed that we wanted to find moderation and both knew that we were looking at goals that were LONG-TERM goals...we both want to lose a decent amount of weight and find some better balance in our lives. And we weren't doing it to harp on each other but to motivate each other and be in the trenches together.

So here we are halfway through 2019 and roughly 2 months into us doing FWTFL together. Have we been perfect? NOPE. Are we sticking with it? MOSTLY. Am I happy? YES!

I've lost probably 5 pounds - which yes, is kind of lame in almost 2 months but I want something SUSTAINABLE not something where I feel like I'm killing/starving myself and can't have any fun because that's when I go off the rails and fall face-first into a pile of sugar.

But I do feel really good about how things are going - I've had some days of enjoyment {or a week like this past week...oops} but have been able to much more easily get back on track.

Kristen and I send each other our macro screenshots at the end of the day and text basically every day about our non-scale victories {I got back into a pair of shorts I hadn't been able to wear in a while, for example}, and I feel like we're truly in this together and even closer as BFFs - which I didn't think was possible.

What I really like about FWTFL is that it really talks about being a lifestyle and not a fad. 3 of their sayings have really been mantras for me that I am really focusing on:

  • Progress, not perfection. I like that I can think about small changes and really celebrate those {Oh hey, I ate an extra vegetable today!} instead of beating myself up about the things I need to do better.
  • You don't have to be extreme. You just have to be consistent. THIS is really my struggle - I'm either all in or all out, and that's why I fail time-and-time-again. But I'm trying to really focus on the basic rules and letting all the other noise fall to the wayside.
  • Stop trying to skip the struggle. This really speaks to me because I want to find the quick fix. Well, guess what - getting 30+ pounds off isn't going to happen over night. I'm trying to use this time {whether it's 6 more months or a year or more} to really LEARN about myself and create a lifestyle I can maintain.
I have some goals for the end of each month, but I know if I don't hit them, it'll be okay. I'll probably do some more frequent updates now that I'm doing better with sticking to a program, here's hoping the rest of 2019 follows the last 2 months!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

June 2019 Book Review

20 days into June, and I had only read ONE book. Now, granted, I was re-reading a lot of my favorite fluff books, but that is still unheard of for me. I pulled it together and read 3 more books before the month ended, ha.

When Life Gives you Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger - LOVED THIS BOOK! It was so fun. It follows 3 friends who are all going through some sort of life challenge - one is struggling to find her place as a new SAHM after working as a lawyer, one has been wrongfully arrested for a DWI and has her world rocked, and one is a PR genius who is seeing her business stolen by a younger girl. Their stories are intertwined and I just thought it was great. There were so many parts that made me laugh out loud or screenshot and send to friends. It was light, witty, nailed being a mom in so many ways, highlighted strong women and women friendships, showed great marriages (not all of them ha)...just a great read!

Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly - This is a follow-up story {sort of} to Lilac Girls which I read 3 years ago and loved! One of the characters in Lilac Girls is Caroline, and this story follows her mother and is set during WW1. Similar writing style in that it follows 3 female characters {one of whom I didn't like, just like Lilac Girls} - Eliza (Caroline's mother), Sofya (a friend of Eliza's who is a Russian aristocrat), and Varinka (the hired nanny to Sofya's little boy) and the things they endure during WW1. I thought this one was a lot harder to get into than Lilac Girls and while by the end I really enjoyed it, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much without the connection. It was a lot slower, and I had a hard time connecting with Sofya because of her rich-girl attitudes (which I understand given the time period and the way she would have been raised but was SO annoyed by) and Varinka's behaviors (which I couldn't understand a lot of them). By the end, those annoyances had mostly settled out, and I was really happy, I just overall liked it less. I heard that Martha Hall Kelly is going to write another book about Eliza's grandmother (I think) and it'll cover the American Civil War!

World War II by Nathaniel Harris - With all the historical fiction books I read about WW2, I decided to start dipping my toe into some ACTUAL history of WW2 {and now I'm curious about WW1 after Lost Roses}, and this was a great way to ease in. This is a Young Nonfiction book that covers the timeline of the different battles. There was a small blurb about the Holocaust, so it really just focuses on the military conflicts - Battle of the Bulge, D-Day, Pearl Harbor, etc. It is very short and an easy read, and I'll be looking up more - now maybe I won't be quite so dumb about American history, ha.

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin - This book was so unique and right up my alley. I have always loved, and have had a fascination with, ghost/supernatural stories. This follows a little 4-year-old boy who remembers vacations he hasn't taken, knows everything about Harry Potter even though his mother has never read the books or watched the movies, and is always asking when he's going to go home and where his mama is. He seems extremely troubled until his mother stumbles across an article written by a doctor who studies reincarnation. Could Noah be reincarnated? If so, can they find his previous life and what happened to him? I loved the characters in this story and the mystery of Noah. I also loved that there were real cases from a book about reincarnation sprinkled in - makes me want to read that book too!

In true Allena fashion, I'm reading 2 books and listening to a 3rd so July should be back to the 'regular' me!