Friday, July 1, 2011

Update Your Web Address

Hi all!

I know I haven't posted in a bazillion years (that's a word, right?), but just a note to everyone that I'm no longer hosting my blog on a custom domain.  Instead of http://www.seeaprilwork.com/, I'm going back to Blogger's free domain, so you'll find me at http://www.seeaprilwork.blogspot.com/.  I just don't post enough to pay for a domain anymore, although if things change I'll let you know.

Hopefully I'll have more time to blog soon, or at least to put some pictures up!  I thought work was going to slow down, but instead I've been given several more special projects (yay...?), that will take me through July.

I had the idea of going to bed just a little bit earlier each night, bringing my laptop with me, and writing a quick blog post before bed.  Clearly that hasn't happened yet.  Neither has my idea of getting up a little earlier each day to work out.  Hm.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm Tired

Will you allow me to vent for a few minutes Blogland? I try to remain positive, because I think being negative only drags you down...however, I'm feeling mentally exhausted right now, and I think the only way to get myself out of this funk is to put everything in writing and get it out of my head.

Thanks for indulging me.

I'm tired.
  • I'm tired of always having to watch my weight and think about what I'm eating.
  • I'm tired of watching every dime we spend and feeling like there's never enough money.
  • I'm tired of being the only one in my household who keeps up on continuous chores like cleaning, cooking, and doing dishes (sorry honey!).
  • I'm tired of coming to a job each day that holds no meaning for me, and feeling like I'm wasting my time.
  • I'm tired of credit card debt.
  • I'm tired of credit card companies lowering credit limits, making outstanding balances even closer to credit limits and weakening credit scores.
  • I'm tired of feeling powerless.
  • I'm tired of feeling fat.
  • I'm tired of my clothes not fitting right.
  • I'm tired of being responsible.
  • I'm tired of a crappy iPhone that is slow, closes apps for no reasons, and freezes all the time.
  • I'm tired of keeping track of so much information, like money, grocery lists, laws & rules, position upgrades, position transfers, and promotions in place.

Is it possible to take a break from all of that for a little while? Just a day or two, that's all I ask.

Disclaimer - I love my life, I really do. I'm incredibly lucky to have a wonderful husband, beautiful daughter, and amazing family and friends. I know I have a good life and I know that while I'm by no means rich, I'm a lot better off than some people.

But everyone's allowed to complain sometime, right?

Thanks Blogland. Peace out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My Weekends

I've been trying to spend more of my weekends at home.  I hate it when you have a weekend that is so jam-packed full of things that at 9:30 on Sunday night you're trying to make lunches for the next day, do laundry, put a load of dishes in the dishwasher, and take a shower because you haven't showered all weekend and you don't want your freshly-laundered sheets to get dirty.

When I was on maternity leave, weekends didn't matter.  One day blended into the next with tranquility and peace, stress-free, only to be occasionally punctuated by stress brought on by a crying baby.  I can only imagine it's what retirement is like (minus the crying baby and the fear in the back of your mind that you have to someday return to work).  Maternity leave became a problem for me, however, when I began shopping.

A lot.

Fast asleep
All the money that the Husband and I saved when I was pregnant?  Yeah it got spent.  By me.  On crap.  See here was the problem - when Busy was tiny, she had feeding issues.  When we were at home, she would cry.  And cry.  And eat.  And eat again every 30 minutes because the nonfat milk I produced wasn't keeping her satisfied for very long.  When we went somewhere, she slept.  She was peaceful.  She'd eat, and then she'd fall asleep in her car seat again.  It was a beautiful thing.

Really though, the shopping started the month that I was off before she was born.  Every day, I'd go shopping.  Usually, it was to return items from baby showers that I'd gotten duplicates of, or that I'd decided I didn't want.  (Returning things from a registry is awesome - seriously, I want to create registries more often.  Just for me.  Just so I can return.)  This was okay at first, because I was shopping, but I was also returning. 

Unfortunately, that got me into the habit of going somewhere every day.  After Busy was born, it was nice just to have something to look forward to (I stayed in my house for two weeks (I had a c-section) and after that was going out of my mind).  We went to Starbucks (always the drive-though, I didn't want to take her out of the car and expose her to germs at first...or expose anyone in the store to my yoga pants and hasn't-been-washed-in-four-days hair), and that was our outing for the day.  Then, we started going to Starbucks and Babies R Us.  Or Starbucks and Goore's, the locally-owned and awesome baby-store.  We went anywhere that was "baby-friendly."  I even looked forward to dr's appointments, because I knew that if Busy cried, I'd get sympathy looks instead of death-glares.

As Busy's eating habits improved (read: I started supplementing her on formula), we started venturing to more places.  We'd hit Target - a lot.  We'd drive to the outlets.  We went everywhere.  And everywhere we went, we shopped.

My little shopper
When I went back to work, we'd go out on the weekends.  Busy is such a good little shopper.  She minds her manners in her stroller or the cart, she helps me make decisions by pointing to the item I should get (when I'm deciding between two of something), and she is so social that she loves people and always seems to be on her best behavior for strangers.

Exersaucer fun!
But then, I'd end up in the awful spiral of late-night-Sunday madness.  I'd swear I was going to do things differently the next weekend, and I'd only go out on Saturday, while spending Sunday at home.  As Busy has gotten older, this has gotten easier.  She is happier at home now - she sits on her quilt on the floor and plays with toys, she plays in her exersaucer, and she rolls across the floor to play with the vertical blinds on the sliding glass door.  She also loves to sit outside on the grass and watch her dad work on the garden (or the shed he's building, or whatever else he's doing to our yard at the time). 

I've remembered lately how much I love spending time at home.  When I was pregnant, I'd clean all day Friday (I sure miss furloughs), do nothing all day on Saturday, and go grocery shopping and prep dinners and lunches on Sunday.  And I was happy.  Now that Busy is happy and occupied at home, we're spending more time just hanging out there.  We're doing chores, going for walks, and enjoying this place that we call home (sorry, sounds sappy but it's true!).

Hangin' at Home Deeps
This past weekend, I failed miserably at spending time at home, but it was for a good cause.  Saturday we went shopping and had lunch with good friends (and Busy's Bestie!), then hung out with my aunt who was visiting from out of state (from her I learned there is a second verse to "I'm a Little Teapot").  Sunday Busy and I ran some errands and then went to out to dinner as a little family with the husband.  It was nice, except that then we went to Home Depot and got home at 8:30.

Next weekend, I'm looking forward to spending more time at home.  I want to spend some time doing some batch cooking, I need to can some more beans, and I want to catch up on some cleaning.

Or, I'll just sing "I'm a Little Teapot" a million times and play on the floor with Busy. 
Who wouldn't want to hang out with this face?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sundays are Great, Mondays are Hard...

Happy Easter everyone! Well, happy belated Easter blog-land.

What a great weekend I had! It was so hard to come in to work today. Luckily, Busy had a dr's appointment at 9:00 this morning, so I got to come in to work late. Unfortunately, she didn’t' realize that meant we could all sleep in today, so she still woke up at 5:00...which means I woke up at 5:00.

Did everyone have a good Easter? Mine was pretty good. My extended family gets together the Saturday before Easter every year to celebrate, so that each individual family can do their own thing on Sunday. Saturday went pretty well, except that my mom was sick so she didn't make it. Busy didn't get to hunt eggs with the bigger cousins this year (she might have gotten trampled!), but she did have her very own jelly-bean shaped plastic Easter eggs to play with...she thought they were pretty cool (and tasty!). Sunday began with a mini-Easter egg hunt at our house, although Bruiser was much more successful at egg-finding than Busy was. The festivities ended there, and by about 9:00 a.m. I had the entire rest of the day to do whatever I wanted...

Well, not really. The hubby had planned on finishing the shed he's building in the backyard, but the rain changed those plans so he stayed inside and played with Busy quite a bit. That allowed me to do the following:

• Clean Busy's room
• Wash, dry, fold, and put away 5 loads of laundry
• Cook chicken and make a giant pot of chicken stock to freeze for later
• Use above-mentioned chicken to make a chicken tortilla casserole
• Bake a breakfast casserole for pre-made breakfasts this week
• Soak beans to make P-Dawg's famous beans in the crock pot today (recipe to follow if she'll let me share - I thought it was on her blog (visit her here) but I searched and can't find it)
• Puree peaches and pumpkin with my awesome immersion blender to freeze in individual-size portions for Busy
• Take Busy to the grocery store (where I only spent $21.25! I was planning on under $20 so that's not too bad)
• Clean the guest bathroom
• Give Busy a bath
• Vacuum (Busy helped me; she was in her Moby and loves vacuuming)
• Take Busy and Bruiser for a walk

I know, can you believe I got all that done!? Granted, bullets 3 through 5 took place after Busy went to bed and forced me to stay up until midnight, but still...I got it all done.

I also bought this over the weekend. Parents or parents-to-be, I can't even tell you how much I love this space-saver high chair. I have a cute, antique wooden high chair that I got from my brother and sister-in-law, and I was determined to use it and nothing else. I didn't want a plastic highchair that got in the way and looked, well, cheap. Alas, the wooden highchair, while gorgeous, is not so great: Busy slides around in it and ends up slouching down, she leans to far and hits her head on the wood, and honestly, I have to dust it (I love cleaning, but I HATE dusting). It may be better when she's a little bigger, but for now, I've been looking at other options and finally bought a space-saver high chair this weekend.

I. LOVE. IT.

End of story. Get one, you'll love it too.

Happy Monday everyone!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wishes

Today I wish that:
  • Teething happened all at once. 
  • I'd been more responsible with my credit cards when I was in my early 20's. 
  • My husband had been more responsible with his credit cards when he was in his early 20's. 
  • I had a job that was fun to go to. 
  • My eye would stop twitching. 
  • I'd gotten more sleep last night so the aforementioned eye wouldn't be twitching.
  • I had a $5,000 gift card from What Not to Wear and a whole week to go shopping. 
  • Stacy and Clinton would be my personal shoppers.
  • I was still on maternity leave.
  • I had more time to blog.
  • I had more time to clean my house.
  • I'll find some awesome deals the next time I'm on Craigslist.
  • My garden is bountiful this year.
I realize that it sounds like I'm having a bad day after reading this post. Really, I'm not. I'm just having a Monday. I'm tired, it's a little hard for me to get going this morning, and I'm feeling introspective today.

And my dang eye still won't stop twitching...

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Favorite Things

"...I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel, so bad."

I love Julie Andrews. I love the Sound of Music. I used to watch the movie every day of summer vacation when I was little, which explains why Favorite Things and Doe a Dear are the only songs I can ever think of to sing to Busy when she's tired.

But today I'm not thinking about The Sound of Music. No, today I'm thinking about my favorite things. Specifically, my new favorite thing that I discovered this weekend. What is it, you might ask? It's sleek...it's powerful...it's…

...not some kind of sports car. Are you kidding? Think about who is writing this. No, it's my brand new Immersion Blender!!




No I'm not kidding. This thing is amazing. I was talking to a friend of mine this weekend about making baby food (sorry folks, it's another baby-related post). I was feeling guilty for not making Busy more food, even though she loves her Earth's Best food (and the brand that comes in a pouch...but I forget what that's called). Anyway, I was feeling bad because she eats a lot of fruits, but not a ton of vegetables, and the variety in baby food is just so/so. However, it's a lot of work to haul out the blender or the food processor (after you figure out which one you should be using) just to make a batch or two of food.

Before my amazing discovery of the fantastic thing known as an immersion blender, I'd made peas, cauliflower, and mangoes, the first two in a food processor, the third in a blender. I'd also attempted kale after another friend raved about how much her daughter liked it, but it smelled so bad after I steamed it that I knew there was no way I could feed that to Busy...mostly because I didn't think I could stand to smell it myself. Anyway, the cauliflower and the mangoes turned out okay, but it was so much work for not so much food. I was feeling discouraged.

Then, during a conversation with my friend about what types of food she'd fed her son, she happened to mention that she always used her immersion blender. She gushed about how easy it was, how quick the cleanup was, and how she could use it for anything - fruits, veggies, meats, whatever. I was stunned, not because of all the ways she could use it, but because I'd never thought about using one of those myself.

That was late Saturday night. By 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, I too was the proud owner of an immersion blender. By 12:30 Busy had amazingly settled into a two hour nap (in her crib...truly amazing) so I was in the kitchen, roasting sweet potatoes, cooking black beans, and having a ball with my new blender. It was great! Super easy, fast to wash, and it worked superbly. My freezer now contains ice cube trays full of deliciousness for Busy.

For those of you interested in purchasing an immersion blender (for baby food or otherwise), I did a lot of Googling to research the different brands. Initially I'd wanted a Breville cordless immersion blender; I've drooled over that in the Williams-Sonoma catalog for years. However, I found the reviews to be surprisingly poor…2 out of 5 stars! It seemed that the KitchenAid and Cuisinart immersion blenders (both with cords) got the best ratings of those in my price range. I shopped at Kohl's (it was closest to my house) and was going to buy the Cuisinart, but I happened to notice they had one Hamilton Beach blender left. This one, with the same 200 watt motor as the other two, had also gotten fairly good reviews, but I was going to stick with the other brands because I own several KitchenAid and Cuisinart products and know they're reliable. However, the Cuisinart was on sale for $53.99, and the Hamilton Beach was on clearance for $11.99.

Sold.

After using the Hamilton Beach immersion blender, I'd say it's powerful and runs like a champ. It's a little awkward to hold, because you have to hold down the button while it's running (not sure if they're all like that). Also, the shaft is plastic, rather than stainless steel (although the blade is a regular metal blade), so it probably won't last me a lifetime. However, it'll last me long enough to make baby food, so for the price, I consider it totally worth it!

I wish I was at home now making baby food, instead of getting ready to start my day at work. I think I might have dreamed about my new blender last night.

Is that bad?

Friday, April 8, 2011

I've got the itch

Not an itch, gross.  No, the itch.

I've been itching to blog lately. Really, I just had to scratch my arm.

However, did you know that a baby, plus housework, plus an urgent special project at your full-time job equals not a lot of time for blogging? Who would have thought?

So I've been a little busy this past month. My own little Busy turned 7 months old last Friday, April 1st. I cannot believe 7 months have gone by. It seems beyond comprehension. I was okay with her turning 6 months, because that was just 6. 7 months is more than half a year; in fact, it's almost her first birthday (and yes, I have started planning her first birthday party, because really, it's just around the corner). When she was born, I got sad everyday that she was growing up (thank you hormones); as she got a little older, I kept good memories of her being tiny, embraced the fact that she was learning new things, and was happy with her growing older. For some reason, the 7 month birthday has brought me the birthday blues.

Sitting in her high chair for the first time

Drinking out of a straw like a pro!

Yum, sweet potatoes...

One of my favorites...her dad gets a similar mischievous look on his face at times...

Busy is doing amazing, though - rolling over, sitting up, pushing up on her arms and legs (although no crawling yet) and thoroughly enjoying solid foods. Her current favorites are mangoes and those little cereal puffs. She chomps away with her two bottom teeth (teething = worst period of my life) like she's got a huge bite of steak in her mouth, looking immensely proud of herself the entire time. She talks literally all the time, too - and not just babbling. She has babbled since the day she was born, but this past week she's surprised us with very clearly pronounced "bababa" and "dadada." I know that doesn't mean anything, but she only says "dadada" when her dad is in the room, so I'm pretty sure she knows who he is. And I think "bababa" is Bruiser...

What a sight to wake up to in the morning.
Bruiser likes to burrow under his blanket.

Then he has dreams and rolls over...
On Thursday of this week I completed a project at work that has been six (almost seven) weeks in the making. It was a high level project that turned out to be very political because of the positions involved, and while I learned a lot, I hope not to have to do anything like it any time soon. Besides being exhausted, I don't like politics and I hate people who play the game...I know it's how many people get ahead in this world, but I'm a firm believer in getting ahead through honest hard work. It may not happen all the time, but it does still happen.

My house is a mess (which terrifies me) but my garden is planted, thanks to the hubby. We didn't go hog wild with tomatoes and peppers like last year, so we still have an empty section of the planter box. I'm thinking of a few more tomatoes so I am able to do a lot of canning this summer, but I may plant a few items to make food for Busy (squash, pumpkins, something along those lines).

I've got ideas in the works for quite a few posts, and I'm hoping to find the time now to be able to write them. For now, this has been a brief update on my life. Hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

Anyone else having trouble getting motivated today? It's currently break time at work, but I almost (almost) feel guilty for taking a break, because I just haven't been that productive today. My mind keeps wandering and I end up thinking about menu planning, and bill paying, and having to drop Busy off at daycare starting Wednesday when the Hubby goes back to work. My mind is in a million different places today, and none of them is here in my cubicle.



Anyone else having a case of the Mondays today?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Adventures in Daycare

Well Blogland, it's been an emotional week. Not only have I been extremely busy at work (a first since coming back from maternity leave almost two months ago), but today marks the end of Busy's first week of daycare.


Out like a light...I love it when babies sleep like this.
I'm not sure how many of you out there have kids, and of those who do, how many have kids in daycare, but I can tell you, it's a stressful thing! First, you have to find somewhere to send your precious, beloved little bundle of joy. In my opinion, that is the hardest and most stressful thing about daycare. Luckily for me, I found a small, in-home daycare, the same place where a good friend's daughter went. Knowing that my friend and her husband trusted this woman with their daughter was HUGE for me, and was ultimately the deciding factor in choosing a daycare for Busy. Each time I went there, the owner immediately went to Busy, lifting her out of her carseat, hugging her, speaking to her softly and carrying her around to talk to the other children. And Busy seemed to love her! So, I knew we'd found the right place.

The second worst part of choosing a daycare are the days leading up to your child's first day. For only the second time in my life, I was full of anxiety and dread, thinking about taking Busy somewhere without her parents or another family member. Monday night, I cried - would she feel abandoned without us all day? Would she think we weren't coming back for her? Tuesday morning, I cried. I got her ready and ended up making the Husband drop her off...I just couldn't do it. I also made him pick her up, because I wanted her to attend for only a half day at first. When I found out he hadn't picked her up by one o'clock, I might have raised my voice to him on the phone. When I found out at 2:55 p.m. that he was JUST going to pick her up, I told him to GO GET HER NOW in a slightly louder than normal voice (no, I wasn't yelling...sort of). The report back from the first day was good - she was smiling and happy, and she had made friends with a just-over-one-year old named Alonzo.

Aside from crying a bit that first day, I actually handled daycare pretty well. When I think about it rationally, I know that I went to daycare, and I turned out fine. I know that almost all of my friends' children either went or are going to daycare, and they are happy, well-adjusted kids. I know that she's too young to feel abandoned or to worry that we aren't coming back for her. As long as I don't let my emotions get the best of me, I do okay.

I like that we're starting to settle into a routine. I come home from work, kiss her and love her, and she gives me big smiles. We play on the floor for awhile, then she plays in her Exersaucer while I make dinner. I feed her some solids (such a big girl, she had her first solids this week and LOVES them), give her a bath, then she gets in her PJs and has a bottle. Not long after that, it's bedtime for her, and I have a little time to clean up the house, make my lunch, or watch some tv before bed (except for last night, when I fell asleep on the couch right after she went to bed and got nothing done).

My new favorite picture of her...although forgive the quality, I took a picture of a printed picture.
While I'd like to work part-time or not at all, I know it's not possible right now, and so I'm happy with the way things are working out. Of course, I still haven't dropped her off or picked her up from daycare this week. I'm afraid dropping her off might start the emotions going and send me into a fit of tears.

Next week I'm going to have to stop being such a wienie and do it, though - Hubby goes back to work on Wednesday. Yikes!