Five for (Good) Friday

1 // I updated my mileage! 19 or so miles in the past two and a half weeks or so. Better than nothing. I've also decided not to row this year. While I'd love to, I really don't have time to commit to a team (and, if I am going to row, I want to compete). I was thinking I could find one set time every week to go out by myself in a single, but I think I need the team/other people around to keep me in the game.

2 // Easter! I've been thinking a lot in the past months about how to create family traditions and keep holidays special. I haven't done a single thing for Easter, but I feel like I want to do something for W.

3 // Not long until vacation. It's so long overdue, over two years since I've taken a single vacation day at work. I can't wait to stick my toes in the sand on a warm sunny beach.

4 // Need to finish organizing (and getting rid of) spring/summer clothes. I dug out all our bins from the basement but I've been slow to organize, put away winter stuff, and the like. The incessant RAIN and cool temps have undoubtedly contributed to this as I haven't even needed spring/summer clothing yet.

5 // Wyatt's first birthday is nearing. Crazy. Again, see point number 2. A few months ago I came up with a good invitation idea based on one of his favorite toys. Now, I need to get in gear to pull this off.


Five for Friday

Well, try again I will. It's three weeks later, but it's on the right day at least.

1 // I'm not sure I can really be a blogger. I LOVE blogs, but really I like reading other blogs more than I like trying to be a blogger. We'll see, maybe I can catch on someday.

2 // I'm planning a bridal shower for my sister, which is next weekend (yikes!). I don't have everything done, but I know what needs to be done. My deadline is Sunday afternoon at 4pm. I'm on it!

3 // Spring visited, but fluttered away. Highs in the low 40s for the next week. That's 10-15 degrees below normal people. Last weekend I cut back my hydrangas and pulled some wild(?) onions. I'm ready for the real deal here.

4 // I've run two mornings in each of the past two weeks. Better than nothing, I say. Oddly, on those mornings, I actually am more organized, ready, and ahead of schedule than on any other day. Maybe I need to do this morning running thing more often? (A resounding yes!)

5 // Family. Sigh. I have a few awkward relationship with my family. Odd to admit, but it's true. It's weird and uncomfortable, but it comes down to the fact that we don't communicate well. I don't know how to fix it, but I hope I can overcome it. I want my family to be different. Here's to change.


Five for Friday (on the Monday after)

Lists are good. I think I'll go with lists as a way to actually keep up an attempt to blog.

(Ok, it's Monday, but I'm writing this as if it were last Friday. Bear with me here, ok?)

1 // this week at work i came across a negative comment someone made about me. it was an interesting experience for me to see this comment written in print, and it was equally enlightling to me personally to discover how it made me feel. unlike what i might have expected my reaction to be, i was suprised that i was not angry or upset but rather i was energized and motivated by it. the comment was unsubstantiated and after about .5 seconds of thinking about it, i quickly came to the conclusion that i shouldn't worry about it. the commenter make herself look silly so i wasn't going to make myself look foolish as well by responding in a negative manner. obviously, i am still thinking about it so the effect of the comment has lingered, but i still feel motivated and almost freed by it.

2 // wyatt turned nine months old last week (photos forthcoming). he weighs 21 lbs, 5 ozs and is 28.5 inches long.

3 // so ready for spring. so ready! love the days (just one or two a week at this point) with sun shining, birds chirping, even it if is only 45 degrees. last week, i even saw some daffodils pushing up. happiness.

4 // my sugar addiction needs to stop. why am i so lacking motivation on this front? i've been carrying around my food diary for a few weeks now, thinking that one day i'll just start using it again. not yet, unfortunately.

5 // did i mention spring?!


Loosening my Grip

I read this post on Small Notebook. Then I read it again. Then I immediately went to the bookshelf in my spare bedroom (aka. room where I put stuff that I don't know what to do with but think I am not ready to part with) and promptly put 20 or books that I have been hanging on to for 15+ years in a "donate" bag.

I want to bookmark that post and just read it every day. I am over "stuff" too and want to learn to live with and need less because I have bigger (see 2011 resolution number eight), more important things I want to do. So far, I've only made one trip to goodwill this year and thrown some stuff away, but it's not enough. The goodwill truck is coming through my neighborhood this week and I plan to have some bags/boxes ready for them.

Goodbye unnecessary stuff. I don't need you. In fact, I'm better off without you.



Over the weekend, I was cleaning out a few drawers and came across this clipping. I wanted to save it.

Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the expericens of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you belive in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular blanace of success of faiure is of less account. // John Gardner

When I wonder what I'm doing and where I am going (which is almost constantly), I need to remember that I have the power to choose my direction and put meaning into my life and what I am doing. No one is going to do that for me.



In the past week...

(1) The Internet ate our computer. Urgghh. Thankfully, it is now fixed and restored, and everything is now properly backed up. Back up your files people!!

(2) I caught a cold or something quite unpleasant which morphed into a bacterial infection. I finally went to the doctor yesterday after 10 days of  eye watering, sore throat, conjestion, and general grossness. I couldn't even take a day off during that stretch because there were so many things on my calendar and no one to cover for me. Today, though, I finally took a day to catch up on myself and rest. Hopefully this and antibiotics will help.

(3) I finally took W's eight month pictures.

(4) I made red velvet cake balls and my personal recipe oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for an adoption shower. For decorations, I made MS tissue paper poms-poms and the cutest ladybug decorations (that I, of course, did not take a picture of).

(5) Now, I'm working on bridal shower invites for my sisters bridal shower in April.



Last night, I told my husband that I wanted to go to The Art Weekend.

He said, "You can't. You have a son."


The Art Weekend is the same weekend as Head of the Hooch.

The Hooch might get a better response because it is closer and hubs and the little guy could come along. If I am rowing in 2011 that is.

*Disclaimer: Having seen other not-so-friendly comments posted around the web, I thought I should mention that of course I love my son and want to spend as much time with him as possible. I do, however, have other interests that I would like to again fit into my life. I'm not sure how to balance it all.


On the Run

My goal to find make time to run hasn't worked out so well just yet. Today, I reached the lofty total yearly distance of 13.5 miles. A whole half-marathon!

I was looking back in my food diary from early 2009 to find that on this day I rowed 7,760 meters. On February 10, I ran 7.08 miles! I'm anxious to get back to that. For now, I'm blaming my lack of consistency on the snow and ice!

For a little inspiration, I'm in the market for some new running shoes. I've saved some birthday money and lunch money and so I have enough to buy a pair with cash. I'm holding out a little bit until I get myself back into some consistency and get my weekly mileage up a bit.


Pants Problem: Solved

I have a pants problem. Does anyone else have a pants problem too?

I'm five-eight and a half. I hate even trying on pants because I just know that they won't fit me. Regular-length pants are just a tad too short. Just a tad. And, if they aren't too short in the store, then they will be after a wash. Tall-length pants are too long. So I struggle and avoid pants like the plague, even though I really need some smart-looking, good-fitting pants.

This weekend, I made a quick trip to New York and Company. I don't shop there often, but need to return/exchange a few things I received at Christmas and my gift receipt expired Februry 9th. Since I already have more tops/sweaters than I need, I promised myself that I would walk out of the store only with pants.

I armed myself with a few pairs and headed for the fitting room.

Success!! Amazing. Shocking. Exciting. A pant that fits and is long enough without being too long. I'm wearing them today, and I'm so happy. How great is it when you find a piece of clothing that really fits exactly right?

I got these in gray. (I wanted khaki, but they didn't have my size.) I'm so happy about these, that I may have to save up my lunch money/weekly allowance to go back and get another pair in a different color (probably khaki or navy). Sorry, Stacy and Clinton, but this is one case where I need to purchase the same article in multiple colors.

Really, I am in a great mood today, and I attribute to the confidence I gain from good-fitting pants. (Oh, and I also had a free birthday drink coupon from Starbucks that I redeemed this morning on my way into work.)



It happened. Wyatt is almost eight months old. Last night, he had his first bottle of formula. Tonight, he'll have his second.

He survived.

So did I.

Despite the stress of getting this far with breastfeeding and worrying about if, when, and whether or not I should add in formula, I now feel much better. And less stressed.


Alt Summit

I'm so inspiried by all the wonderful creative people that are blogging. I remember the moment of discovery that this blog world existed, and I've been captivated ever since. Of course, I spend way more time devouring others' blogs than trying to develop this little blog.

As I've been reading blogs of those attending Alt Summit and the list of speakers, I've gained motivation to continue my creative quest and find out what I can be. I'm encourged to use my own sense of creativity for some purpose and I hope that I can contribute to the creative world in my own way someday.


Fill in the Blank Friday.

1. My favorite quote is "'Tis better to be silent and considered a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." I have to say I'm not sure I always follow that guideline anymore. Perhaps I should, especially at work. 

2. A bad habit I have is saying "that's fine" when it's really not or when I don't want to do something but feel like I don't want to disappoint someone. I always just say that's fine. (Hmm...this seems to contradict #1. At work, I do not usually say "that's fine," instead I do express my opinion, but to other people, I often so this.)

3. The first time I felt like a "grown up" was I'm honestly not really sure...I have moments of "really?! I have a house (a mortgage)!, a kid!, car payments!, I'm 32!, when did this all happen!! Ten years ago this year, I graduated with my bachelor's degree. Crazy, I say! I guess I should get my act together real soon, huh?

4. Weekends are too short! Who wants to lobby with me a for a four day work week. Seriously, I would do everything in four days just to get one extra weekend day. I really think people would be more productive if they had less hours to spend at work.

5. When I was a child I wished my name was  Kristen or maybe Amanda. Anything by Angela, which I actually don't ever remember being called (except by two of my aunts and an uncle that I rarely ever saw). In fourth or fifth grade, I decided to spell the shortened version of my name with only an "i" as in Angi (not Angie). It's been that way ever since. There was no discussion about this with my parents or anything, I just did it, but I don't remember them ever questioning it at all.

6. I wish I could travel more. (So in other words, I wish I had enough money to be able to travel more.) I don't necessarily mean lay-on-a-beach-travel, rather big-cities-little-cities-backpack-countryside-explore-travel.

7. A secret I have is that I also can't swallow pills. Sometimes I can, but sometimes I just can't. I also can't chug anything. Shots, nope. A glass of water, lemonade, pop, anything, nope. The hubs thinks this is hilarious, but it's serious. I'm a sipper and that's all I can do.

Found here. Join in.


Engagement Photos

My sister asked me to take her and her fiance's engagement pictures. Over the weekend, we ventured to a local metropark to get a few shots. Here are a few of my favorites.

My favorite is the snowball fight action picture. I'd like to use this for the front of her "save the date" postcards.
It was a fun venture, but I realized how much I have to learn with my camera. Now, I just need to remember to keep practicing every day.



As much as I love Target, it's always a bit depressing. This is where I stock up on the essentials—toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, contact solution, and diapers. Those items are expensive! As part of my getting rid of stuff/saving money goal, I'm going to try to make Target a once monthly trip. This is certainly be a challenge. Since it's relatively nearby, it's easy to make a quick trip if I just need a few items, but then of course, other things make their way into my cart as well.

So far in January, I have actually made two trips, but I stuck to my list both times. The only extraneous item purchased was a pair of 12M baby jeans for Wyatt (on 50 percent off clearance for $4.00). My most recent trip included coupons for almost every item purchased; in most cases I even had two coupons—a Target coupon and a manufacturer's coupon. Even though my final tally was $139 and some change, I saved over $20 with coupons and I'll hopefully be stocked on household essentials through mid-February at least.

In our house, Target is a verb, as in "we need to go Target-ing" or "let's go Target-ing."


Sick Day

Wyatt had a 100 degree plus fever yesterday and was sent home from child care with instructions to stay out until Monday, so today was our first sick day. Slightly-embarrassed to say, but we both stayed in our pajamas all day! Since Monday is MLK day and I'm off then, yay for a four day weekend (minus, of course, the little guy's runny nose, cough, and general unhappiness).



One of my 2011 goals is to eliminate "stuff." By this, I mean eliminating unnecessary items and junk from my home, but in a way, I also mean eliminating unnecessary spending. I really, really want to save more and pay off our car payments. The hubs and I are not completely on the same page with this. We're close, but not quite there. His idea is that we are doing ok by saving a little and spending the rest without a plan. To be honest, I was ok with this for a while. We do each save a certain percentage of our incomes automatically and have savings designated toward certain accounts. This has been good and we started this a long time ago so the principle is not new to us.

Now, though, I want to be more deliberate about what and where we spent and put our money. After reading about various budget and envelope system examples in blog-world, especially Emily's, I'm tinkering with how to best categorize our expenses and develop budgets for each. I don't want to make this too complicated; it needs to be easy to use.

Things we use the credit card for (and pay off each month):
child care
work expense for the hubs (reimbursed through his company at the end of each month)

Automatic withdrawals from the bank:
Roth IRAs
savings transfers
   - emergency savings
   - house/home improvement savings
   - vacation savings
   - Wyatt's savings/college fund (accumulated amounts go into a CD ladder)

Utilites are paid directly from our checking account when bills arrive:
cell phone

Expense categories:
my personal expenses, monthly amount TBD
hubs personal expenses, monthly amount TBD
groceries, $300?
eating out (not counting lunch expenses during the week which will come from personal expenses)
household supplies
car payments
   - auto
   - life
entertainment and gym

Still tweaking, of course, but listing all of our expenses and categories is a start. In past years, we've used a self-created Excel spreadsheet to document expenses by month. We weren't always so good about keeping it up. A year or so ago, I created a Mint account. I liked it mostly because I liked seeing the big picture of having all your accounts and balances listed in one place. For 2011, we've decided to abandon our spreadsheet and use Mint. This way we won't need to enter dates, stores, amounts into a spreadsheet; instead, everything will be there and we'll just need to categorize it.



After a week and a half of staring at a blank office wall and missing my giant Crate & Barrel Stendig wall calendar, I decided to create my own mini-version. Mine is 11x17, which is the largest size paper that I had readily available, but I think this could work well. I can just hang every month up at once in a three column by four row grid.

My version:

Crate & Barrel version (not sure of dimensions, 24x36 maybe):
When I was creating my version, I didn't think of the Monday through Sunday arrangement. Though it often took me a second upon glancing at the calendar to figure out which day of the week I should be looking at, I did really like the week starting on a Monday. Somehow it made the weekend seem more prominent when the days were grouped together, as if you had more time that you would if the Saturday was on one line and the Sunday was on another line.


Seven Months

Wyatt, you are seven months old! I feel like we are on a roller coaster; we've reached the top of that first big hill and now we are coasting down the other side. You are now closer to being one year old than you are to being born! Everyone says it goes fast. At first, I couldn't imagine this being true, but now I see.

You are happy, smiley, and giggly. You don't have any teeth yet, but they are soon to pop up soon. You have the cutest, most precious pouty face that I could even imagine. You sleep with your hands behind your head. You love to smack your lips. You are finally a master at rolling onto your back (even though this took you a while, you've been sitting up on your own for well over a month). You LOVE to kick. In the bathtub, you love the sound of your little feet hitting the tub and making big noises (and big splashes). You kick in your crib when you are ready to get up, sometimes so hard that your mattress is sure to be bouncing right along with you. Ah, my cute-pie, Wyatt-cakes!


Happy Birthday To Me

It's my birthday, and I feel pretty good about it.

On my Facebook wall, a friend wrote "So you're 25 today, right?" At first I thought "Oh, yeah, I wish," but in reality, I don't want to be 25 again. That was a tough time. Now, I have a better sense of direction and I'm less worried about what people think. There are certain ages that I wouldn't mind going back to, but only if I knew what I know now. I'm sure everyone could say that.

So, it's my birthday and I'm going to enjoy it.



It's twenty-eleven! Really?

I haven't really been a person to make a big list of new year's resolutions in the past. But, eleven things seemed manageable, I think. I tried to make focused, specific goals, rather than big ideas (well, except for number eleven). I really am determined to make this a great year. 

1. blog, semi-daily
2. learn how to use my fancy-schmancy camera
3. find make time to run...this is a priority...running not only makes me feel healthier, but my general attitude and happiness depends on it
4. organize household paperwork by finding a system and sticking with it (and training the husband)
5. budget for and plan a trip in 2012
6. re-do bathroom
7. actively seek new job and employment opportunities
8. eliminate "stuff"
9. draw, write, sketch
10. try more new foods and recipies
11. don't be afraid, step out, take a risk and don't worry about all the little stuff