Fly-Lady's Januray Habit: Shining Your Sink


Okay, I know I've already posted my January Wrap-Up, but I decided to squeeze in one more post for the month.  As part of my effort to be less of a Red Hot Mess this year I've decided to start dabbling with following the FlyLady home organizational/decluttering/cleaning system again.  Chronicling my efforts at changing my slobbish ways was part of the inspiration that started this blog anyway (but don't go back and read the archives....embarrassing!)   This time, I'm starting slow and making little changes (are we noticing a theme around here lately?) instead of trying to magically do a 180 and become Donna Reed overnight.  And just like with starting the Couch to 5K program I didn't over think my decision to start; I just did it (which is why I'm just now writing about this).

This month, the only thing I did from FlyLady's system was her monthly habit of shining my sink every night before going to bed.  Was I 100% successful?  No.  Did I beat myself up about it and quit because I wasn't 100%?  Nope.  Most nights the dishes were rinsed and loaded into the dishwasher.  And that was a win for me.  I lived without a dishwasher for over 10 years and my one requirement for our house was that it come equipped with a dishwasher.  Finally having a dishwasher has definitely made the success of this habit possible.  I know, I know, I still have to rinse the dishes in what is essentially a "pre-washing" of the dishes, and I'm still spending time at the sink with my hands in water, but somehow, psychologically, loading a dishwasher is more pleasant to me than actually hand washing dishes.

Dennis has noticed the difference, and has been helping keep the sink shiny without me even having to ask - he's more naturally organized and a better housekeeper than me anyway, but it's still nice to see him not leave dishes in the sink because he's noticed the effort I'm making.  Plus, the kitten loves to hide in the now empty sink.  She cracks me up.

Up next month:  Decluttering for 15 minutes a day.  This should be interesting.


0

January Wrap-Up and Photo Dump


I have really started 2014 off with a bang.  January has been a busy month and I'm happy to say I'm pleased with what I've accomplished in real life and what I've managed to do with this blog.  In case you've missed some stuff, I rang in the new year, won a major award, and finally started running again (....again).  We came home to a leaky ceiling, but are in the process of repairing the problem (I've even got a couple of posts in the works on what's actually happening on the repair front).  I started reading again and wrote an incredibly honest review.  I also fancy myself a fashionista now (not!).  And I'm hopefully going to finally get to know some of my neighbors.  And that's just what I happened to write about this month.

Here are a few things that didn't make it onto the blog by way of a photo dump of pictures from my phone.  I had over 600 to choose from, so there's even more stuff that isn't making it's way into a post than will.  It's kind of amazing how much of my life doesn't make it out into the blogosphere.  It's good to know I won't run short on material any time soon.

Jack and I welcomed the new year by getting sick.  Aren't we beautiful!  Oh, and we officially have a new kitten.  We've had her for a couple of months and she still hasn't told us her name.  Maybe you know.  If you do, please let us know; she needs a name!

just keeping it real - real sexy

Speaking of cats, it's becoming apparent that Jack is spending waaaayyyy too much time with our cats.  He thinks he's one of them!


We went to visit my mom and Jack got to spend some quality time with his Grandma and Great-Grandma.  He also had an epic time playing in the leaves with my mom.



Houston weather got a little schizophrenic.


We made homemade pizza from a kit we got for Christmas from my Aunt Maggie, and took Jack to the Rainforest Cafe thanks to a gift certificate from my Grandma.



Jack is thisclose to walking on his own.


And he's getting really good at Peek-a-Boo!


He also likes to feed the cats.


And I'm already making a fan of him.

Here's to a great February!

Oh, one other little change over here on the blog is the addition of a Song of the Day at the bottom of each post.  I hope you enjoy them!


0

Won't You Be My Neighbor

I just joined this cool new website, NextDoor, a private online social network for neighborhoods.  What does this mean exactly?  It's a website designed to foster a sense of community that is often lost and overlooked in today's fast paced world.  It's a place for neighbors to get to know one another and pass on important information about things like neighborhood crime, new businesses, events, and lost pets.

I signed up earlier this week and have seriously geeked out looking though my neighborhood's site.  I have learned that a group of my neighbors is trying to lobby grocery store chains to build in our neighborhood.  If you can believe it, we don't have a single grocery store in our neighborhood (we're sort of the red-headed step child of inner Houston).  I've often complained to Dennis about this, but there's not much he or I can do on our own.  Now I know who I can contact and work with about getting a grocery store. I found out about some recent break-ins, and burglars posing as postal workers to gain access to homes.  I can now better protect myself and be on the lookout for their car (which I actually think I saw a few weeks ago - if only I had known!).  One of my neighbors is planning a community event planting trees in our local park to replace the ones that died from the drought we had a couple of years ago. I could go on and on about all the cool stuff I've learned about my neighborhood thanks to this website.

One of the things I was hoping to gain from moving into the city was a sense of community and neighborhood.  We've lived in our house for about a year now, and, sadly, I only know a few people who live on our block, and not a single person who isn't on our block.  I'll see people riding their bikes or families taking their dog for a walk, but I'm way too socially awkward to just stop them and start up a conversation.  NextDoor is the perfect opener for me to get to know my neighbors!!! (I also think it's a great tool for introverts to know what's going on in their neighborhoods without having to step outside their social comfort levels)  I am seriously so excited about finding this site!!  I look forward to being able to take Jack for a walk to the park and smiling, waving, and calling my neighbors by name!!!

If you want to build community in your neighborhood, you should check it out, too.  I am in no way getting paid to write this and have not been asked to pass on the information about NextDoor.  I just think this is a cool website and pretty much everyone can benefit from it.  I will add, however, that if you sign up with NextDoor using this link, and you are the first person to register your neighborhood, we both get $50 Amazon gift cards.  If your neighborhood is already registered, you still get to build a sense of community and get to know your neighbors, so I call it a win-win.  What are you waiting for?!?



10

Operation Wear My Closet: Irish Drinking Hats


I have an obscene amount of clothes.  I donated 5 giant trash bags full of clothes and shoes before we moved into our new house and I still have an obscene amount of clothes, yet, somehow, I never seem to have anything to wear, or rather anything I want to wear.  I haven't unpacked all my clothes yet (I'm still waiting on buying a dresser to unpack them to - it's a process), so I'm getting a little tired of wearing the same things I have managed to unpack over and over and over again.  Add to the fact that I'm somewhat limited in what I wear to work (and I pretty much only leave the house to go to work) and the pajamas or yoga pants I wear when home with the baby and I'm feeling a little fashionably stifled right now (not that I'm all that fashionable to begin with).

So I'm going to try to do something about it.  I don't have any extra money for a new wardrobe, but I bet if I start going through what I currently have in my closet and in boxes it'll feel like I have a new wardrobe!  Enter Operation Wear My Closet.  I'm going to start making an effort to wear all the things I have in my closet (not at once, obviously, that would be weird).  Hopefully, I'll rediscover some old favorites and will also be able to donate a few more things to ultimately make room for some new additions to my wardrobe.

I'm no fashion blogger, but I'll share some of my outfits here to keep up my motivation.  I had no intention of making a production out taking outfit pictures, but then I tried snapping some quick selfies in a mirror with my phone and they looked horrible, and there was no way I was going to put those up on my blog.  So then I had to Google how to take outfit pictures, and I have to say, I don't know how you fashion bloggers do it!!!  Dennis was at work, and Jack is only able to take blurry pics of the floor or his mouth, so I ended up having to use a tripod and the camera's timer.  And I felt like such an idiot!!!  Then my neighbor caught me trying to pose, and I was all, "It's not what you think!"  So these pics aren't all that good.  Guess I'll just have to practice.  Good thing I pretty much have no shame.

I decided to dress me and Jack the same this day.  It's not the first time, and it's not going to be the last.  I plan on doing this until he's at least 20.  Sorry, kid, sometimes you're just going to have to wear a dress (I kid - sort of).  I wore jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt, a vest, and my Irish drinking hat.  Jack wore corduroy pants, a thermal shirt, a vest, and one of his Irish drinking hats.  We both wore our Chuck Taylors.  It was awesome.  Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures.  There was slobber on the lens of my camera that I didn't know about....and I'm not about to take these again.








 My Outfit:



Jack's Outfit:


Song of the Day

8

Couch to 5K: Week 2


Alright, I finished another week of the Couch to 5K program.  So far, so good, but I've never made it past Week 3 Day 1, so it's important that I make it through next week!  Getting out and running hasn't felt like it's taken as much effort as years past, which is surprising considering I now have to get Jack ready as well as myself and I have to bring the stroller and extra baby stuff with me.  Maybe I'm just more motivated this time around.  I'm definitely enjoying myself more than during previous attempts at becoming a runner; I'm sure that's helping, too.  Hopefully I can stick with this.

Day 1:  I was actually surprised at how good I felt this day.  I ran on Sunday (Week 1, Day 3), and then turned right back around and ran again on Monday (Week 2, Day 1).  I didn't know how I would feel, but I really want to only run on weekdays; the park is just too crowded on weekends.  I figured it would be best to start a M-W-F schedule as soon as possible (before the runs get too hard), so out we went.  And I felt great!!  My legs weren't heavy at all and the increase in running time was manageable.  I was also really surprised at my running pace.  In just one week, and without even trying, I shaved off an entire minute from my pace!  That's a huge improvement!!!  But I do question my phone's GPS.  Is that pace for real real?  Also, no neck pain like last week.

Day 2:  The weather was playing head games with me today.  The morning started off pretty chilly, and I totally meant to get out there much earlier than we did, but sometimes it's impossible to leave the house on time with a baby.  By the time we made it to the park, things had warmed up considerably and I was dressed all wrong.  And Jack had fallen asleep on the 5 minute drive there (seriously).  I somehow managed to get him from the carseat into the stroller without waking him (whhhhat?!?), and somehow also managed to log my longest distance and fastest speed to date (hahaha, to date, all 5 days of running).  I think the increase in humidity made it easier for me to breathe, making it easier for me to run.  Jack slept the whole time.

Day 3:  Day 3 was supposed to be on Friday, but that Polar Vortex thing was here and Houstonians lost their minds.  It was below freezing for somewhere between 36 and 48 hours (plus some freezing precipitation) and the city pretty much shut down.  Granted, none of us are prepared to drive in that kind of weather, so we shouldn't, but you'd think the world was ending.  I wouldn't have had a problem going running in the cold (and probably would've liked it), but there was no way I was taking Jack out in the freezing rain.  Instead, we went out today, in 66 degree weather.  Yes, it was icy and below freezing just 2 days ago.  That's Houston (and global warming) for you.  For some reason I wasn't as enthusiastic today.  I wanted to run and didn't have to force myself to go or anything, but I still just felt meh about it.  The run portions felt harder to get through today, too.  Maybe it was the wind.  Maybe I was overthinking weeks to come and making things harder on myself.  Maybe I was just tired.  I did manage to keep on track with my pace, though.  At least the park wasn't too crowded.  I will say that 66 degrees felt hot.  I don't know what I'm going to do this summer when it gets into the 90's and above.  Put ice in my shoes?

Overall, I feel really good about this week.  I haven't been sore after any of my runs (surprisingly) and I haven't once thought my heart would explode, so that's good.  I am a little nervous about next week's runs, as I haven't made it past Week 3, Day 1 (I'm even more worried about Week 4!!!), but I think that's really more mental than physical.  I have this uncanny knack to know when I've been running for about 30 seconds and then I really want to walk (even though I don't really need to walk), and I won't let myself.  But running for an additional minute isn't that hard (the runs are only 90 seconds this week).  When I start reaching the 30 second mark and I still have minutes to run will be another story.  Here's to tomorrow, cause I really am going to run M-W-F this week.  Polar Vortices be damned!!!
2

Literary Junkies: January

Pink Heels Pink Truck

For someone who loves reading as much as I do, I'm really surprised I'm just now getting around to joining GoodReads. I signed up for the 2014 Reading Challenge and set my goal at 16 books for this year.  I know that's not as many as most people who are taking the challenge, but Jack takes up a lot of my time, so I think 16 books is a respectable goal!  And who knows, I might just be able to blow that number out of the water!

So it's perfect timing that I stumbled onto the Literary Junkies Link-up yesterday!  The link-up is hosted by Life With a Side of Coffee and Pink Heels Pink Truck and happens on the 3rd Tuesday of the month (I know, I came into the game a little late) and they also have a Twitter party on the same day.  Fun!!!

This month's questions are:
  1. What are you reading right now?  Tell us about it.
  2. Out of the 16 books that will be turned into a movie adaptation, which one are you most looking forward to seeing?  (article link)
  3. What was the worst book you have ever read?
  4. What foods or beverages have you spilled on a book while reading?  Anything good?
  5. Do you picture characters as popular film or tv actors?  Or do you create a whole new person in your head?
  6. Out of all the authors you've read books by, who's brain would you want to pick the most? 
My answers:
  1. What are you reading right now?  Tells us about it.  I just started Insurgent by Veronica Roth, the second book in the Divergent series.  I love post-apocalyptic dystopian novels and Divergent is right up that alley.  It was a fast read and definitely kept me interested (but it was no Hunger Games).  I can't say much about Insurgent yet because I'm only on page 3, but I really hope it lives up to the first book.
  2. Out of the 16 books that will be turned into a movie adaptation, which one are you looking most forward to seeing? (article link)  You would think I would be looking forward to Divergent, but they got the casting of Tris all wrong (seriously, so wrong, so very, very wrong) so I might just skip it entirely.  They couldn't have picked a worse, more lightweight joke of an actress.  Speaking of actresses, I'm a little worried about Taylor Swift in The Giver, but since she's not the lead, I'm not as concerned.  Labor Day looks a-maz-ing, and with such a stellar cast, I don't think you can go wrong with The Monuments Men.  I've read The is Where I Leave You and Gone Girl, loved both books, and think they'll make great movies.  Dark Places was filmed in my hometown and I know someone in it and that makes me want to see it.  But if I had to see just one of these movies, I'd have to pick Serena, so great is my love for Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.  But ask me again tomorrow, or even later today, and I might just pick another because there are too many good choices!!!
  3. What was the worst book you have ever read?  The only book I have never been able to finish was Vampire$ by John Steakley.  It read like a bad treatment for a horrible, cliched movie, and then it was turned into a horrible, cliched movie...that I saw in the theatres....on the worst "date" of my life.  Maybe I'll tell that story some day.  It was bad.  So very bad.
  4. What foods or beverages have you spilled on a book while reading?  Anything good?  I usually try to be very careful when reading and eating or drinking.  Aside from the rare splatter, I don't think I've ever actually spilled anything on a book.  I think I would die!  It wasn't uncommon in my house to read books over dinner, so I've had a lifetime of practice keeping food off my books.
  5. Do you picture characters as popular film or tv actors?  Or do you create a whole new person in your head?  Unless I've seen the movie first (or seen a movie trailer), I usually create whole new people in my head.  Some books make me create incredibly detailed visions of characters (like The Hunger Games; President Snow looked nothing like Donald Sutherland, and Peeta looked nothing like Josh Hutcherson in my mind).  Other books make me have a feeling for the person and I never have a detailed picture of them.  More often than not, I think I end up feeling and knowing a character instead of being able to see them in my mind.  After I've read a book I do like to pretend cast the movie, though.
  6. Out of all the authors you've read books by, who's brain would you want to pick the most?  Either Stephen King or Anne Rice.  Stephen King seems like such a cool guy that I bet he'd be fun to hang out and be friends with.  I've read just about everything by Anne Rice, and my inner teenage goth girl just wants to roam around the French Quarter with her pretending to be an ultra cool vampire, listening to Concrete Blonde's Bloodletting on repeat.

If you want to join in this link up, there's still time!!!  Just click the button at the top of this post!
5

The American Standard Tub of Our Dreams



We finally went out and bought a new tub to replace our tenants' cracked and leaking tub.  It's not exactly the tub of our dreams, but it is nice and affordable, and we hope our tenants like it.  We went to both Home Depot (our go-to store) and Lowe's (our once in a blue moon store) and ended up going with an American Standard tub with a curved apron from Lowe's that allows for more bathing room.  The base of the tub is still a standard size so installation shouldn't be too difficult, but the curved apron really adds a lot of room.  Our tenants complained about how narrow their tub was and how little room they had because of the glass shower doors so this seemed like the perfect solution.  We also opted to not get shower doors for two reasons:  1) we don't like them and neither do our tenants, and 2) they're hella expensive.  Instead we got a curved shower rod for a shower curtain.

We've been going back and forth whether or not to go with a fiberglass tub surround or installing tile ourselves.  Neither of us really like the tub surrounds.  Even the nicest ones look cheap to us.  The cost of tile is comparable to tub surrounds and looks so much better.  Plus I've been wanting to learn how to tile (I plan on adding a tile backsplash in the kitchen someday).  You'd think all these reasons would've led us to go with tile, but when you factor in time constraints, we pretty much have no other choice than to go with the tub surround.  This project needs to happen, and fast.  If it were our own bathroom, we could justify taking extra time and living with the inevitable setbacks that come with a steep learning curve for some DIY projects, but we don't want our tenants to be out of a bathtub/shower for any longer than they have to while we get the work done.  So, tub surround it is.

Jack approves.


3

Couch to 5K: Week 1


Every few years I decide I want to be a runner so I put my running shoes on and start running.  My head is full of 5K finishes, color runs, and race t-shirts as I (re)start my running.  I try to channel the energy of the people I know who run marathons and do Ironman triathlons as motivation to do a measly 3.1 miles without having to walk (which for the record, I have never managed to accomplish).   I usually keep this up for a few weeks, and maybe even a month or two, then I come to my senses and realize I'm not really a runner (even though I think I want to be).

Well, after making my 101 list, I guess I need to become a runner again finally.  I usually set myself up for failure if I think about something too much, so when the opportunity presented itself this week, I went ahead and started running.  Dennis was working his night shift this week and Jack and I needed to be scarce so Den could sleep, and I figured running would be a good way to get us out of the house.  Off to the park we went!

Day 1: Sucked.  Not horribly, but it still sucked.  I was still coming off the cold I had over New Year's and my nose was really runny so it was hard to breathe properly.  The morning was chilly, and all the mouth breathing I was forced to do hurt my lungs a little.  It was also a lot more awkward running with a stroller than I thought it would be.  Since I'm not a runner I have a big clunky stroller instead of a sleek (expensive) sport stroller, and I usually baby wear so this was only like the 2nd time I'd ever had Jack in the thing.  I'm definitely not used to maneuvering a stroller.  Jack didn't seem to mind, though.  After the run, I rewarded us with some time at the zoo. You can see in my Day 1 map that my workout actually ended just as we were getting to the front entrance.  Win!  I was a little sore the rest of the day and I could definitely feel it the next day, but overall I felt much better than I thought I would.

Day 2:  I was still sore from my first run of the week, so I was a little worried about how I'd do running.  After my warm-up, my legs felt great and I felt more confident pushing the stroller, too.  Jack even fell asleep during the run!  I tried to pay careful attention to how I was holding my shoulders because after Day 1, my neck and right shoulder were incredibly painful.  I'm not sure if I slept wrong or if I was tensing up from pushing the stroller, but I made sure to be mindful of my body positioning. I felt better post run and didn't have any soreness at all.  Very surprising!

Day 3:  Today's run felt amazing!!  My nose is still a little stopped up, so there was more mouth breathing, but other than that things were great.  I feel even better pushing the stroller, even though I wish it were lighter and less unwieldy, but not being a "runner" there's no way I'm investing in a different one.  My shoulders felt better, too, but there is definitely still tension on my right side.  My knees always hurt, but I'm hoping as I slim down that won't be too much of an issue.  My knees are usually part of the culprit for quitting each time.  I guess only time will tell.

I usually feel this good at the beginning of running.  I'm using the Ease into 5K app on my iPhone because that's what smart phones are for - seriously, what did we do before them?!?  I'd tried training for a 5K before I had an app to prompt me when to walk and when to run and I made absolutely NO PROGRESS!  I was so busy watching the time on my stopwatch, yes, a stopwatch, that I think I literally made time stand still and would quit.  It's nice to have an app simply tell me, "Run," and "Walk," without having to think abou it.  I'm sure I'll be singing a different song in a few weeks as the app slowly shortens my walk times and lengthens my run times.  I'm taking bets for how long this will actually last....

It does help to have an adorable running buddy, though.


4

A Mom's Guide to Home Organization: Review



A week and a half ago I received my copy of A Mom's Guide to Home Organization by Debbie Lillard to read and review.  I was really looking forward to reading through the book for some tips on how to be less of a Red Hot Mess and start organizing my home and life.  I decided my first project would be to organize the small mountain of papers taking up residence on my side of our office desk.  No easy task considering our main filing cabinet is still living at our old house, but I figured there's no time like the present to get started, even if I don't have the proper place for all my papers at our new house.  And having the proper place didn't stop me from having a mountain of papers on my desk at our old house, so I know that's not the real reason for the mountain.  I know my two biggest problems to organization are time management (so many things I'd rather be doing), and a proper place to put everything.  If you remember, this is what my side of the desk looked like back on the 5th:

YIKES!!!

First, let me say that I wasn't planning on reading this book cover to cover.  I had limited time and figured I'd just read the parts that applied to organizing desk/paper clutter and time management and skimming over the rest.  The Table of Contents looked really promising.  The very first part of the book was called "Organize Your Time".  Perfect!  Part 1 was broken down into 4 chapters:  "The Housework Never Ends!", "We're at the Baby's Beck and Call", "When Will They Learn...?", and "Are We Having Fun Yet?".

The first chapter, "The Housework Never Ends", gave some pretty sound advice.  The first suggestion was to wake early, before anyone else, so us "busy moms" can have a minute or two to ourselves.  I like this idea, but I am not a morning person at all and waking early would put me in such a bad mood all day and I really wouldn't get anything done.  But that's okay, lots of books and sites give this same advice and I might not ever take it.  The next bit of advice, work when you are at your best, I can do.  Mid day and evenings I can get stuff done.  Finally, "permission" to work around my own circadian rhythm!  Next she says to use a daily planner, family calendar, and to keep a notebook handy to jot down ideas as they come to you.  Done, done, and done.

Then things started to go downhill.  Lillard dedicated a few paragraphs to working moms.  I might only work part time, but I am far from a stay-at-home mom, so I was hoping there would be some really useful advice for those of us who work outside the home.  I actually laughed audibly when I read her advice for working moms:  hire help!  Wouldn't that be nice.  Let me tell you, if I could afford to hire help around the house, you wouldn't be reading this blog post because my house would be clean and I wouldn't have to worry about it!!!  Far fetched and unrealistic "advice" from someone who can (probably) afford a housekeeper.  But I kept reading.

The title of the next chapter, "We're at the Baby's Beck and Call," didn't really resonate with me.  I practice attachment parenting, and while I do sometimes feel I am at Jack's beck and call, I know that his needs are important and need to be met almost immediately.  At his age, what he wants is what he needs, and he isn't being selfish or manipulative or asking for anything that he doesn't need.  Yes, he is reaching the age where we have to say no to some things (like playing in the cat bowls and not giving him scissors no matter how much he wants them), but by and large whatever he needs takes priority.  It's sometimes difficult, but worth it, and it feels very negative and condescending to say we're at his beck and call (even if we sort of are).  I just don't like the way that sounds.

The first thing Lillard talks about in this chapter is setting a schedule for the baby.  Which I scoff at and absolutely will not do.  As part of my parenting beliefs, I follow(ed) Jack's lead and guide(d) him into the pattern of sleep/eat/play that works for our family.  I have always and will always feed on demand and not by the clock, as this is more natural and a much better way to establish and keep up a breast milk supply.  I have had trouble writing about this part of the book because it offended me and angered me so much.  To the point that if I had a hard copy of the book instead of a digital copy, I would've thrown it across the room and then straight into the recycling bin (I wouldn't even donate this book anywhere). Who does this woman think she is to be giving health advice for a baby's schedule?  A little anecdotal story does not an expert make and she should stick to what she knows:  organization.  Instead of getting snarky here and saying mean, hateful things, I will show a much more eloquently written Amazon review that sums up how I also feel:



That's when I stopped reading this book.  There are so many different books about organization that I absolutely will not continue reading a book promoting such a detrimental schedule for babies.  This is a topic I am very sensitive about, and her "advice" goes so far against what I stand for as a parent that I will have nothing further to do with this book.  Like the Amazon reviewer says, "I understand it's unlikely that anyone is buying this book for breastfeeding and/or baby care advice," but I am angered so greatly by what the author is suggesting that I cannot and will not recommend this book to anyone.  If her so called advice negatively affects even one mother that is one mother too many.  I put my money where my mouth is and this is not the first product or company that I have boycotted (or will boycott) because it goes against something I believe in.

So, don't buy this book.  Find a different book about organizing.  I bet you'll still get the same results.  And a side note, I'm still working on my side of the desk. 






This is a sponsored post.  I received a copy of this book for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are (obviously) my own.
3

The Leaky Ceiling

Remember when we came home on January 1st to a leaky bathroom ceiling?  Well, let me bring you up to speed in case you missed it.  We came home from our friends Roger and Liz's to find our bathroom ceiling leaking and water all over the place.  Fun.  Not exactly the way we wanted to kick off the New Year.  Here's a non-Instagramed picture I snapped.  Lovely, isn't it?  Just what every homeowner wants to come home to.


Our initial worry was that the plumbing in the ceiling had sprung a leak and we were about to have to undertake a huge ripping out of our ceiling/our tenant's floor and possibly having to gut our bathroom in the process.  A complete redo of our bathroom is definitely on our very long to-do list (and it's on my 101 list), but bathrooms are crazy expensive and we just aren't in the position to tackle a project of that scale right now.  Or at least not tackle it the way we would want to. We could probably slap something together on a budget, but it wouldn't be any better than what we have now and we want to do it up right.  Needless to say, we were less than thrilled at this turn of events.

Dennis called the tenants to arrange a time to investigate the source of the leak.  Luckily, they were home and he was able to go right upstairs and see what was going on.  It didn't take very long to figure things out.  The fiberglass tub upstairs had somehow gotten cracked, so water was leaking right out the tub and through our ceiling.  Not great, but not as bad of a problem as we were expecting.  Dennis thought he could quickly patch the crack until we could buy a new tub for a permanent fix, so we headed out on a Family Trip to Home Depot.


We picked up some stuff that for the life of me I can't remember the name of (helpful, I know).  And we didn't take a picture of it (d'oh!).  Basically it was fiberglass tape that you get wet and it sticks to itself, then it hardens and becomes waterproof.  It reminded me of the brightly colored material doctor's use to make casts out of.  Unfortunately, the fiberglass tape didn't adhere to the tub at all.  It stuck to itself, and it hardened right up, but that didn't do us any good at all.  Luckily, Dennis happened to have a can of Rustoleum LeakSeal and that seemed to do the trick.  And the cats approve.


For a few days.

Then it peeled up and started leaking again.  But it left a really nice clean spot on the tub.  And Dennis managed to get a nice picture of the crack while he was putting another coat of LeakSeal on the crack.  Now it just has to hold for a few more days until Dennis is done working his night shift and has a handful of days off in a row to take out the old tub and install the new one.


We still aren't sure if we're going to tile the tub walls or get one of those plastic molded glue-on kits, but we definitely need to decide soon.  I want to learn how to tile, but if it looks like we're running short on time,molded walls will probably win out (even if we don't like the look as much).  We'll know in just a few days what the best option will be.  Now to look for tubs.

Let the hunt begin!
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Sunshine Blogger Award


I'm so excited to announce that I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award!  I was nominated about a month ago by Bri at Deliciously Active and finally have the time to post about it.  Thank you so much, Bri!  This is so exciting for me.  I'm giddy.

Here's how the Sunshine Blogger Award works:
  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions the nominating blogger created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated
11 Random Facts About Me
  1. I am an only child.
  2. I love funky socks.
  3. Charleston Chew is my favorite candy bar.
  4. I'm not a morning person.
  5. I LOVE nail polish and have 100's of different colors
  6. I have a *small* obsession with NKOTB
  7. I have a degree in theatre
  8. My favorite movie is The Princess Bride
  9. It's a little gross, but I love to peel sunburns (hopefully not my own)
  10. If it were up to me, we would keep our Christmas lights up year round
  11. The only time I've ever been admitted to a hospital is when I delivered my son, Jack
Bri's Questions For Me
  1. What is one show you cannot miss on television?  Well, I don't have a television any more.  I had quite the TV addiction and when we moved into our house I figured it would be best to not even have the temptation around, so we never unpacked the TV.  Plus screen time is incredibly detrimental to young brains that I didn't want Jack around the boob tube.  But, I do have a Netflix account and a Hulu plus account and I power watched Orange is the New Black and Downton Abbey last year.  Some of my favorites are New Girl, Cougar Town, Modern Family, The Office, 30 Rock, and So You Think You Can Dance.  I miss Pushing Daisies and Firefly (two of my all time favorites - the world just wasn't ready for their awesomeness).  I've promised my mom that I'll watch Parks and Recreation and The Walking Dead, so I have plenty to keep me busy when the baby is asleep.  Oh, and before we had a DVR, I would actually change my schedule and not make plans on the nights Lost was on.
  2. Do you have any tattoos?  If so, what is it and where?  If not, have you ever considered getting one?  I sometimes loose count of how many tattoos I have, but compared to someone who is tattooed  I'm not all that decorated.  By my count (I actually had to write them down and double check myself), I currently have 8 tattoos.  A butterfly, a pig, a crab, a jacked up abstract monstrosity on my leg I really want removed, a fairy, an apple, two gears, and "Mrs. Reyna".  So far.
  3. Do you believe in ghosts?  I've never seen one, but I do believe in them.  I think our old house had a ghost kitty.  Part of me wants to see a ghost and part of me thinks that part is crazy.  I'd much rather see a ghost than an alien.  I think.
  4. What is your favorite food to eat for breakfast?  Homemade waffles.  And bacon.  Always bacon.
  5. What would you say is the best machine ever invented?  The Gutenberg Press
  6. What is your favorite way to relax?  Getting a massage (although that so rarely happens), taking a boiling hot bath, or reading.
  7. If you were to learn another language, which would you choose and why?  French.  It's such a beautiful language, and I fell in LOVE with Paris when I visited a few years ago.  If I spoke French, it would be much easier to fantasize about living there.
  8. Where was your worst vacation?  Well, it wasn't really a vacation, it was more like a weekend road trip from Hell with my best friend, Daniel, and my Mom.  We went to Austin to see Russel Crowe's band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts.  We got lost, it was summer in Texas and my car didn't have A/C, my car broke down on the way home, my overhead dome light wouldn't go off....so many things to list.  But, it was definitely my favorite road trip of all time.
  9. What's the best compliment you've ever received?  When a director told me my headshots reminded him of Jennifer Connelly.  Man, I miss using those headshots, they were amazing.
  10. If you could be on the cover of any magazine, which would you choose?  People Magazine's Oscar winner's edition.
  11. If you could retire tomorrow, what would you do with your time?  Travel.  Lots of travel (assuming I'm retiring because I won the lottery, lol).  I'd also buy a bunch of real estate, and focus on bettering my acting and winning that Oscar I keep mentioning!
My Nominees
  1. United States of Becky
  2. It's Like a Potato
  3. Easily Dunn
  4. Xtine Danielle
  5. 3TwentySix
  6. Independent Mami
  7. Life With the Hawleys
  8. Growing Up Ginsburg
  9. Real Houston Housewife
  10. So Yeah...So
  11. Full Throttle Flavor
My Questions
  1. How did you get your start blogging?
  2. What's your favorite mythical creature?
  3. What's your favorite childhood memory?
  4. Your go-to comfort food is ________?
  5. You just won the lottery!  What's the first thing you do?
  6. Would you rather go back in time and meet your ancestors or go into the future and meet your great-great grandkids?
  7. What are you a geek about?
  8. Do you trust your instincts?
  9. You have a paid day off from work.  What do you do?
  10. What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
  11. What's the most inspiring thing someone has said to you?



11

A Mom's Guide to Home Organization


It's that time of year again when most of us set personal goals and New Year's resolutions.  Eat better, exercise, read more, travel, get organized; whatever your resolutions are it's always a lot easier to think them up than it is to follow through on them.  My personal resolution:  stop being a Red Hot Mess, or at least be less of a Red Hot Mess.  What does that even mean?  I'm not 100% sure, but if I'm going to make such a broad, vague resolution, I figure I have better chances of success.  Maybe.

Anyway, one thing I really want to tackle this year (and all years, for that matter) is improving my comically horrible domestic skills.  I'm not going to lie, I suck at housekeeping.  I think I'm better than I used to be, but I still hate housekeeping, and I get horribly distracted when I try to clean (there are so many other things I would rather be doing).  Since I'm in no position to hire a maid, and I really want to teach better house skills to Jack than I posses, it's up to me to change my sloppy ways.  Cleaner more organized house = less of a Red Hot Mess.

That's where A Mom's Guide to Home Organization comes in.  When I was presented with the opportunity to review this book, I figured it was the Universe yelling at me that it's time to reevaluate my cleaning and organizational habits.  The project I hope to tackle first is my home office.  Paper clutter is my #1 Nemesis right now.  Not only have we not brought over most of our office organizational stuff from the old house (file cabinet, desk organizers, folders, etc.), but I'm also just simply terrible at dealing with the paper mess.  I always tell myself, "It can wait."  And then I end up with a pile mountain of who knows what on my side of the desk.  Dennis is at least able to keep his piles of papers neat and organized even if the file cabinet isn't at his disposal.

I present to you a very embarrassing Before photo of my side of the desk:


Classy, I know, but I intend to work on this in the coming days.  If you're like me and want to get a handle on your housekeeping and organizational skills, you can get your own copy of A Mom's Guide to Home Organization by Debbie Lillard here.  I'll be checking in soon with my review and progress.


This is a sponsored post.  I am receiving a copy of the book in exchange for a review and passing along of the information to my readers.  All opinions are my own!

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Day in the Life, January 1, 2014

Another year begins and what a better way to kick things off than a Day in the Life post?  This marks my 12th month in a row to do this project!  I just went back and looked at all my previous posts, and I'm so amazed at how much Jack has changed.  This is definitely one of my favorite ways of documenting our life.  As usual, I used Instagram, and you guessed it, my profile is still private.

I was really hoping I'd start the new year off with more of a bang, but Jack and I have colds and we feel like crap.  We've both had runny noses and a cough for a couple of days now, but still no fever so I have no idea what's actually going on with us.  Dennis and I always spend New Year's Eve with our friends Roger & Liz and we pop a ton of fireworks and then lounge in the hot tub.  I  barely made it to midnight this year and didn't even get in the hot tub.  I meant to get a picture of the fireworks finale we did at midnight, but I was too focused on going to bed.  I also didn't get any pictures at 1:30 am, 2:45 am, 3:50 am, or 5 am when Jack kept waking up because he felt so bad.  It was a long night.

9:30 am
sick baby, sick Mommy

10:30 am
coffee and catalogs

11:30 am
breakfast

12:30 pm
we spent one night at Roger and Liz's and this is how much crap we brought
you never travel light with a baby

1:30 pm
home, sweet home

2:30 pm
leaky bathroom ceiling

3:30 pm
family trip to Home Depot

4:30 pm
starting dinner

5:30 pm
getting lost on the Internet

6:30 pm
cabbage, carrots, and potatoes


7:30 pm
Spot enjoying the catnip from last week


8:30 pm
annual New Year's Day meal
corned beef, cabbage, black-eyed peas, carrots, & potatoes


9:30 pm
somebody hates taking medicine


10:30 pm
Apocalypse Now

I made it about 15 minutes into the movie before I passed out from exhaustion.  No pics of Jack's midnight, 1:15 am, 2:30 am, 3 am, 3:30 am, 4:45 am, or 5:30 am wakings.  Poor baby.  I wish there was more I could do for him.

8:30 am
finally sleeping

This definitely isn't how I would've wanted to ring in the new year, but a rocky beginning to the year doesn't have to mean the whole year is going to be crap.  Being sick is one thing, but the leaky ceiling is another.  I really want to gut that bathroom down to the studs and start all over, but I want to do that in our time and on our budget.  We'll see how that all works out.

How was your new year?  Better than mine, I hope!
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