Houston Children's Festival

The McDonald's Houston Children's Festival benefiting Child Advocates happened last weekend and Dennis, Jack, and I were lucky enough to receive free tickets to go check it out and report back to ya'll (sponsored post, yo).  We went last year, and it's pretty amazing how different the festival experience was this year.  Last year at this time, Jack wasn't really walking independently yet, and, well, Jack is uber-mobile now.  And he's Mr. Independent (I think his favorite phrase is, "Jack do it").  Plus he's big enough to be able to ride the rides and more importantly, big enough to want to ride the rides this year.

We tried to get to the festival early, before the crowds, but we as a family find it almost impossible to get anywhere on time (unless we really, really have to).  Instead of getting there at 10 am, we got there closer to noon (when it was good and HOT).  The first thing we came upon was a relatively short line for parents to get a FREE caricature of their kids.  What?? FREE?!?  Personal drawing of Jack?!?  Please and thank you!  Sign me up.  And this was the biggest mistake I made of the day.  I could write an entire blog post about waiting in this line for two and a half hours (yes, I waited in line for two and a half hours - I'm stubborn and after a while, I felt like I was 100% committed to getting that damn free drawing), but that's not what this post is about.  Let's just say, I learned my lesson, but we did get a cute drawing that might look a little like Jack - sorta.....

While I was waiting in that hellish line (and all the lines were hellish), Dennis and Jack walked around and got some food and enjoyed themselves.  They did some science experiments thanks to Mad Science (side note - I used to be a mad scientist and this company is amaze-balls), intently watched bigger kids play in the water bubbles, and found the best steak fries I've ever had in my entire life - I mean, I like potato wedges, but somehow these tasted like steak, like literally meaty, juicy steak.  I don't know what else they did, but they had fun.  And I waited in line.

Once we finally got the caricature, we meandered around the festival towards the Tot-Spot (and actually ran into a couple of people we know).  Last year we had the luxury to stop into all the vendor tents, but not only did we feel a little more pressed for time (because of that line), we also had a very mobile, active, curious, and excited toddler with us.  Sorry, vendors, maybe next year.   And after waiting in that first line, we pretty much skipped all the rides, crafts, activities, and anything else that had a line attached to it.  Jack is at an interesting age where he wants to do all the things, but doesn't have the patience to wait in the lines.

Back in the Tot-Spot, there was a line-free pony ride that Jack lunged for and a few other activities he was able to participate in.  By this time, it was getting super hot and Jack was tired-cranky, so we decided to call it a day.  On the way out, we stopped by the kid hand print mural that we did last year and Jack had to try all the colors.  Then Jack spotted a bouncy obstacle course and HAD TO TRY IT.  Luckily, there wasn't really a line and the admission was exactly the amount of tickets we had left.  It was destiny.  He thought that bouncy was the bee's knees.  I thought he was going to break something the way he flopped and fell over the obstacles, but kids are surprisingly bendy and they bounce well.

Overall, we had fun.  And most importantly, Jack had fun.  This year's trip was a little more stressful - partly because of the stupid caricature line, partly because of the heat, and mostly because of a mobile toddler in a sea of people.  We'll definitely go next year, where I'm sure our experience will be completely different again, lol.  We missed most of the circus area, so that's going to be at the top of our my list for next year, and thankfully, Jack isn't old enough to know who any of the special guest stars are, so we didn't have to wait to meet the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or anyone from Disney.  If you get a chance, you should totally go.


The Liebster Award

It's finally happened.  After years of blogging I have finally been nominated for a Liebster Award.  Caitlin from And Possibly Dinosaurs nominated me and I'm super stoked about this!!!  Go check out her blog - it's pretty awesome.  What's a Liebster Award you ask? (have you been living under a rock???)  Well, for those uninitiated folks out there, a Liebster Award isn't really an award at all.  There's no nominating committee or board of directors.  There's no voting or campaigning (well, maybe a little) or plaque or statue (but there is a blog button - woooo hoooo!!!).  It's more like a pay-it-forward blog recognition chain letter thing.  And I've always wanted one since I started blogging.  See #41 here.  It's the cousin to the Sunshine Blogger Award which I received last year (what-what!!!), only the Liebster is specifically for new blogs and blogs with small followings.

Here are the rules:
  1. Thank the nominating blogger
  2. Nominate 11 blogs that are new and/or have small followings.
  3. Answer 11 questions from the nominating blogger
  4. Tell your readers 11 random facts about yourself
  5. Give your nominees 11 questions to answer
Caitlin's Questions for Me:
  1. Why did you start blogging?  I discovered Young House Love (seriously so sad to see them leave the blogging world) and via Sherry, Pinterest (back when it was still an invite only platform).  Before Pinterest, I didn't really read personal blogs, but after losing many hours to Pinterest and getting lost in the black hole that is the Internet, I figured blogging was something I could do and maybe even  make money from (silly, silly me).  Everyone made it look so easy.  If I knew then what I know now, lol.....My early inspiration came from The Fly Lady, Feeding the Soil, Offbeat Home, and of course, Young House Love.  I will never even come anywhere close to the success of these blogs if I don't get my shit together, though.
  2. What is your earliest memory?  I remember my first birthday party at my grandparent's house in Indiana.  I remember being in the swimming pool, the dog eating my birthday cake, and getting a toy car.
  3. What's one thing you miss about being a kid?  Being small enough to get carried, tossed around, flipped upside down, and all those other crazy things adults are big enough to do with little kids.
  4. What was your dream job when you were growing up?  Being a ballerina - despite having zero training in dance at any point in my life.
  5. What is your dream job now?  Being an actress.  Like a $20 million per film actress.  But realistically, owning my own business and being able to do so from home would be my dream job.  Or winning the lottery.
  6. Do you have any hidden talents?  What are they?  I can crochet with my toes.  Hahaha, not really.  No hidden talents really come to mind, although, after I post this I'm sure I'll think of something.
  7. What is your favorite book?  This is a really tough question!  I love reading so much it's tough to pick just one favorite.  So, to keep this answer to a reasonable length, I'll say, The Passage by Justin Cronin {affiliate link}
  8. If you could have dinner with any 5 people, living or dead, who would they be?  Wow, how to answer this one?  Humorously (New Kids on the Block)?  Poignantly (deceased relatives)?  Cliche (Buddha, Einstein, world leaders and celebrities)?  The options are literally endless and I don't think I have enough time in the world to craft the perfect dinner list.
  9. What do you value most in life?  Jack
  10. If you house was on fire and you could only grab three things, what would they be and why?  (Assume people and pets can flee on their own).  I'd rescue a watercolor painting my deceased Grandma painted, my box of photos that are pre-digital (and yes, they're still not unpacked - guess it makes for easier fire rescuing), and our favorite stuffed animals, Pigger and Butt-Naked, and Jack's teddy bear, Zedee.
  11. What is the #1 thing on your Bucket List?  Have a second child.
11 Random Facts About Me
  1. New Jersey is my favorite state and if I could raise my family anywhere it would be somewhere in north central Jersey.
  2. I am terrified of ostriches and have been chased and bitten by at least 3 of these hellish creatures.
  3. I love airplanes and airports and air travel.  Our old house was under the landing flight path of one of Houston's airports and I was super excited to discover that our new house is, too (although the planes aren't quite so low to the ground when they fly over our new house).
  4. Karaoke is one of my favorite things to do.  I used to hang out a a karaoke bar every Friday and Saturday night and had a set list of songs I'd sing.  The DJ knew my songs and if anyone tried to sing them he wouldn't let them.
  5. Dennis and I chose a wedding date and put a deposit on our venue before we got engaged.
  6. Snapdragons are my favorite flower
  7. Fall is my favorite season and I get grumpy when it's too hot during the Fall in Houston.
  8. I want to learn to be a trapeze artist.  Unfortunately the nearest school is in Austin (get it together, Houston......)
  9. When I used to go out, I would match my drink to whatever I was wearing.  Yellow and white polka dot dress - lemon drop martini.  Burgundy and pink striped sweater - pomegranate margarita.  Jeans and a t-shirt - amaretto on the rocks.
  10. I once saw a pedestrian get hit by a car while he was making eye contact with me.  It was only a glancing blow and he wasn't hurt, but it was the strangest thing to see.
  11. I once had lunch with Rue McClanahan.
My Nominees:
  1. How long have you been blogging?
  2. You have a plane ticket to anywhere in the world.  Where do you go?
  3. What's your guilty pleasure?
  4. What's your favorite blog post you've ever written?
  5. Who is your favorite fictional character?
  6. Werewolves, vampires, or zombies?
  7. What is your favorite movie quote?
  8. If you could live in any fictional world (from any book, TV show, or movie), which one would you choose?  Why?
  9. What's your favorite comfort food?
  10. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
  11. How do you handle writer's block?

Day in the Life, April 1, 2015

After a bumpy March, I'm looking forward to a better April.  Things definitely got off to a great, although super busy start.  I wish I was more creative and could come up with an April Fool's Day prank, but I'm just not that girl.  April 1st was a work day for me, and it's the only day we were able to take Jack to see the Easter Bunny.  I would've gotten a pic of him and the bunny, but they were pretty strict about no personal photos with the Easter Bunny even if you bought the professional package.

As usual, I take all my pics on my phone using Instagram, so if you want to see my Day in the Life posts in real time, head on over to IG and give me a follow.  So, without further ado, here's how my day went.

8 am
morning cuddles

9 am
Jack and Dennis make pancakes

10 am

11 am
on the way to the Easter Bunny

12 pm
post Easter Bunny rides at the mall

1 pm
boobie time before work

2 pm
at work

3 pm
in my therapy room
not taken while in with my client because, creepy

4 pm
between clients

5 pm
my ring holder
again, not taken during my session

6 pm
quick snack between clients

7 pm
off work, crazy husband

8 pm
playing Ingress while Jack sleeps in the car

9 pm
heading to Target

10 pm
trying to convince a tired toddler it's time to leave Target

11 pm
bedtime - finally!

So this day was pretty typical for a work day.  And see what I mean about schedules being off lately?  Jack usually goes to bed later than most toddlers because it fits our schedules better, but he used to go to bed almost a whole hour earlier, and let me tell you, that hour can make a big difference in what I'm able to accomplish.  But to be honest, we haven't done much to try to push Jack's bedtime any earlier.  Maybe by next month we'll have him on a better schedule (but I'm not holding my breath).

April Goals

Personal Goals
  • Date Night.  March was a dud of a month, but I'm not going to let that happen to April.  So I'm already looking for a night to have my MIL watch Jack so we can have a date night.  I'm not sure what we'll do - dinner and a movie sound nice and it's been forever since we've seen a movie in a theatre.  Only problem:  I have no idea what movies are in the theatres now.  I'm so out of touch!
  • Keep a Schedule.  There were a couple of weeks in March where I didn't really take the time to figure out my daily and weekly schedules.  I know this is partly because my ADD was making me feel super overwhelmed and I just didn't know where to start, but maintaining a to-do list and staying on top of how my time is spent is a big part in trying to manage all those distractions.  This month I'm going to work on staying on top of my schedule and actually trying to look at what needs to be accomplished and planned for in the immediate future.  How's that for trying to be an adult?  And, of course, I'll be using my Erin Condren Life Planner for all my scheduling needs.  Want $10 off a planner of your own, use my referral link, and we'll both get $10 off!

Fitness Goals
  • Finding a way to workout even if I can't run.  Running is my #1 go to for exercise.  Actually it's my only go to for exercise and if I'm not able to get in my run (if the weather is bad or Jack is sick or whatever), I don't have a backup plan.  I feel like crap both physically and emotionally if I don't run and there are plenty of ways to get moving without running.  Dennis thinks I should put on music and dance around the house for half an hour (fun but awkward, lol), and I know there are plenty of exercise videos for free on the interwebs.  Plus, I know we have a jump rope somewhere around here.  My point - I have options besides running and I need to start paying attention to those options.
  • Participate in a 5K.  Speaking of running, I missed the Bayou City Classic last month and now feel like I'm behind on my goal of doing three 5K runs this year.  It's a good thing I'm in Houston and there are literally more 5K races every month than I could actually run.  So I'm going to close my eyes and point to the list, pay my registration fees, and just do it!
  • I also found a FB fitness challenge for April.  You can join in here - it's not too late to start!
Financial Goals
  • No Overdrafts.  I'm ashamed to admit that I had one overdraft last month.  I transfer money between accounts and my transfer hadn't posted in time, so it's not like it was a neglectful financial oversight, but it was still an overdraft and I feel shitty about it.  So, no more overdrafts this year.  Seriously.  
  • Make a Budget.  Still haven't managed to do this.  I have no idea where to even start on this (probably why I'm almost 35 and still don't have a monthly budget).  I'll go back to YNAB.com and try to make a rough draft.  Maybe.  We'll see.

Home Goals
  • Morning and Evening Routines, plus a clean kitchen sink.  March was devoid of all routines except for my weekly Power Hour.  Adding a Morning and Evening Routine to the mix as well as keeping up with the dishes should be simple enough to do (maybe not easy, but simple).
  • Get Jack a new bed and organize his room.  Jack is almost two and a half and he's still squeezing into the co-sleeper from when he was a baby.  I like having him right next to me at night, but he's just gotten too big to fit anymore.  I don't know if we're going to put his new bed in our room or finally transition him to the sunroom next to our room (and like 5 feet from me).  Ikea, here we come.

Business Goals
  • March was a dud month all around and I completely neglected my Jamberry business.  Partly because I had a difficult hostess whose shenanigans I let completely take the wind out of my sails and partly because I'm spending a whole lot of time with it with minimal gains right now.  I know I could be seeing better gains in the business if I were better organized and managed my time better (again, ADD is wrecking my life).  Luckily, I've got the opportunity to be part of a group training with my Team Leader where I'm given small actionable steps to grow my business.  I do much better when someone helps me narrow down the literally endless options and ways for running my business and says, here, do this and ignore the rest.
  • Keep focused on the someday goal of having my own massage business. Eyes on the prize.

Blog Goals
  • Post regularly in April.  Don't have another March.  Duh.
  • Editorial Calendar.  At the very least, I'm going to write down on my calendar what I've posted even if I haven't pre-planned the post.  And I'm going to try to at least pre-plan a post or two to see how that goes.  Baby steps.
  • Spring Clean my Blog.  I went to the March meeting of the Houston Bloggers and they handed out a really useful list for blog spring cleaning.  All I need to do is go through the checklist.  Easy peasy.
Do you have any goals for April?  How do you keep track of what you want to do each month?

Day in the Life, March 1, 2015

March was a rough month, but not because of how things started out.  I was actually in Shreveport visiting my Mom on the first, so that was good.  But a week later, we had the time change, schedules got thrown off, we got sick, blah, blah, blah.  You know the schtick.  So here's last month's Day in the Life series, and maybe, just maybe, I'll get April's posted sometime in April.  Miracles do happen.

Remember, you can follow along on and see my photo an hour posts in real time over on Instagram, and if you're not following me, well, seriously, you should be following me.  I sometimes even post in IG when it's not the first of the month.  And some of those posts aren't even Jamberry.  I know I just blew your minds there.

7:30 am
Jack is up early and I'm trying to nurse him back to sleep

8:30 am
strong coffee because Jack didn't go back to sleep

9:30 am
Jack really wanted to play in the sink, and who is Grandma to deny Jack what he wants?
None of those are dirty dishes, btw, my Mom got out all those dishes just so Jack could play

10:30 am
Jack and Grandma are still playing in the sink and instead of cleaning the living room, I'm watching the only good adult movie on, Die Hard {affiliate link}

11:30 am
still playing in the water and practicing his newest skill

12:30 pm
Jack pretends he's sleepy, nurses a bit, but fights off his nap.  We're all exhausted and feel defeated.

1:30 pm
Chinese takeout.  Makes me hungry just looking at this picture.  Also found out that Jack LOVES egg drop soup

No 2:30 picture because, check this out, I took a nap.  Yes, me, myself, and I took advantage of the post Chinese takeout food-coma and the watchful eyes of Grandma, and I passed out for almost an hour in the middle of the day.  It. Was. EPIC.

3:30 pm
Shreveport had some snow a few days before we visited.  Mom saved some in the freezer so she could make a snowman with Jack.  Here's their creation.

4:30 pm
on the way to eat dinner with my Grandma, Jack fell asleep in the car and I took advantage of the opportunity to play some Ingress.  Don't know about Ingress?  Email me for an invite!  P.S.  Resistance is futile, join the Enlightenment!!

5:30 pm
we've arrived at my Grandma's, but Jack is still asleep

6:30 pm
Jack's favorite thing to play with at my Grandma's are these little brass ducks.  He takes them all over her house and calls them Mommy, Daddy, and Jack.  So cute.

7:30 pm
playing Jamberry BINGO in one of my FB parties

8:30 pm
Jack and his ducks

9:30 pm
almost bedtime

The next morning, we had to wake up at the ass-crack of pre-dawn to drive back to Houston, so we were both in bed by 10:30.  All in all, we had a fantastic day (and I'm so glad the first happened to fall on a day we were visiting my Mom).

No Blog March

You know how bloggers like to come up with a catchy thing and make their blog themed for an entire month, you know, like Blog Every Day in May, or No Spend January, or Clean Eating in April?  Well, I decided to come up with my own:  No Blog March!!!!  And it's been a HUGE success.  I figured since my blog was finally gaining some momentum and traction that it was time to self-sabotage and I quit writing cold turkey (really, you should try this.....really.....it's GREAT for your blog).  In the words of one of the most stable and well respected actors in the world, Charlie Sheen, "Winning!"  Unlike Charlie Sheen, my month long absence from blogging was not fueled by hookers, blow, and alcohol (but wouldn't that have been fun), but it was full of later than usual bedtimes (stupid time change), earlier than usual mornings (WTF?), fevers (stupid teething), and of course, a spring time cold (mine, not Jack's).  Good times.  Before I realized it, March was more than half over and I hadn't written a thing, so I figured, fuck it, let's make this A Thing.

I don't know exactly what went wrong in March, but our family schedule and routine just seemed way off and I couldn't seem to find any time to do anything.  And when I did find time to do something, my ADD would overtake me and I'd be paralyzed trying to figure out which of the million things I was behind on to try to focus on and accomplish (and yes, I'm bitching about my ADD again).  Needless to say, I've got more than a few half started things going on around here and not a single finished project (note to self:  find a doctor and get some effing ADD meds already!!!)

Here are some other monthly themes I brainstormed in case you're looking for inspiration:
Forget About Laundry in the Washer All April
Dirty All The Dishes in May
No-Poop Scoopin' June (for all the cat lovers out there)
Overdraft October
Binge Eat November
Seasonal Affective Disorder December

Here's to a better April.
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