Thursday, March 21, 2013

Forced Nesting

What a month! Or two months. Or winter, really. It seems like everyone I know {and everyone I don't know for that matter} has spent the last two months fighting off sickness after sickness after nasty, annoying sickness. Our house was struck hard a couple weeks ago when Gehrig woke up with a horrible stomach bug {my nightmare, realized}. A week later I woke up with the same bug {another nightmare, realized}. After 12 hours of agony, I also noticed that my Braxton Hicks contractions were feeling awfully strong and strangely close together. A call to the midwife and several more hours of awful brought orders to go to the hospital so they could stop my contractions and monitor me. Long story short: everything's fine and baby's staying put for now. But it did put us on high alert and reminded us that anything can happen...meaning I should probably get ready for this baby's debut.

Thanks to two amazing women (my mom and mother-in-law, who both rushed to the rescue while I was sick), our house got a good, thorough cleaning and, most impressively, the laundry got all caught up. Since then, I've decided to follow a cleaning schedule that will help me maintain an organized house and maybe not have a panic attack the next time we're on our way to the hospital with the prospect of bringing a new person home with us.

So here's what I've been doing on top of the usual picking up clutter and cleaning the kitchen every day:

Monday: Laundry {although, let's be honest, this chore usually takes me until Wednesday to finish}
Tuesday: Clean bathrooms
Wednesday: Floors {vacuum and mop}
Thursday: Miscellaneous project {pick a closet to organize, wash windows, etc.}
Friday: Dust surfaces

Maintaining the clean has always been my biggest challenge, so getting into this routine has made my life much simpler. Instead of a whole day spent doing chores, I just spend a half hour or so each day and the house stays fairly clean.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Liebster Award

I just found out that Amber of Dimples and Pigtails nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you, Amber!

The Liebster Blog Award is given by bloggers to other bloggers who have less than 200 followers or have been blogging for less than six months to show newer bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs. Gosh, that makes a girl feel good!

The guidelines for the award are this:

1. Post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions your nominator created for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose bloggers {with less than 200 followers} you love and link them in your post.
5. Leave me a comment on this post with the link to your Liebster post so I can read your answers.

Here we go!

My 11 Random Things:

1. I'm the youngest of five kids. Our family gatherings are loud and chaotic and I love it.
2. I hate being touched behind my ear. Weird, right? Whenever I tell someone this, they immediately try to touch me behind the ear, which I think is even weirder. Why do you have to test the theory? Trust me. I will freak out.
3. I studied abroad in Ireland during college and it remains one of my best life decisions. 
4. I have my MA in English Language & Literature.
5. My husband and I met the summer after I graduated high school when we both worked at a golf course. We officially started dating the day before I moved away to college. We had a long-distance relationship for almost 4 years before getting married in 2008. Turns out, we like each other a lot in close proximity, too.
6. I once ran a half marathon. Typing that felt like a lie, but it really is true. I am by no means a runner, but it's something I would like to get better at someday.
7. Smoothies might be my very favorite food.
8. I'm a full-on emetophobe, a word I recently learned to describe my very serious anxiety toward vomiting. This is an unfortunate phobia to have when your entire family comes down with the stomach flu, as mine did this past week. Immersion therapy, I guess...
9. I secretly {well, not anymore} think it would be so fun to be a wedding planner. I'm a little bit obsessed with wedding shows and I think it's crazy how much people spend on weddings. My sister and I have discussed how great it would be to help people plan weddings on a tight budget. One of many dream jobs I have...
10. I love living in Michigan. I'll love it even more after this harsh winter is over and the beauty of Spring arrives.
11. I have a lot of freckles in the summertime.

Questions for Me:

1. Why did you start blogging? My husband and I started posting to a blog when we were expecting our now-2-year-old son. We didn't live by any family and wanted to keep everyone up to date on how the pregnancy was going. Now, I use it as a way to document projects I make and, more than anything, keep up on writing because I love writing as an outlet, but I don't do it enough.

2. What is your favorite part about blogging? As I do it more, I am realizing how easy it is to communicate with other bloggers and give/get support. I could just write things down in a journal, but it's so fun to get and {hopefully} give inspiration to other people online. That's something I didn't expect.

3. Do you have a favorite place to thrift/shop? I don't do a lot of "thrifting," although my town {Grand Rapids, MI} has some pretty fun antique and thrift shops that, if I didn't have a wild child in tow most of the time, I might spend more time in. So, I have to go with the old standby, Target. I could spend hours there and I love that you can leave with a new pair of shoes, ice cream, mascara, and laundry detergent. One-stop shopping for all the necessities.

4. What do you wish you knew more about? So many things! I really want to become a better seamstress. And I would love to know more about gardening, especially now that we own a house.

5. What is your favorite item in your house? If we're talking material items here, I must say I have a special appreciation for our living room couches. Up until this past fall, our furniture was just a hodge podge of hand-me-downs from family members. I love our new, matching couches, and they make me feel like a real-live grownup. I'm also completely smitten with the bookshelf my brother-in-law made us for our wedding. I kind of can't believe how talented he is.

6. What do you do when you're not blogging? I work part time teaching English courses at a community college. I am also in the midst of starting my letterpress business, Patterns Press, where I design and make invitations and other paper-based products. Most of the time I'm home with my son, playing "pee-pall" (baseball) and putting train tracks together, only to see them torn apart a minute later. 

7. What's your best yard sale/thrift store find? I found a beautiful mirror tray at a local antique store that I have on my dresser for jewelry. I love it. It reminds me of something my grandmother would have, and she's a classy lady. 

8. Do you have a talent? What is it? I'm a pretty good writer. Not necessarily in blog format {digging for compliments...}, but ask me to write a poetry exposition or a literary analysis and you'll get yourself one dynamite essay. I know, it's a talent that will take me oh-so-far in life. I'm also semi-decent at playing hairdresser. I've helped with hair for several weddings and always thought it would be fun to go to beauty school and do hair all day.

9. What inspires you on a daily basis? Lately I've been so inspired by the women in my life. My sisters, my mother, mother-in-law, grandmothers, friends, cousins, and bloggers {who I pretend I actually know}. I have so many female relationships that offer me inspiration in different areas of my life. How to be a good mother, a hard worker, a supportive wife, a faithful friend, a creative spirit - the women I know teach me so much, whether they realize it or not.

10. Do you have a favorite blog? Why do you like it? I have a lot of favorite blogs, but Camp Patton might take the cake. Grace is hilarious in the way she recounts the daily with three littles. I secretly pretend I'm friends with her, which I'm convinced would up my cool factor by about a billion. 

11. What is your favorite pattern? I love this question! I'm a little bit in love with patterns {hence the name of the blog...}, but I'm having trouble coming up with a favorite. I think half my closet is made up of polka dots, but I also love a good chevron {Once again, obvious on the blog}. A lot of my sewing projects tend to involve paisley prints, too. The list goes on...

Bloggers I Nominate {Some of these have already been nominated by others, but I strongly "second that!"}:

Questions for My Nominees:

1. What is your dream job?
2. If you could meet anyone, who would it be? Why?
3. Do you have a favorite recipe you can share?
4. Do you have a guilty pleasure? {TV show? Food? Drink?}
5. Where is your favorite place to visit/travel?
6. If you won the lottery, what's the first thing you would do?
7. What is your favorite part about blogging?
8. What do you love most about the town you live in?
9. What is your favorite item in your closet?
10. What's your middle name? {I'm a little fascinated by middle names...and I like to know them}
11. Do you have a favorite author? Who? Why?

Whew! Congrats on making it through that whole post. Thanks again, Amber!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

March Goals {& how february stacked up}

I've been setting small goals for myself at the beginning of the month, hoping the shorter time frame will make them more achievable. February went fairly well, although I still have work to do in the exercise department. I did limit my shopping, though, and only cheated to buy myself a new pair of flats {I chalked this up to necessity since the heels I was trying to pull off while teaching in the evenings were not agreeing with my swollen feet.} That's excusable, right? 

I also tried a few recipes last month that were, overall, pretty good. These oatmeal-quinoa bars didn't go over as well with the picky toddler portion of the household as I had hoped, but it was worth a try. I also made some carrot muffins {the recipe for which I won't even post because I had so few of the actual ingredients that they ended up being some sort of crazy adaptation that turned out just OK}. However, this pot roast was definitely a success. I haven't had much luck with roasts in the past, but this recipe is worth passing on. Easy, yummy. A winning combination.

Now for March:

1. Finish craft projects. Starting things is a strength of mine. Finishing them? Well, I'm gonna work on that this month.

2. Read. I have two books on my nightstand waiting to be finished, and a few more on my radar that I'd like to get started. 

3. Look up more. It freaks me out slightly to think that I'm having another baby next month. I'm realizing that my time with Gehrig as my only child is dwindling quickly. That being said, I want to enjoy my time with just him as much as possible and there are far too many useless distractions that tend to prevent that. So this month I'm going to limit my time on my phone and computer to nap/bed times so that I can really soak up these last months without a newborn.

That's all for now. What are some of your goals for the coming month?