Sunday, September 1, 2013

Day 1: Relationship Building

Whoa! I blasted you with a kissing photo on day one! Booyah!!!

This is on the ski-lift at the MN state fair from last month. We thought we'd get an early start on our perfect month of relationship building by displaying our affection publicly, then taking a selfie so that we could display it even MORE publicly all over again. This is the start of some major relationship growth. I can feel it. (In fact, where is that hottie? I want to kiss him more). Just kidding. Just trying to weed out those who are too weak to read this month.

Tonight was a nice start to a perfect month. We did this sit-outside-after-Lilly's-asleep thing once last month and decided that it was really nice. I was amazed at that time, and again, tonight at how much Matt has to say! For whatever reason, when I ask him about his day at dinner, he gives me the 30 second version, but when we're sitting out under the stars, I hear about his excitement, fears, anxiety,'s really fun.

Tonight he started things off by asking about how I'm feeling about next week. I described to him a few things that will make it an exciting week for me (Monday Matt stays home since it's Labor day, Tuesday I watch three two year olds, Wednesday is work, Thursday is our 20 week ultrasound, etc) and then I asked him about his coming week. He went on to tell me all about his current project with his research group and how things are progressing, his final class that starts on Wednesday, his thoughts about his research and progress in his PhD in general, etc. It was really nice and I realized that I need to make more of an effort to listen and understand what is going on in Matt's work-life. When we were first married, I could explain his research about as well as he could. I've lagged a bit on giving it the attention necessary for me to grasp it. It is really fun to hear him talk about what he's learning, though, and I do feel closer to him when I know he can talk to me about it and I will understand what he's saying.

Announcing: September's Perfect Month!!!

Welcome September! This is the first September in a LONG Time that I haven't been in school. And as much as I love school, it does feel kind of awesome to not be gearing up for another semester.

Sometimes it's hard for me to think of a topic that I care about enough to commit myself to a perfect month, but this month's goal is one that I have been thinking about for a long time and I feel extremely committed to and excited about.

I think cutting my hulu/netflix viewing down prepped me for this month by helping me realize how much time I have in a day and how I can better use it. This month, I've decided to spend time every day working on my relationship with Matt.

Here're the specifics:
  • We will spend time daily talking, just the two of us, after Lilly goes to bed. If the weather's nice, we'll grab our camping chairs and sit outside. (We'll open Lilly's bedroom window, lock the apartment, and sit outside within earshot of her window in case she needs us). If the weather's not so great, we'll do this in the living room on the couch.
  •  We will have a date every single week. A specific, planned, intentional date.
  • At least two of the 4 dates will be sans Lilly with a babysitter watching her 

Basically, we want to be these guys.

We had three awesome road trips last month and I'm happy to report that Lillian is now a pro. Matt and I had such a fun time talking with each other, I thought 'why can't we do this all the time?' Minus the 600 mile drive, of course.

Also, Matt and I hang out basically every moment that we're not working and often end up doing impromptu "dates" rather than really setting a specific time aside for US. I suspect that having a night that is officially a "date" rather than a "let's get dinner out tonight because I don't feel like cooking" will feel different. Like the good old days when I would dress up cute and wear body spray and all that adorable date-prep stuff. (Though I doubt that prep experience will be the same without 110-ers).

The last item is a bit radical. We probably average a date without Lilly every 4 months, if that. I'm kinda pumped about that particular part of this goal.

Alright, I'll keep you posted. Feel free to ask awkwardly personal relationship questions because I'm about to be a LOVE GURU.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Days 22-31: Extra Time

I'm baaa-aaaaack! And I didn't fail! Woooohooo! Despite epic failure to blog this month, after today I will have completed my perfect month of extra time. And honestly, I have gotten SO MUCH DONE!

Lilly has a dentist appointment, I have a dermatology appointment (when I finally set it up I found out the referral was expired--my doctor referred me there a few days more than a year ago....oh boy...). Basically, to spare you from a list of things I've done, I'll just tell you there are a lot of things like that that I've been putting off for a YEAR and are now officially crossed off my to-do list.

I have something way more exciting to blog about, anyway!

Last weekend, Matt, Lilly, and I (and baby-in-my-tummy) went on a roadtrip to St. Paul for one of my best friends' wedding! It was a blast and I have pictures to prove it!

We left Friday morning at about 5:30am, sleepy Lilly in tow. We fully expected her to sleep for at least a few hours, but.... NOPE. We fully expected her to cry and squawk and plead to get out of her carseat but....also NOPE. She quietly cuddled with her blankie the entire 4 hour drive to the hotel where Em had her breakfast. It was amazing! Matt and I felt like we were newlyweds again, talking and enjoying each others' company the whole way there! And I remembered...I love road trips! (Under the right circumstances, of course).

We got a little turned around in St. Paul and wound up about 20 minutes late for the breakfast, by the time we'd changed into our formals. Also, we realized we forgot to bring ANY shoes for Lilly and we'd forgotten to grab her dress from the car. So poor Lilly looked like a dirty little rag-a-muffin with messy hair and the white, stained t-shirt she was sleeping in. That did not keep Dave from being a complete lifesaver and holding her for us while we ate. Lilly LOVES him. The two bonded and played while we hung out with Emily and Jeremy, Deb, and the rest of the table.

The food was delicious and the hotel where the breakfast was held was breathtaking. Emily and Jeremy seemed so happy and it was fun to see them together.

After the breakfast, we headed over to the temple, but on the way swung by K-Mart to buy Lilly some shoes. She was so excited about her "Pwetty new white shoes!"

The temple sealing was beautiful and, yes, I cried. It felt to me like the sealer's words to Emily and Jeremy before the sealing were so specifically what the Lord wanted them to hear on this important day. Lilly got to hang out in the waiting room with Emily's sisters and cousins. (So sweet of them to watch her for us!)

Here's Lilly playing her favorite game of the day:

 And here are Em and Jeremy exiting the temple right after getting married! So cute. I love Emily's "now what?" comment.

Here is a Here are some pictures from after the wedding:

During the reception I decided to be the videographer, which left Matt taking care of Lilly all by himself (bless him!). They quickly found themselves at the playground across the street from the church. :)

Here, Lilly made her appearance at the reception and quickly found her favorite person there: Emily's dad, Dave. :) 

And her second favorite person, "Pwetty bwide Emiwy in hew pwetty white dwess!"

The three amigas reunited! We are ALL off the market now. Sorry, boys. It was also fun to see many other old friends who I haven't seen in a long time. Unfortunately, I was so busy with the video cam that I didn't get many pictures.

Now, in order to maintain some pretense about this post having anything to do with my goal, I'd better update: Friday night, IN THE HOTEL, with the BIG FLAT SCREEN HD TV, we watched one and only one tv show. Wooo hhoooo! I'm amazing. And Lilly was SO exhausted after her non-stop-from-5:30am-on-day, that she fell asleep in the car on the way to the hotel from the reception, stayed asleep when we plucked her out of her carseat, and didn't wake up until 8:00am the next morning. :)

Speaking of the next morning, we had a great time with my brother, Mark. He joined us for a morning swim in the hotel pool (which was sooo warm and comfy), then we spent the day at the Mall of America and the evening at his apartment where he made us a DELICIOUS homemade pizza.

Here we are at the MOA. Lilly was ecstatic to see a life-size (bigger than life size in her case) robot wandering the halls. She has been very into robots lately and even has her own costume, which I believe has already been featured on this blog.

We decided to splurge and check out the Aquarium while we were there, too. It was a blast! Unfortunately you can't see much of the fish in this picture, but it sure is a cute bro/sis pic!

Here we are at Mark and Len's place. We told them pretty last-minute that we'd be in town, and she had plans already, so we didn't get to see much of her, but Lilly loved every  minute that she was home. :)

And there she is bonding with her uncle, Mark, or as she called him: "Muncle."

Alright, I hope you'll all excuse my travelog, but I figured at least Emily and Mark would enjoy it. I'll do another post to wrap up what I learned from this perfect month, since it is officially complete!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Days 9-21: Extra Time

Hello everyone! I am back to report a shocking new development in my perfect month of "Extra Time."

Despite this entry covering days 9-21, I am coming back to report that my blogging has not (this time) been adversely affected by my utter failure at my goal!!

Or in other words, I'm still perfect with my one-show-a-day goal. I should admit that I made a slight adjustment (as I have in other goals, and for which I feel no remorse or shame). There was a day when I watched a show while Matt was at school, but really wanted to watch something quick with him that night. I decided that I'd watch two shows and use my "movie" chip for the week. Two shows basically equal one movie, right?

Ok. Glad we're square.

Now...about Lilly. Lilly's been developing her imagination lately, by pretending that robots are coming. Her daddy decided that he ought to encourage this new fascination and built her her very own robot costume!

Here is version 1.0

And version 2.0 (with paper glued to it to cover up the "Raisin Bran") In the picture below, she's making a  "robot face."

Okay. My plan was to hurry and hook you with cute pictures and then keep talking about myself, so here it comes...

I'm also happy to report that, although I still feel like there are a plethora of unnecessary time-vacuums in my life, I have managed to attack my "avoid list" since the last entry. Can't say that I've gotten to everything, but here are a few of the things I've done. (Remember, though these sound like pretty simple tasks, that some of them have been on my to-do list for several years).

  • Talked to co-worker about his contact with Centro Hispano
  • Called Centro Hispano about possibly starting a youth psychoeducational group there
  • Followed up with Eagle Heights about the same thing (need to do this again, though. I haven't heard back from them)
  • Attached my water-bottle cage to my bike
  • Called our insurance and found out we DO have dental coverage (WOOOO HOOO!!)
  • Gotten the phone number for our dentist (still working on actually setting appointments)
  • Completed the UW Health Initiative and already been rewarded with a nice fat pre-paid visa
  • Filled out "Therapist Specialty" form and emailed it back
  • Did online training for work
Wow. I was just looking at my last post's "avoid list" and I have actually done a lot more than I thought!

Go me!!!!!!!

For those of you who decided to join me in this perfect month, how is it going? I hope my lack of posts didn't cause anyone to fall off the wagon.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Days 7-8: Extra Time

Yesterday, as all Sundays are, was a crazy time-sucking vortex and I have no idea what happened to the day. All I know is that all the good intentions that I felt impressed to act on during the excellent Relief Society lesson fell flat when I got home and it was suddenly 12:00AM.

Just for the sake of completeness, I better not skip a chance to tell you what we watched last night.

Actually, now that I think about it, that's basically where all the time went. It was an hour and a half. Mystery solved. (Shameful)

Today, probably in response to yesterday's "what did I do all day" feeling, I worked as HARD as I could. In the morning, I took Lilly to the YMCA and dropped her in the daycare while I did the elliptical for 30ish minutes (ok, that doesn't sound like much, but anything over 5 minutes of cardio is hardcore for me).

Then when we got home, I did the laundry, washed all the dishes, cleaned the stove and wiped the countertops, made some banana bread (first time!) and swept the kitchen. Considering my dream of having the entire apartment spotless to surprise Matt when he got home, my results were actually kind of pathetic. I have had this dream many times since Lilly became mobile, but I don't think I've ever successfully accomplished it yet. Someday....

Anyway, it still turned out to be a more productive day than I've had in a while. Lilly even "helped me" clean by picking up a piece of food that she found on the kitchen floor and throwing it in the garbage.

As far as my goal to attack the "Avoid" list, I've done better than I have in the past, but it's interesting to see how there's a hierarchy of items that I'm avoiding and I happily do some before others. I think that's cheating. I'm supposed to start with the worst ones.

Here's what I HAVE done:

  • Set up meetings for work that I've been nervous about
  • Attended one of the meetings
  • Sent out emails for RS
  • Gotten completely caught up on case notes for work (woooohoo! This took almost an entire day)
  • Attempted to find the phone number for our dentist
  • Found out that it appears our insurance no longer covers dental (nooooO!!!!)
  • Tried to put the waterbottle mount on my bike (the one I bought a month ago)
  • Found out that we don't have the right size allen wrench to do that
  • Finally put the ice scraper back in the car (it's been sitting next to the door for months)
  • Make initial attempt at setting up Visiting Teaching visits
  • And probably some other stuff I forgot.

Now here's the list that I still need to attack
  • Call Centro Hispano about setting up counseling groups for kids
  • Follow up with EH Community Center about the same thing
  • Put the waterbottle on my bike
  • Call our insurance to hear them tell me to my face (kind of) that we REALLY TRULY no longer have dental coverage (Wah!)
  • Shop around for a dentist
  • Participate in UW health initiative where they test our blood and we fill out a questionnaire about our health habits so Matt and I can qualify to receive $100 each, which we will most likely then put toward our dentist visits
  •  Schedule dentist visits
  • Get dermatologist referral renewed
  • Set dermatologist appointment
  • Fill out "Therapist Specialty" form and email it back
  • Contact co-worker to find contact info for Centro Hispano
  • Do online training for work
  • Make appointment to visit WIC
I think that's it for now. It's funny what makes the "avoiding" list. I mean, I have a to-do list that's much longer, but these are the things that I usually put at the end of that list. Some of them have been at the end for a long LONG time.


What does this list say about me?

Oh. I know, I know! It says I'm pregnant (WIC)! Surprise! I meant to tell some of my close friends before posting it online, but I figure if you read my blog, you either ARE a close friend, or you deserve to be one of the first to hear, anyway. :)  I'm due at the end of January.

If you're someone who doesn't know me personally, I would be very curious to hear how you found the blog and what you think of it. Please feel free to leave a comment. I noticed that I'm starting to get a little traffic from mormonmommyblogs, so I'd love to hear from that/those readers.

Thanks to everyone who reads and comments. As always, it means a lot to me and it gives me the motivation to follow through on these goals.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Day 6: Extra Time

This morning, Matt, Lilly, and I biked to the capitol for the annual "Art Fair on the Square." It was fantastic, as it was last year. The art there is beautiful and inventive and the food is delicious, too. Lilly especially enjoyed dancing to the music and running on the lawn outside the capitol building. She wasn't as much a fan of being carried through the crowds of people and looking at the art. (Too bad. I kinda liked that part. (Well, the looking at the art part. No one carried me, but if they had I definitely would not have resisted the way Lilly did.)

There are a few pictures of her dancing with her papa. Here's a quick video:

And, a lot of pictures:

Dancing with Daddy

Lilly found these little sequins on the ground and started to collect them on her backpack.

Getting grumpy

Posing with some cool sculptures

Some art that she was allowed to touch!

Daddy just poured water on Lilly's head

She found a good spot


The spot's too little for Daddy

Drinking a free sample of cold juice

Hanging with the bikes!

Playing on the Federal Reserve Robot Chalk :)

A few moments after almost getting run over by the bike trolley! Yikes!

Lilly was really tired by the end and wanted to cuddle this sign. Hmm....

After Lilly's nap today, she found Mommy napping in Mommy's room. Daddy came in shortly after Lilly and got to play with us as Lilly set the scene for her first imaginary game (not counting using props to eat/drink).

Here's the scene: "The robots are coming with us!" (She often says "with" when she means "for") "The robots are coming in Mommy and Daddy's room!" (said with pretend fear and wonder in her eyes, and pointing at the ceiling). As we played along, we learned that they were "little tiny" robots, that there were two of them, they were "friendly" and one was coming into Lilly's room and one was coming into Mommy and Daddy's room (where we were all huddled on the bed defensively). We also learned that the one coming into Mommy and Daddy's room was a "girl robot." And that "we're family" and if "we cuddle" we'll be ok.

See all the fun things that can happen when I'm not watching TV?

Then Matt and I made funnel cakes and watched Doctor Who together. Wooo~! Fun day.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Days 3-5: Extra Time

You all thought I'd dropped off again like all those other times, right? Not so! I just didn't blog very faithfully, but here it is:

Wednesday was a slow day at work in that I only saw one client before the group I run, however, it was crazy day in that I managed to use those hours to do some intense catching up on notes. You may or may not realize that therapists have to do a TON of paperwork. Until recently, the agency I work at was actually doing this work on paper. Luckily, we have switched to electronic notes now, and that saves a lot of time. Unluckily, it took the first four weeks of my working there for me to get up and running on the electronic system, so I had four weeks' worth of paperwork to do.

I'm proud to say that I am completely caught up on all of my electronic notes (notes describing each of my individual sessions with clients as well as a note for each individual member of each week of group). There are just a few more paper-chart things that I need to finish in order to be completely caught up. WOooo Hoooo! And all because I didn't watch TV at work. (JUST KIDDING. I have never watched TV at work, unlike a few PhD students I know...cough cough).

Okay, Matt says no one actually does that. My apologies to PhD students who I know.

I better get on to the good stuff, though. I know that in this blog about limiting TV consumption, the greatest curiosity is: WHICH SHOW DID I WATCH????

So...on Wednesday we watched the Food Network's "Food Network Star."

On Thursday Lilly actually took a nap (this is becoming pretty rare these days) and I decided to watch one of my faves, "Switched at Birth," a show about two girls (and their families) who found out as teenagers that they were accidentally switched at birth. Super over-the-top high-school dramatic, but almost entirely squeaky clean. Fun!!!

Should I be embarrassed that this month's goal is turning into an advertisement for my favorite shows? Probably.

I learned something important on Thursday, though. Watching TV in the middle of the day makes me feel like BLUNK. (Made that word up just for this). I didn't get a chance to get anything much done before Matt got home, then when he was ready to relax I couldn't watch a show with him (like we do every night after Lilly goes down) and I didn't feel like working since he was chilling. I was very unproductive and unhappy.

So there you have it. I've learned something valuable from this month already.

Tonight, although we're behind on several of our favorite shows, we have already decided to watch the episode that will catch us up on Food Network Star. I don't know why, but we are both really loving that show right now. It's been cracking me up.

Woooo. Long one. That's what I get for not blogging for a couple of days. I should probably post a picture of Lilly on here, or I'll lose my family-followers.

This one's a few weeks old, but it cracks me up and deserves some publicity. This is Lilly in the bike trailer after a particularly muddy bike-ride. Poor thing. She was a pretty good sport, considering.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Day 2: Extra Time

Today I am EXHAUSTED. Whoo. I had a great day with Lilly and her little friend today. We are very blessed to have come to a wonderful arrangement with some friends re: babysitting. They watch Lilly on the one day/week that I work, and I watch their little boy once a week. Today was it.

We started at the mall, since it was rainy. I was hoping they could get some energy out in the little play-place, but it was closed. (For no apparent reason. No one was cleaning it, no one was working on it, it just had cones and stay out tape across the entrance). So we walked around the mall with our one-seater stroller taking turns sitting in the stroller and pushing the stroller (I never got a turn to sit in the stroller, but I always had a willing stroller-pushers to "help" me push when it wasn't his/her turn).

After lunch and naps, we played outside since the sun came out. For whatever reason, they always seemed to want to run in opposite directions.

I am tired now. Whoo.

That's where I started, huh?

But I'm proud to report that Matt and I just watched my one show of the day, "Food Network Star."

But, did I use the extra time well today? Did I tackle the to-dos that I've been procrastinating?


Somehow even with the little kiddies running amok I managed to go through Lilly's room and pull out her outgrown clothes, box them up and unpack a few outfits that should fit her now. I also re-wrote a work email when I realized that I accidentally sent it to myself yesterday, instead of the intended recipient. I have the two meetings that I've been putting off set up. No avoiding them now!

It is really amazing, actually, to see how easy it is to get these things done. Most of them are simple, easy things that I just didn't want to do.

Still need to find out who our dentist is....that's been on my list for over a year. (Yuck, right? We need to get those teeth into that office!!!)

Oh, and Lillian's eye is MUCH better, if you're wondering. Here's proof:

If you're reading, please comment. It means a lot to me. :) LOVE!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 1: Extra Time

Guess what, everyone? I DID IT!!! Wooohooo! I'm so back on the Perfect Month train. Today, I watched only one tv show, and I made it my guiltiest TV pleasure....The Bachelorette! That's right. Got together with some friends who share the guilty pleasure and had a fun girls' night. (Which, by the way, is going to happen for at least four more weeks every Monday).

So, I don't have a recent picture of the group, but here we are at a Bachelor-themed baby shower for one of our friends (who has unfortunately since moved).

Honestly, lest you all get the idea that I am a total TV bum, I will explain how today felt different from most days. (And it really did!) Usually, during Lilly's nap (or more recently her quiet-time in her room), I will sit down and watch a show or two while eating something that she would beg for if she were there. It's my "me" time when I relax and don't have to worry about caring for my adorable little toddler. Today, I used that time to get the to-dos I've been ignoring done, and it felt great! 

Today, I:

  • Sent two work emails that I've been putting off
  • Found out who my doctor is (haven't been to the doctor for ages....the dentist is next)
  • Set a doctor's appointment
  • Got my bum over to Costco and signed up for a membership
All things I've been putting off for a LONG time.

PAUSE!!!!!! Just noticed that the balloons in that picture make some really cool colorful shadows on the wall.

Random fact about today: Lillian woke up with a big red, swollen eye. :( I took her to the doctor and she said that it's nothing to worry about, probably a bug bite, and it will go away in a day or two.

A couple hours later it was much worse, to the point that she could hardly open her eye. :( Following my mom's advice, we bought her some benedril which seemed to help a little, but it's still pretty bad. I hope it's better tomorrow! Here's a couple sad pictures of my pirate baby:

That's all for today! Peace!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Perfect Month of Extra Time

Hi! I'm here to report another failed perfect month. You see this happens relatively frequently? I just like to keep the suspense alive, you know? Will she ACTUALLY follow through? Probably not, but....she has in the past....a LoooOoOoong time in the past....

Here's the deal: The perfect month of getting up at 6:30 was not in the cards. Matt, Lilly, and I all came down with something and it's making me EXHAUSTED. Even if it weren't, though, I learned on my mission that if you actually sleep a little more when you're sick, it works wonders and you get better a lot faster. (I must've been a slacker missionary, right?)

So, I could be a crazy perfectionist and just get up at 6:30 in the morning ANYWAY, or I could remember that the whole point of a perfect month is for it to make me happy. Losing any small allotment of extra sleep time would not be doing that for me right now.

Therefore, just to prove to you all that I am hardcore amazing and dedicated to my blog, I'm switching to a different goal.

Too much text. Here's a picture of Matt and Lilly after she finally calmed down from her 45 minute tantrum.

Back to text.

Since I was feeling motivated by the idea of having an extra 30-60 minutes to be productive each day (before Lilly woke up), I am going to run with that. But, I'm going to have to find that time somewhere else since sleep is indispensable right now. So, I'm calling this month the Perfect Month of Extra Time, meaning I am going to create extra time out of thin air and then use it well!

The fine print of my next perfect month, beginning tomorrow, iiis (drumroll.....)

  • A perfect month of not-very-much TV. To be specific, no more than one show/movie per day. Movies will only be permitted at the end of the day once a week (though I don't see that being a problem, we're more TV-series-marathons-on-Netflix-or-Amazon types around here.)
  • A conscious effort to use that free time to conquer my to-do list, STARTING with the stuff I most want to put off (learned this from Teri) OR to dedicate to special time for Lilly
Wooo. So there you have it. I'm going to create extra time out of thin air without even losing any of my much needed sleep. AND on top of it, I won't have to be ashamed of my couch-potato-ways anymore. (At least for a month.)

Wish me luck. And JOIN ME!!!!!! Seriously, anyone else watch too much TV? Jump on the bandwagon. I'm going for 31 days, starting tomorrow and ending on Friday, August 9th. Also, feel free to join me for the TV-A-THON-GORGE-A-GROSSY-ALL-DAY-TV party that is sure to take place on Friday, August 9th. (just kidding). Maybe.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Excuses in Pictures

Sorry I haven't had a perfect month for a LONG time...I've been busy! Finishing the last projects and papers, completing my final field hours, playing with Mom, Dad, Matt, and Lilly, getting sick for several weeks, looking for work, finding a job, getting sick again. :) It's been a bit crazy and I've been preoccupied, but I have been feeling like I need to start this again and I decided that as much as I'd like to go along with my former plan of letting my cherished few readers determine what the topic of my perfect month would be, I'm choosing my own.

Tomorrow begins the perfect month of getting up early. I am shooting for 6:30am. I'm not making any goals about going to bed early, but I figure that will come on its own if I know what's good for me.

By the way, all three of the sleeping Lilly pictures are from when she had pneumonia. Poor little baby.