Thursday, December 29, 2016

Tales from the Stay-at-Home Mom

Next week marks my first week as a true stay-at-home mom (SAHM from here forward for brevity's sake). I'm nervous, excited and worried. I have never been sure I would like this, but I know that now is the time to give it a shot. So here I go.

Since it's a new year, I thought I should put some goals to my year at home, and maybe I can keep up with some of the stuff I want to do:

1. Writing

I've neglected to write much of anything since having kids. I'd like to spend some time every week writing. With Marie's naps, it shouldn't be too hard to take a couple of hours a week to do that.

2. Meal Planning

I want to actually plan my groceries properly. Stop letting food spoil in the fridge. Start paying attention to sales and getting the cheap veggies and fruits. Have easy leftovers for lunches. So it's time to start true meal planning.

3. Budgeting

This is something I've always struggled with, but now that I'll be home, I can spend some real time looking at my budgets, analyzing what I'm spending and paying attention to how money is going out of our house. I know I can shop smarter, use services like Ebates and iBotta to get money back on what I'm spending. So now is the time to really dig into what I'm doing.

4. Exercising

This year, I'm running a marathon, come hell or high water. So it's time to sign up, and get serious about running again. I never feel better about what kind of shape I'm in than when I'm running long distances. I want to be healthy, happy and in shape by this time next year. I could care less what number is on the scale, as long as I fit in my clothes.

5. Home Improving

There are a ton of little things I need to do to make our house a home. And now that I'm going to actually BE home, I can do them. I need to give myself the power and the training to do things I always leave to Greg. All I need is a few YouTube videos and some motiviation, and I can do great things to our house.

That's it. Five things. I can focus on those things, and maybe by the end of this year at home, I might just want to do another one.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 - A Year To Accomplish Some Crap

While I'm sure no one is reading this anymore, I am posting here anyway. Because I need a place to put my goals for 2013 out into the world. So here goes:

1. Write every week

I've got an idea for a screenplay. I have a novel in the works that needs an ending. I have journals coming out of my ears. I have two blogs that I could be adding posts to. But for some reason, I don't find time to write. Yes, I have a child, a job, and a desire for down time, but I know that I could write more than I do. And if I did write more, my writing would probably see vast improvement. I used to be an excellent writer, but I feel like my abilities are dwindling. Like being flexible, if you don't stretch your writing muscles now and then, you start to lose your range of motion. So, I want to find something to write every week, whether it's here or at my other blog (The Tatums' Tot) or just in a journal. I might even make a spreadsheet to keep track if I'm doing it.

2. Accomplish Spring Cleaning

I found a list of 23 Spring Cleaning items everyone should do. I'd like to mark off at least 20 of them. (Because, let's face it, I am NOT going to wash all of the 90-year old windows in my house. I can't even get half of the windows open!) My house has not had a deep clean since we moved in. And that was THREE YEARS AGO. Unacceptable. There are probably dust bunnies the size of my dog hiding under the furniture.

3. Save Enough Money to Take a Vacation

I have fallen into a nasty habit of buying whatever I want whenever I want it. Well, no more. I want to take a fabulous vacation this fall with my husband, so it's time to break out the coupon books, do some comparison shopping and make myself really question if I actually need that snazzy little combination garlic-chopper/bikini line trimmer. I buy things I don't need. I buy things I already have. I get the name brands when generic would work just fine. So, I want to reduce our grocery bill and my monthly spending habits enough to save $150 a month. That will also cover the added expense of switching our baby's daycare to a closer, better facility.

4. Keep a Weekly Goal List

I've been using an app called Astrid to keep track of to-do lists. I've created one called "Weekly Goals" and am planning to keep 4-5 goals on it at all times. Then, as I accomplish one, I add a new one. Right now the list includes some things I've been meaning to do that I haven't taken care of.

That's it. Those are my goals. Now they're out in the world. Time to make some spreadsheets and hold myself accountable. Yikes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Racing (Or, the One in Which I Brag)

My coworkers at last year's race. I clearly didn't get the memo about taking off my jacket for the photo. 

This morning was one of my favorite days of the year - Race for the Cure in Tulsa.

I wish I had pictures to share, but I don't. Still, it's worth mentioning with or without photographic proof that I was there.

Two years ago on this day, I was keyed up and nervous, because I was about to run my first-ever 5K. It was a pretty big milestone at the time. I had started running a few months before, and the first time I ran, I literally wanted to pass out after a mile on the treadmill. My goal in the race was simply to run the whole thing without walking, which I achieved.

After that, each race I ran, I set a new distance goal. I did a 10K, a 15K, and by November of last year, I was able to run my first half marathon. I'll tell you - there are a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into training like that. Well, not really much blood or tears, but there was a helluva lot of sweat. Seriously. The bulk of the training for that race is in the middle of the summer. We have to get up to run at 5:45 a.m., just to ensure no one dies of heat stroke on our long Saturday runs. And you know I must love it if I'm willing to get up at 5:30 on a Saturday and drive somewhere to run.

Anyway, I digress. Race for the Cure is a great race. This year it moved downtown, which was FANTASTIC. It's always been by ORU, and that's great and all, but I'm pretty sure I almost fell asleep both times I ran down there. I mean, it was almost an out-and-back course that stayed on Riverside Drive. Pretty-ish, but you stare at a Cherokee Casino for about 2/3rds of the race. Awesome. On this course, we ran right by the BOK Center, through the downtown area, and around some historic buildings. Not that I was really looking at them. Mostly, I was focused on the 55-year old man in grey in front of me, trying like hell to make sure he didn't beat me across the finish line. I wasn't about to let that happen again. (At least it's not like the 6-year old that beat me two years before. Embarrassing.)

The first year I ran, I crossed the finish line at 31:42, which is a really great time for a first race. Or even a third race. Or 15th race. Whatever. I think it's pretty decent.

But I'm pretty sure this year I set a new personal record. The time on the clock was right around 26:30 when I crossed, which means I'm a little under that for chip time. Did you read that? 26:30. That's UNDER 27 minutes, which is my previous personal record. It means I was running at a smooth 8:40 mile through the whole race.

It also means I've been bitten by the speed bug. After the half marathon this November, my next goal will be to start improving my 5K time. I'd like to see a chip time of 24:00 or less by the time I hit my 30th year.

Race me?

Friday, September 16, 2011

What the What?

So, for about eleventy-one years (or, like...two), I've been annoyed with the Blogger interface. I mean, honestly. When I upload photos, I have to do it in reverse order that I want them to appear, because they ALL go to the top of the page, and I have to painstakingly drag each one down bit by bit through the post, since it doesn't auto-scroll, and the window was soooo tiny. Still, I admit that I am too lazy to work in HTML or find a new WYSIWYG editor. I mean, Blogger is here, and it makes my life easy because it's all Google, right? So I was ready to suffer the consequences.

And then....well hello there new interface. Look how lovely and simple you are! Look how your area for type takes up more than 1/16th of the page! And how simple the picture uploader became? Awesome. It mad it so easy to put a blurry picture of the Mister sewing a button onto his pants in 2008 right in the middle of this post. The first time.

I don't know about you, but I have just one thing to say about this shake-up:

It's. About. Damn. Time.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Belaboring Labor Day Weekend

First off, a disclaimer: I am not at this time pregnant, nor do I expect to be anytime soon.

That said, once we have kids, there is something I'm going to dearly miss -- the ability to pick up and go somewhere with only 2 days warning.Last week, on Wednesday, I suddenly thought, "Hm. It's Labor Day Weekend,
and we have no plans. We should go somewhere." I messaged the Mister, and within 12 hours, I had a hotel booked in Saint Louis for the weekend, and we had both gotten permission from our bosses to take Friday off. Sometimes spontaneity is really nice.

So, Friday morning-ish, we headed to Saint Louis, which is a 6-hour drive away. We began by going up historic Route 66, because really, who doesn't want to see a giant blue whale? I love that spot because it makes me think of a time when people were much less worried about lawsuits, and much more interested in having as much fun as possible. The Blue Whale is part of what used to be a swimming hole through the 60s and 70s. It was shut down in the early 80s, I believe. And although they maintain the whale, there are rotting corpses of other water activities that litter the pond, including what I assume used to be a boat, and a couple of docks that have clearly not been touched since the day the park closed for swimming.

Blue Whales can be under construction, too. It doesn't lessen the Mister's excitement.

Anyway, we headed onward and upward, getting onto 44 in Vinita and heading toward St. Louis. We arrived around 6:00 and checked into the hotel. There was a bit of
a heart attack on my part, because I discovered that I accidentally booked our dates for the following weekend. I suppose that's part of the risk when you do things in a rush. But the staff at the Renaissance Grand Hotel was so accommodating. Though my snafu clearly was a hassle, they never made me feel dumb, and just took the 10 minutes they needed to make all the switches and get us put up in a room. I couldn't have been more grateful for their kindness. I'll definitely be recommending the hotel for future visits, because in addition to their kindness, the room was well-kept, the hotel was beautiful and it was located in the perfect spot.

While in Saint Louis, we basically got our fill of all the sights we could - The Arch, Forest Park, the (FREE!) Zoo, City Museum (Greg had his mind blown over and over; I love that place), the Botanical Gardens, the Loop, the Anheuser Busch Brewery, and most of downtown.

I would like to say that I'm a giant, but really, no. That elevator is truly that small.

Some highlights include:
  • The Mister has owned a shirt that says "Rooster Cafe, Saint Louis" for about 2 years. He bought it at Old Navy in Tulsa, and always gets comments on it. ("Rooster Cafe? Have you been there? Is it really good or something.) So we couldn't help ourselves. We looked up Rooster Cafe in St. Louis, and low and behold, there IS a Rooster restaurant. It's not at the same address as on the t-shirt (which is clearly fake), but the stylization is so similar it's eerie. We actually ended up meeting the owner and he had HIS mind blown about it.
I mean, really. A coincidence? Both with art deco stylizing? Too weird.

Rooster = Delicious crepes and the greatest bloody mary menu I've ever seen.
  • On the Loop, there's a great restaurant called Pi that I would highly recommend. Of course it's pizza. It's called Pi. Great beer selection, friendly bartender, and excellent pizza. The most hilarious part is that the specially-brewed Schlafly beer for the restaurant costs $3.14. That made me laugh and the nerd in me rejoiced at their cheekiness.
The City Museum, which should basically be renamed "The Greatest Playground Ever" entertained us for a good long while. We don't have kids, so we got some strange looks when we decided to climb into small caves, and join the hundreds of children crawling through ceiling passages, but it never mattered to us. And PS - the 10-story slide is scary, but so worth the fear.I mean - look at this. You could literally crawl through the ceiling right about where I was standing.

This place is truly nuts. In the best way.

10 stories of sheer terror

St. Louis was a great weekend trip. I'd go back in a heartbeat. I feel like there's plenty more we could do, especially if we had some kids to take along.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

This is What I Do

From reading other blogs, I’m starting to learn that some day-to-day activities are worth writing about. I find it interesting knowing what people are doing each day. And I know looking back that my own life will be interesting. So, here, in no particular order, is what I’ve been up to:

I’m yet again training for a half marathon. The Mister and I have been doing it together this year, which has been nice. Each Saturday morning, we get up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m. to meet a training group put together by RunnersWorld Tulsa by 5:45. I feel really lucky that we have such a great organization here in Tulsa. They put together routes, water stops, find group leaders for pace groups and give us weekly encouragement through email. This week will be 9 miles – a distance PR for the Mister. Saturday’s route isn’t exciting like some of our routes that have taken us through downtown Tulsa and around some of the most beautiful historic neighborhoods, but it will be a welcome rest. It’s a down-and-back on Riverparks trail, which is mostly flat, and very easy. We’ve been running hills every week for what seems like forever. By the time of the race, I’ll feel grateful, but right now I’m just annoyed at how hard it is.

I’m thisclose to starting my thesis research. Right now I’m going back and forth with my adviser on my prospectus for my committee members. I give it to them today (I hope) and meet with my committee in full for the first time on September 9. That’s a pretty big deal, as it will give me their complete input on my research before I finalize IRB applications and submit for review. With any luck, after this meeting, I’ll be able to submit my applications by September 15, and be ready to begin my research by October 3. Exciting. Terrifying. This is the life of a graduate student.

Work is becoming more responsibility. So far this year, I’ve been to Kansas City twice, Phoenix, and there are plans for another trip to Kansas City and possibly Dallas as well. Somehow, I’ve avoided going to our corporate offices in Chicago so far. Although, I’m hoping at some point to get up that direction. Maybe it’ll coincide with a weekend, and I can make a mini-vacay out of it. Who am I kidding, though? They’ll send me up on a Tuesday night, I’ll have to stay in Zion (which has been described as “the armpit” of the state by many of my coworkers), and they’ll pack me so tightly with meetings and dinners that I’ll be lucky to see the inside of my hotel room for more than 6 hours. For sleep. But really, getting to do any travel is pretty exciting, so I’m not complaining too much.

Home has been pretty calm lately. Greg accidentally flushed one of my hair product bottles down the toilet (don’t ask how – he CLAIMS it was an accident), and now we’re pretty sure the toilet is down for the count. During the process of trying to fix it, however, we discovered that if you take the toilet in the backyard and fill the tank and bowl, you can flush it just like in the house. And it sounds EXACTLY the same. Perhaps it’s sad that this fascinates me, but I live an exciting life, so there you go. I’m crossing my fingers that by the end of September we’ll have a new toilet in the bathroom and a new planter in the backyard to go with our “bathroom gardening” theme. We might have to paint the toilet blue, though.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Novel Idea

About three years ago, I decided to do NaNoWriMo. I had an idea worth writing about (I thought) for the first time in my life. Something that was novel-length, at least. So I wrote. I participated, and tried to get to my 50,000 words. I didn't quite make it, topping out at 30,000. I got to what I thought was the end of my novel, but it didn't sit right with me. So, I left it for about a year and didn't touch it.

I returned a year later, and decided on a new ending for my novel. Unfortunately, the new ending only made the novel shorter and even less satisfying. I was losing ground quickly, so again I boxed the novel up and walked away.

Then, about two months ago, I began thinking of my novel one more time. And this time, rather than begin writing, I decided to read. I went to Amazon and found a few books I had wanted on the topic my novel covers. I bought the books, and sat down to read them. I found myself absorbing the first book at record pace, as far as nonfiction goes, anyway. I was underlining passages, making notes in the margins like, "This would make sense!" or "Add this aspect in." At some point, I grabbed a piece of notebook paper to use as a bookmark, and soon found that I had filled an entire side of the paper in tiny scrawl of different things I wanted to add to my novel.

There are three points that have plagued me since I started this thing - The title, the main character's name and the ending. Last night, I came to a conclusion on two of the three, with only the character's name left to decide. It was kind of surreal, though, as I sat and read a passage in my research book and suddenly saw my novel's title in plain print. Like it was waiting for me all along.

With any luck by the end of this year, I will have a novel finished, a thesis completed, and maybe a few more things accomplished, too. What a year it's been.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Semester Ends, and Life Begins

On Thursday, I submitted my final paper for the semester. It felt so good to let that last thing go off into the ether of the interwebs and declare myself done for the semester. Unfortunately, I had to celebrate by going to Kansas City for work, and there wasn’t any time to play around in the Power and Light district. Still, it’s made the short list of places I want to return to with the Mister. I’m already imagining a weekend getaway in our near future.

I feel like I’m closing in on an important milestone in my life. I have less than a year before I’ll finish all the requirements for my master’s program. This summer I’ll spend some time finalizing the structure of the research I want to do, and this fall I’ll spend half the semester conducting the research and then I’ll set down to analyzing and writing the actual paper. A year ago, the thought of writing this thing sounded like a ridiculous dream. But now that I’m coming upon it, I’m starting to feel more confident about it. The craziest part? When I’m finished with my thesis and I go to defend it in front of my professors, I will be the expert in the room. Me – an expert. That’s just nuts.

School tends to take up a large amount of my time during the semester. I find myself spending more evenings than I want attached to a book or an article, attempting to hurriedly read for school, complete the next project, do the next discussion post. I miss out on evenings with my Mister, good times with friends and more than one glass of wine as I attempt to make something better of myself. Make a librarian of myself.

But, for the next month, I’m going to pretend that school doesn’t really exist. That I’m being paid to read Margaret Atwood and Jasper Fford. That someone is judging me on how well I play Lego Indiana Jones with the Mister. That baking is the only thing keeping me alive. (Cake balls, here I come!) I might even throw in some organizing and cleaning so that the Mister will think I’m some sort of WonderWife. It will be an epic month off.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happily (Or, The One In Which I Become a Hopeless Romantic)

I got up at 3:45 in the morning yesterday to watch two strangers get married. Well, strangers to me. They weren't strangers to each other. At least I hope, after 8 years together, they would feel they know one another pretty well. But that's beside the point.

When my alarm went off, I was out of bed quickly. Of course, I set myself up for success – my slippers by the bed, coffee ready to brew without additional help, a bathrobe within reach, and the TV already set to the right channel, so within five minutes I could be on the couch with a hot cup of coffee and the coverage on the TV.

I was riveted through the entire wedding. The look on her face when she walked down the aisle, the way her hand shook in her father's as she paraded through 2,000 people. Her measured smile as she reached her fiance at the end of that harrowing stroll. Everything was gut-wrenchingly perfect. It felt restrained, like reading a Bronte novel. My heart was in my throat for this couple, who had no choice but to put this strangely solemn yet happy moment on international display.

The fervor of my interest surprised even me. It's unlike me to get up quite that early for anything but exercise or traveling, but I was happy to do it. Does that mean I'm a romantic? I certainly hope it does. I hope it means that my entire life I'll be searching out passion, watching fairytales unfold before my eyes, and always believing that they will turn into happy endings, despite the world's woes.

Today I'm asleep on my feet. But yesterday, I was in love with the world all day, and I sent every positive thought I could spare toward this new couple. Because if their fairytale truly is a fairytale, I think even the most cynical among us might be able to believe in the possibility of our own happily ever afters.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Disco Steve

So, I saw this chart on Mashable (I’m a nerd at heart – deal with it), and while I understand what it’s trying to get across about the affect of Napster on music sales, I couldn’t help but notice this little piece of it:

Further proof that disco? They were tired of it even at the time. I can't say I'm surprised.

Happy Weekend!