Monday Morning Chit-Chat: 30 Day Marriage Challenge

Happy Monday!!  This is my last full-week of work before our family vacation in Hawaii!  Whoohoo!

Today’s Monday Morning Chit-Chat is brought to you by My 1/2 Dozen Daily:

The cutest little pumpkin in the pumkin patch!

On Sunday we took a trip out to the “country” to visit a place called Bates Nut Farm . . . I was warned that it would be crowded but OH. MY. GOODNESS it was insanely crowded – and HOT!  The car thermometer on my parent’s car said 92 degrees!  That is way too hot for autumn.  Unfortunately, we are in for a week of high temperatures – apparently the weather hasn’t gotten the message yet that it’s time for scarves, boots, tights, hats and mittens!!

What are you…

  • Reading: Yup . . . still on “Game of Thrones” . . .
  • Watching: We got caught up on Survivor last night – okay episode, feel bad that the one team keeps losing!
  • Listening to: the sounds of coughing!  The little one and I are both sick with chest colds.
  • Cooking/Baking: Tonight it’s a pre-made tuna casserole from the freezer.  I love it when my past-self has the foresight to help her future-self out with dinner! 
  • Happy you accomplished this week: I got a lot of solid work done at the office.  . . important because I’ll be out for three weeks on vacation at the end of October/early November!  Can’t wait!
  • Looking forward to next week: I’m splurging a little bit on some self-grooming treatments I normally would not do (i.e. waxing/pedicure) for the vacation I just mentioned.  I’ve only been waxed once and it was INCREDIBLY painful but I really don’t want to deal with my bikini-line and I expect to be in a swimsuit a lot on vacation!
  • Thankful for today: my voice . . . today I have laryngitis (a side-effect of that cold) and I can barely talk.  Makes me miss my voice and realize how hard it is communicate without it!! 
  • Bonus question: What time do you go to bed & wake up in the morning? I usually go to bed about 9 p.m. and get up around 5 a.m.  Usually I read a book until I’m sleepy – but that doesn’t take long!  I’m a person that needs a solid 8 hours each night.

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I decided to do a 30-day Marriage Challenge (links to a PDF of the challenge).  I really appreciate my husband and all that he does for me/our family.  As a two-parent working-outside-of-the-home family, it’s easy to just be on the go ALL the time.  Because we don’t necessarily have traditional husband and wife roles I don’t always “act like a wife.” To be honest, I’m not TOTALLY sure what I mean by that (and I don’t mean anything derogatory towards women who are stay/work-at-home moms with more “traditional” family roles). Anyway, the point is that I want my husband to know how wonderful I think he is and hey, why not focus 100 percent on my BFF and love of my life for a month?

 I’ll be skipping around the challenges rather than going in straight 1-30 order just because it’ll be easier to do something like bake a treat just for him (#6) on a weekend. I’ll try to remember to update weekly! Anyone interested in  playing along? 🙂

I’m still here!!

I guess I took a bit of an unplanned blog hiatus.  I didn’t mean to but life just got in the way I guess.  But I’ve really wanted to revisit this blog many times over the last few weeks . . . and I’ve been REALLY wanting to comment and socialize with other bloggers, but I felt like I couldn’t until I updated here! 

Here’s an abbreviated version of what happened over the summer:

Celebrated AJ’s first birthday at the park with family and friends:

Happy 1st Birthday!

I made a vanilla cake and cupcakes frosted with raspberry buttercream icing . . . which proceeded to melt on the crazy hot day (but they were pretty while it lasted!).

Cake!

AJ took swim lessons on Saturdays at the Y and enjoyed ALMOST every minute of it (not so much a fan of the dunking but the “motor boat” song was a definite highlight of every lesson):

Playing at the splash pad before swim lessons.

We took a Saturday drive up to Huntington Beach to visit an old Air Force buddy of DH’s.

Enjoying the sun and surf on the HB pier.

 One Sunday afternoon in September we went to our local Oktoberfest for some brew and bratwurst (well, I enjoyed the brat, DH passed being that he’s a veggie):

AJ enjoyed “dancing” to the music. Cute stuff!

There were other things too but mostly I can sum it up as: trips to the park, trips to the park and more trips to the park. And we worked and cleaned and made meals and saw friends and family . . . Overall it was a good if not slightly mellow summer. 

And now for a Monday Morning Chit Chat post – it’s been a LONG time since I participated and happy to be back! (Brought to you by My 1/2  Dozen Daily).

Captivated by the leaves and sky!

Reading: Yup, I’m still plodding along with The Game of Thrones – about 70 percent through a Book 3 and woah!  FINALLY things are starting to happen and get interesting!

Watching: Real Housewives of Miami on our DVR this morning.

Listening to: Miles Davis – a little jazz on this over cast day puts me in the mood to write!

Cooking/Baking: I prepped spinach and artichoke baked pasta yesterday for tonight’s dinner.  Can’t wait!

Happy you accomplished this week: I’m happy that we had such a good weekend – a great balance of time at home to do chores/prep/laundry while getting in some quality time with friends and with just DH and my girl.  It’s hard to find that balance but this weekend we actually did!

Looking forward to next week: Saturday DH and I are checking out the Open House of a new townhouse development – we are feeling ready to think about buying a home of our own and this will be the first time we actually go check out a property other than just do neighborhood drive-bys.  On Sunday we are taking AJ on her first trip to the pumpkin patch!! 

Thankful for today: A really lovely weekend leaving me feeling refreshed and ready for the week ahead.

*Bonus Question*

Do you “switch out” your purse when the seasons change? No, not really.  In Southern California the season change is very subtle. As it gets cooler I do tend to work in more of my fall and winter clothes but let’s be real, my version of winter clothing is probably a lot different from a person’s who lives in the mid west and deals with snow and other chilly elements!  I’m carrying a black canvas purse right now with leather detailing (a second-hand Coach) and will probably continue to carry it through the end of the year and into 2013.

Monday Afternoon Chit-Chat: Park Edition

We went to the park three times this weekend! It’s our new favorite weekend activity.

This week’s Monday Afternoon Chit-Chat brought to you by Carla:

Reading? Working away (about 25% complete) on book three of “Game of Thrones.” Keeping all of the characters and plot lines straight is good brain exercise!  There so many layers to these books but I’m enjoying the series immensely!

Watching? I wanted to watch The Bachelorette finale last night but no dice, it seems like the audio on our TV went out.  Hope it’s not permanent!

Listening to? Random office noises.

Cooking/Baking? This week’s menu includes fish, cous cous and zucchini (tonight), pasta with feta, tomatoes and spinach (tomorrow) and Mexican Casserole (Wednesday & Thursday). Yesterday I made a really yummy blueberry oat bread – I hope to have time to post about it later this week, it turned out so good!

Happy you accomplished this week? Ah, my mind is coming up blank.  I guess I’ll say I’m happy that I accomplished mopping the kitchen and entryway floors on Sunday. That’s one chore that often gets pushed aside for other tasks.

Looking forward to this week? I’m looking forward to having a day off on Friday.  I’m also taking Thursday off but am not as excited about it – I’m going to be hanging out with my step-mom in the hospital waiting room while my dad has surgery to remove a few teeth and some precancerous gum tissue.

Thankful for today? That a recent CAT scan revealed that the abnormal precancerous cells found in my dad’s gum haven’t spread to his jaw bone.

*Bonus Question*

What is your favourite summer food and/or drink treat? I love, love, love summer fruit: citrus, peaches, melons and, my personal favorite, blue berries!!  And everything is so inexpensive, too!

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Our weekend was yet another whirlwind.  My dad and step-mom came to AJ’s last scheduled swim lesson at the Y.  The lesson was cut short about 10 minutes into it. I’m not sure why but everyone was ordered out of the pool – I can only speculate that one of the kids had an accident! They opened the splash pad so DH and AJ had fun playing there for the remainder of the lesson time.  Later in the afternoon, after AJ’s nap and our lunch, all of us went to the park. It was the first time AJ was skilled enough with walking to enjoy roaming around the playground equipment. My dad had so much fun showing her how to climb the stairs to a small slide.  As it turns out, she’s quite the thrill seeker! I got a great video of her gleefully laughing as we pushed her on a swing.  It was so cute!

On Sunday, while DH was surfing mid-morning, I decided to take the baby to another park nearby. We ate lunch in the shade of a tree and we roamed the playground equipment again before heading out the grocery store (I need to post an update in another post but I’m still doing the envelope/cash system and it’s working out great!). In the afternoon I got about 90 minutes to myself while DH and the baby napped together – that was pure decadence!  I finished knitting AJ a winter beanie (more on that this Wednesday).  We wrapped up the day with another trip to the park – it’s truly the best way to wear the little one out.  She slept so soundly last night . . . and so did I!

 Have a great week, everyone!

Peace and love,

Margie

 

Monday Morning Chit-Chat: Pool Edition

Water Baby! AJ loves splashing in the pool.

Ugh, I really want to blog more regularly but it seems like all I do is post these Monday morning posts (brought to you by Carla)!  Oh well, at least it’s better than nothing! What are you….

Reading? A knitting pattern for a winter beanie (with ear flaps!) for AJ.  I just have to put the finishing touches on it and it will be done!

Watching? Last night I was watching Bridezillas.  I wasn’t kidding when I said that trashy reality t.v. is my indulgence when everyone else is asleep in bed! 

Listening to? Garth Brooke’s Greatest Hits album – borrowed from one of DH’s co-workers. DH and I saw Garth Brooks live in concert at the LA Staple Center back in 2007 (or was it 08?) and it was the best concert of my life.  He was amazing and I’d love to see him again sometime.

Baking/Cooking? I made these delicious blueberry lemon scones on Saturday while my mom was here and playing with AJ (having someone to distract the baby makes baking in the kitchen so much more pleasurable!). I also made this tomato cucumber salad.  On the menu this week is black bean sliders and zucchini corn quesadillas.

  Happy that you accomplished this week? I’m still on budget for eating out and grocery shopping using the cash-only envelope system. I’m pretty proud of that – it hasn’t been easy!

Looking forward to next week? I’m looking forward to my dad and step-mom being back in town and seeing them this weekend!

*BONUS QUESTION*

What goal is your top priority right now?

My top priority is keeping healthy, home-cooked meals on the table in the evenings.  This is the key to staying under my food and eating out budget! 

Ok, your turn!!

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It was a busy, long weekend.  I took a half-day off on Thursday to go to DH’s company picnic at Morley Field.  It was such a hot, humid day and something that I did not want to attend with the baby but we went anyway.  DH was proud to introduce me and the baby to his bosses.  He’s relatively new to the company (started in December 2011) so I’m glad I was able to attend and help make a good impression to his higher-ups.

Friday was my “Mother’s Day Off”.  I take a day off during the work week every other month so that I can get my hair done at the salon (a 2.5 hour process) and run errands or do chores without being interrupted.  I can get so much accomplished on these days even with an entire afternoon spent in the beauty chair.  The day went really fast but my hair looks great and I was able to clean my bathroom, do some laundry, scrub down the kitchen and pick up around the house.  I wish I had a day off every week to do these types of things!

Saturday was AJ’s fifth swim lesson at the Y.  My mom met us there and she was thrilled to watch the 30 minute lesson.  Then she came over and played with the baby while I did some baking.  My mom and I have an interesting relationship.  Basically, she drives me absolutely nuts . . . but the baby loves playing with her.  She stayed a few hours past my “mom threshold” but we managed okay.  Sometimes I wonder what my adult relationship with AJ will be like.  Will she feel the same way about me that I feel about my mom?  I will feel successful as a mother if we can have a much better relationship and understanding.  I hope we can truly be friends when she grows up.  Sigh.

Sunday was lovely and relaxing.  DH had to go into work for a bit so I went to C and E’s place.  We splashed in the pool (first time I was in a swim suit since the baby was born . . . blah), BBQ’d burgers and got some sun (a little too much sun in my case! I burned my back). 

And now the week begins!  Have a good one everyone!!

Monday Morning Chit-Chat, I Ran Out of Time so I had to Put My Make-up on at Work Edition!

Today’s Monday Morning Chit-Chat, brought to you by Carla:

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At the park on Saturday with the triplets.  Four babies and four adults, and yet we still could have used and extra set of eyes and hands! The husband snapped this in a rare moment when all four were on the blanket at the same time.

What are you:

Reading? Read a “Jon Snow” chapter from Game of Thrones . . . I’m on book three now and I must say it’s getting much more interesting!

 Watching? Caught up on a few episodes of Real Housewives of New York last night. My hubby watches the RH of OC with me but draws the line at New York.  He insists I turn it off when he’s in ear shot because their voices are so annoying.  I completely agree but yet I continue to watch.  🙂

Listening To? Nothing – absolute silence around me!  Just the sound of typing.

Baking/Cooking? I’m making a veggie lasagna tonight with squash from a friend’s garden so I’m expecting it to be totally yum.  Tomorrow will be homemade pesto pizza (I prepped the crust dough on Sunday morning).

Happy you accomplished this week? Continued with the envelope system for groceries and eating out and so far so good!

Looking forward to next week? It’s a short work week for me – just 3.5 days as I’m taking Friday off for a “Mother’s Day Off” to get my hair done and spend the day however I’d like (probably crafting and/or watching back episodes of Downton Abbey).  Thursday afternoon is the husband’s company picnic.  Sounds like good fun.

Thankful for today? Air conditioning – it’s going to be hot this week and I’m glad we have it both at home and in the office!

*Bonus Question*

Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 18, line 4, and type out what it says. The nearest book to me is “Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors” by Bill Bryson and the 4th line on pg.18 reads: “apogee. The highest or most distant point, usually in reference to orbiting bodies. Its opposite is perigee.” Hm, well how about that.

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This weekend was a really busy one!  Saturday we were bouncing all over the place. . .

AJ had her 3rd swim lesson at the YMCA. Husband gets in the pool with her and they have a great time. This time AJ was dunked under water (ugh! I’m glad R was in the water – I wouldn’t have been able to do it) but she did great! She looked a little confused and wasn’t a fan of the water in her eyes, but no tears!

We had lunch in Cardiff with our friends A & E.  Now that AJ is walking, eating out is becoming more rare because it’s such a pain to wrangle her.  Sitting in the high chair is fine for about 10 minutes, and then it’s all about exploring.  I took her outside to walk around and she fell and got her first skinned knee.  I felt AWFUL.  Again, it didn’t seem to faze her at all but I was crushed.  Poor baby.  I swear, it was if MY knee had been scraped! Ugh.

In the afternoon we drove down to North Park to see our friends with the 16 month old triplets.  It was the first time I’d seen them in about 10 months – they moved, very briefly, to Texas and are now in San Diego for my friend’s husband’s job.  We are glad to have them back and AJ has more playmates her size. 🙂 I think she met her match with the three boys! And I have to just say, my girlfriend, R, is a saint in my eyes.  I don’t know how she manages to stay so calm and sane with triplets in a tiny 3 bed, 1 bath 1920s bungalow sans a/c.  A saint I say!

Sunday was a little bit more calm. . . chores in the morning, grocery shopping, and then a trip to the park with the little one. While we were playing near the jungle gym, a 16-month old toddler came rushing at AJ and pushed her right down on her tush.  The dad came over and apologized and of course I said it wasn’t a problem (and it wasn’t – AJ just looked a little inquisitive about what the heck happened but again, no tears!).  It’s going to be interesting to see how AJ adapts to toddler-hood.  I’m sure that little one has just realized the power of pushing and is testing out how many things she can topple over, babies included. 😉

And now, here we are, it’s Monday morning.  I guess my little one is getting SOME toddler tendencies, as this morning she really didn’t want to get dressed so it was a much longer process of putting on her onesie, pants, shoes, socks and basically getting her presentable (enough) for daycare.  That’s why I was sitting at my desk, 30 minutes late, hoping that no one would swing by as I was applying my mascara and blush. 🙂

Monday (afternoon) Chit-Chat, Ready for a New Month Edition!

First, a little Monday (afternoon) chit-chat, brought to you by Carla:

Bubs and her “best baby friend” taken Saturday afternoon.

What are you….

Reading? A new blog I just found called “Princess Nebraska.”  I spent way too much time going through her archives . . . love her home improvement/decor photos and her fashion posts . . . oh, and her book reviews.  Inspiring!

Watching? Tonight the Bachelorette is on!  I’ll probably tune in for a little bit before I crash. I know, it’s complete trash . . .

Listening to? Dave Ramsey on the radio during my lunch break run to the bank.

Cooking/Baking? This week I’m making Mexican Lasagna.

Happy you accomplished this week? Moping the floors and wash the shower curtain and liner in my bathroom on Sunday.  I know it doesn’t seem like much but sometimes the little tasks like this get neglected.

Looking forward to this week? Having Wednesday off for Independence Day! We are planning on going to a house-warming/cook-out at a friend’s new home. It’s a little weird to have a mid-week day off but I think it’s make the work week go by super fast.

Thankful for today? I’m thankful for a new month, a financial “do-over” and clean slate!

*Bonus Question*

What are the top 5 tasks on your “to do” list this week?

  • Be super productive at work considering that it’s a shortened week!
  • Finish painting the shadow box for AJ’s home-from-the-hospital clothes.
  • Bring my lunch to work Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
  • Do “something” with those over-ripe plums in my fruit basket before they spoil
  • E-mail baby-sitter to cancel (keep putting this off – for a date mid-month, would have been the first time we would have left AJ with non-family but we decided we couldn’t do it yet!).

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As I mentioned above, I’m really grateful for the start of a new month.  I get paid only once a month – the first business day to be exact (TODAY!)- and last month money went through my fingers like sand.  I spent much more than I should have on clothes and accessories for both me and the bubs. I ate fast-food WAY too much (8 trips to McDonald’s alone!! Ick, feel gross just thinking about it.). I frittered money like it was going out of style!  And I’m supposed to be paying of my credit cards (right now just above $4K).

SO.  This month I am resolved.  This month, I shall put an end to this two-steps-forward-one-step-back nonsense. This month I am . . . doing the cash envelope system! Dah-dah-DUM!

I’ve been keeping a spending journal for the last three months and this is what I noticed from the exercise, I use my credit cards and debit cards way too much. I pull out the plastic for every. little. purchase. – from coffee in my company’s convenience store to party dresses for my little one (baby clothes are my Achilles heel). And I forget about them (well, until I write them down in my notebook about once a week . . . then I’m like, OH YEAH I FORGOT ABOUT THAT! but by then it’s too late, the damage is done. Cycle repeat.)

So today, I went to the bank on my lunch break (whilst listening to Dave Ramsey – very appropriate!) and withdrew $300.  $200 is for groceries and $100 is for eating out. I think the grocery budget is going to be tight but I don’t have much wiggle room because I over-spent so much on my credit cards last month and I HAVE to pay it off this month or else it will drive me crazy.  We can do it on $200.  I will be the queen of the casserole!

A little financial experiment – we’ll see how it goes this month.  I’m kind of excited.  If this works, next month I will be able to go nuts and pay off a huge chunk of debt because I won’t have back slid!  That will be an awesome feeling.

Have a great week, everyone!

Peace and love,

Margie

 

Monday Morning Chit-Chat Swimming Eddition

Monday already?!  Seems like these summer days are just flying by!  We had a jam-packed Saturday and Sunday which included AJ’s first swim lesson at the YMCA!  She had a GREAT time.  It was so awesome to see her “swim” like a little fish in her dad’s arms. Considering that six months ago she was still crying through her evening baths, this is quite the accomplishment!

Loving the water!

Another big milestone that happened this week is that our little one is WALKING.  She’s been taking steps here and there but over the weekend she really got going! Crawling is still the preferred method of locomotion when she wants to get somewhere (or get to some thing) fast . . . but she’s getting very confident in her walking skills!  On Sunday, my mom and I took her shopping for walking shoes.  I didn’t end up buying anything because as it turns out, her feet are wide and most of the shoes looked uncomfortably tight on her.  There was a pair of Stride Rite’s that looked pretty good, but I thought I’d check out a boutique nearby where I purchased her first pair of pre-walking sandals. But I’m glad I took AJ in person to try on shoes instead of shopping online like I do so often for her clothes.  Shoes are one of those things that really need to fit just right! 

Other things that happened this weekend: My friend, A, spent a few hours on Saturday afternoon just hanging out. She is 12 weeks pregnant with her first child and it’s interesting to experience a friend being pregnant from THIS side of the delivery table. 🙂 And, we had lunch with my dad and step-mom.  Dad is undergoing some health issues and it was really special that he made it out to AJ’s lesson and then lunch. I could tell he was hurting but he really wanted to be with us.  

Now, on to Monday Morning Chit-Chat brought to you by Carla

What are you….

  • Reading… The second book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series.  I wanted to see what the hype was all about and it’s pretty awful . . . but I give major props to the author for publishing such a phenomenon!
  • Watching… I feel like there isn’t anything good on t.v. right now!  I watched the “Sister Wives” special with Natalie Morales last night (and this morning via DVR).  Ho hum.
  • Cooking/Baking… Tonight will be R’s favorite tuna casserole . . . other things on the menu this week include baked pacific flounder, spinach and tomatoes with pasta and feta, and lots of greens!
  • Happy you accomplished… I feel like I didn’t accomplish much with how busy the weekend was . . . it’s such a small thing but I’m glad that I did all our laundry, folded it and put it away as well as outfit planned the work week for AJ and I.  It really does help our mornings go much smoother!
  • Looking forward to next week… I’m looking forward to seeing my good friend R and her triplets this Saturday!  It will be the first time our babies will meet as she just moved back to town!
  • Thankful for today… My dad and all that he has done for me and continues to do for me today.  He had surgery on Thursday and we’re waiting to hear back on the results of a biopsy (this Friday).
  • Listening to.. Dave Ramsey in the car to and from the chiropractor’s office this morning.
  • *Bonus Question* What is the WORST movie you’ve ever seen & couldn’t be paid to watch again? Ugh, there are so many because R and I have such different tastes in movies . . . all of his “picks” are pretty bad.  But one that comes to mind is Transformers.  I know it’s such a blockbuster but meh, not my cup of tea at all.

Have a good week, everyone!