Jan 24, 2016

Painting Party

I'm aiming to finish decorating the guest room this spring. Or at least this year. Friday night I enlisted Cade to help me.


As you can see he was a very hard worker.

Now unfortunately Lowes had a snafu around my paint color so my sample bucket and my full-size bucket were labeled the same but did not actually match. So I had to redo the wall Cade helped me with using the full-size bucket color. The end result is a shade lighter than I wanted but I'm telling myself it is for the best because it will help keep the room from looking too small.

Painting should be finished this week so we'll see.

Jan 20, 2016

New Year Resolutions Update

20 days in and still going! But dang, this not touching the spending account thing is harder than I expected. Top of the list as for why: vacations.

I went to pay our credit card today and thought "gasp! That can't be right! Someone has our card!"

Ah, no. You just booked a spendy (and lovely) hotel in Vegas Cheryl. Oh and you booked a condo in Galveston. You brought on all your vacation expenses for the year in the same month and before your annual bonus arrives.

Which leads me to the number two reason: bonuses. Not complaining! But when you know you have a bonus coming you so so so want to start playing with some of that money. Do things like you know, book a beach condo for summer vacation. But stop! Wait! Don't book it until you actually have the money!

At least that's what I should have said to myself. Live and learn maybe?

Jan 14, 2016

30 Must-Haves When You Turn 30

Last night I read a Houston Chronicle/Cosmo article by reality TV star Lauren Conrad on 29 things every girl needs before she turns thirty. And I threw up in my mouth a little.

Some were practical and smart, like a fire extinguisher. Others, like a cake stand or matching napkins, were depressingly inaccurate. If you want a cake stand, by all means, go buy one. But a necessity? I think not.

It got me all riled up. So in response, here is my list of things you really do need when you turn 30.

Actual Necessities 
1. 401k - Only 30ish more years til retirement, so you better start saving now!
2. Education - Whether it is a college degree, on-the-job training, by 30 you should have the education you need to support yourself. Even if you don't work out of the home, having the ability to if it all goes to shit is really important.
3. OBGYN - For your health, find a doctor you trust and see them regularly. They'll know your medical history and can help you more effectively.
4. Bank account(s) - No more money in your sock drawer. Be a grown up and put it in the bank.
5. Fire safe - Even just a small one for your social security card and similarly important paperwork. You may even stick a few sentimental things in there; ours has the DVD of our wedding photos and our ultrasound pic of Cade.
6. Health insurance - Hopefully with Obamacare we all get some help getting this.
7. Relationship with your parents - As in a good one. Parents or whomever played the "raising" you role. Knowing you as a self-sufficient adult should be their payout for all the times they grounded you, helped with homework, etc.
8. Active activity - One you can actually stick to. Swimming, running, yoga, whatever, you need an active activity to help manage weight, stress and generally be in good health.
9. Life insurance - God forbid something happens, you should have at least enough life insurance to cover the funeral and ideally enough to help your family pay off any major debts like a mortgage.
10. Will - While we're on the topic, you need a will. It should include end-of-life care instructions, and if you have dependents, a plan for their care.
11. Fire extinguisher - I told you, I agree with some of Lauren Conrad's suggestions and this is one. You should really have a fire extinguisher, maybe two.
12. Designated driver - Every time you drink, have a plan to NOT drink and drive. Your date,  your friend, Uber, the couch at the place you are drinking. You are too old to risk the safety of yourself and others because of alcohol.
13. Family plan - Not the "husband, 2.5 kids and a dog" kind. But the family planning kind. Want kids right now? Great, you know how to get them! Don't want kids right now? Great, you know how to not get them. Be an active participant in your sexual health and family planning.
14. Sense of self - You probably tried on a lot of different hats in your 20s (and you'll probably keep doing that forever). By 30 you should sorta know who you are or at least be closer to figuring it out, and be COMFORTABLE with it. If you are a working woman, that's wonderful. If you are an incredible wife and mother, that's wonderful. If you are an enthusiastic patriot and community servant, that's wonderful. Just like it's OK to hate cooking, love cooking, really enjoy country music, love sappy chick flicks or hate red wine.
15. Confidence - Right there with your sense of self, the confidence to be that person, to stand up for what you believe in and be a leader in your own way.

Really, Really, Really Good To Have
16. Flashlight - Again, Lauren Conrad wasn't all wrong.
17. Tool set - Again, she did OK on this one.
18. Adult email address - Please say goodbye to HotHon3y@aol.com. You can't apply for a job or mortgage with that. Use your name or initials.
19. Facebook privacy settings - Understand them and put a few in place. Your boss does not need to see you in a bikini. Really.
20. Resume - Especially if you work outside of the home, but even if you don't, a relatively current resume is always smart to have on hand. You never know when you'll need it.
21. Realistic Budget - No matter how much or how little money you have, a budget keeps it in check. You should have one and be reasonably good at sticking to it.
22. Get outta debt plan - Maybe it is to get 100% outta debt or maybe just to pay off your credit cards. Either is great and the less debt you have, the more freedom you will gain.
23. Passport - Fingers crossed you have a really fun reason to use it. But if a last minute need to travel abroad (remember, that includes Mexico and Canada) comes up, you don't want to be caught in the cluster that is often expedited passport requests.
24. Roadside Assistance Plan - Whether its your own two hands, a paid service or a few reliable family/friends, make sure you know how to bail yourself out if the car battery dies or a tire goes flat.
25. Negotiation skills - Very important for salary, car buying, home buying or even just vacation rental. Or having a toddler.
26. BFF - A girlfriend, husband, your mom. At least one person who you love and can share everything with. You deserve someone to celebrate your highs with and help you through the lows.

Nice To Have
27. Wow outfit - one outfit that you feel really good about yourself when wearing. Doesn't matter if it is work, date-night or what. You deserve to have something you feel fabulous in.
28. Comfortable mattress - Another Lauren Conrad win. You spend 1/4-1/3 of your life sleeping. It should be good quality.
29. Boots - Maybe they are cute, but they should definitely be functional for whatever your winters are like. Now if you live in Hawaii, you can probably substitute flip flops here.
30. Kitchen Favorite - Depending on how you most like to use your kitchen, you should have something in your kitchen that you really really love. Cake stand (to each his own), wine glasses, food processor, margarita machine, it doesn't really matter. Eating and drinking are important, let's enjoy them.

Jan 7, 2016

Sunny Day Jailbreak

It was a bizarre and wonderful sunny and 72 today. In early January. Crazy.

It called for a jailbreak.

I left work early, picked up the Cade-man and we hit up our favorite park for sunshine and fun.



Totally worth the hour of make-up work I had to do after putting him to bed.*

*Note: putting him to bed. Not after he went to sleep. Because we're 50 minutes past bedtime now and I can still hear that crazy kid upstairs.

Jan 4, 2016

Cutting Back

Every 2-3 years, for like the past 10-15, I find that I haven taken on too many commitments. You think after all this time, I would learn. But no. I just get so darn excited about so many things, I sign up for them all.

The high school version: Join student council? Yes! Tutor elementary school students? Yes! Work part-time? Yes! Take AP classes? Yes! Try to have a social life? Yes! Sleep? ...oh I knew I was forgetting something.

The college version: Take a full course load? Yes! (Especially since it was costing a fortune either way). Join TriDelta? Yes! Work part-time? Yes! Host parties at your awesome apartment? Yes! Sleep? ....oh I knew I was forgetting something.

Traveling and wife-ing on our Fredericksburg trip
The mom version: Raise a child? Yes! Be a good wife? Yes! Work out regularly? Yes! Have a full-time job? Yes! Travel? Yes! Generally take care of myself by going to the dentist, doctor, etc? Yes! Blog? Yes! Volunteer? Yes! Watch trashy TV and drink wine? Yes! See friends? Yes! Visit family? Yes! Make Pinterest-worthy anything? Occasionally, yes! Sleep? ...oh right, that again.

So as I have had to continually do, it was time to cut back. And a handful of these aren't up for negotiation. My boys, for example, are (thankfully) here to stay. And though we all have days we'd rather not work, I never have days when I'd rather not have the income, and truth be told, I really do like my job. Cutting out the dentist and whatnot was tempting but ultimately not an adult decision.

This go-around, I cut back on blogging, specifically for the Austin Mom's Blog. I really did enjoy doing it but I found it was a solitary activity for me. Which is what I set out for initially but as I got involved I realized how social it could be with all the fun public and private blogger events that were held. Yet unfortunately, I never ever could fit any of those in. Literally the only other time I saw my fellow bloggers in person was at our group photoshoot last year and it was truly a three ring circus to get there during rush hour on a work day.

I was, of my own doing, having a half-assed blogger experience. Doing things half-assed isn't nearly as fun, meaningful or productive as doing things all in. I mean if you are going to raise a kid, RAISE that kid. If you are going to watch trashy TV and drink wine, well then damn it, make sure you chill the bottle and have some pajama pants ready.

I'll of course continue to be an enthusiastic reader. It really is the best place to find a list of 50 splashpads, events around town, kid-friendly day trips, hilarious stories in mothering and such. (For an example, check out my swan song, Mom and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.)

I'm hoping with my new found time, I can do the other things a wee bit better. I especially want to get more active in my new volunteer group, which being based in Round Rock, is relatively easy for me to participate in. Also, as part of my new year's resolutions, I'm hopeful I can work out a smidge more and maybe I'll do a few things, like decorating the guest room, with Pinterest-worthy flair.

Thanks AMB - it was fun!

That super kid I'm raising...
by turning him into a toddler yuppie at Starbucks before school

Jan 1, 2016

New Year's Resolutions

I'm a sucker for New Year's Resolutions. Really, I just like goals. I'm a big nerd - what can I say? Sometimes I make too many and miss the mark on every single one, and that is a big bummer. So I'm trying, especially since I took on this mom role a few years ago, to focus on the ones that really matter. With that in mind, here are our New Year's Resolutions

Exercise four times per week: I know this won't happen every week, like when I'm traveling, but I think it can on the 90% of the year I'm in town. Mom and Dad gifted me with 10 classes at a yoga studio that has a class time perfectly for my work-from-home days so I am set up for success.

Complete phase 2 of potty training: Also known as really completing potty training. He doesn't have many accidents right now but he is also very reliant upon us to remind him to go. This spring, he needs to go on his own accord and start making it through naptime dry. The latter scares me but I'm sure we'll get there one day. The goal is by his birthday so he can move up from pre-primary to the primary class at school in April.

Don't touch the savings account: We're not awful about pulling out of our savings account but we do usually rely on it for vacations and Christmas. In 2016, no dice. We're going to pay for everything from our checking account and let that savings account grow, grow, grow. And of course, continue putting money into it at the same pace we do now.

Ready, Set, Go!