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Friday, April 27, 2012

Lady Who Lunches

Since coming back to work, I've been treating myself to little pick-me-ups on Fridays and trying out new {to me} restaurants around town. Mostly, I've just been working my way down Magnolia and touring the cupcake circuit. But it's fun and a nice way to end the week!

So far, my favorite thing has been the gorgonzola fries from Lili's Bistro. If you have not had these, go. Go right now. And bring me some.

Anyway, these little jaunts coincided with my last(!) investigative activity in my class where our professor suggested we take 30 minutes, do something for ourselves, then write about it. So here's part of what I wrote:

It provided a nice distraction from the work day, and I came back more refreshed and relaxed. It also helped me to focus on work tasks for the rest of the afternoon and head into the weekend in a positive mindset.

This reminded me of what the text discussed concerning problem solvers in a low state of cortical arousal. The authors pointed out that actively trying to solve a problem can, at times, prevent potentially helpful “cues” from being recognized as such. However, when taking a walk or a shower, for instance, people do not as frequently ignore these cues.

While I haven't had a particular problem solved, I could see where changing my setting, slowing my pace, or just providing myself with a distraction could help in the future. When you have a number of responsibilities to others, it is difficult at times to take time for yourself without feeling guilty. However, if you return from that time as a better problem-solver or worker, it seems to be time well spent. 


What about you? Do you feel guilty taking time for yourself? Any recommendations for my Friday treats? :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three...It's a Magic Number

Our little girl is three months old today! Hooray, Catherine!



That pillow was a gift from my sweet cousin--what a treasure!

Here is what she's up to these days...
  • Growing like a weed. 13 pounds, two feet tall

  • "Talking." We love this! She says lots of ahhs and goos and las {we call her "little la" sometimes}, but she also seems to be mimicking us {"hi," "hey," and even "i ah oo" when we say "I love you"}. We don't think anything is consistent enough to be her first words; plus we're not really sure how much she understands. But it's a lot of fun to hear "hey!" from the next room. {She really enjoys having conversations with her "pinky" and other stuffed friends.}



  • She's also learning to talk with her hands. She can consistently sign "milk" and "change" {as in change her diaper}, and we've been working on some others with her. She thinks "Mommy," "Daddy," and "I love you" are all pretty funny but hasn't done them herself yet.


  • She is still eating and sleeping like a champ on her three-hour schedule, so we're really really thankful for that. Makes life a little more predictable {and easier to do things like go to the bookstore}.



  • Teething. Her hand or blanket is in her mouth most of the time, and we feel so sorry for her when she fusses because surely it hurts! {As it does when she grabs hold of my hair--getting strong!}

Just in case you think she's perfect, she's also still spitting up. A lot. As long as she keeps growing, the doctor says this is not a health issue--just a hygiene one. ;)

And, even though I've told her that she's not allowed to watch TV until she's 2, she's still very interested when we turn it on. {In this instance, I believe she is telling Felicity that Ben is fun in college, but Noel is a better choice in the long-term.}  

We're so thankful for our three-month-old! What a blessing this sweet girl is!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taking a Break

The decision is in: I'm not going to be taking classes this summer! It was a tough call since this will be the first time I've had a break since I started school in the fall of 2010. 

I'm at a point in my coursework where I didn't have a lot of options of things to take (trying to finish up concentrations, keep my student status, yadayadayada). So if I had gone this summer, I would have had one online course and one that met in Denton (an hour's drive) on five consecutive Saturdays from 8:30-4:30. And it has become more and more clear that I just couldn't do it.

The weekends here are already really wonderful and really tough. It's a nice stretch of time with my girl. I get to feed her, change her, and snuggle with her, and I didn't want to miss out on that--even for just five weeks. (That also gives her daddy a break after doing those things Monday-Friday!)

But the weekends are also when we work on the house, mow the yard, do the laundry, go to church, buy groceries, prep the food for the following week, Skype with family, and try to work in a little bit of fun and rest! And so far (for the last three months), I've been unsuccessful at crossing all of those to-dos off the list as it is. If Saturdays were taken, we would likely have to wear unironed clothes and eat cereal for supper every night!

I hate pushing my qualifying exams back another semester, and I'm nervous about my fall classes (one will meet on Monday nights, which will be tough as well). But, after much prayer and plenty of discussion with Jason, this seems like the direction God is leading our family right now. 

There is still much work to be done for this semester and very little time to do it, but I'm already looking forward to a more relaxed summer with these two!

(The first and, sadly, the only picture of the three of us. Shameful!)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Investigative Activity: Easter Eggs and Motorcycles


Try to have a conversation with someone in which you try to get them to do something (i.e. eat a packet of catsup, shave a cat, etc.) that is kind of or really odd in two different scenarios. In the first, you develop a strong argument with 4 or more reasons why they should decide to do what you want. In a second situation, provide only one reason and make it pretty weak (i.e. Give me an A in class even though I have done no work this semester. My cat has been trying to explode my head using its mind.) Tell what happens.
The first thing I tried to get my husband to do was to hide and hunt Easter eggs. We have been married almost seven years but have never done this. He was really surprised when I asked, but I gave him four good reasons:
  • It was our daughter’s first Easter, and I wanted to start the tradition for her (even though she wasn’t much help at hunting this year).
  • It would make me happy by bringing back fun childhood memories.
  • After dyeing and hiding the eggs, we could make delicious egg salad for lunch the following week.
  • It would be fun!

He agreed without too much convincing beyond that, and we actually did have a really nice time hiding and hunting eggs.

However, when I tried to convince him to let our 12-week-old daughter ride a motorcycle with her grandfather because I “rode with him when I was little,” he quickly dismissed the idea. In fact, “Um…no,” were his exact words.

This decision was easily made on several levels. Looking at the somewhat simplistic economic man and woman model, he was fully informed regarding all possible options and all possible outcomes, he was sensitive to the subtle distinctions among decision options, and he was fully rational in regard to his choice of options. There was really no need to take subjective utility or probability into account because, rationally, it was too dangerous!

However, when deciding whether to honor my request to hide and hunt Easter eggs, he had to go beyond an objective, rational decision and instead calculate the value of my feelings.

Monday, April 09, 2012

April Numbers Update

I went back to the doctor last week, and I'm down eight pounds and five inches. Just 62 pounds and 23 inches to go!

I've been semi-successful at exercising in the mornings but really having a tough time staying off of the sweets. So I want to continue with those goals and also start tracking what I eat. (It's always surprising how much!)

To do that, I've been using the Lose It app, but Jason found a site that looks like it will be fun, too. At SlimKicker, you get badges and rewards, which are big motivators for me. :)

The biggest motivator, though, is to be in good shape for my little girl. I hope I haven't given the impression that this whole thing is about being skinny. Nope, I want to be strong and healthy, so my body is fit for any service that God assigns!

Next update coming in May.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Eastering

We had a fun first Easter with Catherine!

Joining the ranks of late-night, pre-holiday present put-togetherers, I stayed up stuffing her basket and dyeing Easter eggs (which we plan to hide and hunt after her nap--should be interesting).





It was pretty low-key this year since she's not really to the candy stage just yet, but we found a cute first Easter book by the always inspiring Tomie dePaola.



She wore one of my "vintage" dresses, which I'm just loving.

{And was a bit happier about it than she was about last week's dress.}


A few other favorites...

Had to edit that last one a bit. ;) Fred does not get an Easter basket, but he did spend some time playing with his dragon since he wasn't allowed to tear the eyes out of Catherine's rabbit.

In her class at church, she learned that Jesus is special, and He is alive! What more can I say? Praise God!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Baby's First Tornado and Old School Exercises

Baby experienced her first tornado yesterday--yikes!

Growing up in Alabama, I was never too shaken up by severe weather. My parents' house was hit in the 1976 tornado, but, for me, the seriousness of it didn't really sink in until last year's devastation in Tuscaloosa and Phil Campbell. That was sobering.

This year, Catherine and I were home on my lunch break, and Jason was in class. I was changing her diaper when the sirens went off. Y'all, that is not a good feeling! We turned on the radar and checked in with Jason, all the while ready to hit the closet if necessary. (Side note--there was not a basement in a single house we looked at when we were buying. I miss having an underground shelter!)

Since he was on campus, he headed to the library. In the meantime, when it looked like our southwest Fort Worth area was between two of the fronts, Baby Girl and I hightailed it that way. We arrived just as the library people were heading to the basement in the building next door, where we rode out the rest of the storm.

It was a tough call to know, in the moment, whether to stay or go, and there was an added level of concern knowing that I had this little person to protect. Definitely puts a new perspective on severe weather! We, of course, have a tornado action plan for the library, and now I think we'll have to develop one for the family as well.

In much, much lighter news, I've been doing this Photo a Day challenge through Beachbody to try to win stuff (their products are cool but way too pricey for us right now). I didn't get a chance to post this one last night because our Internet was down, but you were supposed to show your daily workout.



Yeah, I'm going all old school with Joanie Greggins. (I don't actually listen to the record--just do the moves to my own music). I figure, if I'm up at 4:30, moving around and getting my heart rate going, that is good enough for right now.

Patting myself on the back and going to take a nap. ;)

Monday, April 02, 2012

Saturday in the Park

We took a little time away from house work and school work this weekend to hang out with our friends at the park.

Our church hosted an Easter egg hunt, and since Catherine is still learning to pick up things, we thought we'd sit it out this year and just have a picnic.

The weather was perfect, and she got to show off a new outfit that our sweet cousin sent her.

 How often do you get to wear pants with a bunny on the bum? I think life might be more fun if we all had a pair of pants like that!

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