About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

Today is Leap Day! Happy February 29th! Here are some interesting facts:

-If you were born on February 29th, your legal date of birth in non-leap years varies from country to country. In England, your legal birthday in non-leap years would be March 1st. In New Zealand, it would be February 28.

-Leap year does not occur exactly every four years, because the solar length of a year is not exactly 365.25; it is slightly less. Leap year occurs every four years except in years evenly divisble by 100, unless they are also evenly divisible by 400. For example, the year 1900 was not a leap year, but 2000 was.

-In Greece, marriage in a leap year is considered unlucky.

-On this day in 1972 Hank Aaron became the first player in the history of the MLB to sign a $200,000 contract.

-Sir James Wilson, Premier of Tasmania, was both born and died on February 29th.

Happy Leap Day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Getting closer

To my goal weight, that is. Tenth of a pound by tenth of a pound.

I weighed myself before last weekend and I have 4.5 pounds to go. Then I ate pizza for half of my meals over the weekend, so probably I have like 5.5 pounds to go now.

But it's getting closer.

Monday, February 27, 2012

1.75 Hours

That is how long it takes for Natalie and me to get out the door when Darren's gone. And that allows for zero deviations. So no poopy diapers, no screaming fits, and I can decide on an outfit in less than one minute.

Typically, I allow two hours, and generally we use up every spare minute. I have figured it out in my head that theoretically, we should be able to get out the door in 1 hour and 45 minutes, but somehow it just doesn't happen that way. From waking up, showering, dressing, hair/makeup, coffee, and breakfast, it takes me 45 minutes. So I get up about 50 minutes before Natalie.

It takes Natalie about 30 minutes to eat, but I don't know what else takes so long, because I swear it takes an hour to get her out the door. In any case, I plan on an hour for her. Then I usually throw in an extra 15 minutes, just because things never go as planned.

Some days, I think I should add more extra time just for my ineptitude...

Yesterday morning Darren was gone, so I was by myself getting Natalie up and ready for church. Church starts at 9 am; we need to leave by 8:40 am. I, following "the plan," got up at 6:40 on the dot. Actually I got up at 6:37 because lately Natalie has been waking up at 6:30 for two minutes and going back to sleep. But she fusses enough to wake me up.

So anyway, 6:37 arrived, and I got up and got ready. I woke Natalie up at 7:30. We were driving up the driveway at 8:42. (My 20 minutes of travel time includes extra time, also. Because I'm like that.) So we were fine.

The problem is, I am inept. At life, sometimes. Natalie was fussing on the way to church, so she was distracting me a little bit because I kept looking at her in my mirror and talking to her. And then I looked up and OOPS! There went my exit.

Fail. So all my careful planning, and we were late to church not because I overslept, not because Natalie pooped on her outfit, but because I can't drive.

You can't win them all.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Moo Cow

I thought it would be fun, and cute, to have a humidifier that looked like an animal. I mean, mostly it was Darren's idea, but I was okay with it. Left to my own devices I would have purchased a cheap generic one at Target.

This is Natalie's humidifier. We affectionately refer to it as "Moo Cow."

Natalie loves it. LOVES it. Unfortunately, that means she always wants to play with it. And strangely enough, I don't want my child to play with an electric device that holds water.

Who would have guessed?

What I want to know, is who is this crazy person who thought it would be a good idea to design humidifiers to look like toys? And why on earth did I not consider this before I let Darren talk me into it?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Natalie: Six Months

I can't believe Natalie is six months old already! It's going to be her birthday before I know it.

Vital Stats
Natalie is 16.7 pounds and 27.5 inches long. She doesn't fit into any of her 3-month clothes, and her 6-month pajamas are already getting too short. She's now wearing size 3 diapers, which is exciting because they are absorbent enough to last through the night without the diaper pad insert.

Milestones This Month
Crawling! She started by getting up on her hands and knees and lunging herself forward. On February 15th she crawled for the first time (actually moved her hands and knees). She crawls in "fits and starts." She'll go a little bit, plop down on her tummy, then get right back up and go a little bit more. And repeat. That's how she gets around. She also started sitting unassisted for more than a couple seconds. Ironically, after she started crawling, rather than before.

She can almost push herself up to a sitting position by herself. She's done it a couple times, but not regularly. She has pulled herself up to standing (without holding on to Mommy or Daddy) once, but it was pretty shaky and didn't last long at all.

Her second bottom tooth broke through a couple days ago. She's an excellent teether; so far we haven't had any terrible days with teething.

Natalie is a great sleeper the majority of the time. She's started making it through her naps without waking up in the middle. She rarely wakes up at night while we're at home, and most naps she goes down without crying. She doesn't do as well when we're up north. She hardly uses her nuk at home anymore.

Natalie moved to her crib this month after she started rolling in her bassinet. She did great with the transition, and has only woken up crying with her leg stuck through the slats once.

She holds her own bottle while eating (but only when she wants to!). She LOVES all her solids except for peas and green beans. Those she gags on. The amount of formula she takes hasn't really gone down since we've started solids. She still only eats them twice a day: when she wakes up and before bed.

Natalie loves her sippy cups, but she can't figure out how to use them. She likes to chew on them and play with them.

Natalie doesn't say much. Her recent noise is a "hahahaha." Less like laughing, more like panting. It's hilarious. But she doesn't babble at all yet.

We started baby sign language this month. So far we only do "milk" and "all done." She thinks "all done" is funny, and smiles every time she sees it.

Play Time
Now that Natalie is more mobile, she plays by herself a lot more, especially in the mornings. She loves to get into everything, and will follow Mommy and Daddy around. She wants to play with their toys. :) Her jumperoo is still a favorite. She loves the Laugh and Play Puppy she got from Grandpa and Grandma for Christmas. She also loves her duckie towel and thinks it's hilarious when it's hanging on the towel hook in the bathroom.

Natalie enjoys story time for a while, but starts to get frustrated when Mommy and Daddy won't let her eat her books. Her favorite books have bright colors.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

my stance on credit cards

I've told you before about the benefits of my Target Visa. Many, many times. But we also have another Visa that saves us money.

The best thing about the Cabela's CLUB Visa is, by far, the points it earns. And the fact that they're redeemable at Cabela's. And when you're married to Darren, free Cabela's money is an excellent thing.

We've had the Cabela's Visa for a while now - since before we got married, actually. We don't charge everything on it, but we charge a fair amount. So far we have $774.60 in free Cabela's dollars.

Yes, free money. Money we get just by using our credit card. I mean, it can only be used at Cabela's, but still, it's a pretty good deal.

I know a lot of people think credit cards are of the devil, but I disagree. It is not the credit card that gets you in trouble; it's your spending habits. It's like taking a loan out from the bank with no intention of paying it back. Credit cards lend you money; they don't give it to you. And personally, I think they can charge whatever interest rate they darn well please. It's their money, and if you don't pay it back when they say (and you agree, by signing up for the credit card) it's due, they should be allowed to charge you whatever interest they say (and you also agree, by signing up for the credit card) is reasonable.

It's kind of like saying chocolate is bad. I mean, you can't just make bold statements like that without disclaimers. Chocolate is bad when you eat too much of it. And credit cards are bad when you don't pay off your balance monthly. It takes self-control to eat chocolate without going overboard, just like it takes self-control to spend within your means.

Now, I understand we all have our burdens. Credit cards may be bad for you, but I would strongly argue they are not bad in general. I, personally, do not keep chocolate in my house, because it's just too tempting for me. But I don't think chocolate is "bad."

I think the next time someone tells me credit cards are bad (in and of themselves), I'll ask their opinion on chocolate.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Organizing Important Documents

I read something in one of my magazines about the best way to organize important documents. My documents are always in a semi-disastrous state, so I figured I'd give it a go.

The "before" picture.

This folder alone is just chock-full of random receipts.

What I needed: manila file folders and a pen.

First I emptied the whole thing out and sorted through the mess.

Most of the documents in my filer could be destroyed: a lot were old receipts that weren't important. I also had a lot of non-financial (or otherwise important) information in there, which I sorted to and relocated to more appropriate places throughout our home.

In process...

You can create file folders for whatever categories make the most sense to you. The articles I read recommended creating an "action" folder for things you need to work on immediately, but I generally don't put things in my filer until they are completed, so I didn't do that. Instead, I made folders for Taxes (for every year I've filed), Health Insurance, Insurance through State Farm, Other Insurance (life insurance through my employer), Retirement folders for both our IRAs and my pension, Warranties, and two folders for my receipts: Banking (Current Month) and Banking (Prior Month). That way I can just throw out the whole month's worth of receipts at a time, and start fresh each month. Once you have reconciled receipts to your checking account, you don't need them any more except for warranty purposes, or if you itemize on your taxes.

I love this new system. It's way more organized than what I had before, and I can find things much easier. I had been putting it off for a long time, but I'm glad I finally got it done. Happy organizing!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

what happened?

What happened to the last two weeks?

We have stayed busy, busy, busy. So much for my excellent daily blogging streak. I will need to try and get more done. This past weekend I did a lot of reading, and the weekend before we were up north.

Always busy.