Saturday, January 31, 2015

Impulse Saving

Lately I have been on a podcast listening roll.  My husband has been listening to podcasts well before we met and still does to this day.  I'm not sure if I didn't listen because I didn't want to, or because it was my stubborn mind saying that I wasn't going to to spite him.  Either way, I listen to them now.  

My current obsession are NPR programs and people that I watch via YouTube.  I will admit I do like to watch some of the podcasts via YouTube more than I like to just listen like the Jenna and Julien Podcast.  There are others that you need to both watch and listen to such as Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig.  Then there are the ones that you can just listen to like the fabulous programs from NRP: Planet Money, TED Radio Hour, Invisibilia, and Serial.

The catalyst to the whole podcast listening thing was probably Serial.  I mean that series broke records including the fastest podcast to reach/stream 5 Million.  We live in a world of video and television... who listens to the radio like that??!!  It makes me think of stories my dad told me about how he and his parents used to gather around the radio to listen to radio programs.  Not only did they listen to these programs they were really drawn to them.

TV existed when my dad was growing up but there was just something about the radio that drew them in.  Even as an adult my dad listened to the baseball games on the radio in the garage because there was just something nostalgic to him.  It just felt right.  Even to this day I sometimes listen to ball games on the radio even though I could watch it on TV just because it reminds me of my dad.  It makes me remember him and get all fuzzy and warm inside.  I can't help it.  Anything that makes me remember memories of him makes me a little nostalgic and happy.

Whoa!  I got way side tracked.  I love my dad.  He loved listening to radio programs.  My husband listens to podcasts with the same intensity that my dad listened to live radio.  My husband sucked me into that world.  I love podcasts.  Whew!  Now we are back to the point of the post.

I'm not sure which podcast I was listening to today but I'm almost 100% positive it was a NPR podcast and the person on there mentioned Impulse Saving. Now they did not (by profession) encourage impulse saving but they made a comment that if there were a red button in our house that we could push everytime we wanted to save we would save much more than what we do now.  I totally agree with this.

When I think about how I want to split my paycheck each month I think about how each month I get a direct deposit.  My paycheck is first reduced by my traditional 401k and additionally my Roth 401k.  There are a few other additional things taken out like, you know, taxes, damn those government payments... I digress... After the retirement reductions there are other reductions such as FSA and insurance.  After all of those items are removed and I get down to the measly net pay, I split it 46%  joint (husband and wife) bills and the rest my bills and spending.

When I look at my paycheck I know that 10% is automatically going to my retirement account without me being affected by it.  It's the other savings that I really have to work at.  To make any additional savings happen beyond my 401k savings I have to do things like set up automatic investments and savings.  Those are all great but think about how much more you could save if all the effort required for saving was an Easy Button??   How great would that be???!!!

When I think about it.  I wish there were a button like that in my house.  I mean I can blow $20 on dinner easy so why no use that towards something more productive such as saving.

Definitely easier said than done.

I know it sounds easy in theory but I mean when credit card bills start rolling in after Christmas, it isn't surprising to me that people would not be focused on saving.

What a concept, an easy button to save... why isn't there an easier way to save??? Maybe there is but I don't know if it.  We live in the world of smart phones... why doesn't this exist yet???

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Today I listened to a TED Radio Hour where the title of the podcast was Keeping Secrets.  I thought what an interesting topic to focus on.  Why do we keep what we keep secret? 

We all have secrets. 

There was a statement by one of the guests, Ash Beckham, “Secrets are perceived imperfections.” 

Wow!  What a powerful way to think about secrets.  That could not have been a truer statement.  The simplicity of what she said floored me.  It was so simple. 

There are so many things that I don’t tell others about me because I don’t want them to judge me.  The problem with that thought process is that I have already decided what they are going to do with the information once it comes awkwardly spilling out of my mouth.  What if the person on the other end just takes it for what it is and keeps moving? 

Maybe it would be better to just tell the world.  What kind of pressure could be lifted off my shoulders by not holding on to some “perceived imperfection” with the grip of King Kong? 

She states in the podcast that when you are ready to let go of your secret and tell the world that you should follow the 3 Pancake Girl Principles:
  1. Be authentic
  2. Be direct
  3. Don’t apologize for who you are

I could elaborate more about what she says but those three brief statements speak volumes.  I had never heard of Ash Beckham before this podcast but thought, “my goodness lady you have said some really simple statements that just shook me to the core.”  Although if I go back to what I learned in school KISS (Keep It Simple Sweetie/Stupid/etc.) was a rule we often used.

Now her secret is different from the ones that I carry but what she said applies to all people holding on to a secret.  I really don’t have much to add to this but what secrets do you keep inside of you that have been eating you alive?

If you ever listen to the podcast, my favorite part by far was when a little girl replies to Ash Beckham and says, “My favorite pajamas are purple with Fish.  Can I get a pancake please?”  It doesn’t make sense without the context around it but it made me laugh to tears.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Flashback Friday: Monster Trucks

Last Friday I took the time to look back through my pictures and think about what I was doing one year ago and it was really fun, so in light of #FBF, I thought I'd go back to 2011 to see what I was doing then...

So as we travel back in time to 2011, I think about where I was in life... unmarried, child free, I wasn't even an aunt back then.  When I say "2011" it doesn't sound that long ago but when I think about how dramatically my life has changed from then it seems like an eternity ago.  As I look back four years, I was hanging with my brother and best friend (who are now husband and wife!) we were at Ford Field watching Monster Jam.

The crazy thing is I actually like Monster Jam but haven't been back since this time because life just wasn't permitting around this time of the year for the last three years.  Not that I'm super into it as in I know who all the drivers and trucks are but it is really fun to watch.  I mean if you really think about it there are trucks weighing a minimum of 9,000 lbs jumping in the air over other cars and even buses!!  I mean the tires weight like 900 lbs each!  That sounds like madness when you think about it.

When I look back to four years ago it was such a monumental year in my life.  At this time four years ago the following things weren't even on my radar even though they all happened in 2011:

  • Engagement.  I had been in a relationship (with my now husband) for a few years but we weren't committed by any ring or form of contractual paper.
  • Wedding and Marriage.  Sometimes I can be a bit impatient and we got married in the same year.
  • My nephew was born.  My brother had a baby boy!  That was just wild because I really thought I'd have to wait until my husband's sister had a child before I'd get a child that I hadn't birthed to spoil.  Man I love that kid.  I also have a niece from my husband's sister now.  She's such a doll!
  • More weddings! I'm not sure I even knew my sister-in-laws wedding date at this time.  
  • I had just changed employers.
It was definitely a year of huge changes for me at the time.

As I look back at my pictures to jog my memory, it was four years ago on this date I was checking out Monster Jam in Detroit at Ford Field.  I just think it is so cool to see these trucks doing what they do in such a small space.  I think it would be really cool if I got to go to something like this outside but whatever.

This is the view I got to see:

 It was a pretty packed place... I was a bit surprised

It looks like a tiny toy but those tires are taller than me!

What a random #FBF but I still thought it was pretty cool that on this day four years ago I was actually doing something fun.  I don't think I'll be going this year though... my husband doesn't get it and I don't think it's the place for my daughter yet.  She's got trucks to play with... they're just a little smaller.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How Pinterest has... Ooh! Shiny thing!!

I am quite easily distracted.  Today, I went on the computer just to check one message I received via Pinterest and totally got sucked in.  Pinterest always seems to get me.  I love that site.  I mean there are so many cool things to look at and to learn how to do.

Aww... little me, many many years ago

As I was reading about concentric cracks vs radial cracks (we'll address that shortly) I thought why not write a Whimsical Wednesday post.  This is the journey I took through Pinterest today.

It all started with one little message:

and then I thought, "oh, that's a pretty make up look that (I'll never be able to do but) I'd like to look at and read about." So I checked this out :

15 Step by Step Makeup Tutorials for Different Occasions

This is a seemingly innocent pin on this journey.  

As I scroll further down the page, perusing through the pins, I ran across this:

I clearly needed to read up on what I need before getting a milk cow.  I barely have time to properly attend to my sweet dog. 

Why am I reading this??? I do like butter and cheese though.  Mmmm... cheese... *drool

After that little gander to the North Country Farmer, I ventured over to this:

Just in case my child has a nasty bout with an icky, crusty eye.  I now know the different types of pink eye as well as how to naturally remedy it.  Whew!  I'm glad I got that burning question answered.  I mean it's been bugging me.

After I gained more knowledge to bank in the for future use category. I got intrigued by this pin:

I might not know what lacto-fermenting is but I know that I like pickled veggies.  Now I know how to do it myself.  Well, maybe... I read how to do it but that doesn't mean that I really am going to execute it with great success... maybe that is a post for the future.

And then I found cracked tomatoes: 

That is where I learned the difference between a concentric crack vs radial crack.  It was a pretty interesting post but I don't garden.  I have a charcoal dusted, onyx thumb that can barely keep grass alive!

Oh, Pinterest.  I love you but dang it!  You can keep me occupied for hours upon hours.  

And that my friends is how my unfocused little brain works.  You see something interesting and you click.  As my brother would say, "ooh, shiny thing!"

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mustache Monday

Have you ever been so busy that you don't really take the time to really look at yourself?  Yes, you take the time to shower and dress yourself in clean clothes and all that regular jazz but no time for your regular war paint (or make-up as it commonly referred to).  Then you have that one day that you think, I've got a few extra two minutes, let me do my hair and slap on some lipstick then you look at yourself...

OH MY GOSH!!!  How long has this mustache been here???!!!??? Why did no one tell me it was so bad???

Ok, maybe it wasn't this bad but that's how I felt it looked.  

I always hope that my husband would notice things like this and kindly suggest that I attend to my growing symbol of masculinity but alas he doesn't.  Maybe that is a good thing because he tends to tell me how good I look no matter how not good looking I feel.  

Well no matter how much he didn't notice, I did take care of my ever growing facial hair in a hurry... it doesn't seem to go well with my shimmery pink lipstick.

Also, when did mustaches become such a big thing?  Me asking that makes me feel old and out of touch by the way...

Happy Monday!!  Now let's walk into the rest of the week like a boss!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Work It!

So I'm hopping on the band wagon...

It's the beginning of the year and I need to get in shape.  I'm not going to sit here any and say that I need to lose weight (the truth is I need to but let's not get crazy yet) but I do need to get some fitness routine back into my life.

I used to be really good about the gym.  I've had a gym membership since I was 16.  At that time I didn't pay for it myself and still made good use of it.  By the time I was 23, I was making decent money that allowed for me to pay for my own membership.  I tend to be a bit tight on my money on most thing, excluding: shoes and food (usually).  I had to justify the purchase of a membership.  I did.

It is much too easy to start at the beginning of the year full of piss and vinegar about going to the gym, getting fit and losing weight.  I knew that when I purchased my membership.  I knew how many months it would be justifiable for me to spend that money so long as I went to the gym at a bare minimum of two times per week.  I was really good for like 5 years...

After that five years, I got pregnant.  Pregnancy has a way of making me feel like the energy has been Dyson vacuumed from my being and turns me into a pile of lard.  I tried for a good portion of time to stick with it even as my stomach grew.  My husband kept me motivated for quite some time but eventually the sciatica and the aches grew too much for my ever growing alien filled body.

Then this beautiful angel came...

After my daughter was born (in 2013) I never really found my way back to the gym.  I've been handing cash over the the corporate world of LA Fitness and not been reaping the benefits of it.

As the year has passed (much faster than I could keep up with) I found that I missed the gym.  That sounds crazy.  I don't even like to workout like that.  If I had my way, I'd just lift.  I like to lift weights but I don't always know what I'm doing.  My husband is great because he is the guy that went to college with the ambition at one time of graduating with his degree in kinesiology (aka sports medicine, physical therapy, etc.).  He writes pretty good workout plans.  When I do them they make my muscles ache the next day in the most painfully good way.  The problem is that I haven't been making use of the resource that I live with.

He goes to the gym.  Why don't I?  Well, because I make every excuse to do something else other than exercise for my benefit.  I claim that I need to __________(fill in the blank: do laundry, cook dinner, go grocery shopping, etc.).  The more I look at it the more I know I have been because I've been making excuses.

Excuse time over.  There is someone busier, with more kids and less time than me making sure that they are taking one hour per day to make sure that they are taking the time be fit.  I need to be fit not only for my personal wants and needs but also for me so that I can be better for everyone around me. 

So, with that said, I'm hopping on the New Year, New Me, Go to the gym bandwagon.  Besides I like leg day.  Squats and deadlifts are my favorite exercises.  Let's get it!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Flashback Friday: I'm a mom of a one month old

I have never participated in #FlashBackFriday via Instagram or any other social media source but I thought why not start doing a #FBF via this blog.  I always feel like addressing a single memory via a picture just wasn't enough for me.  I need some context and a good story to go along with that picture.  I want more!  Call me demanding but I want more!!

So let's travel back in time to this squishy face

When I rewind to one year ago today I was probably lying on the couch for most of the day nursing my tiny little girl terrified that it was too cold in our drafty old house with 12 degree weather outside for her.  Terrified also that she could somehow roll over and suffocate in the blanket that I shouldn't have on her (for safety reasons) in our much too cold house.  Terrified that I would wake her worrying about if she'd wet her diaper and been in it too long.  Worried that she wasn't getting enough milk.  The list of things that could have been going wrong or that I thought I'd already done wrong could go on and on...

Although I'd been around little ones for my entire life, I've never really been responsible for a little one as small and young as she was without supervision for so long.  There was quite a bit of uncertainty in my brain at that time.  One of the biggest things was that I really wanted breastfeeding to workout and it was; it wasn't without pain or frustration and sometimes tears on occasion.  There were times that I wanted to give up so bad but couldn't bring myself to do that because I had convinced myself when I was pregnant that I was going to breastfeed.

I remember my irrational brain thinking I wish I could just spit in her mouth to give her something to fill her belly (for the record I never did!) so she'd stop nursing and my rational brain thinking, "have you completely fallen off your rocker?  Listen here crazy lady, just take a deep breath it is only temporary pain and this is what you wanted!  You were the one that was all 'I'm going to breastfeed.  No formula.  It can't be that hard'"  The only reason that I couldn't bring myself to give her formula or a bottle was that I hadn't done the research on what kind of formula to give her and I didn't want to cause nipple confusion causing her to not efficiently nurse.  Sometimes reading everything isn't the best thing... I sometimes do a little too much research.  I digress.

Back to what I was doing on the snowiest season in Michigan history...

I had eight weeks maternity from work and at four weeks in I was already worried that it was going too fast.  I couldn't imagine leaving the tiny human being that had been given to my family with anyone else family or not.  She was too small, too delicate, and mine (again I'm selfish).

A good portion of my morning was probably watching 19 Kids and Counting.  I had a lot of time just sitting with my daughter nursing so there was a lot of time to get into many different television series'.  In addition to the Duggar's I watched: Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, The Wire, Treme, Banshee, Black Sails, and a few more that I didn't keep up with after or couldn't really get into.  As the snowiest winter in Michigan history there were way too many days where driving or getting out of the house wasn't the most advisable activity (although there were a few times where I begged my brother to come pick me up while my husband was at work just so I could get out of the house.  He's a great brother).

Even today I think, "Oh, my goodness, I am a mother.  Someone calls me mom and I am responsible for that little person."  I know that I made a conscious decision with my husband to have a child and that is one of the things that I have already dreamed of my entire life.  It is still terrifying to think that this little person is totally relying upon her parents best efforts.  I could never be so thankful for having her.  She is such a joy and blessing (a word I don't use lightly) to my family and especially me that I could not be happier that she went from that goofy looking little thing to this cute little momma (yes, I'm totally biased!!!).

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Weekend snuggles... gone bad

This past weekend was great.  I was off on New Year's Eve all the way until yesterday.  I love getting more time to spend time with my daughter and husband.  I love to snuggle with her and usually I can only get those when she's sleeping because she's moving a million miles a minute the rest of the time.  There is a small window in the morning of possible snuggles but that is even a little hit or miss.

I'm totally surprised by this occurrence

Well, starting last Friday she was a little snuggly and that was wonderful.   I love getting my mommy hugs and snuggle time in.  Since the weather wasn't the greatest over the weekend it was kinda wonderful.  We stayed in Friday and just hung around the house and chilled. Then rolled around Friday night, she was a little clingy but that seemed ok because it was getting late and maybe she was just tired.  I let it go.  She went down for bedtime with the usual struggles but nothing truly unusual.

Well somebody's comfy

 Along comes foggy, cold Saturday... Well, Saturday must have brought in the crabbiness along with the cold weather because I could barely get a minute of baby-free time to even go to the bathroom.  She was attached to my arms.  It's not that I don't know how to do things with one hand (I mean let's be real, if you're a mom you become a one-arm bandit) but I was just getting used to using both hands again and also peeing alone.

By late afternoon snuggles had turned into full on industrial strength Velcro attachment.  She cried at the thought that I'd have to possibly put her down to change her diaper.  When I actually put her down for a change she screamed bloody murder like a horror film.  It broke my heart.

My husband went into work on Saturday and could see that she and I had had a very long day...

Sunday rolled around and the snuggles no longer had the same sparkle that the had on Friday.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder was a thought of the past.  Although I love her in my arms it wasn't the same as Friday when my neck wasn't tight from awkward sleeping arrangements and my arm didn't ache from constant carrying...

Then came Monday, the day that I wished I were a stay at home mom.  I wanted to call into work and tell them, "Sorry, my little girl isn't feeling well today, I'll be in tomorrow."  That isn't an option at work this week... My husband stayed home and I'm sure he did a great job but all I kept thinking about was how she sobbed as I left for work.  More heart break.

I rushed home from work, only to have her fall fast asleep on my chest as she's done so many times before.  I hadn't realized how much time had passed but I knew it was longer than usual.  Taking a nap around 5:30 or 6 is not uncommon for her but it's usually only 45 minutes or so... not this one... it was FOUR hours long!!  I couldn't believe it.  Four hours??!!  Instant regret popped into my brain but she finally woke up happy for the first time in three days.

We definitely stayed up much later than I had expected but even though that was a snuggle gone wrong, I'll take it just to see my little momma happy again.  Full of giggles and smiles makes it worth it to have to go to work and drink copious amounts of tea.