Guess Who’s Back?

Hard to believe but it’s been 4 years since I last wrote an entry on this blog. At the time I was burned out, tired of writing, and my heart wasn’t in it. It felt forced. If we’re being honest, I kind of felt that way about life in general too. I had 2 little kids, a busy job, a new house, and didn’t feel like I had anything “together”. Everything felt frantic and unorganized and crazy. I was overwhelmed.

So I stopped writing. It was a hard decision made easier over time. Every time I’d think about the blog I’d examine my life and it re-affirmed my decision to stop. I don’t have enough time. There’s nothing interesting to write about. No one cares what’s going on in my life.

And so it goes.

However I kept paying to renew the domain name and keep the site up year after year. Whenever I’d see a payment processed I’d cringe a little and tell myself I should just take it down. But I never did. Nostalgia perhaps? Sure. Thoughts that one day I’d write again? Probably. Lazy? Absolutely!

Recently though I’ve felt the itch again. 2018 feels like a year of renewal to me. A renewal of myself and getting back to feeling good and doing things I enjoy. For so long it felt like my own life was put on hold in favor of what the kids needed (Yes, I know thats called being a parent). I don’t feel that way anymore. I bought season tickets to the Broadway Series that comes through town because I love live theater. I’m going to several concerts this year because I also love live music and hate that I’ve missed so many amazing artists over the last couple years. I’m traveling a lot more (mostly for work) and enjoy every minute of visiting other cities.

I’m ready for more….more adventure…more fun…more laughter…just more!

I’m also doing more to take care of myself. One thing that’s stayed constant is my workout regime. That is something I’ll never give up. I work out at 5:30 am every weekday morning and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I also still play volleyball 1 to 2 nights a week and love it! However, my eating habits had gone way downhill. I was yo-yo dieting with no success. Eating all kinds of amazing tasting junk food and constantly feeling guilty. Then wondering why the scale wouldn’t go down. I was actually at my heaviest weight not including pregnancy/post-pregnancy. My confidence was way down and I felt icky. So I finally sucked it up, kicked myself in the ass and did the Whole30 program for the month of January. It was exactly what I needed. I feel great and like I’ve really gained my power back. I now make conscious decisions about what I put in my body and only eat what will nourish me and provide the best fuel. I lost 8 lbs. but had other major “non-scale victories” and am still going (I’ll do a separate post on Whole30 at some point).

Part of the Whole30 program is to keep a journal everyday of what you ate, how you feel, and your non-scale victories. I used to journal on a pretty regular basis, but like everything else, that went out the window. Bringing it back as part of the program was great and it reinvigorated my need for creative writing. I am an inherently creative person but have had no outlet for it in recent years. The itch was coming back. So I bought myself a new journal, some colorful pens and committed to journaling at least once every week. Nothing too crazy, no rules around it – just write once a week. So far I’ve been journaling an average of 3 – 4 times a week and loving it.

That got me thinking, where else can I do more writing?

I was talking to a friend, sharing another story of some bizarre crazy thing that happened in my life and he said “You should really write this stuff down!”

The lightbulb went off.

I used to write this stuff down and it was fun! Why not do it again? I pulled up the blog and read through the old entries and all those memories came flooding back and I realized this wasn’t an accident. This was the universes way of nudging me in the right direction.

So, here we are.

A lot has changed in 4 years but I won’t get in to those details now. Look for some upcoming entries with updates on the family, my life, and work.

Couple promises:

  • I will keep this blog light-hearted. My writing tends to err on the funny or sarcastic side. That’s just who I am so why force myself to be something else?
  • Some of my most popular entries were about work (Annexed, $#*! My British Friend Says). My job has changed – I’m in a different position, in a different building, with a whole new team. But we still have a lot of fun and I’ll share what I can out here.
  • I don’t know how often I’ll be able to write so I’m not putting any pressure on myself to do X number of entries a week. But I’ll do what I can.

So that’s it. I’m back and excited to pick up where I left off. Care to join me?

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Life A.D.–5 Months

5 months isn’t sexy. It isn’t flashy. It doesn’t get a lot of attention like it’s friends 3, 6, 9 and 12 months. But it’s actually fairly important.

There is a lot that happens between months 4-6 of a babies development yet you really don’t hear much about that middle number 5.

We have seen a big difference in Cora in the last 30 days.

She’s showing her personality more every day (here she is getting angry when she couldn’t figure out how to roll over).

She’s a bit like her mama this way…

But she soon figured it out…

Wow that was easy

She can hold her head up very steadily all on her own and she’s sitting up, with some assistance.

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She can do little baby “V-ups” (where she lifts her head, neck, shoulders and feet off the ground).

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She’s having fun sticking her tongue out.

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She’s even  grown enough to start wearing size 6 month clothes.

She’s very attentive, watching everything we do. And she wants to be included. If we’re at the table eating dinner and she’s in her swing, she will squawk until we bring her over to join us. If we have her on the floor of the playroom for exercise time while we play, she will crane her neck to see what we are doing at all times.

I find that I can’t get enough of Cora. I stare at her and think how beautiful she is. I snuggle and kiss her all the time. Making her smile is endlessly fun. I remember this phase with Isabella when she was that age too. I want Cora to progress but I don’t want her to grow up. I wish she could stay this sweet and happy forever.

Isabella has made some strides of her own in the last month. She’s now a pre-schooler!

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My biggest little one is in school now and it seems somewhat surreal. I didn’t cry when I dropped her off on the first day, and she didn’t either. She was excited and ready. But the moment was  not lost on me. Watching her standing in front of the school, waiting with the other kids to go inside, I was struck by how small she is.

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Not in terms of size but in terms of years. She seems so old to me most of the time because she’s the big kid in the house  that I forget she’s a tiny little person. She’s only 3 (she turns 4 in a couple weeks) and has a her whole life in front of her.

I have been extremely lucky to have the peace of mind knowing that my babies are in the trusted hands of CJ every day.

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Now one of those babies has been handed off to someone else. I completely trust our pre-school teachers and Isabella loves going there. Still, it can be a challenge to let go.

As for me, I’ve lost a total of 14 pounds so far and am pretty darn close to my pre-pregnancy size. I am able to get back in to many of my old clothes, and therefore give away some of the bigger sized ones. Let me tell you, that feels great.

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I didn’t get a chance to take a selfie and this is the most recent pic I have. Yes, that’s an astronaut.

I have 11 more pounds before I reach my goal weight. I originally set my goal at my pre-pregnancy weight but have since decided to shoot for losing a few pounds beyond that. Hey, why not? Losing with Weight Watchers has been surprisingly easy so it seems feasible now for me to get there.

Life for the Team Trader is good these days. Really good.  I am extremely grateful for what I have and don’t want to take a moment of it for granted. Ever.

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Catch up on more Team Trader action!

Life A.D. – 4 months | Little Things | Fat Talk

Fat Talk

When I got married, I wore a size 6. I was 5’7″ and 125 pounds.

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I thought I was fat. 

Well, ok, maybe not truly “fat” but I certainly wasn’t happy with my body.

I look back at old pictures of myself and shake my head.

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What would young Sarah have thought of me today, wearing a size 12-14 (depending on the item), a size Large and weighing in at 154 pounds?

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I throw all these numbers out there to show that as women we are almost never happy with our appearance. I admit that I am not thrilled with how I look today. I would like to shed about 14 lbs. to get back to the 140 that I was pre-Cora. If I could shed even more, that would be a bonus. I recognize that I will never be a size 6 and 125 lbs. again. After having 2 babies my body just can’t bounce back to that.

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And it’s ok.

Society wants us to think that we have to be a certain size/shape to be pretty. Admittedly I have bought in to that over the years, thinking I was not worthy because I had a muffin top or extra junk in the trunk. I have looked at myself in the mirror and been disgusted with what I saw, thinking horrible things about myself.

That kind of negative self-talk has got to stop.

Would I say those things to a friend? Absolutely not. I look around at the women in my life and think of those who strike me as beautiful. They are not all a size 2 with 6 pack abs and perfectly defined arms and legs. They are beautiful because of who they are on the inside – their personalities. That in turn makes their outsides beautiful too.

Why don’t I look at myself the same way?

I have always been careful about what I say in front of Isabella. I make a point to not only complement her looks but also her intelligence, sense of humor and loving heart. In front of her I have never used the word “fat” to describe myself or anyone else, nor have I berated how I look. Believe me, that is hard on some days, especially right after Cora was born and I was a bit down with how I was looking and feeling. I know she will reach a point in her life where she starts to put herself down, or heaven forbid someone else does it, but I don’t want to be an influencer of that.

In that vein, I think it’s high time that women everywhere stop putting ourselves down and instead embrace who we are and how we look. No more fat talk!

Let me begin…

I love my eyes.

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One thing that people always notice about my girls is that they have big beautiful blue eyes.

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They get the rich color from their dad but the shape from me. I hadn’t realized that until someone pointed it out to me recently. My eyes are beautiful too!

I have always had nice legs. I remember as a kid that my dad would complement my  mom’s legs a lot, saying how shapely they were. That led me to pay attention to my own gams and have been confident in showing them off. They are long, lean and strong, which I love.

Brunettes are where it’s at! They say blondes have more fun but I love being a natural brunette. I have never wanted to be anything else. Sure I’ve played with highlights over the years but have always kept a dark rich base. I think it’s exotic and lovely.

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My sense of humor. I love to make people laugh. I like to think I’m fairly witty about it too.

My ability to accept all people. I avoid talking religion and politics on this blog, or in general conversation, because as we all know, they are touchy subjects. But I will say this: one of my main  problems with certain religions and political parties is when they don’t accept anyone and everyone as being equal. I have always been inclusive of everyone (from the grade school playground to buying black Cabbage Patch dolls to go along with my other white dolls). To this day I have friends who are gay/straight/African American/Caucasian/Asian/Muslim/religious/atheist/etc.  I love all kinds of people and am proud of my ability to do that.

My pledge is to stop saying bad things about how I look and stop comparing myself to others. I am a work in progress and I will love where I am and how I look at any given moment. I encourage every woman out there to do the same. We are all beautiful, inside and out! Let’s proclaim it to the world!

Read more….

Eating Disorders Awareness | Little Things

Light Bright

Today I snuck out over lunch to run errands. Namely, buy new clothes that will get me through this interim stage where both maternity and pre-pregnancy clothes are unflattering. I’ve been putting it off because I didn’t want to spend money on items that I view as temporary (oh and they will be temporary!) but since I’m going back to the office next week, I need something to wear.

I think they frown on associates showing up naked. Or in jammies.

I was feeling a tad discouraged because everything I tried on made me look ginormous (or is it those damned dressing room lights and mirrors?). I left the store with a few pairs of jeans that will suffice for now and about 4 shirts…and some Weight Watchers meals.

Upon pulling in to my driveway I was struck by just how beautiful all the flowers in our yard look. For some reason they have really blossomed and popped over the last week and it almost took my breath away.

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There were pops of pink and red and yellow jumping out at me, all against a background of luscious green.

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I can in no way take credit for any of it either. I do not have a green thumb. My potted plants are lucky on the days I remember to water them. Fortunately we’ve had a rainy spring which has been the main contributor to our gorgeous garden.

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I plan to enjoy it while it lasts because I’m sure as we get in to the real heat of summer, many will start to dry up and fade. But boy are they spectacular now!

Funny how the glory of nature can put things in to perspective and make a few pairs of jeans seem pretty silly.

 

Interested in reading more? Follow these links!

Summertime One Liners | Out with the Old | What I Will and Won’t Miss…

Out with the old, In with the new!

Happy New Year! Here’s to lucky number 13!

We rang in the new year in a pretty low key manner. Just the 4 of us at home, playing games, eating and being silly.

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We did our official toast to the new year at 9 pm so that Isabella could participate. We mixed orange juice and Squirt and drank out of wine glasses (champagne flutes are still in storage…) to make it fancy. Then we took some more silly pictures and called it a night!

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Now, let’s talk resolutions…

I started out 2012 with a long list of resolutions (30 of them! Eek!). I acknowledged at the time that it was ambitious and tried to break it down in to manageable chunks. I actually stuck with it for a good 6 months too and can say I crossed off about 50% of the items (I say “about” because some of the goals were in multiple parts or I did a resolution for the first half of the year but not the last, etc.).

I could site many excuses for not doing more (laziness, being pregnant, changing priorities, etc.) but the fact of the matter is that I’m human and can only do so much. I’m not perfect (are you shocked?) and so I think getting through half of my list is pretty darn good.

That being said, this year I’m going to come at it a bit differently. I have 2 goals (you know, other than the Big One of having a baby) and they pretty much go hand in hand:

1. Get our finances in order and pay down our debts

2. Establish and maintain organization in the household

The first one is a carry over from last year. I learned a valuable lesson in the last couple of months – no matter how much money you make, it’s all about how you manage it. To that end, you have to have a budget and a plan, neither of which we really had. I really struggled in December with our money situation and how I let us get here (I’m the CFO of the house). But “shoulds” will not solve anything and all we can do is fix it going forward.

So I took some time over the last couple weeks to come up with a budget, formulate a plan for how we’ll pay down the debt and save money and put it in to action. It’s a work in progress and I’m sure we’ll have to adjust as we go but it feels good to at least do something. Admittedly, we are not nearly as bad off as many others in America and I am truly grateful for what we do have. But it could be better and I’m determined to make it so.

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In my mind, #2 will help us with #1. The more organized we are around the house, the more money we’ll save. Case in point: the other week I bought new toothpaste for Isabella because she ran out, only to discover a couple days later when rifling through the closet that we already had some for her. Also, the more diligent we are about cleaning, maintenance and upkeep of the house, the fewer ’emergencies’ we’ll have down the line with things breaking or wearing out due to improper upkeep.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like we’re slobs or don’t take care of things, it’s just that with the daily hustle and bustle, things tend to get dropped by the wayside, forgotten or overlooked and the next thing you know, you’re taking your car to the mechanic for a $200 job that could have been avoided had you remembered to change the oil 3 months ago (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything…).

So I’ve put together a Household Management Binder that will hopefully keep us on the straight and narrow. In it there are sheets for:

1. Weekly meal planning (this will save us money on groceries and help avoid eating out plus take away the daily stress of “what’s for dinner?”)

2. Weekly Cleaning Checklist – I’m using #2 (breaks up cleaning tasks out by day of the week so that we have a few small things to do each day rather than a huge list on the weekend)

3. Monthly Cleaning Zones (lists out items that need to be done on a monthly basis so they aren’t overlooked)

4. Budget (visible reminder of our budget that will help us see how we’re doing and stay on track)

5. 52 Weeks of Organization (a weekly guide to organizing so that by year end, the whole house will be organized and de-cluttered)

6. Play date Calendar (monthly look at all the play groups, story times and open gym times around town for CJ and Isabella to use)

7. Emergency Contact Information (list of emergency numbers for easy reference for us or baby-sitters)

8. Household projects (list of all the big projects / to do’s that need to be done around the house so that CJ and I can sync up and track them together)

We’ve been using it since Sunday and so far, so good. Crossing items off the weekly cleaning list feels good because it means we’ve accomplished something and that we’re doing good things for our house! And the meal planner has made the week so much easier when it comes to lunches and dinners.

We also got one item checked off the household projects list – putting the storage cabinet together and organizing it!

In our old house, we had this cabinet in Samson’s Room and used it for storing gift wrapping supplies, games, scrapbooking stuff, and miscellaneous small décor items (like candles). We had to take it apart when we moved and it never got reassembled – until this weekend!

The basement went from this:

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To this!

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Pretty awesome, huh? I was able to unpack and toss about 7 big boxes, freeing up so much more space.

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Here’s what the inside looks like:

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On the left is the gift wrapping station (ribbons and accessories on top, bags and tissue on the hangers, and wrapping paper and boxes on the bottom). On the right we have games, memory boxes, extra baskets/art supplies and candles (in the top drawer). Bottom drawer is empty which means there’s room for more!

Feels so good to have that done and I smile every time I go in the basement and see that area!

Cheers to a good year!