Category Archives: Life in General

My two favorite guys on Valentine’s Day

I don’t even know how to express how much better these two make my life. My heart has grown a million sizes since they came along.

Love you, Bobby and Noah. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Month in Review: January

At the beginning of the month, I shared some goals I have for this year, so I wanted to give an update on how those are going so far, and I wanted to invite other folks in the blogosphere to do the same. Check out the linky at the bottom if you set some goals in 2012 and would like to share how things are going, ask advice or just get a little accountability as the year progresses!

The great

Submit at least one freelance pitch per month – I submitted pitches to two different places in January. One was a local publication I have an existing freelance relationship with, and I’m currently working on four stories for it. The other was a national website/publication, and I am waiting to hear back if its editors are interested in my idea.

Try one new recipe per week –  In four weeks of January, I cooked FIVE new recipes. That averages out to one per week with an extra thrown in for good measure (You can check out the two kale recipes here and the pasta e fagioli recipe here. I’ll be posting two more new recipes I tried later this week.).

Read two books per month – I read three in January … The Hunger Games trilogy. That definitely gets me off to a good start on my goal of 24 for the year!

The good

Develop and maintain a good budgeting and bill-paying system – It’s a bit of a work in progress, but I did manage to get everything for January on the calendar and make a note when I had paid it. I’ve also been working on a different style of budget that I think may work better for us, especially now that Bobby’s job situation has changed.

Blog at least 75% of days in 2012 (274 out of 365 days) – I’m currently at just over 74% on this, so I’m feeling good about it so far. I hit a lull about mid-January, but I’m recovering!

Spend 15 minutes per night cleaning before bed – Maybe this one is a stretch, but we have made progress on getting our house a little cleaner and keeping it that way. So I’m giving myself a pass, even though the “15 minutes before bed” part has been really hit or miss.

The Bad

Create and stick to a chore chart – Yeeeeeaaaaah. I really haven’t thought about this at all. Oops.

Pay off dentist bill by the end of the year – I made my normal January payment, but it won’t get paid off by the end of the year if I just continue making the minimum payment. Not really sure what I’m going to do to change that, except maybe just budget a little extra toward it when I can.

Finish strategic communication plan at my primary workplace – I felt really bad, actually, because my boss actually asked me about this the other day, and it’s sort of gotten lost in the shuffle since the beginning of the year. He wanted to know if I had something we could send out to some colleagues, and I had to tell him no. I’m planning to take a day later this week to focus solely on that.

Move blog to – I am telling myself this has to be done before Blissdom, but I am not making time to work on it. IT HAS TO BE DONE BEFORE BLISSDOM!

Design it using purchased framework so that I like the way it looks – See previous entry.

The Ugly

Save $1,000 by the end of the year – Ugh. Just ugh. January was not particularly friendly to our budget, and we are still working on being disciplined about it.

Submit at least one piece of work for a professional award – There are basically two sets of awards I would really want to apply for, and the deadline for one passed on Friday. Boo.

Lose 30 pounds – By far, the worst. I’ve gained weight since the beginning of the year. As I’m typing this, my work pants are cutting into my stomach, and I’m rapidly running out of stuff that fits well. So changes are really in order as far as diet and exercise, and I didn’t do anything in January.

Complete one homemade/craft project per month – Ha. Yeah. I was supposed to make pillows. Unless I can figure out how to do that by the end of the day tomorrow, this is not getting done in January, unfortunately.


I’m feeling mostly OK about the way things have gone so far. I’m really pleased about the freelance stuff and the reading, but I’m pretty bummed about the weight gain and the budget stuff. I am glad, though, that I’ve taken time to look back at what I set out to do, because I’d honestly already forgotten some of these, and I have a really good idea of what to focus on in February.

Did you set goals or resolutions at the beginning of the year? Are you writing a monthly recap? I’d love for you to link up so I can read what you’ve been up to, and maybe it’ll help us be accountable, too!

The Family Math

Want the button? Just copy and paste the following code on your site: <p align=”center”><a title=”The Family Math” href=””><img src=”″></p></a&gt;

Note: I had a linky here before, but it wasn’t working right, so if you want to link up, just add your link in the comments. Thanks!

SOC Sunday: How DO I relax?

Figuring out how to relax has been a challenge since I had Noah, and not just because it’s hard to find time.

It’s hard to figure out what I want to do to relax.

Maybe that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it seems to be true. A lot of times I end up just sitting around, playing on the computer or watching television, and it leaves me feeling sort of unfulfilled.

It’s been better lately because I’ve been using some of my spare time to do things I enjoy, like writing and cooking. Those things may seem like work for some people, but I get relaxation through creativity, I guess. I enjoy learning new things and trying new recipes, so I guess that’s why it relaxes me.

Pinterest has definitely fed the cooking habit, which I think is a good thing. I’ve tried a lot of new recipes.

If I’m tired and wanting to relax, I guess it’s a bit of a different story. Ideally I like to head out of the house and grab a cup of coffee at Barnes and Noble and read or play on my computer or write. Blogging tends to be pretty relaxing for me, and I actually really enjoy the freelance writing work I do.

Beyond that, I guess the other relaxing thing I do is window shopping, which is something it’s a little more difficult to find time for these days. But I love to go and browse at the local thrift store and our local salvage store to see if I can find some great deals or possible components for a DIY project (I’ve just started that, thanks to Pinterest).

So those are a few things that help relax me.



Today I’m linking up with all.things.fadra for Stream of Consciousness Sunday.  It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post at all.things.fadra.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

More than a championship: What this means for us

Trent Richardson University of Alabama BCS Championship trophy

Photo from B101.7's Facebook page

For the first time since April 27, waking up to the sound of rain didn’t mean waking up to thoughts of the tornado.

Arguments of whether the Crimson Tide deserved to be in the BCS Championship Game aside, it was something the people of Tuscaloosa needed. These days as I drive through town, Bryant-Denny Stadium looms large almost anywhere I go. That used to be more of a symbolic thing, with the idea of football and the championship-winning legacy of Coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant  typically at the forefront of fans’ minds year-round.

But now the stadium is literally visible almost anywhere you go in Tuscaloosa thanks to the hundreds of trees and buildings ripped down on April 27. I drive past Rosedale Courts, where numerous people lost their lives, where only recently bulldozers have leveled ground that used to be covered with project housing, and I can see it. From the blank slab of concrete where the building Bobby used to work in stood, I can see it. I haven’t looked for it from Alberta City, one of the hardest hit areas, but I’d imagine it’s visible from there, too.

For months that huge concrete structure looming in the distance almost anywhere you went has stood as an inescapable symbol of what’s been lost.

Last night, it became a symbol of what’s been won.

It was a great game, a testament to the fact that you can be beaten and still come out on top in the end. It was a message the people of Tuscaloosa needed. We’re all tired. Tired of wondering if today will be the day it happens again. Tired of not being able to drive through the intersection of 35th and Greensboro without looking out over I-359 and thinking about that massive funnel cloud bearing down on the city. Tired of the ongoing recovery process that seems as if it will never end.

But this championship is about so much more for our city than winning a football game. It’s a sign that things can not only be normal again, but they can be good.

It means so much more this year than it ever has.

Roll Tide.

SOC Sunday: Undistracted free time? What’s that?

#SOCsunday This is my first time doing Stream of Consciousness Sunday in a while, and this is a great prompt from Fadra. Of course, it mostly prompted me to ramble, but I was distracted, see?

Today’s prompt: When you sit down to write a post, do you get dedicated, devoted time? Are you surrounded by distractions, mental or physical?

When I first read Fadra’s prompt for today, my immediate reaction was, “Ha. Hahahahaha. Oh, that’s funny.”

I really don’t get a lot of undistracted writing time, but when I do I like to crank out several blog posts at once. I think that’s probably how a lot of moms do it.

A good example of what my writing time usually looks like: As I sit here now, I have a cup of coffee on my right and a babbling baby on my left. He is saying, “Ma ma. Na na nu nu. ah ah ah ah.” And he’s throwing every toy I hand him into the floor. Pleasant. And incredibly distracting.

I also write a lot of posts during my lunch hour at work. That’s a little less distracting, but there’s always the potential for being interrupted since I’m still working away in my office. It’s a little easier though.

There are those rare nights where I set aside time after Noah’s asleep (usually on nights when Bobby has gone out to do something), and I feel like I probably get the most writing done on those occasions. Of course, I’m also easily distracted without extra help from baby or hubby, so I often turn to the internet, television or a book (Harry Potter, of late …so worth the re-read) to put off writing.

And there’s likely the crux of the issue. I would get a lot more done if I wasn’t a procrastinator and a bit lazy. I like to waste time doing mindless stuff. Part of it might be because I write as a profession, so I spend a lot of my work time writing. But the bigger part really is just that I fill my time at home — my free time, mind you, not time with Noah and Bobby — with sort of pointless stuff a lot of the time.

Well, now I need to figure out what to do about it. I guess it’s good that I’ve put it out there, but I kind of feel like I’ve put it out there before and nothing’s changed. So hopefully I will be able to start making some small changes. Eh, who knows?


This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post at All Things Fadra.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Noah at 9 months

The kiddo looks less and less like a baby and more and more like a little boy, and it makes this mommy sad.

But he’s getting more and more fun, too. He loves crawling around and exploring. He LOVES the walker his Granny got him for Christmas. And the child loves to eat.

He now has at least five teeth that have come through his gums. He may have more, but it’s next to impossible to tell because he hates having his mouth messed with. We made it through our first major sickness over Christmas and New Year’s — he had bronchiolitis and a double ear infection, but he was still just as sweet and happy as he could be.

Anyway, here’s a cute video of him trying out his walker for the first time!

My word for 2012: JOY

joy fortune cookieA few weeks ago, Bobby and I met up for our weekly lunch date at Pearl Garden, one of our favorite local Chinese places. We always get a laugh out of the fortune cookies (We add “in bed” to the end. Do it. It will revolutionize your fortune cookie experience.), but this time I was a little caught off guard by the fortune in mine.

“When the flowers bloom, so will great joy in your life.”

I think we probably still joked a little bit, and Bobby teased me that maybe I’d be pregnant again in the spring (That’s a big, fat NO.). But that little cookie prophecy has stuck with me. I can hardly take my mind off it.

Last year was really, really hard. Have you ever seen an old, weather-beaten wooden house that has been abandoned for years … so abandoned that no one’s even bothered to tear it down?

That’s how the last year has made my soul feel.

I am weary. I have reached points where I wasn’t sure my emotions could handle any more. I have bent, but I. have. not. broken.

The past year has been spent clawing my way out of the dirt, sometimes with bare hands. I have mud under my fingernails and smudges on my face, but I can see daylight now, and it makes me yearn for the sunshine even more.

Yes, I’m tired, but I am hopeful. I am ready to see mourning turned to dancing and sorrow turned to joy. And that’s my prayer for 2012.


The Lettered Cottage