Now that the freak-out is past, I’m gettin’ my Bliss on

I'm Going, Y'all! - BlissdomIn just over two weeks, I’m giving my PPA the finger and going to Blissdom, a national blogging conference that I’ve heard nothing but good things about.

As it draws closer, I really am getting more excited. I’ve been part of a Facebook group for Blissdom newbies, and the excitement is definitely contagious. And following #Blissdom on Twitter has already given me a sense of the community I have to look forward to.

So what have I been up to in preparation?

Gotta be honest, compared to some of these amazing bloggers that are going, I haven’t done a whole lot. I ordered business cards, which is a must for Blissdom. I’ve been working hard to get some freelance work that’s due this month done before I go. I’m also preparing to move my blog over to its new address SOON!

I also put together my schedule for the actual event, and it looks awesome. The speakers and topics are incredible, and I really can’t even imagine how much I’ll learn while I’m there.

On the homefront, Bobby and I have talked about how things will go with him and Noah holding down the fort while I’m out of town. The biggest thing was finding someone to take care of him the night Bobby has to work while I’m gone and arranging for them to pick him up from day care. Thankfully our friends Jesse and Michael are up for it!

On a personal level, thankfully I am feeling better about going to Blissdom. You may remember that I was freaking. out. when I first bought my ticket. The PPA still rears its ugly head now and again, but I’m feeling a little more in control and confident. I also have a growing list of bloggers I’ve connected with on Facebook and Twitter who I’m looking forward to meeting!

So, veterans of Blissdom and other blogging conferences, what else do I need to do in the coming weeks to prepare? What kinds of clothes should I take? Any other tips?

****************************

Do you like cute, hand-stitched/appliqued kids clothes or love to see a tutu on a little girl? Please be sure to check out my Blissdom sponsor, Eleanore’s Treasures!

Advertisements

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 wordpress.org – 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=”https://thefamilymath.wordpress.com”><img src=”https://thefamilymath.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/month-in-review-button-3.jpg?w=300″></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.

*****************************

#SOCsunday

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.

Working with Style: Uh-oh edition

I’ve had two recent frustrations with my work wardrobe.

One is just kind of silly, and I’m sure it’d be a quick fix for someone who knows how to sew. The other morning I put on my dark brown work slacks. I buttoned them. I grabbed for the zipper pulley … except there was no zipper pulley to grab. Somehow that part of the zipper had apparently come off at some point! So there would be no wearing the dark brown pants to work this week!

This wouldn’t be such a problem except for the other frustration: I’ve gained weight. I’m not sure if I gained over a matter of months while I was on antidepressants or that I’ve done more emotional eating since I’ve come off them. Regardless, my postpartum bod is not looking so hot these days. And having those dark brown pants taken out of the lineup (combined with how abysmally behind on laundry we’ve been) meant that I was really scrounging around to find something to wear.

Thankfully I have a few things that still fit and are at least somewhat flattering (pics and descriptions below), but I really have to do something about this weight gain because I am running out of clothes that fit. And judging by the number of clothes that are already a little snug or uncomfortable, I’m not far from needing to make the I’m-up-a-size shopping trip that most women dread.

I have been thinking about how to put a stop to the weight gain and get a little healthier, and I’m planning to post some thoughts later this week. In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you have dealt with a few extra pounds after having a baby (even if it was 10 months after having him — LIKE ME).

Here are my recent outfits (yes, I’m the dork taking my own picture in the mirror. Shut up.):

Working with Style 1-21

Pants: Lane Bryant
Black short-sleeved jacket: Lane Bryant
Gray shirt: Old Navy
Scarf: Gift from a friend

WWS Outfit - Dress and green cardi

 (This is the outfit I wore the day of the brown-pants incident)
Dress: Wal-mart
Green cardigan: Target
Tights: Target
Shoes: Clarks

WWS outfit - Purple sweater

Sweater: Target (Mossimo)
Tank: Target (Also Mossimo, I think)

**********************************

As usual, I’m linking up with Liberating Working Moms for this Working with Style post! Stop by there to check out Shannon’s first time hosting!

Guest posting over at The Momma Bird

I’m over at Michelle’s place today guest posting as part of her health and wellness series. I’m sharing about my experience with postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. Please stop by and check it out!

Wordless Wednesday: It’s a baby in a sombrero!

Baby in a sombrero

Linking up with Baby Baby Lemon for Wordless Wednesday. Stop by and say hi to her. She has a storm trooper in her uterus!

babybabylemon

Balancing act

I had the day off work Monday, and Noah’s daycare was open, so I had a nice chunk of time to myself, a rarity these days.

I took advantage of the time to spend about an hour browsing baby clothes and Target and working on a freelance assignment. I had the luxury of sitting and chatting with my interview subject for two hours over coffee.

As I was driving home around lunchtime, I started thinking about how rare it is for me to have (mostly) guilt-free time to myself.

Oh, mommy guilt.

Don’t get me wrong. Bobby does a great job of making sure I can take a break when I need one, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling bad about leaving the baby with him. Or not wanting to spend every free waking moment with Noah.

And honestly I could have kept him out of daycare on Monday, but it was an easy choice for me to send him. I can’t get as much done when I have him with me, and leaving him with Bobby wasn’t an option because Bobby had to work.

So what I was thinking as I was driving toward home was that maybe I should start taking a day or a half-day off work occasionally, just for me. The idea seems so extravagant.

My average weekday goes something like this: Get up, shower, get Noah up and dressed (alongside Bobby), feed myself and Noah, stuff diapers, pack him in the car. Drop him at daycare, go to work, eat lunch at my office (parking is a pain on campus while classes are in session). Pick Noah up from daycare, come home, cook dinner or part of dinner, play with Noah, Skype with Bobby’s parents, feed Noah, help get him ready for bed. Once Noah’s in bed (usually no later than 7:30), I typically spend some time catching up on writing for my blog and freelance and also housework and bills. By the time all this is done, I’m pretty much ready to just spend some time with Bobby or veg in front of the laptop. It’s pretty rare for me to go out and do anything on weeknights.

The weekends are a bit different since I don’t have to work, but they are often the time to catch up on all the stuff I’ve let slide during the week. And while Noah has become a bit more independent, he still requires (and, at times, demands) a lot of attention. The weekend just never seems quite long enough to get everything done.

There are so many things I want to do, and now that there’s a baby in the picture, it has gotten a lot harder to make time for those things. But I know it’s important that I continue to work at it.

Other moms, how do you manage to balance everything? Do you ever just take time off for yourself?