Monday, February 28, 2011

Resolution Recap: February

Here is my end of the month update on how things are going with my 2011 resolutions!

1) Read 14 books: I've still only finished one book. I am almost finished with my 2nd book and will be moving into more "girly beach books" next!
2) Learn to sew: Not so much. The desire is still there though!
3) Cook more frequently (2-3 times/week): Well, we are working on that. We still eat out way too much. I did just create a weekly menu planner so we can plan our meals out each week. I think having a plan for the week will help with the 5:00 "Well, what are we doing for dinner tonight??" - and us end up going somewhere. We were doing great last fall with the weekly menu plan, so I am hoping that will help!
4) Read the Bible everyday and read it all the way through: Yay! I'm on this one! I have read my YouVersion plan everyday - and it tells me I've read 16% of the Bible so far! I really enjoy my reading time. And I know once this year is finished, it will feel so great to have accomplished this.
5) Use treadmill 4 times/week: Hm. I was doing well. But then life happened. And I'm having trouble getting back into it. I'm doing the best I can. Guess that's all I can do, right?
6) Use coupons when I shop: Doing pretty good! I do my best coupon shopping at CVS & Walgreens. I did my grocery shopping this morning and spent about $125 (we hadn't been in a LONG time) and saved close to $30. I know I could have done better, but every little bit helps! And this is somewhat related - I love consignment sale shopping for Katie. It is that time of year again and I have found some CUTE things for next to nothing! Possibly more to come on that...
7) De-clutter & simplify: Working on this! There are a few little things I want to do soon...organize all of Katie's stickers, coloring books, craft projects, etc...find a fun way to display Katie's current artwork...
8) Find a Sunday School class at church: Still need to do this - we were just talking about this yesterday.
9) Buy fresh flowers once a month: Well, I didn't buy them, but Brad did! He bought me flowers for Valentines Day and they make our space so happy!
10) Have a date night with Brad once/month: Check! We went to dinner just the two of us for Valentine's Day. We also did go out with friends a few time. I love date nights.
11) Send 2 hand-written notes/month: Done!
12) Have another baby: Still working on this effort.

There are a couple other items I think I want to add:
13) Use more eco-friendly cleaners: Let me preface this my saying that I am not a "tree-hugger" kinda person. I do want my home to be safe for my child and my dog though. I bought a steam cleaner for the floor. I have made multisurface cleaner with water and white vinegar and essential oil (peppermint). I am thinking of making my own laundry detergent when I finish everything I've bought with coupons. I'm trying to decide what I should try first when it comes to making my own cleaners - I don't want to go overboard...especially if I don't like the way it cleans.
14) Have "structured learning time" everyday: I am still thinking how this will work. I went to the Parent-Teacher store and bought some things to put on our bulletin board - letters of the alphabet and colors. I thought we could do a craft or read a certain book or do something outside each day with maybe a weekly theme. I don't know. I did buy a book with seasonally themed items, arts/crafts, etc for 2 year olds. I can't wait to go through that book to come up with ideas! If you have any ideas or suggestions, lemme know!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Katie's First Dentist Appointment

When going through the open enrollment period for our insurance, we decided it made the most sense to add Katie to our dental coverage. We thought it would be a good idea to take her around the time she turns 2, and then 6 months later. This past Monday was the big day! We picked a pediatric dentist close to our house (and recommended by other families) and made the appointment. Katie did great! It is more to get the child used to the office and make it a good experience. Katie liked her hygienist a lot - and she wasn't afraid of the dentist either! She was able to sit up and brush her own teeth, and then the hygienist helped brush some too. She got some stickers and got to pick a treasure out of the treasure chest! The only time she had to lay down on the seat was for the dentist to get a good look at her teeth. That wasn't horrible because they had TVs on the ceiling for kids to watch! So Katie got to watch Sid The Science Kid while getting her mouth checked out. And they said everything looked great and to come back in 6 months. All in all, quite the successful event!

Getting ready to leave the house for the dentist

She decided she wanted to read Parents Magazine at the kid table in the waiting room

When we got back to the chair, she was so excited that she got a new toothbrush!

And the hygienist helped her brush really well

She had a good time! She got this duck to play with while getting checked out!

She also got stickers - she wanted to share with her Momma!

Looking through the big treasure chest

Excited about her pick - a new bracelet! (I find it pretty neat too - I remember collecting different colors of those kinds of bracelets when I was little!)

After the dentist looked her over, he showed her his gloves and how to put them on. She was quite proud!

And there she is getting her bag of goodies before we headed out!

After her appointment, we went to the park to play!

And she actually played on the frog - as opposed to just running over to hug him!

Playing with her puzzles later that same day

...and showing off her pearly whites before bedtime!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Valentine's Day: Better Late Than Never

Since I was out of town for Valentine's Day, we had to celebrate a few days after the fact. We actually celebrated the Saturday after Valentine's Day. After Miss Priss woke up from naptime, she got to open her goodies. Then that night, I cashed in a babysitting offer from a friend, and Brad and I went out to dinner at J. Alexanders. We had thought about going to the Melting Pot, but since we went to a nice dinner for a friend's birthday the night before, we opted to do something a little less formal! And I wasn't much fun to shop for. That would be because I shopped too much for myself and just told Brad he could give me money for the items I purchased. At least I got what I wanted! :) And I got him some new cologne, a flask, and an offer to pay for part of a new pair of sunglasses whenever he decides to buy them. And of course we both got cards. All in all, it was a major success - and very fun! Here are some pictures!
The unopened bag of goodies

The first thing she could get her hands on was her Valentines Bear - she loved it!

And then she kept digging...

I have to say, I think this shirt was her favorite item. How did she know to hold it up to herself and admire it like that!?

Then she wanted to put it on...

So close....

After a little help from Mom, she was so proud of herself - and her new cute shirt!

She loved checking out her very own umbrella too!

Such a ham - posing for the camera...and full of laughs!

Climbing on the stairs and smiling - because she knows she isn't supposed to be doing that!

All of her goodies! Can you tell there's a theme? PINK! And rain, raincoat, umbrella - with dots! I can't wait to go outside and stomp in some puddles together!

Brad and myself before going out to dinner

And my flowers! I told Brad I was actually saving him money by being out of town on actual Valentines Day since he was able to get me flowers at their normal price. :)

Some of our cards! This doesn't include the cards Brad and I got for eachother. Katie loved looking at them (especially the Elmo one) out on display!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Disability Policy Seminar Trip

As I posted before (actually, while I was there), I traveled to Washington DC from February 13-16. It was so fun! I had all afternoon on Sunday to play tourist. And boy did I use my time wisely. On Monday and Tuesday of the conference, we heard from various officials with different federal groups about various pieces of legislation and budget cuts that would affect people with disabilities. It was very interesting, to say the least. Then Wednesday, the last day of the conference, you actually go to The Hill and meet with your state representatives and discuss all of the issues that you learned about the previous two days. Also, while I was gone, I was able to go to dinner with a good friend from high school and his girlfriend - so fun! I really enjoyed the time I was in DC. We will likely go back to play tourist sometime soon - Brad has never been and really wants to see all of the monuments and museums. I hadn't been since our 6th grade trip! I loved how everything I needed was within walking distance - I got lots of exercise on that trip! I also took quite a few pictures, but I narrowed it down to some of the better ones for this post. So, without further ado....

This map shows where our hotel (the red square) is in relation to everything else. The red line was my route I took while playing tourist. I covered some turf!!
The arch entering Chinatown. So cool.

I went to Union Station for lunch (and did some shopping)...

The inside of Union Station

A view of the Washington Monument, The Mall, and The Reflecting Pool in front of the Capitol building

The Capitol Building

As you may have noticed, I like taking pictures of the places I visit so I don't forget where I am in certain pics! I learned that trick when we went to Europe (everything runs together at a certain point!)

The Hope Diamond

All the dinosaur bones - amazing in person!

My favorite thing I saw was the actual Star Spangled Banner. And I have a weren't allowed to take pictures in that particular area. But I wanted to. I wanted to capture this amazing piece of history. So I tried to be sneaky and take a flashless pic as I walked out. This is what I got.

Abraham Lincoln's famous top hat

The Washington Monument

The White House! Apparently I had just missed Michelle Obama out playing with their dog...

Me with the White House (don't you love self-portraits??)

And of course I had to do some shopping. There was a H&M just around the corner from my hotel. Love going in that place!

I loved all of the food I ate there. Oddly enough, I had shrimp almost everyday I was there, in some form or fashion. At this meal, a group of us went to a tapas restaurant where it was all you could eat for $20. It.was.amazing. I had never been to a tapas restaurant...and now I must find a good one locally. This is some kind of fried eggplant with a yummy cheese dip.

In my hotel, they had a gigantic American flag flying in the atrium area. I had to take a picture of it.

On our day of Hill visits, this is me all spiffied up. I bought a suit so I looked all professional. Well, actually, I bought separates that looked like they were a suit. The whole outfit (shoes, pants, jacket, shirt) came from TJ Maxx and cost a whopping $70ish. Not bad when the jacket itself was originally $140 in the stores! I felt quite professional - amazing what that can do for a girl's attitude! :) Anyways, this is me in front of the office of my U.S. Congresswoman. At most of the visits, we met with their staff. My last visit, the congresswoman tried really wanted to meet with us, so she had us meet her in a room in the actual Capitol building. She was in session voting on various items and met with us on a break! Pretty neat if you ask me. After that visit, we hightailed it back to the hotel to get our stuff and taxi it to the airport to come home. It was an action-packed trip full of information and delicious food, but I was definitely ready to head home to my family!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

All Better!

Katie has figured out that when she has an "ouchy", I will kiss it and say, "All better!" I think she may be making up some of her ouchies - they seem to happen all the time...and always on a finger or her hand! She comes up and shoves her hand in my face to kiss it (I wonder if she thinks she is royalty...??), and of course I do! Once the boo-boo is kissed, she now says, "All better!" I love it. And I am OK with her making up these least for now. I like that she knows her Momma's love will make things better :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Baby Love

My college roommate, also an Ashley, just had a baby! Gosh, I forget how little newborns are. I am so excited for her and her new family of 3 (well, 4, including the dog!).
Here is a "before" picture - this was at our friend's 30th birthday party. She was such a trooper - 3 days before her due date (and when the Little Miss would be born) - and out socializing! She was also a trooper because I couldn't stop putting my hand on her belly :)

And a sort of "after picture"! Avery was born on Valentine's Day! I was so sad because I was out of town on the big day, but the first day I was home, I went to visit and meet Miss Priss - she needs to get to know her Auntie Ashley! And I got to hold her for almost TWO whole hours! Ahhh...I could sit and hold little ones for hours on end.

Welcome to the world, sweet girl! You are so very loved!