Sunday, August 29, 2010

Couch to 5k: Run, Shauna, Run!

Have any of you heard of the Couch to 5k program? It helps the lazy, out of shape, or running haters go from "couch to 5k" in 2 months. I fit in the "loather of running" category. I have always despised running, and thought I always would. Even as a child, I preferred arts over athletics. I'm not a criminal on the lam, and the chances of a zombie invasion are slim... so why do I need to work up my endurance for running? It just sounds torturous. That being said, there's been something inside of me (for quite some time) that's wanted to love running. Runners will tell you about the "runner high" that they get. They'll tell you how amazing it feels during and after a good run. They'll tell you it's addictive. Doctors will detail the numerous health benefits to running. So here we go. Couch to 5k. I'm going to do it. At minimum, I have to give a chance.

With the support and company of my mom, I started the program this morning. Perhaps in my case it should be "bed to 5k", as I am infamous for my near inability to get up out of bed at an early hour. I'm proud to say I was up at 6 this morning. Once we got going out there, it wasn't bad as I thought it would be. The thing is that I KNOW I can run, I just haven't really wanted to. I'm changing my usual running mantra from "I hate it I hate it I hate it" to something like "It's good for me, I can do it, I am doing it". I'm determined to change my attitude about running. If I fail at getting up in the morning, my backup plan is to run in the evenings. So there, no excuses.

I'm so fortunate that my jogging partner (aka my mom) is an incredible athlete. Warning: I'm about to brag. As a the stroke lead for a women's competitive rowing team, she kicks some serious booty. Just see for yourself in the below video clip, or click here. She's the hot tamale in the blue boat, in front, closest to the camera at the start. I just love watching her stroke style. She's 62 years old, but so very youthful. She has monstrous muscles, and could stand in as my body guard (but not in a gross manly body-builder sort of way... she's just BUFF). She's not all brawn, either. She's the big boss at work and the Vice President of her rowing club.

Anywho, wish me luck on my running program. My mom is here through the 7th, then I'm sort of on my own. Unless I have any volunteers to come keep me honest?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Paper Flowers

I just love when the DIY stars align, don't you? We're very limited to decorating our new place since it's a (very outdated) rental house. I spent $0.00 on this project by upcycling and using things I had on hand. It was so easy that I wanted to share the how-to. Have no fear - green thumb not required. I apologize in advance for the iPhone pictures, but it's better than no pictures, right?

If you'd like to view the tutorial, click through using the below link.  Happy crafting!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Can You Keep a Secret?

Harper's second birthday is today! He just doesn't know it. We've decided to wait about a week for his birthday party so my mom can attend too. That's right, my mama is coming to visit! I'm thrilled!

So as I throw invisible confetti and whisper "Happy Birthday, sweetheart" in Harper's ear (he'll never know!!), I'll share a bit from his secret birthday.

I wanted to snap a birthday picture at breakfast time. Instead of saying "cheeeeese" like I asked, he made a goofy squinting face for the camera. He thought he was being SO FUNNY. Note the fake, forced laugh in the third picture. What a goof.

And here he is with his hair done, ready to go spend some quality cousin-time with Logan and Emma. He likes to do his hair with the pomade stick, just like dad does. Harper goes for the faux-hawk (with my assistance), though Jeff merely uses it to disguise the hackjob of a haircut I gave him the other day.

He was really interested in the bag of caramel popcorn at the store, so thought it would be a fun secret birthday treat for him since regular popcorn has zero appeal to him. Apparently, once out of the bag, caramel popcorn has zero appeal either. And of course I had purchased the largest bag. Sheesh. Jeff better help me eat it.

I'll need to remember to charge the real camera's battery for Harper's birthday party next weekend. But for now, everyone whisper a "Happy Birthday, Harper"... well I suppose you could shout it. Until he sees balloons to play with and cake to shovel into his mouth, he probably won't understand anyway.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Night Night Time

Harper has had close to the same bedtime routine for quite some time now. Back when he self-weaned, I would hold him close, cuddle, and sing to him in the rocking chair. It served as a great transition to sleepy time, and we both loved the continued closeness that it provided after he had weaned. We have kept this tradition up ever since, and we both love it.

Since then, we've added a few things to the routine. We read a couple books (right now it's Dr. Seuss' There's a Wocket in My Pocket followed by Margaret Wise Brown's timeless Goodnight Moon), then the three of us sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" as a family. You should see the sincere look on his face as he belts out "aaaahhhh ahhhhhhh". You can tell he's really feelin the music.

After we sing as a family, Jeff gives us both kisses goodnight so Harper and I can have our cuddle time (when Harper coaxes me into singing "another song" as many times as he possibly can). Harper does this great thing where he touches the side of Jeff's (or my) cheek with his little hand to "pull us in for a smooch". Well, tonight Harper did the sweetest thing that I don't ever want to forget. Harper pulled his daddy in for a smooch, then pushed Jeff's face towards mine so he could kiss me, too. He did that three times, encouraged by our giggling.

Harper then said, "bye-bye, sun" while looking up and over towards the curtained window. He's never said this before, and we could hardly believe it when he seemed to truly understand the conceptual relationship between sunset and bedtime.

He'll be two tomorrow (Friday). How is this happening so fast?!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thirty by Fourty

Yes, the rumors are true. On July 30th, I said farewell to my twenties and hello to my thirties. This kind of milestone can really get a gal thinking about her life journey. A decade is a long time, and I've decided to be more goal oriented about the things I fill my life with. I don't so much enjoy making lists as I do checking things off of them (who doesn't?!) so I've come up with the following specific things that I'd like to do by the time I turn (gulp) fourty. The list is a blend of short-term and long-term items. Below is my complete list (categorized but otherwise in no particular order).

Who else out there has a list like this? I'd love to hear if anyone else has done something like this before, and how it went/is going.

Thirty by Fourty

 1.  Knit a sweater for myself
 2.  Knit a pair of socks for myself
 3.  Refinish a piece of furniture
 4.  Complete all of my unfinished quilts
 5.  Complete another oil painting (it's been years)
 6.  Knit something for myself with luscious boutique yarn
 7.  For at least one year, only give handmade gifts & cards to extended family/friends
 8.  Knit something lace with lace weight yarn
 9.  Complete our wedding scrapbook
10. Complete Harper's scrapbook
11. Complete five upcycle projects
12. Complete 10 crochet projects (I don't normally crochet, but I enjoy it)

 13. Lose more weight & get healthier
 14. Run/jog a charity 5k (this is a feat for me. I HATE running, though I wish I loved it)
 15. Take a real vacation
 16. Get that dreaded dental work done
 17. Read 10 classic novels that I haven't read yet
 18. Do something that's totally out of my comfort zone
 19. Do another 3-day juice fast
 20. Give Harper a brother or sister (#13 must happen first!)

Miss Shauna Homemaker
 21. Start a garden
 22. Organize my crafts
 23. Reduce our clutter at home
 24. Prepare a 5-course meal entirely made from scratch with farm/garden ingredients
 25. Select a room in the house, and completely redecorate it on a small budget

 26. Complete a children's book with Jeff
 27. Attend a geekfeest (ie Comic-con, PAX, E3, Maker Faire, Stitches Expo, etc)
 28. Participate and win NaNoWriMo 3 more times
 29. Complete a final draft of one of my NaNoWriMo novels
 30. Do a HUGE donation of our old clothes, bedding, etc.

The Big Boy and the Car Seat

We've resisted the lure of the forward-facing car seat for as long as we could. Yes, we're those parents, and proud of it.  But really, there are some shocking statistics regarding rear vs. forward facing car seats. Without sounding preachy or showing anything super scary, I'll just link this video that shows the difference of the two seats during an impact (don't worry - it's just a crash-test-dummy).

When we bought our seat, we decided to get one with an extended rear-facing weight limit.  According to national averages, he should have been fine rear-facing until he was about 3 (or even possibly 4) years old. Would you believe that he's only a few pounds away from the limit? We had to turn him around, but we're proud that we kept him rear-facing for so long. Truly, he didn't mind the way things were. He may have looked a bit squished in there, but really, he was quite comfortable with his legs bent and cuddled up a bit. It gave him a little space to run his cars along the edge of the carseat, and a nice cozy place to nap on the way to Grandma Carol's.

He's not a baby anymore, that's for sure. This little guy turns two years old in about a week, can you believe it?


As I become increasingly budget-conscious, I try to think of different ways to save money with my crafting and decorating (a.k.a. money-sinks). I've decided to try my hand at plarn creations. Yes, you heard it right: plarn. Penny pinchers and green crafters gave the name "plarn" to yarn made from plastic bags. Preparing the bags takes a bit of time, and I still need to toy with needle/hook gauge, but I'm having fun so far. I plan to make a tote bag from old grocery bags once I get the hang of it. I'm also going to cut up old t-shirts in a similar way to make yarn from old t-shirts. I'll crochet a rug with those.

Upcycling is taking something useless or otherwise disposable, and turning it into something new or with a better use/purpose. Do you have any upcycling projects that you've completed, or are interested in exploring?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mr. Clean

This boy loves to clean. Whether it involves mopping messes of ketchup from his hands and face, putting toys away into the toy box, wiping the counter, sweeping up invisible dirt, playing with the vacuum, or picking up each little Cheerio as they spill from his breakfast bowl, this boy LOVES to clean. He even loves to say the word "clean" while he cleans.

Here's to hoping it lasts through his teens!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Yesterday was a big day for us. With the help of a ton of family, we finally made the move to our new rental house. We're so very appreciative to Mark, Scott, Bayler, Kelli, Colleen, and of course Emily and Ryan (especially since they let us invade their space for much longer than any of us expected). As I've said before... I have the best in-laws!

So we're in the process of get settled. Fortunately, Jeff eked a few extra vacation days from his budget so we can get things in order. Our hope is that we'll stay here in this house until we're ready buy again. Once things are less crazy, I'll see about posting some pictures.

In other news, Jeff treated me to a special birthday evening. I'll share details once we have a proper Internet connection. Hope everyone had a great weekend!
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