Happy New Yr’s Resolutions!

Been neglecting this blog to work on a new one. That one is much more specific as it’s about me schooling my girls at home, so if you want the link, just hit me up. I’m trying to remain anonymous on that one, though, so if you hop on over, just dont address me or the girls by name, kplzthnx! 😀

I think that between the FlyLady, reading all the homeschooling mom blogs and reading organizing junkie blogs, things are finally beginning to sink in. I decided I have to stop thinking and talking about what I want to do and JUST DO IT. (Wow, what a concept. :P)

To that end, I put together my list of 2012 resolutions, and I started using a daily To-Do List to dump my brain and check off what I’m actually accomplishing.

The Daily Docket (pic is linked) is great,

but I’ve been using The Pocket Docket: 

Either one works if you’re a list person. But, then I realized that even with my lovely Home Management Binder (still a work-in-progress), I’d have to keep printing multiple copies of these dockets and shoving them into my binder only to throw them away by the end of the yr.

I didnt want to do that.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a planner! =O I just havent done that in yrs. Not since I was in college and definitely not after discovering Google Calendar! 😛 But, even though I put all of my appointments on Google Calendar, I dont use the Task function for my To-Do’s. Plus, I dont want to have to always access my phone or computer for the next item on the list. So I put my foot down (against myself) and decided to purchase this:

I’m hoping it’ll be worth it. Even if for just the daily to-do lists and the stickers. 😛 But, honestly, I hope I love it because then I’ll get one every yr and not have to print off list after list or even use notepad after notepad, post-it after post-it (though post-its work wonderfully for my husband and I’m not knocking them!), you get the idea. And I can use my Home Management Notebook for other things, like menu planning. I’m going to get very serious about that this yr. If for no other reason than to practice for the day when we wont be living with my inlaws (really crossing my fingers here), and I cant rely on my MIL for dinner every night. Anyways, I should be taking care of breakfast and lunch, so I’ll start there. I want to provide my husband a nutritious meal to take with him to work. Actually, a few meals. He doesnt eat breakfast at home, and he works 12 hr shifts most days, so he really needs breakfast, lunch and a satiating snack. Once I get that down, I can focus on dinners and eventually meals with both my kids. To that end, aside from the numerous cookbooks and foodie sites I peruse, I went with the FlyLady’s recommendation and bought this:

I had had a sample on my Nook, but again decided to bite the bullet and just BUY IT! I need to start somewhere and it might as well be there. Luckily I have a wonderful Mother’s Helper with me these first few months with Baby Ruth here and she is a great cook who can help me learn some good Chines cooking as well as assist me in trying Western Recipes. (Thanks, T!) I am trying to take advantage of this time to learn to cook, and also to eat better and stay healthy as I breastfeed and attempt to get down to a healthier weight. My husband needs to get healthier, too. And we need to save money so I’d rather we stop buying when I can make stuff. Cant wait to bake bread! 😀

Ok, on to my goals for this yr. Here’s my list:

1. SPIRITUAL GOALS:

a) Word – Finish last yr’s BSF study on Isaiah by March and finish the Acts/Epistles study from several yrs ago (get notes from friends)

b) Worship – Minimum 10mins/day

c) Prayer – Minimum 10mins/day (May start keeping a journal again – I have a moleskin.)

2. FAMILY GOALS:

a) Homeschool Jelly Bean starting in March (17mths old) and keep new blog on it

b) Meal Plan and cook

c) Learn how to encourage/support my husband better (Love Dare Journal & Date Nights)

3. WORK/CAREER GOALS:

a) Find a way to make money from home

b) Work on BIG PROJECT following the Timeline

c) Become Debt-Free – read Dave Ramsey’s Money Makeover

4. MINISTRY GOALS:

a) IGNITE! development

b) Future steps for my English congregation

5. PHYSICAL/HEALTH GOALS:

a) Water, vitamins and enough sleep each day

b) Weight Watchers – join in March

c) Join a YMCA or other family gym for me and Jelly Bean

6. SOCIAL GOALS:

a) Play dates for Jelly Bean with other moms

b) Intentional follow-up with my English congregation (hm, they need a new name)

7. PERSONAL GOALS:

a) Read as many books/magazines as I can (too many lying around here)

b) Get and STAY organized (Home Management Binder and Mom Planner)

c) Stick to goals and commitments

Now that I have everything clearly laid out, including some of the time-frames for each, I feel a lot better. I’m hoping to check everything off this list by Dec 30, 2012. Wish me luck! 😀

Pregnancy Meme #2

Pregnancy 2011 – “Baby Ruth”

Baby #: 2
Gender: Girl
How far along at birth? 40 weeks / 6 days
Total weight gain? 24 lbs
Maternity clothes? Motherhood Maternity / A Pea in the Pod
Stretch marks? Same as last time
Sleep: Lots of heartburn (started earlier this time), and very painful soreness in the left hip and lower back / There’s a bone that keeps cracking in my left hip whenever I turn from my right side. Because of sleeping with Jelly Bean, I’m often on my right side. When I try to get up, I have to step gingerly for a few moments because my left side is so sore.
Best moments: Singing praise songs with Jelly Bean and knowing Baby Ruth is listening to me and her jie-jie!
First Movement: 14 wks
Food cravings: Anti-craving – no Chinese food for dinner!
Sickness: Afternoon/night for the first trimester only, yay!
Labor signs: At 38wks 3 days, the doc says I’m 50% effaced. The night before I’d had tremendous pressure down below where the baby’s head is. So much that it was hard to stand or walk. He says that’s because the baby has descended to the point where he feels her head through the uterus!
Belly button in or out? In, but more out than last time, I think.
Wedding rings on or off? On, even though I had taken them off during summer as a precaution.
Mood swings? None, but my husband says he gets some! 😛
Preparation: Decluttering the house and setting up for Christmas. We have our first tree! 🙂
Baby Shower: None. (My mom had planned on one, but it was getting close to the due date and I told her not to. Besides, we dont need anything, and people still insist on buying tons of baby clothes! >_<)
Delivery method: VBAC! 😀
Delivery Doctor: 
Dr. Richard Rindfuss
Breast or Bottle?
Both for now. She was born a bit jaundiced, so we were told to supplement with bottle until my milk fully comes in. However, she’s having digestive issues even with the Soy milk we put her on in the hospital. We switched her to Alimentum. I’m hoping to get the hang of this breastfeeding thing soon, (problems latching on), so that she can be off the bottle completely in a few days.
Baby stats: Born 12/22/11  / Wt: 9lbs, 2oz!  / Length: 20.75in.

STILL Waiting to Exhale

I cant believe I’m still pregnant! I’m 40 wks and 3 days. But at least I’m progressing. I’ve been feeling slight contractions here and there, but nothing steady. If I dont go into full labor by tomorrow nite, I will be induced on Wed. However, this shouldnt lead to another csection since my body is in ‘labor-mode.’

In the meantime, I started a new blog to keep track of my homeschooling journey with my girls starting in March. I probably will lessen some of the posting here, but that’s no big loss! 😛 And I wont be using my real name or my kids’ real names on the other blog, just because I have a feeling more people will be reading it. I wont link back to here either.

Anyway, those are the updates. I’m having another contraction…

Waiting to Exhale

Just read a great book review on Her.meneutics called Birth Pangs: When God Shows Up in Pregnancy. It centers around this book which talks about the holiness in giving birth. (I also love that the author is a female ordained minister, yay!) Of course this speaks to me at this time for the obvious reasons! My due date looms in front of me, just 3 days away. I’ve already added a sample of the book to my Nook and will definitely buy it if I ever get around to reading it! 😛 But, if it’s as good as this, I’ll buy it now!!

Countdown to Due Date

Sigh.

Waiting in anxious anticipation for labor is somewhat maddening. I’m due in FIVE days. If I dont go into labor soon, I imagine another c-section is in my future. That’s something I dont want to think about. So, I’m walking, drinking water, and the hubby and I are trying a tried and true old-fashioned method of naturally inducing my labor. As of last Monday, I was 50% effaced, which is great. Farther than I was able to get last time. I’m hoping by now – about a wk later – that I will be almost 100% effaced and starting to dilate. I still havent lost my mucus plug, though, and my water bag is still intact. It’s making me feel impatient. I really really want to have a successful VBAC this time.

Otherwise, I’m satisfied with Christmas prep this yr. Last yr, I was very sleep-deprived due to having a newborn at the end of Sept, and by the time Christmas came, we hadnt settled enough at my in-laws to have space for much. I did manage to do a few simple decorations, which I had to contend with even though not having a tree was disappointing. This yr, I begged my husband (who did not grow up celebrating Christmas much) to get a tree – even a small one. Four and a half feet is half the size of the tree I’m used to growing up with, but it’ll do. And the best part is that my 1-yr-old now says “tree!” much better since having one in the house!

Can you tell I’m 9mths pregnant?! 😀

Pregnancy Meme

I saw this on Vale Design and thought I should have done it for my last pregnancy. I modified it a bit. I’ll fill in 2 – one for each of my girls – since I’m at the end of this pregnancy anyway. But first, Baby #1:

Pregnancy 2010 – “Jelly Bean”

Baby #: 1
Gender: Girl
How far along at birth? 39 weeks, 5 days
Total weight gain? 28 lbs
Maternity clothes? Motherhood Maternity / A Pea in the Pod
Stretch marks? Yes! 😦
Sleep: Lots of heartburn and very painful soreness in the hips and upper thighs
Best moments: Feeling my baby kicking, except when she kicked my right rib!
First Movement: 17 wks
Food cravings: Dumplings in the first month when I didnt even realize I was pregnant. After that – no more dumplings, ever! >_<
Sickness: Afternoon/night for the first 6 mths. T__T
Labor signs: Braxton Hicks in the 9th month. But no real labor since I was induced.
Belly button in or out? In
Wedding rings on or off? Off since the 6th/7th month (summertime)
Mood swings? None
Preparation: Mary Esther’s BRADLEY Method childbirth course.
Baby Shower: FOUR! 1. 318 (Mom’s job), 2. CCNY (Dad’s job), 3. Family, 4. CLL
OB: First 5mths with Dr Doris Tan / Switched to Bklyn Birthing Ctr until 8th month when they dropped me as high-risk due to gestational diabetes / 34 wks – end with Dr Mark V. 
Delivery method:
C-section (unplanned due to failed induction)
Delivery Doctor: Dr. Irina Mikheyeva / Partner: Dr. Bubucea
Post-partum emotion:
14 days of daily blues because I didnt get the natural birth experience I’d planned for and wanted.
Breast or Bottle? Bottle (also not planned). However, Jubi turned out to have digestion issues with the Similac Advanced and started pooping blood! T__T We switched her to Similac Alimentum at 3wks and kept her on it til 7mths when we transitioned her to Similac Soy. At 14mths, we are transitioning her to organic low-fat regular milk.
Baby stats: Born 11:20pm / Wt: 8.2lbs / Length: 20.75in.


Holiday Decluttering

I’m so proud of all the work I was able to accomplish today. I had no idea I could do so much if I just focused on one Zone at a time. (Thanks again, FlyLady!) My zones were basically a bin here, a corner there – more like working on little hotspots rather than full rooms. But, the difference is truly noticeable! In addition, I was able to sit down and wrap mostly all the gifts that we’ve received so far from the orders I put in on Black Friday and CyberMonday. It’s so nice to see them sitting in my baskets with labels and stickers. The wrapping paper came free, too. My husband gets them every year from some spinal cord charity he gave to many yrs ago. So, didnt even spend the money or time to buy wrapping paper – they came to us!

Tomorrow we’re on our way to BJs to pick up some food and drinks, but my goal is to find a tree. This will be our 2nd Christmas as a married couple and now with our 2nd daughter coming, we’ve yet to have a tree in the house. Appalling for me actually, but my husband isnt used to celebrating it at home so he doesnt sense the absence. Last yr, having just given birth barely 3mths prior to Christmas, I bought some cheap tinsel and cardboard decorations and decorated some wall space in our living room. I put up the Christmas cards we received and the 2 we had made with our daughter’s pix. This yr, I vow to have a tree, lights and some better decorations, if I can help it. I think my husband thinks it’s all a hassle – more trash, more work and more clutter. I think it’s sad he hasnt grown up with the excitement of decorating and preparing for Christmas. Somehow I have to change his perspective. It’s harder this yr since I’m pregnant and about to give birth, so it may be a bit more trouble since I cant move around freely. But, for me it’s worth it. And even more so for our Jelly Bean, who’s 1 now and can fully appreciate the magic of seeing the lights blinking on the tree. I cant wait to see her face when we put it up.

Hence the decluttering. We are trying to cram in enough ‘stuff’ from 2 adults and 2 babies into 3 rooms of his parents’ 2nd floor. Not easy. But, I’m determined to make this work. I’ve enlisted help from Ms Eva on Wednesday. She will come over and help me put up decorations, so I need to have them by then. And if she’s going to help me put up the tree, then we need to have this living room ready. We need to find a space. There are other things I need to make space for, but one thing at a time, eh?

I’m hoping also to go to Staples and get some Command hooks so that I can put up a lot of the framed photos that my husband and I have been given over the yrs. I really want to make this space – as cramped as it can feel – as homey as possible until the Lord gives us our own place. I think it’ll also help my husband feel calmer, more peaceful when he gets home. At least, I certainly hope so. He needs peace. *crosses fingers*

Advent Season

Thus begins the countdown: the countdown to Christmas, but even sooner, the countdown to giving birth to Baby #2, “Baby Ruth.” Should happen in two wks, give or take a few days. I’m excited, but hubby is stressed. 😦 Need to ask God for wisdom on how to encourage him and help him enjoy the season.

I downloaded two resources for my little ones to experience Advent starting next yr: Truth in the Tinsel and the Jesse Tree. Cant wait til they’re old enough to be engaged in the crafting! Actually, I cant wait til my Jelly Bean turns two next year so that I can start officially homeschooling her! I’m so excited about this. Seriously. I cant describe it. 😀

I’ve also been decluttering. (Thank you, FLYLady.) And all of my Christmas shopping is DONE. I have my Home Management Binder along with a section for gift-giving now. I used that binder to store Harry & David and World Vision Gift Catalogs, as well as my list of gifts from Christmas 2010 and a running list of gift ideas for this yr. Took advantage of both Black Friday online deals and CyberMonday sales. It was truly a life-saver! The only person left to shop for is my husband. He’s tough to get for. Esp since I got him an iPod nano last yr and filled it with an audio TNIV Bible and almost all of the sermons he’d had on cd. (That took HOURS!) He got me a NookColor. Too crazy and extravagant for our budget this yr. We’re trying to be more frugal. I did get him a little something already, but it’s not enough. He really needs something “more” and I’m not sure what I have in mind fits into our budget. I also dont have other ideas… Sigh. Again – wisdom needed here.

In the midst of all this, I need to keep focused. For the last two yrs, I’ve been running on a very shallow prayer and Bible-reading life. That’s in spite of pastoring, which is not good. Need to get myself back on track (read: SANE). Advent is the beginning of the church calendar season, so it’s a great time to start. And tomorrow is Dec 1, so a nice fresh calendar beginning as well. Now to stay consistent…

Shining My Sink!

I’m finally doing it! I’m shining my sink! It’s amazing how excited I am about cleaning. 😛 I dont think I’ve ever been excited to clean in my life. I think I’m infected with some crazy FlyLady sickness. 😀

Actually, speaking of sickness, I was in the hospital for a few days last wk because I had a flu bug that turned into pneumonia! I’ve never had pneumonia, so I didnt recognize the symptoms. Honestly I wasnt even coughing much at all til I got to the hospital a few days after my illness began. I just had fever after fever after fever. It was AWFUL. I’m so so blessed to be living with my in-laws. They were able to take care of my Jelly Bean downstairs while I suffered upstairs. I was out of work for 3 days before I went into the hospital for another 4 days and then rested at home on antibiotics another 5 days. Crazy. So I started my Maternity Leave yesterday – two weeks earlier than originally planned. Not that I’m complaining, but it does mean my pay will end earlier. I really hate the Maternity Leave system in the US.

I am pretty much done with church ministry as well. It turned out I’d changed my preaching schedule so that my last message fell on Oct 30, instead of the wknd after. Thank goodness I did! I didnt know I’d be spending the weekend after in the hospital! But that wasnt the original reason why I’d changed the date. I changed it because Tom and I had planned to go to Penn State to visit Maggie and we could only get a hotel for that wknd. In the end, we didnt make it anyway. (Sidenote – this is the 2nd time we’ve tried to go to PA and not made it. First time was the wknd that Hurricane Irene hit. I was supposed to attend a Precept Ministries Bible Study training for the first time. Should I be concerned about this coincidence?)

Anyway, I’m much better now. I went to get a wonderful prenatal massage today. I want to try to go at least once more before I give birth in a month. It always feels so good! My husband is very encouraging to me in this. 🙂

Off to finish shining the sink! 😀

Singing the FlyLady Song

“Well, my sink is shining, but I’m not whining/ I’m FLYiiiiiiing!” 

Yes, the song is VERY cheesy, but it’s catchy, too. I was watching episode after episode of FlyLadyTV on YouTube. It always opens with that theme song. Some of the videos are clipped, though, which is a shame because she really has very encouraging things to say. The clipart graphics are cute, too.

I started my Control Journal/Home Management Binder – in a real binder! I bought dividers and everything. I’m really excited. I’m filling in the Important Documents section because that’s the easiest. I’ve had the copies in a plastic bin. Most of our important documents are in a safe deposit box, but these are either the copies or the papers that havent made it to the box yet. I feel much better knowing they’re in the binder now. I told my husband to take note of it so that in case of an emergency he would grab the binder. I enclosed it in a FlyLady purple Office-in-a-Bag. I chose the purple one on purpose since that’s the FlyLady’s signature color. But she has other colors as well. In addition, I purchased her calendar stickers for my section on Daily Routines because I know I’ll print a calendar for there. I’d rather have a printed calendar for now than purchase the FlyLady Calendar because I want to make sure I use it before I make another purchase. Once our kids are older and in school, maybe I’ll start purchasing her calendar because we can use it as a family. I also downloaded samples of her books and one more book on cooking onto my NOOK for inspiration. If I like them then I’ll buy them.

I am actually DYING to shine my sink! 😛 I havent done so because I’m not sure I have the right cleaners yet. Since I havent deep cleaned the sink in the last 1+ yr we’ve lived with my in-laws, I’m not sure I can dive right in. Still, I’m itching to try it.

On Tuesday when my mom came over to babysit my daughter, I started to tell her about FlyLady and the Control Journal. I spoke of the importance of routines and Zone Cleaning, as well as keeping everything in one place. My mom admitted that she is a SHE and that she is constantly leaving her cleaning to the last minute. In addition, I showed her my Holiday Control Journal and she was in awe that I was trying to follow the FlyLady system. I told her very simply that I HAD to. I’m a relatively new wife who still doesnt know how to properly cook or clean. And I’m a new mom who has babies to feed and raise. For my own peace of mind, I need a system! I told my mom that we’re not SHEs because we’re lazy, but because without having a system to organize our time, we end up going crazy and not wanting to do anything! My mom could only nod in agreement. That made me happy. I forwarded her the FlyLady’s website and instructions on building her own Home Management binder. When she left, I realized I’m becoming a FlyLady evangelist! 😛 It felt really good to share something so helpful to my mom because keeping the house in order and cooking are inevitable parts of home life for all moms. We’ll see if she actually puts it all into practice.

Can I just say I’ve been wanting to blog for days and days, but I’m just so EXHAUSTED from work when I get home that I cant do anything but sit and play with my daughter, feed her and put her to bed? I’m at work late everyday just to get grading done before I return home. I’m super STRESSED about the Quality Review my school’s going through in two weeks. Not to mention the MOUNTAIN of paperwork and grading that I’m buried beneath. I just keep chanting this mantra to myself: “Four more weeks.” In four more weeks I’ll be done teaching and the teacher I’m covering for will have returned. Then I have a few days just to finish up any grading and get my maternity leave paperwork in order. I’m 33 weeks pregnant tomorrow. The countdown to labor is coming quickly.

Back to grading. Sigh.