Thursday, June 25, 2015

5,256,000

Last week, G & I celebrated our 10 year anniversary. On the day, I got a nice card from him, a card & flowers from MIL, and the cutest voice message from my parents (they took turns: "happy. anniversary. from mom. and dad. we. love. you). That night the 4 of us had an early, quick Mexican dinner, complete with guacamole, enchiladas and margaritas. The boys were a bit wild but it was still fun (seriously, we scarfed our food and left in less than an hour, they were crawling under the table and/or wandering around dancing). But there was no kitchen cleanup!

The real celebration was Saturday  night, when we had the sitter and went for sushi and then to a wine bar. The whole thing was over by 9:30 but we decided to head home and not push it---there has been more than one time when trying to stretch out a night out (with more drinks/food) ended up in a stupid fight fueled by wine and tiredness.

The weekend overall was awesome. Saturday was crazy busy. I got 22K steps on my FitBit, and that is in addition to the 60 minute BodyPump class I did in the AM. We were out and about all day. So of course, Sunday, we went nowhere! I managed to do two of the things on my "get 'er done" list: the mending is done, and I weeded the sidewalk in front of the house & sprayed the cracks with bleach. I still need to: post some baby items for sale, send off a ThredUp bag for some like-new shoes & clothes I want to consign (I've never done this, I've heard it sucks but it seemed easy enough to try it), and put chicken wire over my plants to keep the squirrels or whatever is eating my food out (too late, the cilantro and the chard are completely gone---I need to protect the lettuce & the basil). Sunday night there was a music/movie night in the neighborhood, complete with taco truck. So we went to that, but we had to drag the boys away from Finding Nemo halfway through since it was already 8pm.

We have a really busy few weeks coming up. I'm traveling (for the day) to give a talk tomorrow. My parents are coming tomorrow evening & staying until Wednesday. When they leave, they are taking the boys with them, to my sister's. G & I will drive down to my sister's Saturday and back Sunday. Then we have 8 days before we leave on an 8 day trip to visit MIL. We'll come back Tuesday but leave B there until Saturday, when MIL and B will fly home together. MIL will stay for 2 weeks. By then it'll be mid-August and we'll be getting ready for B to start kindergarten!

I'll write more about how that is stressing me out later. I'm missing the pre-K graduation tomorrow because I agreed to the date before the daycare announced theirs. According to B's teacher, G should be able to tape the whole thing, its 5 minutes per class. 

Off to practice my talk one more time...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Aha!

So it took 30 minutes of re-installing My Fitness Pal, adding in the day's calories in/out and comparing to exactly one year ago to figure out the culprit(s).

1) Snacks throughout the workday.

I ate (I can't believe I'm revealing this to the world) 1000 calories between 10:00am-4:30 pm. The snacks I was bringing, to avoid mid-day hungry/hangry just kept creeping up.
June 16, 2014: Breakfast, Salad lunch with a peach, pineapple at 3pm
June 16, 2015: Breakfast, 10am: 2 lite string cheese sticks, 12:30 pm: Salad lunch + full-fat yogurt with berries + pineapple. 2-4:30pm: pistachios and rice crackers, celery/bell pepper mix, grapes

Today I brought my lunch and a container of blueberries and the celery/bell pepper mix. I only ate the wrap I made for lunch and the blueberries so far, and I'm leaving in 5 minutes. I'm hungry  now, but walking outside will cure that (its too hot to be hungry).

I am trying (and liking) OMDG's trick of waiting as long as possible to have lunch. That leaves no time/appetite for snacking. It was easy today, a clinic day. I had no time for mid-morning snacks. I didn't have lunch until 2pm. Will be harder tomorrow when I'm in my office all day AND I work out in the AM

2) Decreased exercise?

June 2014, I was routinely logging 15-20K steps/day at least 5 days/week (some of those were from running, which is the only exercise I did back then, 2 short runs + 1 long run/week). I don't know how many I'm getting these days because I haven't been tracking, but I suspect its less. Some of this may be artificial, because the calorie burn MFP gives me for my workout classes seems WAY too low, considering I'm working much harder than I would during a 30 minute run. But I'll use the calorie burn they give me, because that actually would workout in my favor.

I realize that if/when I lose the weight I want to lose, I need to reset MFP and figure out the right amount of food for maintenance, instead of just increasing willy nilly (and increasing and increasing and increasing...). I probably need to repeat this exercise every 3 months of so, to make sure I'm staying on track, its so easy to veer off unintentionally.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Room For Improvement

But of course there are a few things I want to work on over the next few months:

1) Eating: After realizing I lost 10 lbs, I may have relaxed my eating habits a bit too much. Its not just the weight gain, its also the general yucky feeling I get after eating too many carbs or too much cheese. Especially cheese with carbs.  I keep going back on forth on whether to start tracking calories again---it was a lot of work, but it did help me make meaningful---and mostly painless---changes.

2) Attitude: As I nag at B to "stop whining and complaining" I realize i need to model better behavior on this front. I'm just not one of those bouncy cheery types---sarcasm, cynicism and well aimed complaints come pretty natural to me. In honesty, I'm pretty happy with my life, warts (whining kids) and all. I need to let that show through more.

3) Home projects: I have this dress I love that has a small hole in a back seam. I've been meaning to mend it for 6 MONTHS. Did I mention I LOVE the dress? And that the hole is small? I want to set aside one evening/week for taking care of these kind of nagging tasks. This includes selling/donating old baby items and clothes, weeding the sidewalk in front, ironing clothes so I can actually wear them, and other such un-fun, easy to put off tasks. Maybe I can watch Gilmore Girls while I do it.

4) Exercise: this is in combination with #1. Since I don't want to cut back on eating that much, I also want to add one intense workout a week to my routine (I work out 3 days/week when I can). Since G and I rotate mornings, I'll need to add an evening workout. I haven't exercised anytime except early AM for about 8 years so getting myself out there will be the first battle. I've put a Thursday 6:30 bodypump class on my calendar. Lets see how it goes.

Yeah, nothing enormous on this list. Its a good sign, right?






Tuesday, June 9, 2015

39 and Feeling Fine

This post is two weeks late, but its been a crazy few weeks. We went to the beach with my family the week of Memorial Day (my birthday was that week) and while G did come with us for the first few days, I was solo with the kids the last few days and had to do 2 flights home alone. I was all ready to jump back into work Monday and realized I had jury duty. So I rescheduled things to the next day figuring I'd be there all day. Well I got out at 1pm, but not until I was picked to be a juror on a week-long criminal case. So that was exciting (it was actually quite an experience, I may write about it---no specifics---later). I had to cancel my clinics, work late into the night or early in the morning, and made it through the week. Sunday I got to the airport early in the morning for a conference---I'm heading home tonight. I haven't spent a day in my office (a few hours here and there, in the evenings, but not a full day) since May 22nd.

As a (quite belated) birthday gift to myself, I decided to write a list of the things that I've accomplished and are going well in my life right now.
  • I've gotten physically strong. The strongest I've ever been. I'm really proud of that! I guess I'm not genetically made to get much stronger (I've hit a plateau, that I can't seem to break out of) but I'm satisfied with where I am.
  • I've completely turned around my shopping habit. I did not buy one stitch of clothing (or any non-consumable in fact), for myself from January 1st-June 5th (a personal record). I did spend some birthday money my dad gave me on a few things last week. I debated this, but my parents and G insisted I spend it on myself. I mostly bought workout clothes (I have 3 pairs of non-tragic workout gear and wanted to add a 4th workout each week), a set of summer PJs and 2 tops for work that I brought with me to the conference. I have money earmarked for a pair of grey full-length pants, but I couldn't find any. I may go looking once in the fall (all the stores have now are cropped pants) but I have no plans to buy anything else until January of next year
  • I've completed most of the other "money smart" tasks I set out for myself this winter. I've also been tracking spending on YNAB and Mint (we fell of the wagon for a while but just hopped back on)
  • I've done some new-to-me stuff at work---starting a sub-specialty clinic, started two different clinical research studies, will be starting completely new lab techniques. There is a lot that I need to be doing that I haven't quite done (grants, papers, duh), but while I'll focus on increasing those, I can still be proud of what I DID do.
  • I'm starting to care less what other people think. I'm still not where I want to be with this, but on the not-giving-a-shit scale, I've definitely gained a few notches. This has also made me way less shy to talk to strangers. I was chatting up a storm with my fellow jurors and was the first to offer my opinion on the verdict. I speak up at our case conferences  and division meetings at work, too. Not too much, I am the last to want to prolong a meeting to hear the sound of my own voice.
  • I'm confronting things with therapy. Just going and being honest at the first meeting was really hard and I'm really glad I did it. I actually haven't gone in two months but need to make an appointment soon. I was making some progress with dealing with my anxiety.
And lest you think I'm becoming too content, my next post will be a list of goals for next year!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Its...personal

In my quest to become less stupid about money, I familiarized myself with a whole new corner of the internet---personal finance blogs. I was particularly drawn to the super-frugal, early retire in your 30s type of blogs. Not that I want to retire early (ha! I didn't even start a real job until my 30s, no interest compounding through my 20s for me) but the idea of financial independence and the freedom that it brings is enticing.

I could do the things being espoused on these blogs! Get cheap cell phone plans, shop at Aldi's, clean my own house, eat rice & beans every day, DYI home repairs, never eat out, go camping for our only vacations, keep it cold in the winter and warm in the summer, skip kid's activities, shop thrift stores, forgo pedicures and cut my own hair. Take that money and put it straight into our retirement funds and then...

And then what? Retire 2 years earlier? Revel in my account statements? what would be the purpose of cutting out every item of discretionary spending? Its not like I could retire in 5 years or even 10 even with the most extreme stinginess.

When you delve further into it becoming financially independent at a very young age requires either a really high salary or a really really high savings rate (actually, probably a combination of the two). Living way way below your means. To the point where it actually hurts. I'm Ok with a little hurt---for a limited amount of time. I can make sacrifices and tough it out to get to a goal achievable in the near future. But not indefinitely. Certainly not for the entirety of my kids' childhood.

It was really important and eye-opening for me to see how little others spend; I always thought we were frugal, but we really aren't anymore. I'm glad I read those blogs, because I needed that mindset switch to realize that a lot of what we used to think of us "necessities" are nowhere near. That our life is chock full of luxuries that we didn't even notice. That we could sacrifice a lot of things to meet a savings goal. That "retail therapy" is easy to fall into and frankly, doesn't help. We questioned our spending, cut some things that weren't increasing our quality of life, and are more mindful about where our money goes these days.


Obviously, I like saving money where it doesn't hurt. Like when we refinanced our house---I certainly don't hate paying less to the bank every month! I like bringing my own lunch to work, its yummier & healthier (and saves time!) in addition to the cost savings. We cut cable years ago and never missed it. There are lots of things I do not spend money on. But I also love paying to have our house cleaned every two weeks, and the one time we paid a guy to paint our house was amazing, eating at restaurants occasionally is a true joy in my life, and I want to go on more real (i.e. not staying with relative) vacations.

When to save and when to spend---its a line we all have to draw for ourselves and one that it makes sense to rethink every couple of years, as our lives & priorities change. And because its so individual, I really don't see the place for the type of judgement I saw often on those blogs*. Its called PERSONAL finance for a reason, right?

*Assuming not in credit card debt, saving reasonable amounts, not doing truly stupid things like gambling or getting ripped off, etc...


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sleep is for the...well someone who isn't me apparently

So. B was up from 12:30-4:30 AM last night. Yes, my five year old. I dunno what was going on, he had a stuffy nose, but no stuffier than every other night in the past 5 years. He kept waking up crying, and then bounding out of bed and running downstairs and then calling for me. G dealt with him from 12:30 to 1:30 when B said he wanted to sleep in his bed and so G came up and fell hard asleep. I kept hearing him running through the house, crying, and looking for me though so I put him back in bed twice. Finally I decided to sleep with him in the guest room and it was the same routine. Sleep for 5 minutes. Get up, whimper, get out of bed, and ask if it was wake-up time yet. I finally woke G up at and had him deal with B so I could at least get a couple of hours of sleep. Of course, L was woken up by the whole thing and came to join me, so the "sleep" consisted of fitfully dozing while he kneaded me in the stomach with his feet. Then G thought it was a good idea to wake me up and ask me a million questions at 6:15. He later said he thought it was 8 AM. What.

B was a mess this morning, obviously, crying at the drop of a dime, and puffy eyed. It happens to be picture day at the school and we'd already ordered some pictures. I guess they will just be awful unless someone manages to get him to smile. I will then pay that someone a lot of $ to have them follow us around and cheer B up, he's a grump at the best of times. We did have some (delirious) laughs at breakfast this morning, so there's that. We kind of felt all in it together, which made it better. Its the worst when its just me and G is all "what's wrong with you, oh yeah, I forgot you didn't sleep well". 

To add salt to the wound, I had gone to bed early last night because I was tired and had a migraine. I ended up falling asleep at 10 and I was supposed to sleep until my alarm went off at 5:30 to work out. the work out didn't happen & my head is aching again. I've been surprisingly productive---I'm motivated to get out of here early and got a million things done, but I have a quick meeting at 3:30 so I'm writing this.

The only thing that kept me from losing it as 2 AM became 3AM became 4AM was reminding myself that it was going to be a beautiful day today and if nothing else, I could take some breaks to wake myself up and enjoy it. Also, remembering that I actually do OK after one night of awful sleep. Its the second night that kills me. Oh and we were DEFINITELY going to have dinner out tonight. I am not cooking or cleaning.

So yeah, I boring post complaining about a sleepless night. I feel like a first time mom of a newborn!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

And it goes on and on and on....

So we get back from vacation, and get a stomach bug (yuck) and miss work and I have to chaperone a field trip for the daycare and another grant rejection and etc...

Mother's Day was nice enough. I got my presents early, because none of the males in the house could wait. The boys gave me their gifts Friday as soon as I got home (necklace made of dough beads and a foam picture frame with terrible picture inside from B and a block of wood with a terribly cute picture on it from L. oh and a dying parsley plant in a plastic container from B), and G gave me the photo collage he made as soon as he got it organized on Saturday. The flowers, I got mid-week when he went to the grocery store for fruit. Sunday we went to a local botanical garden with friends. It was lovely, really wild, with fun things for the boys to climb on and around. It was super hot, though, we were all exhausted when we got home. L slept and then the boys watched a movie while G & I had mimosas.

I have 100% stuck to my shopping ban. Not a single item of clothing/shoes/accessories has been purchased for me this year. The key was unsubscribing from all the email lists and, of course, not going to stores. I've got a mental list of a few things I'll buy next year, but nothing is urgent, since I've got plenty of stuff to wear.

I finally went to the school and registered B for KG. I got the school schedule. Whoa. Lots of days off, and KG starts 10 days after Labor Day, not the next day like the other grades. Oops. Need to talk to the daycare about seeing if he can stay that week and a half.

I'm tired. I'm going to bed too late, having trouble sleeping, being woken up by L, and then having MORE trouble getting back to sleep, and then getting up early. Add allergies/sinus pressure/migraines and my head feels really fuzzy and motivation is low. I'm great in the morning, but sometime after lunch I lose momentum.

Its summer hot this week. I dislike summer. I really wanted spring. I had to rush and buy summer clothes for B, and I have to find and organize L's clothes (B's hand me downs, which are...somewhere). I need to do a major purge and organization of kid items, but when?

I'm obsessed with plain Noosa yogurt with granola and berries. yum. I'd gone off yogurt since 2009 when I was pregnant and it gave me heart burn, but now I remember loving TJs plain full fat Greek with granola and berries (plus honey, I used to use that, but can't imagine needing it these days). I'll have to try the TJs again because Noosa is pricey. Also obsessed with this. So tart! The "mini" size is perfect, with dark chocolate sauce on top.

Our trusty in-line double sport tire stroller broke last week. It is a challenge getting L to school or anywhere because he has no stamina and wants to be carried after half a block. I can't carry him very far, even on my shoulders--it pulls my hair and makes my neck sore. We still have the baby carrier, and can do a back carry with him, but he gets uncomfortable and wants to get out after a few minutes. We are looking for a used replacement but haven't come across the right thing and the right price. It was our primary mode of transportation! Its like when your car breaks down, its very inconvenient, but doable for the short term.

Back to work...