Some Things I’ve Been Thinking About

Hey y’all! Craig and I have been busy baby makin’ and I just passed my big audit for work (another excellent progress report!) so needless to say I’ve been a bit preoccupied. In other news we got a new car… YAY! Here’s a pic of my beautiful new baby. We really enjoy her and have named her Bindi (yes, that’s Steve Irwin’s daughter’s name). Since she’s an Outback we figured we needed something Australian and Bindi is Aborigine for little girl. Cute.

Also, our first baby, Jethro, has commandeered the guest room bed. He loves to sleep with his head on a pillow (or arm rest, etc.) and evidently the couch is too far away from us at night. This is a new thing he’s doing but he’s simply precious. We love that little dude and can’t imagine our lives without him. I mean, look how precious he is! I can’t get mad at that fluffy guy for wanting a little comfort.

Next up, we bought a new vacuum. My other vacuum finally bit the dust and after quite a lot of research and not wanting to spend a fortune we settled on the Shark Navigator. So far, so good. It really performs well. Jethro likes it (as referenced by the picture below). I mean, just look at that happy face!
In other news, I’ve really been struggling with not commenting on or posting about every little political and/or cultural war happening right now. I’ve definitely posted on facebook a few times too many for some of my friends but it’s hard to keep my mouth shut when I feel so passionate. There are two sides to every story and I feel like some of my “friends” keep speaking from their limited point of view where they cannot possibly understand the whole picture.

Besides that, most of these “friends” call themselves “Christian” and as a Christian I find it hard to stomach their intolerance. From what I have read of the Jesus I follow, He would have been the first to sit down with the “sinner” over dinner and really get to know them and pour LOVE into them. Yet, these very people who claim to be His disciples are those who are the loudest in judgment and hate. It breaks my heart.

So, I will continue to post things I think help open up the debate and help to cross barriers and I will continue to do my best to LOVE my neighbor (John 13:35). That’s all I can really do, eh?

Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about going back to work once this future baby is born. I know that children of working mothers are more successful and I know that as a working mother I will be a better role model for success outside the home, yada yada, but I can’t help but fear the coming day when I drop my child off at day-care and head off to work. My friend, Emily, recently had this discussion with me. She always thought that she’d have no problem going back to work but now that her baby is here in her arms she’s finding it incredibly difficult.

I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it. I know that financially we just really cannot afford to have me stay at home. I also know that the benefits I receive through my state employee position are unlike anything I could acquire on my own. I’m praying that something flexible will arise when the time comes and I will feel greater strength in leaving my child with others. Too soon to tell but I will continue to pray about it anyway.

So, to end this random smattering of thoughts on this hump day I leave you with another picture of my boy Jethro when he was outside playing in his pool. I mean, what parent doesn’t shove pictures of their baby in your face every other second? Just wait until we have a human baby… HA! It’s almost the weekend y’all! Chin up!

  

  

Hey hey

How’s it going!?! Yeah, so, I kinda fell off the face of the earth there for a moment, eh? My sinuses are killing me. This has been one of the worst allergy seasons… and it doesn’t help that I’m “allergic to life” (as my husband likes to say). The post-nasal drip has been giving me a sour stomach and that just really takes the cake. Or makes me not want the cake rather. Or any food except I really want all the food so yeah, there’s that.

Okay, where was I? Right, so Tuesday is the big day. Getting the IUD removed and opening myself up to the possibility of pregnancy (and periods). Ugh. It’s super exciting but then not exciting at all. If that makes any sense. I’ve lived pretty much period-free for quite some time now and I must say it’s one of my favorite things about having an IUD. Seriously. Best. Ever. So, I’m not excited about the monthly curse arriving once again and ruining 1/4 of my month. Another thing that comes with Aunt Flo’s arrival is the reminder that I’m not pregnant. Yeah, I haven’t even had my IUD removed and I’m already worrying about not being able to get pregnant. Crazy.

I’m insane. I should be more excited but really I’m just more nerve-wracked than anything. Which is typical actually. I’m what’s scientifically known as a worrywart yes, it’s a technical term (just kidding). If I didn’t worry about everything my friends would worry about me. I don’t know why I always worst-case-scenario everything. Well, yes I do actually, I have clinical anxiety. Right. That thing I think I’m dealing with so well but that creeps up on me and hangs out when I’d least like it to. So, there’s that. But also, there’s happy times. Life isn’t all doom and gloom. Unless you count the fact that Jethro chewed a hole in our rug the other night. Yeah. But really though, I’m doing well. I love my husband and my sweet puppy (even though he is in trouble right now) and I’m excited for the future. I’m trying to figure out the future baby’s room layout and what furniture we’ll need. Stuff is expensive though. Good gracious. I have champagne taste on a beer budget.

Also, some things I just feel like I have to buy new. Like the rocker/glider. It kinda weirds me out to be sitting in someone else’s sweat. I mean you can’t really wash furniture. You never know what weird smells it could have that creep up on you over time. No thanks. But there are too many choices. I have such a hard time making choices. Craig gives me such a hard time about this. I’ve mentioned before that I suffer from paralysis by analysis. There’s so much pressure to pick the right thing. My problem is that I don’t know if it’s right or wrong until I’ve lived with it a while… then it’s definitely wrong and I want something else. Which is expensive. So, I just need to live with it. But I hate living with it… so we get something different and then sometimes it’s perfect and sometimes it’s not.

So, because I know that these are big decisions and I’ll have to live with them for a while I really have been way over-thinking them. I mean, it would suck to buy a rocker/glider and then after a few months realize it’s the most uncomfortable thing in the world and it’s too late and I just have to live with it. Do other people have this problem? Am I just ridiculous!?! Wait, don’t answer that. I’m totally ridiculous. Admission is the first step, right? So, now what? I need to relax. The perfect dresser isn’t going to be out there and in my price range and that’s okay. It’s just a dresser. Maybe I should just quit looking on Craigslist and shop at Ikea. Reasonable prices in case I end up hating it. Plus, some of their stuff is made out of solid wood.

In other news I have not been exercising as much as I told myself I would this year. Which sucks. It’s so easy to fall out of the habit. I cannot afford the $150 a month barre membership and I’m not a gym-type person so I’ve resorted back to home workouts and because I don’t have somewhere to be with some cost attached it’s much to easy to hit the snooze. Monday morning starts a new chapter and I’m forcing myself up to do the scientific 7-minute workout written up by the NY Times. Gotta get back in the game!

This is where I leave you. A rambling post on a Friday afternoon. Thanks for being my sounding-board. I’ll leave you with some inspiration pieces for the future nursery. Let me know your thoughts!

I like these colors:

I like this photo collage and dresser:

 

And I like this sweet room:

But I also really like these colors:

And I definitely want a white crib:

But maybe I want a two-toned crib:

Or maybe I want a more traditional crib:

Oh, but I really like this two-toned one:

Oh my gosh… do you see what happens!?! Okay, I’ve gotta stop… too many choices. I’m going down the rabbit hole. Please, I need your help. Tell me your favorites and share with me what you used (if that’s the case). Someone has got to narrow this all down for me. :)

Have a great weekend!

 

Fun Finds

Hey y’all! Welcome to another Fun Finds Friday! This past weekend my new Athleta catalog came in the mail and, as always, I wanted it all! For those who are not aware, Athleta is a Gap, Inc. brand focusing on fitness apparel. I have a few of their swimsuits and I like that they offer the support that I need but still look stylish. Today I’m going to share with you a few of my favorites.

*I was not compensated for this post these are merely my opinions. Click the picture to be taken directly to the source.*

First up… I just cannot get enough skorts lately. I know this sounds odd but trust me on this. I love to hike and explore and still be able to hit up a cafe at the end of the day. I feel like skorts are the solution. They’re comfortable enough for climbing over rocks but cute enough for dinner.

And I love these two simple tees.

Next up, a couple of tankinis that I thought were super cute. I’ve mentioned it before… I tend to fall into the tankini wearing category. I probably could get away with a bikini but I just feel more comfortable covering up all my bits.

I love that this bikini is super cute but still looks like it’d stay in place while you were playing a game of beach volleyball.

Here are a few bikinis I like. I especially love the bandeau top so you can remove the straps and get better tan lines. Disclaimer: USE SUNSCREEN.

Also, here are two cover-ups I liked. You KNOW how I feel about covering up. Ladies, no matter how good you look no one wants to see your junk when they’re walking into a restaurant. Plus, the lime green one has UPF 50!

Finally, if you’re still interested, here are a few tank-tops I thought were cute and definitely something I could see myself wearing this summer when working out.

Hope you got some good ideas for some summer shopping!

Get Stuff Done

It’s a challenge… staying focused and getting tasks finished in a timely manner. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming when you’re looking at a giant to-do list and wondering how you’re going to get it all done. As the great Tina Fey pointed out, confident women get stuff done folks. Productivity is measured in the efficiency of output. The more efficient you are at tasks the more productive you are. How you manage your space and your time and your confidence directly influences your ability to get things accomplished. I love what Tina Fey says about the confidence to contribute your thoughts and ideas, “Always make sure you’re adding to the discussion.” Don’t be afraid to make your voice heard. Be confident in yourself and your abilities. If you wait until you’ve “perfected” yourself you’ll never make any real contribution.

We’re all works in progress. Believe in your ability to make it happen! Side note: if you have been wishing you could get some help with a dream you want to turn into a reality, look into a small business loan. Companies like Kabbage, based in Atlanta, Georgia, fund businesses that find it difficult to get funding from traditional banks. Forbes listed Kabbage as one of America’s Most Promising Companies. With that said, I wanted to take a minute today to share with you what I feel are 5 essentials for productivity.

  1. First, make sure that you set yourself up for success by being prepared (yes I was a Girl Scout). Do your research, know your job, be the best you can be for the task at hand. For me, this means being sure that I’m up to date on any changes to our system or processing and making sure that my files are in order. I’m constantly bettering myself and I believe this contributes to my efficiency. If you don’t know what you’re doing, how can you possibly do it well? Take time for continuing education and improvement. Be sure that you are “sharpening the saw.”
  2. Second, set up your workstation (wherever that is) for optimum efficiency by having everything clean, sorted, and in its place. My workplace had a consultant come in and evaluate our workstations to help us determine how we should be sitting and where our monitors and keyboard and mouse should be located for optimal ergonomics. I am a shorty so my seat sits closer to the ground, therefore I utilize a keyboard tray to keep my arms and wrists at the correct angle. I know many people who work from home and set up their laptop on their laps. This is terrible for your back and neck. Do your research to see how you should set up your environment to achieve optimum ergonomics and watch your productivity level increase!
  3. Next, utilize background noise to limit distractions. I know this might sound counter-intuitive but it works. Although high levels of noise can impair your creativity, low levels actually help you concentrate. The same way that white noise can help folks sleep, the same can be said for helping you stay focused while awake. For me, I like to play a low level of background noise in the form of music. The key is to be sure the volume is low… not too loud to distract but enough to blend in the background and drown out the random noises that interrupt your concentration. Create a Pandora or Spotify station of relaxing classical music or choose a playlist of singer/songwriters that can just fade into the background. You’ll be amazed at how a little background noise can help you become more efficient.
  4. Then, take frequent breaks! Don’t get so caught up in your work that hours have gone by and you haven’t gotten up from your desk. I’m the worst at this. I know that I perform better when I take breaks to stretch and walk around. Even if you cannot make the time to physically walk away from the task at hand be sure to give yourself a mental break. Take five minutes and cruise Facebook (just don’t get lost and forget to come back to your task). If you have to, set a timer to remind you when the break is over and when you need to get back to work. Frequent mental (and physical when possible) breaks help you to remain better focused and to complete the task in an efficient and timely manner. It may seem counter-productive to take time away from the task but research has shown it’s the best thing you can do.
  5. Finally, reward yourself for a job well done. When you have a clear finish line and a clear reward you’re more likely to stick to the task and see it through completion. Keep track of your to-do list and check off the items as they’re completed. A big line drawn through the task can be reward in itself. If you need more motivation be sure to set yourself up for success by utilizing appropriate rewards such as scheduling a lunch date to celebrate the completion of an important goal. I bring lunch from home each day and try hard not to spend money on lunch during the week, however, when I know that I have a challenging task to complete I’ll schedule a lunch date with a friend so I have that to look forward to when I’m finished. It’s important to celebrate your accomplishments.

So, what about you? What do you do to stay focused and to maximize your productivity? Let me know your thoughts and feel free to share this information if you found it useful. If you need more inspiration, set yourself up for success with this post I wrote a few years ago. Make it a great day!

MissCaron

WedThursFri (WTF)

Wednesday-Thursday-Friday Y’all! Thank God the weekend is almost here and we’re halfway through the work week! Last week we dealt with a bunch of payment issues for our students and I’m quite glad to be out of the office right now!

I’m currently attending an annual conference in St Petersburg, FL and hopefully at this moment I’m taking time to enjoy a cocktail on the beach. I thought I’d share a quick update and see how y’all are doing. IMG_4648

So, this happened this past weekend… adorable baby kitty came to stay with us while it’s parents were out of town. We babysat the little sweetheart and as cute as this little baby is… I was quickly reminded why we don’t have cats. I’m so dang allergic. And of course I had to play with it and love on it because who wouldn’t!?! And of course that meant that I had a perpetual sneezy and runny nose all weekend. Ugh. It was worth it. Just look at our dog, Jethro, watching over the baby:

IMG_4646

Adorable! Except when the baby would meow too much… then he would bark at it. I think he simultaneously wanted to play with and yet attack the poor thing. Jethro hasn’t been around kittens at all and when he’s around older cats he’s mostly indifferent but sometimes wants to chase them so I think he was just mega confused about the whole situation.

Anyway, it was quite an adventure! Craig went Stand Up Paddle Boarding with his friend on Saturday. If you haven’t checked it out I’d highly recommend you do so. It’s really quite easy and super fun.

So, I managed to play with and feed baby kitty, play with and love on my Jethro pup, and do laundry and cleaning all by myself… I am amazed that no one died. LOL. I guess the juggling act was good practice for future parenting.