An Uncomplicated Life Blog: December 2014

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Resolutions?

Happy NYE!

I've never been one for New Year's resolutions. My only experience with them has been the crazies who say they're going to overhaul their diet and lose an insane amount of weight. Two months into the next year, they're right back to their old habits and unhappy with themselves.

I thought, "Why would I want to do that? Resolutions only seem to set one up for disappointment."

Now that we have a wee one, I've found that planners, itineraries and goals are extremely important. If I don't actually write it down, the thought pops into my head, I think, "Yes! I need to do that!" and it's forgotten roughly a half hour later. Or when Henry throws a fit, whichever comes first.

That said, this will be the first year I'm actually going to set a few "resolutions" for 2015. So that I'm accountable for *something*, ya know?!

Here goes:

- Read more. I haven't finished a book in over a year. That's pathetic, isn't it? I want to devote 10-30 minutes at night for reading so that I can accomplish this and sleep better.

- Improve my physical performance. This has nothing to do with weight or size - I'm happy with where I'm at with both of those. However, I can currently do about five push ups. That's it. I want to increase that this year. I mean, c'mon. Five? That's just sad! Hello, increased strength.

- Keep on growing this blog. I've had SO much fun in 2014, and I only blogged half the year! I have some exciting things already lined up for 2015, and I can't believe this little "hobby" of mine is turning into what it is. Doing what you love truly leads to great things!

- Practice patience. I tend to get antsy and want things to happen faster, and spend a lot of time planning for the future. I want to focus on enjoying the present more in 2015. Life is so, so good. It's time to focus more on what I'm grateful for now, and less of what I'm aiming for and wish I had in the future.

What about you? Do you have any New Year's resolutions? Things you want to do more of or perhaps change about your life? Tell me all about them!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mommy Monday: The Redefinition of Self

I've been pretty open about how motherhood has been a struggle for me. Outside of some baby blues issues, I've really wondered just exactly WHY it's been so challenging.

And then my sister posted an article about how, after you birth a child, you are now a "mom" above everything else, and it accompanies all your other titles and labels. You drive a "mom car" and get a "mom haircut" and for those first few post-partum weeks (perhaps longer) you even wear "mom jeans."

Blissfully unaware that motherhood would permanently alter my identity

Everything you now do has the label of "mom" in front of it, as placed there by society. "Ahhh-ha!" I thought when I read that. THAT is exactly it! I'm no longer Paige. I'm "mom Paige." This isn't even a label I put on myself, it's forced on me through the views of our culture. Suddenly (literally overnight, as Henry was born at 10:15pm), Paige was replaced with "mom Paige" and the kidnapping of Paige absolutely rocked me to my core.

Men don't have this issue. They aren't defined by their children. You never hear of "dad haircuts" or "dad jeans" or "dad cars." But somehow, women are completely defined by their little ones. I went from being Paige: writer, marketer, and free spirit to Paige: mom, mommy writer, and mommy blogger (I really had a heart attack the first time I was called that).

The involuntary redefinition of who I am is why motherhood has been such a major adjustment for me. It's not the late nights and early mornings, the diapers, the vomit, the poo (so much poo!), the giggles, the playtime, reading children's books and having nonstop baby talk.

It's that I'm not simply Paige anymore. And I never will be again. It's taken me seven months to accept that. Perhaps some moms are cool with their new labels right away. But if you struggle like I did with it, you're not a "bad mom" a "terrible person" or anything else. You're human. A woman who wants balance between who SHE is, and her role as a mama. And I'm right there with you.

Motherhood is tough, but I was blessed with the happiest little goofy guy!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Little Christmas Vacation

Hey friends! I'm taking the week off for a mini-Christmas break with the fam. You can still find me all over Instagram and Twitter this week, blasting social media about our Fargo Family Christmas!

Yes, that's in North Dakota. Yes, North Dakota is indeed a state. Yes, that's on the border of Canada. Yes, it will be unbearably cold for this Southern gal. I will probably have some funny things to say about it after a few glasses of wine. So make sure to hit up An Uncomplicated Life Blog on the social interwebs!

See ya next Monday.

Merry Christmas to all of my readers and blogging family! You have enriched my life TREMENDOUSLY in 2014! Xoxo,-North-Dakota-image.jpg
Good grief.

Friday, December 19, 2014

High Five for {Exclamation Point} Friday!

My mom was in town this week! This means the week was extra kick a$$. Here's a quick recap of what went down:

1) I got my hair did!

Hair: Did

2) My fridge is full of mom's cooking!

3) Henry got Oma time! (That's grandma...)

4) I got to drive in my car, by myself. I got to crank tunes. I was feeling like some good hood-rat rap music. So I looked like a pretty basic white b****, bumping out my luxury SUV in Uptown Dallas. And no s**ts were given.

5) We put in another offer on a house (we did not get the one we bid for two weeks ago)! Fingers crossed (again). Dallas is a hot (and expensive) sellers market!

Could THIS be our new home???

Have a great weekend everyone, and keep your fingers crossed for us on the home front!  photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

20 Random, Quirky Things

I've seen this post or a variation of it running around the interwebs (yes Miranda Writes, I'm talking about you!), so I thought I'd get in on the action. I'll keep it short, since I know people going on and on about themselves is a bit much to take... Even if you DO like them.

Here goes!

20 Random Things About Me

1) I used to be fluent in French, and lived in Paris for a bit. That's when I learned I dislike Paris. Man, those people are a-holes.

2) I could eat tacos everyday. Every. Single. Day.

3) Doing laundry is the worst house task ever. Folding it is the devil! Why doesn't everyone put their clothes right side out before washing? I don't want that extra step when I'm already taking the time to fold. (Hint hint, husband.)

4) I've gotten my nails done every two-three weeks since 2009. Even when I was laid off, I budgeted for my nails!

5) I'm insanely frugal on somethings, and baller-status on others. I only buy clothes on sale and dollar-cost-average at the grocery store (yes I do that math in my head!), but have no problem dropping cash bills on designer handbags. Yeah, I don't get it either.

6) I think ice makes drinks taste funny.

7) I was engaged twice but only married once. #dodgedthatbullet

8) I work out five to six days a week regardless of what's going on in my life - having a baby, going on vacation, starting a new job, doesn't matter. I get my rump moving!

9) I really don't care for fruit. Actually, it's nasty. For example, when you peel an orange and it smells so good, then you take a bite and it tastes like garbage. Fruit is so deceiving like that!

10) I only drink coffee, beer/wine, milk (2%) and water. You couldn't pay me to drink soda, and I'd pay YOU to not drink diet coke. That stuff will give you cancer, and I'm over here on my high horse waiting for the FDA to ban it.

11) I'm the big baby of the family - the youngest of siblings and the youngest of about 15 cousins who are all around the same age. And yes, I want to get my way.

12) I love dogs. I hate cats. I despise birds.

13) I've had my son's name picked out since I was about 23. When we found out we were having a boy, I looked at my husband and said, "So, we're naming him Henry." To which he said, "Yup, I like it." #toldyouIdodgedthatbullet

14) I love hot weather. The hotter, the better.

15) Between 2008-2013, I moved seven times and nearly 5,000 miles.

16) I would never and have never date(d) a blond man. I don't find light hair attractive on guys. I'm sexist like that. #talldarkandhandsomeonly

17) I only wash my hair twice a week. Dry shampoo is my best friend.

18) I also had my dog's name picked out for three years before I got him. I even had the tags made, hanging around a stuffed Yorkie's neck. One day, I was looking through the classified ads in my local paper, saw Otis' face, jumped up and screamed, "THAT'S MY OTIS!" I got him the next day.

19) For the record, we also have our future child(rens) name(s) picked out.

20) The best moment of my life was when they pulled my son out of my belly and I immediately felt the weight of him off of me, and my back felt instantly better. Then he started to cry as he peed on everyone (seriously, it was a big pee, he nailed about five people). I listened to everyone laughing about it, and just soaked in the joy of NOT being pregnant anymore and my son's beautiful cries. It was wonderful.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mommy Monday: Wrap Buddies To The Rescue!

If you follow me on social media, you've seen what Wrap Buddies did for Henry's helmet. And it's awesome! But here's a bit more of the wrap party story.

Tommy, the owner of 360 Wraps (you know cars/buses with businesses, advertisements and other decals on it? That's what he does) started the nonprofit Wrap Buddies when a friend of his had a child that needed a DOC Band to correct his plagiocephaly. The dad hated his kid being stared at (sound familiar?!) and wanted the white band to look "less clinical and more awesome."

Happy Henry with his Wrap Buddies DOC Band!

So 360 Wraps figured out a way to put a decal on it. The owner thought this was a rare condition. He wasn't aware that many babies have a form of plagiocephaly, and now about 1 in 50 need a helmet to correct the issue. (Rates continue to rise, as babies now only sleep on their backs and consistently apply pressure to their soft skulls.) Low and behold, he became overwhelmed with requests to get these things decked out! Over the course of a few years, he devised a way to get the DOC Bands wrapped quickly and efficiently.

Oh, and he's awesome enough not to charge any family, regardless of ability to pay or not pay, because he knows these damn bands cost $3,000-$4,000 and thinks all families have paid enough. He just thinks all kids should have the ability to look awesome.

Y'all already know that Henry fell into the plagiocephaly camp and needed a helmet. One of my Dallas BFF's told me about Wrap Buddies because, unsurprisingly, she had another friend who's baby needed a helmet and he had gotten his decked out.

The back of Henry's DOC Band

I'm now the Mother of Dragons. Literally.

After we got the band, I contacted Wrap Buddies and was put on the list of families who would be attending the December "wrap party." I went into their offices a few days before to pick out Henry's design, and Friday morning the whole family went back for the party.

They really pulled out the stops for us! They had lunch catered by Dickey's BBQ, had a massive wrapping station for us to watch the process, and a massive play mat with toys laid out for all the babies.

The wrapping station

This was Henry's helmet as it got wrapped

Just when I was already pleased with the whole process, a massive antique firetruck rolled in, sirens blaring and all! And wouldn't you know, Santa was on it. So was the cast of Gas Monkey Garage (I had no idea who these folks were, but hubs was super excited). Santa gave toys to all the babies and Gas Monkey Garage took the time to take pics with all of us.

Henry wasn't sure how he felt about Santa...

I've spent the better part of a decade completing the grueling task of raising funds for nonprofits. But I've never been the beneficiary of one. I now know just how appreciative people are of those who dedicate their lives and livelihoods to nonprofits. I also know a good nonprofit when I see one, and this dear readers, is a good one.

All the folks at Wrap Buddies and Gas Monkey Garage

If you're in the Christmas spirit and looking for a worthy cause to donate to this holiday season, I ask you to consider Wrap Buddies. A click to this link will take you straight to their donation page.

Friday, December 12, 2014

High Five for {All Positive!} Friday

Sheesh, have you read the posts around this blog lately? I want to quit my SAHM role, I'm uninspired here... I sound like a regular N
egative Nancy and Debbie Downer!

Yes, the last few weeks have been challenging with a husband traveling excessively to finish out the business year, a baby who has a ton of appointments right now to correct his torticollis and two dogs to look after. #frazzeled

But you know what?! Life really isn't *that* rough. Even in some of the more challenging times, there's always the bright spots. Let's focus on those, and end this week on a positive, shall we?

1) I finally have a haircut booked! My hair hasn't been cut since last March. Gross. I'm contemplating cutting my chest-length hair (ooooooook, it's "boob length") into something like this. Thoughts? (This is pretty close to what I had going on for my blog pic, as seen to the right -->)

2) I had explosive growth on Instagram because of Bloggy Moms, won a beautiful necklace during a twitter chat, and was asked to join the editing team at Mavatar. Social media for-the-win this week!

3) My yoga studio implemented a "Wine Down Wednesday's" program. They serve us free wine after class. So I've been able to kick it with a few of my FAVORITE Dallas yogis with a glass after we sweat it out together, and I'm loving it.

Free wine after yoga on Wednesdays? Yes, please!

4) My mom read my blog post from Monday and decided to fly into town to help me next week. Whoop! Guess who's going to get her haircut (see above) and nails did?!

5) The nonprofit Wrap Buddies is putting awesome decal on Henry's DOC band, and is throwing a party for all the families getting their kiddos helmets decked out! I'm so excited to see these babies, stylin' and profilin' in their shiny new bands. Party is lunchtime today (Friday)! Watch Instagram for what the final product looks like.

Henry's undecorated DOC band... We're likely getting it done as you read this!

I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend filled with friends, family and love!  photo H54Fbutton_zps973d26e1.png

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lacking Blogspiration... And What To Do About It

I just... Haven't been feeling blogging lately.

I read lots of blogs. They're full of tips and tricks to grow your blog, monetize your blog, be the best blog. They review the same products, vying for the next company to send them their product first. They offer beauty tips. They post about using social media, touting, "be engaged, engaged, engaged to gain followers!" They tell you your pics better be "Pinterest worthy" or your wasting your time. Fashion bloggers post about the latest trends with photo shoots they clearly had help with and Photoshopped.

All of that is great. But I don't have time for it.

I've found myself recently really struggling to blog. I look at other bloggers and WISH I could be like them - with their beautiful pictures and great design. I see bloggers who have some really great content, and some who have tons of sponsored stuff and are likely making decent money blogging.

This got me thinking: What can I do to re-engage myself with my blog, accepting the fact that I'm not in the place in my life to be a "pro" with beautiful pictures and fancy, sponsored content? How can I make this the best space for my readers?

I've decided on a few things:

- I may only have my iPhone for pics, but I can still work quickly in Photoshop (or PicMonkey) to adjust them and make them the best iPhone photos they can be. Someday I'll get a DSLR and learn more about photography... Until then, I'll just do the best I can. If it's not "pin-able" then that's how it is.

- I don't have InDesign nor the time to devote to re-vamping the look of this blog, but I can hire it out to someone who can! I'm going to start work with a designer I found on Etsy to "up" the look of An Uncomplicated Life Blog. I'm pretty excited about this!

- I'm going to stay true to my voice and my life, as this is a lifestyle blog. I do get some product review offers from companies, but those are never my most popular posts anyway. And frankly, I'm sick of reading them on other blogs, so why would I write about stuff I don't want to read?! I'm going to write more in my true style and tone... Just about life. It's ok that I'm not a beauty blogger and it's ok that I'm not a fashion blogger. Hell, most the time I'm sitting here makeup free and bra-less. That's how I blog.

Basically, I've decided to stop reading all the incessant "be a better blogger!" posts and just accept who I am, how I fit into the blogging space, and enjoying interacting with my current readers. This isn't a competition. It's just a blog!

Have you ever lost "blogspiration"? What did you do about it? Have you ever felt like your blog wasn't good enough to compete in the blogosphere?

Monday, December 8, 2014

When You Just Want to Escape From Your Own Child

Last week was a rough one. Henry cut his first two teeth, and was extremely upset about it. Husband was away on a work trip, so I had zero help/breaks from a screaming, whining, fussy child. We had an unusual amount of appointments to treat Henry's torticollis. We put an offer in on our first house, so when I wasn't running all over town for Henry's appointments, I was lugging him (literally, kid weighs well over 20 pounds) to and through house tours with our realtor.

Additionally, he's in a stage where he demands to be constantly entertained. Placing him in a bouncer isn't enough - kid wants you to interact with him and help him play with toys. Or he wants you to toss him in the air. Or help him take assisted steps all over the house. Stop physically and mentally engaging him? Oh, it's scream city. He even screams when he's in the car, something that used to immediately put him to sleep. And let me just tell you how fun rush hour is with a screamer.

Photo source Henry's constant expression these days...

Which meant that I got no peaceful showers (actually, I took exactly ONE shower last week), trips to the bathroom or meals (actually, I only got to eating two meals a day). Makeup?! Haven't worn it. My hair was a greasy topknot mess, split ends fraying out from every angle.

It was the kind of week where I broke down.  I put Henry in his crib to fuss it out and headed to the master bathroom. I sat on the floor and turned on the ventilation fan - the only place in the house far enough away and loud enough to drown out my baby's screams.

In those moments, all I wanted to do was NOT be a stay at home mom. I missed the days when I would get ready every morning for my office job. Hell, I missed my old office! It was big, with three windows and beautiful hardwood floors that beat the heck out of the cold tile I was hiding out on. I thought, "You know what?! F*$K this! I have a Master's degree and ten years of work experience but all I do is get covered in vomit, fold laundry and wash bottles. I am way better than this bullsh*t!

Take the cat out of this pic, and this is my daily life. Photo source

I would have run out to my laptop to immediately start searching for nannies if I hadn't remembered that I'd have to do that to a excruciating soundtrack of a very upset baby.

Being a SAHM is the hardest job I've ever done. Hands down. There are no breaks, there are no sick days, eating lunch is a privilege that I don't get everyday. It's lonely. It's ugly and gross - most days there's spit up in my hair and sometimes it's all down my back. It can be boring, as the repetitiveness of the "eat, burp, change, tummy time, play time" cycle lacks adult mental stimulation. It's thankless. Henry certainly never says, "Hey, thanks for wiping my butt, mama!"

But I don't want to hand my kid over to daycare so that someone else can raise him. I want him to smile at ME after he wakes up from his naps. I want to be there to watch as he learns new skills. I want to be the one to teach him those skills. I want to show him how to be kind and respectful. I want to watch as he makes new friends, and I want to kiss his boo-boo's when he falls.

So I took a few deep breaths and got up off the bathroom floor to head back to the nursery to calm my screaming baby. But he must have sensed my frustration and calmed his own self down, because I found him sleeping peacefully in his crib.

It's funny how in the end, everything all works out as it should.

Friday, December 5, 2014

High Five for {Ruh Roh} Friday!

Hey readers! No post today. I've been at a laptop for exactly five minutes this week. Henry had an unusual amount of appointments for his torticollis and...

We put an offer in on a home! And I'm about to negotiate the h-e-double hockey sticks out of this thing!

More to come next week! Enjoy your weekend ;)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How To Do Sun Salutation A

I got such an overwhelmingly positive response from this post, that I decided to make a little series out of it. I got a request to go over proper alignment and form of Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskara A for those who speak Sanskrit... Why there isn't Sanskrit for the "A" I have no idea!)

Start in tadasana/mountain pose. Shoulders should be rolled down the spine, arms in anatomical position (palms forward), quads engaged and weight centered on the foot, evenly distributed from the heel to the ball of the foot, toes spread wide.

As you inhale, raise the arms over your head, looking up but not cranking your neck. Hands should rotate inward so that the arms are internally rotated from the shoulder.

As you exhale, fold over at the hips. Your hands come by your feet and your neck is relaxed. Make sure to keep your weight shifted forward so that you get the most out of the stretch - the tendency is to shift the weight back to balance the weight of your head coming down. But that takes away from the awesome deep stretch of the forward fold! So keep your weight forward. Don't worry, you won't fall. At least, you probably won't :)

On the inhale, lift yourself up partway so that your spine is straightened. Roll your shoulder blades down your spine and look just towards the front of your mat.

 On your exhale, fold back over.

Up next is the chatturanga. Check out this post I did a few weeks back that goes into detail on the proper way to execute that challenging series of poses. For Sun Salutation A, you can either jump back, landing in chatturagna (super advanced) or you can walk your feet back and go from high push-up/plank pose, shifting your weight forward and then lowering into your chatturanga push-up.


Shift forward

Lower into chatturanga
Now you pull yourself forward and up. Your thighs stay off the mat and you shift forward onto the tops of your feet. Your shoulders should remain rolled down your back and out of your ears. Don't crank your neck to look up, but rather use your neck as an extension of your spine, continuing the long stretch of the back in this upward dog pose.

Now you transition back into downward facing dog. If you're more advanced, you roll over your toes by pulling up with your core and pushing away with your arms. If you're not quite there yet, pull up with your core while you push back with your arms and simply move the feet so the bottoms of the feet are on the floor.

In downward facing dog, you want to use your core and squeeze your inner thighs so that your rump moves closer towards the ceiling. Pull your shoulders out of your ears and try to get your elbows to face upwards as much as possible. Your heels may or may not touch the ground. Spread your fingers wide and distribute the weight amongst the palm, pushing into each finger tip.

Now to start the Sun Salutation A sequence over again, either jump or walk to the top of your mat, and start back over at the beginning. This is a very popular sequence to warm the body up in a yoga class, typically being done within the first 10 minutes of a class.

Now you can be a Surya Namaskara A pro, getting your body warmed up and ready to flow your way through the rest of your class!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mommy Monday: Feeding a Baby Real Food

Babies are hilarious. They do funny things like pass gas in public and make funny noises at inappropriate times. They're even more funny when you try to get them to do adult things. It's like this miniature human, clumsily going about life. Feeding a baby real food for the fist time is right up there with the "best of" funny moments!

A few months back, I posted this about preparing to feed Henry real food. At the five month mark, we gave him oat cereal. Lil' H absolutely HATED it!

"WHAT is this, ma?! Gross!"

He didn't know what the deal was with the spoon in his mouth. He didn't understand the concept of taking a bite and swallowing. I tried once a day for nearly a month, and only on one or two occasions did Henry finish a bowl (we're talking maybe two table spoons of oat cereal here!) Only on about five or six occasions did he actually swallow the oatmeal as opposed to spitting it all over himself.

"Swallow? From a spoon? What?!" Also note that Henry is flipping me off. He hates oats that much.

Around the six month mark, I decided to try sweet potatoes. Don't let this face fool you... After the initial confusion of "what the heck is this stuff in my mouth", Henry decided he loved them!

"This better not be those damn oats again Mama..."

"Ohhh, just kidding! These are those sweet tater thingys. I love these!"
Be forewarned; sweet potatoes make a massive mess and stain what they get on! Since discovering his love of sweet potatoes, we've learned that Henry likes cheese (we give him tiny pieces of shredded cheddar) and yogurt. We only give him one kind of food at each feeding so he can taste it and explore its texture fully. You don't want to overwhelm a baby with too many tastes, smells and textures at once or they'll determine that real food is too confusing. Patience is key!

Up next we have squash and carrots. I'm hoping these won't stain like the sweet potatoes, because let me tell you: babies get food EVERYWHERE. It's in between their fingers and up their nose. Sometimes it's I even find it in his toes at bath time.

Feeding a kiddo is an extensive process with an elaborate clean up, but it is so fun to watch Henry explore new foods. And make funny faces in the process.