30 March 2015

Self-inflicted House Arrest

Here are two of Miranda's favorite play date 
friends, Kan and Harshani.
I'm going to be honest here. Having a newborn for the first time feels a little like self-inflicted house arrest for a couple months. There are no rules saying that you can't get out of the house, but all the crazy changes in life and hormones take a toll on you, and sometimes getting out of the house just seems like more trouble than it's worth.

Needless to say, I had a really hard time getting out of the house when Miranda was first born. For me, I was terrified of breastfeeding in public, and since the baby's gotta eat, many times I would just choose to stay home. However, when I started grad school, I had to get over my fears pretty quickly since Lorin and I took Miranda to school every day, and we would shuffle her back and forth between classes. Oh man. Those were stressful times. Piece of advice: never attend grad school at the same time as your spouse and take your child to school with you every day. Not a good idea. I'm getting stressed out right now just thinking about those times.

I think it was a mix between having a newborn, moving to a completely new place, and going to grad school that made me feel like a couldn't get out. If there was one thing I wish I would have done differently from the beginning, it would be to find other moms right away and make a conscious effort to have play dates.  

Play dates. I didn't even know what those words meant before I had a child, but I am a play date queen now. I NEED play dates like I need water. Yeah, play dates are tons of fun for the kids to get together and get their energy out, but moms need this time just as much. Being able to meet up with a friend or acquaintance and just have another adult to talk to can make such a positive impact on a parent's life, especially if you are a stay-at-home parent and don't have as much adult interaction during the day. I've been able to make some incredible friends through making the effort to get out and go on play dates.

I think it took me about a year after having Miranda before I started warming up to going to play dates on a regular basis. Please, please, please don't be like me and wait so long to connecting with the community of parents around you. Just say, "NO" to self-inflicted house arrest!
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27 March 2015

Friday Favorites

1. Khand Tenney's blog

I met Khand and her husband Kevin back in the college days. They are an awesome pair. Khand is an amazing photographer, and I always love looking at the beautiful pictures she takes.

2. THIS man's transformation for his driver's licence picture

3.  Pinterest, You Are Drunk

This blog kills me! If you want a good laugh, go here and see a vast collection of weird/funny things people found on Pinterest.

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26 March 2015

Sign You're Finally an Adult

Photo credit: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar / Foter / CC BY
Last month, Lorin and I finally entered into adulthood. "But Sarah, don't you have a child, live in your own house, and pay your own car insurance?" Yes, yes, and yes to all those questions. But the truth is, up until this point, we didn't take that last step into adulthood because...

we were still bumming Netflix off our parents. Yes, that is right.

Well, we decided after 4 1/2 years of marriage and 4 1/2 years of blissfully mooching Netflix off our parents that the time had come to take the big step. It was time to start forking out the $7.99 a month.

I feel like a completely new person...well not really. But now, for $7.99 a month we can binge watch any TV show without the judgments of parents or other siblings who also mooch Netflix off our parents (since everyone can always see who watches what and how many episodes they have watched). "So Sarah, looks like you and Lorin had a great time these past two weeks watching ALL six seasons of Lost. You guys are still taking care of Miranda, right?"

Now, for $7.99 a month there will be no more hard feelings or resentment when we cannot access Netflix due to too many fellow sibling moochers accessing Netflix when we want to watch.

And now, for $7.99 a month , we can feel like responsible adults. Yeah, baby!

And to take this new-found responsibility to the next level, I'm going to share with you our top Netflix recommendations:

Walking Dead
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The Office
Arrested Development
Adventure Time
My Little Pony

If you have Netflix, what are your recommendations? Seriously, I need to know. 

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25 March 2015

3 Ways Stay-at-home Parents Can Be More Active

Photo credit: jacsonquerubin / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA
I read an interesting (and scary) article the other day. Apparently there has been some studies on sitting and sedentary lifestyles and the studies show that too much siting decreases your lifespan. You would think being at home with a little person would keep me on my feet all the time (which some days it definitely does), but I often find myself sitting a lot throughout the day, mostly because I use my computer to work from home and one of my favorite hobbies is blogging. I really don't feel as active as I used to be back in the good ol' days of college when there was a gym within a five-minute walking distance from my apartment.

Here is the part of the article that scared me the most: "What's particularly interesting about recent research is the revelation that sitting for extended periods of time does significant damage to human health that cannot be undone by exercising. Sitting for several hours each day is bad for you, like smoking is bad for you, regardless of whether you do healthful activities, too."


For me, I'm just so used to sitting and working for hours that it has just become habit to do a lot of sitting even when I'm not working. I want to change that, so I've thought of three different ways to get my booty off the couch, and hey, you might find these useful too.

1. Find a way to work from the computer standing up

I can't afford to buy a standing desk right now (and I wouldn't have anywhere to put it in our little house anyway), but I can use my kitchen's serving bar as a standing desk by putting my computer on top of the counter. Another idea I had was to use a cardboard box on the kitchen table to bring the computer up to my height. A little ghetto, I know, but at least I'm up and off my butt.

2. Incorporate exercise

I know I'm not the only parent who struggles with exercising. Finding the time to exercise with a child around takes creativity. Since I can't afford a gym membership right now, I like to go on walks around my neighborhood and do exercise videos on YouTube a couple times a week. That has worked out really well for me.

3. Watch less TV

Obviously, watching TV is an activity we do while siting. I love my TV shows, and it is a great way to relax after a long day; however, if I have the goal of sitting around less and being more active, I need to limit my TV time.

I've been really trying to sit less for the past week. Some days are better than others, but on the days where I'm up and moving most of the day, I feel great! Last Saturday, Lorin, Miranda, and I spent ALL day outside fixing the gutters on our house. The sun was shining, and I felt so happy. Amazingly, I find the less time I spend sitting, the more I get accomplished.

I still have a long way to go on this, but I'm making progress. If you want to try this out, I would suggest starting out small. For example, on one day, maybe you could cut an 1/2 hour off of your TV time. Another day, you could incorporate a 15 minute walk. Then, for another day, you could try standing while working on the computer. Just start small and work your way up.

Like I said, I'm just in the beginning stages of leading a more active lifestyle, but I'm taking things little by little and am looking forward to feeling healthier.
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24 March 2015

Announcement: Sarah Gives Birth

I thought I would share this funny little video my family and I made when we were bored the other day. And just for the record, this is NOT some weird pregnancy announcement. Just thought I'd clear that up now.

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23 March 2015

Banned TV Shows

Back when I was a youngin', I remember there were certain TV shows I was allowed to watch and certain shows that were forbidden. My TV memories from childhood are full of Strawberry Shortcake, Captain Planet, and Inspector Gadget, and I knew that as soon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Attack of the Killer Tomatoes came on, I had to turn off the TV. Those shows were banned at my house. I guess my parents didn't want me learning ninja skills and using them on my kindergarten friends. I"m not sure why I wasn't allowed to watch Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but I guess the title says it all. I still haven't watched that show.

Now that I am a parent, I totally get why my parents banned certain cartoons. Even though some of my friends were allowed to watched the shows I was banned from, my parents had to make decisions based on how I might react to the shows.

Right now, the TV show that is banned at our house is Daniel Tiger. Miranda used to watch it ALL the time...until she was introduced to being afraid of the dark on one of the Daniel Tiger episodes. Yeah, we had some sleepless nights thanks to that tiger. Then, whenever the little animals on the show exhibited bad behavior, Miranda always picked up the bad behavior and started doing or saying naughty things that I remember seeing on the show (even though that was the exact opposite of what the show was trying to teach). Amazingly, when we stopped watching Daniel Tiger, Miranda got over being afraid of the dark and her behavior improved.

As a parent, it is important to see how my child reacts to certain TV shows, even if the show is seemingly good. Sometimes, I'll turn on a show for Miranda while I'm getting things done around the house, and I don't pay attention to what she is learning. I'm not planning on sitting down with her and watching all of her shows with her (because that would defeat the purpose of me turning on the show in the first place. I have stuff to do!), but I am going to try harder to listen in on what her shows are teaching her.

What TV shows did you watch when you were a kid? Do you have TV shows that your kids are banned from watching?

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20 March 2015

Friday Favorites

1. The Perilous Journey of the Not-So-Innocuous Girl by Leigh Statham

If I got to choose the next Disney princess, Marguerite (the main character of this book) would be it! She is smart, beautiful, and spunky. I love the way Statham develops the characters, especially Marguerite throughout the story. Not only was the story enjoyable and suspenseful, but the steampunk imagery was AWESOME! This book was a lot of fun and a great read. You can purchase the book in print or get it on Kindle HERE.

2. Homemade Banana Cream Pie

Lorin and I celebrated Pi Day hardcore this year. We made an apple, cherry, and banana cream pie. Banana cream was, hands down, the winner this year. We used this recipe to make it.

3. Everyday Creative's Spring Garden Planter Tutorial

I've been putting off making plans for my spring garden, mostly because building garden boxes seem so daunting. However, this post inspired me to get started because it showed how easy and fun building a planter can be. Not only is this a great post, but there are tons of other interesting projects on there too.

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