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19 Goals in 2019: 1st Quarter Check-In

Friends! It's been so long! My sweet hubby gave me a kid-free Saturday afternoon to spend studying, so of course I used my study break to throw together a quick blog post. My second and final licensing exam is scheduled for May 6, so these last few weeks are 24/7 crunch time. I'm using this weekend to finish reading my textbook and from here on out I'll be taking practice exams before the big day.

I've been working on becoming registered at my job since I started back in June and I honestly don't even know what I'll do with myself once I'm done studying, but suffice to say that I am very much looking forward to some actual free time. Since we're already halfway into April, I thought I'd take a minute to check-in on my 2019 bucket list progress!

Here are my 19 Goals for 2019:

Now that I am a full-time working Mama again (in a brand new-to-me industry), there is so much professional development for me to conquer over the next year.
  1. Pass my registration exams. IN PROGRESS. I've already made it halfway through this goal because I passed my first exam on December 31, 2018. My second exam is scheduled for next month, so wish me luck!

In my heart of hearts, I will always be a bookworm. But with everything I have going on, I'm not putting any pressure on myself to participate in book challenges or spend all my spare time with my nose in a book. I've been reading as it makes sense to and I read the books that I want to read.

  1. Read 35 books. IN PROGRESS (8/35) Recent faves have been The Road Back To You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery and Educated (go read it, immediately!)
  2. Read 3 books published before 1990. (0/3) Not even close.

2019 is the year I really want to dig our heels in to making some progress with our debt snowball. These are just a few of the things I want to accomplish this year.
  1. Increase my credit score by 5%. IN PROGRESS Because I was an independent contractor for part of last year, we had a HUGE tax bill and I was late making a student loan payment. I started out the year making great progress, but because of that late payment my credit score has gone down even more, unfortunately. 
  2. Save up enough to buy a minivan in cash. IN PROGRESS ($1,150). I dipped into our savings because of the aforementioned tax bill, so I'm not where I hoped I'd be four months into the year.
  3. Contribute at least $500 each to Charlie and Crosby's 529 college savings accounts. IN PROGRESS ($100/$1,000) 
  4. Pay off remaining credit card debt. IN PROGRESS (2/3) We paid Chuck's second credit card off in January and our third will be paid off in just a couple more months!!
  5. Pay off remaining medical bills. IN PROGRESS We have a couple smaller bills that will also hopefully be paid off in a few more months.

I want to continue working on living a healthier lifestyle with manageable and realistic goals for my busy schedule.
  1. Go to the gym at least 2 mornings per week. Nope.
  2. Run a half marathon. It's scheduled for July 20, but I haven't even begun training yet. Eek!
  3. Attend yoga class at least once per month. Also, nope.
  4. Plan one vegetarian meal per week. IN PROGRESS. I've been doing this pretty informally. I haven't been tracking, but I've been decent about eating vegetarian a couple times per week, even if it's just eggs and toast.

I love, love, love my house and making it more of a home is one of my favorite things to do.

  1. Finish converting upstairs room to a fourth bedroom. We're having our friend install the window that will "officially" make this a bedroom in a couple weeks!
  2. Convert downstairs bedroom into an office/guest room. Not yet.
  3. Remodel downstairs half bathroom into a full bathroom. Not even close.
  4. Landscape the front yard. Nope. Nope. Nope.
    These are a few of the random, miscellaneous things that I'd like to see happen in 2019 for me and my little family.
    1. Adopt a four-legged friend. I'll be honest- this probably won't happen this year. With both of us working out of town, as much as I may want a doggo, it would be unfair to get one and make it spend its days at home alone all day.
    2. Take a kid-free weekend getaway. Nothing planned as of yet, but we still have time.
    3. Take a photography or cooking class. COMPLETE! Whoo! One off my list! Back in January, our favorite family photographer offered an Intro to Photography class and I was so excited to kick off the new year by completing an item on my bucket list. It wound up being just the two of us and I was so appreciative of the time we spent together. I haven't had much time to practice, but at the very least, I can now take pictures in manual mode!



    CROSBY | 2.5

    It's been a sparse several months on this blog. Working full-time, studying for my professional exams, and being cooped up inside with two very energetic toddlers has consumed just about every last ounce energy that I've had. I've thought about throwing in the towel and giving up on blogging altogether. But I just can't bring myself to do it. Some Moms scrapbook, some Moms are social media-savvy. Me? This is how I document my babies' lives, for better or worse. So while the days of my writing actual thought-provoking posts may all but be over, for as long as blogging exists, this will be the place I continue to turn to. I have some thoughts on blogging in 2019, but that's for another day.

    Today is all about my Crosby Loren. Crosby celebrated turning 2.5 on March 5 (though "celebrated" may be a bit of a stretch). We don't actually celebrate half birthdays in our home. (I have considered it with Charlie being a Christmas baby!) However, I feel like so much growing and development happens between 2 to 2.5 and 2.5 to 3, that it's a milestone worth documenting.

    Crosby is just starting to string sentences together, so I did my best to guess what his favorites were for the questions he didn't understand. His answers are in quotes...

    Crosby's 2.5 Birthday Interview

    Favorite TV Show: Blippi and "Elmo"
    Favorite pastime(s): Snuggling with Mama, playing outside, playing dress-up and make-believe
    Favorite color: We're working on his colors and he thinks everything is either blue or green
    Favorite toy: He loves balls and his musical instruments (or whatever toy Charlie happens to be playing with (#brothers)
    Favorite food: Chicken nuggets, applesauce pouches and fruit snacks
    Favorite book: Potty Time with Elmo
    Favorite animal: "Blue"
    Favorite sport: Swimming, playing toss and frisbee
    Favorite movie: Like his big brother, he loves the Despicable Me series and they're still watching Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas

    Nickname(s): Cros
    Best friend(s): Obviously, his big brother and cousin Lucie; He also loves to talk about his friends Penny and Peyton from daycare
    When I grow up, I want to be: "Two"
    What I sleep with at night: Two teddy bears, three Paw Patrol characters, his baby doll, nightlight, and...Mommy (No shame in our co-sleeping game!)

    Crosby just might be the best human alive. (Not biased at all). Everyone who meets him falls in love. If sweetness could be embodied in a person, he'd be it. He loves to play with his brother, but when things inevitably get too rough, he also seeks out his Mama for protection and cuddles. Whereas Charlie is scrappy, Crosby is just like his Daddy- a lover, not a fighter. He loves being outdoors, and going to the park with Daddy, Charlie, Uncle Lonnie, and his cousin Lucie now that he's older. I hope to take him on some hikes as the weather warms up!

    From the time he was a baby, he has come alive when he hears music. I think we somehow knew that when we named him after one of Mommy's favorite musicians, David Crosby. He loves to dance and play his musical instruments. Although he's recently taken an interest in using the potty (hooray!), we're not rushing to enroll him in preschool any time soon. Since he's one of those weird, September cut-off birthdays, we're going to wait a year which I think will be better for him. He's always developed at his own pace and I think he'll thrive when he's good and ready to start school. I'm in no hurry to put an end to his baby and toddler years!

    Crosby Loren, you are the light of our lives. Thank you for being you. I love you so.



    New Reusable Swim Diapers at Goldfish Swim School!

    This post brought to you by Goldfish Swim School.

    A few weeks ago, I decided that Crosby and I needed some one-on-one time together. We had a bunch of swim lessons to make-up so it seemed like the perfect excuse. One Monday evening, while Daddy took Charlie to his very first movie, Crosby and I headed to Goldfish Swim School- DaytonLucky for us, they had just gotten in their brand new Goldfish swim diapers, so of course I made Crosby my little model.

    At Goldfish, swim lessons for children can begin as early as four months old. This means it's essential for little ones who are not potty trained to wear reusable swim diapers. Not only does it keep the pool safe and clean for all swimmers, but they're so darn cute!

    So why reusable versus disposable swim diapers?

    1. They're more sanitary. Swim diapers are imperative in decreasing the spread of infection-causing bacteria (which is obviously the last thing you want when you've got teeny tinies in the pool!). Tests have shown that reusable diapers are better at keeping solids inside the diaper and out of the water!

    2. They're cheaper. A reusable swim diaper generally runs the same price as a single pack of disposable diapers and lasts for much longer!

    3. They're eco-friendly and chemical-free. No more diapers piling up in landfills, all it takes on your part is a quick toss in the washing machine! Not to mention, most disposable diapers contain harsh chemicals that can irritate your baby's skin and leave rashes.

    As a Mama of two, I've had experience with both types and let me tell you- reusable diapers are the way to go. Not just for the reasons above, but in general- they're cuter and I actually find them easier. They slip on and off easily and it's only one garment to pack versus pulling out fresh, disposable ones every weekend before lessons.

    We take advantage of Goldfish Swim School's on-site swimsuit dryers to wring out the extra moisture. Then once the boys are in dry clothes, we just put all their wet suits and towels in their swim bag and toss it straight into the washer when we get home.

    I love that Goldfish now has their own swim diapers available on-site. They're so convenient for those unpredictable toddler accidents (trust me, we've had plenty) and I love that my boys will be repping their favorite swim school on the beach this summer!


    Life Lately v8

    This past weekend, our Saturday was chock full of plans. Chuck and I had a family friend lined up to babysit so we could make a little date of going to a Home Depot DIY workshop and then our niece's birthday party in the afternoon. On Friday night, Charlie started complaining he wasn't feeling well and by Saturday morning he was running a high fever. I joked to my friend that the best way to get a kid sick is to plan a date! (But ain't that the truth).

    So here I sit, next to a pitiful and lethargic little man. The unanticipated downtime felt like the perfect opportunity to get caught up on life and blogging. Here's what I've been up to lately:


    A couple weeks ago, Chuck and I found ourselves completely burnt out from parenting two toddlers in the confines of our small house in the middle of the #PolarVortex. I called my Mom one morning on my way to work and desperately asked her if she'd be willing to take the boys over the long President's Day weekend. I was surprised that she was immediately on board. So, the following weekend we met up in Erie, PA (our halfway point) and she took them to her house in Upstate New York for a couple days.

    I had a long list of all the house projects I wanted to conquer during my child-free weekend. Instead, I had a Farmers' Market meeting and Galentines' Day get-together on Saturday morning. Then as soon as I returned from my ladies' brunch, I plopped into my bed with The Office and didn't move for the next day and a half. I think my body knew what I needed- REST!

    I'm still feeling great after passing my Series 7 back in December. It's one of two tests I need in order to be registered to buy and sell securities for my job. I'm studying for test #2: the Series 66 right now and it's slow-going, but I'm making progress. I'm hoping to sit for the exam within the next two months. Other than that, I still am head over heels in love with my job and I'm constantly daydreaming about becoming a Financial Advisor some day. 

    At the risk of oversharing, Chuck and I have been trying to decide whether or not to become a family of five. We said we were done. We said we were happy with two. We don't love the financial sacrifice that adding a third child would mean for our family goals. Neither of us loves the idea of another round of pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. And yet, there is this nagging little voice inside our heads and hearts that questions whether we're truly "done." In terms of timing, we have a limited window to make up our minds. We don't want to be paying for three kids in daycare, but we also don't want to have a huge, awkward age gap between our kids. We feel a lot of pressure in making this huge, life-altering decision because it kind of feels like now or never. 

    If you happen to follow me on social media, you may have seen my recent obsession with Stitch Fix. I've received fixes on and off for years, but lately I've been using them religiously as I try to upgrade my professional wardrobe. Up until now, all my employers have been pretty lax on dress code, and I really haven't updated my closet since college, so it's been long overdue. I have a tendency to get really overwhelmed trying to shop for myself, so Stitch Fix is the perfect solution. I get to wear cute clothes without the headache of finding them! My recent fix was a complete keeper and I've gotten so many compliments on the scalloped hem pencil skirt- it's so dreamy. (Shameless plug: You can get a $25 credit toward your first Fix if you use my referral link).

    Chuck and I have found ourselves in the sucky place of having to be responsible adults/homeowners. The place where you have to spend money on really un-fun things that are 100% necessary. We've had problems with crickets in our basement basically since we bought our house 3.5 years ago. This past week, we discovered we could also add mice to the list of critters taking over our abode. So after some discussion, we both resigned ourselves to the fact that investing in a pest control service is a must. The exterminator comes on Wednesday. 

    After we lost all our trees to an ice storm in November our front yard also needs some serious landscaping. So, we'll be shelling out for that this spring/summer, as well. Sigh...

    I got to the end of my list and realized I haven't said much about the boys. Honestly, there's not much news to report. At two and a half, Crosby is finally at the age where he can almost keep up with his rambunctious big brother. It's such a blessing watching the boys play together. Charlie is still going to preschool twice a week and loves it. It seems we've settled into a nice rhythm as a family as we're just living an exhausted, beautiful, joy-filled life together.

    Have you ever struggled with the idea of being "done" having babies?