Saturday, September 17, 2016

What I Learned in Our 1 Year of Chaos

Naturally, as we are days away from Joanna's first birthday... I've been reflecting on parenthood over the last several weeks. It's going to sound SO cliche... but this is the hardest job I've ever done. Like, I'm so happy that she sleeps 11 hours a night but the job doesn't stop after she is down for bed. It just keeps going and going and going and thank goodness I'm a high-energy type of gal because I barely keep up as it is.

In the last month, I've really tried to let go of my need to control everything and perfect it.  Here are a few things that I've learned:

  1. Parenthood is messy (and my child doesn't even walk or finger paint yet). There is laundry and dishes and dirt (and that doesn't include the dogs... or maybe it does?). I just have to let it go because I am literally living the best days of my life and I don't want to spend it worrying about how clean my house is.
  2. My "new life" is exhausting and I absolutely love it. I'm learning to embrace the chaos and live in the moment. Laugh hysterically, cry happy tears, enjoy my wine on the weekends and reflect on the days because they are fleeting. When the alarm goes off in the morning, I'm just rolling with it - accepting that by the time I hit my head to the pillow at night I gave 120% of what I have. 
  3. I love my husband more now than the day we said "I Do". If I thought I loved my husband before Joanna came along, I had no clue. I had no idea how strong our first year of parenthood would make us. I had no idea how our communication skills would grow through arguments, through venting-sessions, through tears and through laughter. Oh man, do I love that man.
  4. Children are beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.
  5. Build a support system. We are working on this one. It's been pretty hard since we moved from Tampa, FL to Dallas, TX but I'm destined to find a good, solid support system. Over the last several weeks I've been thanking God tremendously for all of the people he's brought into our lives over the last year - without them I'm not sure how we would have survived.
  6. My heart wants to explode just thinking about how quickly Joanna grew in one year. "The days are long but the years are short"... whoever said that, bravo. Now let me go cry in the corner because my baby is going to be a toddler in 5ish days!
  7. Forget putting your child "on a schedule" - meal prep is everything. I HATE coming home from work and wasting energy trying to figure out what we are going to eat for dinner. I'm working a lot harder these days at planning meals and prepping food where I can.
  8. Plan ahead. I thought I was a planner before I had a child. Now I live by my calendar. My work and personal calendar even overlap so I know when/why I need to leave the office early and I have started preparing weekly for the weeks to come.
  9. Flexibility is key. Yes, planning is critical but being flexible in changes to your plan is even more important. Although my job is demanding when I travel, when I'm home it is extremely flexible (I'm not traveling at least 60% of the time). We could not accomplish everything that we do if it wasn't for a flexible schedule at both home and the office.
  10. Personal time is necessary. I love to run and it's my outlet. Also, shopping is my outlet :) but I've learned to appreciate my alone time and my quiet time. I've also learned to respect Brad's personal time.
  11. Date Night is a requirement. I didn't believe this one before we had Joanna - I took it for granted because we already spent so much time together. Now I'm making this a priority and I don't care how much our monthly bill on "baby sitter" costs because spending uninterrupted time with my husband is necessary.

I'm going to be so real and say it again, this stuff is hard people... and it's just the beginning. The crazy Stephanie in me keeps telling Brad, I want three. I want THREE children. That's a logistical nightmare on steroids and I don't care because having a family is the most fulfilling feeling in the world (for me, I'm sure for others there may be other things that fulfills them and that is totally okay). I never thought I would feel this way. I truly believed that I'd get married and do the whole kids thing.

In just a few days we'll be celebrating surviving our first year - an entire year of chaos. We sold our home, had a baby, moved to grandma's, moved to Texas, started TWO brand new jobs, I traveled 9 times and hundreds of ounces of pumped milk flown across cities and states. I am so proud of US... but I am also SO tired (maybe that's because I ran 11 miles this morning - 7 of which consisted of me pushing a stroller).

I'm not trying to toot my own horn (or maybe I am... trying to show my skeptical self how much we are capable of)... but we survived! Although I am sure that some couples go through far more than we went through.

I love you Bradford - thank you for giving me such a beautiful life to share with you <3

I love you Joanna - thank you for allowing me to be your mama. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. 


Monday, September 5, 2016

10 Reasons Why I Hired A Cleaning Service

When you walk into our Ganey home - it looks... lived in. There are toys in our living room, stuff sitting on our kitchen island, a few things hanging out on our kitchen table and our share of clutter in the entry way. I wouldn't call our house disheveled but I also don't think we are the tidiest people in Dallas. We live somewhere in the middle.... right between chaos and order and I like it that way. I'm sure that we I would feel better if we minimized (I'm sure this area is my fault because I'm the one who is always buying "stuff" that we need)... but we'll save that for another day.

Last month I hired a cleaning service. I didn't realize this was a thing. I was going through the mail and came across a flyer that said "Life is too short to clean your own house"... and all I could think was DAMN RIGHT. I was tired of trying to wake up early on a Saturday to run, spend the day with Brad and Joanna doing fun things, then stay up until 11pm *cleaning* random things in my home and never feeling satisfied with my effort. That is just the brutal truth. 

It took me a long time to come to terms with a cleaning service. First off, one would think that this seems in the OPPOSITE direction of  my efforts toward "domestication" and maybe the whole reason for my blog... and you are totally right! (If you didn't know me). But when I set out on the journey to become domesticated, I didn't mean that I wanted to be a 1950's house wife. It just meant that I wanted to learn more about homemaking and and maybe channel my inner Martha Stewart or The Pioneer Woman or Joanna Gaines. It mean that I wanted to learn how to cook without asking my husband 10 questions along the way or maybe I wanted to be creative enough to sew a chair cover for the love seat I bought 7 years ago (which is now a dog chair, sooooo.... I give up on that one!).

Regardless, it didn't mean that I wanted to learn how to use the vacuum cleaner or see how many loads of laundry I can do in 24 hours. In our house we have a good share of chores that we BOTH participate in. But cleaning? That's just one we can't quite keep up with. And I'll admit it, maybe Brad's idea of cleaning doesn't quite add up to mine. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate his effort. He helps keep the laundry going, washes bottles and does his fair share of cooking. And I am one very grateful wife for what he does to help around the house. I'm especially grateful for him taking a lead on making baby food because what we feed Joanna is far more important to me than how clean our home is.

Anyways, I made a list to try and convince myself why this was necessary in our life. A cleaning company? I even polled a few mommy friends on how they keep their house clean. I honestly didn't want to hear how they were also incredibly tired but they do it themselves anyways. 1 or 2 friends did admit they use a cleaning company and for those ladies I will be forever indebted because they gave me the courage to pull the plug.

I want to spend my weekends having fun with my girl (and my hubby when he isn't working). I DON'T want to spend my weekends trying to clean while she plays. Or thinking about how she is now crawling around on a floor that hasn't been moped in 6 months. Yes, I just said that out loud. Sure, when something gets spilled or we have an accident... we "spot clean". But, now I have confidence that at least once a month my floor has been moped.

After all of that polling, discussing and convincing.... I swallowed my guilt and we did it. And here are the reasons why:

  1. I'm a pretty "high energy" kinda gal but I don't have enough energy to do all of the things that I want to do AND keep the house clean. 
  2. I don't like to clean the toilets (Brad has always done this house chore). But, I also don't like to ask Brad to clean them when I think they are too dirty. Unfortunately, I'm nitty gritty and things bother me long before they bother him (maybe this is just how most women feel?).
  3. I have a baby who crawls around and puts everything in her mouth - she will find the dirt and eat it!
  4. We have a small SHEDDING-Zoo in our home and we need more than 2 people trying to keep up with it!
  5. Picking up baby toys, dog toys, random articles around the house and putting them back to where they belong - that is a job in itself and I still have to do this because the cleaners don't know where all of my shit goes (neither does my husband because I keep moving "where it belongs"... ha. Yes, this one is totally my own fault - and maybe we have too much stuff?).
  6. I'd like to read more and I can't sit on the couch and read if I'm busy thinking about how dirty the living room floor is.
  7. I like to walk around barefoot but I don't like to feel the dirt under my feet or see the pet hair pile up in the corner.
  8. I'm finally at a point in my life where I have less time than I wish I had with the people I love the most and I'm going to focus on enjoying my time (and trying to minimize the time I spend doing stuff I don't want to do).
  9. I have other house chores that NEED to get done and after they are all done, I'm too tired to mop the floor or scrub the shower - so naturally this rarely gets done.
  10. I'm an adult and I just don't feel like cleaning every weekend.

I know that not everyone can afford to hire a cleaning service and I'll admit that I don't want to spend a fortune paying someone else to do it either. But I can part with a few things to offset the cost of someone coming over once a month to clean every room in my house. Plus, we still have to clean the kitchen every night (because I'm a freak and I cannot go to sleep with dirty dishes in the sink) and we still need to pull out the vacuum cleaner every once in a while. The service just lessens the stress I feel when I think that my house is a chaotic mess.

I'd love to hear what you guys do to stay sane!

What system do you use to keep up with your home?
Does minimizing your "stuff" really help feel like your house is less dirty?


Friday, September 2, 2016

August Stats/Recap

Goodbye August! This month we got some crazy thunderstorms in Dallas which seemed to bring cooler temperatures. Most of the summer was very dry and 95+ degrees so you can imagine that I've been looking forward to weather in the 70s. All the locals rave about how amazing the spring and fall seasons are here (although they are pretty short lived) because the summer and winter can be brutal. I am incredibly excited for fall (it's just around the corner!) and all things pumpkin.

On the baby front - I have officially quit pumping at the office this last week. We have a pretty large freezer stash that should last us just past Jo's first birthday and I'm okay with making a bottle or two on the weekends when Jo and I are together during the day. I literally don't know what to do with myself now that I don't have to carry that 5lb pump in my laptop bag or wash parts every night. WOWZA! We are still nursing in the morning and in the evening. We are right on track to meet our 1 year nursing goal and I am so proud of us. I'm also really proud of myself to have continued to pump throughout all of that work travel since we've moved to Dallas - I've taken 8 trips since she was 5 months old that lasted anywhere from 1-5 days. That is A LOT of pumping and A LOT of transporting milk across borders (ha).

On the home front - we hired a cleaning service and I need to share with you guys (and remind my future self) many reasons why I should have done this a LONG TIME AGO. My life is so much better for this and I'm sure that Joanna appreciates being able to crawl on cleaner floors :)

On the work front - I'm in between projects right now (I keep hearing the next one is going to keep me really busy), so I've been trying to enjoy the extra time I've had.   

On the fitness front - I'm still focusing on building my running base back and getting ready for that fall half marathon. By doing this, I'm trying to convince myself that I can run a spring marathon. I have really be enjoying the running (probably because I've had more time this month) but it's stressful to think about how I am going to fit in the mid-week long runs or that Saturday long run if I actually do sign up for a spring marathon. Coach Beth has been great at encouraging me when I hit new records, etc. and also checking in with me when I have missed a workout or two. Having this accountability is tremendous right now as I'm trying to balance all the other things which seem much more important than getting out the door for a run. Getting the treadmill has been a life saver - I wouldn't have been able to get all those miles in this month without it.

I stole Coach Beth's format for monthly reporting as it is way cooler than the one I made up :) 

Run 81 miles
I haven't seen numbers like this in a long time! We got pregnant 2.5 months after Chicago Marathon and I just let my running go as the weight piled on. I'm averaging 20 miles a week right now with most of them on the treadmill.

Bike ZERO miles
I'm crossing my fingers for fall weather so Jo and I can get out on the weekends! We have a great local part with paved trails that I'd love to go to once its not blazing hot out anymore.

Steps 411,181 (13k daily average)
I'm still not consistently hitting the 10k steps a day but the running has continued to bring up my average steps. That's not cheating, right?

Strength Training 3 30-minute workout videos. I'm still sticking with the 21-day fix extreme videos when I do get this in. This is an area that needs improvement if I'm going to get serious about that marathon.

Current Reads I'm in the middle of Getting Things Done by David Allen. My manager recommended it to me and the thing I like the most is the idea of writing down every lingering thought, to-do, distraction so I can regain focus on whatever it is I'm actually doing. This has let me enjoy what I'm doing instead of focusing on all of the things I think I should be doing (those are now written down on a list so I stop obsessing over them in my mind).

Current Obsession Joanna's first birthday! It's happening this month and most of our family will be coming to Texas to help us celebrate. We're also going to be baptizing her the same weekend. Planning for Jo's big #1 has been mostly on my mind.

Current Song Starving feat. Zed by Hailee Seinfeld - I heard it on the radio and now its on repeat in my headphones during my runs, in my car on the way to work and even in my office!

Current Need A new camera :) mine just doesn't seem to do great while anything is in motion - and isn't all of life in motion?

Current Triumph Running faster! Coach Beth asked me to do a 2-mile timed trial. I did 1 mile warm up and 2 miles all out. I hit 8:39 and 8:40 for mile 2 and 3. Now I'm signed up for our next 5k :)

Current Bain of My Existence Washing bottles! After 11 months of bottle washing, I am so ready to transition to sippy cup with milk at the 1 year mark!

Current Goal switch from evening running to morning running. Now that Brad's schedule has shifted to later in the evening, I'm trying to spend the evening times together instead of running like I used to. This means I need to go to bed earlier so I can run before Joanna wakes up at 6am.

Current Indulgence Microwave popcorn. I know its gotta be awful for you but they supply it as a free snack at the office and I can't help but indulge in 2-3 bags a week!

Current Blessings My mom. I got to spend a lot of time with her over the last 2 months and I really miss her. She helps me look for my inner strength and is always there when I call to talk about anything thats on my mind. She's also an amazing grandmother and I love seeing her with Jo.

Current Excitement 3-day Labor Day Weekend!