Friday, October 26, 2012

30 Day Pre-Holiday Challenge!

I have been trying to get gung-ho about eating paleo for awhile now, but today I am deciding to be gung-ho or else. Why? Because I found a pair of size 6 pants that fit before I got pregnant and I would really like them to fit again. I was hoping I could talk a certain somebody into being hardcore with me for a month, because I know if I cheated before he did that he'll make fun of me for the next 10 years, but he declined. So I've decided that you, Internet, are going to be volunteered to keep me accountable. If I mess up, you get to hold it over my head forever. Or at least until something else cool happens online. I do have one disclaimer up front. I do not know how many days it is until Thanksgiving and I am too lazy to look, but I think it's less than 30. Regardless, my 30 day challenge will end on Thanksgiving. Because it's Thanksgiving. Other than that, no exceptions or cheats! Here are the guidelines:

No grains
No gluten
No dairy, except cheese. Strict paleo usually has no dairy, but most cheese has no carbs and makes  food so delightful!
No soda, no candy, no ice cream
Very little added sugar
Two fruits a day max - one at breakfast and one for dessert after dinner if I'm craving something
Exercise at least 3x a week in some form or fashion

For any good accountability, we need records! So here's a small sampling of my stats:
 Starting weight: 168.7 lbs
 Starting waist size: 39.5 inches
 Starting hip size: 43.0 inches
 Starting waist to hip ratio: .93 (bad - you really want .81 or below)

I'm keeping more stats on my computer, so we'll see how I do. Internet, you've been officially volunteered. Let's do this.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Games to Play with a 6-Month Old

So, if it's been awhile since you've had a 6-month old to play with, let me remind you of how awesome it is! Every day she's learned something new. We are amazed by what she can do today that she couldn't do yesterday. You can tell she's loving every minute of life, because to her every thing is so so funny! I spend all my free time trying to make her laugh, so we've made up a few games to play:

1. Making the Bed
 We figured out how to make this chore fun. Add a baby! After you put the bottom sheet on, it's fun to put Abigail down and billow the top sheet over her. Every time it comes up and we peek under, she makes a different face or different funny noise.  It was like her own private comedy show. And she loved watching the sheet come up and down.

2. Copy Cat Noises
At first, Abigail just thought it was hilarious to watch us smack our lips or buzz our lips at her. Now she learned how to copy the noises, so we make as many funny noises as we can think of and she copies them. Never too soon to teach your baby rude noises, right?

3. Flying
What every baby loves, being tossed in the air!

4. Smack Daddy (lean in for a kiss)
 This one Nathan does not like, but he'll lean in to kiss her face and she'll either turn away or smack him. I think it's because his beard is scratchy and bigger than her head. Poor Nate takes it personally, but I just think it's kinda funny, so it falls under games.

5. No More TV (put my hand in front of her face)
 Alright, this one is purely for my enjoyment, because nobody else likes it. Abigail really likes tv though, so I have fun putting my hand up in front of her face and watching her try to see around it. I think this is why her neck is so long.

Any suggestions for those of you with little ones running around?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

You know, they took "gullible" out of the dictionary

My brother told me that when I was in junior high. With as preposterous as I thought that was, you would think I had invented the word! I promise you, I ranted and raved for about a minute before it sunk in what he had said. And then wanted to deck my little brother. Sadly though, my ability to be fooled has not gotten much better as I've gotten older.

I am very easily swayed. I know this, and I try to protect against it. There are certain things that I know to be true, so I'll stay away from arguments against it. Why? I don't want to be talked out of what I know is right. And there are certain things that I really want to be true (whether they are or not), so I ignore the arguments against those as well. The internet really makes this hard to do though. I often think that ignoring the arguments makes me dumb. After all, you really should look at all sides of some things before jumping in. But I also don't want to be one of those people that can see everyone's point of view, and so believes nothing. Really, those people are just obnoxious. But where is the middle ground? And how do I figure out who is right and who is wrong without trying it all myself?

Some things I have tried. I was vegetarian for a year and a half and then switched to paleo. I felt better within a month, so I feel find saying I know which one of those is right, at least for me. I've tried working jobs that are super crazy busy and jobs that are slow. I have a definite preference, and know where I thrive. But big things, like politics? How do I try socio-economic solutions out to see what works? How do I figure it out on the things outside of myself, when I'm so quickly swayed by their proponents? There's got to be an anchor for things like that, but I haven't figured it out yet.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Thrill of the Hunt

It seems that having a baby was not enough change for us Nipps, so we also threw in house hunting and church hunting. It's a lot of work, but it's been a good chance to evaluate what's important to us and to learn more about each other. For example, we were reminded last Sunday how much of a Baptist I really am. Years in a non-denominational church followed by years in a Presbyterian church, and I still feel right at home when a good ole Baptist hymn starts up! And we're having conversations about "hard" and "soft" sermons. Who uses phrases like that? In houses I am intensely attracted to any house with a huge kitchen, and I can't help but think it's because of all the great memories in my grandma's kitchen. And I'm checking every house for the place where our "family photo wall" will be. I love looking at family photos hanging in people's houses, and I want mine to be great! (Notice I said photos hanging, please don't pull out your photo albums next time I come over)

It's fun working together to feel out and have a say in the changes going on in our lives. Sometimes the best things are the unexpected ones, but as a young married couple, it usually feels like our life is mostly the product of chance or the decision of others. For the first time since I chose to move to Houston, it feels like we are really getting to decide what our life together is going to look like. We're praying through all of this, knowing that God's vision for our lives in far better than our vision, but it's still really exciting to know we're getting to choose. I hope little Abigail likes what we decide.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Things I do to Keep Busy vs. Things I Wish I Did

I have a lot of free time, but in all the wrong places. There are so many things I wish I did/could do, but there is only so much you can get away with in a cubicle. Even if you do have an awesome privacy cubicle in the back corner of the office. And there is only so much time in the day when your commute to daycare and work takes an hour each way. However, I am a huge believer in the power of lists, so I thought maybe this would help get activities organized. Here is my day the way it is and the way I wish it was:

Things I Do To Keep Busy:
  • My accounting homework, which is surprisingly fun at this point! I get to learn something new that is slightly challenging. Not very challenging (yet) but enough that I get the satisfaction of having learned something.
  • Free class at Notre Dame - currently taking Jews and Christians Throughout History. This class is great because a lot of the texts are available online and a few are available at the library. It's been really eye-opening to learn our relationship throughout the centuries. With any religion, the more you learn about others means the more you learn about your own. This is especially true with Judaism and Christianity, so it's been doubly interesting to me.
  • Free class at - currently taking a class on logic. These classes are not self-paced, but you do get a certificate of completion if you do well in it. I figure logic could be helpful.
  • Bible study - the nice thing to free time with limited other options is that it's been easier to spend time with God every day. I guess God may not appreciate being relegated to the "things I do to keep busy" category, but it's definitely one of the things I'm glad I'm doing!
  • Shop for a house (!) - we aren't looking at buying until early next year, but oh the shopping is fun!
  • Shopping for furniture for said house - really am not looking to buy anything right now, so I need to stop this one! I keep finding awesome deals for things I love and absolutely CANNOT buy right now. Why? There is only so much room in our 1-bedroom apartment, which is part of the reason we're moving in the first place.
  • Yoga - the perfect exercise. You don't get sweaty unless you really try, and it always makes me feel tall and thin. Just because I'm not doesn't mean anything.
Things I Wish I Did:
  • Run - my running has fallen totally by the wayside. I think trying to run a half-marathon while working full time and having an infant was a bit lofty of a goal for me. Not saying it can't be done, but that I'm not willing to do what it takes to do it. I just don't have the time or energy to run when Abigail finally goes to bed for the night, and I'm not willing to spend the few hours I have with her by running. So I know it's not really reasonable right now, but I miss it.
  • Stare at the computer less. It seems like I am always, and I mean always, staring at the computer. This can't be healthy.
  • Cook. I miss cooking elaborate and fun foods. I have to cram anything fancy or time consuming into the weekend, and then by the end of it I hate cooking. Nathan cooks most nights so I can take care of the baby and I love him so much for it, but I miss it.
  • Clean!!! I'm a little OCD, so don't take this to mean that we're nasty, but I so want to scrub my apartment. It needs a deep deep cleaning, but I haven't made time to do it. This may actually be my project this weekend.
  • Go out. Saturday nights are not enough. If we stay at home we end up just sitting and eating. I love going out and walking around and seeing things. I need to find a way to work this into more evenings.
  • Start getting ready for Christmas. I do not want to be in crazy mode in December. Period.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Day the Swing Died

For those of you who haven't gotten to spend the night since we had our precious bundle, you may not know that Abigail sleeps in a swing. We have a really nice swing that plays white noise and plugs into the wall, so we don't go broke buying batteries. We started letting her sleep in there when she was a few weeks old and screamed every time we put her down. Looking back on things, part of that may have been because she wasn't getting enough food, but who knows for sure. What I did know, was that she would sleep, and I could sleep, for four hours at a time if she was swaddled and swinging away. She sleeps so good in the swing, we just keep letting her do it. After all, why trade what works for less sleep?

Anyway, long story long is that the swing broke. We noticed on Thursday night that it kept stopping, but it would start again. We went out of town last weekend and borrowed my mom's swing, so no problems there. When we got back Sunday night though, Abigail's swing would not swing. So we are now crash-weaning her. Surprisingly, she's doing really good! We're still putting her down in the swing with the white noise, and that way we can rock her for a minute while she falls asleep. (We'll work on taking that part out later) After her 3am feeding we (I) put her to bed in her co-sleeper thingy in the hopes that will make it easier to transition to a crib later. I don't put her in the co-sleeper in the evenings because she just screams and cries then. Frankly, if I don't want to cry myself to sleep, I don't think Abigail should have to either. So far, I'm really proud of her though. She's taking a broken bed like a champ! Much better than her momma would.