Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Camera

So, I got the fabulous new camera for Christmas. It's a Canon Rebel and I'm so excited about it!
But I am poor at using it.
And, well, let's be honest. There's a lot of pressure to post beautiful photos. I feel like if I'm going to post a picture, it better be lovely. It had better be the most wonderfully staged, well composed picture that I have ever taken. And, that's a tall order. I have yet to even download the software onto my computer to take the pictures off of the camera and put them out there for use. I am behind, friends. I am not good at this. But! I am practicing. I have been taking ridiculous pictures of Steph, my deskmate(?), and I am hoping to just copy down a bunch of other fabulous photographer's setups for beautiful pictures and magically transform into a fabulous photographer myself.
Why is this so hard? Why do I have such high expectations for something that, in truth, is trivial? Frustrating.

Aside from my glorious new life partner camera, I got a lot of delightful things for Christmas! A bluetooth thing so I can drive and talk and not scare my mother to death. A beautiful scarf from my mother in law. A stellar new crockpot. (Incidentally, I felt incredibly old when I opened my crockpot and it was as if my wildest dreams had been fulfilled.) Eric bought me a beautiful sweater throw blanket from Target that I repeatedly showed him. He also got me a FitBit and I'm so looking forward to trying that baby out! It was a wonderful Christmas and I could go on and on about that, but not today. Today I'm going back to obsessing about figuring out how to determine ISO, Apeture, and Shutter Speed to take the most beautiful, blog worthy pictures that have ever been taken.

How was your Christmas? Did Santa treat you nicely?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Operation Red Bikini

I am not a self-motivated person for the most part. I don't get excited about working out and I don't have a 'game plan' in my head. I do best if I have someone screaming in my face, making me do the work. That is the only way I have ever lost real weight. I was a member of a gym where the instructors knew me and guilted me if I didn't show up and give it my all. I lost about fifty pounds and felt fabulous.
I have gained that and more back in the last seven years.
It's shameful, really.
So. I am taking the challenge from Southern Girl Gets Fit! A red bikini is so far out of my comfort zone that it kind of makes me dizzy, so my 'red bikini' will be a size ten. Nothing amazingly small, nothing out of this world. I'd even take a twelve, but the ten... that's my red bikini. The twelve would be like a black tankini, but actually wearing it in public. The red bikini is the holy grail.
Saying this makes me feel like a broken record. I'm forever promising myself that I'll get back into some semblance of a healthy shape, but then giving up at the first turn. Maybe this challenge will help me stick to the plan. I'm currently searching for a gym like the one I had before. One I can AFFORD to attend. I don't like working out alone. Like I said, give me someone yelling in my face to push harder and I'm gonna put it all out there. Give me a treadmill and some free weights and you might as well hand me a hot dog and a 32oz Ski.
After Christmas Eve I'll FINALLY have a camera and I will post a "before" picture and then I will weep. It won't be one of those like some brave women do where they're just in a sports bra and tight fitting pants. I'll be in yoga pants and a tank top, but trust. You will be able to see the horrors.
Hold me to this, yo. I need to get my ass in gear.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

House Guests

Happy holidays!
I have pretty much been sucked dry lately. There is not an ounce of motivation in me to write, move, think, etc. All I want to do is eat delicious food and maybe nap? I'm not sure what the story is here.  I just really want to lie down most of the time, maybe in the bath, with wine. Whatever. Moving on!
My in-laws will be here a week from yesterday. They live in Mexico and we haven't ever had the chance to spend Christmas with them, so I'm super excited that they're driving up. Previously, when they've visited, we had a spare bedroom upstairs. Then we had Audrey and that became her room. They came when she was tiny, and we just left the bed up in there for them and let her sleep with us, but this time we decided to go a different route.
We built them a bedroom in the basement.
From scratch.
And by we, I mean my husband and his friend, my father, and my brother-in-law with some help from my uncle on one occasion. I mostly painted. And hung stuff up. But, whatever.
I wish I had a camera because the before and after pictures could be really stellar, but I'm not getting one until Christmas Eve. So, you'll just have to trust me. We've got a blue-grey thing going on the walls, which was a disappointment because it is NOT true to the color chip. We put up white curtains and used furniture we had around the house. I finally got to put up a pretty chandelier in a bedroom, so I'm pretty freaking pleased with that. (Eric insists on ceiling fans mostly.)
We also redid the stairs going to the basement. The area had previously been completely unfinished, with raw wood stairs and naked drywall on the walls. We had my brother-in-law texturize the walls in there and the bedroom and slapped some fantastic Palladian Blue (Benjamin Moore) paint up.  We bought treads at Lowe's and some 1xsomethings at our local hardware store and painted the treads black and the 1X's white to use as risers. It turned out pretty fabulous, if you ask me!
Anyway, that's what's been going on in Casa Bennett. Have you had any projects going on lately?

Friday, September 28, 2012

I hate running.

For real. It is the worst idea I have ever had. Why did I think this was something I could get interested in? I started reading all these running blogs. I read articles. I bought new shoes. Bought a stop watch. Now I want to do almost anything besides run. I'm on week 5 or 6 of the Couch to 5K and running has gone from being something I was excited about and looked forward to doing to something that I think about all day in the most dreaded way.
The thing is: I don't hate working out. I used to do a step aerobics class and I LOVED that. I did a kick boxing class and enjoyed it. Even weights and body weight training... I'm fine with it all. But running is owning my ass. It is making me feel small and pathetic. I want to quit.
I probably won't, though. Because my husband won't let me and my friend Stephanie will shame me from here to next Sunday if I do. But, I swear. This might kill me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Day In The Life

I'm linking up with Holly from "Where We Can Live Like Jack And Sally". (NOTE: I'm ridiculously excited that I figured out how to put the link in using her name.)  This is the first time I've ever linked up to something and I probably won't do it again for a while, I'm sure. It's a scary step to me, putting my name on a list with some other more experienced bloggers who actually edit and review their posts and all that good stuff. I'll get there someday, I'm sure, but right now I am a big fan of type it and hit publish and move on with my day.
Lately, my first alarm goes off at 4:50 because I am dreaming of getting up and working out in the morning - though this has yet to happen. Neither my husband nor I have heard this alarm either day this week, so I think my phone is conspiring against me. Next is a five a.m. alarm that I have decided is ten minutes too late to get up to work out and twenty minutes to early to start getting ready. So, the next one goes off at 5:20 and I haul myself out of bed and into my bathroom. I shower at night because I know that I'm lazy in the morning, so I wash my face, brush my teeth, do my hair and make up, and attempt to get dressed before I hear Eva call out "Mommy Daddy, I'm awaaaake" at three second intervals, with increasing volume until one of us goes in to get her up. She doesn't get out of her own bed because we've trained her to stay put. I don't want her wandering at night, but this means she also will not get out in the morning. Such is life.
If she doesn't wake up and call for us, Eric usually gets her up and either dresses her or lets her dress herself. (Incidentally, I'm so excited to have a kid who is old enough to dress herself.) I hurry to finish dressing and get Audrey up and fight her into a clean diaper. How is it that babies are so damn strong? That kid. It's like wrestling a drunk monkey to get her changed in the mornings. We all head downstairs together to get shoes on and all that basic stuff. Lately Eric's schedule has allowed him to help with daycare drop off, so I take Audrey into her room (where she runs to her teacher, then points to the door and orders me to "go") and he takes Eva (who we then have to wave at through the window for an inordinate amount of time) and we part ways there.
I have an hour long commute. It is the devil. Today I got gas and food on my way in. The gas was not necessary, but I wanted to eat and needed an excuse to stop and buy food. I wanted to eat because I was feeling crabby - I managed to forget my rings, my earrings, and I also had a giant hole in the ass of my pants and had to go back in and change. Fun morning.
I work as a receptionist at a law firm. I sit next to one of my best friends all day (Hi, Steph!) and really enjoy the people I work with. For the most part. In my private life, it's well known that I don't actually like people that much, so this is big... the fact that I enjoy the people I interact with on the daily. On a good day, Steph and I will say something phenomenally funny and laugh until we cry. Then we get to write it down in a book for future review when we are not so funny. I sometimes work out at lunch, if I can get someone to go and do it with me. I am not a fan of doing things alone. Yesterday I got in a half hour over lunch and felt pretty good about it!
Hour long commute home. Woo.
With the advent of The Running, my nights are a bit different than they used to be. We run Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Sometimes the kids insist on walking back home once we get to the sidewalk and last night was one one of those nights. It was also the night that Audrey discovered her shadow. She had to pause to check it out A LOT. It took us twice as long to get home because she was suspicious of that dark spot following her around.
Once we did get home, I made tacos - including a home made taco seasoning. Eva ate well and bragged about it pretty consistently for the rest of the night. Audrey... was not good and did not eat. That is all I will say about that. She was a tiny hot mess. We made our way upstairs for bath time and then watched The Voice while the girlies played. At some point, Eva decided we had to look at pictures of Santa Clause, so The Google found some for us and I taught Audrey that Santa says 'Ho Ho Ho' which she refused to say until I was talking to Eric and then said it, super fast, under her breath.
Bedtime went surprisingly well and I finished up my night with a shower and some Words With Friends. I turned off the television at 9:30 for the night. At this point, Eric had been sleeping beside me for a good forty five minutes. Because he's practically ninety.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Calorie Counting and all that jazz

I think it's time for me to start logging what I eat and counting calories. I am actually UP two pounds this week and that's with four days of running (or rather Couch25K running, but still) and push mowing my half acre, hilly lawn. I haven't been super with the food stuffs. It's not my jam. I like to eat. A lot. And I like good food that's not good for me. (I say that, sitting here, having just eaten some snack bag of cheddar cheesy goodness and drinking a Mountain Dew....)
The truth is, this is harder than it has been in the past. And I didn't ever intend for this blog to become just about my eating and running habits, but I'm hoping that if I keep writing it down, I'll keep it in the forefront of my mind instead of hiding from what's really going on.
What's really going on is this: When I focus on it, I'm excited about weight loss. I'm excited about eating better - feeding my body versus feeding my cravings and emotions. I'm excited about running and working out and teaching my girls to live a healthier lifestyle. I'm excited about getting fit. But, I'm not focusing on it ENOUGH. I'm not making it a major part of my life. It's an after thought. So, when someone asks if I want a cookie, OF COURSE I WANT A COOKIE. And then I eat it. And then twenty minutes after that I feel like a fool for having eaten it. I struggle with this. I struggle with not hiding from the fact that I KNOW I should not have that cookie. I struggle with acknowledging that it's not a good choice and then I struggle with making myself make up for those mistakes by doing better the rest of the day. Calorie counting is daunting. I'm not excited about that. But, I found a website, via another website, where you can plunk your recipes into it and it figures up for you about how many calories one serving would be. So, I'm going to try it out. Soon. I think for the time being I'll just be logging the food and exercise and trying to force myself to be a grown up and actually face my issues...
Do you count calories?

Friday, September 7, 2012

I can't come up with a title to save my life.

Just a rundown of a few things because I haven't posted in a while and that makes me a terrible new blogger person.

1. This weekend is going to be GLORIOUS. We've had a lot of really hot, really dry weather for a really long time in these parts and I cannot wait to enjoy the mid seventies tomorrow is offering. My middle sister and I (Hi BOO!) will be hitting up some yard sales in the a.m. and then going to my fervit (favorite) cousin's bridal shower. When we're done with THAT, hopefully the hubs will be done with Drill (he's in the Guard and this is drill weekend) and we'll head out to watch a parade and maybe visit with some friends.
2. We are not very social. We'd like to be, but we're lazy and parents to two monsters, one of whom (Eva) hates other people, so we never get out much. I'm ridiculously excited to go the parade and visit!
3. I'm up to running three minutes at a stint. This is not much to regular people, but it's a huge feat to me. For real. Two weeks ago I was struggling to run for one minute and on Monday when I ran the first three minutes I felt on top of the world. I thought I could do it again right away. I was wrong. But, still. I did it. And then when I did the second three minute set, at the end, Eva asked Eric "Why is Mommy running so slow?" And then I finished the last fifteen seconds, collapsed on a table and wept.
4. Having your child call you slow when you are working as hard as you possibly can is really disheartening.
5. I am getting the itch to do some kind of a project. There are a few things in my way. Money is tighter than normal because Eric hasn't been working any overtime, so blowing money on some kind of supplies is not really a priority. Also, time. Also, that's about it.

Anyway, have a glorious weekend. I'm hoping to start next week with a new game plan, adding in a few mornings a week with exercise at the ungodly hour of quarter to five.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What Counts

I ran yesterday. I had a slight headache and wanted badly to not run, but I ran and that's good. It was stupid hard and I'm not good at it and I was embarrassed but I did it. And, in the long run, that's what counts.
What counts is getting off my butt and moving more. What counts is NOT making excuse after excuse and finding 'reasons' to continue being lazy. I don't love working out. I don't love eating healthier. But, I will do these things. I will make these changes. And eventually, I will enjoy them more. And that is what counts.
I weighed myself the other morning. I won't tell you my weight because my shame is too large (though not larger than the number on the scale, apparently, or it would not have crept up so high). What I will do is say that my number ended in 6.5 and that my first goal is to just get that last number to a 0. I will be giving myself the last few days of this week and then the next two weeks to hit that number. This is the first REAL goal I've set for myself in a while. I think that the 6.5 pound loss will make a difference in the way that I fit into my clothes and the way that I feel, though it might not be a huge deal to most. It's a start. And making a start, as I've said, is what counts.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Couch to 5K

I think I'm really going to do this. I'm planning on signing up for the Glow Run in St. Louis on Oct. 6th. I have never, ever,ever run for fun in my life. I've barely ever run because it was expected of me. I don't run. I don't like to. Or, I didn't. I know that if I want to succeed I have to lose the defeatist attitude and look at this positively. I have to say "I'm going to love running in the long run!" "I"m going to have so much fun doing races with my friends!" and things like that.
The truth is this: My favorite thing in the whole wide world is taking a bath while reading a book. You do not get much more leisurely than that unless you add in wine and now I want nothing more than to do just that. Bath. Book. Booze. Anyway. That does not sound like a recipe for me to be a runner. But I want to be. I want to lose weight and I want to feel better and I've been told this is the way. So here I go.
I'm looking at the Couch 2 5K program, but does anyone have any other suggestions?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Do you wanna take my picture?

This weekend Eric, one of his buddies, and my father worked all day Saturday to put up drywall in the new bedroom in our basement. When we built the house, we did not have the money in the budget to finish the basement and I didn't feel like taking on renters to finance the project, so the basement has been and empty, concrete hole since then. Well, Eric's parents are coming for Christmas and since we had Audrey, we no longer have a guest room. I wanted to take pictures of that space coming to life and share them with you but then Eva "took a picture" of Daddy and proceeded to drop the camera on the bathroom tiles, denting the lens casing (or whatever you call that), thus rendering the camera useless.
Awesome times.
This weekend also marked the first time I've gotten to be with my three long-term best friends at once in.... right about two years. There are lots of pictures from that night, but I didn't take any of them since Eva destroyed my camera right before we headed to the party.
I want to buy a really nice camera. I want a DSLR or whatever the heck they are. Because they take gloriously good pictures and I want to have that capability. I don't, however, have the money in the budget for such a camera, so I'm going to have to go with a more affordable model.
Anyone have any recommendations?

Friday, August 3, 2012

This week

This week has been a struggle for me. I go through phases where I just feel sort of in limbo with life. I want SO MUCH to be Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart and Nanny Jo from Super Nanny all rolled into one and I have a hard time accepting that I am just myself. I get home from work, after my long commute and I am tired. I don't want to make dinner or clean the house. Usually dinner gets made, but the house is left to it's own devices which is to say it's left in the hands of a three year old and a one year old who are on a mission to get every single thing out of every drawer and bin and just drop it where they wish. 
Something has to change and I think we all know it's me. I have to find contentment with my life as it is or make changes to make it what I want it to be. And I think I pick the latter. I say that often and don't follow through, but today I am feeling strong about it. So next week will find me up early to get on the elliptical. That will hopefully get my body moving and get a positive start to the day. Every night will find me at least picking up the house and making sure the counters are wiped down. I will smile more and say yes more to my children. I will find the time, even if that means going to bed a little later, to enjoy the small things in my life. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Today, my Eva turns three. I had her at 5:01 p.m. after something like fourteen hours of labor and thirty one minutes of pushing. (TMI?) There may be a day when I feel like telling that story, but today is not that day. She was giant. Her head was huge and she weighed 9lbs 10oz. She was delightful.
Except that the kid did not sleep. And she was the clingiest child ever.
All of those things still hold true. She is marvelous. She is loving and sweet, but does not want you to cuddle her or touch her too much. She does not like a lot of people, but the people she likes she LOVES. She is cleverer than you want a kid her age to be. She is funny and too smart. Her use of language is both hilarious and fantastic. The kid knows how to turn a phrase.
She also still does not sleep worth a damn.
I am, according to her, her best friend. And that is my favorite role in the world right now.
Because at three, it's awesome to have Mommy be your best friend. And, as a Mommy to a three year old (who stubbornly has been calling you Mom lately....) it's awesome to be her best friend.
When gets a little older, I will no longer have the role of best friend. And that's how it should be. But, for now, I adore that title.

Monday, July 16, 2012

30 by 30

I want to lose thirty pounds before my thirtieth birthday. As I don't turn thirty for right around nine months, I don't think this is an unattainable goal.
Except that I love to eat. And to sit.
I'm not a huge fan of working out. I don't 'get the bug' or whatever it is that some people feel when they've been working out for a while. I work out for a while and then think "That's enough. I don't like this." and then I sit down and eat a Twinkie and read a book.
I am not afraid of getting older. I am afraid of getting older while still so overweight. I want to be in some semblance of a shape that is not 'round'. I want slim(mer) hips. I want a waist. I want to only possess the one set of breasts, rather than having a smaller, unattractive set right below the ones God intended me to have. (sorry. That sounds terrible written out, but it is the truth.) I want to be able to enjoy the next decade running after my girls and not feeling put out every time Eva wants to run the length of the house (which is her favorite pass time). I want to WANT to take them on walks and bike rides. I want to embrace their youth and what's left of mine.
So the plan looks like this:

  • Cut out most soda. I'll still have it ON WEEKENDS ONLY and ONLY when we are out to eat. And only Ski (which is a delicious, high calorie, high caffeine local soda) which will cut down on the soda intake even on weekends since not everywhere serves it. 
  • Replace some of the sugar in my coffee with Splenda. I like my coffee with an embarrassing amount of sugar. More sugar, probably, than a woman should have in a day, in general. And, I generally dislike artificial sweeteners. But, I found today that if I use just ONE Splenda, I can cut down on my sugar by about a teaspoon at least. So there's that.
  • No sweets except on special occasions. I have come to treat 'treats' as if they should be a staple in my diet. I'm going to try to make them actually TREATS rather than everyday occurrences. 
  • Be more active in general. Not sitting on my ass every night should help.
  • Work out three or four times a week over my lunch hour.
I don't think these are things I can't handle, but we'll see. I'm hoping that putting it out there for you all (all zero of you?) to see will help keep me honest. I'll be updating every Monday with how I did on my goals.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I have no pictures to share with you. I haven't got a fancypants camera and my regular old point and shoot is floating somewhere either in the bottom of my bag or in my car. Or maybe a kid ran off with it. I'm not sure. But, someday when I get around to properly cleaning my house, I will take pictures of it and you can see what I am (and am not) working with.
I want to make a lot of changes. We built our house in 2008/09 and we built a house I did not love from the start. We bought our lot. We bought beautiful, one story, big covered front porch, ideal layout plans. And then we had the land surveyed and were told our beautiful house was not going to happen on that particular lot. We are at the end of a cul-de-sac and our lot is very narrow at the front and we would not be able to comply with the easement requirements. So, back to the drawing board on houses. I found a two story (Cheaper to build! Separate living and social areas! hooray!) that we liked well enough, but it was not my dream home. My resentment grew. We built it anyway. So, now I am unhappy in it and want to change it. All the time.
Here is a quick rundown of what I want to do:
Jump on the board and batten bandwagon in my dining room. Also maybe add some interest to the ceiling with some beamy treatment. And paint it. I hate the green color in there.
Crown. Everywhere. It wasn't in the budget when we built but I need it in my life.
Paint the entire downstairs, really. We have a pretty open concept and so almost everything is one color. Butter Cookie by Behr. Loved it when we put it in and still like it, but I'm craving a calm blue.
Deal with Eva's giant closet. seriously, that space could be an apartment in New York City and I haven't even painted it. It's shameful.
Finish our bedroom.
Finish the basement. I'm hoping to sand and paint the stair case as I've seen so many homebloggers do. It's beautiful.
For the rest of this year, I'm mostly focusing on the basement as my husbands parents are coming to stay for a few weeks at Christmas and I don't have anywhere to put them if I don't finish that!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Getting started

I keep trying my hand at this blogging thing, only to fall off of the wagon, hard, on my ass and then delete the whole mess two months after I quit bothering to post. So, for my first entry here, I'm not going to set up you up with any expectations. I'll post when I can. I'll try to make that three times a week, but if I'm being real, we'll be lucky to hit once a week at first.
Here's a little background on me.
I'm married to Eric. We have two daughters, Eva and Audrey.
We built our house about three years ago and I already hate everything about it. Building was stressful and I was pregnant with Eva and had not yet discovered the world of design blogs, so now I'm working to change things and make them more along the lines of what I want. If Eric will let me.
I work full time and have a stupid long commute.
I'm about sixty pounds overweight and sort of working on that, but not as well as I should be. Hopefully I can get on it and stay on it this time. Kind of like this blogging thing.