Thursday, June 21, 2012

2012 Goals...Revisited

Way back in January, I posted about my 2012 resolutions.  Since it is now mid-June and I haven't downloaded the newest pictures of the girls from our new camera (upcoming post I promise), I decided to revisit these goals and take stock of where I am.  Below is a breakdown of my 2012 goals and their current progress or lack thereof. 

  • Create and stick with a monthly budget
    • Status: FAIL.  We just need to sit down and do this.  I'm moving this to the top of my TO DO list!
  • Save enough money to have at least one month of my salary in savings
    • Status: IN PROGRESS.  I think this will be a little easier if we actually stick to our budget.
  • Design and complete decoration of at least 3 rooms in the house
    • Status: IN PROGRESS.  We purchased a new sectional for our living room and get the final piece on Monday.  We have an idea for what we want to finish the space, now we just need to make some purchases.  The materials for the master bedroom headboard are laying against the wall in the master bedroom, that has to count for something!  We also started putting together a picture wall for the main floor playroom.  Finally, we have thought of ideas to privatize Matt's man cave so that it could also work as a guest bedroom.  At least we are thinking!
  • Complete a design for the eventual kitchen renovation
    • Status: IN PROGRESS.  It's not totally complete, but the idea has really started to come together.  I purchased Rustoleum's Cabinet Transformation and am currently testing it out on the half bath vanity.  If we like the way it turns out, we will attack the kitchen cabinets.  The plan is to go white on the cabinets and a really fun and bright backsplash.  We aren't in total agreement on the countertops yet, but I think that may have to wait until we actually pick out a backsplash. 
  • Price out and compare refurnishing of hardwood floors versus new floors for entire first floor
    • Status: COMPLETE.  We cannot refinish our hardwood floors.  The original hardwood installed isn't the best quality so it isn't thick enough to refinish.  We have priced out new hardwood floors from Lumber Liquidators and just need to add this in to our budget.  I would love to get this done before Amelia is crawling and after the kitchen cabinets are done...I have a feeling this will be a LONG time.
Arts & Crafts
  • Create and live within a crafting budget
    • Status: FAIL.  Thankfully, the arrival of Amelia has slowed my crafting down considerably.  There are still some projects I would love to do and have done, but at this point I have tried to do most things with materials already on hand.  I have decided that I really want a Silhouette Cameo, but I am not the impulse buyer that Matt is, so I may have to wait until Christmas or some Hallmark holiday like Sweetest Day to make this wish come true.
  • Complete at least 3 blankets
    • Status: IN PROGRESS.  I have already completed 2 blankets and have the materials to complete at least 2 more.  I think this goal is completely feasible!
  • Organize my emails
    • Status: IN PROGRESS.  When I came back from maternity leave I had over 800 unread emails and a little over 12,000 emails in my inbox.  I have been back at work for about 2 1/2 weeks and am at 167 unread emails and 3,848 emails in my inbox.  Progress is being made.  The new goal is to have this completed by Wednesday of next week!
  • Work to maintain a positive attitude at all times
    • Status: IN PROGRESS.  I really thought this would be better when I got back from maternity leave, but I think coming back from maternity leave can be a pretty big downer itself.  Maybe once I get my emails under control and I start to tackle the mess that is my office, I will feel better.  For now, I am trying my best.
  • Go on a date with Matthew (without the kids) at least once a month
    • Status: FAIL.  Seriously, this isn't even in progress.  I can't even remember the last time we left the house without one of the girls and we were NOT on the way to pick them up or drop them off from daycare.  Once Amelia gets better with sleeping, maybe I'll plan a date at home.  Right now, breastfeeding is really rough.  I pump all day for daycare and this is going to sound harsh, but I don't want to waste the pumped milk on a date night.  I'm not sure how long breastfeeding is going to last. 
  • Eat healthier
    • Status: IN PROGRESS.  This is still a struggle and some days are better than others, but I'm trying.  I do pretty well with using up leftovers and decreasing my grocery store bills, but that wasn't the goal:( 
  • Reach and maintain a weight of 145 or less.
    • Status: IN PROGRESS.  This is a MUST over the next couple of months.  I just need to get more active.  I don't necessarily eat that poorly, but getting out there and exercising would make me feel more confident with my body and I think it would improve my mood overall.  
  • Run a 5K
    • Status: IN PROGRESS.  I signed up for my first 5K, the Hot Chocolate Run at the beginning of November.  I signed up with my girlfriends, so I am pretty excited about the whole thing.  Now on to the training!  
  • Love Like Don't Hate Running
    • Status: FAIL.  I am not sure I can say I failed this yet since the year isn't over, but I went running/walking earlier this week and definitely hated the running portion.  Hopefully this will change before the Hot Chocolate Run in November.  If not, at least I can look forward to the chocolate!
How is everyone else doing with their goals/resolutions?  Has anyone actually succeeded with theirs?  Is anyone else feeling like they need to get their butts in gear if this year will result in any successful resolutions/goals?  Oh well, I'll get there.  1 out of 14 completed isn't the worst record ever!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Amelia has Arrived!

Our small, but tight family of three,
with a VERY big 39 week belly...

became an exhausted, but happy family of four!

Amelia Rachel Siuta was born at 7:48am on Tuesday, April 17th.  She weighed 7 lbs 3oz and was 19.5 inches long.  Amelia was over a pound smaller than Morgan at birth and I was completely unprepared for her small size!  Not only was her smaller size a surprise, but she came out with a perfectly round head of little to no hair.  We could actually see Morgan's flowing locks in the ultrasound, so I think we just assumed Amelia would have hair as well.  Just like Morgan, Amelia is completely beautiful, very strong, and already a strong willed little lady!
Above is a picture of Amelia right after her first bath in the hospital.  Everyone there can confirm she has a very healthy set of lungs!
We were very lucky to have both sets of grandparents, 
and one very excited Aunt Jamie at the hospital after Amelia's arrival!
After a day for Mommy to rest and recover, Morgan arrived at the hospital to meet her little sister.  Morgan was thrilled to see the little baby and could not wait to hold Amelia. 

Even now she tries to help out in whatever way she can, whether it is giving Amelia her pacifier (or chi chi in our house), burping Amelia or trying to feed her a bottle. 

Morgan is one very proud BIG SISTER!
And I am one very tired, but very happy Mom!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Morgan's Big Girl Bed

As many of you know, we are slowly but surely preparing for Amelia's arrival on April 17th.  We decided to use the crib and changing table/dresser we used for Morgan, which meant that Morgan needed her own bed.  In order to make the transition a little easier, we changed her crib into a toddler bed and let her try that out for a month or two.  The transition went REALLY well and she seemed to like the freedom the toddler bed allowed. 

Matt and I faced a dilemma: do we purchase Morgan a toddler bed, a twin bed, or a full size bed?  We went back and forth on whether to get Morgan a toddler bed and finally decided on a real size bed.  From there, Matt and I disagreed on whether she should get a twin size bed (my preference) or a full size bed (Matt's preference).  I did not have a full size bed until I was a junior in college, so I didn't think it was necessary.  Plus, a full size bed would take up too much room and I wanted to be able to add some fun furniture.  As you can imagine, I eventually persuaded Matthew the twin size bed was the better option and the hunt for the perfect bed was on! 

We LOVED the day bed with trundle design that IKEA and Pottery Barn Kids has, but the Pottery Barn Kids version was WAY too expensive and the IKEA version didn't seem sturdy enough to withstand our crazy toddler!  We ended up finding a twin size platform bed at Potter Barn Kids.  It's very low to the ground, probably even lower than the toddler bed, but a box spring can be added at a later date to increase the height.  Below are some pictures of Morgan testing out her new bed and mattress.  NOTE: Morgan did help me pick out the bright sheets!

Jumping on the bed was actually the first course of action!

Morgan is a crazy sleeper, so this picture is probably pretty typical of where you might find her anytime during the night.  I have already gone in there twice and she has been on the floor.  As you can see the bed is low to the floor so the small trip down doesn't really hurt her so much as scares her. 

Can't wait to post more pics once we get the room finished up!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Amelia Arrives in 4 Weeks!!!

It has been an amazingly busy couple of weeks.  For those of you who don't know, Matt's Taid (grandfather in Welsh, passed away two weeks ago.  Tommy Jones was a pretty amazing man and will be well-remembered by everyone who knew him.  While it was not completely unexpected, everything seemed to happen so fast and it was kind of hard to catch your breath. 

While I am so grateful Matt and his sister were able to get to Wales on short notice to spend time with their family and attend the funeral services, being without Matt this late in the pregnancy and with temper-tantrum queen Morgan, was quite a challenge.  Matt and I cannot possibly even begin to describe how lucky we are with our families.  While Matt was away, I was able to stay with my parents and my cousin, Adam, watched Morgan during the day while I worked.  Seriously, Adam has the patient of a saint and Morgan LOVED being with him.  Still, even with all of the help, it felt really good to get home and even better to have Matt get home. 

While we were at my parents house, we worked on a couple of new words with Morgan.  My mom has been trying to get Morgan to say anything that even remotely resembles to word "grandma."  While we may have heard "gamm" once or twice, Morgan definitely got "Papa" down pat! 

Now that life is beginning to return to normal, we are in the final countdown for Amelia Rachel's arrival.  The c-section is scheduled for 9am on Tuesday, April 17th.  That is exactly 4 weeks from tomorrow and I could not be more ready to be done with pregnancy! 
Not the most flattering picture, but above is a pic of me with Amelia at 32.5 weeks.  I feel like I am the same size with Amelia at 35 weeks that I was with Morgan at 40 weeks, but honestly I don't have the best memory of my belly size.  One thing I do remember with Morgan is massive amounts of swelling and water retention that occurred in the last month or two of pregnancy.  I am sad to report it is the same with Amelia.  Below is a picture of my elephant feet. 

There are times when I honestly believe my ankles are bigger than my calfs. I try to keep my feet up, but honestly, that just makes me feel like a beached whale!  I am just going to keep reminding myself it's only 4 more weeks!

Speaking of 4 more weeks, we only have 4 more weeks to finish up Amelia's nursery.  With Matt's improptu trip to Wales this past week, we are not quite as far as we had hoped on the painting, trim, and baseboards in Amelia's room.  Matt is hoping to finish up a lot of it this week when he is off on Thursday, but I'm not putting a lot of faith in that date.  My sister said she may try to come down one weekend to help me sort through the baby clothes.  I haven't even brought out the boxes of newborn to 3 month clothing, so we are woefully unprepared!  Here's hoping the next week brings about more productivity!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Giants Win Superbowl XLVI

Our small Siuta family decided to make a trip out East as we haven't been out there since we moved this past June.  We decided the perfect weekend would be the annual Siuta Superbowl Extravaganza!  Not only did this allow two big Giants fans (Matt and his dad) to watch the big game together, but it also gave us the opportunity to see the other Siuta clan (Thad, Andrea, Nicole and Tesia).  I absolutely loved growing up with a big family and lots of cousins, so I get really excited when Morgan gets a chance to play with her cousins, which means this was a great weekend all around!

We headed up to Caroline & Tommy's place on Thursday evening.  I consider myself incredibly lucky as I view both of my sisters (sister & sister-in-law) as my best friends, so I really love any time I can spend with either of them.  After a quiet night talking, a middle of the night tylenol run to Meijer (for my ear infection), and an early wake-up, we were ready for our first flight with Morgan since the Ireland/Wales trip this past summer.  I must admit it is a LOT easier traveling with a very young child as they are more likely to sleep on the plane.  Morgan did eventually fall asleep on the flight out, but it took a lot of encouragement! 

We finally arrived safely and only slightly less mentally stable (Matt is unflappable so this was really only an issue for me).  Our first stop was to Ellen's daycare, Leesburg Open Arms, to brighten her day and to allow Nain to show off the greatest first granddaughter ever (minus me of course)! 

After a pretty uneventful afternoon where Morgan got herself acquanted with all of the toys, we headed to dinner where we met up with Michelle, Thad, Andrea, Nicole and Tesia.  When we got back the girls were able to play together for a little bit before heading up to bed. 

Saturday brought a trip to the Urgent Care Clinic to confirm an ear infection and pink eye for me and pink eye for Morgan (you can see at least one of her eyes is slightly swollen in the pics below).  Once we got back from the clinic, Morgan and Tesia were able to focus on playing!  We presented Tesia with an early birthday present and the girls were so excited to show off their matching shoes!
Morgan also really enjoyed playing with her Nain's gardening hat!

Tesia introduced Morgan to the fine art of dress up and walking in heels!  I'm not sure we are ready to buy her a pair yet, but I know she really enjoyed walking around and showing off her Snow White heels!

After a night of Fireworks Pizza and Dark Tower, we all headed up to bed for a good night's sleep before the big game.  Morgan was prepared to cheer for the Giants as we had bought her Giants gear during the playoffs.  Isn't she the cutest Giants fan ever?
Here is a picture of Morgan with her Grandpa Taid.  Morgan LOVES these wicker chairs.  We have one at our house and when Nain and Grandpa Taid saw how much she loved it, they went out and picked up one for each of the girls so they would have their own special seat while they were visiting!
Below is a picture of three generations of Siutas and Giant fans! 
When the weekend was over and everyone headed off to work or home on Monday, it was bittersweet.  It's always good to be home after a vacation, but it's never fun to leave family.  We are going to try and make this an annual tradition to head out to Nain and Grandpa Taid's for every Superbowl.  Hopefully next year Aunt Caroline and Uncle Tommy can join us!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Birthdays Galore!

This past weekend in addition to celebrating my 28th birthday (whoo hoo!), we also celebrated the 2nd birthday of my cousin's daughter, Emily.  I LOVE birthdays and I really like when Morgan can hang out with her cousins, so this was a great weekend all around. 

Emily's birthday was at Little Gym in Chicago, so below are some pics of our little monkey showing off her grace and style!

Morgan had such a good time and I was really impressed with her strength!  I don't even think I can hold myself on a bar (granted I am carrying around an extra 20 pounds).

The theme of the birthday party was Elmo and they even had the monster himself make an appearance!  It took a couple of minutes for all of the kids to warm up to the super TALL Elmo, but I think they all really enjoyed being able to see him in person.
Plus, my cousin did an AMAZING job with the kid's food.  In addition to ordering pizza, she set each kid's place with Elmo-inspired food.  The head is made of bread, eyes are mozzarella balls with black olives, nose is half a carrot, and the mouth is a chip.  It was really cute, but Morgan really appreciated the oranges.  I think she stole oranges from at least 4 other kid's plates!  This girl LOVES her fruit!

After an awesome evening out to dinner at Frontera Grill with Matt, Caroline, and Tommy (my sister & brother-in-law), we were wiped.  Sunday started with a delicious brunch made by my parents and then a trip to see the Chinese New Year parade in Chinatown.  While it was a fun idea, I am not sure it is a trip or adventure I would try again.  It was a little too cold and the girls were just a little too tired to make for a truly successful trip.  Plus, we had a LOT of problems with the el station.  Oh well, at least we got this great picture of the girls bundled up in their warm weather gear!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The 4 Loves of my Life

I recently came to the conclusion that I currently have 4 loves in my life.  Spots 1 through 3 are taken up by Matthew, Morgan and Amelia.  Spot #4 is reserved for Pinterest.  It's amazing how much things have changed around this house since I discovered this site.  I have always liked to decorate and design, but nothing has ever really given me the inspiration like Pinterest.  In addition to the ideas I find via the pins on Pinterest, I have also found a lot of great blogs to follow that continue to inspire me on a daily and weekly basis. 

Following these blogs have led me to a realization...I would love to have people follow a blog that I create and share their ideas on my projects/creations!  I also realize that the Siuta Family blog may not be the most appropriate place to continue this dream.  It is with this in mind, that I have decided to create a 2nd blog.  I will continue to post updates about Matthew, Morgan, Amelia, and the Siuta Family as a whole on this blog (I have been neglecting this for my Pinterest projects as of late), but will post about my projects on a new blog.   This new blog is called, If You Give a Girl A Pinterest Account.  I have already posted my first tutorial on covering the chair cushions in our kitchen.  Check it out and let me know what you think! 

In honor of the snow that is expected to fall later this week, I will leave you with this picture of Morgan in all her winter glory!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Sewing Requires Patience

Sewing requires patience and if you know me at all, you know that I have pretty much none of that!
Before I get into my sewing saga, let me give a quick update on my non-sewing Pinterest project, the Santa bucket.  Per Matthew, I am not allowed to spray paint and even though the weather is nice today, I don't really want to make Matthew spray paint my bucket outside when it is cold, so this project has been pushed back to the spring or summer when I can complete it myself. 

I actually make a LOT of the recipes that I find on Pinterest, but never mention them on this blog.  Considering I actually enjoy cooking and baking, I find this to be incredibly odd.  In the future, I promise to include more posts about the yummy food we make here at the Siuta house!  Below are links to two of the recipes that I have tagged on Pinterest that we tried in the slow cooker and absolutely loved! 

Easy Crockpot Potato Soup - This is one of the easiest recipes I have ever made and it allowed me to use up some of my Kraft Cream Cheese supply (Thanks Chadwicks!)
Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup - I misread the recipe for this one and forgot to add the broth at the beginning so we ended up adding just one can of broth at the very end, but it still turned out amazing.  Seriously, one of our favorite meals ever!

Ok, on to my sewing disaster experience.  After not buying enough fabric for the pillow cover, I decided to start on the minky blanket.  I cut out all of the pieces and pinned the cotton fabric and minky fabric together.  Obviously, I did not use nearly enough pins because the next step, the actual sewing step, was a DISASTER!  I finished 1 1/2 sides and realized that the minky was practically diagonal across the cotton.  I am too embarassed to even take a picture, so I will just let you know that I stopped.  I will be ripping out the seams that have been sewn (my seam ripper and I are best friends), will probably do a big hand stitch around the blanket and try again.  The hand stitch idea was actually given to me by a friend who sewed her first minky blanket this past weekend.  She is also a beginner sewer and thought this may work better than using pins.  I promise I will take pictures for my  next post. 

After a night off from sewing and a stop at the fabric store to pick up not only more fabric for my original pillow cover but also a different fabric so I could make a 2nd pillow cover, I started on this "super easy" project.  I was able to cut out all of the material pretty easily, got everything pinned and sewed everything up in about an hour.  That's pretty good for my first time with everything.  Of course after I completed all of my seams, I found out that instead of pinning the right sides together so the wrong sides were facing out, I actually pinned the right side to the wrong side so when I turn the pillow cover inside out it looks funky and not in a good way!
After another hour of ripping out the seams on each of the four sides, then pinning it correctly, and sewing it all up again, the "super easy" pillow cover actually came out pretty well!  The picture below shows the finished pillow on the chair in our family room.  I actually planned to put this in my office, but after I got home I reazlied the twigs in the design are brown and the accents in my office are black.  Not really sure what I'm going to do with the pillow now.  Oh well!
Since I felt like I got the hang of the pillow cover and I wanted to get one more successful project under my belt before going back to the minky blanket, I decided to make another pillow cover.  From start to finish, it only took me 30 minutes (I double checked the right sides were together when pinning).  The finished pillow looks really great in my office, but now I'm thinking I need to get a throw or another pillow with more color.

Geesh!  This picture does not look good, but to be fair my office doesn't look that good either.  I really need to work on this before my parents come down next weekend.  I would really like if I could get all of the pictures hung and all of my craft supplies put away!  I would LOVE if I could get it all done before our siblings and their significant others come down for a night on the town Saturday, but since that is only a day away and I still need to clean one bathroom and make 2 beds, I don't see it happening.  Here's hoping next week is more productive!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Resolutions

I had originally planned to complete and post this blog entry prior to the start of 2012, but things got a little crazy.  Plus, I have a lot of resolutions/goals for the new year, so it took some time to put them all together and get them down on this post.  After thinking about this, I really think this is more a list of goals for 2012 as opposed to resolutions, but I do believe they will result in positive behavior changes which is ultimately the goal of most New Year Resolutions.  I have broken down the list into categories, so that I could more easily identify the areas that needed improvement.  Enjoy my lengthy and somewhat detailed Goals/Resolutions for 2012!

  • Create and stick with a monthly budget
    • We have created a budget, but we need to work on actually sticking to it and maybe we can work on tightening it up a little bit more so that we can save more
  • Save enough money to have at least one month of my salary in savings
    • Eventually I would like to increase this goal to 2 months of both of our salary combined, but I want to start small and get big
  • Design and complete decoration of at least 3 rooms in the house
    • Cannot include the home office but can include the basement playroom
  • Complete a design for the eventual kitchen renovation
  • Price out and compare refurnishing of hardwood floors versus new floors for entire first floor
    • The floors desperately need to be redone, but I would prefer to put wood floors throughout the entire first floor which is why I am including the comparison in there.
Arts & Crafts
  • Create and live within a crafting budget
    • I realize this is part of the Finances, but I think it is important to be realistic with how much I like to craft and how much I should/can be spending on this hobby
  • Complete at least 3 blankets
    • I already have 3 in mind, so I think this is a feasible goal for the entire year of 2012
  • Organize my emails
    • I experienced some extreme technical issues with my email in June of this past year that resulted in the loss of all of my personal folders and email archives at work.  It has been really hard to come back from this and start a new organization system.  I am the type of person who prefers to keep only open issues in my email inbox, but I currently have over 9,000 emails that need to be filed.  I would really like to make this a goal before the end of January!
  • Work to maintain a positive attitude at all times
    • While every job has its ups and downs, I have always prided myself on being an incredibly positive person.  I have found myself becoming more and more negative over the past couple of months and to be honest, it makes me like myself less.  I need to work on maintaining a positive attitude, even when I don't like the way things are going. 
  • Go on a date with Matthew (without the kids) at least once a month
    • It's hard to imagine, but I am more in love with my husband today than the day we got married.  He is an amazing father and I am lucky to have him as my partner.  We took our first trip together since our honeymoon this past December and it was perfect.  I really enjoy spending time with Matt and I really believe that getting to spend time alone together, even if it is just a lunch date, is important to keeping us sane!  Thanks to my parents, I also strongly believe the best gift we can give to our children is to show them and teach them how to be in a happy and healthy relationship. 
  • Eat healthier
    • This is really a goal for the entire family.  We need to be better about eating vegetables.  We do a pretty good job with protein and fruits, but vegetables is a weak spot for us.
  • Reach and maintain a weight of 145 or less.
    • I considered not including an actual weight in this post, but I want to be honest with myself and anyone who cares to read this blog.  Weight has always been a struggle for me.  I love food and I really do not like working out, which together leads to a larger and more unhappy me.  I don't need to be thin, I just want to be healthy and happy with my body and my weight. 
  • Run a 5K
    • This has been a personal goal of mine for awhile and I have decided that 2012 is the year that this will be accomplished.  I WILL sign up for a 5K to be completed in the fall.  If you know of a good one and/or want to join me, please let me know!
  • Love Like Don't Hate Running
    • I feel like running is the most efficient way to stay in shape and feel good about my body.  I have never really enjoyed this sport, but I am determined to keep at it (or attempt it) and appreciate it at least for what it can do for me and my health!
I am sure there are plenty of goals/resolutions I am forgetting, but this is a pretty good start.  I know the list may seem long and even unattainable to some, but I am bound and determined to make 2012 a great year.  2010 was an amazing year with the birth of Morgan and 2011 was ok with my hormones on a crazy roller coaster, but 2012 will be a great year for me and my growing family!