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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Latest Obsessions



To be totally honest, I have thought about just totally dropping this blog now for awhile.  I mean, come on, I haven't posted in about 4 months. 4 MONTHS!  Is anyone still reading?? (crickets...chirp chirp).

I thought I was done blogging.  I'm busy... working like mad, being mama to 3 kiddos (1 of whom doesn't sleep, hi Helaina!), and not spending enough time with my husband.  So, in lots of ways, blogging just doesn't make sense.  It's another thing to do.

But, I miss it.

And that's reason enough to stay, isn't it?  This reminds me of something my boss says often when we are doing motivational interviewing trainings.  We train clinicians on how to use a motivational interviewing approach to help their clients move toward positive health behavior change (e.g., quitting smoking, losing weight, etc.)  One of the techniques we teach is the 'decisional balance' where you weigh the pros and cons of a given behavior changing or staying the same.  We teach how it's not as simple as figuring out the winning quantity.  It's the VALUE associated with the items that really tips the scales.  So, the example my boss always give is this... you know when you have a friend who you see is in an awful relationship?  Maybe that friend even sees it to?  If they made a pros and cons list of staying with the person, there'd be a ridiculously long "cons" list, BUT, it really only takes ONE item on the "pros" list to tip the scales and make them stay.

"But, I love him/her"

And there you have it.  I guess that's how this blog goes for me.  Rationally and logically, I'm like, I don't have time for that.  I can't give it the time and attention it needs and if I'm blogging, I'm probably ignoring other stuff (shhhh... I don't want to remember there's laundry in the dryer), but, I guess it's just as simple as I love it so hey, I'm back.

And since I'm back, I thought I'd fill you in on some things I've been obsessing over lately.  

1. STITCH FIX

Ok, ok, I'm sorry if you're sick of hearing about Stitch Fix or if you have friends who have done it and have yapped about it, but man oh man oh man oh man is this addicting!!!  It's a clothing subscription service where you pay $20 to get personally styled and they send you 5 items in the mail (clothes/jewelry/accessories) - you only pay for what you keep (and your styling fee gets applied toward it), you get 25% off if you keep it all, and it's free and super duper easy to send it all back if you don't like it.  So, yeah... it's just TOO.MUCH.FUN.  Plus, I don't have time to shop, so shopping from home?!?!  Pretty rock solid.  I have gotten several pieces that I love.  The next time I get a box I'll do a full on reveal post.  I've done 4 boxes so far!

Here a couple pics of my some of my fav pieces:

cross-body bag - I adore it

jacket! love!

super flattering, work appropriate jacket

this shirt has HUMMINGBIRDS on it! I mean, come on?!?!
No pressure, but if you want to check out, please use my referral link :)

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4956702

2. JAMBERRY NAILS

Have you tried these?!?!?  Do it yourself nail adhesive wraps.  No chipping/messy looking nails like wish polish and they come in a bazillion adorable prints/styles.  I'm always jealous of people with their fancy manicures with adorable designs and now I can copy for way less money and again, I can do it at home.  I'm all about things I can do without leaving my house because my kids won't let me ;)



Check out my sis-in-law's fb page if you're curious to learn more https://www.facebook.com/KatieJamNails?fref=ts

3. HONEST COMPANY DIAPERS

There is seriously no incentive for me telling you about these diapers... I just freakin' love them for Helaina's tushy.  As you'll recall, we cloth diapered Audrey and Jameson, but I... just... can't... this time around.  It's too much laundry.  To those of you who cloth diapered 3 kids and beyond, kudos and bravo, but I just knew it would be too much this time around.  Basically, these diapers are gentle and don't contain many of the chemicals found in regular sposies, plus they come in freaking ADORABLE prints, just like cloth diapers, so a win win here!

Read more at https://www.honest.com/baby/honest-diapers

My fav prints are anchors, leopard print, and strawberries. so so so cute!!

OH!  Honest Company also carries the best, leak-proof reusable swim diapers.  I have a super cute watermelon print one for Helaina.  I highly recommend them, too.

4. AVOCADOS

Hey, who said my favs were all products/companies?  I'm just really obsessed with eating avocados lately.  I've gone through like 4 in the past 2 days.

My fav way to enjoy them?  Mashed with lime juice and salt... like a poor man's guacamole.  I did UTZ multigrain gluten free tortilla chips in the mixture and it's like the most nom worthy thing ever.  I've eaten this exact thing for dinner more times than I should probably admit.  It's just... GOOD.

5. SWIMMING

We're living with my father-in-law while we get our house rented out and house hunt (that's another post entirely!) and one luxury we are truly enjoying is the super nice inground pool in the backyard.  The kids have been swimming a minimum of once a day and I've been enjoying the instant entertainment value!  

I'm sure I could add more to the list, but that non-sleeping baby I told you about (Hi Helaina!) is calling my name (well, it's more like waaaah waaaaah, but I know that means me), so I've gotta run.

SO happy to be back.  Seriously. SO happy!  Please leave a comment and let me know you're still here - I'd love to hear from you.  Also, let me know what you'd add to the obsessions list! 

- Amber

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Always Busy Getting Nothing Done




So, I've got 3 kids now... you guys know that, right?  Of course you do.  It's sort of hard to tell from the blog... since there are no pictures in my header or side bar of Miss Helaina.  Oops. #thirdchildproblems.

Helaina has fit in so perfectly with our family.  She's a pretty go with the flow baby, she sleeps through the night (I know, we're spoiled), and she's pretty much the cutest baby everrrrr.


But, here's the thing.

Having 3 kids, one of whom is a baby is just hard and time consuming. really, really time consuming.  I mentioned Helaina sleeps through the night.  Yeah, she's pretty much a rock star in that regard.

But... and I do hate to complain... but here I go... naps?  Notta.  They don't really happen.  Just ask my poor sis-in-law who watches her twice a week.  Helaina's naps are few and far between and when they *do* happen, they last about 30 minutes if we're lucky.  I have taken to calling her Sleepless Beauty during the day.  If I could trade long awesome naps during the day for sleepless nights, I'd NEVER do it, I KNOW we have the better deal in that regard, but here I go again.. my older two napped AND slept, so I've been historically baby spoiled, that's for sure.

In between nursing, changing diapers, general baby entertaining, attempting to get baby to nap, wiping my 3 1/2 year old's butt, and trying to prevent all of my children from turning into zombies due to excessive tv exposure, I am seriously lacking what all moms are lacking..

time

One of the wonderful things about my current employment situation is I am working only 3 days/week.  It's truly awesome because I work MWF and have a day in between working to prepare for the next day.  Sadly, that's often what I feel like those days "off" are... especially because I have found it near impossible to fit my work into my "work time."  On top of that, I have a problem with over commitment... so in addition to my regular day job, I work part-time in the ER and also teach adjunct.  So much for "part time," right?  I have totally done this to myself and I genuinely enjoy that I get to work a few *different* jobs.  To be honest, the ability to perform versatile roles was a big factor in me going for my Ph.D.   I'm glad that I get to be involved in research, teaching, and clinical work.  In a sense, I "have it all."

But having it all comes at a price.

It's Saturday and I'm grading papers in between trying to an involved mama.

I frequently send emails/finish up on work after the kids go to bed...which means I'm going to bed later and later.

I sometimes miss our Friday night movie party because I'm working in the ER.

My house is pretty much always in a state of chaos (I swear I do laundry and dishes all.the.time, but they never seem to go away?!)

If you're a mom and you're working, I'm not sure you can ever really "have it all."  Maybe the problem is that we can convince ourselves that 1) we can or 2) we're supposed to.  Perhaps if I shifted my perspective and accepted that having it all isn't achievable and that this is okay, I'd feel a little more okay about it all.  I'm not quite there yet, my friends.  I still find myself holding onto this idea that I can work multiple jobs, keep a clean house, and be the best most engaging mama around, homemade Valentines and all.  But, really, who is helped by striving for this unrealistic ideal?

Not me, my friends.

I think it's time I let it go and start striving to be...

at peace with the state of my house, because I know I'm doing best

unconcerned about a day my kids spend watching movies, because, hey it's not *every* day

okay with a long night spent working because I enjoy my work and doesn't that make me a better mom?

So that's where I am.  Because I lack time, this blog hasn't gotten neglected, too.

But you know what?  Today I said to myself...

The laundry can wait, the papers can wait, the baby's fine in her swing - I want to write a blog post and I am *allowed* to have those 15 minutes.

And you know what? I did.

Maybe I'm doing better than I thought ;)

- Amber

Monday, January 26, 2015

2015 and all that it brings!


My friends, the longer I wait to post, the easier it is NOT to post, so here I go, taking that leap and getting words on the page.  There's plenty to share... in fact, there's almost too much at this point, so the idea of jumping on and updating seems daunting and overwhelming.  But guess what?!  I got over myself and decided to pop on here today.

Since I last posted....

Christmas came and went

Helaina turned 2 months old... and then 3 months old!

I returned to work from maternity leave

We began the crazy process of getting our house ready to sell

We rolled into a new year!

I joined the gym (again)

I started exercising (again)

That pretty much wraps it up, right?  That's the super duper condensed version of what's been eating all of my/our time.

At some point, I want to start up my new blog page, but that's been on the way back burner, as has been regular updates on this blog, but all in good time, right?

There are a few goals/intentions I have for 2015 and being a little kinder to myself is at the top of that list.  I've got a lot going on and adding to my "musts" and "shoulds" doesn't help anyone, really.

In 2015, I intend to... (notice how I said intend and not RESOLVE)

say YES to my children more often and NO to external commitments more often

get my laundry under control (this will help my quality of life, I promise)

put my health first and focus less on the number on the scale

teach my kids how to swim, especially Audrey (she's almost 7...)

pick up my flute more often (it's good for my brain, heart, and soul)

ride a horse at least twice this year (it's something I used to do every day)

get my kids on horses more often, especially Jameson

savor all of Helaina's babyness...she's the last one after all (I mean it)

make more quality time for Shaun and I, even if it's just at home date nights and actually listening to him when he shares with me about his day, rather than spacing out and thinking about my own stuff

continue to nourish my amazing friendships

take more bubble baths

put less sugar in my coffee (notice I didn't say drink less coffee...) ;)

save more and spend less

give more to those who are in need and teach this to my children as well

Some of my intentions are super specific and some are broad and I like it that way.  Whether you do it at the beginning of the year or throughout (I'd argue the latter is probably more effective), it's nice to sit back and really tune in to what you have in life and what you'd like out of it.  It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day madness and forget how awesome this journey is.

That's all for now.

Just like that, I broke my curse of not posting and I feel really good about it!  Next time, I'll share pictures.  I have a cute kid or two (okay, three!) to show you guys!

- Amber

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dressing my Post Prego Body... and Shedding the Pounds

This post is pretty selfish.  It's for me.  It's cool if others enjoy it/are helped by it, but I'm largely posting this for my own accountability and as my "starting point" for my post prego weight loss.


First, let me say this: I'm totally proud of my body.  It grew a beautiful, healthy baby and birthed that baby into the world (and two others before this one!).  How awesome is that?!?  Also, my body continues to be the sole source of nutrition for one quickly growing 6 1/2 week old baby girl.  So, my body totally rocks and I will not beat it up.

That said, I DO want to ... modify it a bit.  That's natural, right?  I gained 40lbs this last pregnancy (the most of all 3) and I have now lost 21lbs, which leaves me with 19 more to go before I reach my pre pregnancy weight.

I will say this: I think I'm pretty lucky because I'm doing a phenomenal job hiding those extra 19lbs.  It's all about strategic clothing choices and here are my go tos/suggestions for other new mamas:

** high waisted leggings to cover the bottom belly pooch
** long, loose shirts/tunic tops
** high waisted athletic pants (see above)

Honestly, these are my go tos, along with accessories to take away the focus from problem areas.  I'm a big fan of colorful scarves because I generally wear a lot of neutral colors.

Obviously, the best accessory of all though is a tiny baby.


Fun earrings are another fun accessory - I got the ones pictured at Claire's.  Yes, Claire's, the teeny bopper store.  I scoffed at the idea of buying stuff there because that was so 20 years ago for me, but then Audrey wanted to go in and I was like "hey, this stuff is cute" and I ate my words and bought some Claire's jewelry.

Back to what I was saying about modifying my shape/losing those lbs...

I posted a pic on my fb page this morning of my first post prego outfit of the day.  The outfit is pretty ho hum whatever, but highlights my points above about how to dress except that I'm wearing real pants which is actually breaking the rules above.  I was just excited to wear real pants.  I want to note that I DON'T fit into any real buttoning/zipping pants of my own yet, but I was lucky enough to borrow some that do fit so I feel more like a real person.


Ok, here's the picture.

Most important here?  That very forgiving shirt.  That shirt is pretty roomy and is winning for hiding my copious muffin top and back fat.  I'm not trying to insult myself, just being real about my muffin top and back fat, which are very real right now.  I also want to demonstrate how awesome clothing is because people are all "you look fantastic" and "you lost all the weight" and no... I really didn't.  I just know how to dress and hide it!

Let me know show you what this picture would be like without the over shirt (which is Banana Republic by the way):


Notice the back roll and front pooch - I really should have taken a front view for the muffin top effect, but you get the idea.  I still have some work to do before I get to where I want to be (which is totally normal - I have a 6 week old!!!).

So, what have I done so far to lose some lbs?  Not a damn thing!  I just ate 2 slices of frozen pizza... 

I mean, I guess I am breastfeeding and chasing after my older 2 kids, but I have yet to do anything active, not even walk.  As for my diet, it's still pretty awful because I'm all, "I'm breastfeeding, I deserve this!"

I do realize I'll probably have to change my tune if I want to shed the last 19lbs and I intend to start slowly.  My goal is to start exercising by the time baby gal is 8 weeks, at least twice a week, for 30 minutes each.  Pretty small start, right?  Well, I want to be successful and I know there is no point in saying I'll exercise 4 times a week or that I'll start tomorrow because those things just ain't gonna happen!

So, that's where I'm at with this post prego weight loss journey and it's a pretty good place to be.  Thanks for letting me get out this selfish post.  While I'm on the topic of being selfish, anyone have any other tips/advice for me for how to dress a post prego body or eating tips to get out of my "I can eat whatever I want" mind set? :)

Stay healthy and happy, friends!  Until next time...

- Amber

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Christmas to boot!


Okay, guys - here's the deal.  Little man (who isn't so little anymore...) is napping and so is baby girl.  Time is limited before wee baby girl wakes up howling wanting mama milk, so I'm going to try to cram in some updates!! 

Ready?? GO!

1.New blog name/layout

I'm working on this... I have a new NAME for the blog and am working on the layout.  It will probably be a few weeks before I'm ready for a reveal.  Don't worry - you can still go to the same www.thebinkertation.com domain and you will be redirected to the new site once it is up and running

2. THANKSGIVING

We hosted for our third year and I think it was our best yet!  We have a great tradition where my bro and sis in law come over the night before and help with preparations.  Okay, mostly my sis in law helps, but I will admit my brother is great as far as cleaning goes on the day of, so I guess he pulls his weight too ;)

Our menu was super yummy and successful and it was a great day all around.

Some photos!


my mom with Helaina <3


Hubby and I actually pose for a picture!


my lovely sous chef/sis in law, Juliet, with Helaina the night before  :)


That's pretty much the only photo I got of the kids on Thanksgiving and Audrey had to do her "fortune teller" pose.

My fav food of the day was the mac and cheese.  SO YUM.  This was the first year I made mac and cheese, but it won't be the last.

I got the recipe from my friend Taylor's blog - check it out! White Cheddar and Gruyere Mac 'N' Cheese

3. Black Friday

Yup, I went out for my annual ritual/tradition of Black Friday shopping -- even a 6 week old baby doesn't stop me ;)  Good thing is, little lady takes a bottle and the Mr. knows I love my shopping, so off I went.  With a nursing babe, I'm used to being up much of the night and operating on less sleep anyway.  I left right after I fed the babe and was out for about 5 hours.  

Are the deals THAT great?  Of course not...
Can you get the same things online? YES

But, it's just, fun... for me!  So, that's why I keep going.

Oh, I DID get some awesome deals though - Audrey got her super heavy winter coat for $34 (normally $80) and I got some very recently released movies for $4 at Target!  Take that!

4. It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

With Thanksgiving come so late this year, I already feel like we have no time before Christmas!  So much to do!

We got our tree the Saturday after Christmas, but I'm still putting finishing touches on it I have to admit.


Audrey putting her first ornament ever on the tree - we got her this one for her first Christmas and I always snap a shot of her putting it up!


 We normally get TWO trees (always real trees!), but this year, we calmed the crazy and went with ONLY one... The kids are used to having their own little tree to decorate however, so I caved and bought an artificial pre-lit tree for their room.  It pained me a little bit because I'm a real tree gal, but the price helped me relax because man are artificial trees inexpensive!!

pictured: pantless Jameson ...always pantless


6. Updates on Helaina/Gratuitous Baby Pictures

So, last but not least, a few updates on baby Helaina!  Poor third kid... always getting the short end of the stick.  I have to remind myself to take photos of her and what not.  My wonderful grammy got Helaina a baby book and I had better start writing in it or it will never happen.

Helaina had her one month check up in November and gained a whopping 2lbs.  She's a little chunker at almost 11lbs as of today at 6 weeks(birth weight was 7lb 7oz).  Oink oink!

*She loves to nurse!
*Beginning to give us REAL smiles (those are the best)
*Sleeps 3-4 hr stretches overnight
*Has her witching hour(s) between 8pm and 11pm every night
*Used to hate swaddling, likes it now... 
*Loves to be soft and cozy in fleece blankets, so the fleece Halo swaddle sacks are our current fav
*Hates the car and often cries in protest (usually gives up after 5 or so min, thank goodness!)

And... more photos than you probably need, but come ON, she's adorbs!








Quite possibly my favorite!!!  Daddy and his girls :)

What what?! Both kiddos are STILL out and I've wrapped up this post.  ::pats self on back::

I know I crammed a lot in here, so if you stuck with me, thanks!  Hope you all had the best Thanksgiving holiday and didn't feel an ounce of guilt about the ridiculous amount of food you consumed (I know I don't!)

Until next time, my friends...

- Amber


Monday, November 17, 2014

Blog Overhaul


Big changes are coming, my friends.

The blog name.

The blog layout.

The blog focus?

I don't know, I haven't figured it all out yet, but I have outgrown the 'Binkertation' title and I now have THREE kids, one of whom is not reflected in the current layout...not to mention the fact that Jameson is a YEAR OLD in my current background photo, so I should probably work on some updating.

It is, as usual, hard to find time for blogging, but I still love it, so here I stay.  Thanks for hanging in with me for this long, if you have.

What an amazing time capsule I'm creating by keeping my thoughts, photos, and life experiences here.  I want to keep it up for as long as it feels right.

I'm all ears if you've got ideas for me on what you'd like to see in this little blog space, so if you have a minute, don't be shy and definitely let me know what aspects of the blog you've enjoyed the most over the weeks, months, years!  

I can't wait to get this blog makeover underway and even more exciting, I can't wait to share it with all of you.

Until then, I'm planning my Thanksgiving menu (mmm, I want to eat stuffing) and taking advantage of lots of snuggly newborn baby cuddles.

Wishing everyone the happiest of Thanksgivings this year.  I know I've got a lot to be thankful for, and it's nice to be reminded of that because there are plenty of times I want to pull my hair out too ;)

- Amber






Thursday, November 6, 2014

The First Few Weeks

So, here we are.. November already!  Miss Helaina is going to be 3 weeks old on Saturday.  This both astounds me and surprises me... How have 3 weeks passed already?!  But also, hasn't she always been here?  It feels that way, as she fits into our family so perfectly.  She is definitely "along for the ride" and going with the flow of whatever the big kiddos are doing.  I don't jump to pick her up every time she squeals, squirms or whines, and usually, she settles back down.  She has been spending a lot of time snuggled up against me in the Moby wrap so she is, literally, "along for the ride."

Here's a little photo recap of what the first few weeks have been like for us...


At less than a week old, Helaina went out for a frozen yogurt trip with her friend Maggie

 We took the big kiddos to a Trunk or Treat event (more opportunities to wear their costumes = more awesome) Jameson = Spiderman and Audrey = haunted voo doo doll
 Helaina & mama at Trunk or Treat
 We've had lots of visitors...

 We celebrated big sissy's half birthday on 10/28

 Helaina met her great grandparents (my grammy and pop!) and bonus points for them, they brought me a turkey sub for lunch (I'm kind of obsessed)


We've tested out adorable headbands

 Trick or treating with the big sibs!
Helaina met her great grandfather (hubby's grandfather) 
 More visits with awesome friends!
 At only a few weeks old, she's gotten super (milk) drunk more than a few times {photo cred to my friend Melissa for this amazing shot!}
 We voted!
 Received many cuddles, hugs, and loves from big sis
...and in an apparent effort to keep up with the big kids, this little lady is already rolling onto her side with ease.  Slow down, girl, slow down!

So, that's a quick snapshot at the first weeks of little Helaina's life.  She has experienced a lot, huh?  It's kind of funny to think that when Audrey was her age, I had probably taken her out like a total of 2 times and this little lady has been all over the place from day 1.  That's life as the baby in a family of 5!

Speaking of being all over the place, little dude is up, and soon we have to get big sis from school, so I'm off!

Until next time...

- Amber