Friday, October 12, 2018

Planner Review #2: Get to Work Book

Hello and welcome back to Planner Review Series -- it's week #2!

Today, I will spotlight the Get to Work Book!  This was one of the very first planners I received after sending out a request for samples, so special thanks to Elisa Blaha Cripe, the creator of the planner (and I presume running the company, too!).  I believe I first heard of the GTWB on the Girls Next Door Podcast (PS: this a very fun, light conversational podcast that I love listening to!) -- Kelsey, one of the hosts, swears by this planner and has used it for several years running.  


I can see why one would get attached to this planner.  It is practical, versatile, chock-full of useful things, and well-designed.   I was sent the 2018 version for review, since 2019 wasn't out when I sent my email!

So let's dive in, shall we?

Cover/Aesthetics:  This book is spiral bound and feels durable.  It is 7" x 9", a popular size in the planning world, and quite thick for a non-daily planner.  The cover is a thick heavy chipboard - it's not going to bend in your bag.  It has 12 sturdy laminated tabs, one for each month.

The look of this planner is -- like our last contender -- not very feminine, which may be a plus or minus depending on your preferences!  It definitely has a professional vibe and would fit in well on a work desk.

There is no color -- it's all black and white, which might sound less enticing but it allows you to use your own color with plenty of effect.  I love the use of grayscale -- the pages (as you'll see below) just have a pleasing look to them.  You will WANT to write in this planner!

Planning/goal-setting pages:  This planner has a moderate amount of 'extra' planning pages.  It is not as structured as the Full Focus, but it isn't strictly a datebook, either.  

The planner opens with a shaded box for each month (to write in highlights of what is coming up), and a reflection page on the previous year's goals.  Then, each month has its own quote (if it were my preference, these would be blank, but I know some people love their quotes!) and space to write out your focus.


But that's not all!  At the end of every month, there are other helpful extras, including (1) a blank page (with fine grid markings - love), (2) a reflection/goal-setting worksheet, and (3) a project planning page with action items/different sized boxes.  I love this, and could imagine it being a great monthly review-type ritual.


grid paper 


goal setting goes so well with tea


versatile action-item layout!

Weekly/monthly pages:  I am very very picky about weekly layouts in particular.  For me, this is where the action happens in a planner - and if I don't like the weekly layout, I probably won't get good use out of the product.

Thankfully, the GTWB's weekly pages are quite pleasing and functional.  SO pleasing and functional that I was moved to create my first fake planner page (ie "mockup" in the plannerphile world).  Here are some ideas on how I might functionally use the weekly pages:


 image will appear sharper if you click


 close up

The monthly pages are equally functional, with plenty of space.  The start is on Sunday.  


One thing I could use more of in this planner is lines!  I tend to be really obsessive about keeping my lettering straight and I struggle without lines or a light grid :)  So I think if I had any suggestions for future iterations of this planner, it would be "more lines, please!".  But I recognize that is personal preference.

Paper:  The GTWB paper is not thick, but it is smooth and takes my pens nicely - no real feathering. There is slight ghosting (very slight) of my Pilot Hi-Tec C Maica 0.4.  The Staedtler fineliners look great on its pages.  There is no tendency to smudge (WHEW).

Overall impression:  This planner is for someone who:

- doesn't mind an overall larger planner
- wants goal-setting AND calendar-type pages in the same book
- cares deeply about a functional weekly layout (don't we all!?!)
- wants a professional looking design

It runs for $55, which seems about right for the sturdiness/degree of features, and is available for purchase now in the 2019 model.

What do you think?  Any die-hard GTWB users out there?

Future notes:  I have at least 8 other planners lined up for weekly reviews, and yes - I am saturated with planners over here!  There will be some giveaways.  Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

G (and me) at 10 months

First, some announcements:

1) Wordpress conversion / blog makeover is underway!  I am excited to have finally invested in this project.  I don't know exactly how long it will take, but I suspect that by December at the latest this site will look much prettier and have 2018 features instead of . . . 2010.  Hooray!

2) I have . . . planner overload.  I never thought I'd be in a position to say this, but I am quite outnumbered by my 2019 planners, most of them sent to review.  Therefore, I will be spreading some of the planner love around with giveaways here + on instagram (insta / planning insta / BoBw).

Stay tuned for planner review #2 (of about 10 total, woah) on Friday!

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Oh Genevieve.

One might think that as the 3rd kid, you would get less attention.  After all, the other two take up a lot of time and energy, right?  Surely you are content to just do your own thing, and have learned that 3rd babies are supposed to sleep really well because OF COURSE it just becomes easy to 'train' your kids by the 3rd time around?


HAHAHA.

Nope.  That said, my GOD this girl is a joy and a total hoot.  Somehow, she seems to have her own spunky personality already.  I will say that both her looks and attitude channel Annabel at times, which is really amazing to see.  I guess genetics run deep . . .

Being #3.  G is #3, but since there are almost 4 years between C & G, there's a bit of an 'only' aspect of her, too (just with more seasoned parents).  I don't have any toddlers running around competing for attention; A&C are more independent than that most of the time.  

Yesterday, C broke a glass bowl on the stairs (OH CAMERON) and Annabel 'babysat' G in her room while I cleaned it up.  Glass-breaking aside, I was so thankful to have someone home that could actually help, even though she's in 1st grade.

In many ways, I am the same mother I was with the other two.  But I will say I sweat the details less. What she eats.  How she naps.  Even what she wears - although may fave thing to do is to put her in A's old mini Boden hand me down dresses.  It's like deja vu.


rare helmet-free pic

Sleep.  She is my first baby NOT to sleep through the night after 7 months or so.  She is also my first baby not to be on at least a little bit of formula supplementation by that time.  I do think the two are linked.  


on my lap

She goes to bed at 7 and is up 1-2x/night still.  She had a promising period in September when her first wakeup was happening as late as 5am, but has since gone back to true middle-of-the-night waking to eat.  She nurses calmly and I place her back in bed with zero soothing or fanfare, and she is always quiet afterwards.  The whole shebang takes max 15 min.  It honestly doesn't bother me much unless we've been out late (esp if I dared to drink more than one glass of wine) or when it's SUPER early in my sleep cycle (like 10:30 pm).

Last night she oddly ate at 9 pm + 3:30 am.  Her usual wakeup is around 6:30.

She generally naps for one 'real' nap and one quick car nap or on my lap (when I'm home).  Her 'real' nap is often 10-12 or (yesterday) 11-1.  If she naps past 3-4 pm, bedtime is impossible, so I don't usually try.  

I recognize that sleep training is an option, but I haven't wanted to mess with the equilibrium that is nursing supply/demand.  So, here we are.  

Eating.  On that note - aren't you proud of me that I've gone at least 10 posts without mentioning pumping?  (That could be wrong, but I feel like I have not dwelled on it as much).  It has continued, and I am still a crappy pumper, but somehow I still have milk in the freezer (though not a ton, and I am fine with some formula if needed when this runs out before she's ready for cow's milk).  I am less than 2 months away from my Dec 1 goal and VERY excited about stopping.  

When I'm home, she typically nurses ~6:30, 9:30, 12-1, 3, sometimes 5, 7, then 1-2x overnight.

When I work, she nurses ~6:30, often top-off at 7:30, 7 pm, then 1-2x/night with 2 bottles during the day (9-10 oz total in bottles).  

She drinks water in her Zoli cup and LOTS of different foods (everything from sweet potatoes and salmon to pizza!).  She seems to be thriving!



Development:  She is on track with the others, or perhaps a tiny bit ahead on her motor milestones compared w/ A/C.  They are all similar, though.  Both A&C walked right at 12 months, and I think G will be there too (maybe a little earlier, but we'll see).   She's cruising everywhere and will let go for  a second or two before falling on her (nicely padded) butt.  I do think her helmet has made her a little bit extra bold (it's protection!) and I fear what will happen when it's off!!

She waves bye bye, blows kisses, and says the following words:

this
that
nana (banana)
bye bye
dada (maybe)
mama (sort of, really just repeats it)

I can't wait to hear more of her words!!  

Helmet:  We are more than halfway through the helmet journey and it appears her head is rounding out at least somewhat.  She went from 11 mm of asymmetry to 8.6 mm at last check (goal is less than 6 mm).  We'll never know if it would have happened by itself, but she asymmetrical enough we didn't want to take the gamble.

She actually doesn't mind it one bit and we are very used to it.


Siblings: Annabel has been quite good with G from the early phases.  Cameron appears to be coming around.  He still tends to push the limits of what is appropriate horseplay, but he seems less resentful about it and more just . . . experimental.  

It didn't occur to me until several months in, but I realize that he was much more aware of losing his BABY status, and was hurt that G took that away from him.  As he's getting more mature and delighting in being lumped with the 'big kids' (ie with Annabel) now, things are getting better.  

I still can't really leave C&G in a room together, but A can actually watch her for a few minutes (ie, while I shower or talk on the phone) which can be really really helpful!  I have even compensated her with a dollar on occasion . . .

ME:  Well, all things considered, I'm doing pretty well.  I definitely have days of despair where I feel like all I do/will ever do is pick up kid messes and play bodyguard to G.  I don't really love weekends alone at home with all 3.  But on evenings when bedtime goes well, I do kind of feel like (sort of) supermom, and it's a nice feeling.

I am much less bothered by the night wakings than the pumping.  I CANNOT WAIT to be done with the pumping, and the feeling that my milk must be constantly available.  I am yearning to do something indulgent like just go get a massage during the day with no thought to timing, or to (gasp!) take a couples weekend with Josh.  I do enjoy nursing still so I am not going to try to fully wean (ie, I'll feed her AM / PM) right away, but I will say I'm starting to look forward to moving on to the next phase.

I will say I'm somewhat less judgmental about my pump 'outcomes'.  If I don't make as much on a given day, I'm like, "well, I tried" rather than "I AM A HORRIBLE FAILURE OF A PERSON".  Last night, G woke up at 9 so I couldn't pump and rather than despair I was rather happy that I didn't feel obligated to hook myself up to the blasted machine yet another time.  

I recognize I could just stop but with 7.5 weeks to go until 12/1 I'll probably just stay with my routine until then.  Perhaps I'll go to 2 pumps during the work day in November (rather than 3).  We will see . . . if you pumped, did you ramp down gradually, or just stop?  

Physically, I am working out with varying consistency (3-6x/week!), doing a combo of Beachbody 21-day fix workouts + running.  I still am not very fast, but I don't think I've been doing enough mileage to get fast -- 10 mi/week max isn't going to cut it!  I am looking forward to ramping this up in a couple of months, and am considering a March half marathon.  I am still ~3 lb above my personal 'most comfortable' weight, but in a decently acceptable place.  I have no delusions that this is going to change until I'm done with nursing.

I will say I am in need of a wardrobe overhaul.  I have been wearing the same @(*&@# for months now, and I hate it all.  On the upside, this has led to an unprecedented surplus in my 'allowance' savings!  Yay!  However, I don't really want to go shopping until I've weaned because, as above, I still feel like my body is in a weird in between place (and let's face it, my chest WILL deflate even if nothing else changes).  That said, I think I have to do something because it's getting ridiculous - I literally wear the same 2 shirts every weekend and have nothing particularly nice to wear out.  MVP of postpartum wardrobe has been these jeans - I still wear them all the time!

I am also really yearning to ramp up work a little bit more.  The pump has been such a distraction and I have all of these ideas (both clinical + residency/teaching related!) but not enough time to execute.  I've chosen to just survive for most of 2018, and I'm comfortable with that decision but ready to move on.  I suspect that 2019 is going to be a productive and exciting work year, and I am looking forward to it!

So - there you have it!  I'm happy to answer questions related to G / post-partum adjustment/etc.  I thought about doing a 'where we are' post with C & A too, who are 4.5 (almost 4.75) and 6.5 respectively.  

Whew!  That was a lot.  Back Friday with a planner review.  

PS: Yes, I've been following politics and have plenty to say about everything if you run into me IRL, but I prefer to write about happier things like planners and babies.  HOWEVER - PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU ARE REGISTERED TO VOTE!! 

PPS: Thinking of panhandle/northern Floridians as Hurricane Michael approaches - sending safe and hopeful vibes that this storm isn't too bad and blows over quickly!


Monday, October 08, 2018

weekend report / hot Monday

I'm off today, and was really looking forward to it until about 11 pm when Josh informed me that our A/C is broken.  Gahhh!  I am currently sweating while drinking coffee and wondering when the earliest possible HVAC service appointment is.

I just checked the weather and found out that on the upside, our high is only 86 today (it's 81 now; there are really no "lows" ever here).  On the down, I guess I was too distracted by political news to notice this mess:


Well.  I am glad it is not predicted to head here directly, but I feel so bad for those in the cone yet again.  2 more months of hurricane season to go - hoping that this one fizzles out quickly.

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I think I mentioned that this was a Josh/CALL weekend.  I tried my best to put plans in place, and there were some good times.  Overall, though -- it felt a little lonely and chaotic in parts, I have to admit.  G is at such a sweet, lovable, adorable age -- she delights in everything (our friend over dinner described it as a permanent acid trip!).  But it's such a hands on age.  Literally, while she's awake, it's all about her.  It has to be, for safety's sake!  Even with a helmet (ha).  

On Saturday, she did take a nap.  On Sunday, she tried to - and then A&C decided to have an incredibly loud screaming/hitting match and woke her up 5 minutes into her sleep cycle.  Nap = decimated.  My plans to work out = also decimated.  Obviously this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it put me in a low mood for much of the day.  

I will say I made the most of scheduling some play dates/etc to break up the time!  In case anyone is curious what a mostly-solo parenting weekend w/ 3 looks like, here's a quick breakdown (thank you, little time tracking journal!):

SATURDAY
7:45 - ran outside while Josh was still home
9:00 - park with both kids.  It felt GLORIOUS at a breezy 83 degrees and lower humidity than usual!
10:30 - G nap x 2 hrs; made lunch for kids, A&C played during this time pretty well
12:20 - G up; Josh was able to swing by and take A to piano for 30 min
1:15 - A's friend came over, bringing our kid/parent ratio to 4:1.  However, A/her friend/C played together fairly well so this wasn't as bad as it sounds.
4:00 - A's friend goes home; I took all 3 in pool which is somehow getting colder 
6:00 - babysitter arrives HALLELUJAH . . . I shower luxuriously and get ready to go out
7:00 - put G to bed
7:15 - Josh and I head out to dinner w/ friends at Ferraro's Kitchen - recommend.
(G up 2:30 am)
11:15 - sleep

SUNDAY
6:30 - G up.  (I was not happy about this!); hang with kids
9:30 - the aforementioned G nap fail
10:30 - drive to WF with all 3; get essentials for home + brunch + bring to friend's house
11:30 - play date with our good friends with girls A&C's ages
3:30 - home; told kids if they helped clean up they could watch TV
4:30 - it worked; they watched several episodes of Berenstein Bears, I gave G dinner, bath, and cleaned up as much as she would allow
6:15 - Josh home; dinner with big kids
7:00 - G to bed; clean kitchen while listening to new addictive podcast, Escaping NXIVM (it's about an MLM/cult and told in investigative journalism style - definitely some disturbing parts, but fascinating nonetheless)
8:00 - read with big kids & put them to bed (read them 2 chapters Dory Fantasmagory - you guys I LOVE these books, her drawing are adorable and her sense of humor is right on!)
8:30 - watch This Is Us
10:00 - sleep
11:45, 4:20 - G up.  Maybe because our house is 83 degrees and rising . . . aghghghgh

SO, there you go.  I survived.  The house is a not pristinely clean but not a disaster.  I did no laundry. I was mildly miserable on Sunday mostly because I really wanted to get my workout in and had no time to do that.  Josh had a lot going on at work clinically (ER call Sunday especially); perhaps I should have arranged a short stint of childcare to get a run in, but I thought G would nap . . .

Oh well.  It's a new day.  New week.  And maybe our A/C will get fixed promptly!  One can dream . . .
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WORKOUTS last week:

M - run 3 mi, 9:46/mi around our neighborhood

T - Upper Fix (30 min)

W - run 3.1 mi around our neighborhood, 10:14/mi (I think I stopped in there somewhere to talk w/ Josh's dad)

R - Lower Fix (30 min)

F - rest

S - run 3.6 mi, 10:28/mi (not sure why slower but I did walk a short segment)

S - unplanned rest (#napfail)


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Coming this week: Kid updates (G 10 months / C 4.5 / A 6.5) + Installment #2 of Planner Review Series!

Assorted Weekend Pix:


G dinner


I have high hopes for a good holiday card photo this year in these outfits!


Pants with a unicorn on the butt = love


all 3


the nap that didn't fail


I was proud of this snack-plate lunch for everyone on Saturday!


G exploring music


at our friend's house - I had to capture C being this nice to G (maybe he's turning a corner . . . 10 months in)