Every month I pick up this free little publication at the library called Book Page.  It has interviews with authors and reviews and summaries of lots of books for the month.  I always find a handful to add to my reading list.  In January, the magazine had a special section on books related to New Year's resolutions.  I don't typically make a resolution.  I tend to make resolutions throughout the year rather than on January first.  Like the time in college that I resolved to no longer hit snooze on my alarm clock.  Yes, at age twenty-one.  Yes, when my average bedtime was like 2:00am.  And I DID it for like a whole semester! 

The six books recommended in the "building a better you" section were:
-Younger Next Year: The Exercise Program (if you resolved to be more active)
-Thinner in 30: Small Changes That Add Up to Big Weight Loss in Just 30 Days (if you resolved to lose weight)
-The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn't Have to Be Complicated (if you resolved to manage your money)
-Simple Giving: Easy Ways to Give Every Day (if you resolved to be more giving)
-52 Small Changes for the Mind (if you resolved to live more mindfully), and
-The Big Bucket List Book: 133 Experiences of a Lifetime (if you resolved to live your dreams).

All six sounded fun to me.  But when I tried to find them in the library system, well, I couldn't.  I came across two variations.  52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You  and Younger Next Year: A Guide to Living Like 50 Until You're 80 and Beyond.  So, considering I don't even want to live like I'm 50 for quite a few more years, I decided to try out the variation of 52 Small Changes by Brett Blumenthal.
I'm clearly  not starting on January 1, and I doubt I'll be able to keep up with this weekly, but I thought I would do the best I could and share my result with you.  And if you feel like following along, that would be awesome!

One thing I found interesting when reading the introduction to this book, was the research on change.  I had always heard, and for some reason believed, that it takes 21 days to make a real change or break a habit.  Apparently a University College London psychologist (Phillippa Lally) conducted a study on this and found that last and permanent change actually takes between 18 and 245 days.  So, on average it takes 66 days or 9 1/2 weeks to make a change. 

As the title says, this book's plan is based on small changes, not extremes.  The changes are divided into four categories: diet and nutrition, fitness and prevention, mental well-being, and green living.  Also, the book doesn't focus on issues with alcohol, smoking, or drugs.   

Before beginning, you can take an online assessment to reflect on where you stand today. Although I feel very happy and pretty healthy, I did this and I'm embarrassed to say that all four categories "could use some attention" according to my assessment results. But I guess if they didn't need some attention, it wouldn't be any fun to try this process. 

So, the first challenge: Drink Up!  Drink an adequate amount of water each day to maintain a healthy level of hydration.

Whew--I'm starting off in the red zone because I fully admit that I do not drink enough water.  I wish I did, but I just don't.  As a matter of fact, I don't drink that much in general.  I usually drink milk with breakfast, tea with lunch, and a soda (yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to stop that somewhere along this process) or tea with dinner.  Sometimes I'll have another glass of milk at night.  But that's it.  That's all I drink all day long.  I just don't drink in between meals for some reason. 

In order to get myself to even attempt this change, I knew I would need a couple of accessories.  I bought a new water bottle and Cliff surprised me with another one.  I also bought some lemon essential oil.  So now, I fill one of my new water bottles every morning, add a drop of lemon, and take it in the car and in the office and leave it on the kitchen table at home.  It has helped so far!  I'm definitely drinking water throughout the day, which is an improvement.  The book suggests drinking the amount of water in ounces that equals your weight in pounds divided by two.  I'm not drinking that much yet, but hopefully I'll get there.  They also suggest drinking eight ounces of water each hour and setting up a reminder system.  A reminder system may work for me, but I also think that making myself drink a certain amount at a certain time will end in me giving up or ignoring the reminder.  So, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and hopefully increasing the number of times I refill my water bottles throughout the day. 

I'd say I was about 40% successful with this change so far.  To be continued with week two.

Oh, and I still think the other 52 Small Changes book sounds awesome, so if you come across it let me know.  And if you're participating in these changes along with me, let me know how you're doing!


photo credit: Jen Buentello / Facebook

Tim Lambert and I have been friends for a really long time.  Like, from the time you're able to start meeting people outside of your tiny-everyone looks the same-enrollment of 200--high school and pick your own friends.  Tim says we "ran in the same circles in high school" and this translates to, we were always both out for a good time.  We were always "uptown" on the weekends and always at the same parties. And we were always laughing.  But, the longer I've known Tim, I realize we didn't need to be in high school, or at parties, or even drinking to be laughing.  Tim is one of the happiest people I know.  He's always smiling.  And you can't talk to him without smiling, too.  (This has not yet been tested on political conversations.  We differ greatly when it comes to politics, but we still respect each other.  And smile and laugh.)
Although Tim was born in St. Charles, he's a local guy--he grew up in Huntsville, Salisbury and Keytesville.  And he has stayed around here, which I think is cool now that I'm back in the area and have an old friend that I get to run into every once in awhile.
Tim is very artistic.  You can tell this immediately upon meeting him solely based on his fashion.  It's completely unique to Tim, and I always love it.  He is really into hats and shoes.  In fact, that's one thing I remember about the first time we met.  He was wearing a navy blue hat with "Cal" in yellow cursive.  No one around here wore anything but Mizzou, so I knew right off that Tim was one of a kind.
At one time Tim actually wanted to be an artist.  He's good at drawing, has played in several bands, skateboards...but, he's also mechanical and has a knack with custom cars, which has landed him as an entrepreneur.  He runs his own business restoring classic cars and 4x4 trucks and then selling them.  This is how he earned the nicknames Toolman Tim and Lambertghini.  (He's actually named after an uncle on his dad's side.) He's a real diy guy.  He bought and fixed up his house, too. 
The Toolman typically has about seven vehicles on hand. He loves getting to drive around different cars and trucks all the time.  He also loves the artistic side of customizing each one.  Not only is he a diy guy, he's also self-taught.  He started working on cars at the age of fifteen and just "jumped in the water head first with no lifeguard."  He laughs about that making for "an expensive learning curve" but says it definitely taught him what not to do. 
His dream car is a 1950 Buick Special, but when he turned sixteen he had to settle for a 1981 Dodge Challenger.  The first car he ever fixed up was a 1960 Bel Air, but the favorite car he's owned is his 1963 Impala.  When I accompany my brother to car shows with his racecar, I always see Tim winning trophies for his completely customized "dead sled."  And I can see that the trophies are totally well-deserved.

photo cred: Chariton County Journal / Facebook
(That's Trevor on the four-wheeler, leading the way for Tim.  Keep reading.)

photo cred: Chariton County Journal / Facebook

So Tim is a fashion icon, a diy tool guy, an entrepreneur, an artist, a self-taught mechanic, and he owns a cherry black Impala with hydraulics--and you don't even know the BEST thing about him yet.  He's a single dad to a teenage son who has been diagnosed with autism.  And he's better at it than I could ever imagine being.  His son Trevor is one of the coolest kids you will ever meet.  Tim loves being a dad and that's proven by the way it just oozes out of him.  As cheesy at is may sound, he just loves getting to spend every day with Trevor and watching him grow and turn into a man. 
Like Tim, Trevor already has his own keen fashion sense and is a great artist.  He is also really skilled at repairing electronics and has an excellent memory.  Trevor is talented in so many ways and never ceases to amaze Tim, or anyone he meets. 
Both Tim and Trevor love Halloween.  This past October, Trevor saved a ton of money to buy gobs and gobs of Halloween props and decorations.  He completely converted their house into a walk-through haunted house, then opened it up to the public for tours.  He and Tim both dressed up.  When I walked through the yard, I was totally impressed.  I've been to haunted houses in Kansas City with professionals and they weren't as cool as what Trevor had put together. 
For Christmas, he filled their yard with inflatable decorations, and even being in my mid-thirties, I had to drive by it every time I was in town. 
Being a parent to a kiddo on the autism spectrum isn't all fun and games though.  It's hard work, but Tim will tell you that all the hard work is worth the reward.  The biggest concern isn't Trevor, it's other people.  Tim says he has a constant worry about Trevor being judged or bullied when he isn't around.  This makes my heart hurt for any kid and parent, but especially for Trevor and Tim.  Because I'm not sure you'll ever meet two guys with bigger hearts.  Tim wants the best life possible for Trevor, and saying he's already accomplished that would be premature I suppose, albeit true.  So, I'll just say, he couldn't be off to a better start.

So, if you're looking to buy a custom car or truck, or have something for sale, remember Tim.  You can reach him at or through his facebook account.

photo credit: Jen Buentello / Facebook

It hasn’t taken me long to learn that babies have it pretty easy.  And if you’re our baby–er, toddler–you’re apparently really living the life.
Our house was completely trashed when we bought it.  Like unlivable trashed.  We gutted and remodeled the entire place.  Like every wall, every floor, every ceiling, the yard, the garage…it has been a HUGE undertaking.  During this remodeling, we decided to turn one of the bedrooms into a bathroom, and make the original bathroom a closet.  This allowed us a really large bathroom and extra closet space.  We immediately installed the sink, toilet, and shower, with plans to eventually put in a tub.  Preferably an antique cast iron tub.  Lucky for us, my mom ran across an awesome antique claw foot tub while antiquing and we were quickly the proud new owners.  Cliff cleaned it, I painted the outside belly of the tub, my father-in-law sandblasted and primed the claw feet so I could paint them, my dad ordered the correct plumbing, and my brother installed it.  (Yeah, we have ALOT of people to be grateful for in our lives!)
I originally wanted the tub because, ladies, there’s nothing better than a nice long soak with some candles and a good book, am I right? In. My. Dreams.  We ended up installing it so our little chili bean would have a place to bathe once he arrived.  I’ve taken one bath in the two years that we’ve had it.  ONE.  The little munchkin has taken approximately five hundred.  Seriously.  Even my husband has used it more than I have.
The babe’s bedtime routine includes a bath after dinner.  He LOVES bath time.  Tonight, he was more tired than usual and so while he was in the water, I continuously filled a pitcher with warm water and poured it over his neck and back.  Sounds of satisfaction were literally spilling out of his mouth.  I could see him relaxing before my eyes.  My husband came in to help and I started combing the baby’s hair while still pouring the warm water.  My husband had brought in a cup of milk and was giving him that while he was having his hair and warm water service.  I really didn’t think it could get much better than that for him.  A full tummy, milk, warm water soak, and a hair treatment.  Apparently, the little peanut realized that he was getting the platinum package and thought it could get even better because he actually stretched out, put his cushiony bath book behind him and laid back with his eyes clothes.  I fully expected him to demand a sea weed wrap and eye mask before we pulled the drain plug.
We may have trouble on our hands.