Satisfied In. . .

So you know how sometimes all you want to do dwell on things you aren’t good at?

Then you start looking at Pinterest and get even more bummed out at all the amazing things other way more creative people are coming up with. Then silently mope around thinking to yourself that there is a ton of stuff you need to get done and how you need to make sure and do it perfectly and you know it isn’t going to be perfect, but you really really want it to be. After that, you get even more down about it because now it is more fun to be mopey and sad than to actually think about what you are actually good at and can tangibly do. Yeah . . .

Dangit Pinterest with everything perfect and beautiful

Dangit Pinterest with everything perfect and beautiful

It is so hard to be satisfied with what your abilities and gifts are and not wish that they were something else. If you’re basing your happiness and contentedness in your abilities, then man, you’re in for a letdown when those things don’t go your way or your abilities fade. If you’re waiting for more money, a better job, a cuter kitchen, a better designed gallery wall to be satisfied, do you really think that obtaining it will actually satisfy? From my experience, the answer is a resounding no. You’ll find something else that you want and won’t be content until you have it. Repeat cycle.

I have to remind myself that I’m only going to be satisfied in Christ and the things around me or my abilities aren’t going to satiate my wants and needs. So why do I get so down about things that I can’t do well? Well, I know that it is me looking at myself and relying on myself to be awesome. And my default position in life isn’t awesome. It is more along the lines of “I’m super lazy and want to magically be the best at everything without trying.” Therefore, I’m always going to let myself down at some point. I’m so glad that my worth is not in what I can do or say or make, but my worth and life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:3).

Thanks for bearing with me through some thoughts. I really needed to write it all down and it turned out to be a pretty uplifting exercise. It is so easy to get wrapped up and then bogged down with your thoughts.

So I’m going to end on a couple of things I can do well. I’d encourage you to write down some things you can do well, too. Then go ahead rejoice in that when one day you can’t do them as well as you did at one point in your life, that your worth and importance has not changed.

I can . . .

Make Ellie Boo laugh

Crochet and knit

Turn a pile of data into handy charts, graphs, and tables so people can actually use the data

Write in SQL and do other computer-y things


Cook a tasty din din for my hungry family

Running a 5K . . . With Brett!

So, it has come to this.

There is actually a funny xkcd about that.

Anyhoo, it is the summer. The Illinois Marathon racing extravaganza has come and gone. The delicious, good ol Countryside 10K has also bid us adieu. And so that leaves me with no running goals. Right? Wrong! Turns out that the day of Miss Boo’s Columbia birthday party, is the same day that the Life Network of Southern Illinois is having their annual 5K run/1.8 mile walk and Brett and I are going to run it! If you live around the St Louis Metro East area (or don’t. . . we don’t), I highly recommend you sign up and run it! Plus, they have dri-fit shirts this year; yet another reason. I’m so excited that we can make it down to run this year!

Life Network 5K Run ^ Support moms and babies!

We’re big fans of all babies in the Geist household. We do what we can to support pregnancy centers, foster families, adoption, and babies, moms, and dads in general. I can attest that Life Network is awesome, and if you want an ultrasound to see your six week old baby, you can get one for free. Brett and I went over Christmas 2013 and that is where we saw Miss Ellie Boo for the first time. We could see her little heart beating on the screen and her tiny little body that kept on growing! If you’ve been around Brett’s side of the family especially, you know that there is a genuine desire to help babies and families through all stages of life and development. (Check out Shannon’s blog for their adoption journeys and life!)

Boo at 6 weeks ^ brettandrachelplus

It is amazing that this is Ellie Faye. She was so tiny.

My goal for the race is to run with a 11:00 pace or finish in under 35 minutes. I think Brett’s goal is to finish. I have no doubt he’ll be able to accomplish that. 🙂 We’ve been using Runkeeper to track our runs and are doing the same training plan. So far I’ve really liked using their training plans because it tells you when to warm up, run fast, run slow, etc. I’m looking forward to seeing how well we do!

obligatory baby photo

So does anyone else have some running goals for the fall? Any marathons? (Netflix ones are okay, too! Let me know what you’re watching!)

Mason Jar Cozy ^ A Crochet Craft

A few weeks ago, I got a request to make a mason jar cozy for our good ol’ friends the Kappers. Well, just Aaron. He has been eyeing Briana’s cozy and I offered to make one for him. You should check out the design work they do because it is awesome! Briana’s work and Their Instagram.

It’s super simple to make and doesn’t really require any fancy knowledge of crochet. What you do is pick a fun yarn (or two). I really like using Lily’s Sugar and Cream yarns because they are 100% cotton and just feel so much better than acrylic yarn. I think I used an I or J hook? I don’t remember, but usually if you look on the side of the yarn and they give you the guage, just use that sized hook.

I’m going to give you the gist of what I did. My tutorial skills aren’t that awesome, but if you know a bit about crochet, you’ll be able to figure it out. For the colors, I used bright navy and hot green.

What I did was start off using that magic circle you’ve heard so much about. Then start crocheting in the round to make a circle motif until it is as big as the bottom of the mason jar. Stop making the increases for the circle and just go to town making the tube. Change out your color whenever you want, then back if you want. Make it as tall as you’d like, weave the end in, and you’re good to go. For the taller mason jars, go 6 inches.

mason jar cozy ^ brettandrachelplus

Turned out pretty cute, didn’t it? I was able to finish it in an evening and it used up less than a ball of the sugar and cream yarn, so it’s also a pretty cheap craft, too. 

mason jar cozy ^ brettandrachelplus

Rachel Reviews ^ Safety 1st Cabinet Lock

We have a little network saboteur on our hands at the Geist household. Lil’ Bit is the queen of sneaking into the tv cabinet’s doors and messing with the router or modem. For a quick fix, I tied them shut with some yarn, but Brett and I both decided to go ahead and get some actual cabinet locks. Without further ado, my review of the Safety 1st cabinet lock.

Rachel Reviews ^ Safety 1st Cabinet lock ^ brettandrachelplus

This lock was $3.99 at Babies R Us. We were out buying baby shower gifts for some friends having a baby and decided to pick up a lock while we were at the store. This one lock looked okay. It was cheap and it looked less bulky than other locks you normally see.

The pros: It locks your cabinet up tighter than Azkaban.

The cons: It locks your cabinet up tighter than Azkaban.

(If those Dementors would’ve had these safety locks on their cells, Sirius Black wouldn’t have escaped. Just sayin’.)

Good night! If you never have to open the cabinet again, then this is the safety lock for you. However, if you need to access what is in the cabinet on a daily basis (or ever), you’re going to run into LOTS of frustration. It is so hard to slide the handles apart. Plus, it doesn’t extend far enough for us to put it on our kitchen cabinet doors. It comes with two in a pack and I thought one was slightly easier to open and close than the other. I think the problem lies with the button that is supposed to disengage the teeth to slide it. It is cheaply made and doesn’t lift free of the teeth enough to have it slide easily. That’s my theory.

So new parents, don’t get this safety lock for frequently used cabinets. If you have a cabinet that is full of gasoline and lead based paint that you only use once a year for your family tire burning extravaganza, then go right ahead and buy them. They’ll keep baby out of that cabinet.

for keeping your baby away from your tire burning supplies

So, anyone have any good cabinet locks they recommend?

P.S. I’m reviewing this on my own; not getting compensated or anything.

this is why I run ^ brettandrachelplus

Sidney Countryside 10K

A couple of Saturdays ago, Keli and I ran the Sidney Countryside 10K. It makes you seem very fancy for a second when you tell people you’re running in Sidney. If you aren’t familiar with the CU area, the first thing that comes to mind is Australia. Sorry, we don’t have the cash to shell out running in the land down under.

Post race. It was hot!

This race is very different from the Illinois Marathon 10K, but in good ways. They aren’t kidding when they say that it’s a countryside run. We were out amongst the corn and soybeans in good ol’ Central Illinois. It is also much smaller, so if we were fast, we’d probably end up placing. The feeling was so nice and laid back, but still very well organized. Plus the proceeds go towards Agriculture scholarships, which I’m all for.

After the race there was Dairy Barn ice cream sandwiches, watermelon, coffee, bagels and other tasty bread, and door prizes! I won a squirt bottle with a week’s pass to the Savoy Rec Center which I’ll probably never use, and Keli won a really cool quadcopter drone.

If you’re wondering how I did, I did not beat my previous time, but came in around 1:16:30 or so. I’ll definitely be signing up to run it again next year! It was a really fun race.

Rachel Reviews ^ Oxy Clean White Revive

It’s been a while! We’ve been doing things like moving and living life.

So you know how you see stuff in stores and wonder if it really works as advertised? I know I do. So I’ve decided to start a series that I’ll run here and there that chronicles my findings about different new products I try. None of these posts are sponsored in any way, it’s just me sharing my thoughts about products.

My first post will be dedicated to Oxy Clean White Revive. I picked some up at Meijer the other day because I had been reading in Good Housekeeping that it really helped get rid of stains and discoloration on whites without bleach. Many of our bathroom towels are white and our bathroom floor mat used to be white.

Rachel Reviews Oxy Clean White Revive ^ brettandrachelplus
So here’s what my ‘whites’ looked like before. Believe me, those towels look really white there…they are not:

Rachel Reviews Oxy Clean White Revive ^ brettandrachelplus
Rachel Reviews Oxy Clean White Revive ^ brettandrachelplus

I followed the directions on the box and decided to let them soak in hot water with a scoop of the White Revive for an hour. I just filled up my washer then once it started agitating I opened the lid so it would just sit there. You can definitely appreciate the dinginess now.

Rachel Reviews Oxy Clean White Revive ^ brettandrachelplus  

After the hour was up, I added detergent and more of the White Revive as it recommended then dried them. You can let them sit longer than an hour in the washer if you have really dirty whites. I started out with the minimum amount of time to see how it worked.

Rachel Reviews Oxy Clean White Revive ^ brettandrachelplus
Rachel Reviews Oxy Clean White Revive ^ brettandrachelplus
I was very impressed with the results! Especially on the bathroom mat. I had not washed that in at least two years (don’t judge) and it was grimy. I recommend White Revive if you need to spiff up dingy whites.

Is there anything that you were kind of wondering if it actually did what it was supposed to? What was it? Or have you bought something with high hopes and it was awful?

STUFF() And Not Your Face ^ A Fun SQL Tidbit

Okay, I’m probably going to lose some people here, but maybe not. Who am I kidding, of course I will. No one wants to read about SQL functions except for nerds. And I’m not talking about the “oh, I watch The Big Bang Theory! I’m such a nerd!” types. (Don’t get me started. I’ve got strong words to say about the type. . . wannabe nerds more like it. . . but I digress. Much like Victor Hugo in Les Mis. (DANGIT VICTOR HUGO! NO MORE CRAZY NUNS!))

ANYHOO. I’m really not going to talk about technical things very often here because I’m pretty sure I’m writing this totally for my benefit, but I had to share this because I thought that it was super cool. For those of you who don’t know, I write queries at work. I also administrate monitoring software and make reports using queries I’ve written. I also begrudgingly code here and there. Yes, I know I lead the glamorous lifestyle. Not everyone’s job can be so high profile and exciting.

So basically I needed multiple rows of data from one column to be concatenated into one row of data based on their location. I’m going to explain it in pies, bakers, and bakeries. I had multiple bakeries where multiple bakers worked. Each baker could make a pie with two different types of crust and a variety of fillings. I wanted the fillings for each type of pie crust to all be in one row, not one per row. But this turns out to be a very tricky thing to do, especially when each column of data you want lives in their own tables. (Sorry, couldn’t think of a pie analogy for that.)

How the data was represented before changes were made.

How the data was represented before changes were made.

So like anyone who has a problem they can’t solve on their own, I turned to Google. Upon much digging around, I came across this one little function that seemed very promising, the STUFF() function along with XML PATH(). The stinky thing was that all the examples I found were too simplistic and I had to break out on my own. Here’s what I came up with.


The biggest hurdle I had to get over was figuring out the where clause of the subquery. All the examples I found showed the where being what you were wanting to combine. At first I kept using the PieFillingID in the where, but that would return all fillings for all crusts every time. Whoops. So I used bakery and baker which did the trick. **Update** Upon piddling with it some more I realized I needed to also add “and p.piecrust = p2.piecrust” to the where within the subquery. I noticed that for different pie crusts for the same baker, it was putting all the fillings into both instead of sorting them out based on the crust. This addition fixed that.

Pretty comma separated lists where applicable!

Pretty comma separated lists where applicable!

Thanks for indulging me on my SQL post!

Packing ^ A Necessary Evil ^

So. It has come to this. Packing. Cleaning. Moving. Unpacking. Losing necessities. Unpacking more. Finding necessities after rifling through many boxes. Giving up finding others because it just isn’t worth it anymore. Cleaning more. All with a cat and an army crawling, let’s get into everything baby. Blerg…Shoot me now.

never lose your packing list ^ brettandrachelplus

Brett and I are moving. And just not moving to another apartment, moving to a house. Our house. Our, we’re paying a mortgage on this place, I can actually paint walls, house. (I’ll post pictures of it all later.)

Anyhoo, with packing comes boxes. And with boxes comes forgetting what you packed in each box. This move, I have a plan, and like all brilliant plans, it started with a Pinterest search which resulted in me finding this pin. I thought that it looked like a pretty good idea, but not good enough. Instead of using paper and a number, I’m using a code for each room and a sharable spreadsheet. I thought that K01 would make more sense for a kitchen box rather than 301. Plus, multiple people packing can simultaneously add to the spreadsheet and it won’t get lost because it lives out in internet land. I then added a different tab for each different room so it wouldn’t look so jumbled.

The second method we’ve been using is a more avant-garde approach. Since we have been blessed with the luxury of being able to move to the new house slowly, we’ve been packing boxes, unpacking at the new house, then returning the boxes to be used again. Overall, it hasn’t been as stressful as it could be, I suppose.

packing spreadsheet

We’ll see how it ends up working for us. What methods have you used to stay organized while you move?

Miss Boo is Eight Months Old!

It is crazy to think that Ellie turned eight months old on April 24th. We love her so much and she is pretty much the most adorable baby ever. Ellie Faye has figured out how to army crawl and even crawl properly for a few feet, which enables her to get to her favorite forbidden items. These mostly include cords, outlets (which are properly covered), computers, remotes, and the laser pointer when accidentally left on the floor.

So far she has been to three weddings, one funeral, one Illinois baseball game, and one Illinois football (scrimmage) game. She’s also been to church since in the womb :D.

tooth count: Zero, but you can see the beginnings of some.

cuteness factor: scientists are still unable to find a scale that measures high enough to chart her on

sounds: dadadada, mamama, bababa, along with all the other normal baby sounds

sleeping: naps. . . We hates them, preciousss. Nasssty, filthy napses. The anti napper naps twice on a good day. Boy, she can fight the good fight against those evil naps. At least she sleeps all night long.

likes: mom, dad, (plus grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins!) Calvin, bouncing, eating, bath time, dogs, chewing on her toys, finding cat fur and other floor goodies and tasting them.

dislikes: naps (see above), not being the center of attention, wearing anything on her feet

We have so much fun raising this little spitfire and can’t wait to see how she keeps on growing!

How the Race Went

Last Saturday: What a gorgeous day! What an awesome long run! The weather is so nice and won’t it be great to run in this kind of weather.

Sunday: Hmm. . . Looks like it will be a bit chillier race day. And blast! Is that a chance of rain? Oh well, I’m sure it will change by Saturday.

Monday: Rain chance still there. Here’s hoping it will change. Need to have a short run tomorrow morning. At least the 5K looks like decent weather.

Tuesday: Whoops. No run. Babies sometimes throw wrenches into running plans.

Wednesday: Ugh. . . Thunderstorms Saturday? Really?

Thursday: Maybe the forecast will be wrong. You know how those meteorologists are. They do delight in foiling everyone’s outdoor plans. (Kidding! All the meteorologists I know are great!)

Friday: 5K with Mom! Walked it and had a blast. We even ran into some friends towards the end.

Saturday: Ok. It is a bit chilly, but doesn’t look to be raining. Oh wait. It’s raining now that the race is starting. Great.

Mile 1 and 2: Running in the misty rain isn’t too bad. It is a bit refreshing! Oh hey! There’s Sadie! I can say that I kept up with Sadie for about one minute!

Mile 3: Where is this water break?? With all this rain, I sure am thirsty! What’s this? Ooh! Jelly beans! Don’t mind if I do! Ah, there’s the water break. Hallelujah!

Mile 4: ohhh, jelly beans! Why did I eat you? Uggh. . . There is are some definite rumblies in my tumblies. Must. press. on. When did I stop being able to feel my fingers? Keli and I part ways, leaving me to traipse on.

Mile 5: I do hope my fingers are able to function again someday. Almost done. Almost done. My poor legs. My poor stomach. I’m almost done. I can see Brett and Ellie soon. And I can be warm again. What is it like to be warm again? I can’t remember the taste of strawberries, Sam. . . Wait. that is ROTK. Nevermind.

Mile 6: Some wonderful encourager from the sideline tells me I can finish. I can finish! There it is! There’s Memorial Stadium! So close. Yet so far.

Finish line: I finished in 1:12:29, which isn’t too bad considering that I thought that I was going to keel over for the last 1/3 of the race. I beat my pregnant time, so there is that. Will I do it again? Yup.

Thanks for supplying all the 10K pictures, Keli!