Sunday, March 19, 2017

Working towards balance - Weekdays



It seems I'm always striving (just like any other working mom) to find a good work/life balance.  The image above is truly the best representation of all of the things that we're trying to juggle & find time for.  These are all things that are important to me.  Of course my family is my top priority & sometimes, I know that they do not get the best of me because I stretch myself too thin but I'm getting much better & figuring out how to do a better job of balancing my job & my life outside of work.  

I'm realizing that Sundays MUST be a day to prepare mentally & physically for the week ahead.  Here's my plan for Sundays:


  • check my calendar for the week ahead
  • plan my workouts
  • plan my wardrobe
  • prep food for the week - fruit & veggies washed, cut up & put into containers or baggies for easy access.  I also find that doing this means these things actually get eaten!  
  • menu plan - my husband now does 90% of the cooking since he works from home full time.  It's fantastic because I often walk in the door to the smell of dinner cooking.  We plan the week's menu together
  • make sure the house is as clean as it can be to start the week
  • get ALL laundry put away & done.  Now we all know that laundry & dishes are never really DONE but you get the picture here.

I'm also planning my days out now.  I am on the board for an organization that is my true passion & right now, there's a LOT going on with that organization & it's requiring a lot of my attention.  I'm also training for a 1/2 marathon so making time to run & workout is (and has to be) a priority.   I email my boss my schedule for the week in terms of when I'll be in the office each Monday.  I've done a little re-working with my schedule & reduced my lunches to a 1/2 hour now which I'm finding makes a huge difference!  My days look a lot like this now.

4:40 a.m. - up & get ready for the gym.
5:00-6:00 a.m. - workout - Running Tuesday, Wednesday (long mid-week run), Thursday.  Monday & Friday are off days for running.  Those days I walk on the treadmill then do circuit training)
6:10-6:45/7:15 a.m. - shower & get ready for work, wake up daughter, light cleaning, laundry
7:00/7:30-4:00/4:30 - work (Mon-Thursday) - I am off early every Friday because I bank the extra hours from earlier in the week
4:45 - dinner, homework help, etc.
5:15 - leave for soccer practice - DD has practice until 6:45 two nights a week right now.  While she's at practice I either run errands or walk.

You get the picture --- Usually one night a week I have a meeting for the non-profit I volunteer for, then there are doctor & dentist appointments, etc. Now we're adding soccer games to the evenings.  Planning the day is now pretty much critical to making sure things don't slip through the cracks & it all gets done.  Well, most of it gets done anyway.  I also try to fit in time with my friends & Fridays are date nights.  Since I get off work early on Fridays we often do our weekly trip to Sam's together, have dinner & drinks somewhere & are back home by 7 or so.  This works pretty well for us & our daughter enjoys having the house to herself for a few hours.  Now the weekends --- well, those are sort of a hot mess & sometimes, the days are planned down to the minute which makes me cherish the weekends where we have nothing or one thing scheduled.    This is how I'm trying to find a place for all of those things in that image above.  It is working fairly well but you know, we're at the beginning of the soccer season & things usually get CRAZY during that time & the best laid plans fall to pieces but I'm striving to keep it together this year!


Progress



I feel as though I'm progressing quite well with my goals for the new year.  Here's why:


  • Running 10 minute miles
  • Not smoking & not craving it at all
  • Training (and registered) for my first 1/2 marathon on May 7.  Flying Pig
  • Saying yes to things I want to do & no to things I don't
  • Continuing to work on mental clutter
  • Continuing family dinners

Oh...still plenty to work on.  I clearly am not hitting the mark on all my goals but I'm working on it!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Year - New Me??



A new year is always full of promise & often resolutions that aren't kept.  I've made plenty of resolutions & most fall to the wayside before too long.  So this year I decided to take a long hard look at what I want for this next year of my life (and my family's lives).  

Resolution #1 - take better care of myself, mentally & physically.  This last year brought a lot of changes for me, most of them for the better but there's always room for improvement.  So I have set some goals for myself for this year:


  • Run 9-10 minute miles.
  • Stop smoking all together - I love to smoke when I drink or get stressed.  I made a bet with my son- $100 to him if I smoke this year, if I don't smoke, he has to run the DAV5K with me in November.  
  • Tone up - I spent most of 2016 working to lose close to 30 pounds.  I've achieved that goal but it's not enough for me.  I now want to tone up which may result in more weight loss but that's not the goal - the goal is not to jiggle anymore.  
  • Stop saying "yes" to things I don't really want to do.  I've struggled with this for years.  I've gotten better this past year but I've still got work to do.
  • Eat healthy!  This is something I've gotten pretty good at after doing Weight Watchers but there's still room for improvement!
  • Let go of the mental trash that drags me down & stop worrying about things I can't change!
Resolution #2 - Make family a priority - I've done more of this over the past year but again, there's always room for improvement.  Goals for this year:

  • Family game night
  • Family movie night
  • Family outings several times a month - hopefully these will include hiking once spring & summer roll around
  • Continue family dinners on Sundays & add games after dinner

There are always little things that I want to change along with some big things but these are two big priorities for me over this next year.  I also think that these are resolutions I can keep!  I'm contemplating running a 1/2 marathon which would be an amazing accomplishment for someone who swore they'd never run for exercise & stress relief.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

My Passion

Packages from our Third Annual JF Burns Loves the Troops Care Package Drive


See that?  That's my passion...helping to support our troops.  Why? I have two sons who are brave enough to serve our country, protect & defend our freedom.  They are not the only reason but they are certainly the driving force.  You see, once you are part of a military family, you realize that all branches of the military are part of your family.  The mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, cousins, etc. they are all your family.  You feel a special connect to members of a military family that you don't with others because you share the same types of experiences. Separation, unknown, unrest, deployments, struggles, government cuts, etc.  A kinship that is different from all others.  We are in this together - we look out for, love & support each other.  You celebrate with them, you cry with them, you worry with them.  You understand what they are going through in a way that only a military family can.  Our lives revolve around leaves, deployments and promotions.  We watch the news differently than most.  We pay attention to what cuts are being made where & why when it comes to the government budgets.

A military mom is a different breed.  It didn't take me long to find out that there is a special sisterhood among military moms.  We will take care of each other and each other's families in a second.  Swiftly, without hesitation.  An encouraging card or letter to military family member who is lonely, homesick or in need of encouragement, care packages, special keepsakes for siblings struggling with separation and the list goes on.  

These boxes represent so much more to me than I could ever explain.  An idea that started three years ago when my son was deployed.  The thought that our deployed service members receive all kinds of letters and packages during the holidays but after that, it's back to what's their version of normal.  I thought it would be nice for them to know we were still thinking about them.  It began with a conversation with our PTO president, who is also a friend. She loved the idea, so we pitched it to our principal, who is a big military supporter.  

The first year we shipped off 27 packages to loved ones of the kids at the school.  The second year, 34 boxes went to a Kings High School graduate who had attended my daughter's elementary school.  His former teachers wrote letters to  go in the packages. His mom & sister came to help and we overwhelmed.  Typing this now, my eyes tear up because I could feel her pain and joy at the same time.  I found a new friend because of that project.  She happens to live in my neighborhood as well.  

This year, I had to look a little further for our package recipients.  Not too far though. We found 3 Kings High School graduates through my contact at the high school and a close family friend of a family at the school.  This year, 46 boxes were packed and shipped.  46!  I didn't have time to process that until after the packages were at the post office.  As I drove off from the post office that afternoon, I sobbed.  I sobbed because I am so thankful to live in this community that is so supportive of our military and their families.  Many are not as fortunate as we are to have this type of support.  This is my passion - supported by my community. I hope to do more & more of this, to see these projects grow and grow.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My girl

This morning I woke up & looked at the clock and was instantly annoyed.  Yet again, I am wide awake long before I need to be on a Saturday morning.  I laid them for a few minutes wondering why I can't sleep past 5 a.m. and growing more annoyed by the minute.  Until I took a moment.  Lying next to me is my sweet daughter who in the middle of the night, climbed into our bed next to me to snuggle.  Instead of being irritated about being awake, I took that moment and held her in my arms, I snuggled her tighter, smelled her hair and thought about how precious that very moment was.



She's 9, my only child still at home.   She's a hugger and a snuggler.  She loves without abandon.  She's my reminder that there's good in the world, that there's hope for the future.  I'm ever thankful for that little girl.  A child that we weren't sure we would get since doctors had told me about 5 years before we decided to have a baby that if I didn't get pregnant in the next 3-4 years, it may not happen due to all of the scar tissue from years of ovarian cysts.  God blessed us with this beautiful little girl.  A little girl who was showered with love by her parents and her big brothers from the moment she was born.  She's definitely sugar, SPICE and everything nice.  She's a little more spice these days as we hit the pre-teen stage but there's still plenty of sugar.  I'm ever thankful for her.  Both of her big brothers are now grown men.  One far from home in the US Navy, the other married with a precious little girl of his own - thankfully living just a few miles away.  I often think how strange it would be to be an empty nester at 42.  It's harder than I ever imagined to have your kids grow up and not need you anymore.  It's not something that I expected.  Thankfully, I have this sassy girl to keep me busy and on my toes, to continue to fill my heart and my home.  My sweet B.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nancy Reagan - Just Say No!

That's what life is like once school starts....the fast lane.  Non-stop go, go, go.  However, I will say that this year, is a little less than the usual school year.  Why?  Because a friend of mine, who I will call my own personal Nancy Reagan.
Why do I call her that?  Because she has taught me that it's ok to "just say no."  Through the few years that we have been friends, we have lived what seems like a lifetime together with the ups & downs we have been through.  One of the best things about our friendship is that we are honest with each other.  Neither afraid to tell the other what we really think.  She has told me more than once, that I do too much, I need to slow down, start saying no to things.  Well, she wasn't the first person to tell me that but she was the first person I listened to.  At first it was hard to do.  I felt guilty saying no because I've always said yes, even when I want to say no.  Finally, I said it...NO!!  The more I did it, the less guilty I felt.  Finally, no guilt.  I realized I don't have to be involved in EVERYTHING!  It's okay to just help out here & there, on the things I love to do, not things I feel obligated to do.  I now enjoy the evenings when I can sit at home with my family instead of running like a mad woman!  Just last night, I had my first night of not having to attend a Brownie meeting in 2 years!  Why?  I said no to continuing to be an assistant leader when the opportunity presented itself, I very politely said that I had too much on my plate and felt it best I let someone else fill those shoes.  So you know what I did?  I hung out with "Nancy Reagan!"  We celebrated a victory in our ongoing battle with the school district about head lice (we've literally become known as the  "lice ladies" because of this, but that's another story!) with champagne on her patio.  Somehow the words spilled from my mouth, "You are my Nancy Reagan!  You've helped me learn to 'Just Say No!"  It was the perfect way to kick off the first Brownie meeting....freedom and it was completely guilt free!  Thanks "Nancy Reagan"!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The First Week of School

We've made it through the first week of 3rd grade.  I say we, because being the mom, I often feel like I'm going back to school too.  Forms to fill out, checks to write, emails to send the school, last minute additions to the school supply list that need to be purchased, being nervous for them on their first day with new teachers, well, you get it.  This is the part where my daughter benefits from having 2 full-time working parents.  There's not much of an adjustment in her sleep schedule.  She gets up at 6 a.m. all year long.  Summer break only means we let her stay up a little later since she doesn't need as much rest due to the lack of brain power that must be applied at day camp.  

What it does mean is that:
  • I need to leave earlier than I do in the summer because of all of the additional traffic once schools in the Cincinnati area start back up.  
  • the evening routines of packing lunches, laying out clothes for the next day, double checking the calenders is WAY more important.
  • evenings are for homework, soccer practice and after school activities like Brownies & maybe dance---of course, playing outside as MUCH as possible before or after those things.
  • more sleepovers & birthday parties
  • B & I both get to see our friends more!
  • schedules are SO important now.

So far, we've done well.  Yeah, it's the first week but it went much better than I anticipated.  I'm getting back into the swing of things by keeping up with the house during the week so it doesn't become an all out war against dirt, grime and clutter by Saturday. The result of me volunteering to take one of B's friends overnight tonight along with a meeting with the PTO president & a spirit wear vendor (I'm the "spirit wear chairperson"), plus hubby's fantasy football draft night left me with time on my hands to get a head start on the cleaning that needed to be done.  I made a decision to clean for 1 hour and that's it.  I set the timer & off I went.  In that hour I managed to clean 2 bathrooms, including the 1 tub we have, sweep & mop the kitchen, dining room, entryway, laundry room & both bathrooms, vacuum the first floor & the upstairs, dust the living room and pick it up, throw a load of laundry in, get the coffee maker ready for that early a.m. soccer game we have, restocked some things in the kitchen from the overflow pantry, gathered laundry and a few other things.  I ended up doing all of this in 1 hour & 10 minutes.  The extra 10 minutes was because there was no way I was leaving that living room un-dusted after I just did all that other stuff.  I wanted the first floor done.  Apparently this is what happens when I forego a bottle of wine & the one child left at home is occupied and my husband is gone.  Hmmmm....perhaps this should happen regularly!

I thought about designing some cute labels to put on the snacks we are passing out after the soccer game tomorrow but honestly...no one would care & I'm ready to collapse at 10:26 p.m. on a Friday night.  

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