Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 1 Progress


It's week 1 of working towards my goals.  I do feel I'm making progress.  I haven't done something towards every one of my goals but I'll take the fact that I am making progress on some of them.

1. blog more ---well, here's a new post.
2.  exercise 5-6 days/week - I joined the Y on Tuesday.  I worked out Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday.  I spent Saturday & Sunday working on other goals.  I worked out today.  Yes - I can feel it.  Whew!
3,  Say no more.  Not been a problem so far.
4.  Back to church - nope.  Not a thing here.  Shooting for next Sunday.
5.  Get rid of anything unnecessary.  I am working on http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2014/12/2015-home-organizing-challenge.html  The first week was the kitchen, second week was the laundry room and the third week is the pantry.  Since my son was home on leave the first week of the month - I didn't do that challenge in that first week.  I had a 3 day weekend this weekend so I took advantage of it.  I did all three challenges between Saturday & Sunday.  Saturday, I decluttered & organized my kitchen & dining room since they are connected.  Sunday, I decluttered & organized the laundry room & the pantry.  My trash can is overflowing & garbage day isn't until Thursday!  I was ruthless in eliminating things.  I donated the extra lunch boxes, dishes and anything else I could.  I threw away anything that I could.  I repurposed & reused anything I could.  I used my label maker for the first time in a long time.  I actually decorated the laundry room a bit to make it more inviting. I'm making big progress on this goal!
6. run a 5K - see #2!
7.  Stick to our budget - work in progress but after a major overhaul in the pantry & freezer along with a good trip to Sam's - I have faith we can do this without an issue.
8. Make one day a week family day/night - Last night we popped popcorn & piled onto the couch to watch a movie.  Not the best movie but we were all together & relaxed.


There's definitely progress being made here.  Now to keep moving forward!



Friday, January 9, 2015

My Goals for the New Years

I don't really do resolutions anymore.  Let's be honest.  It's rare that anyone actually sticks to them longer than a month or so.  As a matter of fact, statistics show that by now, more than 44% of people have already given up - It's January 9th!  Instead, I try to sit back & take a look at what makes me happy & unhappy in my life.  My goals are to add to my happiness & take away as much of what contributes to unhappiness as I can.

My goals seem simple enough.  I plan on checking in monthly on progress.

Therefore, here are my goals for 2015:


  1. blog more - it's therapeutic for me.  I enjoy it.  Even if no one reads it, I enjoy going back reading my thoughts, seeing pictures, etc.
  2. Exercise 5-6 days a week - This makes me a happier person.  I sleep better, my mood is better and of course, my body looks and feels better.  
  3. Say no more.  I have a hard time saying no.  I feel guilty, I feel I should explain my "no".  I do things I don't really want to do out of guilt then I am miserable doing them.
  4. Go back to church.  My faith helped me in so many ways, helped keep me balanced and on track.  In the past couple of years, due to changes in the church I belonged to and loved - I left church (as did my family) and didn't go until this past Sunday when my son who is home on leave asked if we could please go.  I picked a church that our family had been thinking about attending and one my son was familiar with the pastor.  I enjoyed the sermon and the worship.  I'm hopeful that our family can get back on track with this.  I'm no Bible beater but my faith means a lot to me and I haven't been fully invested in it or grown in it in a few years.  It's time to get that back.
  5. Get rid of anything unnecessary - this means clutter of any kind.  It's just in the way.
  6. Run a 5K.
  7. Stick to our budget.
  8. Make one day a week family day - board games, movies, etc.   

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Always find the silver lining

Today, I realized that it was 4 years ago today that I lost my job.  A job that meant that I was able to be the wife and mom I had always wanted to be along with contributing to our family financially.  It crushed me, devastated me.  It left me broke, broken and shamed among other things.  I still feel the repercussions of that job loss, both financially and emotionally.   I often feel that I am not doing a good job in any area of my life - wife, mother, employee.  I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop - another unexpected pothole in the road of life.  

Financially, we are on the road to recovery.  Emotionally - well, most days are good.  Some days are not.  

Yesterday was our first snow day of the school year. Facebook showed me that my stay at home mom or teacher friends enjoyed taking pictures of playing in the snow, sledding adventures and building snowmen, rejoicing in the first snowfall and the snow day that it produced.  My green eyed monster of envy came out.  I got up, got ready, brushed all the snow off my car and left my house extra early to make a white knuckled commute to my office. Looking at those pictures, I reminded myself that I needed to be thankful that my husband was able to work from home so that we didn't have to rush to find last minute child care.  My daughter still enjoyed her snow day to the fullest extent.  

I have no photographs to document the day but her stories of her fun day filled our dinner conversation.  I realized that sometimes, it's the social media age that sometimes leads us to feelings of inadequacy on some level.  Yesterday - I allowed it to get to me.  Yes, I was still sad that I wasn't able to play in the snow with my daughter yesterday but if yesterday is any indication, there will be many more days over the course of this winter just like yesterday.  My daughter had a great day, never once saying "I wished that you would have been here to play in the snow with me."  She was just happy to have the day off of school and to enjoy playing in the snow period.  I try to always look for the silver lining in each thing.  Some days, it's harder than others but I always look for it.  

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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