Overstuffed: January 2010 Overstuffed

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Today I Feel Guilty...But I Am Awake

Joel got up this morning to go clean the church with his Young Men.  I probably should have gone, too, and brought my Young Woman with me.

But I didn't.

Instead, I slept until nearly 11:00, and then got up with the laptop and read blogs for an hour or so and now I'm still sitting here in bed, typing.

I listened to Bria and Chloe practice from bed.  I gave out chore orders from bed.  I let Sophia come and draw pictures next to me in bed.  Bria and Chloe came in when they were done with their jobs and chattered about the birthday party they attended and what's going on at school.

It was actually kind of nice.

It was very refreshing to sleep that long, and I definitely needed it.  I have had three nights this week where I didn't sleep at all.  Complete insomnia overtook those nights and I lay awake watching the hours tick by on my clock, willing myself just to sleep for four hours...three hours...one hour, and then pleading for just a half-hour of decent sleep before I had to get up and face the day.

The sleep never came.

On Thursday night, Joel drove to the store at 12:30 am to buy me a "sleep aid."  And I finally slept.  And I slept last night, too.  And it felt good.

But I feel guilty.

I should have been up and going, helping my children with their chores and practice.  I should have been exercising, not lazing around with the computer.  I should have been practicing myself.  Doing something good.  I should have cleaned the church.  Or at least the kitchen.

I'm trying to remember that if I hadn't slept in, I would not have been a very nice person.  My children probably appreciate that I took the time to rest so that I wouldn't be a "meanie" today.  So I'm trying not to feel guilty for taking care of myself first.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pinching Pennies and Stretching Dollars

I got my heating bill yesterday.  I always have to hold my breath and say a little prayer before I open it.  A prayer that it won't be horrifically high, and if it is, that I won't have a heart attack.  Heating costs are pretty high around here in the first place, we have an old and drafty house that is bigger than our last houses have been and, obviously, it's also extremely cold outside! (High yesterday?  Two measly degrees.)

Want to know how much it was?

Of course you do.

It was $203.47.

Everyone says that the January and February bills are the highest, so I wasn't surprised that it was higher than my bills have been so far.   But this is what I'm paying when I am an absolute Nazi about keeping the heat at 62-65 degrees during the day, and like 50 degrees at night.  We have radiator heat, and a brick home, so it almost never falls that low unless it's like 20 below outside, which it has been the last few nights.

I do have a point in my absolute indelicacy (isn't it pretty taboo to tell people what your bills are?  Sorry.).  In order to actually pay this bill and the next couple (hoping February's isn't any higher!), I'm going to have to keep stretching the dollars even further than I have been.

And I know how to stretch a dollar pretty well, let me tell you. Now, I haven't been using coupons much up here, simply because none of the list sites like Grocery Game have my area on them.  But my friend Sharyn recently sent me a link to a blog that lists grocery deals just for the Copper Country.  So, now I just need to figure out what newspaper to get for the national coupons since our local newspaper doesn't even do a Sunday delivery, much less have Sunday coupons.

But I'm stretching it pretty far in as many ways as I can.  Now I want to know what your favorite penny pinching tips are.

Please?

Help me pay my heating bill.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Not That You Asked Or Anything...

....but I'm going to update you on some of my goals from the past few months.  Partly because I need to see how well I am actually doing and partly because I need a little reminder of what my goals even are.  A slight kick in the pants, so to speak.

On becoming an exerciser:   Improving

Yes, I've certainly improved on this front.  Majorly, in fact.  For a while there I was doing it every single night.  It's been a bit edged out for the time being, as I don't really know how to balance rigorous vocal exercise and rigorous physical exercise in the same day.  I have so little time to myself that the time I do have has to be spent doing the thing that seems most pressing at the time, and right now that's practicing (and blogging, apparently).

Plus, yesterday I gave myself a very bad asthma attack.  I have Exercised Induced Asthma, which is worse when the weather is cold.  It was about 3 degrees in the morning when I was walking the girls to the bus stop, and we were halfway there when I noticed Chloe was not wearing her backpack.  I sent the girls on ahead and ran home as fast as I could to get it.  Then I tried to run back up the hill, but by then I was already wheezing.  I lost my inhaler a while ago, and since I usually have things under control (I know what intensity and type of exercises I can handle without treatment)(that, or I just plain don't exercise), I haven't bothered to find a doctor and get a new one.  So, after I taught all my lessons at the University, I came home and dug out my nebulizer.  I waited way too long, and well....let's just say exercise will be on the back burner for at least a few more days.

On balancing family and work:   Very Good

Up until this week I kept only four lessons, all but one during my children's school hours.  I kind of hate the one that isn't, but for now we are dealing, and I do manage to still get most of our crazy afternoon stuff taken care of before the lesson.

This week I started teaching at the University.  I have known this was coming for a long time and have given much thought to how many students I was willing to take, and when I would teach the lessons.  Joel, who is the lesson coordinator, said there were 40 people interested in voice lessons, and for the time being, I am the only teacher they have.  I capped at seven students, and I'm sticking to my guns.  All of my lessons are in the morning, most during Sophia's preschool and the only one that isn't, Joel can take her during that time.

I am guarding my afternoons with ferocity.

On being organized:  Very slight improvement

I was oh-so-gung-ho on my darn lists for the first week.  By the second week I was already fizzling.  I give them my best shot every day, but often I only do laundry and dishes.  But hey!  I have always been caught up on laundry and dishes, anyway! And for the most part, my house is much tidier.

It just gets hard when you have a 3-year old like Sophia to contend with.  If I'm going to do my lists, they must be done in the morning or they don't get done.  So, it just depends on how the morning goes.  I'm okay with it.  I think after the February concert is over (and the January blahs, for that matter), I will do better.


On cutting back the blogging:  Okay

I have cut back.  I admit though, that when I have something I want to write, I tend to just write it.  And on days I blog, I don't get as much done.  But at least I'm doing it at night now and not the morning.  It does make a huge difference.

I have cut back on commenting.  I have also cut back a bit on reading.  My reader has 292 unread items in it right now, most of them home decor and craft blogs that I don't comment on anyway, but the number does alarm me when I see it.  Again, I only comment at night now, unless I truly have nothing to do or I am not feeling well.  And I am not commenting on every blog I read anymore, either.  It's freeing, but I still feel a little bad about that.

Working on getting rid of the obligation side of it.

On not eating sugar:  Excellent

This is the one goal I have 100% succeeded at so far.  I haven't had even a lick of sugary goodness since New Year's Eve.  I have eaten a few things here and there that I probably shouldn't, but those will be gone by March and I have definitely cut back so much they barely even count now.  And they weren't technically goodies anyway.  Whole-wheat banana bread, anyone?

I wish I could say I'd already gotten to the point where I don't want sugar at all anymore, but I'm not quite there.  I still think about eating something sweet far too often.  But I haven't given in.  And the cravings are lessening.  This just proves how horrible I was during the holidays.

The fact that I've made it through 27 days and I'm still alive tells me I absolutely can make it another 340-something.

And I will.

I know I will.  (Kicking myself in the pants.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Snake Deserves No Pity

My friend Kim recently blogged about her son's pet snake being lost somewhere in the house , and it reminded me of my own experience with a reptilian escapee.  I haven't thought of it in years, so I figured I'd write about it here.  You know, for posterity's sake.


As a sophomore in college I had a boyfriend named Jeff.  That's not particularly pertinent to this story except that I was with him when it happened and it was his friend's snake that was involved.  We had gone over to this friend's (I want to say his name was Mike, so that's what we'll call him) apartment to eat dinner and watch Lawrence of Arabia.

Jeff and I were sitting on the couch watching the movie when I felt something cold go down my arm.  At first I thought maybe Jeff had put his hand down my shirt (what the heck!), but I quickly realized that wasn't the case at all.

It was a snake.

A very large snake.

And he was cuddling up to me with all his snakelike might.  I was, understandably, freaking out, but also trying to act cool in front of everyone as if having a boa constrictor or python or whatever the heck kind of snake it was down one's shirt was as normal as blueberry pie.  I don't really think I fooled anyone, but I definitely tried.

In case you missed it, this snake was making its home under my shirt.  Next to my skin.  It was becoming increasingly obvious that the shirt was going to have to come off, or at the very least be unbuttoned, in order to get Mr. Snake out.  And I was in the presence of boys.

The boy I think was named Mike tried his darnedest to coax his pet snake out, but to no avail.  So, I unbuttoned as discreetly as possible, and he laboriously extracted the animal from around my arm and waist.

Once he was put safely back in his cage, we all resumed watching Peter O'Toole in the desert and pretended nothing had ever happened.  Especially me.

Which may account for the reason I haven't thought of this in over 15 years.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Maestro as Taskmaster
(Would You Call That the Taskmaestro?)

I wrote this just about a year ago, yet it applies today just as much (if not more!).  And since I don't have much to say right now except "I'm stressed!",  "Save me from my schedule!", and "Augh!!", I figured now would be as good a time as any to delve into the archives.  All you really need to do is substitute "February 20" for the concert date and  "Excerpts from Verdi's Otello and Bizet's Carmen" for the Schubert Mass and it's exactly the life I'm living now.  Except I think Verdi and Bizet were kind enough to spare me from tritones. Thank Goodness.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Best $14.99 We've Ever Spent

I am not a morning person.  Not by a long shot.  I get up and get children ready for school out of necessity and duty, and while I find joy in it after being up an hour or so, it doesn't come easily.  I'm pretty grouchy in the morning, and that's putting it nicely.

Bria, my eldest daughter, has always been one of those morning people that are up with the sun, happy and chipper and ready to greet the day with a smile.  Which is good, because she does temper my grouchiness to an extent.

Still, mornings are typically not a well-oiled machine around our house.  I have learned to set out their snowpants, coats, gloves, scarves, and hats by the radiator the night before so that bundling up actually makes them warmer (we keep all of that stuff on the enclosed front porch, which isn't heated).  I have learned to check backpacks and set them by the door the night before, otherwise homework is forgotten, planners aren't signed and general chaos ensues.  I have learned to pack the bulk of their lunches the night before (minus the sandwich) or else I find myself paying for hot lunch far more often than I am truly comfortable.

And still, the process of getting the girls out of bed, dressed, breakfasted, bundled and out the door isn't a pleasant one for me.  Let's just say the snooze button gets hit an awful lot, especially since it is still pitch black when the bus picks them up these days, not to mention the time we actually have to get out of our cozy blankets.

A few times this winter I forgot to set my alarm clock, turned it off instead of hitting snooze, or just plain hit the dang snooze button one too many times (who invented that thing, anyway?).  This, of course, resulted in my driving the girls to school very late, or at least running out the door and flagging the bus driver down at the corner.  Bria was not happy with me whenever that happened and she demanded an alarm clock of her very own so that she could get herself up.

We obliged and bought her a cute little heart-shaped Hannah Montana alarm clock for Christmas.  I was shocked at how excited she was to receive this gift, as Bria is usually a bit more subdued about her gratitude.  Not this time.  She opened that gift and before I knew it she was flying at me to hug and kiss me and thanking us over and over again.

Cool.

Well, I should have bought it on the first day of school!  It has been wonderful!  Bria gets up at 6:30 am, all on her own, and even manages to get her sister up most days.  She gets herself ready, makes her bed (still working on Chloe), gets them both breakfast and is usually bundled up and ready to go before my alarm even goes off.  In fact, these days we're more likely to be awoken by the sound of happy little girls chatting in the kitchen over their Cheerios than we are a bleeping alarm clock. (And yes, I meant to type bleeping.)

I can saunter out of bed just in time to make sandwiches, put their lunchboxes in the backpacks and make sure they brush their teeth. Then we head out the door to the bus and I come home and head straight back to bed where I stay until the sun comes up an hour later. I can do this because I usually walk them to the bus stop in my (very warm) pajamas.

I'm still not a morning person, but at least mornings are a tiny bit more enjoyable now.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Body Scoop for Girls

And by girls, I definitely mean girls.  Any of you out there of the male persuasion may want to skip this entry.  Don't say I didn't warn you. 

TLC Book Tours recently sent me The Body Scoop For Girls: A Straight-Talk Guide to a Healthy, Beautiful You by Dr. Jennifer Ashton.  Dr. Ashton is an OB-GYN specializing in adolescent care and she is totally cool.  And by cool, I definitely mean I want to be just like her when I grow up.  She has taken a bunch of awkward topics (Puberty! Menstruation!  Hormones! Sex! Drugs! Eating Disorders!) and has made them (dare I say it?) fun to read about.  And it isn't just fun, it is one of the more informative books I have ever read.  I only say that because I actually made it through the entire book in one sitting and learned a lot of things I didn't previously know in the process. 

I was very happy to get to review this book as I am the mother of three daughters.  Sometimes these awkward topics come up in our household, and I certainly expect them to come up a lot more often the closer they inch towards adolescence.  I have purchased American Girl's The Care and Keeping of You, which is an excellent book for girls that are Bria's age, but The Body Scoop for Girls is the perfect follow-up when girls have grown out of that one.  It will definitely help me to address the aforementioned awkwardness with tact, and hopefully, Dr. Ashton-like coolness.

I was thrilled to see that Dr. Ashton advocates waiting until at least age 18 to have sex, if not older.  While my religion teaches to wait until marriage, I understand that much of the world just doesn't see it that way.  Dr. Ashton says it is not her job "to tell you what to think from a moral, spiritual, emotional, social, or religious standpoint," but she can tell you many good reasons to wait from a medical standpoint, and that is her job.  I appreciate her viewpoints, and hope that they, along with our religious teachings, will help my daughters make the choice to wait.

I was also very happy to see her cover topics that aren't usually seen as gynecological.  Things like depression, drug use and eating disorders are all covered tactfully and informatively.  It's obvious she really cares about the well-being of her patients and readers, and I appreciate that.  It's also clear that she sees the connection between physical health and mental health, which again, I appreciate.

Finally, I was downright ecstatic to see that she devoted an entire chapter to PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome).  If I had actually been diagnosed as a teenager instead of only a few years ago when I was 33 years old, I think things would be a lot different with my health and well-being.  Wikipedia says only 5% of women suffer from this syndrome, but Dr. Ashton cited a source that claims the number is closer to 26% of the female population affected.  Wow.  If that is true (and I believe it is, due to the staggering amounts of women I come into contact with that share this diagnosis) then we would all do well to familiarize ourselves with the symptoms.  Again, if I had had a list of these symptoms in front of me as a teenager, I most certainly would have gone into a doctor to be tested for it.  Dr. Ashton also says it seems to be genetic, which is all the more reason for me to be extra vigilant as my daughters pass through puberty, since there is a high likelihood that they will struggle with this as well.

All in all, this is a wonderful book for teenage girls.  I don't know how many would read it cover-to-cover the way I did, but it would still be a great reference book to have on the shelf.  At the very least for mom to be able to deal with the awkward questions in a Dr. Ashton-like way.

Happy reading!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mamma Mia!
(Here I Go Again)

I have a little problem.

Sometimes I cry when I am singing.

I'm not talking a little choked up, although that happens, too.  I'm talking full on tears, loss of control, inability to sing--the entire package.

This would be fine if it only happened in the confines of my own living room, but I do have a habit of crying during performances.  Ten years ago it was a rare occurrence, but then I went and had babies.  Now it happens on a much more regular basis.

I'm learning this aria for a concert with the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra next month.  It's the Willow Song/Ave Maria from Verdi's Otello.  Obviously based on Shakespeare's play Othello, I'm singing the part of Desdemona just before Othello comes into the bedroom and kills her.  The story line is tragic enough, but the music is so beautiful that the first time I sat down to sing it I burst into tears in the Ave Maria and just sat at my piano bawling.

Something is definitely wrong with me.

And don't even get me started on what happens to me when I am an audience member.  I don't even try to hold it back in that case.

This past weekend I went to see the stage production of Mamma Mia! with some girlfriends (more on that later).  I was all set with my Kleenex because I knew I would cry during Dancing Queen and all out weep during the song Slipping Through My Fingers.


Yes.  I just admitted to crying during Dancing Queen.  Every single time I watch that dang show I do, and it's even worse when you see it on live stage vs. the movie.  I have no earthly idea what makes me cry during that song, except I can't even talk about it or I start, well, crying.

Seriously.

What is up with this, anyway?  Do I need Prozac or Zoloft or something?  Or am I just the ultra-sensitive artist, and there is nothing to be done?

For now, the best I can do is imagine the audience in their underwear as I sing the tragic tale of Desdemona and Othello.  Only, that doesn't really work when it's just me and my piano, and there really isn't anything funny about a piano in its skivvies.

I think that will only make me cry harder.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Few Words About Snow

There's a lot of it around here.   109.5 inches, to be exact.

Okay, so it's not all on the ground still, but that's how much we've received so far this winter.  According to this handy-dandy website, there are 25 inches still on the ground.

Our back deck currently serves as our personal snow measuring stick, since we can't exactly use it for barbecuing at the moment.  I took this picture on January 4 when the website said there were 27.5 inches on the ground, but it has gone down a bit since then.  The part there with considerably less snow is because of the roof overhang, but even that part had about 6 inches.  The rest of the deck has so much snow on it, Sophia would get lost were she to stand in it.

Measuring Stick


All of this snow does present a bit of an issue with removing it for things like, oh, driving.  The city has a seriously amazing snow removal system, since just plowing doesn't quite cut it.  I was at my friend's house the other day, and we watched through her kitchen window as a bulldozer, five dump trucks and a crazy huge machine called the SnoGo (basically a ginormous snowblower) removed all of the snow that had accumulated on the sides of the street because of the plows.  It was quite the process, let me tell you.

And yet, it doesn't matter how awesome the city snow removal system is, when you're stuck with 20 inches of snow on your very own driveway.  Let me remind you that I have a very small driveway.  It wouldn't seem that it would take so long to shovel.  Joel and I laughed in the faces of all the people who told us we would definitely be wanting a snow blower before long.  Whatever!  Our driveway is like ten feet long and seven feet wide--how hard can it be?

How about a good 45 minutes to an hour with each shoveling, and sometimes having to shovel twice a day.

Yeah.

Shoveling

(I took this picture on December 9.)

A snowblower would've been nice.

And then, on Christmas day, some members of our branch called and told us they had a snowblower for us as a gift.  It turns out that the branch president was getting a fancy new snowblower from Santa, and wanted to give us the old one.  It had some issues, so another member of the branch presidency and his son repaired it for us.  A few days after Christmas they brought it over and showed Joel how to use it and it only took about two minutes to do the entire driveway.

They also laughed and laughed at him for using a normal snow shovel instead of a Yooper Scooper.  They laughed even harder when they found out we had a Yooper Scooper but that Joel thought it was a "piece of crap" because he didn't actually know how to use it correctly.  For good measure, they taught him the best way to scoop snow (which is much different than shoveling it, don't you know?) and have not let him live it down on Sundays at church.

But it's okay, because now Joel has a snowblower.

The snowblower

Monday, January 11, 2010

Little Lawyer
(two anecdotes)

One.

Whenever Sophia decides to take a nap, bedtime that night is a struggle.  For this reason I don't generally encourage naps anymore, much as I would like her to have one.  But, occasionally I will find her asleep on the floor somewhere in the afternoon, so we just work with it.

Well, this scenario happened the other night and bedtime that night was indeed a little torturous.  Joel and I were reading in the living room and she kept coming down needing this or that or the other thing.  At one point she asked for some fishy crackers.  We were exasperated, so Joel decided to give them to her.  Before he handed them to her he made her promise that she wouldn't ask for fishy crackers again.

She willingly did so and skipped back upstairs to "bed" where we could hear her singing and playing and running around her room.  And then we heard the little footsteps came back down the stairs and she was in front of us again asking for some crackers.  Joel reminded her of her promise, and she shot back with, "I not say fishy crackers!  I just say crackers. I want the white crackers now."

Needless to say, this time Joel got smart and made her swear to no more food, period.

No more loopholes for Sophia, at least not that night.

Two.

A few days ago, Sophia wanted me to go upstairs and get her coloring book for her.  I was in the middle of something so I told her she could do it herself, which she clearly didn't want to do.  She begged and begged me to do it for her and then she finally said, "Mommy, if you get my color book upstairs, I give you five dollars and a penny!"

When I finished what I was doing, I went and got her coloring book for her, just because I wanted to see if she would follow through with her outrageous promise.  Maybe she could come up with a penny, but where a three-year old was stashing a fiver, I wanted to know!

She happily thanked me for her book and scampered off.  I said, "Wait!  What about my five dollars and a penny?"

"Santa not bring it to you yet, Mom.  Sorry."

What a rip-off.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Taming the Sugar Beast

In my post about my New Year's Resolutions, I casually mentioned that I wouldn't be eating any sugar for 2010.  And boy did all of you ever latch on to that one!  What?  Lara's getting organized (again)? Whatever. Yawn. But, she's not going to eat sugar? What? Is she SERIOUS? REALLY?

Made me laugh.

It also made me realize that it's hard for all of us, this sugar beast.  And for me it's absolutely necessary to get rid of it.  I am overly sensitive to it.  When I am partiularly out of control (like, say, during the holidays), I turn into a monster.  I yell for no reason.  I hate my life.  I have no energy.  And, I gain weight like nobody's business.

Part of it is PCOS and the insulin resistance that is packaged with it.  Part of it may just be the way my body reacts to sugar. I don't really know.

What I do know is that when I don't eat sugar (I have done this before several times) I am the calm and happy person I know I can be.  I feel good, and I have energy.  And, I drop pounds alarmingly quickly.

This time, though, it's not about the weight.  While it will be nice to lose, I don't care nearly as much about that as I do the way I feel.  And the way I act.  I do not want my children to have a mother who loses her temper just because she couldn't control herself with the brownies.  That is not fair to them.  Not to mention how confusing it is for them (and me!) when I freak out about absolutely nothing.

For some reason, it's been easier this time.  Maybe because it's for a more honorable reason than just getting skinny.  I started weaning myself from sugar the day after Christmas.  There were still so many goodies around, that it wasn't exactly easy, but my first full day off of sugar was December 30.  I had a horrible migraine that night due to the good old withdrawal, but I survived.  I ate a little bit of toffee on New Year's Eve, and I have stayed true to my word that I will not have sugar in 2010.

For now, I am just not eating obvious goodies.  In February I will also eliminate white flour from my diet (not too difficult for me since I usually eat whole wheat anyway, but I'm not fretting about it right now).  In March  I will go whole hog and eliminate anything from my diet that has the words sugar or high fructose corn syrup in the ingredient list.  You may say it's extreme, but it is absolutely essential for me.  I promise.

Besides, once you've been off sugar for a while, you start tasting the sweeteners in everything.  Like spaghetti sauce.  I can't even stand how sweet it tastes once I've been off it for a while.  Thank goodness for the no-sugar-added kind.

I am definitely feeling much better already.  One week completely off, and two weeks of major reduction.  I've lost some weight, but what's really amazing is my energy level.  Remember my main New Year's Resolution?  To get organized?  To have a routine?  It's working.  I'm loving my lists.  My house is cleaner than ever and I feel like the tone of our home is changing for the better.

Now, please excuse me while I go organize my spice cupboard.   

(Hey!  It's on the list today.  I'm not that freaky, I promise!)

Monday, January 04, 2010

In which I blog about blogging

I try to avoid blogging about blogging at all costs.  It just seems silly to me.  But, there comes a time when it must be done, and I suppose now is as good a time as any.

In my self-evaluations this past few weeks, I have realized that I have let this blog take over my life somewhat.  For the three years that I lived in Cedar City, it was kind of my lifeline.  It kept me sane in many ways while I tried to navigate what was the most difficult time in my life thus far.  It helped me focus on all of the good things about my life.  Since I moved here, things are different.  I feel that blogging doesn't serve the same purpose for me anymore.  During Christmas break I barely turned on my computer and I really had a lovely time with my family and guess what?  I didn't even miss blogland.

Sure, my interest has always waxed and waned and I'm definitely at a new moon sort of state right now.  I know how it goes, and soon enough I'll be bursting with things I want to blog about.  So, I'm not going to leave my blog, but I'm definitely not going to spend as much time on it as I have in the past.  Nor am I going to spend as much time reading and commenting on other blogs.  I have absolutely loved and needed the connections I've made through blogging, but something in my life has got to give and I feel that this is the thing.  Again, not going to give it up entirely.  Just moderation.  No more commenting and reading all morning long...it will wait until the kids are in bed and that will be just fine.

In other blogging news, I have added word verification back to my comment box.  After getting a lot of blog spam (blam?  splog?) the first year of my blog, I took it off and have had little trouble for nearly three years. Then all of the sudden, this last month or so I have been getting 5 or 6 spam comments per day.  Mostly on old posts, but it takes too much time and energy to go through and delete them.  So, welcome back word verify.  Sorry.

Now, I am off to check off the rest of my lists (half done already!) and live life, even if it hasn't stopped snowing for a week.  Coming soon:  A picture of my back deck.  The amount of snow on it will astound you.  I promise.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009 in review the Facebook way

Have you seen these cute status update collage thingys on Facebook?

Here's mine:

facebook status thing


Kind of fun to see your year randomly deconstructed like that.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New

I love the New Year.  Just like moving, it offers a fresh perspective and a clean slate in a way that a new day can't.  I look forward to the chance to be introspective, do some soul-searching and make some goals and decisions that will take me further along on the path to a better me.

In previous years, I have chosen a word (2007, 2008).  Last year, I chose a scripture.  In years before that, I did just plain resolutions, sometimes huge lists of them.  Usually huge lists of them, in fact.  I have learned that it doesn't really matter what my word or scripture or resolutions are, I usually only manage to do one thing really well in the year.  This last year it was survive.  I started out really well with the House of God scripture challenge.  But by March we knew we were moving and things all went downhill from there.  Moving is stressful, expensive, emotional, and did I mention that it's stressful?

I feel settled here, although every once in a while something will throw me for a new loop.  I'm ready for this New Year and the opportunity for change it has brought with it.  I'm ready to take the bull by the horns and finally become the person I want to be, even if it's just a little at a time.

So, this year?  I haven't quite decided how to label it.  I suppose if I were doing the one word thing again, my word would be routine.  Yes, unfortunately it all goes back to the organization mountain I am always trying to climb.   I have finally decided that it's okay to let my life be a bit more scheduled, no matter how much I hate it.  No matter how angry I get.  I am doing this for the betterment of my household--my children, my husband and myself.  I will remember that.

So how am I going to do it?  What routine am I going to implement?  I have high hopes, but not high enough to attempt scheduling out my entire year.  So, I found a couple websites to help me out.

The first one is Motivated Moms.  You pay $8.00 ($7.00 for now with the code "giveaway") and download daily lists.  There is a checklist of things that are always done each day, and you can add your own.  Things like laundry, exercise, dishes and reading to your children are already there.  I added reading my scriptures and practicing.  Then, for every day of the year, there is a list of other household jobs.  Usually about 6-7 of them, most fairly quick jobs, a couple a little longer.  I figure if I can get into the rhythm of checking this list off each morning before I do anything else, it will help.  I've taped it up by my computer, so it's right there after I check my email in the morning.

The second website I found is My Simpler Life.  There's lots of information and help there, but I just downloaded the declutter calendars for the year.  Stuff like "Give away some CDs" and "Recycle newspapers and magazines" are here.  Just one easy item per day.  Also hung up next to my computer.

I'm excited.  I realize that I may lose steam by February, but I'm going to give it the old college try.

Oh, and I am also not going to eat sugar at all for 2010.  More on that later.

Happy New Year!