Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Today is June 30th and let me just say... it has been ridiculously hard to finish my list this month!!! And I'm still not completely done! I have three last things that I'll finish up this evening, and one that I delegated to my husband. I have been out of town waaaaay too much this month!!! It's just thrown me completely off. It's been hard to stay focused, hard to be organized, hard to plan meals, hard to stick to a budget, and hard not to be cranky at times!

I'm out of town again now, but it's been very relaxing and enjoyable. My Mom and Step Dad are staying in St. Simons Island for the week, so Andy and I drove down to Georgia yesterday. We are having a very nice time. This afternoon it's rainy and overcast though, so I've taken this time while Andy is napping to catch up on some of the remaining items on my list.

Before I left town, I returned a company polo shirt that I had never worn to my old place of employment. I can't even remember why they gave it to me... I think it was for a company photo, (okay, so maybe I wore it once). I found it when I cleaned out the dresser in the spare room last month. I didn't need to keep it, someone else can get some use out of it! I also returned my 3 year old neighbor's neck tie! His Mom had lent it to Andy for his baptism (8 months ago) and even though Andy didn't end up wearing it, it has been hanging on the door knob to his closet for the entire 8 months. I see this neighbor pretty much everyday, so I really don't have excuse for my slackness!

I have spent the entire afternoon today on the computer. I brought a flash drive with me on this trip so that I could back up all of our important files that I've just been saving on our desktop. I don't trust that Andy won't crash this computer won't crash one day and I will feel a total sense of despair. I had an issue with it last month and thought we were going to have to replace the operating system and I totally panicked! That's when it went on the list to back up files! It didn't take too long to do, so I need to just get in the habit of doing it more regularly.

I also copied all of the home videos I've taken with my camera since Andy was born and put them in one folder. They were scattered in folders all over my desktop from different downloads. I want to have them all in one place so that I can eventually burn them to a disk in order by date (not this month! That's for sure!)

And the last thing I did today was set up a business expense and mileage log for my
Thirty~One business. I've been an independent consultant for a little over a month now. I want to make sure I'm getting started off on the right foot as far as tracking business expenses goes. I just made a pretty simple spreadsheet with the following categories:

Cost Code

The second tab in my spreadsheet tracks mileage. The future me will appreciate getting this all set up now when tax time rolls around again. This afternoon I'm going to work on putting together a binder with a deconstructed catalog, helpful printouts, etc. to take with me for parties.
I'm glad June is almost over! And believe it or not, I already have my July list made. I keep thinking it's going to get harder to come up with a list each month... but it hasn't yet!

How to Set Up an Electronic Filing System

Since we are so close to getting our office put together and set up (finally... a year after we moved in), I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to best organize our files. Since we have our primary residence, two rental properties, two vehicles, one child and four pets, we have a lot of paperwork that passes through our house. With the three properties, we have a lot of bills and documents that need to be filed.

After much thought, I have decided to go with an electronic filing system. I will still keep two hanging file boxes for all of the originals of our important home documents, taxes and personal documents. I came to realize that most of what I file (or lately, keep to file at a later date! ha ha) could be scanned and stored electronically and then shredded. Since I pay most of our bills online through our bank's bill pay system, I can scan and file a copy of the bill while I'm sitting down at the computer to pay it.

I found that the most helpful thing for me to do in order to organize this system electronically, was to sit down with a copy of our monthly budget and make a flow chart of how I would want the files organized on the computer. My plan is to keep my files on my hard drive and back up monthly on an external drive.

My flow chart of files looks something like this:

Electronic Filing System
Credit Cards
Medical Expenses
Other Monthly Expenses
Personal Records
Primary Residence
Rental Property #1
Rental Property #2

Under each category, I have more sub-folders. For example, under Vehicles I have two folders, one for each car. Under each individual vehicle file, I have the following folders:

Registration & Taxes

Under the Receipts folder, I will have a folder for each vendor and then under each vendor a folder for each month of the year. Receipts will be scanned and stored in order by date. If it's a major purchase, I'll also file the original receipt, just in case.

I'm sure that I will need to add other categories as I go along, or just tweak things a bit, but for now, it's nice to have the infrastructure in place to start filing electronically!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Spring" Cleaning

Okay... so... I've never actually done any sort of whole house or "spring" cleaning before. That's probably because for a long time the running joke among our friends was to never write our address in INK in an address book! Now that we are, eh hem, settling into a house with no plans to leave (for now!), I felt like maybe it was time to start with a whole house cleaning plan. We have been living in our house for a year now, although it feels like it's been much shorter than that, and the dirt and grime was starting to show. So, although I missed the boat on a true SPRING cleaning, I know my house benefited from the process that took place over the past week.

However... it was a pretty major effort to tackle so much cleaning in a week's worth of time. There were also several areas of the house that I was cleaning and thinking I'm SURE this could use cleaning MORE than once a year! So, now that I've tackled all of this, I think I'm going to re-vamp my list and break it down monthly so that some tasks are in the rotation once per year and others more frequently. The thing that I liked about the check list was that it made me much more methodical in my cleaning. Here is everything that I tackled:

Whole House
 wipe down all baseboards and molding
 vacuum all curtains and blinds
 clean inside & out of all windows
 vacuum all rugs – including under furniture
 clear all cobwebs
 dust all light fixtures and ceiling fans
 change smoke detector batteries
 dust & clean glass on all wall photos
 steam clean all carpets
 steam mop all hardwood and linoleum floors
 wipe down and disinfect all electronic items
 change HVAC filters

 wipe down cabinets
 clean fridge coils
 clean out and wipe down inside of fridge
 clean drawer organizers
 clean oven
 wipe down walls
 wipe chairs
 clean & polish table
 clean trash can
 clean inside of dishwasher
 wipe down exterior doors
 clean inside & out of microwave
 clean out and wipe down inside of lazy susan cabinet
 wipe down spice rack
 dust upper cabinet tops
 organize pantry
 clean out under sink cabinet
 wipe down counter tops, sink & stove top
 clean dish rack & pan
 new dish sponge

Dining Room
 clean & polish table
 wipe down all chairs
 dust inside and out of china cabinets

 clean toilets, mirrors, counter tops, tubs and showers
 organize linen closets and cabinets
 wash bath mats & towels
 empty trash
 stock trash bags in cans

Living room
 wash all furniture covers
 dust built-ins
 organize cabinets
 clean out dresser drawers
 clean & polish coffee table & end table

 wash bed linens
 vacuum & flip mattresses
 wipe down & polish headboards and dressers
 organize closets
 wash dog bed cover

 wipe down crib
 clean leather on rocking chair
 clean & polish stand & Dresser
 move any out of season or too small clothes to storage
 wash bedding
 wipe down crib mattress

Play room
 dust tv
 clean & organize TV stand
 clean leather sofa
 disinfect all toys
 move un-used toys to storage
 wipe down kids table & chairs
 wipe down play mats

Laundry room
 wipe down washer & dryer
 organize laundry shelves
 empty, clean & refill litter box
 wipe down dog food container

Whew! And now I'm tired of cleaning!! To give my husband props, he did get up on the ladder to change the HVAC filters, smoke detector batteries and clear the cobwebs. The biggest thing that he did to help, was to take over parenting duties on Sunday afternoon while I got a big chunk of things finished. I'm glad this is done, but now know that I want to break this up into smaller chunks throughout the year. It was too much to tackle in a week and still try to take care of normal life stuff!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rocking Horse Re-do

Last month I found this very sad looking hand made rocking horse at Goodwill. It was just begging me with those creepy looking little eyes to take it home and spruce it up! Unfortunately I had already cut all of the weird, frayed, rope/yarn that was tied on for a mane before I took this "before" picture.... otherwise, you could have seen it in all it's glory!

I decided that this would make a cute 2nd birthday present for Andy. His birthday is just two months away! So, this afternoon I gave this little guy a good coat of semi-gloss spray paint in brown. After it dried, I took some craft paint and gave it some eyes and a harness and then stenciled an 'A' on the bottom of each side (for Andy, of course!)

Next I cut and tied several pieces of yarn through the little holes to give it a mane. This part was rather tedious, but I think it turned out cute. The best part was giving it a little hair cut at the end to even up the yarn! I'm not sure why this part was so fun, but I really enjoyed giving it a hair cut! ha ha

The hardest part was painting the eyes and harness and stars, etc. the same on both sides of the horse... but it all turned out great! Here is the finished product...

LOVE those Goodwill finds!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

How To Easily Stuff A Dog Bed

We bought this dog bed at a pet store a few years ago. It was cheap and it served it's purpose, but about a year ago, the inside stuffing all came apart and I had to throw it away. I've held onto the outer cover of the bed since then with the intention of re-using it.

In the past, my husband and I have actually sewn dog beds for our dogs and instead of using stuffing to fill them, we just used some old pillows! This worked great! The pillows seem to hold up better than the stuffing. This time, I didn't have any old or unused pillows lying around, so I went to Walmart and bought two pillows for $2.50 a piece.

I stuffed the pillows inside the liner and now we have a perfectly usable dog bed again! It's not quite as full as it was when we bought it, but I suppose it could be if I had splurged on the bigger pillows...

...but Kinley doesn't mind... it serves its purpose just the same!

I think knows it's an actual pillow in there by the way she is sleeping! Ha ha! Although yesterday I seriously found her curled up in Andy's car seat on the floor in the entry way!!!! We needed to take the seat out of one of the cars, and I came home and found her sitting/laying in it asleep! She's a sweet, but funny little dog :-)

Creating an Art Box

So, Andy has been very into coloring lately... which I love! Do you want to know the other thing I love?... Washable crayons! Yup! They are the BEST! I don't have to panic when he runs right off the paper and onto the kitchen table with his drawing. Although, I must say, he does try to stay on the paper, and he knows his is only allowed to color on paper. He loves to ask us to draw things for him. His usual request is a turtle, but it can run the gamut from a sun, moon and stars, to penguins or fish, or even a worm. One time he asked for a wolf... I think I redirected him back to a turtle!

Anyway, his little crayons are migrating all over the place. Sometimes they are hard to keep up with, plus, he usually colors at the kitchen table and I'm always running into the office to get more printer paper for him to draw on, I made him an art box to contain everything!

I got this great plastic suitcase-like box for $5 at the craft store... slapped some letter stickers on it... and viola! I also got him a smaller plastic case to keep all of his crayons in. So, now we have a package of construction paper, his crayons, some washable markers and his container of sidewalk chalk all stored in one easy carrying case!

Oh, ya, and I also finally took the gazillion plastic grocery bags back to the store today to recycle them! They were completely filling up the cabinet under my kitchen sink. I've been doing pretty well lately remembering to use my cloth grocery bags, but I still had quite a few plastic ones from a while ago, and from more recent times when I forgot to bring my cloth ones in. I do like having a few around to use in bathroom trash cans, but the amount we had was just out of control. I feel much better having recycled them!

Bed Stand Transformation

Today I refinished an old end table/cabinet from my grandparents. I'm re-purposing it as a bed stand in our master bedroom. It is a VERY solid cabinet, and still in fantastic shape, but just not the style I am trying to create in our bedroom. Since we are pretty short on furniture and funds, I'm trying to do as much re-purposing as possible! I'm currently on the hunt for a similar looking cabinet that I can refinish to match and put on the other side of the bed.

Here is what it looked like before...

I had already taken one of the drawer pulls off in this picture to take with me to Home Depot... just to make sure I got the same size replacement pulls. I was happy with the dark finish that was already on the cabinet because I wanted some of it to show through once I distressed it. I used some sand paper to scuff up the finish a bit so that the paint would adhere, and then I gave it two good coats of Behr Paint & Primer in one (LOVE that stuff!) in Beach White semi-gloss. After it dried, I used some 220 grit sand paper to hand distress it along the edges and then I put on some new hardware.

I'm TOTALLY in love with the finished product!

This is exactly what I pictured for the cottage and coastal feel I'm trying to achieve in our bedroom. Our head board and foot board are metal in an oil rubbed bronze finish, so this new hardware will coordinate perfectly! It always amazes me how you can totally change the look of a piece of furniture with just some paint and some sandpaper!

I'm linking up to...

The Girl Creative


Friday, June 25, 2010

Almost Giving Blood

So, one of the things on my list for June was to donate blood. About two weeks ago I started thinking hmmmm... do I just go to a Red Cross center? Do I find a blood drive? How do I find out where blood drives are being held? ... and then, an e-mail magically (not really) appeared in my inbox from Team In Training letting me know about a blood drive in my area that was being held yesterday. Perfect! So, I signed up for an appointment at 6:30 p.m. That would give Matt enough time to get home from work and stay with Andy while I went. Matt and I also decided to do a "date night in." So, I planned to pick up some take out on my way home and we would have a little date night right here (more on that later). I figured I'd be home no later than 8:00. I even made an effort to dress presentable and I brought my camera along to have the nurse take my picture for the blog! Well...

The Red Cross must just take appointments so that they can have some idea of how many people they will have at different times of the day, because when I got there, they were also accepting walk-ins, which I think is awesome, but just because you had an appointment didn't mean that you went ahead of walk-ins. So, I waited for about 40 minutes, but I didn't mind. It really was great that they had so many people to donate blood.

Then, I got called back and sat in a little cubicle with a nurse. She asked me a bunch of questions. She took my temperature, checked my blood pressure and pricked my finger to check my iron levels and make sure I was not anemic (I was not). I also watched a guy pass out (kinda scary!) and then wake up (sigh of relief). Then she left me to answer 50 questions on the computer. They were mostly questions about risky behavior and if I had lived in certain countries during certain dates and if I'd ever had any diseases. One of the questions was Are you pregnant or have you been pregnant in the past 6 weeks? So, I answered No. Because to my knowledge I'm not pregnant, and I know for sure I haven't been pregnant in the past 6 weeks! BUT... truth be told... this was the first month we started trying for baby #2. Since my brother is getting married in September and I'm in the wedding, I'm not exactly wanting to be pregnant by then, but given what it took to get pregnant with Andy, my doctor said to try for 3 months and if nothing, uh, happens, then try a round of Clomid. SOOOO.... I am of course assuming nothing will happen, so we can get 4 rounds of trying in before the wedding and then do whatever we have to do after that.

But, of course, there is always that chance... so I asked the nurse What are the repercussions to giving blood if you are pregnant? She asked me if there was even a chance I was pregnant and I told her, well, I guess there could be a chance, but it would be nothing short of a miracle if after trying to conceive for two years and needing a round of fertility drugs we just got PREGNANT on the first try! (I mean, I can't even fathom that!!). So, she called over the head nurse and they said Absolutely not! She said that since your body starts increasing it's blood volume to support the baby, the last thing you want to do is take blood away. I pointed out that I hadn't even missed my period yet... I was still a few days away... and she told me to get my period and then come back... So...

I'm moving Donate Blood to the July list (unless of course I know ahead of time that I won't be eligible to give blood (wink wink nod nod) I guess time will tell) and replacing it with returning an un-used work shirt to my old place of employment.

So, this post is already super long, but I just wanted to say that I loved having "date night in!" It was really nice! Matt and I were able to talk about things we probably wouldn't have talked about in a restaurant. We didn't pay for drinks or pay tip, so it was cheaper. We didn't have to worry about who would watch Andy... mostly, it was just nice to set aside time for ourselves instead of being busy working on different things around the house at night, or one of us on the computer and the other watching TV, etc. After dinner we watched a movie. It was nice and relaxing and something I want to start incorporating into every week! I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blog Withdrawal!

Okay, so I'm seriously going through withdrawal from not blogging! I can't believe I haven't posted anything in almost A WEEK! Geesh!!! So, since the last time that I posted, I turned another year older and I went out of town for four days. I had very limited access to the internet while I was in North Carolina and I feel like all I've done since I got back has been GO GO GO! I'm starting to realize that our summer has filled up with plans faster than I ever imagined! I'm afraid it's going to go by too fast! I can already tell that I am going to have to put in some extra effort to keep up with my resolutions this summer.

But... just because I've been out of town doesn't mean I've been slacking (too much!) on my list. I have been able to cross a few things off... now I just have to catch up on posts! Anyway, last week, I spent two nights doing nothing but watching the last 5 episodes of Grey's Anatomy online. My husband and I decided in March to cancel our cable. We were hardly watching TV and didn't feel like we were getting our money's worth out of it every month. We also haven't gotten any rabbit ears for our TV either. At the time I thought I would just keep watching the shows I had been watching on TV... online. It was funny how I thought I'd miss those shows, and then I guess never did because I hadn't watched anything online until last week.

I felt like I had to put it on my list to watch Grey's Anatomy because every time all my girlfriends would start talking about the season finale I would have to shoosh them! I knew if it didn't make it on my list, I would keep putting it off until it wasn't available online anymore. So, now I've watched all the episodes I had missed... and HOLY COW! Was NOT expecting all of that in the season finale! I think I'll probably keep up with the shows online next season.

I'm also crossing a small thing off my list tonight as well. I finally put a nail file, a pair of tweezers and some nail clippers in my purse. Those are the three items I find myself wishing I had in my purse over and over and over again and I'm always so annoyed with myself that I never keep a set in there! So, now they are in my purse in their own little pouch so that I can always find them with ease.

There are some other things on my list that are in progress. Currently it is "spring" cleaning my house. I'll post about this when I'm completely done and can cross it off. Today/tonight I tackled everything on my kitchen list (I broke everything down by "whole house" items and then by room). It's 12:42 a.m. and I'm still up because I have the oven on "self cleaning" mode and it still has thirty minutes left.... shoot me now! I have all the downstairs windows open, the range hood fan on and the ceiling fan on and I still feel a little loopy from the fumes! Suffice it to say I have never, ever cleaned an oven (by hand or otherwise) in my life, so I wasn't really sure what this would entail!

Okay, but just so that I can feel a sense of accomplishment before I collapse in my bed in twenty nine minutes, here is the list of things I did in the kitchen (by far the most involved of all the rooms!)
  • Wipe down cabinets
  • Clean fridge coils & vacuum behind fridge
  • Clean out and wipe down the inside of the fridge
  • Clean drawer organizers and silverware holder
  • Wipe down walls
  • Wipe down chairs
  • Clean & polish table
  • Clean trash can
  • Clean inside of dishwasher
  • Wipe down inside of exterior doors
  • Clean inside & out of microwave
  • Clean out & wipe down inside of lazy susan cabinet
  • Wipe down spice rack
  • Dust upper cabinet tops
  • Organize pantry
  • Clean under sink
  • Wipe down counter tops, sink & stove top
  • Clean dish rack & pan
  • Put out new sponge

I've never done a whole house type spring cleaning before. I have thoughts to share on this, but not tonight. It's time for me to go pass out now.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Okay, so I just changed one of my resolutions from check "How to Stop Worrying And Start Living" out of the library to Get a library card. I had to do it. Getting the library card was an event in and of itself and since they didn't have the book at that library, it's seeming a little unlikely that I will be able to check that book out this month... but we'll see.

Yesterday I decided to take Andy to the library. Since we moved into a different county last year, I needed to get a library card for the library near us, as my old one wasn't good in this county. So, we got to the library right when they opened at 10:00 a.m. I stopped at the desk on my way in and asked about getting a card. I took the paperwork and clip board with me to fill out while sitting in the children's area. Andy LOVED the library. He was looking at books. He was pointing out all of the fish and jungle animals on the walls. He was excited. We stayed in the kids area for almost an hour! At one point we did bring my paperwork up the desk along with my driver's license.

Then, things started to go down hill. Andy noticed the computers and ALL he wanted to do was play on the computer! Since I couldn't let him crash every computer he touched in the library, he was NOT HAPPY that I wasn't letting him do what he wanted to do. So, I took him to the computer to look up the book I wanted to check out. For some reason he DID NOT want to use THAT particular computer. So, I gave him one of the little pencils and scrap pieces of paper near the computer and let him draw.

They didn't even carry the book I wanted in this library.

When we went back up to the desk to get my library card and license Andy threw a complete fit. I couldn't just take him and leave the library because the lady had my license! So after several embarrassing minutes I got my card and my license and carried my child kicking and screaming out to the car.

We've been having issues with this all of a sudden. If he can't do what he wants to do when he wants to do it, he throws a tantrum. When we are at home, time outs work GREAT! No issues. It's when we are in public that I have a problem. And most of the time, he is completely fine out in public!!! But then there are days when I think I'm going to lose my mind.

The only errand I had to run yesterday was to go to the post office. This was after the library. Andy was fine in line, but for whatever reason did not want to go up to the counter. He waited until after the guy started processing my package and getting my stamps to throw a fit. So, I was holding him kicking and screaming while I tried to get my check card out of my wallet and pay. Then I carried him for the second time that day out of a public place while pitching a fit.


Today... he was his normal, happy, cute, sweet, well behaved self! I had a GREAT day with him today. As I do on most days... but I'm getting a glimpse of the "terrible two's" and it's making me really nervous!!!!! Oh, well. I guess every Mom goes through this. I'm just trying really hard to be consistent with him. I suppose that's all I can do.

Otherwise, I've started a list of everything I need to tackle for my "spring cleaning." I'll be working on that all next week, and I've delegated one of my items for the month to my husband to take care of this weekend.... he's going to finish nailing down the quarter round on our downstairs floors. We started putting in the hardwood floors A YEAR AGO. Like most other projects we tackle, they have been 99.9% finished for a while now, but for some reason we have some quarter round that is nailed in place, some that is cut and just layed in place and other that still needs to be cut and put down. It's driving me crazy. I put it on my list to either get Matt to do it or do it myself, it didn't matter. I just want it DONE.

So, while I'm in North Carolina this weekend pressure washing the front porch of our rental house and hauling a load of stuff to the landfill... Matt will be here nailing down quarter round. I feel like it's a fair trade. I'm also doing a Thirty~One party for a friend and visiting my Dad, so it's not like I'm driving 4 hours just to pressure wash a porch.... that's just a "bonus."

Otherwise, I'm trying to figure out how to simplify my life a little more. I feel over-scheduled. I think that I commit to too many things. Lately I've just been craving more family time and more time at home in general. It's something I'm going to have to be very conscious about working on. I want to feel a little more centered as a person. I guess that is a work in progress too.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Working With Super Glue

(Disclaimer: If you are planning to try and fix anything with super glue, you probably want to do the exact opposite of what I just did in order to avoid super gluing your fingers together.)

So, about a month ago, when I started trying to pick out a paint color for the office and figure out what we were going to do for a desk, etc.... my husband told me that he would like to have (and I quote) a "wall of awesome" for himself. No, I'm not kidding. This wall of awesome would include many of the various plaques and certificates that my in-laws saved for my husband over the years and recently returned to him. You would think that would include his college diploma, but since that was left in an unsealed box in the detached garage at the rental house we were living in... it's covered in mold. (We'll be ordering a new one) ... However... the plaque that my husband received for winning first place in a WATERMELON SEED SPITTING contest in the Cub Scouts remains in pristine condition. If only I had KNOWN he was an award winning watermelon seed spitter, I may have gone out with him for the first time sooner than I did! I don't know why he held that information back!

Okay, so I agreed to give him a small strip of wall in the office for his "wall of awesome" because I'm a nice person... and because all other design decisions in our house have been up to me... Soooooo as long as I'm doing this, I figured I should fix this cute hand print plaque that he made when he was five years old.

The top corner was completely broken off, and the side was partially broken, but still hanging on.

So, I rummaged around on the workbench in the garage for some super glue. I found an opened box with 6 tubes.

Mistake #1: Assuming none of the tubes were opened

I was smart enough not to use the glue on our counter tops, so I put a pile of paper underneath. I didn't consider using gloves because a) we don't have any and b) I saw NO REASON that I would have to touch the glue. After a few seconds of holding the tube (and NOT squeezing it yet) my fingers felt funny... then I noticed THAT particular tube had been opened and the glue was oozing out around the cap. I dropped the tube on the paper and ...

Mistake #2: Rubbed my fingers together

...rubbed my middle finger and my thumb together... why did I do that? WHO KNOWS!!! How dumb could I be! They briefly stuck TOGETHER... but I was able to get them apart. However, the top of two of my fingernails were glued to my skin and the tips of my fingers and thumbs were shriveled, hard and white.... coated in the glue.

So, with my left hand I did the next rational thing... I Googled "How to get super glue off your skin." Everything I read told me to soak my fingers in nail polish remover. Which I did. This released my nails from my skin... but my fingertips... not so much. Still shriveled, hard and white.

So, then I realized that the plaque was now secured to the paper... as was tube of glue. When I tried to remove the paper, it ripped the cracked part of the plaque completely off.

So, I got myself a new, UN-OPENED tube of super glue, took the plaque and broken pieces outside, glued it together without setting it down on anything.... and then set it in the sun on its non-glued side on our grill to dry.

And now it's fixed. I'm crossing it off my list. Who knows how long this stuff is going to stay on my fingers!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Putting In The Time

I've really been struggling lately with making the time for the things that are really important to me. I'm not really sure why. I think that sometimes I get overwhelmed with my life (especially if I am over scheduled) and I either just kind of shut down mentally, or I work on small things while I let the big things pile up and stress me out. Sometimes I think that my coping mechanism when I am stressed is to do as many random and insignificant tasks as possible, while avoiding the big things I should be working on. I suppose that way I still feel productive, but can still avoid dealing with things I don't want to deal with. Of course, this method never works and I just end up feeling more stressed and anxious, but man, is it hard to look at yourself and your habits objectively and try to make changes. Sigh.

So, what it comes down to is that I just need to start holding myself more accountable and just PUT IN THE TIME to work on the bigger things. I know that I'll be less stressed out and then actually have time for the little things. When I was working, it was easier to have someone else holding me accountable for things. Now that I'm staying at home, I'm finding that it's hard to be so self disciplined!

Now that my race is over and I don't have to just train for endurance, I would really like to focus on eating better and getting in shape. I have a hard time focusing on both. I know they should go hand in hand, but I have never been able to tackle making both a priority. I didn't lose any weight when I was training for the Myrtle Beach half marathon, but once the race was cancelled and I took a month off from training, I lost 15 lbs! It was just because I felt like I could focus on my eating. I am someone who can workout all I want, but if I'm not eating well, I won't lose weight.

I really want to keep running right now, but seriously, it's been over 100 degrees in Charleston lately and I would probably pass out if I tried to go out and run. So, last night I started the P90X workout with my husband in our garage. He's been doing it for three months now, and we've already had to go buy him new (smaller) pants! I just kind of put him in charge of my workouts. He made up the spreadsheets to track my reps and weight used for different exercises, he has us following the workout plan, all I have to do is show up. This means that I don't have to feel overwhelmed about planning workouts, AND, I don't have to hold myself accountable for actually working out. I'm not going to let Matt work out in the garage while I'm home doing something else, just because I don't feel like it. The buddy system works for me.

My biggest issue with eating healthy is lack of planning. If I actually plan meals and grocery shop accordingly, I'll eat relatively healthy. If not, well, then I tend to eat pretty poorly. I usually blame my lack of planning on being over scheduled, but really, I find the time to be lazy, or surf the internet or watch a show on Netflix, so I definitely have the time to meal plan.

I think that I'm going to start setting aside a "planning period" for myself on Sunday afternoons while Andy is napping. I might even leave the house so that I'm not distracted by other things, but it will give me some time to plan my week, plan our meals and feel less stressed with the start of each new week.

Oh, ya, and I'm crossing two things off my list...

#1 I submitted our railing application to our HOA. We would like to add some railings to our front porch. Of course, this has to get approved by the HOA, and because they want as much of our money as possible, you have to pay a $75 fee for architectural reviews... this is good for 1 calendar year. We had to pay this last year when we got our fence approved, so while we are covered for another week, I figured I'd better get our application in! We may decide not to do the railings, but at least the request is in. I know it sounds like we must live in some fancy gated community since they are so ridiculous about approving anything we plant in the yard and charging the review fees etc... but WE DON'T!!!! It drives me crazy! The HOA says it's because the builder still has control of the neighborhood and since they are still building and selling houses they want to make sure the neighborhood has a certain "feel"... blah blah blah. It does not use $75 worth of anyone's time to decide if we can plant an azalea!!!


#2 I re-programmed our thermostats. This was easy since I organized all my manuals! The old Colleen would have spent an hour searching for the manual to be able to do this! Anyway, somehow our downstairs thermostat was set for 71 degrees at night!!! Craziness! We don't even need the air on downstairs at night. So, even though I try to remember to turn it off at night, if I don't then we are wasting a WHOLE bunch of electricity! Anyway... it's done.

Geesh! This was a long post! I'll be surprised if anyone is still reading it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blah Day

So, I'm having a really hard time jumping back into the swing of things since I got back from California. Maybe I only have so much motivation reserved for a week and I used all of it up for the week running that race. Who knows!

Yesterday, I did absolutely nothing! Well, except parent my child... but I feel like I even did the least amount of parenting possible. This morning I did go visit two friends who live in the same neighborhood. One just had a baby 2 weeks ago and so we brought little Rory a gift (along with a Frappachino for Mama!) and the other is leaving tomorrow to go to New York for THE WHOLE SUMMER! Because she is awesome and is working on getting her certification to teach Montessori school. But, boy will she be missed!!!

Then we went and picked up my friend Megan's farm share for the week since she is out of town. That was fun! And I loved how my car smelled like basil for the whole ride home. So, like I said... still feeling unmotivated, so I picked things off my list that required me to do the least amount of moving around possible. I literally sat at the computer or on the phone ALL afternoon. BUT... I crossed some things off...

#1 I called to take care of some health insurance issues. Recently (as in 2 months ago) I got two bills in the mail from two different doctors appointments where it appeared as though my health insurance didn't pay a cent toward my care. So, the procrastinator that I am, I just now called to get that straightened out. My husband's work had switched providers for our health insurance and although I KNOW with 100% certainty that I gave them my NEW insurance card at my appointments, they still filed the claims to the old provider. So, now they are resubmitting and blah blah blah... hopefully this gets worked out. I HATE dealing with medical billing stuff!!!!

#2 I called GE to have them come and fix our dishwasher. Okay, so we closed on our house a YEAR ago. It was a brand new house. However the top rack of the dishwasher only slid part way out and then you had to PULL really hard to get it out the rest of the way. Either the wheels are too big for the track or the track is too small for the wheels. My point... it's been like this for a year, and I just now called to get it fixed. They will be here anytime during a 6 hour window in the afternoon on Tuesday. Six hours?? Honestly? Why not just say that you'll be here sometime on Tuesday??? Moving on...

#3 I set up direct deposit for my Thirty-One checks. Yaye! I'm loving being a consultant already! I think it's going to be a fun part time job for me.

#4 I downloaded the pictures off my camera memory card... all 431 of them. That's correct. Hadn't downloaded a darn thing off that card since December. Now I need to organize all the pictures into folders on my computer... eh! Another resolution for another month! Was NOT happening today! And finally...

#5 I ordered my thank you cards to send to everyone who made a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for my Team In Training! This was a fun one! I picked out a cute pattern from Shutterfly and uploaded the picture of me at the finish of the race and then added a nice note. It was obviously a little more expensive than just buying thank you cards and hand writing them, but I purposely waited until after I had run the race to send the cards so that I could do a picture of me at the finish line. I'm excited for them to come in the mail! Not quite so excited to address them all! Ha ha! That should have been a separate resolution on my list!

Otherwise, I've just been feeling kind of blah. I'm not really sure what it is, but I need to snap out of it and get back into the swing of things! I'm going to a girl's weekend trip tomorrow, so I'm sure that will help. When I get home I'm going to start working on refinishing the desk for the office. Projects always help keep the blahs away!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Proudest Moment

This was my proudest moment of the year thus far!

That was me on Sunday right after I crossed the finish line at the San Diego Rock n' Roll Half Marathon. I don't feel like I can put into words the affect this experience had on me. Besides being incredibly proud of raising $3,100 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and being incredibly proud of finishing a half marathon, I feel like I left this past weekend a changed person. I have never been a part of something that was so inspiring and so full of energy. Every time I ran past someone (I know, I was surprised that I ran past anyone! ha ha) that had pictures all over the back of their shirts of their honored patients, or mothers or fathers or sisters or brothers that they were running in memory of or in support of, I felt inspired. When I thought of the OVER $155 million dollars that has been raised over the past 13 years from this race to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I felt humbled to be a part of it. But mostly, I felt proud to be a part of something so important. Proud that I didn't quit. Proud that I ran the whole first SEVEN miles, walk/ran the next five and then somehow RAN that last mile. Proud that I was very conscious to take everything in from start to finish that day.

I thought a lot about my cousin Lisa during the race. She was the inspiration for me to sign up for this journey in the first place. I thought about her husband and her kids and her sister and her father and her nieces and nephew. I thought about how unfair it is that she isn't here anymore. I wanted to cry every time I saw someone running with a picture of a child on their shirt that said in memory of. I couldn't help thinking what if that was me? What if that was my husband? Or even worse for me... what if that was my child? And then I ran harder. I looked around at all of the amazing scenery around me. I soaked in the beauty of San Diego. I thought about how all of these people around me were running or walking this race because their lives had been touched by cancer in some way. It seemed so unfair that there were SO many people to run in support of or in memory of. And then I stopped feeling so sad and just felt blessed that all of these thirty nine THOUSAND people in this race felt moved enough to contribute to this fight against cancer. I cried during that last mile as I started to realize all that I had just accomplished. All that everyone there had accomplished. I missed my husband and I missed my son. I wished so badly that they could have been there in that moment... not so that they could be proud of me, but so that I could hug them and tell them I love them and tell them how blessed I feel to have them in my life... because never have I been so aware of that feeling. Never have I realized how careful I need to be not to take my family, my friends and the comforts of my life for granted.

When I crossed the finish line, all I could hear was my friend Lauren yelling my name! She had flown across the country from Massachusetts to meet me in San Diego. She got up at 6:30 a.m., took trolleys, shuttle buses and probably walked about four miles that day so that she could be at two places along the race course and at the finish line! She totally ignored the barrier and jumped right into the finishers lane so that she could take my picture and give me a hug and whip a bottle of water out of her bag and tell me how great I looked for just finishing 13.1 miles! Lauren is one of my very best and oldest friends. We don't see each other often enough and our friendship needed this weekend. I love her for many reasons, but on Sunday morning, I loved her for decorating the mirror in our bathroom like this...

It was 3:30 a.m. and I was already starting to cry reading all of the little inspirational sayings she had written on the little stars! I picked one out of the bunch to stick to the back of my race number. I looked down at it several times during the race to remind myself of the person I am trying to become and all of the changes I've been working on in my life this year. There were several times where just looking at that little star made all the difference in my race.

She also gave me a card and a little silver wish token with a star cut out. I made a wish much bigger than myself and then tied it to my sneaker and gave that day my all.

Now I'm back home, realizing that my body hates me every time I try and stand up and walk, and just trying to figure out how to keep this experience with me. How to remember how I felt on Sunday and how to build on the emotions that I'm still experiencing from the weekend. I know that I want to run another half marathon. That is FOR SURE something I never thought I'd say! I want to be able to run the whole 13.1 miles next time. I know that I want to donate more of my time to causes that keep me humbled and remind me of my place in this world. But most of all, I don't want to take anything in my life for granted... ever.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I can not believe that I'm already on the 6th month of my resolutions! I'm getting a slow start to the month because I'm busy getting ready to leave tomorrow for SAN DIEGO! Yippee!!! I'm so excited! I'm going to be doing the Rock n' Roll half marathon with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. My goal is to complete the race. I am going to be doing run/walk intervals for the whole 13.1 miles. I'm okay with this. At first I felt like I needed to be able to run the whole thing in order to feel like I truly succeeded at it, but I've come to terms with the fact that my body wasn't ready for that, and I've come a long way endurance wise since I started training!

I was supposed to do the half marathon in Myrtle Beach back in February, but it was cancelled due to snow. Since then, I've lost 15 lbs, so I think that has really helped me feel better while running and put less stress on my shins. I had a lot of problems with shin splints when I was training for Myrtle Beach.

I think that the thing I'm most proud of is that thanks to the generosity of my friends and family, I raised over $3,000!!!!! I am still just amazed at that amount!

So, tomorrow I'm going to take care of a few small things on my list before I leave (i.e. the things that only involve phone calls) and then I will be heading out to sunny California at noon! I'm feeling a little anxious about the race, sad to be leaving my family, but VERY excited to meet one of my best friend's from High School in San Diego! She's flying out tomorrow from Massachusetts to be my cheering squad. I am so grateful she is coming. However, this will be the longest that I've ever been away from Andy, and that's going to be really hard. BUT... we will have a laptop and a webcam so I can Skype with my little guy!

I'm going to try really hard to just soak this whole experience in and just give it my all on Sunday! So, if you are reading this and could say a little prayer or word of encouragement, I'd really appreciate it! The weather is supposed to be perfect ... no fluke snow storms! I'm ready to put my hard work to the test!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Introduction to Bible Study

I have never participated in a Bible study group. I guess I wasn't exactly sure what it entailed. I didn't realize that there are all kinds of curriculum and books covering various topics that you read and discuss life circumstances and how you can apply the teachings of the Bible to your life. I think that I literally thought you got together and studied passages from the Bible. I don't know if I should be embarrassed to admit that or not.

I have friends who regularly participate in Bible study groups, but I was never really all that interested because whenever I have tried to read my Bible, it's been short lived. I have tried really hard on a few occasions, but the terminology and the small writing just kind of wears me out. I really want to have a better understanding of the Bible passages, but I felt like there was something wrong with me since I didn't feel like I could sit and read through things with a good understanding. It wasn't until a conversation with my neighbor last week that I even realized there were different versions of the Bible and that I could get one that is written in more simple to comprehend language, with the actual verses written to the side.

Anyway, this neighbor was telling me how she wasn't that into the current book they were reading in Bible study. I asked her if there was a Bible study she had done that she really liked and she handed me the book Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl. After flipping through it, I asked her if I could borrow it and I added it to my list. It was a pretty quick read. The author is Lysa TerKeurst. She is the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries. I really enjoyed her style of writing. I could relate to pretty much everything she wrote about in the book.

There were two parts of the book, in particular, that I felt I could relate to. The first talked about how not to let yourself fall into a downward spiral of self doubt and inadequacy if you fail at any particular task in your day. This is definitely something that I struggle with. I have a hard time when I fail at something (which of course, happens quite frequently, as I'm sure it does for everyone) not letting my mind wander to ALL the other things I feel I have failed at. Before I know it my mood changes, my self esteem plummets and I feel like I'm a failure at my life. I appreciated reading ways to look at situations for what they are and not to treat them as a catalyst for a bad and frustrating day. I have mentioned it on here before, but this whole topic was really the main reason that I started this blog. I wanted to be able to stop judging my self worth by the things I DIDN'T accomplish during a day and start focusing on the things I DID accomplish, and the things I did do right, and the nice way I treated my husband, and the fun things I did with my son and the things I taught my son. I have to say that most days this is working! I still have times when I feel overwhelmed and I still have days where I feel like I can't do anything right and can't get anything done, but I'm learning different ways to cope with those feelings of inadequacy and move on and have a more positive outlook.

There is also a chapter in the book titled "But I Want What She Has." I try very hard to NOT have the grass must be greener attitude in my life, but to be truthful, I have to work very hard at it. I have those kinds of thoughts a lot and I need to have a discussion with myself about why I would rather have my life than anyone else's or my personality traits compared to anyone else's. I feel like I have gotten a lot better in this arena over the past several years, but this is something that I still struggle with at times. I loved the way that Lysa wrote this chapter. It was very relatable and gave me a good message to repeat to myself when needed. Here is a quote from the book: "Whenever I get an overly idyllic view of someone else's circumstances, I often remind myself out loud 'I am not equipped to handle what they have - both good and bad.'"
I feel like this message is soooo true. I am definitely one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason, even though you aren't going to know what that reason is right away. Sometimes it takes years to look back on an incident and realize that it put you on the path to where you are today, and suddenly you are grateful for the experience because even though it was terrible at the time, you wouldn't be where you are, or with the people that you are today without it having happened.

I need to be better about realizing that the things that occur in MY life are preparing me to handle the good and bad things that are yet to come in MY life. My life experiences do not prepare me to handle anyone else's life, but my own. Good and bad. There are still things that have happened in my life that I don't feel like I can look back on and say "Wow! Looking back, I'm really glad that happened!" and to be honest, even though I believe that everything happens for a reason, I'm not sure I'll ever get to a point where I can look back and find the good in some things, but I guess all I can do is try.

Until I read this book, I had not figured out what my daily resolution for June was going to be. Each month so far, I've had one resolution that needed to be carried out each day for the month. In January I gave up Coke, February I gave up baked goods and bread with dinner, March I gave up fast food, April I gave up Starbucks and May I walked the dogs every day. But for June... I hadn't decided what I was going to do until I read this book. Now I know that I would like to try and do a daily devotional every day of the month. I think that the quiet reflective time will help keep me centered during my day.