Wrapping It Up

Christmas was nice. We saw lots of people, got spoiled by Santa, and ate lots of goodies. But now that the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over, it’s time to get back to catching up. The house is a disaster area once again thanks to gifts and residual from entertaining and wrapping. Add that to the stuff I hadn’t gotten to before Christmas, and I have a lot to do after Christmas. Can I get it all done before New Year’s? Probably not. But if I can at least get it done in the first week or so I’ll be happy. Then I can focus on the new stuff. Which brings me to….

This blog is changing. Yes, I know, already. For those of you who are not aware, I also write a blog entitled A Life You Want. Its purpose is to help others who want to change their lives so they can be happy and feel fulfilled. While writing that blog I’ve been focusing on general information and motivation, but it’s gotten to the point where I have to either start getting very specific or repeat information. So instead, I’ve decided to merge my two blogs and start following my own progress through life on a broader scale. A Life You Want focuses on five main life categories that people may want to change, and I personally want to make changes in all of them: Money, Career, Relationships, Health, and Making a Difference. Since I want to make changes in each category, I figure it’s a good way to motivate myself to keep pushing forward while still providing information and guidance for others who want to change their lives, too.

The change will take place January 1. I plan on writing a blog posting 5 days a week, one day devoted to each of the different categories. To learn more about what the current and new blogs will offer, check out A Life You Want on Monday, December 31. I will discuss the merger and what it will bring in more detail.

I’m excited about the change. Not only will it help my blog and ts brand grow, but it will also encourage me to stay on track and focused on my goals. I’ve been having difficulty focusing lately, and I think this might help. I’ll know where I stand on my goals at any given time, and I’ll be able to keep track of where I need to go and what I need to do.

But that’s next year. For now I still have things to wrap up. Talk to you next year!

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Baby’s First Christmas

Well, it’s Christmas, and I can’t wait to see how Avery reacts to what will surely be a mountain of gifts from Santa. He has, after all, been a very good boy this year!

I’ve always loved Christmas, and, though it’s been even crazier than usual this year, it’s also been more magical. This is our first year as a family, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. I try to look at things as they must appear to a little boy seeing them for the first time, and I can only imagine how exciting it all must be! The lights, the music, the presents…

We’ve had a busy few days, going house to house, visiting friends and family, spreading holiday cheer. This morning we’re heading to my parents’ house for breakfast and presents, then people are coming to us, so we can enjoy a relaxing afternoon filled with food and fun. The house I worked hard to clean will get destroyed again (but that’s why we get another week before New Year’s hits, right?). We’ll eat too much. We’ll stay up too late. But that’s what this day is for. And we’ll enjoy every minute.

I can only hope that each of you has a very merry Christmas. No matter where you are or how you plan on spending the day, take some time to just enjoy yourself. We all need a holiday once in a while! And, conveniently, today just happens to be one. Enjoy it!

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Magical Days

I love days off, especially productive ones. And yesterday was pretty darn productive.

It started with finishing (finally) decorating our tree and hanging our stockings. Of course I’m happy to finally have them set up, but the highlight was the fact that I finished before Avery got up. So when we were walking down the stairs, the tree and lighted garland on the banister came into view, and his eyes lit up. I loved watching his little face as he took it all in.

From there, however, the day moved on to less magical things. Loading and running the dishwasher, putting away a load of laundry, cleaning the bathroom while Avery was (supposed to be) napping. Then we went out shopping, and while I didn’t quite finish like I wanted to, I did make progress. I’m hoping one last trip to Kohls and one last trip to Aldi will complete my shopping for Christmas. Now I just need to find time to go!

After shopping I put things away, finally finished writing out thank you cards from Avery’s blessing, and prepped a couple of Christmas gifts to mail. (Thankfully Kevin has to go to the post office every day for work, so I won’t have to battle the lines!) All in all  a pretty good day, and I got to spend it with my peanut, so that was a good thing, too.

Today it’s back to work, which is a bummer, but I have to keep next week in sight. I have Sunday off, work Monday, then have Tuesday and Wednesday off. It’ll be a time to enjoy family and friends and forget about the “real world” for a bit. And even though I love the presents and the decorations, to me, that’s what it’s really all about: spending time with loved ones and enjoying the special moments only this time of year can bring. Happy Holidays!

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Priority Shift

I was doing pretty well. I was being productive, felt like I was making progress, and pleased with my course of action. Then Sandy Hook hit. And while I’m still being productive, and still making progress, I now have this pain in my gut that won’t go away. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m stressed, but now it just feels like a lingering sadness.

I’ve been hugging Avery extra hard these days. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to lose him. I hope I never have to find out. My heart goes out to those whose lives have been torn apart by this. But if anything, it has reinforced to me the importance of appreciating what we have, who we have, and the lives we share.

It also encourages us to reevaluate our priorities. Tragedies like hurricanes and tornadoes are pretty bad. But many people walked away from those incidents having only lost material possessions. Devastating, yes, but those things are replaceable. People are not. I can sense a shift in my own priorities, as I am a bit more determined to focus on my relationships than the other things that need changing my life. Though I still need to worry about the money stuff and the job stuff, the people stuff matters more, and I am going to try to make the moments count a bit more.

Now more than ever I want to make Avery’s life happy, special and magical. If I let myself dwell on the tragedies that happen, his life will be spent in fear.  That is not the life I want for him. And I don’t think that is the life he would want for himself. So instead, we will focus on the experiences, the time together, the joy in each new thing he learns.

I was making the next couple of weeks a time to catch up. And it still will be in many respects. But rather than wait until the new year to work on my relationships, that is getting added to the to do list now. Because the people I love are the most precious part of my life, and they deserve to be top priority. Each day is a gift with them, and if anything can be taken away from the tragedy that happened on Friday, it is that.

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Next Steps

Yesterday was a super-productive day, and it definitely made me feel a little better, especially when it comes to my new goal of catching up. Here’s what I did:

Housework: Did 2 loads of laundry, worked on clearing up the kitchen table a bit, unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned baby bottles, went grocery shopping (yay, full cabinets again!)

Money: Closed a few bank accounts I’ve been meaning to, opened accounts for Avery (a regular savings account and a CHET 529 savings account), sold a few more items on ebay and got them ready to ship

Christmas (yes, I’ve added Christmas to the list — I was definitely feeling behind in holiday prep, and less than 2 weeks to go!): Went shopping and crossed several people off the list

Next up I’ll be working a bit more on housework, money, and Christmas. Today I hope to finish cleaning the kitchen and the living room, pay some bills, and put up (finally!) the Christmas tree and stockings. Also, during my lunch break at work, I hope to make a list of those million-and-one little things that need doing so I can start tackling those, too. I also want to make my meal plan for the rest of the month now that I have more groceries to work with. Knowing what’s for dinner each night eases a bit of stress; it’s one less thing to worry about. And this way I’ll know that we have enough food to last us — I hope!

I won’t have another day off until Sunday, so I won’t be able to tackle any big projects until then. But I have a little time tomorrow morning, and I have some time to myself Saturday night, once Avery’s in bed, because Kevin’s going to see a wrestling show. Perhaps at the very least I can cross some things off the list I’m making today.

I’m feeling good about this. I have to keep reminding myself that I can’t start any new projects that I’ve been wanting to, but overall I think it’s going well. I’m starting to feel a little more in control, and that’s always a good thing. Two and a half weeks to go! Can I make it?

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Playing catch-up

I have come to the conclusion that the reason I am unhappy so often is because I often feel like I’ve fallen behind — and so I constantly feel like I have to play catch-up. Behind at work. Behind with the housework. Behind in my writing career. Behind with money. Behind with time. Sometimes I feel like I’ve gotten so far behind that I’ll never catch up, never mind get ahead.

That being said, my new goal is to feel caught up. Then I can focus on moving forward. I’m hoping I’ll be able to get there by the end of this year, since I have hopes and plans for the new year that I would hate to put on the back burner. So that is what I shall do: catch up.

So what do I have to catch up in? Perhaps we should start the list so I know what I have to do and what I have to make time for:

  • I have to catch up with housework. My house is far from clean, and it bothers me every day. I manage to keep up (mostly) with the laundry, and Kevin helps with the dishes. But overall the house is a mess.
  • I have to catch up with money. Don’t get me wrong; we’re not late on any of our bills. But it bothers me that our credit cards aren’t clear, that I don’t have a good plan to get them clear, and that it feels like we’re constantly adding to them instead of subtracting. Unfortunately, to take care of this one I may need to figure out a way to bring in money.
  • I have to catch up at work. This one I’m doing OK with, but it really depends on the day. Some days get so crazy that I feel like I’m slacking, even though I’m constantly busy. Some days I’m able to make a little headway, so it kind of makes up for crazy days. But somehow it feels like I can never work as quickly as my coworkers, and I can’t figure out why…
  • I need to catch up in my marriage. I love my husband, and I know he loves me. But between my crazy schedule of work/career/baby, I know our relationship has suffered. I need to figure out a way to get that back on track.
  • I have to catch up with the million and one little tasks that I’ve been meaning to take care of. Each one by itself doesn’t take a long time, but add them all up and we’ve got a big undertaking. If I can catch up, then I can get to the point where I just take care of things, instead of add them to the list.
  • I have to catch up with my marketing. I keep making lists of things to do, places to contact, ideas to implement, but I never seem to actually do any of it. Once in a while something will get done, but not nearly consistently enough. And if I want to move forward in my career, I have to take care of the little stuff I’m not looking forward to.
  • I have to catch up with “me” time. I’ve pretty much forgotten at this point what it is to relax and just take some time to unwind. Everything is about multi-tasking and being productive since there’s so much to do.

Oh my, that list got longer than anticipated. No wonder I’ve been feeling overwhelmed! Catching up should be interesting. I guess now I just have to figure out what I’ll tackle first!

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Finding Time

So not much progress was made on Thursday. I spent the bulk of the day getting ready for the show, so I didn’t get a chance to work on my websites. And the show wasn’t that great, so I didn’t make much money (though, thankfully, I didn’t lose money, either). I guess I’ll have to keep posting on ebay and hope I keep having success with that!

Speaking of which, ebay is on the list of things to do today. I still have to put away all the boxes and bins from the show on Thursday, but in the meantime I also want to pull out a bunch of items to list on ebay. Most of the listings I had up ended yesterday, so I need a fresh batch to draw in customers. I need to bring in money somehow!

Also on the list is hitting the bank and perhaps doing a little holiday shopping. We had a busy weekend, so we didn’t make any progress on the Christmas stuff, either, and I really need to get going on it. Saturday night we got together with my parents and brother and sister-in-law for dinner, and on Sunday we had a Blessing ceremony for Avery, which took up most of the day. Available time with Kevin is in short supply, so I don’t know when we’re going to get around to putting up the tree and stockings! I guess we’ll just have to fit it in one of these days.

Busy busy! Though what else is new, right? I just need to squeeze in time here and there to get care of everything. It’ll happen. I have to believe that! Otherwise I’ll really be a stressed-out mess. But today is my day off, and I can usually get a lot accomplished, so I hope my next posting will highlight how much wonderful progress I’ve made on everything. Maybe by then I will be in a much more comfortable place. Here’s hoping!

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