Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010!

Happy Halloween 2010!! Greg is taking the kids around this year and I have some time to blog as we have only gotten three trick-or-treaters so far. One of the wonderful things about having a blog is it's a sort of journal as well and I was able to look back to this exact time last year and see how far I've come with hopes and dreams and also how I've "detoured" a few times;-).

I just finished posting my Nov. goals on the refrigerator along with our Nov. family good deeds chart so I'm hoping to check this next year, Oct. 31, 2011 and have made amazing progress in each goal area.

Today I signed up for an online dialogue writing course here at the University and also applied for an author mentor program also local, so I'm hoping to continue to learn and become a much better writer.
Good wishes to all of you! Kai was not in the mood for pictures tonight, so here's Kirk with his fiercest looking Jedi Knight pose. Eileen

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Organized people rule the world and I'm not one of them;-)

Tonight I went on a cooking spree, with two crock pots on the counter top, 24 muffins and a casserole just finishing up in the oven. As a result of all this, I shouldn't have to cook for a week and will be unlikely to have a $20 lunch for two (Kai and I) because nothing was handy at home. I have told myself before, if I could just get into a routine of cooking one day a week and freezing/refrigerating the leftovers, we'd eat healthier and save a ton on food. But there is no set date and just getting a grocery list together before I leave to shop can be a hassle - but again I fantasize having a succinct, cost approved list, to shop on say Fridays, followed by Saturday cook-a-thon for a few hours, all dishes done and put away, and be eating healthy, cheap, and organized for life;-).

Then I did about three loads of laundry, and dumped them all on the floor to join about three other baskets full for a fold-a-thon while Kai watched Curious George and again thought if I could get us down to about seven sets of clothes each and be disciplined about doing it every Saturday morning, folding it, getting it put away and not even thinking about laundry until the following week, we'd have fewer clothes all over the kids' rooms floors and my closet and the hall and the bathrooms. We'd no longer have stuffed closets and drawers, and we'd dress well, cleanly, and cheaply for life;-)

I imagine having the mowing and basement cleanout on a schedule, knowing exactly where the "Mom where's my" items are at, and getting thank yous out the day it occurs to me one is due.

I admire folks like that and if you're one of those people, feel free to pass on some advice. I realize having systems and schedules make life easier and more rewarding and need to learn to be better about putting them in place.

There's something comforting also about living within self-imposed limits. Quite often the last few months I been to busy to focus on staying within budgeted amounts for food, etc. I am just glad to find the time to get to the store, but that sort of ad-hoc living doesn't sit well. In some weird way I can't quite define, I like knowing I "can't" run to the store and have to make do and find being creative and living within a budget often more comforting somehow (despite the fact we are doing fine financially). Similarly, when I stick to a certain routine for eating healthy or exercising, there are two rewards: the results of those choices, but also the good feeling from being self-disciplined enough to stick to process to achieve the goal. Too much anything, food, spending, clutter, behindness(if there is such a word), all feels yuck! (Not the best adjective for an aspiring author but you get the gist;-).

Aside from needing to learn organization, Kai and I had a fun day. We played some games, took Brandi to the vet, went out to that $20 lunch, went to the zoo and a playground. At three, I always notice his behavior is so much better when he has my full attention; he really thrives on it and I need to be more "present" with him daily. Good wishes!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Getting behind, feeling a bit low...

It's interesting how you can know so much what's good for you, but it can be so hard to do it! My house is getting too messy again. I went to a thrift store today, again, breaking my vow, and got some wonderful books and educational games, but it is more stuff coming in, when my goal is to reduce clutter and own less stuff. I know this as I pull into the parking lot, but it's a bit of an addiction. Second, I know full well I CANNOT stay out of candy and sweets in the house, but got two big bags of candy for trick or treators and ate about 17 mini-candy bars yesterday - YUCK!! I haven't gotten anything done on book two, haven't exercised in several days, and feel that bad feeling of not making progress in any area. So that's my whine for the evening. Otherwise, life is good. Kirk is home from school for teacher conferences to we went to the children's museum, then Greg's work had a Halloween party for the kids so we went. Kids are high on sugar as I type and cranky as all get out. Ooops, I said I was done with the whining. Will sign off. Good wishes. Eileen

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Manuscript sent off this morning for line edit! And Nov. goals - Want to join me??

I met a big milestone today and sent off the manuscript for the first book for a final line edit to the book doctor in Milwaukee. He said it will take about two weeks for a complete edit, then it's on finding an agent and publisher. I'm thrilled to be at this point!!!

At one point, due to a computer glitch, I lost about a week's worth of work - very discouraging, but I eventually made it up.

Today I'm planning to make a list of November goals - how to be a better person by the end of 30 days, straight off the How to Think Big book cassette tape I got free in a box of stuff at the side of the road after an auction.

Goals: Spend one hour each day for 20 days of the month thinking - pen in hand - and listing ideas. I've done that to good success in the past and just fallen off the wagon.

Do 20 minutes of yoga for 20 days this month (nameste yoga that we tape on the fitness channel)and lose two pounds by the end of the month through cutting way back on sugar to 30 grams a day (too many hours worked at Panera with yummy apple danishes for a reward not good) to be 135.7(ish;-).

Have the second book ready for its first edit by Nov. 30 (that's stretching it quite a bit, but would be wonderful - I'm up to page 20 and it will be around 80 pages).

Reread the book on Sibling rivalry or take parenting class on 123 Magic to help deal both with the kids fighting and with Kai's occasional temper tantrums.

Post four times on the company website to share learning ideas - Kirk at six can now do some fourth grade math and is the top of his class for reading and loves school - so it's nice to see the rewards of our educational games and books and posters, etc.

Do 20 good deeds and post a family good deed chart to focus more on kind acts and not so much on stuff.

Zero, zip, zilch trips to thrift stores, clothing stores, etc. for November. In a weak moment yesterday, I went to a thrift store I hadn't been to in months and bought $40 in kids books (50 cents each) and kids games ($1) each - the checkout woman asked me if I was a teacher;-). I also got a great pair of Kenneth Cole boots ($16). So my cravings should be sated for a bit??

Do one oil painting of a flower - my new hobby I've long wanted to do and been reading about, but never taken a paintbrush to hand.

Joy and good wishes to each of you on your journeys. Maybe someone will join me for November goals??

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A month of life lessons;-)

I can't believe a month has gone by since I last posted. It had been my dear hope that when I posted again I would open with the words that a new baby was on the way, but such is not the case. I also felt a bit hypocritical posting about frugality as we went through the very expensive IVF process. We are blessed that we can afford this route, in part due to years of being frugal, though, so maybe it's all connected and we are not giving up hope yet on that much longed for third child.

In other areas, life could not be better. I am LOVING the writing process, and will have the second draft ready for a line edit within about two weeks now. The phrase writing is rewriting is the truth!!! Writing/revising really is a skill, so I expect I will have to work very hard to finally get it right, but when I'm working, the hours just flow by, so I know there's something very good in that.

My pact with Greg to spend nothing except on food and necessities till January 1, 2011, has been broken about eight times, mostly on garden items. But that is still a lot less than it otherwise would have been, with far fewer trips to the thrift stores and garage sales. I've tried to use the extra time to declutter and have probably brought over 600 items to donate in the past few months, clothes, toys, books, household stuff, decorations, magazines, etc. I've done with several closets, which was a great feeling. Part of me is appalled at all the time I had to have spent buying those 600 items, not to mention the costs. I read recently about a movement among some parents to limit the number of toys their kids own to twenty. When I think how much tidier my house/closets/basement would be with just twenty toys, it has real appeal. But I also know that I wouldn't be satisfied with 20 plants in the garden, so can I impose that sort of retriction on the kids?

Greg turned 42 on Sunday, and we had a little celebration. I realized I had shared almost two decades of birthdays with him, and how blessed I am to go through life with such a wonderful person.

I finished reading the Happiness Project, which I loved, loved, loved. The author took a year to see if she could make her already good life even happier and brought her impressive research skills (she'd clerked for the Supreme Court) to the subject and found a myriad of ways to do so. I must have tabbed fifty pages before I got an overdue notice from the library.

Good wishes to a happy day! Eileen