Saturday, January 8, 2011

It's All About Me Today. After The Kids Are Taken Care Of, Anyway.

I've decided to make today all about me.  Or as much as a mom can make a day all about her, anyway. 

The boyfriend was more of a jerk than normal Thursday night and said something to one of the girls that really upset me.  Usually when he leaves me in tears or in shock or in a complete state of anger or whatever he doesn't agree that I should be upset and doesn't do anything about it and goes on with his life as with nothing ever happened.  But there are times when he seems to realize what he did was probably not the best move and tries to compensate for it by all of a sudden being the boyfriend everyone would want.  This always only lasts about 2 days on average, but at least during those 2 days he helps around the house and with the kids and makes a big effort to actually pay attention to and be somewhat loving towards the girls. 

Last night was one of those times.  He also bought pancake mix on his way home from work so I knew at the very least it was going to continue through this morning.  The girls had a basketball game to cheer for this afternoon and went to their dad's for the night after so he only needed to make it through about 1 pm.

So I decided to take advantage of this and sleep in.  Since I've hurt my leg I've had to sleep on the couch (I live in an old craftsman home that is high on the charm but in a lot of areas you can see how old it is... like on the narrow, steep staircase that my crutches, boot, and I would likely be no match for) and one of the results of that is that someone else always has to get the baby up and bring him downstairs.  Usually my mom or dad is here in the mornings to do this for me, but if the boyfriend is here, that job falls to him. 

I knew he would have to get up when the baby did (he hates this, but I'm happy to remind him that at least now that he's getting up with the baby in the morning... for the first time in 14 months... at least the baby is sleeping through the night now.... is it wrong that I want to point that out?) and I knew I'd be hearing them come downstairs, but I was determined to tune them out.

And I did!  I woke up a couple of times, and greeted all the kids from my perch sleeping on the couch, but for the most part I was able to sleep until 10 am.  This is not common!!!  I loved every second of it.  I heard the girls wake up.  I heard them all waiting not very patiently for pancakes (even though he talked Olivia, my pancake loving daughter into having his fave.. waffles.. instead. 

I finally got up and immediately got in the shower.  This may seem like not a big deal at all, but trust me, even without the leg injury I'm doing pretty good if I can get a shower in every other day.  More like every 3rd day.  But the kids were playing nicely with each other in the playroom and I had the house mostly cleaned yesterday and I was making this day about me!!

I even turned my daughter away when she tried to come in while I was going to the bathroom.  Moms know this is not an easy feat!

I got the girls all packed and ready for their dads, and got the baby down for a nap, and the boyfriend actually helped to finish cleaning up the house.  Everything is in good shape for the day. 

So I'm going out tonight!  I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not going to be a hot night on the town or anything, I'm on crutches and we've got 2" of snow outside for Pete's sake.  But I am going out of the house.  Without kids.  And without the boyfriend.  And I'm pretty excited about it.  My mom is going to chauffeur me to return some Christmas presents that the kids got and exchange them and we may go to dinner and see a movie. 

A night out on the town with my mom may not seem like a big night of fun or anything having to do with Living My Best Life, but trust me, it is.  I love my mom and I love hanging out with her... she's so much fun.  We have a great time together and I always enjoy when I get to be with her without the kids, because even though she really really loves my kiddos, I like to give her a break from that whenever possible.  So tonight is going to be one of those nights!  She'll still have to do a little extra work because of my situation but it won't be nearly as hard as it was for her to say, take me on my crutches and my 2 younger kids to the grocery store after my doctor's appointment the day.  It's safe to say she probably needed 2 days of rest after that little adventure.

So, yay for me!  Slept in super late (still feel tired, though, how's that possible?).  Have a clean house and a happy baby and 2 cute little cheerleader girlies gone for the night.  And now I'm going out.  Sometimes you just have to take a day for you, right? 

Teenagers Are Known To Be Super Reliable, Right?

Clearly Blogger hates me.  Or Blogspot.  Whichever.  Apparently they both end up in the same place.  I sign on to blogger but my url shows blogspot.  Whatevs.  My point is that it keeps not letting me log on, and I'm very frustrated about it.  Oh well I'm on now so yet again I have a late post but I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  I tried to get on in time.  No luck.  But I'm on now so here goes.

Not much to report today in the Best Life Living area, but I did make some small steps...

I'm kind of nervous about babysitters.  Aren't most moms?  I mean seriously, other than my mom, there have only been a handful of people that have ever stayed with my kids, and finding a teenager for afternoon, evening, and weekend backup is something that has always scared me quite a bit. 

I had one in the city where I used to live, a daughter of a friend of mine, and she was great and the girls loved her.  But she got her license and a job and we moved farther away and it just didn't really work out after that. 

I tried another daughter or another friend who has practically enough babysitting experience to have raised a 3 year old from birth.  She was very sweet, but she turned down my next few requests, (why??? I try and tell myself she was always truly busy and it had nothing to do with the screams from my then 3 month old son who didn't want anyone in the world to hold him other than me and my mom... funny, as I type that, I realize that 11 months later not much has changed on that front... but I digress) and then she moved to another state for college.

On the suggestion of my best friend I tried another.  This one was going to be pretty regular-- a few hours each week and a couple Saturdays a month, mostly just for the baby.  She was a very nice girl.  But she never spoke.  I tried and tried to get her to talk.  I tried to check in on the baby and could barely get 2 words out of her on the phone.  Then there were about 3 times in a row where the baby was inside the makeshift play area (one of those hexagonal gate thingies that we set up in living room) and she was sitting outside the gate texting.  Don't get me wrong, I don't spend every waking hour engaging my children, but I started to wonder if she ever got inside the gate with him.  One day she had all 3 kids.  The girls, who LOVE babysitters, were of course excited she was here.  But later when I asked my older daughter what she played with them she said, "she told us she couldn't play with us because she had to watch Brody."  Except I had never actually seen evidence of her actually "watching" Brody.  Just texting.  I hate confrontation but since we were talking about my kids, I tried to plan how I would approach this with her, especially knowing I probably wouldn't get too many words back, but as luck would have it right around that time my work schedule changed and I didn't need her anymore.  Problem solved.  LOL

So it's been several months and I've been very gun-shy about finding a new teenager.  But it's clear I need one.  My mom can't fill in every single time I need a sitter (which she's been doing for quite some time, and as much as I promise myself every week not to ask her for extra on top of what's already scheduled, I always end up adding an average of 2-3 more requests on her).  Plus, she's leaving for Florida next week for 3 weeks.  It's time to bite the bullet.  It's even more important now because not only would I have needed extra help anyway, but I'm on the crutches which pretty much prohibits me from carrying the baby around and begs the need for extra help anyway.

So I put some feelers out and I got a name.  And as it turns out, she's literally my next door neighbor.  I've met her parents a few times, and they are super nice, but we've never really forged a relationship.  Probably because they seem to be a pretty good couple and I'm currently one half of a not very good couple and not only do I not have much extra time to make friends because I don't get much help with the kids or the house but I also am generally embarrassed to let anyone in on how sucky a relationship I'm actually in.  They told me they had 2 babysitting aged daughters but I've never met the daughters or obviously asked for their services.  I thought it would probably be a great match, given that they live right next door to me, but again... gun-shy.

OK so I'm the queen of tangents, I know.  So I was given the number for my neighbor's cell yesterday but couldn't bring myself to make the call.  This morning though I decided it was time to buck up and make the call.  I did, and I got voice mail.  I was kind of happy to be able to leave a message because I was still a little nervous, but as the day went on I started thinking, this is a really good idea, this could really work out great, I'm really glad I made the call.

I told myself, I'm sure this girl is very sweet and the girls are for sure going to love her and Brody will... learn to tolerate her, I'm sure of it. 

AND, I thought, there could be an added bonus in this.  I could get a great new friend out of it!  I started imagining having drinks on each other's porches with my neighbor.  My neighbor popping in to stay with the baby for 5 minutes while I run one of the girls to cheerleading or baton or wherever.  Finally getting a workout buddy and hitting the gym seriously with my neighbor while her daughter stays with the kids.  Commiserating with my neighbor about what a sucky life mine has turned into until we decide to open a home based business together and she fixes me up with some amazingly sweet, gorgeous, rich, family oriented man that works with her husband. 

Yeah.  I'm a sad case.  There's no denying it.  I decided I should probably stop thinking about ways to stalk the mom and just be hopeful that the daughter will work out as a great babysitter.

I have a lot of great friends, don't get me wrong.  But they are all as busy as I am with everything that goes on in their lives, and they are all ensconced in a nice happy relationship so they don't have time to deal with my unhappy relationship or pinch in to help out with my basic single mom-ness.  So I sometimes do daydream about finding the perfect friend.  But I won't burden my neighbor with stalking her into being this person. Not yet anyway.  :)

Seriously though, I do see these single moms on tv or read about them in magazines who have all of these friends that are like a super support system for them.  They help with babysitting, errand running, and all sorts of other things that are keys to success for a single mom.  I want one of these friends, I really do.  I don't begrudge my friends for not having the time to be that friend to me... they all have a ton of kids themselves, but I would love to find a friend like this.  Although I do wonder if they only exist on tv. 

My neighbor got back to me this evening and we had a great conversation.  She and her daughter are coming over tomorrow to meet my kids and discuss some ways that the daughter can help.  I'm very excited about it.  And my neighbor and I did really have a great conversation.  I have to add that she mentioned a couple of times how much she's wanted to get to know her neighbors and make new friends in town... I swear I'm not going to start stalking her, but I do have some hope that maybe she might make a good new friend.  And we can never have too many friends, right?

So tomorrow we'll see how things pan out with the new possible babysitter, but I have to say, my hopes are high that this is going to turn out to be a good thing for me and the kids.  If the kids like her, and if she's willing to spend time with them and not just text the whole time she's here, I'll be so thrilled to have someone so close by that can come through in a pinch for me.  And if Brody lets her hold him, she's hired.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Sense Of Humor Is A Great Thing To Possess. Especially When You Don't Own Much Else.

I started this blog for a few reasons.  The first was to get myself writing, which I love, and since I'm trying to Live My Best Life I figured that doing something I love would only help.  The next reason was to keep myself in check on my quest.  If I know I have to post something every day, I am forced to do something every day to meet my goals.  And finally I wanted to find an outlet to tell my story (stories!) and make people laugh, both of which are also things that I love to do. 

What I'm finding out though is that my blog is turning out much more informational than comedic.  That is not really my goal, but I think I'm just getting into the swing of letting anyone who is interested in on every detail of my life and I feel compelled to let them all know why all of this is going on, or how I got here in the first place.  That may not be as interesting to everyone as a comedic retelling of my life's events, but it is turning into something kind of cathartic for me. 

I feel like soon I will find my groove a little bit and get a little less nervous about putting all of this out there and will try and make these a little more fun to read but for now I can only hope that they're at least interesting enough to keep your attention until I get there.  I mean, really, who doesn't want to hear about people who are a Hot Mess, right?  :) 

The Most Indecisive Person On The Planet.

I went to college for a long time.  Several colleges, actually.  It's kind of the family joke (or is it I'm kind of the family joke?  Eh-- semantics).  I am fairly intelligent I guess.  Not a genius, by any stretch of the imagination, but I can hold my own.  And I always did very well in school without too much effort.  But I have never had any light bulb go off in my head or any "aha" moment in life that said, that is what I want to do with my life.  The only thing I knew for sure I wanted to do was to be a mom.  Check!  But a career path?  Nothing ever really came to me.

I remember in high school one of my favorite teachers talking to me about what I wanted to do with my life and I said something like, "I don't know... I'll probably end up being a teacher like everyone else in my family."  He said, "Don't do that.  You're too smart to be a teacher."  I don't think he meant that only the dumb should be molding the world's young minds, just that he apparently thought I had gifts that would be better put to use elsewhere.  I'm pretty sure he was wrong though.

I also remember a similar conversation with another one of my favorite teachers (I liked school, I liked most of my teachers, ya I guess I'm a nerd).  This one said to me, "You'll probably end up being a teacher like everyone else in your family."  I felt like he was trying to seal the deal on a fate I thought I wanted to escape, but I started to think, would being a teacher be so bad?  I liked my teachers, wouldn't kids like me too?  I had a major desire to learn new things (along with a major desire to skip as much school as possible and stay part of the in crowd, but I managed to do a halfway decent job at balancing both of those), wouldn't I get to teach kids who would love to learn to?  (The answers to those questions turned out to be, some of them, and even fewer of them, in case you were curious.)

There was yet another woman at my high school who wasn't a teacher but rather the curriculum coordinator who started to make it her life's mission to convince me that I had to make the decision about how I was going to spend the rest of my life.  Looking back I'm guessing it wasn't really her life's mission, and even then I knew that she was only looking out for me because she liked me, but seriously I tried to avoid that woman in the halls at all costs.  I felt like I broke her heart a little bit more every time I told her I still didn't know what I wanted to do with my life.

I graduated very near the top of my class (class of like 90, so it's really not as great an accomplishment as it sounds) and started college majoring in... undecided.  Soon (like, after 1 quarter) I got homesick and convinced my parents that it was the right thing for me to transfer closer to home.  I started taking classes at our local community college until I could get accepted as a transfer student into our state's biggest institution of higher learning.  I started there shortly after and I majored in... business.  Why business?  No idea.  I think I had some sort of thought that it would be cool and fun to own some sort of cool and fun business and be my own boss.  That is probably true, but it soon occurred to me that I really hated numbers and hated even more the idea of an 80 hour work week which is what I would likely be looking at if I owned my own business.  And that's to say nothing of how in the world I would come up with the money to start a business.  That coupled with my apparently serious indecisive nature (what kind of business would I start???) told me it was time to pursue something else.

Oh yeah, another thing that kind of got in the way of that plan, or any plans having to do with school and learning and succeeding in life was that I quickly figured out that living at home, with many of my friends nearby, and many of my friends living on campus, that I could pretty much party whenever I wanted.  So.. I did.  And I skipped some classes.  A LOT of classes.  And I got the first D of my life.  Followed quickly by my first E.  And then a few more of each.  Academic Probation, Academic Improvement, and then a polite little letter asking me nicely to leave their fine institution until I could get my act together.  So it was back to the community college for me until I could, well, get my act together. 

After a million or so other bad decisions in my life I finally decided I had to graduate in something so I made it my life's mission to get a degree.  In what?  Education.  Sure.  Why not.  So I transferred to my 4th school on what I lovingly refer to my "tour of state colleges" and buckled down and got lots of As and a few Bs and a nice shiny little degree in English Education.

Then I got a teaching job.  And had decided by about day 3 that I had made the biggest mistake of my life.  By day 11 I was sobbing begging my parents and my boyfriend (future ex-husband) to let me quit.  My dad said, buck up and finish this.  You have to at least finish the year, then you can change your mind if you want.  For the next 9ish months that was my main goal in life: to finish out that year and get the heck out as fast as I could.  Had I stuck with it it's entirely possible that it would've gotten easier for me, and I would by lying if I said that there were some rewarding moments during that year.  But, then again, I could've hated every other second I spent teaching.  Who knows.  What I do know is, I got out of teaching as fast as I could.

And now here I am... 10 years, 1 failed marriage, 1 ruined credit report, and 3 kids later and I still don't know what in the H I want to do with my life.  I've gone back to school to take more classes a few times since I graduated (I even went through a lengthy, somewhat humiliating process to get that one school to say, ok, we'll let you come back if you promise to get As this time).  And I've thought about what I would do if I went back a million times.  Something always gets in the way.  Money.  Kids.  Time.  Fear.  Whatever.  I love school, though.  I am being totally honest when I say this: I would be a student for the rest of my life if I had that luxury.  I would take every class I ever wanted to take, learn as much as I possibly could, become as "well-rounded" as they get, if it were something I could feasibly do.  But I can't.  I should go back.  I will go back.  But I need to make some sort of decision soon about what I will do once I'm back.  What classes will I take?  What degree will I pursue?  What is it that I really want out of life???  Who knows if I ever figure this out.  In the meantime, it's time I start the process of getting something done toward this end, though.

So today, on this 6th day the the quest to Live My Best Life, I filled out the FAFSA.  I want to go back to school, but I will need help.  I can barely pay bills every month so there's no way I can add tuition onto that, and one of my bills is already a pretty hefty student loan payment so that's not an option either.  I'm almost sure that I won't get very far with the FAFSA by way of grants, but that is my first step, because grants and scholarships are what I need.  I'm a single mom of 3 kids with a desire to better herself; there's got to be something out there that can help me!  This was just a first step... I will need to start scouring the web looking for other sources of free money so expect to hear more about that soon. 

It's 12:02 am so I've missed my deadline again.  I started a little late tonight but I didn't think I was going to write so much.  I was thinking, oh tonight it will be a nice, short little blog about starting the process to try and go back to school, but instead I got wrapped up in what has led me to this point.  Again.  :)  Hopefully soon, dear readers (if there are any of you out there), I will have brought you all up to speed on every single aspect of my life so I can just post something that won't take you quite so long to read.  For now though... good night!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gestures In Good Faith Are Good For The Soul... I Hope

OK so I spent 3 hours last night trying to post yesterday's entry and Blogger apparently had other ideas.  Like it didn't feel like working or letting me post anything.  So this is what I would've discussed yesterday.  With any luck, tonight when I log back on to post for today Blogger will be more cooperative.

I'm not sure how much I got accomplished on my quest today (yesterday) but I do have a few good things to report.  As I mentioned in my first post, I have a pretty rocky relationship with my ex-husband.  Without wanting to full on bash him I will say that he often has trouble staying, for lack of a better word, even.  By that I mean some days he's fine and happy go lucky as the next guy and other days he is on a warpath and the missile is usually pointed directly at me.  Sometimes the happy, nice guy stays around for a few days or weeks, and there have even been occasions where he's been around for a couple of months at a time.  But the Kim Jong Il in him always returns, and I am always kind of anxious wondering which person I'm going to talk to on any particular day.  I should say, that the Kim Jong Il in him seriously brings out the Catherine di Medici in me lest you think I feel like I am the saintly one who never contributes to any of this drama, but I will say that generally my Mrs. Hyde only shows up in retaliation, not as the aggressor. 

So anyway this is an argument we've had quite a bit over the years, and I know that there are a million single moms out there who have probably dealt with things very similar from their exes.  He does pay child support (save a few times here and there when he's been fired and without a job for months at a time) and regardless of anything else I will say about him, he DOES love the girls and enjoys spending time with them and is for the most part a pretty good dad when they're with him.  I'm sure there are quite a few areas in which he could improve, but I know there are areas I could improve my good mom-ness as well so I try not to dwell on those things too much (too much). 

The money thing has always been a roadblock in our ability to get along as parents.  Shortly after he was ordered to pay child support after our divorce he petitioned to have the amount lowered, which is upsetting to me as a mom.  Why wouldn't you want to give every penny you had to your kids?  I know I do.  Why doesn't he?  Just like so many dads out there, I know that he struggles with this thought of "who gets the money."  Like, I'm giving all this money every month but how much of it goes to the girls and how much goes to Tracy?  I've argued with the boyfriend about this many times because he has the same thoughts about the child support he pays his ex-wife.  He says, I know she is buying groceries with that money or putting gas in her car or paying her gas bill... Um, of COURSE she is.  Because she's FEEDING your daughter, DRIVING her everywhere she needs to go, and PROVIDING heat and therefore life for her.  How hard is it to understand that all of these things contribute to the upbringing of your child?  I don't know but I've talked to a lot of other single moms who face the same thing so I know that I (and the boyfriend's ex-wife) are not alone in dealing with this problem.

My ex is also supposed to insure our daughters and pay for half of their medical bills, neither of which he's ever done.  There was a period of about 4 months after the hearing in which he petitioned to lower the child support that he did add them to his insurance, but then he lost that job and hasn't had a job since that has offered insurance for them (from what he tells me, anyway).  And when it comes to the medical bills the beat response is always "I don't have any extra money, sorry can't help right now."  So I've paid for all of those myself, including 2 surgeries for our younger daughter.  And let me be clear when I say, I sure didn't have the money, but I guess the difference was that I didn't see a choice in the matter, and paid their bills.

So on top of the medical bills as my daughters have gotten older they've started to dip their toes into the water a little with some activities and sports.  Over the past year or two, we've done gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer, baton, swimming lessons, and also tutoring when my older daughter needed some help learning to read.  For the most part (he did share the cost of the 1st session of cheerleading, and also their first go at soccer and gymnastics which was through our local Y and therefore, extremely cheap) the cost of all of these have come out of my pocket.  (Or my dad's, who has a strong belief in the importance of these activities and the joy to which it brings the girls and wants to make sure they get the opportunity, so in the absence of help from their own father, papa has definitely pitched in a LOT to help out when needed.)  Then there are the constant stream of school pictures, school fees, school lunches, field trips, blah blah blah... none of which my ex contributes to (again, a big thanks to my dad here because he often pitches in for these things as well!). 

I've talked to him about this so many times, but the response is always something of the combined, "I don't have the money" and "that's what I pay you child support for."  I completely disagree with this on a couple of levels.  I don't have the money either, but I try and figure it out for the well-being of my kiddos.  And I don't think it's what he pays child support for.  I think that money goes to their food, shelter, clothing, day care, and other things that provide their basic well being.  And the child support we get from their dad is not even close to half of those costs.  The "extras" are just that... extra.  I sometimes can't come up with the money for something I want to be able to let them do, and so they don't do it, but whenever I can come up with the money for these things, it's always "extra" on top of our monthly budget and bills that go toward their daily life.  As a result of these conflicting opinions their dad and I have about these things, I have a major problem paying for all of their activities but then letting him know about everything so he can go and watch and enjoy the benefits of what I struggle to provide but to which he doesn't contribute.  This may be wrong of me, but I can't help feeling this way.  I've gone back and forth about it a million times, but I just have a major problem with him not wanting to try and save money or set aside money to contribute to these things but still expecting me to share the enjoyment of it all.  In a rather heated argument on the subject at one time, I am both ashamed and proud to say that I responded, "I don't have to scrimp and save to come up with the money to pay for them to be in all of these activities and let you reap the benefits of all of it.  I already pay for all of their health insurance and medical bills and make sure they're healthy and let you reap the benefits of that."  So truthfully, probably not the nicest thing I could have said, but truthfully, it's how I feel. 

OK so like all of my blogs that's a long way around to get to today but I can't help it.  Isn't backstory important?  Don't you want to know the things that have brought me to this point and the reasons why it is important for me to change and improve?  I guess you might not... so if that's he case I might encourage you to skim through my blogs to get to the meat of the days' progress and skip the backstory, but if you have the time or the interest, please enjoy learning about what makes my life the Hot Mess I'm trying to change from!  :)  Anyway... today. 

For about 6 or 8 months my ex-husband has had a girlfriend who is a very very nice woman.  She loves my daughters a lot and although it's a little scary to see another woman loving them like a mother, I am happy to have my kids get love from as many sources as possible. And it's so much better than the alternative, that he be with someone who doesn't take much of an interest in them.  So I go with it.  And honestly, I really think she has been good for my relationship with my ex.  He has had a LOT more nice days than not lately and I am sure that is a lot of her doing.  I do struggle with it on some levels because before she was in his life he didn't take as much of an interest in their lives, but I guess again that's a way that she's helping him.  That's not to say that he wasn't interested in our kids' lives, like I said, he loves them and for the most part is a pretty good dad when they're with him, but before she was in his life it wasn't strange for him to go a couple of weeks at a time without seeing them or cancelling on them a lot and a lot of that sort of thing.  Since she's been in his life his visits have been extremely regular.  On the one hand I think, why should you get to spend all this time with them now just for her sake when you didn't want to spend so much with them before, but I'm dealing with that on my own because I think that my girls can only benefit from it (unless she ever sees the light and leaves him... but that's a story for another day).

For the past couple of months he's been more agreeable than normal and the good days have definitely outnumbered the bad.  He was extremely cooperative in ironing out our crazy holiday schedule and I think that in the end everyone that wants a piece of the kids got to enjoy some sort of holiday fun with them.  And on top of that, I haven't been plagued with vicious phone calls and texts, and stressful children switches for a couple of months, for which I'm extremely grateful.  So it an attempt to be thankful for that, I decided to give a little back.

I still believe that he should be contributing more to their lives, their medical needs, their school needs, their activities, etc., but I doubt I'll see much change in that area in the future.  And I'm not going to change my opinion to the point where I'm buying enough school pictures each year for the both of us and just giving him half or making sure he has the schedule to each one of their events or activities he hasn't contributed to, but I will say that I could probably loosen up in this area a bit.  So as a gesture of good faith, I let him know that the girls are cheering for youth basketball right now, and have let him know the game schedule so he and his girlfriend and anyone else in his family that may be interested can go to the games and watch them cheer. 

This may not seem like a big step on my quest to Live My Best Life, but I assure you, it took a lot for me to offer this information without any insistence or assistance from him.  He didn't even know they were cheering for basketball right now so I could've easily just gotten us through the season without worrying about it, but I know that I need to make myself a better person.  Even if I don't completely feel like he deserves to have that information because he doesn't contribute, his being more agreeable and nice and less threatening and vicious has made a big difference in our lives and stress level lately, and that's just as important as financial assistance, if not more so.  It's worth it to me not to have to be arguing about everything all the time to provide a small bit of info that will let him enjoy another part of the girls' lives. 

So today (yesterday) was a small (not that small, really, for my ego, but small in the grand scheme of things) step towards Living My Best Life.  I am looking forward to more non-threatening collaborations with my ex in the future.  I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It Would Be Ok With Me if Clinton and Stacey Lived in My Closet. Just Sayin'.

OK here's an extra little post for the day.  I've got an eppy of "What Not to Wear" on while I was blogging tonight and can I just say how much I love this show?  I mean seriously, I love me some Clinton and Stacey.  And Carmindy.  Ted is ok... he's no Nick but he's not too bad either.  Anyway... they always make these women look SOO beautiful!!!  Like, look what they had in them but didn't know how to get to?  It makes me wonder... do I have that in me?  If someone gave me $5K and sent me to NYC for the week and had these amazing stylists and artists make me over would I end up with a rockin wardrobe too that made me look and feel as awesome as the women on the show always end up?  I hope so!  I think I'm going to make "Get on 'What Not to Wear' another one of my goals for the year."  LOL. 

If You'll Plan My Meals, I Guess I'll Cook Them

Being basically confined to my house is kind of limiting the ways I can pursue Living My Best Life right now.  So far all I've done is basically spend money... so I'm not sure exactly how well that's going to work out for me in the "get my finances in order" area, but I'm hoping that the gamble will pay off.  You have to spend money to make money, right?  So I'm hoping that applies here as well.  You have to spend money to Live Your Best Life?  I'm not sure but, it seems like I may have to continue to spend some money to accomplish some of my goals, so I'll cross my fingers that as I reach some of the goals financial stability will be something that starts to improve maybe by osmosis or something like that.

Here's what I spent money on today:  Online menu planning and grocery list generating.  I'm not sure that's what it's actually called but that's what I'm calling it.  It's genius!  And it's totally made for someone like me.  I have zero organization when it comes to menu planning for my family.  The girls are so picky it's almost impossible to think of things that I would like to eat that they will eat as well unless we all have chicken patty sandwiches or chicken nuggets every night thrown in with some pizza rolls for good measure.  For the past couple of years I've had this thought: If I could plan out my menus for the week and then just shop for those ingredients, that would totally simplify my life.  I could write it on the calendar: This is what we're having today, eat it, or go hungry.  (VERY unlikely I would be able to follow through with that but that's another story).  BUT I've never taken this idea any farther than my own head.  I can't even grocery shop with meals in mind.  I get the same things every week and we eat the same things all the time and sometimes inspiration hits me (or the boyfriend) and we come up with something new from what we have in stock.  But more often than not, if the girls aren't eating their own meal (in an effort to make sure they actually EAT something) the nightly meal consists of some variation of chicken and rice (and even at that there has to be 2 separate pans for the chicken as the girls will only eat it if it's completely plain and I prefer some kind of spice to my meat.)

So back to my deal.  This handy dandy little website will (supposedly) give me a choice of like 15 or 20 meals and sides to chose from each week.  I make my choices and then it generates my menu, and my grocery lists based on each menu.  Supposedly it groups everything together based on normal layouts of grocery stores and makes it super easy for even the most unorganized cook and shopper (read: me) to get things set up each week.  You put in how many servings you want and it lays it all out for you.  The meals are supposed to be basically healthy and well-balanced, so that is a great little side bennie as well.  Again this is all hearsay at this point, based on what the site promises as I haven't actually seen the hard evidence of it but I guess in addition to all of this planning it also breaks down the nutritional information for you, right down to weight watchers points if you so desire.

I recently changed my work schedule a few months ago to where I now work strictly days whereas before I worked a variety of days, nights, and weekends.  The new schedule works out much better for me to be more available to my kids at night and can make sure they get to and from school and their various after school activities.  It has been great for that purpose, but it has really made for even more disorganized chaos for me on a nightly basis.  We have activities generally about 3 nights a week, and Olivia has 60-90 minutes of homework every night.  In addition to that I need to make sure all 3 kids get dinner, some sort of fun time, and ready for and off to bed.  Usually at this point I get everything ready for the next day: laying out outfits, packing lunches, making bottles, etc.  There just never seems like there's enough time in the day and I hate that what happens more often than not the kids end up having a quick bowl of soup, lunchmeat, or something else basically just warmed up.  I want to streamline our nights and I want my kids to have better meal options and still get everything done and have some time to ourselves each night.  Currently, I would say about 90% of what I mentioned in the nightly routine is done by me: chauffeuring, homework, getting ready for bed, packing for the next day, etc.  The boyfriend has slightly stepped up in the last few months and most nights does make something for the kids to eat for dinner, but these dinners are more often than not the aforementioned soup, chicken patty sammies, and pizza rolls.  Not only do my kids deserve better than what I'm providing for them in this area at this point, since I'm likely not going to even have that 10% of help around for much longer, I have to figure out a much better way.

Back to today's deal and step in my little journey on the way to My Best Life.  Choose preset meals for the week?  Great.  Get grocery lists and recipes printed based on my choices?  Perfect.  The site promises that every meal they show can be made simply and in less than 30 minutes.  I plan to obviously look for ones that are on the faster side to put together, especially on days that we will be rushed.  I'm definitely hoping to find some good crock pot meals and make myself better at doing things like that to make our nights easier.  If I got REALLY ambitious and organized, I could sometimes even prepare meals in advance on the weekend or something and just pop them in the oven to be cooked on that particular night a la Kate Gosselin.  (Do I aspire to be a mother like her?  No.  Do I envy her organization and commitment to healthy eating and cooking for her kids?  Yeppers.) 

Alrighty, friends.  Even with the leg injury I still have to get grocery shopping done and dinners ready for the kiddos so this is something I can start right away.  I will apparently have access to the site in a day or two so it makes the most sense to get this set up this weekend to start for next week.  I'll let you know if it's something that works out and how! 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Grouponing My Way to Fitness

So I'm still laid up with the leg injury but I did some work towards getting back into shape today... in the future...

Groupon is one of my favorite things ever and I can't wait to check my email every morning to see what my daily Groupon deal is going to be.  I also get one from Living Social and Faveroo and I love it.  More often than not they're not anything I can use but I still love checking them out and am always very excited when it's something I want. 

So this morning I woke up around 630 and checked my email and the subject line caught my eye right away... "93% off 6 week boot camp."  Whatever the deal was for 93% off of anything is pretty much right up my alley.  Ad I'm definitely interested in good deals on fitness things right now because my quest to look like Cameron Diaz in 362 days is closing in.  Actually Cameron Diaz is not really on my radar I'm actually more interested in someone like Sarah Ramirez from Greys or Christina Hendricks from Mad Men.  Not only because it's a more realistic goal for me but also because I actually prefer their body type than something like Cameron Diaz, as beautiful as she is.  I'm sure there are a lot of men out there who prefer women much more thin than Sarah or Christina but honestly I find their body type much more appealing and it's about MY Best Life, right?  When I'm thinner I'm still curvy and voluptuous and I prefer to embrace and rock those curves than shy away from them.  I just need to get back to that point!

But I digress... often.  LOL.  I'm sure you've noticed that about me by now.  I also tend to be super wordy.  I prefer "verbose" but that's just the English major in me poking through.  I hope you have the patience to read through my entire posts because quite simply, as hard as it is for me to cut things out of my life, it's just as hard for me to cut words out of my stories. 

So anyway back to the Groupon.  I was seriously considering it as it seemed like a pretty good deal but the only problem was that the gym where it was located is about a half hour from my house so that would cause problems with childcare for me.  OH yeah and also the fact that in the picture the women were wearing sports bras and shorts that were basically lollies and rocking their 6 pack abs... I was thinking... ok so this place is NOT for me.  Soon it was time to get the kids up for their first day back to school since Christmas break so I put the Groupon idea on the back burner.

My mom came over to help me get the kids up and ready (again, leg injury!) and she had just come back from spending the New Year's weekend in DC with my sister (remember?)  They brought me back not one, but TWO gigantic delicious looking cupcakes from Crumbs in DC.  Not to derail my personal quest, they are both totally on board with helping me and also they are continually on the same quest, but my sister and I have kind of followed news about Crumbs opening and were curious about how they tasted since the last time I visited her when she lived there (she's moved home since then) we waited in line for over a half hour to get cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcakes (the one from the TLC show... but this was before the TLC show) and were seriously disappointed by them.  So now I'm staring at these 2 giant Crumbs cupcakes.  Mmmm.... My mind immediately went back to the Groupon.

I ate one cupcake for breakfast after the kids were all off to school while my mom and I discussed how we were going to work out kid transportation over the next couple of weeks until I am off my crutches.  I'll be honest... it wasn't as good as I was hoping.  But that didn't mean I wasn't going to eat the other one later!

OK this has nothing to do with what I'm writing about here but as I'm writing I'm watching "Teen Mom" on MTV (no judgement!) and the girl is giving up her baby for adoption... to her aunt and uncle!  I'm sobbing.  I can't watch stuff like this!  How brave of this girl.

OK back to me.  LOL.  After my mom leaves I log back onto my email and look a little further into the Groupon info and read a little bit on the gym's website.  It says encouraging things like, "Don't worry!" and "No beauty or fashion contests here!" and "Our trainers have all lost 30-60 lbs themselves!" and finally in bold letters and underlined it says "You won't be the worst one! we have a variety of clients who need to lose 100 lbs, 50 lbs, or 20 lbs."  I'm sold.  I buy the Groupon.  Actually, I buy 2.  I'm probably delusional and I'm sure that those trainers that lost 60 lbs started at like 140 and now they weigh 80 and that 90% of their clientele need to lose 20 lbs so they can get down to a size 0 but... I'm going to give it a try.  I've got to get this bod in shape so if making myself go to boot cam is what I need to do then that's what I need to do! 

Umm... back to "Teen Mom" real quick... the girl took her baby back... and her aunt and uncle were totally fine with it... I missed the beginning so I don't know what their circumstances are but I'm thinking this is going to make for awkward Thanksgivings...

So I can't start boot camp yet, obviously, and I probably won't actually "cash in" my Groupon for a couple of months after I am walking again so I can hopefully get a little jump start and not be killed by boot camp instructors, but I've got the 2 six week sessions in my possession and ready to be used.  The good thing is that you have to use or at least register to use them by July 4 so I won't be able to put it off forever...  I love checks and balances! 

It's going to be tough arranging how to get childcare set up for what will essentially be 2 hours a day twice a week with driving time but figuring things like that out by finding a dependable, attentive babysitter (other than my parents!) is also something I need to accomplish so that is just something else I will need to get done!

OK I have a lot of work to get done tonight so I will end this endless blog post for today.  I will quickly say that the Teen Mom is now giving her ridiculously adorable 1 month old baby back to the aunt and uncle.  Poor girl. She's so lucky that she has such a supportive family.  I know firsthand how important and necessary that is.  She's trying to Live Her Best Life I guess.  I can't imagine giving up my baby but I'm sure that's the best decision for Her Best Life.  Now on with Mine!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Showers and Bins are top priorties in life, right?

So after posting my 1st blog last night I spent the next 4 hours working on trying to fix my laptop, which hasn't been working right for a couple of months.  It's only a year old and is under warranty and Dell has tried to fix it remotely to no avail and then followed the steps they sent me to preform to remove everything from the PC and start it from the beginning to fix it... also to no avail.... which I found out about 4 am after working on it all night.  So basically, yay for me.  Really today was kind of a blah day all in all, being stuck here with boyfriend and the kids getting serious cabin fever but me not being able to do much with the leg issue but I'm not going to let the day go by without doing even a little something!

So of course I'm exhausted this morning.  Because of my leg injury I've been sleeping downstairs on the recliner or the couch for the past couple of weeks.  Sometime around 9 am my older daughter came up and poked me in the neck to wake me up.  "Can I play dress up?" she asks.  "Sure," I respond groggily as I quickly drift back to sleep.  The rest of the house quickly woke up and I continued to drift in an out from the chair happy for the moment that only because of the leg injury the boyfriend was taking care of the morning routine for the kids. 

I slept for another hour or so but eventually had to get up and face the day.  Today was the 2nd day of the rest of my life, for Pete's sake, I had to wake up before noon!  But admittedly, I wasn't much up for making major life changes today.  I knew I had to do something, but I hadn't exactly wrapped my mind around what exactly that would be just yet. 

After doing some work around the house and helping the girls clean up the playroom I decided the best thing I could do for myself today, and for anyone else in my house, was to take a shower.  That may sound silly, like... "that's not really working towards Living Your Best Life, Tracy."  But trust me, with this boot on my leg, and the pain that it causes me, taking showers is one of the hardest things I do these days.  But we were having company, so, for their sake, I decided to give it my all.

Now, for some real work.  It's Sunday, most of the day is gone, and we have company coming for dinner, so I don't have a ton of time, but I have vowed to do something so now that I'm clean, it's time to get hopping!  (figuratively and literally... ba dum bum...)

It's back to the playroom for me.  My daughters have definitely inherited my lackadaisical approach to housework and the biggest place that shows is in the playroom.  I have a lot of trouble getting them to pick up after themselves or take better care of their things.  As you already know I have a problem with buying too many things... this is something else that you can see major evidence of just by walking into the playroom.  The kids are spoiled, it's safe to say.  Not just by me, don't get me wrong, Grammy and papa and various other loved ones have also contributed to this problem but... I will admit that it's mostly me.  

Part of Living My Best Life has got to be teaching my children better lessons so they don't get to this place.  I want them to want to take better care of their things.  I want them to learn organization at this age and not just want to implement it, but actually to implement it.  Here's why I say that: Probably starting around junior high and continuing all the way until I graduated college, each year, and sometimes a few times a year, I would "commit to get organized."  I would buy separate folders and notebooks for each class, all color coordinated, of course.  I would get a new planner, and I would painstakingly enter everything in my life in that planner.  I would make sure that every single assignment got written down and that I only took notes for each class in that class's notebook and store that class's papers in the correct folder.  I would be so diligent about this that I knew I would never forget to do or lose homework ever again.  And this would last for an average of 4 days each time.  Then I was back to my old scatterbrained ways and living in a mess again.  I must have something like 142 discarded planners in a box somewhere that have like 51 weeks of empty space in each one.  I want the girls to know and do better!

What better way to start organizing than by getting some bin action going on!!??  I have to say, I love me some bins.  I have bins so small that all you can keep in them is a couple of apples up to bins so big that you can store an entire large Christmas tree in one, and tons in every size in between.  My parents and sister make fun of my bin fascination, but I really, truly believe that if I can somehow get everything in my life organized into bins, that it will simplify my life.  I understand that this is probably not a fully sane belief, but I'm holding on to it nevertheless.  On a side note... I have large stacks of gift bags that I have saved over the years inside other gift bags (to reuse, you see, so I don't have to buy new ones for people all the time... even though I end up buying new ones for people all the time).  My sister says that she's pretty sure gift bags are one of the top things on the list of what hoarders hoard.  Is this true?  I haven't googled it, so she could just be making that up to make fun of me.  Anyway... I am thinking about her saying that right now and wondering... are bins on this list?  Probably.  But I'm not going to dwell on it. 

So I decided that what I need to do to the playroom is get in there with some bins.  The girls have all these little sets of things that we lose half of generally within minutes of opening the package, and I want that to stop!  So bins are the answer.  Bins are almost always the answer!  There's not much time but I have some newly purchased bins that have "playroom" written all over them.  So into one small bin goes Ava's small tea set.  Into another small bin goes Olivia's small Princess figurines.  Into another small bin goes the girls' Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  Into a larger bin goes Ava's Ikea tea set.  A larger bin yet becomes home to both Mr. Potato Heads and all of their accessories.  A bigger bin becomes the new home to all of the Barbies.  (I have hopes to relocate the Barbies soon, as half of them went in the bin in their current state of nakedness also because the bin is already overflowing.  I have to come up with a better solution for fully clothed Barbies and also something for extra Barbie clothes and accessories... I'll probably have to get some new bins for that though...)

These are the only extra bins I have right now, and our guests were coming any minute, so I had to stop at this point.  But I am LOVING this idea.  Even more so, I am loving the idea my step-mom told me about last night, about how when her daughters were growing up her ex-husband built this shelving unit that went the entire lent of one wall.  There were 2 shelves, probably 12" - 18" wide so the kids could easily store things right in sight all the way down the shelves and on top of it.  I am loving this idea for storage and organization.  I want these shelves built and I want them built now!  Knowing the boyfriend (who finally changed the porch light today 5 months AFTER I started asking... also of note... AFTER I slipped on the ice on the dark front porch steps) will pretend to want to do something like this but in reality will talk about doing it for months before finally forgetting it was ever mentioned, and also knowing that I don't know a set of pliers from a wrench, this is probably a pipe dream.  But I'm going to prepare for it as if it's really going to happen!  And when I have those long shelves someday hopefully in the not so distant future... I want to be prepared with the bins!

So I'm going to invest in more of these adorable little lid locking bins.  I have some in pink already, and I know they also come in blue.  There are about 4 different sizes of them, I think.  I'm going to start stockpiling them and organizing more sets and groups of toys into each one.  Then someday I'm going to line them all up on my new little playroom toy shelving system.  It's going to be awesome.  I'll post a picture when it's done.  Today was a small step toward this goal, but I'm psyched about the future of this project in my mind. 

OK so today's step towards My Best Life wasn't very exciting for you, probably.  But trust me, it was pretty exciting for me!  I have big plans for this playroom and for the rest of my house.  Be patient with me wile I try and achieve those goals!  I'll have more to discuss soon, I'm sure.

** Extra note... as I was hitting the button "publish post"... apparently I fell asleep.  LOL.  But I'm happy that when I woke up it's still the 2nd so I'm still on track!

The First Day of the Best of My Life

Today is January 1, 2011.  Last night, as I sat at home watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffith ring in the new year with my injured leg wrapped snugly in its boot propped up on my recliner while my "boyfriend" (more on that later) snored in another chair I thought to myself, wow, what a sucky end to a sucky year.  I was bummed that I had even be at home at all, as I was hoping to spend the weekend in DC with my mom and sister but the aforementioned leg injury combined with the ineptitude of the aforementioned "boyfriend" with whom I was reluctant to leave our 14 month old left me sitting on the recliner instead. 

So in an attempt to make my night even more exciting (read: pathetic), I logged onto Facebook.  I was reading about everyone's resolutions and well wishes for the New Year.  Everyone seemed very happy.  I was not happy.  I haven't been happy for awhile.  I won't bore you with the details of why... those will become pretty obvious if you continue reading my blog and hopefully reading about it will make you laugh instead of depress you, which seems like a lot more fun, right?  Anyway... I decided I'm not making any resolutions.  Not really, anyway.  Instead of making a resolution I decided to make a serious change.  It's something I had talked about with my mom quite a bit and thought about quite a bit but haven't followed through with it yet.  So for 2011, I decided it's time to follow through.  Instead of resolving to lose weight or get more organized or be a better mom or become more financially responsible I resolved to do all of those things and more.  In 2011 I am going to do something every day of the year in an attempt to Live My  Best Life.  And I'm going to blog about it.  Every single day.  I'm going to log on to tell anyone who is interested what I did that day to achieve this goal.  And I vow to try and make you laugh while I'm doing it, because whenever this hot mess of a life gets me down, it very rarely gets me down to the point of tears.  Instead I talk to one of my confidants who know what I'm going through (usually my mom, sometimes one of my best friends, or sometimes my younger sister) I tell them in a way that generally leaves us all in stitches, and I always feel better afterwards, because I get to vent about it and laugh about it at the same time and I really do find this cathartic.  So I will try and do this for all of my future loyal readers as well!  But first let me give a little bit of background...

Sometime last year I read an article in a magazine (I honestly can't remember which magazine, but I would say it would be safe to say it was "O") about Oprah's movement to "Live Your Best Life."  The article really spoke to me.  I think I was at work while I was reading it and I remember crying to myself, because I was so far from living my best life.  I remember talking about it to my mom that night and crying again and saying, this is not my best life, this is not the best it can be for me.  She of course was totally in agreement and encouraged me to do something about it and we talked about it for a bit but like I said before, I hadn't followed through with it. 

There are a lot of reasons that I would classify my life as a hot mess right now.  All of the resolutions I mentioned earlier that I wasn't going to make?  All of those qualify!  And more!  So these are the areas in which I'm going to attempt to improve in order to Live My Best Life this year: 

The "boyfriend" is honestly a big reason for my unhappiness right now, and it's time for me to figure out what to do about it.  We have been together for 4 years and we have a 1 year old son.  If not for this son, this wonderful, amazing, hilarious, gorgeous little surprise in my life that has been such a gift, it is safe to say we would not still be together.  It's also safe to say that it's for this little boy's sake, and also for the sake of my two older daughters (with my ex-husband) that we're (on my part anyway... I can't speak for him) still together at all.  So some serious work needs to be done there.  I'll keep you posted.

My two daughters are just as amazing as my son, but they are almost 5 and 6 1/2 so there is a lot more work to be done in the "relationship" area with them.  Being a mom is easily one of my favorite things in the world... but I know I can be better at it. 

My ex-husband and I have had a pretty tumultuous relationship over the 4 1/2 years that we've been split up.  I hate to jinx things to say that things have actually been going pretty smoothly with him for the past few months because often his M.O. is to be agreeable for a time, and then turn things right back to full-on drama for an even longer time.  He has a very nice girlfriend now though, who loves my girls a lot, so I'm hoping that she is doing wonders for him.  I keep him on this list though because it is a constant struggle and sometimes battle with him, and some of the biggest drama-filled moments of my life and problems in my life have been a result of this relationship.

My parents are just about the 2 most amazing people I know.  They are divorced, and my mom lives about a mile from me and my dad and step-mom live about 20 miles from me.  These 2 (really 3, because my step-mom does quite a bit as well, and seems to be infinitely patient with all that my dad does) spend a lot of their time, money, and sanity on trying to help me and my kiddos out.  Without them and their love and support and help I don't know where I would be in life right now, but I can definitely say my life would be that much harder.  They do so much for me and my kids, and I know that they love us and while they don't necessarily LIKE having to do so much for us I know that they would never leave us without their support and for that I am so lucky.  But I also know that it is a drain and a strain on them.  On top of everything, my mom is my biggest sounding board for all of the problems I'm having and I know that is very hard on her.  So there is a LOT to do in my relationship with these people, and it mainly involves me getting better at Living My Best Life without so much of their help so they can get on with their lives a little more at the same time.


Whoo!  This is a biggie.  I need to make more money, continue to try and clean up my credit, pay off some debts, and just become solvent.  I need to have the money available for when something else inevitably goes wrong with my van, or even better, have enough money to get a new van.  I need to be able to pay every bill, every month, on time.  I need to find a home that my kids and I all fit comfortably in, and that fits us and our lifestyle.  I don't need to be rich.  I don't need to have a lot of extra money, I just want to work to have enough money to make our lives more fulfilling and relieve some of my stress.


Of course, I need to lose weight.  A lot!  The problems with the boyfriend, then the baby, and then the problems and stress since have NOT done me any favors in that area.  You know those people who say that when they get upset or stressed they just can't eat?  Yeah, I'm not one of them.  I'm on the other side of that coin.  I had actually started this quest around Labor Day 2010 and was doing a pretty decent job.  I had at least finally lost all the baby weight and was slowly working on more, when the leg injury happened and kind of sidelined things for me.  I had started to get into a workout routine every night which I obviously haven't been able to do for the past couple of weeks since this happened, and unfortunately I've been spending a lot of my recuperating time eating junk.  So back to the healthy eating quest I was on before the injury starting today!  And I can't do the same workouts I was doing before, but I need to figure something else out that I can do in the meantime and as soon as my leg is up to snuff get back to those as well.  I don't just want to lose weight, I need to get myself in better shape and make daily workouts a new way of life. 

There are a lot of other things I'd like to do to work on my appearance, and I'll keep you up to date on those as well.  Another downfall of the problems I've been having with the boyfriend is that I really haven't wanted to do much to myself to keep myself attractive, and the extra weight has weighed on me in that area as well.  (Ba, dum, dum.)  But this is the year to Live My Best Life, and I am a girl who likes to look pretty (or try, anyway!) I like to wear makeup, do my hair, wear jewelry, get my nails done, get my eyebrows waxed, and wear pretty clothes.  These are all on the list to get back into the habit of, and even improve on, in 2011. 


So this is another biggie.  My mom and younger sister are sure I'm going to end up on Hoarders some day.  It's true that I do definitely have a problem throwing things away, and that I buy too many things, and that I am not the best at storing or organizing these things once I have them.  And I forget things.  And I lose things.  And I have trouble keeping up with my housework.  And on and on and on... All of these things I think are direct results of my body's natural ADD (self-diagnosed!) complete and total lack of organizational skills.  I know that if I can work to get rid of a lot of my "stuff" and organize the "stuff" that I'm keeping, more of this will start to fall into place... so that's all on the agenda too.  This category is really kind of all-encompassing so for now I will just leave it at that and let you know how things progress.

These aren't the only things I will be working on in 2011, but they're definitely the list-toppers.  I don't know if it will be easy or hard to do something each day toward this goal, but either way, I'm committed to doing it.  And the first step to that, on this first day of the year (which as I look at the clock looks like it will actually be posted on the 2nd day of the year, so I'm a day behind already! lol), is to blog about it.  Setting up a public blog is not only going to be a nice little way of keeping me on track, but it is also a step toward Living My Best Life.  The upside of it is that it also gets me writing, which is something that I really really enjoy, and people have encouraged me to do for the enjoyment (hopefully!) of others, not just myself, for some time.  I don't know if I'm good enough, or funny enough to keep you reeled in, but I hope so.  But even if I'm not, I'm doing something great for myself by committing to writing for others on this first day of 2011.

OK Oprah, so here goes.  You are my inspiration.  I know that you came from much less and had it much harder that me, and yet, look at what you've been able to do for yourself.  Talk about Living Your Best Life!  So I don't have any false hopes that I will ever become the next most influential woman in the world, but I do have hopes to make myself proud of doing what you've influenced me to do, and I can't wait to see where I am in 365 days.

Make that 364.  As I typed that last sentence I heard the church bells across the street from my house chime 12 times so I am officially late in posting my first day's blog.  Don't hold it against me, readers!  You know that organization section that I said was kind of all-encompassing?  It also includes better time management!  :)  Here's to working on that too!