Life, learning, kids and fun
Maybe hate is a strong word.
But all those quotes we like to pass along on Facebook and Instagram are true. Like the one that says, “A year from now you will wish you had started today.”
How many times have you decided to make a change–go back to school, start a business, redecorate — but life happens and you don’t have time right now, so you’ll do it next weekend? And next weekend becomes next month becomes next season, and before you know it another year has passed by and you’ve accomplished…nothing.
What are we afraid of?
Failing? By now we know that not starting is worse than failing, don’t we? A year from now if we do nothing we’ll be right where we are now, just a year older and wishing we hadn’t put things off. If we try and fail over the next year, at least we’ll know what doesn’t work. We’ll learn from the experience and be that much closer to finding what does work.
What is it that you want to do with your life? Are you doing it?
Believe me. I get it. It’s hard enough to do this if you’re single with no kids. If you’re a stay-at-home mom (or dad), or a work-outside-the-home mom (or dad) it may seem impossible. I mean, for those who stay home you get to — most likely — be in charge of the majority of the childcare including all doctor/dentist/school-related appointments, the house, the pets, the errands, the meals…And if you have an outside job you get to add a 40+ hour work week to all that.
When are you supposed to find time?
But that’s the thing. You’re never going to “find” time. I’ve tried. There are still only 24 hours in a day, and much as I’d like to add more awake time, I still require at least SOME sleep.
You can’t “find” time, you have to MAKE time. You have to agree (with yourself) that you will spend a certain number of hours a week on whatever it is you want to do, and then you have to actually schedule it. If you had to go to a parent-teacher conference after work, would you make time in your schedule for it? Or an appointment of any kind? Of course you would.
This is just like that. You need to make appointments with yourself, your business, your writing, your blog, whatever it is you are putting off because you can’t find the time for it.
I’ll ask you again, are you living the life you want? If you’re not, and you aren’t doing anything to change it, how exactly do you think it will change? Chances are, it won’t, and that’s if you’re lucky. In my experience if you’re doing nothing to make things better, they keep getting worse.
So my challenge to you is to make one hour — just one — over the next week to work on the thing you’re putting off. That can be business-related, projects around the house, learning a new language, writing a book, anything. Even if you have to do it 15 minutes at a time over 4 days, or 10 minutes at a time over 6 days, whatever you have to do, make time in your schedule (or lack thereof) and get moving.
What are you going to do? Report back in the comments once you’re done if you’d like. 1 hour! Go!
Monday – We had pizza tonight – cheese for M. and my mom, BBQ Chicken for H. and I.
Tuesday – Chicken Tenders (these are from Valerie’s Keepers), Summer Squash (Broccoli for M.), Rice
Wednesday – This is H.’s cooking night. I’m not sure what she’d making, but she’s a pretty good cook so I always look forward to her dinners.
Thursday – Pretzel Dogs (from Let the Baking Begin Blog), Broccoli
Friday – Mom cooks – Beef Stroganoff
Saturday – Bagel Pizzas, Salad
Sunday – Pork Roast, Noodles, Applesauce – I’ll make the pork roast in the crock pot so I don’t heat up the whole house, and cook it with orange juice and Rosemary.
Do you menu plan? What do you have in mind for this week?
If I could make you listen to me about one thing, it would be money. I know what you’re thinking–what do I know about money?
I know just about everything you shouldn’t do with it. And I finally am learning what you should do with it.
I started listening to the podcast recording of The Dave Ramsey Show nearly a year ago. I’ve read a couple of his books, including one on kids and money that he co-wrote with his daughter, Rachel Cruze. I’ve been working on following his plan, and it has changed my thinking about a lot of money-related things. And slowly, it’s still a work in progress, things are getting better.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned that I really want you to know:
Mostly just don’t go into debt. Not for any reason. It’s a downward spiral that it is very hard to pull out of. It’s not impossible, but if you can avoid it all together, that is much easier.
Here are my goals for this month:
Blog: Write and post 2-3 times per week; comment on at least one other blog per day to support fellow bloggers; Track my stats better to improve reach; Look into web hosting (Squarespace, etc.)
Writing: Edit first 1/4 of book adding detail where possible; research and write article I’ve had in mind for a while; submit article to magazines
House: Finish unpacking kitchen; wash kitchen floor; vacuum all rooms; wash both bathroom floors; Clean downstairs tub (I’ve actually already done this over the weekend); Start arranging and unpacking my office.
Family: Teach M. to clean her mouse’s cage and set up a cleaning schedule with her; spend some time alone with H. ; reach out to S. again before he leaves for boot camp
Finance: Pay our half of bills on time and in full; start saving $1,000 for mini emergency fund (see Dave Ramsey if you want to know more about that); Pay two specific debts off this month; Calculate 2015 taxes
That is plenty to take care of for this month. I’m already on my way, and I’m learning not to waste time on unimportant things when I could be using that time productively or spending time with my girls instead. It’s easy to get caught up in stupid things (tv, social media, games, etc.) when you’re tired at the end of a work day, but it doesn’t help any. I’d rather do a little each night than waste my entire weekend trying to cram everything in.
What goals do you have planned this month?
I have been doing a LOT of planning and goal-setting over the last few days. I want 2016 to be a great year for me, my kids and my family.
First, here are some of the highlights and lowlights of 2015:
My mom and I bought a house with an inlaw apartment downstairs. Well, it’s actually her house, but we’re splitting the mortgage and other expenses.
My dad moved home from Florida.
M. has adjusted well to 2nd grade in her new school and has made lots of friends. She’s reading at a 7th grade level, so they’re trying hard to keep up, but it’s going ok.
S. has joined the Marines and and will be headed to boot camp soon. Not sure if that’s a high or low just yet.
H. is doing very well in her 2nd year of high school, and got to take a school trip to New York City recently to go to the Metropolitan Museum, see a play on Broadway and spend a little time in Times Square and see the Christmas tree. Her grandpa paid for the trip, and we gave her spending money, so she didn’t have to spend any of her own money.
I had a couple of serious health issues, but they are (mostly) resolved. I’m just dealing with some lingering problems due to the surgeries I had, but I’ll probably write another post about all that.
My best friend, who has wanted a baby our entire lives, adopted an adorable 2-year-old girl on New Year’s Eve. I can’t wait to meet her when they come up to visit in February!
Chris got a new, better, job.
Writing them out I realize there were a lot more highs than lows. It’s sometimes easy to lose track of that when some of the setbacks are larger. I was originally thinking of 2015 as a bad year, and parts of it definitely were. But overall, I have a lot more to be happy about than I do to complain about.
How about you? What did 2015 bring to your life?
Next time: 2016 – plans for the new year.
I’m craving Spring. I think we all are here in the Northeastern US and other places where we’ve gotten more Winter than we know what to do with. I could very happily never hear the words “Polar Vortex” again.
I hate Winter. I want desperately to move south, but my life as it is now won’t allow that. Family, finances, kids with ties to an ex–there are many reasons why it’s just not possible now. Every year around this time I start to fantasize about packing us all up — kids and cats alike — and running away from the winter wind and all the snow and ice for good.
I feel different in warmer weather. I can breathe, and move, and do things. In the winter cold I can only huddle.
This Spring — once the snow melts and the rain stops and the mud clears — I want to take my girls on walks in the park. There are tons of parks where we live, miles of trails, plenty of picnic tables and benches.
I miss my house. No, I really just miss my yard. I knew exactly where to look for the snowdrops that were my first hopeful sign of Spring. If I ever live anywhere permanent again, I will plant snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and tulips. My own Spring processional.
I’ve started looking for paid writing gigs again. It’s extremely hard when you’re starting out to sort through all the “Write 10 articles and we’ll pay you $2” mills and find real opportunities, but I’m hopeful. This isn’t my first time around this particular block, so I know what to avoid, at least most of the time.
At this point, I’m not overly picky about what kind of writing I’m doing–articles, blog posts, etc.–as long as they pay a fair price. I’ve spent part of the weekend, and some of today since I’m home from my day job, putting out feelers on sites and with people I’ve worked with before.
I hate the “start-up” phase in building a portfolio, and since I stopped doing freelancing of any type about two years ago, that’s where I am. Back to stage one. Still, it’s better than not being able to do it at all, so I’m not complaining.
I had a minor meltdown two weeks ago after the “milk in my laptop” incident left me with a very expensive paperweight, but it turned out that a co-worker had a small notebook computer that she was looking to get rid of cheap, so I was up and running again in no time. It’s not a laptop, but it does what I need it to do, so here I am, back on track.
I expect a lot of changes in my life this year, both personally and professionally, and I’m happy to get started.
Wish me luck!
I’ve been looking at planners today. It started as a simple search for a blog planner for next year. I was actually trying to find the updated version of the one I used to use, but I can’t remember which site it’s from so I ended up in the 3rd ring of Hell that is Google search sometimes. I looked at far too many printable planners, which can always suck away half my evening because I’m planner-obsessed.
Here are some of the ones I liked:
http://www.minivandreams.com/free-2015-blog-planner/ – I really love this one, and will be using at least some of it.
http://scatteredsquirrel.com/printable/2014-dated-calendar/#2015 – This one too.
I realized there are a lot of things I want in a planner, and not one covers all of them. But there are lots out there to choose from, and I can take bits and pieces of lots of them. Let’s see what I end up with.