Birthday Angst

birthday angst

Happy Birthday!

Or is it?

As a kid, we count down the months and days until our birthday for nearly six months before. We tell everyone we know our birthday is coming up even if “coming up” is still a month away. For some people, birthdays continue to be a time of excitement, joy, and celebration forever. For others, they can be challenging and sometimes depressing.

I distinctly remember my 20th birthday being very difficult for me. I can’t exactly pinpoint why it was. Perhaps it was the notion of leaving my teens and starting my twenties. I was very sad and melancholy around that birthday. It’s not like my life was depressing. It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I was dating a great {editor’s note:  amazing, wonderful, and handsome} guy who I would later marry. I had friends, a summer internship and overall life was good, but I struggled with that birthday.

birthay girl
20th Birthday. It was much harder than it looks.

I would have to say since that time the easiest most carefree and upbeat birthday I have had was my 25th birthday. On that birthday I was a week away from my wedding, I was celebrating my bachelorette party and life was great. I may just have been too busy to even focus on my birthday.

Fast forward to present day, and I still struggle with my birthday.

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Debt Snowball Progress – June 2017

debt snowballl progress june 2017

Is debt-free possible?

I’m starting to wonder.

We were doing so well for so long, and lately, we’ve really hit quite a few roadblocks.

Alright, probably not road blocks, but rather really tall hurdles.

Now I know being in a wedding, and our vacations are not exactly road blocks. We knew about these events and willingly entered into them knowing the financial implications.

wedding picture
We do clean up nice.

What we did not know about or plan for were all the medical emergencies.  I’m pretty sure it’s about time for our household to have a month off from any health issues.

If we could go a month without visiting the doctor, filling a prescription, or taking someone’s temperature, it would be cause for celebration.

I can’t count the number of times I said, “how is your throat,” “how do you feel,” “what’s your temperature.” I’ve charted medication consumption and body temperatures like an accountant tracks credits and debits.

health chart
Keep track of 10 day antibiotics on a chart on your refrigerator

We ended May with Amelia sick with strep and a reaction of sorts to one medication. This caused us to need two visits to the doctor, and two-copays, plus two prescriptions and countless doses of Motrin and Tylenol.

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1 Trick to Achieve Your Goals

goalsYou have a dream, a goal, a plan, but how will you achieve it?

Whether you want to start up a successful business, run a marathon, climb Mount Everest, or learn to cook a 7-course gourmet meal, there is one surefire way to improve your likelihood of success. And it’s not difficult.

You MUST learn how to time block.

Time blocking is simply the process of setting aside time in your day and week for specific activities to happen at specific times.

I have found this trick to be absolutely imperative to my success in juggling my full-time job along with my side hustles, blogging, and teaching.

Advantages to Time Blocking:

Increased Focus: When your most important work is scheduled into your calendar you can focus on one thing at a time. You don’t have to worry about emails while you are playing with your children because you have blocked a specific time in your day to handle emails. Time blocking will allow you better focus in all areas of your life.

focused child

Increased Productivity: When you have a specific time blocked for a specific activity, barring any true emergencies, you will be more productive. You will not be distracted and your productive increases. Additionally, you will be able to schedule certain activities at certain times of the day to reflect your most productive times. For example, I know it takes less mental energy for me to respond to emails, yet for years, that is how I would start my day. My most productive time of day is in the morning so to give that time up to an activity that doesn’t require as much mental energy was not good planning. Now, I schedule my content writing for the earlier hours of the day when I am most alert and focused. Emails can come later at night or during my afternoon slump.

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Multi-tasking Myth

multi-tasking myth

I am more productive because I multi-task.

 

LIE

 

Why multi-tasking doesn’t work

 

I am a great multi-tasker.

 

Not a badge of honor

 

The ability to multi-task used to be a great attribute that employers were looking for in their employees. Now we are finding out that people are not, in fact, more productive when they multitask. In fact, research has found that people are less productive when they multitask.

For years people, myself included, have touted themselves as being able to multi-task. It was seen as a great attribute because you could get more done than people who couldn’t multi-task.

What research has proven is that you can actually only multitask two things at one time and to do so one must involve the body and one the mind. For instance, you can run and plan your grocery list in your head or clean your house and listen to a podcast, but you cannot listen to a podcast and plan your grocery list. Well, you can, but it will take you longer than if you had planned your grocery list when you weren’t doing another activity that requires mental energy.

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BRAVERY: A lesson learned from my daughter

bravery title

My nearly eight-year-old daughter has taught me more about being brave than I have learned in nearly 37 years of life.

I’ve heard the phrase, “do it scared” before, but I didn’t fully appreciate what that meant, and the power of doing it scared until now.

Back in January, Cassidy brought home the list of after school specials for spring. We went through as always to decide which ones she could attend. The last one on the sheet was a try-out for the school talent show. Cassidy insisted she wanted to sign up for that one as well.

I asked what her talent would be, and she didn’t know, but she wanted to sign up for it. We decided to let her sign up and knew we had four months for her to figure out an act or back out of the event. Honestly, I didn’t think there was any chance she would do the try-out when it came time to do it.

I am by no means saying my daughter is not talented because she most certainly is. However, her talents are not the sort that can be easily demonstrated on a stage.

We talked about a few options she could do, but I had concerns with all of them. Cassidy is a very sensitive child. She doesn’t mind the attention, but her feelings can get hurt very easily. She just feels so strongly. It makes her the most empathetic person I know, which is great. However, as a mom, I’m constantly trying to protect her feelings. You can’t even tell a funny story that involves her because she thinks you’re laughing at her instead of at the situation or circumstances.  She has a hard time differentiating laughter with her versus at her.

As a mom, my concern was how she would do being on stage in front of her whole school and what if people laughed. I wanted to protect her. Then she and Brian started to work on her routine.

You’ll never guess what it was going to be.

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Open Letter to: Night Shift Police Wives

police in uniform saluting

To the other night shift police wives*,

You are not alone.

Somewhere there is another first responder’s wife feeling the same way you are. She wonders just how she’ll make it through – just like you are.

We’re all trying to navigate this crazy life we were given and to support our husbands. All of that while taking care of our families. It’s not always easy.

Sometimes you feel on top of the world like you can handle anything on the home front and the dangers of his job don’t worry you one bit. Sometimes you feel like you’re cracking at the seams and you fear for his safety every hour of his shift.

It’s normal, and you’re not alone.

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A Father’s Day Tribute to My Husband

Brian with the girls bowlingDaDa, Daddy, Dad, Father.

The name may change over time, but the fundamental role remains throughout a child’s life. Hopefully, their dad is someone they can look up to, they can learn from, they can be supported by and who loves them unconditionally.

I had no idea that I could love my husband more than on our wedding day, but I do. In fact, I love him more and differently with each passing year. Since, we have become parents I have found new reasons to love him. Don’t worry it’s not all perfect I’ve also found new reasons to be annoyed and frustrated.

Oh, we’ve had our fair share of parenting arguments over the past eight years, and I’m certain there are A LOT more in our future. I mean we do have ten straights years of parenting teenagers, and girls at that, ahead of us.

In honor of Father’s Day this weekend, I’m taking the opportunity to highlight the important role my husband plays in our daughters’ lives.

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Never forget your weekly and monthly tasks again

To-do list title imageI LOVE a to-do list.

I almost always have a daily to-do list. It might be scrawled on an old envelope, on a large Post-It, or most recently in my bullet journal, but a list is a constant.

to do list and bullet journal

Honestly, I think a to-do list is what helps me stay organized. I will confess I’m one of those crazy to-do list makers who has been known to write something on my list just to cross it off.

I get a natural high from crossing things off my list. I’m not alone in this obsession.

As a natural list maker, I have no problems with daily to-do’s, but as my life has gotten more hectic, I didn’t have a good way to keep track of monthly and weekly to-dos. These would be the things that should be getting done every week and month.

Confession time: This may be shocking to some of you, but there a lot of things that I am certain you do every month or even more frequently that I do not. We all have to prioritize, and some of my prioritization is probably questionable to a lot of you.

For instance, I do not change bed sheets in my house every week. Ha, I don’t even change them every month. I don’t sweep every day, even with small kids. I don’t clean all that often.

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Two Amazingly Simple Uses for Pillowcases

pillowcases uses title

Pillowcases have simplified my life.

And they can simplify yours too.

I am not kidding either.

I know two amazing uses for pillowcases that may change your life.

Okay, it might not change your life, but it will most certainly make life a little bit easier.

One use is for cleaning, and one is for storing.

  1. Cleaning – more specifically cleaning ceiling fans.

    ceiling fan

If you are like me, you don’t get around to cleaning your ceiling fans very often. In fact, I get around to it once I start to notice the dust accumulating on them. Or worse yet when the dust starts flying off the blades when turning it on for the first time in the summer.

 

If you clean yours more regularly, that is great, and perhaps you won’t need this trick as much as the rest of us who have layers of dust accumulating.

 

Now if you clean as “often” as I do then you know there are a lot of dust particles that float around the house after cleaning the fan. It doesn’t matter if I use the Swiffer wand, a rag, etc. there always seems to be loose dust – until now.

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Debt Snowball Progress – May 2017

A snail’s pace.

That is what it feels like we are moving at these days in our debt snowball.  Our snowball is not currently going downhill picking up snow or momentum as it goes. It’s more like on a plateau of sorts.

We’re hopeful the downside of the large mountain is up ahead because this is frustrating.

We’re fortunate that we can pay our bills, and we can handle unexpected expenses when they come up, but it’s still hard to not see the debt amount reduced by as much each month as it used to be.

The last few months were exceptionally busy, which meant less bargain shopping, menu planning and the like. I am dedicated to using some of my extra time this summer to save money through the use of deals websites, coupons, bargain shopping and finding fun, free (or inexpensive) ways to enjoy our summer.

sale sign

We also have quite a few things that we want to declutter from our house that we haven’t been able to list for sale online yet. I haven’t had time to do that, and I know I will list those in the next few weeks. With any luck maybe that will be a hundred dollars or more.

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