Motivational Mondays

Ch…ch…ch…changes – taking first (baby) steps

Welcome to Monday, which right now looks a lot like Saturday and Sunday in my world.   But, that is all going to come to a screeching halt next week and we’ll be slammed forward into a new school year – no air bags provided.

are you ready-!-

I’m not.  I hope to be more ready six days (!) from now when my DD starts back to school (I can’t believe she’ll be in First Grade…there was many a day when I wondered if she would ever come home from the hospital, and now she’s going to be a First Grader!).  I hope to be even MORE ready when I start back to teaching thirteen days from now (holy cow – that’s less than two weeks people!).  BUT…I’m not going to try to do the same things I’ve done in the past (which haven’t worked and I think Einstein was a pretty smart guy and he says its insane to continue doing the same things and expect different results).  So, I’m really trying to do things differently.  What am I doing differently?  Well, let me tell you!

  1. I am NOT trying to do every possible Pinterest perfect project for back-to-school.  We got my DD’s First Day of School outfit today and I’ll make a sign for her to hold before leaving that morning so I can take a picture.  That’s it.  No best breakfast or special lunch or crazy pre-first day party.  So, in a more wholistic view of things, I am being REALISTIC.
  2. I am starting a routine THIS week instead of trying to start on the first day of school.  My DD THRIVES on routines.  She loves a list and completing the list is a serious big deal for her.  So, I took an archived Kid’s Routine from My Simpler Life, changed it up a small bit and printed it out for her last night.  I posted one upstairs and one downstairs and she has one she can carry around with her.  It includes all the things I need her when school kicks in, but she is doing all the other stuff this week.  So, when school starts, she will already have a routine and will just add in school.  Brilliant!  She’s loving it so far.
  3. I am prepping my classes COMPLETELY for at least the first month of school.  I’m hoping that I can get even further than the first month, but four weeks being completely done and posted on Blackboard with notes in my day planner for what needs to be printed out or added in, etc. will be awesome.  Most of the time, I’m trying to do this the weekend before school starts and I never get it done, so I end up flying by the seat of my pants in at least half the classes and trying to make technology work for things that it doesn’t really work for and getting frustrated and overwhelmed.  So, now I have almost two weeks to get it all done and I think that will be enough time (I already have one class done through Week Three and just a couple of more things to add for Week Four).
  4. I am really looking for places to delegate.  This is a HUGE weakness of mine.  Part of it is my lack of organization makes it difficult for me to hand things off to other people.  I’m either so late doing things that I need to do it myself because it would take too long to bring someone else in on it or I can’t get my $#@! together enough to make it understandable to someone else and when I do, it is an abject failure which makes both them and me feel bad.  So, I’m trying to get ahead of the game, figure out where I need help and asking for it in plenty of time (e.g. babysitting in three and a half weeks – I need that…and I can start figuring out who is available now; having dinners figured out so I can tell my hubby what to do to get it on the table while I’m at work).

The book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode is really changing my life.  And I’m only through 41 of 220 some pages!  I feel like Crystal Paine GETS me.  I’ve read other books and they always seem to be saying, “just do this and everything will be great.” and I would try to do the things and it wouldn’t be as easy as they said and everything was not great.  But, she makes it clear that it isn’t going to be easy and its going to require changes and we need MARGINS (spaces for us to make mistakes and still recover – time cushions, planning for disasters that are sure to occur, etc.).  It isn’t something that I haven’t heard before, but the way she says it is in MY language.

Anyways…I’m really trying to get to bed by 11 p.m. every night and up by 6 a.m. everyday.  Getting on that schedule/routine myself before school starts.  So, I’ve got to hit the hay.  Although I’m terrified, I’m also excited about the new school year and what it will bring.  I just hope I can stick with some of my new found baby steps!

What about you?  What are you doing, if anything to prepare for the new school year/new season?


For All Those Who Lack Sticktoitiveness (aka commitment)

ice melting science humor4

A little science humor for all you science geeks out there.  Today has been pretty much a bust for me.  This blog is so representative of me and my total lack of both focus and commitment.  And every time I start to type one of these posts, I think to myself, “what is my problem?”  So, I’m a self-help/improvement dropout basically.   Forget Beauty School, I can’t even pass the “check your to-do list” or “organize your days into routines” classes.

I figure I can’t be a total failure at finishing things.  I finished an undergraduate and graduate degree (a little lengthy for both, but still done).  I also have held a job for the past fifteen years, not leaving one until I had another (usually better) in place.  I have made it through five years of parenthood under rather rough circumstances and my child is relatively healthy (for someone with a heart transplant) and happy.  I have been married for over ten years and we’re still pretty happy.  So, I do have some level of commitment to things.  Important things.  But, for anything cursory, I have a really hard time committing.  And mostly, I think it is because as soon as I start doing them, I realize I don’t REALLY want to do those things.  I start doing them because I convince myself I REALLY want to do them (get fit, get organized, read more, etc.), but then when I actually do most of them, I realize it is truly not something I want to dedicate my time and effort and emotion in doing.  It is sad really.  Sometimes a waste of money.  And often at least a little disappointing.

So, instead of being disappointed and chastising myself, I’m going to just let it all go.  I’m going to figure that having a clean house, an organized pinterest-like life and cooking dinner each night at home after running a couple of miles and playing a game with my 5 year old and my husband is beyond my capabilities.  I’m never going to become a physician, a physicist or a physical fitness star.  I am also tired of trying and trying to be someone I am not.

I don’t want to “focus” on anything.  I just want to live my life as best I can.  Sometimes that will be relatively poorly.  The piles of stuff on my stairs. My stained carpets (getting more stained by the day as my dog suffers a horribly depressing and distressing gastrointestinal problem that has her vomiting multiple times a day, often just bile that stains the carpet and smells horrible – my Oxi-Clean carpet cleaner is getting a real workout the past three days), my hoarder’s garage piled high with stuff that I can’t figure out whether I should keep or get rid of (a giant dog kennel we used for our dog when she was a puppy – its seen better days, but if we ever get another dog it may come in handy…and a new one would be very expensive OR the many, many, many books that I took so long to organize this summer and now just feel like we can go to the library and give that space to something more valuable or entertaining AND so much more), my piles of papers and magazines – most of which I don’t read or need but pile up because I MAY some day be interested in them or need them.  It is just all too much for me.  I want to be someone I am not because that other person seems so much better than me.  So much more productive – a better mom, a better employee, a better sister/daughter, a better friend, a better neighbor, a better wife.

So, More at Forty (Five) is now Forty-Six.  And I don’t have much more.  But, maybe it is because I don’t NEED much more.  Maybe I should focus on that “More” part being “More” credit.  More kindness.  More self-respect than self-improvement.  More recognition for getting through instead of focus on changing things.  More woulds and less shoulds.  More enjoyment and less guilt.  More Candy Crush and less couponing (heck, who am I kidding? I gave up on the couponing a while ago).  More joy and less junk (getting rid of all the “stuff” that doesn’t bring me joy would be a great start).  More teaching and student interaction and less grading and administrating.  More loving life and less stressing over it.

So, yeah.  Do I NEED to lose weight?  No, not really.  I’m happy with my weight.  Would I LIKE to have more energy?  Yes, definitely.  But, I don’t know that those two things are really tied together.  Do I want to measure out all my food and focus on measurements and scales or do I want to eat better and enjoy more activity in my life?   The latter sounds so much better.  The 21 Day Fix is great for someone who has organization and is ready to make a committed effort.  But, I just don’t feel like its for me, right now.  I want to eat healthier, but I don’t want to be so strict with it.  It just isn’t what I REALLY want.  I REALLY want to eat good food that I made with little effort.  Sometimes I want that food to be a little less healthy than that plan would allow.  The shakes seem like a really healthy addition to my daily caloric intake.  So, I will keep up with those and maybe switch over to something similar, but cheaper once the 21 days is up.  I’m sure that my “coach” will be disappointed, but I think the whole purpose is to make you feel better about yourself and your diet.  And in a way, it did that in one day.  I feel pretty good about myself right now.  I realize that I don’t feel the NEED to change because I feel okay with where I am right now.

So, where does this leave me?  It leaves me in the same place I’ve been.  Behind in grading, sitting in a less than clean house, dealing with a calendar that is too stuffed and an energy level that is too low for it, without a social life, and feeling okay about all of that. Is that “settling”?  Could I do better?  Probably.  To a certain extent.  But, it also leaves me feeling better about my life, myself and my home.  So, why not settle for satisfied rather than strive for perfection?

How about you out there?  Want to join me in settling for satisfied?  Perhaps we can start our own movement…the “Settling for Satisfied” movement.  We will resist the urge to constantly compare, to strive for perfection, to be dissatisfied with the disasters that we are.  Instead, we will embrace our own ineptitudes.  Let’s hear it for settling for satisfied!

I was Soren Kierkegaard for my graduate level ethics class and I soon fell in love with his philosophy on ethical living.  And this is what I want to be my “focus” now:


Motivational Mondays

Motivational Monday #1 – I need this…


This is what I’m feeling like today.  I think my allergies are acting up (or I’m getting sick…so I prefer it to be allergies at this point), the pediatrician called today and the renal ultrasound we had done on Bean last week shows a thickening in her bladder (which could be the cause OR the effect of her recent UTIs) so we now have to go and see a urologist for her (by the time she turns 18 there may not be a type of specialist she HASN’T seen), I am still far behind in my grading considering all of my finals at one of my jobs are tomorrow and the others are in a short couple of weeks, and my house is a complete disaster, with piles in almost every room and just plain dirt and dust where there aren’t piles (and probably under said piles in all honesty), I have a bunch of laundry to do (how?  I feel like I’ve been doing laundry non-stop and I keep getting close to being done, then BAM it is all back again, piled up on our garage floor).  So, in short, I am feeling like Monday has me beat and I need some motivation in my life.  So, I’ve decided instead of Management Monday, I’m going to do a Motivational Monday with my favorite motivational pins from the past few weeks.  Enjoy – and if you need it, I hope you find some motivation here!




Tuesday To-Do’s – Focus on Seven Edition

Focus on Seven Button Design

Since I’m trying to focus on my seven prioritized areas in 2014, I thought I would shift my to-do lists to focus on those seven as well.  There will, of course, be things that don’t fit within those seven, but I will try to make sure I have some things in each area each week.  This week is a relatively slow week for me to-do wise as I’m on Winter Break (although, I need to prep my classes to keep from becoming a raving lunatic once the semester begins) and Bean (my daughter) is back in school.  So, I’m sitting in a peacefully quiet house, drinking coffee and enjoying myself.  Tomorrow I need to go into work to take care of a few administrative things, but my schedule is blissfully open this week.  Next week is push time in that it is the last week before school starts, but this week, I will take it easy!  And, now – on to my to-do’s:

Friendship – I don’t really have anything in this area this week.  My Moms group isn’t meeting until next week and I’m traveling out of town for the weekend for a late Christmas with my in-laws so I’m missing out on a Mom’s Night Out this Friday.  This will have to be something that I make up for in later weeks.  I guess I will count that I am taking a friend to the airport (1 1/2 hour drive) tomorrow.  It is a friend that I used to be much closer to than I have been lately, but maybe this will be a start to closer year.

  • Take friend to airport

Health – I am planning to get the Wii hooked up and working with week in order to start doing Wii Fit again.  Bean wants it hooked up to play Mario Cart and I figure it is a good reason to get the Wii Fit board out and start tracking my progress.  I don’t much like exercising, but Wii Fit makes it pretty fun and measuring my progress should keep me motivated.  I think I need another cord to get it hooked up, but I will read up on it and get it figured out.  I also figure that having this relatively relaxing week is good for my mental health.

  • Hook up the wii
  • Get started on Wii Fit again
  • Relax while Bean is at school this week!

Inner Harmony – This is a tough one.  I am still trying to figure out how best to figure out who I am exactly.  How to feel totally comfortable with myself instead of trying to be someone I am not (but, without knowing who I am, how do I know who I am not?  deep…).  I think that journaling will be my first step.  I used to journal like crazy.  This blog is sort of like a journal, but I obviously am not going to be go whole hog in disclosing things on a public blog page (maybe later in life, but not now).  Plus I love the idea of really getting creative with a journal.  I have a few pins like this that I hope will inspire me:

Journal Pinterest

  • Find or get a book to use as a creative journal
  • Start using it!

Knowledge – I am constantly doing stuff in this category, but I really want to focus on reading books as part of it.  I am in the middle of a David Sedaris book that I would like to finish this week so I can start on another book.  So, that will be my goal.

Economic security – This area is a total disaster to start the new year.  I am really not very happy with the way things are going at this point.  We had an unexpected business expense right at the start of the month that will be reimbursed, but it kicked everything out of kilter financially and I just can’t get a handle on it.  It is really upsetting at this point.  But, there is nothing I can do about it other than deal with it.  It is just going to be a tough month.  I am trying to avoid grocery shopping and I will be saying no to any other extra expenses, but the whole thing has crashed and burned already this year.

  • Deal with all the financial stuff that has gone haywire.
  • Go and sign paperwork for the extra money I have coming for the institute I did last semester (should come at the end of the month).
  • Finish a reimbursement I have coming from last semester and get that processed.
  • Make sure that hubby turns in the reimbursement as soon as he gets back from business trip.

Family happiness – Well, we were supposed to be going to my in-laws for late Christmas this coming weekend, but my FIL is sick and we may end up having to postpone it until even later.  So, I may have to come up with an alternative for spending some quality family time together this weekend.  My hubby will be home on Friday from his nine day business trip, so we could have a family weekend here at home.  Which, in all honesty would not break my heart.  I am not looking forward to traveling this weekend because I have a tournament out of town next weekend and two weekends in a row and then school starting is going to make my inner harmony go all out of whack.  But, spending some time as a family whether we go to in-laws or not is at the top of the priorities for this weekend.

  • Either visit in-laws and do late Christmas or have a family focused weekend at home.

Spirituality  – This area is lacking a bit as I was at my mom’s this past Sunday and if we go to in-laws we will be out of town this coming Sunday and then a tournament the following weekend means three weekends in a row without church.  I miss it.  I am going to do a couple of things church-related outside of church (a women’s group and a new church member orientation class), but those don’t start until the week of January 21.  So, this may be a bit on hold for the time being.  I did just get a book that was suggested on another blog, so I will use that as a means of focusing in this area this week.


***Update – before I could get back to this post to put the links in and finish it up my sister called to say that my dad was not doing well (he’s been on hospice for about five months) and probably only has a matter of hours to days at the most.  We’ve heard this message before a few times, but my sister said he is the worst she has seen him.  So, I packed a bag and will go back there right after the airport tomorrow.  It means that I may not get through all of the above, but we shall see.  I have to admit that between this and the financial start to the year I am less than pleased with the first full week of 2014.  But, we’ll deal with it and hopefully things will get better in the coming weeks and months.


Management Monday – Focus on Seven Edition

Focus on Seven Button Design
My new button for my Focus on Seven Project!

There it is – my button for the Focus on Seven in 2014 project.  I’m very excited about the project and the button!  🙂

I am excited about it being New Year‘s Eve tomorrow.  We aren’t doing anything special at all.  My hubby is leaving for nine or ten days early on the first, so we can’t really be out late and I don’t have a sitter, so we will be at home with the four year old.  I’m not really big on going out for New Year’s anyways, although I always love all the cute ideas on Pinterest for parties.  When I was younger I always got to invite a couple of friends for a sleep over and we would watch the TV countdowns and go outside and beat pans and make noise at Midnight.  It will be a few years before my daughter is ready for that, but I have fond memories of those times.  I think my friends’ parents were always excited to have their kids go somewhere else so they could go to parties, but my parents just liked staying at home and didn’t mind three screaming, laughing little girls around.  I guess maybe we’ll be those parents.  Anyways, I’m excited because the next day will be 2014 – a fresh start with my Focus on Seven campaign.

I have already started working on my Focus on Seven.  I found this post about using Google Calendar to make sure you are prioritizing your days and weeks accordingly and I’ve color coded all my Focus on Seven items in my Google Calendar.  I figure I will be able to look at the colors on my calendar and see whether I’m hitting on all Seven in a week or not.  I think it will be really helpful.  I have also gone through my Excel spreadsheet of income and expenses – it isn’t pretty.  We are not even close to breaking even right now.  That is temporary as one of the bills I’m paying off will be done after February and once that is done, we’ll be a bit ahead, but I do need to make the next two months work.  I also have a few other things I need to catch up on in the coming months.  So, I’m trying to find ways of saving and ways of making money.  I have decided to go back to couponing.  I was once doing well with it but fell off the cart and I think it is time I get back on it.  I have also decided to do a little more work on Swagbucks and MyPoints to try to get those gift cards coming.  Every little bit helps.  So, I am already making progress on the project despite it not yet being 2014!

I am also going to do a Pantry Challenge with Good Cheap Eats (she starts one on January 1) to try to really save money on groceries this month.  With my hubby being gone the first ten days of the month, it should be easier (he doesn’t so much like the leftovers or the creative use of pantry items), but it will be tough towards the end with him home, me back teaching, etc.  But, we’ll give it a shot.

So, that is where I am this eve of New Year’s Eve 2013.  How about you?

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Shopping Edition

Christmas money – new hair, jeans, boots!

Today was a rarity for me.  I got some money for Christmas (usual) and decided to go get my hair done and do some shopping (rarity)!  Now, before I get to far into this, I will tell you that I only got $100 in Christmas money so my hair and shopping were of the frugal sort, but I’m still excited about them!

First, I got my hair down at our local beauty school, Marinello.  I have been there before for both hair and nails and I must say that I usually love the results but they take longer than at a professional place (understandable).  Today I had someone who graduates in two months and she was awesome and I love my hair.  I got what they call “Mini Highlights” which is basically 10 foils.  Since my hair is so short, that was perfect for me.  I also got a trim (didn’t need much since I got it cut about four weeks ago) and a wash and blow dry and the total was…wait for it…$15!!!  I tipped the woman $5 so for $20 I got a wash, color, cut and blow dry!  Not bad, not bad at all.  Here are the results (I don’t have before pictures – I should have thought of that, but I didn’t).  I actually hate taking pictures of myself, so the fact I have these is pretty surprising in itself.  Here is my hair post-coloring – much brighter (it looks dark here – bathroom lights must be somewhat yellowish).  I really like the way it brightened it up though!

highlights in hair


Second, I came home and got the eight bags/boxes of donation items from the garage (wow, that was a lot I got rid of and it didn’t make a dent) and took it to our local American Cancer thrift shop and then went shopping.  I found a couple of pairs of Levi’s that are tighter than any that I own (I’ve lost a little weight) and narrow at the bottom because I’ve really been coveting the riding boots craze, but didn’t have any appropriate pants to wear with them.  I also found a couple of cute pillows for our couch that fit in with our color scheme (whatever there is of one), a few pieces of clothing for my daughter, a couple of Angry Birds plush animals for my daughter and a beautiful large vase made my a local potter.  All for $33!  But, after finding the jeans, I knew I needed to take the plunge and get the boots, so I went over to Payless Shoe Source and got a pair of riding boots.  Here I am in one of the pair of jeans and the boots:

Me in riding boots


I’ve decided that the lighting in my bedroom is heinous and I can’t figure out how people take selfies of their outfits in mirrors at all.  Any guidance would be appreciated.  But, there I am.  Phone in hand and the boots don’t really show up much, so here is a closer look at those:

Riding Boots


I love them.  I hope that I can put together the myriad of outfits I find online and post on my Pinterest “Fashion and Such” board that include riding boots.  Like these:

Black pants, scarf, creamy sweater and long boots combination for fall      

After that, I came home, put everything away and continued where I had left off earlier in the day.  Cleaning up the house (never ending it seems), grading (deadline is Monday, so that can not be never ending…I am getting close to finalizing them all and hope to enter them tomorrow afternoon/evening), reading blogs, looking at Facebook and Pinterest and reading all the great ideas for the New Year.  I pre-ordered a book.  And now, I must go to bed, play some Candy Crush and sleep.  Tomorrow will be Church in the morning and much of the same throughout the day!

Sleep well!


Management Monday #2 – Motivation


Last night I made my first attempt at being a better “manager” or “leader” of people.  At our weekly team meeting/class, I did a get-to-know you activity (which made me realize there were still people in the class who did not know some of the coaches’ names…in week 10) and then did a motivational activity.  The motivational activity focused on expectations.  We did student expectations of themselves, their peers and their coaches and also did coach expectations of themselves, their peers and their students.  It was not necessarily revealing as none of the information really surprised me, but I do think it was a good exercise to get the expectations out in the open and communicated.  My plan is to now make a poster/sign of the repeated expectations and post it in the squad room.  I think it was helpful if for no other reason but to make students feel heard and respected.

My next idea for motivation I’ve had in the hopper since the beginning of the year, but never implemented.  I think now is the right time.  I got the idea off of Pinterest and I really like it a lot.  It is simple, but meaningful and it is self-generating.  It is the Motivation Wall and I am going to put different sizes of colored construction paper and colored pens in a box by the bulletin board and let the students go at it.  I love the idea of seeing what they come up with for motivating themselves and others!  I will try to remember to take a picture once it gets rolling.