7 Tips for Getting Things Done

As I was sitting in front of my computer yesterday morning watching the live stream of the Boston Marathon, I realized that I really, really did not have time to watch all morning, but I just couldn’t pull myself away from the screen. I indulged myself though, and watched the women’s and men’s winners cross before starting my work. MISTAKE. I quickly got overwhelmed when I realized there was not enough time to get everything done I needed to for the day because I had “lost” two hours of valuable work time. Although, let’s face it. It’s the Boston marathon. It definitely not wasted time, but for the purposes of this post, just go with it. If I had remembered that the marathon was that morning (I know, I’m ashamed to call myself a runner), I could have planned for it. Instead I found myself behind. I really really wanted to get a haircut but it had to be something I “dropped” for the day. It was either that or getting groceries, so even though my hair sadly looks like a lion’s mane, we have to eat.

This of course got me thinking about all the other days and times I end up with way too many things to do and not enough time to do them in….Which is sometimes multiple days a week. When I get overwhelmed and not sure where to start I end up procrastinating so it’s a vicious cycle. Today I wanted to provide you with a few tidbits I have learned along the way to help you maximize your time and get things done. Let’s get after it!

Get things done

1.) Don’t over commit:

The first step to getting things done actually occurs before the day even begins. If you overcommit to things, you are already setting yourself up for failure. I know especially here in the south it’s hard to say no to people, activities, and opportunities. We are just so dang nice, yall. Bless it. Sometimes though, it’s just not worth it. I have had to back off of some of my work because I was simply getting too overwhelmed, overworked, and overtired. I started taking it out on my family and it wasn’t pretty. No amount of money is worth that, my friends! Take a step back and look at your week, or have someone impartial look with you to help identify if you have too much going on, and if something can be passed off to someone else. When asked to do a project or participate in something, don’t immediately say yes. It’s ok to say “let me get back to you,” or even “sorry I can’t this time!”

2.) Choose you work environment carefully:

This is one of the ones I really have problems with. My “office” is upstairs in the bonus room, it’s a mess, and it’s just not a sunny cheery place. Now, I typically work at the kitchen table, which is super klassy with a “k”. I know, you all had this grand illusion of me sitting at my computer desk, with my race medals and mickey mouse ears hanging from a lamp shade, surrounded by files and notepads full of amazing blog ideas. Heh. No no, I work at the kitchen table hand me down from when I was 4 years old, surrounded by baby toys, pens with no ink in them, and sticky notes that I can’t even read because my handwriting is THAT bad. Ok, we are getting off track ere… This has pros  (I can multi task, watch the baby, etc.), and cons (I can turn on the TV and get easily distracted, I see all the things that I can piddle with in the kitchen and living room, gives me a divided mind).

3.) Plan/schedule in advance:

I use a combination of a paper planner and my Google calendar. I put important deadlines and appointments in the Google calendar which sends alerts to my phone, and every day type things like “go to grocery store” in my paper planner. I am also a big fan of daily lists, they help keep me on track and knock out the big stuff I need to get done that day.  My brain can only hold so many things before something falls out of it. I have learned that just because I say “I will remember xyz” does not mean it will actually happen. This has gotten exponentially worse since having my child. Mom brain is a real thing. I actually left my groceries in the car after I came home last week. I hang my head in shame. Oh, and I promise my April calendar doesn’t really look like this. Oh how I wish. This is just an old picture.

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4.) Plan breaks:

This is not only for your mental health but for your physical health. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer writing, so I need stretch/walk breaks just as much as mental breaks. I tend to do short bursts of work then move on to something else. For instance, I will put on a load of laundry, wash some dishes, then sit down at the computer and catch up on emails. Then it’s switch the laundry over, take out the dog, and do some squats before getting back on the computer and writing my next blog post. If it’s a day when the baby is home then I really, really take a lot of “breaks” to do things with her. I’m constantly jumping around because my attention span is like that of a gnat. The only problem is sometimes my “breaks” end up being too long and I tend to flutter to too many flowers and not really get anything done. Thanks Facebook.

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Another reason I get nothing done? You are looking at her.

5.) Discover how you work best:

Sit down and take a few minutes thinking about how you personally work best. Some prefer background noise, while someone else may need complete silence. You may work best in big chunks of time, knocking something out while your spouse works best in little spurts before moving on to something else. Figure out your work “style”, and then do everything you can to make it happen. If you work in an office cubicle, you may need to wear some headphones to drown out noise. If you are at home with kids, prioritize the things you can get done while they are awake, and then save the things you really need to focus on for naptime.

6.) Prioritize:

Again, make a list, make a list, MAKE A LIST! There is something so satisfying about crossing something off of a list isn’t there? Pick the three to five most important things that MUST GET DONE TODAY and put those in bold letters at the top of your list. Then add a few more things underneath in regular lettering that you would love to get done, but if you don’t it’s not the end of the world. Groceries and picking up the baby from daycare fall under the MUST DO. Note to self.

7.) Reward yourself…after your work is done:

Plan a reward for getting your list completed, but be careful to not reward yourself until AFTER you get your work done. It can be something like stopping at Starbucks on the way home from work, taking a bubble bath or a long walk by yourself, a pedicure, or picking up your favorite take out for dinner. Or, you can wait and reward yourself on the weekend if you make it through all five days of getting everything done that you were supposed to that week. I try to stay away from food related rewards, but something they are necessary. Smile

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QOTD: What would you add to this list? What works for you?

Bonding With Your Newborn

Before I had Emma Kate, I had family, friends, and strangers alike tell me that the day I have her would be the best day of my life. That the second I saw her my heart would explode into a million pieces, and that I would experience love that I have never known. I was told this so. many. times. That I became rather curious. I couldn’t imagine this particular feeling, so I was excited to experience it. Of course, how could so many people be wrong? And, if I DIDN’T feel like that, it would clearly mean something was wrong with ME, right?

The day came, and it was slightly traumatic and filled with anxiety. Emma Kate came out screaming, meanwhile I was dry heaving into a bucket as I got stitched up. It was all a blur, and when I looked at her and didn’t have that immediate Elmyra from Tiny Toons gushy squishy feeling, I panicked. What was wrong with me? Who was this creature screaming her lungs out that I was now in charge of? I really, really just wanted to take a nap. It was all so surreal. I was relieved that the dreaded labor part was over, but now I was hit with this new reality that I was in no way prepared for.

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Did I love my daughter? Yes. In an “it’s my job, and I am going to take care of you” kind of way. I would never let any harm come to her, and I would take care of her. But did I love her like I love my husband? The rest of my family? No, I did not.

The first month of Emma Kate’s like was so hard. I was sleep deprived, having trouble with breastfeeding, and I was grieving the loss of my old life and freedom. I felt like there was something wrong with me for not having the same love for my daughter as I saw some people have on the internet. Oh the internet. I will save that for a different post, but seeing everyone else with their babies over the past year on Instagram and blog posts and how they were immediately gushing over them furthered my panic.  Were these people being truthful? Maybe they felt just like me, but were scared to talk about it, as was I. To not want to spend every waking second with your child? Taboo! Terrible mother! That’s how I felt.

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People were very passive aggressive about when I started running three weeks postpartum. “Don’t rush, don’t you want to spend every waking second staring at her face?” Um. no. I wanted to run to have some alone time, I needed to think. “But how can you be so selfish, I could never leave my daughter’s side even for an hour for months after I had her!” The fact that people told me I was supposed to just stare at her and be content with that…again, caused panic.

Then, around 7-8 weeks postpartum, something happened. Emma Kate started to smile. I didn’t feel the Elmyra squishy gushing feeling that I felt I was “supposed” to feel, but I smiled back, and my heart melted just a tiny bit. The smiles came more and more often, and the random crying (colic) became less and less. I was getting reciprocation from this tiny creature, and it warmed my heart. Soon after that, she started laughing. All the time. Everything I did or said was apparently VERY funny, and around three months I started to be excited to wake up and get her in the morning and see her smile at me.

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We left her for the weekend with my parents to go to New Orleans for a race in January, and while it was great to get away and have some time without her, I was so excited to see her and hug her when we got back. The affection continued to grow, until at four months, we were sitting together laughing one day, and I realized I loved her so much I just wanted to squeeze her so hard just like Emlyra. I am now constantly pinching her cheeks, kissing her head, and laughing with her. I find myself saying things like “I can’t wait until we can do XYZ together.”

When you think about it, it really makes more sense to me to have it happen this way. When you met your boyfriend or spouse, or best friend, I doubt you felt deep affection for them right away. Bonding takes time, and it occurs at a different pace for everyone. The more you get to know a person and spend time with them, the more you begin to love them. This is how it happened with my baby, and I honestly think this is what happens to a lot of people but they are so afraid to say anything for fear of people thinking they are bad mothers who don’t love their children.

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I know I was afraid to say anything at first, but I realized a lot of people felt this way and wanted to let you know if this is you, that you are not alone! Don’t be fooled by instagram photos or blog posts where moms say everything is going great and they couldn’t be more in love or more happy. Yes it is true for some of them and they do have an instant connection, but I can promise not everyone is being truthful. For me it was more of sidestepping the issue and not talking about it on the blog. If being on social media seeing how other new moms are doing is stressing you out, turn off your phone. Step away, and don’t compare your life to anyone else’s. They may be struggling with someone else that has been a breeze for you. Having the baby blues is ok too, just be sure you know when it’s time to ask for help.

So, ask me now, do I love my daughter, in the squishy love kind of way? Absolutely. But I also know as I get to know her more, I will grow to love her even more. So if you have a newborn, and aren’t “there” yet, don’t fret. It will come. It may take weeks or even months, but don’t ever let someone make you feel guilty or bad because your love came differently or more slowly. We are all just doing the best we can, and should be supporting each other in this crazy thing called parenthood.

QOTD: Did you have an instant connection with your baby or did it take some time?

My Goals for Heart Health

 

Hey everyone! Happy February! It’s also American Heart month. Staples has started a campaign called #GetOutAndGo that I thought you might be interested in. In honor of this, I began working with Staples to come up with some fitness and heart health goals for this month. At the end of the month, I will check in with my goals and will be giving away a Fitbit!

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To make sure I knew what I was talking about as far as goals, I checked out the American Heart Association’s website to see some facts. One of the biggest things I think of when I think of heart health is stress. In this day and age I feel that people are constantly stressed out, which is of course not good for your heart. Here are a few things that stress causes:

Aches and Pains

  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Neck ache
  • Stomach ache
  • Tight muscles
  • Clenched jaw

Energy Level and Sleep*

  • Feeling tired without a good reason
  • Trouble sleeping

Feelings

  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Helplessness
  • Out of control
  • Tense

Other Emotional Signs

  • Easily irritated
  • Impatient
  • Forgetful

I don’t know about you but I think that is a lot of scary stuff.I don’t want those things in my life, so one of my goals for this month is to work on my stress level. How do I plan to do that?

1.) Take time for myself every day2.) Delegate3.) Let things go4.) plan aheadphoto (35)I also checked out the AHA recommendation for overall cardiovascular health for adults and exercise. Here is what they recommend:

    At least

30 minutes of moderate-intensity

    aerobic activity at least

5 days per week for a total of 150
OR

  • At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
    AND
  • Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.

(source)

I decided to make my physical activity goal for the month a pretty lofty one since I have a full marathon coming up in March. My goal is to run 100 miles this month. I’m not sure I have ever done that. I ran 80 in January so I think I can do it! Staples has provided me with some gear to help me achieve my goals. I received a balance board, some compression socks, a foam roller, a Garmin 10, and a fitbit of my own to help me be more heart healthy this month.IMG_2508 (2)

    Stay tuned at the end of the month to see if I reached my goals and you will be able to enter to win a

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    ! Play along this month with #GetOutAndGo when sharing on social media what you are doing to be heart healthy!

QOTD: What is a heart healthy goal you have this month?

2015 Goals

I waver back and forth with how I feel about New Year’s Resolutions. On one hand, I think it’s silly to wait until January to start something new or take control of your life. On the other hand, it is exciting to have a fresh start at the beginning of a new year, and to get hyped about doing things different this time around. I don’t know, I guess it just depends on my mood! With that being said, I used to do monthly goals here on the blog, and while I’m not sure I will go back to that or not, I do have a few things I wanted to share with the interwebs because it holds me more accountable.

2014 brought a LOT of changes to the Montgomery household, and I am having to learn to do things a lot differently (and with one hand ha!) as a baby truly does change everything! Here are just a few things I would like to do in 2015. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but more of a reminder to get my rear in gear.

2015 Goals:

1.) Read my Bible every day: I was REALLY good about this for the past year or so, as it was the first thing I did when I woke up. Now I wake up to a screaming child and the first thing I do is make a bottle as fast as humanly possible. ‘I’m thinking of switching it up and doing my devotions at night after the baby is in bed.

2.) PR in any race distance: I’m not being picky here. I have been out of the game for a long time not being able to run most of my pregnancy, so really I would be thrilled to PR in any distance!

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3.) Foam roll and stretch: As much as I hat to admit it, my IT band and bursitis pain are back, and I have got to keep it under control so I can keep running. If I remember to foam roll before AND after a run, it’s much better, but it’s a hard habit to get into, especially when free time is at a minimum.

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4.) Find a good work/life balance: Something I have not done well since having Emma Kate is finding a good work/life balance. Before she was born, I was working 40-50 hours a week between my blog and travel agency work, and that just doesn’t fly with a three month old at home all the time. It’s very hard for me to admit that I just have to cute back on things and prioritize what is most important, and I still haven’t found that balance yet.

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5.) Eat more healthy foods: Not going to lie, when I was pregnant I pretty much ate whatever I could stomach. My appetite was VERY finicky my entire pregnancy, so I indulged and ate what I could and what I was craving. I was ok with it, I knew it wouldn’t last forever and that I had a good excuse. Smile However, that time is over, and I am ready to get back to some healthier eating habits. I’m taking it one slow step at a time, because if I try to overhaul all at once, I know it won’t stick.

QOTD: What is one goal you have for 2015?

Learning to Love January

Anyone who has read my blog for awhile knows how much I love Christmas. I may have also announced once or twice that January is my least favorite month of the year. It’s cold. It’s dark. There are no Christmas trees or lights or baked goods. Frankly, January has always been pretty depressing to me. As I type this, it is freezing cold and pouring down rain, and we have just put our Christmas decorations away. What a pathetic day! The holidays were over in the blink of an eye, and I am left with….blah.

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For the past couple of years, I have combatted the January blues by booking destination races in Walt Disney World. Last year Bobby and I ran the Dopey Challenge, and the year before that, the Goofy Challenge. We also ran the marathon in January of 2011. Having a trip to look forward to right after Christmas seemed to “get me though” the post Christmas depression. This year, we have no marathon weekend trip.

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As I started thinking about my distain for the first month of the year, I realized it was all in my head and it doesn’t have to be this way. I can’t plan a trip for every January for the rest of my life, and I shouldn’t go through an entire month sad that Christmas is over, so I need to figure out a way to love January. So, here is what I have come up with so far.

1.) New beginnings: January is a great time to start anew. State a goal, get healthy, start over, and bask in the blank slate that has been wiped clean for 2015. Now is a great time to make some exciting plans and work on ME, inside and out.

2.) Long distance race season: Here in the south, the winter is when we have all of out half and full marathons. They typically start in October and end in March. I have several races coming up, so I need to enjoy this time of being able to run, and stay focused on my schedule and my goals. It’s an exciting time since I haven’t really raced in over a year now. I’m pumped!

3.) Enjoy the weather: It’s a crazy amount of hot here in Mississippi for the better part of the year. This fact especially stinks when I am trying to train for a race (or really do anything outside for that matter). As much as I dislike cold weather, I really need to learn to enjoy it while it lasts, because it will not last very long and I will be wishing for it back!

4.) Slower pace of life: As much as I love the time frame from Halloween through New Year’s, it’s typically also a very stressful time. Dinners and parties, things to do with family, church, friends. Lots and lots of pressure! As much as I say I would love the holiday season to go on and on, I’m pretty sure at some point I would collapse in exhaustion! Now that everything is put away and the house is back to “normal”, I can exhale and just BE, without wrapping presents, decorating cookies, and loading up the car to travel.

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I’m sure some of you are like me and get the post Christmas blues, and that’s ok. It is an amazing time of year and being sad it’s over is normal. However, be sure to not let your sadness rob you of the joy of all the things January can bring.

QOTD: Any other great reasons to love January that you can think of?

My Breastfeeding Story

It took me a long time to decide to write this for fear of criticism, which when you think about it is really, really, sad. I shouldn’t feel like I can’t speak about something on my own blog because it’s considered “taboo”. I have always had the policy here on THLS that if something in my personal experience can help someone else, I should share it. If I am being honest with myself, I KNOW my story will help others, even if it brings criticism, so here goes nothing.

I always knew I would breastfeed, there was no question or doubt in my mind. I mean, why wouldn’t I? It’s free, it burns extra calories, and above all else is the healthiest choice for my baby. I had heard stories about it being hard, but just like most things in life, you never think it will be hard for YOU or that YOU would have a problem outside of your control.

I was prepared before baby came. I read two breastfeeding books, bought a pump, pillow, and all the gear and accessories. I was ready. Or so I thought. I had the “knowledge” so I wouldn’t fall prey to some of the common first time mom issues. Ha.

After Emma Kate was born, I told the nurses I wanted to try and feed her before they took her back to have a bath etc. That first experience was less than stellar. Being stitched up while dry heaving into a bucket while the nurses hold your baby onto you so she can eat is not exactly how I envisioned things. They took her away after and brought her back a couple of hours later. The nurse helped me, and told me it would hurt. She showed me how to position and latch her correctly, and she ate, and it was painful. Two hours later, a different nurse came in giving me HER tips, which were completely different from the first nurse. I was half asleep, on pain medicine, and really fuzzy and sleep deprived. Each new nurse that came in gave me new instructions and tips, and I was so confused and overwhelmed.

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Seriously don’t even remember this picture being taken.

When Emma Kate was born, she weighed eight pounds seven ounces. When we left the hospital, she weighed eight pounds even and the doctor didn’t think anything of it. We were to come back in two days for a weight check and no one was concerned. Meanwhile, I fed her on demand which was every two hours and she would eat for nearly an hour. I thought surely with her eating for SO long she is gaining a ton of weight.

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At her first weight check

Now, let’s talk about the damage. In the meantime, I apparently was dealing with a very bad latcher. I first was really sore, then started bleeding (the baby was spitting up my blood, it was pretty gross). We went to her weight check up, and she had lost weight and was down to seven pounds thirteen ounces. I was devastated, how was this possible? My milk had come in that morning, so the nurse chalked it up to that and told me to come back in two more days. Baby EK was jaundiced though and had to have a heel stick. I felt so guilty. If I had fed her enough, she wouldn’t be having to have the heel stick and wouldn’t be screaming in pain.

I thought now for sure things would be fine because my milk had come in. I fed her even MORE often, determined to have that scale move. I was still in a lot of pain, and every time she would cry to eat, I would cry and panic because I knew I was about to be in even more pain. I soldiered through and we made it to the next weigh in. I was NOT confident in my positioning and latch, but I WAS confident that Emma had gained weight. I mean, why wouldn’t she? Eating for an hour at a time, every two hours, why should I NOT be confident? I was sick to my stomach as she was put on the scale. I would NOT make her have another heel stick. She would gain weight….

She was down to seven pounds ten ounces. I wanted to throw up. I immediately burst into tears. I had basically been nursing around the clock for 48 hours, was exhausted, and she was LOSING weight? The lactation consultant who was there was an absolute ANGEL. She was so sweet and encouraging and said we would figure it out. She brought me to another room and helped me get her latched…and gave me some pointers. As soon as she saw the “damage” she said “oh my goodness I have no idea how you are still doing this! Most people would have stopped several days ago!” She was sssoooo wonderful and helpful. We discussed my diet, water intake, and everything seemed fine, but for some reason I just didn’t seem to be producing enough. EK refused the nipple shield so that was no help.

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They wanted to see her again in two days, and suggested I start pumping and supplementing to get her weight up. I of course felt so guilty my baby was practically starving, so I started supplementing right away at night. I started pumping, and would pump for 25 minutes and only get 1.5 ounces total, an ounce from one side and half an ounce from the other. That is when I figured out something was wrong with my supply. Up until that point I was only going by time EK spend eating, but apparently she wasn’t getting much of anything. I kept feeding on demand and supplementing at night, and pumping 3-4 times a day after feedings…and my output was not getting any better, and I was losing my mind. I went back to the hospital for a weight check, and she HAD gained weight, back up to seven pounds thirteen ounces, but since we were supplementing I knew the truth, she probably would have lost more if she was exclusively breastfeeding.

I talked to the consultant again and told her I had surgery on my right side back in college and we think some of my milk ducts got cut which was not helping the situation on that side. I was told to try some home remedies, and keep pumping, but that there was no shame in supplementing or switching to formula. I can’t even tell you how many tears I cried those next couple of weeks, they are some of the worst of my life which…is sad because I had a new baby and should have been able to enjoy it. I got anxiety attacks when it was time for her to eat because I was still hurting so badly. I then got a clogged duct to add to the fun, and pumping was still not going well. Emma still had not gained back to birth weight at her two week appointment, and the doctor was getting concerned.  Home remedies didn’t work, pumping output was not increasing, and it was so time consuming to get so little.

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You can see how yellow/orange she was here.

Sadly, if it wasn’t for the stigma around formula (let’s face it, some  blogs and readers/commenters make you feel like crap for giving formula) then I probably could have saved a lot of tears and frustrations. I battled mentally for two weeks trying to decide what to do. I read blogs and websites, and talked to friends and family. They all reminded me I was formula fed and turned out just fine, and I have zero allergies or medical issues. They pointed out formula saves babies lives every day, and at least I cared enough to try as hard as I did and worry so much about it. I knew they were right, but I still felt like a failure. This was something I was supposed to be able to do. I had failed my baby, and was not able to provide her the best food. I made myself so sick about it, and the guilt kept me up at night.

I finally decided I couldn’t handle the frustration and emotional roller coaster, or have my baby not thrive because of me. I had open wounds on my nipples that were not healing, my baby was constantly hungry, and nothing was getting better. So, after just over a month, I quit breastfeeding. You guys, I cannot even begin to describe the relief I felt, it was like a HUGE burden was lifted off of me and I was able to be myself again. It took over another month for me to heal physically, and the emotional side, the guilt still rises up sometimes. The doctor wanted to see Emma Kate at 3.5 weeks, and she had gained an ounce a day, so we knew the formula was working and there wasn’t something else wrong.

I can honestly say Emma Kate has not missed a beat. At her two month appointment she had jumped from the 50th weight percentile to 68th percentile, so homegirl definitely is not starving anymore! She loves to eat, and it’s so nice that others can feed her and I don’t have to worry about how long we are out, or when I need to pump, etc.

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If anything, I want to apologize to you, my readers for waiting so long to discuss this. It’s such a shame that I felt like as a healthy living blogger I was “bad” or “wrong” for giving my baby formula. Do I believe breast is best? From a completely nutritional standpoint, of course. But if your baby is starving, then no, I do not believe it is best. I gave it my best shot, and got her over a month of breast milk. I am proud of that fact, and I am proud of my beautiful, healthy baby girl that is formula fed.

I don’t care if you breastfeed or formula feed, no mom should be made to feel bad or guilty for how they give nutrition to their baby (as long as is breast milk or formula of course!) Breastfeeding mamas go through it too, whether it’s nursing in public or the duration they choose to breastfeed. Let’s STOP the madness and support each other. Being a mom is hard enough work, so why make someone else feel like a lesser mom? I KNOW there are other moms out there feeling guilty or like a failure like I did. I hope you know you are not alone, and you are NOT doing anything wrong. You love and care for your child and want what is best for them, what is best for your family, and what will give them the nutrition that they need. Keep on keeping on girlfriend!

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QOTD: Have you ever felt bad or guilty for the way you fed/feed your baby?

On The Move

Hey guys! We are actually down in Biloxi today. The movers are here picking up all of our stuff, although we won’t be moving into the new house until next week. The closing on our old house got pushed back (NOT our doing!) but we still decided to come down and get everything moved on the original date. So, here I am, at the house I lived in since February 2010, for the very last day.

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Not going to lie, I have mixed emotions. On one hand, I have wanted out of this town since the day we moved in, but on the other hand I still have a lot of good memories in this house. Bobby and I designed/built it together, and it was home during some of the most difficult parts of our married life. We dealt with job and family crisis, loneliness, and confusion about where we were supposed to be. But, we made it through, learned a lot of valuable lessons, and I am more than happy to close this chapter and open a new one back in “our town”.

It’s hard to believe we packed up our first home together in Madison, MS nearly four years ago, and now we are coming back! That move was quite stressful because we ended up getting ripped off by the moving company (another lesson learned, always get a guaranteed price!) and our closing had been moved back twice on that house before we finally got to move in. I was living with my parents while Bobby lived with some friends in our new town as we waited for our home to be complete.

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Ooohhh the boxes. Not looking forward to that again! We eventually got settled in, and truly enjoyed a lot of the aspects of our home and neighborhood.

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In the end, the area wasn’t a great fit for us and we longed to be back in Madison. We were very thankful to have a beautiful home, but I learned a very valuable lesson during our time in Biloxi: You can’t make up for lack of friends and relationships or a good church home just because you really love your house. The newness will fade and you will still feel very lonely.

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Our years in that house may have been very trying, but I believe it taught us the importance of relationships, being plugged into a great church, and that “things”, while nice, won’t keep you happy for long. We have already started to invest ourselves in our church and community, and cannot wait to raise baby M here! Now, we are praying that the closing goes through on the 31st, then I think it will feel more real and official once it is all done, and then I will share more about our new home and some other things going on with us! I just don’t want to jinx anything until papers are actually signed. Smile

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I will be back this afternoon, but doubt I will have time to blog, so just hang with me as things may be a bit sporadic as we go through this process.

QOTD: Do you have bittersweet feelings when you move out of a house? How important is the area in which you live in comparison to the home itself?

The Year of Optimism

Oh, 2013. My head is swimming with so many thoughts that I don’t know where to start. I feel like every year I start the year off all excited and ready for change, but by February I have slipped back into my same old mindset. Not only that, but I totally forget about my resolutions and at the end of the year it’s a surprise to me to even read what they were!
In my house, we have a tradition where we write our resolutions down and put them in our Christmas stockings for safe keeping. Then, the next year when we pull out the decorations we have them ready to read….and ready to be depressed about. I realized that a lot of my “resolutions” are actually things that are mostly out of my control. No wonder I get so disappointed when they don’t happen! This isn’t true for all of them, but a lot, yes. I have decided that this year I am not going to set myself up for failure and disappointment by writing down lofty things that may or may not happen during the year. Especially when I know I will forget about them in a couple weeks.
Hear me out, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have goals or strive for certain things, if you have been reading my blog for awhile you know I typically do small monthly goals. I just think a laundry list of lofty things for the year may not be the way to go for some people (like me).

This year, instead of setting myself up for disappointment, I am going to try to focus on bettering myself as a whole person. I’m not labeling it, I’m not putting limitations, restrictions, or specifics on it. I know technical goal people are probably having a panic attack right now because that isn’t exactly “measurable”, but I want the freedom to make it whatever I want it to be for that day, hour, or even minute. For example: I may wake up one day and decide I want to run 25 miles that week. So I will focus on bettering myself in that way, and then that’s that. The next day or week, I may decide I want to volunteer in some way,do it, then move on to something else. I don’t want to limit myself, box myself in, or set myself up to fail. Heck I may decide in the middle of something to change my mind!

Bottom line, January puts a lot of STRESS on me, and it’s not necessary. I want 2014 to be low key and laid back. This in itself will be a huge feat because I am quite high strung. I have always been very competitive and in turn am very hard on myself. This year I don’t want to beat myself up for things I DON’T do, but instead want to CELEBRATE the things I do accomplish.

It’s all about your mindset and attitude, and I am striving to be more of a glass half full kind of girl. So, my word for the year is OPTIMISTIC. Again, not putting any rules on this, I just want to strive to be an overall better and more optimistic person, whatever that looks like depending on the day. You are the only one who can change your attitude, and we all know your mental health has a huge bearing on your physical health.

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So for 2014, I will be counting my blessings and being optimistic about the future. I think if I can do those things, then I will WANT to better myself because I will have the right attitude. It’s a cycle! 2013 was tough, I don’t share everything here on the blog as I don’t want to air my personal issues online…so just know there were a lot of days I really struggled. I’m not sad to see it go and am ready to start fresh with this new approach. Even though things last year didn’t go as planned, I am a very blessed girl and owe every good thing I have to God, who has been with me even when I felt the most alone and sad. It’s tough, but I am trying to remember that my plans may not be what God has in mind for me, and may not be best for me. I don’t want to settle, so I will be optimistic and try to go with the flow and remember it will all work out!

Here’s to a laid back, glass half full 2014. I just know it’s going to be my best year yet. (See, already working on that optimism!)
Thank you for reading my blog in 2013, you all mean a lot to me, more than you can know.

Cheers!

Gratitude

I really struggle sometimes with looking at the negative in life and forgetting about all the positives. Isn’t that human nature though? Wishing for things we want to change or don’t have but forgetting all the every day blessings? I wanted to take some time out to talk about gratitude, and hopefully it is a good reminder to us all to focus on all the GOOD things we have in life, and how fortunate we really are.

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I am participating in a week of gratitude with some lovely bloggers, and we all agreed to write a post about it.

I have an amazing family, a warm home to sleep in, a working vehicle, a job, I’m healthy (minus some running injuries haha) and I am saved by grace.

With Black Friday coming up in a couple of days, it’s easy to focus on our wish lists as well as the stress of all the things we have to buy for other people. It saddens me that stores are now opening up SO early on Thanksgiving Day. Isn’t this a day to spend time with family and give THANKS, not rush to the nearest store to buy more junk for our families that we really don’t even need?

I want to encourage you all to do something in the next few days, before the weekend is over. I’m not saying boycott shopping and I’m not saying gifts are bad, but it is about where your heart is and your true focus. I want everyone to take some time, even if it’s just a minute or two, to think of a way you can show how truly grateful you are for something or someone in your life. I think it may help us to refocus and re-center ourselves before the Christmas crazies set in. Here are some ideas:

-Write a hand written card or note to someone you care about thanking them for who they are or something they do for you. Leave it in their car, briefcase, on their laptop, etc.

-Go outside and play with your kids or our pets. Don’t just watch THEM play, get involved and cherish the time.

-Sacrifice something. Instead of buying coffee AND a bagel for yourself, buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you. Tip extra at a restaurant and write a note on the receipt telling the server you appreciate their hard work.

-Reflect. Spend some time in the quiet with no TV, computer, or cell phone and look back on all the good things that have happened to you and your family this year. Write them down and keep the list on the refrigerator as a constant reminder of how blessed you are. Don’t let any negative thoughts creep in your mind about things that went wrong this year.

-At Thanksgiving, have everyone go around the table and say something they are grateful for. Someone may say something that encourages or surprises you, and you may bless someone else with something you say.

I won’t be posting tomorrow, I will be with my family and I hope you will be off the computer and spending time with yours. I love y’all and am grateful for YOU and the encouragement and support you give me from miles away. Y’all are the best. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving 2012

Cheer Up

I was in need of a good laugh yesterday, so I spent some time looking up some super funny things, and let’s face it they aren’t hard to find. People post them all over Facebook and Twitter so I didn’t have to look far. I promise these won’t disappoint, so if you are looking for something to turn that frown upside down, check these out:

1.) “When this guy calls his boss to tell him he’s running a little late, he witnesses a car accident and begins the best play-by-play commentary you’ll ever hear.

Right after the car accident happens, the caller states that a man gets out of his car as if the other car was at fault. What happens next is pure entertainment.

The witness leaves the literal blow-by-blow action to his boss while laughing hysterically.”

http://95rockfm.com/best-voicemail-giving-play-by-play-of-car-accident/  <——- I literally laughed out loud, by myself, in my house. Oh how I would have loved to have been there!

2.) People who are having a worse day than you: http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/people-who-are-having-a-worse-day-than-you <—-why is it so funny to laugh at other people’s expense?

3.) Things people do online that would be creepy in real life. http://www.buzzfeed.com/video/bobbymiller/things-you-do-online-thatd-be-creepy-in-real-life <——Never really thought about it but SO true.

4.) EVERYTHING from this website. http://humortrain.com/ <——Huge time suck by the way.

5.) Reasons my kid is crying. http://www.studentbeans.com/worldweirdweb/a/wins/23-best-pics-from-reasons-my-kid-is-crying5650.html <—– I die. Kids crack me up

Hope this brightened your day! Have a good one, it’s almost FRIDAY!

QOTD: Do you have a funny link to share? Which one of these was your favorite?