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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015: Resolution Overload

 photo ResolutionOverload_zpsc36a0efe.jpgIf you've been on Facebook at all in the past week (and you know I have been), maybe you've noticed it. "It" being the over-abundance of self-improvement tips and blog posts and encouragements, all allegedly pointing us in the direction of a happier, healthier, smarter, more organized, more faithful, more prosperous New Year. "It" makes me want to pull the covers over my head and stay in 2014 forever.

There is nothing wrong with setting goals, dreaming big or choosing a life focus. The good Lord knows that my life could use some focus. But being inundated with suggestions about how to be a better me actually results in a more anxious me. Here are just a few of the things I could do to make 2015 the best. year. ever.

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I'm not devoid of goals or completely unwilling to make changes in my life. I think that the key to me succeeding at New Year's resolutions or life goals or whatever you want to call them is to decide what's really important to me and what activities will support that. 

#slaydebt photo Home-Page-Book-Graphic-text_zpsbfd4c6bb.png#slaydebt photo Home-Page-Book-Graphic-text_zpsbfd4c6bb.pngMy focus for 2015 is to get our home ready to sell. By this time next year, I want to be able to confidently put a "For Sale" sign in the yard.

So the two things I am committing myself to this year are completing the 52-Week Organized Home Challenge (done in just 15 minutes a day!) and reading my friend Cherie's new book, Slaying the Debt Dragon, which I'm counting on to inspire me to get our finances in sell-and-move-ready condition, too.

Sure, there are plenty of other goals I could set -- health goals, career goals, even recreational goals. But I know myself. I can overload myself with good intentions, then end up frustrated and stuck where I was in the first place because it was just all too much. Or I can choose one thing that I really want for 2015 and take a few concrete steps toward achieving that. The other thing I can do is ask for your help. Check in with me from time to time about my progress. Encourage me. Gently keep my feet to the fire.

Are you setting goals or making resolutions for 2015? If so, what are they? And how can I help you make 2015 the year you want it to be?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Late night thoughts on grocery shopping on Christmas Eve eve

Almost the last thing I wanted to do at 10:30pm was go to the grocery store. But it was December 23, Christmas Eve eve, and I was bound and determined to lay in the supplies for Christmas day before Christmas Eve.

It had already been an expensive day. New brake pads (4 of them) on the van, an oil change for Annie's car, the last of the Christmas gift purchases -- all of which were more or less planned for -- and then the totally unexpected need to replace Annie's one and only pair of eyeglasses when they accidentally broke in a moment of horseplay with Charlie. So I was determined to spend wisely on this trip.

That meant I sat down ahead of time to update my Target Cartwheel and match up coupons to as many things as I could. By the time I hit the Target parking lot, it was 10:30pm. Here is what went through my head:

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  1. Thank God Target is open until midnight tonight. 
  2. Stick to the list, Amy. Stick to the li--ooh! Gingerbread houses (Note: Restraint was victorious)
  3. Oh, we do need bananas. And ketchup. (Victory short-lived)
  4. 5 people with two weeks home for Christmas break? This is gonna be expensive.
  5. Merry Christmas to me -- I'm buying the pre-made veggie tray instead of making it myself. (For the record, I was going to clean, chop and assemble it myself, but the only celery I could find was a seen-better-days package of organic celery. You can't have a proper veggie tray without celery.)
  6. Wow. The key to shopping on Christmas Eve eve is coming late at night. There's practically no one here. 
  7. I'm not buying hot dogs. Robbie will eat 5 in a day and then they will be gone.
  8. So many 2 for $5 deals. Did I mention this is gonna be expensive.
  9. I will buy one bag of "good" bagels and one bag of Market Pantry bagels.
  10. Ding! Ding! Ding! Doing the happy dance here! Spiral sliced ham for $1.99/pound, minus $1 per pound with my coupon, minus 10% on the Cartwheel, minus 10% for the Red Card + Rx Rewards = spiral sliced ham for about 80 cents a pound! Let's buy two!
  11. Yes! The last box of sugar cookie cutouts. Bake and decorate. Perfect! I wonder if that's on the Cartwheel?
  12. Crappy cereal as Christmas gifts...brilliant! 
  13. Seriously, all the hash browns are gone? Yes, I could make my own, but it's Christmas. See #5.
  14. Chocolate chip peppermint slice & bake cookies?! That must have been what Beth did for her party.
  15. Don't forget the dog food.
  16. Orange juice. Better write "do not drink" on this when I get home or it will be gone before Christmas morning.
  17. Can beef jerky be a stocking stuffer? 
  18. Almost finished. Just need to find the hashbrowns, oh! and batteries. Duracell 9 volt. I have a coupon for that.
  19. Why are batteries so flipping expensive? 
  20. Where did all these people come from and why are there only 2 checkout lanes open?
  21. Coupons, Passbook, Cartwheel, pharmacy rewards, Red Card. It's like a game.
  22. I win! Took $50 off my total. 
  23. It really might be easier to push this cart home than unload it into the van only to unload it from the van to the kitchen. 
  24. Where are my keys? And my phone? Maybe shopping while exhausted isn't a great idea.
  25. Midnight. Whew. Closed down the store. I sure hope that someone is awake at home to help me carry all these in and put them away.
  26. I am DONE. I will not set foot into a store until sometime next week...oh crap. Forgot I need one quick thing at Walgreen's. I'll make Mike go. 
  27. Bet this might make a good blog post.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

I know it's just hair, but I still might cry.

I was wandering Target last night (a perfectly acceptable Friday night activity) when Annie sent me a text. It was a brief conversation:
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It was not one of my most open-minded moments, but her hair -- her natural-grows-out-of-her-head hair -- is so pretty. Dye her hair black? My mind immediately went to a pasty-white-faced girl wearing a safety pin through her ear and black combat boots on her feet. 

Honestly, look at this senior picture Mike took of her: 

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I know I'm terribly biased, but I think she is beautiful and her hair is just gorgeous. So why in the world would she want to go and dye it at all, but especially why would she want to dye it black? 

She had an answer for that:

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It was late, pushing 11:00pm. I didn't really have a good argument other than "because I said so." It is only hair. I was too tired to argue and figured in 6 weeks she will be 18 and technically able to make her own decisions anyway, barring "my house, my rules." And I'm trying to be less of a control freak. So I waved the white flag of surrender:

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And because I'm still a work in progress on the whole control freak thing:

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A mother can hope, right?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Where would you be?

I feel like I am losing my mind. But really, I'm just losing my stuff. I've tried the prayer to St. Anthony:

 photo StA_KeepCalm_zps355c1098.jpgTony, Tony look around.
Something's lost and can't be found.
Please help me find...

Either St. Anthony is sleeping on the job or he's trying to teach me a lesson about taking care of my things. I have cleaned out more than one closet with no luck. So now I'm here enlisting your help (and hoping that at least one person who reads my blog is psychic).

Where would you be if you were...
  • one black El Naturalista clog with cute swirly white stitching 
  • one silver Dr. Scholl flat 
  • my favorite pair of Vera Wang jammies (from Kohl's) that my husband bought me for Christmas last year
  • the security card that lets me into my office building (don't worry boss, it's been gone a while)
  • a cute little vintage-looking Santa pin that I swear was on the counter next to the refrigerator
  • 3 green mini bungee cords that are used to hang stockings with care
  • a red cardigan sweater that will go perfectly with my "Believe" bling holiday shirt
  • the "bit" part of my Fitbit Flex that somehow got separated from the charge
I'm serious, give me some ideas where these things might be. What is the strangest place you've ever found something you've lost? 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

To be young and in...fatuated

I should have known I was in trouble when, at 11 years old, Charlie told me there was no way he could be a priest. "Why?" I asked. "Mom, do you really expect me to live without a woman for the rest of my life?!"

Fast forward four years and we are -- well, he is (Mike & I are just occasionally intervening observers) -- in the girlfriend zone. Charlie loves to be in LUV. Sometimes the speed at which he barrels into a relationship scares me a little bit. I don't mean in the physical sense. We've had plenty of conversations about "S," as Robbie calls it, but Charlie is emotionally all in when it comes to teenage romance.

So far, his taste in girls has been very good. Both nice Catholic girls. Both good students. His first girlfriend was super sweet and had a dad who is a police officer. I told Charlie he was either going to have to marry her or wait for her to break up with him, neither of which happened. We were all fairly traumatized by that break-up. Robbie still talks about Girl #1 and how much he liked her.

 photo Charlie_Ameliah2_zps1b05fcf6.jpgNow there is Girl #2. They met at church -- yay God! -- and go to different high schools. It seems like Charlie enjoys being "free" during the day at school. The extent of the "dating" has been a couple of PG-13 movies, a Butler basketball game with her parents, hanging out at her house, and lots of text messages. His current girlfriend has got him playing marathon games of Hanging with Friends, so that makes me happy. The fact that she makes him want to go to church, if only to see her, is also a good thing.

Charlie and Girl #2 have been dating for somewhere around two months and Christmas is just around the corner. So what did my lover-of-girls want to give his sweetheart? Well, he started thinking about a giant teddy bear. Sweet, though a little cliche. I suggested a photo of the two of them in a frame. It's inexpensive, personal, and she can re-use the frame for a picture of her and her next boyfriend. You know, just in case.

He wasn't on board with that idea. Then he said that Girl #2 loves the TV show "The Office" (score another point for Girl #2), so he thought maybe he would give her the ENTIRE SERIES on DVD. In addition to being young and infatuated, Charlie is also a bit delusional about how much things cost. Did I mention he doesn't have a job and will be working off the cost of this gift in dishwashing and laundry?

Needless to say, I sent him back to the drawing board, where he and Girl #2 came up with what they determined to be the PERFECT gift for each other. Anyone care to guess? I'll give you a's cheesy, but as Annie declared "it's so cheesy it's sweet."

Couples sweatshirts.

 photo BeautyBeast_zps1cd2f731.jpgAs the kids today say, "I can't even..."

Just thinking about it and how excited Charlie was (for me) to buy this gift for Girl #2 makes me smile. Do you want to see the sweatshirts? Of course you do!

Girl #2 is a beauty. But Charlie a beast? Only if you are talking about his ferocity on the soccer field, or more likely his table manners.

Truthfully, the sweatshirts make so much sense for how Charlie views the world, romance included. He wants to someone or something. He's a person who needs people and I love that about him, even if that means he probably won't be a priest.