“Sometimes you have to forget what you want, and remember what you deserve.”

I keep hearing this over and over again!  Sometimes when you’re told something long enough, you start to believe it, I’m so sick of doubting myself!  How is it that everyone else thinks they know what I need in my life?

The more I think about what I want and how it affects everyone else, it makes me sick to my stomach.  I start to beat myself up for being so selfish for wanting a little bit of happiness for myself.  As a Mom, my job is to make sure everyone around me is happy first, so what’s wrong with me?

Then I spend a day surrounded by my happiness and I allow myself to believe that it’s what I deserve.  After all, how can I make sure my kids are happy if I’m not?

Life is divided for me right now, I live in stolen moments of euphoria, but mostly in the reality that everyone else is right.  I know, I know, I’m allowing myself a moment of self-pity, but mostly to remind myself how off track I am.  I know what I want, I know how to get there, why can’t I just pull the trigger?  Why can’t I get my head out of my ass long enough to see that I’m just delaying the inevitable?  Why don’t I just redefine what I want and go for it?

I mean, do I want what I want because I can’t have it?  Which is usually the case with me, as soon as I get it, boredom sets in and I’m no longer interested.  In that case, should I just leave my happiness to stolen glimpses of what won’t be, just to keep it that way and from getting disinterested in it?  Sometimes I stare at my happiness for so long, I don’t even recognize it as the object of my affections.  I don’t see myself in it or remember why I want it.  Or I convince myself that I’m better off without it and I grieve the loss of something I didn’t even know I ever wanted.

Yes, these are the diluted thoughts I allow myself to think, the thoughts that make me so sick and indecisive.  In the end, I see I’m truly off track, everyone is right and I should just let my life play out as it is, even at the risk of losing everything I love.  Of course, I’ll change my mind tomorrow….

-Sandra

“There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I’m going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.” 
— Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)

My sister told me about this book a long time ago and for whatever reason, I resisted reading it for the longest time. I think the thought of reading about someone that had a life altering epiphany scared the hell out of me.  When the movie came out, I think I rescheduled a few times to see it with her and when I finally did go, she did what all big sisters do…..she held my hand throughout the movie and let me cry.

I know it sounds silly to have a movie impact you so greatly, I thought so too, so I bought the book thinking there had to be something different….something lost in translation and I was just awed by the scenery and magnificence of the big screen.  Nope!  No such luck…the book was just as good, just a little more in depth.  I can’t wait to buy the movie, the DVD comes out next week and I’m sure it’s one of those that you get more out of every time you watch it.

The quote above just about describes where I am in my life.  I’m taking back control of the things I stopped controlling a long time ago.  I’m choosing to take my life back and no longer leaving my decisions up to others to make for me and then getting upset when things don’t go my way.  How can I teach my girls to be strong women, if I can’t even do it for myself?  So this is me…..off to take control of my life…..

-Sandra

“That’s the thing about a human life-there’s no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed.”  — Elizabeth Gilbert 
I love this quote, it really is a question of making the same choices and decisions if we knew beforehand the outcome.  I mean think about it….we are who we are because of the mistakes we’ve made.  If we never made those mistakes because we could see the variables for what they are and where they lead, would we still be the same person in the end?
 
I don’t know how many times I wished I knew the outcome of things to save myself the heartbreak ahead of time, but then I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.  I am who I am because I’ve survived those heartbreaks, because I learned the lesson and licked my wounds.  Would I have preferred the easy route in a lot of my mistakes, OF COURSE.  Life doesn’t come with an instruction booklet, there is no race to the end and the best way to learn the lesson is to make mistakes to grow from….I know this, but it doesn’t keep me from trying to control my fate.
 
It’s easier said and done to fully entrust yourself to God, Fate, Life and Love.  My instinct to run has never been greater when facing my fears, but sometimes you just get tired of running.  Guess what?  I’m tired of running and terrified of facing my fears, but no one can do it for me, so both feet in it is.

-Sandra

Okay….so I totally lied about my last hiatus being over….but WOW has life given me a curve ball, so now it’s officially over!  Tons to talk about….tons to say…

Since I was last on, my girls have gone back to school, I’ve gone back to school (yes, still chugging along on my Bachelor’s Degree), I’m working and have experienced some heartbreak!

I’m learning to be me again.  It’s been a while since I’ve been comfortable in my own skin and thanks to a great support system, I’m starting the see the vibrant, confident, happy-go-lucky person I used to be.  I’m learning that with such extreme highs comes extreme lows….that I can cry and pick myself up and not wait for someone to rescue me….that I can love completely without losing myself.

I’m going through an extremely tough time and I have to say, it’s a humbling experience.  I don’t have the luxury of laying down to die like I use to, I use to let life consume me and I’d allow myself to fully grieve, I can’t now.  I’m a mommy with responsibilities, I don’t have time…so I grieve little by little, between dropping off my girls at school and making my way to work, before I pick them up, while I shower, but mostly when I cry myself to sleep at the end of the day.  I concentrate on making sure I’m busy, busy, busy….so busy that I can’t think about those things that drag me down under.

I’m learning to take baby steps in my life.  I’ve always just jumped into life full force with both feet, but now I’m taking things slow, over-thinking things mostly, but making sure I don’t make the same mistakes.  So bare with me everyone, I will try to keep my posts positive, but I’m sure those days will creep up on me when I just have to vent.  Stay tuned to my drama….there’s plenty more to come!

-Sandra

Flylady defines C.H.A.O.S. as Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome and I’m determined to beat it. My house is not extraordinarily messy; actually, I don’t believe it to be messy at all. However, it’s a constant issue in my home because my dear hubby grew up in an immaculate house, the kind you could literally eat off the floor because it was so clean. I didn’t. So we’re constantly arguing over it and in the grand scheme of things, it’s a ridiculous thing to put so much energy into fighting about. In my defense, I have come a long way and have made great strides, so much so, that I’m happy to say that most of the time we don’t live in CHAOS. Of course, it never fails that those are the times when no one happens to pop in. And in the few (and rare) instances that CHAOS has taken over my house, it never fails that we have unexpected guests left and right.

My friend sent me this quote and said that it describes me to a ‘T’.  We adore chaos because we love to produce order. –M. C. Escher  She said that I subconsciously let chaos build up around me so that I can break out my organizational skills and organize, organize, organize. Of course, at first I denied it, there’s no way that I intentionally let it build and instigate arguments with my hubby over it…..but, the more I thought about it, the more I think she’s right. If I had nothing to organize (or obsess over), I’d probably have nothing to do.

With that said, I’m determined to keep CHAOS from running my life. And in the event that an uninvited guest drops in on the day that it does, then oh well! I’m not perfect (gasp!) and I don’t live in a museum. If my house looks lived in, it’s ok, because at least it’s a happy healthy home, with or without CHAOS. Now to get my hubby to see it that way is another story…

-Sandra

As En Vogue so eloquently put it in the 90’s, freeing your mind is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I just can’t seem to catch up on any sleep. I’m constantly reminded of what my mother said to me just right before the birth of my first daughter, “sleep now because once you’re a mom, you’ll never get another good night’s sleep”. Of course at the time, I just thought she was being facetious, but as the ol’ saying goes….Mom really does know best!

Don’t get me wrong, my girls were great as babies and are great sleeping through the night now. But it’s my mind that never sleeps. I’m constantly replaying the day in my mind as I try to fall asleep, or making mental lists of what needs to get done tomorrow and such. I’m running a million miles in my head daily, no wonder I’m so exhausted!

I’m determined that this needs to stop! So one of the ways I’m reorganizing my mind is to work on my habits.

-More exercise! Not because I need to do it (lord knows I do), but maybe if I exhaust my body enough throughout the day, it’ll beat out my mind and I’ll get the rest I need.

-Keep a notepad with me at all times. I figure, I have somewhere to put all my mental lists, then my mind can rest at ease knowing it’s going to be addressed eventually.

-Stop thinking!!! If I keep my brain from thinking about anything right before bed, then hopefully I’ll have nothing bouncing around in there when I lay down for bed.

I’m not going to do the usual things that all the experts say to do, like drinking warm milk (I’m lactose intolerant), taking a warm bath (that only wakes me up), etc, those just don’t work for me unfortunately

So the mission this week…if you chose to accept it…lol! Finding ways of freeing your mind from clutter; write down mental lists, shrug off any dramas that surround you, limit what you have to remember by keeping it written down in a safe place, and/or keep a daily calendar. By keeping our minds free from clutter we can focus on things that need and deserve our full attention, like our precious kids!

-Sandra

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working day by day not only organizing my life, but my soul as well.  One of the things that I keep in mind on my most insane days as I work my way back to some sort of sanity is The Optimist Creed.  Since taking baby steps works better for me than jumping right in, I focus on one line a day.  Here it goes:

The Optimist Creed by Christian D. Larson
 
Promise Yourself …
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
 
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
 
To make all your friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.
 
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
 
To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.
 
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
 
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
 
To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature you meet.
 
To give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
 
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
 
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.
 
To live in the faith that the whole world is on your side, so long as you are true to the best that is in you.
 
Trying to successfully do even one ALL the time is hard enough for a pessimist like me, not that I’m a bad person, but for me, the glass is always half empty.  I love this poem (I have it on my desktop) because no matter how hard I am on myself, I know that tomorrow is another day and starting over is okay.  One of my teachers once told me an old saying to live by to make me see how difficult it is to walk the fine line of unselfishness/selfishness/selflessness is:
 
You can please some of the people, some of the time,
some of the people, all of the time,
but you can’t please all of the people, all of the time.
 
So no matter what you do or how hard you try to please everyone, it really means nothing if you can’t please yourself first.  I’ve always thought of this as selfish, but sometimes being selfish and putting yourself first is the only way you can put others first without losing who you are.

-Sandra

All things die eventually.  However, can’t Valentine’s Day flowers last a little longer?  I know it really depends on when and where flowers are bought and how they were prepared, but seriously two days?  Ok, ok, I know I should be grateful that after so many years of marriage, at least I’m still getting flowers, BUT can I at least enjoy them!?!

When we first got married, I got bouquets once a month.  The girls at work expected them more than I did and as soon as they’d arrive, they’d all take a single bloom to enjoy at their desk.  They would beg me to have my hubby give romance lessons to their hubbies all the time.  Then seven years later, we decided to expand our family and with a difficult pregnancy, I was placed on bed rest and the flowers stopped coming.  As soon as I returned to work however, they continued to come and I loved it.  But as with all good things, this too came to an end.  The flowers started to come less frequently, then only on special occasions, and as the years went by, they no longer came on special occasions, but the day after…  And now that I’m home full-time, I’m lucky if I get flowers from my own garden!

It’s true we’ve cut back on costs, but just because I’m a mom, doesn’t mean I don’t want to be romanced!  And now what do I get?  …dead flowers!  LOL!  I love it!  I love my hubby and I know he desperately tries to be as romantic as before, but with two girls to chase after all day, it’s hard sometimes for either one of us to find our romantic ol’ selves.  Either way as my hubby now knows, I’d rather get dead flowers then to only get flowers after I’m dead!  Hmmm… does dead flowers = dead romance….NAH!

-Sandra

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I’ve found that my easiest days are the days that have been started off right.  Anybody that knows me, knows I hate to be late to anything (school, work, church, etc.).  So starting off the day right and not having to rush around to keep from being late is my incentive to keeping the rest of my day on track.  I’ve been able to (thanks to FlyLady) work out my morning routine, keeping me on time, motivated, and productive.  By making simple and quick changes to my morning routine, I can now get more household chores done before even leaving the door to take the kids to school.  I used to only have to time to get dressed before rushing out the door and then I’d come home only to rush to make dinner and do as much as I could around the house before bed.  No wonder I was always so exhausted, all that rushing around and never getting much done!  Here’s what my day consists of now:

-Stretching before getting out of bed to get my blood flowing (just a tiny bit of exercise)

-Hitting the bathroom to wash my face, brush my teeth and do hair and make-up. (while I’m here, I put in toilet cleaner and let it sit, then wipe down the sink after getting ready)

-while the girls eat breakfast, I put all my clean dishes away (the last thing I do before bed is wash dishes and put in a load of laundry), this makes cooking dinner easier since everything is put in its place

-since the laundry ran during the night, I can now place it in the dryer

-I swish the toilet and get dressed to take the girls to school

-by the time I get back, the laundry is done drying and now I can put it away

-vacuum

-run errands, pick up groceries, pick up girls and start dinner

Of course, these last couple of weeks I’ve sprinkled exercising in there and since I no longer go to work, I have more time available to me to get done what I need to get done.  But with two little girls, I never know when I’m going to fall behind.  It was really hard at first to build up a routine, but now that I have one, it’s worked wonders keeping me on time throughout the day.  By doing light maintenance in the bathroom each morning, doing one load of laundry a day, cleaning the sink each night for the next day, and toting around my trusty laundry basket returning everything to it’s place each evening, I accomplish more without even thinking about it than if I were to dedicate a day to completely cleaning the entire house.  I’m not perfect, nor have I perfected my cleaning routine, but by having a routine I’ve allowed myself to have a presentable house (not spotless), spend more time with my kids, and not feel unproductive.  Like I tell my husband, “if I want my tombstone to say that my house was spotless, I’d have a spotless house”, but since being a mother and wife and spending time with my family matters to me most, having an ‘ok’ house is ok with me.

-Sandra

No matter what your organizational type is, using the right tools makes all the difference.  I know that we all have tools at our disposal that we just can’t live without and having them makes all the difference. 

Take for example our vacuums, we all have them, we all use them, but using the right one for your workload can greatly change how you do household chores.  I just recently retired (burnt out) my 10 year old vacuum and had to replace it.  I couldn’t believe how many types of different vacuums are on the market now and how much they cost!  Needless to say, I came home empty-handed to do some much needed research.  Because I have Roscoe, we have a pet hair problem, so I needed one that could handle a pet hair covered carpet, as well as still do all the other stuff vacuums do.  After tons of research, reading reviews, and changing my vacuum budget I bought a great vacuum that does everything I need it to do and more.  I have to say, it has made all the difference!  Having the right vacuum for the job has cut down my household cleaning by at least 30 minutes.

Having the right tools makes the work that much faster, not to mention, slightly fun! 🙂

Here’s a list of three tools I can’t live without:

1. FlipFold Board – I hate laundry, it’s one of my least favorite chores.  However, by folding laundry faster with my FlipFold board, I’ve cut down laundry time by half, making it a bit more bearable.  Not to mention, they have a junior size for my kids to re-fold their laundry if need be.

2. Laundry baskets – As much as I use these for laundry, I have to admit I use them more for toting things around the house.  I have one for each of the girls and after they’ve gone to bed, I go through the house picking up their things, filling their basket, and taking it to their room.  They know that in the morning, part of their routine is to clean out their basket, putting their things away, and giving me back an empty basket.  I go to bed with a clean house and they go to school with a clean room, it’s a win-win!

3. Bissell’s Pet Hair Eraser vacuum – This is the one I was bragging about earlier.  One thing I forgot to mention is that this vacuum also works wonders on hard surfaces as well, not just carpet.

As much as my hubby hates it, I’m constantly on the prowl for the next new, fun, useful, and time saving tool to make household chores, less of a chore.  I’ll keep you all updated on any new toys!

-Sandra