I've decided that for the year 2012, my goal is to learn something new each month. As I've been brainstorming all the different things I could learn, I've been humbled to realize how little I know. I'm not planning on learning anything big, like the French language for example, but I want to learn new skills that will either help my daily life or bring me joy.
For January, I've decided to learn how to use mint.com. Basically, this month will be about budgeting. I've learned how to make budgets many times, but I'm hoping that this time we'll actually stick to it. That's the goal for this month (and hopefully the year ahead, as well.)
Along with the fantastic Mint website, I'll be checking out as many personal finance books from our little town library as I can. I'll update my reading list for this month, and I'll also be working to make a list of other things to learn this year. Any suggestions?
This past week, I was talking to my mom about some blogs/websites that I have found really helpful over the past few months as I've been on this Weight Watchers journey. Reading about other people's successes and struggles has been really valuable to me. As well as inspiration, I also find great, healthy (low points) recipes. Mom asked me to put them on my blog so that she can find them easily, so I am obliging her. Aren't I the best of daughters?
So, here are my 3 go-to blogs:
Roni's Weigh. Roni lost 70 pounds about 5 years ago. As a 30-something mom, it's refreshing to read about someone in my boat, who has experienced such success. http://ronisweigh.com/
Green Lite Bites. This is Roni's food blog. Her experiments in the kitchen are low point, often kid friendly, quick and easy. I even made my first "green" smoothie because of this blog. http://greenlitebites.com/
I recently finished reading Gretchen Rubin's book "The Happiness Project." I like to start my year with a few "self-improvement" type books, and this is one that I've been wanting to read for awhile. While this isn't a tremendously academic book, it IS a thoughtful one, which has made me pause often to consider how my behavior is influencing my happiness and the happiness of those I love.
I was pleased to realize that I inadvertently embarked on my own "happiness project" when Danny left for New York in November. I decided that I simply couldn't allow this year to be lost to depression, negativity and lack of control. I knew that I needed to be aware of my own emotional and physical well being in order to be the best mom I can be to my three kiddos.
After a few months of contemplation, I decided that one of the most important things I could do to help me feel better was to tackle my issues I've had with my weight. Ugh. Am I crazy? Go on a diet at a highly stressful time in our lives? Isn't that a recipe for failure? Surprisingly, no.
In January, I walked myself into our local Weight Watchers meeting, and signed up. I think that was the hardest part. I've been stunned at how my weight loss process so far has helped me so much, by giving me something concrete to focus on. I have something that I'm in control of, that doesn't have anything to do with anyone but myself. I'm part of a little group that I meet with every week. Other than the fact that we're all a little fatter than we want to be, we don't have much in common. But, that room of ladies has helped me a lot over the past 6 weeks. Just having to show up and be accountable is great, but having people clap at my successes and give me stickers like a kindergartner makes every weigh-in Wednesday a little brighter. It also helps that today I reached my first 10 pound milestone.
Hurray for me, hurray for taking control, and hurray for happiness!
It's funny how back in the summer, the idea of going to a movie alone was a strange thing to me. Things certainly change quickly.
I'm doing a lot of things on my own these days because my sweet husband took a job in NYC until June. After our little school here closed, we were forced to consider employment options that we previously wouldn't have. The kids started at the local public school, and found themselves happy and enjoying experiences they had never had (ie. riding a school bus.) So, when my husband was offered an interim position in NY, the choice was made that I would stay here with the kids, while he went east. He's been gone since November, coming home for holidays, and the occasional weekend. We miss him.
BUT, these past few months have helped me realize a lot about myself... about what I'm capable of doing on my own, about the importance of an optimistic outlook, about the blessings of busy-ness, about my love of solitude, and about how much I adore my husband. I'm trying to remain calm in the face of uncertainty, upbeat despite my natural tendency toward crankiness, and energetic when sometimes I'd rather stay in bed. Believe it or not, I'm doing a pretty good job.
Last weekend, I found myself YEARNING to do something I never would have guessed would sound appealing to me in the slightest. With the blessing of my sweet husband, who watched the kids, and $12 in my pocket, I went to the movies BY MYSELF.
I went to see Eat, Pray, Love. An appropriate choice for a gal going to the movies alone.
I sat alone in a dark theater. I ate chocolate covered raisins. I didn't talk to anyone. I didn't check my phone. I didn't take anyone to the bathroom. I laughed, I cried, I marveled at Javier Bardem, I craved pizza and I longed for Bali. I was refreshed and replenished.
The movie ended and I went home, hugged my kids, and unloaded the dishwasher. It's amazing how an experience that would have struck terror in my heart as a teenager was exactly what my tired mothering heart needed.
So, to all those moms out there who are going crazy at the end of having a house full of kids all summer, I suggest a solo trip to the movies. Two hours of air-conditioned peace and quiet is bliss.
We've been enjoying a new hobby this summer... Letterboxing! It's been a great way to get the kids out of the house, enjoy a "treasure hunt" of sorts, find new spots in our own backyard and see old spots in a new way. I was stunned to find that there are over 100 boxes planted within 25 miles of Provo. This little hobby could really keep a gal busy.
Our notebook is filling up with fun and funky hand carved stamps, little pieces of art that reward you at the end of your quest. The kids have enjoyed deciphering clues, scrambling down paths, searching under rocks, and spending great family time together.