Monday, June 11, 2012

I wish....

Sometimes I wish that I was as cold and detached as I pretend to be. I am not. I have feelings and they get hurt. Often.

Sometimes I wish that I was as brave as people think. I am not fearless. I have a hard time putting myself out there. I am terrified of birds, being laughed at, and failing.

Sometimes I wish I was better. Better at listening, more patient, more forgiving. I wish I cared more about being nice than I did about being right. I wish I yelled less. I hate how much anger I carry just beneath my skin.

I wish I did more for others. I love to give, but time seems so tight that I never seem to have any left to share.

Sometimes I wish I had more money. I don't need to be rich, but I would love
to be able to forget about the bills that are rolling in. I wish we could travel more and take our kids on fabulous vacations.

I wish I was graceful. I have always been awkward and downright clumsy. I am constantly tripping, falling, and tromping about. I wish I floated into rooms like Audrey Hepburn did.

I wish there was some way to lose this weight once and for all. I am so tired
Of losing and regaining this same 30 pounds. It is hard to even try again. I have lost faith in myself. I don't believe
I will ever be thin.

Sometimes I wish I could be someone else. Someone smarter, prettier, taller. I wish I lived somewhere exotic and picked fresh mango for lunch, right off the tree. I wish that I only had to be myself and that that would be enough. I wish I could sleep until noon on a beach of soft sand and that the waves would rock me to sleep.

Sometimes I wish I was 8 again, climbing cherry trees. Life was so simple then.

But then I realize that all these things that I wish I could change, are what have made me me. They have brought me here. They have worked together to build me this life and make me who I am today. With two tiny arms wrapped around my thigh and a baby on my hip, how could I ever want it any other way?

A cold mother wouldn't be a kind one. I need that warmth when there are broken legs or broken hearts to heal.

Maybe I am braver than I think. I brought two children into this world without blinking or even once doubting my decision.

I may not do a lot for others, but I give of myself to my own family everyday, asking nothing in return.

Money is tight, but we have a place to live and food to eat. Our vacations are not elaborate, but don't kids like camping in the backyard? I know I did.

Although my body is not graceful in the conventional sense, I can carry two kids and my purse and open a car door, that's something right?

Thinner, yes I still want that, but I do not want my daughter to believe her body is her most important asset. I can show her that her health is more important than her weight. I will show her how to live an active lifestyle, I will teach her to love herself, no matter what.

Dream are important, but I hope they never get in the way of me seeing how beautiful of a reality I am already living.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

940 are you spending yours?

My mom recently informed me that there are 940 Saturdays between the day your child is born and the day he/she turns 18.   It makes me sad to think of how many of Maya's Saturdays have already been wasted. How many Saturdays have been spent telling her we were too busy to play, working on projects, doing laundry...?

Saturdays are often our work day around here.  It is when we catch up from the busy week, get the house back to a livable state, and unbury ourselves from the toys and dirty clothes that have been ignored for the last few days.  It is also yard work day, shopping day, garage saling day, grocery day...The list goes on and on. Often times, I use Saturdays to list my ebay items and sort clothes for my facebook selling page, it is our project day, our work day, but should it be more?

With only only 940 Saturdays to spend with our children, shouldn't we be valuing them more highly? Maybe, Saturdays should be fun day, adventure day, picnic day, and snuggle day? Maybe Saturdays should be reserved for giggles, and stories, and the tickle monster?  Maybe, Saturdays should be special sacred days when we don't even mention work?  When the answer is always yes, we are never too busy, and nothing is more important than making memories.  In the grand scheme, when my children are grown with children of their own, I highly doubt I will wish they had lived in a cleaner house. I doubt the stories they tell their own children will be about the day they watched a movie so I could deep clean the kitchen.  No, I can only hope that the memories I give my children will match the ones my own mother gave me. 

Saturdays full of trips to the zoo, walks in the woods, and catching butterflies. Saturdays full of reading books and snuggling , imagining to live in the lighthouse painting above our couch. Saturdays full of baking cookies, singing songs in the car, and watching for Christmas lights out the window.  She was never too busy to count how many somersaults I could do in the pool. My record was 11.  

Today is Saturday. Make it count.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Introducing Thrifty Thursdays:)

With my page still in its infancy, I am trying to develop some structure for this whirlwind of a blog. So, from now on, Thursdays will be Thrifty Thursdays. I will aim on these days to share some of the things I do to help keep my families costs down, save money, earn money, and to become debt free. So for starters, let me tell you that one of my number one secrets for saving money is to avoid buying new clothes at all costs.

The secret is out-not that it was really a secret, I hardly EVER buy new clothes. I shop Goodwill, Salvation Army, and garage sales for my own clothing as well as my children's clothes. I am not embarrassed by this. Why should I be? It is the ultimate in recycling. As I type I am wearing a J Crew shirt that cost me $2 at a garage sale, a pair of American Eagle jeans that cost me $2 at a garage sale, and a pair of Sperry Topsiders I got for $10 at a Salvation Army- let me tell you $10 was A LOT for me to spend on shoes-but I have wanted some for ages ! That makes my entire outfit $14 ( FYI my unmentionables were purchased new at an outlet on clearance). Retail for these pieces? Lets look it up.

A similar top at Jcrew-$69.50

Same jeans at American Eagle-on Clearance for $29.99

My "splurge" Sperry Topsiders $75 

So cost for this outfit retail would be $174.49!!!!!!!That was even with the jeans on clearance! That makes my total savings 92%!!!
This is a perfect illustration of why I LOVE garage saling.  

Some things to keep in mind when garage saling for clothes are:

CONDITION-make sure you quadrupley check for holes, snags, missing buttons, stains, etc. This stuff isn't new and some people don't presort what they are selling like I do:)  I make it a personal rule to not sell anything stained, ripped, or broken at my own sale.

PRICE- I have a price point in my head that I think is reasonable for used clothes. It depends on brand, condition, and how much I love the item. In general I don't pay more than $3 or $4 for jeans, $2 for shirts, and $5 for jackets and coats. I do make exception-like the nearly new Columbia 3-in-1 coat I got for $12 last year.

HAGGLE- This took me years to get brave enough to do but ask if they will take less. I would say atleast 80% off people go down on the price if I ask. 

SAVE GAS BY SUB-SALING- In order to make the actual garage saling more affordable, I love to go to subdivision wide sales. These are a collection of people in a neighborhood who have sales all at the same time. One trip, lots of sales-this saves you lots of time and gas!

ONLY BUY WHAT YOU WILL WEAR- You aren't saving if you aren't buying what you will actually wear. Look for items that are the right size that you would be tempted to pay full price for. A closet full of cheap clothes that you hate is not really a bargain.

If you still think you are too good for garage saling, well I guess I am kind of glad:) That's just one less person to compete with! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stop planning and start living

I am at a place in my life where I am becoming immobilized by ambition. Isn't ambition supposed to be a good thing? Isn't it the drive that pushes the successful? The extra something that makes me a contender? Always striving, improving, growing...

All still sounds good right? And it is, to a point. But the problem is that the dreaming is so much simpler than the DOING.

If you have a pinterest you know what I'm talking about. Now I am not dogging pinterest,I love it and recommend it to people constantly,but is it doing its part to enable us dreamers to store our dreams and pin them like trapped butterflies instead of getting off our butts and actually carrying them out?

Would my kids rather I made a board of 100 great craft ideas to do with them later, or that I get on the floor with them and tickle their chunky little toes right now?

Why is it I would so much rather dream about doing things, plan them out with intricate details, and pin them than actually start taking REAL concrete steps toward these goals?

The answer is sad and simple. It's easy.

On pinterest, I can imagine my cake looks just like the picture. My souffle is perfectly fluffy. My photos will be just as perfect. My house a perfect hybrid of pottery barn and restoration hardware. It is an imaginary world where I choose all the pieces,money is no object,nor is time. I am perfect on pinterest and so is my life.

It is the ultimate tool for a modern consumerist, a catalog that lets you shop for your life. It makes me feel like finding someone else's good idea is just as valid as having my own. That recognizing beauty is as important as creating it. It is the ultimate spectator sport.

But I am tired of watching from the sidelines. I am ready to play. I am too strong to stay silent and too smart to stay still.

From now on, each Wednesday I will be wiping some of these ideas off my Boards. Some will be successes, some will be failures, but they will be real life experiences and that's what counts. But first things first, I think I have some toes to tickle:)

A Letter to My Tenth Grade Self...

With a niece going into the tenth grade next year, I recently took some time to reflect on that part of my life. People say they would love to be young again, but I wouldn't. Those years were full of insecurity, pain, and loneliness for me. That being said, if I could talk to that girl now, this is what I would tell her...

Dear Amy,

Stop worrying so much about what you wear, those kids that make fun of you will do it anyway. Trying on 5 outfits in the morning isn't helping anyone. You are beautiful just the way you are. Yes you have acne, yes you have bad hair. I know you cut your own bangs and that they are way too short, but it's all okay. You are a beautiful PERSON. As you get older, good people will notice. Forget the rest.

That guy you are in love with...well I know it's hard to hear this but he's not "the one". I am not gonna tell you who he is because you wouldn't believe it. Just trust me in saying that this guy isn't him and that there is going to be some heartache along the way.  Your heart will heal. I know it feels like you are broken and you will never be the same. I remember the pain. But hearts heal, you will love again. Choose boys who love you the way you are and encourage you to shine. Guard your heart closely, but not too closely. Let yourself love and be loved. But no matter what he says stick to your guns on the sex thing-you will be glad you did later.

Stop being so hard on yourself. No one is perfect. The popular girls you wish you were, they aren't happy either. they are just better at pretending than you. I am glad you aren't. You are real. Real is much rarer than popular. Why do you assume that because you don't fit in with them that they are better than you?  What you don't realize is that they don't fit in with you because YOU are better.

Choose your friends wisely. Pick ones that don't talk about other people. The ones that talk about others, might talk about you behind your back too.

Brush your teeth more, and FLOSS. This will save you lots of pain and money later.

You know how you think it's too late to be athletic? Join track. There is something for everyone and you won't have to sit the bench. You would enjoy running if you got started. Give yourself a chance.

Stop feeling like everyone is watching you.  This is high school. Everyone is self absorbed. They are watching their own reflections a lot more often than they are watching you.

Stop talking bad about yourself. You are important. People love you. You are enough. You are the one and only Amy Jo.  It is not okay to say you are stupid, ugly, or fat-out loud or in your head.

Speak boldly. You have great ideas. Raise your hand in class when you know the answer.  Smile more. If you want to try something new, don't ignore the urge, DO IT. Hold your head up high and make them wonder why you are so confident.

Be the friend you'd like to have. Give of your time. Volunteer your help. Listen to people's problems.

Stop trying to fit, you never will, but in a few years you will learn that you don't want to.

Someday, this will all seem silly. All the worries, all the tears, all the insecurity. I know you are rolling your eyes at me but it's true. I have been there. I have been you.  But, someday you will sit in your living room, rocking your second child, married to a wonderful man who loves you for who you are and you will know that those "plastics" aren't the lucky ones. YOU are.

Love-32 year old Amy Jo

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's GOAL DAY for June!!

From now on the first Monday of each month, I am going to post my monthly goals.  I think this accountability will be good for me as I will have to reflect back on the month at the beginning of the next one. Feel free to post your goals below as well! Okay so here goes, in the month of June I will...

1-Follow the  31 Days to Clean routine each day

2-Get dressed and take a shower EVERY DAY (may not sound like a big deal, but to me as a stay at home mom this is not the norm)

3-Lose 13 pounds-by far the hardest part of my monthly goals I think. My current weight is 182 (yep I put it here, and I SOOOO don't care who knows my weight) so that would put me in the 160's:).  My highest weight after I had Aidan was over 200 pounds, so I am happy to be starting here and moving forward. My final goal, as taken from the BMI chart, is a microscopic 136 pounds that is considered healthy for my height.

4-Work back up to being able to run 3 miles straight-I used to be able to do this. I quit. I hate myself for that, but I will do it again!

5-Do a special craft with Maya three times a week-she deserves fun activities even though I'm busy.

6-Take the kids on an outing twice a week-the park, the museum, the farmers market...

7-Get the basement ready for paint and water sealing-I am excited and overwhelmed for this project!

8-Post on the blog atleast 4 times a week-I am trying I really am, sometimes life just gets SOOO crazy!

9-Come up with a name for my photography site...harder than it sounds...

10-Stick to our budget-via Dave Ramsey-again not easy but doable

I am overwhelmed just looking at this list, but hey GOALS are important and they aren't supposed to be easy!

What are your goals for this month?  How can I help you achieve them?