Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's better than the alternative. . .

I say this every time I start a blog entry after a long span of not writing, but I really do intend to write more. I have decided to put less pressure on myself to create the blog that I originally intended. Instead I am content to let it be what it is and I will write when the mood strikes me and about whatever I happen to find interesting enough to write about.

Today is my birthday. I must admit that I am not all that thrilled about adding another year onto my age. However, I am reminded of what my mother always says, "It's better than the alternative." She is absolutely right. My life may not be what I envisioned it to be, but I am alive and I have SO MANY things to be thankful for. We all know people that are no longer with us, that died way too young. They never got a chance to celebrate their next birthday - whatever age that may have been for them. So bring it on! I will grow old with gratitude. I joke that I am getting old, but really, I'm OK with it. It certainly is better than the alternative!

Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives.
~ Maurice Chevalier
Anyway, enough of that. Let me fill you in on the last several months. . .

I am going to start with the thing that I am most proud of. I decided to lose some of the excess weight that I had been carrying around for far too long. I started in January and by mid June I hit my goal weight. I lost a total of 45 pounds. The best way to show you the difference, is to look at my last two Halloween pictures:

last year

this year
It's kinda hard to see, but you get the idea.

I celebrated two weddings with family and friends.

My cousin, Johanna got married.
Johanna & Steve
One of my best friends got married. I was honored to be a part of their wedding party!
Me & Kerri
I began a new tradition with my nieces and nephews. Beginning this year and starting on their fifth birthdays (for the younger ones) I am planning surprise "dates" with them. I will choose the activity and they get to choose the lunch or dinner restaurant. So far, I have taken my niece, Makila and my niece, Faith on dates. Super fun! My nephew, Anthony whose birthday was yesterday is going on a date with me next week.                                                   
Me & Makila at yoga on her
"birthday date."

Me & Faith at Beadniks on her "birthday date."

 I celebrated Halloween with my family at our 2nd annual family Halloween party.

I am once again helping out at Bright Hope. This time they are tackling a huge project. Bright Hope is partnering with 100 families to help build a village in Haiti. This picture was from the first event that they had with all of the families. We were able to Skype live with the two pastors in Haiti that we are working with. It was an amazing night!
If you are interested in helping out, you can join the program. You can also buy a "well share" from me to help build a well for the village of Beganabe. Send me a message if you'd like to buy a "well share" or click here. Then click on the link that says, "Own a Well Share."
The first JELLY event - Skype-ing with Haiti!
I also started venturing out of my comfort zone some more - trying to get involved in things. I figure this is a good way to help me towards many of my goals - good networking/job searching opportunities, also potential way to meet Mr. Right. . .
One of the things that I have done, was to join a bowling league. I suck at bowling, but it's with good friends and it's only once a month. What can it hurt? The shoes do suck though!
I also joined some
Meetup groups. I have gone to one event with Meetup so far and have another that I've signed up for at the end of the month. We'll see what  happens. I'll keep you posted.

My bowling shoes.
So, yes. I am another year older. But really, I wouldn't have it any other way. After all, it's better than the alternative!

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate."

~ Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012. . . The year of contentment

I have started a new blog entry in my head countless times since last September. It's about time I actually type one out. . .
So much has happened since my last entry.

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."

~Andy Warhol

~ I had my last day at the Early Head Start program, picked up more hours at Starbucks and once again began the search for my dream job.

~ I went on that trip to New York. It was wonderful! I ate my way through the city and celebrated my birthday in style.

~ I celebrated the holidays with my family.

~ I've also spent a lot of time watching my adorable nephew, Victor. And eagerly awaited the arrival of my new niece or nephew. She arrived last Wednesday. Mila Rose is absolutely beautiful.

I also struggled at the begininng of the year trying to decide whether or not to make any resolutions. Last year I went crazy and made seven or eight small ones that I intended to do every day and even created a checklist to keep track of everything. I did really well until about May, then it pretty much crumbled and I ditched the checklist and most of the resolutions. This year I wanted to do something more realistic. And so I grappled with ideas in my head, when one day in early January I saw a friend's facebook post and she announced that she had found her 'word' for 2012. So, I decided to steal her idea and come up with a word for the year that I would focus on. That was the challenging part. . .

I came up with a bunch of words, but none of them seemed to fit. I kept the search in my head, but continued on with life. Then one day around mid January, I started answering people's question of "How are you?" with "Great" instead of my usual, "Ok" or "Tired, but ok." The more I said that I was great, the more I started to actually feel great. It was like a self-fulfiling prophecy. Of course I was tired - I had been up since 4:00 in the morning. But really, my life isn't so bad. I'm certainly not in a place that I expected to be at this point in my life, but that doesn't make it bad. I am healthy. I have a great, albeit crazy, family. I have wonderful friends. I have a job. There are definitely improvements that I want to make and I am working on them - slowly, but surely. In the meantime I have decided to be content. Content with my life right now, in the present. Content with the changes I am trying to make. Content with the speed at which things are happening. And content with me. With that being said, I decided to make 'Contentment' my word for 2012. So far, I'm feeling pretty content.

"I have found that if you love life, life will love you back."
~Arthur Rubinstein

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

Okay, so my birthday's not until November, but I've already bought myself a gift. I'm going to New York! I booked my tickets last night, I'll be in New York for my 35th (Yikes!) birthday. I can't wait.
Let me explain how this came about. . .

Last week, after much soul searching, I gave my notice at the Early Head Start job that I have been working at for a year. I decided that it wasn't a good fit and I better do something about it now, before it's too late. And by too late, I mean before I bought a condo and would therefore have to stay in a job that I knew I was not happy at just to pay my mortgage. So, I put the condo hunt on hold, bit the bullet and decided to go back to job searching.

"If you reach for something and find out it's the wrong thing, you change your program and move on."
~ Hazel Scott

I know it's not going to be easy, it took me forever to find that job, so I know it might be a while before I find another. In the meantime, I am planning to put in more hours at Starbucks in order to get by financially. I also want to spend some time working on me, doing things that are important to me; volunteering, spending time with family, spending time with friends that I miss dearly, going to yoga, finding that perfect job (or a rich man. I'd settle for a rich man), writing in my blog more often :-), travelling, just to name a few. I need to spend time figuring me out before I can land that dream job.

"If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others."
~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

So, as I was watching a touching segment last week detailing the memorial that was created at Ground Zero, I made the decision. I decided that what I needed was a trip. A trip to New York. So, then and there, I decided that for my birthday I would go to New York. I put it out there to see if any friends or family wanted to join me, nobody could, so I'll be going solo and I couldn't be more excited. My first trip to New York was by myself and it was the best trip I had ever been on, so going by myself doesn't bother me in the slightest. (That doesn't mean that I wouldn't still loveit if someone wanted to join me.) I found an insanely good round trip ticket price and booked my flight last night. And I've already begun compling my "things to do when back in NYC" list. . .
Anyway, time to go find a hotel and get to bed. More on my trip as it gets closer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The end of summer is coming. . .

I know, I know, I'm a little late with my latest entry.
I didn't have a good idea in my head of what to write at the end of July. So, I decided to let it go and not make my self-imposed deadline. But since that day, I've been thinking about what I should have or could have written about and it occurred to me that summer is almost over. It's already August 9th. Back to school sales are in full swing. After that sunk in, I realized that I have not fully enjoyed my summer at all. I am on day 20-something of what will be at least 34 straight days in a row of working. That got me thinking about what I haven't done yet & that I need to do in order to feel like I've truly enjoyed summer.
Of course, that meant the creation of a list. A list which I am going to share with you. Below are all of the things that I intend to do in order to fulfill my summer fun requirements.

In no particular order, I need to:

~ Go to a Cubs game (that is actually happening tomorrow!)
~ Get a pedicure
~ Eat a red, white and blue bomb pop from the ice cream truck
~ Go to the Farmer's market
~ Go to the Lakefront
~ Go to the Flea Market
~ Take a trip (camping with the family Labor Day weekend will have to do for this one.)
~ Play in the water (sprinkler, pool or rain) with my nieces and nephews
~ Take a day off to just enjoy the day!

What do you like to do that lets you know it's summertime? Are any of these things on your list?

Leisure is being allowed to do nothing.
~G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kids Making a Difference

I completely forgot that I had another blog entry due today. However, on my way home from work tonight, I remebered an idea that I had a while ago. And when I sat down to my computer tonight and realized that I hadn't even thought about a blog entry, I thought this would be the perfect way to introduce my idea to the world (or at least to the two of you who read my blog).
I've been trying to think of more ways to make a difference in the world and a while ago, I thought it would be a good idea to create an organization that gets kids involved in doing good. I never gave it much thought. . . but, like I said, on my way home tonight I thought about it again. I had initially thought of creating a non-profit to do this, but really, why not just start a club. I have plenty of relatives and friends with kids who are old enough to volunteer.
So, I am officially announcing the start of my kids making a difference club (name has not yet been determined). If you have children or grandchildren who you think might want to join the club, you will likely be receiving an email from me within the next week or two. If you know of anyone who you think might be interested, feel free to email me or add a comment to this blog entry. I haven't quite figured out all of the logisitics. . .
I will be working out the details soon. In the meantime, feel free to email or comment to this blog with ideas or questions or suggestions about this idea. You will be hearing more about this soon!
Goodnight and Happy Birthday to my brothers!

How can we expect our children to know and experience the joy of giving unless we teach them that the greater pleasure in life lies in the art of giving rather than receiving.

~ James Cash Penny

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Baby Victor

The past week and a half or so has been a complete emotional roller coaster. I have had some very high highs and some very low lows. Most of those are a topic for another time (or perhaps not worth talking about at all).

But by far, my biggest high came in the form of an 8lb. 12oz. beautiful baby boy named, Victor. My new nephew made his world debut on May 23rd. He is absolutely priceless.
I had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew of the past week. I am in awe of how wonderfully they are all doing. My sister and brother-in-law are such naturals at parenthood - it's beautiful to watch them with their son.

To add to my list from last month, Victor (and his parents) make me happy.

Welcome to the world, baby Victor. I can't wait to see what great things you will accomplish in your life. I am proud to be your Auntie.

A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.

~ Eda J. Le Shan

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Things that make me smile

I have admittedly been kinda crabby lately. I've been working a lot - haven't had a day off in about a month, I've gained weight, haven't exercised as much as I should and on and on. . . And after writing last month's post, I feel like I should just get over myself because I know that it can always be worse. So, to snap myself out of this funk, I decided that this post should be about the things that make me happy or that I'm thankful for. And because lists make me happy, I'm going to this in the form of a list. :-)
In no particular order:
~ I am happy that my next day off is coming soon and I have nothing planned for it!
~ I am happy that it is almost May and hopefully that means warm weather is on it's way! (technically it is May already, but since I haven't gone to bed yet, I am still considering it April - therefore my blog entry won't be late.)
~ I am thankful that I have two wonderful parents who mean the world to me and would do anything for me - even if we do drive each other nuts sometimes.
~ I am thankful that my sister is no longer too cool for her big sister and has grown into a wonderful woman who I consider one of my dearest friends.
~ I am excited that my sister will give birth to a new nephew for me to spoil in less than a month. I can't wait to meet him!
~ I am thankful that I have some of the most wonderful friends that anyone could ever ask for. And even though we may not see each other as often as we'd like, I know that I can still count on them whenever I need them.
~ I am thankful for my entire (although often crazy) family.
~ My DVR makes me happy!
~ I am happy that my search for a condo is really underway. It is a slow process, but the right condo is out there. I know it.

~ Office supplies make me happy.
~ I am thankful for my warm, cozy bed.
~ I am thankful that for the most part I am in good health.
~ The color orange and the color pink make me happy.
~ I happy that it is baseball season.
~ Books make me happy.

I am happy and thankful for so many things. This is just a small sampling of what makes me smile.

What makes you smile?

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson