Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Harold Whitman

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

[and then my father-in-law had shoulder surgery]

I have maybe 20 minutes of calm and this is the first place I came, I guess that says something.  June 16th my father-in-law arrived, we took him to the hospital for a routine shoulder surgery, he came home to stay with us.  Initially he said 4-5 days.  Today is day 14.  

I adore my father-in-law and I am grateful he is in our lives and here for my children.  It has been nice having him here.  My routine is completely blown to pieces.  As were all the hopes I had of projects I wanted to achieve the week the kids were in vacation bible school, and my OPAM goals for the month.  

Hitting some hard milestones in the pediatric cancer world and in our own neck of the woods. Feeling pulled by others despite my best efforts to focus on my kids. Feeling stretched to thin, out of time, and behind.  Feeling like I am suffocating under all of it.   Feeling like friends and family don't and never will get what it's like to be a pediatric cancer family, what I still go through.  All they care about are the parts of me that effect them, the rest is just something they look the other way from.  When the only person I find myself opening up to is the mother of a child who is dead, who is struggling so enormously herself, what does that say?  How dare I burden her with my troubles?  Because no one else can seem to hear it.

I wonder at times how people can look at me and think everything is ok, how they think we just moved on and all of that is history.

I guess with the extra person in the house and the mucking of my daily routine of just me, I guess I can empathize with my daughter more.  She craves routine, schedules, agendas. I do not.  But I do crave normal. I like being sole captain of this ship.  I feel like I am losing my mind a little.

I need to:

  • call the pediatric dentist- so I emailed them,and they told me to call back, well at least they know my name now.
  • process my niece's pictures
  • fill out the make a wish form
  • get myself back in charge of the rudder
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

{fresh start}

How many times in the last 4 years have I said that? Too many.

with feeling guilty...with being mad at myself...for starting hard and giving up way too easily.
I want
become healthy again.

So I'm back. For good. No more rock bottoms. No more tomorrows. Yesterday I said tomorrow and every yesterday before that I said tomorrow. This is it. I'm only living in this day, hour, minute, second. I can only make choices for now and plan for the next one.

It isn't 'hard.' I've done it before (TWICE!). I've never had 100+ lbs to lose before though. I know I have to take it 1 lb (or 5 or 10) at a time but in reality I know it is a 106 and it will take me at least a year to get there. Sometimes that gets me really down and then the negative feelings come on earth did I let this happen to myself?!?!

Starting feels different this time...

Hubs is gone for a 4 week business trip. Since together we have developed some very bad habits over the years, having him gone feels like a head start. Not that he wouldn't support me 100% (he would) but now all I have to worry about it what I am eating. I'm hoping to use this time to establish new habits and work towards some short term goals. I am not telling him what I'm doing. It'll be fun to show him when he gets home.

here it goes...

before pics: 6/19/2011 - 236lbs 5'7"

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

{so I don't forget}

This week I need to do:

1. Cat care for vacation - call Ashley
2. Gym options for while I'm home
3. Eye Doctor - Me & Michael
4. IRS thing (damn you Turbo Tax)
5. Fencing bill - why are our numbers different?
6. Michael's birthday party
7. Paint office
8. Garage
9. Lawn care for vacation
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011


“On a deeper level you are already complete. When you realize that, there is a playful, joyous energy behind what you do.” -Eckhart Tolle

a friend of mine had this written on her facebook wall by her sister-in-law "it is folly to assume my awesome lies dormant." as a photographer i see it all the time.  photogs scrambling to submit to endless contests or shell out over and over for workshops, hoping to prove something or find something. . .hoping to hear "you are awesome."  

as moms and women, we do the same thing, we are waiting, for this stressful situation to pass, or until this room is put together, then we'll rock it, then we'll be awesome. . .because we'll be there, not here.  there we can be awesome, here is just not ready, it's prepping for awesome.  

but we've already got it, it's all right here.  we don't need 31 days to anything, or that approval from a friend or family member, our awesome is right there, all along.
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[what works]

to-do list

  • call obgyn for annual appt
  • make life lists
  • laundry- do some
  • basement- finish it out with the kids
  • rsvp to birthday party
  • do an art project with kids (preferably something that also gets penny's yearly handprints and footprints done)
  • do at least 15 minutes of yardwork
  • catch up logbook from this weekend
  • try to do morning and evening routines
flylady is just what works for me.  because i don't have to do everything and it will all get done eventually, it's all there in the routines and if you miss one week or day, you'll ge tit next time, it's not about stressing or duty, it's just a routine.

i'm tired.  trying to enforce new rules with the kids is exhausting.  

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

[a little bird told me]

i love the brave girls club, and their little inspirational messages.  this one seemed to be speaking right at me and mary today.  
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[a bit here, a bit there]

i have to say one of the things i liked most about the flylady system was that you always felt like you were getting somewhere, and that you were doing well even if you only had 15 minutes to give. flylady was never about you being a better person for having a clean house, it was just about getting it done in a way that didn't burn you out or annoy you. cleaning wasn't a curse inflicted on you that you had to find a way to toil at with a swelling heart of selfless pride, it was just cleaning, so let's find a way to get it done and stop letting it have emotional validity in our lives.

our yard was pretty pristine for house showings, and then well, lots of rain, yanking it off the market and. . .oh my word, whose yard is this? this more i got all flylady on that yard, just do some work. anything is better than nothing. if i do 30-45 minutes each morning (first thing when it is cool), it will be tamed in a week or two. i don't have to let it get worse because i don't have hours to be out there, a little here, a little there, it will get done.

to do list

  • get to those lists from yesterday yesterday yesterday yesterday yesterday yesterday yesterday (it is becoming comical, the yesterdays)
  • laundry- make progress
  • basement- get kids to help me clean up
  • see if i can't sneak some time to get home routines set up
yeah that's it. i just don't feel like being a super hero. i've been working hard for a couple weeks now, and it's beautiful today. i'm thinking of seeing if i can't take the kids somewhere and get some photos of my daughter for her recent birthday milestone. or maybe we'll just enjoy being lazy and eating grapes.
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Monday, June 13, 2011

{yes...fresh start}

today I feel in bit of crisis mode...hubby is home sick and it is the first day of summer vacation. The house is a total disaster and I really feel the only way to cope is to do my old flylady crisis standby. 15 min per room rotation. Today I will do the first floor. In a rotation of:

1. kitchen
2. laundry
3. living room
4. dining room
5. powder room
6. master bed
7. master bath
8. office
wash...rinse...repeat if needed

The first rounds are mostly cleaning up all the stuff that is in it. The second rounds are cleaning. Once a room is done it is crossed off the list. I don't know how many rounds it will take but it never takes as long as I'm afraid it will.

I will also carry a piece of paper with me to identify any maintenance to be completed or ideas to make the space work better. I will not be doing any major organizing, just trying to get the room to a spot where I can look at it and say "ok - what can I do to make this room more peaceful, functional & beautiful." - not "oh man! there is so much dusting/crap to put away." Once the timer is up I stop in that room and move on.
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[fresh start]

i made it.  weeks ago i pointed forward and said, "i just have to get through, through the dance recital weekend, then it will calm down."  this past weekend was indeed dance recital weekend.  i made it.  despite not planning for any guests to be here or preparing anything i should have.  god bless our nearby and quick access to many restaurants. but the excuses are over now. i've gotten the garage unpacked, it's in the house, there are a few boxes left but nothing crutch worthy. there shouldn't be any huge projects that are urgent and time consuming, i should be able to start making progress in multiple things a day again. it's time to start being responsible again and not behind. stop surviving life and start living it.

the list for today

  • get to those lists from yesterday yesterday yesterday yesterday yesterday yesterday 
  • get on the 31 days to clean challenges, not just the cleaning, but the homework too.  see post above.  i find some merit in the initial e-book, but the extra cleaning challenges/cleaning system are leaving me annoyed, it seems haphazard and not really maintenance.  but maybe that's because i am cursed to do laundry <sarcasm>
  • keep working on laundry, i'm not going to make it more specific, just make progress of some kind
  • make a plan for what remains after the second charity pick up comes through today (hopefully my plan is celebrate, not find another charity) put box spring out to curb tomorrow, the rest is gone! woot!
  • keep patience with the kids
  • don't yell at the kids
  • change sheets that need changed
then i dug through those challenges and have a little list to add despite not knowing exactly what exactly these list items mean- seriously i like specific. like no where do i see vacuum.  when am i supposed to vacuum my house?  is that part of the main areas everyday?
  • clean up kitchen, yes, i get it, you have to clean it everyday but am i doing it all everyday? i'll just try to make it look less like a pit of neglect.
  • "clean up" master and guest rooms- i'm going to go with organize for today, see if i can tidy up josh's room too.
  • clean out fridge and freezer
  • clean up microwave (score grandma fran did that this weekend)
  • mission statement
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Friday, June 10, 2011


ow.  i am sore everywhere. save my grandmother's chair, everything that is staying is in the house.  there are 5 small boxes left, but everything else that belongs upstairs was put away where it belonged.  a few times in the master i'd find something and walk to the guest room and plop it there, because i didn't know where it should go, no!  it doesn't belong in the guest room either, so i took it downstairs to be dealt with.

i was very proud of this.  not letting the unpacking turn into cluttering.  what's left up there is the extra linen closet and bathroom supplies, and a box of children's books that used to be in the basement, very manageable.  the same goes for the basement, there is nothing dumped there, it is as it was before, just a box of dvds and xbox stuff to be unpacked.     

that leaves the first floor.  nothing dumped there either.  can you tell I am proud of this?  there is one box left marked kitchen, and that is all that is in that area.  the office is a different matter.  oi.  but that is just the way this process worked out.  i wanted my command center to be first, but it made more sense to do it this way.  now i know where i have space for overflow office supplies, and i can put them there instead of putting them in a pile in the respective room and making clutter there.  that is to say, organizing the office will not result in deorganizing the rest of the house.

the kidney foundation is supposed to come through for donations today, it is pouring rain.  i hope the driver takes everything.  i put a few token boxes on the porch with a note that says there is more, please ring the bell.  please pretty please let them take it all.

the list for today

  • get to those lists from yesterday yesterday yesterday (we'll see how many more yesterdays this gets before it gets crossed off)
  • get on the 31 days to clean challenges ( i am doing these, sort of, so i want to unsort-of that)
  • finish unpacking/organizing office
  • continue to maintain focus when unpacking, toss what we don't need, purposefully place the rest.
  • get some laundry done, at the least the kids dance costumes
  • don't yell at kids
  • keep patience with kids
i realize i may not finish the office today, and that's ok, or the other stuff too, but as long as i cross off those bottom two, we are in business.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

{mary to-do}

1. Mary Challenge
2. Martha Challenge
3. Martha+ Challenge
4. Laundry <-running out of clothes! eeeek!
5. Paint samples on the wall <-the paint is WAY lighter than I thought it was going to be...we'll see
6. Zappos return
7. Dr. re mole
8. Teacher gifts
9. Cat care while we are gone
10. Mop

**I'm doing very good with keeping my kitchen picked up...not doing so well with eating well. :/
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[somebody stop me]

so after a pep talk from mary yesterday, which was preceded by a small pity party, i walked away from the desktop determined to save my side of the jack and jill office.  instead, i proceeded to move every item in the garage and bring most of it in the house. i have no idea why.  i am not even sure how i ended up out there.

i do know that it was worrisome to me that the charity would be coming on friday (now tomorrow) and there wasn't clear access to the stuff I knew needed to go.  there are several baby toys that must go before the kids get wind that they could go out there in the garage and be foraging.  so barefoot i began moving things.  within the first ten minutes i had literally trapped myself and the only choice was to unpack/move things.

sweet home alabama. it was hot out there despite a fan, you could feel the 94 degree day.  lucky for me the garage is on the north side of the house.  but i did it.  honestly, it made sense.  with what i had brought in already there was enough wiggle room to rearrange boxes by category and separate the donation pile from the "dear lord where i am going to put this too" pile.  it also became abundantly clear, i was not going to have enough space in the office for everything, and that the britannica book collection would need to vacate, along with the antique books. . .and go elsewhere.  we have a bookcase and a half of homeless books, this was overwhelming.

so i turned my attention to the antique record player cabinet my grandfather retrofitted to become storage.  there were only two places left in the house it could go, the master, or the entertainment room in the basement.  the husband and i had already agreed the we wanted to keep the entertainment room as uncluttered as possible, it's just such a gorgeous room now.  yet it might be handy for storing things like dvds and xbox games.  nope.  so up the stairs it and i went.  at one point i was five steps up, pulling it from above, one step and rest and so on, that's when my son came yelling they needed help making netflix work on the xbox.  sorry dude, i'm stuck. I finally got it up the stairs, it has to weigh over 75 lbs and is tall and awkward.  i got it in my room to discover it looked terrible everywhere i tried.  oh salty barnacles (real words changed to protect the tired and grumpy).

i still hadn't figured out what on earth i was going to put inside it but I had in mind to put mementos, old letters and things in it.  all of those were in the closet.  this came to mind as i could not find a place for the piece anywhere in the room where it didn't look enormous and overbearing.  so, into the closet it went.  it's a closet, it doesn't have to feel open, and i can close the door to it.  so in it went, into the corner where i can't really get to my clothes anyway.  i was exhausted.  so i laid down on the bed. what's the point?  

the point is, had i not been crazy and exhausted i never would have laid down on the bed and looked up at the plant ledge.  you know the giant shelf.  a room length shelf. . .a bookcase and a half length shelf.  i could put the books up there.  it's 3 feet deep so the books won't really be visible anyway.  they won't be cluttery, you won't be able to see them when you enter the room. . .this was my pay off for the sweat and ridiculous moving i did this afternoon, a solution for the books.  i am undone with relief.  

such a simple out of the box thinking answer, that came out of utter exhaustion.  after such an unsatisfactory performance with the kids today i went to talk to penny before she went to sleep, told her i was proud of her even though i wasn't proud of myself today.  we talked about today and what we would do, i felt lighter.  i surprised them by finishing unpacking and putting away the playroom, they are over the moon.  it was a great surprise this morning. and they truly appreciated it.

they went out to pick strawberries and i pulled the invasive morning glory out of the flower beds, whacked my head on a tree branch, so i went and got the loppers.  2 minutes later, no more head banging maple branches, noted holes in the perennial bed where the cuphea didn't over winter.  all simple little things not on the to-do list but satisfying.  took the kids to panera for breakfast, got bagels for dinner.  penny and i saw beautiful purple campanula. . .perfect for those holes.  got them and crusty bread and texas toast for lunch.  

penny is painting a rainbow and josh is happy watching a show.

we are not the family we were yesterday.  because i am not stressed out, because there is a plan.  because mary talked me down out of absolute screaming frustration.  i love her.  i also love the husband, we had a good talk last night, about things, and i think we all start today off on a better foot.

the list

  • no yelling at kids
  • patience with kids- particularly when i realized penny had left her basket of fairies at the restaurant, we were already home.  
  • get to those lists from yesterday yesterday
  • get on the 31 days to clean
  • process niece's photos while watching tv tonight?
  • get the rest of the keeper stuff in from the garage (somebody should stop me, i am insane)
  • find the office
  • get the kids to a park or outside around dinner- andy did
we can do this.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

[i can do this]

heaven help me, literally
it's 3:35 pm here.  

i'm at the desktop because i can't get to my desk.

my list today (sad that i can already uncheck many of them before i got this posted)
  • put away penny's blasted laundry, it took me 90 seconds
  • find the blasted office under the unpacking vomit (why did i bring in so many boxes!!)
  • not yell at the kids- yeah not so much
  • not lose my patience with the kids- way not so much
  • do a creative project with the kids- we painted using a gift from andy's aunt and uncle, I was exasperated at them for being more interested in turning the rinse bowl water colors and wasting paint than actually painting
  • get to those lists from yesterday
  • get on the 31 days to clean
i am so frustrated today.  feeling like i am alone in all of this and everyone in my house is incapacitated by indifference or physically.

the kids are super whiney-i-am-going-to-die-now mode.  because they went to bed late last night. and i'm not super mom.
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{mary to-do}

1. Mary challenge
2. Martha challenge
3. Extra Martha challenge
4. Call Dr. re mole
5. Grocery
6. Paint samples
7. Laundry
8. Zappos return
9. Buy teacher gifts
10. Dressed to shoes
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

{mary opam}

So my June OPAM is a biggy (I know I know...I promise not to burn myself out)! My office really needs to be done. It is the command center for our home and I don't feel that I can move forward on anything else in the home until it is done. I am making it my home OPAM and my personal OPAM, since it will also be my creative space. It is a huge undertaking I know...but a necessity.

So to accomplish this goal I need to do the following...

1. empty out office so I can paint
2. move book shelf to guest room/library
3. choose paint
4. paint - decide if I'm going to stencil office ala emily at Jones Design Co.
5. put together IKEA shelves
6. move abby's desk to other wall
7. organize all paperwork into file (no more piles! <-that's my new motto - isn't it fancy!)
8. organize scrapbook stuff and fabrics
9. choose curtain fabric for future project (learn to sew curtains)
10. hang pictures

you know what makes this even MORE awesome....I'm going to be gone for 2 this may be more a June/July OPAM. Maybe I can get my fabric and take the sewing machine with me to my folks and make the curtains there? hmmmmmmmm something to think about.
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{mary to-do}

1. martha challenge
2. mary challenge <- kind of cheated because I already did this here.
I did review it and made it pretty - it is on the side bar. --->
3. extra martha challenge
4. laundry
5. dressed to shoes
6. buy paint
7. menu & shopping list see below
8. graduation cards mailed
9. figure out zappos return
10. make Dr. apt for my mole
11. figure out teacher gifts! <- decided on really nice hand sanitizer & a heart felt note (especially since we arrived in the middle of the year)...easy peasy

pssst - I'm really glad melissa is here...she rocks!

ps - if you want to bask in my awesomeness...I was going through yesterdays mail (NOT putting it in a pile to go through 'later' - first woot!) and found another graduation announcement. So I got the card & check written, addressed & stamped. It is in my purse waiting to be mailed with the others. GO ME! Also, I didn't have any graduation cards and only one congratulations card and three graduates. Usually I would have said "well I can't send them until I have a card" = never gets done. So I found two blank note cards with envelopes and used those. The kids don't care - they are just happy to get the checks! ;) - so why should I worry about the card?

Tuesday: don't know (probably need to figure that out soon - lol)
Wednesday: Thai Red Beef Curry, Rice, Broccoli - TK
Thursday: Pasta Bolognese, Salad - TK
Friday: Quick Veg Chili w/Avo Salsa, Salad - CL02 <- Ben's favorite & I'm trying to keep us meatless on Fridays
Sat: Smoked Pork Chops w/grilled apricot & jalapeno chutney, green beans - FMF
Sun: Kelly's Overnight Chicken, Rice, Salad - P <-prepped the night before so no fuss
....I also sort of planned lunches, etc. My long term goal to have a detailed 3 meal plan + a prepped snack box to minimize the constant asking for food.
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[opam- june]

what is OPAM?  well it started with me reading this blog post by tara whitney. it's one project a month. not one huge undertaking a month <insert throat clear *cough cough mary cough cough*>. one project, one thing on the to do list, tha twill make you happy.

that was one thing i discovered during staging the house and now settling back in.  it's amazing how one little thing like finally measuring a window and getting a new blind can make a difference.  how just finally doing it, hanging that picture, can make a huge difference.

i would easily nominate "unpack the garage from the pods vomit/organize the ofiice" put that's more of a task than a project.  project to me imparts the idea of creativity.  i also view opam as something special i do, that will bring me joy and a feeling of accomplishment, a little gift to myself.  while the garage would be, it's not really a choice.  i need to get that done this week, not this month.  charity collections are driving through on friday and monday, and then tuesday will be trash day. cars are back in the garage as of tuesday june 14th.

opam june
* house- decorate the playroom in the basement
we have a lot of orphaned art from the staging.  we are here to stay (for now) and I need to hang some of this stuff before it gets damaged.  maybe i'll use those two canvases and let the kids create something too.  maybe mod podge will be involved.  this project will be important to me because i want that space to be inviting to the kids, and i will feel such guilt if some of the pieces i intend to use get damaged because they weren't picked up and hung up, a simple task.

* personal- complete the 2009 blog to book
this is a bigger undertaking than the other five, because somehow, i forgot i hadn't finished blogging december 2009.  i am making this my personal opam, because i want this project tied up and finished this month, but i also need to give myself permission to not finish it stat, i do have other obligations.  this project will mean a lot to me, to have all those years as actual memory books.  for this to be completed and not have 2009 hang out in limbo forever.  this will refresh my soul each day, to see them, all lined up on a shelf.  
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[the real work]

why are we here, or I guess I can ask why am I here, on mary's blog?  

because i want to stop feeling overwhelmed and burdened down by what needs to be done.  i want to be accountable to someone other than myself.  
let's face it, my family isn't going to keep me accountable.  a basket of my husband's clean laundry sat on his dresser for nearly two weeks, he just rifled through it.  i'll say my new favorite "a place for everything and everything in it's place" and then before bed find his bag from lacrosse season (which is over) on the gorgeous bench. . .in the office. . .because that's totally the place for a sports bag. the kids are kids, they can't remember where something is, let alone that they were the ones who wrecked the family room (the new no wrecking zone since the staging selling and unselling of the house).  although my daughter was the first to say "daddy is going to get a lot of his stuff thrown away, he doesn't put it in its place, he makes piles."  out of the mouths of babes.  i think she'll be the most helpful, it's in here, the urge to organize, i just need to cultivate it.  and i need to stop treating josh as the baby who needs more help than her.

so i need mary. i need someone who understands what i want and the reality of what it will take to get it done, someone who will join my pity party and inspire me to do it anyway.  someone who will help me remember its ok to have spontaneous fun some days instead and be human and mess up.  someone to point out when I am biting off more than i can chew. 

we are also going to share this 31 days to clean concept.  and we are going to start on the 7th of the month, because that is how we roll.

yesterday i posted my first to do list (i need to go change the font on that one to help distinguish me from mary, it is her blog after all), but it wasn't truly authentic as I posted it in the late afternoon. i did it because i wanted to cross off josh not having cancer.  that amused me, and i have a feeling it amused mary too.  no cancer. . .cross that off the list. . .check!  

so here is a real list for today:

  • put away laundry- yes I didn't get it done yet, just penny's to go
  • unpack 10 boxes from the garage unfortunately i brought in more, and now they are unpacked and the contents all over my floor. 
  • be brutal and decluttering while unpacking- don't just put it away, decide whether it should get a place in our home again, if it is worthy of me taking care of it, everything i unpack is one more thing in this house i have to manage and maintain
  • not yell at the kids- not so much
  • return the overdue library books and pay the fine
  • sign the kids up for summer reading programs
  • make my living lists- all that i want to accomplish, all that needs done, the lists
  • get the kids to their last dance classes on time- late 5 minutes to Josh's but turned back to get gift, 2 minutes late to penny's---doh
  • finish and remember to take their thank you gifts for their teachers
  • complete day 1 of 31 days to clean
  • keep my patience, it's me and these two kids, all summer- I did yell but I did keep patient, so there's something
  • post about my opam for june
this is it, this is the day mary and i move forward, do the real work.  we did this once before.  i was pregnant with josh, she had two little kids to care for and we found flylady.  we did it, we got on chat and reminded each other each day, have you done your zone cleaning?  your daily?  then cool we can kick back and chat during naps.  we can do it again.  but this time it's going to be different i think.  this time it isn't two harried moms trying to manage the onslaught of cleaning with little kids (no on can tame damien), it's two women making their lives work for them not against them.  it's hopefully about living happily and not dreading your day and what all still won't be done when it's over.  

it's about having a plan and following through.
like mary said in the sidebar, it's about figuring out what we want and how to get it.    
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Monday, June 6, 2011

[Today's Goals]

1. Make it to hospital not in a rush
2. Make it through appts without yelling
3. Have the boy still not have cancer.  woot
4. Put away the laundry, I mean seriously. . .wow.
5. figure out what Mary and I are doing with cleaning plans/programs

the goals are modest today, getting through it pleasantly was a big enough goal.
my first over here with mary, I am so blessed she has allowed me to share this space so we can inspire each other.
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{goals for today}

1. start OPAM - finish cleaning out office to guest room
2. send graduation cards to Anna and John.
3. laundry
4. bills <-yuck!
5. restart 31 days to clean + new Martha challenge.
6. dressed to shoes + hair and makeup.
7. OPAM - if time buy paint samples (BM harbor gray & coventry gray)
8. meal plan
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