Monday, March 30, 2009

Just Three Minutes

Have you ever noticed that it takes less time to tackle a project than it does to write on a list and then fret about it?

The other day, I needed to fill my bird feeders. I was not in the mood to do it and felt I didn't have time. So, I decided to time myself to see how long it took. Guess how long? Just three minutes. I didn't rush. From slippers off, shoes on and back to slippers again, I was done in three minutes.

Before sitting down to write this post, I just bribed myself to vacuum my stairs. If I did it, I could go online afterwards. I did and I didn't rush through it. I sat down and looked at the clock. It didn't take me more than five minutes. Really? I put it off for for more than 10.

Next time you have something to tackle, do it and time yourself. You will be surprised that sometimes the task is annoying but quick. My next task and boy am I dreading it, is our toys. OUT. OF. CONTROL. I have to take it all out of my family room, drop them off downstairs and then clean the toys in the basement. It all must be organized preferably withOUT children. This is task that cannot be timed because that would be depressing. Maybe I will share the process in order to make sure I finish. Not sure what bribe I will use for myself but something tells me IT MUST BE BIG!

What task do you put off? Do you bribe yourself? Let's hear what works for you.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sitting Out

Tonight, I am babysitting for my babysitting co-op and all of my friends are at a fundraiser for our mom's group. We decided to sit this one out due to the economy, my husband's shaky employment status and my pregnancy. I am one to hate missing a party. I hate missing anything. As a child, I NEVER missed school. I didn't want to miss anything.

So here I am on a Saturday night. And guess what? I don't miss it. Not because it isn't a fun party or because I can't have a glass of wine, something more. Something happens when you are pregnant. You hunker down and worry about silly things like how many bibs you have and if you know where all of your baby stuff might be. You don't have the strong desire to be busy or get out there. God or nature slows you down. The hormones fill my body and tell me to sit down. Rest. Put your feet up. Relax.

Soon enough, I won't be sitting down or even have time to find a bib. As a mother of two, I know my days of rest will soon be over. In a few short months, I will pick up my wine glass, join my girlfriends and complain about being a new mom again. But, for tonight, I cherish the rhythm of my body and the small kicks I feel now and then and even my never ending heartburn. And I will enjoy doing absolutely nothing tonight. I will put my feet up, look for some TV to watch and relax.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Commandments of Maternity Wear

Thou shall not wear horizontal stripes.

Thou shall not wear borrowed maternity clothes and use bleach (as I did yesterday).

Thou shall not get dressed in a hurry.

Thou shall not wear cigarette pants.

Thou shall put in contacts before getting dressed (as I forgot to do yesterday).

Thou shall not forget to look at thyself in a full length mirror once dressed.

Thou shall not look in full length mirror while undressed.

Thou shall not look at skinny pictures of pregnant models.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Green With Envy 2

Dear Neighbor,

I apologize in advance for the state of our lawn. I am nervous about chemical use and really don't like to use them on my lawn. Cancer scares me and I don't like my children to run and play in a lawn treated with chemicals. I tried organic once and I will probably try it again this summer. But anyway, back to lawn care. You do a fantastic job. Your lawn is gorgeous. It is so green and neatly manicured. If your lawn grows even 1/4 an inch, you are out there cutting it. You mulch yearly. You trim. You edge. You fertilize more than the Scott's family. It shows how much you care about your lawn and your house. And when it comes to snow plowing, no one does it better. You don't even wait until it is 1/2 inch deep or until it stops snowing. You are there.

So here is where I am confused. What is the deal with the Christmas lights still up? I know we live in Ohio and it feels like Christmas even in April sometimes. You took down the nativity set and the reindeer right after New Years. Thank you. But, why the icicle lights? Why are they still on every night? Yes, you have your lights lit even in the middle of March. Back in February, I told my husband that it was probably because it was still winter. The icicles were up and illuminated because it was winter. I gave you the benefit of the doubt in February. But today, the weather was warm. We were at the park all afternoon. It was almost 60. We have had a week or so of pretty good weather (for Ohio).

Dear neighbor, maybe you have something going on. Maybe someone is sick. Maybe you are working too hard so you don't lose your job. I don't know. My son at the bus stop asked today why your Christmas wreathe was still up. I told him that I often wonder.

So as neighbors, let's cut each other some slack. I will try not to judge your winter decorating if you promise to look the other way come dandelion season. Does that sound like a deal? Sounds good to me.

(Snowflakes falling on our neighbors house a few weeks ago. Picture taken at 6:30 a.m. on my way to pick up the newspaper and lights were still on.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Little Things Add Up

Warren Buffett said this week that he has never seen the American consumer modify behavior so quickly in terms of spending. I would have to agree. I have often wondered if is possible for the American public to put off their buying? Could they actually delay their gratification? How long can they do this? How else will we modify our behavior? What if the economy gets worse? What else can be cut out?

One of my favorite Saturday Night Live skits was called "Don't Buy Stuff That You Can't Afford." (Click on link to view) It included a person giving financial advice. "So what you are saying is that if I can't afford it, I shouldn't buy it?" This was the joke. It sounded so crazy back in 2006 because all we were doing as consumers was buying and then more buying. They really should rerun the skit because it would really hit home for millions of people. It is a lesson that we are all learning.

I was talking to a relative this week and she was really struggling with how they were going to get out of debt some day. I went back to my SNL skit. Don't buy what you really can't afford. Keep your cars longer. Don't eat out so much. Spend less time in stores. Cash only. The "new" usual.

This week I had to spend a little money for my son's birthday. I feel fortunate to be able to throw him a birthday party and know that there are a lot of mothers that are making much more difficult choices regarding where to spend their money. I thought about how different I approached it this year. The kids will still get small goody bags but I used coupons at both places I shopped. I even used a competitor's coupon at a craft store for the first time. Usually I wouldn't bother since it was a small purchase or I would think it wasn't worth the trouble. I saved a dollar and was pretty proud of myself when I walked out. I will also put one less item in each goody bag and that saved me $14 ($1 per item per kid). I will only pay cash for his birthday gifts and he won't get more than a couple. Small changes for my family in this area but if we are all cutting back in various aspects, that impacts businesses large and small.

So yes, Mr. Buffett, people are changing their ways. We aren't eating out much anymore. Shopping for clothing is for necessities only. Usually this is for the children. Meals are better planned. Leftovers are all eaten. Coupons are used. Prices on items are compared. Trips to stores are less frequent. We spend more time at home or looking for inexpensive options. We use our memberships to local museums more often. We are repairing paid off vehicles instead of buying new. We buy less for holidays and birthdays. We only pay with cash and we are paying off we owe. So in the end, isn't this what we were supposed to be doing all along? I just hope that our new attempts at saving will turn into habits when the recession is nothing but a memory and a page in the history books.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Will You Help Me Change My Clocks?

Only a man would decide to change the clocks two times a year.

A woman knows how everything runs by a schedule in a family. When the schedule is off, the whole family is off. And if a woman created daylight savings time (DST), she wouldn't do it during the school year. She really wouldn't.

All over our country, women today were complaining about the time change. I don't know that for sure but I can guess based on what happened here today. We had tantrums, fights, red tired eyes and sleepy sleepy boys. They don't know when to wake up and we don't know when to put them to bed. I screamed at them and begged them to stop fighting. I threatened to put them to bed even earlier than usual and in the end, I think it might have been later. It was barely light at the bus stop this morning. I ran out for the Plain Dealer and there were neighbor kids waiting in the dark at 7:10 a.m. No mother would ever to create a system where children wait in the dark for a bus.

I checked out the origins on the web. It is pretty interesting if you have some time. Here is the link. But, yes an English man (William Willett, see photo) invented daylight savings time so he could golf in the evening. Really! Go figure. His poor wife was probably at home trying to convince the children that it was really bedtime even though it wasn't dark yet.

I love summer and I know I will love DST in the middle of the summer. There are tons of reasons why it is a good idea. And did you know that most countries fall back and spring forward? Who knew? But it is a killer in the Spring. I know I have trouble adjusting and I know for sure my children are a bit off. In Ohio, any step towards warm weather and summer is a positive sign. I saw a crocus coming up through the soil today. Opening day for the Indians isn't too far away and soon, we will hear the ice cream man drive down the street. And about that time, I should be getting around to all of the clocks that are off by an hour in our house. Yes, only a man would decide to change the clocks two times a year.
I think I only have one or two regular male readers. So sorry G & K. Hope you'll come back.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Italy It Is

We had our bags packed for Holland. We really did. Usually we are optimists. But this time, we just felt like we couldn't beat the odds. But this time, we did. We are going back to Italy.

Our baby is healthy.


Prayers for the women who didn't get the same type of call I got this morning and gratitude for all of your prayers. I felt so much support this past two weeks. Thank you!

Now excuse me while I go and have a cry, make some calls and dance!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Still No Peace

Just wanted to say that we are still waiting....tomorrow should be the day.

I'm Not Talking About It, I'm Just Saying...