Caffeine, please carry me through the year.

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If you are a drinker of alcoholic beverages, you may know the phenomena that occurs when one has had an excess of the adult beverage. Your confidence peaks and wondrous ideas fill your mind. You feel as though you are – to quote one Leonardo DiCaprio character – ‘King of the world!’

Yes, then you go to bed. When you wake in the morning, the wondrous ideas that filled your mind are replaced with a pounding head. The idea to start a company selling ice cubes doesn’t hold the same appeal as it did the previous night. The passionate and thought-out plan to ‘stick it to the man’ suddenly sounds like a death sentence, and you scrap the idea. Continue reading

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Adventure Girl’s Trail Tales: Update #17

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Out of the thousands of hikers that attempt to thru-hike the Appalachian trail, only one out of four make the hike to the end. Well my friends, come Thursday morning, July 28th, my niece – Adventure Girl – will be one of the four.

On March 4th, I wrote my first post about Adventure Girl’s journey. I was writing a letter to and for Adventure Girl, wishing her luck as she began her journey. I had no intention of writing about her journey on a weekly basis. However, my readers – you guys – requested updates. You guys connected with Adventure Girl, and you wanted to live vicariously through her journey (from the comfort of your couch).

On April 2nd, I wrote my first official Trail Tale. 16 posts and 4 month later, I am sad to see this journey end. I’ve had such fun experiencing the trail through Adventure Girl’s eyes, without the blisters, aches and pains. Still, every journey comes to an end, and Adventure Girl is nearing the end of her own journey. Please enjoy an update she posted July 19th: Continue reading

Adventure Girl’s Trail Tales: Update #14

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This update will be short. When I started writing the update, we had not heard from Adventure Girl since Wednesday June 29th. Worry had settled in … Thankfully, I just received a message from Adventure Girl’s Mom. The SPOT updates are not going through, but Adventure Girl is fine.

Though reception deep within the AT is sporadic at best, Adventure Girl has done a great job of checking in with her family throughout her journey. I suppose, as she nears the final thick of things, we’ll have to accept the fact that updates will be days apart.

Her last SPOT update had her straddling the New Hampshire/Vermont border somewhere along Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway. On Monday June 27th, she accessed her Facebook account from the hostel where she stayed for the night. She wrote on Facebook, “Less than 450 miles left! Whooo!  The mental preparation for The Whites begins! Continue reading

Gentlemen, Start your engines!

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Please note: This blog was started on Monday April 26th.

It begins today, and it will run for the next four to six weeks. Swimming lessons Monday – Friday from 11:10 until 11:30, admission process for Montessori school, putting 25hrs into my paid job, various dental/doctor appointments and maintaining the chores in and around the house. As I drove the boys to Suzann’s this morning, I was going over the chaos beginning today. Seems this is a good example of what summer will bring, when the kids actually do start school and follow the school-year calendar. Happily, I still have a year before that happens.

On Sunday, I went to luncheon for women at our church. The purpose of the luncheon was to make sure the women knew what type of groups and activities took place within the church, specifically for women. In addition to the rundown of various woman’s groups, we heard Connie Smith speak. And, as I listened to Connie’s story, it was another reminder that we all live a life full of chaos and challenges.

The chaos of this week and the weeks ahead seems trivial in the shadows of Connie’s story. But, I am not Connie, and though I learned something from her story and took with me a refreshed mindset, the reality of my life is the only reality I know. I mention Connie and her story, because as I write about my challenges, I understand there are others out there with bigger challenges. Plus, knowing others are struggling, helps me keep my things in perspective.

I tried to find my Super Woman outfit Sunday night, prepping for the weeks ahead. In my search, I found Charlie’s wubba nub, one of Joe’s puzzle pieces, two quarters and a slice of toast. [Don’t ask.] I’m not sure where I left my Super Woman outfit. Maybe that is why I am having a hard time keeping everything afloat. Surely, once I find the outfit, I’ll be back on track and invincible. Plus, I look really hot in the Super Woman outfit. Though, honestly, when I am bloated, the outfit is much too restrictive.

I have started my engine, and this week has me running in high gear. I’m enjoying the chaos for the most part; because, when I don’t have things pressing, I tend to procrastinate to the point of complete avoidance. Plus, it is easier for me to keep away from spontaneous snacking, when I am busy with life. As is often the case for me, snacking is frequent while idling. Although, snacking while stressed is another habit of mine. Here’s hoping I continue to find the fun amidst the chaos, and the Ben & Jerry’s stays at the grocery store.

So, I started this post on Monday, as I indicated. And today? Yes, today is Wednesday April 28th. Seems the busy schedule leaves little time for blogging. Rest assured, I have managed to stay up-to-date on emails, Facebook, Woot.com and shirt.woot.com. We all have our priorities, eh? I have also squeezed in a movie via Netflix, playtime with the boys, multiple loads of laundry and . . . Well, I am sure I accomplished other non-scheduled tasks. And once again, my blogging is being cut short, as it is time to pick up the boys and take them to swim class. Once swim class is over, I will need to tend to the vacuuming. I don’t think it is a good sign, when the carpet resembles a hiking trail.

It only takes money

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Charlie and Joe

If you talk about buying something in front of Rob’s Dad, don’t be surprised if you hear him say, “It only takes money.” Apparently, Rob heard that statement numerous times as a kid and young adult. During our weekend getaway, Rob and I romanticized about buying this thing or that thing, spending another weekend here or going there, etc. Suddenly, I heard myself say, “It only takes money.” We laughed.

The two of us had a fantastic weekend, living a life that wasn’t familiar to us. We are home, now, and our life is all too familiar. Within days of getting home, I received a bill from a health care provider, letting me know what portion of the charges I would have to pay out of pocket. The amount I owed was much larger than I was anticipating, but I knew we’d manage. Then I went to pick up the boys from day care.

See the picture? Cute kids, eh? Notice the one on the right has glasses. Well, the glasses he is wearing were broken recently, and we have been putting off getting the glasses fixed. Fortunately, we keep a spare pair of glasses. Unfortunately, when I picked up the boys, Joe’s spare pair of glasses were handed to me in a plastic bag by Suzann. Apparently, Joe was seeing how much his glasses could bend. Well, his spare pair of glasses didn’t bend – they broke.

Yesterday, when I returned home from getting my boobs squished and squashed (ie Mammogram), my husband mentioned he had news for me. He suggested I sit down. Hmmm . . . this didn’t sound good to me. “Well,” he starts. “I am just about finished with our taxes. And, it looks like we owe.” We owed last year, which floored me, because we don’t make much money. I always attributed owing taxes with a tax bracket higher than ours – much higher than ours. “How much?” I asked. My eyes grew wide when he told me. It’s under $1,000, which is nice, eh? Still, I started adding these bills up in my head – glasses, taxes and health care – Oh my!

I failed to mention that I had gotten quite mad the night Joe broke his glasses. As a Mom, I hated seeing his eyes cross. And, as the payer of bills, I hated thinking of the unexpected expense. As these things kept swirling around in my mind, my anger grew and I started yelling at Rob. He was a trooper. He kept asking, “Ok. But, why are you yelling at me?” And, as he asked, I said to myself quietly, ‘I know. I shouldn’t be yelling at you. It isn’t your fault. But I am mad, and I don’t know what else to do about it.’ Honestly, I kept saying that silently in my head, while Rob continued to ask, “But, why are you yelling at me?” I knew I was in the wrong, but my external voice and my frustration were more powerful. Yelling was the easiest thing to do. I’m telling you, in my opinion, that proverbial high road is a hard road to take. Especially, when you are caught in the heat of the moment.

For the record, I did apologize to Rob for getting out of line. I made it clear, none of this was his fault. I made it clear that I goofed. And you know what? Apologizing never gets any easier. Humble pie tastes icky, though it needs to be eaten.

Anyway, so Rob had just shared the news about the taxes, and I felt the rage growing again inside of me. I remained in control this time, though. I stood up and I told him I needed time to process all of this information. I went upstairs, and I started craving food instantly. UGH. I swear, if I was a smoker, I would have lit up a cigarette. And, if I was a heavy drinker, I would have had at least three beers. Instead of smokes or booze, I feel the tug of food. Ice cream is usually the first thing that pops into my head. And, once ice cream is in my head and on my mind, it is hard for me to quiet the urge without submitting. Do I sound like I am exaggerating? I assure you, I am not.

I went to my computers – work and personal. I tried to busy myself with work, and I tried to busy myself with surfing. I was still frustrated. Then, after one of several Facebook refreshes, I saw a note from Angela. She is my Facebook friend who is active with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Team in Training. You can click on their website to find out more about the awesome organization. Briefly, Team in Training raises awareness of blood cancer by running marathons, half marathons, etc. And, my friend Angela is one of many runners running with a purpose. If you want to learn more, you can check out my post about Angela’s efforts and how you can help by clicking here.

Angela sent me a note, letting me know her web page had been activated. And, as I clicked on her website, my outlook on my financial frustrations seemed to subside. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like dollars just manifested into our bank account and our financial problems were gone with the wind. That would be silly. Quite cool, for certain; but, it would be silly. And, let me be clear, I was still frustrated. However, my perspective changed. Rob and I will figure out a way to pay what needs to be paid. It’s not as if we don’t have money. And, I know there are many people who are in boats similar to ours, as well as people in bigger boats and people in smaller boats.  And, there are people that have no boats. So, I get it could be worse. And, being reminded of people who face life-threatening battles each day, really keeps things in perspective.

I blogged once about how Corey Haim’s death didn’t have a direct impact on my life. Tragic? Yes. Impacting my life? No. Yet, sometimes it is nice to be reminded that even when you are battling your own challenges, others are battling, too. I don’t wish large battles on folks, but I certainly gain a greater perspective on the size of my battles, when I am reminded of the bigger struggles. The fact that Angela let me know her website was up and running, reminded me that things could be so much worse.

Rob and I are fine. Some months are more costly than other months. But, we always find a way to have ‘enough’. And, I am thankful for the fact that we have ‘enough’. In fact, I took the time to donate to Team in Training, because I want to do what I can to make sure others have ‘enough’, too. I also want to work on my temper and self-control. Apparently, it takes more than money to do some things.

P.S. I did not submit to my ice cream craving, while in the midst of my frustration. That was a battle I won. Yeah me!