Household

[Update] 2012: The Year of Good Health... and Money

Remember about nine months ago when I said this was going to be the year I take control of my health and my finances? If I were in school, I'd probably have a C- in Health and an F in Finance.

The good news first. I lost 20 more pounds, for a total of 120. I am eating much better and taking (almost) all of my supplements every day. I at least get the iron in every day. At the three-month check mentioned in the original post, my iron levels were up a bit, but still lower than normal. I am waiting on the results of my most recent blood test. I am hoping my levels are high enough that I at least reduce the amount of iron I have to take, if I can't stop taking it altogether.

The weird numb spot on my leg went away. Then came back. Then went away again. I still haven't had a mole check or the breast cancer gene test. Oh, and I am overdue for a dental cleaning because I need to find a new dentist.

On the financial front, I haven't done a damn thing. I left my corporate job three months ago and have been working for myself ever since. Business has been good, but I could use more work. In that time, I haven't made a budget, or projected how long our money will last, set any sort of threshold for deciding find another corporate job. I estimated that I have until the end of the year, but I stuck my head in the sand when it came to actually doing the math to verify that assumption.

And, we haven't caught up on our taxes yet. However, I made an appointment with an accountant and by the end of next week, all that tax crap should be in progress. I got the referral for the accountant from a friend who uses him as her business manager. I may have to go that route, especially now that I have two businesses.

Anyway, I have three months left in the year. I can still get this under control. I'm a procrastinator, but I (usually) make my deadlines.


2012: The Year of Good Health... and Money

2012-sand-beach

I am anemic. I have been that way for about six months. It's a side effect of gastric bypass. My body does not absorb all of the nutrients from the food I eat. I've made it worse by not taking my iron supplements faithfully, and not eating the foods I should be eating. If I don't get my iron levels up in the next three months, I will need to have an IV iron infusion. My calcium and vitamin D levels are low as well. I haven't seen a nutritionist since I had surgery.

I have lost 100 lbs in the past year. My surgeon wants me to lose 30 lbs more in the next six months. If I had been exercising at all during the past year, that 30 lbs would already be gone. I weigh 195 right now. That would put me at a final weight of 165. I'd rather be 145.

I have a numb spot on my right calf that has yet to be diagnosed and did not response to a course of steroids. The next step is to get a referral to a neurologist. I've been putting that off.

I've never had a mole check with a dermatologist. I have a referral to see one, but I haven't made an appointment yet.

I need to be screened for the breast cancer gene. I'll ask about that about my six-month follow-up mammogram next month to check on the calcifications that are still in my right breast.

I haven't created a budget spreadsheet for at least five years.

My savings accounts and retirement accounts are as anemic as my body is.

I did not meet my goal of paying off all credit card debt by the end of the year.

We are woefully behind on our taxes.

All of this is going to change in 2012.

My first priority is health. My second priority is finances. With everything I do, I will ask myself, "Is this the healthiest choice I can make right now?" or, "Is this the best financial choice I can make right now?" and, in that order. For instance, is watching three episodes of Gossip Girl the healthiest choice I can make at that moment? No. I could do something more active. I could play Just Dance on the Wii with my girls, or go for a walk, or clean up clutter around the house, or prepare meals for the week, or go to bed and get a reasonable amount of sleep. Is watching three episodes of Gossip Girl before bed the best financial choice I can make at that moment? No. I could get tax paperwork together, or work on my 2012 budget spreadsheet, or list things for sale on Craigslist and eBay.

Health. Finances. That's it. If I can't get those two things under control, everything else falls apart. I'll still parent my children, and be a wife to my husband, and be a model employee, but I won't be taking any classes and I won't be making any committments to anyone else if there is something else I can be doing that would be better for my health and finances.


Call for Opinions: Redecorating a Little Girl's Bedroom

If the title of this post sounds familiar, it's because I asked for your opinion on the same subject a couple years ago. (Check it out.) I didn't buy new furniture at the time, though. My older girl came out of her crib and moved into the daybed (with trundle) that used to be our guest bed. My younger girl went into the crib we originally bought for the older one. My older girl is now four, and my little one is two, and potty-trained, and still sleeping in her crib.

We'll be moving soon and I don't want to move the baby furniture. I'd like to sell the crib and matching dresser as a set. Both girls will need new dressers and we will need one bed; two if we'd like to have a guest bed again. I love little girl bedroom sets, but I don't want to be going through this again in five years when my oldest girl decides her furniture is too babyish. I'm going to start with her room first and then do the little one's room.

I want to find a great bed and a great dresser. I'll build the room around those two pieces. Start sending me stuff! I am keeping it all on Pinterest. Here is some of what I have so far:

Dresser-landofnod
I love a dresser with a cupboard. Even though this is from Land of Nod, it doesn't look like kid furniture.

Dresser-hutch-pbk
Adorable, two separate pieces from Pottery Barn Kids.

Loftbed-pbk
Awesome, from Pottery Barn Kids.

Dresser-anthro
Rustic, and easy to open for kids, from Anthropologie.

Dresser-CB
I love this one for me, from Crate and Barrel.

More.


Today is Friday, July 29, 2011

My MIL arrived last night. She is visiting for a couple weeks. The timing of her trip coincides with me going to the BlogHer conference in San Diego so that she can help out my husband with the girls. She always asks for a list of projects to do while she is here. Usually, I have a bunch of little things that need doing, but I guess I have been keeping my shit together this year. I have two big things for her to do: potty train the toddler, and organize the garage.

Potty training started this morning. We are using my patented No Pants Boot Camp method. So far, this has resulted in the toddler slipping in a puddle of her own pee three feet from the potty. I have high hopes for success.

My MIL and the girls are at the park right now. I am working from Panera. I usually work from home on Fridays, but we all had to be out of the house because the exterminator came this morning. We were being overrun by spiders. I'm going to take a lunch break soon to drop my jeans off at the tailor to be hemmed. I hope they are ready in time for BlogHer. After work, we're touring a new preschool/daycare that we'll likely start next month.


How to Confront Your Neighbhor About His Dog

Kate the Peon has an issue:

I need to confront my newish neighbor about something and I am a chickenshit. I’ve only met him once and don’t remember his name.

I have seen a dog cage in his garage (where he never parks his car) and believe he is cooping his dog locked in the cage, in the hot garage, at night when Neighbor is gone. My problem is that his garage is directly next to and below my bedroom, and I hear the dog whining and barking for hours at a time – at my bedtime, I might add.

I have witnessed Neighbor doing things (repeatedly parking on the street in front of the “no parking on the street” sign; letting his dog into our open backyard to poop, and not cleaning up after him) that leave the impression he doesn’t so much care about others or want to do what’s right. I don’t want to judge him, but he looks like a wannabe hardass. My heels and I are intimidated.

I think it’s only fair to talk to him personally and give him a chance to fix this himself, but I am worried about what may happen afterwards if he doesn’t. How would you suggest I go about resolving this?

Don't.

Don't talk to your neighbor. He knows it isn't right to leave his dog shit in the yard, so asking him to please pick it up isn't going to do you any good. I would file a complaint with the HOA about the poop and about the noise.

Regarding the cage, if the conditions are inhumane, then what he is doing is illegal. I would call animal control or the local police department and ask them about which agency handles this type of report. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that putting a dog in a cage is not inhumane by itself. Our dog was crate-trained and was perfectly happy in her crate for hours at a time. So, as I said, if the conditions around crating the dog seem inhumane, then I would definitely report it to the authorities.


Resolution Update: Day 90

If you recall, my New Year's Resolution was to get rid of ten things a day. With all the moving, packing, and purging that I have done, I would be that I have gotten rid of 900 things this year. That number makes me sick, especially when I think of how much stuff there is left in my house.

I downsized from a four-bedroom, 2000-s.f. house with  a three-car garage to a three-bedroom, 1400-s.f. (maybe) house with barely a two-car garage. We're not done unpacking yet, but most of our stuff fits. With each box I unpack, I get rid of a few more things.

I was at an impasse in the living room until a couple nights ago. I simply could not figure out how to fit our home office furniture into the living room. At our old house, we had a living room, a family room, and a home office (the fourth bedroom). We had to combine all the functions of those rooms into one room in this house.

As I was sitting in the living room, staring at boxes still packed, and furniture shoved up against the walls, I thought, "Why am I holding on to the office furniture?" We didn't even use most of it at the old house. I have two desks, a three-drawer lateral file cabinet, a smaller cabinet with one lateral file drawer and one sort of open area with a roll-up style door, and a hanging cabinet. We also have a huge laser printer/fax/copier/scanner. We have used all the functions of the printer, but we no longer have as much need for it as we once did, plus we still have my color inkjet printer, but that isn't networkable.

I couldn't understand why I was unwilling to let this IKEA furniture go but, if I needed to, I was going to sell my giant teak china cabinet that took me a year to find.

This weekend, I am taking pictures of the office furniture and putting it on Craigslist. I will keep one desk and the two-drawer cabinet. Those two pieces will fit easily into a corner of the living room.


Resolution Update: Day 69

We have finally moved. Unpacking is going very slowly. Part of the problem is that we don't have a new washer and dryer yet, so I spend most of Saturday at my mom's house doing laundry instead of unpacking. We should be able to get a set this weekend. We decided not to cheap out -- to get what we really want and plan to keep them for a long time -- so we had to wait for another pay day to roll around.

Because the unpacking is going so slowly, the getting rid of things has slowed down as well. I am probably not getting rid of things at a rate of 10 per day right now, but I have not given up completely. I just put two boxes out for a donation pick up on Monday and I expect to have two more boxes to put out next Monday (along with a desk the former tenant left behind). Once the rate of unpacking picks up, so will my daily rate of getting rid of things.


Call for Opinions: Meal Planning Resources

I need help with meal planning. I don't do it. At all. I barely even cook these days, but I think that if I had help with the meal planning, I would cook. And by "help," I mean someone to do it for me.

I started my search on Amazon.com thinking that surely someone had written a meal planning cookbook that lays out a week's worth of meals with a shopping list. I was shocked to find almost nothing online.

I just want someone to tell me what to buy and what to cook (that's easy), and I will do it. I don't want to plan every meal and come up with the shopping list and then find out I didn't plan very well and I have a ton of groceries I don't need and can't use before they spoil, or a ton of leftovers that I don't have room to freeze or that we don't eat some night that same week. I know that some of you are diligent meal planners, so please help me out with some resources. If there isn't a cookbook, surely there is a good online resource somewhere.

What do you use to help with your meal planning?


Resolution Update: Day 42

Oh, it's been a month since I posted? That's because I have been busy getting rid of things. In the past 30 days, I have easily given away or thrown away or recycled well over 300 things that were cluttering up my four-bedroom, 2000-square-foot house. We are moving a week from tomorrow into a three-bedroom, 1400-square-foot house, so I have not just been organizing and decluttering, I have been downsizing as well.

The downsizing was not going as well as the organizing and decluttering until recently. This week, I sold a kitchen table set, and a matching couch and love seat. The buyers of our house bought two of my side chairs and our refrigerator. I was hoping they were going to buy our beast of a bedroom set as well, but they decided on something else.

This week, I am mailing off a package of toiletries to the troops in Iraq, via anysoldier.com. I had a basket with lots of travel size toiletries that I kept in the spare bathroom for guests. My husband suggested donating them to deployed troops (he is a veteran of the first war in Iraq) and @staceylt, a military wife recommended anysoldier.com to me. I found a unit that specifically wanted toiletries and hadn't received much so far. This unit had a good number of women and also requested pads, so I bought some of the ones that come with a wet wipe attached. My BIL works in a health food store and had tons of samples of all-natural toiletries and muscle pain creams and things like that, so I threw that stuff in, too. That box is crazy heavy.

The next week is going to be light on the getting rid of things because we will be concentrating on packing and moving. As we unpack in the new place, I expect for many neglected areas to be freshly organized and whipped into shape. I don't anticipate a problem with continuing to get rid of ten things a day, at least until later in the Spring.

 Here are few things that I know are on the chopping block after we move:

  • Old bike, two pairs of roller blades, safety gear for roller blading, softball gear and soccer gear. We are going to take it all to Play It Again Sports and trade it in toward a treadmill.
  • Two motorcycles.
  • A ton of baby clothes. The baby is ready to go up to the next size, but I won't have time this week to go through the next batch of hand-me-downs from the toddler.
  • More toys
  • Half the stuff in the home office because that is the one room I didn't get to (again...always) and we don't have a home office in the new place. I am going to try to use a corner of the living room, but I am not exactly sure how well that is going to work out. I may be getting rid of our big, three-drawer lateral filing cabinet from IKEA, which I really like, so I will be sad about that one.
  • More kitchen stuff
  • Cleaning supplies. I swear they multiply in the closet.
  • Broken bamboo rug (did not fare well in the home office)
  • Woven rug from Pottery Barn
  • Picnic basket
  • Baby's exersaucer, travel swing, doorway jumper
  • Curtain rods and curtains. I am not sure how our window covering configuration is going to transfer yet to the new place. I think we will have some excess.
  • Baby bedding set
  • More books
  • Bathroom rugs (we have two bathrooms instead of three now)
  • Creepy things that I don't like that were given to me that may get "lost" in the move

Resolution Update: Day 11

Things I got rid of since the last update:

2 pack-n-play sheets

19 cardboard coasters that I only used for birthday parties

1 Hello Kitty water bottle made in China

3 pairs of decorative edging scissors

2 USB drives

A bread basket with warming stone

Things I already got rid of:

13 candy canes

2 pieces of peppermint taffy

1 terrible book

1 organza gift bag

12 silver plastic chargers

12 gold plastic chargers

3 baby blankets

8 toddler pants

3 toddler shirts

1 toddler sweater

3 baby pants

4 pr kids socks

1 basket

1 pr panties (never worn, they fit like crap)

Vase w/fake rununculus

2 dish towels

2 doz votives

10 skinny taper candles

3 taper candles

1 lg earthenware bowl

2 pkgs jelly beans leftover from making turkey cake pops

1 drinking glass that I dropped on the kitchen floor

Mega Bloks bus w/driver

3 pillar candle holders

1 doz stocking stuffer toys and doo-dads

Stamping supplies

Scrapbooking supplies

3 casserole dishes

Potato ricer

Loaf pan

3 mixing bowls

Wooden salad bowls

Microplane

Mandoline-style slicer

8 disposable loaf pans

16-year-old down parka

10-year old leather jacket

5-year-old puffy pink jacket

5 pairs of pants

3 sweaters

2 bathing suits

2 pairs of shoes

3 belts

More of my clothes

Baby clothes

Baby shoes

Bibs

Diaper bag

Insulated bottle cooler bag

Baby play mat

Bumbo seat

12 champagne glasses

5 cookbooks

Toys

Children's books

Wrapping paper, bows, etc.


Resolution Update: Day 8

Things I got rid of since the last update:

I nearly forgot about getting rid of stuff last night, then I spotted a crystal cookie jar on my countertop that was only supposed to be there for the holidays, so I got rid of:

13 candy canes

2 pieces of peppermint taffy

Things I already got rid of:

1 terrible book

1 organza gift bag

12 silver plastic chargers

12 gold plastic chargers

3 baby blankets

8 toddler pants

3 toddler shirts

1 toddler sweater

3 baby pants

4 pr kids socks

1 basket

1 pr panties (never worn, they fit like crap)

Vase w/fake rununculus

2 dish towels

2 doz votives

10 skinny taper candles

3 taper candles

1 lg earthenware bowl

2 pkgs jelly beans leftover from making turkey cake pops

1 drinking glass that I dropped on the kitchen floor

Mega Bloks bus w/driver

3 pillar candle holders

1 doz stocking stuffer toys and doo-dads

Stamping supplies

Scrapbooking supplies

3 casserole dishes

Potato ricer

Loaf pan

3 mixing bowls

Wooden salad bowls

Microplane

Mandoline-style slicer

8 disposable loaf pans

16-year-old down parka

10-year old leather jacket

5-year-old puffy pink jacket

5 pairs of pants

3 sweaters

2 bathing suits

2 pairs of shoes

3 belts

More of my clothes

Baby clothes

Baby shoes

Bibs

Diaper bag

Insulated bottle cooler bag

Baby play mat

Bumbo seat

12 champagne glasses

5 cookbooks

Toys

Children's books

Wrapping paper, bows, etc.


Resolution Update: Day 7

Things I got rid of since the last update:

1 terrible book

1 organza gift bag

12 silver plastic chargers

12 gold plastic chargers

Things I already got rid of:

3 baby blankets

8 toddler pants

3 toddler shirts

1 toddler sweater

3 baby pants

4 pr kids socks

1 basket

1 pr panties (never worn, they fit like crap)

Vase w/fake rununculus

2 dish towels

2 doz votives

10 skinny taper candles

3 taper candles

1 lg earthenware bowl

2 pkgs jelly beans leftover from making turkey cake pops

1 drinking glass that I dropped on the kitchen floor

Mega Bloks bus w/driver

3 pillar candle holders

1 doz stocking stuffer toys and doo-dads

Stamping supplies

Scrapbooking supplies

3 casserole dishes

Potato ricer

Loaf pan

3 mixing bowls

Wooden salad bowls

Microplane

Mandoline-style slicer

8 disposable loaf pans

16-year-old down parka

10-year old leather jacket

5-year-old puffy pink jacket

5 pairs of pants

3 sweaters

2 bathing suits

2 pairs of shoes

3 belts

More of my clothes

Baby clothes

Baby shoes

Bibs

Diaper bag

Insulated bottle cooler bag

Baby play mat

Bumbo seat

12 champagne glasses

5 cookbooks

Toys

Children's books

Wrapping paper, bows, etc.


Resolution Update: Day 6

Things I got rid of since the last update:

(I went a little nutso last night.)

3 baby blankets

8 toddler pants

3 toddler shirts

1 toddler sweater

3 baby pants

4 pr kids socks

1 basket

1 pr panties (never worn, they fit like crap)

Vase w/fake rununculus

2 dish towels

2 doz votives

10 skinny taper candles

3 taper candles

1 lg earthenware bowl

2 pkgs jelly beans leftover from making turkey cake pops

1 drinking glass that I dropped on the kitchen floor

Mega Bloks bus w/driver

3 pillar candle holders

1 doz stocking stuffer toys and doo-dads

Things I already got rid of:

Stamping supplies

Scrapbooking supplies

3 casserole dishes

Potato ricer

Loaf pan

3 mixing bowls

Wooden salad bowls

Microplane

Mandoline-style slicer

8 disposable loaf pans

16-year-old down parka

10-year old leather jacket

5-year-old puffy pink jacket

5 pairs of pants

3 sweaters

2 bathing suits

2 pairs of shoes

3 belts

More of my clothes

Baby clothes

Baby shoes

Bibs

Diaper bag

Insulated bottle cooler bag

Baby play mat

Bumbo seat

12 champagne glasses

5 cookbooks

Toys

Children's books

Wrapping paper, bows, etc.


Resolution Update: Day 5

Things I got rid of since the last update:

Stamping supplies

Scrapbooking supplies

3 casserole dishes

Potato ricer

Loaf pan

3 mixing bowls

Wooden salad bowls

Microplane

Mandoline-style slicer

8 disposable loaf pans

16-year-old down parka

10-year old leather jacket

5-year-old puffy pink jacket

5 pairs of pants

3 sweaters

2 bathing suits

2 pairs of shoes

3 belts

More of my clothes

Baby clothes

Baby shoes

Bibs

Diaper bag

Insulated bottle cooler bag

Baby play mat

Bumbo seat

12 champagne glasses

5 cookbooks

Things I already got rid of:

Toys

Children's books

Wrapping paper, bows, etc.


New Year's Resolutions

Sometimes I do new year's resolutions, sometimes I don't. This year, I've been trying to make some changes in my life and I'm continuing those into 2010. Those don't count as resolutions. I have one resolution this year: to get rid of 10 things a day.

Yesterday, I donated easily 100 toys and books to a local charity. They're going to have to make my house a regular stop on their weekly route. Today, I'm packing up all of my scrapbooking and stamping supplies and sending them to my mother-in-law at her winter home in Florida so that she can have crafty things there, too. This weekend I'll also get rid of some of my holiday decorations and some kitchen items.

Did you make a new year's resolution?


Working Mom Guilt: Dr. Phil Says You Shouldn't Have It

I don't have working mom guilt. I choose to work and that is the best decision for my family. A couple months ago, I attended a taping of a Dr. Phil show on the subject. As he so lovingly put up on the graphics, it was really "Stay at Home vs. Working Moms" with Jessica Gottlieb representing the stay-at-home moms with the opinion that if you can't stay home with your children, you shouldn't have them.

Romi Lassally summed it up nicely on Huffington Post:

Basically, Jessica equates the hiring of a babysitter, or use of a daycare facility for the kids with the hiring of a surrogate (a hooker perhaps?) for the husband. While this is an interesting concept...it's just dead wrong. Working, or staying home full time is [sic] not be the litmus test by which we evaluate the quality of love a mother has for her kids. There are plenty of full time moms who aren't that loving and probably just as many working moms who love with a vengeance.

I responded to Jessica's post about her appearance:

I was in that audience on the Working Moms side. I choose to work and I don’t feel guilty about it. I don’t miss my children’s milestones. If my daughter giggles for the first time at daycare, she is also going to do it for me later, when I get home from work. Our wonderful daycare provider is not raising my children for me, she is simply caring for them for part of their day. They thrive under her expert care in ways I doubt they would at home with me all day. They are appropriately bonded and attached to me and their father. And I am certainly a much happier person for being able to use my talents on daily basis in a way that makes us a lot of money that gives us opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have.

One thing that I posted about when Sarah Palin first appeared and was getting so much heat for her choices about work and family, is that some women CAN do it all. Some women are more capable than others when it comes to balancing their lives. Some women can simply do more than others can.

One thing you asked during the show was something like, “You wouldn’t outsource making love to your husband, so why would you outsource mothering your children?” I laughed when you said that because, honestly, if I could get a girl in to take care of the blowjobs, I would.

She responded to me thusly:

Not “making love to your husband”, just “loving him”.

I’m sorry you don’t enjoy marriage or parenthood.

I showed surprising restraint in my follow-up response. You can read the rest on her site. Also, please note that my husband is holding auditions this weekend for the blowjob girl.


The New Sharpie Pen

Sharpie

That's right, a Sharpie pen. Not a marker. A pen. And it is AWESOME.

I have nice handwriting and I am vain about it. My writing looks best with a felt tip pen. Most felt tip pens bleed through the paper, but the Sharpie doesn't! Another problem that I have with fine point felt tip pens is that I have to hold them nearly perpendicular to the paper in order to get them to write evenly, but not with the Sharpie pen! I can hold it at a comfortable angle and it writes beautifully, with even ink distribution.

My only complaint is that the clip on the lid doesn't have enough tension. I am worried that it is going to slip off my notebook at work and I will lose my wonderful pen because you know that even if I taped my name to it, no one would return something so awesome.

I spent about $3 for a two-pack at FedEx Kinko's. I haven't shopped around at all - it was totally an impulse purchase when I went in to send a package - but it was the best impulse purchase in ages!


Toddler Bedding Update

Thanks again for all your opinions about what type of bedding I should get for Kenna's new room. I did finally find a garden-themed bedding set that I like. It was really difficult! All the ones I was seeing were just so pastel or so bright. They would have looked really cute with the white furniture I was planning on getting, but they weren't really my style.

Then, to throw another wrench into the works, a friend gave us her old crib and changing table. We are, of course, very grateful for it, but the coloring made finding bedding even more difficult. The set has a natural stain (like light oak), but the top rail on each of the two crib ends is a dark country blue. (This crib is in astounding condition after having gone through three boys.)

Last week, I got a JC Penney baby catalog in the mail and found this perfect garden bedding set. The colors are darker than I had been seeing in other sets, so the blue on the crib will go nicely. It was lots cheaper than the one from Pottery Barn I had been considering, especially since my mom had a 15% off coupon.

Now we just need to get the new crib out of the living room and up into Kenna's new room.

New_bedding
Note: We only got the 4-pc bedding set, not every matchy, matchy thing in the picture.


Call for Opinions: A Little Girl's Bedroom

Kenna will be 18 months old this week. We will also find out this week if the new baby is a boy or girl. Fortunately, we decorated the nursery in gender-neutral colors because we knew Kenna would not be our last baby. Before the new baby comes, Kenna will move out of the nursery, into her own room. She will stay in a crib for as long as possible, but the new room will have big girl furniture as well.

Here's where the need for opinions comes in. I have zero ideas about how I want to decorate her room. What color should I paint the walls? What type of bedding should I get? What should I put on the newly-painted walls? What should I put on the window, besides a black-out shade that is?

Do you have any ideas? To help, below are pictures of the furniture I have chosen, but not yet purchased.

New_crib 

New_bed 

New_dresser

(Links to the items can be found on Kenna's Amazon Wish List.)