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2012 in review

So here it is Jan 1, 2013 – a new year – and I don’t know who said it or wrote it – I stole it from someone on Twitter but this was so profound to me —– “Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one!” I have a blank book in front of me and I want to make it a good one – I’ve never really thought of it that way before. Very smart person who said it, very smart. There is so much I want to change in my life this year, while 2012 was not a bad year it’s not the best I’ve ever used. I got fired from my job and I had to fight for my unemployment benefits, had to move out of our house – that we had thought we’d be in forever, had to move into an apartment with the up and downstairs neighbors from hell, and for the last month stressing to find out if I will have unemployment benefits extended (think fiscal cliff drama) or if we will have no money to live on since I still don’t have a job.

Do not let the shadows of your past darken the doorstep of your future. Forgive and forget.  I stole this as well from someone on Twitter, I already closed out my twitter account his name is Phil and he’s an author — I’ll remember shortly and add his last name lol. 2012 was such a stressful year that I am truely looking forward to what I will accomplish this next year and we as a family as well. I have many things I want to accomplish this next year, but I need to leave all the crap of 2012 behind me.

I have a number of goals for the year (most are probably the same that I had last year considering I didn’t work to well on them lol). I don’t call them resolutions because well they are something I want to work on all year long and not just until I mess up and I”m not following it anymore, and my list is in no special order just as they have come to mind.

1. Live on a real budget – not just spend but budget and make sure everything is working right.

2. Read scriptures as a family daily. I’m not sure how we will do this because the #1 thing that is said to keep this consistent is to do it at the same time every day. Well Tim will be going to school 2 nights a week until 9 pm so I’m not sure how we are going to work it but we will figure it out lol

3. 72 hour kits – food and water at the minimum. I would love to have all this stuff that the doomsday preppers have prepared but baby steps right — I just need to get this stuff done – I’ve been feeling like this is something we need to get done for a while and since no one else in the family wants to help out I’m just going to do it and when the time comes to actually use it then they will thank me

4. Lose weight – I have to lose at least 80 lbs – I don’t feel good about myself, I don’t feel sexy, I don’t feel pretty, and I have no clothes that fit me – I was going to a Christmas party the other day and I went thru my closet to find something to wear and everything was too small. In addition I just want to eat better — I’m thinking my #1 goal is to eat smaller portions. I’m sure that will help ALOT lol

5. I want to be more aware of the goodness around me rather than focusing on the negative – as I have been this last year.  We are going to do a blessing jar or a good thing jar or something like that.  Where when we have a good thing happen or we see a blessing in our life we put it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar then on New Years eve we open the jar and read them all.

Well I think that’s enough for now — I’ve been working on this post for 5 hours — time to put it to bed

Reviewing

So I was looking back on my posts this year (yeah I know not too many) and the one where I posted my goals – I didn’t do a very good job with my goals for the year lol — I still have a few months to work on them at least right!!!!! And it seems like so much has changed since I wrote those posts.

I’ve stopped using the skin stuff I made – it just wasn’t controlling the oily skin I have — I really wanted something that was natural and would control the oil I would get part way thru the day, my skin feels like a darn oil slick and also I wanted to try it because I wanted something that would control my son’s acne (poor kid he’s got the same skin I had when I was a teen) and it wasn’t working for him either. So after it was gone we didn’t make any more — I still have some of the moisturizer and I’ll use that in something else down the road. It did do good on getting rid of the blackheads and somewhat controlling the acne but I needed the oil control too so like I said once it was gone I didn’t make more and went back to my trustworthy skin care Mary Kay, I love just about every product so I’m back to using it. So one thing I won’t change again is using my Mary Kay. I just love the stuff.

Sorry I can’t stop raving about it all.

I used to sell Mary Kay years ago but stopped for personal reasons. Tim and I talked about it (more Tim convincing me than anything lol) and earlier this year I decided to start again – more so so I could get the Consultant discount (half off YAY). By far I think that the Mary Kay product line is the best.

Looking at my list of goals for the year –

we’ve not been doing a family scripture time, tho we did start having Family Home Evening more – it’s not every week but more than before so I’m happy about that.

Megan’s frame – I don’t even know where it is now that we’ve moved.

NOT really getting more active — more active than we were at this time last year.

Becoming more self-sufficient – that is happening but only cos we’re forced to do it — lots of things we’re using instead of buying them. All of our cleaning products we make at home — mainly using vinegar and water and some essential oils. I’ve tried to get Tim to make some things when he’s cooking instead of buying them but he doesn’t/won’t I don’t know how to get him to change lol I’m still scared to death to make soap so I’ve not done it – the lye just terrifies me. I need to take a class so I”m not so scared.

De-cluttering — well that really didn’t go as planned. When we moved it took us so long — ALL DAY plus three or four loads in a 20 foot rental truck plus both cars were full, and some people took some smaller loads in their cars over here.. It was crazy so yeah we really need to down size – I’ll take a picture of our garage here at the apt’s to show how much junk we have not to mention there are boxes still in David’s room and Megan’s room – but those are all their stuff. Still need to go thru it all, I just don’t want to admit how bad it is so I refuse to go to the garage now.

Following the budget – kinda forced into that one now LOL — if we over spent in just one place then we are messed up in all the others — I mean minor over spending — we spend an extra dollar then there’s a dollar less for rent or other bills. So we have to be SUPER careful.

72 hour kits and food storage — well until we get into somewhere that’s more permanent than I really don’t want to do very much on the food storage side of things we barely have room for the food we need on a semi daily basis. And the 72 hour kits due to costs its going to be very slow going – again I just wish I could get my family to get on board with me.

I know it’s a bit early to be doing a year in review but sometimes you need to do have a better outlook – things may not be how I want them to be but at least they are better than they were and that is the important thing.

Unemployed and milestones

I did have a great goal of blogging for more of a journal for my family and friends but that went by the way side. I didn’t keep up with it since my last post in January and it’s now SEPTEMBER – 3 seasons have almost come and gone since I last posted. Things got crazy at home, at work and well still at home but here’s a quick update since January.

In May I was fired from my job of almost 8 years, complete shock to me – I’m not going to go into why I was fired cos (of course) it’s a lot of I say/they say about the entire matter. But let’s just suffice it to say that even tho I was not happy at work – with some of my coworkers, some of the people that came into my place of employment and the way the company was being run I had been looking for a new job – many people at work knew this and even tho I am happy to not be working there anymore – I miss the coworkers I got along with and I learned the hard way that even tho I thought some of these people were my friends — they very obviously were not and I am glad to have the entire toxic situation out of my life. I had to fight to get my unemployment, had to go thru a law project specifically for people who are fighting to get their unemployment benefits (UEB), because my ex-employer said that what I did was malicious and on purpose and I had full intention to do what I did. Um Yeah, because as the sole financial support of my family, I’m going to do something that I know will cause me to be fired and not get UEB and there fore put my family into a possible state of homelessness. And that truly tells me that this was not a place for me to work – they very obviously did not care about me as a person and they didn’t know me. The beginning of July (I think the 3rd) was the trial, over the phone, there was me, the judge, my lawyer and the person representing my previous employer. I was trying to be nice to her (previous employer) but she was having none of it – I said HI how are you and she said “this is a legal proceeding address your comments to the judge only” this was before the “proceeding” started and before the judge was on the line.. WOW ok then. By the end of the week, I had received the decision that I was entitled to my UEB and the next week I received almost 2 months of back UEB.  Boy was I a happy camper, UEB by no means covers our bills but people are understanding as we’ve explained it and we’ve cut back on some things so we are living with in that money (YAY for us lol). So I am looking for work – it’s hard out there – I did not realize how bad the job search market is right now. I do my required job searches and I get called usually once or twice a week for a phone interview and that’s as far as it goes. I very rarely get called in for an in person interview. To be honest I am enjoying the stay at home mom time of life, I didn’t get to do that when David was younger but I do now and I enjoyed the summer with him and Megan.

Which brings us to our newest milestone – David/High School/Seminary – WOW!!!!!

David is a freshman now, so this means getting up at 6 am to be ready for school on time. He is playing for the freshman football team for his high school, he’s very proud of this and I am proud of him. His team’s first game is next Wednesday and although I am very nervous to see my first born out there smashing into other guys (and a girl on his team) I’m very proud of him too. We start Seminary next Monday, so that means getting up at 5 am to get him there on time and I say “we” because either Tim or I will be driving him there at the butt crack of dawn and then staying there cos by the time we get back home we’ll have to turn around to go get him and take him to school. He is enjoying school, the kids are great and he loves his teachers and his biology teacher was one of my teachers in high school as well — crazy small world we live in right?!

In June/July we had to move – our old landlords decided to sell the house and were not willing to let us live in it until they sold it. We had a very hard time finding some place to move to because (imagine this if you will) they were not willing to rent to someone who had no job and no income — wow what a shocker right !!!!!! How we got into this place I don’t know because as I said above I had no income and had not completely dealt with the UEB issue. Major answer to prayers is what it was, we were actually looking into living with a friend (she had said that we could live in her basement until we could find somewhere — what a great person she is — I still don’t think she realizes what a stress she took off my shoulders. And before she said we could live there we were looking into homeless shelters – where it would be me and the kids and Tim would have to be somewhere else. Then my ex said he would take David. So I think the good Lord let me sink to the bottom and then lifted me up – prayers were answered the day we actually got the keys and we were able to move in here, not where I want to be long term but sure better than my family living in 3 different places. Then to find out a week later that I would be getting my UEB oh wow what a great week, we still have a garage full of crap to go thru and condense but we have a home and that’s all that matters.

Well I suppose that should be good for now — my goal is to update daily (yeah I think I said that before too lol)

My goals for 2012

I wanted to make some goals for the new year — get some things accomplished that I’ve yet to get done because well I sit in front of a computer all day at work then I come home from work and sit in front of our computer and play on Facebook and pintrest and blog. They aren’t unreasonable and hopefully I will be able to actually get them done. So here’s my list –

  1. Daily Family scripture study time
  2. Finish Megan’s first year frame – I have the pics and the frame – just need them together lol – It took me a year to get the pics all printed lol
  3. Become more active – personally and as a family
  4. Become more self sufficient – meaning make more things at home and not purchasing these things
  5. Declutter – I found a great calendar on pintrest yesterday so I printed it and will use it to declutter — luckily Sundays are a break day so I don’t have to start today lol — it’s a little late and we gotta get ready for church – there’s also a group you can join but there’s a charge and that’s another goal about following the budget an I know that’s not in it lol
  6. FOLLOW THE BUDGET – we just really need to buckle down and do it – it’s going to be hard I know but we just really need to do it – we seem to do good about April thru September then in October it all just hits the fan
  7. 72 hour kits and food storage – I want the 72 hour kits done by April and working on our food storage through out the year and have at least a full 3 month supply by the end of the year

Hmmm I am sure I will think of more – I will add to the list as soon as I do lol

Christmas at our house

Christmas here is not traditional by any means. Much of that has to do with the fact that I am divorced from my son’s dad and that there is a 12 year age gap between my son and my daughter and since he no longer believes in Santa and Megan doesn’t quite get it yet then there isn’t that anticipation like in years past. David splits his Christmas holiday break from school between his dad and I we alternate who has him the week before and the week after Christmas thru New Year’s Day. This year for some reason I agreed to let David’s dad take him for a Christmas eve party at his step grandfather’s home and then I get him back for the 27th (his dad and step mom’s wedding anniversary) so we didn’t get to see him very much on Christmas eve and not much on Christmas day – we did have a good time opening gifts and he got some things that he really really wanted (football and San Francisco 49er stuff) and some that he didn’t really want but could use. I think my little boy is becoming a young man because I know that there were things that he didn’t really want but he was really gracious and kind about it, not like a few years ago when he lost all of his gifts because he was so darn ungrateful. Megan of course wasn’t too interested in things she would open a present and then put it aside then look at things then go find another present – I think Tim and I opened more of her presents than she did.  A lot of them were clothes and things that she needed but she was given a little Dora the explorer lunch box type thing — super small tho it won’t hold much lol – and it came with 4 lip glosses.  SHE LOVES IT – wouldn’t put it down and wouldn’t open any other gifts and just played with it, kept putting on lip gloss.  Tim had put together a breakfast casserole last night so when we got up this am we put it in the oven right away Then we all got ready for church and went to church – just had a quick sacrament meeting and then home. We’ve just been relaxing and not doing much — well Tim is running like crazy around the kitchen making dinner, and since I can’t stand the way he cooks — like a tornado hit the kitchen I stay out and let him cook and clean up lol.  I have to clean up after myself so why should I clean up after him lol. So we’re just waiting for everything to cook and a couple of friends to come over. Then we’ll over eat and put ourselves into a food coma then hopefully we will all crash early lol

A Froggy kind of Day

We have a perpetual froggy theme going

Megan and Daddy had some errands to run. Because of this, we took mama to work, got some breakfast and then went out and about for the morning.

One of our stops was Walmart where I had found some Frog sandals for the little miss. It never fails, whenever Rebecca and I see something that is froggy for our little girl, we gravitate towards this.

Despite the fact that my wife is not parcel to frog‘s, her nickname growing up has brought about the liking of frog decorations. As such, these have infiltrated in an ongoing theme.

He almost looked like a huge grasshopper

Well, as we finished up our errands for today, and getting home so that Daddy and Megan can have some lunch, and then get the house cleaned up; Megan and I took a walk. We walked up the hill from our house, around the cul-de-sac and then back down and around the bottom cul-de-sac. When we came up the stairs from underneath our balcony, a flash of green caught my eye. At first, I thought this was a rather large green grasshopper. When I looked more closely, it was a little green frog.

It took a few minutes, as Megan watched me with fascination, to catch him. I had never seen such a small frog in the Pacific Northwest, however, a quick search shows that this is a Garden Green Tree Frog.

Megan tried to grab at him, and so I tried to get her to hold out her small hands. This proved unfruitful when the frog and Megan were not being all that cooperative. If I was that small, I would not be either.

The tree frog landed on Megan

However, despite my attempts, I did manage to capture a photo where the frog jumped onto her and quickly moved over to her one side.

More attempts were made to get Megan to at least touch the frog so that I could snap a picture of her holding the little guy. Again, both were not very cooperative in this venture and so I finally had to let the poor creature go.

Right when I placed him down onto the grass, I decided to capture a few more photo’s of him in the natural element of our yard. He blended into the grass and every time I would snap a picture, he would leap right out of th sight of the camera. The sun did not help at all since I was using my HTC android touch screen phone. So, I really did not have an ability to see exactly where he landed. Despite this, I took some additional shots.

He is in his natural habitat

This first one, you can barely make him out. He is toward the right side of the picture, almost in the corner. Yes, there are weeds that we need to get out and remove from the front garden area of the house. However, as most people are aware of, our spring weather is coming and going and has not yet decided to stay. This makes gardening, yard work, and general cleanup difficult.

And yes, part of me wanted to get him inside and in an old fish bowl that we have so that we could have a pet frog. However, I think my wife would not really like that, and Megan did not seem all that interested in the critter herself. She did not show any disgust towards him, she just did not find it as interesting as daddy did.

Granted, I have not gotten all the housework accomplished today. The sun beckoned me outside and taking little miss with me, we had a blast walking around our neighborhood. Not only that, but to have this beautiful creature cross our path gave me an opportunity to introduce Megan to the creatures that reside outside.

Sometimes, such discoveries create opportunities to share with our children the world around us and the beauty of our world.

We have definitely had a froggy kind of day today.

Becoming actively involved

Both, Rebecca and myself, have discussed ways we need to have a healthier and active lifestyle. Most of this became nothing more than talk. While we understand that there are health risks involved in being overweight, we have not been as proactive as we would like. This all has changed since my step-son’s pediatrician had referred us over to the YMCA.

The program we were told was called Strong Kids, Strong Families. A three month program where the family receives a free YMCA membership, and twice a week families meet together to go over some exercises, nutritional ideas and information, and a support group.

While it is now called ACT (Actively Changing Lives Together), we have already completed our first week of the program and are now onto the second week.

The first week required that we focus on where we are at as a family, and to set realistic goals as to what we would like to accomplish. While the Mukilteo YMCA only has one night a week set aside for the ACT program, our family can also go into the Marysville YMCA and participate in the activities offered there.

For this second week, we are asked to make at least one goal. It has to be detailed enough to be clear, measure the progress of the goal, ensuring that it is feasible for all to do, that it is realistic, timely, and then provide a reward at the end of the week for accomplishing the goal.

So, for this week, we have decided to become more active than we already are. Our main goal is to take two- 30 minute walks after dinner as a family. This will mean that dinner has to be ready to go by about four in the evening, and then done by about 5. Since the past couple of days have been very nice, the expectation is that this will follow through until Friday evening.

On top of this, the parents and children were given sheets. Parents are to track the progress of the entire family in meeting more of the long-term goals. Based upon this sheet, our family has adopted to do the following activities as a part of the challenge to develop a healthier and actively lifestyle.

My wife and I would like to start Zumba classes that are offered at the YMCA, I would like to do some strength training as well and I know my wife would like to do some elliptical work. Regarding my step-son, I offered to work with him on his Physical Merit Badge that he has to do for scouts. One of the things he has to carry out is to create a 12-week exercise program and either follow through with it on his own or have his scout troop involved with it. One of the things I would like to focus on is the push ups, running, and squat thrusts, maybe even through in some sit-ups. All four of these are possible to carry out and will allow him and I to do something together and encourage one another in reaching our own personal weight loss goals.

The other long-term goal is to start working on eating healthier. On this, I learned something new that I have never heard of before. There are two types of eating behaviors. One is normal eating behaviors and the other is dysfunctional eating behaviors. According to the one paper that we were given, normative eating behavior recognizes the true signs of hunger, eating three well-balanced meals a day, with a couple of healthy snacks, and eating right portions. Dysfunctional eating habits are the opposites (which I am very dysfunctional in my eating habits and behaviors – come to find out).

Making healthier choices in how we eat as a family, challenging each other, encouraging each other, praising each other, and making better choices in what we do as a family activity and how we eat as a family are going to be very beneficial to us in the long run. This program is the type of program that we have definitely needed to give us the motivation we lacked to start focusing on changing our sedentary lives into a more robust and active family life.