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Living the “Yes” life.

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I know it’s been a while since I posted.  I’ve been pretty busy.  Yes, yes, I know that is what everyone says, but in this case, it’s true!  Aside from the usual working mother of 2, wife, and the normal day to day chaos, I have been trying very hard to live the “yes” life.  I thought perhaps it’s time to do an update on how it’s going.

I started this after lamenting about the extra weight that has cropped up on my the past 10 years or so.  After mulling it over and feeling a bit sorry for myself, a memory of a conversation I had with my mother popped in my head.  She once told me how proud she was of me for my determination and independence.  I remember her telling me how I seemed to just set my mind to things and DO them.  It seemed logical that I could apply this mentality to losing some weight.  I talked myself into it.  I COULD do it.  I just needed to set my mind to it, and to make a plan.  I realized I am not a big fan of the gym, but I like being active.  The first thing I did was start going to an Aqua Zumba class on Mondays.  You know what?  I LOVE it.  LOOOVVVVEEEE it.  It makes me feel great and I have a good time.  I actually look forward to Mondays…how is that even possible?  The AZ class led me to take a deep water fit class.  I started losing a bit of weight.  I realized, now that I was a bit more active, that much of my problem thus far was that I wasn’t doing much at all before I started the classes.  I had gotten up, dropped the kids off, and gone to work all day.  Then I would come home, get the kids fed and ready for bed, and then watched TV.  I wasn’t doing much for me.

I needed to make some changes, and it started with the mindset that I would say “yes” more.  Because I was saying yes more, I felt less guilty when I had to say no.  When my son’s soccer coach couldn’t coach this season, and nobody else volunteered.  I said yes.  I have help, and I had some learning to do, but I am doing it!  I will tell you…it’s the best damned thing ever.  I love it.  It’s not always easy, and 10 year old boys will give you a run for your money, but on the whole, it’s been fantastic.  I feel ike I have done something positive, I get some excercise, and it’s been so much fun.  My son said he was proud of me.  That was worth the price of admission right there!

I am saying yes to plans, and finding ways to do things for me, as well as the kids.  I took a trip to NYC 3 days ago to go see one of my favorite authors do a reading.  Before, I likely would have made excuses, but this time I was determined to go.  One night to myself to do something I enjoyed was a complete recharge.  I notice that since I have been saying yes more, I am finding time to not only do more things with the kids, but for myself as well.

The end result?  I am happier.  I guess what they say is true, a happy wife is a happy life, because our household seems happier.  It also seems healthier.  The kids are supportive of me going to excercise classes 2x a week (the Y has a childcare room they go to for an hour where they draw, play or hang out).  My husband is supportive as well.  We’re all eating better.  We exercise more.  My son, who never learned how to ride a bike, learned (in the rain) because he asked me to teach him, and I said yes.  I had always thought it would have to be something my husband taught him, but nope!  I set my mind to teach him and it worked!  I am trying to silence the negative inner voice in my head and replace it with a positive, happy one.  It’s a work in progress, but it’s getting better all the time.

Have I lost weight?  Yup, so far it’s 16 lbs.  I gained 3 back, then lost them again.  It’s a process.  Hopefully it will keep disappearing with a bit of work, and staying active.

Ok, so I haven’t quite gotten the hang of saying yes more to the housework.

Can’t win em all.

Live the Yes life.  You won’t be sorry.

 

 

 

Happiness is gratefulness, and not giving a f*{k.

I’ll warn everyone right off the bat that there will be some foul language in this post. Moreso than others, so if you’re easily offended, this might be one for you to skip.

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, I cannot believe it has been a year since I write my “turning 40” post, the year seems to have flown by, and I am left thinking “wasn’t that just yesterday?”. Alas, the time is flying by me, and I’m left wondering how time seemed to CRAWL when I was waiting to turn 16 but flies by at the blink of an eye now.

I recently upgraded my phone and when I did, I took a little while to scroll through the endless pictures I seemed to have taken with it the past year. I didn’t realize just how many I had taken. I also had forgotten so many of the magical little moments, the ones that you don’t write books or scrapbook about so much, but they make life worth living, There were pictures of the kids and I, mostly making “crazy faces” and then the aftermath of us laughing hysterically at each other’s crazy poses, There were random shots I took of my husband, the kids on the soccer field, and friends having a drink and enjoying themselves. There was the close up picture of my new nose ring, acquired on my 40th birthday trip to NYC, which I was nervous to get because I was always raised wjth the “what will people think?” mentality. There is one of the large tattoo I got at the end of 40′ when I cared a whole lot less what people thought.

Then there are the scrapbook moments. Pictures of my family of 4 with my dad, making me see how grateful I am for those in my life, and how lucky I am that he survived his bout of cancer.. There are ones with where my stepmother is joining us in the photos, and I am happy that we have a relationship now, and a little embarrassed by how closed I once was to the idea, I am pleased that I grew up a little and realized that she would never replace my mom, and it was ok to accept a new situation, There are pictures of my daughter and I in the lake. The idea of swimming in a lake terrified me, but I did it for her, There is the picture of my husband and I before a date night. Damn, we clean up nice. The trip to see the Steelers play that we took with my brother and sister in law, who I look at like a brother and sister to me. That was one of the best weekend vacations of my life, and we had a blast! There are birthdays, and holidays, and Halloween….God we love Halloween.

There is a picture of my friend who passed away, it’s the only picture I have of the two of us, after 20 plus years of friendship, and I am grateful to have it. That was a loss that hit me really hard, and it changed my mindset quite a bit. it’s most certainly a wake up call to one’s own mortality when a friend passes away who is the same age as you. I am more grateful now to wake up each day. I have so much to do, and to live for.

The fact is, that I have learned two very important lessons over the past year. The first is that gratitude is most certainly a key to happiness. Once I stopped to regularly take stock of all the things I was grateful for, I found I needed less. The more I focused on how lucky I felt, the less I worried about what I might not have. It was so simple. On days when things don’t go my way, I try to take a few minutes and list some people or things to myself that I feel lucky to have in my life. It helps me to see the simple things, and it makes tougher times seem not so bad.

Secondly, as I mentioned, I grew up in a “what would other people say/think?” environment. It’s ingrained in me to worry what people will say, or think. This was the year where, quite frankly, I worked on not giving a fuck. Well, let me rephrase. I make a conscious effort to be a bit more selective about the fucks that I give. It was hard at first, because, wow…I gave a lot of fucks! I cared about what everyone thought, how they would judge me, and whether they would like me. It stressed me out. Somehow though, I got fed up, and started to change my mindset. Someone might not like my nose ring or tattoo? I don’t give a fuck. Don’t like me? Oh well. Zero fucks. Got something negative to say about my looks or how I dress? I can probably top it and be funnier about it. Whatever it is, if it’s someone unloading negative shit, they can take it elsewhere, for I am barren of fucks to give about it.

I had an interesting conversation with someone today and they told me there was a poll of women that went something like this: would you rather A. Get ten thousand dollars, or B, lose ten lbs and keep it off forever? The person told me most women would choose the 10 lbs. Me? I’ve spent my who,e life wishing I was thinner. Even when I was thin, it wasn’t thin enough. Now that I am a softer, rounder size 12, I gave this question some thought. My response? I’d take the money. My thinking process actually took all of two seconds. I said I’d take the cash and take the family on a vacation, make some memories, and have a story to tell. “remember that time my stomach was perfectly flat?” has nothing on “remember that crazy week we spent in Disney and how we had the time of our lives?”. My kids don’t give a rats ass how much I weight, and my husband thinks I’m a sexy bitch just as I am. Sure, not everything fits me perfectly, and I’d like to lose a couple of lbs, but clearly not enough to forgo steak, lobster and ice cream. Life is too short!

When my friend passed away this year, it brought home that nothing is promised. I have to work, and pay bills. I have to go to the grocery store and do other mundane tasks. What I don’t have to do is let life pass me by. I can love fiercely, laugh heartily, and feel intensely. I can say yes to new things, say no when I don’t feel like it, and let loose a little. I’m still learning to loosen up. I’m still learning not to care what people think. It’s a work in process, but I’m already a hell of a lot better at it than I used to be. I used to worry constantly about being judged by other people. Now I realize that if they are busy judging me, they are missing something valuable in their own lives. Another year, another chance to say yes to new experiences. I have surrounded myself with amazing people who make me laugh, feel loved, and make me feel included. I have friends that have known me since I was a crazy, stupid teenager, and I have new friends as well. I am blessed, grateful, and humble. I’m excited for the year ahead, and all it will bring. If it isn’t perfect? Oh well. I don’t give a fuck.

Turning it around

Well, hello there!
Sorry it’s been a while. It’s been a rough few days. Nothing catastrophic, thank goodness, but just a few days where everything seems to go the wrong way, and it starts to drain my sunshine. Actually, it’s been a rough few weeks at least. Some disappointments, sadness, family illness, and having to make some tough choices have left me feeling rather down. Frankly, I’m exhausted both emotionally and physically. I might get into more details at a later date.

Anywho, after a rough couple of days with a sprinkling of rage thrown in, I was feeling a little on edge. I saw the anti smoking commercial today with Terrie Hall (I think that’s her name), and it made me burst into tears, (those commercials with her in them positively SLAY me, and I hate if anyone is in the room with me when they come on because I will start to cry…every.single.time.). I then read an article about a woman with breast cancer, and that too made me sniffle. I decided I needed to cheer up. After all, here were women who had major illnesses, who went through hell, and I am simply having a bad week! My life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damned good. Sometimes, a little reminder of the good things sure does help combat feelings that life is being too harsh. I figured what I needed was some reminders of what IS going right.

The first thing I did, was have Ben and Jerry’s. Why? Because it’s friggen delish, that’s why! Well, that and the fact my husband brought it home for me after hearing my day sucked yesterday. He’s a champion that way. So after my nom nom’s, I gave the dog some cuddles, I reminded myself that he loves me, even when I feel icky or ugly or when I have cried my makeup off my face into black pools, which might look kind of jowly in the right light. Ok, enough of that, I almost depressed myself again…..sometimes it’s 2 steps forward, one back? Where was I? Oh yes, the hound. The hound was adopted sight unseen from TN, and he is one awesome pooch, Never barks, loves the kids, loves us, doesn’t chew stuff, and isn’t a high maintenance asshole dog. He’s just a great dog, and I adore him. I said “wanna go to bed?” and he got all wiggly-butted and then darted upstairs and jumped onto his bed. Within 3 minutes, he is snoring. The husband stopped home from work on a break to do me a favor, reminding me yet again of what an awesome guy he is. How on earth did iIget so lucky to marry such an incredible guy? I took a few minutes to go and sit in my son’s room. He got new bunk beds this weekend, and he and his sister asked if they could have a “sleepover” in there. He conquered his nervousness about sleeping on the top bunk so that his little sister could sleep on the bottom bunk. I was so proud of him, and so happy that there was no bickering tonight, only excitement that they could both sleep in the same room and tell stories to each other, I sat in there and watched them both sleep. I listened to my 3 year old girl snore like a man. I felt peaceful. I felt…happy.

So here I am, a girl who was sad and down earlier, and I feel a lot better. I have practiced being grateful. It works. Next time you are down, grab a sheet of paper and jot down what you are grateful for. It doesn’t matter how small or silly it may seem; if you’re grateful for it, put it on paper. You may start with “I am grateful I have enough toilet paper to get me through the night” and go into some deep philosophical stuff. Taking a moment to be grateful for what is good in one’s life forces oneself to focus on good, rather than the bad. It will make your frown less frowny. Nobody likes a crabby patty.

My life isn’t perfect. I have problems like everyone else. I have bad days. Money is tight, work is hard and sometimes insanely frustrating. People gossip about me. My back hurts a lot. But things are at least good. I can find a way to hustle to make some money. Not all days will be bad. In fact, there will be an occasional spectacular day. Work is work. At least I have work. Could be worse. I sometimes think that if people are using their time to gossip about me, they must be lacking something in their own life, and their opinions of me aren’t my problem, The back pain, well, some days it hurts, some days it doesn’t, I just need to be more mindful of the days it doesn’t hurt so much. Trying to find the good in situations takes a bit of effort, but it does change perspective. It’s helped me get my issues with depression in a better place. Sometimes, it helps make a crappy day a little less crappy. On the other hand, sometimes it’s good to say “today really sucked! The probability is that tomorrow will seem awesome in comparison! ”

Stay positive, stay grateful. Start small. Go big. Don’t take no shit. -words to live by.

Messy xx

If you want to help families made homeless by Sandy, here’s a way!

So many people are struggling right now due the hurricane and following store.  I am in daily contact with the family I went to visit, and since so many people were asking how they could help, what people would need, and where to send it, I asked her and got a list.

If you’d like to help supply needed items to families on Long Beach Island who lost their homes in the storm, they are in need of the following:

  • Long Underwear/thermals in all sizes for the firemen and displaced.  The gas is off on the island and they are COLD.
  • Gloves, Knit Hats, Scarves, etc
  • Medicine (over the counter cold medicine, Tylenol, etc
  • Immodium.  Some of the people have been eating what’s in their freezers and are sick from it.
  • Adult size depends. (VERY needed and requested)
  • HEAVY socks.
  • Anything holiday spirit-ish
  • Toys or Games.  Some of the children on the island have no toys after the storm destroyed their homes.

The above items would be HUGELY appreciated.  UPS isn’t delivering to the island yet, but I have found a local business woman who lives an hour away and who has VERY generously offered to drive the donations to the Firestation on the island and drop them off for the families.  She made a trip yesterday and will be going again shortly. 

Please send all donations to:

A Time to Kiln

50 Broad Street

Red Bank NJ 07701

The business is owned by Wendy Jones

 

Thanks Wendy for your help!!!!

The Messy Housewife Does the Laundry Battle

Laundry in our house is an overwhelming experience.  2 adults, one of whom is 6’2 and therefore has bigger clothes, plus 2 children’s worth means that much of my housekeeping time revolves around laundry.  On the whole, laundry is one area where I do pull what little domestic pride I have from.  I’m pretty handy at getting out stains, and Oxy Clean is my bestie in the laundry room.  When I worked as a waitress years ago, staff members commented my white shirts always looked new.  (Thank you oxy clean!)  The main reason I think I identify with the aundry is that it is so parallel for my personality and my life in general.

For starters?  The one thing I love about doing laundry is the challenge of making sure what goes in broken, comes out fixed.  I love the challenge of seeing a stain and getting it out.  I think on some level it makes me feel success in a housekeeping task where usually I feel a bit of a failure.  I love the smell of fresh laundry, the warmth of it when it comes out of the dryer, and the fluffiness.  Nothing makes me happier than sliding into bed when freshly laundered sheets are on.  Pure bliss.  I swear I sleep better on those days!

While I love the challenge, the softness, smells and all those goodies, doing laundry is like a drug for me.  The initial doing is the high, the folding and putting away part is my come down and low.  Socks are the bane of my existence. Hundreds off them in various sizes, colors, and styles, always mismatched and floating around.  Do you have any idea how far one sock belonging to a 2 year old can travel?  it’s like they walk off on their own.  Another question? how do kids socks gets so darned dirty when they are in shoes all day?  I washed the shoes…socks still dingy! Have I bred children who sweat dirt from their feet??  And just when I think I’ve got a handle on it….they outgrow those socks, so I have to buy a different style until I can weed out all the old socks to replace with the new.  All this focus on socks, and I realize while I am domestically lacking in other areas.

Then there is the putting away of the laundry.  Dear Loveys, I admit it with shame….anything clean and folded goes on the dryer….forever.  I am just not good at the whole putting away part.  Sometimes Mr. helps, other times the mount Vesuvius of laundry gets so high that I can’t reach the dials to turn the dryer on. Sometimes, what’s on top, falls down on to the hamper, so clean is mixed with dirty and I am washing the same item over and over! Then I know I have lost the battle.  Even after I put the huge mountain away, I realize the closets or overflowing, there are random other areas where clothes hide, and I wonder…why do we have so many clothes?  It amazes me that i have tons of clothes, yet wear half, and I STILL don’t look fabulous most of the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m presentable, but for all the work this laundry entails, shouldn’t I look unfrigginbelievably amazing?

Deep down, I know the laundry is a metaphor for my life.  I love a challenge, but after the challenge, I lose interest  I’m a procrastinator.  If laundry emulates life, can life emulate laundry?  Dirty, messy, jumbled,  until you work to clean it up and make it bright?  When you think you are most buried, you can shine it up and feel brand new? If I can just get a handle on the laundry, will I hold life by the balls? Beacsue really, what’s a few socks?  Oh, wait…..

Miss Messy xxx

Some quick tips:

Add a cup of vinegar to washes containing new dark clothes or when you get new jeans (wash them inside out).  It helps the color stay darker, longer.

Freshish bloodstains?  I use regular bar soap and cold water.  scrub with the soap and rinse well.  Usually does the trick.

Oxy Clean:  I love it for whites.  Less harsh than bleach (which can cause holes and yellowing) and really removes a good deal of stains.

Club soda: great for removing stains when used right away.

Hairspray is also good for “freezing” spills  until you can wash the item.  Spray on right when fresh.  It sticks to the stain, and when you wash, can help pull out the stain.

I’m not saying these are foolproof, but they help me on a daily basis!

 

 

 

 

How not getting what I wanted gave me everything I need.

I’m going to step away from the TV chat this morning.  I’m going to also preface this blog post by saying that I’m not a big country music fan, nor do I follow any particular religion (although different strokes for different folks!).  The reason I say that is because all morning I’ve had a very old Garth Brooks song in my head that states “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”,   If you’re not of the religious sort you could exchange God for Life and prayers for wants, and the message still stands true.  Much of what I’ve wanted in life hasn’t always been what I’ve needed. 

When I was younger, I always waffled on what I wanted to “be” when I grew up.  For a while it was a dolphin trainer, then a lawyer, then a psychologist. (None of these came to fruition).  I remember changing my mind along the way to “I want to get married, have kids, pets and be happy.”  That was my goal.  Everything else seemed like the icing on the cake.  Along the way though, there were numerous times that I wanted, no BEGGED life to give me what I thought would make me happy,  The boyfriend who wouldn’t commit that I believed would make me happy, the job that made me go for 5 interviews only to not hire me.  Even though I often say I want my house spotless, upon thinking about it this morning, I’m not sure I do.  Why?

That boyfriend I wanted to commit so bad?  He strung me along for years only to cheat and not be there when I needed him.  I swore to everyone that he was the one for me.  I wanted it to work.  Yet, I didn’t need it to. I learned a lot from that relationship.  My friends call me the runaway bride because I’ve been engaged a few times, but I always broke it off because deep down, I knew they weren’t right.  The best piece of advice my mother ever gave me was that if a man didn’t think I was priceless and “better than sliced bread” then he wasn’t the man for me.  That was the BEST advice I have ever received.  My Mr. is all I could have dreamed for, and all because I listened to my mommy and waited for the right guy rather than settling.

The job I wanted?  The one that made me go on about 5 interviews and take tests and put me through the ringer only to not hire me?  Ugh, the frustration and defeat they made me feel!  You know what happened to the person who did get hired?  Laid off, along with the rest of the office when they just closed it down!  Meanwhile, I got a different job, a few weeks later, that treats me well and I enjoy it. 

The spotless house?  Hmm. YES, the toys and clutter from everyone drives me mad, but with kids comes toys and stuff and thinks not always put away by them.  I’m an only child, so learning to share my space with not one person but 3 people has been a bit of a lesson.  I’d never trade my family for anything, and if a little clutter means I’m surrounded by love, then so be it.  If they would pick up their socks though, well that would be just dandy!

What I’m getting at, is that if I actually got what I wanted at the time, or what I thought I wanted, I wouldn’t have what I really need, or what I have now.  My life isn’t perfect. I don’t have everything I always want.  I do, however, have what I need to keep my base happiness factor solid.  I’ve learned to be happy with what I have, and to know that sometimes, I may not get what I want.  Sure, it sucks in the moment, but often what I get after is MORE than what I could have hoped for. 

Be kind to yourself, Loveys!

MissMessy xx