Thursday, November 29, 2012

Busy, busy

At work this week we moved over the last division (the industrial/labour temp staffing) to our new payroll software, which was 200+ employees at once. And by we I mean me, at least for the processing part so I was at work until 1:30am yesterday and 8:00pm today ensuring everyone got paid.

Needless to say I don't have much to contribute via blogging tonight. Sorry I've been pretty boring lately.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Annual Vacation

I love to travel, and although D is more of a home body when ever I convince him to take a trip with me he has truly enjoyed himself.

In the past few years we have been able to save money on our trips because we accumulate air mile and aeroplan points to pay for our flights. I also research a lot ahead of time for activities, food and accommodations.

Now I've been thinking of investing into a TimeShare property and then subscribe to RCI or something similar which allows you to trade your timeshare week in for points that can be used to stay at other locations. I know of a few people that have timeshare properties, one of them being a coworker. Her and her sister purchased a timeshare five years ago in Florida, close to Disney World, for $13,000 + $350/annually for maintenance fees and than signed up for RCI's point program. They get 37400 points a year and since then select their vacations 'last minute' they are able to get amazing locations for a fraction of the cost/points it would normally cost. (She gave me her log in and she has over 100k points accumulated right now and yet they travel every year).

I like the idea of being able to stay in nice locations when we travel but not having to pay the sticker price but I've also read terrible online reviews of people that weren't happy when they exchanged their weeks for points to redeem at other locations.

Due to the economy a lot of people have been forced to sell their timeshares because they can either not afford the finance charges for the property because they didn't pay for it in full during purchase or the annual maintenance fees are too much for their tight budgets. Because they don't want to keep paying the annual fees they are selling the properties for a fraction of the original cost.

Obviously I would rather pick up a property for below cost but I don't want to get one that I wouldn't want to stay at if I decide not to use RCI.

Long story short I feel like I haven't researched even close to enough right now and wish I could wrap my head around everything.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Adding to my Christmas wishlist

 I was driving back to the office from my lunch break and the CBC radio noon host was interviewing one of the writers from Best of Bridges, as they have just launched their newest cookbook - Best of Bridges Slow Cooker Cookbook.

As I mentioned previously I want to do the weekly meal planning and my Mondays and Tuesdays need to be premade or in a crockpot as I don't get home until after 8pm due to Girl Guides and CMA Group work. I really want some healthy and tasty ideas for crockpot recipes and this cookbook sounds good. If I don't get something like it for Christmas I will definitely be purchasing it by the New Year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wrapping up

Feet are starting to hurt and I getting tired.

Another great day though, breakfast at Norma's, walk through Central Park, more bus tours, Rockefeller Centre and now we are waiting for our pizza delivery.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Just got back

Today include boat & bus tours, a quick stop in SOHO, TimeSquare, a musical on Broadway and dinner.

I'll update with more detail when I'm back.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Hello NYC

We ave made it to New York and are staying in Queens. With the help of Yelp we found a local pizza joint that was approximately 15 blocks away, after an over priced cab ride to get there we decided to walk back...unfortunately it was raining and I forgot my umbrella back in the hotel room. Luckily the weather is pretty mild and the rain not that hard.

All and all a good start so far....

Oops again!

With packing and cleaning last night to get ready for our trip I was too exhausted to write anything.

We are about to board our flight so I won't be writing anything more yet!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One of those days

I apparently have a love hate relationship with technology, specifically my computer at work, and today is one of the days that I want to pick it up and throw it across the room.

Considering the advancements that have been made in the last few years you would think that my system would be capable of running 2-3 database software at once and usually I don't have issues but of course since its payroll today and I didn't want to work late my computer has to insist on freezing constantly.

Needless to say I don't have much more to write today since the sooner I can stop being in front of a computer today the better.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Being pregnant doesn't equal fat

I am currently having the hardest time trying to find a decent winter coat to last me through my pregnancy this year. Unfortunately my oh-so-comfortable NorthFace jacket I bought last year will probably only last another month, and being due in March I will be at my largest during the coldest part of the year.

I have been looking for a jacket but have found that if I want to fit it around my stomach it is huge in my arms and chest or I looking like I'm wearing a potato sack. Apparently finding a maternity flattering winter jacket in Winnipeg is asking a lot.

Here's hoping I miraculously find something in NYC because otherwise I will be wearing layers this year to keep warm.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Making our itinerary

Friday we fly to NYC for the weekend and so far the reports are positive for accessing the different areas of Manhattan.

Saturday, if things aren't closed off we are going to explore lower Manhattan including shopping in SOHO, possibly take a boat tour around the island and stop to see the statue of liberty, then make our way up to the theater district (time square area) for dinner and a musical (we decided on Scandalous).

Sunday we are going to explore upper Manhattan or at least as north as Central Park, for the morning, then make our way to Time Square and Macy's (I'm look forward to the window displays). If we are feeling up to it we also plan to taking Radio City's Christmas Spectacular.

One thing left is to do is figure out where we should eat. Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gifts and time

One gift that I still need to get, as I forgot about it while I was out yesterday at the mall, is for D's Nan. Last year, since we had gotten married in June I had taken large 8x10 photos and mod podged them on to canvases as gifts for all three of our grandmothers and both of our parents. Next year I will be able to start giving photo memories, either framed pictures or photo albums, of our daughter to our grandmothers but this year I feel stuck in limbo.

One of the biggest issues when deciding on what to get for D's Nan is that she has Alzheimer's, and is in the middle stage so can't do a lot of things as they are too challenging for her. I hate the idea of her just sitting around doing very little as my in-laws can't seem to find things to engage her. She will wrap wreaths for my mother-in-law, who takes them home unwraps them and brings them back for her to do again; watches her game shows and well I don't know what else.

So I started googling gifts for people with Alzheimer's and have found adult puzzles that are only 36 pieces, which are easier to see and less frustrating, as well as suggestions to purchase things that trigger memories like music. I am going to see if I can find somewhere local to purchase these puzzles as I don't feel like paying $15 in shipping for two $15 puzzles.

While trying to think of what to get her I am yet again reminded of how little time D and I spend with our three grandmothers that are still with us. Especially D's Nan who lives in the same city as us. I tell myself that once I'm on Mat leave I'll have more time to schedule a visit with them, as currently I never can find time for things like this, but really its a matter of priorities and if we put them above other things we would be able to visit more often. I suppose I feel awkward as I didn't spend a lot of time with them before and now that D's nan has Alzheimer's and one of my grandmothers has dementia I don't know what to talk to them about. I think I need to get over myself and know that that isn't whats important. That conversation will develop naturally and I need to start making them a priority. None of us are getting younger.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

I decided to get a head of the game this year. With the exceptions of some stocking stuffers, D's Nan and aunt's gifts, and secret Santa gifts I'm done my Christmas shopping. Just have to wait for my order from chapters online to come in to finish my wrapping. I also put up our tree and wrapped the presents I have so far.

Still on the to do list is to get our pictures done (appointment for this Thursday), write and mail Christmas cards, and figure out what I'm going to do for Christmas baking and craft(s) as gifts.

We have a lot of commitments on the weekends left before Christmas so I figured I should get as much done now as possible. Have you started Christmas 2012 yet?

Friday, November 16, 2012

A new option

When I was at the spa yesterday my massage therapist turned out to be pregnant as well so rather then falling asleep during massage, which is my usual MO, I ended up talking about pregnancy, nurseries and baby names the entire time.

She decided to go with a midwife after meeting her OB GYN and not connecting at all, the unfortunately thing on hearing this is that it her doctor work at the same practice as mine and I might end up with her as my delivering doctor depending on who is on call that day, although I've decided to stop worrying about other people's opinions of my doctors practice and just enjoy the relationship I have with my doctor.

As well as using a midwife she wants to do a natural birth. While I completely support woman that want to go the natural route I have long given up my romanticized idea of being able to it myself with out drugs. That being said when she mentioned that she is taking a HypnoBirthinig prenatal course through Birth Roots which focuses on techniques of deep relaxation and how to manage the pain during labour, I was intrigued. Even if I do end up taking the drugs, being able to manage the pain naturally leading up to it is definitely a selling point.

The biggest challenge is going to be convincing D that we should take this course as he tends to stay away from anything that seems "hippie" or "new age".

Anyone hear of HypnoBirthing before? Thoughts?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

De-stressing

Today I had my monthly "Pinnacle" day, which is a personal day on top of vacation and sick days that my employers give us with the idea that we take a day for 'ourselves' to catch up on personal stuff or just relax. Since I have been in the middle of launching a huge project in the last few months that involves moving our external employees over to a new time sheet system and integrating with a new accounting software, I have been pretty tightly wound. The new system be came active last week and so far so go, so I decided that this month I would treat myself to a day at the spa.

I opted for the Ten Spa which is a high end spa at the Hotel Fort Garry in Winnipeg. I've been before (that's where we celebrated Melissa and my 30th birthdays this year) and love it. Since I was going there to relax and de-stress I decided to go all out and spend the entire day. Being pregnant I couldn't do any treatments involving heat but I was still able to book a body scrub, full body massage, facial, pedicure & leg treatment, and a manicure. It was wonderful, if not a little pricey. Something I can't do every week or even every month but definitely worth the investment once or twice a year.

My dream is to one day go to a luxury spa resort for a week in the States like the Mii Amo resort in Arizona that one of my friends went to and said was amazing. Perhaps I should start saving now because it is definitely not cheap!

Do you love the spa as much as me or are you one of those people that finds others touching them completely uncomfortable?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Prenatal activities

I am now at 23 weeks (5 months) and figuring I really need to start getting active now that my energy level has been back for the last month and I don't feel nauseous 24/7 but with my busy schedule at work, school & volunteering I keep putting it off.

I don't want to put it off much longer as I ONLY have 4 months left and I'm sure once the new year hits it will fly by, so I looked into different places that offered prenatal yoga online today, two places that I've heard good things about which also offer prenatal courses (Blue Moon & Birth Roots) and the third was a yoga studio I've gone to for hot yoga (Moksha Yoga). For some reason they love Mondays and Wednesdays for scheduling, although Birth Roots is offering a Sunday course but the session started at the beginning of November and is 6-8 weeks. One of my coworkers is due a few weeks after me and is also interested in doing it so I plan to call Blue Moon tomorrow and see if we can get into the Wednesday night sessions even though the first class was tonight, as well as see when their next prenatal course is after November as they have only posted that one. Although Wednesdays are pretty risky for me...maybe I need to do more research for other studios. Anyone have one to recommend?

I'm also wanting to start attending Aquafit at the YMCA again but their schedule doesn't seem to want to mesh with my availability! Basically Monday and Tuesday nights are out for me as I have Girl Guides on Mondays & my CMA group does case work on Tuesday nights. Wednesdays are always up in the air for me, once a month I have a district Girl Guide meeting and as commissioner I can't miss it, plus I'm currently back in charge of payroll (which we run weekly since we are a staffing company) and that runs Wednesdays so I tend to work late. Thursdays to Sundays are my ideal days but with the holiday season ramping up I'm losing my weekends as well.

Too many things!! Can you see why I'm always able to find a great excuse not to exercise? But excuses are all they are and I need to start committing, even if it means going during lunch.

Any other thoughts of activities I can take part in to get me back in 'shape' and not out of breath as I walk up the stairs to work every day? Not to mention help me not put on to much extra weight during my pregnancy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Revisiting favorite characters

 For those that know me, know that I am an avid reader of romance and urban fantasy novels....seriously avid. In high school I was never with out a book, in university I would miss classes if my novel had sucked me and now that adulthood and responsibilities continue to get in the way I don't read as much BUT when I decide to read one of my all time favorite series or get sucked into a new amazing story line I don't put the book down until I'm done.

This week I decided to reread the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning to prep for her newest release ICED, which is the first in a trilogy that takes place in the same 'fever' world (a side character from the Fever series is the main character in this trilogy). I stayed up until 2:00am last night to finish the fifth book (that's right I read 5 books in 3 days), Shadowfever. I already knew the ending but that didn't stop the need to not put it down. I can't begin to explain how much I'm addicted to male protagonist (Barrons) in this series, it also helps that the female protagonist (Mac) is great too. This series is more of the urban fantasy genre then romance but there is something to be said about the chemistry between these characters. Not to mention I would seriously consider running off with Barrons if he existed, or at the very least convincing D that we should adopt polygamy.

If you enjoy UF or are willing to give it a try I strongly suggest the Fever series. KMM also rights a romance series based on travel and the fae called the Highlander series which crosses over into the fever world. I read them before Fever. They are good too but this series is in my top ten, heck at the moment I can't even think of what other 9 come close to it as all I can think about it is I have to wait another 2-3 years before she finishes the ICED trilogy so that she can write more Fever novels.

Do you have any favorite characters that you could read their stories over and over again? A few of Sherrilyn Kenyon's protagonists (Zarek, Ash, etc) are also on my reread forever and ever list.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Letting someone go

So one of the NOT so pleasant aspects of being in a managerial role is having the joy of telling someone they will no longer be employed with your company. On Friday I had one such joy. It went a lot better then I had anticipated but as usual, not a happy experience. The employee has been with the company for more then 7 years and was very loyal, unfortunately the position they were in needed to change and take on new responsibilities which were outside of their skill set. We had offered to move them to another position, the ONLY other position available in the company, a week or so ago and they would retain their same rate of pay, regardless of the fact that the other position was almost $10,000 annually less in salary. They had come back a few days later and said that they would enjoy that job.

I'm still not 100% sure they realized that they basically were giving us no choice but to let them go. In the end we didn't feel we had another option so the option of working notice or a severance pay were given. They notified us this weekend that they would take the pay so we are currently short a person in the accounting division for a few weeks until the new person with the above mentioned skills, can start. And during year end no less! But at least we are moving forward to a more efficient department, especially considering I will be gone for a year in March, I like to know things will run smooth through that period.

But with that all said and done, here's a tip if you ever have to let someone go....check their personnel file and confirm it isn't their birthday! We found out today that the employee we gave notice to on Friday was actually turning 40 that day! 365 days in a year and we pick THAT day? Who would have thought that would happen. Needless to say we feel like jerks but its not like we can say sorry we take it back!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance

 {Source}

Today was Remembrance Day and for the first time in 13 years I went to a Remembrance Day service. Apparently D and his brother have NEVER been before. I use to go every year because I was part of the Girl Guides organization from grade one to twelve which took part in the local parade and service every Remembrance Day.

Moving to Winnipeg I seemed to have losted the drive to attend, and when I joined back up with Girl Guides as a leader 2 years ago I figured I would take part again every year but for some reason our district doesn't make a huge deal out of it and only a few units go to local legions to take part in services. I have yet to take my Sparks unit as I wasn't really sure what to do. I wanted to this year but I put the planning off to long and didn't think I had enough time to get anyone to show up but I decided enough was enough and I would go myself (with D and his brother) to check out a service and figure out what I would do with my unit next year.

The service was nice but I wish they could be a little more engaging. I realize its not suppose to be about entertainment. The purpose is to remember and recongnize what other have and are giving up for us as a nation to continue to enjoy the freedoms we do. I just feel that if the timing of different readings, marchs and laying of wreaths were smoother and at least ONE of the speechs wasn't monotone people would be more drawn into. I hate to think of people saying 'well that was boring' or 'why do we go to this again'. You want to know that they are walking away going 'wow, I can't believe the sacrifices some have given over the years'.

I was also disappointed in the appearances of the Girl Guides and Scouts. I remember when I was younger having our uniforms be a specific way, clean and sharply presented and wearing apropriate footwear. Now the uniforms are t-shirts which isn't bad on its own but there is not structure inforced for the rest of the girls and boys (and some adult leaders) apperances. Girls wearing Uggs and boys wearing huge winter boots indoors (we can't bring a change of footwear?!), clothing and hair sloppy. It looks worse when the are marching behind the military branchs and cadets that are dressed in full uniform. I just don't understand what has happened to our organization. Its not just now that I've noticed either. Last year during our advancement ceremony the Pathfinders in attendance took multiple tries to complete their opening ceremony (and this is at the end of the year after many meetings of practice) and they thought it was funny!

I understand that we don't want to be so strict that we push members away from the organization but why have we lost the importance of ceremony and structure. Do kids today no longer understand when to be serious or are the adults to affaird to teach them in fear of being labeled too strict?

Oops...

I can not believe that I missed posting yesterday. It was completely unintentional so I'm cramming two posts in today. I woke up this morning really confused because I swore I had written something yesterday but for the life of me couldn't remember. So if I had written something this would have been it...

Friday morning D must have heard something on the radio before I was fully awake (he gets up at 5:30 and I try not to be fully conscious until 7:30) because before he left work he was asking me if I had checked the bed bug registry before booking our hotel in Queens two weeks prior. I told him no, I had read all the reviews on expedia though and felt that it was a decent place fore the price. I also send we should be more concerned about whether the hurricane's effects had damaged the hotel or if our booking would get bumped if they had people staying there as a shelter of sorts.


Apparently my attempts to convince him that it wasn't worth worrying about failed because he pestered me during work to email him the hotel information. At which point he did a search and found out that, low and behold, someone had posted a 'sighting' in August 2011 at this hotel. Personally over a year ago does not mean there are STILL bugs. You think if it was an issue you would see more current reportings and negative reviews but one is enough for him to think the sky is falling (granted I think bed bugs are as gross as the next person, I guess I just don't freak out like some people).

So he researched hotels until he found one with no reports in the area and that was a good price, cancelled our current reservation and made the new booking.

Technically we still have no idea if this trip will get cancelled in two weeks because of the weather and the current situation (no electricity in parts of NYC still) but at least we can sleep better knowing that little bugs won't be crawling all over us while we sleep or hopping a ride back in our luggage.

What about you? Do you check the bed bus registry and/or online reviews of hotels before booking at a new place now? Do you do the bed bug sweep when you check in before you even unpack?

Friday, November 9, 2012

A short one

Normally a day like this would result in me NOT blogging but I don't want to fail this soon in the month.

I'm currently trying to finish (start!) a 1000 word report on applying the theory of Beyond Budgeting to my organization and how its working in another organization right now....yup, my CMA SLP assignments are riveting. To be fair this would actually be an extremely interesting discussion to have at my next interactive session and even making the attempts to apply to my organization in reality, but writing about it in a third party formal style results in yawns from me. I truly don't understand why we are mandated to complete these assignments even though we pass on our final alone.

Our whole program is based on finding the best performance measurements to drive the best results, and yet the assignments rubrics seem to be hypocritical to this. If we are not rewarded for these assignments why are they mandatory? Could we not find a different way to measure whether we understanding the necessary concepts?

Well this assignment is due by midnight so I'll cut my rant short and check back in tomorrow.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Christmas Traditions - New & Old

I know there are a lot of people out there that love Halloween and go all out with their decorations but I'm not one of them. Halloween is okay and when my future children are old enough to enjoy the holiday I will probably put a little more effort into it.

Now Christmas is a completely different story. I LOVE this holiday and I start my 'season' as soon as I can which means Christmas planning is already on the top of my mind. One of the things my sister and I have been discussing recently is what we want to do now that children are back in our Christmas plans for traditions.

To begin with my family has always spent Christmas together. When my siblings and I moved to Winnipeg to go to university, we either travelled home or our parents came to us, depending on our work schedules. In 2008 when my sister and her husband moved back to our hometown, we decided to do Christmas in Winnipeg (where D & I live, as well as my brother-in-law's family) one year and The Pas (where my sister, brother-in-law, and parents live) the other year, and we have flipped back and forth every year since.

Technically my brother moved to a third city and recently having his Christmas schedule mesh with ours hasn't been as easy, this year may be the first year that we don't see him until after the holiday due to schedule conflicts but hopefully this works itself out in the future.

Since we are together every Christmas, agreeing on what traditions we want to keep from our childhood and what we want to add is important. Having cousins get completely different experiences wouldn't be fun for them, when both of our children are old enough to understand whats going on.

Also I'll be honest...a lot of these traditions are for our benefit. I love doing the things that we do and have put up fights when its discussed that we might stop any of them.

Currently our Christmas Traditions include:
  1. Opening one gift on Christmas Eve which is always a new pair of pajamas (this way we look 'nice' for Christmas morning photos...not that this does anything for my messy hair and lack of makeup in the morning)
  2. Stockings - now that we are all adults we decided that it wasn't fair that our parents front the cost of this alone, especially since we are the ones that didn't want to stop, so we all are responsible for getting stocking stuffers at $10/person. We each pick a theme to purchase so we have some variation in our stockings (kitchen gadgets, bathroom toiletry, books, games, candy, etc)
  3. Reading a Christmas story on Christmas Eve - our father usually does this.
  4. Christmas Eve dinner includes traditional Norwegian dishes. (Lutefisk & Lefse - one is delicious and one not so much...can you guess which is which? My grandma reminded us once that at least we don't still prepare blood pudding which was another dish her parents always prepared - good point! the idea of eating thick, congealed blood stuffed into a sausage liner sounds less then appetizing)
My sister and I have been thinking of new traditions we want to introduce at Christmas, including:
  • Elf on the Shelf - I picked up a boy elf & book this year for my nephew (it doesn't look like the Elf on the Shelf website ships to Canada but luckily Chapters bookstores stock them). Pinterest as great ideas of ways to stage your Elf on the Shelf each day.
What type of Christmas traditions do you continue to participate? Favorites?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Planning the nursesry

Knowing that we will be having a girl allows me to start planning the design of the nursery. I'm leaning towards a vintage decor in neutral colors, which I'll keep you update on as I find details but two item that I am leaning towards are from Ikea.

Luckily November means that our local Ikea will be opening, I'm not sure I'm prepared to enter it until at least January due to the craziness that will probably surround the place but when I do, I want to buy the Hemnes Daybed and Sundivk Crib. They are ridiculously inexpensive together compared to the cribs, alone, I would purchase at Babies 'R Us or eChildren (a local high end baby store). I like the idea of have a daybed that has a trundle bed in it so it can convert into a back up spare bed for company and be moved into my office once our daughter grows out of her nursery and needs her own twin bed.

My only issue right now with them is that there isn't a lot of color options for them. I'll either go white for the daybed and white or the grey-brown for the crib but I was considering painting them as an option, just not sure if there is a baby friendly way to do that. Maybe if I paint I'd only do it to the daybed?

Thoughts?



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The jury is in...

Two weeks ago today I went for my first ultra sound and we asked to know the gender but I didn't want to announce it until I had my doctor confirm that she agreed with the ultra sound technician, which happened this afternoon.

Its official....we are having a GIRL!


Conveniently for this post our ultra sound pictures were also ready for pick up at the hospital (we opted not to go to a private clinic as our hospital and doctor would confirm gender but it meant we had to wait for the pictures for a few weeks).

Above is a profile of our girl, its pretty much the only picture that doesn't look like a blob to me hence why its the one you get to see. Didn't think you needed to see the picture determining gender...you can take my word for it. ;)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Preparing my 1st Weekly Meal Plan

One of the biggest 'unexpected' I want to avoid is living on a reduced household salary during Mat Leave and going into debt because I'm not managing my food budget, as I talked about previously. So I've decided that with 4 1/2 months left before I'm slicing my wage in less then half, I'm going to start living like I have less to spend on food already.

Currently I have our food budget set at $550/month (this includes restaurants, take out, coffees from Starbucks & Tims, as well as our groceries). I went over this 'budget' by $200 last month but I want to cut it down to $350/month in April, for a year. Obviously I'm doing something wrong right now and this future budget is unrealistic based on our current purchasing habits.

The biggest problem is I don't plan and prepare grocery lists and meals a head of time. I'm constantly reacting to my stomach's cries for food at the last minute and never feel 'in the mood' to make dinner for D, so I'm resorting to takeout, restaurants and packaged frozen dinners (pizzas) from the grocery store.

Yesterday I decided to take charge and break this habit. D was going to the grocery story anyways so I had him pick up a few items I needed to make dinners for the week from stuff I have on hand in my pantry and freezer.

This week's meal plan (Monday to Sunday) looks like this:
  • Monday (I'm home late because I have my Sparks meeting until 8pm)
    • Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Bagels or Oatmeal
    • Lunch: Leftover Chinese Takeout(D packs his own lunch from stuff we have in the house)
    • Dinner: Crockpot Chili (start it before I left this morning)
  • Tuesday (I'm home late because its our first week running payroll with a new software)
    • Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Bagels or Oatmeal
    • Lunch: Chili leftover 
    • Dinner: Lasagna & salad (made Monday night, D can put in oven when he gets home)
  • Wednesday (I'm home late because its our first week running payroll with a new software)
    • Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Bagels or Oatmeal
    • Lunch: Lasagna leftovers
    • Dinner: Bean Enchiladas (made Tuesday night, D can put in oven when he gets home)
  • Thursday
    • Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Bagels or Oatmeal
    • Lunch: Lasagna leftovers
    • Dinner: Garlic Teryaki Stir Fry
  • Friday
    • Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Bagels or Oatmeal
    • Lunch: Provided by employers - every Friday is catered
    • Dinner: Tortellini with Alfredo Sauce
  • Saturday
    • Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Bagels or Oatmeal
    • Lunch: Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (not home until after 1pm though)
    • Dinner: Veggie Breaded 'Chicken breast' with Vegetables & Potatoes
  • Sunday
    • Breakfast: Cereal, Toast, Bagels or Oatmeal
    • Lunch: Chili leftovers
    • Dinner: D's parents
I want to try a weekly budget of $75 max for the two of us, which means I will start relying a lot on the food we already have on hand and reducing spoilage of the perishable items. I don't want to say that this is a 30 day challenge though, as I think the real test will come after the 30 days once I've used up a lot of my stockpile in the freezer. I'm curious to see if I can stay below $75/week ($300/month) and not leave my cupboards bare or start eating unhealthy.

One of my biggest challenges in meal planning is I need to rely on crock pot and prepared casserole dishes every Monday and Tuesday (aside from this week, this is the day I normally meet to do group assignment work for my CMA program) but with D being a vegetarian I find my choices are limited as veggie meats for the most part don't hold up to slow cooking all day (with the exception of ground round) so I'm stuck rotating only a few options. Any one have recipes they want to share that are meatless for my make a head nights?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Homework

Currently I am in my final year of the Strategic Leadership Program which will end in my attaining my accounting designation as a CMA (Certified Management Accountant). I chose CMA over CGA (Certified General Accountant) and CA (Chartered Accountant) as this program focuses heavily on the managerial aspects of accounting, like cost accounting, rather then financial reporting like auditing and tax preparation...personally the latter doesn't interest me at all, although I tend to have to do a lot of it in my position at work as a means to an end.

The SLP consists of 3 interactive weekends (one in October, December and March) as well as independent and group work through out September to March that is submitted online for marking. I just got my feedback and mark back for my interactive weekend in October and received a very positive review. Not surprisingly the main thing that prevented me for receiving an AE (above expectation; A+) was the quality of my written submissions prior to the weekend. Although the ideas were good, I tend not to present a 'polished' end product, mainly because its my LEAST favorite thing to do.

I prefer to talk through my ideas and provide back up verbally, in discussions, and let someone else write it all up. It doesn't help that a lot of my online submissions are done the day they are due which doesn't leave a lot of time for proof reading and editing.

Somehow I need to change this tendency of mine to start things at the 11th hour. I need to prepare better...see how I tied this back to my unofficial theme for the month?!

Considering this is a bad habit I've had my entire life, at 30 it isn't the easiest thing to break. Any suggestions on how to better manage my time?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Planning our trip to NYC

So back in the spring of 2011 I went to NYC with my mother, sister and some girlfriends, I truly enjoyed my first trip there. What I wasn't prepared for though was how much walking we would do, in fact we calculated that the three days that we walked around Manhattan equalled the distance of two and half full marathons.

Because I wasn't prepared, I didn't pack accordingly. Rather I had at least 3 completely inappropriate but stylish shoes to choose from, all of which left my arches screaming in pain and me hobbling around on our last day there, when I finally walked into a Reebok store and purchasing a pair of walking shoes. Too little, too late.

Later this month my husband and I are traveling back to NYC, along with his brother and sister-in-law, and I've learnt from my mistake. This time I'm packing appropriate footwear regardless of how much I want to look fashionable walking around SOHO and Central Park.

So I went shopping at one of the larger malls in the city today and started browsing for 'comfortable walking shoes', hoping that I didn't have to resort to bulky running shoes. I can't believe how hard it is to find something that is stylish but practical.

I have been searching online tonight and still coming up with little.

One shoe that I found that might work from this article, although not 'fashionable' but maybe I'll have to give up on that idea, is the Reebok DMX Max Reedirect which is recommended for 'Overweight' walkers as the air pockets in the rubber bottom of the shoe reduce impact for more comfort and less chance of injury.

I figure being 24 weeks pregnant while we are there, I should have as much support for my feet as possible.

I think my next step will be to go to a specialty shoe store, Canadian Footwear, where my husband went to get his shoes when he was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. Although I think I'll avoid the bulky New Balance runners that he opted for!

Any other suggestions?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Preparing to Prepare

Now that I've decided to actually do all the things I've been saying I should do, so that I'm prepared for the unexpected, I am feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the aspects of my life that need to have things 'prepared' for and all the different things that can classify as 'unexpected'.

So today I'm going to just write down the areas in which I need to do something and will write about this month, here they are:
  1. Home
    • Emergency Stockpile for natural disaster (or zombie apocalypse...)
    • Fireproof Safe with important documents stored in it
    • Emergency Kit for vehicles (we have one in mine but not my husband's! probably should fix that and I'm sure we can upgrade them)
  2. Work
    • Exit plan/training process for when I take mat leave (or if I was ever hit by a bus)
    • Handling the 'what if' of job lose
  3. Financial
    • Insurance
      • Life
      • Disability
      • Critical Illness
      • Health & Dental
      • House & Property
      • Vehicle
    • Budget
      • Normal
      • Worse Case
      • Emergency Fund
      • Rainy Day Fund
      • Children's education Fund
    • Retirement
      • Investments
  4. Life
    • Will
    • Appointing a Power of Attorney
    • a binder containing all of the important documents (the will, insurance, warranties, listing of assets, etc) stored in the fireproof safe
  5. Travel
    • Insurance
    • Emergency Contact
    • What to pack
    • Important documents
I feel like I'm missing a ton of areas and I'll probably add to this as I go. Is there anything you see that I'm missing right now??

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Its November

So another November has arrived and I told myself last year that I would participate in NaBloPoMo when it came around again, completely ignoring the fact that my life is rarely relaxed enough to commit to an entire month of blogging everyday but regardless of this fact I still want to give this a shot.

I understand that by registering with NaBloPoMo I can receive daily prompts to give me inspiration for things to write but I have also been meaning to document how I'm trying to organize our home and lives for the unexpected, so what better month to start.

Tomorrows always seem to be in surplus when I tell myself that I really need to finalize our wills (they are in the draft stage with the lawyer...since June!!), get a fire proof safe for all of our important documents or stockpile a home emergency cupboard of none perishable foods, water, first aid kit, etc, especially since I live in central Canada with a major power outage or snowstorm being my biggest nature disasters to worry about (technically our city has suffered major floods in the past but we live far enough away from the water that we would be more affected from power going out or water backing up from the sewers then the actually flood its self) but then you listen to the news this week about the devastating effects that Hurricane Sandy has left in New York and Jersey and remember that you can't predict when a disaster may hit.

Especially now that I've past my 20 week mark in my pregnancy and life with a child is approaching closer and closer, I want to know that I've made efforts to be prepared for what life will throw our way.

So here's to a busy month in which I will make an effort to set aside time daily to blog, for the sake of blogging. and perhaps motivate myself to get other things done that I've been putting off for to long.

....and who knows when the zombie apocalypse will show up...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reducing the grocery bill

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been thinking of ways we will save money when I go on mat leave as I will be making 60% less a month. One of the largest variable expenses that I think will be affected will be our food budget. Currently I allow for $550 in our budget for groceries and restaurants, although I just added up what we spent last month and it came to $760 so apparently I've been a little to flexible in following my budget.

Also the majority of that is because we've been eating out too much. One of the main reasons has been my husband does not cook (he'll vacuum, clean toilets, litter boxes, laundry, etc but the kitchen duties scare him) and during my first trimester the idea of preparing food was enough to make me nauseous. I only just started cooking again last week.

I want to reduce our budget to $350/month while on mat leave. Do you think this is realistic for 2 adults? I'm also basing the budget on the assumption that I'll be breastfeeding for the first year, obviously if I have to supplement with formula this amount will have to increase or I will have to starve!

My steps to reducing our food budget are:
  1. Reducing 'eating out' to once a month if we have a social event to attend, otherwise $0
  2. Meal Planning and bulk cooking/freezer cooking
    1. Many of my grocery trips are last minute grabs because I could decide what to eat and then I purchasing things based on convenience, regards cost
    2. A lot of our groceries spoil and go to waste because I don't get around to making what I thought I would that week.
    3. Cooking in bulk and freezing the extras help with the nights that I don't want to cook and allows me to take advantage of the bulk savings.
  3. Grocery Shopping with a list and cross referencing sales flyers before going so that I don't subcome to impulse buys and take advantage of the best prices
  4. Actively using couponing and point collection programs. I don't think I'll every be an 'extreme' couponer with a stock pile in my basement but using coupons on my regular purchases only make sense
    1. We have a PC Mastercard that we collect points that can be redeemed at Superstore for cash to pay for groceries. 20,000 points equals $20 as the minimum redemption and every 10,000 points more that we have at the time relates to $10. PC points don't offer 'better deals' as your points balance increase so it doesn't really matter when we redeem although Superstore isn't our primary grocery store so I would like to plan when we shop, like once a month when the points are added after a statement is issued.
    2. I finally signed up for a Sobey's club card. There are rumors that the construction site a block from our house will be a Sobey's which will make it our closest grocery store so I'd be ridiculous not to have a card. Sobey's club points DO offer 'better deals' as yours points balance increases so when the teller tells you, "you have $5 would you like to redeem?" say No Thank You!
      • Basically 725 points will get you $5.00 BUT 12,500 points will get you $100. If you were to redeem at $5.00 every time the teller told you that's how much you had, you would have had to have collected 14,500 points to reach the $100 of savings. That's an extra 2,000 points ($15) that you wasted!
      • Sobey's offers Bonus Points coupons which help get to your points goal faster.
    3. We also have a Shopper's Drug Mart Optimum card that I rarely use but their points system is much like Sobeys and their sales flyers tend to have some great sales so I plan to pay more attention there. Shopper's also sells grocery items so I can redeem the points once I hit the max to help reduce my budget line
      • Along with bonus points, Shopper's also has events where point redemption actually are valued higher, watching for these will maximize the grocery budget that month!
Another point that I'm considering is the Making at Home versus the Buying option. I've read articles where making bread is better then buying because bought bread is $4+ a loaf versus the $1 a loaf to make it but I usually get my bread around the $2 range. There are other items that are suggested as being cheaper, not to mention healthier as you know whats going in them, to make at home rather then purchasing premade. Frosting, guacamole, hummus, pasta sauce, etc.

Is there anything you make from scratch because its cheaper?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Planning to live on less

With my approaching mat leave the idea of reducing of my salary to less then 50% of what I'm currently receiving is enough to give anyone pause. In Canada we have the opportunity to draw maternity (15 weeks) and parental (35 weeks) leave from employment insurance, which is wonderful, but the max benefit is 55% of $45,000 annual salary and as the Director of Finance for my company my compensation surpasses that by a good percentage. Working well on mat leave isn't worth it as your benefit is clawed back by the amount you are compensated so you don't come out ahead and you have less time to spend with your baby. There are companies that offer a 'Top Up' to the employment insurance benefits but there are usually strings attached to these benefits. My company hasn't confirmed if they will be providing any form of top up during my leave and currently I'm budgeting with the assumption that I will get nothing, this way if they chose to do anything it will be a bonus.

Luckily, we are in the financial position to live on 'less' for a year and not have to take out loans or feel a huge impact to our daily spending. Mainly my RRSPs are what are going to take a huge hit but with that said I really don't want to dip into my savings to cover my social life so I need to start doing some rethinking to my monthly spending.

Not quite sure how women that make less then the max benefit manage to live on 55% of that for a year! I am definitely happy that I don't have to worry about going back to work before my 50 weeks are up. With that said I don't think I could do this with out a budget because it will definitely be a huge change for us.

Things I will miss....
  1. My morning Starbuck or Tim's 'coffee' run
  2. Lunch at the mall food court or other take out restaurants around my office
  3. My MANY Kobo purchases a month...the library will become my new best friend
  4. Adding seasonally to my wardrobe
  5. Not having to think before I whip out my VISA card
Actually that isn't really a lot and I probably shouldn't be wasting my money right now on these things.

Things I plan to do...
  1. Monthly meal plan - this is necessary if I want us eating on a strict monthly budget - lots of home cooked meals and probably a lot of premade and frozen ones at that to make it more convenient. My husband is a vegetarian which means for convenience sake I don't eat a lot of meat at home either...why prepare two different meals every time?...which also helps cut costs on the grocery budget. Consider going meatless a few times a week to save. (Great blog for family meal planning inspiration is Good Cheap Eats)
  2. Cloth diapers - my sister has already purchased the gDiapers so I don't have too much more to invest in now except adding a few based on wear and tear. Did you know that it takes 30 months on average before your baby is potty trained and during that time you will have approximately 7354 diapers to change? This can cost around $1912.04 ($0.26/diaper) if you are using disposables (not including the cost of garbage removal if your municipality charges for extra bags) where as Cloth diapers will cost you around $774.75 (diapers and laundry...assuming this is the first time you are using cloth and have to purchase them, splitting the cost with a friend or using them for multiple babies with increase savings. Not to mention that you can sell your used cloth diapers on eBay or a local Buy&Sell, which is where my sister picked up the majority of hers, and make almost 50% of your investment back). (To read a great article on the costs of disposables verses cloth diapers, as well as others on building a cloth diaper stash, read SquawkFox)
  3. Breast Feeding - I say this is my 'plan' but having so many friends and family that have recent had babies I am completely aware of all of the issues that can arise to prevent breast feeding from happening. I will make every effort to do this until my baby moves to solids but I realize that it might be out of my control. Apparently formula can cost $100-$150/month depending on the brand, to feed your baby so I will attempt to go as long as possible on the breast.
If I manage to organize my time while I'm on maternity leave, I also hope to finally plant my vegetable garden and use coupons while grocery shopping but those are two things I've been saying I want to do for a few years now so we'll see if I'm adventurous come spring!

Am I forgetting any major cost savings I should take into consideration?

Friday, August 24, 2012

What I didn't expect

Yesterday I went to my doctor appointment and received that go ahead to tell the 'world' that we are expecting again. Even at 11 weeks she was able to find the heart beat which I got to hear and record for D to listen to (thanks to my sister for mentioning she had done that at her appointment 6 months ago...in fact my Dr. was nice enough to do it a second time just so I could record it as I didn't turn my phone on the first time because I wasn't sure if she would find it yet.)

After hearing the heart beat yesterday I definitely was breathing easier as I now know its alive in there and so far so good but I'm still hesitant to tell the 'world'. I've chosen to spread the news to our close friends and family, and now I'm telling you but I think I'll hold off for a few more weeks before I start wearing obvious maternity cloths to work and stick to my camouflaging outfits for now that just make me look like I'm fat.

When I started the process of trying to conceive over a year ago I definitely didn't expect things to be the way they are. For one I look with envy to the women that blissfully go through pregnancy never letting the thought of miscarriage enter their minds as something that will happen to them, where as every cramp or pain I experience is over thought. I continuous am reassuring myself that they are just indigestion or growing pains due to the expanding of the uterus. Nor did I think I would check for spotting/bleeding everytime I went to the bathroom. I started to stress before my appointment that I wouldn't hear a heart beat because nothing was there and refused to go to a private clinic for a 'sneak peek' ultra sound as I didn't want to be shown an empty uterus. Now that I have heard the heart beat you would think that I would stop stressing but knowing the possibilities of things going wrong for women I'm still not able to let go and just enjoy, and I miss not having the innocence.

That being said I'm still very happy that I AM pregnant.

I also was completely unprepared for "morning sickness". Regardless of everything I read I naively assumed that morning sickness meant vomiting. I didn't realize that you could actually be nauseous for 12+ weeks ALL day long and NOT throw up. That's me, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I honestly feel like Elizabeth Banks character in What to Expect When Expecting, she took awhile to conceive, researched everything, was 'prepared' and REALLY wanted a baby but when she finally got pregnant it wasn't the happy glowing experience she had expected and everyone talks about. She was miserable.


I feel guilty that I don't enjoy being pregnant because I so very much want a baby and went threw so much to get here. I feel like I should be walking on clouds and bubbling over with happiness but instead I'm exhausted, my back hurts, I have NO motivation to do anything and I'm constantly battling the urge to vomit. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be finished with this after 16 weeks and can proceed to the happy part but I'm not holding my breath.

Regardless I am still thrilled that I'm having a baby and will love it regardless of how my hormones make me feel at the moment. I just might not rush out to have my second any time soon.

If you've been pregnant was it what you expected?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Homemade Baby Gifts

I think I am very lucky to be surrounded by creative people, one of those people is my mother in law, who is a very talented seamstress. Her specialty is bedding and drapery...specifically nurseries. I take full advantage of this and have had her make me blanket sets for my cousins' and friends' babies.


She will usually make two fitted crib sheets, four blankets and a pillow.

 I'll then wrap it up with a toy or set of onesies in a nice basket/box and we are good to go!

I wanted to do a little more for my sister's nursery so I had her pick out the materials she wanted (we found an amazing fabric store in Minneapolis - Crafty Planet that had gorgeous material to select from) and then my mother in law made the crib skirt, bumper pads, fitted sheets, cover for the change pad, curtains & topper, as well as a quilt, blankets, and pillows. I think they turned out amazing.



But as talented as my mother-in-law is, I also wanted to add something I made as well this time so my friend and I decided to make a felt mobile for my sister's nursery. After some trial and error with creating an appropriate sized pattern that looked the way we wanted, we settled on four owls, in varying blue and grey felts with leaves falling above them. I also wanted to incorporate the birch that was in her nursery so I had my mother send me a white birch branch.

We straight stitched the felt and stuffed the bodies of the owls. I used fishing line to hang the leaves and owls from the birch branch dowels (the fishing line was too difficult to thread through my needle but it was stiff enough to go through the felt with out it). I tied knots under each leaf so that they stayed at the heights I wanted. And to secure the branches in place I first wrapped the cross in floral wiring then covered it in twine for a more natural look.

It was a pretty inexpensive project and probably took me less then 8 hours to make.

Now I'm trying to think of gifts that would be appropriate for a second time mother. I have a bib sewing kit that I purchased from Purl Bee awhile ago that I want to attempt. Anyone have suggestions?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Its not so bad...

So apparently talking about things really does make it better. I'm still not ready to twirl around on a mountain top singing "...the hills are alive with music..." but I don't feel so...stuck.

After writing my previous post I had gotten together with my friend for our Tuesday evening craft session but since we are not a 'handy' household the only saw I could find was one for metal tubing which surprisingly does not hold up when trying to cut wood...go figure...so we were at a stand still in our current project and decided drinking tea and talking was a better use of our time. She jokingly said that it was 'deep thought Tuesday' because she wanted to reflect on some life decisions, not realizing that I actually was completely ready to go deep.

Once I had talked through my situation and how I'm currently torn as to the why, she suggested that I should just take one day at a time and not beat myself up about being in said rut. So that's what I'm doing right now. Rather then be ashamed of my procrastination and getting mad at myself for not accomplishing everything that I want to do, I am making a daily list of tasks that needs to be done and doing things one at a time. Simple I know.

We also discussed good habits and will power, or more so how people like me continuously fall off the wagon. They say it takes 20 days to form a habit but they don't mention how easy it is for some people to 'forget' that habit with only ONE bad day. My husband is the complete opposite of me, when he decides to do something he does it. It becomes part of his routine and he won't waiver...technically I think he's slightly OCD so waivering from said routine would probably cause him to have a stroke, so no one is perfect.

But regardless of the fact that 'good' habits don't come easy to me I still recognize that I should be doing them. One of those is healthy eating. I want to create and follow a weekly meal plan for health, convenience and frugality but currently cooking dinner is a chore for me, mainly because my husband decided that it WAS my household chore where as he looks after the cat litter, vacuuming and bathrooms. He will not step into the kitchen without making a huge fuss regardless of the fact that I have mentioned countless times that I never agreed to this delegation of 'chores' and that although I love cooking and entertaining I would like to do it WITH him to make it fun on a day to day basis. He doesn't get it.

I think if I could have a partner in crime to get together with once a week to plan out a weekly menu, go grocery shopping and prep some of the meals it would motivate me and well...make it fun. Ideally I would want that person to be my spouse and I am trying to pull him in (I've requested that he come up with food that he would like to eat this month) but I don't think I'm going to get the ideal. This is where I miss my best friend who use to do things like this with me but since we are no longer talking I need to step up and be independent.

Any ideas on how to make weekly meal planning fun, to help me stick to it?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Stuck in a rut

Have you ever felt like your life is pretty awesome, everything is lining up the way you want it. In fact you might actually run outside the next time it rains and pull a Gene Kelly...

Nothing can get in your way, life is AWESOME!

Or so it seems on the surface.

In fact you actually feel pretty blah when you start to think about it. You think maybe its depression but then quickly push that aside because what do you have to be upset about? So on top of not feeling productive and motivated you feel guilty that you feel this way. You have wonderful pep talks with yourself where you remind yourself that you are IN CONTROL and if you don't like being the way you are then change. You don't really want to bring it up to anyone because you are ashamed that you can't pull yourself out of it. You think it will sound like you are having a pity party, because that's what it sounds like to yourself. Not to mention you know all of the pep talks already. You KNOW what you SHOULD be doing. Procrastination and complete avoidance become a daily habit and when ever anyone points it out you laugh and make a joke about it but really you hate that you are doing it.

Once in a while you will feel a burst of renewed energy and you think you are finally back to 'normal' but then you get pulled back in. You remember that you DID pull yourself out before but you can't really remember what the trigger was. And you are mad at yourself for forgetting.


That's me right now. Welcome to the inner turmoil of my mind.

I know that I should be able to shake this feeling. Some days I think I have but recently motivation hasn't been able to stick. I have escaped into 40+ novels in the last two months to avoid reality and am quite content to continue on this path. I hate that I am 40 lbs over weight right now, I've always fluctuated 15-20lbs from my ideal weight but never this much, and yet following a (doctor ordered) healthy meal plan has yet to happen. I work out but constantly skip because I'm 'tired' or don't push myself when I'm there. I have countless organizational projects on my to-do list with no really reason for them not to be completed. Not to mention the fact that I'm over a month behind on a major project at work which I have no real excuse for other then my lack of drive. And every time I remind myself of all this I get frustrated.

I feel like I'm missing something. That if I could just find the main problem everything else will fall into place. Previous mood swings like this resulted from problems that no longer exist for me; drowning in debt and being perpetually single and alone.

I am starting to think that perhaps it stems from the fact that I am currently not satisfied with my career choice but I don't know what to do. I love the company I work for and I have invested a lot of energy into completing my accounting designation. If this is the reason I'm not happy I don't know if I am prepared to make a change. I don't want to be the person that moves from job to job every 5 years nor do I want to quit my schooling when the finish line is with in sight but I also don't want to become my father, who thought the grass was always greener on the other side and yet stayed in a career that he was not passionate about for too many years. I also think maybe the dissatisfaction stems from burning out. I was juggling another desk back in February and March, and once that was over I haven't seemed to get back 'in the game'. It was like I had a chance to finally breath and my mind isn't ready to start up again. I've taken a vacation since then but the work load that never seems to end was there waiting for me. If I did change I don't know what would be 'better' and am afraid that it would just be a bandage.

Basically I'm stuck in a rut and I'm not sure how or when I'll be pulling myself out.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Organizing my life on project at a time

For anyone that thinks that I'm a structured and organized person, let me set the record straight right now...I AM NOT....far from it. Clutter seems to follow me and every time I attempt to clean and sort things out another pile of paper appears behind me. But I day dream of being a super organized person. Organization blogs like IHeart Organizing and stores like the Container store are drool worth for me, but in actuality this is what my life normally looks like (my office at work):


So rather then set a goal like "be more organized" I am going to tackle one project at a time.

First up, you guessed it, my office. I need to setup a filing system that is easy, looks clean and works. I also need to manage the clutter that has accumulated on my desk.

Other projects I want to tackle in the next two months are:
  • my vehicle
  • my purse - technically this project involves cleaning out the 5+ purses I currently have stuff in. My usual practice is when I grow tired of carting around a particular purse or it gets to cluttered I grab my wallet and throw it into a new one figuring I'll get around to sorting out the crap that is in the other one(s) later....I'm pretty sure my marriage license is still in one of my discarded purses.
  • my paperwork for Sparks as well as planning and preparing for next year
  • my kitchen pantry (I'm making a trip to Minneaoplis at the end of June, so I'll be stopping at Ikea and the Container Store to pick up some organization solutions for this pantry. Specifically a few can racks  as the cans are taking up way to much room in the pantry right now, not to mention weighing the shelf down.) Something like this transformation.
I'll update you as I go.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I'm the 10%...consistantly...

I haven't written about my trials with trying to conceive recently, mainly because nothing has really changed and also because I have decided not to freak out about all of this anymore...at least for the time being.

Today I had a follow up appointment with my OB-GYN about the provera prescription I took back at the beginning of January. To bring you up to speed I did NOT get my period in February, it showed up mid March and then 45 days later....FORTY-FREAKIN-FIVE days later I got my most recent period.

I haven't really obsessed over this as I am just happy my body is menstruating again and figured I needed to give it time. Today I am told that that I most likely have polycystic ovary syndrome which is apparently common in women...10%....just like miscarriages are 'common', 1 in 10 women....love that I'm so normal.

Its not really the end of the world and doesn't mean that I'm infertile, just that I don't ovulate regularly...it also means that I get fat easily, have acne and hair growth...basically all the beautiful things that have been happening since I went of the pill last year.

Fan-fucking-tastic

So now I have to start eating a diet that is similar to a diabetic diet, read "low on the carbs", and exercise more as obesity makes irregular ovulation worse. I also was given a prescription to help manage my insulin sensitivity (one of the reasons I am gaining the weight).

She also is putting in a request for me to have a fertility consult as it is apparently a six month wait, in case I'm still not pregnant by then, that way I don't have to wait another 6 months once I actually WANT to see a specialist.

So here's hoping I maintain my relaxed opinion and don't turn crazy 'trying-to-conceive' woman again!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Isn't it interesting...

I find it interesting that when you put something 'out there', an idea of sort, it starts popping up all around you.

When I first started looking for articles on friendship and 'breaking up' last summer I really didn't find that much in my google searches. I thought that it was annoying that you could read at great lengths articles on dealing with grief and stress of loosing a 'loved one' but that it ultimately referred to your significant other or close family member. Looking for stuff on friendship was either directed at teenage girls or obsolete. I started thinking that I must be the ONLY one that cared about loosing a best friend or perhaps the only one that actually LOST her bff.

I realize I am not unique, that this happens all the time, but when you don't hear anyone else talking about these issues its easy to start thinking you are alone.

But then I stumbled on to the book MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche, and subsequently her blog. She doesn't so much as talk about a breakup that she's experienced but about the trouble with finding a NEW best friend while in her late twenties. Very interesting to me, so I bought the ebook and am slowly reading it.

Today my sister-in-law sent me a link to a Winnipeg Free Press article, "It's over - It can be as tough to break up with a friend as breaking up with a lover" by Joanne Laucius which references Rachel Bertsche as well as others' opinions on friendships and why they end.

I think one of the most telling points made in this article, which sums up what I've come to realize about friendship is this:

"Breaking up with a friend, either as the breaker or the breakee, can be just as painful as a romantic split, says Irene Levine, a psychologist, friendship blogger at Psychology Today and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend.

We asked Levine about the nature of friendship and breaking up with friends.

Q: We have this idealistic idea that "good" friendships last a lifetime. Is that true?
A: People read novels, watch TV sitcoms, and see movies like Sex and The City that provide a mythical picture of friendships. The large majority of friendships, even very good ones, don't last forever."

As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided that I have a warped sense of what a great friendship should be like based on the fictional characters I follow. I need to work on being more grounded and having realistic expectations.

I am fully aware that I have amazing women in my life that I can confide in and it is not necessary for me to depend on one women to fulfill all of my friendship requirements. My new goal is to maintain diversification in my friendships. I think I'm doing quite well.

That being said... I'm still looking for my Sunday Brunch bestie...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why I'm a terrible friend...


Fictional characters in my favorite television shows, movies and novels always seem to have that iconic BFF, the one that is with them through thick and thin. I assume I am not the only one out there that wants this for their selves and I have had some very close girl friends for long periods of time...I suppose that isn't a fair statement...I HAVE some very close girl friends.

But with the exception on my sister, who, at the sake of sounding sappy, has been my BFF since I was two, I can't seem to maintain that FOREVER part. I honestly thought I had it twice before but when things got tough we feel apart. For a long time I assumed I just had terrible taste in friends, that I chose 'takers' that only wanted to be my friend when I was doing what they wanted, that it wasn't me that ended the relationships but them...I was the GOOD person in the relationship. I was quite defensive.

Recently I have been giving this more thought and think I may have been a little naive. If I go with this theory then I devalue the relationship from the beginning and I honestly think when they were good they were as great as the best ones portrayed in the fictional world where things are always tied up in nice little bows at the end of an episode. I don't think its realistic that I merely had blinders on for 10 years and fooled myself that they cared about me. I believe that we were close.

I no longer believe that I was the 'GOOD' person in the relationship though....or at least that there was no 'good' person and 'bad' person.

I LET my relationships fall apart because I am too afraid that if I speak up and say that I don't like something they won't like me and will stop being my friend. Well jokes on me because by continuing to sit on the sidelines I allow my relationships to dissolve.

It isn't enough to write a passive aggressive text message or email when we have a disagreement. If I want to have a BFF, who tells me everything, then I need to do the same back. I SHOULD have overcome my uncomfort and picked up the phone or went over to see them in person, and while there I should have told them why I was upset and why they were important to me. And when it was all said and done I may still have been left with the remains of a friendship but at least I would have known that I actively tried to maintain it, instead having unresolved feelings hanging over me.

I feel like I let them down by not showing them that I cared enough to show up. I'm tired of playing the blame game in my head where my defenses are thrown up as soon as a thought like this enters my head and I yell back at it that my 'so called BFF' didn't 'show up' either and I shouldn't have to do all the work! Regardless of what the other person coulda/shoulda/woulda done, I know now what I need to do and I hope I don't forget this.

I feel like my 'breakups' have gone on too long now for me to decide to call them up. A little too late. They have moved on in their lives and probably have other close friends to confide in. Only time will tell if things will ever smooth out between us but I will strive to be better next time, regardless of who my BFF will be...

For right now I have joined the MWF seeking BFF (and yes I actually bought this book recently, but that is another story).

Friday, March 2, 2012

Working Late

It is 10pm on a Friday night and I am just leaving the office right now. I stayed to clean up my desk for Monday so that I wouldn't be behind and the sad thing? I still haven't gotten it all done.

I want to apologize for my lack of interesting posts during this challenge...perhaps not the BEST month to decide to do it. Perhaps I will try again soon with better luck but with only a few more days left I didn't want to drop the ball so this is it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Our first book club meeting

Today was our first book club meeting, which was suppose happen this evening but because of busy schedules we opted to take a long lunch together rather then reschedule.

None of us have finished The Happiness Project but that worked out fine as we ended up focusing primarily on the first chapter, January, during our hour away from the office. Mainly because it is about the idea of de-cluttering and organization your life to aid in making your life less stressful and more happy...something all three of us would love to do.

I think one of the nicest thing about having something like this is that we can get together to talk about something POSITIVE and PROACTIVE, rather then getting caught up in conversations that deal mainly in the past of What Ifs and/or negativity. We are going to continue with this book for the foreseeable future until all three of us have completed it as I think there is quite a bit of conversation topics in it. Technically we could probably make our monthly meetings about one chapter (month) at a time as she takes on new challenges/themes each month. We'll see how it goes.

We've decided to meet the first Thursday of each month and hold each other accountable for the little challenges we give our selves. I now feel re motivated to finish organizing my house, office and even my Sparks supplies at the church. I'm going to attempt a few projects for the month of March. Because of my busy work schedule lately I'm not sure it would be realistic to turn it into a 30 day challenge were a do a project a day (it's hard enough blogging everyday!) but I'm going to set a deadline of 30 days for some specific projects, and who knows maybe I'll actually blog about my progress.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Making Up

I suppose I should put equal effort into a post about how D is NOT a huge ass. While I was angrily writing yesterdays post I think it was finally dawning on him that this wasn't just a 'disagreement' and that I was actually upset as he made a few attempts to engage in a more casual conversation, but I refused.

I then went upstairs to bed where I read a book. He followed shortly after and silently came up to me and gave me a hug. Of course I had decided to still be 'mad' at him and didn't say anything.

D is not a fighter, he avoids arguments...and by avoid I mean PHYSICALLY avoids, he will leave a room if it looks like I'm going to argue with him. (Which is interesting since he seems to enjoy pushing my buttons all the time and listen to me 'lecture him' but once it gets serious he gets the hell out of there). So when I didn't make any comments after the hug he went back downstairs to play video games.

Of course I seem to be completely incapable of ever holding a grudge when it comes to him so when we woke up this morning and he asked if I was still mad at him I said no.

Men might not be completely stupid....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Disagreeing

Tonight I asked D what he thought of putting our future children in private school verses public. Of course when he found out it cost $10,000/year or more he was completely against it, stating that it was a waste of money. I, of course, disagree but don't really feel that its a decision that needs to be done anytime soon.

Some how the conversation turned to adoption, and how if I couldn't have children (my OB-GYN says she expects me to get pregnant easily in the next few months so this isn't an issue yet...) we would adopt. Apparently D extremely disagrees with this idea. He says that if I can't have children we would adjust and live our lives without kids. To me this is the worst idea I've ever heard him have.

In fact I told him that if that day ever came and he refused I would leave and adopt on my own. You would think at this point that he would realize that maybe this is extremely important to me and that he would at least meet my half way by saying that we could discuss this if it ever became an issue but nope he insists that he wouldn't want to raise 'someone else's kid', that he wouldn't be able to bond or something like that.

My agruement is that if he can bond with his stupid cat (okay we have 3 cats, 2 of which were mine and 1 that was his before we got together - he has a ridiculous attachment to his and I kind of hate it because of that...and by hate, I mean I get jealous of a stupid cat on more then one occasion) then I'm sure he could bond with an adopted child. He then says "That's silly he's not human, its not the same thing". Which I agree "HE'S NOT HUMAN" and yet he loves him. At this point I'm ready to cry because I'm so frustrated with him that I tell him I am really mad at him and end the conversation.

I don't think he gets how important this is as he tried to start up another trivial conversation. I'm currently ignoring him.

Now I realize that in all likelihood this will NEVER be a real issue but it still pisses me off that he can be so shallow. I also realize that if it were a real issue he would probably come around once he saw how important it was to me. It doesn't change the fact that I'm currently frustrated.

Men are stupid. Period.