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Mom's Nag Pad is a place of support for women and moms. I hope that while you're reading the stories about the crazy lives of others, you'll remember yourself and pick up that dream deferred. Like me, everyone should indulge a dream!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Project Number One: Sanctuary!!

I'm determined to finish my bathroom renovation before classes start. The work began in earnest in August, with my brothers providing a little of the muscle. The tiling is done, so now I have to paint the tub, paint the walls and paint the cabinet. I'd love to replace the vanity, but the one I'd like to have is over $500, and I just think it's better to feed the children.

Am I the only woman out there who appreciates the sanctuary of a pretty bathroom? When we moved into this house, it was a putrid Brady Bunch peach with outdated tiles and fixtures. I just couldn't get comfortable in that bathroom. And since I also don't have a bottomless pit for a bank account, everything has to be done by me (and any family member I can lure in with the promise of a free meal.)

Sanctuary is very important to neat freaks like myself. I long ago gave up on the idea of a completely neat home. If you want that kind of house, your only companion should be a finicky cat. Families are messy, and of course, that's part of their charm. So I confine my sanctuary to my bedroom and bath. Those are the places where I will have total control and make no apologies for my clearly undiagnosed OCD tendencies. When it's finished, I'll post some pics. I hope it inspires some to take a sledge hammer to ugly tile all over the country!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Christmas Reality

So the last present has been opened, you've gorged yourself on cakes, cookies and pies, and you've visited relatives you only see once a year. You don't go shopping on the 26th because you don't have any money left (and let's face it, you never do), so the day after Christmas is spent eating leftovers and cleaning up the living room. Until January second, you're in some kind of holiday limbo soon to be punctuated by the taking down of decorations.

That was last year. This year, I go back to work on the seventh and my second semester will begin the third week in January. I ordered and received all my books and I plan to get through at least the first chapter of each. This semester, I really will go over my notes every night and keep up with my reading. I will cut my work schedule to the bone so I can spend time with my family and complete my work with as little stress as possible. I'll also finish renovating my bathroom and make some new things to wear.

All those hopes and dreams go in the same knapsack as the new diet we all begin at the beginning of the year. Why do we all begin the year with a lot of unachievable goals? January starts off with such anticipation and by February we're on our way to five pounds of disappointment eating. I suggest we take this in small bites. For instance, instead of promising to lose twenty pounds this year, working on stepping up your exercise program in small increments and cutting out the majority of the junkfood. Pull out your calendar and actually schedule activities like working on a bathroom and making a new dress. It's not as intimidating if you have an actual plan as opposed to a project that's just out there hanging over your head with no start date in mind.

The new year shouldn't be simultaneously exciting and daunting. Take advantage of that new beginning, make some realistic plans and find a way to make your life a little better than it was in 2009.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

My Christmas holiday unfolded just as I thought it would. Despite my best efforts and promises to keep it stress free, no such luck. I still had my family over for Christmas Eve, worked the rest of the night as a Christmas elf and then had my kidneys kicked in by the six year old who was too excited to go to bed and slept with me. Christmas morning arrives and I look like something the cat left in the alley. I recharged immediately at the looks of breathless anticipation on my kids' faces (or was it annoyance because I was the last to come downstairs?).

Gift opening was actually fun. The youngest child was excited with everything she opened and the older girls enjoyed the money in their stockings. This was the first year I'd ever asked for an appliance (a stainless steel toaster because I'm changing out the white plastic appliances for nicer ones). For my husband, who has arms like a gorilla, he loved the extra tall clothing I was able to find for him. Then we actually sat down and watched some holiday tv, the parade from Disneyworld, actually. And it was nice.

The holidays usually go by in a blur and we can never remember what happened or if we even enjoyed ourselves. Every year we promise it will be different, but I'm beginning to wonder if it can be when you have large families and limited opportunities to see each other, especially when people live out of town. It's crazy, but on some level we must be enjoying it. Otherwise, why do we continue to do this every year?

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grades and Money

I just checked Blackboard and I got an 'A' in one of my two classes. I expect to get an 'A' in the other class as well, but it would be good to see it floating around in cyberspace. I will float around on that high until the crush of the holidays starts to get to me.

Who am I kidding? I'm already there. When a woman gets tired of shopping, there's definitely something going on. I've kept my pre-Christmas promise of not going into any of the major stores or malls. If I can't get it online or at Walgreens, you're not getting it. UPS might as well pitch a tent on my front lawn and call themselves Santa's helpers. But it's the onslaught of work parties and school parties and home parties that's killing me. I'll have a party each day for the next four days and I'm exhausted just thinking about. Five years ago, if I had to bring food to an event, I would have been all about making a Christmas tree out of cake and decorating it gumdrops and M&M's. Now I'm about throwing a box of chicken on the table and letting them gnaw until they're full.

In addition, the high cost of living hit me today, but in a different way. A colleague who is also in a Masters program will be leaving us to take a full time job. The satisfaction of what she gives to young children at our family literacy center got trumped by the need to eat and pay the mortgage. I'm sad for her, but not surprised. This is a huge undertaking at this stage in our lives. You know, that stage where you actually have to put others before your own needs and wants (something my teenage daughters don't yet understand). The cost of living, my college and their college.......okay, if I keep thinking about this I'll drop out and grab a blue vest at Walmart.

Where's my 'A' cloud?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Free at last.......

I did it! I got through my first semester of college in 25 years. I got through my first semester in college in 25 years and I didn't go insane. I haven't gotten my grades yet, but I either got two "A"s or an "A" and a "B". This semester almost killed me and I've learned the hard way that I've got to cut my schedule to the bone and stay on top of the reading. I'm really proud of the progress I've made, but the next two and a half of years will be a bear.

Now that I have five weeks off, I have to make a real effort to enjoy this time. By January 20th, I'll be back in the hunt for sympathetic professors and classes which won't kill me. But until then I've got the holidays to look forward to. As usual, mine will be the go to house for my family and I'm getting it ready. This is the latest I've ever put up lights and the tree, but I'm not going to worry about that. I want to spend extra time with the family and pick out the perfect Christmas present. I want to eat my weight in Christmas goodies and lament the weight gain on New Year's Eve. I'd like to start the new year with a completed bathroom so I don't have to share with my sloppy family. Somebody, please put a bug in Santa's ear!!