Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 and Writing Goals Down!

As I'm getting ready for the New Year, I've decided to actually write down my goals.  

I had originally heard about a Harvard study that was done years ago and how they surveyed  everyone in the graduating class to find out that only 3% of the graduating class had actually written down, clear concise goals.  Years later the same research team went back and interviewed all of the graduating class and found out that the 3% that had written their goals down made more than the other 97% combined!  

It would've been such a great finding, if that study was really done.  I found a number of articles that the study was a myth and the study "rumor" is spread about both Harvard Class of 1979 and Yale Class of 1953.  You can find thousands of references to it online but no actual study.  Kind of a bummer.  So, for some reason there was someone that had started a story urging people to write down their goals based on a study that never happened.  

There was a study done by the Dominican University with 149 participants that did prove that writing down your goals improved the chances of you achieving them....which is enough for me, so here goes!

2012 Goals

1. Lose 25 pounds
2.  Go to the gym on a regular basis
3.  Save more money each month
4.  Make more money each month
5.  Join or start a book club
6.  Spend more time with my parents
7.  Stick to a strict budget each month (to help with #3)

I am creating an action plan to go along with the money making and saving and also losing weight...I realize just writing down "I want to make more money" isn't going to make it happen! 

Charlotte's 1st year flew by and I have mixed feelings about this year.  I can't say I'm sad to move on to 2012!  I'm hoping that this next year is more organized, less stressful and has more laughter (we can always use more laughter in our lives!).

What are your 2012 goals and how are you going to make sure they happen?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Evan turned 13!

Evan turned 13 this month (on 11/11/11).  He didn't want a big party so we celebrated at my moms.  He's almost taller than me and we measured him in the doorway at my moms house and he's exactly the same height Derek was at his age!

He wanted a Hauppage system in order to record his video games ($200!) so we got him that and a membership to Fraps which is another way to record your video games.  Video games, video games, video games!  He really wanted to go paint balling and we had planned on taking him on Saturday but it rained so Robert took him to the indoor shooting range instead.  My mom was worried about us taking him but Robert showed him how to do everything safely and they had a really good day together.  I know some people are so anti-guns but we are gun owners and we have them locked up, away from reach of children. 

Anyway, my baby is 13!  I can still remember when he was born.  Many of the details of the day and surrounding days are fuzzy but there was about 15 minutes that are clear as if it was yesterday.  Derek (4 at the time) came to meet Evan and he crawled up on the hospital bed into my lap and just started singing to him.  He sang "You are my sunshine" and he sang it so soft and sweet.  I swear it was the best sound I'd ever heard.  The baby (Evan) just stared up at all of us (me, Evan's dad and Derek) as Derek sang and it was at that moment that I felt my life was complete.  Luckily, I have a picture of it because our good friend (Patti) happened to walk in the room and snap one.  That will forever me one of my favorite memories.  I hope I always remember it as I do now.  I look at Evan now and wish that I could still hold him and keep him safe but he's his own person.  As I watch him becoming a man, a whole new set of worries takes over.  Having a teenager is frightening.  I like to think that his teens will sail by but I am mentally trying to prepare.

Wishing they made a pill for patience ;)

Here is my handsome son Evan on his 13th birthday!

Just moments in time!

Last night, Robert was sitting on the couch.  He had Elijah tucked under his left arm and Pink Floyd "Wish you were here" was playing...I was watching them as he tapped his right food to the music and played with Elijah's toy with him and wanted so much to be able to capture the moment.  He was so relaxed and happy and he sang with the song while him and Elijah played.  I can't pretend that i'm not scared to death of the day when these memories are going to fade from my memory.  These moments are so precious to me, they mean everything to me and I really wish I could be recording all of them.

I recorded Elijah and Charlotte playing with Robert the other was pretty funny.  Not sure If I can upload videos here but if i can, i will.

There's 35 days till Christmas and the year seemed to just fly by.  I use to always be in a hurry for the next month or next year but now I find myself wanting to really freeze time or slow it down somehow.  Every minute, of every day is so important. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Welcome baby Atticus!

The best thing about October was the arrival of baby Atticus! 

I had known for nine months that I was going to be in the delivery room and can't express enough how excited I was.  It was honestly, the LONGEST pregnancy ever.  I don't think anyone has had a longer pregnancy than me (except Allison!). 

The delivery was scheduled for October 11th but little Atticus (who has had a mind of his own all along) decided to start coming the night before. 
I woke up at 4 am on the 11th to 5 text messages from Allison.  The first text said "Having contractions, may be going to hospital".  And above the text, it said MESSAGE 1 of 5.  I was so scared to read the next 4 texts...thinking I had missed it.  Well, thankfully I had not!

I arrived at the hospital around 5 and she had already had an epidural.  She was so calm and peaceful, it was amazing.

It was almost "go time" around noon and it was me, her husband, her mom and her friend Misha (with camera ready).  I was so amazed at how calm she still was and if I had to give her one word, it would be strength.  She was suddenly the strongest woman I knew.  And, with several pushes...the baby's head came out.  While his head was out, they suctioned his nose and mouth and he looked asleep.  Her husband and I took turns telling her what they were doing "they are suctioning the nose now", etc.  Then, they pulled the baby all out and her husband told her "It's a boy".  She gasped in surprise because we all thought it was a girl.  It was definitely a happy gasp.

I'm sure the breakdown of how it went seems like an OBGYN documentary but honestly, the moments in the room were magical.  Watching the miracle of life and seeing a baby take its first breath, is beyond any words I can say or type.  I will definitely call that one of the top days of my life (along with my own babies being born and my wedding).

I laid in bed that night replaying the whole thing, especially the part right before the baby took his first breath and how peaceful he looked.  It's amazing how when I held him, even though I had never met him (and he wasn't even mine!) I loved him already!!!


This month a series of small and big things  has happened that has really been a wake up call for me. 

First, i was driving home from taking the kids to school and I was just thinking about how I didn't want to run on the treadmill when I passed a man who had one leg and was cycling.  I couldn't believe I had been procrastinating about running for months and I should be using the legs I have every day!  So, I started running again.  Running makes me feel better, helps with my stress and really helps with my weight so I need to keep running!    I'll get off of running but I always think about an interview I read with Will Smith about how running is so much more than just running.  I'll try to find it and post it.

This past weekend some things I read about really effected me. 

My friend Natalie posted about the 2 year anniversary of her sister's death.  It made me really start thinking about my own sister and my immediate family.  When I think about it, honestly, I feel really vulnerable.  I would be devastated with out any one of them. 

Then, a girl I went to high school with (who is already battling Stage 3 Colon cancer and has 4 kids) lost her mom in a motorcycle accident!  I can't get over how awful a year she has had and I know the strength keeping her with us is for her children...I just can't imagine dealing with any of what she is dealing with. 

Then, Robert's step grandpa passed away this weekend.  And, I LOVE Robert's step mom and spent a lot of time thinking about how she must feel to lose a parent.  I'm definitely not ready to lose either one of mine.  As I've grown older, they really mean the world to me and maybe I don't tell them enough.  All the things that used to annoy me or bug me about my mom, is now what I love most about her because that is what makes her who she is.  It scares me (terrifies me actually) when I think about how my dad is probably standing in the backyard smoking right now as I type. 
The scariest part is the realization that most likely they will be dying before me.  With that passing of my Aunt, and seeing the impact it has had on my cousin, it just makes me even more sad.

In my speech class on Saturday, a girl walked up and spoke about the benefits of being a Foster mom.  She was an abused Foster child and her story will stick in my head most likely forever.  I was so lucky and my children are so lucky to grow up in a safe environment, things I took for granted every day!

Three out of my four kids are home sick today and I was up all night with Charlotte.  She has that horrible barking cough, temperature and runny nose.  She was only comfortable sleeping if I held her to my chest and walked around with her so my left arm feels like it's sprained!  I also ended up sleeping half the night on her floor because I didn't want her to keep waking up Robert.  I'm sure i'm going to get sick next.

I'm sure this post seems really down and depressing but all that has happened this month and my sickies today at home, just have made me really appreciate life even more.  And, as I laid on Charlotte's floor in a sleeping bag (completely sleep deprived), I listened to every breath she took...and was thankful!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RIP to my Great Aunt, Patricia Hardy Egan

Here's a link to my Aunt's Obituary.  Please take a moment to read it

When I was eleven, I had to do a report for school on who I wanted to be like when I grew up.  The answer was easy because my mom’s Aunt (my great Aunt) was Patricia Hardy Egan.   She was beautiful, had been a model, in movies and on TV.  She was everything I wanted to be.  What I didn’t know at the time (but spent the next 25 years learning) was what a beautiful person she was on the inside.

When I had my second child, I was so amazed because I remember when I was pregnant thinking to myself that there was no way I would love the second as much as the first.  Of course I would pretend like I did but knew that was clearly impossible…then sure enough after the second came, I realized I did love him somehow just as much as the first.  I considered that a miracle.  I learned that our “heart”, our ability to love is an amazing thing.   When I think of my Aunt, I think of a giant heart filled with so much love and it makes sense considering her heart grew with each five of her children and then with her fourteen grandchildren.

She was loved by so many people, some people who knew her, knew her as “Chatty” because my aunt had the great ability of telling you a story as if you were there, making you feel like you were in an inner circle, in the “know”.  You could sit and “Chat” with her for hours. 

One time, growing up, I was in trouble and my mom  sent me to my Aunts for a couple days.  I wasn’t sure what to expect because it was usually a place where I went to have fun.  I had never seen my aunt angry with me before and thought for sure I was in trouble.  I remember the day like it was yesterday. She said “Laurie Dori” which was her nickname for me and she told me to sit down and then for the next couple hours we talked, she told me stories, amazing stories about Hollywood and the Copa and my Uncle and talking to her, having her confide in me...I felt like I was privy to government secrets.  I was so intrigued by everything she had to tell me but most of all by her, by her energy and the way her eyes lit up when she spoke about my Uncle and just in awe of what an amazing person she was.  Years later, her eyes still lit up the same way whenever she spoke of her husband and she was always so excited to fill me in on what was happening with each of her children.  She loved to talk about her grand children. 

No matter what age she passed, would’ve been too soon for those of us who loved her.

When I think about who I want to be like now, as I grow older, I think of my Aunt and what a wonderful person she was, an amazing wife and strong mother.  But most of all how loving she was and how she was always showered with so much love from her children and grandchildren. And, that is exactly how I want to be.

Friday, August 19, 2011

What's your story?

Throughout life, there are certain moments that really stick in your mind.  I always think of this time when I was around 21 years old and I was hanging out with a small group of friends.  It was friend of mine and a couple of guys I didn't know (they were her friends).
My friend ended up leaving me to go sit with one of the guys in a I just sat with the other guy on a curb and made small talk to pass the time.

After a long pause in our idle chit chat, he turned to me and with a really serious face said, "so, what's your story?" By the way he said it i could tell that he really wanted to know what my "story" actually was.  That's when i first started thinking, what was my story? I was 21 and had a 2 year old. I refused to let my story be that I was a single mom that dropped out of her first year of college to have a baby and well, I had to face it right then and there...that was my story.  I felt like nothing, working in an entry level position, raising my son alone.  I was embarrassed of who I was.  That's all I had.  So, I sat there thinking about it and pretty much wishing I could make up a story, something more exciting.  Something that would be impressive.  I didn't make up any story, just said something stupid and changed the subject.  But, something in me changed that day.  That question stuck with me and forced me to "write" my own story. 

Today I can say I'm proud of my story and who I am, what I've accomplished.  I realize now that "my story" back in 1996 wasn't one to be ashamed of.  Yes, i was a single mom but I was a good mom, a strong mom.  I loved my son and made sure he was loved and well cared for.  And, I was a strong woman then and I'm a strong woman now.  I've definitely made some bad decisions over the last 19 years but I've learned from each one and I'm stronger, smarter and happier now than ever.  Best of all I've learned that who I am isn't tied to what I do for a living or how much I make, it's about who i touch while I'm here. 

So if someone wanted to know what your story was, what would you say?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Busy August

Well, just when I thought I knew what busy was...i am a whole new kind of busy!  Elijah and Charlotte are still home with me, I'm working on a full time project and I'm in summer session for school.  My free nights consist of homework and reports.  I have my finals in both my classes this Saturday so this week has not been fun.  I decided to send in some of Charlotte's pictures to some agencies for print ads/commercials, not because I'm a conceited mom that thinks my daughters the cutest but mostly because I started thinking of the kids and their college funds.  I was really inspired by my friend Amy who's daughter has been doing some work and she makes it look so easy and fun.  We received notice from one of the agencies (Zuri Model and Talent) that they wanted to sign Charlotte and then we got a letter that Osbrink wanted to interview her.  I didn't commit to signing with Zuri because I wanted to see what Osbrink was all about.  We went for an interview and honestly, I didn't leave with any warm and fuzzy feelings.  It was kind of like "don't call us, we'll call you" before I left.  They ended up calling within a couple hours and they also wanted to sign Charlotte.

I was so excited but really torn.  We ended up signing with Osbrink because after talking to several people they recommended I do that and then if we aren't getting the level of service we want (meaning, she's not getting sent out on a lot of auditions) then I can switch to Zuri.

I got the paperwork of what to do from Osbrink and it really looks like a full time job.  I really didn't think about all the work it was going to be.  I'm still excited about it but just trying to figure out how to fit in auditions into my work schedule.  The other thing is the paperwork says not to bring siblings and Elijah's not in school yet.  I have to go to Van Nuys and get Charlotte a work permit...I had to go there last week and get her birth certificate so I could get the work permit.

Glad I already had her pictures done last week!  I wanted to have more done but we did more of like a mini shoot with a photographer that shot my friend's daughter.  She was really nice and has a studio in her house.  She lives in Huntington Beach and I chose to go to her studio to save money but have already decided if i have pictures done of Elijah, I'm going to have her come here.  I'm all about saving money right now trust me but saving $50 isn't worth sitting in traffic with a screaming baby ;)

Elijah's been calling her "Charlie" instead of Charlotte lately.  She's still super sweet with a great personality.  Loving every minute....

Thursday, June 2, 2011

What happened to May?

Wow, May really flew by!  Here's a breakdown of what I did in May:

Celebrated my birthday with friends at a cool Cuban restaurant.
Spent part of Mother's day with my oldest son delivering flowers to both of his grandmothers on his dads side and spent the other part cooking for my mom and mother-in-law...we ended up having a giant Italian feast and it was really nice to have all of us together.
I took on a new project and so I've been working from home = way less time on facebook and blog.
Our final is this Saturday so I've been studying, studying, studying and i have a final paper due on June 7th.
Charlotte's fully rolling over now so I have to watch her every second.  I'm on the look out for gym mats so I can pad the formal living room and make it a very not formal room for the kids to play in all day while I work.
I have part time help with the kids but she's looking for full time and so she will be leaving me soon...hoping she will still be available for date nights every once in a while.

We've been walking more and have been walking about 3 miles up and down hills with the double stroller.  May not sound like a lot but for someone as out of shape as me, it's really hard!
I discovered a blog I love (The Pioneer Woman) mostly a recipe share site but I've made her bbq meatballs about 5 times now and really love them, I've also made her Creamy mashed potatoes and her spicy pork with dr pepper.  Seriously, a great site.

Sorry May flew by and barely had time to write but I did have time for a massage and I joined a Massage "club" where I get one massage a month...counting down the days till my next Massage.  Summer is here and hope to have time to blog at night.  Life is very chaotic around here.  Oh yea, a friend reminded me of a quote jar i used to have for Evan.  I think I'm going to start it again and start writing down all the cute and funny things Elijah and Charlotte around here may be crazy but it's so cherished.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

12-step program

My ex husband called me tonight to talk to me about his 12 step program and how one of the steps is apologizing to people you have wronged and "making your amends" with them.  I thought it would be a long call where he would list all the things he's done that he should be sorry for but instead he was calling to ask for someones address that we both know so he could apologize to him for something that i don't even think was a big deal!

I realize, it doesn't matter if I think its a big deal because this is not my recovery (or my conscience) but I couldn't help but wonder when I'd get my apology from him or if I ever will.  Then, I REALLY started thinking....if I was in that kind of program, how many people would I need to apologize to?  How many people have I "wronged" in my life.  I thought about it for a long time and now I'm thinking I should apologize to them.  I'm not doing any sort of program but just think it can't hurt, right?  I've never meant to hurt anyone and I don't want to leave any hurt feelings out there.  After listening to him talk about some bad feelings he has from over 13 years ago, it made me wonder if anyone has any bad feelings about me or my actions in the past.  If so, I'm truly sorry and hope that I have my chance to tell them.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Extreme Couponing, I have started watching this new show "Extreme Couponing" that's on TLC and i'm seriously addicted!  I'm eager to become an Extreme "Couponer" and join the Extreme Couponing world.  LOL!

My husband doesn't get it and says that it's basically the same show over and over and you learn nothing new...but; regardless, i'm glued to the TV.  I TIVO all the shows and watch them at night but I'm in awe that these women (and men) have learned such useful tricks to getting groceries for nearly nothing.  I keep waiting to learn all their secrets and tricks so I can do it too.  My 12-year old is also obsessed with the show...he's the saver of the family, so you can imagine why.  He's already started clipping coupons and looking through store mailers.  I keep thinking there's a secret they're not telling us, there has to be some trick to using coupons and getting products for nothing, but is there?  A couple of them said they spend 30-40 hours a week clipping coupons.  I can't see myself ever doing that and I definitely don't have the time but I've decided to get organized about it and devote a couple hours a week to looking for deals, clipping coupons, organizing my lists and calling my grocery stores.  I plan on keeping track of everything I learn and sharing it with whoever wants to also save money on groceries.  With the economy the way it is, most of us can't afford to be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on groceries anyway so why not.

In thinking about the time (and where i'm going to find it), I realize i have a lot on my plate right now.  I'm still determined to do this and my goal is to figure out the science of it so it doesn't take as long as the people on this show. 

So far this is what i've learned - I'll be updating this post every time I learn something new!

Tips for saving money with coupons:

Find out store policies.  I actually called the three most visited stores and found out that two of them don't double your coupons or even add any money to them!  The best store by me is "Ralphs" which is owned by Safeway (or vice versa).  They double coupons up to $1.00.  So, if your coupon is 40 cents, it will be 80 cents, 50 cents will be a dollar, 60 cents...still a dollar.  If you have a dollar coupon, it's a dollar. 

Coordinate manufacturer coupons with store sales by checking sales flyers.

Collect multiple coupons or hundreds!  My plan is to start saving coupons I get in the mail and keeping some from my parents house. I'm also going to subscribe to a coupon clipping service.

Look online for coupons.

Call manufacturers and check their websites for more coupons.

Be organized with your coupons

Make a list of what you need for the week and any big quantity sale items you can stock up on for future.

As of 6/4/11- haven't had time to clip coupons :(

Monday, April 18, 2011

There's no room for Ungrateful in this house!

My son, Evan, is blatantly ungrateful.  I don't know how to fix this but he does nothing but complain, non-stop.  It really wears on you after a while.  We are never having what he wants for dinner.  He always wants his own separate meal.  Even if we are having what he wants for dinner, he will complain about something else.  He never gets enough video game time.  He wants more video games, better clothes, more shoes, to be able to go more places, and the list goes on and on.

I'm sure a lot of people have children that have a "glass half full" mentality but this is way above and beyond that.  I read about a mom who took her daughter to a third world country for a few months and that is sounding like a great idea right about now.  I guess I'll have to settle for donating our time at a homeless shelter.  I need him to understand how blessed he is and can't think of any other way...
I'm open to any suggestions you may have!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Elijah's First Laker game!

So, we decided last minute to take Elijah to the Laker game with us.  I was nervous about it because I know how serious my husband takes the games and I was worried he wouldn't sit in his seat for more than a few minutes at a time.  He did really well.  I have to admit, there was some bribery (red vines and skittles were involved) but we had a really great night.

The only thing that would've made the night better is if our favorite team had won!