January Check-In

It’s the end of the month and that means it’s time to check in on how I’m doing with my resolutions for the year. Let’s just say I’m totally kicking butt so far. January has been very productive and while there were a few setbacks and frustrations, overall, I’m really proud of my progress.

Now let’s get specific.

Family and Home:

1.  Do at least one family outing a month. We slam dunked this one. We went to Sesame Street live…

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a movie, a neighborhood pot luck, a trip to the playground and the zoo.

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We really had a fun month as a family and I’m stoked to see what things we can come up with to do in February!

2.  Tackle the following home projects this year:

  • Buy and hang curtains on all the windows. We got a good start on this one. We started with Isabella’s room because we wanted ones that would block out the night, particularly during the day.

bella curtains

bella curtains 3

bella curtains 2

We also put up some in the front room, on the window between the dining room and play room.

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Pretend the play area is totally neat and organized….still working on a better solution for that. I do think the panel curtains really help separate the 2 rooms more visually. Also adds some much needed color.

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It’s amazing how much curtains can add to a room. Such an easy way to add punch and visual interest.

We also got some pictures and a mirror hung on the back wall of the dining room which was a big accomplishment for me. That blank wall has been sticking in my craw for months so it feels great to have it filled. Took a while to find stuff we liked. We knew we wanted a mirror but aside from that, we weren’t sure. I was going on feel and 2 criteria: it had to be blue and bold. As soon as I saw those 2 flower prints at the store I knew they were perfect!

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Samson likes them too.

  • Unpack the remaining boxes in the basement. Did nothing on this one. The problem is that most of the stuff left in boxes is awaiting another project to be done. For example, the built ins. Once those are done, we can empty a whole slew of them!
  • Do something with the front room. I’m getting close on this one. I haven’t purchased anything yet but have more ideas and may even act on one of them tomorrow! Squee!
  • Create a sitting room within the master bedroom. Nothing yet. This probably won’t happen until later in the year.
  • Add built in shelves to the living room by the end of the year. Again, this is a project that most likely won’t be started until summer.

3.  Break Isabella of the “oobie” habit once and for all. Done! Though she still asks for one on occasion and often dreams of them, for the most part I would call this a success. It wasn’t without a lot of crying, hand wringing and alcohol prayer, but we did it. She can sleep without them so long as she has her blankets and stuffed animals. I imagine the reliance on those will go away too in time so this one can officially be crossed off! Boo-yah!

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4.  Move Isabella to a toddler bed. Not yet. Wanted to wait for her to get through the “oobie” withdrawal. And I’m in no hurry so it’ll happen sometime this year, just not right away.

5.  Have Isabella potty trained by her 3rd birthday (September 30). We bought her a potty book and talk about it but no formal transition plan yet. Not sure she’s totally ready for that. She seems to view pooping as an ailment. Whenever she poops, and believe me, we can tell when that is, I’ll ask her about it and she says, “No I’m not pooping, I’m fine” through gritted teeth. She’s gonna be quite a catch for some lucky young man!

6.  Research pre-schools and enroll Isabella in one to start in the fall of 2012. No. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Financial and career:

7.  Attend one career professional event a month. I attended one event in January and already have one on my calendar for February and March. Look at me being such an overachiever!

8.  Spend less money – save 5% of each paycheck in a nest egg AND apply 5% of each paycheck toward paying off our credit card balance. This one didn’t go as neatly as planned. With the first paycheck there wasn’t enough left to put money in savings and pay towards the credit card so I chose to forgo the saving. But with the second paycheck, I was able to do both. Money in general stresses me out because it seems that no matter how careful we are, we always end up counting down to the next payday. I’m working on figuring out better ways or not letting it get to me. It’s a process. Fortunately I get paid a bonus every quarter so that fills in some of the gaps.

9.  Save money for Isabella. This part has been easy. I just drop my loose change in a jar every day when I get home. I don’t even miss it!

Spiritual and ethical:

10. Find a church that we all like and attend regularly (at least twice a month). I was all gung ho to get going on this the first week of the month but our weekends tend to be really busy and we haven’t had time to look in to any churches, much less attend a service. Maybe next month.

11. Get back to daily prayers/talks with my Higher Power. I can’t say I did this on a daily basis but I was more regular about it. Maybe once or twice a week. I’ll keep at it.

Physical and health:

12. Adopt one new healthy habit each month. January – Add a fruit and/or vegetable (preferably both!) to each meal. I’ve actually done really well at this one. There were times if I was in a hurry I would be tempted to skip the veggies but most of the time I made myself do it.

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I think I only had 2 meals all month that didn’t have at least one fruit or veggie. Most of them had both. I found that overall, this helped me eat better throughout the day and I’ve noticed a difference in my skin and nails.

Social and cultural:

13. Attend at least 4 cultural events this year (e.g. Broadway shows, concerts, museum exhibitions).This month CJ and I went to see Blue Man Group with a bunch of friends and had a blast! I forgot how much I miss going to shows.

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Particularly ones with big balls.

14. Regularly participate in events put on by the social clubs I belong to (speaker’s events, parties, happy hours, etc). We did this too! Not only did we go to a neighborhood function but we also attended a Chinese New Year celebration put on by one of the members of our volleyball club.

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Both events exposed us to new friends and helped get reacquainted with old ones. Smashing success!

15.  Go on a date night with CJ once a month. Blue Man Group and the Chinese New Year outings were both date nights so we did 2 this month! We already have a couple scheduled for February too. Go us!

CJ and me_ BMG 1.21.12

Overall, I’m really happy with what I’ve been able to do this month – both for myself and with the family. February is already getting booked with play dates, social events, date nights and cultural experiences so there should be plenty of great stuff to share – and cross off the list!

How are you doing on your resolutions?

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2012 Resolutions

Gym Rats

I’ve been going to the gym now for about 2 weeks. Before that it had been over 4 years. I had forgotten how much of a subculture there is. Someone should seriously come up with a new sitcom that takes place at a gym. I’ve been studying this little underworld and certain “characters” in particular. Here are the different groups I’ve identified, as well as some specific examples from my gym.

Muscle heads. We all know about these guys. The ones who spend hours in the weight room lifting the heaviest possible weights they can manage. They grunt and make noises so that everyone knows how hard they’re working. Then they drop the weights with a dramatic thud. Most of them wear cut off t-shirts to show off their bulging biceps. They can often be spotted with a Gatorade or protein drink in hand. Some of them truly are cut and buff. Others are wannabes who just like hanging with the big guys.

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Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. These 2 are either brothers or best friends. They’re both short and stocky. One has a shaved head and one has longish hair pulled in to a ponytail. They are both covered with tattoos.  Every day they follow each other from machine to machine, taking turns doing reps. I’m pretty sure they read up on this stuff too because they’re very enthusiastic and always talk about new moves to try. Neither one is super cut so they fall more in the wannabe group.

Geriatrics. These are the retired set that come in to socialize more than sweat. The guys gather together to talk about the latest news. The women gossip. In general they move slowly on the cardio machines and lift lighter weights, but at least they’re moving.

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(source)

The Godfather. This is a guy that seems to be the unspoken mayor of the group. He is probably in his late early 60’s and has black hair (most likely dyed). It’s long and he keeps it slicked back in a ponytail (what’s with guys and ponytails at my gym?). He’s darker complected, Italian looking, and short to average height. Despite being at the gym every day, has a gut. He always wears a black t-shirt with black sweatpants. His routine is to start out lifting weights, in particular the pulley machine. Then he moves to the recumbent bike where he “holds court” as I call it. Literally, he sits on the bike and watches the rest of the room. All the older gentlemen there stop by and visit him, either on their way in or out. He seems to be dispensing advice to them. Or else collecting payment.

Aerobics-aholics. These are the women who come strictly for the classes. Whether it be step aerobics, spinning, or Pilates, all they care about is group fitness. They wouldn’t dare use solo cardio equipment or weights, most likely because they find them boring.

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(source)

The Jans. There are 2 ladies who I call Jan and Jan. I don’t know their real names but they look like “Jans”. They are in class every day on time and always leave just a few minutes early, I imagine because they have to get off to work. The teachers all know them. They both have short dark hair. One is tall and skinny, the other is short and has a few  pounds to lose. They work hard too. I’ve never seen them quit a set of reps early or ease off the cardio. They want to work.

Iron (wo)men. These are the people in tip top shape that are serious about working out because they are probably training for something. They wear the latest in high tech microfiber sweat wicking clothes and shoes. They are not there to socialize, they’re there to get the job done.

Marathoners. There is a man and women who actually run to the gym every morning and then run some more once they get there. After their time on the treadmill, they go over and lift weights. They’re both thin in a fit, not a skinny way but not super buff either. I have no idea if they are married or just friends but they are together every day.

Routine Warriors. This group of people has a set thing that they do every single day without exception. They never vary their workout because they know what works for them. You can set your watch by these people

The Scowler. I don’t think this lady is really mad I think she’s just so in to her routine that she has her “don’t mess with me” face on all the time. Here is her routine: she starts off on the elliptical machine and does that for 30 minutes at a fast pace. Then she moves to the weight machines and systematically works her way through them. She’s in and out of there in 55 minutes flat every single day and never utters a word to anyone.

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There are also some people who don’t really fall in to any one category, but they’re interesting to watch. There is the married couple that come and do their routine together. I’m pretty sure it was his idea to go so early in the morning because he’s always full of energy while she just looks pissed off. She always quits earlier than him and seems to be half-assing everything. He gets annoyed by it too. One day she stopped, went in to the locker room for her stuff and walked out to the car – all while he was still pedaling away on the bike. He just rolled his eyes and kept going. I guess he figured he would make her sit and wait for him.

Then there is the flirt lady. I think she wants to be a body builder because I see her lifting a lot and hanging with that crowd. Her body doesn’t quite reflect it though. She flirts all the time too. One day she was talking to one of the guys and batting her eyelashes at him. The whole time he was staring at her hot blonde friend. I felt kind of bad for her.

Then there’s the Man in Black. This is a guy about my age who falls in the Routine Warriors category except that he’s not quite as regimented. Everyday he wears a black t-shirt and black running pants (maybe he takes fashion tips from The Godfather). He starts out with a 10 min. warmup on the treadmill and then lifts weights. He always looks super tired though, like he’s one rep away from a nap.

And then there’s me. I’m not sure what category I fall in. I do some classes but also do my own thing. I try to vary my routine every day to challenge my body but yet I’m not as hard core as some. Who knows. Maybe I’m in a whole other category I don’t know about because I’m in the middle of it.

I tell ya, if you like to people watch, join a gym. There is no shortage of people and personalities!

Pony Up

It’s time to step up and look back at the resolutions I set at the beginning of the year, to see what I accomplished and how much progress I made.

I only had 3 resolutions last year but they were pretty lofty. Looking back, though I tried to define how I was going to achieve each one but I wasn’t nearly specific enough – and some weren’t even realistic.

Let’s take a look.

1. Project Tone and Tighten: Goal – lose 3 lbs. of holiday weight gain and then maintain while also toning up all over. Verdict: Fail.

To be honest, I don’t think this one was a very good goal. First of all, lose 3 lbs. Really? That’s like the difference from one day to the next just in retaining water! 3 lbs. is laughable! While saying you want to maintain your current weight is good in theory, there are no parameters around that. No one can be the exact same weight every single day. Our bodies are too dynamic. So something like “stay within the 135-140 pound range while continuing to exercise daily and eat a healthy diet” would have been better.

Also, I never took measurements or before/after pics in January so there was no way to measure the “tone all over” part, other than what I can see in the mirror, which is definitely deceiving. That being said, I did try various workout programs (like the 30 day Shred, P90X and Kosama) to add variety to my workouts. I ultimately weigh the same today that I did when I made this resolution so I didn’t lose the 3 lbs but I did tone up a bit.

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2. Operation Dream Home Goal – sell our current house and buy our forever home. Verdict: Success!

We put a lot of time, money and effort in to getting our old house market ready and were able to sell it in 3 months, which is really good considering the market we were dealing with. There were some frustrations during that 3 months as I wanted things to move faster, but ultimately we got there.

We also found our dream home! At the time of making my resolution, I didn’t spell out any specifics of what that dream home should have but we later did when we were ready to shop. After searching for what seemed like months and looking at hundreds of houses, the very last one we looked at turned out to be “the one”. We’ve been living in it now for 3 months (OMG!) and couldn’t be happier with our home!

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3. Mission Debt Diet – Goal – pay off all credit card debt and pay down loans while also creating a nest egg. Verdict: Fail.

This one was definitely not specific or actionable enough. It was also too lofty and not doable, particularly considering Operation Dream Home. I should have come up with specific dollar amounts to put aside each week/month for paying off the credit card and also determined a specific amount for savings. Instead I just threw whatever extra money we had at the credit card. Some months it was only $100 and others it was $600. However, one valuable lesson I learned was that you can’t be so focused on putting all your money toward one thing and forgetting another. I was so hell bent on getting the credit card balance paid off that I would put TOO much money toward it, leaving us with not enough to live on. So I would have to pull money from savings or start charging things, which just defeats the whole purpose. Slow and steady wins the race.

I paid off a good chunk of it for the first part of the year but then as we started working on the house, we added a bunch back on to it. Today, we’re sitting with a little less on the card then we had in January but still have a ways to go. I’m going to carry this goal over to next year only come up with a specific and achievable plan.

There you have it. Overall, I didn’t do all that great. However, I learned lessons that I can apply toward my goals for next year and hopefully be more successful! Stay tuned for my list of goals for 2012!

Oh! One item that I committed to in January which wasn’t really an “official” resolution was to write daily in my Perpetual Journal.

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I can happily report that I have done just that! The fun part will be starting back at the beginning come January 1, 2012 and comparing each day of the New Year to the same day the year before. I imagine some days will be eerily similar (“long day at work, I’m tired”) while others will be drastically different (like on the days when we lost a loved one or something of significance happened). Should be interesting!

Pony Up

It’s time to step up and look back at the resolutions I set at the beginning of the year, to see what I accomplished and how much progress I made.

I only had 3 resolutions last year but they were pretty lofty. Looking back, though I tried to define how I was going to achieve each one but I wasn’t nearly specific enough – and some weren’t even realistic.

Let’s take a look.

1. Project Tone and Tighten: Goal – lose 3 lbs. of holiday weight gain and then maintain while also toning up all over. Verdict: Fail.

To be honest, I don’t think this one was a very good goal. First of all, lose 3 lbs. Really? That’s like the difference from one day to the next just in retaining water! 3 lbs. is laughable! While saying you want to maintain your current weight is good in theory, there are no parameters around that. No one can be the exact same weight every single day. Our bodies are too dynamic. So something like “stay within the 135-140 pound range while continuing to exercise daily and eat a healthy diet” would have been better.

Also, I never took measurements or before/after pics in January so there was no way to measure the “tone all over” part, other than what I can see in the mirror, which is definitely deceiving. That being said, I did try various workout programs (like the 30 day Shred, P90X and Kosama) to add variety to my workouts. I ultimately weigh the same today that I did when I made this resolution so I didn’t lose the 3 lbs but I did tone up a bit.

DSC01088

2. Operation Dream Home Goal – sell our current house and buy our forever home. Verdict: Success!

We put a lot of time, money and effort in to getting our old house market ready and were able to sell it in 3 months, which is really good considering the market we were dealing with. There were some frustrations during that 3 months as I wanted things to move faster, but ultimately we got there.

We also found our dream home! At the time of making my resolution, I didn’t spell out any specifics of what that dream home should have but we later did when we were ready to shop. After searching for what seemed like months and looking at hundreds of houses, the very last one we looked at turned out to be “the one”. We’ve been living in it now for 3 months (OMG!) and couldn’t be happier with our home!

front

3. Mission Debt Diet – Goal – pay off all credit card debt and pay down loans while also creating a nest egg. Verdict: Fail.

This one was definitely not specific or actionable enough. It was also too lofty and not doable, particularly considering Operation Dream Home. I should have come up with specific dollar amounts to put aside each week/month for paying off the credit card and also determined a specific amount for savings. Instead I just threw whatever extra money we had at the credit card. Some months it was only $100 and others it was $600. However, one valuable lesson I learned was that you can’t be so focused on putting all your money toward one thing and forgetting another. I was so hell bent on getting the credit card balance paid off that I would put TOO much money toward it, leaving us with not enough to live on. So I would have to pull money from savings or start charging things, which just defeats the whole purpose. Slow and steady wins the race.

I paid off a good chunk of it for the first part of the year but then as we started working on the house, we added a bunch back on to it. Today, we’re sitting with a little less on the card then we had in January but still have a ways to go. I’m going to carry this goal over to next year only come up with a specific and achievable plan.

There you have it. Overall, I didn’t do all that great. However, I learned lessons that I can apply toward my goals for next year and hopefully be more successful! Stay tuned for my list of goals for 2012!

Oh! One item that I committed to in January which wasn’t really an “official” resolution was to write daily in my Perpetual Journal.

journal

I can happily report that I have done just that! The fun part will be starting back at the beginning come January 1, 2012 and comparing each day of the New Year to the same day the year before. I imagine some days will be eerily similar (“long day at work, I’m tired”) while others will be drastically different (like on the days when we lost a loved one or something of significance happened). Should be interesting!

Puberty

I was under the impression that the embarrassments and awkward moments that come with the teenage years, end when you reach adulthood. Things like your body changing in ways you don’t understand, saying stupid things to boys that you berate yourself for later, dealing with cliques and popularity contests and of course, acne.

Turns out they don’t.

You get to deal with the strange bodily things if you get pregnant and when you start aging. Things don’t work the way they used to and other parts move around. Hair that was straight becomes curly. And you find hairs in places you never did before.

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You also never stop saying stupid things to boys. You just stop caring. It’s called marriage. The beautiful part is that when you say something stupid, your husband will just tell you it’s dumb so that you don’t have to worry about it for days/weeks/months at a time.

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And those cliques? They never go away either. They exist in every work place and every organization. But again, you stop caring as much the older you get. You recognize them for what they are and learn how to deal.

As for the acne – I’ve had my up and down moments with that. Never had issues with zits in high school or college. Was blessed with perfect skin and unicorns dancing in my backyard. Then I went out in the real world and all hell broke loose on my face. After months of trying everything under the sun to figure it out, I finally found a solution that cleared it back up and the unicorns appeared once again.

And now it’s back.

No one told me that turning 35 in your adult years was akin to turning 13 as a kid. Suddenly I have zits appearing in all kinds of weird places. Found one inside my ear. Had another one on the bridge of my nose in between my eyes. Was blessed with a Rudolph style one on the tip of my nose and now I have one on the corner of my mouth, just above my lips.

So I look like Cindy Crawford, only if her mole was a big red zit.

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And they have all been the painful red ones that hurt like a bitch!

Really universe? What did I ever do to you?

I’ve been trying to figure out what could be causing it. Could it be from sweating so much during my morning torture sessions, er, workouts? I suppose but I always go right home and take a shower afterwards. Could it be my diet? Probably not since I haven’t changed the way I eat. Could it be the new house? Maybe though that seems unlikely.

Regardless, the important part is dealing with them so they don’t ruin your whole day (or outfit). In a panic last week, when the Rudolph one started to appear, I Googled how to stop zits before they erupt (in other words when you know one is lingering under the surface because you can feel it but don’t want it to pop through the skin). There were all kinds of home remedies but the one that made the most sense to me was to apply Neosporin to it (and it was something I already had at home). The theory is that a clogged pore gets red and sore because it’s infected. So by applying a topical antibiotic, you are getting rid of the infection and the pimple will go away.

So I tried it.

And it worked! That pesky red nose never did appear! While that wouldn’t make for a good Christmas story, it did provide a happy ending to me! Worked on a couple other ones too but not the Cindy Zit. That one is in full swing.

Stupid aging.

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The Plague

Murphy’s Law

Pop!