Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 year in review

What better time to update my 2014 list than the last day of the year. Below is what I set out to accomplish this year, let's see where I stand.....I am a little scared

·Decorate the downstairs of house (paint, rugs, window treatments, hang pictures, etc.)

I have pinned the hell out of pillows, rugs, and window treatments for the family room, kitchen, and dining room. We have discussed a lot of ideas about how to make the entryway more useful but when it comes down to it....we have completed one item above: we had our downstairs painted in September. I don’t know why I have such a hard time pulling the trigger with decorating, I am just not always confident in my choices. For Christmas I asked for $$ to buy said pillows, rugs, and window treatments and I have asked my mom to help me pick the items out so maybe by the end of January this will be marked off my list, I am ready for my house to look like a home!

·Fix backyard (no more mud, all grass, maybe plants, garden, etc.)

We spent about $1200 on the backyard, to be completely honest I am not really sure what was done but I can tell you there is a lot more grass and a lot less mud, progress! We did not plant anything and we definitely are nowhere close to having a garden. We have a few patches if deadish grass and clovers that I would like to figure out how to "fix" and then maybe we can work on a natural area and teach the dogs to use it for the bathroom so the rest of the grass is not full of land mines! I am seeing a pattern here...2 out of 4 isn’t that bad, right?

·Get our finances under control (get a system that works, spend less than we make, put into savings, have fund for house projects)

Nope....ha! I am not going to even try to spin this in our favor, we have about $5000 on a credit card and that is our only debt (besides the mortgage) so we are not bad off BUT I would like to have no debt and actually be putting money into our savings account to get it to a level where investing it would be worthwhile for our future. We still spend more than we make most months, struggle weekly to not dip into savings, buy things we don't need and eat out when lazy.

Here are a few things we have done and are going to do....

1. Refinance our house, get rid of PMI and save $172/month (effective Jan 2015)

2. Use budgeting program (youneedabudget.com)

3. Get rid of cable and do netflix/amazon/hulu and hopefully save another $100 a month

4. Pay off CC (currently paying $400/month to this...car payment?!)

5. Get savings account to $$ worth investing (only need $5k more)

6. Put $3500 on FSA card for 2015 so when we get medical bills I am not scrambling to determine how to pay them or worrying about waiting one to two paychecks, all the $$ is already there (I think this will be a HUGE improvement for us!)

Currently, I handle all of our $$ and as you can see above I am not happy with the job I am doing. I think one key problem is Mark is not involved, I tell him "don’t use card anymore" or cringe every time we swipe at grocery store, etc. but I don’t think he really grasps where we are and how stressful it can be so now I am making it his problem too and maybe together we can work this out.

·Have one date night each month

If this said have one date night a year I would be good....sad! Mark and I have had a few dates this year and some stand out- anniversary dinner in Cashiers, Paint your Pet, and dinner and movie (first non-family babysitter) all of which were great! This is something we really need to focus more on and will in 2015. I will say that now that Mark works basically a m-f 7-4 gig we sit down at the table every night and have dinner together so I am going to count that as something :)

·Workout 4 times a week

I have not been able to do this every week of the year but I do consistently workout 3-4 times a week and have lost 12 pounds since January 2014, I know that is not a lot but for me (someone who loses weight 1000 times slower than others due to metabolic syndrome that is a HUGE accomplishment.) I can also tell a big difference in my clothes and feel stronger. Always a work in progress but I plan to continue with 9 Rounds.

·Eat gluten free (most of the time)

Nope...not even for a little bit. I have done some research on IIFYM and I think this is something I can do and I think this is something that is doable/maintainable/family friendly but it takes some time to get started, and I have been lazy and putting it off. This is on my list of things to get to in 2015.

·Have a BMI of under 26

No idea what my BMI is but I am sure it is not 26, work in progress!

That wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, I am actually OK with the progress I have made, I know there are things that were not listed here that I did (or at least I am going to pretend like there is!) Sometimes...ok all the time I wish I had someone who could do these things for me- tell me what to eat and when...I can make the food, do the shopping, pay for it and go to the gym, someone to look at my design ideas, tell me they look good/make changes or give suggestions and go to store with me--again I will buy items I just need the push. Oh and the $ thing, I wish someone else would help me with this, I am at a loss and hope and pray our 2015 plan works because I cannot keep living paycheck to paycheck with the stress. Sounds like it all comes back to me wanting a life coach when really I just need to grow up and be an adult....don't you hate when you realize all your problems are your "fault" and you are the only one who can help you?

Bring it on 2015....let's rumble!

2015 New Year Resolution

To be a better dog mom

1. Give the pups bath monthly
2. Remember to give pups flea meds monthly
3. Gets pups nails trimmed bi-monthly
4. Keep pups room clean/buy new rug/complete the decorating
5. Work on walking with pups more/get out more

We love Opie & Jax but in the hussle and bussle of life, we have let them down and have not been great dog parents.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Part 2 of Won't you be my neighbor post from last week....have you heard of Nextdoor.com?

It is a social media website designed to get neighbors connected, I had heard of it about 6 months ago and recieved a postcard in the mail about 3 weeks ago inviting me to join from a neighbor (every house in hood received one) so I joined.

It is basically Facebook for neighbors but without the pictures of what you are eating, contant updates on where you are and what you are doing and game requests...you have a profile that tells people about you (and your family), you can choose items of interest (cooking, church, sports, reading), services/skills you could offer to neighbors (tutoring, lawn service), how long you have lived there, what you like about your neighborhood. You can create posts to sell items, alert neighbors of things going on.

I posted a week ago asking if people were interested in social events and have received 5 responses so I think after the new  year I will reach out to those who responded and get something planned.

I will update once I have something to share :)


Yesterday I was asked “What are you thankful for this year?” and I felt like I had so much to say and so little to say at the same time. It has been a rough year for many family members and friends health wise and personally. I answered the question but last night as I laid my head on the pillow to say my prayers I really thought about the year and what I am thankful for especially in the face of the year.

I am sure I am going to miss something/everything but here is my list in no particular order

Roof over my head

Clothes on my back

Shoes on my feet

Food in my belly

Car to allow me to go where and when I please

Heat/air/clean water/hot water…utilities in general

Mark, Sawyer, Opie & Jax….all family

All of my friends, near and far, ones I talk to daily and ones I talk to annually…friendship matters!

Sawyer’s school and teachers, he loves it and is never ready to go home


Having a job I love at a company that values me

Everyone who works in the healthcare industry

Christmas music

Everyone who has watched Sawyer and helped Mark and I adjust to our new work/life balance

Pictures of puppies, babies, all things cute (not cats) that fill up my news feed and remind me that the world is not all bad

Reeses Christmas Trees (really all holiday Reeses)


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pulling the band-aid

I have not said these words out loud yet and I am not sure why I am choosing this forum. Maybe because I need to say them out loud finally but I can’t so writing is easier, maybe because I don’t actually think anyone reads this so I am “saying” it out loud but no one will ever really know except me? Who knows? Either way, here it is. My dad was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) this summer, don’t google it, it’s not pretty.

What we know…

Pulmonary Fibrosis is the scarring/thickening of your lungs which can cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and eventually lung failure.

Idiopathic basically means, we don’t know what the cause is and therefore we don’t have a specific treatment plan mapped out because we have no idea why this is happening to you.

Why I am writing this today…

My dad went for a follow up with his pulmonologist yesterday and there has been no change in his breathing tests or the radiology reports, YEAH! WHOOP! HOORAY!

What’s next…

I have determined that until my dad shows symptoms there is nothing they can do because at this point there is nothing to treat BUT if/when he does show symptoms we don’t know how quickly they will come on, to what severity, really anything…it’s a waiting game.

What you can do (if you are reading this)


Thursday, December 4, 2014


Are you listening to this podcast? If no, you should. I will first start out by saying I had to ask my 23 year old coworker “How do you listen to a podcast?” he laughed and said “Lucky for you there is a little purple app already loaded onto your phone called “Podcast,” click on it, search by name, download, listen.” Who knew? Answer: Probably everyone, but me. Either way, it is great, makes me feel smarter than watching TV. There are currently 10 episodes and since Monday I have listened to 6 of them…binge listening. The premise: an investigation into a 1999 Baltimore murder told by Sarah Koenig (who I am told is popular for another podcast called This American Life), it includes her talking, recordings of her conversations with people involved, her reading court documents and police notes, recordings of the court proceedings and more. It should be listened to in order and each episode is about 45 minutes long. I would definitely recommend if you have a long commute and are already sick of Christmas songs and all the advertisements on the radio to start listening!


Won't you be my neighbor

My family moved to Charlotte in 1989, to a neighborhood in south Charlotte called Summerlake.  This was an Allen Tate community that was in the process of being built, I think we were the 10th house of 200; imagine a lot of red clay! My dad’s job is what brought us down, so my family knew about 20 other families who also moved down here from NH but we were all spread out all over the city and to say we knew all of them was a stretch, my dad worked with a member of their family but it wasn’t like we had a bunch of friends. Our neighborhood grew quickly and it was a lot of families similar to ours, parents in their early to mid-30’s with kids, we (the kids) had lot of friends in the neighborhood and were outside all the time playing, riding bikes, running around, trying to raise money to buy a trampoline, walking door to door trying to sell wrapping paper, girl scout cookies, popcorn, fruit, whatever the school had going on at that time---normal kid stuff.

As an adult I think how lonely this must have been for my mom. She did not work, she had 4 kids (2 school age and 2 pre-school age) in a city she had never been to, 12 hours away from any family and had no friends. She was able to make a lot of friends in the neighborhood and still lunches with a lot of these ladies monthly and a few who have moved away (other parts of Charlotte or out of state) she still sees when they come visit. A few of these couples even came to my wedding and my parents have gone to their kids weddings also. We joined a neighborhood pool (not our neighborhood) and my mom played on their tennis team, volunteered with the swim team, she worked at our schools, and spent the rest of her “free time” carting us all over town to different sports and activities.

Summerlake was a great place to grow up- everyone knew everyone, all the kids played together, went to school together, and played sports together. We had a neighborhood directory that had name, address, phone #, family members and a list in the back of anyone who did stuff like: babysit, dog sit, water plants, collect mail and mow lawns, so if you needed any of those things you had a list of people to call. I used to babysit all the time and still get a kick out of it when someone I used to sit for friends me on FB or I run into them out somewhere (ah I am so old!) Annually we had a Halloween party/parade and other neighborhood parties, there was a supper club and at some point I think the woman started Bunco.

Mark and I moved in March 2012 to a neighborhood that was in the process of being built. Building began in 2006 and when we moved in it was 60% complete, today there are only 2 houses left and they will probably be done by March 2015. I only have one friend in the neighborhood and only because I knew her before moving in….I am constantly asking myself why is this? We are outside a lot, we play, we walk, we sit, we wave, I try to strike up conversations with neighbors but most of the time it is just in passing and no one really seems to be interested in making friends.

Last week when we were going out of town I didn’t have anyone to ask to check our mail and porch for packages (my one neighbor friend was out of town), I went online and asked the USPS to hold it, received a confirmation email and returned home on Sunday to 3 days’ worth of mail and 2 packages on my front porch…thanks USPS!

Mark and I are having our first nonfamily babysitter in a few weeks and she is 16 and doesn’t have a car, I wanted to make sure I had a neighbor’s phone # to give her in case of emergency so that someone would be close, I asked my one neighbor friend and luckily she doesn’t have plans that night.

I want Sawyer to grow up in a neighborhood like Summerlake, I want him to be able to walk to his friend’s houses, ride the bus to school with his friends, walk home with them after school, run around the neighborhood causing trouble and know that “Suzie” up the street will tell me about it and have no issue keeping him in line when needed, borrow a cup of sugar, be able to give someone a spare key in case I get locked out, have someone to pick up our mail or be the in case of emergency for a babysitter, etc. I want to cookout with neighbors, sit in our driveways and have a few beers while our kids are sleeping upstairs, play Bunco, have supper club, etc.

I am starting to think that these neighborhoods don’t exist anymore. Is it because nowadays both parents work and don’t have time? There are fewer transplants so the people in my neighborhood already have a ton of friends and don’t want anymore? Is it scarier “out there” and no one wants their kids running around? Are people are less social and want to keep friends and neighbors separate? Is it me?