Success in the Midst of Chaos

Life is so busy these days.

Honestly, I feel naive to even say that. By this point in my life, I’ve come to realize that life is busy. Period. Different seasons have different feels. Some seasons have more peace than others. But all seasons of life are busy in their own way. Life is, was, and always will be busy.

So, yes, my life is busy. But it’s also one of those times that feels unpleasantly busy. When that happens, I tend to scale back wherever I can. This week I skipped our co-op and a rosary group that I really enjoy. Perhaps that was counterproductive, as I love the time I spend with those ladies, but not having to get all five littles out the door and monitor their behavior at both of those events was a huge relief for me.

Busyness (Despite several online dictionaries’ assurance, I’m still not convinced that’s how busyness should be spelled.) aside, we’ve accomplished quite a bit around the house. Since we’re going to be moving within the month, which is not something we had planned, we have quite a bit to tackle around here. Lucky for me, my stress projects have put a very positive dent in all that needs to be done. This week we have also:

IMG_7585

My sweet Andy helping paint our kitchen when we moved in back in 2010.

1. Painted both boys’ rooms. Ben’s room was covered in crayon, not because I allow my children to color on the walls, but because Ben always finds a way to cut or color or spread toothpaste or glitter on things that shouldn’t be cut, colored, toothpasted, or glittered. Andy and Jack’s room was just gross. There was like this gray funk over all the walls. It must be a growing boy thing. Both rooms are now beautiful and neutral. Hopefully they will remain that way for the next month.

2. I cleaned the grout in the master bath. Seriously – do other people struggle with grout like I do?? It’s just gets so nasty. Is there some secret to keeping it clean? Or an easier method to clean it? Toothbrushes and magic erasers are the best methods I’ve found. Needless to say, there will definitely be no grout in the new house after we renovate. I hate grout! It is my house cleaning nemesis. Fortunately, all the grout in my house is almost clean. All I have left to tackle is the kitchen.

And somehow, in the midst of all the chaos of everything else going on…

3. …I had a really great little visit with one of my confirmandi. Well…he’s not a confirmand anymore – he was confirmed last spring, but I don’t know how else to refer to him. Anyone have a cute way to refer to the kiddos they’ve sponsored for Confirmation? Anyway, he texted because he’s having a tough time and wanted to chat. He came over Monday afternoon and we had a great little visit while my kiddos ran around like lunatics. Even though it was a great visit, he needs some prayer. Would you mind offering a quick prayer for him?…………….Thanks!! :)

So that’s it for me. Small successes in the midst of crazy, busy, chaos. But, hey, that’s life right? Share your small successes over at Small Success Thursday. Make it a great day!

Settling In

So I finally rejoined humanity on the internet. Other than my blog, I can’t say I missed it all that much. I really didn’t even miss my blog as much as I could have, since Josh has been around so much lately to entertain me. Sadly, he’s not here to entertain me today. Actually, that’s not really a sad thing at all.

I have to say, his absence has definitely been noticed today. It’s been so nice to have him around to talk to, bounce ideas of of, and share responsibilities with him. We definitely need to work on becoming independently wealthy so he can be around the house more often. :o) Anyway, the reason it’s not sad that hes’ back at work today is because today is the first day of his new position! In the middle of all the moving chaos, he managed to interview for and earn himself a promotion! We’re all really excited and so very proud of him!

Equally exciting is the fact that he’s now going to be working a much more normal schedule. I was soooooo sick of him working nights. I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but it was. I really, truly hated it.  Not having him around for dinner time in and of itself just got to be too much. I’ve always said I was a firm believer in family dinner time, mostly because that’s how I was raised. Now that we have experienced life without it, I know that it is most definitely a staple for a healthy family environment.

We’ve been in our new house for a couple weeks now, and we’re really enjoying it. I have to say, home ownership is good for your waistline and your tan line! :o) We’re constantly working on something. Despite how busy we’ve been getting everything in order, our house is still totally wrecked! The nursery looks more like a salvage yard of miscellaneous baby items. Our room has furniture going every which way and a mountain of books completely lining one whole wall of the room. The living room has a huge stack of frames and other decorative items that need to find homes throughout the house. The garage is pretty much a nightmare. Basically, the play room, the boys room, the kitchen and the laundry room are the only rooms that are in working order. But even they still need to be decorated.

It’s all been so much fun though. Working on the house really feels so much different than unpacking and decorating a rental. Usually, I hang frames around the house with a sense of dread, knowing it won’t be too long before I’m packing them back up only to hang them somewhere else. This time there’s a sense of permanence. Actually, there’s even a little bit of pressure knowing that these items, theses photographs, these pieces of memorabilia are part of what is going to make this house a home.

As for paint colors, we’ve come to a complete standstill. We’ve completely scratched our original plan and headed back to the drawing board. Now that we’ve lived in the house, the colors we picked just don’t seem right. The only thing we’ve got nailed down is the master bedroom and bathroom. I think we’re just going to have to start there and then make a quick decision for the nursery, since we don’t have too much time before Ben joins us. I can’t wait to start painting. Hopefully, it will go much more smoothly than our fence staining ordeal! Stay tuned to hear all about that.

And just to add some closure to the whole house hunting, mortgage lending process, here’s a picture our realtor took at the closing table with his phone. It’s a little fuzzy, but I love it. I may even have to frame it, despite the fact that I don’t look 8 months pregnant, just fat.

House Pictures

Our closing got moved up to the 23rd!! I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! Despite all the things we have going on this week: Josh’s interview today, our wedding anniversary, Josh’s Knights of Columbus induction, my doctor appointment, celebrating being 8 months pregnant, I think it might possibly be the longest week ever waiting for Friday to come. Honestly, I should probably be doing more to prepare for the move, but Josh is insistent that I don’t need to do anything. Since we’re just moving about 20 minutes down the road, we’re just going to make a lot of little trips and get a small trailer to help us over the weekend. Personally, I find the thought of moving this way much more stressful than knowing I have to pack the whole house. We’ll see how it goes….

Anyway, without further ado here’s a slide show of the pictures I have of our house to date. Enjoy!

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What’s Really Holding Me Back?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what direction I want to go with my business. Since the beginning of this pregnancy was a little rough, I took some time off. I’ve still been servicing all of my existing customers but I haven’t done much to generate new business or even grow my current business. As I was cleaning out the garage today in preparation for our big move, I found myself staring at my Mary Kay nook. Since our apartment is small, I keep a lot of my stuff (not product. I’m talking about booth display stuff and shopping bags and peanuts and whatnot.) in the garage. I realized as I looked at all my stuff that I needed to make a decision. If I’m going to make this “break” a permanent one, I need to do it. Otherwise, I need to get moving again.

I just don’t even know how to make this decision. I adore both my sales director and my adopted sales director so I’m sure I’ll be spending some time on the phone with them soon, but ultimately I need to figure out what I want and what is best for my family. And really, that’s just an excuse. Working my business in no way negatively impacts my family. The boys don’t mind at all when I’m gone. They love having Josh all to themselves. And what family would complain about additional income? Especially the significant amount that comes in for the small amount of time I actually spend out of the house. So, I guess what it really boils down to is do I want to do the work?

That question really bothers me. I’m not at all a lazy person. I’m organized and get a lot done on a daily basis. But, for some reason, when it comes to getting my business moving again, it seems like laziness is exactly what my problem is. But even that doesn’t make sense. The work it takes to get moving isn’t hard at all, it’s a lot fun. I love holding parties and skin care classes. I love getting to know new women and helping them feel beautiful. I love watching other women fall in love with both Mary Kay products and the company. I love the products and the company and its so much fun to share that.

This is why I can’t make a decision. I keep going around and around with myself and I can’t even pinpoint what the problem is. So, I told myself I was going to get rid of it all. I was going to have a big going out of business sale and give away all of my supplies, training materials and other goodies. That very literally made me want to cry. I don’t want to get rid of my Mary Kay stuff. I’m a really good consultant, and, more importantly, I really enjoy it. I achieved a lot of success very quickly and then dropped the ball.

Why? The truth is, I know the answer, but I don’t like it. And I definitely don’t want to admit it. But I’ll lay it out here. Maybe if I just admit what the real problem is, I can finally make a decision and get moving.

I’m not satisfied with mediocre. I never have been. Not personally and not with my business. But in my business, I reached a point where I was going to have to stretch myself, step out of my comfort zone and overcome some personal belief barriers to keep moving. So what did I do? I froze. The truth is I froze before I even moved to Texas. Based on what I learned about my business doing my taxes, it appears I froze right before seminar last year. Then, the move and the rough start to my pregnancy were perfect excuses to watch my momentum slip away. Sad isn’t it? I was faced with an opportunity to grow, something I claim I want to continuously do, and I didn’t. I told myself I couldn’t. I just shut down.

But knowing is half the battle, right? I don’t know if that’s true or not. I know very well what the problem is, but I still haven’t faced it. I keep trying to call it another problem: a family conflict, a time conflict, and energy conflict. Deep down I know, as I’ve already mentioned, that none of those are really the problem. I guess step one is to refuse to make excuses for what the problem really is. From now on, when thinking about or talking about my business, I will be honest about the real reason I’m not working right now. Step two is to decide whether I’m going to put on my big girl panties and grow or if I’m going to stay in my comfort zone and look back fondly at the time I spend in Mary Kay.

To further complicate the problem, either choice comes with its own brand of fear. If I move forward with my business, I’m going to have to face the fears that shut me down before. Walking away from my business comes with the fear of regret for what might have been. I’ve spent far too long trying to make this decision based on which fear would be easier to deal with. (I’ll go ahead and tell you. For me, it’s the later.)

As I said, the thought of walking away from my business honestly brings tears to my eyes. I love Mary Kay, the woman, the product, the company, the women, the mission, the charity, everything. I suppose I’ve come to that crucial point that all relationships eventually reach. The point where love the feeling isn’t enough. It’s time for love to be a verb. I just have to decide if I’m going to take action.

update

So it’s been a minute since I posted a blog.What have I been up to lately? Hmm…

San Antonio was amazing! It was seriously one of the best trips of my life. I’m thinking it was probably number 2. After all, it would be insanely hard to top Key West! We stayed with my sister and spent the entire trip downtown on the river or at the Alamodome. It was a super short trip, but it was seriously amazing. If you ever look at my pictures, you know I took about a million. Josh and I are planning to go back sometime in the very near future.

After San Antonio, we had to come back and finish packing the house. We left the boys with my parents for a week, so I was able to get a lot done. And, yes, I mean I got a lot done. Josh literally packed like 3 boxes. Really those don’t even count because Michelle helped him! By the way, I sincerely want to thank the amazing people that helped us move. Michelle, thank you so much for helping us pack and for putting up with Josh’s poor packing skills!! :) Brian and Emily, you two are amazing! Thank you so much for all of your help loading and unloading and cleaning. You two made the move so much fun and you definitely helped keep Josh and me from killing each other during all the stress! Lastly, Logan, thank you for your help loading and unloading and running miscellaneous errands for us over those two days! The move went really well. The only big problems came from Comcast. It literally took 3 weeks to get everything taken care of, but I worked with several very nice people. Note to anyone who cares: You know how comcast runs those commercials about transferring service to your new address online?? DON’T EVER USE THAT SERVICE!! That’s where all our problems stemmed from. It was a disaster. All the phone reps I talked to said they hear that all the time.

We’re currently living in a temporary apartment. We moved into a brand new complex (which is absolutely amazing!!) and because of all the rain, our 3 bedroom apartment wasn’t ready yet. They moved us into a brand new 2 bedroom, where we will be living for FREE until our 3 bedroom is ready. It’s inconvenient not being able to unpack (well I could unpack, but I’m not going to since I know we’ll be moving again in like a month) but it’s not like I can complain. I mean come on. How often do you get to live in a beautiful place for free?!

Aside from our fabulous apartment, which, mind you, is WAY less expensive than our apartment in Cordova and MUCH nicer, I love love love Marion. This is seriously the perfect place to raise a family. No crime. Decent schools. Super friendly people. Plus, we’re literally 10 minutes from downtown. It’s so cool to hop in the car and be walking on Beale Street in 15 minutes tops. If Josh and I didn’t have kids, we would totally live downtown, so this is perfect: close to downtown but in a nice, family-oriented community.  I love riding around, looking at all the different neighborhoods and thinking about where we’ll buy/build one day.

Speaking of which, we’re slowly on our way to accomplishing that goal. We’re doing really well with paying off our debt. If all goes as planned, we should have everything paid off by December 2009. That means we’ll own both our cars (Well, we already paid off the civic. How awesome is that?!) and have no credit card debt. We’re not so worried about paying off our student loans. They don’t hurt your credit. The only way they’ll effect us in terms of buying a house is by reducing our debt-to-income ratio. That totally won’t be a big deal since that’s all we’ll have being factored into that ratio. We’ve weighed all of our options and decided to forgo the “starter home.” We’re going to wait until we can buy or build the home we want to raise our family in. Our plan is to avoid incurring any debt in the future, with the exception of our mortgage, so we really want to save a 20% down payment. That will keep us from paying PMI, and we’ll have equity in our house from day one. However, being fiscally smart unfortunately requires delayed gratification. It could take up to five years for us to be ready to buy/build. That makes me sad because I’m ready for our house NOW. I know it’s what’s best for our financial future though. Despite having to wait for what I want, which is something I’ve never been good at, I’m really proud of us. I feel like we’re making good, solid decisions for our family and our future.

So, I guess that’s about it for now. I love my blog. I think it’s fun to talk about myself. This way, I don’t have to worry about boring the person I’m talking to. If anyone reading this gets bored, they can just stop. It’s perfect. I can ramble on and on and only interested parties have to pay attention to me. Haha. Yeah, I pretty much love my blog!

SAN ANTONIO!!

…or as my sister calls it, SATown!! I’m so freakin excited! For the second year in a row, Josh and I will be joining our incredible Memphis Tigers at the Alamodome in San Antonio! We had an amazing time last year, and I can only imagine how much better this year will be! FINAL FOUR, baby! Not only will we be there, cheering them on in the final four, but we will be watching them break the long standing NCAA record when they win! I can’t freakin wait! Plus, as though the mere fact we’re going to the final four and championship game isn’t enough, I get a mini vacay with my hubby!! We’ll be in San Antonio for three full days, which will be packed full of basketball, sightseeing, and whatever else it is that couples do when they don’t have children! :) We’re dropping the boys off at my parents house in Dallas on the way down. It’s not technically on the way, but it’s not all that far out of the way either. Plus, it’ll be a nice break during the drive. We’re definitely planning on seeing the Alamo and going to the River Walk, and my sister has all kinds of nightlife activities planned for us. That may be all we get to do this trip. There’s a Six Flags down there, but we’re going to Six Flags in June for Josh’s company picnic. There’s also a Sea World, but I think we’re going to wait to do that until we get the boys down there. Maybe we’ll swing by Sea World on our way to or from Galveston this summer. We’ll see…  Oh my gosh!! I’m just so excited! I can hardly wait!! I started packing last night, since we’re loosing the whole weekend. Well…not loosing the weekend. It will just be unavailable for packing. :) My plan is to get all the decorative stuff down and packed prior to leaving town. I think that will leave us in pretty good shape for when we get back. Packing is posing an interesting challenge this time. We just found out that, because of all the rain, our new apartment isn’t going to be ready until June. We have to move into a two bedroom until the three bedrooms are finished being built. I can’t really complain. The complex is doing everything in their power to make up for the inconvenience. Packing is just a little more difficult because I have to pack in terms of what can stay in boxes for two months and what we’ll need to be able to access easily. I’m such a neat freak when it comes to my house, so I find the thought of living out of boxes in an undecorated apartment a little unnerving, but I’m sure I’ll pull through. :) We just have so much going on right now. Everything is so exciting! Yay for us! Yay for Memphis! And yay for San Antonio!

moving day is fast approaching

moving family

I just tracked the moving boxes I ordered from uhaul.com. They’re going to be here tomorrow. That’s really scary to me. It makes it real. I’m am absolutely DREADING packing up all of our belongings AGAIN.

Theoretically, this will be the last time until we get a house. However, that was the plan the last two times too. We can see how well that worked out.

I think the problem is that it’s really hard to figure out what’s best for a family. When it’s just you, you have the luxury of taking risks and, if they don’t work out, you can just learn your lesson and move on. Now, any mistakes we make effect two other people besides us.

I figure we have until Andy starts kindergarten (fall 2011) to get it figured out. I moved around a lot, and I don’t want to to that to my kids. I want them to be in the same school system for their entire school career. I want them to learn about lasting friendships and the need to resolve conflicts. I never really had to learn how to resolve conflicts. Not major ones, anyway. If I had a falling out with a schoolmate, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I just had to do a little bit of damage control because it was inevitable that my family would be moving within a few months.

There are so many lessons that children learn in school that have nothing to do with academics. Those lessons are probably a lot more valuable to success in life than a lot of the lessons they learn in the classroom. Social skills and interpersonal skills are hugely important to one’s success in life. I mean you probably won’t go very far unless you’ve learned lessons like:  identifying emotions and expressing them appropriately, being sensitive and respectful to others’ emotions, communication with both peers and adults, handling stress in a productive manner, time management, conflict resolution, and peer interaction.

These types of lessons can be really difficult for children to learn in any environment, but I believe they’d be much easier to learn in a stable environment. An environment where they’re not constantly trying to acclimate themselves to their new surroundings. An environment where they’re familiar with the other children and the teachers and parents. In an experiment, there has to be a control to be able to determine results. Not to say children’s lives are an experiment, but growing up can feel like one big experiment. Something needs to be stable so children can learn how to appropriately maneuver the other variables in their lives.

Anyway, this was just a long tangent to state the fact that I think children need to stay in one school system. Obviously, that’s not always possible. Sometimes the reasons for moving them outweigh anything previously mentioned, but I don’t think that’s the case most of the time.

Children need a stable environment. We keep moving to find the best place to establish that stable environment. Hopefully, we’ve found it this time. Assuming we have, we’ll live in our new apartment for a year or so and then start building our house.

On paper, everything looks really good for this move. While I’m not excited about the details that come with moving (packing, change of address, changing insurance, new doctors, blah blah blah) I am excited about the reasons we’re moving. I think we may have found the perfect place to raise our family. I really hope we’re right. I’m so glad we have the opportunity to sort of check it out first. If we don’t like what we see during this year in our new apartment, I guess we’ll look for somewhere else. It’s really hard to make decisions that will effect other people for years to come.