Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Document: February (12 in 2012)

February is finally over!

I don't know what it is about February that just makes me feel antsy and behind.  Even though I was very diverted this month, I feel this way every February.  Maybe it's because January is full of newness and excitement (and my birthday!), and February seems drab in comparison.  Maybe it's because this month is shorter than the rest; I don't know what that has to do with it, but it's true.  Maybe it's because February is when the new year kicks into high gear.  Maybe it's because it's the last "real" month of winter.  It's most likely because so many things are crammed into such a short month!!!  In my old job as a Resident Assistant, October and February were the busiest months of the year -- February especially because we were on double duty by having to prep for the following school year.

Anyways, I am just glad March is here!  March = Spring Break, sunny days, thunderstorms, the beginning of Spring!!!  Everything just seems more alive and awake ;)  Even though I am super excited about March, February did have some good moments, and I was able to accomplish some things on which I had planned.

1. 12 in 2012: Update Photos and Scrapbook. I added more pages to my Scrapbook, I chose pictures/mementos for each additional page, and I bought some extra paper for my Scrapbook.  I only finished one new page, however.  Doug and I also successfully filled up the last three disposable cameras from our August Reception!  Now, just to get those printed...

2. Reading. I only read 6 books this month (3 being new books), but I have read 20 books so far this year (9 new books), so I am pretty pleased to be a few books ahead of schedule.  I am hoping to begin reading the Maze Runner series soon (3 more new books!) and then do the Hobbit/LOTR series again; Spring Break should also help boost my reading time.  I also have 3-4 books to read on evangelism for my next class, which should be really interesting, thought-provoking, and (I hope) inspiring.

3. Recipes. I did try two new recipes I posted (One Pot Mac n Cheese and Oven Roasted Veggies), but I also made Banana Ice Cream (Ice Cream made out of frozen bananas), I cooked Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon for the first time (for Valentine's Day), and...well then Doug and I fought sickness, had company, celebrated Doug's birthday, and there wasn't much time for real cooking.  I am so looking forward to fresh fruits and veggies being on sale soon to inspire some new dishes!

4. Health/Weight.  This has been up and down -- literally!  I can't seem to make it to the gym without missing at least one week per month!  I lost time over Christmas (Dec), when Doug's Grandfather passed away (Jan), and for sickness (Feb).  Here's to hoping March is a full month!  Besides this, I joined Map My Run, which is an online tool to help map and measure a walk, jog, or run.  After my (several) knee, ankle, and foot injuries over the last 8-9 years, I have been wanting to begin walking and eventually running again.  I would love to get up to a 5K (roughly 3 miles); now that the weather is warmer, I can take advantage of living so close to a nice park and running path!

My 12 in 2012 goal for March was to make memories, mostly as an excuse for a fabulous Spring Break trip.  I think I am going to work on taking more pictures (I was so caught up on Doug's birthday that we have zero pictures!) and hopefully finishing dealing with the photos we have!  Doug and I are also planning on mapping out some of his vacation time for holidays and vacation, which will bring lots of memories too!  Finally, I want to work on keeping track of our memories better -- and what better way than through this blog!  I am working on updating our blog, as well as hoping to post much more: reviews on books/movies, more recipes, some devotional material, etc.  This will take some time and effort to update, but I think it will be worth the effort in the end!

Are you glad February is through?  Are you still sticking to your resolutions for the year?  What are you planning to do once Spring "officially" hits?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Diverted

Diverted (verb):  turned a different direction, took attention away

The word of the month is definitely "diverted!"  Between Valentine's Day, being sick, Doug's 25th birthday,  house guests, and classes coming to a close, I have barely had time to think!!!  Remember when I was bored and had nothing to do, and I had the audacity to complain about the lull in my life.  Yeah, I don't think I will EVER complain about being bored again.

It's always hard to explain to people what exactly I do.  Technically, I have a job that reimburses me through Scholarship money for Grad School (= free Masters' degree).  This "job," however, is a work-from-home job in that I pick up papers, quizzes, and homework to take home and grade.  I keep track of all assignments and the gradebook on my computer at home.  I administer the Exams for the class, which is my only real outside work.  I added on tutoring prior to quizzes and Exams as a way to be more involved, but that only takes about an hour every two weeks (on average).  So, if my "job" only takes up about 3-4 hours per week (5-6 on a busy week), what else do I do.  Well, I guess you could say I am a stay-at-home-wife.  I had finances, grocery shopping, cleaning, correspondence, cooking, and everything else that goes into running the house.  Doug is very helpful (He is officially in charge of laundry.), but the bulk of keeping our lives running normally is on my plate.  Other then my "real" job and my "other" job, I am a full-time student.  Currently, I am taking two "senior level" Grad classes (online) over an 8-week period.  This means, not only am I expected to maintain enough discipline to monitor my own learning, but the classes are done in "double time" -- residential students will cover this material in 16 weeks instead of our shortened 8 weeks.  Add on church, going to the gym, spending time with Doug, time with friends, blogging, and personal time -- I am officially out of time!  Normally I am able to balance all of this, but it only takes the slightest breeze to demolish a house of cards...

When I made the decision to decelerate my life, I tried to give up the non-necessities and time-wasters in order to make the most of my time and enjoy life.  I failed to consider how diversions would affect deceleration.  Just because I re-prioritized doesn't mean other people did!!!  Plus, all the planning in the world is ineffective when facing an unforeseen issue -- like being sick during the week you were planning to work ahead in classes.  Like having to catch up on work you missed due to illness during a week that you have guests staying for 6 out of 8 days (and when you are throwing your husband's birthday party).  Needless to say, my life and time in February was diverted!!!

If nothing else, this experience has taught me to take control of my time and my schedule instead of allowing circumstances and other people to dictate it.  Having priorities is useless without living based on those priorities.  I am trying to reclaim my time (to make the most of it) during these last two weeks of classes, but I am hoping that Spring Break will give me time to reevaluate, rejuvenate, and reestablish my life!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Disease

Disease (n):  ailment, affliction

Doug and I have hit another milestone in our first year of marriage:  sickness.  We made it through our first Valentine's Day unscathed, but we both developed a nasty head cold that has now taken over our home.  Now, Doug and I have dealt with each other being sick, but never both of us at once.  This experience, I believe, is teaching us much more about living together and marriage than almost anything else we have gone through.

First, the line of selfishness and servanthood is clearly drawn.  When both people are sitting on the couch soughing up a lung, who is going to get more tissues?  Who is going to make lunch/dinner?  Who is going to empty the little garbage can when it overflows?  Second, personal space/habits become a bigger issue.  The messy spouse leaves used Kleenex all over the house.  Or plates and empty glasses.  The OCD spouse is counting how many cups of water everyone has been drinking, how often meds have been taken, and is taking everyone's temp every four hours.  Sometimes the messy spouse and the OCD spouse are the same person, which just annoys the easy-going, yet neat spouse.  Both people want to watch TV, but there is a big difference between Battlestar Gallatica and Friends.  Or Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and Pride & Prejudice.  Finally, you learn the other person's version of what sick means.  When you are both fighting the same virus at the same time, you have a general idea about how the other person is feeling.  Everyone works on their own pain scale; some people have a lower or higher tolerance for pain than you do.  One spouse, for instance, cannot handle sinus pressure.  The pain and congestion is just too much to bear.  Sore throat, not a problem.  Runny nose, no big deal.  The other spouse, though, might not be able to stand a chest cold.  All the coughing and soreness is too painful.  They don't mind the congestion as long as it stays in their head.

While these may seem like minor things, something as "primitive" as a cold can really strengthen a marriage.  It promotes teamwork, it allows for togetherness, and it really does help you get to know each other better.  Now that Doug and I have experienced that, I think we don't need to do that again.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Determination: February Update

My 12 in 2012 goal for February was to get our Scrapbook up-to-date and get our pictures organized.  We were blessed to get many picture frames for our house, which are all filled (minus one for which I am still trying to find a picture) and placed/hung in our apartment.  On top of this, I was able to fill our scrapbook with pages depicting our Freshman year of college (when we met) through our wedding and a bit of our honeymoon... when I ran out of pages.  So I did pretty well, right?

The opening page of our Scrapbook
Well, I have 7 months worth of pictures to add to the scrapbook (including pictures of our apartment, our honeymoon, extra reception, my mother-in-law's wedding, the birth of our niece, and holidays) AND four paintings left to hang.  That was my mountain to climb for February.  Well, as I mentioned in my previous post, I had a hard time diving into February.  Unfortunately, I did not use that free time wisely and instead felt sad because I had run out of things to do.  Now, I have papers, projects, Valentine's Day (which is over, but still took time and effort), and Doug's birthday to keep me occupied; add babysitting my niece, tutoring sessions, and house guests, and you are left with zero time!

Well, fortunately I found a little time to buy extra pages and some additional paper to start working on the Scrapbook.  I still need to get a few disposable cameras developed, but I am ready to start working!  As far as hanging paintings goes, I have to wait for Doug to have some time to help me place and hang the pictures.  Hopefully I will have some Scrapbook pages and hanged paintings to show you in a few weeks!

Blank pages added

Lots of color and patterns to make it special; plus, I'm a big fan of polka-dots!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dwell

Dwell (verb):  inhabit, occupy, settle

February = Stuck.  There are several reasons why I am feeling like a stick in the mud this week:

1. Lack of concrete accomplishments.  I read dozens of books in January, but I have not finished one book yet this month.  I have hit my first weight-loss plateau (the dreaded almost-five-pounds-but-not-quite mark).  I have unaccomplished cleaning left over from January, and I have not started on my scrapbooking/picture organizing for February.  I have started classes and have done well thus far, but I have had no landmark project or paper yet.

2. The second sweep of winter.  Every year there are those few warm days/weeks.  At first, you live in denial believing that it is a fluke.  Eventually, you note the consistency of warmth.  You are inevitably drawn outside; you even switch to Spring clothes/colors.  Then, like a slap in the face, the temperature drops overnight and cruelly taunts your belief that Spring had come.  Cloudy, I can handle; freezing, I cannot.

3. Planning Lull.  All the holiday planning (which was fun) and travelling (which was horrid) is over.  There is a lull of time before which I can move into Valentine's Day planning, Doug's birthday planning, and Spring Break planning giving me nothing to plan.  What is going to occupy my time if I have nothing to plan?  I blame this partly on the lack of a Superbowl party (Doug works during it.), which would have given me something for which to plan.  At least tomorrow begins Valentine's season.

I felt so stuck that I had trouble even thinking of an adequate "D" word for this blog post and had to use a thesaurus.  As I looked at the synonyms, I noticed a lot of the words portrayed stability, which is something very positive.  I began considering my "stuckness," and decided that it is actually proof of my deceleration!  For once, I am not juggling everything in my life in an attempt at normalcy -- I am actually settling into normalcy!  

I guess the point is that when life feels mundane, it is truly a blessing.  It means there are no emergencies, there is a lack of chaos, and things are (probably) going well.  It means that you are not rushing to meet deadlines, nor are you stressed and tired for overwork.  It is the land of the happy medium, the eye of the storm, and the bottom of the pendulum swing.  It is the gift of peace.