It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Except I am so far behind that I wonder if I can get it all done.

I’m an extremely organized person. I hate to admit it, but I am that type A personality person with everything in its place, a schedule, a to do list and everything is coordinated and color coded and alphabetized… Ok, not everything. But I’m not that far off.

This year I’m behind. I’m never behind. But I had a bit more going on than usual and a lot of it was NOT my stuff. Don’t get me wrong, a marriage, kids, full time job, photography side business and writing a book is a lot for someone to juggle alone. But you see, I have these two friends who need my help. Either one would be there for me in an instant day or night if I needed them so I’m there for them as well and they both need me. You may ask why… well they are both hoarders and they are both moving. One moved about 5 months ago the other one is moving in 5 months from now.

Why does this involve me? Well I’m good with them. I’m organized. I know them well and I know how they think and what is important to them. So I help them work through their stuff. It involves a lot of time and I can only spare a couple hours a week to help them so I need to alternate between them.

Well, when the first friend moved she was no where ready so it took a lot longer to move her than expected. It was crunch time at the end so everything got put in unlabeled boxes and bags and moved to the new house to be sorted later. I spent about 4 weeks in the evenings after work almost every night helping her paint, pack, unpack, move stuff, find boxes five months later we have barely made a dent. Seriously, at least 50% needs to go away. Given away, sold, thrown away… I don’t care where it goes as long as it doesn’t stay there. I have a plan. It will get done. I was helping her last weekend and told her I just can’t help her this weekend because I have too much I need to do of my own stuff but I can start helping again after the new year.

Friend #2 is selling her (very full) house and moving into an RV to travel in her retirement. Probably 90% of what she has needs to go. The rest will go into storage. We have been working on it for the last year and have a plan. We took from September through the end of the year off and will purge hard core after the new year.

As for why I’m so far behind… well my shopping is done. But typically the day after thanksgiving I wrap my gifts and decorate the tree so I can just kick back and enjoy the rest of the holiday season. Well friend #1’s Mom passed away suddenly and she needed help to stay busy so I spent the weekend coming and going to help her stay busy. So none of my stuff got done. It has been like that with me spending all my spare time helping her or spending time with her to help her through this rough patch. I told her this weekend I can’t help her because I need to get my own stuff done and it’s now the last weekend before Christmas. I am out of time.

Next year will be different. Next year I’m going back to having everything done by the end of thanksgiving weekend so I can relax and enjoy the season and not be rushing to finish everything in time. Next year I have goals. I have a plan for 2020.

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you all have a relaxing holiday season full of joy. But just know if you are behind and still have a lot to do you are not alone.

Loosing it!

After posting last weeks post with a photo from my UK trip in September I realized that I actually have lost weight, I see myself in the mirror every day so I don’t notice. I knew I had to get smaller pants for work because they fall down when I put my phone in my pocket but when I look in the mirror I just see how much more I have to go not the progress I have made so far. Let’s start with how did I get to be so fat…

Weight has been a struggle for me my entire life. Growing up I was a healthy weight then I broke my ankle and put some weight on in junior high. I lost the weight walking with the moms in the neighborhood in the mornings and got back to average. In high school I did cheerleading. Nothing can make you feel fatter than being a size 12 in a size zero to 5 world. That started my struggle. In high school I worked and ate at Burger King where I worked. All that fast food made it a struggle to keep the weight off. I joined my first gym and took step aerobics every morning at 5:30 am. By graduation I looked great and was almost at my goal weight.

From high school on my weight went up usually from excessive eating out, an injury that had me laid up or both. Followed by me recovering, getting irritated that I was overweight and starting to watch what I eat and exercising until I got back in shape again. I’d stay in shape until the next injury and I’d start the cycle all over again. All those times I was young and didn’t have kids. Life is different now.

My current weight loss struggle started almost a decade ago. Yes, I said decade. I fell and shattered my leg landing myself in a wheelchair for just over 6 months. The weight piled on. But, as in the past I healed up and started to get in shape again. I got married. I got pregnant. I got on bed rest. That baby had 2 congenital heart defects and was 6 weeks premature. He was in the hospital for 69 days after his birth. All that sitting in the hospital and eating take out not my husband and I put a lot of weight on and I blossomed you to my highest weight ever at 323 lbs! Once life settled and the baby was home we made a change and decided to lead a heart healthy lifestyle to set a good example for our son. We started eating right and exercising and loosing weight. I was doing awesome! Then I got pregnant again. My husband was running marathons and I was still doing a 5k a month while pushing the baby in the stroller until I was 6 months pregnant and the baby was shrinking my lung capacity.

Baby #2 was born healthy but 2 small kids and a full time job left me so sleep deprived that I started eating candy when feeding the baby in the middle of the night to stay awake. Not only did I have the baby weight to loose but the weight I gained from all that sugar. After baby #2 I struggled with energy level. I had trouble sleeping at night and still have nightmares from the PTSD I struggled with after having baby #1 and still struggle with today. My weight started to creep back up.

Now I had starts and stops in the last few years But when baby #2 turned 4 in August and I decided the “baby” is no longer an excuse and I need to get off my butt and get in shape for real. I had my UK trip in September and my birthday in October so I decided I’m getting serious after my birthday. Since that point I have been all about getting my eating habits under control. In just over a month I have lost 21.1 lbs. I still have a long way to go so I just see the work that needs to be done not what I have accomplished so far. Then I saw my face in the photo I posted last week and having just worked on our family Christmas cards I noticed a difference in my face. Now I have a long way to go still. But it’s inspiring.

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan…

That is a typical saying in my home. I had this layout planned of all these topics that I was going to write about back in August and I totally failed. How did this happen?

We all have times where we make a plan and then fail to actually follow through with the plan. Sometimes it is outside of our control (like your flight getting canceled due to weather). Other times it’s 100% our fault (like you are late for everything).

I know it’s hard to accept the blame ourselves, but I’m going to do it. It’s all my fault. I’m a chronic overachiever and tend to stretch myself a bit too thin. I’m one of those people who honestly could use a few more hours in the day. Not to sleep, but to get more things done. Although, I could really use the sleep as well.

How does this happen? In my case I work full time at a job that has a 1+ hour commute each way so I’m gone from 6AM to 6PM every day Monday-Friday. As annoying as that is it’s actually not that uncommon. Then we add in that I have 2 small kids that need my attention when I’m not at work. Add in the usual chores like grocery shopping, laundry, house cleaning ect. It’s already pretty busy.

Well, I’m an over achiever so I don’t stop there. I started this blog to help me get my life back on track and keep myself accountable. My goal was to write one post a week. Yeah, I’m still working on that goal.

Up next I missed having a creative outlet so I started doing photography again. Then on the encouragement of a friend I started entering photography contests and actually winning them. I was winning prizes and getting my photos featured in magazines and in galleries around the world. With all that I decided to start a photography business selling prints a year ago and developed a logo, portfolio website and website to sell prints. As if that wasn’t enough; About 6 months ago I joined the local Visual Arts Society and regularly have pieces in two of our local galleries. The shows change out every 6 weeks.

But all that wasn’t enough for me. I started traveling again this year. In May I went to San Diego for an educational conference. Then in September I went to Scotland on my first solo trip in years. I’m now planning on 3 trips for 2020 two with the hubby and one alone to teach at an educational conference in Las Vegas because oh yeah, I also decided to start teaching learning labs at conferences starting in October this year.

But wait! There’s more! I decided I’m going to write a book. Yep. For as long as I can remember people have been telling me that I should write a book. I feel that over the last year the universe has been dropping hints less subtly that I should write a book. So I am. My goal it to finish it by October 2020. I hoped to finish it by my 45th birthday in October 2019, but I didn’t make it so my goal is to be published before my 46th one.

So how do things get missed? Well, I feel like I’m one of those acrobats that spins all those plates on sticks. I keep adding more plates and sticks and sometimes I drop a plate and it takes me a little bit to get it spinning again. Why do I do this to myself? Who knows. I have been like this for as long as I can remember. I have always had a tight, full schedule. I carried a calendar in my backpack in Jr high and moved to a big day runner in high school that I used through college. I eventually went to an electronic planner (I loved my palm pilot). Now I use the calendar in my phone. I just keep spinning my plates.

The difference between my younger self and my older, wiser self is that now I allow a time buffer between things to allow for traffic or things running late. I usually plan on twice my travel time. So if my drive will take 15 minutes I allow 30. That usually helps to keep my plates from taking out other plates as they fall off their sticks.

So I’m not perfect. I try to juggle my own responsibilities, wants, needs and desires as well as the wants, needs and desires of my husband, children, friends and other family members. I occasionally drop plates since I tend to put myself as the last priority. But when those plates fall I try to regroup, shuffle things around and get them all spinning again.