Monday, May 9, 2011

A Really Long Post

Dear Blog,

I'm so sorry. I didn't think this would ever happen. When we began our relationship, I was so committed to you. But I can't deny it any longer. I've been cheating on you. Me and Life just can't seem to get enough of each other. It's been going on for a couple of months, and I feel terrible about it. At first I thought I could handle it, but Life has been all over me, and frankly, it's getting old. I can't make any promises, but tonight, Life and I are taking a break. I miss you. I need you. And I will do my best to not neglect you anymore.

With love,

Okay, moving on.

I know it's a poor excuse, but all that I have to say for myself is that life has dished out more than I could take recently. Something had to give, and I just couldn't justify making blogging a priority. But I miss it so much. And it's not good for me to never take the time to blog. Blogging helps me think. Process my thoughts. And it keeps me honest. It's so easy to make bad choices when I know that they are going to remain my secret. But I really want to be done with that. It's time to get back on the wagon.

Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. I know without a doubt that this post is going to be too long. So I'm going to break it up with a few headings. Feel free to skip any sections that you aren't interested in catching up on! But I'm coming clean. Here's the scoop:

The House
I love it. It's not perfect, but at this point, I really don't have anything to complain about. It took several weeks before it started to feel homey. Good Friday was helpful. I was off of work and Brett wasn't, so it was the first day that I had the house to myself. Now it definitely feels like home. Still new. I am still getting familiar with the outside of the house, for instance. (I've spent embarrassingly little time working in the yard. I've never had to worry about that before. But I know I need to get on it! I promise I will soon. Maybe this weekend. Maybe =-) But I don't fumble around for light switches anymore. We have grilled several times in the backyard. We have had people over twice. All of those little details that make a house feel lived in.

Here is what I love about the house:
1. It has plenty of storage. The garage isn't as organized as it could be, so we will have to do some rearranging at some point, but we have sufficient closet space, plenty of kitchen cabinets and drawers and an awesome pantry!
2. I know I just said this, but the kitchen drawers deserve their own number. There are five and they are probably 24 inches wide. At least 20. I have an entire drawer just for kitchen towels. It's awesome. I am so thankful for the ability to be organized.
3. Gabe and Stevie. Gabe and Stevie are a brother and sister who live on our street. We had been here about a month when we caught their interest. For a little while, when they saw our car coming, they would jump on their bikes and race to our house. They liked to ask us about random things, like what our favorite color is and have we seen the ice cream man. It is awesome! I love these kids. They seem to have lost interest in us, but I am hoping that summer will change that.
4. The deck. Having the ability to grill outside at any time is such a gift. Brett loves to grill and he went two and a half years without charcoal grilling. I am so happy that he has the opportunity to get back to his passion.
5. The kitchen. It isn't huge, but we can both cook in there at the same time. Do I have to say more? It is WONDERFUL!
6. The laundry room. This is a two-fold point. First, I love that the laundry room is big enough to walk around in. It a really good size. I also love the wire shelves that are on the wall. They make doing laundry SOOOO much better! I can hang up clothes as soon as I pull them out of the dryer. It's awesome!
7. Lower energy bills. We are only on our second bill, but this one was for a full month, and it is one of the lowest we have ever had. I'm sure it will get higher in the summer, but I think there is a good chance that we will be paying MUCH less than we did at the apartment. HUGE praise!
8. Our rooms. Brett and I each have a room. We each have a space to put our personality on display and room to store and use the things we love. For me that means space to scrapbook (I just completed my first full scrapbook since college. Our wedding book =-) For Brett, it means having a place to display all of his collectibles.

I don't have any major complaints, but here is what I don't love.
1. The separate rooms is tricky. For instance, tonight, while I am writing this monster blog, he is alone in his room for a couple of hours. In the apartment, we had a bedroom and a study, which meant our computers were in the same room. We did our fun stuff together. Separate, but together. Well, now we are just separate. It's a big change and one that we have to manage carefully. Our weeks are so busy, it's important that we make time together a priority. Some weeks, if I spend one night in my room, that means I don't spend any nights with Brett because every other night of the week, one or both of us has something going on. See what I mean?
2. The address. We are on a street that has a West, where we live, and an East, somewhere else. We got a piece of mail last week for the same number house on East street and we are worried that we are not getting all of our mail. I'm going to have to be SERIOUSLY vigilant about watching the calendar and noticing if a bill doesn't show up.
3. The floors. The hardwood is nice, really it is, and the lack of carpet has made major improvements to our allergies, but... it's not as easy to clean. Well, at least I'm not as good as it yet. Vacuuming carpet is easy. Sweeping and mopping hard wood takes longer and it's easy to miss spots! But I think this will get better over time.

I hope to post pictures at some point, but the only other house related comment is about our anniversary present. We bought a king size bed!!! I may have mentioned this already, but it is worth expanding on. We adore the bed. It is SO comfortable and I feel beyond blessed to have the sleeping experience that I do each night.

The Job
I'm getting close to my year anniversary at the new job. That is seriously hard to believe. Like the house, it is not perfect, but it has many more positives than negatives. I was having a hard time in the fall/early winter and I went to the owner and told her that the office wasn't an easy fit for me and it was stressing me out and I hoped to be in a classroom next year. Well, the other owner had a talk with me shortly after that and told me I am doing a good job. I can't believe how much that conversation impacted me, but it changed my perspective completely. I am not a person who needs constant affirmation. I don't base my self-worth on other people's appraisals of me. But if I feel like I am struggling to gain my balance and unsure if I am doing what is expected of me, it is a tremendous help to have someone tell me that I am moving in the right direction.

I have since decided that I do not want to be in a classroom next year. It took SO much to be comfortable in the office. I can't start from the beginning again so soon. Also, I like knowing every student in the school. If I were in a classroom, I would know the 15-20 kids that I am with all day. In the office, I know everyone's name. I know who is sick and who has a birthday. I know who gets a new puppy and who is expecting a new sibling. I like it that way. I think I would really miss it. And finally, with all of the budget cuts in the school systems right now, there are hundreds of experienced, qualified teachers praying to find a position next year. I don't want to take one of those positions from someone who would likely better serve the students.

Not every day is good, and even the good days have tough moments, but overall, things are good and I am tremendously thankful for that. I love my co-workers and it is a HUGE blessing to have more than one friend at work. Though I am missing my lone friend from my last job tremendously. I am determined to call him this week and see how he is doing.

The Marriage
As always, we are tremendously blessed. The house was a major life change, and we are definitely having to learn a new balance, but we are both happy. Money is tight. There are costs that went down when we moved and costs that went up. They almost balance out, but not quite. And our paychecks are not going to fall as conveniently this year as they did last year. Last year, the days just happened to fall in such a way that most weeks, one of us would get paid. This year (I have gone through the entire calendar and mapped it out) we are getting paid on the same weeks WAY more often that not. That means we are paying tons of bills each time we get paid because there won't be more money coming in for a while. It also means we are buying more groceries at once for the same reason. We have very little extra money. But so far, we are dealing with it pretty well. We are still making good sized credit card payments and the gas in our car somehow manages to hold us till payday each time.

The Weight
Not good. I don't really know what to say about this. I feel ready to get back on the wagon, but things aren't good, so saying "I'm ready" feels dangerous somehow. I will try to update you as I go, but for now all I can say is I am going to try. Weight Watcher meetings are out of the question (we absolutely cannot afford another bill) and my weight is up so much that I would be too ashamed to go back right now. Our next grocery run will be loaded with good options and I am going to get back to healthy cooking and exercise. I have to. I look disgusting and my clothes are all too tight. =-( I can't afford a new wardrobe.

And finally, The Birthday
I turn 30 tomorrow. Ugh. I don't understand why 29 was so easy for me and 30 has been such a bummer. Here is what started it: I have been saying for a year now that I wasn't ready for kids, but when I turned 30, I would be. Well guess what? I turn 30 tomorrow and I'm still not ready. I feel like the move, which gave us "room for a baby" also gave us room for parts of our lives that have been stuffed in boxes for years now. I'm not ready to pack that all up again. And money is so tight. I think that adding a baby to this budget would break us. We need less debt and more income. We are working on both of those things, but until they happen, if I were to find myself pregnant, I am afraid that worry, not joy, would be my dominant emotion. That's probably not true, but worry would certainly be warring for my attention. We just aren't ready. I want to be ready, sooner rather than later, so I want us to be really intentional with our choices. I know that it will happen, but it's just not time yet. I'm not as sad now as I was about that a month ago, but it has taken a lot of prayer and thought to get me to this point. I don't want to waste my time.

Time. That's the other bummer. For the first time in my life, I hear that stupid clock ticking. I have always told myself that there were great things to come. That life was just beginning and that anything was possible. I lived by this mantra: Our lives can change with every breath we take. I really believed that. That we never run out of chances to start over. And then, here comes 30, and suddenly things felt more like an ending than a beginning. I have spent a lot of time battling this over the last month. As soon as I have the thought that "change won't just come, I have to make it happen" the Holy Spirit convicts me and reminds me that I am not in control. When I think about it too much, I focus on the wrong things. I don't have all of the answers. I hardly have any. But the ones that I have, I can act on. I can make healthier choices. I can work on showing my husband that I love him. I can be mindful of my finances. I can stay in the Word.

So at this point, I don't have any lists to share with you about turning 30. The "30 things to do while I am 30" didn't happen. I think 30 is too many. I know that this year, I will take my first ever girls trip. It is already on the calendar. I am also going to finish reading through the Bible consecutively. I'm almost through with Isaiah. My food related goal is to get under 200 pounds. I've got a LOT of work to do to get there, but I know it is attainable. As far as the crafting goes, I'm just going to have to take it one step at a time. If I force it, it will interfere with my marriage. I need to just take the opportunities as they come along and not try to force anything. At least not right now. It would be great to get a business going this year, get an Etsy site up and running, but making it a must is too much pressure at this point.

Well, I am off to spend the last two hours of my twenties with my husband. I can't think of a better way to end the decade than by falling asleep in his arms.

I will post again soon. I promise =-)

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