Monday, September 15, 2014

Mondays!


Mondays are typically harder days for me.  I’m usually tired because I stayed up really late the weekend before and I probably hadn’t been eating the way that I should I have been.  So when Monday comes rolling around it’s usually hard for me to get into the groove of things.  I, like so many others, usually dread Mondays.
This Monday, however, has proven to be very different.  For starters, I got my new schedule at work and my drive in this morning was 30 minutes less than what it usually is because I’m not driving in rush hour traffic to get to work!  This morning I got up around the time I normally leave for work and spent my morning puttering around the house.  I got so much more accomplished this morning than I normally do in a week!  I’m also getting a 15% (of my base pay) shift differential because I’m working two hours later than I was.  I can now schedule doctor appointments before I have to go into work instead of having to schedule time off to go.  Seriously, I’m so freaking excited right now I could spit.  I also got to have lunch with my honey today, and every day this week if I want, because he’s off work by the time I have to take my lunch. 
The only thing that’s come up, due to the schedule change, is the impact it’s going to have on Tim and I.  Currently he works from 5:45-2:15 every day.  I was working 8-5 so I could come home, we would make dinner together and take the dogs for a walk.  Now because I’m working 10-7 we aren’t going to have much time after work to do those things.  Luckily I have an amazing man in my life that is willing to have dinner ready for me when I get home so I can eat and we can go on our evening walk before he has to go to bed.  I’ll just be in charge of cleanup duty, which I’m not opposed to at all.  Thankfully, we only have to do this for a couple of weeks and then his schedule will change to match mine.  I just have to say, we’ve been extremely lucky where our schedules are concerned.  We both work for completely different companies and our schedules have pretty much been able to match up without too much difficulty or sacrifice.  We have been so fortunate in that regard. 
I will say that so far this month all of planning has paid off.  We have extra money because we budget and we’re able to see where our money is going every month.  We’ve also been able to eliminate some stupid debt in our lives due to the financial budget.  Seeing how little we have left over each month compared to what we could have has been a powerful motivator in getting rid of that needless expense.  Because of this change, we’ve also been able to budget in a gym membership-which we previously thought we weren’t going to be able to do.  We are both extremely excited to get back into the habit of going to the gym.  We need that environment.

The meal planning has been interesting as well.  It’s my hope that as we get more and more into the habit of making a weekly meal plan, and sticking to it, that I can start posting recipe’s for you guys to try.  I know that I’ve found some pretty amazing ones and some that weren’t all that great, whether it was just too difficult or time consuming to prepare or just because of taste.  Anyway, I’m writing some down and will be posting them soon.  Meal planning, at least to me, has pretty much been the same as a financial budget.  We’re able to see where we spend the majority of our eating (can we say dinner) as well as eliminate some of the snacking and thoughtless buying we’ve been struggling with.  It’s been a massive, gargantuan help in our household.  I would strongly recommend it to anyone that is looking for something to help.
So, as far as Monday’s go mine has been pretty spectacular thanks to all the positivity brought on by my schedule change.  I look forward to seeing how the rest of the week goes.

Friday, September 12, 2014

It's Been A While . . . SOO Here's A Long Post To Catch You Up!

Goodness gracious!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  So many things have changed around here that I don’t even know where to start explaining.   For starters I guess I should let you all know that my parents have left me!  In all fairness, they did have a better career opportunity presented to them so they took it and moved to Billings, MT.  I’m genuinely happy for them, but I miss them like crazy.  I’ve never been far away from my parents for more than a few months.  To have them permanently move away was kind of a big ordeal.  We’ll still visit and Skype but it’s not the same thing at all.  I can’t randomly call my mom and ask her to come meet me for a coffee or take my dad out to lunch whenever the whim strikes.  It’s certainly been an adjustment-for them as well, I think.    

Most of you know that I started my job in July working for a local utility company.  Let me just tell you-I go to work happy every day because I honestly enjoy what I’m doing.  It’s a call center job and I know most people, including myself, wouldn’t think having a call center job is ideal but this company is amazing.  They make sure their employees are comfortable, paid well, and taken care of in every way imaginable.  It’s by far the only company I’ve EVER worked for that is SO employee focused-and I love it.  I’m not sure if it’s just the fact that I’ve got a steady income and can actually start living as a productive member of society again or if it’s the job itself but I’m just so over the moon in love with my life right now.  I can tell you that getting back on my feet has been an interesting struggle/balancing act but Timothy and I are making it work and we’re starting to make headway.  There is FINALLY some light at the end of this tunnel!!
Shortly after starting the new job I really started to have car trouble.  I commute about 30-40 minutes away from where I live so having a reliable car is pretty important.  My focus, poor thing, was not doing so hot.  The back windows ceased to roll down, the heater wasn’t working at all-and hadn’t been all last winter, it was having engine trouble-lots of crazy noises and vibrating, my trunk wouldn’t shut right, it was dented all over (thanks mom) and the breaks needed replacing.  All of these things could have been replaced but the way the car was running I wasn’t sure I’d make it to work long enough to save up enough money for the repairs.  Anyway, I made the scary decision to buy a new car.  I found a local dealer referred to me by my bank and they gave me a sweet deal!  I got 2000.00 as a trade in for my focus (eveywhere else quoted me 800), they threw in a 3 year, 50,000 mile warranty for pretty much no cost, they let me set my payment amount, and they gave me term and paydates I wanted.  Plus they fixed a couple of cosmetic things on the car at no cost AFTER I had purchased it.  It was goodbye Goldie Shocks and hello gently used 2008 Dodge Caliber!  I’ve been in love with it ever since and it’s sooooo much better on gas mileage than the focus.  Plus it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg to fill it up.
I also joined Weight Watchers at work.  My company is so amazing that they sponsor any employees that want to join weight watchers.  The company definitely promotes health and wellness and so when a group of women from weight watchers started meeting during their lunch hour the company jumped on board and offered to pay their membership fees and anyone else who wanted to join.  Now I don’t know much about weight watchers but I do know 2 things:  1. I want to be healthy and 2.  Weight Watchers has a HUGE network of support-and that’s what I need.  I need a bunch of women to give me encouragement and help me when I fail, which we all know is possible.  So I joined, simply to have that network of support and now I have a membership for an entire year.  I get to meet with women in my center weekly during our lunch breaks and we get to talk about our struggles, our motivations, and life in between.  I’m excited!

We also decided to get our furbabies fixed in August, and since we’ve recently adopted their mother, we did her too.  I’m a huge supporter of being a responsible pet owner and since we’re not breeding our dogs we needed to get them fixed.  Bert and Sadie were coming up on six months old and I really wanted to have them spayed/neutered before they fully matured.  We didn’t have money at the time, I hadn’t even got my first paycheck yet, so we went to an organization here locally called SNIP.  It’s an absolutely wonderful organization and we were able to get all three of our dogs fixed at no cost.  They work with local vets to do it and it’s at a very low cost or free depending on income.  I’m glad we did it when we did because Gabby (the mom) had an inguinal hernia and she had some complications going on.  The veterinary clinic we went to fixed that for us at no cost as well.  It was such a blessing to be able to have that done for them.  I didn’t know there was assistance out there for things like that but I was very happy when I found it.
Let’s Talk About Goals:

I used to set a lot of goals to be healthy but I almost never accomplished them all.  I think it’s because I would get so overwhelmed and wouldn’t have enough energy to spread myself out.  So I’ve only got one goal for September and that is:

To Plan

What does that mean, you ask?  Let me tell you.  I do much better when I can see where I’m going and when I have a plan for what I’m doing.  I’ve also decided that being healthy doesn’t just mean what I’m eating.  It’s really a balance.  I want to be financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally healthy.  And I’m going to start by making plans. 
I started out with what was in the direst situation and that was money.  Not working for five months has seriously put a cramp in our lifestyle and now that we’re making money again we have to be extremely cautious and smart with how we’re spending it.  So I sat down with a good friend who has some experience with budgeting and set myself up a budget for 1 year for both Timothy and myself.  We both need to get current and out of debt as fast as possible.  Having a budget will allow us to do that-and I can see the long term effects of doing so.

The second thing I’m concentrating on is planning what I’m eating.  I make a plan for what days of the week we go shopping on and how much money we’re going to spend.  Then Tim and I sit down and we look up healthy/whole recipes that we want to make and we plan out a week at a time of meals.  I make a list of all the ingredients, then I check what I have already in the house off that list and then use that list as my grocery buying guide at the store.  I usually hang my meal plan on the fridge and every day I know what I’m eating for breakfast, taking for lunch, and eating for dinner.  That way if Tim gets home before I do he can get started on dinner and vice versa.  By planning out my weeks and meals this way it affords me several things:  I know exactly what I’m eating every day, I’m learning new ways to cook and I’m getting excited about trying new things, hopefully I’ll find some new favorites that we can cook again and again, and I’m not eating out because I don’t have a plan and don’t know what to cook.
I also make a list of things that I need to accomplish every day for a week at a time to help me be better organized and to better manage my time.  These things include:  walking the dogs, scrubbing the toilet and dusting, blogging (that was today =D), and any other tasks I need to remember.  That way I am mentally prepared for all the things I need to accomplish each night before I go to bed and at the end of each week.  I swear having my time accounted for like that makes things so much easier because I know exactly what I need to do.  Plus there's the added bonus of going back at the end of each week and seeing everything I've acomplished. 

So, to make an extremely long post short-I'm not focusing on losing weight.  I'm focusing on planning.  By doing so I figure the weight will come off and I'm not getting so stressed out because things are so caotic.  Having a plan in place helps alleviate some of the caos and anxiety I used to feel.  Right now, it's just one step at a time.