Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 101: Moving On Up

Purpose Driven Mom is moving to a new home, now that I have figured out WordPress enough to keep myself afloat over there. Plus, I’ve got a brand new domain that I’ve been dying to take for a test drive. So, if you follow me here, please come with me to where I will keep up the daily postings and add pages of recipes and charts and whatever else my purpose-driven neurosis calls for. My new look is a bit pre-fab still, but I will be working on that as time progresses.

I’ll keep this site up for a while longer, but all new posts after today will be on the new site. Eventually, Things, Life, What-Not will merge with, but I must first wait-out whatever standard duration exists for a seller to hang on to my expired domain. I hate paying late fees.

Today’s change is highly disturbing to me as a mom, but my usually positive outlook will guide me through it. Victoria has been having major conduct issues at school. Grades are fine, but conduct is atrocious. Talking seems to be her favorite pastime. All along, in the back of my mind has lived the memory of the conference with the school counselor where she briefly mentioned at the end “ADHD.” I have spent four months looking for reasons to either believe or dismiss the suggestion, and trying to alter everything at home that might have a positive impact.

Yesterday before Mass I prayed for a sign. I ask for signs all the time, but I hardly ever expect to get them. Let me rephrase that: I hardly ever recognize them. Yesterday I prayed that God would give me a sign if I needed to pursue this ADHD thing. And then Victoria came home with an unprecedented SEVEN marks in conduct. SEV-VEN. It wasn’t until my exhausted and overworked mind and body hit the pillow last night that I remembered my request for a sign.

So, we will be making appointments for evaluations and following up on whatever in the world this is going to lead us to. I am so conflicted right now. I want to cry and punch things all at the same time. And I totally botched sharing the evaluation idea with Vic. She thinks there is an alien life form living in her brain and when I tried to explain it better, she said again and with as much conviction as the first time, “There is nothing wrong with me.”

My heart is heavy, and I pray that we can wrap our heads around the best way to help Vic. And I hope I am posting very soon about the sunny side to all this Mama Drama.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 100: Celebration and Fish

We finally reached Day 100!! I feel like I should have made cupcakes to celebrate such a momentous occasion. Thanks for reading along and offering thoughts for the journey. You’ve helped make it easier.

Now, on to a matter that has been bugging me for a while and I have yet to address it. This will complete the process of bringing all living creatures within the realm of change. At least, here at our house.

We have a fish tank. Correction. I have a fish tank. I fell in love with it at Petsmart (on sale, of course!) and without any knowledge of fish or the care required, I told Dom that I had to have that tank. The kids were still pre-K-ish in age, and Nemo was all the rage. I envisioned a colorful tank full of vivid characters and hours of relaxing entertainment.

More like a pain-in-the-butt tank with egotistical characters and hours of internet research, not to mention wads – I mean WADS – of money.

I’ll drill this down to the short version of all this experience has taught me. Snails need no partner to reproduce with a vengeance. Clown loaches eat snails, but freak-out sensitive little boys in the process. Plecos can grow to over 10 inches in length and scare the heck out of all their tank mates when they swim fast. Plecos are also nocturnal, so you don’t see the torture going on during the day. There is only one brand of algae killer that works fast, but it has an alternate effect on fish (our Molly swam bent in half for three months after I used the product). Cory catfish can survive just about anything. It is possible to suddenly have 19 baby fish born overnight in your tank. Fish mothers sometimes eat their young. A female fish can hold sperm for up to 6 months before releasing it to impregnate herself. That’s how you come home from the pet store with one female fish and four months later you have babies swimming around. And finally, if you cover yourself in OFF earlier in the day and then have to stick your entire arm into the tank later in the evening, you can effectively kill over half of your fish population. It will take you two days to realize what caused the epidemic.

Now, you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with positive, healthy change. Well, the fish need some positive, healthy changes too…mostly to their water. See, in the last few years I have not been so regular about cleaning their tank. So much so that when I do clean the tank, we lose many fish to their inability to process clean water through their poor polluted gills.

I have a schedule of tank maintenance all set up in my email system so that I get reminders of when to do this or that. Problem is that I ignore them. And the fish. So, the fish tank is going on the chore chart now as a permanent reminder that FISH DESERVE LOVE TOO. I imagine if my fish had cars, their bumper stickers would say as much.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 99: Final Exam and a Lack of Other Thoughts

I apologize, but I am a bit preoccupied this morning with finishing this darn accounting class. My final exam is scheduled for 8am. While this has consumed the majority of my spare time over the last two months, I don’t feel anywhere near ready to take the test. I have a handy-dandy binder ring full of index cards with formulas on them. Formulas that seem Greek when I look at them. This can’t be a good sign…

I will be back on track tomorrow morning, I promise. I wish you all a wonderful day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 98: Study Guide(lines)

Tomorrow Dom and I will take the final test of Class 1 toward the accounting credits. I have to admit, rushing around at the end like this has done a number on my attitude toward this idea. We have agreed to take a month off and start back up in November with Class #2, still online and at our own pace. We know the strain of a weeknight class will wreak havoc on more than just our attitudes, so in the better interest of all family members we will again forego that option.

For the next class, we have also agreed to have a more concise schedule in order to prevent us from again ending up right where we are now. One lesson a week; no more. One week to study for each test. This will make the class last 15 weeks and still we will finish in just under half the time allotted to the course. Another month off between courses, and I figure we will end up with just about one class per semester, which is all we could do if we were physically sitting in a lecture hall.

We have also agreed to purchase separate books. We shared this first one. (Isn’t that cozy?) Not only did we have to take turns reading, but I was a cheapskate when I bought the book on eBay, and the seller lied when he said the book was coming from a smoke-free environment. Dom couldn’t tell the book smelled, but it bowled me over every time I opened it. I also decided second-hand workbooks are a bad idea. I really didn’t think I would use the workbook, but it turned out to be a great study tool (go figure). But it does me no good to see other people’s incorrect answers scribbled in my study space.

We will both be so relieved when tomorrow’s test is over and the class requirements are fulfilled, regardless the grades. Suffice it to say we have “learned our lesson.”

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 97: Catching Up and Following Up

It occurs to me as I establish new routines and try new products that I am frequently offering to follow up with you and let you know how a certain thing is going. It also occurs to me that I haven’t been very good about actually following up.

So, the blog gets a new habit. (See? Nothing is safe from these changes.) I think it would be a good idea to make one post each week dedicated to follow up – letting you know how successful (or not) a particular change has been. Sound good? Let’s get started…

1. The purse situation. I mentioned this earlier in the week as a way to gently let you know I’m failing miserably at condensing my bag of tote-ables. I’m still very much dependent on the oversized bag with lots and lots of gear. However, I am pleased to report that I have vamoosed several items from the purse. I no longer feel the need to carry clear nail polish, three flavors of dental floss, disposable toothbrushes, cuticle cream, or twelve hair clips. (Day 45)

2. The sandwich bread. I have made two loaves of wheat bread, and the kids declared me a gourmet chef! While it is a little more dense than the store-bought bread, they love it and are using it for their sandwiches. I had to make room for my bread machine to stay on the countertop, which in turn sent the bread box to the pantry. So not only are we getting used to homemade bread, we are also retraining ourselves on where to find it. (Day 84)

3. The “Lunch Box” inside the pantry is filled with items that are only to be used for packed lunches. We have yet to run out of anything that the kids view as pertinent to a satisfying lunch since we implemented this tool. This has been a raging success! (Day 78)

4. Graham Cracker. This bunny of ours is on the attitudinal mend! She is a happy bunny once again now that we have allowed her to claim the playroom as her own. No biting, no ugliness, and no chasing her around the room. She even hops over to us to give sniffs and kisses – all at her own pace. Plus, we close her bedroom door at night and we all sleep soundly. (Days 83 and 87)

5. Breakfast. We are eating breakfast as a family every morning. Victoria and I are both doing well now that it has become more of a habit. We don’t dread early morning food anymore. As a result, I find that I now need more menu options. (Days 2, 72 and 81)

6. Coffee. I’m still on one cup of coffee a day, with the exceptions of weekend afternoons with my mom and dad and nights when I have planned grocery shopping. On occasion when Mabel drinks my coffee for me, then I may end up consuming a cup and a half, but that’s all her fault. ;) I have ditched the herbal coffee (which should not even be allowed to bear the name of coffee!!) and Aaron and I are perfectly content to have a cafĂ© au lait made from our favorite Starbucks Breakfast Blend in the mornings. I have let go of my caffeine paranoia… for now. (Days 73 and 74)

7. Deodorant. Mom convinced me to buy one of those crystal things that you run under water and then apply. There is no scent, no residue, no apparent sign that you have applied anything. But it works. I must say that is the most surprisingly rewarding $3.49 I have ever spent. It takes a little longer to apply, but it is so very worth it! (Day 64)

8. Grocery Shopping. I am still in a proverbial hell on this one. I am stopping at four grocery stores and spending about 33% more than budget. BUT, I am buying all the things we need and use – mostly organic, all of them natural – and I am not over-buying anything. (Except maybe the Newman-O’s. Those sure are good!!!) (Days 17, 61, and 62)

9. Putting the Kitchen to Bed. We were doing okay with this change for a little while, but we relapsed into old habits and before we knew it, the countertop was littered with school papers and junk mail again for days on end. This makes it harder to have a successful breakfast cooking experience, so we will refocus our energy on this one. (Day 23)

10. Mommy and Daddy Chores. I resurrected the chore chart and stuck with it for a little while, but Dom wasn’t feeling it, so I tossed the chore chart in a moment of self-righteous “I-didn’t-post-this-on-the-fridge-for-my-health” tirades. Then I saw Mabel-fur sitting atop a baseboard corner, and grimaced. I printed another chore chart, and decided to shore up my own efforts. (Day 20)

I think I almost caught us up. I’ll try to give each new change about two weeks before reporting on its status, and I’ll reserve my Sunday posts for this purpose.

Have a great purpose-driven week!! :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 96: The Return of Good Hair (‘Bout Time!)

I am prone to bad hair days as a consequence of my own self-denial. I will get my hair cut three times a year at most. (That’s a really selfish year, people. Twice is usually the limit.) No, I am not proud of this fact. I feel like a ragamuffin most of the time as a result. My hair goes from an almost too-short coif to a perfect length and blend of layers, to a slightly too-long look, and ultimately to a ragged mop which I casually and repeatedly pile into a hair claw. I manage to cut the hairs that annoy me on my own periodically, which drives hairdressers crazy. It is at the point of sheer desperation five to six months after the professional haircut that I will finally relent and plop down $50 for a new ‘do.

Why do I do this? I’m not entirely sure, but I think it has something to do with being Mom and knowing I could more easily buy the kids new socks and books and BPA-free water bottles than schedule two-hours of regular grooming for myself. Perhaps not the healthiest habit, and definitely one of the hardest to break.

So, do I think I’m suddenly going to be able to schedule a standing bi-monthly appointment? Um, no. I can only promise to work on it. But I do have some really good, much-less-expensive news to report on the hair front. I have settled on a shampoo product and sequence. (Yay!!)

I liked the post on Tending the Garden where the author had been successfully using Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for shampoo, followed by Apple Cider Vinegar for conditioner. I liked her post so much, I tried it myself for a couple of weeks. It didn’t go as well for me. First of all, some days my hair would be dry, and other days it would seem too oily. During the hair washing, I frequently read the shampoo bottle. Dr. Bronner’s bottles are COVERED in information which makes me curious as to Dr. Bronner’s religion. Anyhoo…I read that the soap is made of all these organic oils.

Dear goodness! We are back to putting oil in my hair. Did I learn NOTHING the first time?!!! So I have relegated Dr. Bronner’s to being body wash which, if you do not dilute it, produces great bubbles. Score one for finding a new soap!

But the hair was still an issue, and the ACV as conditioner was doing nothing for me. And then it hit me. All the ACV I have been reading about related to Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, which I spied at Drug Emporium this week for nearly half-off. What an amazing difference between Bragg’s and any other store brand. It’s thicker, sweeter smelling, and actually LOOKS like apple cider. (No, it doesn’t take too much to impress me these days…it just takes a lot to get my attention.)

I really liked Dom’s organic shampoo by Giovanni, so I bought more of that for both of us to use, and mixed up some Bragg’s ACV in my spray bottle to use as conditioner. Voila! I’ve been doing that for the past three mornings, and I have had great hair each day!

Now, just watch. My hair will decide two days from now that it is too long and I’ll be married to the hair claw and trying to schedule an appointment. I’d better find fifty bucks just in case…

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 95: Laundry List

Last night when I returned home from a meeting I fiddled around on the computer for a while, trying to design a cartoon Me and Kim for the masthead of another blog. So, I didn’t get around to making sure that whatever I was going to wear this morning was clean.

Naturally, the only jeans that fit were stuffed into a laundry basket under dirty towels. Grrreat. I huffed as I gathered all the jeans and some stray towels and rushed back downstairs to toss them in the washer. And then it hit me.

Mama’s got a brand new detergent!

Suddenly, this late night laundry idea had some potential. I tried out a new eco-friendly and skin-safe liquid detergent called Ecos. Bought it yesterday on one of the many grocery runs. Kroger on Youree sells it, as does Sunshine Health Foods. I bought the Magnolia and Lily scent. I will keep you posted on the family reaction.

In other news, today Miss Mabelline celebrates her second Barkday (that’s Birthday in dog-speak). So, without further adieu:

Haaaaaapy Birthday to Youuuuuuu
Haaaaaapy Birthday to Youuuuuuu
Haaaaaapy Birthday deeeeeeeear mischievous-evil-doer-yet-totally-adorable-when-she’s-sleepy-and-repentantly-puppy-faced Maaaaaaabel.
Haaaaaaaaaaaappy Birthdaaaaaaaaay to youuuuuuuuuuu

And many more!

Woof-Woof!! (That’s from Mason.)  ;)