recommend.

MOVIE

Lincoln

What can I say about this movie? The actors alone — Daniel Day Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon Levitt — allow this movie to shine. Then there’s the writing, the subtle yet heart wrenching music, and the fact that history is given its due. I loved it, was so excited to see it on the big screen, and it amped my already high passion for Abraham Lincoln.

BOOK

Shanghai GirlsĀ by Lisa See

I had seen this book before, but didn’t really think about reading yet. Then I saw it at Goodwill the other weekend, read the back cover, and was intrigued. IT WAS SO GOOD. Sad, heartbreaking, and a bit of a dropped off ending, but I really liked it. I had heard stories about how badly the Chinese were treated in America during World War II, but this book really opened my eyes. And I love that … I love when I learn about real history from an enjoyable book.

MUSIC

Hunter Hayes by Hunter Hayes.

Storm Warning. Wanted. LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Oh country, multiple instrument playing Aaron Carter. You are amazing.

pop in.

I am attempting to get more serious at blogging. I forced myself to only write when I had a ‘real’ blog post, like a story with a point and a moral, or a real decluttering update or a kid project.

But for November I wanted to do NaNoWriMo, and work was stressful because I switched rooms, and there’s a HOLIDAY. My friend in all red was actually two weeks late, and Husband had me take a pregnancy test (even though we are so on the ball with protection, I knew it would be negative, and it was). So my posts here have been sporatic and non intentional, and I’m going to focus on changing that and getting back into real posts, real messages, a real blog.

Also I failed miserably at NaNoWriMo, and my boss is poking me in the back on taking classes and getting my director qualification, becauseĀ she wants me on the management team yesterday. Which is fun and scary and overwhelming all at once.

I’m trying to cook every night of the week. Like, chopping, browning, mixing, layering, in the oven, cooking a dinner. Husband loves it, and in a way it relaxes me in the evening to prepare and make and serve. It’s also a lot of work.

 

So I’m a little stressed. Life right now is crazy, and let’s just disregard the entire last post about moolah. Because retirement savings and our old friend child support (plus our forgotten friend health insurance) came late to the new job party and my hours are getting cut. So … crunch crunch crunch.

 

I focus on things that make me happy. Like the routine of work. A baby rolling over for the first time. Finishing a book I couldn’t put down. Finding a funny series on YouTube. Husband curling an arm around me and murmuring, ‘I love you’.

 

Life is full, a balancing act of worry and happy. As it should be.

gratitude.

I’ve seen so many thankful posts between the blogs I read and Facebook, they’re coming out of my ears.

Reflecting and thinking, there’s really one big thing that has completely changed our lives.

 

Husband’s new job.

In some regards, I wonder if this sounds superficial, that out of all the things in my life, I am thankful for a job. But I think considering that a lot of people are struggling to get a decent job right now, it’s something to be grateful for.

I love Husband’s new job because he loves it. I can tell he feels so proud and confident about his job and about how he’s doing there. And he should! Dressing up for work, it seems, gives him a lot of confidence too. He’s good at it, he’s getting a lot of positive feedback, and he’s excited to go to work now. All a lot of good positives.

His new job has also given us a big piece of mind. He makes more money now, which means we can pay all our bills and have extra expenses without worrying about how we’re going to pay bills, or skimping on things like groceries to make ends meet. A great example is how I was able to buy a great gift for my co-worker (pregnant with TWINS! YAY!) without worrying about it breaking the budget. It means we could take Stepson to the Science Museum in Chicago, which he loved and we haven’t been able to do for him in two years. Also, Husband could sell some bike parts and I earned money raking for my grandpa, and we could save the money for our future trip to Tennessee instead of putting it into the account to try to tide us over for bills.

The thing is, we were going back and forth on being able to pay for things, and not being able to. We were pretty much just juggling and making it paycheck to paycheck. So to be able to buy a gift without having to stress over that gone money later, is something we’re both extremely grateful for.

 

However, I have to say this: we aren’t going crazy, and we’re using the extra money wisely as well. We’re sending extra money to Stepson’s school so we can finish paying his tuition faster. We still shop exclusively at Aldi’s. We still use the bus and train, and the car on the weekends only. We still don’t have a TV, and aren’t planning on purchasing one anytime soon. We bought Stepson a winter coat, myself a winter coat, and Husband a couple shirts and pants for work — at Goodwill. All in all, even with more money, we still have the same money idea: spending on money on what we really need.

So the job is amazing, great for Husband, great for us, and is probably the best thing to happen to us this past year.

 

Other things I’m grateful for: living in the city, a desire to work each day, my sexy, hardworking husband, and family family family.

a tiny rant.

I clicked onto Facebook this afternoon and saw that my cousin had posted a status. The gist of her three paragraph narrative was that she wanted someone to buy her a car, because she was tired of calling people to take her to and from work. Plus her mom was late picking her up from work and that was SO RUDE.

Before I get into WHY I think this is a terrible, selfish rant, let me explain a little bit about my cousin. She’s a mid twenties girl who spent four years at an elite college in Chicago, gaining mediocre grades because she felt her time was better spent drinking and watching Hulu. Unable to get into med school with her grades, she went to a school in the suburbs for a “Master’s” degree (it was more like a certificate), with the hopes of padding her transcripts. Now she waitresses for minimum wage at a job she declares she is “too good for” while living at home, and constantly drinking and going out with her friends.

I think just from that you can see where I’m headed with this. I myself paid half on a car with my parents when I was in my teens, a car that was legally in their name. Since I was driving it, though, all gas and car repairs were my responsibility. I kept that car, consistently under my parents’ names, until I was 23 and my sister gave me her car when she got a new one. If my sister hadn’t given me her car, I would have kept driving the one under my parents’ name, and if that one died I would have adjusted my budget to accommodate a car payment. Husband has been buying his cars since day one, always used but still good quality. In short, I was raised on the belief that if you want to have a car, you have to step up and take care of that yourself.

So when I hear my cousin whining that she doesn’t have a car, and could some one buy her one, and how DARE her mother be late to pick her up, I have to pause. I have to think about that Master’s degree she brags about, as well as the college in Chicago she went to. I have to think about how I haven’t heard a peep from her about job hunting since May, but I have heard multiple peeps about how her current job is beneath her. I have to think about how she is lucky that people take time out of their days to shuttle her around, and that she isn’t really entitled to be upset if they’re going to be a few minutes late.

Maybe I’m overreacting here. I don’t feel like I am, but maybe I am. I understand that people can’t afford cars. Cars can be expensive. But I also understand that when you’re living in an area that a car is a necessity, and you don’t have a car, the logical reaction would be to start saving for one, and figuring out how to make payments on one. Wishing for a freebie on Facebook is not exactly the right direction.

the next step.

My sister just got engaged, and it’s totally exciting. We spent a good two hours last night chatting up wedding colors, reception locations, flower ideas, and the like. However, things are hitting a stalemate fast. Her fiance and his family have their own feelings, and several conflict with my sister’s ideas, as well as the budget for the wedding (which is only a few thousand above mine). Plus my mom is always our unofficial wedding coordinator, and she tends to get very nervous about costs at the beginning, and axes a lot of ideas in the bud without seriously considering them.

It all got me thinking about when I was engaged, and getting ready to take the next step with Husband.

Remember that? I had to take a day off of work, folks, because I showed up crying and had a nervous breakdown in my director’s office. My mom was shutting down every idea I came up with and was freaking me out. It wasn’t even that I wanted anything extravagent (Husband and I didn’t even have a full reception, just a dinner), it was just that my mom was so concerned about staying within the narrow budget I created so we would only end up spending $10,000 on the wedding and honeymoon (I know, we were geniuses).

ANYWAY.

So I’m trying to be positive about everything. I’m telling my mom and other sister to accept any idea my engaged sister comes up with, to indulge for a couple weeks and price her into reality later. I really believe that’s so important at the beginning of the wedding. Make lists of all the venues you want to see, use websites to create color schemes, Pin a million crazy, crafty ideas you don’t have time for.

Then sit down with your realistic budget, and figure it out. Husband and I found a beautiful venue within our budget, my cousin did the flowers (artificial), my aunt lent us lanterns for the centerpieces, we made our own invitations, and so on. Everything was beautiful and homey and perfect for us. It was also within our budget. Husband and I talked out what he wanted in on and what he didn’t. My mom and I priced every option before we made final decisions.

It’s against a million girls’ views, but I (and Husband) saw the wedding just for what it was: ONE DAY. We knew that once it was over, everyone would forget — what the flowers looked like, the cut of the bridesmaids’ dresses, any toasts made, and even the fact that we didn’t have dancing. The only thing they would remain was our unity, our marriage, and that’s what Husband and I focused on.

I’m so excited for my sister, and her bravery in taking this next step. Marriage is a wonderful, amazing adventure, and I hope to help her focus on crossing her current relationship into an amazing marriage.

busiest day ever.

I didn’t go to bed last night thinking that today would be so jam packed. There were a few things on my list, but nothing too major.

However.

I woke up this morning and started off by doing some writing. I am doing NaNoWriMo this year, and I didn’t get any time Thursday and only a little time Friday, so my word count was miserably low. I like how everytime I write, I start tapping out words bit by bit, and then suddenly I look down and I’m a few hundred words farther than my goal was.

Once we were both ready to start the day, we did our grocery shopping. While grocery shopping I decided that I wanted to attempt my mother’s famous cut out cookie recipe today, so I gathered some ingredients for that. We also discussed what we each wanted to accomplish that day and were very relieved to find that a lot of our goals overlapped.

The rest of the day zipped by. We dropped off some clothing donations, went to Goodwill, followed by Target for food coloring and wall adhesives. Then we came home and hung up the last few pictures and artwork. Husband granted my long standing wish for him to clean up his toolbox and take it out of the living room. Husband ironed while I did a load in the dishwasher and in the washer. I made a batch of cut out cookies, and now I’m writing this up while he does some work on his bike.

It’s already seven at night and I really can’t believe it. I did some reading while we ate lunch, and I listened to Pandora pretty much all day, but besides that I haven’t really sat or relaxed all day. We’ve been on the move since we got up.

After I post this, I’m planning on writing for an hour or so and then hopefully finishing reading my book. I’m so close to my Goodreads reading goal; I’m in the single digits!!

I realize this post was a little spontaneous and rambly. Hopefully next time to have something a little tighter and more focused.