MOVING

Hello, Everyone,

I have really enjoyed networking on Word Press and getting to know all of you.  I have decided to switch my blog to Webbly.com.  My new web address is:  sassystylishstudiousmom.weebly.com

Please follow me there, and continue to interact with me!  Thanks!  DEIDEI

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Daughters and I Discovered 2 New Apps–Can you Say Addiction?

We went to a New Year’s Eve party last night and were introduced to 2 new apps.  Now, my kids and I are hooked, no addicted.  The first one is Viggle, and the second one is Nexercise, both free apps.  All you need to do for Viggle is watch TV and answer trivia questions.  Nexercise, you receive points for merely tracking your exercise.

Let me say this:  My kids have not stopped exercising since they woke up this morning!  My 8-year-old told me, “You better stay on the treadmill today for 2 hours!”  Geez, she will have me fit in no time for points and free prizes.

Viggle allows you to earn points for logging in to shows that are on TV.  You simply hold your phone or ipod, or any device up to the television.  The program recognizes the show, and gives you points for watching.  With some shows, you can also answer trivia questions as you watch.  In addition, you can earn points for watching commercials and completing other simple tasks.  One of my friends at the party said she used the app to earn free Christmas gifts for her children.  If you have not already checked into this, I definitely recommend it. It’s not as though we wasted any time last night; actually, we used it as a game and conversation piece.

The Nexercise app is great, especially if your New Year’s resolutions include exercising and getting fit.  You merely exercise and track your activity.  Once you earn enough points, you can start redeeming them for prizes, free prizes.  You cannot beat that offer.  

So, although we are addicted, it is for a good cause!  On Viggle, you can also use your points to donate money to charities.  It is amazing what is available to us today.  I need to do some more searching.  I know we will definitely be making use of these apps throughout the year.

DEIDEI

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

BARED TO YOU–I DEVOURED IT IN 1.5 DAYS

I don’t quite know what it is about these books, but I become addicted.  I hadn’t read a book all break, so I figured I would choose one from my stack that would be a quick read.  I decided on Sylvia Day’s Bared to You.  Needless to say, I started it last night, stayed up until 2:00 a.m. reading, and finished it in between cookie sheets this afternoon.  Although I felt as if I were reading a watered down, less mild version of 50 Shades, I was hooked, regardless.

I consider myself to be a strong woman, and I definitely viewed Eva as being stronger than Ana.  So, I am not quite so sure why I am drawn into these messed up, possessive male novels.  Maybe it is the twisted romance that lies somewhere in the novel.  Maybe it is the hot man with tons of money who changes somehow for the woman he loves.  Who knows why I become so obsessed, but at any rate, I read through the book very quickly.

What I did not know is that there are more of these books!  So, of course I now need to go and buy the next installment.  I guess we all need a little fantasy in our lives, even if it is a bit messed up!  When I was reading the 50 Shades trilogy, my husband joked that perhaps he too would read the books.  He figured he could come up with some ideas.  I set him straight very quickly.  I told him he could experience what was in those books if he became a billionaire, chiseled his body to look like Christian’s, and learned a great deal about fashion!  That changed his mind quickly.  Maybe that’s what draws me into these reads:  the men just seem to know their women so well.  Granted, I realize they are stalkers, in a sense, but they buy everything from gorgeous gowns, to heels, to lingerie, to make-up!  I don’t think I could trust my husband with any of those.

So, until the second installment makes its way into my hands, I will now have to decide on my next read.  The problem with me is, if I really become involved with a book, I literally do NOTHING else.  That is a problem for a mother and wife.  I do have a stack of books; in fact, most of them are the second or third books to trilogies, such as Reached, Shadow of Night,  and Pandemonium

I really wish the last book to the Divergent trilogy would appear.  That is the book I am really longing to read!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Does Too Much Generosity Lead to Financial Strain?

My husband and I love being generous to our friends and to our children’s friends; however, relatives and friends have warned us that too much generosity can be dangerous.  Financially, we have found that to be true.  But, there are just some aspects of being generous that I don’t think my husband and I will ever change.

When our youngest daughter was two, we started hosting an Easter egg hunt for our friends and their children.  I hosted about five hunts, but as our children grew and started joining pre-school, school, church, clubs, sports, and activities, the invite list grew as well.  I loved hosting the egg hunts; I even purchased a real Easter Bunny costume online.  I rented the local fire hall, filled plastic eggs with goodies, made tons of food, and bought a gazillion prizes.  Toward the end of my hosting, our invite list included about 60 children; that number did not include families.  So, with the treats to fill the eggs, the food to fill the stomachs, and the prizes to fill everyone’s baskets, I was spending between $1500.00-$1800.00 per egg hunt, per year.  That did not include the cost to rent the facility, which was about an extra $150.00.  Most of my shopping was done on two days:  the day after Christmas and the day after Easter.  I purchased as much as I could at 50%-75% off, but even with the discounts, my costs were high due to the volume of children who attended the events.  I planned everything out precisely.  I made sure each child received the same amount of colored plastic eggs and prizes.  I made a color-coded card for each child, explaining how many eggs of each color he/she could add to his/her Easter basket.  Each child received a handmade name tag, $6 worth of Bunny Bucks to purchase prizes, a color photo of the child and the Easter Bunny, and a handmade crafted frame to hold the Bunny photo.  So, yes, I did go all out for these events.  BUT, I loved every minute of it.  However, when my husband and I sat down to figure out the cost involved, we had to discontinue the event.  Plus, our children were growing older.  Everyone was sad to see the event fade away but understood what it took to make the event so successful.

Then came birthday parties.  The same problem perplexed us–how do you cut friends from the list?  When our oldest daughter was five– and this is extreme–she had two parties.  We had to separate the friend party from the family party.  The friend party was held at an in-door playground facility, but I spared no expense with the party bags, the pinata, the cake, and decorations.   The family party was held at an indoor pool. Some neighbor friends and others who were not on the indoor playground list were also invited to this party.  The indoor playground could only hold so many children safely.

For her kindergarten party, she wanted a sleepover.  Because we did not want anyone to feel excluded, we invited every girl in her kindergarten class, figuring maybe half would show up.  All 19 girls showed up; we had to put our living room furniture in the garage!  The night was filled with foot massages, nail paintings, and craft items.  To host that many children for an extended amount of time required a lot of snacks, drinks, and breakfast items.

Her seventh birthday was her last huge event.  I rented the fire hall and divided the party into two parts.  At the time, my daughter was into magic and Build-A-Bear.  So, after Christmas, I went to the craft store and bought every Build-Your-Own Bear craft set I could find.  The whole party had a Build-It-Yourself theme.  We had the bear station, a build a S’mores station, with one of those light-bulb lit Smore’s volcanoes, build a Lego station–I just scattered tons of lego sets on tables, a build a snack table, and build your own jewelry station.  Since I was teaching at the local high school, I hired several of my students to run the stations.  Then, to top it all off, for the second hour of the party, the kids were mystified by a magician that I had hired.  The party was a HUGE success, but I was tired and broke.  So, that ended the elaborate parties for my oldest.  Starting with her eighth birthday, she was allowed to choose one or two friends to accompany her on some sort of birthday adventure.

Now, I still have another child.  For the first few years, her parties were pretty simple.  She is a July baby, and we have a fairly large above ground pool in our back yard.  So, her parties were a no-brainer–use the backyard and the pool.  But, they were just as much when it came to buying goody bag supplies and crafts to occupy about 40-50 children.  One year we had a Nemo theme, and I created a scavenger hunt that led kids all over our yard.  Somewhere hidden in the yard was a treasure chest filled with a treat bag for each child.  Another year I purchased T-shirts for everyone, and every child tie-dyed his/her own tee.  We also had a sand art station, which meant I had to purchase bottles and lots of colored sand.  Again, the parties were major hits in many ways.

Don’t get me wrong; I thoroughly enjoyed planning the parties and hosting them, but it just became too much.  If I had a wealth of money, I would still be doing it to this day.  I love to give to others, and I love planning events.  All of my friends used to tell me that I should have been an event planner, but they didn’t realize the kind of dollars that went into each event.  I probably would not have made much of a living.  They also told me I was crazy!

Now both girls are on a choose a friend or two type of birthday celebration, but that is even expensive.  Last year my oldest took four friends to Sweet and Sassy Salon, which is a kids’ beauty salon.  They had their nails done, their hair done, and their make-up done.  They then were given a ride in a pink limo with eyelashes.  We stopped for dinner on the way home, and the girls spent the night.

My youngest chose two friends to accompany her to the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., for the day.  We also toured D.C. and fed the four girls lunch and dinner. Whenever one girl has a party, the other also participates.  So, even with smaller numbers, the price tag is still expensive, and my husband and I do not believe in asking for money from friends when we do the inviting.  Yes, I know we struggle with finances, but we enjoy this sort of thing.  That’s what makes it so difficult.  In addition, if we buy our girls a souvenir, we also buy for their friends.  We would never purchase something for our own kids in front of their friends without allowing the friends to also select an item.

This year our oldest wants just one friend and has asked for a geocaching journey to be plotted by my husband.  She then wants the friend to sleep over.  So, that is quite scaled back in comparison to other years.  My youngest has asked to take a friend to the beach for her birthday.  In the past, using tax refund money, we would spend a week at the beach.  Due to her request, which we would like to honor, we are now looking at just a night or two at the beach.

My husband and I love to give our girls opportunities and experiences, but we also realize that in the past we approached it all wrong.  We never set boundaries or limits.  This year is different.  We are now trying to make them more aware of what constitutes a smart purchase as opposed to what they are buying just for the sake of spending money.  For the overnight beach trip, we plan to give each girl so much money a day to spend, and that includes the friend.  Now, we will cover meals, but the extras, such as rides, arcades, and souvenirs, will have to be part of something they plan together.  We will see how it goes.

We know that our unorthodox methods have led us into some financial difficulties, but we love being generous with others, especially our friends and the friends of our children.  We have learned that we must scale it back more, and with our newly established budget ideas in place, we are hoping to 1. have more money saved by the summer trip and 2. teach our girls to plan activities before heading out.  Our goal as adults is to put as little as possible, if anything, on plastic.

We still want to give our girls moments to remember, but we know we can no longer allow them to spend without limits and buy things that will end up tossed in a matter of months.  My husband and I are learning together from our mistakes of the past and are trying really hard to still provide trips without going to the extreme.  Hopefully we will find the right balance eventually.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Gaining Control: It Must Be Done SLowly, One Step At A Time

If you read my previous post about being a perfectionist, then I am sure you can surmise that I am also a bit of a control freak.  My husband would chuckle at the word “bit,” but oh well.  After having two small children, I felt as though my life had become very overwhelming.  Now, please do not misconstrue my message; I was born to be a wife and mother; however, no one is truly prepared for the juggling act.

After I had my first daughter, I stayed home from work 10 weeks.  At the time, I was teaching 8th grade Language Arts in a middle school.  I missed the kids, but I knew leaving my baby would be even harder.  It did help knowing that my mother would be my daycare provider, but it was still difficult, nonetheless.  I cried and cried when the day to return had finally come.  With my school bag on one arm, my breast pump on the other, and the baby carrier in my hands, I left super early so I could drop my daughter off with my mom.  Every morning I tried to get in one pump before I left for work, one during my lunch, and one at the end of the day before I left work.  It was an exhausting day!  I felt so very overwhelmed, and this is the point when my anxiety took on a whole new level; and my life started to feel very out of control.

With a baby, a husband, a full-time job, and all of the responsibilities that came with those, I didn’t feel as though I had time for anything else.  My housework slid; my me time was nonexistent, and my credit card frenzy began.  I wanted my little baby girl to have the best of everything.  Needless to say, I had no control over anything.  I did join Weight Watchers in order to at least try to get back my pre-baby figure.  With breastfeeding and healthy eating–certainly I could not find time for exercise–I was back to my pre-baby weight in about four months.  So, at least that part of my life was in control the way I wanted it to be.

After the birth of my second child, I really hit a low.  I suffered depression, increased anxiety, and even deeper credit card debt.  I felt really out of control.  I loved my baby girls with every inch of my being, but it was myself and aspects of my life that I felt were most difficult to get under control.  Losing the baby weight the second time was not quite as easy.  I did join Weight Watchers, but I struggled more.  Because my second daughter was born in the summer, I was not able to take any time off of work; my six weeks had already expired.  Now, I could have taken time, but the money was needed for covering bills.  Again, my mom took care of both girls, so retuning to work was not as hard mentally.  However, this time, I was teaching high school English, and the demands upon me were greater.  I still entered work every morning with my school bag and that trusty breast pump.  I tried to to fit in a morning pump, a lunch pump, and an after school pump.  With the first baby, I made it a full year, but with my second, I only survived 7 months.  I think with the increased stress, my milk flow was just not cooperating for me.

My husband and I tried to give the girls everything we could, including toys, clothing, and experiences.  That created more debt for us.  I think at the time we thought we would be okay, but as many of us know, those credit cards add up way faster than we can imagine.  Before you know it, you are looking at your statements in amazement.  So, my anxiety increased, and my journey to find inner peace started.

I tried everything in terms of anti-depressant drugs, doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists.  Medicine was just a band-aid; it worked for about a month or two, but then I was back to being a frazzled mess.  My doctors were trying, and I love them all for that.  However, nothing seemed to bring about the inner peace I so desired.

Ten years later, I am still struggling with high levels of anxiety, mood, swings, and depression.  Some of it is self-induced; some of it may not be.  Sure, I have made plenty of mistakes along the path, and I do wish I had handled my finances better.  However, today, I am in a much better place, but I am still a work-in progress.  Sometimes that really scares me; I’m 38 and still a work-in-progress.  I try not to compare myself to other people, but that becomes difficult.  I see others who are so successful, and some of them never even went to college.  I wouldn’t say I am jealous of my friends, but maybe in some ways I am.  I love them, but I always wonder, “Why couldn’t I do something like that?”  As I said, though, I am getting better.

I switched doctors about two months ago.  I decided that maybe a homeopathic doctor may be what I need.  I had met my new doctor at church, and I remember he had talked about the fact that unlike other doctors, he is more willing to experiment with medicines and procedures.  On my first visit, just from talking with me, he looked at me and said, “I really think one of your problems is the fact that you are suffering from adult ADHD.”  I know that sounds silly, but to tell the truth, I think I may have had some form of ADD all my life.  However, when I was a kid, no one used acronyms such as ADD or ADHD, and my parents certainly would never have medicated me.  I did feel somewhat embarassed handing the pharmacist a prescription for Adderall, but the medicine has helped me to focus on parts of my life that were a mess for me in the past.  For example, I was never a great organizer.  However, with the medicine, the help of Pinterest, and other magazines, my organizational both at home and at work have greatly improved.

Two other changes I have made include my weight and a hormone test.  Last April, I stepped on the scale and weighed in at 155.  I nearly fell over; I never weighed that much in my life.  But, with the juggling and stress, the pounds crept back.  My mom and I again joined Weight Watchers.  I can proudly say that as of this morning I was 123 pounds.  So, there is again an aspect of my life where I feel in control.  My new doctor also said that he thinks perhaps I may have suffered a hormone imbalance after giving birth to my first daughter.  When he asked me when my anxiety and worries truly began, after giving birth was my answer.  Now, don’t get me wrong; I have always been high strung and highly stressed out, but after giving birth, my worries multiplied.  I can remember spending every night waking up about every 15 minutes just to touch my baby’s chest to make sure she was still breathing.  Yes, it sounds nuts; but that’s what I would do.  I walked through life like a zombie, because I hardly slept.  Between my crazy thoughts and breast feeding sessions, I may have slept two hours a night.  Having a second child only caused me to become worse.

So, I did take a hormone test last week and am awaiting results.  My family doctor told me he is strictly against hormone supplements, so I am somewhat torn.  However, my new doctor told me that if I do have a discrepancy in my hormone balance, I may never achieve the inner peace I so desire without treatment.  He told me his hormone treatments are all natural, not synthetic.

As you can see, my steps toward my inner peace have come slowly, but I think I am getting there.  Changing habits and beliefs does not come easy.  It is a long and winding road.  However, I have never once stopped trying to find an answer.  I won’t stop until I reach my happy point.  I have a great life, and love everyone in it.  So, I also want to love myself and feel good within. In order to do that, I need to make changes and seek out answers.  I am taking the necessary steps; I just have to wait for them to take effect.  I cannot forget to mention my God in all of this.  I pray every day to him, and I know he is with me.  I cannot explain why the struggles occur, but I have learned not to ask “Why.”  God will help me; he will strengthen me; and he will see me through this.  

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms I described, please seek help, no matter what you choose.  Also, feel free to reach out to me.  Knowing that you are not alone is important.  I would love to chat and share my journeys.  I have led a good life and have been blessed; yet, I still struggle with aspects of my life.  I think that is human.  Nothing and no one is perfect.  

DEIDEI

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Question for More Seasoned Word Press Bloggers

Are any of you using AdSense or any other advertising items with your Word Press blogs?  If so, do you need to upgrade your blog in order to use these items?  I am interested in trying this, but I have absolutely no experience with it.  If someone could help me out, I would be extremely appreciative!  THANKS!

DEIDEI

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Perfectionism and Parenting Do Not Mix Well

I grew up as a perfectionist; I live my life as a perfectionist; but I need to try to give it up in order to be an effective mother.  This is especially important as my girls continue to grow and head into their teen years.  I was always pushed, even as a kid, to be the best.  When I was in 4th grade, if I did not understand a math concept, I would bring my math workbook home and have my dad teach me the next 4-5 lessons so I would always be ahead.

I guess birth order figures into my situation as well.  I have a younger brother, but the pressure was never great for him, just for me.  My dad lived a horrible life with parents who didn’t care whether or not he even finished high school.  My mother grew up very poor, living in a home with five siblings, a stay-at-home mother, and a father who was working on-again, off-again at the steel foundry.  So, as I journeyed through life, I understood my parents’ message to me:  they wanted a better and more prosperous life for me than they had for themselves.  It makes sense; all parents want good lives for their children.  However, the stress and pressure of it all caused some of the anxiety and worry I suffer today.

I was always very successful, but for some reason, it was never enough for my mom.  A report card with all “A’s” and one “B” was not acceptable.  Instead of focusing on the great grades, she focused on the “B,” which isn’t even horrible.  In college, I missed Dean’s List just ONE semester.  Man did I ever hear the disappointment speech of a lifetime from her.  Funny thing was, my brother received a “D” that year in one of his college courses, but excuses were made, and guys are just different.  So, I grew up with this belief that I had to be perfect no matter what, and that perfectionism was not only school-related; it transferred over into everything I did.  Even now that I am grown and have children, my mother will criticize small things that I do.

I decided that I would not be the same way with my own children; however, about two months ago, I realized that I was falling into the trap myself.  One night, I was brushing my teeth for bed, and I looked over into the trash can beside my counter.  I noticed a long strand of ash blonde hair.  Now, my hair falls out in clumps when I shower or comb it, so I know what that looks like.  I headed over to my oldest daughter’s room and asked her about the hair.  She told me it fell out when she was brushing her hair for bed.  I asked her over and over again if she were sure that her story was correct.  She said she was.  So, I headed for my shower.  As the water trickled over me, I knew something just was not right; it bugged me the entire time.

After my shower, I headed back to my daughter’s room.  She was half asleep and ready to be rid of me.  I asked again.  This time she said, “Mom, I could not figure out my math problem, so I ripped out my hair.”  She then rolled over and went to sleep.  I was stunned; I ran from her room crying and wondering what I was doing to my little girl.  She didn’t say it, but I was sure my pressure had caused this incident.

The next morning, I sat both girls down and had a very serious talk with them.  Now, granted, my girls are only 8 and almost 11, but they are very mature for their age and gifted intellectually and creatively.  My oldest skipped a grade last year due to her intellect.  So, I told myself, “You are out.  They know what they need to do.  If they don’t do it; that’s on them, and you will support them.”  Trust me, I do not want either of my girls to live the stressful life I grew up with or still struggle with today.  So, I told them that I trust them and know that they are on top of their school work.  Both girls’ schools distribute free agendas, and both of my girls make use of the books.  So, I said, “I am here for you if you need me, and you know where to find me.  But, I am no longer going to constantly nag and ask if something is finished.  However, if I notice you are not working well on your own, or a teacher contacts me, then I will step in.  But, if you two are doing fine on your own, I am here if and when you need me.”

They both seemed very appreciative, and both are doing extremely well in all aspects of their lives.  I truly do not worry about their school work, because they have proven to me that they are responsible and capable.  Do I worry about other aspects of their lives?  Sure, but that is for another blog entry.  I also bought each girl a very sturdy yet comfortable stress ball for her desk.  I told them that when school work or anything becomes overwhelming, reach for the stress ball, not their hair or anything else that could harm them.  All has been great since then, and I am trying to do better with my own anxieties and issues.  Again, topics for other blog entries!

DEIDEI

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized