30 September 2016

10 Tips To Make The Most Of Your Visit To The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

The excitement is high here in Albuquerque. Tomorrow is the start of The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. As the days lead up to fiesta you see more and more balloons in the sky each morning. This morning, always the Friday before the opening weekend, balloons launch from the public schools all over the city. Families gather to get up close and personal with the balloonists and to get a close up view of the balloons before they take off from each school's field. It's amazing to see from our house, balloons taking off all over the valley.

This year, for the first time, we are running a little AirBnB venture from a rental unit. We posted the opening a week ago today and by the time we woke up the next morning the reservation requests were coming in. We were solidly booked by Sunday and we are looking forward to having guests from around the country and even the Virgin Islands. We're rushing over there in just a few minutes to finalize everything. Our unit is available for rent long term or short throughout the winter so if you are thinking about a trip to ABQ for the fall, holidays or just for a quiet weekend getaway, check out our listing.

Last night I made some fun guest baskets with snacks and treats and later today I am going to wrap up a little guest book with all the info they will need for the rental as well as fun information about some of our favorite things to do in the city. We're kicking ourselves that we didn't decide to "Turo" a car and sign up to "Uber" during the next 10 days. As entrepreneurs and Balloon Fiesta enthusiasts it's a great opportunity to have some fun during this annual 10-day event.

So I thought it would be a great time to share some tips for guests coming to Balloon Fiesta. Balloon Fiesta is an early morning event. It is pretty much wrapped up for the day by 10 a.m. until the evenings when there are night activities. Let's start with my most important tip.

1. Plan to be on the field early on the weekends! Last year there were people turned away and stuck in traffic unable to get to the fiesta field during the 6-7a time window. I would suggest leaving for the park by 4:30 -4:45 a.m. depending on what part of the city you are coming from to get easier parking and relax rather than stressing about getting there, being stuck in traffic and missing out.You can relax once you get there and there is already stuff going on and food available pretty early in the morning so you can bring a blanket, and even take a nap on the grassy edges of the field before things get going. Just don't miss the experience by sitting in frustrating traffic. For more information on Ride and Share, parking and more check out the official Balloon Fiesta website.

I had local friends last year you couldn't get in and were stunned, saying this has never happened in their lives. The fiesta continues to grow each year so that problem is only likely to get more prevalent. On the last Saturday of fiesta last year it is estimated there were 120,000 on the field. That is a lot of people trying to get to one part of town. Make is easier on your group by getting there early. Here's a link to traffic and parking info.

*Added note from 2016 Fiesta: The final Saturday traffic again proved to be immense. People sitting in their cars not moving for a couple of hours. My recommendation is to leave for the park by 4:30 at the latest. You do not want to come all the way to Albuquerque to sit in your car and miss out on all the activities on the field. If you come early you can get a leisurely breakfast and hang out. The time actually goes by very quickly.

2. Dress for the weather - both warm, cold and possibly rainy. While the daytimes highs are still in the upper 70s to 80s at this time of year in Albuquerque, it is chilly in the mornings. Wear layers and anticipate being cold early in the morning. Also plan on potential rainshowers. We're at the end of our monsoon season but the possibility of an afternoon or early evening thunder shower is high. Be prepared. Here's a link to the local weather report.

3. Bring your sunscreen and sunglasses. Albuquerque is a high altitude climate and the sun is bright! Easier to get sunburned too with less atmosphere to filter the sun's rays. You might want to bring a blanket or lawn chairs to sit on as well. 

4. Be ready for good food. There are some awesome food vendors at the fiesta, take advantage all you can. For breakfast, consider the official breakfast of New Mexico - the Breakfast Burrito.

5. Anticipate traffic when leaving the park. Traffic can be much heavier than normal as crowds leave the park. It's a great time to grab some food and just sack out on the big empty field at the end of the day. No need to sit in traffic. This is a great time to visit the Balloon Museum on the same property. It is beautiful and has some great new exhibitions this year.

6. Enjoy all of Albuquerque. Since the ballooning all takes place in the early morning there are tons of activities planned throughout the city for the rest of the days and evenings. There are also great coupon books available with all sorts of discounts available at the Visit Albuquerque booth on the field at Balloon Fiesta. Here's a link to Balloon Fiesta and flavor of Albuquerque Flipagrams I made recently and you can see lots more of Albuquerque's beauty on my Instagram feed.

7. Look for the giant Albuquerque Frame - where you can also get your photo taken on your phone for free in the giant frame with the balloons in the background. At the booth are the coupon books and great staff and volunteers who can help you learn all you need to know about Albuquerque. You can also visit the Visit Albuquerque website for coupons and discounts as well as lots more information on events happening throughout the fiesta.

8. Don't miss a Balloon Glow and Special Shapes Rodeo. On several evenings during fiesta there is a glow, which means balloons cover the field and inflate, lighting the night with glowing balloons. The sound and sight is quite beautiful and there are usually fireworks shows and other events, as well as all the good food again. A fun event! The Special Shapes Rodeos are an opportunity to enjoy all the unique balloons beyond the traditional balloon shape. There are all shapes and sizes and so many fun and recognizable characters. One of my favorite activities.

9. Plan in an afternoon nap. Getting up so early in the mornings, it's likely you'll want a nap or to head to bed pretty early. Planning that into your schedule, especially if you're traveling with kids makes life a little easier.

10. Have Fun! Albuquerque is so beautiful this time of year and the people here are so kind. The crowds are only big for short periods of the day so you can really relax and enjoy yourself and have some fun here. It's so easy to get around the city and for a pretty big city it doesn't feel crowded.

There is so much to see and do. Take a bike tour with my friends at Routes Rentals, ride the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, visit Los Poblanos and see their beautiful Farm Shop, have some good New Mexico food at Sadie's or El Pinto. Enjoy the outdoor seating for great meals at Backstreet Grill, The Grove Cafe or The Standard Diner. Check out the art scene at one of the many galleries in town and visit all our fine museums too! There is no shortage of great things to do here in our city.

If you have other tips or recommendations I'd love to have you leave them in the comments below. It would be great for this post to have a variety of opinions and suggestions for the best ways to enjoy The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!

*One more quick bit of info that can be very helpful. Because Balloon Fiesta is a weather dependent activity things can change or be cancelled if there is an issue with wind, rain, etc. For the most up-to-date activity and weather information, follow @balloonfiesta on Twitter or Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta on Facebook. Twitter is the most up to date source of information.  A couple of events have been cancelled this year (2016) and you can get a raincheck for a follow up event when that happens. You can save yourself the drive and parking and all if you are up to date on what's happening on the field if things are cancelled.

29 September 2016

10 Things To Know About Broken Foot Recovery

This is a post for anyone who may find my blog because of my social media posts on having a broken foot earlier this year. I think it's time for a follow up as well because no one really talks about what happens after you get out of the cast. Once that cast goes away, I think people just expect that everything goes right back to normal and you are totally healed and it's over.

Not so. Next week it has been almost 10 months since I broke my foot. Hard to believe. I thought it would be helpful to share what's been happening since the cast came off in late April. My experience will not be the typical experience and of course is unique to my own set of circumstances: five fractures in one foot, etc. but I know that it helped me so much as I have gone through this experience to know about the experiences of others and have a neighbor who is a podiatrist who has let me know what to experience as the months passed.

The best thing he shared with me was that I would continue to have swelling and pain in my foot for 6-8 months after I got out of the cast. It was good to know what to expect even though that wasn't really exciting news. Ha. So here are a few more things I'd share with anyone who may be experiencing a broken foot.

First here's a quick update on what's happening with me. I just had another check up a few weeks ago. I was supposed to be in physical therapy this summer but due to insurance approval delays I just met with the physical therapist for the first time a few weeks ago. Sigh. So instead I crafted my own physical therapy doing a wide array of exercises in the pool and at the gym on stationary bikes. I had been working on the treadmill but the physical therapist said he's rather I not do that - so I'm sticking with the bike and pool.

I started a board on Pinterest the night I broke my foot back in January to start gathering info I would need to make it through my long recovery. At that time I thought my long recovery would be long over by Spring. Ha. Here we are almost to October and I am still dealing with this foot every day, still having pain and swelling and it is still very much a big factor in my life. Every time I see someone pin something from my Broken Foot board on Pinterest I say a little prayer for them, because I have some sense of what they must be going through. You don't search "broken foot" on Pinterest unless something bad had happened!

1. Expect to mourn: This is something that really didn't even hit me until mid-summer. There was some mourning to do, as I looked back on how hard the previous seven months had been and how much I had privately suffered and endured to get through that time without letting on to other people how truly difficult it all was. I did have my days during the long "wearing the boot" days where I did have some good cries and a few little pity parties which I think is totally normal.

2. Expect that people will forget - you will need to remind them: Once the cast is off, for everyone else it's like it never happened. It's still going to take some time and now you'll have to remind people that you can't stand for long periods of time, can't do long walking days yet or crazy hard workouts, etc.
3. Expect pain: I still get very sharp pains in my foot throughout the day and my right foot, which has taken so much abuse while healing my left foot hurts a lot too. Par for the course, but not fun. One thing I've found that works is Miracle Foot Cream. It's the one thing that seems to take the pain and aching away. I used it every day while in the cast. My physical therapist has talked to me a lot about how hard it is on the leg to be in a boot for months. It is painful on the other parts of the leg. The front of my shin was so banged up and sore by the time I got out of the boot. Super painful, but thankfully healed and not painful at all there anymore. But it takes time and continued energy to work through the continued pain overall.

4. Expect swelling: Ten months later my foot still gets very swollen during the day and I still sleep with it propped up on four pillows at night. It looks a lot better than it used to and sometimes even looks close to normal, but some days it looks huge and puffy, especially around the ankle and the top of my foot. Standing or sitting in a chair for long periods is the worst for swelling and it's painful to get up and walk after that. I've heard that this is especially problematic for the foot which is the farthest from the heart, takes the longest to heal and due to gravity draws a lot of fluid downwards.

5. Don't expect everything will quickly be normal...anticipate a new normal for a while: I think this is different for everyone but don't expect that what worked for another will work for you. It's a case-by-case basis life when you break a bone. Keep pushing yourself forward but wise about taking it slow. I got a lot of good advice about this and learned to follow it or suffer the consequences.

6. Push through the pain with wisdom: There's no rush and healing happens best when wisdom is attached to decisions.You won't heal well or quickly without pushing yourself, but as I just said you can also delay healing by pushing too hard. But yes, it's going to hurt and you're going to have to keep going, step by step literally. This has gotten me through a lot of hard days, knowing that the more I exercise and use my foot the sooner it will get healthy and strong, but it does hurt and it does make you a little sad and a lot tired.

7. Know there will be ups and downs: At my second appointment my doctor, who at the time only saw two fractures in my foot, said that at my next appointment at seven weeks I could probably start walking on my boot. I lived for that day and then when I went back in, after consultations with a couple of different doctors they told me I needed to go non-weight-bearing for eight more weeks. I had to hold the tears back until the doctor left the exam room, but I had a good cry once I got to my car. There will be good days and bad days. Lean on the people who love you and take care of you and be sure to give yourself some extra kind treats along the way.

8. Be grateful for what you learned and experienced: Since we were fairly new in our church congregation I really didn't know many people. When I broke my foot they asked what they could do and within a week I had people over helping me take down my Christmas decorations and several amazing dinners delivered to our house. Those people all became dear friends and truly angels to me. Breaking my foot brought new friendships and taught me to receive help more quickly and easily too. Anyone who had read this blog over the years, knows that been a repetitive lesson I've had to continue to learn as time has gone along.

I also learned to have empathy for others. My heart goes out to every person I see in a cast or on crutches and you can bet I am the first person there to hold the door, to bring a meal or offer any help I can!

9. Listen to your gut: be proactively involved in your care: I kept track of a lot of questions and asked them at my appointments as we went along. I also got a second opinion several times as needed from a neighbor podiatrist and most recently my doctor prescribed a drug to deal with my ongoing swelling and pain that sounded like something I did not want to be taking due to side effects. I consulted with my physical therapist on that one and decided not to get the prescription but continue to do all the other good things I was doing.

I did not feel comfortable potentially experiencing the mind-altering side-effects that medicine could bring on - that was the last thing I needed was more problems. So I made a decision on my own behalf and I feel good about it. This obviously was a situation where I knew the existing situation without the medication and knew there would not be increased harm if I did not take the medication. Again use wisdom.

10. Right at the beginning, get all the gear that will help you (properly fitted crutches, knee scooter, iWalk crutch, handicap placard). Those four items made a world of difference for me.

For the few few weeks my crutches were not properly sized but how would I know that? Once I adjusted them, they were so much less painful and I realized that I should not have been suffering so much using them for those first few weeks.

Knee scooter took forever to get and make all the difference! It allowed me to travel for business, go on weekend adventures with my family and get around the office much easier! You have to get a prescription from your doctor and there is a lot of back and forth with insurance to get it done. Push to get it. Push a lot!

iWalk crutch was a life changer at home and when out shopping, etc. Definitely check it out. It's not covered by insurance but you'll be glad you paid the $150 the first day you have it. I would gladly have paide $150 every day I used that thing! It was the best mental health boost I could've had because it totally restored my mobility in so many ways.

As soon as we got my boot cast on and left the doctor's office we went to the DMV for a handicap placard. You have to get a prescription for it from your doctor, but do not leave your first appointment without it. This was huge for me, especially since the parking lot to my office was two blocks from my desk. With the placard I could part right at the entrance to our building, that was huge. Plus it's amazing how gigantic megastore parking lots feel when you are in a cast. Save yourself the grief!

So that is my gigantic "Life-saving advice for people who break their foot" recap. I hope for all of you who find yourself with a broken foot in the future, it will be a big help to you. Sending you the very best wishes for health and a quick recovery! And for those of you who are so lucky as to not have a broken foot, pass this along to anyone you know who might find themselves injured!

28 September 2016

Finish The job: Learning To Overcome Disorder

July was a crazy weird month because I ended my tenure at the job we moved to Albuquerque for and I attempted to jam into it a full summer of family fun, home improvement projects and more. Right now I am working on taking on freelance projects and starting two small business ventures while I do that. It's full speed ahead busy right now. Being home with husband and kiddo every day in July meant I was running hard and fast. But the great part was I was doing a lot of things I loved and enjoyed. Just needed about 20 more hours in every day.

Being home more every day, I feel like I am a little overwhelmed with the messes that accumulate around the house: short term and long term. Short term I would classify as cleaning the kitchen every day and long term might be cleaning out a closet. I felt like we were trying to tackle so many of these kinds of projects every day and yet everything still felt messy.

Then in the past couple of weeks, I read an article about organization where the author stated that houses feel messy, even when we feel like we're constantly cleaning, when we don't finish a job. I can't remember where I read this or who said it, I'm sorry to say. Finish the job. I have been thinking about that a lot. I realized I would do 90 percent of the kitchen cleaning and not finish the job and so the kitchen never felt tidied. I might take the tags off a new piece of clothing but then leave the tags on the dresser top. Or a family member might clear the dinner table but not wipe it down.

So I have been preaching this mantra around the house constantly. "Let's make sure we finish the job." So often it only take an additional five minutes to finish a job but it's so tempting to get tired and say, "that's good enough for now, I'll do the rest _____ (fill in the blank with later, tomorrow, after the kids are in bed, on the weekend.)

It's made a difference to make sure to take the time to quickly wash up the pans after the dishwasher is filled and turned on or to dry the hand-washed dishes and put them away immediately instead of them sitting on the drying rack for hours. When doing laundry, I try to just finish the job and that means getting it folded right away and taken to the appropriate bedroom or closet. When it's my clothing I try to put them away immediately.

Not leaving the day's clothing sitting on a chair but rather hanging it up or putting it in the laundry hamper is another one of those challenges many people have. I think getting everything out of the car each time one exits is another one of those "finish the job" tasks that often get overlooked. Putting make up and hair care products away immediately after use is also a big problem for some households. When things are out of place or chaotic is creates a lot of stress, frustration and wasted time when we have to hunt for things or take entire days to clean up big messes that could've been easily managed in a couple of minutes daily.

We've made an big effort to keep our powder room very tidy over the past couple of months and it has made an amazing difference about how we feel about that room and how clean it looks. It's surprising how nice it looks day after day when people aren't brushing their hair and teeth in that bathroom but using their own bathrooms instead. Now we're guest ready in that room all the time and it's a pleasure to pop in there and not feel upset at how it looks.

I'm still challenged by tidying up and keeping things organized and my family has not necessarily gotten overly enthusiastically excited about my "finish the job" charge, but I see it making little differences around the house and I know it's making a difference for me. I'm the example setter here for caring for the home and creating a nurturing environment so my example matters. So when I see my own things lying around the house I'll stop and grab them and hope that as my things disappear from view that others will follow suit.

27 September 2016

Adjusting To A New Home

It's been about a year since we closed on our house. It's been quite a roller coaster year and if we'd know what we'd go through this past year I highly doubt we would've bought a house. But after eight months of nearly daily heavy duty house hunting here in our new city, I am convinced more now than ever that we landed in the right house for us, in the right neighborhood.

After losing my "dream house" in a last minute outbid last June I was sure at that time that I and our family would never get over losing that house that I had been watching intently for almost eight months just waiting and watching it drop in price until it was close to our price range.

After we got through that drama/trauma and found this house, we worked on it for a few months before moving in and I think it really took me breaking my foot for us to finally make the transition because this house was so much easier to maneuver around in than where we were living at the time. Once the fall holidays started and then I promptly broke my foot the week after New Year's  holiday, progress on the house came to a stand still. I'm happy to say that since the beginning of July we have started picking up on progress again which makes me very happy.

One of the biggest accomplishments that we are enjoying is having gotten the fridge that has been sitting in our garage set up in our laundry room, aka my office. There is a fridge that came with our home in the kitchen but we also brought one from California and we need the space. There is an opening in the office/laundry cabinetry for a fridge or freezer in the room and based on our constantly overcrowded first fridge and The Man's penchant for having a huge array of beverages in the house, it was needed. The condition of our over packed fridge has been a point of some contention for years because it was impossible to find anything and whenever one would open it things were likely to fall out. We continually would have food that would spoil because no one knew where it was or that it was even in the fridge.

You might ask, well why didn't you just get that in there right away. Well, long story short, it would not fit through the doorway because of the angle of the cabinets. We have some really wonky angles in our house and that room is a particularly odd one. So we have made three previous attempts with movers and contractors to get the fridge in the laundry room. Finally, The Man took the doors off the fridge, which was quite a bit more complicated than one might imagine. I will jokingly take credit and say this was the first time I was here to assist and see this challenge in action. We ended up needing to lift the fridge over the height of the lower cabinets to get it in the door and be able to have open space to turn it far enough to get it through the doorway.

The sad part is that at one point the contractors had all the cabinetry out of that room and had they just moved the fridge in there before they re-installed the angled cabinetry this would've been a five minute job instead of an eight month war. But it's a life changer for sure. Having extra space and being able to organize my meal supplies where I can actually see them is phenomenal. I can keep better track of what I have on hand and keep everything I need for a specific meal together.

It's also helpful to have the additional freezer space to keep a bit more food supply on hand, especially as we enter the colder months and start cooking more hearty meals. We have tried to shop prudently for meats and stock up when things are on sale or buy in bulk and package and freeze it in meal portion sizes, so this gives us more space to do that. Having more fridge space also makes entertaining much easier. When we have special meals and large serving dishes that need to go in the fridge there is space to keep it cold. Everyone in the family seems so relieved that we don't have to fight with our main kitchen fridge anymore.

Another life changer I enacted this past week was a kitchen drawer reorganization. We have five banks of drawers in our kitchen. We are tall and the drawers all have cut out grooves on the bottom of them for opening. Reaching down to the bottom of the bottom drawers to get things out is not enjoyable! The banks of drawers are also spread out quite a bit. Two on the dining room side, once next to the fridge and two more near the dishwasher.

One thing I am really glad I did was position the cutlery we use at meal time near the dining room and our secondary "hand me down" cutlery near the fridge. So when people want a quick yogurt or other snack out of the fridge there are spoons in easy reach and when we need to set the table or grab a forgotten fork, spoon or knife, there is a drawer on the adjoining wall to our dining room too. I realized last week that it was driving me crazy that I had put all our graters and slicing tools next to the fridge when I so often needed them near the sink/dishwasher and it is always a trek to have to walk to the other side of the kitchen to put them away when unloading the dishwasher. For a while I just lived with it, thinking there were no other options.

Then I got serious about making some drawer reorganization changes that would work better for us. Sometimes it seems like we humans have such a mental block about solving problems that are much easier than we make them. I realized that all the drawers under our dining room cutlery were not really being used very much and had things we rarely ever use in them like corn cob holders and chop sticks. So I made an executive decision, made a formal announcement to all family members and in about two minutes made the complete switcheroo. I have to say I was thrilled the first time I needed a liquid measuring cup and had to only take a couple of steps instead of walking around the island. This is a lesson to me for several reasons.

First, it's good to keep evaluating to see how things are working for you and your family. When I first organized the storage in the kitchen I was completely new to this house and even though I gave it thought and consideration at the time I had no experience by which to know how we would function in this kitchen.

Second, if it's not working, believe you can improve the situation and then get serious about finding solutions. This situation had been bugging me for a while. But all the drawers were being used...so what could I do? There are always solutions that we either aren't thinking of or don't have faith in. Sometimes it just takes a fresh perspective and new determination to find the right solution.

Third, life is much easier when things are organized. Our new fridge and better organized kitchen drawers make life less frustrating and tiring. Organization helps my mind to stay clear, open and creative. When I feel burdened by disorder, it really gets me down! I love the idea of a place for everything and everything in it's place. It's so much less frustrating when you always keep the scissors in one place and know they'll be there when you need them...or the tape, or your purse. Whatever it may be. Order is a virtue for a reason. We are more productive when we aren't wasting time looking for things and it's amazing how little time it really takes to put things away when they have a dedicated space.

I have a friend whose house was amazingly organized and I loved being in that house because there were no overflowing drawers, step stools stored in every closet, cleaning products for every job. A big part of this too, is letting go of stuff and not owning so much that one doesn't have space for it.

We are in the process of making some changes with this as we merge multiple households including things that were in storage from my in-laws home after they passed away. We also are letting go of things we have outgrown like car seats and small children's bikes, toys and a mountain of sporting equipment that we've all amassed over the years. It sure is tiring but every little bit helps and the outcome is amazingly refreshing to the soul. We had been planning another big yard sale, but one day my husband said, "What if we don't have a yard sale and just give the stuff to the thrift store?" That was suddenly music to my ears despite the fact that I knew we could make money having a yard sale. The amount of work and exhaustion to do that was just too much for what it would be worth and so bit by bit we are making trips to the thrift store instead and I could not be happier!

It's great to be moving things forward to taking the next steps to get settled here. With school back in session, it's much easier for The Man and I to take on a few projects now that Kiddo is busier too. We're hoping to take some major steps to getting better settled in this house in the next week and I can't wait. Hoping we can make our family room, which was been serving as a storage room for the past 10 months back into the family room it was intended to be so that we have another family living space where we can relax and hang out.

Hope all is well with you. Always love hearing your thoughts and adventures. Closing in on 7 years here at kalanicut which is just unbelievable. But when I count the amazing friends I have gained from this blog it's like life has always been this way.

26 September 2016

Revisiting My New Year's Eve Wish Jar

As we continue to go through storage boxes and things that we haven't yet unpacked from our massive move last fall, I found a jar of New Year's Eve wishes I made...I think it was New Year's Eve 2014. That seems like just a few months ago, but it's been more than two-and-a-half years now, which is pretty crazy.

I sat down and wanted to look through each strip and just see if any of my wishes that year had come true. I imagined there might be a few items, but to be honest most of them I couldn't remember anymore. I started opening each strip and as happens so often with reviewing my vision boards and goals I write down, it was fun to see what I didn't even remember wishing for that had come to fruition.

I created three piles, first the ones that had come true. Then I my second pile was all the ones I threw back into the jar which hadn't yet been fulfilled. I'll say that on second thoughts there were a few I pulled out of that jar after I'd thrown them in, realizing that they had come to be, maybe in a slightly different way than I had expected - or I'd achieved it but just hadn't recognized it yet. A couple of these I realized had happened but that season was already over for us.

My third pile was ones that didn't matter to me anymore or were no longer applicable. This was a pretty small pile, just two or three items.

Here are a few that I was happily able to put into the "have come to fruition" stack. These are just a few of the simple ones that I am comfortable sharing publicly. there were other items that were deeply personal for myself and my family. But I didn't want you to think that everything in my jar was just about getting stuff.
  • A new computer
    • My laptop died in early 2015, so I got a new one that is both a tablet and laptop. It's light and easy to use and has been a good computer for me.
  • A home with space and laundry!
    • We now enjoy a large lot, lots of quiet and privacy and a big laundry room.
  • A king size bed
    • It's perfect for us, and occasional kid and canine visitors.
  • Taking care of hair, nails, skin and beauty regimen.
    • Been lots better about that this past two years. Still room for improvement, but much better.
  • Car fixed.
    • Well this one happened in a unique way. The car was dying. Then it was in an accident and that was the end. So the problems that were continually happening with that car ended.
  • New TV.
    • At the time in Los Angeles we were living with an non-HD tv that was dying. The colors were fritzing around the edges. This was a two step process. First we bought a used newer TV from a local second hand shop that was closing. It was such a big step up we were quite excited although the picture isn't that amazing. Then last year The Man bought himself a real man's TV, curved screen on one of those weekends where they have big sales on electronics. It now takes up a wall of space in our living room. It's pretty amazing.
  • Great blood pressure.
    • I never had had blood pressure problems, but I think due to some health/stress problems I was having, every time I went to the doctor my blood pressure was a little elevated. I'm happy to say it's perfectly in range and normal as it should be. I'm not sure exactly why this was important to me at the time, other than that I'd had a couple of medical procedures a few weeks before and the stress probably was elevating my BP and those are the times when they were checking my blood pressure.
  • Washer and Dryer
    • Clearly I was dying from apartment building shared laundry room burnout. This is a great reminder to me to be so thankful for a laundry room right next to my kitchen. I'm saying a little prayer of thanks to God for the laundry room right this minute.
  • New rugs and home decor
    • We don't have "new" rugs and home decor but having finally merged our homes and getting things out of storage so we have some lovely rugs and home decor. I've added a few new things along the way here too since our old beachy decor seems a little silly in a desert environment.
  • New dining table
    • Again this was written at a time when I was using a hand me down dining set that I was so grateful for but absolutely didn't like at all. Saying goodbye to that table was one of the happiest days of our move. I will never forget how happy I feel when I even think back on the day that table went away.
  • My own workspace near nature.
    • I'm sitting at my desk right now with windows on both sides and looking out at the western horizon for miles and miles with a tree and all kinds of creatures outside the window on my right. On my left is a beautiful patio with lights framed by a large wall covered in ivy. I think this goal has been achieved. Another moment to feel deeply, deeply thankful.
  • More creativity time and expression.
    • I am working on some amazing projects right now. Totally taking my creativity to new heights with newfound courage.
  • More beach living.
    • The time had passed on this one but it was amazing to have my little family living on the beach most of last year. I was blessed to be there almost every weekend, it was heaven.
  • A few gorgeous purses.
    • This totally happened. Last year I was so lucky to find a few super high end purses at TJ Maxx and was able to add them to my wardrobe for very realistic prices. Now I feel like I have a nice purse for pretty much every occasion. I feel confidant and happy with my purses.
  • Quiet time in Albuquerque.
    • At the time I was thinking more about having more getaway time in ABQ, not living here! But we have a very quiet, lovely home here now and we are living that quiet time in Albuquerque. Be careful what you wish for, ha.
  • Peace in my heart.
    • This is obviously an ongoing process, a daily challenge. But I can say that I experience this feeling in the midst of challenges and stresses and fears much more often now than I could've ever imagined. That's a great thing although I think it's actually major stress that teaches us to not sweat the small stuff - not my favorite way to learn, but damn it's effective! I love seeing myself being able to manage stresses and stay in control of my emotions and not let myself get overwhelmed as easily. It's a good feeling.
Setting goals and putting wishes out into the universe are a great way to really know yourself and what is important to you. It's also such an amazing way to put good energy out into the world to attract the things you dream of. Sometimes things come into your life with a lot of work, moving was a gargantuan task we took on in 2015, but lots of good things came to us fairly easily because of that action. Sometimes great things just happen for us too and I think that happens more often and we are able to more easily recognize those blessings when we've put them down on paper.

Now New Year's Eve is a long way off but while I'm in a big transition it's a great time to do a new jar of wishes. I think I'll do that soon. I think I will also keep this jar in my office and in a few months I'll look at it again and see what more has been accomplished.

Finding my jar and going through it was a bit of a life raft to me that day I found it. I'd been working so many hours on goals and dreams for my business pursuits, had had some very discouraging hours, and had spent a good part of the afternoon going through boxes that needed to be unpacked and out of the house. A lot of that was sifting through stuff, so much of what needed to be thrown away. I was feeling very burdened and weighed down by the past. It was nice to have a few moments of grace to see what good has come as we've worked through so many changes. It helps me to remember that there are still lots of good things to come and that the frustrations of today and the hard work of today will pay off down the road. That excited me.

22 September 2016

Saying Goodbye To Stuff: Little Girl Clothes

We are focused completely on decluttering, organization and living a more minimal lifestyle right now. That means a lot of work and decisions on what to let go of, where to put things and finding a home for every belonging.

It's been a very delayed process, after our somewhat tumultuous first half of 2016, with broken foot and other things happening including winter weather, but we're finally going through stuff that we hastily packed when we left LA with just a couple of weeks notice in early 2015 and are getting our life back to a somewhat organized state.

It's been interesting to let go of things...stuff. One of the things I've been having a tough time letting go was all our beautiful little girl clothes. I think the sadness there is two-fold. One, we're letting go of our once little girl's clothes and learning to adapt to a pre-teen world of hormones, more independence and finding the place where effective parenting happens while allowing a young person to find herself, develop her life all the while still obviously needing parents to guide whether she's excited about that or not.

The second reason it's been hard is that we kept all our favorite little girl clothes hoping there would be another little girl who could wear those. That didn't happen and that is a heartbreaker. I was at a church function a few days ago and the word posterity came up and it just hit me a little bit that I would have no biological posterity in this life. I teared up. By no means do I overlook or am I ungrateful for the opportunity I've had to mother a child in my life. That has been a beautiful blessing, but when you realize you will never have your own biological children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, and it's something you always wanted and expected you would have, that is sad.

We've joked in out family that the minute we give all those clothes away a little girl will somehow fall out of the sky into our family. If for some miracle we pull an Abraham and Sariah then the kid can have new clothes. She will have earned it.

I think one of the reasons it's been hard to give those kinds of things away is that we are giving away a big part of our history all at once. If I we had been giving stuff away little by little over the past few years it wouldn't sting as much because we wouldn't be looking at years of history. Now we're seeing The Bug's clothing she was wearing at three and four years old while in the same day doing laundry for a tall, gangly ten-and-a-half year-old girl who is all pre-teen smiles, hormones, grumpiness and horrifyingly embarrassed (at least half the time). It's a pretty stark contrast.

But I am trying to stay in a mindset that as we give away old things we're holding on to, whether they be belongings or just mental junk, that we open ourselves up to be filled up with new things we need. We make place in our lives for the present day and the future.

Last Saturday I took an entire (small) carload of things to the thrift store. It felt a little intense but I will say I have felt 99.9% relief (with only a smidgen of sadness) over having it all gone. That's a lot of space to open up for our lives. There had also been a good amount of stuff that has gone into the trash, and there will yet be further trips to the thrift store. But we're are definitely making progress which is so fantastic. I have to celebrate that progress every day. Every new empty box is a milestone and we've been emptying a lot of boxes the past few weeks. After merging two residences and a storage unit, we're doing pretty well.

So we keep chugging along and we're feeling encouraged. Last year at this time it had been about a month since we'd closed on our house and we were working like crazy. We had beautified the garage floor with the gray sprinkled epoxy protective coating, pulled out the giant planters in the kitchen and had the floors redone. We had removed the brick from the laundry room and put in new flooring there and the two downstairs bedrooms had been painted. Since then I don't think we've accomplished any big projects but now it's just getting everything in the house in it's place. In the future there will definitely be a lot of painting of the entire main floor - family room, living room, kitchen and dining room. We'll paint our master bedroom someday and the kitchen will definitely need some work. The tile countertops have a couple of spots that are losing grout with our daily use, so they'll need attention soon.

Oh, one quick note. Many of you have heard of the world famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held here the first two weeks of October each year. We have a two bedroom, two bath townhouse vacation rental that is available, on a very last minute opportunity, for the entirety of the Balloon Fiesta as well as going forward. We'll be posting it on AirBnB but if you or anyone you know is interested let me know.

Thanks for coming by. I have a bunch of good posts in the works and look forward to sharing them soon.
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