Saturday, December 7, 2013

I'm 33!

I didn't mind turning 30.  In some ways I felt like I had finally arrived.  30 seemed respectable to me. 30 seemed like I wouldn't be treated like I was a kid, and that I would be respected.  Now I am 33!  I am officially mid thirties.  I am LOVING it!  I feel established, I feel settled.  The next step is 40, but I have a lot of years before I have to face that one.
Today I am 33.  I have never felt this sure of myself, confident or comfortable in my skin.  I go forward in this world knowing the things I believe in have been evaluated as my own ideals, and not because that was just the way I was taught. I am raising children, with my husband, whom I chose, and we are raising them with our ideals.  We have a strong foundation, spiritually, financially, mentally, emotionally and physically.  I feel grateful.  I see the beauty each day.  I am happy.
As I embark on this exciting year, I pause to enjoy this day.  I pause to honor the place where I am.  I pause to celebrate me!
Goal setting is very important. "If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time".
This year I want to focus on being an admirable person.  It isn't about the outside looking in, but more about me making choices in everything that I can be proud of, and wouldn't be embarrassed about if someone knew.  My cookie binge eating around the holidays, not admirable!  My tendency to be a distracted driver (texting, entering things on my to do list, in my calendar, etc), is REALLY not admirable.  My strong work ethic, or extreme honesty? Admirable!  It is about me owning every decision and action and being able to be proud.  I have two sets of small eyes that watch everything I do, and hear everything I say. What do I want them to see? Hear? What kind of example do I want to set for them?
This year I will not text and drive.  This year I will read at least 12 books.  This year I will be punctual.  This year I will continue to work towards my weight goal.  This year I will be a admirable woman!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Conclusion of the 32nd Year

Tonight is the last night of my 32nd year of life.  This year has been by far the most growth filled, exceptional, accomplishment laden year. I am proud. Last year I laid out several audacious but well thought out goals.  I was very clear on what I wanted, and carefully built myself a road map to accomplish those goals. It is amazing how far I have come. This is the first time I have ever concluded a year feeling like I am a better more whole person because of the goals I laid out and worked towards, and stuck to the entire year. Most years I couldn't have told you what my goals were the year previous.  
This year we paid off all of my student loans, making us DEBT FREE but the house.  We have successfully cashed flowed our lives including ALL of Heath's tuition.  We are slowly building our emergency fund to that six month of expenses number. That will take us awhile longer.
  I lost 20 pounds!  I missed my overall goal by 10 pounds but have to give myself some slack as these are the 10 pounds I have ALWAYS had. Its baby fat, but not Annabelle's or Logan's, it's Mine.  I am struggling with some major hormonal changes as Logan just weened within the last month or so.  That goal will roll over, and that's ok.
I completed a sprint triathlon.  And I wasn't last!  I don't know if I will become a triathlete but I have my eye on doing the Longmont Triathlon in June and the Tri for a Cure in August.  We will see.  It's an expensive sport and I'm a little afraid of being bit by the bug.  
I feel much healthier than I did a year ago. I am much better and clearer about making me a priority. I have figured out where I fit into my life. I am just as important, if not more important than everyone else.  I slow down when I need to, I put my yoga and meditation practice as a priority and not an afterthought.  I excercise regularly.  I eat well.  I give myself the freedom to sit and read that book instead of do the dishes/laundry/pick up the house etc. I am becoming ok with the chaos, or at least owning the part that I can and dismissing the rest.  I got away for a meditation retreat this year with plans for more in the future.  I take baths often to relax and unwind.  I have blogged, all year!  It is a source of expression and freedom. I have a beautiful anonymous audience who listens, and somehow validates me.  I have a to do list that includes future post ideas.  I have never been a good journalour but somehow this comes more easily, and I look forward to my time, in the bath, with my glass of wine/cup of tea some candles and blogger.  
So here's to an amazing 32nd year. It will go down as the year that changed everything.  I learned how to set attainable goals. How to put me first.  How to set an intention for the day. How to roll with the punches and how to be a beautiful woman.  I am excited about the coming year, and all the potential.  How amazing will I be by this time next year?!  Answer: AMAZING!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 30: Me

November 30th, 2013
Today is my last post.  I'm a little sad that is over.  It is fun going through my day, each day, looking for what I am MOST grateful for that day.  Today I decided I am most grateful for me.  I am pretty great.  It took me many many years to think that, to believe it, and now to profess it.  I love confidence in other women.  I think there is hardly anything better than a woman who knows who she is, what she is capable of and what she wants in this world.  This is how I aim to be.  I have come a long long way this year.  This blog has really helped me explore many ideas, thoughts and feelings.  I have an audience now that I couldn't be more grateful for or more appreciative of.  I have people who enjoy reading what I write and have a genuine interest in my life.  I am in the last week of my 32nd year and I am looking forward at what my goals for next year are going to be.  I am grateful for me and the wonderful woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister and nurse that I am.  Thank you all for your positive comments, blessings, and feedback.  Thank you for going on this month long adventure with me!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 29: Black Friday

November 29th, 2013
Today I am glad not to be a holiday widow.  For years I would barely see Heath from late Thanksgiving night until Christmas.  It was the biggest part of why I hated retail.  This year, it never escaped my attention that he was able to have the entire Thanksgiving meal with us, and we were able to spend all of Black Friday together!  I would have especially hated this year because he would have had to be in the store late Thanksgiving afternoon and would have had to squeeze in a nap, so he would have missed the whole day.  I am grateful that our lives are taking us in a different direction and I do not have to be that holiday widow ever again!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 28: Thanksgiving

November 28th, 2013
Today I am grateful for today!  I love Thanksgiving.  It is my single favorite holiday.  It is the only holiday, in my opinion, that are based on facts that nobody can argue whether really happened (no matter how grusem the real story).  There are no consumer requirements for Thanksgiving (see tomorrow's post about consumerism), and the holiday is truly about coming together with the ones you love, friends and family, having a nice meal, and being thankful for it all.  I love all the fall decorations, the sound of the crunching leaves as you walk through doorways with arms full of delicious dishes, the best kind of pot lucking.  
Since I can remember we have had one very stable and traditional Thanksgiving.  I know that my aunt won't always be able to host, we won't always have the same rosebud dishes to eat off of, the familar clink of the china glasses as the ice hits them, but every year we are still here I revel in knowing that this is Thanksgiving and I am so grateful for my life, the sense of stability and consistancy and the tradition of it all. I am so grateful both of my children get to experience it, and the tradition gets to be past down.  

Gratitude Journal Day 27: Mom

November 27th, 2013
Today I am grateful for the opportunity and job I have as Mom.  I am grateful that a life's dream is realized in my two little cherubs.  I have always known I was going to be a mom.  My mom would insert the story here of when I was little, 5 maybe, I didn't have make believe friends, I had make believe kids, 4 to be exact.
It hasn't always been easy, which has been hard for me to question something that I felt so concreat about.  I am looking forward to the days when they are a little older, I think I will enjoy every aspect a bit more. Nevertheless, I am grateful for my role as mother and to have two such blessings that call me that.
I surprisedyself the other day. I overheard, walked by a conversation of two young women that were discussing all the draw backs of being a mom.  They were seriously considering not having children because of saggy boobs, untoned abs, and other such body characteristics after having children (you know what I mean).  I immediately leapt to the defense of "but when they look at you in the middle of the night while feeding them and they give you that ' you are my whole world look" or when they first utter mamma, or when nothing else comforts them but the simple tone of your voice or a stroke of your hand you forget and forgive all that other stuff.  Doesn't even count.  Surprised even myself.  So today, I am grateful for all of it, the good, the bad, the painful, the hard and the great, all of it!

Gratitude Journal Day 26: Lisa

November 26th, 2013
I discovered awhile ago that more people had housekeepers than I would have ever imagined.  In the state of life we are in right now, with as much as Heath and I have on our plate, a few things we were doing had to give.  Several months ago I asked Heath if I could hire a housekeeper.  It is the best money I spend every week!  Not only for vacuumed carpet, scrubbed kitchen floors, but for the peace of mind that the bathtub my children are sitting in is in fact sanitary, and when Logan is rolling around on the floor he doesn't stand up wearing enough dog hair to build another dog.  We keep up with the day to day clutter, but the stuff I wasn't getting to each week, and the stuff I was never getting to, is clean and I am never ashamed to have surprise company.   
It is a luxery, and one I imagine we won't always feel we need, but for now I am grateful that a sweet grandma type women came into my life, doesn't charge me a fortune, loves my kids, does little extra things each week that I have to tell her that's not what we expect but she does because she sees the relief she brings me and how much stress she lets me let go of. Thank you Lisa, today I am grateful for you!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 22: Logan

November 22nd, 2013
Today I am grateful for Logan.  I knew the minute I found out I was pregnant that it was a boy and that he was going to be completely different than Annabelle.  He was from the start.  I don't care what experts say about children, boys and girls are just made differently.  I am grateful to have a son, such a sweet boy, who shows me everyday how to love more and have more grace (with myself and others).  Logan does everything in his own time, loves to love on you, gives the biggest and best hugs, open mouth wet kisses and has no fear. He feels with every part of himself and has no shame.  He is a wonderful person and I feel so fortunate to have been chosen to be his mom and that I get to be part of his life.

Gratitude Journal Day 23: Beautiful Colorado

November 23rd, 2013
I was unable to get a picture today that captured the beauty of what I saw.  We live in a beautiful state, and I think Longmont has some of the best views on the entire front range.  This morning I was treated to a sunrise over snow covered mountains that was literally breath taking. I gasped.  These are the kind of moments that you are grateful just to be alive so that you can see this kind of beauty.  I feel so fortunate that I am home in a place with this kind of gift!

Gratitude Journal Day 24: Sleep

November 24th, 2013
I don't think anyone appreciates sleep enough until there is a lack of it.  Parents with young children and night shifters are the best, constant attestant to this fact.  Unfortunately I am a double strike. I think Heath and I can count on two hands how many times we have slept the whole way through the night since Annabelle has been born.  We look forward to times in our future that these days will be foggy memories.
I am grateful today for the days, and nights when I get great sleep.  I am grateful for sleeps restorative power and ability to change entire situations.  I look forward to one day again being well rested all of the time!

Gratitude Journal Day 25: Sister

November 25th, 2013
Today I am grateful for my sister.  We were never close growing up, but in the past 8 years or so we have become more than related.  Today I am proud to say she is truly one of my dearest friends.  She gives me so much love and support and even though she is several states away, it feels as though she is right down the block.  I love you Kelly!  I am grateful for you!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 21: Snow Day

November 21st, 2013
Today I am grateful for snow days.  We had several plans today but were oblivious of mother natures plans to snow and be FRIDGID.  We rethought our day when I got out of bed and saw that it had snowed.  Our errands weren't worth taking the kids out in.  So, instead, we had a snow day.  It was great! We baked, pulled together some new projects and did a little furnature rearrange/repurpose.  It was just me and the kids for 12+ hours at home and we didn't put the tv on once. We had a great day, did some intense potty training, stayed in our PJs, and truly enjoyed it just being us.  I have great kids, who are becoming more and more fun. I look forward to many more days like this in our future. Hope they can all be as fun as today was!

Gratitude Journal Day 20: Lucky's

November 20th, 2013
It may seem like a strange thing but I am grateful for our newest grocery store in town, Lucky's.  It is a independently owned grocery store that started in Boulder.  I was very skeptical when they started building it, thinking, we already have 5 other kinds of grocery stores, what is this all about?  Well, I went to the grand opening out of curiosity and was blown away!  Awesome market type of little grocer, not so big that it is intimidating, and since they have been open (Labor Day) they have knock your socks off deals each week.  I make a (almost) weekly trip to Lucky's because of these deals.  This week I FILLED a cart (and they are deep carts) with fruits and veggies and walked out for $50.  This is a type of Boulder, hippie, organic, grass fed kind of grocery store. I don't think I have ever gotten my dollar to stretch further.
I'm sure someday they will have such a loyal following that they will have weekly "good" deals, and that the knock your socks off variety will be gone, but for now I will plan my week around weekely double ad Wednesdays and figuring out how to store 30 lbs of russet potatoes because they were only $0.88 per 5 lbs bag.  Anybody want a baked potato? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 19: Being Alone

November 19th, 2013
Today I am grateful for time alone. It may come at weird times, I sometimes have to steal it, but I am always grateful for it.  I realized when I got married just how much I did appreciate time to myself and being alone. It became amplified when I had kids.  I love being a wife and a mom.  I do love the times when it's just me.  I often stay up late to have some "me" time.  Tonight, I fell asleep on the couch and instead of waking up and going to bed, I chose to take my time as my family sleeps.  I did some chores, filed some papers, and took out the trash.  All of those mundane tasks are somehow GLORIOUS when I can just take out the trash and not look behind me to make sure that Logan didn't climb out the dog door , or come back in and wonder why Annabelle is crying.
 I am now catching up on my gratitude posts, while taking a bath.  Yes it's 3 am, but hey I will take it where I can get it!

Gratitude Journal Day 18: Friends

November 18th, 2013
Today I am grateful for friends.  Especially friends that do not hold grudges, keep score and are able to pick up right where you left off. I got some time to catch up with a dear friend today.  It has been months since we have seen each other, but this amazing strong bond we have it was like time hadn't passed.  
I have collected a wide variety of friends from my many walks of life and feel so incredibly grateful that all parts of my self are feed and nurtured by this beautiful mosaics of people.

Gratitude Journal Day 17: My Parents

November 17th, 2013
Today I am grateful for my parents.  I was able to spend some time with both of them today, which sadly is a rarity these days.    It was a fun time to have them in my home and love on my kids. They have such an amazing bond with my kids.  They are great grandparents!  I am grateful to my parents for all of the lessons they have taught me. They are directly responsible for where I am in my life and who I am. They have influenced every choice and decision I have made in this life.  They have been great living examples of both good and poor life choices. They have shown me how to have faith and how to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.  They are amazing people and I am so grateful that I am able to call them mine!

Gratitude Journal Day 16: In Laws

November 16th, 2013
Today I am grateful for my In-Laws.  I couldn't have asked for a better gift than these strange and amazing people!  I hate the connetation of "in-law".  I call my mother in law my other mother. She is a great mom who has nothing but my best interest at heart.  They wanted daughters, but instead got three wonderul boys, and got their daughters as adults.  They treat me as the long lost daughter they never had.  I always wanted brothers, and God blessed me with two wonderful men that I am proud to call family.  
We had a family dinner tonight and it was so fun to be amongst so much love.  I don't think if a stranger walked in could tell who was blood and who was married in.  They are some of the greatest, most loving, wonderful people in this world. I am so grateful to be able to be part of it!

Gratitude Journal Day 15: Husband

ONovember 15, 2013
Today I am grateful for my husband.  Heath is my best friend.  He has been my best friend for 14 and a half years.  He is a fabulous husband, an amazing father and a great partner.  He takes me for me, never wants or expects me to change or become a different person, accepts me with all my nuances and picadillos.  He turns my annoying habits into jokes and songs.  I have never felt truly loved or accepted until I became his wife.  He and our marriage is like a fine wine that just keeps getting better with time.  I only hope that I can return the great gift of love and true sense of belonging he gives me everyday. I love you Heath, to the moon and back.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 14: M&Y

November 14h, 2013
Today I am grateful for my Meditation and Yoga practices.  On m journey this year these are two things I have fought hard to develop. They aren't hard wired yet but are getting close. If you opened my eyes and plopped me in the middle of my day, some day in the future, I could tell you if I had started that day with a little yoga and meditation just by how I felt and my control over my thoughts.
It is really hard to sit sill and be silent without having racing thoughts for a whole 10 minutes.  Really hard.  But even if I try, I feel different the rest of my day.  If I start my day by giving myself time, putting me first, filling my cup, putting on my oxygen mask, then the rest of the day I am not looking to anything or anybody to fill that space, and I can more freely serve my mission: to serve others with my WHOLE heart.  ALL of my roles in my life are about serving: woman, wife, mother, nurse...but I must first be whole and full to then serve others, otherwise what I serve is empty and undesirable.  Mediation and Yoga are two of the things that helps me fill and I am so grateful I discovered these practices.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 13: Happy Kids

November 14th, 2013
Today I am grateful for happy kids.

We have two adorible children who are truly happy.  They have joyful souls. They are so fun to be around and to hang out with. One of my favorite parts of my day is when I am sleeping in the middle of the day (when working nights) and waking up just a little and hearing them playing/laughing/talking. It is such a glorious sound and I love to sit with that sound and let it resonate in my soul.  I am so grateful for my happy children.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 12: Free Kids Activities

Today I am grateful for free kids activities. We needed to run off some steam today.  It was a bit cooler earlier in the day so we headed it McDonalds.  Annabelle calls it "Old McDonalds".  They have nice, well maintained equipment that is most of the time very clean.  For the cost of a large drink ($1.06) we can play all day.  They have free wifi and it is indoors. A great reprieve. After some more time in the car, we needed to run some more. It got a bit nicer later in the day so we went to the park.  We had a great time playing on the "bumpy slide" and the "curly" slide.  I love that with a little imagination and a picnic lunch we can have a wonderful day, and have lots of activity and spend close to no money. It is very refreshing!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 11: Freedom

November 11th, 2013 Veterans Day 
Today I am grateful for freedom.  I am grateful for a country that gives me so many rights and abilities.  I am free to choose what career I want to have, where and how I want to live, who to
marry, how many children to have, and so many other choices. I am grateful for so many that have gone before us affording us these rights. 
The kids and I went out to the Veterans Day parade today to honor those who are in our community that have served.  It was a special moment and a special day to share with the next generation.  I am grateful we were able to go.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 10: No Excuses

November 10th, 2013 

Today I am grateful for the beautiful day, amazing weather and our double BOB stroller.  I was full of reasons why I didn't want to go for a run today but had no excuse.  I love the double BOB. It allows me to easily carry both kids, keep them well shaded and entertained for as long as I want to be out.  Luke loves going for a jog and after a couple of correction usually stays behind the stroller and heels well.
The weather was amazing today.  Perfect weather for running, not to hot not to cold.  The fall colors are beautiful and I love hearing my footsteps crunch through the leaves.  
It doesn't happen everyday, most of the time I struggle, but I am so grateful for the days that all of the excuses melt away and I am able to get out and get in a good run.
Thank you Maria Kang, No Excuses Today!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 9: Couch Date

Today I am grateful for date night.  Our lives have change a bit in the past few years  so date night looks a bit different now.  We call it a couch date, but frankly, it's pretty great (because they are so rare).  Tonight Heath and I put the heathens to bed and cuddled under a blanket on the couch with a redbox (Channing Tatum on 55", yes please!).  Can't imagine how I would better like to spend 2 hours of my time.  I love you Heath Kahler and love spending quality time with you.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 8: LUH

Today I am grateful for my new(ish) job.  I am very thankful to live and work in the same city again.  It breads a certain sense of grounding or community.  I love the beauty of this hospital.  Getting a cup of coffee for a patient and this is the view I see 

Seeing such beauty helps remind me why I choose to live and work here.  
It was a big change for me to switch systems at this point in my career.  Now that I feel the learning curve has lessened in steapness I am beginning to be able to enjoy the refreshing changes that a small community hospital has to offer.  Longmont United Hospital (LUH) is a great facility with wonderful staff and leadership.
I can see my career developing here and having longevity.  I am grateful that all the pieces fell into place as needed to put me here at this time in this place.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 7: Annabelle

November 7th, 2013
Today I am grateful for my sweet daughter Annabelle.  She is such a joy to be part of her life. She is kind, thoughtful, hilarious, smart and generous. It is so much fun to watch her grow, learn and develop. We have been working on potty training for two years. I am not one to draw a line in the sand, and I truly believed that we just had to wait until she got it. Well, she's getting it. We have had many successful potty trips this week and even one overnight wake up because she had to pee.  Her physical development has always been slower than her mental, but I think we are finally on the right road.
Today she walked up to me out of the blue a dawned "Mom are you proud of me when I go in the potty"? Yes babe, I am so proud of you, and for so many things.  I am so grateful to have you in my life!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 6: My Home

November 6th, 2013
Today I am thankful for my home.  We bought this house five and a half years ago and knew it was the place for us to start a family. Our angles led us to this house and have kept us well protected here.  We bought a house and turned it into a home. It is a constant source of contentment and comfort. Every time I am away, I look forward to coming home. My home extends it's arms and wraps me in a hug every time I come home from work.  It keeps us warm and dry and kept us safe during the flood.  I am grateful for my home.

Gratitude Journal Day 5: My Mom

November 5th, 2013
Today I am thankful for my mom.  They say it takes a village to raise a family and she is definetly a big part of my villiage.  She is always willing to come help with the kids when I have meetings, need to sleep after an extra shift, need to work a weird day, etc.  She takes awesome care of my kids, helps me with household chores and there is usually something freshly baked on the counter. I don't know how she does it but I am extremely blessed to have been born to such an unselfless person. Thank you mom for making my life possible and a little bit easier.  We appreciate you and are grateful for you.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 4: Job

November 4th, 2013

Today I am grateful for my job.  I am grateful to have a job.  Two at that!  God has positioned me well and keeps me out of harms way.  In this economy, with so much unknown and uncertainty, I feel fairly secure that I can provide an income for my family.  It may not be the days I want, the location or the hours, but I can find a job.  I imagine things are going to get even tighter and more difficult in healthcare in the coming years, but I feel well positioned to be in demand.  
I am grateful it is a job that means something and even my worst day couldn't be as bad as some of my patients.  I am grateful for the times I get to see how my small contributions are appreciated.
Tonight when I got to work I received a letter in my mailbox that gave me goosebumps.  Earlier this year I had the opportunity to partake in a horrific case that ended up in a organ donation.  The letter gave us follow up information on where the organs ended up and how those patients are doing. It gave me a great sense of gratitude that our work directly positively affected so many.  This is probably only a small representation of all the times that my work doesn't get recognized, but has the same outcome.  Makes me feel really good inside!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 3: Healthy Family

November 3rd, 2013
Today I am grateful for two amazing and healthy children.  I try not to let a day go by that I don't remember how blessed we are to be healthy.  Yesterday was a reminder of exactly how blessed.  A friend of mine found out yesterday that her 5 year old son has cancer. I cannot even imagine how you would go through something like that.  So today I will pray for sweet little Patrick and be extremely grateful for my healthy family.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 2: Health

Today I am grateful for my health. I appreciate that I can get out of bed independently and carry about my day how I chose. I can do whatever I want within my bodies capabilities. One of the things that sent me down this health and fitness path this year was a patient I encountered last winter. Outwardly she looked very healthy. No grave disability, but she just kept complaining about how hard it was to be her and what "pain" she felt. I was touched very deeply by her. She couldn't do anything because of her perception and attitude. What was my excuse? Because I didn't "feel" like it? That is not a good reason. There are plenty of people in this world that truly cannot do because of physical limitations, then there are that will not do because of mental limitations. I was somewhere in between. Today, I am grateful that I can and feel like getting out of bed early, doing my wonderful sun salutations, meditating then working out before I go to work. I am very grateful for my "can do" spirit that has overtaken me this year, and that I give myself this time each day before I serve everyone else. I am grateful I am whole, healthy and able bodied.

... and I got nothin

I had a wonderful opportunity to get together with some of my dear girlfriends tonight.  Our lavish "Happy Hours" at happening Boulder hot spots have now been downgraded to meeting at someone's house and a sharing a bottle of wine (on sale of course!) after we and the hostess puts our kids to bed.  I almost prefer these get togethers as I feel like we can pull back the BS and discuss some real topics, and we don't have to fight crowd noise, waiters and there's no tab to settle up at the end of the night. (Thanks for hosting E! You are always the impecable hostess!). I guess this is what mid thirties, married, mortgaged and a mother of two looks like.
Tonight we discussed our husbands and frustrations around the share of parenting/contributing/responsibilities.  It always blows me away how personally we all struggle but with all the same things.  It is some curtain of pride we all hide behind, but once opened, we all have felt the same way and have had the same fights/thoughts/frustrations!  We all laugh at that slightly dramatized story of what happened because we have all lived it, been there, felt that.  Well, except...
Me! I got nothin!  I can sympathize, extrapolate that I would feel that way in that situation.  I sat quiet through most of the stories, laughing, but quiet because I didn't have anything to add.  Nobody wanted to hear how I got flowers at work this week, with a homemade card telling me how much I am love and appreciated.  Nobody wanted to hear how I just was able to get away for a weekend to ... Meditate ... I had absolutely zero to add of why my husband sucked!  I had nothin!
Thank you Heath Ryan Kahler for loving me , spoiling me, taking great emotional care of me.  For being my partner, co-parent, best friend, confidont, lover, cheerleader, manager, and above all Husband.  You are amazing and I love you more and more each day and every year.  I don't even care that you don't know how to wipe down the sink after you shave and there is little hair fragments everywhere, or that you can't quiet get your sock ALL the way into the laundry basket.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gratitude Journal Day 1: Alive

November 1st, 2013
Today I am grateful to be alive.  I am grateful to awaken everyday and be given the opportunity to learn, grow, share, and struggle.  Even if the day is a challenge, I try to keep the perspective of how fortunate I am to even be here!

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Weekend with Buddha

This weekend I was fortunate enough to get away for a three day meditation retreat. I spent Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday through lunch at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado.  (

My meditation practice began somewhere around two years ago.  While struggling with post partum depression, I got involved with a research study at the University of Colorado.  They were studying the effects of mindfulness and meditation practice on post partum depression symptoms.  I had heard of meditation but had never looked into it as it seemed "new agey".  My experiences were positive through this study, six months in length, but since then has become very hit and miss.
Last December, I set some pretty audacious goals for 2013. One was to become more present in my life.  I don't want to "wake up" 15 years from now and realize I missed all the good stuff because I was so concentrated on all of the small details.  I have found meditation to help me be more present in the everyday.   Because of the variability of my practice, I sought out a retreat to help me with this goal.  
I really didn't do much research into what I was getting myself into.  Nor did I set many expectations for what I was to experience because I didn't want to be disappointed.  I was not disappointed. 

This picture was taken during my morning run on Saturday. The sunrise was FANTASTIC and will go down in history as of those all time favorite moments in life.

The property sits on 600 acres in the mountains an hour west of Fort Collins.  I did expect to see fall colors all around but instead was greeted by several inches of snow.  It was a beautiful mix of autumn and winter in our dual personality state of Colorado.

The retreat center is a Buddhist place, very much in a Tibetan fashion.  It was kind of like visiting a foreign country.  They have built an incredible Stupa to honor the founder of the property Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.  It was very interesting learning about the tradition and culture around this place. The previous picture is the view down onto the property from the stupa and the next is the path leading too the Great Stupa.  This proved to be my favorite place on the property. A small path through a stand of trees with a beautiful stream. So serene.  

I spent quite a bit of time in silence and listening to the deafening quiet.  Such a stark contrast from my everyday life.
The course was taught by one of the great teachers at the center.  He taught us about form, technique and the different kinds of meditation in the Tibetan tradition.  It was an amazing time to meet myself, and get to know me on a deeper level. There was no distractions.
I read, multiple times a day, for an hour, in the quiet!  I had a whole meal, sitting down, that I didn't prepare, and got to drink my tea hot!  I got to carry on conversations with incredibly interesting women about adult topics without being interrupted or distracted.  I got to go to bed, when I wanted, and slept like a "baby" for 8 hours straight. It was a pleasure to then get up at 6 and go for my morning run.  If nothing else, those experiences were worth the cost of the whole trip.
I didn't have any great meditation experiences until the last day.  It was difficult for me to completely let go. I kept getting in my own way and having thoughts from previous conversations that kept me from releasing and relaxing. I spoke to the instructor towards the end of our session on Saturday and asked when I would know that I was, for lack of a better term, a good meditator.  When would I know that I had a good practice?  He stated, in a very Yoda kind of way that I would know when I knew.  Thanks!
They gave us a book as part of this course written by the son of the founder for the SMC.  "Turning the Mind into an Ally" by Sakyong Mipham.  I am part way through it and love how he describes meditation.  He says that a lot of us begin our meditation practice like a beginning gardener.  We throw some seeds on some rocks and expect for them to sprout.  When they don't we get frustrated and give up.  But through meditation we are like great gardener's who pick the weeds, till the soil and create a great top layer.  Through meditation, we continue to prepare our soil, then our lives and our everyday activities, if mindfully practiced, plant seeds in that great soil.  With this process beautiful things can bloom.  This is a great way to describe how my practice was prior to this retreat. I just kept throwing seeds onto rocks, and a couple of heartyer seeds had kind of, sort of bloomed, which had kept me interested. This past weekend I put on my boots, and my gloves and really dug in. My soil is now well tilled and with continued practice I hope to see some beautiful flowers start to bloom.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mission Statement

On this track to self improvement I have come across the book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey.  It is a incredible book that has helped me really focus my life.  In this book, the author charges everyone to develop a personal and family mission statement.  I have been working on this for months and have been stalled many times.  Dr. Covey states that you don't write a mission as much as you detect it.  He was right. Yesterday while doing my bike ride portion of the triathlon, my mission statement flowed out of me like water.  I felt so alive and full of life, that I started thinking about it and boom, there it was.  So...

"I exist to LIVE this life to the fullest, to selflessly serve others with my WHOLE heart, and to die with NO regrets"!

Heath and I have also been working on our family mission statement.  We thought about making it one or two sentences, expressing the essence of our family.  That seemed difficult to have children understand and be able to repeat.  Since this is our family mission statement, we needed it to be a little more tangable.  Heath came up with the great idea of having a acronym.  That seems like a great way to keep it simple, and have it easily remembered and apply it to our lives.  Heath and I refer to our family as Team Kahler, and that seemed to be a good acronym to fit our mission statement into.
We took a drive to Estes Park today.  Since my personal mission statement was now intact, I felt that our family's mission needed finishing.  We seized this opportunity, and our family mission statement is as follows:

T - Teamwork
E - Earnest
A - Attitude
M - Magnanimous

K - Kind
A - Active
H - Honest
L - Laughter
E - Equality
R - Respect

Teamwork is work done by several people with each doing a part that contributes to the efficiency of the whole.  Earnest is a seriousness in intention, purpose or effort.  Atitude is a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state. Magnanimous is a showing or suggesting a lofty and courageous spirit.  To be kind is to be sympathetic or helpful in nature.  Active is to be engaged in full time service.  To be honest is to be marked by high integrity.  To laugh is to find amusement or pleasure in things.  Equality is to be like in quality, nature or status.  Respect is to hold others in high or special regard.

So there it is, my and our family's mission statements. It is my hope that these can keep us focused and help us develope goals that are in line with our mission.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I came I saw I TRIed!

They say your first Triathlon is like your first hit of heroin, addicting and a high that you chase for the rest of your life.  Well, I would have to agree.  I feel AMAZING!!!!!!  I did really well, surprised myself and had a great time doing it.  2 hours 2 minutes and 12 seconds of hands down the most amazing personal experience and journey I have ever experienced.  Meeting my husband, falling in love, getting married and having two wonderful children are all incredible experiences, but they involve so many other outside things and people that they are just different.  This Tri was all about...ME!
I started this journey so many years ago and today it all culminated in me completing something that for so long seemed completely unlikely and dare I say impossible?  4 months ago I hadn't ran in more than 12 years, and my only running history was gym class in high school. I only ever remember having run one non stop mile.  4 months ago, swimming 200 meters was ALL I could do, and had never swam in open water.  Top it all off, I hadn't sat on my bike in more than 6 years.  Today, I swam more than 750 meters in a reservoir, biked 12 miles and then ran a 5K!  I didn't run the whole thing but I did run almost the entire 1st mile (all up hill), a good portion of the 2nd and the ENTIRE 3rd mile!  This on the heels of a freak injury Friday where think I may have broken my pinkie toe

I have overcome so much, faced down so many demons and truly learned to quiet that voice in my head that makes me doubt myself.  The lessons I learned from my journey this summer will serve me well going forward the next 60 years. 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Thank you to the best friend a girl could ask  for . Thank you for letting me train so much this summer and take so much time away from you and the kids. 
Thank you mom for watching the children today so that I could fulfill this amazing goal! Thank you for supporting me and I love you!

Monday, July 15, 2013

How bad do you want it...

Yesterday was one of those kind of days.  I met resistance at every step.  It was a day that made me question how badly I want this.
Mondays are my weigh in days.  I have not moved the needle in well over a month and this last week I really felt like I had made some progress.  Boom!  155 lbs, officially halfway through my weight loss goal this year.  Such an amazing way to start the day.  
Breakfast was a challenge, with me questioning everything I wanted to place in my mouth.  I had planned a pj day for the kids and I but I realized that hanging out all day without doing any exercise would not get me any closer to my goals.  So what can I do that allows me to take both kids and exercise simultaneously? I'll go for a jog. But after jogging around the neighborhood for several weeks, I am an need of some new scenery.  
I sought out new path. But, unfortunately we would have to drive there and we did not have the right car to take the BOB. Hmm. Road Bock #1. Problem solve: We can go exchange cars as the Jeep is parked at the park-and-ride. Load both kids up, drive to the park-and-ride. Logan's asleep, check! Get Annabelle out and put into the Jeep, oops! I didn't bring Logan's car seat (One car has a full car seat, the other has the removable infant car seat). Road Block #2. Drive back to the house, get Logan's car seat, turn back around, switch cars, back home to pick up the BOB. Once back to the house I start thinking, should I really go forward with this, or are these signs that I should quit while I am ahead? I want this, I will go! Drive out to the new path. Beautiful! Get the kids out and into the BOB, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses all on. Start to jog, hmm, why is that gate closed? Apparently this reservoir is half closed half of the year for bird breeding. Guess which half of the year it is? Road Block #3! Load both kids, the BOB back to the car. Still determined, seek our new location. When we arrive Road Bock #4 BOTH Annabelle and Logan are now sleeping. Still undeterred, I load them both up in the BOB and hit the path. It was meant to be. It is GORGEOUS!
I didn't have a great run because it was not mid day and hotter than...well HOT! I jogged/walked around this beautiful preserve twice, got close to three miles in and did so with a grateful heart. Look at all of the adversity I faced to get to this place in this time. It really proved to me that I am determined to complete this goal and the days that I am truly not feeling it I need to show myself a little grace because the days that I am feeling it, I get there. I am really looking forward to heading out here several more times and seeing this gorgeous place right in my back yard in the different seasons.

The Hottest Part of the Flame

I did an exercise tonight which I became drawn to the blue part of the fire flame. Is it a coincidence that blue has always been my favorite color? It is the hottest part of the fire. It make me ponder, am I now reaching the blue part of my flame? The hottest part? If this isn't the blue part, I don't know what to expect in the future, because it is freaking burning right now. I have learned that I only do two things well at any point in time. I can only have two main focuses. This is both good and bad. I have SO many interests right now. I would love to delve into each one of them and live richly, but I know myself well enough to know that I can only concentrate on two of them with any intention. My three main goals this year, Healthy, Wealthy and Stealthy are coming along very well. I am currently deep in the blue of Stealthy right now as I am training for my triathlon, which is in...three weeks and counting, gasp! I don't have any doubts that I can do it at this point, my only question is how well? I just want to be able to complete all three legs with gusto and without stopping. My biggest fear is that I will not be mentally tough enough to complete the 5K after the swim and bike portion. I have to work through my feelings about how it will feel to walk or if that is even an option. To prove to myself that I have come this far, and can indeed run a 5K, I completed my first one this past weekend. I did really well, and with the help of a dear friend Robin, I didn't stop and just kept moving forward (thank you Meredith Atwood). Will I be able to have that kind of focus and intensity day of? I hope so. For now, just keep on training! I have also been focusing on Wealthy. We have been working the Dave Ramsey plan for six and a half years and payed off the rest of our consumer debt this spring! YEA! With that we have set some new goals (send Heath through school debt free) which have really caused me to focus on the b-word...Budget. We have, for the past six years, had what I would call a spending plan, but very rarely a budget. I now spend every penny on paper before the month begins. I know the first of the month how much money we have to spend on diapers, food and toilet paper. Going to the store and planning meals for the week within a certain amount of cash is interesting and challenging. Instead of thinking about how much it sucks and how much I would like to just get what we need and not pay attention to cost, I take it as a challenge I need to master. I have been having a lot of fun approaching it as a puzzle. It has really made me question the abundance we have as Americans, and how much do we REALLY need? What a change our lives have taken over the past year. Heath has had an amazing attitude for being part of the ride. I need to work this fall on the Healthy. Once the triathlon is over, and my exercise routine that is now hard wired in becomes a less area of focus and more maintanence, I need to focus on my meditative practice and my spiritual journey. This goal has taken kind of a back burner, but is still much of a focus for the year. I am going to seek out a meditation retreat this fall, hopefully around October. I feel like this is an areas where I can have tremndous growth and this growth will then spill back over into Stealthy and Wealthy. It probably needed to be first in the year, a January and February project, but then we need to approach everything in its own devine timing as well. One thing I have learned for sure is that I am etching out time in my life for, um, ME, and I do not feel guilty about it. I am no good to anyone else in my life if I am completly drained. I could have very well gone to bed tonight with my husband, but I chose to follow my desires and have a Mom date on the back porch. Wine, Candle and my blog. Life is good...GREAT!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cheerios Everywhere and Other Revelations

When I was a young single woman I prided myself on keeping my home and things in "perfect" order. I loved needing something and being able to retrieve it instantly, and in perfect condition.  I would look at those Moms at Target who would open the door to the mini van and Cheerios would fall out, and secretly mock them, thinking that will NEVER be me.  I have learned never to judge others because it dooms you to turn into that which you judge.
Now as a mother of two small children I often ask myself "How did we get Cheerios there"? as I change my 8 month old sons diaper.  Just the beginning of many mysteries that go with being a parent.  It is a beautiful day outside, I am sitting blogging and enjoying the rustle of wind through the trees, the smell of summer and the slight bit of sunshine hitting my left shoulder.  Where is my almost three year old you ask?  Outside playing with the homemade sidewalk paints (thank you Pinterest)
Or playing in her own water table extravaganza I created?
 Oh no, she's on the couch covered up with a blanket watching cartoons!  Awesome parenting!  Let ye be judged!

I am trying to live the best life I can, model the best behavior for my children that I can, and do the best for them that I can.  That is all that we can ask of ourselves, right?  I am sure that this self induced guilt that I feel for EVERY decision I make and every day I live, will indeed last until the day I die.  But I am truly doing the BEST that I can. I felt guilty yesterday for taking most of the day to spend on ... ME!  But on the other side of the coin, what healthy behavior am I modeling for them that I take time for myself?
I am working towards completing my very first (and maybe last) Triathlon at the beginning of August.  I have been pretty worried about the open water swim portion of the triathlon.  The event creators also hosted a camp for Tri newbies.  Although it was more money than I wanted to spend, had to rearrange my already difficult schedule and spend a good portion of the day away from my family, I chose to go.  It was AWESOME!  We got to work with some fabulous coaches and triathletes.  I hung on every word they said and learned so many amazing things.  The biggest thing I learned?  I sell myself short often!  I think we all do, and I am nothing special.  What I am truly capable of and what I believe I am capable of are often two different things.
I was standing in Cherry Creek State Park Reservoir yesterday with a group of amazing women, all shapes, sizes, ages, capabilities and from all walks of life, being coached by a women who just completed a half Ironman competition in New Zeland, and I WAS THERE!  I swam, and  did really well, and it felt amazing.  I felt that little feeling that other athletes or people with passions must feel when they are doing what they love.  One of the coaches said that I got bit by the Tri Bug!  I was so excited to be doing something intensely personal, intensely hard, ans at the same time part of this amazing group of women who also where fighting some deep personal battles.  How cool it is going to be to actually do this triathlon and be at this park with 2000 women all coming out to support a great cause and compete against themselves!  I am truly in awe of what an amazing experience this will be.
Hopefully the "perfect" disorder that my house is constantly in, the Cheerios that I find in the strangest places and that dirt on my sons ankle that I wonder is food or poop (equal chances of either) will all be forgotten and the time we spend reading to them every night, the hundredth time we sing wheels on the bus and the triathlon I finish when Mom is 32 years old is the lessons that my children glen.  I'm learning to love my imperfectly perfect life.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Great things can happen...

Just proof to me that many wonderful things can happen in this world if you just get out of your own way.  
We make so many excuses surrounding what is good for us in this world.  Eating well, exercising, meditating, self care, all take so much time and energy that we find ourselves not even attempting to try. Wouldn't it be better to try and even do these great things 25% of the time rather than not at all?  Why are we so hard on ourselves that we must always do things perfectly and 100% of the time?  I am learning that putting intention towards anything, and even attempting to strive towards my goals gets me closer than I have been and sets me up to want do more and better.  Putting just a little bit if effort out comes back 10 fold. 
How many things do I want to be better at in this life?  What can I do today to take a step closer to that thing?  Today, be a better wife!  Date night at home, check!  Better wife, check!  Feeling better about my self, check!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Try a Tri

Well, it's over. My first experience with a triathlon.  I have always thought that completing a triathlon would be really cool, but I really never thought that I could do it. Then this year I questioned "why can't I"? The excuses were pretty lame.  I decided that I needed to quit making excuses in my life and do things I would like to do. What's the worst that could happen, fail? Well then least I would know that it wasn't really for me, and I am not just to afraid to try.

Heath mentioned he and the kids would come and cheer me on. I never invited them, or anyone else, because this really felt like a personal journey within myself, and it never occurred to me that they would want to be there, or that they would be proud of me. That is one of the major shifts in my life this year...external factors are not pushing me, these are all very personal journeys I am on.

So now the monster, the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)...a full triathlon August 4th. This is the event that has sat in my mind for years thinking, "that would be cool".  The time to be cool has come.  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

8 - 14 - Life

14 years ago today I went on the first date with a boy who I would later call my husband.  8 years ago today we stood on top of a mountain with a few of our nearest and dearest and exchanged our wedding vows.  Today, we have created a truly amazing , loving, respectful marriage, a beautiful, restful home and a adorable family.  We have a life I am proud to be a part of. I treasure our past, our story, our present (as difficult as it may be somedays) and look into the future with hope and promise.  I look forward to spending the best years of my life with this man, and these two strange and amazing beings we have created.  I look forward to creating a life full of memories and experiences. I look forward to some of the incredible challenges I know are coming with hope in my heart because I have faith that we will overcome valiantly!  He is who I have chosen to be my life partner, and who has been placed in my life to help me realize my potential. He makes me a better person by being himself. He makes me happier and more fulfilled everyday I am blessed to spend with him.  He has made me a woman, a wife and a mother and to him I am eternally grateful! Heath Ryan Kahler I love you and thank you for getting up the courage 14 years ago to call me up and ask me out, and 8 1/2 years ago to risk life and limb to ask me to marry you. I would say yes everyday of the past 8 years and look forward to the next 80!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The First Mile

I just ran the first mile I have run since high school!  26 days ago I hadn't ran farther than a few blocks in more than 12 years.  Wow!  Really shows you what a little attention and focus can do.
I started on a journey four and a half months ago.  I have some REAL goals for this year.  Some REAL New Years resolutions.  I laid out my goals and some actual, measurable steps in order to obtain these goals.  I think that is what is different about this year.  I started with the end in mind.  I mapped my course.  I know where I am going and how I am going to get there. 
One of the questions I have had to come face to face with during this journey is why do I hate to run?  It is one of the things that I feel would do the most benefit in my journey, but I haven't been able to approach it, until now.  Do I hate to run because I USED to hate to run?  Or do I still hate to run?  Do I hate to run because of all of the excuses I USED to have, or are those excuses still true for me?  So far, running is not what I would call enjoyable, but I am facing my fears and hates and accomplishing goals that lead to bigger goals. 
I have wanted to complete a triathlon for many years.  A friend competed in a triathlon many years ago, and I was secretly very jealous.  I was jealous because I thought "I would like to do that, but will never ever be able to".  This year I am questioning all of those never evers.  I have began training for a triathlon this month and as a few minutes ago, I have registered to complete a half a triathlon in June and a full triathlon in August.  Wow!  I am going to do this!  No turning back now.
Every year for many many years I have set out to loose weight and get healthy.  Me and the rest of the country.  I never made concrete, attainable goals to get there.  So this year I find myself 32 years old and 30 + pounds overweight.  I want to lead by example.  I want to show my kids what it is to be healthy.  I want to demonstrate determination and sheer focus for my patients.  I want to be able to say look at what I did this year.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Mommy Date

Today could have been a total loss, but I chose to make use of it! I had to come to Loveland early, for something that turned out to only take 15 minutes. It would have been a waste to drive back to Longmont just to turn right back around. I chose, yes chose, to go work out instead. Who is this person who is emerging? I could have used to think of a hundred things I would rather do than work out, but these days it is at the top of my list everyday. I went to a new rec center and went swimming. I enjoyed myself and now that is off the list for today. The question of dinner was next, hmm. Mommy Date! It used to feel so strange going to a restaurant by myself, but now it feels like an opportunity. I enjoy a quiet meal of my choosing. Anywhere I want to go, however long I want to stay. Dating myself is very important. I do so much for everyone and everything else, it is really nice to give back to me. The gift of time is so important, and today I chose to spend it wisely.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mudd Room

It's finally done! The Mudd Room is complete! This post is long overdue. I have been wanting to blog about this journey for so long, but life has been busy. Thankfully, this time has allowed me to put this room to the test, and I have really put it through the paces. Good news, it's PERFECT! I am so grateful for my time that I spent working on this area, and to my dear husband, who did so much to turn it into such a functional space. It has been so helpful keeping us on track, and much more efficient. To put this in perspective, some back story.
Years ago my sister turned me on to the desire of having a mudd room. She pointed out how functional it would be and how helpful it could be to have a place to Enter your home, especially with children. While house shopping, five years ago, a place to have a mudd room was on my dream list. When we found our house, it had this large laundry room right off of the garage and back yard. For five years, I have wanted to turn it in to a mudd room, but I never took the time or energy it needed. I regret that I didn't do this earlier, because it has been such a life saver.
The picture below is how our entry room looked (embarrassingly) most of the time. The door to the right comes in from the garage and the door from the left comes in from the back yard. We rarely use the front door. Everything that comes IN TO our home, usually comes in through these two doors. I needed somewhere for all of the worlds "stuff" get sorted and stored until being dealt with.
 I got so tired having three or four places in my home that stuff ended up and things getting lost in these piles. I hated doing laundry because there was no place to really sort or fold clothes. There was no place to put my purse, store the diaper bags or the mail. Finally, after having Logan and the car seat carrier came back into our lives, I had enough!
Three weeks, lots of Pinterest and blog research and several trips to Home Depot, and voilà!

I am so please with how it has turned out and I love coming into my home now.  There is absolutely a place for everything and my husband even puts everything where it goes because it is so logical.
The first picture below is of our coat area.  The door to the right is the door to the back yard.  Everyone has a hook, and Luke has his leashes there.  The only thing I don't care for is that we have to be careful when coming in and out the door because coats can get closed in the door. Just a small annoyance.
This is our shoe area.  The chair has been with us for some time, but has never had a home in this house.  Heath installed the shelves to the right. Every purse, diaper bag and shoe has a home.The basket below the chair is the "crap" basket.  Anything that doesn't have a home, needs to have a "temp" home or gets left out of place gets put in here. It fits perfectly under the chair, and in the evening I can walk around the house with it and put all of its contents away.

The shelf above the shoes is my favorite. The basket to the left is the inbox. Anything that just needs to come in gets placed there i.e. the mail, the newspaper, random papers, etc.  When we have time, we sort them into the file to the right and above. There are four files to the right. 1. Action File (anything that needs to be dealt with now and needs further action) 2. Read (anything I want to spend some more time looking at and reading) 3. Coupons (my coupon box goes there and any random loose coupons) 4. Shred (anything that needs to make it down to the shred machine in the office). The basket all the way to the right is a holder. Holds the pens and sticky notes and a junk bowl. It is nice to come in with the mail and drop it in the inbox, then later be able to stand right there, sort the mail, put the trash in the trash and recycle (blue and white receptacles located under the sink) put the bills in the action file, the bank statement in the file pile, the Bed Bath and Beyond coupon in the coupon file, and the credit card application in the shred file.
Following to the right is my favorite single addition to the house so far, my utility sink. So many uses, especially with the chickens and garden!

This white cabinet was here before we moved in.  We removed the door on the left to be able to have another set of file dividers (thanks honey for the great idea!)  The files are individual Amy, Heath, AnnaLog (my nickname for the kids) and Hold (random papers you need to reference that aren't digital and need to be kept for a period of time). There is also a "to file pile" and is nice that I can take things in piles and file rather than one or two pieces every day. On the top shelf above all is the cards box (filled with anniversary, birthday, and a random assortment of greeting cards) and envelopes. So nice to receive a "return receipt requested" piece of mail and immediately sign it and put it in an envelope. Behind the doors of this cabinet hold all of the laundry products.

Below is the pièce de résistance!  This is our Command Center.  We have referred to ourselves as Team Kahler for quite awhile, a little cheesey I know.  This is a bulletin board I had in my room as a child.  It has been sitting in my parents garage and they nicely let me abscond with it.  I searched for just the perfect fabric and recovered it.  I panted the trim, and although I am not 100% pleased with it, I am pleased with the center as a whole.  The top left of the bulletin board is our home cleaning schedule, so that my husband always knows what is on the agenda for the day.  The next calendar (on the yellow backing) is our activity calendar.  It gives us ideas for what child friendly activity there is going on each and every day of the week.  There are a sprinkle of other calendars and fliers below that (rec center calendar, husbands work schedule, etc.)  The purple part on the top right is my post it to do list.  Each Team member as a column and the one in the middle is labeled "TeamWork".  This also communicates to everyone what the tasks to be completed are.  My husband always has a "Honey Do List".  Very rewarding to take of the completed post it and crumple it up.  On the bottom right of the board is our expense tracking and budget.  Dave would be proud that it has such a prominent display.  There is a regular calendar, clock, and mirror (just to check before running out the door).  The keys are hung high so that the children have no chance of grabbing them.  There are two post it pads hanging for the "take it with you to do list".  Often I right reminders of all the stuff I need to bring with me as on a big adventure day.  The dry erase marker board is our monthly tracking of spending, with a envelope to hold all receipts below it.  Lower on the wall are three hooks that hold random bags, jackets and items.  They are hung low enough that eventually they will be child backpack hooks.

This pocket system hangs on the back of the garage door.  It has multiple pockets for all of those "random" things.  There is a place for our ear phones (going for a walk, to the gym or out for a bike ride), the stereo face to my car, sunglasses, bug spray, sunscreen, hats, gloves and multiple other things.  The two pockets I love the most are my outbox.  I finally have a place to put the movie that needs to be returned, the mail that needs to go out and the book at has to go back to the library.  It is checked every time we leave, and even my husband asks "honey, do you need me to take this back for you", ahhhhh.

One of the things I learned the past 6 months or so is to really make my space functional.  It doesn't matter what it looks like. I used to store all of my pantry items in the basement on shelves.  Things were constantly expiring and I wouldn't go down there because "it was so far" I know I know.  This shelving unit used to be turned onto the other wall and hold all of my very special Grandma's china.  I thought we would use it all the time, but we just don't.  I have several key pieces that are in my cupboards, but the 12 place setting just doesn't get pulled out often.  I flipped the shelf onto the other wall and traded the dishes and pantry spots.  So much more convenient.  Now, when my dinner planning system fails, I can run out to my pantry, do a visual inspection and whip up something for dinner.

Another feature we created to make a functional system.  I love doing laundry but hate folding it.  We never had a good spot to fold, so it ended up being done and piled in baskets for weeks, being sorted and pillaged daily to find what you needed.  Not an effective system.  Enter laundry room organization.  My husband had the brilliant idea to make me a movable folding table.  A piece of plywood and some contact paper cut exactly to fit over the large utility sink.  Just enough room to fold everything and sort into the basket cart.  Each family member has a laundry basket.  Laundry gets folded straight out of the dryer, put into the family members basket and then taken to be put away.  My husband doesn't mind folding my clothes but doesn't ever know where they go.  Now I can spend just a few minutes putting away my very nicely folded clothes, once the basket gets full.  I don't have to put his clothes away either, and the system will be hard wired by the time the kids get old enough to know what laundry is.  The cart gets stored on the other side of my newly stacked washer and dryer, and is on wheels so it moves easily.

The other piece of the laundry system.  All hang able clothes get hung straight out of the dryer.  Who irons anymore?
The car seat carrier found a home up off the floor and "away" on the laundry cart.  No more tripping over it.

This is a view of everything "away"

The bottom shelf of the pantry holds all of my fancy dress shoes and the airtight dog food container.  Luke has his food bowl and water dish in the corner, out of the way.
There are a few pieces of art that are being created and need to be displayed, but those will come out in future posts.  I cannot tell you how rewarding this whole project has been and how much I enjoy my new "systems".  It helps keep me from going crazy, and keeps all of the "stuff" that comes into our house, out of our home.  It feels like its a gateway to the world, and I can shut the door if I need to.  Such a powerful feeling in this world of always being reachable and in touch.  Thank you for going on this journey with me and letting me share my joy with you!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What? I didn't fret?

There is a situation in my life that usually causes me stress, turmoil and lack of sleep. A update in that situation came today, and I was totally surprised! I forgot about an appointment that had been scheduled for weeks! I am SOOOO proud of myself. I have obviously let go of some feelings about this situation, enough so that I was able to forget. When it was stated that my presence was missed, I didn't feel bad in the least. Wow! No guilt, regret or sympathy.
I have done a considerable amount of work on this problem and it has become apparent to me that I just might have figured out some healthy boundaries.
This is a good life lesson on how to identify an issue, put energy and focus on not solving, but putting in healthy, respectful limits and moving forward with what I can have control and my reactions. I love being an adult in these kind of situations. I have the tools and resources to deal with issues and in a healthy way.