Thursday, January 26, 2012

He Told me No

Most days, I find my son to be a very sweet child. He loves to play, give hugs and kisses and snuggle with you on the couch. What seems like completely out of nowhere, Hail told me no he wouldn't do something I asked. Not only this, he threw his bowl of applesauce on the floor when I told him to finish eating. I would like to blame it on his being sick, but I know this defiance comes from somewhere else. I believe we may be approaching the terrible twos. I have been told that this stage of life is called that because it happens for two years not just because they are two. Here's crossing my fingers to the fact that that isn't true.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 2- Heir to the Darkness

Well, I found that after getting this challenge started, it has become easier to read my books. I have just completed book 2 of the 50 book challenge. It is the second book in Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy. I highly recommend it for anyone that loves a good fantasy. This is what the publisher has to say about the book:
"In this violently passionate, "darkly fascinating world,"** the Blood rule: a race of witches and warlocks whose power is channeled through magical jewels. Ambitions unfurl in this second novel of The Black Jewels Trilogy, as the realm's dreams of a liberator have finally been made flesh...

Jaenelle, singled out by prophecy as the living embodiment of magic, is haunted by the cruel battles the Blood have fought over her-for not all of them await her as their Savior. Nothing, however, can deflect her from her destiny-and the day of reckoning looms near. When her memories return. When her magic matures. When she is forced to accept her fate. On that day, the dark Realms will know what it means to be ruled by Witch."

I liked this book because it was a lot more light-hearted than the first, however, nothing and everything seemed to happen during this installment. There was not a lot of action, however, the Craft in this book was necessary to create the story of the third installment as I have discovered quickly. I highly recommend this series to anyone. The characters are well developed and once you start reading, you won't want to stop!


I have always been a type of person that can't sleep if a room is too warm. Because I have a very hot blooded, hairy beast of a man that I share my bed with, I hardly EVER turn the heat on in my bedroom because it just gets so hot in there. Unfortunately, this flaw of my sleeping habits is what has been keeping me sick. :(

We discovered today that the reason for our sickness is that there was some mold growing on the window sill in the bedroom. The window sill is literally against the head of my bed. I do believe, as I have a pretty severe mold allergy that this is what has caused us to get sick. We have rectified the situation by cleaning the window sill with bleach and turning the heat on, however, I am not happy that now my room is going to be stifling and I will have to pay a higher electric bill.

I suppose for my health, it is the best, I just feel grouchy about it.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Little Things

Hail LOVES Thomas the Train. Unfortunately, I have seen every episode on our on demand as well as the two DVDs he has about 50,358,742,584,710,256,931 times. Yeah I know-- its a lot. He loves it and it is the only thing he ever wants to watch in the morning, when he's upset or before bedtime or nap time. Since we got a new TV, we decided to try putting the old one that is starting to go out in his room so he can watch Thomas any time he likes and I don't have to watch it with him. (I know most all the words to the stories and say them as they go)

This was probably one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. Even when the TV is off, he can still hear Thomas through his stereo. Nap time and bed time has gotten significantly easier and he is finally willing to play in his room without constant attention, meaning I can do some homework while he is awake instead of having to wait until he is in bed. This is a life saver for me. As I type this, he is contentedly playing with his stuffed Kitty in his room while Thomas is on. Never before has this been possible for me. I just wanted so share my little moment of success.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sick Again

This weekend, the whole house has managed to get sick again. I am reasonably sure it has something to do with the freezing cold temperatures, snow and rain that we've had. Going from inside the nice warm house to outside in the cold. Since we primarily take the bus, we walk a lot outside which has definitely aided in our sickness. The worst is that it has effected Hail.

Luckily, this time around we have some entertainment while we are holed up in our house. With our financial aid money from school, after all the bills were paid in advance for the next 3 months, we purchased some entertainment for ourselves so that we don't have to suffer from boredom all the time. We got a lovely new tv that actually works! This is great for everyone involved since the old one was going out and Hail wasn't able to watch his Thomas the Train cartoon and I wasn't able to do my teleweb courses since the tv wasn't working properly. I got a nice new Kindle so that I can read more easily anywhere I go. I also purchased a great book that I highly recommend by anyone. It's called Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer: How to Win Top Writing Assignments by Jenna Glatzer. I have read over some of the book and I can't believe how much I have been doing wrong in this profession! The book can be found at the Kindle Store for $2.99.

We also purchased a backwards compatible PS3. This is entertainment for the whole family. Raph gets to play his Skyrim fantasy game, I get to play Disney's Kingdom Hearts for PS2 and Hail gets to develop his motor skills with the PS3 Move. He is really getting up and moving around a lot more since he's gotten to play it.

So at least this time around we have something to keep us entertained while we are all home sick. I hate weekends like these. I think it could have also been the pizza we had yesterday. We went to a pizza place that was around the corner from our house and the whole experience was terrible.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Football Baby

Admittedly, I don't care about football one way or another. Just to give Raph grief, I always root for the other team, especially if his beloved Oregon Ducks are playing. This year, for Christmas, Hail was given a pair of PJs that are more like a duck costume. Picture below.

What I find interesting is that Hail has developed his own like for football. Obviously, he doesn't have a favorite team, however, he can quack like a duck. When football is on the tv, he will sit there contentedly and watch the game without moving. If a team does something that he disapproves of, he will tell the tv "no, no, no." and he he has his own touchdown dance every time a touchdown is made. I just felt that I would share a little of what makes my little man's day. He truly is a man's little boy. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Sad Goodbye

Well, emotional distress has hit me hard this weekend. Today, I get to say goodbye to my dad for the third time in less than 10 years. The first time, he went to Iraq for 32 months. The second time, he went to Iraq for 18 months, this time, he is moving to Minnesota for a job in his chosen field; wind turbine technician. Currently, the job is only temporary for six months. If they choose to hire him on permanently after three months, then my mom will be following him to Minnesota.

I feel like an emotional train wreck today and it doesn't seem to get through to anyone that this is difficult for me to do. While I have already done this twice, it does not mean that I want to do it for a third time and I especially don't want to have to say goodbye to my mother a few months from now. My dad has always been the anchor for me in my family since I don't really get a long with any others unless he is there to defuse the situation.

To make matters worse, Hail is being a brat and whining about everything and Raph is antagonizing him, acting like a child himself. I am super stressed out and I really don't know how I am going to handle myself when the time comes to actually say goodbye.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I've Been Slacking

For the last two days I have not written on my blog. Seeing this, I admit, I am a little upset with myself over it. Thursday night, I had a long night as Raph doesn't get home from school until nearly 10 PM. Hail and I hung out, however, he was super tired since he had NO nap all day. The rest of Thursday was devoted to finishing up homework and trying to find a schedule that was going to accommodate my mass amount of homework I have this week as well as getting some work done. I hope that I can do it all. I have nearly 350 pages of text books to read this week!

Friday was a nice day spent at home. Hail and I played itsy bitsy spider for a couple hours. That's his new song and he is getting pretty good at doing the hand motions and mumbling in tune. :) We went to the grocery store and picked up a few staples we were running low on as well as stopped at the library and picked up the second and third book in my series that I reading for the 50 book challenge right now. I couldn't wait to start reading, which is exactly what I did during nap time.

When Hail went to bed, Raph and I watched Contagion. It was a good movie right up until the very end. The ending was really lame and I was expecting something much more dramatic based on how the rest of the movie went. It really made me think though; If I were to come down with an airborne illness such as this unnameable disease they were dealing with, who would I infect? Would they be able to survive? How would it effect everyone I know?

Well today is a fun filled day planned. We are going to ride the max to the Lloyd Center Mall. As Hail calls it, it's a train. He will get to play on the kiddie play area with other kids his age and I am getting a new pair of plugs for my ears. Time to go make some coffee!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

50 Book Challenge- Book 1 Daughter of the Blood

Staying true to one of my goals this year, I have completed the first book of my 50 book challenge. The first book of the year was Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop. Normally, I don't read these kinds of books but Raph suggested it and since I have ran out of all my own books to read, I gave it a try. This book is awesome and I am very upset that I can't pick up the second of the black jewels trilogy from the library until tomorrow. :(

This is what the publisher has to say about the book:
"Seven hundred years ago, a Black Widow witch saw an ancient prophecy come to life in her web of dreams and visions. Now the Dark Kingdom readies itself for the arrival of its Queen, a Witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself. But she is still young, still open to influence-and corruption.

Whoever controls the Queen controls the darkness. Three men-sworn enemies-know this. And they know the power that hides behind the blue eyes of an innocent young girl. And so begins a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, where the weapons are hate and love-and the prize could be terrible beyond imagining..."

Wow. That is really all I have to say about this book. It is riddled with magic, sex, backstabbing and violence- many of the things that make up a good story. The only gripe that I have about the entire book is that the way it is written, sometimes you feel like this is present day while other times you feel like you are supposed to be in medieval times. That gets a little confusing but with all the great characters and background, it will seem like a small price to pay.

For those that love a good fantasy, I highly recommend this book. Since I am now taking public transportation to school instead of driving, that gives me 2 hours four days a week to read. I was a little shocked that it only took me 8 days to read this book as I am dyslexic and a slow reader because of it. The book is a good a good 400 pages, longer than what I usually can read in that amount of time. I loved this book and will more than likely read it again once this challenge is over.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time Management

Time management is something that I have always struggled with. I never know when to stop working on a project and move onto the next. This quarter could also prove to be a huge challenge for me as I have a full course load with over 15 expected hours of homework and I want to work as well so that I can keep some sort of money flow in my home. Regardless of the fact that the household expenses have been taken care of through financial aid.

One of my classes is an online class, working to create my own virtual assistant business. this course will be hugely beneficial in my work life, hence the reason for taking it. Luckily, I was able to finish all my coursework for the week because it has all been light since it's the beginning of the quarter. I haven't worked in a few days, so I know my revenue share is low. Hopefully when I get home from school tonight, I will have some time to work on some articles I have been composing.

I guess, my overall question for everyone is this; how do I spread my time out to care for all my responsibilities- parenting, school, and work?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back to School

Tomorrow I will be starting back to school since my Hail was born. I am a little excited and nervous all the same. While I am no stranger to being a student, I also am taking courses that I am unfamiliar with. Mostly first aid, health and then a virtual assisting course that will drastically help my current position. Next quarter, I am really interested in taking a course in professional blogging as I feel it could strongly help me gain readership, learn about successful blogging to make money and many other aspects that I probably have over looked. Right now, I mostly blog for fun, so it would be awesome to step that up a notch and learn to make money from it as well.

I thought that one of by biggest challenges in going to school was going to be transportation and childcare. Luckily for me, neither are going to be an issue. Portland has great public transportation with the light rail and bus system. I will be taking both to get back and forth to school. I was able to get a quarterly bus pass for $160- a $10 savings but definitely cheaper than putting gas in the car to go back and forth.

Also, luckily for me, Raph is going to watch Hail Mondays and Wednesdays while I am in school since he doesn't have to be on campus those days, Tuesdays and Thursdays when we both have to be on campus for classes, Raph's younger sister Rachael, whom Hail adores, will be watching Hail. We agreed to pay her $20 a week which isn't really a lot but it is only 2 hours a week as Raph will be with him one of those hours before he leaves for school. That doesn't sound too bad to me and it's pocket change.

I'm definitely excited to be learning something new this quarter and I hope that it goes successfully.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Importance of Office Organization

This is an office. This isn't my office, but if I had one at the moment, I would hope that it would look as neat and organized as this. Since I moved to my new apartment, I am currently using the breakfast nook as my desk. I don't even have a desk right now. My apartment is only 800 square feet, most of which has been delegated to the bathroom and the bedrooms. I have a tiny dining room which would be my office if I had one. Right now, it serves as a play room for Hail while we are in the living room. Since he doesn't really have any playmates, he doesn't like to play in his room so he has a corner of the living room that he plays in.

My tiny "office" space is a mess. I have pens, books, diapers and all kinds of things strewn about my already tiny space. I was looking for something earlier and I kept thinking to myself how much easier it would be to find if I had an office and a desk to put important things on. Then, I realized that that is exactly what I said about using the breakfast nook. "Things will stay organized if I have a smaller space to work with." How I wish that were true.

If I had a whole office, I could have a desk to organize things. A bookshelf to keep the books on and a comfortable chair to sit in, where my feet will touch the ground, while I'm working.

I just filed my taxes the other day and I couldn't find any of the documents that I wanted so that I could do so. If I had more room I could actually sit comfortably and pay more attention to the work that I'm doing instead of worrying that my feet are asleep from dangling off the ground and is my computer going to fall onto the counter behind it. *Sigh* I wish I had an office so that I could be more organized.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting up, Moving on

Sad to say, last night I failed to blog. It was the 5 day of the New Year and I forgot to blog because I was so busy preparing for today that I forgot, ran out of time, I'm not really sure. Work wise, yesterday was a bust. I did not get anything done because I had to go all the way downtown to pay rent. From my house to downtown Portland is an hour drive round trip. Then, when I got there, I got a ticket! I parked in a spot that I got from another passenger car like mine. I have parked there dozens of times before, but I got a ticket because now this spot is a truck loading and unloading zone. I do not ever remember seeing any signage stating as much in the dozen times I have parked there. Therefore, now I have a $65 ticket that I have to pay sometime this month.

I start school again on Monday for the first time since Hail was born. I plan on finishing up my degree with some business courses so that I am more prepared to go into anything baking related, business/ clerical related or English related such as copy writing, editing or basic journalism. One of the classes that I'm taking is called becoming a virtual assistant. I knew nothing about what this was until I logged onto a work at home forum that I joined a few years ago. Apparently, what I have gathered about this course is that I can be an office assistant or continue doing what I do most of the time by updating company's blogs, and writing their web content but get paid more for it because I have a fancy title. After doing some basic research on a few freelance sites that I also have joined, I am a little intimidated because I am going to be competing with people overseas that are willing to do entire jobs for $2 an hour. This is completely unacceptable pricing even for a beginner like me. What most people fail to realize while they take on jobs is that they have to make a profit. Doing this work is their business and if you are selling yourself for $2 an hour, you must not think very highly of your own abilities. If people want the work done correctly, they will pay your fees.

The workload for this course is a minimum of 10 hours a week, not to mention the rest of my courses I have elected to take. Because of this, I do not know when I'm going to be able to work again, simply because I do not know when I will have the time. Thank my lucky stars I get financial aid from school to help with room and board as well as household expenses so that I can still keep my condo without worrying about rent being late or stressing out about the bills.

The first assignment due before class starts is to write your online resume for those that you want to market yourself to. In working on this assignment, I was a little clueless. I have a resume that shows all the work I have done online, but it was very basic and I really wanted to jazz it up. Here are some tips I found online for creating an effective resume for working online.

* It is not necessary to detail every job that you have ever had. Instead, only include jobs on your resume that are applicable to the job you want to obtain. This is called a target resume and it works great.
* Always start with the most current job you have had. This will show that you have been recently employed.
* When detailing online work, it is not necessary to say where you did the work. It really could have been anywhere; while you traveled, where you live, where they live, anywhere.
* Have samples of your work available upon request. Do not include them directly on your resume because they will take up space that you may need for other things. Simply state on your resume that you have samples available upon request.
* If you have applicable experience from volunteering, awards, or education, be sure to include this on your resume. It is all about selling yourself and anything that you can include that will give you a leg up will give you an edge over the competition.
* Always use spell check! This may sound stupid, but I can't tell you how many times I have looked at others resumes as well as my own with horrible spelling errors and other grammatical mistakes that make it sound like you are uneducated. This is the last thing that you want when presenting yourself online for a job. Keep in mind, this resume that you are sending out is your first impression. Most people that work online will never meet their employers; therefore, their resume must stand out from others and say, "Pick me!"

I hope that these tips have been helpful for anyone that is looking to spruce up their online resume. I found them to be extremely helpful.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Laundry Help From the Anti-Laundry Fairy

It is no secret that I hate doing laundry. I get no enjoyment or satisfaction from washing, drying, and folding clothes that I will inevitably have to re-fold because Hail has tried to "help" mommy. Doing laundry stresses me out, frankly. No matter what I do, there is always at least one sock missing. Right now, I have five errant socks sitting on my armchair because they have lost their mate. I have looked in the bedrooms, in the laundry basket, behind the couch and furniture, behind the washer and dryer- everywhere they could possibly be. I am sure that the laundry monster has eaten them.

Because of my overall dislike for doing the laundry, I have even started hanging my clothes. Unless I can stuff it in a drawer and not worry about folding it, I will not, everything hangs. However, I cannot do this with my socks. No matter how hard I try, I cannot avoid sock folding. I tried just loosely stuffing them in a drawer, but it seemed as if I was losing more socks than I did in the washer/ dryer. Then I learned of a few nifty tricks to help keep socks together. When I tried it, I was relieved to find that all my socks were there, but displeased that I still had to fold them all. Here are the few laundry tips I learned;

* Throw all your socks in a mesh sack before putting them in the washer. The sack can be washed, your socks get clean, and they all stay together.
* When you want to make your clothes fluffier while cutting your dryer time in half, put a few tennis balls in the dryer. They act as a dryer sheet and you do not have to buy new ones once you have established your dryer ball.
* If you have a problem with your animals, especially cats, trying to sleep in your laundry basket, place a few dryer sheets in there. My cat used to try to pee in the laundry basket because she was mad that I would put things in her bed. Cats hate the static and will choose somewhere else to lie.

All these tips have helped make my laundry experiences a little easier; however, I still have not found the cure for completely avoiding laundry. If anyone can help me here, it would be appreciated.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Out With the Old, In With the New

One of my personal goals this year is to get rid of the old; people that don't deserve my time or aren't there to support me, things I want to change such as paint colors, wardrobe and habits as well as many other things.

One of the "old" things that I am for sure getting rid of is my couch. While it has served its purpose by providing me a place to park my butt, but we did find it on the side of the road the day before we moved into the condo. Also, it has broken in the center so 3/ of the couch can no longer be sat on. One of the many reasons that we chose this couch, nearly by fate, is because it matched the green wall from the previous tenants of the condo. Before finding the couch, the only piece of furniture to sit on was a red overstuffed chair. This makes me feel like I am always waiting for Christmas; what, with my red furniture and green walls.

When the couch goes, the wall paint will be changing too. We found a great blue sectional couch that we want to take up the living room. If we get this, the blue and green are going to clash badly. Not to mention, the paint job is less than stellar, with lines of green on the wall and corners unevenly painted. I am unsure as to what color I want to paint the wall, perhaps just a plain white. No matter which, I know that I am going to dread the process. While the paint dries, I am going to have the daunting task of keeping Hail out of the living room. I do not want him to touch my paint and I do not want him inhaling the paint fumes either. I did learn a nifty trick though that many people will be happy to know. When you are painting your home, room, floor, whatever, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract into your paint while you are stirring it. No matter the color, it will remain the same but the extract takes away the paint smell that we all know and hate.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gah! Sick!

Well I am starting my new year off sick. My sinuses are KILLING me. To make it all worse, I feel as if my whole head is swimming above me, disconnected from my body. I definitely don't feel up to doing anything, so blogging will be it for me today. I didn't improve anything either by doing a bunch of running around on the bus today either. Here was my day;
We went to the college to pick up books, only to find that the college was closed. The trip out wasn't a complete bust; however, because we were meeting someone to sell an old phone. Then we went to Raph's mom's house so that Hail could see his "girlfriend" and doggies. We stopped at the post office, but they were closed, then decided that we were tired and hungry. We went to the Village Inn for breakfast. They have some pretty good food, although my bacon and mushroom omelet could have gone with a little less holendaise sauce. When I came home, my head hurt so bad that I took a nap.

This brings me to my topic of this blog, time management. When you work from home, it is all too simple to say, I can rearrange my schedule and work whenever. Well too many days of taking time out to grocery shopping, going to the post office, whatever, will lead to nothing ever getting done. I also have a little kiddo so I don't have much time for anything as it is.... Tomorrow I also have a busy day since I have to go back to the post office to mail my packages and back to the school to pick up books. I also have to go grocery shopping which is always a 2 hour event or longer. So my question to all of you is; when you have the availability to change your schedule as you need and you do, how do you stay organized and manage your time so everything isn't rushed and you feel behind?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!!

Well 2011 was a decent one, although several less than pleasant things happened throughout the year. The good things that did happen include; health of myself and my baby boy, finding an AMAZING guy like Raph, having the ability to work for myself successfully, and getting started with school again. Unfortunately, I get to spend the first day of the year doing my taxes. How I loathe taxes, but how I love the refund! I decided to try and do it today so that I can get it back as soon as physically possible. So because I have been slacking miserably, I am going to try and post every day of the year, at least once, but hopefully more. Here are my New Year's goals of the year.

1. blog daily- I really want to get good at this working for myself and creating my own income so that I don't have to worry about taking a day off as often as I did in 2011. I want to blog daily to help get my information out there and hopefully it will be something that will inspire at least one person.
2. work less, earn more- That's right. I want to work less but continue earning money through my residual sites I write for. Don't be surprised if you see links for articles I've done pop up from time to time and also, don't forget to click on them as well. :)I want to master social networking to aid in my earning potential as well.
3. Complete the 50 book challenge- This year, I am going with the theme of nurture. I want to nurture my mind and feed it full of books. Hail loves books and I do too but I need a little more mental stimulation than One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I have tried this challenge several times and have always fallen a few books short. I suspect this year will also be difficult because I now have a little one that I have to deal with first and foremost before reading, unlike before.
4. Take a Class and Learn Something- I have just started knitting and admittedly I am not good at it. I have figured out how to make a simple rib using knit and purl stitches but I know nothing else. This will be the world's longest scarf if I don't learn to cast off.
5. Get Healthy- Each year I say that I'm going to lose weight and it never happens the way that I want it to. This year, I'm going to more loosely define it so that I will still be getting healthy but don't necessarily have to limit myself to just losing weight. I really want to start drinking more water and figure out what is causing and how to fix my iron issue.
6. Spend More Time Adventuring with Hail- As many of you may know, we just recently moved to Portland. Because of the odd weather we've had this year, we haven't had time to really explore and venture out into our new world. I want to explore things, go to the mountains, ballet, Saturday Market, Ape Caves, just do things we haven't gotten to explore yet. I want to create awesome, lasting memories with him that he will remember the rest of his life.

I'm sure that there are many more things that I would love to do but I can't really think of any right now. Me and my little buddy, a big 15 months old today, are going to go get in trouble at the grocery store :)

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