Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Excel or excel...

Excel. Its an interesting beast. Today's post deals only slightly with Excel, the program, and more on excel - the definition of the word itself.

Interesting fact: People over the age of 40 don't automatically practice common sense. I mean, did this ever occur to you? I don't get it. I mean, its ok when you're a kid, but at 40? That's like 20 years of being in the work force and still not getting it. Lemme 'splain something to-joux (all made up words, my friends - please see Happy Feet for the correct pronunciation).

Case #1.
    Today, I decided that I would tackle one of those dumb projects that you never want to start, let alone finish. I was 97% of the way finished, when we had to take a moment and attend a really lengthy meeting that served a point, but where I would have rather had a nap. Ya heard? Anyway, I digress. I came back from said meeting, where everyone in my department was present mind you, and something was missing.... My Excel file, which was the location of said project, was gone. I mean, wiped-clean-off-of-the-face-of-the-earth, gone. My jaw hit the floor. I asked aloud, "Has anyone seen my Excel file?" And someone (who possesses an immensely dominant personality) timidly raised their hand and said, "I think I may have accidentally deleted it. Was it important?"




Not at all.

I mean, I guess not.

I mean, since you didn't bother to leave things that weren't yours alone, NAH. Not important at all.


Let me lay down the law of the land, just in case you, like said person, don't know:

   Rule #1: If its not yours, don't touch it.
   Rule #2: If you have seen someone working all morning at a workstation, and you go over to it, and you decide, "Hey. I have a great idea. I will close all of the windows that I don't want." --> This is NOT the right decision. Take a step back, turn around, and walk away.
   Rule #3: If you need that window to go away, just save the dang file.
   Rule #4: THINK. It benefits the world. Oh, and those around you. Because like it or not, we are a part of your world.
   Rule #5: Repeat step #4 until you come to a different decision than the one you were going to make. It may take a while. Progress always does.


Now, onto the definition of excel: to be exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject.
I happen to excel at a few things.
    Number one: I excel at getting my work done correctly. I'm really proficient at my job and I genuinely love what I do.
    Number two: I am really good at bringing a South Philly attitude to the party when I think that a principle of life needs to be addressed. I know someone out there can attest to this.

Things that I am learning to excel at:
    Breathing deeply
    Letting it go
    Not bringing a South Philly attitude to the party when principles of life need to be addressed.

Ok, ok. So this is mostly satire and I am attempting to make light of this situation, and yet it still befuddles me. I went to lunch right after the incident, and I don't know that I actually cooled off. For the love of Pete, who do these people think they are? Simply because they don't have consideration for others...we all have to suffer. And I know you work with someone like this, or live with them, or are friends with them. We are these people at times. And man, oh man.

Regardless, I came back from lunch and simply addressed the person. Then they tried to cut me off! With apologies!!! Those should have come before I went to lunch! They should have come immediately after the recognition of what had happened! Geez Luis! Oi Vey. I held up my hand and asked the person to let me finish. I said, "Next time you see a program that isn't yours, or that you are not working on, would you mind not closing the program? I worked on that all morning. It would have taken 2 seconds to stay your hand from the close button. Please, next time, would you mind pausing those 2 seconds and asking about the program?" They were very apologetic (well, as apologetic as said person gets - so its fine), and we are moving on.

One activity that I think we can all excel on, no...I am now thinking of two.

   First: Let's excel at thinking of others before we think of ourselves.

    Case #2: Instead of blowing up at said person, I simply announced that I would be going to lunch, cleared it with my co-workers, and went and ate. I thought about all the horrid things I could say. I thought about how awful those actions would make me feel. And then I thought, "Ok. You have a decision to make. You can either be the person who is feared, or the person who is loved. Who do you want to be?"
    I really want to love others and be loved in return. I mean, the latter is just a bonus. But honestly, my actions would directly create reactions and I would bear the brunt of those. I decided to simply address the person directly, and as calmly as I could, and just say please. And I feel that 5 years ago, I would have lit that person up like the 4th of July. Sky High. For all the world to see. {That's the South Philly in me.} Now, I still want that. I just don't think its worth the cost. And people are worth so much. Lets invest in people.

  Second: Let's excel at extending grace.

    Case #3: This person, regardless of how inconvenienced I was by their actions, is still an awesome person. This person is incredibly efficient, they are a hard worker, they are brilliant, and a huge asset to our department in many, many ways. I admire said person. I love learning from said person. And I am learning so much by being around this person - learning about extending grace, for instance.  {wink!}
    When I mess up, or when I have messed up in the past, no one put/puts me on a platform for all the world to see and scorns me, or mocks me, or ridicules me in a way that is harming. No one has made me hold up a sign that says what I did wrong, and then posted it for everyone to comment on. No shaming has happened in that sense. Especially not God.
    Who am I trying to be more like? Ultimately, God. I am trying to emulate the best characteristics of those around me, but mostly, I am trying to emulate the Christlike attributes I see and that I feel. I always say that I am no Melanie Hamilton {Gone with the Wind reference}; I'm more of a Scarlett O'Hara (but not in the second half of the movie. She crosses the line when she marries that one guy who her sister likes. Yuck.). Fire and spirit. But I really want to be Melanie Hamilton. And I'll keep trying. Moments like today show me how far I've come.

Word of the day: excel

Definition: to be exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject
Meaning: Let's be exceptionally good at thinking of others before we think of ourselves and extending grace to them.

We want the same thing in return. Let's give what we want to receive. Even if its hard. And you're still fighting mad about it 8 hours later. At least you'll see how silly you are; you'll see that you can't control those around you. You can only control how you let yourself feel. And now its time for chocolate. You can tackle the world tomorrow. But for today...breathe and extend that grace, sister.


Monday, January 6, 2014


This may be the best magazine that I've ever picked up. Honest. Have you read this yet? If not, run out and grab one!

Each section focused on a different type of balance to have in our lives. I loved how *simple* the goals, instructions, or ideas were. My favorite: Have only 40 hangers in your closet.

How simple is that?

So, today, after recovering from the worlds WORST cold ever (seriously. i may have died and come back. i don't remember much of Sat night - Sunday), I found that I was out of the haze of disease. I found my brain working properly. And most importantly, I found my motivation!

I cleaned out my closet. Like, hardcore. I rededicated myself to organizing my T-shirts, etc (you know that drawer is always a mess). I cleaned out shoes, coats, etc. Got it all boxed up and ready to go! I know I could get money for all of the Banana and Gap clothing I'm getting rid of, but ya know what? That's more hassle than its worth. Just giving it away is SO much easier.

Then, I tackled Ethan's toy area. On both floors. It looks amazing now! He is so much happier with all of the baby toys cleared out; everything is straightened out, everything has a home, and the clean lines of the home are back, baby! I can't wait to take a picture.

Then I straightened out the linen closet - its a part of my laundry room - and used existing storage bins. We sleep on a king size bed now, so we have a TON of queen sized sheets for our guest bed. Those sheets end up all over creation and I can never differentiate them (at a moment's glance) from the king or twin sheets that we have. So, boom. All of the queen sized sheets (which greatly outnumber the other varieties) are now in a clear bin on a shelf. The linen closet has been a challenge for me, just like the pantry. Why? I'm trying to use existing storage items that I have, versus going out and buying the *perfect* solutions. I just can't bring myself to spend that kind of money - even $6 for a tote bin is more than I'm willing to pay (I'm cheap - but I'm preferring to say "frugal!"). I mean, $6 adds up, my friends!

I cleaned out all of those bags under my kitchen sink. Vacuumed. I did a thousand loads of laundry. Looked after a kid who gagged himself accidently and then puked all over my bed. And it dripped in between the mattress and the headboard. Really? That's the one thing I thought I couldn't handle. Luckily, I made it. And Ethan took a tubby and has been an angel baby all day.

Really. Terrible twos? I hope we never hit those. This 18+  month thing is ah-mazing. He plays quietly by himself (he always has, but its longer now!), reads to himself more, and I am loving the comprehension on both ends - understanding what is being asked of him, and being able to understand what he is asking of us. Love it!

{Ty and bubba's morning selfie while I worked on Saturday}

You guys. Tyler and I are so lucky. We are always getting back on the same page with finances (weekly meeting), schedules, what's for dinner for the next two weeks, and who's in charge of making it (my work schedule has always conflicted with dinner time prep, so we split duties. its been a dream in the making. thankfully, i've got a great guy who is more than willing to pull weight in the house whenever! thanks, kid!). We are re-dedicating ourselves to frugality in all ways possible (and I mean all ways), and enjoying the simple things in life. Let me tell you - tithing is a lot of $$ out of that monthly income - and the blessings and benefits far outweigh anything I could do with that cash. I've never actually looked at how much 10% is (I mean, really really looked). And I did on Sunday and we both just chuckled!

We have been enjoying college football season, the books we got for Christmas, and enjoying plenty of days off together. The best thing of all - while I've been sick, both Ethan and Tyler have been healthy and happy, and the week and a half of death for me is coming to a close. Ethan has been such a good baby and I am loving him more and more each day. Tyler too. haha

Oh! And the other thing that has simplified my life: the InStyler. You know. That thing off of the infomercial? Well, Tyler got one for a steal, after I begged him for it for the last 4 years (did I mention that I always buy things on clearance and I love a good sale!?), and it has single-handedly replaced my flatirons, straightners, and all of my curling irons? Yep. Now instead of a gaggle of curling irons + straightners hanging out on my counter, all I have is that beaut. And my blow dryer. That's all I need.

Fuzzy phone picture, but you get the picture. I love how simple its made my morning routine. Gotta love it.

Finally, our new motto: The Simple Life is the Happy Life.

We said this during our cinder-block college life days, and we're saying it again. Its always a work in progress - and we are loving it. Wish us luck!

ps: Tips and tricks and pinterest pins are welcome! Cheers!

*The Holidays*

Bubba was such a gem this year - he never touched the ornaments, 
ripped open presents, etc. He just let it be. 
Once in a while, he would get down all close and point out the characters on his wrapping paper! 
Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and the cast of Toy Story - pretty exciting!

Tyler's boss bought him these cookies - which quickly became mine. Thank you!

On Christmas Eve, Tyler picked up some delish hot coco and donuts - a little taste of DE all the way here in the wild west. Things are starting to get 'civilized' haha!

What our living room looked like on Christmas Eve! 

Ethan wasn't too into tearing off wrapping paper (maybe next year), but he was into this Pooh bear back pack that his Grandma Hollingshaus gave him - little people wearing little things is the cutest. 

Just checking things out!

Best purchase of the year? This Little People Noah's Ark - he cannot get enough of the animals. Sometimes its a challenging toy because it doesn't stay up the greatest (hello, its a boat haha) but overall he spends the majority of his time playing with this toy. Thanks to my cousin's wife, I snagged this for a great deal! Next, I'll probably get him the farm yard set - that one looked so cute!

We got this huge book (its as big as he is) of animals from all different climates and locations (Australia, the ocean, Arctic, farm, etc) and he loves it. Just the other day, he snuck upstairs and disappeared for a while. Usually that means trouble for little ones, but nope. He was just kicked back on the love sac, reading this book to himself. What a kid. 

Another fun purchase was this Mega Blocks table that has (duh) mega blocks! He tries to stand on it all the time (that kills me haha) but he's getting more into it as time goes by!

This isn't exactly a holiday picture, but this kid LOVES to come and play on our bed now. I've been waiting a long time for this - its so nice to have him content while I'm getting ready for work in the morning, and he usually drinks his morning bottle while I'm doing my hair, and we chat. Its so fun. This time he ran straight into our room after bath time. And jumped....and jumped...and jumped some more! Luckily, no accidents occurred!

On NYE, we received some "over the fence mail" from our neighbor. He left us a package of delicious sweets "with a little taste of Germany!" Isn't he the best?

On Christmas Eve, we delivered a Christmas card to him with some slices of pie (cherry, apple, and pumpkin+graham cracker crust), but he wasn't home. So we left them on his doorstep and did circles around the block for 10 minutes, and then we happened to drive past right as he arrived home and walked to his front door to pick them up. Then we high-fived and drove home. Mission accomplished!

We had a blast with our families this holiday season and hope you did as well! Thank you to everyone who made this season so special!

Next year's goal: See the lights at temple square. I can never seem to motivate myself to go and fight the traffic, cold, and herds of people. Sigh. haha Next year, I keep telling myself!!!