Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bubblews

I've just joined this site called Bubblews. I've heard great things about it from other people who use this site. Others have said they earn quite a bit of money on this site, easily $25 a month or more! I've only just posted my first article there, so I can't say for certain that they're right. It is going to take me a little time to become accustomed to this site, but I figured it was worth a shot if the earning is as good as I've heard!

If you want to try it with me: Click Here

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Yesterday my family and I visited a place called Wolf Mountain Nature Center. It is located in a small town called Smyrna, NY. It is about an hour and a half drive from where we live. We heard about it through Facebook (they do have a Facebook page, you can look it up for more info). We hadn't been there before, due to how far the drive is, but yesterday we decided to check it out and see what it's all about. They were holding an event which included a "howling", and we are so glad we went.

It is actually a very small facility. Not at all like a zoo. It's run completely by volunteers and donations. There's no admission fee but there is a "suggested donation" per person.

They actually only have 3 types of animals there; coyotes, arctic foxes, and wolves. The beauty of the place was that we got to have a private guided tour, and we learned so much about each of the different types of animals. The animals were also very friendly and curious. Of course they were in enclosures so we could not get up close and personal.. but we were able to get within a few feet of the enclosures and the animals came right up to the fence to check us out. The volunteers went into the exhibits to feed the animals and that was fun to see. And of course the wolf howling demonstration was amazing!

We learned each of the animals names.. my kids got some stuffed animals that they named after some of the animals we met at the center.

We had such a good time, and learned so much about these animals. Although it's a small facility, I highly recommend it to anyone in the area (or planning to visit the area). It's definitely worth the trip, especially if you can make it for one of the wolf howling demonstrations. It is absolutely awesome! Check out their website; http://www.thewolfmountainnaturecenter.org/

Here are some of the pictures I got while we were there:

These are the 2 arctic foxes, Yana and Yukon.

Here are the wolves:
They had a total of 8 wolves.. all members of the grey wolf family. Some were arctic wolves, others were timer wolves. I can't remember all their names. The alpha male is one of the whiter ones, his name is Dancing Turtle. The black ones are Cayuga and Seneca. 








Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Becoming a better person..

I guess you can say I've been on a constant quest to better myself in any way possible. I guess, in my opinion, that's kind of the point of life.. to constantly strive to do better. Not that I'm a perfectionist in anyway, I just know that I can do everything better.

Through the years my focus has shifted many times. Most of the time I want to be a better mom and wife. Sometimes I want to be a better cook. Other times I want to be better at managing my finances. I enrolled in college to better myself, and now I have my Associate's degree. I went to work to better myself, and left work to better myself.. just in a different way.

I'm now back to focusing on just being a better wife and mom, as that's my #1 job in life. Without the support of my family I can't hope to achieve anything else. They helped me reach my goal of being a college graduate. They helped me when I was trying to work. They're supporting me in my decision to leave work. Now I owe it to them to be the best mom and wife I can be.

There are a lot of ways I try to achieve this goal of bettering myself. Right now I am seeing a therapist. Though generally I have tried to make changes on my own through the help of information.

I think a lot of times we get stuck in a habit or mind frame and we don't always realize it's wrong. We might place blame on others for our problems without seeing how we've contributed to those problems ourselves through our habits or negativity. The only way to change this is to change ourselves by becoming aware of what we're doing and making a conscious effort to change the behavior.

To do this, I've used my local library and a slew of self-help books. Unfortunately there is a lot of information out there, and it's not always right for us. Finding the right information is key to making these difficult changes that can bring about better circumstances.

I just wanted to take the opportunity to share some of the books and information that has helped me along the way, in case there are others out there who also want to recognize and change their own behaviors in hopes of bettering themselves and their lives.

So here are a few of the books I've read that have helped me in some way:

"Bad Childhood, Good Life" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. As the title states, if you had a difficult childhood, this book helps to overcome the resulting scars and pain to allow you to live a better adult life. Has tips for dealing with resulting emotions towards parents as well as how to change behaviors in current relationships.

"Stop Whining, Start Living" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Similar to the above book but does not focus on childhood hurts. More or less focuses on negativity and how to stop it.
(Yes I am a big Dr. Laura fan, I don't necessarily agree with all of her views, but I've read most of her books and agree with the message she sends.. I definitely recommend all of her books depending on where you are in life and what sort of guidance you need).

"Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" by John Gray, Ph. D. When my husband and I read this book we thought it was written specifically for us. We recognized ourselves and many of our problems in this book. It is an excellent guide for understanding the opposite sex and how to have a healthy relationship without becoming hurt by misinterpreting each other's actions.

"The 5 Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. Explains that different people view loving acts in different ways.. such as through gifts, words, or actions. If you or your partner feel like the other isn't showing you love in the proper way, this book may be a huge benefit!

"Fight Less, Love More" by Laurie Puhn. Another relationship guide, helps to discover minor problems arising in a relationship and how to correct them.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Work, Life, Stress

Being a working mom certainly is tough, I give credit to all the moms who do it. I think perhaps though I wasn't cut out to be a working mom. I didn't really realize it until recently though. I'd been fighting so hard to get somewhere in my life, career-wise, but I've been feeling stressed and burned-out for months now. At first I thought it was just the job. I only worked 20 hours a week, and felt I didn't really have the right to complain, especially since my husband works 50 hours a week, and plenty of other people work full-time while raising their families. But just the 20 hours I was putting in drained me mentally, physically, and emotionally. When I got home from my short shifts I wouldn't want to do a thing. The kids were responsible for their own dinners most of the time. I made sure to purchase easy meals for them; canned soup, chicken nuggets, fish sticks. Anything they could easily microwave for themselves. Dishes sat around for days, laundry fell behind. Any other sort of cleaning just didn't get done. I was completely exhausted.

I also felt like I was having a mental break down. Every tiny thing was stressing me out. Christmas really sent me over the edge. Between the day to day stress of the kids, the house, and the lack of money for bills, I was also freaking out about how to manage Christmas with a short supply of funds. School was finishing up at the time too and my last class was really a major pain in the rear. Add to that I was being transferred to a new branch which caused loads of anxiety.

Things did start to get a little better after Christmas. The new branch gave me more days off during the week, and I think this was helping a bit.. but then I was suddenly transferred back to my original branch which was short staffed, so this added new stress.

My "mental breakdown" hit a breaking point last week when I had my first ever anxiety attack. I wasn't even aware I had anxiety problems.. but this attack lasted for about 24 hours straight. It was brought on by a combination of stress at work, a severe desire to quit, but a major fear of quitting as well as dread of continuing to work. It's hard to explain just how it felt.. but it wasn't a totally new sensation. I've been dreading going to work for as long as I can remember. It wasn't so much the job itself that made me dread working. I cannot pinpoint a single thing about the job itself that I didn't like so much to make me dread it. There were good days and bad days as with any job. I just dreaded the idea of working all together. This dread basically consumed me to the point where I couldn't even enjoy time off because I would dread the next time I'd have to work. The only sense of relief I ever felt was coming off a shift before a day off, knowing I had over 24 hours before needing to return. My husband also recently informed me I've been on edge for too long, making everyone in the house a bit scared of approaching me.

Due to my anxiety attack, I've been taken out of work for a few weeks. I haven't officially quit the job yet, but my husband wants me to, and the more I think about it, I think it's probably for the best.

I've been feeling so much better since I've been out of work. I'm calmer, more at ease, and I feel a sense of liberation.. freedom! For the past week I've been a much better mom, wife, and housekeeper.. and deep down those are the things that are more important to me than building a career.

As for the finances, well, we'll just have to make do. As my husband pointed out, my job wasn't helping in that department much anyway. After paying our daycare bill I wasn't left with much afterwards, but I was spending more on gas and food. Buying cheap meals for the kids instead of making meals from scratch raised our grocery bill. Not to mention how frequently I would buy food and drinks while at work. I got hooked on coffee shop drinks which for awhile I was having at least one a day.

I'm not sure if these feelings are a result of my current lifestyle, or if they're just me. As everyone points out, I do have a lot on my plate just being a mom to 5 young kids, the oldest being only 15 still. Perhaps my feelings are a result of burn-out. I went quickly from being a stay at home mom to being a college student who also worked while continuing to try to do the typical jobs of a stay at home mom. I thought being done with school would take some of the burden off.. but it didn't seem to. I think I may have fared better if I only had to deal with school and not work. Perhaps it was just the job itself.. although being a bank teller sounds like an easy, cushy job, it really isn't. There's a lot of stress involved.. and of course it's different everywhere you go as each manager has different rules and expectations.

Honestly for me I think it was a combination of it all. Right now I can't even bare to think of trying to find another job.. even one that would be easier than what I previously had. I think I need to take care of myself and my family and focus on nothing else for awhile.

Next year my youngest son will be in full-day school. I think perhaps at that time I might be able to find something else, but I will find something I enjoy and not put pressure on myself to do anything too demanding.