A Light Summary of Everything Else

Hey, followers šŸ™‚

In my last post, I wrote about the difficulties I’ve been having training Peanut. Over the past week, we’ve already seen a significant improvement – much thanks to the advice I received from nearly a dozen of you.

This week, I want to cover some of the many, many things I have going on in my life right now. Or, rather, the many things Austin and I have going on in our lives.

I guess I should probably start with school.

Right now, I’m taking four classes. Three are accelerated, six-weekĀ courses that will end before we go on vacation at the end of June. These courses include Images and Messages, Bringing Media to Market, and Parenting.

The first two classes are directly related to my major. Images and Messages is a journalism class. We’re focusing on artwork, pictures, fonts, colors, and typography to learn how visual communication works (and why it matters to a journalist). I’m not much of a visual learner, but I’ve taken a big interest in this class.

To get an idea of what I’m learning, check out this TED Talk.

Bringing Media to Market is literally the focus of my concentration: Media Marketing. We’re mostly talking about social media and how using it properly can boost the brand reputation of companies around the world. The tips and tricks I’m learning are already proving useful in my career (and my blogs).

Parenting is not a journalism nor a media class. I needed three more credits outside the liberal arts. I decided to take a course that could come in handy in my personal life. I’m actually more stressed about having children now than I was when I started – so I’m not sure that was the best call on my part. Still, I’m learning important things about children and how we learn to be parents. That has to count for something.

My final course lasts the entire summer. Known as Writing and Reporting News II or JRN300, this class is a journalism major requirement that gives me the opportunity to report on the City of Lansing over my summer vacation. My stories will be published on an established news website. I’ll publish that link a little later.

So, that’s school. You already know that family vacation takes place in about four weeks. I’ll write about that (mis)adventure like I do every year.

Outside of school, my focus is split between five animals, a fiance, wedding planning, my nephew-to-be being born, two blogs, a complete lifestyle change, and a full-time freelancing career. It’s insane. One minute, I feel fine. The next minute, I want to curl up into a ball. Or start screaming. Or both. Whatever comes first.

I’m currently juggling four different clients – five, come June. Each client is more demanding than the next. It seems like, no matter how much time I set aside for work, it isn’t enough. Austin is working a four days on, three days off schedule. So far, I haven’t been able to take three days off with him once, no matter how many hours I work each day, which is usually every single hour I’m conscious.

It’s beyond stressful, but there’s really no realistic way for me to cut down. I just need to get through the next four weeks. Once my accelerated classes are over, I won’t need to devote every single morning of my week to schoolwork. P.S. – If anyone has ever attempted to tell you that accelerated, online summer classes are easier than regular classes, they lied through their teeth.

Anyway, once I push through that, my summer should get significantly easier. I can fit my freelancing work into a four day schedule. It’s everything else that’s weighing me down.

For example, I love writing these blogs. But The Realistic FreelancerĀ isn’t getting the views I expected. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and writing everything down, but what’s the point if no one is bothering to read it?

It’s difficult, but I’m trying to push through. I think I need to spend more time marketing my blogs, but I’m not sure where to start. I can’t devote any more of my time right now. It’s just not feasible. If you’ve ever had an anxiety attack or a nervous breakdown, you already know why I’m trying like hell to avoid one.

Oh, right. My lifestyle change. Let’s just say 1200 calories a day and 3-4 workout sessions per week isn’t agreeing with me. I’m hungry all the time. I’m tired all the time. And I’m not seeing the results I want (or the results I deserve). So I’m happy to take suggestions.

Man, this is one grumpy blog post. I think I’m just taking all of my anger out right here. I guess that’s what happens when you’re sleep deprived.

Good news? I found my wedding dress. It’s sitting in my closet. We’ve got the guest list narrowed down. We ordered invitations yesterday.

Financially, we’re doing pretty well, even with all of the added expenses next month (vacation isn’t cheap, and neither is puppy boarding or turning 21).

I think I better stop while I’m ahead. Wish me luck, you guys. For the next four weeks, I’m gonna need it.

In the meantime, let’s try to stay positive.




Pupdate! (Advice Needed)

There were a number of things I wanted to write about in this post. I wanted to tell you about my new classes (which are great, by the way). I wanted to tell you about Austin’s new job. I wanted to tell you about my clients and my work schedule and how busy (but fulfilled) I am. I wanted to tell you about some big lifestyle changes I’ve made.

But all of that pales in comparison to the conversation we need to have about my puppy.

I need some advice.

Lately, I’ve felt like the worst pet parent ever. My guinea pigs don’t like being held, so I hardly ever hold them. I talk to them and hang out with them and pet them. We spoil them with lettuce and unlimited hay and food and a million water bottles. They have nice hidey homes and 27 square feet of space.

But they don’t get time to run around the apartment like they used to. The goal of the big cages was to give them room to run around whenever they want. I think they do, but I can’t be sure. We moved them into Austin’s office to get seclusion from the puppy, so I don’t get to see them as frequently as I did when they were in the living room.

I know I said I wanted to talk about my puppy, but my anxiety is snowballing this conversation.

I’ve already been assured by my friends and family that I’m a good pig parent, even if they don’t get to run around my apartment and even if I don’t force-hold them.

Peanut, though, is something else.

This little pup was an angel when we brought her home. She was quiet, well behaved. She slept most of the day. I shouldn’t be surprised. That’s normal, right?

Besides, I shouldn’t even be complaining. She’s never (not once) gone to the bathroom in her crate. She rarely whines or cries when she’s put in her crate or the kitchen. She sleeps through the night without needing to go out (which is almost unheard of for puppies younger than four or five months – especially in smaller breeds). She’s even good with people, other than being a little scared. She loves car rides and behaves during them. She just curls up and falls asleep in her crate once we hit the highway.

Not to mention we can take her to public places without her going crazy. And that should only get better after she spends a week in Doggy Day Care at the end of June.

So why am I writing a post about her? I should just shut up and stop bragging about how great my puppy is.

Except that she won’t stopĀ biting me.Ā 

Peanut has a biting problem. It’s hard to play with her. She gets so excited that she nips. Sometimes hard enough to draw blood. She isn’t being aggressive in the slightest, but her puppy teeth are sharp!

And training her has been difficult. She only recently began to respond to the word “no.” Sometimes, if I call her, she ignores me completely and runs in the other direction. It’s hard to get her to sit still long enough to train her to do much else. She knows “sit”, “lay down”, “shake”, and “come” – but she hasn’t mastered them. She does it when she feels like it. I’m working on “leave it”, “down”, and “off”. It’s probably not hard to imagine why. She’s a very energetic puppy.

We actually haven’t been able to let her sleep on the bed because of it. She gets so excited that she starts nipping our faces and trying to play with us – even if she was just sleeping in her crate. Ā And all of that would just be cute, honestly, if it wasn’t for the nipping.

We’re also having a barking problem. Not an insane “I hear or see people so I’m going to go crazy” or “I’m wailing because you put me in my crate.” She doesn’t do either of those, thank God. She barks occasionally when she sees another dog or a person, but more because she wants to go say hi or because she’s scared. Not full-on alert mode. And we’re socializing her, so that’s going to be normal.

It’s the barking when she wants attention. I’ll be on the bed, trying to work, and she’ll just start going off. I’ve been told that ignoring her is the best plan. That way, she doesn’t learn to get her way by barking. But she has a very piercing bark. I’ve tried saying “no” firmly. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Again, it’s when she feels like listening.

I’ve also been told to give her a “time out” if she gets overexcited, but that’s especially hard. Why? Because I also feel guilty about not spending enough time with my puppy.

I take her for at least four walks a day. Nothing extensive, but we go on a nice hill or walk up and down the sidewalk for 5-10 minutes. Sometimes longer, if I have time. And, as long as she behaves, she stays outside her crate during the day (other than her “afternoon nappie”). But she gets very upset because I can’t play with her during the day. I have to work. And Austin works ten hours a day, four days a week. On those days, Peanut spends more time in her crate than I’d like.

Then again, I’ve been told that, in most families with two working adults, puppies are left in their crate while everyone is at work – eight or nine hours a day. And then they sleep all night. I could never do that to Peanut, though.

I have anxiety. That means I’ll probably never think I’m doing enough. It’s hard sometimes, because I never feel like I’m doing enough for all the different parts of my life. I’m a mother to five animals. I’m a fiancee myself. I’m a student. I’m a freelance writer. I’m an individual who needs exercise, healthy food, and a clean apartment. I’m a homemaker. I’m a gardener (who needs to go water her plants).

The day is never long enough.

Tips and tricks for puppy training? Leave them below or send them to me.