Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ali Bell v. 2013

I've been doing a lot of self-reflection lately about who I am right now at this point in time. If you had asked me last year who I was I can almost guarantee that one of the first words I would have used would have been "divorced." I didn't know how to define myself outside of my divorce. Not anymore. Since then I've learned so much about myself and who I am and being divorced is only a tiny piece of that.

So, who am I? I'm Ali Bell. I'm the mother of the most amazing 8-year-old boy. Riley is super smart! He's in third grade and reads at a 6th grade level. He's very advanced in math. He can make a powerpoint presentation like a pro and has a pretty amazing vocabulary. He's also adorable. He loves sushi and is thisclose to being able to use regular chopsticks (not the kid ones with the rubber band on top). As exhausting as being a single parent is, being a mom is so rewarding and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

r and a science center



sad face

I'm a Kentucky girl and lived there for 19 years (minus a couple of attempts at living in other states). I love Kentucky, but I just moved to Pittsburgh, PA about a month ago. Pittsburgh is pretty cool so far. If you read back a few blogs you can read about my decision to move, but here's the cliff notes version. I want to give my son and I a good life. I feel like to do that I need to accomplish 2 major things: Get out of debt and finish school. In order to do that as quickly as possible Riley and I moved here to live with my parents while I accomplish these 2 things. It's going well so far. I work for Bonefish Grill as a server. It's fun and pays the bills. I don't know very many people so far, mainly just co-workers, but it's only been a month and I know friendships will come in time. My relationship with God is one of the most important things in my life. I'm still looking for a church home, but I know that I'll find the right one in time.


I'm generally a very positive, happy, nice person. I genuinely love people and usually when given the opportunity to be jaded, cynical or mean I choose not to be. I love games of all sorts-card games, board games, word games. I'm not super competitive and while I love to win, I love playing more.


I love NFL football! I'm a huge Green Bay Packers fan and have passed that trait on to Riley. I play fantasy football and generally hold my own. It's a fun way to follow the games that don't particularly matter. I'm excited to now live in a city with an NFL team so that I can go to NFL games!!

I love to bake and I'm pretty good at it. I don't have a specialty, but I really like to try out new recipes or whip something up with what I have on hand.

I have a big family and love them all very much. We are spread out all over the country so we don't see each other nearly as often as we would like, but when we do get together it's always a good time. I have 2 brothers, 2 sisters, 2 brothers-in-law, 1 sister-in-law, 4 nieces, 3 nephews, and don't get me started on all of my cousins. I have the most amazing parents ever and can only aspire to accomplish as much as they have one day. I am the youngest child and I may or may not be a little spoiled. Okay, I'm kind of totally a princess.

ali and lo

Well, that's me at the start of 2013. I'm excited to see where this year takes me!


Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Resolution Wrap-Up

What happens when you procrastinate? You end up with 47 million end of the year blogs that you want to get written in one day (December 31st)! I thought about dumping all of my end of year (and beginning of year) thoughts into one post but then I decided to break it up a little. So, here is my 2012 Resolution Wrap-Up!

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post on New Year's Resolutions (New Year, New _________!). I had no idea what 2012 had in store for me, but looking back at that post I'm inspired by the attitude that I had that I would go after life and God no matter what I would face that year. So, how did the resolutions go? Let's take a look.

5. Start blogging again. Write at least 1 blog per week all year.
I did pretty well with this one. I didn't exactly blog once a week, but I blogged 53 times this year, so it averages out...that counts right? I definitely learned that blogging can be very cathartic for me. On the flip side it has the ability to make me feel very exposed and vulnerable at times as I pour out my thoughts and emotions (both deep and shallow) for any and everyone to read. I think that it is something that I will continue to do if for no other reason than a record of what I'm doing and what I'm going through in the next phase(s) of life.

4. Communicate with at least 1 family member every day all year long.
I did fairly well with this one. I definitely didn't hit my goal, but I did communicate with someone every day all year long. It may have been a family member, a friend who was like family, or even someone I just met, but I made sure that I was reaching out to make contact with other people. There have been times in my past where I close myself off, shut down, and don't seek out human interaction. I didn't do that this year. So, even though this resolution evolved a little I still call it a win.

My crazy family skype-ing from all over the country (and Canada) on Christmas

3. Move to Florida.
Wow. This definitely did not happen. I'm planning on doing a 2012 Year in Review post later today that will go into more detail, but Florida didn't happen this year. When I wrote last year's post I really had every desire to move to Florida. As the year went on and circumstances continued to change I realized that my heart is firmly entrenched in Louisville. As more time went on I realized that even though I love Louisville I needed to get away for a while to create a better life for Riley and I. So, I did move in 2012, I just moved to Pittsburgh, PA instead of Florida.

Louisville has my heart

2. Get Hot! Reach my goal weight by 30!
ummm...not so much. I did not reach my goal weight by 30, or even by the end of the year, but my perspective on hotness has definitely changed. I used to think that there was no way that I could be considered attractive unless I was skinny. Boy was I wrong. I may not be a size 6, but I'm still hotter now than I've ever been. Confidence, attitude, and personality go a long way in my opinion.

Still pretty hot if you ask me ;)

1. Seek after God with everything in me. Go all in and find who He has made me to be.
This was the resolution that was purposefully vague. God and I have had our ups and downs this year. I have had my moments (a very few) where I wanted to yell and scream and blame Him for everything going wrong in my life and I have had my moments (the majority of them) where I know that I am beyond blessed and exactly where He wants me to be. I have sought after God and His plan for me this year and I will continue to do so.

So, that's how I did with my resolutions. How'd you do with yours?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Grumpy No More

So, I realize that over the last month or so I have been in a bit of a funk downright grumpy! I hate being grumpy! I am the girl who always has a smile on her face and a postitive thing to say in any situation. Usually being that girl comes very naturally to me, so this grumpiness feels awful! I have declared today Grumpy No More Day. I'm going back to positivity, optimism, and happiness.

Also, Clay Matthews is healthy again!
Just in time for a division game against the Bears. Clay Matthews has been out for the last 4 games with a hamstring injury (much to my dismay). We definitely need him for this game against the Bears. If you recall, in the Week 2 matchup between the 2 teams Clay sacked Jay Cutler 3 1/2 times. If the Packers win on Sunday they clinch the NFC North title (yay!) so I'll be looking to see a lot of action out of Clay, but hopefully he will play smart and not push himself to injury again.

Also, it's 12 days until Les Miserables comes out (yay!) and videos like this one make me so super excited!!

My sister and I will be there Christmas night to see it if it anyone in Louisville wants to join us :)

I hope you have a good Grumpy No More Day!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Two Things Tuesday

Ah, Alliteration. I love it! So, what are my Two Things this lovely Tuesday?

1)I got a job! When I decided to move to Pittsburgh I decided that I was going to go back to the restaurant business. It flexible, it's good money, it's familiar, seemed like a good plan. In case you didn't know, I worked for Outback Steakhouse for a long time. I worked at 4 different stores in 3 different states over a period of 10 years. When Riley was old enough to go to kindergarten I found a day job and quit the restaurant biz. I talk about my Outback love in this post. Anyway, I found out that a brand new Bonefish Grill was being built close to my new home in Pittsburgh. My brother, Paul, is in training to be a proprietor at a new Bonefish Grill in San Diego, so I mentioned to him that I wanted to work at the Pittsburgh store to see if he could contact them and put in a good word for me. He found out that the store was set to open mid-January and told me that he would contact the management team as the date got closer. Over Thanksgiving my dad mentioned to me that the store was taking applications. I hopped online and filled out an online application. I figured that they were getting a zillion applications every day and mine was likely to get lost in the shuffle. I figured I would wait a couple of days and if I hadn't heard anything I would call them and have them pull my application to look at it. I got a phone call 20 minutes later asking me for an interview. Because I am in Kentucky and they are in Pennsylvania I knew that a face-to-face interview would be hard to arrange. When I talked to the manager I asked him if he would be okay with a phone interview but also let him know that I would be willing to travel up to meet with him if he needed me to. He was fine with a phone interview so we talked the next day. He offered me a job and I took it. I start training 10 days after I move and I'm really excited to be back to the restaurant business. Bonefish Grill is going to be a new environment for me, but it's owned by the same company as Outback so it's still pretty familiar. In the last week since I've been offered the job I have been contacted and congratulated by all the managers (which I think is a very nice gesture). I'm so thankful to not have to job search once I get to town and to be able to focus on getting Riley ready for and settled into his new school for a week before adding in a job.

2) I'm done Christmas shopping I thought I was done Christmas shopping. If you recall I've been a bit grinch-y this Holiday Season, but I was pretty proud of myself for having all of my Christmas shopping done and everything wrapped by December 8th. I will admit that wrapping the presents and watching ELF this weekend has helped my be a little less grinch-like, but I'm still looking forward to Les Mis more than anything else this Christmas. Anyway, I thought I was all finished shopping, but then changed my mind. I decided earlier this year that Riley and I have the unique opportunity of creating some new Christmas traditions since it's just the two of us now. I have heard a lot about the Four Gifts Concept lately. Basically you receive four gifts for Christmas-something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. Riley is blessed to have a whole lot of people that love him and buy him lots of amazing gifts for Christmas. He is an only child who now has divorced parents so the potential for Christmas to get out of hand is huge. I decided to go with the four gifts concept with maybe more than one thing in a category or two and then, of course, a few presents from Santa. I did pretty well until I got to the "something you need" category. This kid needs me. His big "something you want" present is a Wii and I got him a few games to go with it so I thought the games could go into the "something you need" category, after all, you can't play a video game system without a video game, right? It's reaching, but it could have worked. Then I realized that we are moving to a state with snow, and lots of it from what I understand. So, Riley needs a little more cold weather gear. A hat and gloves specifically. I was musing about how he needed a hat and gloves in the car when he so sweetly said that he wanted one of those animal hats with mittens attached. Specifically a bear one. Like this. Honestly, I don't think he will ever wear it, but if I can find one in town I'll get it for him. He may or may not have me wrapped around his little finger.

Anyway, those are my two things for today :)


Thursday, November 29, 2012


I have opened a new blog post about 70 bajillion times in the last few days. I just can't seem to get my thoughts straight. They are kind of all over the place. The thing is, nothing is different. Nothing has changed. A few noteworthy things have happened over the last week or so, but nothing that should be throwing me so much. My thoughts are everywhere, my mind is always racing, and I am anxious...and I don't know why. So, let's write this jumble down and see where it takes us.

I moving!! In this post I talked about the decision I was faced with about possibly moving to Pittsburgh, PA. After a lot of talking and prayer and anxiety over trying to make everyone happy (which is impossible, btw) I decided to do it. It's scary. I will be moving on December 27 (4 weeks from today) and as bittersweet as this move is, I am ready. I gave my boss my notice of resignation last week. If you know me at all you know that I hate to disappoint people and I hate when people are mad at me. Giving my boss my notice was causing me a lot of stress, but she took it well. I'm sad to leave my job. I love working for the Y and will miss it a lot.

Thanksgiving. Last week was Thanksgiving. I usually love holidays, but this year...well, it's been a little rough. This year was the first time in 8 years that I didn't spend Thanksgiving with Riley. I felt like a piece of my heart was missing...well, it kind of was. Riley left last Wednesday to drive down to Florida with his grandparents to spend Thanksgiving with his dad. I woke up very early Thanksgiving morning and volunteered at the Y for the Turkey Day Family Fun Run and then went home and got ready and had lunch with my sister and brother-in-law and his family. I spent the evening playing board games and eating dessert with one of my best friends and her family and wrapped up the night with a cold beer and a basketball game. It was a great day. Wonderful people, delicious food, football, lots of kids running around that I was in no way responsible for...but I missed my baby and I missed what Thanksgiving used to be. I suppose it's all in finding the new normal. Riley came back on Sunday and spent a good 30 minutes cuddled up in my lap telling me about his trip and that he missed me and giving me random hugs and kisses. That felt more normal.

Not much else is going on. Like I said, not a lot has changed. I did clinch playoff spots in both of my fantasy football leagues. That was my goal for the season so I'm happy. I just need to shake off this anxiety and settle into these last 4 weeks in Kentucky and savor every moment. I'll work on that.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Midweek Confessions

It's been a little while since I've linked up with e for a Midweek Confession. So, here we go.

*I'm not really looking forward to the holidays this year. Riley won't be with me for Thanksgiving or Christmas. I have some major changes taking place right after Christmas (details coming soon, I promise!). My family is spread (literally) all across the county and we aren't getting together for Christmas (insert super-sad, puppy-dog face here) and I just feel a little Scrooge-y. However, on Christmas Day the new Les Miserables movie comes out and I will be there to see it (even if I have to sit in a dark movie theater by myself on Christmas that sounds pathetic sad!). So, the girl that is usually filled with Christmas spirit by the time Halloween rolls around is all "Bah-humbug" and is only looking forward to Christmas because of a movie.

*When the Packers are on a bye week I feel a little lost. Yep, I'm so in love with Green Bay football that I don't know what to do with myself when they don't play. Last Sunday was their bye week and I was sad. I am glad that they had a week to get healthy, but no Clay Matthews on the tv does not make me smile.

*I felt very melancholy and angsty earlier this week so I baked 7 dozen cookies and made s'more krispie treats. I felt better. I split the cookies between work and my sister and took the s'more krispie treats to Bible Study. I don't generally eat the things that I bake, but I will admit that the cookies were really good! Now I just have to decide what I'm baking for Thanksgiving.

*Riley's new favorite song is "King of New York" from Newsies and I couldn't be happier about it. In case you have never heard of Newsies it is a 1992 Disney musical about the newsies (paperboys) strike of 1899 in New York City. It stars Batman Christian Bale. It is my favorite movie ever and I strongly suggest you watch it immediately.

I suppose that's about it for this week. You should write your own confessions, it's good for the soul and all that.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Apathy kinda sucks

Earlier today I tweeted this
Tweet, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
And I mean it! But, I figured my blog wasn't going to write itself, so even though I'm unmotivated I need to sit down and do it anyway.
This seems to be a pattern in my life reaching back as far as I can remember. Whether it is school, relationships, work, housework, whatever if I am under pressure I dig in and work hard and get done what needs to be done, but if there is no pressure...forget it.

For example:
When I was in high school I managed to go to cheerleading practice or a basketball game 4-5 nights a week, attend church/choir practice/drama practice/bible study 4-5 nights a week, play on the soccer team, have a boyfriend, spend time with friends, have a job, juggle a slew of other extracurriculars, and keep up a 4.0 GPA. Crazy! Granted, I had my moments where I thought I was going to have a mental breakdown, but mostly I fit everything in and got everything done. Kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. However, when I was in the "off season" generally the 6 weeks of no cheerleading that coincided with that stretch of school where both students and teachers are burnt out, my grades started to slip a little, I couldn't find time to do homework, I didn't want to hang out with friends, and I felt like I could never get anything done even though I had way more time to do everything.

Another example:
I let my marriage slide. I just let things happen. I didn't work on my relationship. I didn't pray for or with my husband. It just didn't seem like a priority. When things started to get bad that's when I dug in and prayed and worked and did everything that I knew how to do to save my marriage. It didn't work. It was too little too late.

So, why am I so apathetic when there is no pressure? Why do I do so well when there is? And how do I stay motivated when I'm not crazy-busy?

No answers this time, just questions. If you have the answers let me know :)

Also, this
Rodgers Texans Touchdowns, Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Just because it made me smile