3 Things February Taught Me

26 February 2018

February Lessons

Another month has come and gone. For whatever reason, this month never feels quite as short as it actually is. Anyone else feel like it has a tendency to drag? As ready as I am to be one month closer to summer I'm grateful that I had this February to learn the following:

It's okay to not be on the go all of the time.

I'm so much more aware of the passing of time these days. I think it's because with each day that passes I see my babies growing up right before my eyes. Seeing those changes often puts me in a panic because I need to do all the things and create all of the memories! 

I have been trying to take us on weekly adventures, but am also trying to learn to slow down and just enjoy one another right here at home. I'm so jealous of those people, like my husband, who can just be still and do nothing for a moment. Even when I try I feel my mind pulling in a million different directions.

Teachers. They're just like us!

Respect of authority figures was drilled into me at a young age, and it has had some lingering effects. In my mind I know that my daughter's teacher is younger than me and a normal person but there is also that thought in my mind that she is this unapproachable authority figure. It's a weird dichotomy. 

All this to say that spotted my daughter's teacher in the wild at a  hip hop class. We got along really well and I feel like we could totally be friends, yet feel that I should probably refrain until my child is no longer in her class, right? Conflict of interest and all? Or is it different because my child is in Pre-K and technically they don't earn grades?

Be selective in what you keep in your home.

We made the mistake of using our basement for storing the random junk that came our way and all of the baby clothes. Well now we actually need to use the basement, so we have to go through all that we have accumulated over the past 4 years. 

This all could have been avoided had we just been a little bit proactive. Now it's this big, emotional process. 

What was the biggest lesson you learned this month?

What Shopping With Little Kids is Really Like

23 February 2018

What Shopping With Little Kids is Really Like

Saturday in Target was one for the history books. So many of us had the great idea to make a Target run and so many of our children weren't having it.  I swear there must have been a city-wide memo for the kiddos, because it seemed everywhere you turned there was another child flailing about, not listening, screaming that scream that reaches decibels only a dog can hear.

I couldn't help but overhear the helpful comments of the peanut gallery, so I wanted to take the time to share what that Mama you may wish to criticize may be going through during her three-nager's meltdown.


1)  The day starts with some serious determination. Today WILL be a good day. 

You rally the troops and lay out the game plan. You remind everyone what is and is not appropriate behavior. The bag is ready and you even remembered snacks. The list has been checked twice. Your game face is on. Let's do this.


2)  The Warnings Begin

You're no dummy. You've been shopping with children before and you know they have minds of their own. You hold your ground when the trouble begins. 

"Get out of the clothing rack." 

"No you cannot have that."

"Hands on the cart." 

Those phrases are your mantras as you work your way through the list. You can't help but think about how this errand would have taken 10 minutes if you had come on your own. Okay, fine. 30 minutes. After all, it's Target, but you sure as hell would have left feeling much more relaxed.


3) The Child Rebellion Amps Up

The warnings stop working. You still have a sense of humor in tact, but you can sense a change on the horizon. The meltdown is coming, but you think that maybe, just maybe, you can finish the list and maybe check out. You increase your speed, but the child has different plans. . . they always do.


4) $*%# Hits the Fan

It's here. Just remember mama, it always gets worse before it gets better. You're horrified that your sweet little baby has turned into Satan's spawn yet again. TODAY WAS GOING TO BE A GOOD DAY!   


5) Shame.

The peanut gallery has arrived. You feel their eyes. You know what they're saying, 

"Take that kid to the car." 

"My kids would never act like that!"

You feel shame that you can't control your child, but dismiss that because it's an asinine thought. After all, don't you want your child to grow into an adult who can stand their ground? There is a little spark of pride that is quickly shut down by the embarrassment for all of the attention being drawn to you.  If it goes on long enough the exhaustion creeps in. You want to weep and give in to the little terrorist's demands.

Then it stops.

6) It's Over, But Is It?

The child has morphed back into the child you knew before you left the house, but you can't help but feel betrayed. Target has lost its luster. Who even cares about the rest of the list at this point? The slow burning rage has ignited and you need to retreat. 

7) You Make it Back to Your Safe Zone.

The bags are in the trunk and you've wrangled the child into their seat. Take some time Mama. Take some soothing breaths. Collect yourself. This will happen again and when it does I'll stand with you. . . .

This post was in no way sponsored by Target and the meltdowns happen everywhere at any time. Keep your eyes peeled and you may just see one occurring in the wild today.

It can be really freaking hard to go shopping with little kids. These aren't so much tips, but more of a commiseration for those times when your children are out of control in a public setting.

5 Books That Are Worth Your Time

12 February 2018

I have become really very good at not finishing books in 2018. I guess I'm just at the point where I can sniff out a book I'm not going to like pretty early on and I don't want to drudge through the crap in the hopes that it will get better.

That means I'm not checking off a lot of books in my Goodreads goal, but my overall star rating so far this year is pretty dang high. Here are a few that I actually finished and enjoyed.

(I'll be linking up with Steph, Jana, & Anne.)

Beartown by Fredrik Backman:

This was my Reading FOMO pick that so many of you LOVED last year. I thought I was just reading about a town and the hockey team that would save the it from ruin, but it turned into this whole moral conundrum. 

It's the kind of book that makes you really look at yourself and ask yourself the question, "Which is more important, the one or the many?" in a whole new way.

I will say, that I wish there were less characters for me to keep track of. I understand that it's about an entire town and how they are each facing the same dilemma in different ways, but I have a difficult time truly connecting when I have to keep reminding myself who is who. 

The overall style ended up reminding me a lot of Rowling's The Casual Vacancy, so if you enjoyed that read I think you may enjoy this. Apparently there will be a sequel. Honestly though? I'm fine with where it ended. 
Culture is as much about what we encourage as what we permit.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey:

I didn't get around to reading the MMD December Book Club pick, but I did read this flight pairing. My hatred of snow runs pretty deep and, by default, so do locations that are known to be snowy. I do, however, love fairytales, so I sucked it up and decided to give this retelling a shot.

I'm so very glad that I did.

This is the perfect winter read. I kid you not, as soon as I closed the book I found myself wondering how plausible it would be to move to Alaska as try out farming. Am I too late? It's a very well written novel that you should fit in this month before spring arrives.

When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey:

I spent some time attempting to figure out how many books I owned, including those on Kindle. It's an outrageous number, so I let Goodreads pick one at random and this is what came up. 

I have no idea when or why or how I got this book, but I'm feeling rather pleased that we found one another. 

It's a slow read where not a ton seems to be happening, but the writing itself was so good. This is one of those books where I kept finding myself feeling like I knew what was going on but I was never quite sure. 

If you have any beliefs that maybe just maybe there is some sort of higher power in the universe then I think you could appreciate this read.
She cried because she understood that people don't weep because they're weak, but because they've been strong for too long.

50 Ways to Yay! by Alexi Panos:

(Big thanks to the publisher for allowing me access to this title via Netgalley.) 

This title sounds all kinds of fluffy, but I promise you the content is anything but. This book is ideal for those who are interested in finding ways to bring more joy into their lives, but don't really want to read all of the books to figure it out.

Panos provides 50 of the best ways found throughout the self-help section to cultivate more joy in your life. I'll be honest, I wish it was actually 52 ways, because this book is set up as a sort of workbook. It's one you'll want to immerse yourself in and spend some time applying each of the suggestions and I would even suggest making it a year-long journey where you try out one tool per week.

Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin:

I am on a pretty consistent kick to improve myself and my habits. This read has been on my to-read list for the longest time, but when Janssen from Everyday Reading started discussing it on her Insta Stories, I got the push I needed to actually pick it up.

I am now slightly obsessed with Rubin's Four Tendencies and spend far too much time trying to analyze everyone around me. Rubin provides some great insight into what motivates people and provides you with some tools to try to help you crack the code to yourself.

This is a truly fascinating read that I would recommend to just about anyone, but especially to those who may have a habit they have wanted to start or stop and just can't seem to get it to stick. 
We won't make ourselves more creative and productive by copying other people's habits, even the habits of geniuses; we must know our own nature and what habits serve us best.

What kinds of books have you found yourself drawn to lately?

5 Books That Are Worth Your Time

What to do When You Feel Like You're Drowning

09 February 2018

Sayonara To-Do List!

To-do lists have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I made them in school to break assignments into chunks. I've used them at work to keep track of tasks. I've used them at home to remind myself to pay bills or complete the dreaded chore of cleaning the bathroom. 

Every night I would sit down and list out everything for the next day and I thought that this was making me more productive. I thought that these lists were keeping me sane and on top of things, but this year I have realized just how wrong I have been. 

Shortly after Gigi was born I found myself feeling overwhelmed. What a surprise, right? I had these ridiculous daily to-do lists and, sure enough, every night there would be multiple items on said list that were not checked off.

Instead of feeling a sense of accomplishment for all those little check-marks, all I could see were those things I hadn't checked off. I went to bed feeling like I was failing at my own life and the cycle continued.

During a late-night feeding session I realized that I needed a shift in my thinking.  My to-do lists were making me miserable. Maybe I should try just writing down what I accomplished during the day and recognize those little victories. So I did.

For the past year I have been writing down all of the things, both big and small, that I managed to accomplish during the day.

I'm realizing that I didn't actually need that physical to-do list to keep track of what needed to be done. I just needed to pay attention and be present in my life as it was happening. 

At the end of the week I take a moment to acknowledge myself and all that I managed to do. I'm happy to report that my house is somewhat clean, my kids are fed, and my world hasn't fallen apart.

I'm actually much less stressed out and so much more happy, so I hereby give you permission to tear up that to-do list and start a daily accomplished list instead.

When you're already feeling overwhelmed to-do lists can intensify that feeling and can make you feel like a failure. This simple change in how you approach lists will make you realize that you are a champion on those hard days.

I am from. . .

05 February 2018

Just a little creative writing based on a template.

What follows is a fun little exercise, adapted by Levi Romero, inspired by "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon and can be found here. Context is everything.

I am from the desk
from pens and coffee cups.
I am from the secluded corner lot,
where cheerios are scattered underfoot.
I am from the tulips.
The cherry tree
whose long gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I am from slurpee runs and HLA-B27
from parents and grandparents.
I'm from pack rats and laughter
and from hardcore introverts.

I'm from "remember who you are," and "you catch more flies with honey,"
and "Baby Beluga."
I'm from ornaments on Christmas Eve.
I'm from California and a European mutt.
Bierocks and poofa.
From a young boy left to cross the plains on his own,
abandoned by his brothers, who made himself a home.
His portrait staring down from my grandmother's wall.
His name shared by another pioneer, my son.

I would love to see how others respond to the same template, so if you find yourself doing the same leave me the link!

Improve Your Life by Unplugging This February

02 February 2018

You know you should unplug, but lack the motivation to actually do it. Here are 4 reason why you should and a challenge to give you the push you may need. You only get one life, you may as well experience it. Be present today!

In the summer of 2008 I moved across the country to start a new chapter of my life in my grandparent's basement in Utah and it ended up being one of the best things I have ever done

At the time my grandparents had dial-up internet. I could read a chapter in a book in the time it took Facebook to load. I still had a flip-phone that could only be used for text messages and phone calls.

I knew no one except for them and a handful of other relatives. School wouldn't start for three months and I wouldn't have a job for two of those months.

I had nowhere to be and really nothing to do, yet somehow it ended up being one of the best summers of my life.

I discovered the value of unplugging that summer and am working hard this month to rediscover the lessons learned.

Why should you unplug this February?

1 | To reconnect with the world around you.

While you go through your day pay attention to how often regular life has to compete with your gadgets for your attention. How often do you reach for your phone for one thing only to lose large chunks of time?

It's a problem.

When we consciously work to lessen distractions and obstacles that are preventing us from being truly present then we have the time and energy to pay attention. When we can't hide behind a screen then we can get to know the people around us.

2 | Life will feel simpler. 

There is something about being plugged in that makes me feel like I need to be going, going, going all of the time. However, there is something to be said about taking some downtime and enjoying the quiet.

Unplugging lets me slow down. I don't have to keep up with anyone or anything. There is suddenly room for ideas to flow.

3 | You will have more time.

I waste a lot of time when I'm plugged in. It feels productive at the time. I learned about chickens! Then I realized I also wanted to learn about this! Have I paid my bills? How much are we spending on such and such. How is it midnight?! It's a major time suck.

Plan what you will do with this time! Will you spend it by pursuing a hobby that you have never had time for? Will you play with the kids for 10 extra minutes? Will you read that book you have had on your shelf for years?

4 | Joy is easier to find.

There is one particular moment that stands out in my mind. I was just driving along and happened to really look at the mountain in front of me. I swear I had never seen a more beautiful sight. It was such a simple thing that brought me so much joy.

I didn't need to instagram it, I just needed to experience it.  

As much as I love social media and all of these cool gadgets, I find that they consistently remind me of what I lack. When I'm unplugged I have less to compare my life to and I begin to realize that my life is pretty stinking great. 

You know you should unplug, but lack the motivation to actually do it. Here are 4 reason why you should and a challenge to give you the push you may need. You only get one life, you may as well experience it. Be present today!

My plan this month is to unplug for each weekend in February. Unplugging for my family will mean phones in a basket out of reach. Computers will be turned off, with the exception of recipes for dinner. I'm looking forward to 8 days to just be present without all of the noise and I so hope you'll join me! 

Do you think there is value in scheduling in designated unplugged time?
What would you do with that extra time?
Any tips to detox from social media?

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