Friday, April 28, 2017

That's What They Said: Life Lessons and Lots of Love

(After suggesting that we keep her eczema lotion near her pajama drawer so we don't forget to put it on BEFORE her pj's ...)
Amalia:  (insistent)  No, Mom, that won't work.  I'll forget to do it.
Me:  Well, why don't we give it the old college try?  If it doesn't work, we'll try something else.
Amalia:  (deep in thought)  Mommy, if you are in college, do you just give it a try?
Me:  (smiling)  Sure.  Something like that.

(Heard over the monitor right at 7:00 a.m.)
Baylor:  (singing)  Moooommmy!  Cooome heeeerree!  It's time to waaaaaaake up!  Uhh-uhh!  I want to seeeeee your beautiful faaaaaaace because I looooooooove you!

Baylor:  (to Mollie)  I wish I could draw hearts over my head because I love you so much!

(Just after he woke up one morning ...)
Baylor:  Mom, I have learned something in third grade!
Me:  Yeah, buddy?  What is it?
Baylor:  It is an important life lesson ... you can never be too safe.
Me:  Ah, I see.
Baylor:  (getting somber)  I didn't tell you this, Mom, but I fell down twice yesterday at school.
Me:  You did?
Baylor:  Yeah.  I fell down in the hallway on my way back from specials, and I took a corner a little too tight on the playground and fell.
Me:  I'm sorry to hear that, sweetie.  Are you okay?
Baylor:  Yeah, but they hurt.  So you can never be too safe.  (thinking for a moment)  Well, ... maybe you CAN be too safe, but you can also be too dangerous.
Me:  Very true.
Baylor:  Like, after my concussion ... I didn't play on the playground for MONTHS.  To stay safe.  (getting even more somber) And you know what?  I felt really left out.
Me:  Oh, sweetie, I am so sorry to hear that.
Baylor:  Yeah.  So you can be too safe AND too dangerous.
Me:  I agree.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Seventeen in '17 Update: February

I realize it is already March, but I thought I'd better do my February update before much more time passed.

February was less of a blur than January, so I felt a little more aware of my time and a little more able to get a handle on some things.  Here's how my 17 in '17 list went this past month ...

1.)  Finish Amalia's room redo. - I did it!  I even got it started one day and was able to return to it within a couple of days to finish, thereby keeping it from falling into the projects-I-started-but-never-finished category.  Mollie even helped take some photographs while I worked on converting the frames into her gallery.

She was such a good little helper!

After all the frames were converted - eye hooks, filament wire, and small clothespins added - my dear girl told me how she wanted everything laid out.  We took this picture - which is, of course, sideways because my camera just couldn't figure out what was going on - to help us measure the space between each frame so I could get it up on the wall just the way she wanted.

I think it turned out pretty darn great, if I do say so myself.

Mollie also asked if we could figure out a way to allow her to put the titles of each picture up as well, just like a real gallery, so we added six 3M clips to the walls as well.  Once she added some of her artwork, it started looking like a real gallery!

2.)  Exercise at least five days a week. - I was not as successful here as I was last month.  I only exercised nine days out of the whole month, but there were some extenuating circumstances that did keep me active ... like physically bringing 114 cases of Girl Scout cookies into our home and then getting them distributed to other Girl Scouts and customers as quickly as possible.

I did manage to find my favorite Pilates DVDs (that I thought I had accidentally donated), so hopefully I'll be able to use them to round out my exercise routine and to fill in on the days when I don't have time to run on the treadmill.  Yay!

3.)  Clean off my desk and maintain it. - Nope.  This did not happen.  It is ever so slightly better in a couple spots and a little worse in others.  Hopefully I can tackle this a little bit more in March.

4.)  Get the unfinished side of the basement into a usable state. - I made a little headway with this one at the very end of the month.  I went through the gigantic mountain of boxes and whittled it down into a more reasonable stack, few of which are nested into each other making it easier to get at each and every box.  Some might contend that I have kept too many boxes, but I kept what I wanted and I am comfortable with that.  Hopefully I will be able to go through more of the basement this month.

5.)  Make/get the kids' Traveler's notebooks. - I haven't done this yet, but I did make the kids something I put in my own notebook.  I found the idea on several YouTube videos and thought it would be fun and simple enough for them to do.  It is called My Life in Pixels; each day you fill in a little box according to how you felt your day went.  Each color coordinates to a different emotion (e.g., happy, sad, angry) or state of being (e.g., relaxed, stressed, productive) that I can use to show how my day went.  I chose to use only one color for each day, but the kids have decided to split some or all of their boxes in two.

6.)  Stop eating by 9:30 p.m. - I was only successful with this 16 of 28 days, but the days I ate after 9:30 I did a reasonably good job of not overeating.

7.)  Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. - I was actually successful with this two of the nights in February!  Is that even close to my goal?  Nope.  But it's two more nights than I was able to do in January, so it's an improvement.  Baby steps, right?

8.)  Write at least five blog posts per month. - I wrote four blog posts last month, and I would have had five if I had managed to get this written last month when I intended to.  Not too bad!

9.)  Keep the counter cleaned off. - The counter got pretty bad at a couple points this month (right around when the cookies arrived), but I was able to get it mostly cleaned off, at least at one end.  This end, though has been incredibly stubborn and is the pile I will be tackling in the next few days.  The thought of what important information might be hidden in there is uncomfortable for me.  

10.)  Make our quilt. - The quilt is still made and having it has increased the amount of times our bed has been made in the last month.  Score!

11.)  Find a new doctor. - This one sat on the back burner in February.  I am hoping to get more done with this in March so I don't end up having to delay any appointments.

12.)  Drink more water. - I am having trouble really telling whether or not I was successful with this because I haven't properly quantified "more" water.  I think this month is a good time to define exactly what that means and then try to reach that goal.

13.)  Add recipes to repertoire. - I did not add any new recipes this month, but my husband cooked a couple times and tried out some new things.  I did manage to add back in something we used to make a lot - fajitas!  They are awesome, but since they do somehow create a lot of dishes to do it'll have to be made on nights when we have a little extra time.

14.)  Take more pictures. - I took a decent amount of pictures in February, though it was a little more sporadic than January.

I took a bunch when the kids decided to clean the wagon at my parents' house on one of the nicer days of the month.

 And I took some when the guys worked on Baylor's whittling project for Cub Scouts - though most of them will remain in my computer since he did most of the work without a shirt on.  He did such a great job, though!  And with a real pocket knife, too!

15.)  Do something each week to support or further a cause I believe in. - This one was more difficult in February, if only because of the sheer onslaught of craptastic-ness that was coming out of Washington D.C.  If their strategy is to overwhelm us with the amount of awfulness they can achieve in one month, then they are winning.  But that is a different blog post.

16.)  Keep a gratitude log. - I was able to start up and keep a gratitude log this month.  It is inspired by the one Kara keeps over at Boho Berry, and I really enjoyed being able to use either script or pictures to show my gratitude.  Can't wait to use this again this month!

 And now for the 17th goal for this year ...

17.)  Teach Baylor and Amalia how to catch (and throw). - Yes, you read that right.  I want to teach the kids to catch and throw this year.  They are nearly eight-and-a-half and seven, respectively, and it is high time they learn this skill.  Even if they don't end up playing any sports where these skills are valued, it still would be nice to know that I could toss something to them and have them actually catch it.  We were able to formally practice one day last month, so I'm hoping that this month we can start in earnest.

Gotta hit the ground running for March!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things: T-Shirts

There have been some pretty awesome t-shirts that have come out since the election and inauguration.  I may have acquired a few of them.  (All of them are short-sleeved, by the way; it is just way too cold to even try them on without a long-sleeved something underneath.)

I got this one at BootsTees on Etsy, and while it is a little big on me I love the sentiment enough to look right past it.  I was especially excited to have it in time to wear to our Girl Scout meeting where I taught the girls about being courageous and strong.

I got this one from HensandChicas on Etsy, and it is so incredibly soft.

And I got this one for Christmas!  The shirt itself is a little more stiff than the others, but I know it will soften with time and I LOVE the font.

Will any of these t-shirts change the world?  Nope.  But the words on them mean something to me.  They make me feel empowered and invigorated, even on days when I'm not at the top of my game.  And that's got to be worth something, right?

*Also, I apologize for the picture quality.  I took them all myself - major props to anyone who can do this and come out with outstanding photos - and I did the best I could.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Few of My Favorite Things: My New Traveler's Notebook!

I asked for a new Traveler's Notebook for Christmas this year, and after the holidays were over I got to pick it out myself!  I ended up going with a nice leather one from UncommonElephant on Etsy; they let you customize the color of the cover leather, the leather tab, the stitching around the cover, and the elastic.  Dottie, the owner of the store, is amazing to work with and was so accommodating to all of my requests.  It was a wonderful shopping experience, and I would highly recommend her products!

Here is the final product!  Isn't it gorgeous?

One of the reasons I decided to use this shop was because she was willing to customize the pocket configuration to my liking.  Since I was planning on using this for my wallet as well as my planner, I wanted to make sure I had a TON of pockets for all my cards.

I ended up going with three card pockets on the front and three card pockets on the back, each with one larger pocket behind it I can use for money or coupons.  

While I decided to go the DIY route for my last Traveler's Notebook and all the things inside, I knew that I didn't necessarily have time (or resources) for that this time around.  I used some of my Christmas money to buy dashboards from MarthaPlans on Etsy; I wanted at least three, so I decided to go the cost-effective route and get one of her "Imperfect Bundles" - they apparently have something wrong with them, but I still have yet to figure out what that would be.  This first one is wrapped around my daily schedule insert.

Here is the inside of the back cover.  I stuck a pocket pen holder from Mochi Things onto it so I would have a place for one of my Pilot Coleto pens.  It works out really well, and it can also hold pictures of my kiddos!  Win win!

I want to have to carry as few different things as possible but there were some gift cards and membership cards I really wanted to make sure to have with me, so I ordered some of these PVC credit card/zip pocket inserts from Amazon.  The front of it has a place for three cards.

On the backside of the three card pockets is a longer pocket for money or receipts (or my library card).

This next picture is of the second dashboard in the bundle.  I have it wrapped around a twelve-month calendar insert I made.

The squares are a little small, particularly for some of the crazy-busy days we have, but I am giving it a try to see if it works.  Like I said, I'm trying to carry as few different items as possible, and having a calendar in my notebook seemed like the next obvious step.

Here is the inside of the second dashboard and the second pocket pen holder (it was a pack of two).

There is the zipper pocket side of the PVC insert; it is currently holding stickers, washi tape, and some fun things the kids made me.

Then comes the third dashboard which is wrapped around my goal tracker insert.

I made this blank insert so I could track a bunch of different goals in the same insert and still make it easy to print out and put together.

This is another one of those PVC pocket inserts I got on Amazon - yes, I have that many cards I want to carry with me.  What good is a Lickers' License if I never use it, right?

My last booklet insert is blank for collections, doodling, and note taking.  I got some Tim Holtz Distress Markers (in Marketplace) from my sister, as well as some fun coloring book-style washi tape, and I have been coloring in that on the first page.

The second page is my gratitude log for February.  I have decided to do a mix of both words and pictures to record things, and so far I have really been enjoying it.

And that's it!  I am so enjoying having everything securely in one place, and I think it will only get better the more settled in I get.

Have a wonderful day!

*I was not paid to endorse any of these products.  I am only writing about them because of the positive experiences I have had with them.  Thank you!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

That's What They Said: Julius Caesar, What the *^% Happened This Morning, and Future Job Plans

(While holding his Who Was Julius Caesar? book ...)
Baylor:  Mom, I love this book!
Me:  Yeah?
Baylor:  Yeah!  I especially love it when he conquers Gaul!  (adopts a ninja-like stance)  I am going to use some of his battle tactics!  (makes a chopping motion)
Me:  Oh ...

(Preface:  the kids are supposed to get up at 7:00 on a school day - not earlier, not later)
Baylor:  Mooooommmmmyyyyyy, come heeeeeerrrrrrre!
Me:  (after sprinting silently up the stairs)  Yes, dear?
Baylor:  What did Mollie want?
Me:  What?
Baylor:  (after turning the indiglo on his alarm clock and seeing the time)  Oh ... I thought I heard Mollie call and I wondered what she wanted.
Me:  She didn't call.  You need to get some more sleep.
(Tucks son back in, gives kiss)
Me:  I love you, love you, love you.

Amalia:  Moooooooommmmmyyyyyy, come heeeeeerrrrre!
Me:  (after sprinting silently up the stairs so as not to alert Baylor)  Yes, dearie?
Amalia:  (crying)  I don't want to be the youngest anymore!!!
Me:  What?
Amalia:  (crying harder)  I don't want to be the youngest in our family anymore!!!!!
Me:  Oh, okay.  Well, that's just kind of how it's going to be.  But two of your cousins are younger than you.
Amalia:  (crying a little less)  But we don't see them so often ...
Me:  We do in the summer.
Amalia:  (irritated and crying)  But we don't right now!  And I meant out of you, Daddy, and Baylor.  All the first grade games are too easy for you!
Me;  Oh, okay.  I guess I am not sure what first grade games you are talking about.
Amalia:  The math and spelling ones.  They are too easy for you and I have no one to play with!
(To be fair, she has never asked me to play any of these games, and I absolutely would.)
Me:  I understand.  You can have a playdate sometime, have a friend over.
Amalia:  (whimpering)  Maybe.
Me:  And, Mollie, it won't always be this way.  Yes, you will always be the youngest.  But eventually you will catch up to everyone on what you know.  Aunt Christine is my younger sister and she and I know the same stuff.  Actually, that isn't true.  We both know a lot of things, but it won't always be the same stuff.  Aunt Christine knows more than me about some things, and I know more than her about other things.  And, believe it or not, someday you'll be happy to be the younger one.
Amalia:  (whimpers a little)
Me:  Regardless, dear, it is time for you to get some more sleep.  And Mommy has some peanut butter toast waiting for me downstairs.  I will see you soon.
(Tucks daughter back in, gives kiss)
Me:  I love you, love you, love you.

Amalia:  (in a slow, methodical, but ever-increasing in volume tone)  Moooooooommmmmyyyy, come heeeeeerrrrre!  Moooooooommmmmmyyyyy, come heeeeeeerrrree!  MOOOOOOOOMMMMYYYYY, COME HEEEEEEEEERRRRREEEEE!  MOOOOOMMMMYYYYY!  COME HEEEEEEERRRRRREEEEE!
Baylor:  Moooooommmmmyyyyy, come heeeeeeerrrrreeee!  Mooooooommmmmyyy, come heeeeeeerrrrree!
(after a minute of this ... I was trying to finish making their sandwiches for their lunches)
Me:  (after sprinting silently up the stairs)  (opens Amalia's door)  You can get up.  (opens Baylor's door)  You can get up.  And, to both of you, you know when you can get up, right?  (walks toward Baylor's room after seeing that Mollie was getting up out of bed)  I was making your lunches and didn't want them to get all crusty ...
(sees a dark creature crawling creepily near my legs)
Dark Creature:  (creepy baby voice)  Mommy!
Dark Creature (a.k.a., Amalia):  Hi, Mommy!
Me:  (heart racing as fast as it can)  Geez ... ugh!  Mol, don't do that!  Aghhh!
Baylor:  (giggling)  Can I go to the bathroom?
Me:  Yeah, go.
(kids start chattering and asking questions to me about this and that like nothing just happened)
Me:  (agitated)  Hold on!  Geez, kids!  I am still trying to calm down.  Mollie scared the crap out of me!
Baylor:  Mom, is crap a bad word?
Me:  (firmly)  Yes, but I'm REALLY worked up right now.

(And so our day began.)

(On our ride home from school)
Amalia:  Mom, we had a substitute this afternoon, and she got really mad at the class.
Me:  Why did she get mad?
Amalia:  Because some kids weren't doing what they were supposed to.
Me:  Ah, that can be really frustrating.
Amalia:  (irritated) Mommy, I just don't get it.
Me:  You don't get why she was frustrated?
Amalia:  No, I don't.
Me:  Well, being a substitute teacher is really hard work.
Baylor:  (without looking up from the book he was reading)  Kids act up.
Me:  That's right, Baylor, kids tend to act up with substitutes, and that can get really frustrating for them.  Kids think they can get away with stuff because it isn't their regular teacher, so the substitute has to be stern and might get angry.  Substitutes have to let kids know that they should be treated just like the teacher is.
Amalia:  (excitedly) That makes me think even more that I want to be a substitute teacher when I grow up!
Me:  (smiling)  Yeah?  You like having to reprimand kids?
Amalia:  Yup.  That is the kind of girl I am!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

That's What They Said: Funny Girl

Amalia:  Mom, (girl at her school) and I made a secret handshake today at recess!
Me:  You did?!  That's cool.  Can you show it to me?
Amalia:  (in a serious voice)  No.
Me:  Oh, okay.
Amalia:  I forgot it.
Me:  (smiling)  Oh.

Amalia:  (to herself in bed - in a robotic voice)  Power down.  Beeeoooo.

(While playing spy Barbies ...)
Baylor:  I am calling you on my super secret radio phone.  (speaking for his Ken doll, Joe)
Amalia:  I hear you, Joe!  I will contact you soon!  Over and under!

(While waiting in the drop-off line at school ...)
Amalia:  Mom, I don't get the f-word.
Me:  (cautious)  What is the f-word, sweetie?
Amalia:  (exasperated)  Mom!  I don't wanna say it!
Me:  Okay, can you spell it?
Amalia:  F-U ...
(then my heart stopped)
Amalia:  N-K
Me:  (super relieved)  Oh, okay.  So that is the F-word?
Amalia:  Yeah, and kids at school say it!
Me:  So is it bad when I say something smells "funky"?
Amalia:  No.
Me:  Okay.  Is it bad when I say I am in a "funk"?
Amalia:  No.
Me:  Okaaaay ...
Amalia:  We're here!  Bye, Mommy!  Love you, love you, love you!
(still have no idea)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Seventeen in '17 Update: January

Alright, time for update number one!  January went by in a total blur; I honestly cannot believe that tomorrow is the first day of February.  With that being said, I was able to work on a few things on my 17 in '17 list!  I count this as a huge victory since "blur" usually means "nothing gets done besides the absolute basics".  Let's go through this one-by-one, shall we?

1.)  Finish Amalia's room redo. - Nope.  Didn't get done.  But Mollie has impressed upon me how important this is for her, so I think this might just be the next project.

2.)  Make our quilt. - I did it!  Well, maybe I should say WE did it.  My mom and sister have made tons more quilts than I have, so I enlisted their help to get this one done.  Christine did the majority of the cutting, Mom did the pinning, the ironing, and the final quilting, and I did the piece sewing and helped feed the quilt to my mom while she worked it through her sewing machine for the quilting.  I am so excited about how it turned out.  (Though now that I look at the picture, I think my husband may have put it on the bed sideways ... still lovely, sideways or not.)

3.)  Make/get the kids Traveler's notebooks. - I didn't get that done, but I think that events (i.e., some impressive meltdowns) this month highlighted to me why I want to get this done.

4.)  Find a new doctor. - I worked on this a bit, but I haven't scheduled an appointment with one yet.  Hopefully this will happen in February.

5.)  Exercise at least five days a week. - This didn't happen, but I got pretty close to it.  I exercised all the days I actually could, so I'm going to chalk this one to a win.

6.)  Stop eating by 9:30 p.m. - I was successful about half the time with this one.  I think more awareness of what time it is will help me be more successful.

7.)  Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. - Nope.  Not once.  The closest I got was 6 hours and 45 minutes, and a couple of the days I didn't get above 6 hours.  *sigh*  We'll see how it goes this month.

8.)  Drink more water. - I was able to do this most days, and I was particularly successful on days I exercised as well.

9.)  Clean off my desk and maintain it.  - *sigh*  Nope.

I mean, it looks slightly better than this now, but I still have to move a bunch of stuff if I want to sit down or actually use my desk.  Definitely need to work on this one.

10.)  Get the unfinished side of the basement into a usable state. - Um ...

Not so much.

11.)  Keep the counter cleaned off. - One end has been stubborn ...

 ... the other end has been more cooperative, but still not ideal.

12.)  Add recipes to my repertoire. - No success here.  I need to work on this one a little more diligently.

13.)  Take more pictures. -  I definitely succeeded at this one!  My family wasn't always thrilled about it, though.

14.)  Write five blog posts per month. - I did not accomplish this one entirely, but this is my third post so I consider that a vast improvement.

When last I wrote, this was the end of the list, three shy of a full seventeen.  Since then I have come up with a couple more goals.

15.)  Do something each week to support or further a cause I believe in. - With the new administration making good on so many of its campaign promises, it has not been difficult for me to find ways to meet this goal.  I started out with the Women's March, then wrote to representatives in my state about 38 "under-performing" schools that may close this year, called three U.S. senators to voice opposition to the nomination of Betsy DeVos, and wrote our two Michigan senators about the rollback of environmental regulations.

 As more issues arise, more opportunities to help will undoubtedly present themselves, and I look forward to doing all I can to lend support.

16.)  Keep a gratitude log. - I have noticed my stress level rising as of late, and I am hoping focusing on what I am grateful for will help lift the fog a bit.

I still have yet to come up with the seventeenth goal, but that is my temporary goal for the coming month.

I look forward to the February update!