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!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women's March on Lansing 2017

On this surprisingly warm day in January, my mom, my sister, and I joined the millions of women and men around the world in protest of this new administration and it's promises of "greatness".  After a stop at Arby's, we headed over to the Capitol.

We were surprised and delighted by the turnout, and the signs were plentiful as well.

Many were clever.

Some were blunt.

And many, many were hopeful.

Fear was there as it often is when change is upon us, but with so many voices behind this movement I am hopeful that we will only move forward in our quest for equality, healthcare, environmental protection, and kindness.

There were so many people there that some decided to get a better vantage point from a nearby parking garage.

The speakers, as it was more of a rally than a march, spoke of unity, of mobilization, of participation.  We got to hear from gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer, who was well-spoken and passionate about making Michigan a safe, healthy, wonderful place to live.

A women's choir performed songs of hope and unity.

We heard Lavonia Perryman, Dr. Farha Abbasi, Barb Byrum, and Jessica Lumbreras speak, all strong women ready to lend their voices and experiences to the movement.

Chants of "Yes we can!" and "Yes we will!" rang out between speakers, invigorating the crowd.

It was so awesome to be there with my mom and sister!

One of my favorite signs was that made by a little girl.  It read, "We are all different" and it spoke to the diversity of the crowd.  The thing is, it didn't feel like we were all that different, it didn't feel like we were divided.  For the first time since the election, I could feel a sense of unity building.

People were kind and courteous, no harsh words spoken against any people in the crowd, no signs of hatred held high in the air.  (And I didn't see a single spelling or grammatical error on any of the posters or signs!  The nerd in me really loved that.)

At times, while looking around the audience and seeing new signs pop up every few minutes, reading over their messages of hope, urgency, and strength, I was overcome with pride and happiness to be part of something bigger than myself.  Something that could affect real change in our world.  Something that could have a significant impact on the lives of my children and children across our nation, in ways big and small.

It was a beautiful day for so many reasons, not the least of which were the messages of love and peace around us.

We left early - standing still for so long can really take a toll on your body - but we were glad we went.

As we departed the Capitol lawn, we saw this girl holding a sign that brought a bit of levity to the day, and she graciously let me photograph it.  Kate McKinnon and Hillary Clinton's smiling faces were just the right ending to a great experience.

The important part of all this, though, is that this is a beginning, not an end.  That this is a call to action, not a one-time shout to those in power.  I may not be suited for office, but I know I can help in other ways.  I know I can join the millions out there and work to have our voices heard.

Who's with me?