Aug 2, 2018


I feel like these kinds of lists are cliche and cheese-y, but I've decided to embrace this cheese.  Cliche or not, goal lists motivate me and bring me a sense of joy. 

In April of 2020, I will turn 40.  Starting this list now means that I will have a year and three quarters to get these things done. 

1 / Resort vacation with Brian

2 / 40th birthday celebration trip with friends

3 / Overnight away with Brian

4/ Stay in a pretty and modern airbnb rental or a boutique hotel

5 / Start scheduling and planning regular monthly dates with Brian

6 / Sponsor a child through Compassion International

7 / Donate blood five times

 8 / Secret gift project #1

 9 / Secret gift project #2

10 / Secret gift project #3

11 / Secret gift project #4

12 / Secret gift project #5

13 / Go tubing down a river

14 / Do an escape room

15 / Attend Jazz in June

16 / Attend a Killigans St. Patty's show

17 / Take a class or workshop to learn something crafty (maybe with a friend)

18 /  Get my ears pierced - again

19 / Watch a meteor shower

20 / Go to a movie by myself

21 / Consistently work on crossword puzzles - again

22 / Reread Jane Austen's six major novels

23 / Reread the New Testament

24 / Complete a third round of The 100 Day Project

25 / Apply for the Project Life Creative Team - again

26 / Sew a piece of clothing for myself

27 / Sew a piece of clothing for Maggie

28 / Go to the dentist every three months

29 / Redo the flowerbed in the front of our house

30 / Finish painting the upstairs interior

31 / Get estimates for new flooring and kitchen remodel

32 / Have a good chunk of money saved for house remodeling projects

33 / Makeover Maggie's room

34 / Makeover Sam and Eli's room

35 / Own the "Like Forever" poster that I've wanted for like forever

36 / Write a book

37 / Own the Knotten standing desk from IKEA

38 / 75 hours of work and writing time (summer 2019)

39 / Go on an overnight writing retreat

40 / Decide how I want to spend my actual 40th birthday

With a list like this, I feel like life is going to be good and fun in the time between now and 40.

And about number 36... it is the one thing that feels scary to include, but I'm doing it.  And I have plans to write a separate post with more thoughts on writing a book. 

Here we go! 

Jul 28, 2018


My rainbow project is complete!

This was such a fitting project for me.

I am an idea person.  This project allowed me to dream up 100 different ideas about rainbows and I find that invigorating and life giving.

Despite all the ideas, follow through is not always my strong suit - particularly on large scale projects.  But this project was made up of 100 "little" ideas.  Almost all of the projects were completed in less than an hour and that's the kind of follow through I can do well.

I very much like to work on things in small increments and this project was perfect for that.  I find repetitive work relaxing and I feel great pleasure in seeing my ideas come into reality.  To a large extent, art is my outlet for quiet.  While my hands are busy, I can slow down and think. 

I love that the built in 100 days means that I make time for art and beauty on a regular basis.

Even my Instagram feed gave me great joy during the project - I love the mix of art and life.  That's the epitome of good, if you ask me.

And, I loved that this project helped me connect with so many people.  I can't even tell you how many people sent me photos of rainbows or told me about how many rainbows they noticed in their daily life, as they were brought to the forefront of their attention through my project.

Perhaps the most fun bit of all was throwing a "Rainbow Party" in the last week of the project.  Several friends came and joined me for time together, crafting, a group art project, rainbow cake and wine.  I felt so loved as my friends embraced my offbeat idea and came to join in the fun.

By the end of the project, I was ready for a break - from ideas and from turning them into real life photograph-able things.  But I've already been thinking up ideas for next year and I'd say that's the sign of a successful project.

...and I've already posted photos 101 and 102 of 100.  I'm pretty sure this won't be the last of my rainbows.  

Jul 25, 2018


Whew!  It's been a big month.

There's still a week left in July, but now that we are home from vacation, I feel like it's time for a fresh start.  It seems to be a recurring theme that I come home from vacation with renewed energy and a strong desire to get back to the good and wholesome routines of life.

So, I'm pretending this is August first and I'm ready to get back in the swing of "regular life."  

These are the things I hope to accomplish in the next five-ish weeks:

1 / Give Maggie's room a refresh.  Her room was first Eli's nursery and then was a shared room for her and Eli.  The boys now share a room and Maggie sleeps alone.  Everything is relatively functional, but it could just use a bit of a face lift.  I want to put on a fresh coat of paint, set up her bed (she currently sleeps on a twin mattress on the floor), rearrange, clean out her closet (which is currently full of a lot of random things) and figure out a better storage systems for her clothing. 

2 / Track grocery spending for the month of August.  I track our budget pretty closely.  I could tell you exactly how much we spent on gasoline or fast food or entertainment in any given month.  But the grocery spending is a bit trickier to track.  While we sometimes shop at dedicated grocery stores (Aldi) we also spend a good chunk of our grocery budget at big box stores like Target and Walmart.  The big box stores - and the variety of things we buy in a single shopping trip - make it hard to fully track our grocery spending.  It is much easier to deduct the lump sum (including the random tshirt I buy for the boys, dog food and camping equipment) than to divide things out and keep track of spending by category.

My goal for August is to do more careful accounting in the grocery category.  I would just like this number for a baseline and because it seems weird to me to have no idea how much we are spending on groceries.

3 / Finalize a "40 before 40" list.  I am so excited about this one - and I'm also open to any ideas you have to share.  With nothing yet set in stone, I currently have 26 things on my list.  It's been really fun to think on and I'm looking forward to getting started in September.

4 / Documenting catch up (Project Life family pages and also kid book pages).  I got overwhelmed with my Week In The Life project in May and let everything fall behind.  Then, I got sucked into my 100 Day Project and lacked motivation to scrapbook.  I started playing the catch up game yesterday and I am optimistic about my ability to get these projects done this month.

5 / Digital clean up.  My phone is overloaded with photos and videos.  On a daily basis, my email inbox is inundated with store sales and newsletters that I don't need or want.  I have some random apps on my phone that I never use.  I follow some people on Instagram that I don't really need to follow.  It's time to push the unfollow and unsubscribe buttons.  It's time to delete, delete, delete.

Okay. Ready, set, here I go.  

Jul 6, 2018


The fourth!  Oh my goodness, it was just a joy of a day at our house.  I've never had a problem with this holiday, but I've also never really been that "into" it. 

In 2016 (when Mags was not even two months old), we first attended a morning Fourth of July parade in a small town just 15 minutes from us.  So this was year number three and - as far as the kids are concerned - "this is what we ALWAYS do."  We were entertained for more than an hour and came home with giant bags of candy.  

My dad and Connie joined us for the entire day and two of our nieces and one of Brian's sister joined us for the parade.  It was great to get to spend time with all of them.  

Little things like eating dinner on patriotic paper plates and enjoying red, white and blue bomb pops for dessert brought extra joy to the day with zero extra work on my part.

Maggie played "ice cream shop" with my dad and I for a long stretch - switching back and forth from ordering to serving us food and charging "two moneys" for everything.  

In the early evening, Brian and the boys set off the majority of the fireworks we purchased.  The boys gain more interest and bravery in fireworks every year - again a small price for a lot of fun and Brian pretty much took over all of the "work" related to this, which I appreciated.  

After dusk, we sat in our lawn chairs and enjoyed the "show."  We have a prime viewing spot in our very own driveway and it is awesome.  It means Maggie could go to bed at 7:30 while the boys stayed awake for all of the amazing fireworks that happen around our neighborhood.  This was the first year the boys stayed up for the majority of the night time fireworks and it was so fun to see their reactions and enjoyment.  

In short: 

Throughout the day, we spent a ton of time outside.  We got to share our day with family.  We relaxed and nothing felt stressful.  I had visible reminders of the ways the kids are growing and maturing.  We embraced the traditions we started and had a great time together.  

Win!  Win!  Win!    

Jul 2, 2018


Last November, I did a fairly extensive life review.  I spent time considering each of the major facets of my life from several angles.  I looked backward, I looked forward and I looked at right where I was.  It was a great exercise and really helped me to think about how I wanted to spend my time as I moved into the new year.

Before I got started, I read through several articles with varying ideas on exactly how to conduct this sort of life review.  Fitting with my "Questioner" personality, I did a lot of research and then just used the ones that made the most sense to me or really resonated with me in one way or another.

Out of all that, one question has really stuck with me.

"What will you remember about this year?"

This question feels like THE QUESTION.  My days are often filled with monotonous tasks and urgent concerns, but those aren't the things that I will remember.  I fill our family Project Life album with all the photos and lists of what we do and some of the funny things the kids say.  All that is good and I enjoy looking back through the albums from time to time, but most of those things aren't the things I will remember.

It is amazing to me how big and important things feel in the moment and how little of them I can recall a year (or even just a month) later.

The things we remember are the new things, the big things and the things that happen on repeat.

For the first half of 2018, here's what I will remember:

  • Sam's love of the presidents and crazy ability to memorize all of their birth and death dates
  • Eli's love of Sweetcakes (his plush rat)
  • Maggie yelling "Yijah!" and never calling her brother Eli
  • Creating a new identity for our family as "campers" and our first few camping trips
  • Eli's interests in guns and volcanoes and weather and talk of fish
  • My adoption of "The Rule of Six" and all the ways it has helped me be (and feel like) a good mom
  • Reading a lot of books - on my own and also to the kids
  • Brian's summer of school (with the knowledge that this is the end of his classes and all future summers will be school-free)
  • Brian's listening to Jordan Peterson on repeat
  • Spending time with Brian's parents in the weeks before and after Ken's surgery
  • The 40 Days of Prayer series
  • Maggie's talk about ice cream flavors (every single day)and how happily she plays independently
  • Sam finishing kindergarten
  • Still not knowing if Eli will go to public school or stay home 
  • Joining my small group through church and finding kindred spirits 
  • The boys talking about our 2017 vacations on an almost daily basis
  • Maggie saying, "Hi mama.  How doing?" twenty times a day.
  • Running and singing and laughing our way around our kitchen and living room
  • Maggie and Eli watching Charlotte's Web and eating Lunchables
I think this list does a fair job of summing up our last six months and I like it.  

Life is good.  God is good.  I can't thank Him enough for all of His blessings.  

Jul 1, 2018


Sharing a few good things from around the internet: 

A shop full of charming banners.  I follow this shop on Instagram and just think everything Karen makes is the sweetest. 

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The 'One Bag Challenge': What I Learned by Living out of a Single Duffel Bag.  I tend to daydream about and (likely) romanticize the idea of fairly extreme minimalism.  I found this article and the author's takeaways fascinating. 

I don't think I could ever live without a home base.  I am a homebody and I know I would not feel comfortable truly living out of a bag.  Still, the idea of a very small home with very few possessions is hugely appealing to me. 

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Ashley's Coffee Project (a photo of her daily coffee each day this year) is fabulous.  I love that it has a cohesive look, but shows how her days and reading material vary.  I love the way you can see the seasons changing through subtle hints in the photos.  Basically, I just love this idea. 

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I never would have thought to look for lighting on Etsy, but these are beautiful

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"Anytime I go on a trip, I make a little list on my phone of things that inspire me, things I want to “take home” with me."  ....yes.

Jun 30, 2018


June has been good to me.  Here are the goals I set out for this month and my progress, thus far.  

1 / Buy bikes for the boys.

Done!  And we even managed to find one bike / helmet set new, but secondhand.  $60 for a bike and helmet?  Sold!

2 / Another month of my 100 Day Project

Woohoo!  Getting so close to a break from daily rainbows.  It's been good, but I'm ready to be done.  ...and my sister had the genius idea of trading projects for a week, when we do this next year.  This makes me already look forward to next year's project - whatever that may be.  

3 / Take our first camping trip and put more trips on the summer calendar.

We've been twice and have a campsite reserved for a third trip.  Becoming "campers" is my favorite thing we've done this year.  I think we're hooked.  

4 / Finish pages for the kids' scrapbooks for the second semester of the school year. 

Nope.  I need to find some motivation to get all of my scrapbooking / memory keeping projects up and going again.  I've taken an unplanned hiatus and just haven't been excited about working on any of these projects, lately.  ...maybe after the 100 day project is done?

5 / Finish the 40 Days of Prayer sermon series. 

I finished listening to two more sermons and am currently midway through the final one of the series.  When I started this sermon series, I was watching them on YouTube.  This month, I switched to listening through my podcast app and I'm really enjoying that route - as it allows me to more easily listen as I drive or exercise, etc.  
6 / Register for my 20 Year Class Reunion school tour and dinner.  

Yep! ...just a few weeks away!

Another month in the books.