Mar 28, 2017

100 Days of Paper and Paste

The 100 Day Project by Elle Luna starts again on April 4th.

The official hashtag for the project is #the100dayproject.  Participants are challenged to do something (usually something creative, but really anything goes) for 100 consecutive days and to share on Instagram with both that hashtag and one of their own creation - specific to the project they are completing.  

I attempted this a couple years ago with #100daysofgodtime, but only made it to Day 17.  Errrrr.  That's not very far.

A guest at my house recently complimented the artwork on my walls.  I thanked her and then made my standard reply - "I used to spend a lot of my time doing art before the little people arrived."  This conversation ran through my head again and again in the days that followed.  Something about my answer was just sort of stuck on repeat in my brain.

Eventually, I was able to connect a few meaningful dots.  I thought about the effort I've put into reading this year - both the fact that I've completed 13 books despite feeling like I had "no time to read" and also the way I've felt so much more like "me" in the few months since I've once again been reading religiously.  It took me longer than it probably should have, but I finally figured out that art was another area that I could reclaim.

I can make art one of "my things" again.  I can bring back that part of myself.  I can enjoy it.  I can NURTURE this part of my nature.  There may not be much time, but there is time.  Even if I can only work on it in five minute bursts, I can still work on it.

As you likely have guessed, my hashtag is #100daysofpaperandpaste.  I'm ready to give it a real go.

My plan for the project is this:

  • create 1 "paper and paste" collage each day for 100 days
  • share on Instagram
  • tape to our bedroom wall
And that's it, for now.  I imagine a theme or two might develop over the course of the 100 days - either color or subject matter or both.  And I will likely spend some time thinking about those things in the time between now and the project start date.  But, I'm really just looking forward to doing art again - and to keeping the plan simple.  

Mar 15, 2017


It's the middle of March and I've failed to set March goals.  Oops.  But, I'm chugging along in life and even getting things accomplished, so I'm not going to worry about it.  Perhaps, I will set some in April.

- - - - -

Half marathon training is happening.  Since Brian and I are both doing it - and since we are walking instead of running - and since we have these little people who don't take care of themselves - it feels like one day of each weekend is just taken over by training.  One of us walks (six miles / an hour and a half, last weekend) while the other watches the kids.  Then there is cool down and shower time.  And then we switch roles.  So...four hours or more of training time.  Ugh.

The plan we are following increases the distance of the long weekly walk by a mile each week through twelve miles.  So, by the end of April, it's just going to be kind of crazy with six hours of walking between the two of us plus prep, cool down and showers.  

But, this weekend, we have kid watchers on hand, so we will get to walk together - which is awesome in that we will get to spend an hour and forty five minutes alone / together and also because we will be done with the whole walking process in half the time.  Perhaps we will need to enlist help more often in the coming weeks.

The shorter walks that should be happening between the long ones have not been so great, thus far.  Most weeks, I've only managed to fit in one extra two-mile walk on the treadmill.  I wish it was more, but it just doesn't seem to be happening.

- - - - -

The boys both recently had birthdays - Sam's at the end of February and Eli's at the beginning of March.  I love that they are at ages (and of personalities) that small is good.  We had family get togethers for each of them and went out for dinner on their birthday nights.  That, plus a few presents was the extent of things, but they were happy.

- - - - -

Maggie is ten months.  How can my baby be so close to a year?  It didn't really hit me until her ten month birthday.  Her babyhood has just flown by and it makes me a bit sad.

- - - - -

I lo-ove Daylight Savings Time.  Sunlight at dinner time and during after dinner playtime makes me SO happy.  I'm kind of a light junkie.

And, we've been blessed with a couple mornings of the kids sleeping just a bit later than normal.  The time change doesn't impact me, personally - I have no trouble getting up at 5, so the kids sleeping in a bit means some extra time for me and I dig that.

- - - - -

We've started filling in our summer calendar and it is already kind of crazy with weekend commitments.  But, they are almost all fun commitments.  And, most of the weekdays will likely be the opposite of full, so it will be nice to have plans on the weekends.

- - - - -

And that sums up all the things I can think of off the top of my head.  Cheers!

Feb 1, 2017


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January felt like it lasted forrrr-evvvverrr.  I am thankful that the calendar page finally turned and we get to move onto new.

Looking back at my January goals:

1. Finish four books.  Yep.  I finished six.  Woohoo!  This is a solid start for my reading goal for the year.  I read After I Do, Underground Railroad, Miller's Valley, The Nightingale, Notes From a Blue Bike and French Milk.  My favorite of these was The Nightingale with Underground Railroad coming in at a close second.  They were not easy books to digest - content wise - but they were both really well written and captivating.

2. Walk a minimum of 300,000 steps.  Nope.  Not even close.

3.  Do a major toy / kid stuff purge and sort.  Progress / As good as it's going to get for a while.  I threw out a couple toys, donated a few others and moved a small pile to the basement.  And then, it seemed good enough for now.  We'll see if I feel re energized to tackle this after birthday season.    

4.  Finalize a "January through March Family Bucket List" and make progress on crossing things off the list.  Done.

And onto February goals:

1.  Finish four books.  I currently have three books started.  I'm not very far into any of them, but I'm guessing that this goal should be pretty easily met by mid-month.

2.  Do my first two pre-half marathon long training walks.  I would like to do a four miler and a five miler (averaging 15 minute miles) during the last two weeks of this month.  (I also plan to do several two and three mile walks throughout the month.)

3. Daily devotions and related journaling throughout the month.  I don't expect that I will be perfect and get this done every single day, but I would like to get back into the habit of doing devotions on a regular basis.

Note: Pretty calendar by 1Canoe2 belongs to my sister.   Thanks, Pril.

Jan 31, 2017


This post contains affiliate links.

I have been just eating up the daily podcasts from Side Hustle School by Chris Guillebeau.  They are short.  They are intriguing.  They are thought provoking.  They fit with my plan to work on entrepreneurial endeavors in 2017.

I read rave reviews about this book for babies as I was searching out Christmas gifts to buy for Maggie.  I was a bit skeptical - I didn't think it would be bad, but I just didn't see how it could be so special -  but I bought it anyway.  To my delight, Maggie loves it.  It doesn't seem all that different from other "first" books for babies, but she is all about it.  I think the size of the book may be a contributing factor; it is much bigger than most board books.  It has been added to my list of books to buy as baby gifts.  ...which should, perhaps, be a post in itself.

Leggings - - oh, these are so fun.  I think they could be just the ticket for that upcoming half marathon on my calendar.

How to Make Great Homemade Pizza.  I received a pizza stone and pizza peel for Christmas with the intention of making homemade pizza a weekly tradition.  I've used Kristen's recipe and instructions for the last two weeks and - - - success!  This will be a new, weekly, staple for our family and I'm excited about it.

This IG post.  Yes.

These blocks/tiles are the bomb.  Sam received two small sets for Christmas and they have been played with nonstop ever since.  More tiles are at the top of both boys' birthday wishlists.  

Pretty "love" dish towel.


Jan 27, 2017


We are in the midst of sickness round (feels like) 27 for the season.  Poor Sam got the brunt of it, this time around.  He still seemed pretty lethargic this morning, but totally rallied when I mentioned that I needed to call school and the bus to tell them he wouldn't be there today.  He kept down his breakfast (and it had been more than 24 hours since the last time he got sick), so I let him go.

We had planned to visit Brian's parents this weekend - driving after Brian got home from work tonight and heading home after lunch on Sunday.  Alas, the sickness has ruined those plans and we are all bummed.  Now, I'm just crossing my fingers that we will all be well enough for Brian and I to attend my work (belated) holiday get together on Sunday evening.

. . . . . . .

I signed up for the Lincoln Marathon along with Brian, my sister and her fiance.  Our plan is to walk the half marathon together.  April and I walked it in 2013 and averaged 14:38 miles, finishing in 3 hours and 11 minutes.  I would love to match or beat that time.  We haven't officially started training yet, but I feel like I am in significantly better shape at this starting point than I was four years ago.  Which is grand.  But, I have a feeling, that finding time to get those long training walks accomplished will be harder this time around.  We will see.

In previous years, this marathon has sold out in a matter of hours.  Registration opened, in the middle of the night, while I was visiting April in Seattle.  So, we set our alarms and woke up at 2am to register.  And now a couple weeks have passed and it still hasn't sold out.  Oh well.  We were prepared.  Ha!

. . . . . . .

Sam and Eli are crazy reluctant to watch anything new on the TV and are also very easily spooked by anything they deem "scary."  They've only seen a handful of movies and almost always say "no" when asked if they want to watch one - whether it is new to them or not.

So, we finally convinced them to watch Finding Nemo a week or two ago.  We only made it about five minutes into the movie at which point they were both begging us to turn off the TV.  What is wrong with our children?!? It makes me both laugh and also kind of want to cry.

We tried explaining the entire plot of the movie and let them know that it has a happy ending when Nemo's daddy finds him, but they aren't having it.  ...someday.  And even though they only watched five minutes, Nemo has been a big topic of conversation around here.

. . . . . . .

The boys' birthdays are coming up in February and March and that's the big talk around here.  They are so excited.  Along with family parties, we are planning to go to Chuck E. Cheese on the night of Sam's birthday and to visit an indoor waterpark over the weekend between their birthdays.  These will both be new experiences for them, so they don't really know what to expect, but they are excited.  We need to figure out one other small outing for the actual day of Eli's birthday, but I think we will wait until closer to the day to decide that one.

. . . . . . .

Wishing you a happy and healthy weekend!

Jan 22, 2017


The past thirty days have been anything but typical.  A little shake up is okay every now and then, but I'm more than ready to settle back into a routine.

Brian and Sam started their Christmas breaks from school on the 22nd and 23rd of December, respectively.  

Since then:

  • I have spent nine nights away from home (sleeping).
  • I pulled an all-nighter at home - with kids awake for various reasons all through the night.
  • I have worked two night shifts.  I was technically also away from home these nights, but I was awake.
  • We hosted a Christmas Eve "Minute To Win It" party.
  • I said farewell to my last living grandpa.  
  • Brian had two unplanned days off of school due to ice.
  • Sam had one unplanned day off of school due to ice.  
  • I have packed a lot of suitcases - my own, plus the kids', times several trips. 
  • I have spent a lot of time with my sister - both in Lincoln and Seattle.  
  • I have spent four nights away from Brian, Sam and Eli (in Seattle).
  • We have been working on getting Maggie to sleep through the night.  (This means a lot of time listening to a baby cry in the middle of the night and praying that she will go to sleep and also not wake up her brothers.)

Plus, we did the holidays.  Which were great, but a far cry from typical life, you know?

So, I'm standing here, looking ahead at the next several months and just hoping to settle back into a rhythm.  I think it's ahead.  Maybe it's even arrived.  Crossing my fingers.  

Jan 6, 2017


Oh, these kiddos.

They are SO funny and say such great things.  Here is a sampling of recent quotes and conversations from our household:

After many conversations related to turning left, turning right or going straight.
Sam: Mama, do I have a straight hand?  

Seemingly out of nowhere, but maybe related to Snapchat or some dolls we have with removable / interchangeable heads.
Sam: Can we try new faces?  Sam can be Eli, Eli can be daddy and daddy be mama!  We can move our heads. (Pause.) Oh no!  Our heads are stuck!  
And later, overheard mumbling to himself.
Sam: We can't try new faces.  Our faces are stuck.  

Watching / listening to migrating birds.
Sam: Birds!  Have fun at South! 

Eli's standard apology script - adapted from the script we gave him and later adopted by Sam.  I first wrote this down months ago and we are still trying to work on correcting this.  
Eli: I'm sorry, ___name of offended___.  Thank you for ___offense___.  (For example:) I'm sorry Sam.  Thank you for hitting you.  

Me: Do you think Maggie could poop in the potty?
Eli: No.  She's too little.  Maybe she would go down [the drain] and we can't have a baby anymore. 

Talking to our Amazon Echo.
Sam: Alexa! Do you have a mama and daddy?

And another day, talking to Alexa.
Sam: Alexa, I hurt my ankle! Alexa, look! 

As we were talking about the difference between dairy cattle and beef cattle and noting that grandpa's cattle don't usually make milk.
Sam: They have apple juice, though!  
And when I argued otherwise, he was insistent.  
I was so confused until I realized he meant that he gets to drink apple juice at grandpa's house.  

Falling off the curb and onto the street.
His cousin: Sam! Are you okay? 
Sam (sounding really happy, surprised, relieved): A car didn't get me!

To me with my hair in a ponytail, which doesn't happen often.
Sam: Oh no! Where is your hair?!

More "kid talk."