Oct 2, 2017

ONE LITTLE WORD ALBUM - 2017


I'm having so much fun with my One Little Word album, this year.  The right hand page above is my favorite so far.  Here is the rest of the album:













I've always been a hoarder of the "pretty" magazine and catalog pages that I come across.  Now I have found / made a way to put them to use.  And a reason to look at them again and again.  This album is not officially sponsored by Design Within Reach (ha!), but they seem to rank quite high on my prettiness meter.

Real Simple had a few cameos as well.  And if I still had my Dwell subscription (oh, how I miss that!), I'm sure it would rank right there with DWR.

I think part of they joy of this is that it is quite different from my usual scrapbooks.  A bit more relaxed.  Different papers to play with.  Only that one (front and back) pocket page.  Different images.  More additions that fit with my word, but aren't part of Ali's assignments.

Working on my album has always been fun for me, but this year is the best yet.
   

Sep 16, 2017

NURTURE / MY ONE LITTLE WORD FOR 2017


This is my fifth year doing the One Little Word project and my fourth year following along with Ali Edwards' workshop of the same name.  My previous words (in order): tomorrow, build, voice and simplify.  

It's September and I haven't written about my One Little Word for the year since December of last year.  Eesh.

My word is NURTURE and I have a few thoughts I'm ready to get into writing.  

- - - -

The first few months of my year of nurturing felt good.  So good, really.  Things were far from perfect, of course, but I'll take good when I find it.  I attribute a lot of those positive feelings to slowing down, deepening and strengthening the important - in short nurturing what mattered.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could nurture and then trying different things to see how they fit with our family life and how they fit with my personality.  Basically, I think all the focus on nurturing - all the intentional thought and action - led me to a good  place.  

Some concrete examples: a return to a regular and plentiful reading life, training for the Lincoln Marathon (I walked the Half with Brian, my sister and my (now) brother-in-law in May), joining a Moms in Prayer group and making prayer plus devotion time an integrated part of my life, spending more time with Brian (thank you Marathon training), making a conscious effort to spend more time on the floor playing with the kids and utilizing seasonal lists of family activities.

Doing these things - focusing on them, making time for them and prioritizing them led me to feel like I was really fitting my word into my life.  And that was the goal.

- - - -

As the year has progressed, I've noticed that my intensity and focus have changed a bit.

Many of these "nurturing" things became just a  part of life.  They don't currently require me to give them a lot of thought.  I just do them.

As it became second nature, I really shifted the focus to nurturing myself.  This was most definitely not a part of the plan, but I'm thankful that it's happened.

It started with my 2017 reading goal and how wonderful it felt to get back to being a reader.  That little spark of "oh, yeah - this is ME, there's more to me than just being a mom," led me to seek out more opportunities to nurture myself.  Following that with the 100 day project only made this feeling stronger.  And, as of the last month and a half, I've been working on my physical health and feeling good about my body.  ...more to say about that at a later date.

I hadn't realized how much I missed myself and how much I missed doing the things I love.  I also think that I underestimated the power of taking care of myself.  It's cliche, but true: when I take care of myself, I have more to give.

- - - -

I am curious to see what, if anything, else comes out of my year of nurturing.  But if the end of the year comes and this is all I learn, that would be okay.  

Aug 27, 2017

KID TALK - SPRING 2017


Oh, these kiddos.

They are SO funny and say such great things.  

I was recently scrolling back through my feed and noticed that I didn't share kid quotes from this spring.  Without further ado, here is a sampling of quotes and conversations from our household:

Eli: Mama, we're having a pretty rough day.
Me: We are? What makes it rough for you?
Eli: Because we have a lot of snot going.

Sam: That was January Oneth.  ...um, that was the first day of January?
And another day.
Sam: It's April Twoth!

I was trying on a chambray, button up shirt.
Eli: What are you doing?
Me: Trying on this shirt.  Is it good or not good?
Eli: Not good.  ...you look like...daddy.

Sam told me something surprising. 
Me: Are you serious?!
Sam: No! ...I'm happy...Maggie didn't knock down my blocks.

Making a rumbling sound with his mouth and a cup.
Eli: (giggle) It makes a little grumpy sound!

Seeing a drawing of a deer.
Sam: Look at his stick ears!

Hearing truck brakes.
Eli: That truck has squeaky pedals!

Nana told him he was getting old.
Eli: I'm not going to die!

Me: Eli, you look handsome.
Eli: Hey! I'm not handsome, I'm cute.  

Sam: When I'm 42, I'm not going to be Sam anymore.
Me: You're not?
Sam: No, I'm going to be a daddy.

Sam: We did good things in May.
Me: We did.  Which part did you like? (Thinking he would say something about birthdays or school or a visit to the Omaha Zoo.)
Sam: We had good food at the farm.  We had hot dogs and chips and marshmallows and chocolate and two graham crackers - that's S'mores!

Seeing a motorcycle:
Me: Did you know Grammie used to drive a motorcycle?
Eli: Connie!?

Aug 25, 2017

AROUND HERE


School

Here we are at August again.  School has started and we have a kindergartener at our house.  Crazy town.  The whole passage of time thing is so weird.  At times I still feel like I am playing at this mom role.  Are these little people really mine?  The world is trusting me to be in charge of them?  And in other moments it feels like the last five and a half years have been my whole life.  Was I really a person with a real life before these kids showed up?  It feels like so-o-o long ago.

Sam has taken to his new school like a champ.  He thrives on routines and schedules and generally knowing what to expect.  School definitely provides that.  We pulled him for the day of the eclipse (so he could watch it in an area that had 2 minutes plus of totality) and he was crazy bummed that he didn't get to go.

And the school year starting also means that Brian is back to teaching.  So, another summer break is officially in the books.


New Routines

And now I find myself home with Eli and Maggie for most of my days.

Maggie is definitely in toddler (not baby) mode - climbing on everything, getting into everything, starting to talk, expressing her likes (and dislikes) and generally showing us her personality.  This is pretty awesome to witness and also pretty taxing on me.  I feel like I can't keep up with her.

Similarly, Eli requires way more attention when Sam is away than when Sam is home.  He very rarely plays independently and so I find him following me around all day, every day.  "Mama, do you want to play farm?"

Keeping up with them is a challenge to my own nature.  I want / need (at least a bit of) time to myself.  I like to work on various projects and do household tasks without a million interruptions.  I guess this is something to look forward to as it definitely isn't happening now.  ...maybe the two of them will learn to play together over the course of this school year.

Wedding

We are headed to Seattle so soon!  My sister is getting married and we get to be there for the festivities, plus fit in a bit of sight seeing.  Each of the kids have been there with me at least once and Brian and I have visited together twice.  I think my total number of trips to Seattle is up to 15 or so now, but most of them were pre-kiddos/marriage.

This will be our first time to Seattle as a family of five.  Also our first time on an airplane with all three kids.  Wish us luck!

But, we are super excited to welcome a new brother-in-law / uncle to the family, to spend a lot of time with other family and to show the kids the sights.

Pizza and Movie Night

Tonight = the start of a new tradition for our family: Friday night pizza and a movie.  The plan is to have this be our default Friday night plan.  If we are home, this is what we will do.

The boys are super-resistant to new movies.  Sam, in particular.  He was already crying this morning when I told him that the movie wouldn't be Dora or Daniel Tiger.  The trick seems to be to tell them they don't have to watch it, but just leave it on. Eventually they get sucked in.  ...so, I'm not sure how the movie part is going to go.  Crossing my fingers.

Blogging

As seems to be the case every fall, I have so many things to write about.  So, I imagine I will be back soon.

Cheers!

May 24, 2017

7 GREAT 100 DAY PROJECTS

One of the cool things that comes with projects shared on Social Media is the sharing/social part of it. Through the hashtag, I have found many projects to follow and had many others reach out to me.  It's fun to have new people/projects show up in my feed.

Here are seven 100 day projects I've been following and loving.  (Read all #the100dayproject related posts here.)

@elisejoy
#100plantsonfabric
_______________________________________


@mariaroseadams
#100daysofminnesotafood
_______________________________________


@bckueser
#100daysofsumi (looks like some other people are also using this hashtag)
_______________________________________


@stephfizercoleman
(she doesn't seem to have a specific hashtag, but is instead using a few different ones - that are also being used by other people)
_______________________________________


@anastasiailcov
#100daysoflearningdutch
_______________________________________


@bessiemaaayyy
#100daysofantoinetteandbess
_______________________________________


@jessicajoy.art.craft
#100daysoffreemotionquilting
_______________________________________

I've learned that I really appreciate people with a pretty consistent and distinct style.  I like to be able to look at a photo in my Instagram feed and immediately know who created it.

49 days to go!

May 18, 2017

A NEW PHASE / FAMILY PHOTOS




This is the last week of our usual, school year routine - with Brian at school and Sam home with us in the mornings, but spending the afternoons at preschool.

We are moving into a new phase in our family.

In my head, I'm calling it "the beginning of the end of the baby and toddler phase."  I think we're actually a ways past that.  Sam hasn't been a toddler for a while. Eli often talks and acts like he is seven, even though he is only three.  Basically, I think we are in between phases, now.  But, I'm sticking with this "beginning of the end" title because I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to these years of all my "babies" spending so much time at home with me.



As always seems to be the case, these years have gone by so slowly and so quickly.  It feels like it has been FOREVER since I worked full time.  (I honestly can't even imagine working a full time schedule and also having three kids.  All you working moms, have me amazed.)  I can hardly remember what it was like to have only one kiddo or to do all of the "mom things" for the first time.  But, it also doesn't seem so long ago that Sam was two and Eli was a baby and now, somehow, they are five and three - with a baby sister toddling behind them.

And yes, I realize this is all sort of melodramatic.  I know Maggie is still a baby for a few more months and will be home with me still for the next several years.  It just feels like a big shift is heading our way and I'm trying to prepare myself.

So, I am more than a little thankful that we recently had our family photos taken in a way that feels like it really captures THIS stage.  This in between stage.



A few weeks ago, we had Misty Prochaska join us for a Saturday morning and she took documentary style photos of our morning.  She did well.  And she was a joy to spend time with.  All photos in this post are hers and she also did a post on her site with more images.

If you happen to be local to Lincoln, I would highly recommend her.  


I'm not committed to this yet (in other words, plans are likely to change), but I am considering using the photos plus some in-depth text to make photo books that document this current stage.  I like the idea of creating a digital book (versus my usual paper and printed photo albums) because I could easily have four copies created - one for Brian and me and one for each of the kids.

I have tried to do Week In The Life albums several times in the last couple years, but have yet to pull one off.  I think these images could be a great jumping off point for adding text about our everyday life that would sort of fill the same role as a Week In The Life album.

Thanks again to Misty.  Like big, big thanks.

May 16, 2017

READING IN 2017


I've heard, repeatedly, how doing the things you enjoyed as a child can make you happier.  Well, if there was one thing I enjoyed as a kid, it was reading.

I let my love of reading slowly dissipate over the last few years.  I never completely stopped reading, but I had turned into a sort of passive reader rather than an active one.  I was no longer seeking out books or making weekly trips to the library.  Basically, I had just decided that I didn't have enough time to be an avid reader and so I wasn't.

Thank goodness for a renewed desire to read, a goal and a plan.

I shifted my mindset and decided I do have enough time to read.   And with that, I was off.  And, oh what a joy it has been  - and is.  When I am between books (finished one and haven't yet started another), I sometimes still have to remind myself that I have time.  But once I get caught up in a story, it's not hard to make reading my choice over surfing the internet or checking Instagram or what have you.

Spending so many hours reading feels luxurious and nurturing.  It makes me feel more like the pre-mom version of myself.  I am learning more and my brain is hopping with new ideas and new stories.  Basically, it's fabulous.

So, let's get down to the details:

My reading goals for 2017 were to read 40 books, read the majority of them in book (not Kindle) form and to work from a book list.   

I have finished 20 books thus far, this year.  (Half way there and now hoping to end with more than 40.)  Three of those 20 were read via the Kindle App on my phone and the rest were book-books.  11 have been from my list.

In the order I read them:
After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
*Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen
Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenrider
*The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah
French Milk by Lucy Knisley
*Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo
Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
*The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
*The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett
Today Will Be Different by Marie Semple
*A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
100 Days of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi
*Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
*The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

I have also started (and given up on) seven additional books.

Astonish Me, Hillbilly Elegy, The Fran Lebowitz Reader, Organized Simplicity, Here I Am, Traveling Mercies and Something New.  (And I think there may have been one or two more.)

I read one of these past the halfway point.  The rest, I abandoned within the first 50 or so, pages.  I don't think my abandonment rate is usually quite so high, so I'm not sure what's up.  But, I have really loved some of the books that I finished, so perhaps that makes up for it.  Plus, I am thankful to not be wasting my time with books that don't feel engaging for whatever reason.

Recommendations:

As I've shared before, I really don't care to write summaries or reviews about most things I read.  Still, there are some books that I would happily encourage others to read and others that I would say are not particularly worth reading - a basic "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" type of review, I guess.  So, the starred books above are the ones I would definitely recommend.

Overall, I am just so thrilled to be reading again and don't plan to stop anytime soon.