Monday, December 11, 2017

IT'S MY JOB TO TAKE CARE OF ME

After Thanksgiving Break, I was beat.  Exhausted.  Plum worn out.  We got home from Wichita right at the kids' bed time on Sunday night, and we jumped immediately back into life.  By the end of driving them home, I was really wanting someone to just take care of me.  I didn't want to have to do anything for anybody, including myself.

Shocker - that is not how things went.  In fact, after the solid week of people and traveling and lack of routine (which I mostly loved!), no one was super cooperative about bed time or kicking off our week.  I was so cranky about this, and I took some of that out on John.  After all, he had been home for the past two days (with no kids - I might add!), shouldn't he be perfectly cheerful and ready to do all of the things?  (No thought to the fact that he had been fighting off illness and also helping to manage Black Friday at a mall. . .) (Or the fact that he had put Christmas lights on our house and had our three Christmas trees up when I got home . . .) 🤦🏻‍♀️

After being a brat and sulking for a bit, I had an epiphany.  It is my job to take care of me.  No one else can do it.  Only me.

I am the only one who can make myself go to bed.  I am the only one who can go to exercise class.  I am in charge of what I eat.  Those three factors alone make up a huge part of how I feel on a regular basis.  I also have a large influence over our general schedule, and certainly my daily schedule - it is on me when I over do all the things.

So, I am working on doing the things that will actually result in a more rested, healthy self.  Not a single thing is rocket science.  It just takes more discipline that I like to generally exercise over myself.  I do not like having a bedtime.  I don't like to not be able to eat all the dessert all the time.

But, the truth of the matter is that I am not as young as I once was, and I need consistent sleep to not feel like a monster.  I feel infinitely better when I am eating things that were grown more often than things that were baked.  No one can do it for me, and if I don't do it for myself, then I fail at all the things I do for others.  I am not the wife or mother or friend or person that God has called me to be.

It is frustrating to feel like I have to re-learn the same things over and over again, and obviously, none of this is new information.  But, I do feel as if I am making some headway with actual changes, one at a time.  I am going to bed at night by a certain time, and we have also banned phone use in bed.  I don't need to scroll through Instagram or Pinterest or Amazon before drifting to sleep.  Usually, I am wasting time, and as a night owl, it is easier to keep thinking of things I want to do or see instead of going to sleep.

I actually started this blog post early last week, but with the new bedtime and also trying not to do every single little thing, I am just now getting around to posting it.  Which is perfectly fine.  (I try to believe, because there are still large parts of me that want to try to do everything. . .)  I've got lots of other things I want to catch up this blog on, but I've also got cookies in the works and Christmas cards and laundry, and there really are only so many hours in the day.

I know New Year's is right around the corner, but who says we can't start now?  Here's to making this the most rested holidays we've ever had.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

THANKSGIVING: HIGHS & LOWS

I'm still a little hungover from the Thanksgiving madness, but after going through the pics, I was reminded just how wonderful it really was.  Time with family is always a gift, though it can also be a bit chaotic.  Here's a high/low rundown of our Thanksgiving break with these lovely folks.

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High: On the way out of town, I took the twins to the doctor because they had been coughing for weeks.  She prescribed an anti-biotic for them both, and we avoided a trip to the Wichita Urgent Care.  🙌🏻

Low: Forgetting to bring my big camera and thus only having phone pictures. 😣

High: Getting to meet my newest nephew, Reed, who is a dreamy, precious, six-week-old love bug.

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High: We hit up the Exploration Place with lots of the cousins, which was a great way to get out of the house and have some fun.  (The Superhero exhibit was William's favorite!)

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High: I made Pumpkin Spice Lattes for the girls with some of the leftover pumpkin puree.  The latte part was my favorite.  Keeping it classy since 1981. 👊🏻

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High: Baby Mae, my super adorable niece, was quite attached to this beer bottle.

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Low: When we took the bottle of beer away from Mae, she got sad.

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High: Hitting up the park on Thanksgiving day with gorgeous weather - a great way to keep the kiddos out of the kitchen.

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High: John not dying as he scampered across this playground equipment.

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High: Licking beaters.

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High: So many people and things to be grateful for.  It is staggering when I think of all the blessings, both good and hard, and ultimately, the people.  I'm just so thankful.  We had a lot of good food and about 29 people to eat it with, so it was a delightful meal to be sure.

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(These are the things the kids are thankful for.)

High: John letting the kids cover him with leaves.  Such fun for everyone.  Maybe less fun for John, but he was a good sport about it.  😜 (can you spot his feet?)

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High: Having all the cousins together.
Low: Trying to get all the cousins to look at the camera and smile at the same time.

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High: Discovering that Mae's knees are actually just beluga whales on her legs.

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High: Playing lots of cards, especially with these ladies.

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Low: Not getting enough sleep cause I kept playing cards and talking.  Oh, and eating.

Low:  John leaving on Friday to get back to some of the CFA Black Friday madness.  He did get donuts to take back to our team, and the kids and I got some to take back to the house.

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High:  The kids getting to meet my brother's giant cat who is super friendly.  (His cat that only has one eye stayed hidden.)  It meant more Mae cuddles for me.

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Low:  I lost my keys in a field of wood chips.  As we started looking, my brother-in-law said, "I hope we don't have to look so long that this turns into its own blog post."  😂🙈🤣  Thankfully, Ellen found them about 3 minutes in.

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High: Cousin gift-exchange.  Crazy times.  Reed slept through the whole thing.  My kids definitely did not.

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High:  Movie night.  Thor Ragnarok.  Loved it.

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High:  Getting to catch up with this dear friend from high school.

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Low: The twins waking before the crack of dawn each morning claiming they couldn't see because it was dark. 😠😑

High:  I found my little bookworm introvert like this on multiple occasions.

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Low:  In a backyard full of grass, the kids liked to play in the dirt.  Because of course.

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High:  Ringing in the Christmas season!
Low: Again, trying to get a picture of everyone together.  (notice the arm and the nose picking)

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Low: I drove the kiddos home by myself yesterday.  It honestly wasn't that bad and so many things have gotten so much better.  But, there were some terrible stretches - especially the one when William desperately needed to go to the bathroom.  This resulted in a stop on the side of the road, an accident in the car and then him accidentally peeing on me while I changed his pants in the McDonald's parking lot.  That was all in about 30 minutes.

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But, we made it home, and we clearly had a good week, and I am truly so grateful. (and tired)

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Monday, November 20, 2017

BULLET JOURNALING

So, back in September, I took the bullet journaling plunge.  I was inspired by Modern Mrs. Darcy, after she raved about it and how it changed her world.  Her SUPER helpful post is full of tips and links to great tools that she loves.  It also links to this 3 minute intro video by the guy who started it, if you want to see the very most basic point of bullet journaling.

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For the past several years, I've used Erin Condren planners, and I do like them, and they are pretty.  But, I liked the idea of having complete customizability.  I have a tendency to like to control things, and also make them my own, so it seemed right up my ally.  Plus, I used to be able to keep track of everything in my brain.  That ship has sailed in the past several years, and I was regularly having the feeling that I would think of something that I needed to do, and it would leave my brain.  It may or may not ever return.

Enter bullet journaling.  For me, it has become a little life-saver and one of my favorite things to come out of 2017.  I still am committed to my iCalendar, and John and I share events and have several calendars each.  I've really gotten on board with this during 2017 as well, and it has helped even out some of our scheduling snafus, though they still happen from time to time.  As a side note, because of John, I always put the location of whatever event it is into the calendar, and my Apple watch will helpfully remind me when it is time to leave with directions and traffic updates.  So wonderful.  Helps me to be a little less late. 😜🤷🏻‍♀️

So, bullet journaling does not replace this digital - it works in beautiful harmony with it.  It allows me to get things out of my brain and organize them in a way that is helpful to me.  My personality is such that I see endless possibilities and ideas.  This is both amazing and overwhelming.  When the ideas are free-flowing and not wrangled, I can sometimes feel paralyzed with where to start, because I have only 24 hours a day, just like you.  The bullet journal has become the place where I wrangle the ideas and hopes into tangible plans usually assigning them into blocks of time in days or weeks or realizing which things I have to give up.

It is also a mini-creative outlet.  I've tried to keep it fairly simple so that I am likely to keep it up, and so far, I have struck a balance with some prettiness that does not take long.  I've also figured out what works best for me, but this has been trail and error and will probably continue to evolve the longer I use it.

I took Anne's suggestion and got the Leuchtturm 1917 Hardcover Medium Dotted Journal and LOVE it.  I like these pens for basic writing.  My favorite find for bullet journaling are the Tombow Dual Brush Pens - I have both the Bright Palette and the Muted Palette.  I also bought these stencils.  And then I got several sizes of Post-It Notes from Target.

For the monthly layout, I started with what the Bullet Journaling guy suggested and hated it.  For me, a list of stuff on numbers did not help me figure out what each week was going to look like.

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So, for October, I changed it up to a layout that much better lets me see how each week is shaping up.   I've stuck with this and been very pleased.

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For the weekly layouts, I've landed on this set up pictured below.  It leaves me enough room for a lot of stuff on each day.  I did try having each day vertical, but didn't like it as well.

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Another helpful feature of my bullet journal are the collections.  I have a Book Log which helps me keep track of what I want to read and whether or not I've procured it, and one for the kids (which I need to work on - I have vastly more books that I want to read with them!).  I also keep a running list of blog post ideas as they come to me.  It is so nice to not feel like I'm losing stuff from my brain.  When I very first started, I did a "September Brain Dump" where I wrote out all the tasks that I was contemplating,  Being able to see them all helped me to group some together and know when to tackle them and prioritize others or let some of them go forever.

I also keep a page for Cookie Plans where I map out cookie orders that I have coming up.

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I knew I wanted a different method of meal planning, so a quick instagram search led to some great options.  I mostly copied this one from Sublime Reflections and have been pleased with it.  I keep the little post-its with meals that we like stuck in a back page to reuse when they sound good.

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So - this may or may not be for you, but I LOVE it for me!  I'm thinking of adding a sleep tracker next month to create some better sleep habits for myself and possibly a water tracker cause basically, I suck at drinking water.  The possibilities and ways that you can use this are endless.  If you look at the #bulletjournal hashtag on Instagram, you will either be super inspired or super overwhelmed.

But - if you think you might want to start - just start.  There are much more exhaustive instructions and ideas available online if you want, but ultimately, you really have to just do it to figure it out and figure out what works for you.  Don't overthink it - just start writing!