Current Thoughts: December 2016




  • Already had a family fight regarding Christmas! But, kinda glad we got it out of the way early. Now everyone knows that everyone is unhappy with reality (re: multiple families and inconvenient work schedules and ya know, the fact that we can't duplicate ourselves to be everywhere at once) but we're gonna smile like we enjoy the holidays anyway.


  •  While I super love my non-denominational "contemporary" church, I feel myself drawn more and more to the traditional habits of the Christian faith. We don't do Communion every week, but it affects me whenever we do. Baptisms make me cry, with hope and joy and faith. I want to do more research about these traditional practices but I'm not sure where to go- I don't want just a dry history book. I want something living and breathing the faith of those who follow Jesus. 

  • Took a sick day recently- a legitimate, home in bed alone sick day. Y'all, I needed that. It was 60% physically sick, 40% mental health day. I can't remember the last time I had a day where I did nothing but take care of myself. Usually my "sick" days include taking care of Babycakes, or when she goes to visit the grandparents and I'm "off" Mommy Duty I am still on Wife/Adult duty and bust my butt trying to tackle projects around the house that are difficult with her around.  We did a ton of stuff this weekend, basically our immediate family Christmas celebrations (pictures with Santa, city Christmas lights tour, a birthday party) plus a ton of cleaning and I think the busyness (that looks wrong...) plus the nasty weather just took me down (thinking allergies or a sinus infection, because Hubs & Babycakes are fine, which is why I sent her to daycare). But I feel restored in my soul. Honestly, I need to do that more. Probably need to just schedule an actual mental health day for myself every few months. 


  •  Babycakes' daycare is closed for a full week after Christmas. I'm kind of terrified to be home with her alone that long. It will be the longest time since my maternity leave. I feel like some people think that is weird or bad, but umm...being a SAHM is a specific skill that I haven't fully developed yet. I love my daughter fiercely, and I'm sure there will be some magical moments and I'm so thankful for the time with her. But the fallout from routine will be hard and being 100% responsible for another human drains me sometimes, even when it's also what fills me up. I am already putting out the SOS call to my SAHM friends and asking them to help! Thankfully, they are awesome and gave me suggestions of stuff to do throughout the week and volunteered to hang out with us.


  • I ended up with a 92 in my class!!!! Whoop whoop, yay me, not bad for a 5 year break and working full time and mommying and general adulting.



What's up with you lately? 

Show Us Your Books: December 2017


It's the last SUYB of 2017!!

Actually, that's not true- because in a few weeks on Dec 26th there is the 2017 Favorites link-up.

There are many more books on that list than this one...apparently I've been a bit of a slacker lately.

This book...made me think SO MANY THINGS. It's about a Catholic priest who breaks his vow of celibacy. It discusses sex and religion and while there are things that are obviously sacrilegious and hard for me to handle...it's also a freakin' beautiful look at faith and love and lust and grief and responsibility and sexuality and...a completely worthwhile read. It's rare to see a true mix of secular living and desire so fiercely intertwined with a soul deep faith. Full disclosure- I'm not Catholic. But I don't think you have to be to get something from this story- if you have ever felt at all close to a God or a religion, or are curious, it's there.


Dysfunctional family with secret letters hidden in books, which are taking over an old house. I put this on hold literally within 60 seconds of reading the description, which proved to be a solid life choice.



What have you been reading this month? 
Link-up & let us know!
Life According to Steph

I did a thing!

     ecard by Kristi3655


There is a free workout group in my town, and thanks to a good friend agreeing to go with me I have been going pretty regularly for the past few weeks.

Recently there was a burpee challenge- do 30 burpees every day for 15 days. 

Possibly inspired by this article, or maybe just thought up out of nowhere. I don't know.

But I did it. 

Every. Single. Day.

I literally forced myself out of bed one night because I had forgotten to do it before laying in bed after my shower.

I ran (half walked) a 5K like 3 years ago, but other than that this is the first "challenge" or physical event I've ever done.

It's not changing the world, but it's a personal milestone. 

GO ME!

Christmas Gifts that Keep Giving



While lots of people celebrate the winter holidays differently, almost everyone gives presents. Everyone. You might purchase them for a different reason or wrap them in different colors or give them weeks apart- but you probably give and receive gifts at some point in the November/December months.

I want to encourage you to think of long lasting gifts this year. 

The gift of experience and time can be so much more rewarding than just things.

Yes, it's possible to give fantastic random physical gifts that people love. But it's a lot of pressure for a statistically low pay-off. Especially now as a mom...I don't necessarily need more STUFF to keep in my home with my kid. I need an excuse and activity to stop the madness and boredom and routine from being in the same four walls ALL THE TIME. So please, this year consider giving something that will last a little longer and encourage more bonding. They may cost a little more, but not compared to buying 3+ smaller gifts.

Here's a few ideas I know my family and I would use and deeply appreciate:
 
  • Zoo/aquarium passes
  • Amusement park passes
  • Xbox live/gold/whatever subscription
  • Netflix/hulu subscription
  • Audible subscription
  • Subscription Boxes
  • Cleaning service 
    • This one may be controversial, but I know SO MANY PEOPLE who say a one-time big cleaning day from a service was a GAME CHANGER. For 100$ or less (I was shocked and thought it would have been way more, honestly) you can give the gift of time and less stress and a clean and happy home. Maybe ask ahead of time, but just say "Hey, I know day-to-day life and upkeep can be stressful. Would it be helpful to have XYZ service? Not that you can't do it yourself, clearly, you're awesome! But this is one of those things I personally could/have used and it was super nice to just not have that thing to juggle." 

What are your favorite experience/long-lasting gifts you've given/received?

New Nightly Goals

I have two new nightly goals that I want to strive for, every single night. 



I know, I know. It's friggin' stupid how easy this is.

Let's get into why these are difficult for me though, and why they will make such a big difference.

Putting down the phone is hard for two main reasons: my husband and my mother.
  • My husband works long hours and it's always possible he will be several hours late coming home. It just happens in his job. I generally try to keep an eye on my phone so I know whether he has left yet, mostly for my own peace of mind and scheduling purposes (if he gets out at a regular hour, I can start dinner later and wait on him to help me give the baby a bath...if he's late I need to plan extra time for doing the bedtime routine alone, etc). 
  • My mom tries to Skype at least once a week...and I feel really bad if I miss her asking (this is not necessarily her fault- I accept this as my penance for living far away and gladly pay it to not be in my hometown).

I'm considering trying to hook up my bluetooth so I can hear specifically if either of these special people call or text, but this requires a few extra minutes and I need too ensure all other sound notifications are turned off my phone.

This will make a huge difference because I can focus only on what is actually physically going on around me. It releases some of the mental burden by taking one extra ball out of the air. 

Plus if I am focused on all the things I can do, I'm not sitting staring at the phone worried and procrastinating about what I might be able to do if no one calls or everyone calls at the same time, or just weeding out all the random not-at-all-a-priority notifications the iPhone sends. Both of these people will live if I take a few extra minutes to respond to them.

Basically I am a better mother, wife, and overall person when I am not constantly listening for the phone and mentally managing all the notifications.

On to goal #2: while I am ALL about my Bullet Journal during the day at work, I can often leave it in my bag at home. This is mainly because I'm scared to leave it at home by accident and not take it with me to work the next day. 

But I need it at night. I've always been a list/note taker, and the reason I have stuck with the bullet journal for several months is because it allows me to put ALL the random things I think of in one spot. Appointments, grocery lists, blog topics, whatever- it goes in the BuJo.

And my random thoughts don't stop just because Babycakes is in the room or I'm cooking dinner- in fact, those are the times I need it the most because there is no way a random thought will stick around longer than five seconds. 

Pretty much anyone who is not a solitary spinster can relate- you get home and your kids or partner or pet or parents or whoever inhabits your home with you starts taking up your mental energy and time. And that's FINE- it's part of the beauty of having a family. But it doesn't mean that tomorrow you won't be out of deodorant or need to email someone. So I want to note it in the BuJo and quickly get back to whatever I'm doing.

Yes, I could make notes on my phone. But truthfully, my phone does TOO MUCH. It is how I talk to people and how I keep notes and how I entertain myself. I don't want to be the parent who is constantly on her phone- I hate it when Tank is on his all the time. It's too easy to reach for it for a note and end up on YouTube or some other thing that should NOT be a priority over my child (or husband or homework or home).

Keeping my notes in my BuJo is faster and easier for me personally anyway, plus it allows me to better demonstrate to my child what my priorities are (our family and needs rather than Facebook- she isn't going to know the difference in what I'm doing on my phone, just that I'm on it). Plus, if I look at my phone for five seconds Hubs automatically looks at his and then we are two losers on our phone. NO. NO NO NO. I'm tired of it and my eyes hurt.

To be clear, if you do or don't do any of the things mentioned in this post- good for you. 

What works for one person does not always work for others. I get that. This is not me trying to make anyone feel guilty, or working from guilt that anyone else has caused me to feel.

I'm just trying to identify my priorities in life, and then identify what takes away from those and what enhances them. These two goals will allow me to weed through what I don't care about and remember the little details that I do care about.

Doesn't that sound lovely?

Add It To My List: November 2017



 Link-up creators are Lauren from Eat, Drink, & Be Lauren and Bre from Bre Writes. Basically, they are always recommending things to each other- podcasts, television shows, music, blah blah blah. And they figured- why not share even further?


Recipes
Making a new attempt to eat different types of food- I've been doing monthly menus for almost a year but I'm stepping up my game. This month, each weekday was divided into a different category: vegetarian, beef, pork, chicken, and seafood. This is making me step out of my comfort zone regarding recipes but there have been some real winners lately!



Articles & Videos & Blog Posts


Products

  • Kiwi Leather Instant Wax Shine
    • I feel like I go through work shoes SO QUICKLY. I'm tired of wasting the time and money to buy a new pair every other season- especially my basic white girl black boots and wedges that I wear constantly...so I figured I would try something. This was around 5$ at Walmart and it made such a big difference! Not perfect, but my shoes will last at least another season. Maybe more if I do it consistently.
    • My mom is a products person and is always passing along hair and skin care products. I rarely end up actually using them and almost never asking for more. BUT- this stuff is amazing. I have suuuuuper thick and coarse hair. Basically, think of a horse's tail but like...a LOT of it. I almost never do anything with it because it's so hard to shape into anything other than long/thick/just wavy enough to not be straight but not wavy enough to be a style.  This is seriously the only thing in 20 years that has ever made my hair feel soft. Like, potentially pliable enough to style (although to be clear, I'm way too lazy and impatient to try it). I'll actually go buy my own when the bottle my mom gave me runs out (only 10$). I do it maybe 2-3 times a week, maybe a quarter size if that much, so it will definitely last a while and be fairly cheap to maintain.
     
     
    What recommendations do you have this month?

Surround Yourself [Quote of the Month November 2017]




I have been part of an all female workout group about a year and a half now, on and off. I went more right after Babycakes was born, which is when the group was first formed. I've taken weeks and months off at a time...scheduling is hard with working full time and having a baby and wanting to occasionally see my husband. But a friend has been going with me and we've gone at least once a week for a while now.

We usually close with a prayer or positive quote, and the one listed above was shared recently.

The group is very much about starting where you are at, and encouraging to yourself and others.  

It's a really positive environment and I'm enjoying it.

But it also makes me a little bit sad. 

I'm so glad at this new culture that's been growing the last few years between women. I'm seeing women be more and more supportive and inclusive and it's amazing.

But I'm also hearing a lot of "don't trust girls who don't like girls."

And the truth is...I don't have a long history of female friends. I tried. But they moved or I moved or they partied or I got married or blah blah blah.

Plus, I grew up being told that girls can't be friends...that they were competitive and catty- which I wasn't. And that's why I thought I couldn't be friends with most girls.

So it feels like the script has suddenly been flipped and now I'm being punished for believing the crap I was told as a kid (to be fair, other girls believed this also and behaved accordingly). 

I'm trying to correct that- I just hope other women give me a chance to do so. 

There are lots of examples in pop culture where people found their tribe later in life, and as silly as it is I hold on to those (Leslie & Ann from Parks and Rec, Meredith & Christina from Grey's Anatomy who I think are still friends although I abandoned that a while back).

My tribe is growing, little by little, and it will be the right tribe when it's fully formed. 

ETA: just logged on to Twitter and saw a comment about how white people need to stop appropriating the world tribe. FML, being a non-shitty human is really fucking complicated sometimes, which is also why I sometimes stop bothering with having other humans in my life...but again, I'm trying, okay? I hope that counts for something.