Add It To My List: July 2018

What are you loving lately?

Blog Move

Photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash, edited with Canva


I mentioned on a previous post that I was thinking of changing up my blog...and even though literally no one thought it was a good idea, I did it anyway.

Sorry guys. I have very few vices in life, and apparently this is one of them. 

Anyway, here is my new site. It looks almost exactly the same, because I tried to see if just redesigning P&P would be enough. But it wasn't. And here I am.

Thankfully I was able to really easily transfer over all my content, including comments, so that's pretty awesome. Sticking with Blogger, mainly because it's free. Oh well.

Oddly enough the domain name was free but not the user name...or any variation of it. I'm currently @alwaysbrittanyx on Instagram & Twitter, because an underscore at the end of a username drives me crazy. The only reason I'm really annoyed is because all the accounts with that name variation are they aren't available but they aren't in use either. Oh well, the first of first world problems.

Hope to see you there! 

Current Thoughts: July 2018

  • I am taking a summer class and holy balls IT'S SO STRESSFUL. I have a midterm, a paper, and a group project all due next week. It might be okay if it wasn't also my first online class in like 8 years...but it is. Cue all the stress in the world.
  • Babycakes is starting to show some independence! A few weeks ago we went to a birthday party and she spent more time in the Little Library with me than playing with the other kids. But we've been spending more time at the park and community events, and she is slowly starting to walk more than 2 feet away from me without saying "MOMMY! COME WITH ME!" Also I am so thankful for nicer, older kids who play with her. We spent an hour at the park the other day after a little girl immediately adopted Babycakes and "showed her" how all the park equipment worked and was generally adorable and kind. It's nice to be reminded that most of us start with kindness.
  • On the other hand, we've started potty training and it's um...going. Honestly better than I expected- she used to hate the potty but is slowly getting used to it. She rarely asks to go but we bought some special books that stay in the bathroom that she likes, Hubby plays her music to keep her on there...I am honestly not ready but trying to deal.

  • Still nothing on the foster care/adoption front :-/ Like, in a way it's good because hopefully that means kids are being taken care of. But also...I'm worried that our criteria is too narrow or something is somehow wrong with us (we've stated we can handle 1-2 kids, ages 0-6, mild disabilities at most although it's kind of varied between a bunch of different areas which is too lengthy to go into here). We had one call but there was communication issues and by the time we said yes, they had already found another foster family. Trying to have faith that it just wasn't meant to be and "our" child/ren will come into our family when it's meant to be. I know it's going to be so hard but the knowledge that a phone call could come in second or never means I have a low current of anxiety in the back of my head all the time. 
  • We had an awesome day at the beach with our church group, including a couple who moved away but came back to visit! They are truly awesome people, afterwards another couple commented "yeah we thought we had been romanticizing them but no, they are really cool" which is basically the exact conversation Hubs & I had. HOWEVER- during this amazing trip, I got sunburned. And it doesn't hurt, but it itches like crazy and I am loosing my mind. Slapping on as much coconut oil as I can and popping Benedryl. 
  • I am thinking of a blog overhaul...but I can't decide. Parts of me wants a new blog name too- but dude, I change blog names like every 3 years and it's starting to feel ridiculous. Thoughts?

What's going on with you?

Show Us Your Books Link-Up: July 2018

Time for show us your books!  Maybe I will actually remember to link-up this month.

This was one of set my mom grabbed randomly for me from my old local library. It was a decent romance/stereotypical chick-lit without being too cheesy. 

This book was a fucking delight from start to finish. I reread Dumplin' last month and Murphy is still a fucking queen. Loved the characters, love the love/hate/both relationship between the characters. I want to list about 342243 other things I like but really just go read the damn book. It's wonderful. 

This was one of Hubby's books that I grabbed off our bookshelf because I needed something new to read. Not sure why I always think I don't enjoy Sedaris- I have enjoyed his NPR appearances and this book was great! Maybe it's just that neither short stories or nonfiction are usually my jam. But, his dry oddball humor is so appealing to me and I relate a lot to some of the mental quirks he mentions. Highly recommend.

Okay I had the worst timing with this book. It is SO GOOD so far, but I got it from the library right around the time my summer class started. And at 500+ pages...I just couldn't finish it before it was due. And because it's awesome and there is a long wait list, I can't renew it. I'm about halfway done and probably going to just suck it up and buy it. I can see being 100% all in on this series (expected publication for book #2 is sometime in 2019), and honestly I'm surprised it's not more popular! I haven't finished, but based solely on the first half of the book I highly recommend. Obviously things could go south, but I have high hopes.

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

Getting Pissy at Celebreties for Politics

 Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Let's start out with saying I don't personally believe that celebrities should be role models, anyway. But that's technically a separate issue.

But lately I've been mulling about why people get so mad about celebrities being political, and I think I have it. 

The response is often "Their job is just to act/sing/play sports etc!!!"

Which, okay, fine. Unless they are refusing to say their scripted lines or sing the songs they are being paid for, however, that has nothing to do with what they say into a microphone or camera (that we as society collectively shove in their face as a result of their profession).

What people are essentially saying is, "THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE A PERSON! They are not worthy of independent thought! Their sole function is to entertain me, and they have no worth outside of their ability to please me."

Which is a scary as fuck thing to say.

It does what people are doing all over the place in America, which is ascribing humanity based on something other than being a human.

Whether it is a celebrity dripping in diamonds and expensive clothes on a red carpet or destitute immigrant illegally crossing a border, we do not have the right to strip another human being of the title "human." We just fucking don't.

And if you want to sit there and preach at me that they did this bad thing- or, more and more lately, that they have the POTENTIAL to do this or that bad thing- look in the fucking mirror. Watch a fucking movie.

The good guys and bad guys do the SAME SHIT. 

Just on different teams. We may assign a higher morality to one side, but it's all humanity. And sometimes humanity is complete fucking garbage. But it's still humanity.

America can very easily become equivalent to Nazi Germany or current day North Korea. Because all three countries consist, and have always consisted of, humans.

Stick your fingers in your ears and sing "la la la la" all you want, but unless you step to be the absolute BEST of humanity, the worst can and easily will take over. 

And it won't be because they are "just" anything. It will be because of carelessness and hunger for power and it will all be possible because we allow people to say that other people aren't people just like us. It will be because "us" and "ours" are better than "them" and "theirs." And the reality is, we aren't.

And quick reminder to Christians- Jesus died for everyone. 

He didn't come for a specific race or country or political administration. Literally the entire damn world. So remember when you claim someone deserves something, you are literally doing it to a child of God. Whether that PERSON has accepted that or not, GOD LOVES THEM and JESUS DIED FOR THEM. And if that doesn't mean something to you, your religion is not soul-deep.

I'm not saying people who do bad things shouldn't be punished.

I'm saying- they are bad people. They are not inhumane, they are not separate from us.

They are simply the worst of what we could become, and ignoring that fact just gives them greater power and makes the best of humanity even more vulnerable.

Add It To My List: June 2018

  • Julie Roberts
    • Always looking for females to add to my I Love Tomatoes playlist, so when I came across a Julie Roberts duo I made a note to go look her up. Turns out, she is NOT a new artist because I totally remember seeing her songs on CMT while at my grandparent's house, which would have been at least a decade ago. Still love her, and I don't understand why she isn't more popular.
  • Give a moment or two to the angry middle-aged woman
    •  Wonderful post by Jana at Jana Says about the current political climate, specifically as someone who is Jewish. 
  • EXPERTS ON EXPERT: Wendy Mogel
    •  An episode of Dax Shepard's podcast, Arm Chair Expert, with Dr. Mogel who is an author and child psychologist. The overall messages included chilling the hell out and lowering expectations for both children and ourselves as parents. She comments how people act like the normal curve has disappeared- aka, MOST OF US ARE AVERAGE by the very definition of average so stop grading our kids and ourselves, which really spoke to me. Also I appreciated how she talked about becoming more religious and putting more Jewish practices into motion after becoming a parent and the value in those traditions and part of why they have carried on for so long (I am Christian, no Jewish affiliations in any way, just for the record and the sake of non-appropriation but some things make sense cross-culturally and even Dax who is an outspoken atheist could relate and find value in the discussion).
  • Shutterfly Photobooks
    • I used Shutterfly to make our adoption photobook- we had to do a book that described our life/family/home/hobbies/etc. I loved it so much and kind of got addicted...I since ordered two more and started on a third. My new goal is do one of these every year. I used to scrapbook but...this is so much easier guys! I will say, I think the hard covers, Storytelling style, and lay flat pages are worth the extra money. Shutterfly totally gets ya by sending coupon codes often, but I really do think it's worth it. 
  • Z-Grip Ballpoint Retractable Pen
    • I'm the kind of person who has strong opinions on pens. Felt tip pens are my favorite for the way they write, but they bleed through regular notebook paper so easily which makes them not the best for taking notes for class. I like colors but hate gel. These pens are super smooth and don't seem to clot up on the tips as badly and the color is very consistent, if that makes sense. I tried Papermate InkJoys because people just raved about them in my Bullet Journal groups, but ink didn't flow well and different letters had different was just buggy. I wished these were thicker because I'm a freak who loves thickness in pens, but they're the best I've found so far. 
  • No Boundaries Tank Top
    • So I can't find a link to the exact product, but I got these awesome tank tops to work out in at Walmart. They are plan, polyester+spandex material which kind of sounds awful but is so much better than anything cotton when the heat index is 90+. They do cling a little, but I'd rather just hug the mum-tum than have something loose that falls while I'm doing mountain climbers or something. They cost like 3-4$ and for the price you can't beat them. They weren't with the workout gear but totally work anyway.

What have you been loving lately?

Contact Etiquette for Large Organizations

I work at a fairly large organization, the kind that gets lots and lots of phone calls every day. I also used to work at a doctor's office where I also dealt with lots and lots of phone calls.

I have learned that most people do not understand the optimal route for actually getting returned contact.

Here's a few tips. Use them, or don't. But it would probably be beneficial to use them. And if it seems like most of them are common sense, it's because they are. Doesn't mean the world (and possibly you) doesn't need a reminder.

  1. Prepare. 
    • If you have a student ID, account number, error message code, etc- HAVE IT WRITTEN DOWN BEFORE YOU DIAL ANYTHING. You WILL be asked for this information. It is likely how they will identify your account and see what is really going on.  
    • Make sure you understand exactly what the problem is. Don't just see there is a problem and freak out and call the first number you can find/Google. This sets you up for disappointment and frustration.
  2.  Call the correct department.
    • Those main numbers with lots of options? They can feel like a waste. So does taking the time to actually read the email or statement to find what department you need. But you know what happens when you don't spend that little bit of time? You talk to a lot of people who don't know how to help you. You get mad, they get mad, and you are still going to get transferred. If you don't get transferred, you will be put on hold numerous times while they try to find someone who does know how to help you. At this point you are taking up valuable time from two different people. Meanwhile, the people who actually need the incorrect person you contacted are getting a busy signal or having to leave a voicemail. You're clogging the system, basically.
  3. Leave a voicemail. 
    • This may be one of the single most important things I can tell you. SO MANY PEOPLE call and complain "I've been calling all morning and no one has called me back." And then we look at the call log and yes, they have called 6 times in two hours. But they never left a message. No one is going to call you back without a detailed message saying who you are and WHY you are calling. 
  4. Shot-gunning clogs up the system.
    •  You call one office, don't get an answer, so you call another office. And another, and another. While you are doing this, 5 other people are doing it also. You know what that means? NO ONE IS AVAILABLE TO TALK TO YOU because they are talking to other people, who they probably aren't equipped to assist anyway (see previous point #2). 
    • Email seems harmless, but again it does the same thing. PersonWhoCanNotAssistYou must go find PersonWhoActuallyCanAssistYou, which wastes their time. SecondPersonWhoCanNotAssistYou also eventually goes to talk to PersonWhoActuallyCanAssistYou, so PersonWhoActuallyCanAssistYou can't assist the additional people who need them. Or, more likely, they have to go find PersonWhoCanActuallyAssistSomeoneElse to take care of the messages incorrectly left for them because other people did not follow points #1 & #2.
    • Call, and/or email, ONE person.
  5. YOU call for YOUR business.
    • Getting a parent or spouse or whoever to call for you almost certainly guarantees that you will either need multiple calls, either because they don't know all the needed information OR they don't have permission to actually do whatever you want done.

Fake It Till You...Actually Are a Good Person?

 Photo by Asa Rodger on Unsplash

A few weeks ago a friend from high school reached out to my husband. He and his fiance were moving to town and wanted help moving. I was supposed to go work out that night, so said "Cool, just please be done in time to pick up Babycakes from daycare since I can't." So, around 5ish. "No problem."

Well, he messages me around the time to meet them that they are just now finished packing and heading this way- so the schedule will be about 3 hours off from what they originally stated.

Y'all, I got super pissed. 

Hubs reminded me that we have moved a LOT and it never goes smoothly. Which I complete agree with.

BUT- I like to think I am the kind of person who wouldn't expect someone I barely talked to for 10 years to block out 2/3 of their day and provide physical labor without a deep gratitude and open communication.

To be clear, they didn't even message him that they would be late. He saw them post on Facebook.

This meant that he could pick up Babycakes but either take her to their house and hope the fiance could "baby-sit" while he helped move the heavy stuff or I could take Babycakes with me to workout. Now, I've done that before- but it's not great. If there is running, I basically can't, because toddlers have short legs and get distracted by everything.

Also it meant I would have to feed her and bath her and miss out on the few hours a weekday I get to see my husband, which was an added energy expense I had not planned on.

Hubs was all zen and it didn't bother him- but why would it? He didn't have to adjust the one fucking hour per week he gets to himself. 

So, I was pissed. But I agreed because I do remember what it's like and it was the nice thing to do.

That didn't stop me from having to complain a LOT about it first to work it out of my system, to which Hubs pointed out that I agreed to it so why was I acting like he was purposefully being a dick?

 And I had to ask, do you really have to have only good feelings about something for it to be a generous act? 

Is "fake it till you make it" applicable in being a good person?

Truthfully, I have been around people who did me "favors" but bitched about it and I really wished they just hadn't done the thing. But I wasn't bitching to these people- I was bitching to my husband, which IMO should be a safe space. I knew is was a good thing, but it didn't feel good right then. I had some incredibly selfish feelings that were partially related to the situation and partially related to a bunch of other internal shit.

 Is this hypocritical? How else do you do it? 

Are there people out there who have literally zero issues putting others before themselves? 

Because y'all, compared to most people I know, I complain way less. Like, I make it a point to avoid it or to avoid complaining about certain kinds of situations. But I also make it a point to go out of my way to express gratitude and respect people's time and that's what really pissed me off here. It was just expected that our day/night/who knows how long was infinitely available.

I was over it by the time I finished my workout. Babycakes did fine during the workout. My group is super supportive and encouraging and always welcoming to kids. I was back to my happy place, and I was glad to have a husband who is willing to help others.

But I would not have gotten there if I hadn't worked out that initial "Who the fuck do they think they are?" attitude. 

So, what do you think? Is it the action or the attitude that matters? Or half & half? Can you be a good person and do nice things but still have to work out some shit, or am I just a terrible person?

Current Thoughts: June 2018

  • How often are you supposed to apply lipstick? I really don't understand. It gets all over my coffee and water cups. I don't like wearing it out with my family because if I kiss Hubs or Babycakes it gets all over them. It feels silly to reapply mid-morning when no one is looking at me because I'm just sitting at my desk looking at a computer. I like wearing it, but not sure the proper amount.
  • Got a new diaper bag. Ain't even sorry- I used to love big purses, now I love diaper bags, obviously I'm a bag lady. I have very few vices, so I'm at peace with it. JuJuBe had a huge sale and I got a Be Right Back bookbag style bag for 60% off. It's GORGEOUS, I've already gotten so many compliments, and I love it. My BFF was great but it definitely felt stuffed to the max (tbf, I hate having to take things in/out of bags so I probably carry more than strictly necessary). I wanted just a touch more space so I could carry my BuJo or jackets in the winter or, if/when we get a foster child, an extra set of clothes/etc for multiple kids. It packs differently but I think I'm a fan- although  I've only had it about a week ;) 
  •  It appears my anxiety is reappearing. Not fully in the bad place yet, but the shadows are getting longer and closer. Hoping the fact that I am recognizing the warning signs is something positive?
  • Vitamins work! Gave blood & my iron was great, while it's usually just on the border.

What's up with you lately?

Show Us Your Books Link-Up: June 2018

Time to talk books! Let's get right too it.

Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley
This was a cute book I found in a Little Free Library. It discusses a Quaker (I think) pastor in a small little town and some of the daily life that the townspeople deal with. It was wonderful quaint read that I didn't expect to love as much as I did.

Safe Harbor by Luanne Rice
This book was fine, for what it is. Although I spent the entire time thinking I had read it already, but I actually think I just read a really similar book which is not great. But overall it was fine. Slightly cheesy but a good beach read.

Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought by Lily Bailey
I highly enjoyed this book. It is told by a young woman and chronicles her journey with OCD. It was fascinating to see firsthand the way someone reacts to a disorder and diagnosis and treatment. I especially appreciated the way she talks about her OCD not being the way it is stereotypically presented and how that was confusing to her and later to others.

Daisy in Chains by Sharon J. Bolton
This was probably my favorite of the month, tied with Because We Are Bad.  I kind of guessed the ending but only like 50% of it, and not until fairly close to the end.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
This book felt like I was reading a Lifetime movie. It was told from two different perspectives, and truly I found the second half of the book much more interesting. I had an idea of what the second half would be, but not the last few chapters. Some parts were really good and others were super simplistic. It was meh at best.

What have you been reading this month?
Link-up & share! 

Life According to Steph

Dealing with My Anxiety

So...I've started feeling anxious again.

I don't really know why.

Maybe it's hubby's new job, which is great but has thrown off our routine- and routines are basically my lifeblood now. It's how I cope, and I am not doing well with revamping them.

Maybe it is my lack of sleep...or maybe my lack of sleep is because of the anxiety. It's a "chicken or egg" conundrum.

Maybe it's my birthday coming up? A stereotypical freak-out about being one year closer to 30?

Maybe it's the fact that I've worked out a little more than normal, but not taking the time to stretch/etc properly? (although working out is kind of addicting right now also and feels like it might be the only thing keeping me from slipping all the way into the shadows)

I tried looking up anti-anxiety techniques, but most of the ones I can find are for panic attacks specifically which is not really what I experience. It's more of a creeping feeling, but last time it lead to an anxiety attack after a few months so I really want to find a way to deal with it before I get to that point.

Anyway...that's where I am lately.

To Colorado, a Past Love

Dear Colorado,

I still think about you sometimes. You weren't my forever, but you were so much more than just a good time.

You were the place I grew up. You were the place I was young, (not really but kinda) wild, and truly free.

You were the place I felt no expectations.

You were the place I could explore.

I explored your mountains, your deserts, your dunes, and your cities. I explored my own life and personality and character and desires.

You were the place I grew strong. You were the place I experienced some of the hardest days, and some of the greatest achievements.

You will always be my freedom, my building block, my touchstone, and one of my true joys.


Add It To My List: May 2018

  • Jada Pinkett Smith's emotional interview with Will Smith's ex-wife Sheree Fletcher
    •  Saw this on Mother's Day weekend and it was wonderful to see two women acknowledge past wrongs, and have an honest and emotional talk about hard things.
  • Lil' Scrubbie Facial Cleaning Pads
    •  I have an ongoing war with cleaning my face- I know, random. But I don't want to keep using cleaning wipes, but I hate using wash clothes because they consistently stay wet which freaks me out...anyway, it's a whole big thing in my life. Which is why I LOVE these lil scrubbies. TBF, the suction cups does NOT work at all for me, but I give it a pass. I've used it with apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and Neutrogena with them all.
  • Tomi Adeyemi Wanted ‘Children Of Blood And Bone’ To Be ‘So Good... So Black’
    • HuffPo interview with Tomi Adeyemi; found this via We Need Diverse Books and this author seems awesome and I'm totally checking those out from my library ASAP
  • Silicone Makeup Sponge
    •  I'm still getting used to this, but I think I really like it. Feels like my makeup stays on longer. The issue is that since I'm used to using sponges which soak up the makeup before putting it on your face, I sometimes use too much with this and it looks cakey once I put it on. But that is a total user error and one that I think I'm correcting. Another plus- it's super easy to rinse off and wipe off and it stays dry- see above.
  • Vikings (TV series)
    •  Story based on the legend of Viking hero Ragnar Lothbrok- from what I can tell, kind of a Robin Hood/Odysseus type Norse story. Interesting- gory, and no clue how much is historically accurate, but interesting.
What are you loving this month?

Motherhood as God's Tool

Photo by Tim Oun on Unsplash
There was recently a conversation within my church about whether it is okay for women to work outside the home. A woman was struggling with whether she should continue working or stay at home with her children. To be clear, this was not something that was ever preached against at my church- but it is something that has been controversial within the Church (aka Christian culture) overall. While I was listening to the discussion (which thankfully said- pray about it and do what you & your spouse if you have one feel is right for your family), a thought struck.

My mom always worked, and I never felt bad about it. Most of my friends had moms that worked, and it really wasn't a big deal. Of course, I was also watched by my grandma so there was still a very close familial care provided versus a daycare/etc (obviously my kid is in daycare so I'm not against it at all, just stating my experience). But pretty much once I could drive, and even somewhat before that, I was expected to handle certain things myself. I organized rides if I needed it and my parents were busy, I paid bills either by working myself or if my parents gave me the money, I ran errands to help out around the house.

I never thought of it before, but this is exactly the life I needed to live to prepare me for being a) an Army wife, and b) a first generation college student. 

If I had a family member who stayed home with me, or drove me around (my grandma didn't drive for health reasons), it would be have been really hard for me to be thrust into independence all of a sudden at age 18. I was eased into independence gradually as a teenager, and I'm so thankful for that.

Don't get me wrong- it was still hard. 

But it would have been ever harder had I not been used to asking for help, putting those answers into action myself, and being used to not knowing things. Instead of having someone do stuff for me or know all the answers, I was expected to figure them out myself. This skill and habit was invaluable to me, and is probably why I didn't end up of flunking out, getting divorce, and/or having a nervous breakdown.

All that to say, my childhood perfectly prepared me for the life God had planned for me.

I don't think my parents knew I would get married at 18 and move halfway across the country by myself. I don't think they knew I would go to college- they hadn't. Maybe they didn't even feel like not working was a choice- lots of people don't, regardless of what some say.

Anyway, it hit me that while we often try to plan our lives and struggle with our the end, we are merely a tool of God. 

We are not God. 

We don't choose where our children end up, or who they grow to be. At best, we prepare them for the lives He has planned. It may not end up being anything we would ever choose or guess for them- but in the end, it's His will not ours, right? Thinking of these takes so much pressure off of me.

Yes, I should know it in theory already. But seeing the example in my own life was a huge lightbulb moment.

I am a Christian- I claim that title of my own free will. If it is true, if I really believe that, then I have to trust that my prayers are heard and my will is directed by the Lord. I don't have to know why things happen the way they do, I just have to trust that He is using them for His plan.

My Blogging Habits: Pines & Palmettos

I feel like I've been blogging pretty consistently lately, and thought I would share some of the tools and habits that have contributed to that consistency.

I shared this in one of my Bullet Journal posts, but I have a calendar with my blogging schedule on it.

In case you haven't noticed, I post on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Twice a week is consistent but not overwhelming, and works better for me.  I once tried to keep up with this through the Google calendar, but I'm an analog girl. I gotta see it all together on paper. This allows me to see if any given Tu/Th has a post scheduled, what that post is about, and with the notation I use also if it has been started, finished, or a topic chosen but the post not started.

It's also helpful because I can keep up with the link-ups and reoccurring topics. This way I can space those between random topics so it's not a bunch of repetitive things bunched together (ie I don't do a Current Thoughts post the last week of one month and the first week of the following month, two weeks consecutively).

Speaking of reoccurring topics, they have been great for keeping me going. 

  • Obviously I love the Show Us Your Books link-up, so that's one Tuesday every month that's an easy post I love to do. 
  • Current Thoughts was created as a way to talk about what's going on in my life without having to make full-length posts about anything specific.
  • I was considering doing something that listed random things I loved, which I basically do with the Add It To My List link-up at the end of the month.
  • Words of the Month actually started when I wanted to talk about a specific Bible verse but didn't want to do a random Christianity post (I want to eventually get back into doing my Salvation Sunday series again, where I discuss my faith and Christianity in general, but not quite up to it yet); WotM was a way to ease into that. 
  • Three Things...I'm still not sold on it, but I had some random lists and things I wanted to share so I'm giving it a try. 

Together all these things add up to about half my blog posts per month, which takes a lot of pressure off. Blogging is something I enjoy doing, but I can get overwhelmed and these reoccurring topics provide a starting point.

The other thing I keep in my BuJo, besides the blogging calendar, is a list of blogging ideas. 

This comes in super handy when I am having writer's block, because I get ideas at the most random times. I just write down the basic idea and then when I need a topic, I pick one from the list and expand on it.

I do like having images in my posts...but I hate feeling like I have to take pictures out in my real life to perfectly match a post. I've done that and I didn't enjoy it. So I looooove Unsplash because I can guilt-free grab a photo to use and edit without worrying that I will get a lawsuit later.

Once I find an image, I use Canva to edit it. Used to be all about PicMonkey, but they started charging more and one of the updates kept crashing on me and now it's all about Canva. It's super easy to add text and images so I can do it quickly.

Current Thoughts: May 2018

  • April is Babycake's birthday month, and we had two birthday parties. One in our chosen town, and one in our hometown. It was extra stressful because I basically had 2...maybe 3 weeks to plan them, because Hubby also started his new job and we didn't know his schedule until...sometime like the first week or two in April. I don't remember. It's been crazy. Anyway, it went pretty well time I'm just buying cake and ice cream. I spent way too much time and energy on snacks that people didn't eat. Hopefully next time I can just buy some cake and ice cream and rent a park so the kids can go crazy. 
    • Either way, this was a big step for me- last year we didn't have a party for her in our chosen town, only in our hometown. To do that, to go through the effort, especially when Hubby was overwhelmed with his new job and could help a little but definitely not as much as I did, is a big personal step. And I hate to make my beautiful baby girl's day about me- and I didn't- but here on this blog, in my space...fuck yeah, I see a big improvement and I'm so proud of myself and genuinely happy and see this as a big milestone for me. I mean, I almost had a crying breakdown the next day when something went not according to plan, but resolved quickly and it was an almost breakdown so still a personal win.
Never been sure what to call the city where we currently live, since I often feel like I need to specify that it is not our hometown. I guess I could say "my town" but since I wasn't born here it seems I am trying out "chosen town." Good? Should I get over it and say "my town?" This is the kind of thing I spend way too much time thinking about. 
  • It feels like everywhere I look there is talk about the power of positive thinking. Or the Law of Attraction, or the confirmation bias, or whatever you want to call it. And while it does feel kinda hokey it. Change your thinking. Even if it's by changing one little habit at a time. Compliment someone. Read good news intentionally. Let someone out in traffic because it's the nice thing to do. If you pray, pray for the jackass that just cut you off in traffic. Start a gratitude journal. I don't care what it is as long as it does not hurt another person- do something positive. 
  • This, this, this. I have an (ever growing) issue that with this, because I think- like most ultimatums- the idea that you either get friends OR love is complete and utter bullshit in so many ways.

  • We are an officially licensed foster family!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! This means the next step is...getting a call asking us to take a child into our home. We don't know when the call will come or what situation will be on the other end of the line or really anything at this point. It's exciting and scary and nerve-racking. Reading that email gave me almost the exact same feeling as when I read a positive pregnancy test several years ago.

What's going on with you this month?

Almost Taking Medication

photo by on Unsplash, edited with Canva

I've mentioned a few times that the first year of my daughter's life was tough for me, to the point where I almost went on anxiety medication.

I feel the need to explain what I mean by this.

It's not meant cavalierly. It's not just hyperbole.

I have witnessed the struggle against anxiety and depression many many times but I have never come so close myself.

Looking back, I am frustrated with myself for "holding out." I am frustrated with people for not realizing how much I needed something (I realize it is not their responsibility, but I wish someone had seen me clearly). I am frustrated because current me knows exactly what past me needed and deserved.

I know the signs in loved ones. But I did not know what the signs of "too far" were for myself.

I was in a dark place. I am out of it, but I hope that if I ever get back there I will fight for myself.

So when I say "I almost took medication," what I should really say is that "I needed medication or therapy at that time in my life, because I was very very mentally weary to the point of being unhealthy."

Taking Back "Girl"


It's no secret that I'm a feminist. I'm an imperfect feminist, because I'm an imperfect human. But I'm a feminist nonetheless.

Raising a girl sometimes feels very high stakes for that reason, especially after the 2016 election and what that has meant for American society. 

I worry about people buying her only pink frilly clothes, but also about giving her the idea that something is inherently wrong with pink frilly clothes. I worry about teaching her that she can do anything, but also giving her the idea that she is therefore responsible for everything. I worry about teaching her that she can be strong and tough but also that no one person should be expected to be only strong and tough without every having doubts or worries.

Maybe all parents have this fear. But I definitely heard many times that having a boy is just easier. I'm sure not all boy parents feel this way- but there's definitely a vocal group that seemed to breath a little sigh of relief when their baby developed a penis. There's something about girls that is just better to not deal with.

However, something happened the other day that made me decide to reclaim the word "girl." 

I was getting Babycakes dressed for daycare, and she didn't want to wear the outfit I picked out. She wanted "Princess, Mommy, Princess!" My MIL bought her a sweatshirt with the Shimmer & Shine princesses on it. It's pink with a tutu. Now, I personally abhor the tutu's just impractical. But for some reason she's into this particular shirt at the moment. So I somewhat reluctantly got the "Princess" shirt and put it on her.

And she was so happy. Then we put on her grubby high-top Converse and she was also happy. And I realized something.

She's gonna go do exactly the same thing in that princess shirt that she would in any other shirt. 

She doesn't have any preconceived notions about what that shirt says about her. She's gonna climb those playground slides and fall  and stand back up and hit other kids and hug other kids and be exactly herself in that tutu just as she would in flannel or cotton or other damn material/style/color.

I don't know when "girl" became diminutive and offensive (or boy, either, for that matter). Girls are friggin' awesome. They are unencumbered by culture or society or expectations. They express a wide range of emotions. They are curious and questioning and always learning.

Girls are fucking amazing, and I hope I can live up to the label.

BREAKING NEWS: They aren't princesses! They are genies. We've never actually watched the show and I had to turn to a mom's group online to help me even figure out where the characters were from. Sorry guys. Anyway, my kid will not stop calling them princesses anytime soon get the point anyway I hope.

She also got this shirt for her birthday, and will be just as awesome and uniquely herself in it.