2019 · Family · Memories

How do you hold on to memories?

I have a terrible memory. It’s funny, for some things, I can remember clear as day, stupid details like the specific outfit I was wearing on a day that barely matters. Other times, I desperately try to remember all the details of my wedding day as it fades further and further away every year.  That’s why one of my big goals for 2019 is to be a better memory keeper. My goal is to catch up on creating photo books, organize all my digital photos so they are together in one place and labeled by folder, and maybe most importantly, start collecting memories from both sets of grandparents so that I can pass these memories on to Dashel and Sailor, even when my memory fails me.

Over the Christmas dinner table, while we all gorged on stuffed shells, my mom and I started talking about all the old photos she had in her basement that she wanted to go through. We started reminiscing and it made me think, God, I want to get this all down! So I forged a plan for 2019 that included periodic emails to my mom and dad, and to Steve’s parents with writing prompts for them to recall special memories in their own words. My plan will be to archive all these emails throughout the year and then be able to make a book of stories and memories as a keepsake.

In addition, while I was Christmas shopping, I came across this book of letters,  while it’s certainly a great idea for a gift, you really have to know your parents. Are they the kind of people that will sit down on their own time and write a long letter independently, without any prompting, and place it in the envelope, and remember to give it to you? No? Maybe your mom is like mine? Like, maybe, you asked her to write a letter to your son for his second birthday and she didn’t finish it until his third birthday and she still hasn’t printed it out to give to you- and he’s turning 4 in March… 😉 I love you, Mom. Needless to say, as adorable as this book of letters is, it’s not our family’s bag… so instead I’m going with the email approach. Although, what I did like about the book of letters is that it included some prompts that weren’t necessarily all about recalling memories. Some of the prompts were to write about their hopes and dreams for their grandchildren for the future, and what the best piece of advice anyone ever gave them was. I loved these additions and will probably add them to the emails as well.

My first prompt went out this week, and it was “Tell me about how you met Mom/ Dad.” The responses were great. They made me smile to myself as I heard my parent’s voices in my head speaking the words. They were also very in tune with who my parents are as people, my mom’s was short and sweet, and a little fuzzy on the details. My dad waxed poetic and set the scene by mentioning signs of the times like Vietnam and hippies being the back drop of their first encounter. The other cool thing that happened was that is sparked a fun conversation between my folks while they reminisced together after writing their emails. And isn’t that what it’s all about after all, sharing our memories with our family to feel more connected- that’s my hope for the future anyway.

(I’ve also decided it would probably be a good idea to answer the prompts myself, and maybe have Steve write about them too so we can keep track of our memories and add them for Dash and Sai too.)  The above photos are two of my favorite of my mom and dad. Look how happy and in love they look, and how well rested! These were obviously taken before they had my sisters and I….

2019 · Bettering yourself

Week One check in…

<PHOTO ABOVE is a screen capture from the CALM app, the app I use to meditate with, do meditations with my kids with, listen to while I sleep for ambient music/sounds, and everything else with- I’m basically obsessed with this app *not sponsored!>

Hey there! How’s your 2019 going so far?

I’d love to say that mine is going smashingly, I’m crushing all my goals and killing it in every area, but alas, it’s been a rough start. I’m working towards trying to be easier on myself, as I tend to be rather hard on myself. Unfortunately, my number one problem with 2018, has found me again in 2019, and that problem is TIME. It just never seems like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done that I’d like to do.

Over the past 7 days I have accomplished…

  • Working out/getting exercise 6 days (I took Sunday off as a recovery day)
  •  Meditated 5 days
  • Read 4 days
  • Journaled 3 days
  • Ordered this  and got all the pics off my phone and onto my computer (but I still need to go through the photos and organize them)
  • Been keeping up with the organizing and decluttering I’ve done including doing the ‘dumb stuff’ that seemingly gets put on the back burner all the time. (i.e. replacing batteries in the clock in the guest room, fixing the silverware drawer that would fall off the track every time I opened it, etc.) (See the photos below of what my playroom looked like before and after!)

Hoping that this week brings a bit more motivation and energy to keep on moving!

How’s your progress?

Here’s what else I’ve been up to this week…

Just found this podcast and I’m catching up on old episodes and loving it so much.

Obsessed with this EP. Literally listening on repeat.

The book I’ve started…and am dying to read more of.

The workout program I’ve started and is kicking my ass. (this is not a sponsored post, I’m just sharing this info with you!)

No joke… these are the BEFORE pics of our playroom- however, this is the worst it has ever been because we started throwing things in piles so we could remove the couch that was in there to make more space for Christmas toys- yes, really.

And the AFTER!

2019 · Bettering yourself · Goals

So, this is the New Year!

 

So, I’ve recently realized that New Year’s is my favorite holiday! I think it’s because I truly appreciate the idea of having a clean slate, and January 1st. is the ultimate. Last year, I approached 2018 by choosing a word of the year. By choosing one special word, the idea is basically to embody that word throughout the year and let it shape your decisions and experiences. I chose the word CULTIVATE. (I wanted to focus on cultivating a better life for myself all around- that included, but wasn’t necessarily limited to, eating healthier, exercising more consistently, decluttering my home, getting organized and living with more <being in the present moment> intention.) While I did feel like having this word in my mind’s eye helped to identify the things that I wanted to get done, it didn’t necessarily keep me accountable, on track, and consistent about working towards my goals. If anything, 2018 did help me to pinpoint my priorities and research what steps I could take to actually work towards achieving them. In the following video, I break down my <incredibly> detailed plan for what strategies I will be using this year to hold myself responsible, which is hard for me, with my obliger personality. I hope you can use some of these tips and links to help you this year meet all your goals! (Links to all resources can be found at the bottom of this post.)

Also – what are you doing New Year’s Eve? Steve and I are staying in and making vegan poutine and watching Amalie. I literally cannot imagine anything better.

Links:

Gretchen Rubin’s yearly challenge (19 for 2019)

The Happiness Project

Doing an annual review (scroll down to extended cut #12)

Elise’s Daily Habit Tracker– sign up for her newsletter to get the free download!

Clear the Decks list 

 

Bettering yourself

Quiet Reflection

When Dashel was a baby, he (and let’s not fool ourselves, us too) would look forward to this small window of time every morning- about 15-30 minutes, that we grew to affectionately call “quiet reflection.” Dash would sit in his little bouncey chair after waking up from an (ahem) restful night’s sleep and just look around. He would watch his little toes wiggle, “count his fingers,” poke through a board book, or sometimes just stare off into space. It was the best. It gave us all a little time in the morning to take a deep breath before getting the day started, and I would often reflect a bit as well, mostly about how being a new mom was simultaneously the best and worst thing ever. The other day- a day I am now referring to as Terrible Tuesday, led me to a moment of quiet reflection about how my 2018 was going so far.

I started this year off so excited and full of hope- as I do every new year, and now that it’s May (and almost half way through 2018), I feel a little more like Ben Gibbard’s lyrics- “so this is the New Year, I don’t feel any different.” I had been mostly still keeping up the hope of carrying out my New Year’s resolutions, ridding myself of my bad habits, and implementing the good ones. But then, Tuesday happened. It started off like any other Tuesday; the alarm went off, Steve tapped me and told me it was 5am. I winced and nodded, “uh huh” I managed to groan out. I then rolled over and continued to lay in bed for at least another 35 minutes- par for the course. I finally dragged myself out of bed and initiated the morning routine. (Which, is far from something I would describe as a “well oiled machine.”) I lumbered to the shower, got dressed (after staring at my closet for at least 6 minutes thinking- I hate everything in here), and started to try to wake the kids to get them ready. Dash is in the midst of potty training- so anyone that’s gone through this before knows, you cannot rush the potty routine- and by the time I knew it I was already running 10 minutes behind the time I like to get out of the house- although the last time I really got out at that time was..hmm…actually, when was that? I fumbled around with (4!) haphazardly packed bags, trying to get out the door, when my husband said to me, I can’t find Conan (the dog) and he’s somewhere outside so be careful as you pull out. Ugh- the last thing I want is to worry about peeling out of the driveway because my pup’s life may be in the balance. With keys in hand, I opened the front door, to be confronted by my parent’s car blocking me in- they were staying with us for a few days while they were having their floors done. Luckily, they had left their keys out and we were able to move the car quickly and I finally got out and was on my way to work- white knuckled and staring at the clock for the next 35 minutes. God, I hate being late- yet, it’s my signature move.

I was upset. Not just because I was running late, again. But because this year is supposed to be MY YEAR. This was supposed to be the year that I turned things around and started really eliminating the things that frustrated me about my life and therefore left me feeling unhappy.  Being late, living in clutter, being unorganized/losing things, having a stressed mind far too often, not keeping up with my personal relationships the way I want to, not being mindful enough, being broke, being perpetually 15 pounds overweight- you get the idea.

Although this story, so far, seems like doom and gloom, I actually want to ensure you that I’m trying to turn it into a rags to riches success story. On January first I joined the ONE LITTLE WORD challenge with the hopes of 2018 being different than all the other years that I started and stopped, over and over again. I chose the word cultivate, with the intention of cultivating the life that I truly want to be living. To my estimation, I have spent the first 5 months of this year figuring out what it really means to have the life I want. Figuring out what life is best for me and what I want, yet have been super lacking in the implementation and habit building part of it.

A good friend of mine recommended Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier to me the other day, and after downloading my first episode, I was hooked already. Gretchen gives very practical advice, “happiness hacks,” that are so easy, you might as well give them a try to see if they improve your life or the lives of those around you. While listening, she referenced her “4 Tendencies.” This concept describes 4 character profiles (we all fit into one) that shape our lives and habits. I had to take this quiz and find out which I was. Almost as soon as I got to work, I opened my browser and took her 5 minute quiz. Before I even received my results, I knew what they would be.

The Obliger. The Obliger “responds readily to outward expectations but struggles to meet inner expectation. Obligers work hard to not let other people down, but often let themselves down.” Wow, this. Yes. That’s me. Rubin’s first piece of advise for Obligers that are struggling with personal challenges is to create external accountability. (I thought about the days when I attended Weight Watchers; almost obsessively watching that scale to make sure I was somewhere in the negative compared to last week.) So, it wasn’t difficult to put the pieces together and realize that this blog, that I’ve been real shitty at updating, could be my personal accountability forum. I have been listening to The Year of Less by Cait Flanders, and she used her personal blog to track her progress of losing 30 pounds, getting out from under $30,000 of credit card debt, and going sober! And with that, I’m using Cait as my inspiration to log my own progress in implementing a happier life for myself.

On top of tracking my journey to living at a higher frequency, I am hoping to share with you the resources that helped me, and maybe ones that didn’t help me too, in order to assist you on your own journey, if you so wish.

I hope you follow along with me on this journey or suggest something that you think may help me, as I hope this all helps you in some way too. I know Cait’s personal journey coupled with Gretchen providing me my “a ha!” moment helped me to kick start initiating my new year off right, on May 10th.

Gift Guide · Motherhood · Shopping

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

O.K. so is Mother’s day like more than a month a way? Yes. However, if you are like me, everything tends to be last minute and I scramble for finding the perfect Mother’s Day gift when there’s barely time for shipping. In the spirit of 2018 being my year to get my shit together and be on top of things- I’m already starting to think about Mother’s Day and am willing to bring you in to the fold if you want to be on your game too. Here are some ideas to ponder, but don’t wait too long to order!

Does a mother ever really want more than your unconditional love? Yes? No? Maybe? Here are some ideas to help you if you’re struggling this Mother’s Day with what to get your number one cheerleader, support system, expert snuggler, personal chef, and wiper of all the tears.

Sundry’s Mother, Lover, Friend sweatshirt, because, obviously, she’s all 3.

FARFELLE_GOLD-R

A pasta necklace, because, what else does everyone want for dinner? …And a cheaper version here!

The best sturdy tote to lug around all her…ahem…your, stuff.

An adorable personalized family portrait

Or some (very handy) personalized “Mom” stationary

Shopping Cart Cell Phone Holder with Secure Clip - Suits All Phones - Grey Color

Perhaps something practical like this shopping cart phone holder?

Cooling Eye Orbits, 100% Finnish Soapstone

Or these Cooling Eye Orbits for a spa like treatment at home, for tired eyes

Of course you love your Mother! –so, this sweatshirt! 

A THANK YOU card, because, that’s really all she ever wanted anyway.

 

 

#the100dayproject · Art

#the100dayproject

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Are you guys getting excited about #The100dayproject?! The kickoff is April 3rd- and for 100 days, you vow/try/struggle/get excited/challenge yourself to do something (creative) for 100 days! It’s also encouraged to post your “makings” on Instagram and tag them so everyone can excite, appreciate and motivate each other to keep going. It’s like a giant art project that everyone can share! Last year, I did 100 days of blogging– which was awesome. It allowed me to build a bunch of content on the blog, challenged me to come up with unique posts, and really got me excited about blogging. That being said, I am not going to re-do the same challenge this year.

Although I really did love doing it, there were a bunch of times where I really struggled- but due to my nature- I felt like I couldn’t skip a day (I get a little obsessive with a challenge). There were nights were I sat at my computer, at 11:30 at night, tired AF, trying to come up with a premise for a blog post and make it live within a half hour so that I didn’t miss a day. Again, the challenge was great, but it also helped me to realize that I don’t want blogging to feel like a struggle. I want it to come more organically and be happy/excited about all the posts that I do. The other reality that came out of completing that challenge was some serious blogging burnout. I’m not proud to say that since I finished that challenge, I can count the number of times that I’ve blogged again on my two hands- and that sucks. I’m trying to get back into regularly posting again, but I think it needs to come more naturally.

That being said, I’m trying to decide what to commit to this year for my project. I have so many things that I am working on, both creatively and personally, that I’ve thought about switching my focus to something under the ‘self-care’ umbrella. On the other hand, setting aside time to really work on something creative truly helped my mind and spirit last year. Here are some of the ideas I’m floating…

  1. 100 days of meditation
  2. 100 days of Morning pages (journaling and visualizing)
  3. 100 Days of affirmations
  4. 100 days of scrap booking
  5. 100 days of organizing my paper life (more on that in another post)
  6. 100 days of connections- letter writing/note writing

While I mull this over for a couple more days- check out the official #the100dayproject and start brainstorming your next 100 days! And come back of April 3 for my announcement on what I decide to do! I’d love to follow your journey as well- if you have an original hashtag for your project, please share it in the comments below so I can follow along!

Family · Gift Guide · Motherhood · Parenting · Planning · Snail Mail

Thank you notes!

Dashel recently turned 3, (holy cow! How is my baby 3?!) and we were lucky enough to be surrounded by many friends and family- who, of course- showered him with toys and gifts. We ended up opening presents the next morning in our living room after the hub-bub of the party and birthday festivities died down. This was so fun because Dash got to relive the fun of his party the next day- which also takes the post birthday sting out of the day after a bit! As he opened- we snapped pictures of each gift (and also kept notes about who gave what). I one hour photo-ed that goodness and jotted my thank you notes right on the back of each pic. Easy peasy- and so cute that each friend/family member gets to see the excited look on Dash’s face when he received their gift! Such a fun, easy way to send a thank you!