Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday miscellany

 Happy Friday! 

Today is a "no school" day for the boys. I rolled my eyes a little bit when I saw this on the calendar, because, well, haven't they already had an excessive amount of "no school" days over the past 6 months??...but I get it. It was a pre-planned diocese wide staff development day, so even though the kids JUST went back to school, it stayed on the calendar.

The kids aren't complaining. :) I don't blame them. Even though I liked school fine as a kid, I lived for those no school days growing up. We used to get a bunch of 4 day weekends in the fall, between the annual teacher's convention, then parent/teacher conferences and then Thanksgiving. That was the BEST!

Let's see, what else is new?

This has been a fairly uneventful week around here. My Dad has been here for the last few days working on installing a tile backsplash in our kitchen. (THANK YOU DAD!!) We re-did our kitchen over a year ago now and it has taken quite a while to get around to some of the final touches. I'll be so glad when this is done! The tile is going to really finish it off. :) 

I've been staying up way too late though this week. Like into the hours that start with "11". Boo. It's been nice (at the moment) but messes up my mornings a bit. Oh well. I'll get back on track next week.

 Last night we all watched Catching Fire, the second Hunger Games movie. Ethan finished the whole series in August, but Asher just finished the second book the other day and was excited to be ready to watch the movie. It didn't disappoint! Now even my Dad is sucked in and said we'll have to wait to watch the third one until he can be here again, too. 

Weekend plans....

-swim practice x2

-soccer games x2

-Halloween/fall decorating!! 

-hopefully carving out some time to read this new book that Amazon dropped off yesterday for me:

Coco mentioned it recently and it sounds really interesting. I haven't read a personal development genre book in a while now and was feeling in the mood for one, so I ordered it. It's written by Google's Former Chief Business Officer and it sounds like in it he uses his engineering and logic background to research, determine and explore the "equation" for true happiness. Sounds intriguing and like a different perspective from other books like this that I've read!

In the spirit of Friday, here's a mini Friday 5 list, gratitude style:

1. Pizza

2. My Dad being able to help with our tile project, AND the fact that he is so amazing and detail-oriented. The particular size tile we bought + a few irregularities in our kitchen make this tile job a bit complicated, but he goes above and beyond to make it just right. 

3. Birds in my yard- this week we saw a beautiful black/white woodpecker and some kind of gorgeous blue jay. (Or was it a bluebird? Not sure. Or wait- was it a mockingjay??? Hahaha, just kidding.)

4. I get a raise at work! They had said due to financial difficulties this year at the hospital we might not, but per an email yesterday, we WILL get small raises after all. I'll take it. 

5. The recovery workouts included in my workout program. I don't do much real stretching on my own, ever...and I'm not into yoga really at all. But it feels SO GOOD to take time to stretch and I think it's really good for me. I'm loving that my Beachbody program includes 2 sessions per week of a Flow/Yoga style workout and also a "Re-Vibe"/ recovery session. I never skip stretching when it's scheduled in for me and it's been amazing. 

In closing, I'll share a quote I loved from this week too. It came to me in James Clear's 3-2-1 newsletter, but the quote is from Anne Frank. It spoke to me a bit this week. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Happy Fall

 Happy Fall! It has arrived. 

Yesterday was the first official day of autumn. I celebrated by pulling out my fall wreath for the front door and putting the summer one away. 

I am seeing all the talk of fall everywhere this week - lots of "fall" themed podcast episodes are popping up on my feed, fall images everywhere, pumpkin recipes floating around, people coming out with "fall fun lists" and starting to visit the corn mazes and picking apples.

I love fall. I love the whole season from now until after Christmas. The holidays are just FUN to me. I also love decorating my house for them all. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy! I also really don't mind the shorter, darker days- I love lighting candles or turning the fireplace on and putting my slipper socks on. Haha! I know I might be in the minority on that one though.

We decorate quite a bit for Halloween, both inside and outside. Generally we (we= me and the boys- Ivan never lifts a finger to decorate anything. Party pooper.) pick a weekend evening and will pull out all the boxes and light some fall scented candles and start going to town! 

We have lots of little pumpkin/ skeleton/ witch light up figurines that you can put those battery operated tea light candles in which I swap in on our built-in bookshelves surrounding the fireplace. I also have a couple of larger decorative pumpkins that can be lit up, and in the past I have hung orange twinkle lights (inside) in a few places.

The boys love turning all the lights off and seeing the orange glow everywhere once we are done. It's a really fun tradition! We have it penciled in for this upcoming Saturday night. 

I have never written out a "Fall Family Fun To- Do List" like I see many other bloggers do. We have some season staples that we like to do but I've never taken the time to really brainstorm any new ideas. Maybe I will, I don't know. 

Some things we typically do (off the top of my head):

-make homemade apple pie. We may or may not go "apple picking" (sometimes we "pick" them from the grocery store bin, LOL!), but we always make a pie.

-the decorating stuff (see above)

-a farm day/ pumpkin patch trip

-a corn maze (last year was the first time we did a bigger one- SO FUN!)

-rake huge piles of leaves in the yard for the boys to jump and dive in on a perfect, crisp, fall day. I always take a bunch of photos and videos. It always feels very much like "the perfect childhood memory" or something and I get all happy and emotional watching them laugh and roll in the leaves. 

-make chili. Always on Halloween night, but sometimes even before then I make a batch.

-Go for a hike/ nature walk somewhere to enjoy the fall weather and leaves

-We are hit or miss on the pumpkin carving. We usually do it, but several years we have literally been carving them at 3 pm on Halloween to squeeze it in.

-We normally make Halloween themed cupcakes on or near Halloween and decorate them together with fun sprinkles.

-Hours of fall yard clean up, raking, cutting back plants, putting away lawn furniture, etc. (just kidding- this one doesn't belong on the family fun list. It's just a necessary evil of home ownership 😀.) 

Stay tuned next weekend! I'm sure I'll share some pics once we get our decorations up. 

What are your favorite fall traditions?? Leave a comment and I'll add them to my list! 

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for quick delivery yesterday of some chemicals for the hot tub that I needed. We got a starter kit when the hot tub was delivered, but I needed more of one chemical in particular and waited a bit too long to place the order. Fortunately, it shipped and arrived in less than 2 days! Perfect timing before I ran out. I'm grateful for that. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Thumper's Golden Rule

 The other day (on the day of my watermelon explosion, to be precise), I decided that I was going to try to address an issue with someone about something that had been bothering me. 

I thought (mistakenly) that just being direct about it might be better than stewing in silence. I thought (also mistakenly) that this person and I had the type of relationship that could handle a little frank honesty. I won't go into any details- this is a public blog, after all. 

But let's just say...the other person didn't agree. 😳

I have felt pretty terrible about the whole thing for a few days now. I HATE conflict. I especially am uncomfortable when I feel like someone is "mad" at me. 

I was reminded of Thumper's Golden Rule from Bambi:

"If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all." 

Realistically, I think I was wrong on this one. I should have kept my mouth shut. I didn't have evil intentions at all, of course- I was just frustrated and felt the urge to sort of clear the air. 

But it was one of those situations where nothing good was really going to come from it, so what was the point? I made things worse AND the original situation is still unchanged. 

I should have said nothin' at all. 

Ah, well. Such is life. We all make mistakes. I apologized sincerely and there's not much more I can do at this point. So, I'm trying to let it go, though it's been hard for me.

My calendar entry yesterday was on point too. Funny how sometimes when we are worrying or stressed, the universe points little stepping stones in our direction. 

Daily Gratitude:

I'm grateful for the 20 minutes I spent walking to meet the boys at the bus yesterday after school. It was a beautiful day and this was probably the nicest part of my day. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

What kids need to hear

I mentioned this book on our Family Reads list back from July, but I ended up setting it aside when we went up north and then I never really picked it back up again until recently.

I finished it the other day. Overall, I think I liked the more general first half of the book the best, which explored teenager's brains, mindsets and attitudes. The latter part of the book is a lot of "troubleshooting" different issues, which range from relationship issues to rule following to school problems to drugs and eating disorders. 

At the end there was a section about thinking about future careers/ college choices and how to help kids explore this in advance and guide them. I feel like picking a college major/ career at 18 years old is SO overwhelming and can have such a huge potential negative impact on people's lives forever, really, if you end up in a career that is not well suited to I would really like to explore this topic more and figure out what I can do to help them really learn about themselves, what they enjoy/ are good at and what they might "actually" want to "be when they grow up". 

Some of the book felt very irrelevant to me right now, but overall it was a fun, easy read that at least got my wheels spinning on thinking about some of these upcoming "teen" issues. 

We have our moments even now, with Ethan being 12, that we definitely get glimpses of "teenager-esque" behaviors. I actually heard last night, for the first time ever, the phrase, "Well, when I'm 18, I will technically be an adult so I won't have to do whatever you say anymore." REALLY, now?! We are going there already??? Ha.

I also liked this list that the author included at the end:

The Seven Things Every Teen Needs to Hear

1. I love you

2. I'm proud of you

3. I'm sorry

4.  I forgive you

5. I'm listening

6. This is your responsibility

7. You've got what it takes

8. (bonus item!) No. 

I think these apply for all kids, not just teens. I especially like #2, #5 and #6. 

The author emphasizes applauding and expressing pride when kids exhibit strong EFFORT over achievement, LISTENING and ASKING QUESTIONS instead of trying to "control" your child and acting more like a coach- preparing them, cheering for them but then STAYING OFF THE FIELD. Let them do their thing, face their own mistakes and learn to fix them and take responsibility without intervening constantly. 

He also includes a list of questions to ask your kids after school. I know lots of kids aren't back in physical school right now, but since mine just went back, I took a hard look at this list. A few that stood out to me:

-If you were a teacher, what class would you teach?

-Who do you think you could be nicer to?

-What do you think you should do more of at school?

-What are the top three things that you hear people say in the halls?

-Who did you help today? Who helped you?

-What part of the day do you look forward to? What part of the day do you dread?

-If you had to go to only one class every day, which class would it be? 

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for time spent reading this weekend and the chance to clean my house yesterday! Feels good :) 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

3 Things

 Happy Sunday morning! I slept in a little bit and man it felt good. 

I've got three things I want to share with you no particular order. 

1. Gratitude pumpkins!

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I LOVED the idea!! It would be so fun to do for Thanksgiving. What a great activity for younger kids, too. I believe the original idea (and photos) are from, which is a blog I'd never heard of but looks like a great parenting/ lifestyle resource with some really great and creative ideas!! Check it out! 

2. Gratitude quote that stuck with me this week:

During a tough cardio workout the other day, the trainer (Jericho), for the Beachbody on Demand series that I'm currently doing (Morning Meltdown 100) said something during the cool down that I really liked. First of all, she was wearing a shirt that said "GRATEFUL" on it. Loved that, obviously. :) But as we stretched, with sweat still dripping down my face, she said this:

"Does it make you feel alive? Does it make you feel grateful? Not everybody gets to move their body in the way you just did." 

I think about this often, how lucky we are to be able to jump and run and walk and stretch and just MOVE our bodies. Great quote and a great reminder!

3. And finally, I laughed at the truth of it when I saw this definition of multitasking this week. It definitely makes the case for mindfulness and focusing on one thing at a time whenever possible. 

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for the boys' friends. The boys switched schools a couple years ago now, and it has been hands down one of the BEST BEST BEST parenting decisions we have ever made, for many reasons. Ethan has met some amazing friends there and in particular, his best buddy shown here who lives in our neighborhood, too. Asher has made a bunch of friends too, and is especially close with one awesome boy from school too. I'm so grateful to see these friendships flourishing and to see them thriving and so happy. 

Post soccer game shot. Not happy about a loss, but always happy to be with his friend. 💓

Saturday, September 19, 2020

A strange household disaster

 I ended up missing my blogging window yesterday morning, thanks to a watermelon.

Yes, a watermelon ruined my morning yesterday. Hmph. I have a pretty bad habit of buying large fruit items that require chopping and then letting them sit on the counter for many days before actually getting up the gumption to spend 10 minutes slicing/dicing/chopping/storing it. 

Usually this is no big deal, besides the annoyance of having the large fruit sitting out all week glaring at me, knowing I am procrastinating. 

Apparently the watermelon I brought home last time must have been half rotten or something? I have no idea. All I know is that I walked into my kitchen at 6 am and there was literally a pool of watermelon juice everywhere. All over the countertop, into the mail filing basket, down the cabinet, saturating my rugs, ALL over my (brand new!) flooring. I couldn't believe it! It looked like someone had pierced the melon and water had just shot out of it like a geyser. A royal disaster. 

I spent an entire 65 minutes cleaning this up, obliterating the 6-7 a.m. hour that I was planning to use to blog/ plan my day/ drink my  tea in peace. I was extremely irritated, but I did try to catch myself and find the good in it....

-thank GOD we went with the luxury vinyl flooring instead of wood. The vinyl floors are practically waterproof and have been an amazing choice for a kitchen with all of the inevitable "wetness" that seems to occur in there. 

-fortunately, my cabinets seemed unscathed after a wipe down

-I had plenty of old rags and towels available to clean up with

-I didn't have to rush off to work/ get ready to go to work. I shudder to think how the day would have looked if I had encountered that before racing off to a 0700 shift at the hospital.

-I have a handy dandy washer and dryer that I was able to use to wash all the towels (plus every single one of my kitchen rugs).

RIP watermelon. Lesson learned, you win. Next time, cut the damn thing right when I get home from the grocery store. 

I will admit I was a bit frazzled after the clean up, so after I dropped the kids off for school, I swung by this beautiful marsh just a mile from my house. It was a chilly morning and I was wearing sandals, so I just sat in my car with the heat on for a few minutes and regrouped a bit before heading home to get going on my work day. I should really go there more often. 💓

I also had some leftover Chicken Parmesan for lunch, which definitely hit the spot, too. 

Picture from dinner Thursday night. This seriously turned out SO GOOD! Everyone loved it. Made a random weeknight dinner feel pretty special, actually. I made a quick homemade Alfredo sauce for the pasta which was delicious too. 

Daily Gratitude:
I am grateful that the household disaster above didn't end up being more than a serious irritation. I am also grateful for credit cards. I had to get gas the other day during Asher's swim practice and I was thinking how nice it is that we don't have to go into the gas station to pay. In fact, I just paid from my phone using the BP app with a linked CC. Sometimes I have my qualms about technology, but it sure does have its perks. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

What day is it

 I am so confused right now, I don't even know what day it is. 

I seriously just woke up, sat down at my desk and thought, "I think I'll write a "What are you Wednesday" post today. That sounds like fun." (I've done a few of these, where you just list what you're currently loving, bummed about, having for dinner, whatever.)

I started jotting down a few notes, and then realized that it's not Wednesday. Today is Thursday. 

Whoops. I think I'm totally thrown off by the fact that the boys didn't have school on Monday and Tuesday. It felt like a "short" week, except I worked and they didn't...and then they started back to school yesterday (on Wednesday).

Well, what's in a name. Or a day. Nevertheless, I will still share a few "what are you" items with you and pretend it's Wednesday again. :) 

What are you...

Grateful for? 

The kids back in school!! The sound of silence yesterday while I worked was amaaaaaazing. 

BYE!!!!! ;-) 

Loving right now?

My new fall soaps from Bath and Body Works!! I get these every season. They're the only hand soaps we use. I especially love the fall and Christmas ones.

Bummed about right now?

Honestly, nothing really pops into my mind. I'm not going to force it and go looking for something! I'm in a good mood this morning and am looking forward to another quiet, productive workday! 

Having for dinner?

I'm making a chicken parmesan dish with a side of pasta and a salad. Chicken is already thawing. :)

Listening to?

I just finished listening to an episode of a new podcast I ran across called "friends on FIRE". It's a personal finance podcast that seems geared toward people that aren't "money experts" (like me!). So far I thought it seemed fun and relatable. I think the hosts are into the "FIRE" movement (Financial Independence/ Retire Early) which I don't know too much about, but I may peruse their episode list and see what I can learn!

Doing tonight?

Not sure yet! Asher has dryland training for swim and Ethan has soccer practice. Hopefully the chicken parmesan can get eaten by us all together at some point, too. 

We've been settling into a new little "hot tub" routine that most nights we go in around ~9:00 p.m. Last night Ethan joined us, sometimes it's just me and Ivan, sometimes all 4 of us. If the kids get to bed no later than 9:30, Ivan and I can still squeeze in one episode of our show too before it gets too late for me. I've been waking up a little later right now and just enjoying the hot tub + TV time at night and trying to not stress about getting to bed as early. 

Okay gotta go. Only downside to waking up later is that my mornings get short. I've been waking up later, PLUS I now need to make sure the kids are up and out by around 7:30ish. Which means I should go wake them Have a great day!

Daily Gratitude: 

See above! Definitely the kids being back in school takes the cake this week.