Mar 182015
 

No sitter but still needing a date night with your husband? Here's a few simple (really!) steps to bringing a coffeehouse into your own home. Trust me, with 2 of these tricks, even the kids will be happy! Date night is on!!One month ago, my husband and I had a coffeehouse date. To be more accurate, 16 years and one month ago, we had a coffeehouse date.

On February 18, 1999, my husband called me on my college dorm room landline (because those things existed) and asked if I’d like to go hang out at the coffeehouse with him. Channeling all my quintessential nerdy-ness, I was confused by this random dude I’d seen in the computer lab (because those things also existed) making such a ludicrous request on a Thursday night, “But…I’m studying,” I sputtered.

I know, I had such a way with the men, it was stymieing.

Not to be deterred, he suggested I bring my books along. I did. And I never opened them the entire night.

Fast-forward a year into the future, same coffeehouse, same day, and once again, no studying happened. But a marriage proposal did, followed a bit later by a wedding.

And ever since all those initial visits to our coffeehouse, we’ve made a commitment to go back. Every February 18.

Except…kids happened. Admire our ambition, because at first, we weren’t slowed down; we took them with us. But then, they got older. And things like getting to bed on time for school the next morning on a Wednesday night made the 1.5 hr. trek for a cup of tea, however beautifully sentimental, increasingly impractical.

We debated all the sides of the coin–hire a sitter, dump on a friend, go on the weekend, find a closer coffeehouse…we went round and round and round the options. Logistics and circumstances continued to lead us solidly back to the conclusion: going this year was going to be really, really tough.

I was feeling rather grouchy and pouty about the whole thing, to be honest. And then, inspiration struck. If I couldn’t get us to the coffeehouse, maybe I could get it to us?

I am not a crafty person. I am not a creative DIY-er by any stretch. But, the coffeehouse matters, you see. So I told my husband, “I’ll take care of it” and refused to answer any more questions.

No sitter but still needing a date night with your husband? Here's a few simple (really!) steps to bringing a coffeehouse into your own home. Trust me, with 2 of these tricks, even the kids will be happy! Date night is on!!

How do you create a coffeehouse in your own home?

1) I found some very cool copper wire LED lights. I ventured into our mess of a garage to secure a hammer and a few nails. I strung them around our dining room and dimmed the lights. Of course I waited to the last minute to do this and then panickedly tried to untwist the last wire as my husband pulled in the driveway.

2) I got the kids on board and braved the glitter. The coffeehouse always features a series by a local artist. I figured my most talented local artists were right in my own home, so together made “A Life in Glitter” and I hung their work around the dining room.

3) I made my husband teach me how to use Pandora radio on my phone a week prior. Yes, I’m this dumb. I queued up some sweet jazz tunes and let the vibes roll.

4) I stocked up on my favorite chocolate mint tea ahead of time, and I got over my life-long fear of making scones. And you know what? They were pretty darn amazing.

5) I laid out our Scrabble game. We always play Scrabble when we visit the coffeehouse; remember, I said I was a nerd…

6) I bathed and fed the kids early. Way early so I would have time to prep. Who says chicken nuggets at 4pm doesn’t count as a solid dinner? They still came and ate with us, for the record.

7) I swung by Redbox for a “new” movie that would captivate them to minimize interruptions while my husband and I were dating it up. Our daughter still peed all over the bathroom floor 5 minutes into our date. It added to the mood.

8) I dug our chalkboard sign out of the basement and wrote “Welcome to MJs” (name of our beloved coffeehouse) on it and propped it in the corner. Not quite the same thing, but helped me pretend.

9) I got out the pretty plates and set the table with a cute sugar bowl.

10) I enlisted the support of a sweet friend–mostly just to cheer me on and to talk me down at the last-minute when I couldn’t get the lights untangled. It helped tremendously.

And then, when my husband walked in the door, I had the kids greet him, yelling, “Welcome to the coffeehouse, Daddy!”. This part isn’t exactly like what would happen at a real coffeehouse, but it is what happens at our coffeehouse. Because this 16 yr. old coffeehouse may not be many things, but it is full of a lot of love and some very cute kids who make staying home worth it.

Someday we’ll go back to the real deal; for now, we’re busy cleaning up the pee.

No sitter but still needing a date night with your husband? Here's a few simple (really!) steps to bringing a coffeehouse into your own home. Trust me, with 2 of these tricks, even the kids will be happy! Date night is on!!

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:24048985, copyright:eugenesergeev

Feb 132015
 

Some of my favorite sweet smiles! If you simply can't stomach icing one more heart-shaped cookie or the classroom Valentines' cards have done you in, read of few of these for a teensy break.  Because even if you can't have all the wine and roses, Valentine's Day is a pretty good time to feel the love!If you’re anything like me, you may be a bit knackered from all the kid’s Valentine fun that’s been going down this week. And this isn’t going to be a post about trying to embrace the true meaning of Valentine’s Day despite the crazy. Let’s be honest, it will be a miracle if I even manage to stay up with my husband for even an hour after putting the kids to bed. The forecast for fancy heart-filled loved-laced celebrations looks grim around here.

But this is going to be a post where I share some of my favorite sweet smiles from over the past few years. If you simply can’t stomach icing one more heart-shaped cookie or the classroom Valentines’ cards have done you in, just pop in on a few links for a teensy break.

Because even if you can’t have all the wine and roses, Valentine’s Day is a pretty good time to feel the love. Enjoy the weekend, friends, however you spend it!

I realized my husband and I were totally on the same page–thanks to a Hallmark card.

That moment when you realize your spouse may actually be a bigger geek than you are.

Love is when the toast is burned, but we pretend it’s not because the morning is a crazy mess and we don’t want Mommy to lose her crap.

My husband has the weirdest bunch of hobbies ever, but I’m not even going to blink an eye.

I am 35 years old and I can’t put on my own shoes.

I busted the oil pan on the minivan and our budget was glaring at me. My husband reminded me this had nothing to do with the stuff that really matters on this earth.

My husband incessantly makes piles and chews his milkshakes; I am choosing to love him anyway.

With 5 simple words, my heart was stolen all over again.

Some of my favorite sweet smiles! If you simply can't stomach icing one more heart-shaped cookie or the classroom Valentines' cards have done you in, read of few of these for a teensy break.  Because even if you can't have all the wine and roses, Valentine's Day is a pretty good time to feel the love!

Some of my favorite sweet smiles! If you simply can't stomach icing one more heart-shaped cookie or the classroom Valentines' cards have done you in, read of few of these for a teensy break.  Because even if you can't have all the wine and roses, Valentine's Day is a pretty good time to feel the love!

Second image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:23101678, copyright:SolominViktor

Third image credit: depostiphotos.com, image ID:18280999, copyright:alexraths

Feb 042015
 

Keeping up with videos and pictures can seem daunting. With this simple app, all the guesswork and challenge of keeping up is erased--easy-peasy and FREE! Go score it now!My kids are at really cute ages. So many times I wish I could bottle up their 5 yr.old-ness and 3 yr. old-ness and keep it forever. Not saying they won’t do cute things in the years to come, but I find it pretty magical when my son explains the reason his girlfriend likes him as “I showed her my ducks.” Will it ever be this innocent again?!

My husband and I try to capture it all–we really do. We even have preschool concerts and big events down to a science; I snap the pics and he records the video as his hands are more steady. And then we do our best to text the highlights to friends and family, throwing some of our favorites up on Facebook. But at best, our efforts are haphazard.

So when I found out the OneDay app was coming to Android as of yesterday, 2/3/15 (it has already been on iTunes), I was pretty stoked. I had heard about this app endlessly from friends. About how awesome it was, how much kids loved it, and what a perfect way it was to capture memories all in one custom-made video. Now that it’s available on Android for FREE, it was time to give this app a whirl. Plus, the sweet new Valentines’ stories are adorbale!

What is it?

The OneDay App is an instant movie maker that helps parents make movies of their children like a pro in seconds with fun holiday themes and curated, thought provoking, fun story sets.

Is it hard to use?

No! OneDay makes it fun to create short movies of your child’s life with a few simple steps. You open the app, pick a question from a wide selection of fun story sets, and record your children’s answers. Then the app automatically stitches the recorded videos together, and adds music to make quality, priceless movies to share with family and friends.

The strength of the app is in its simplicity. No thinking required. No editing or video skills needed. If I can do this, so can you!

Overwhelmed by pictures and videos of your kids? This one app pulls it all together for you--all you have to do is film your cute kiddo! Go make some memories--the easy way!

How do I do it?

Download the app, chose a set of themed questions for your movie (try one of the Valentine’s prompts I mentioned–they are the perfect way to send a smile this time of year!), record your child’s answers, hit “save and created story” and then watch your edited video, with music and transitions.

The app guides you through and does all the hard work for you. You just record your kid and have fun!

What does a video look like?

So glad you asked! Check out what my very non-skilled, non-tech-savvy self came up with:

One with a touch of heart (please ignore my daughter passionately flailing on the side) and

One I like to call “Brother-Sister Love” (if you have a sibling pair at home, you will know exactly why this is so precious…)

Want to get this easy video-making fun for yourself?

Go HERE for iTunes and HERE for Android, download the app and let it guide you through making your own keepsake to share with friends and family.

Did I mention that it’s FREE? It definitely is. Go score fun for yourself and and get ready to laugh it up with your kids! With this app, you are all video stars!

*****This post was sponsored by OneDay, but my delight in this app is 100% genuine!*****

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:3505216, copyright:Demixx

Jan 282015
 

Tomorrow night is the end of an era. A very sweet era. Parenthood, the show that has captured us for six seasons is bidding its adieu.

I love the show. With passion.

Because it is the perfect blend of heart and the aching humor that is a too true testament to the realness of this life.

Because it nails the pain, perfection and glory of our day-to-days every single time.

Because the characters love each other and define not only what family is, but what it, by my total estimation, should be.

Because I laugh. I cry. And sometimes my husband does too. Even though he would never, ever admit it.

The characters are phenomenally whole individually but unfailingly rise to greater heights when together–as family should.

This show is amazing...it's ability to capture your heart with the too-true realness of life while making you laugh along the way celebrates the beauty of life, family and parenthood like no other. Watch it NOW!

Christina blows my mind every episode. It is true, I have a substantial crush on Monica Potter. Yet beyond my swooning heart lies an incredibly powerful woman who has struck and won multiple battles on this earth. Though her power isn’t what wows me. It’s that she still smiles, that she gives her best for her kids–every single day, and that she loves her husband not despite, but because of, the harsh realities of life.

Her husband Adam, owns my love for the singular reason that he always, always acts towards the best for his family. Always. Integrity defined.

Adam’s commitment reaches not only to his wife and children, but to his family of origin, as seen in his love for his brother, Crosby. These two guys have had a rough road. Crosby is a mess. But our hearts melt for him anyway, and not just because he is played by Dax Shephard. We love Crosby because he tries. Always tries to do the right thing. Is this not all of us?

I’ll be honest, I think Lauren Graham could poorly play a serial axe murder, and I’d still stand on the sidelines, cheering her along. Her portrayal as Lorelei in Gilmore Girls earned her a free pass for life in my book. However, no free pass is needed for her character, Sarah. Sarah is not one of my favorites, but I love her. I love her because she is real. She knows too well that life hurts, and while she remains daunted by this truth at times, she is no longer lives in fear of pain; she has already been through it. Also, long ago she decided she was going to be a really, really good mom. And she is. What gorgeous character strength. 

Julia has been harder for me to wrap my head around, though I’ve softened to her in more recent seasons. Yet my lack of warmth entirely fails to translate to her husband Joel. I imagine I will go weak in the knees for Sam Jaeger for the foreseeable rest of my life because of his role. Joel screwed up; we all do. He’s a good guy.

While Camille is another I’m not sold out for but have grown to appreciate, her husband Zeek is THE STUFF OF THIS WORLD. He is not only the soul of his family, he is the show. Think about what Parenthood is all about–loving your family and being there for them while finding yourself in the process. This is Zeek, a gruffy old man with one of the kindest hearts–ever.

Drew, Amber, Max (brilliant, brilliant child actor), Hank, Jasmine, Jabbar…who could you not love? These characters are all rich and lovely and add shine to a show that is already dazzlingly shiny. In fact, the only character I cannot cheer is Sydney. Savannah Paige Rae is dear, but I already have my own whiny kids at home.

I sob that I don’t want it to end. My husband reminds me that all good shows must exit while the iron is still hot. The mature part of me wants to accept this. The other parts of me want to script hate letters to NBC.

Regardless of the war the wages within, the tissues will win out. I can’t say what exactly what will happen in tomorrow night’s episode when the gorgeous Braverman curtain is called, but I know it will involve a mountain of soaked kleenexes–each wet with the bittersweet joy of a show that has nailed the heart of this life.

Well done, Parenthood. Well done.

 

Second image credit: image ID:5939734, copyright:shotsstudio

Jan 122015
 

Figuring out how make relationships work and marriages last can be tricky business.  I definitely don't have all the answers, but this one choice has been an essential ingredient to keeping the romance flowing with my husband!I told you last month that my husband and I were going to a gala for a work event, but I never updated post-event.

In a word: fabulous.

As reported, the gala was for a machine. Yup, a machine. A flow cytometer, to be exact. What is a flow cytometer? I have absolutely no clue.

I do know that it must be important. Because a lot of people were very excited about it. Because there was a dramatic unveiling. Because they served the fanciest cheese I’ve ever seen on the hors d’oeuvres table.

Let’s be honest: I was along for the ride.

What a sweet, sweet ride it was. A night out sans the kids rates high in and of itself. Throw in the custom cytometer-blue yummy cocktails and the fun of being at the Philly Art Museum, and it was a total win.

Yet it wasn’t the trimmings and goodies that made the night for me. Trimmings can often be found in this life if you look hard enough.

Nope, what aced it for me was watching my husband in his element.

I could care less about scientific instruments of intense value. Aside from displaying them as unique table decorations, I would have very little use for them. That said, I fully respect that some people on this earth have dedicated their lives to the development of these instruments, tools that have the capacity to make significant differences in our future.

But my husband understands them. He understands them in the way that his eyes light up and he gets a slight smile on his face that he doesn’t even know he has.

I know he has this smile because I watch him. I watch him talk product and process with colleagues and shine in his element.

Some women swoon over romantic poetry, I swoon over hearing my man chat antibody production. It works.

It works because when I am up to my ears in BlogU planning and fretting over blog post topics, he patiently listens to it all. When I wax on about stats, he pretends to be interested. The eye rolls are minimal and the support is huge. Sometimes, he even looks impressed. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Have different interests and talents than your partner? No sweat! Use this model to build a relationship that will last for a lifetime!

It works because that’s what relationships do. They have faith in insanely obsessive internet hobbies/job hybrids. They look kindly on fellow gala attendees drooling over the latest in cell art. And they not only see the best in their partners, but look for those secret smiles and take excessive pride in them.

And it works. Usually.

Then it also works because I really, really enjoy kicking back on the limo ride on the way home from the gala and feeling boss while listening to all the science geeks chat up their trade and thanking God I will never, ever in my life have to work with something called a flow cytometer.

You know what they say...the couple that science geeks-out together, stays together. Or maybe not quite like that, but true story of why supporting a spouse's obsession MATTERS. Check it out!

 

First image credit: vector ID:39173769, Copyright:marish

Second image credit: vector ID:8830105, copyright:Lonely11
Dec 292014
 

Who knew a pair of boots could define a relationship so well? I'm cherishing this pair--and my husband a whole lot more. Read this and find out why you need to get a pair of boots that don't fit!This holiday week, I’m sharing a couple of my favorite posts from the past year.  On Friday, I shared a fun one about when I met my match in a cute deathly raccoon, and today I’m hanging out with a favorite pair of boots–that defined my marital relationship a bit and reminded me of why I think my husband is such a cool guy.

So please join me, readers. Pour yourself a hot chocolate, snuggle up by the tree. ignoring the frenzy of rapidly dropping pine needles and treat yourself to a smile with one of my favorite stories of this past year

******************************************************

Did you know that in Oklahoma it is illegal to wear your boots to bed? True story. While hitherto, I may have howled over the ridiculous of such a law, I’m now giving these mid-western legislators the benefit of the doubt.  You see, I have now witnessed firsthand the effects of boots on a marriage.  Not sure exactly what was going on in those Oklahoma bedrooms, but hey, maybe some legal intervention may have been necessary if things got stressful enough.  Boots are no joke in a relationship.

It all began when, in my blind loyalty to anything Target-branded, I snagged a pair of “leather” boots on the cheap in the fall.  They were adorable, trendy, and surely, they were meant to be.  Six months later, I’m cursing the ripped-up toes and air-leaky soles of my bargain find.  Huh.  Who knew? Quality, apparently, sometimes must be bought.

Thus started a dedicated hunt for the perfect pair of hip, comfy, top-notch kickers. Honestly, it was a smart-shoppers dream.  There were endless tabs pulled up on my laptop, promo codes were flying around, and I was riding an an adrenaline rush of excited glee as I worked out the most economical choice to the penny.  I know, it was the most fun I have in ages (not joking, sadly).

But I kept coming back to the new line of shoes from The Sak.  If you remember, I fell hard for my The Sak tote in October, and haven’t put the darn bag down since.  If it ever gives out, I will cry, and cry hard.  My favorite feature of my tote is the Teak Multi leather accent–the subtle sheen is gorgeous and distinctive. So when I saw that The Sak made boots that incoorporated the same leather

Yeah, the mixed reviews citing the beauty of the shoes, but the near impossibility to actually pull them on your foot? Be darned.  I had a friendship with this particular Teak Multi material, you see.  I alone would certainly be able to overcome the fit problem of the boots.  The other purchasers were clearly pansies.  This Mom of the Year was on it.

Rocking my coupons and discounts, I walked around for days preening my feathers for scoring my new footwear for $33.  Boo-ya! My husband was less enthused, these being the second pair of brown boots I bought in the same season and all…but…

Then the boots came. I sweated through my shirt so badly to get them on I had to put on a new outfit. And then I sobbed a little from the sheer effort.

The reviews were perhaps not written by weak lunatics.

After a week of refusing to say anything in a fierce protection of my dignity, the hopelessness of a solo dressing effort could no longer be denied. The Day of Reckoning had come. Head hung low, I went to my husband, “So you know those boots you didn’t want me to buy?”

“Yeah?”

“Can you put them on for me?”

 

I would like to pretend it was a very Cinderella-esque scene, with the calm, gentle man putting the shoe on the delicate princess’ outstretched foot.  It was not.  There was more grunting and under-the-breath comments.  Very few princesses. Some heavy “questioning” of spousal wisdom and the like–you get it.

It was a really neat scene for my neighbor to witness when she came to pick me up for breakfast the other week.  A true testament to the marital bliss that goes down around these parts.

We now find ourselves two months into ownership of the sweet boots. Things are better. I have accepted I can usually only wear the shoes on Saturdays, when my husband is here to help me dress.  They have started to stretch a teeny bit, so now there is only about five minutes of vigorous group dressing effort.  Really, it’s going well.

Sunday my husband leaves very early for worship team practice. As a general rule of habit, I never dress immediately upon getting up.  This past week, I was determined to sport my boots at church, so I threw my clothes on quickly and ran downstairs, boots in hand, hoping to catch him before he peeled out the door.  He looked at me, baffled by my attire and the switch in routine, “Did you sleep in your clothes?”

And then he saw the boots. And started to laugh. “Okay,” he said, holding out his hand, “Okay.”

As it turns out, these boots really were an awesome deal–they just have to be donned with a heavy, heavy dose of lovin’ patience.

Dec 082014
 

Socializing and partying this time of year are BIG EVENTS!  And knowing how to do it with grace and class can be daunting. Check in here for some tips--and a few laughs to help take the bite out of the nerves!It’s a big night around these parts, friends. To restate, I am leaving the house. Before you fall over in shock, let me tell you the whole story–it’s to ATTEND A GALA. Okay, now I’ll pause a minute while this sinks in…

Not sinking in? I know, I get it.  This is truly an unbelievable occurrence. Mostly for me, who has never, ever attended a gala. Has never even imagined attending a gala. Will never attend a gala again.

But you see, my husband got an invite to a fancy-pants one at The Philly Art Museum tonight. For a machine. That’s right, a machine. In his science world, apparently new machines warrant celebrations of epic proportions. While I remain marginally concerned about hanging with a crowd who likes to dress-up on a Monday night to celebrate machines, the simple fact remains: I am being offered a night out. AT A GALA.

So while I madly fret over what to wear and prepare to meet Condoleezza Rice (In my understanding, there is never a gala that Condoleezza Rice does not attend, correct? This notion is partially fueled by my obsession with People magazine and limited awareness of galas, but I’m pretty sure I’m right), I remain very aware that I might be screwed.

I do not know how to behave at galas.

Should I start stroking the machine in awe immediately upon seeing it? On the other hand, will I be arrested if I touch the machine?

What if I accidentally knock over the waiter’s tray when grabbing a champagne? Please God, tell me there will be champagne.

Forget Condoleezza, will I have to shake hands with Angelina Jolie? I am strictly Team Jennifer and will always be; for this I will not apologize.

The eventualities are daunting.

Knowing how to act and what to/do say at a work holiday party can be tricky. Here are tips for not only surviving, but having a fantastic time out amidst all the glitz and glitter!

In any case, I have decided I need to commit to a few ground-rules to help see myself through the night. I always function better when boundaries are firmly in place.

1) I WILL NOT robot-dance if there if fast music. I am really quite good at The Robot, but I am not sure this will be fully appreciated at this event. Best saved for a more appropriate occasion.

2) I WILL order a fancy drink–because I can. And I will feel fantastically elaborate when I do–because I owe it to the yoga pants I wear ever other single day of the year.

3) I WILL NOT fantasize about going home and watching Hallmark movies. I WILL appreciate that I’m in the company of other adults and this can be pleasant even if there are no Santa Clauses in snow globes winking in the background.

4) I WILL NOT sneak into the ladies’ room to check in on my Amazon lightening deals. Horribly tempting, but potentially better done at another time.

5) I WILL allow myself to soak up the sweetness of a night out, flirt with my husband and enjoy the gift of a fancy night out during the holiday season. It’s a total win–how could I go wrong?

Friends, I’m SO acing out the gala–I can totally feel a shining moment coming on ;)

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID:6584928, copyright:nikascorpionka

Second image credit: depositphotos.com, image ID: 10709258, copyright:pressmaster

Nov 032014
 

Marriage is tough business and couples tend to...clash. For all the times things get a little dicey in your marriage, snatch up this book--with all it's laughs and encouragement to love your spouse, it's exactly what you need to add some perspective to your marriage!

My husband is a fabulous man. He’s full of ideas and plans.

Some of these plans are better than others.

Some of these plans include spending our date night at Home Depot shopping for refrigerators.

I’ve written before about how we don’t always see eye to eye on how we spend holidays.

About our varying definitions of relaxation (spoiler alert: his involves horseshoe pits and a lot of 2x4s).

And about how I love him despite his insistence on chewing milkshakes.

But when I recently found myself casing out freezer drawers with a dude named Chuck on a Friday night while my husband trolled the tool aisle, I realized we had reached a whole new level.

The kind of level that begs to be shared in the new book, Clash of the Couples, out today.

Crystal Ponti, Editor of the book, describes Clash of the Couples as “a new anthology featuring a collection of absurd lovers’ quarrels and relationship spats. Couples just starting their journeys and those who have been together ‘forever’ will relate to dozens of short stories running the “one said, the other said” gamut—from disagreements over furniture, to who gets the last beer, to where to store the placenta (yes, you read that right)”.

I’m honored to be included in this book, and it’s been a delight to work with Ponti, full of enthusiasm and dedication for this anthology. I love the book’s approach to recognizing the love and respect couples can have for each other while still taking time out to chuckle about the ridiculousness that ensues when sharing your life with someone.

When my husband decided to swing by the tool store for date night, let's just say it was one of the more interesting evenings of our marriage. Head over and read how we are totally rocking couple time!

The other authors in this book are funny.  And since we could all use a laugh break, take a minute out now from your own crazy day to snatch up a copy–and maybe buy a few extra to stockpile as holiday gifts. Your funny bone will thank you, and a shot of giggles is good for any marriage.

I’m also giving away two copies of the book here! As long as you are 18 or older and live in the continental U.S., you are eligible to win! Just leave a comment below by 5am ET on 11/10/14 and tell me you’d like a copy and why you want it–or tell me a funny couple story you have, because we all like those ;)

In the meantime, thanks for supporting this new book, and all of my writing efforts. Having you follow along with me here, and on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram means the world.  Thank you, friends!

 

Snag a copy of Clash of the Couples for only $0.99! What a deal! Treat for yourself or early holiday gift!

*****11/14/14 update: Congrats to winners Shannon C. and Ashley!*****

First image credit: ID:12295263, copyright:everett225

Second image credit: depositphotos.com, ID:54521437, copyright:SimpleFoto

Oct 202014
 

To-do lists are daunting! Actually getting stuff done is so hard! I finally figured out this one trick to not letting these lists loom scarily large over my day.I love my husband a lot.  He’s a good man.  He’s a smart man.  Some of the things he says makes me want to scream. Sometimes I do scream.

You see, he has this lovely gift of practicality and perspective. God decided to skip those traits in me.  I got ginormous thighs and a bent towards being ferociously emotional instead.

Often the things that I’m most passionately frustrated over my husband eradicates with a simple sentence. This is both a gift and highly annoying.

Most recently, I’ve had my panties in a bunch over my perceived lack of hours in the day. One particular evening, channeling my inner-Caillou, I broke into a rather heated whining rant, “There is just no way I can get everything done! I am slamming out every second of the day and still can’t keep up…I can’t keep doing this.”

My husband answered easily, “Then don’t.”

The screeching as my mind did an about-face was almost audible.  Whaaa?? “What in the world do you mean?”

“Stop. God didn’t design your life to be this way, tired and stressed all the time.  There are 24 hours in a day, and if you can’t get everything done you need to in that time, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Scary red flags of indignation started waving wildly.  How dare he? Who does he think will drop his children off at school and wash the excessive number of dishes he insists on dirtying? Would his boxer shorts start washing and folding themselves?

I huffed away. I was right, and he was wrong, of course. Certain of his cruel insensitivity to the magnitude of responsibility I shoulder each day, I thought loads of helpful thoughts, like “Typical man!” and “He will never get it!”

My thoughts weren’t wrong; he is a man, and no, he won’t get it–just as I will never fully get his work.  But, as it turns out, as I allowed my rage to chill (frantic slamming of pots and pans around the kitchen always helps), he wasn’t wrong either.

In fact, he was very right.  Right in the punch-me-in-the-gut kind of way.

Crap. Darn. Shoot. I loathe it when he’s right. I more loathe it when it’s time to revamp my way of thinking because I’ve been completely wrong.

Sorting out the ins and outs of relationship is tough! Agreeing doesn't always come naturally--or even at all! I hate it when my husband is right, but with this trick, I see things a little clearer!

For days, for months, for years even, I have been approaching each day as a beast to be tackled. Something that if I plan just a little bit more, a little bit harder, I can form it into something smoother. Maybe even easier?

Wrong. The truth is, this life is never going to quit. There will always be another task that needs to be done and another ask from someone seeking something. Whether it’s my children needing their bums wiped or the Home and School committee looking for Book Fair volunteers, it’s never going to end.

I will always have a to-do list.

It will always be long.

I won’t get it all crossed off.  As long as I’m living and engaging in life, I’ll never get it all crossed off.

Huh.

So this is just the way life is.  And last I checked, there were no plans to add more hours to the day. And God is pretty darn wise; He knew what He was doing when He designed this whole ball game. 24 hours was and is the length of our day–the way it was meant to be.

Knowing that the circumstances of busyness nor daily time limitations won’t change, it appears there may be a distinct truth to my husband’s words. If the circumstances aren’t going to change, that means I have to change.

I don’t know how to make my days or my lists manageable, but I can handle waking up every day, and saying a silent prayer, “I don’t know how to do this. Let what is important get done. Help me not to panic about the rest–or at least send a sturdy paper bag my way to breathe in.”

And do you know what? When I do this, when I say this prayer, when I finally let go, the frenzy of the day dissipates.

No, my to-do list doesn’t magically shrink. There are no sweet miniature helper elves who come to my aid. Darn. But I am able to put one foot in front of the other.  And somehow the important things, the really important things manage to get done.

So that is my secret, my trick to finally, for once and for all, not allowing your to-do list to dominate your life. Let go of it. Allow a peace to prevail.

It’s a choice and you can do it–paper bag in hand if you need it ;)

 

First image credit: depositphotos.com, ID:21915393, copyright:gpointstudio

Second image credit: depositphotos.com, ID:49375597,copyright:Dmyrto_Z

Oct 062014
 

Of course parents can spend the morning in bed! (said the delusional desperate Mommy) Sleeping in with young kids goes so very well...right??I remember in the early days of pregnancy reading an adorable article in one of my parenting magazines that discussed the brilliance of parents being able to sleep in. With some careful planning and some strategically placed boxes of Cheerios that kids could easily grab by themselves for breakfast, the glory could all be yours!

I thought it was a fantastic plan and eagerly looked forward to being this kind of parent–the kind of parent who wakes up fully rested on a Saturday morning.

I even told a friend with older kids about it.  Why she didn’t punch me in the face, I’ll never know.  If I could go back in time, I would punch myself in the face.

Because then I actually had kids.

And I learned.

I learned the cold, hard truth: I will never be fully rested until EVER now that I have children.  By the time they make it through the night sans hysterical fits over blankets falling off beds or imaginary monsters plaguing dreams, we will likely have moved onto early morning soccer practices or some other meet-the-sunrise fun.

It’s a doomed existence to exhaustion.

That’s cool.  I signed up for this.  Table the gorgeous Star magazines and bubble baths–I’ll catch them in retirement. Maybe.

But the thing of it remains–I miss my husband.

Surely, somehow, by some wild stretch of imagination we could eke out one prolonged morning in bed?

So we tried this past weekend.  We really did.

Our son woke up. He’s five, so we barely humored his awakeness–he’s five and can totally handle independence, right?

Our daughter woke up.  She is three.  We told her to go potty.

That took 10 seconds.  We then told her to feed the dog, who was dedicatedly working himself into hysteria as his parents were clearly neglecting him by remaining in bed an extra 4 minutes.

God knows if she actually fed him or how much she fed him.  It may have been an entire 40lb. bag. We didn’t care.  It bought us at least an extra entire full minute of cuddle time before the psychotic, neurotic dog rejoined us in the bed, rolling his 70+ lb. body on top of mine in panicked fit that we had completely forgotten his existence on this earth.

My husband yelled at the dog. My daughter insisted I help her dress in a tutu. My son wanted eggs.

It was futile.

We had tried.

We had been bested.

It was time to call it a morning and get out of bed. Maybe someday Cheerios can work their magic and Mommy and Daddy can cozy up under those sheets.  But for now?

There just ain’t no rest for the weary, friends.  No rest at all…Bottoms up with that coffee cup.

Image credit: Depositphotos.com, Image ID:24640397, Copyright:monkeybusiness

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