Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happiness Progress Report

Looking at the camera and smiling normally...amazing.
People, we've only got one week left in January. Where did this month go? My goodness.

And are you still in resolution mode?

I sure am.

In fact, I'm here to give an update on my happiness project resolutions and my original resolutions, most of which I've kept up so far!

1. Track "To Do" Lists

  • This one has been going really well for me. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that I have a deep love for making lists and checking off items (like an unnatural love) and also quite a bit to do with my pretty new planner. I'm getting my five items checked off every day, and sometimes even more. I think there was one day where I only checked off four items, but that's still pretty darn good if you ask me. I'm feeling pretty super productive these days. 
2. Tidy at Night
  • I'm doing fairly well with this one. There have been two or three nights where I've let myself get too tired to tidy, but for the most part I'm getting it done. I'm finding that it really puts me at ease when I go to bed if I know the living room and kitchen are tidied up.
3. Clear Clutter/Organize
  • I've been a freakin boss with this resolution. We have taken boxes upon boxes to goodwill in the last month. I've cleaned all our closets (except the coat closet, which is going on a to do list before the month's end), organized the kitchen cabinets, gone through every last piece of paper in our desk (okay, so that one had more to do with finding a certain tax document than anything else, but still), filed my recipe print-outs, organized every dresser drawer, and sorted through TWO YEARS worth of photos then made/ordered custom albums from Costco. Like a boss.
4. Build Routine
  • This has definitely been my slacking resolution. While my routine has gotten better (I'm in bed by 10:30 most every night, and up by 7:30 most every morning), I'm still totally not on a set schedule like I had hoped to be. And I'm still not wearing real pants at a reasonable hour (or, you know, at all some days). I am, however, doing pretty good at making breakfast, and I have been keeping Lucas on a solid schedule, so not all is lost. Progress in this area may be slow, but I'm not giving up hope.
5. Write out Goals
  • This was one of those slightly less specific goals (oh, the irony) so it has been harder to track. However, I'm working on getting my Life List up to 100 items by the end of the month, I've set some highly specific financial goals for the year, I'm writing down my to do lists with great regularity and I'm jotting down things I'd like to add to my resolution charts as they come to me. So, I guess it's been pretty successful!
Also, in regards to my original New Year's resolutions, I'm doing pretty well there too. I've read two books this month, stayed on top of my photography goals, had my writing published on Early Mama, stuck to my financial goals, blogged at least once a week (even a couple times on my food blog!), I've been drinking more water and found a family doctor. I still haven't gone to the dentist and I only painted my nails once this month, but the year is still young, my friends.

I hope you are all still resolute in your pursuits. And more importantly, that your year is a happy one so far. xoxo 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Paths We Choose, The Paths Chosen for Us

*I'm very excited to be featured as a guest blogger today on one of my favorite blogs, Early Mama. If you're a young mom and don't know Michelle Horton already, you should. Tons of inspiration and support for the young mom community over there. I feel honored to be a part of it.

I chose young motherhood for myself. I would choose it a thousand times over. But if a younger version of myself were to look into a crystal ball. . .if she were to see me lying on the floor, crying, picturing myself running away while my baby screams inconsolably; I’m not sure she would have chose this path. I’m not sure anyone would. . .

. . .read the rest of my story about dealing with the emotions of my (current) second pregnancy over at Early Mama.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

DIY Flubber

Now that I'm doing the serious stay-at-home mom thing, I feel like I need to do lots of really cool projects. However, I don't want those projects to be too time-consuming or expensive. We do a lot of coloring and painting art projects, but my mom has a great portfolio of sensory art projects she does in her daycare that Lucas just loves.

His favorite?
Definitely flubber.
 This DIY flubber (or Gak) recipe, is super easy, super cheap and it keeps Lucas entertained for long periods of time. He loves cutting it with his wooden knife or pressing it with cookie cutters or just playing in it with his hands. It's an awesome texture that kids just love, and I'm sure it's something that we'll be making for a very long time.

DIY Flubber Recipe

2 1/2 cups water, divided
3/4 cups Elmer's glue (one 225ml bottle)
2 tablespoons Borax

1. In a large bowl, slowly mix 1 1/2 cups water into the glue until combined. Add a few drops of food coloring if desired and mix well.

2. In a small bowl, mix together remaining 1 cup of water and Borax until the Borax is completely dissolved. (I do this in my liquid measuring cup so it is easier to pour)

3. Slowly pour the Borax mixture into the glue mixture a little bit at a time while mixing with a metal spoon or your hands. (*NOTE: you probably won't need to use all the Borax solution, I only used about half) As you mix, a flubber ball will start to form. Once there is no liquid left from the glue mixture, discard remaining Borax solution.

4. Stretch it! Cut it! Try to blow bubbles in it with a straw! Store in an airtight container or ziploc freezer bag for about a month. When it starts to get to hard or crumble apart, it's time to make a new batch.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Happy Year

I made cheez-its on my other blog today, if anyone's interested.

Has anyone read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin? I just finished it a couple days ago and started my own happiness project. Even though we're midway through January, I considered the first part of the month as preparation and therefore have no problem with marking January 10th as my first day of the project. I mean, what better way to get excited for a year of happiness resolutions then a mini-vacation with this little guy?

The Bay Area Discovery museum was happiness incarnate.
For those of you who haven't read the book (which you should, by the way, I sort of loved it), Rubin embarks on a yearlong, self-proclaimed happiness project in which she makes a series of resolutions which she thinks will contribute to a happier life. She divides her resolutions into categories by month (January: Vitality/Energy, February: Love/Marriage, etc.) and makes a daily resolution chart to keep track of her progress. Each month has 4-5 resolutions, and they compound each month (so you have some 50-60 resolutions in motion on the chart by the end of the year). It's very type A and a tad obsessive compulsive, which resonated with me, deeply.

So what am I up to this month? I'm working on organizing and "getting it together" for January. Here are my five resolutions and what they entail. I'll probably update you on how they're going as the month goes on.

1. Track "To Do" Lists
  • My goal with this is to check off five written tasks every day. It makes sure I don't waste the day and wonder what I've been doing (like eating homemade cheez-its and foodgawking/pinteresting the afternoon away). Also, it gave me an excuse to buy a new day-planner. I can't wait for my bright and beautiful moleskin 2013 daily planner to arrive.
2. Tidy at Night
  • This one came straight out of the book. One of Rubin's resolutions was to spend 10 minutes tidying up at night. Its so nice to wake up without blocks all over the ground or Rob's socks on the living room floor or wineglasses left out on the coffee table. It just gives you a sense of calm to wake up to a nice clean house. 
3. Clear Clutter/Organize
  • I'm trying to get through all the closets, cabinets, drawers and other hiding places to clear out all our unnecessary  junk this month. We've already taken boxes upon boxes to goodwill, and I'm sure there are many more boxes to come. It helps me to imagine that we're getting ready to move and only keeping what we would take with us. 
4. Build Routine
  • This is a big one for me. Since I don't have a job anymore, I need routine to keep me productive. I need to know that I have a certain time where I should be showered and made-up for the day, and possibly even wearing real pants. I'm also trying to get myself on a more consistent sleep schedule since I tend to be a night owl. I would eventually like to train myself to get up before Lucas and start getting work done, making breakfast, etc.
5. Write out Goals
  •  I always do best when I have a specific goal in mind that I'm working towards. It helps me stay organized and focused, no matter what the task at hand is. Also, part of writing out my goals includes adding to my Life List, which is basically a bucket list but a little more flexible. Early Mama has a great post on how she recently added items to check off on her Life List.
Anyone interested in joining me on this happiness project? You know you want to...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Goodbye Uncle Tom

I said "Hi, Uncle Tom," and I hope you heard me. I was the only one in the room. Your eyes were open for a few moments, and I hope you saw me. I hope I smiled at you, because I can't remember.

And I hope you saw your daughter when she came back in the room. I hope you heard her say I love you one last time. I hope you heard your sister at your side, telling you we were all there and that everything was okay. I hope those last moments were peaceful.

A part of me wants to forget these moments, to forget the hospital room and the look on everyone's faces and how everything was painfully clear and seemed to move in slow motion. How I couldn't stop crying, even for a moment, even when I wanted to. But a part of me wants to hold on to every last detail, to keep whatever memories I have in tact because I have so few.

Or rather I have so many but they've all lost their sharp edges and blurred together into one big family breakfast at the ranch, where you are always smiling and joking and giving everyone a hard time. You're calling my brother Bubble Boy over scrambled eggs or calling Margaret's horse Crackhead Bob (because Pepsi is no name for a horse) between bites of thick cut toast. And you're wearing that black John Deere hat that I saw hanging from a hook on the wall of your hospital room, and a thick red flannel you always wore. You're talking to my grandpa about work that needs doing, and I'm looking out the window because I don't care about these things. I hear your work boots on the deck. I see you coming down the hill on your 4x4 with the dogs standing on the back of the seat. Your teeth are crooked and yellow, but you never stop smiling. You make everyone at the table laugh. It's all one big jumbled memory. But it's a happy one.

My dad and I left the hospital quickly. He stood in the doorway while I hugged you. I said, "Goodbye, Uncle Tom. I love you." But you didn't hear me. You were gone by then. We rushed past a nurse muttering apologies as she entered your room, stood numb in the slow moving elevator, followed some happy family with a smiling baby out the sliding glass doors into the bright, warm day. Time sped up again. It felt sudden, and jolting.

I hope you heard me when I said "Hi, Uncle Tom" and knew that I meant to say goodbye.
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