little things

Savvy Tips and tricks learned along the way...

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Things, Life, What-not

On the schoolbus:

"Howz it going!?", Ted sits down right beside Samantha.

"How's what going?" Samantha, clearly annoyed by this total nerd.

"You know, things... life... what-not...." He continues to play it cool, even though he has no chance.

"Life is not what-not, and it's also none of your business." Sorry Ted, better luck next time.

- Sixteen Candles

Hyacinths for the Soul

"If thou of fortune be bereft,
and in thy store there be but left
two loaves, sell one, and with the dole,
buy hyacinths to feed thy soul."

- John Greenleaf Whittier

I get this feeling every now and then when things are quiet. Sometimes when I have time to do yoga in the morning. This feeling like what is it all for? What is the purpose of all of this? I begin to think over my past, remembering things that have shaped who I am. I think of the what-ifs and the if-onlies. I try to think about what I may be really feeling. Am I anxious about something? Is there something specific that is bothering me? Fear of what might happen in the future?

Being a mom of two kids, especially an older mom. I feel like all the hopes and dreams of my youth are gone. What about those dreams of being a singer/songwriter? Those dreams of being an artist? Or having an exciting career? Now, like other moms I have spoken to, I wake up, care for the kids all day, cook, clean, and go to sleep. Then I wake up the next morning and do the same thing over again. What is there to look forward to?

I try to realign myself with my place in life. I am a mom, so this is my place in life right now. All moms have to do it, so why can't I just grin and bare it?

One of my mom friends started to do life coaching, now that her kids are in full-time school. She told me that moms are people too, and they have to continue to try to fulfill their dreams. What do you really want to do, besides be a mom? What do you want to do with yourself while your kids are in school, and especially after your kids leave the home?

She's right. Being a mom is part of who I am, but I won't always have small children to look after. At some point they will grow up and no longer need me to take care of them. Although, I do wonder if I'll be one of those moms that houses their kids until well into their 30s, or until they get married. And even after that, I could see myself as one of those grandmas that spends her whole day taking care of her grandkids, in-between quilting and knitting.

Throughout my life, I have tried various careers but never really found myself in any one of them. A good friend asked me what I truly wanted to do in life. I thought about it deeply. What kind of daily routine would I want? What situation could I see myself comfortably settling into? I heard myself say, "I want to be a stay-at-home mom". That surprised both my friend and me. Both of us saw me as a smart and ambitious woman who wanted to rise to the highest career I could possibly attain. But maybe that was it. Maybe that has always been it. Maybe, all my life, being a stay-at-home mom is what I've truly needed to be all that I can be.

I'm getting this vision of a Skippyjon Jones book, right now. "I am a great sword fighter. I am a deep-sea diver. I am a dinosaur tamer with a loud bark-ito." I think being a stay-at-home mom is kind of like that. I can be anything and everything I've ever dreamed of being. I can be a singer, a dancer, a teacher, a musician, a scientist, an artist, a housekeeper, an accountant, and more! I just have to do it all with my kids. And I love doing it all with them. I know that every talent I have, I can share with them.

But yeah, it gets overwhelming at times. As would any other job, where you have to constantly be on your toes. I over-exert myself sometimes in anything I do. And I think I just really need to step back sometimes and slow down. It's hard to take time off when there is so much to do. And work just piles up when you don't do it. But every Saturday, my husband encourages me to go out, drive around, go hiking or shopping, and just take some time out from my work. I have been doing this for a while, and it has been great hyacinths for my soul. I do still find it hard to not do errands or grocery shopping during this time. And I do sometimes regret not taking my kids to some fun Saturday activities. But this is the day that works best for our family for me to take some time out.

I think of the Ecclesiastes quote from the bible. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens". Sometimes it takes self-discipline to do what you must when the time comes. The early morning is for working out, the mid-morning for homeschool, the afternoon for the kids play and physical activity, etc. Saturday is a time for taking a break, even if I have a ton of other things that need to be done.

New Year's Resolutions


Drinking more water

I didn't formally plan my new year's resolutions this time. Of course, I want to keep my weight down, eat healthier, etc. But I somehow did find myself making some changes this January. For one, I am drinking more water. This winter has been brutal on my skin. I have tried everything to get hydrated. I normally don't like to drink water in the winter because I'm so cold all the time, and I think of water as something to cool you down. But alas, I have begun filling my water bottle with hot water (mixed with a little cold water). And I've been successful at getting through quite a few of those each day. It has helped a lot with hydration in my skin, scalp (i.e. less hair fall-out), mental concentration, decreasing stress, and more. My Zojirushi water boiler makes it easy to have the hot water readily available all day long.

Working out

For Christmas, I put a really cute small alarm clock on my wishlist. Every night I plan to wake up early the next morning, before the kids, and work out. However, in the winter, in the Pacific Northwest, the sun doesn't rise until like 8 o'clock. So, I don't realize it's morning until it's too late to work out. 6am is my ideal time. That would give me enough time to work out, eat breakfast, and shower. I tried using my phone as an alarm clock. And, for some reason, I've found that sleeping with my phone next to my head causes a lot of hair fall out! (I've been blaming cell phones for hair fall-out since I first got one.) I got a bunch of nice Christmas presents, but not an alarm clock. So I've had to rely on my body clock, mentally telling myself the night before to wake up at 6am. And lo and behold, it has mostly worked. And I am happy to start off the new year with regular morning workouts!

There have been a few other good changes I've made this month, but the water and the workouts are my most proud endeavors. I just hope to keep them up!

What I end up doing


What I should do

What I need to do

What I want to do

What I actually end up doing

I woke up this morning with a ton of things running through my mind. Things that need to get done, like laundry, putting things away, going to the grocery store. Then a secondary wave of ideas went through my head. Things I really should do in order to feel like I am a good mom. I really should be doing some of those arts and craft kits with the kids, or playing with them with their new Christmas toys. Oh, and taking them out to the park.

Already overwhelmed with all these thoughts, I realized that there are things that I would like to do for myself. Because I am a person aside from being a cleaning, cooking, and care-taking machine. I would like to get my hair cut and my nails done.

But alas, as I place the last roll of toilet paper on the holder, I know what I have to do today. The grocery store can wait no longer. We are running out of everything. And second to that would be laundry because last night, I used my last set of clean pajamas.

But first things first, I must whip up a batch of those Krusteaz blueberry muffins. I've had a couple of boxes sitting in my pantry waiting for the right moment to steal the show. And today is the day. There is nothing like freshly baked blueberry muffins on a heavily weighed down morning.

I quickly line the muffin pan with paper baking cups, dump the eggs, oil, water, and muffin mix into a bowl. Give it a few swirls and gently "fold" in the blueberries. I fill the muffin cups, and into the oven they go. About 5 minutes of prep time is no skin off my back.

16 minutes later...

I pull the muffins out of the oven, and get a waft of the warm smell of sweet vanilla sponge and blueberries. Oh, this is almost enough to makeup for all the stressful thoughts this morning.

After letting them set for a few minutes, I go for it. I cut a muffin open and butter it. Yes, I think I do deserve butter this morning. I bite through the perfect golden brown crust on top and into the fluffy sponge in the middle. It's still a little hot, but the burst of blueberry comes through along with a burst of serotonin. This was it, the antidote to my worried state of mind. I suddenly forget about my whole to-do list as I get up to butter another muffin.

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