Monday, January 30, 2012

Home Again+a whole lot of thoughts

print from this great shop

I'm back from a few days in sunny Arizona and I feel refreshed and happy and ready to conquer the world. After my time leaving Miss A six years ago, I didn't think time away from my kids was for me.  I felt selfish and guilty just thinking about what I (naively) considered totally self-indulgent.  I will be the first to admit that I was wrong!  I had no idea how much good a little sunshine+friend time+delicious food+rest/relaxation could be.  

I'm in the adjustment phase since getting back home and back in the routine.  The husband took wonderful care of everyone while I was gone, and he sent me morning messages with pictures of him+the kids and well wishes for each day.  He almost left me wondering why they really need me considering they did so well without me.  

Those thoughts were semi-confirmed today when de-Man let me know all day long that I'm no fun and dad is super fun.  Salt was rubbed in the wound when I rocked the muffin before his nap this afternoon and he looked up at me, grinned, and said, "I da-da's boy."  Tonight we talked through some of our parenting differences with our kids and reiterated to them that the same things are important to both of us.  I think it's been good for me to reexamine some of my parenting strategies as I try to learn from some of the husband's strengths that the kids were able to experience last week.  I'm sure there will be more thoughts to come as I ponder on being a better mom.  

I haven't had so much down time to just think as I had while traveling.  What a luxury- and something I've determined I must make a little more time for regularly.  I made lists about house projects and menus and groceries and goals and blog ideas.  I'm coming up on the anniversary of Bee.  While I'm happy about where things are, there are many things I'm hoping to accomplish.  

Some of my original goals have been a little lost along the way.  I need to share more of my experiences taking care of my dad.  I'm sure some of you skip those posts, but it's important for me to document the way I grew and changed during that period of my life.  Those posts are extremely difficult for me to write.  They take a long time as the memories start flowing, and I feel the emotional weight of them all over again.  I feel vulnerable sharing those lessons that were so personal and monumental for me and wondering if they resonate with anyone else.  But sharing those stories was one of the reasons I felt compelled to start Bee, and so I will share.  

I've had ideas since before I began last year about learning from others.  I've been too nervous to jump in and launch those ideas, but I think it's time.  I'm refining the direction I want Bee to go.  Feedback is more than welcome.  

At the same time I'm thinking of all the things I want to do here, I'm also thinking about how to cut back on the screen-time in my life.  It's a hard balance, but I think I need to read less and write more.  It's time for another good cut of the blogs in my reader and a more deliberate approach to time management. I'm planning to audition several approaches- the first being computer time only during certain hours during the day.  Feel free to chime in and tell me what works for you. 

So, there you have it.  Home again.  As truly perfect as my trip was, I was ready to come back to all that waited for me.  An incredible husband+sweet kids who put on a welcome home party for me.  Pictures and signs greeted me along with one of the best surprises- my found wedding ring.  After I walked in the door, the husband had to leave for a long night at work, but we ate leftovers from the week and drank smoothies and took baths and enjoyed being together again.  I think a fresh dose of perspective was also healthy- this is exactly where I want to be.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Today

Today

-I woke up extra early and thought we'd finally be to piano on time.  We were still 5 minutes late.
-I went to see my dad for a visit and delivered his newly fixed modem/laptop.  I do a whole lot of tech support for that thing.
-I came home and started the laundry marathon. 8 large loads.  It has consumed the day.
-I spent a lot of time looking for my currently-missing wedding ring.  Pockets have been checked.  Counters have been cleared.  Drawers have been dug through.  Still no signs.
-I cleaned out the fridge and did several runs of the dishwasher.
-I tied up loose ends of things to mail and mail received and sorted through magazines and papers and ended up with a large pile of recycling.
-I cleaned bathroom sinks and toilets but avoided the deep-clean of the bathrooms that really needs done.
-I helped the kids clean up toys and books and clothes and toys and books and toys, and honestly there are still a few out again at the end of the day.
-I ordered pizza because the husband worked late and with all the cleaning of the day, the cooking wasn't happening.
-I tried on maternity capris and started packing.
-I kept myself busy in an attempt to quiet my anxious heart.  I'm leaving tomorrow night for a girl-trip with one of my best friends.  Don't get me wrong, I'm excited.  I've readied my lists for the husband and stocked the freezer full of meals.  I'm looking forward to shopping and warm weather and reading a book uninterrupted and all of those things moms dream about.  The last time I left was when another best friend had a baby and Miss A was one.  I've never left my boys.  I'm just a little blue.  I didn't sleep well last night and let the tears roll thinking about no chubby armed hugs and no endless streams of questions and no morning cuddles for the next few days.  The break will be good.  I'm hoping after I leave I will be just fine and enjoy the chance to recharge my batteries.  But there is a part of me that thinks I'm crazy to leave this busy beautiful mess for a few days.  Tell me I'm not the only one who has a hard time leaving their kids?
 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A long awesome weekend: Part IV

print via etsy
I got a little busy with the husband getting home from a business trip, but I couldn't let another day go by without sharing the excitement from the rest of our long awesome weekend.

Last Friday the husband and I went to the highly anticipated ultrasound.  Everything looks normal and great and right on schedule, and I was also totally surprised to find out it's a GIRL!  Measuring continued while I laid on the table taking it all in.  All of the plans made in my head were suddenly changed since I'd been so sure it was a boy.  It is fun to be surprised, I must say.

We got a bite to eat and then made a trip to a delicious bakery to pick up pink cupcakes to deliver the news to our kids.  We returned to pick them up from time with their cousins and share the news, and Miss A was beyond elated.  Her arms went up in the air with a victorious, "Finally!  A sister!".  The next morning was just as good when she came into my bed grinning, remembering the news of the night before.  The muffin knew all along, and so did the husband.  De-man had to warm up to the idea, but he's getting excited to have a little sister.

Since we received the news, the shopping bug bit.  Luckily, I found some sales too good to pass up.  I've ordered a diaper bag this week.  And crib bedding.  And I can't stop looking at adorable baby girl clothes.  I haven't shopped for baby girl things for 7 years.  I've forgotten how fun it is.  Nesting has started early, and I'm enjoying it.

I'm grateful for this new sweet girl that is growing.  She's pretty mellow, not wanting to be bothered during the ultrasound to move so they could get different angles.  She moves enough to let me know she's there, but not enough to bother me.  I'm hoping this relaxed personality continues once she's in our arms.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A long awesome weekend: Part III

Saturday night the husband headed into work for some mandatory weekend things, and I decided I'd check my email before heading off to bed.  Sitting in my inbox was an email titled "Blendtec Winner."  I opened it to find that out of 3400+ entries, I was somehow the random lucky winner of a Blendtec from Mel of Mel's Kitchen Cafe (you know, that recipe blog I've linked to multiple times because her recipes are in such heavy rotation in my house).  My blender broke over a month ago and I've been waiting to decide what I wanted before buying a new one.  The timing couldn't have been more perfect.  This was a highly unexpected but definitely awesome part of my long awesome weekend.


Yesterday my blender arrived.  We christened it with peach milkshakes.  Mel is my new best friend.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A long awesome weekend: Part II

via etsy


On Monday the boy was thrilled to be sharing his birthday with Dr. King.  I explained that we always celebrate Dr. King on Monday and it may not be his actual birthday, but he insisted they were birthday buddies, and I didn't want to squash his enthusiasm.

The kids both came home from school and preschool the week before with Scholastic News issues related to Martin Luther King Jr., and I was thrilled to have a chance to review them together.  It reminded me of a part of me that I haven't thought about in a while.

What feels like a million years ago (really, it was 9), I wrote my senior thesis for college on Mississippi Freedom Schools, a part of the Civil Rights Movement.  The semester before I took a class on Southern History.  My mom is from the south, and I've always found southern culture fascinating.  My grandparents grew up with black "employees" in their homes.  This fact has been shocking and horrifying to me as I've reflected on it over the years, and recently reading The Help gave me another dose of food for thought regarding my own family history.  But back to college, for a period of 4-6 months I found myself immersed in studies surrounding civil rights.  It was hard to believe the events that I was reading of happened 40 years before, the ideas of suppression felt so archaic it seemed like it should have been hundreds of years ago.

I spent a small fortune to gather primary documents as I contacted a library in Mississippi and had them send me copies of student newspapers written by the black students of the Freedom Schools.  I pored over the documents and cried as I read first hand of little girls who tried to color their skin white, of students who felt ugly and worthless because of their skin, of anger and hopelessness and puzzlement at their mistreatment.  I felt puzzled in the same way- how could this have happened?  I cried as I read of the new hope found by some students as they learned concepts of freedom, foundational to this country, for the first time.  I felt excited for their realizations that maybe these rights could be theirs.

I wrote my paper during a hot summer in our little south-of-campus house made humid by a swamp cooler, and I imagined the oppressive southern heat and humidity experienced during the Freedom Schools.  I tried to think about what my role may have been had I been alive during the civil rights movement.  Would I have lived in my Northern home and avoided the issue, feeling badly but doing nothing?  Would I have been one of those progressive white university students who at great risk traveled to Mississippi to teach in the Freedom Schools?  Would I have been a southern lady, troubled about the "situation with the blacks"?  I'd like to think I would've been a part of the movement, but at the same time things were dangerous and I don't know if I would have had that kind of courage.

When I presented my thesis I cried.  So did several of my classmates who had researched topics from the same era.  Those studies changed me.  They opened my heart to those around me, inspiring me to judge others "not... by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

I reflected on those words on Monday and thought about all of the other ways that judgment creeps into my life.  I may feel comfortable with the color of their skin, but I can list many other differences that make me uncomfortable and wondering how to go about loving others so seemingly different from myself.  An embarrassing admission, but as I reflected on Monday I realized I still have a ways to go with acceptance and love and lack of judgment.  I'm working on it.  I'm not perfect.  I think that process of working on it- of learning to love- was part of Dr. King's dream, too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A long awesome weekend: Part I

This morning I thought about all of the things I couldn't wait to blog about.  It was one of the best weekends on record and documentation was most certainly necessary.  There are at least 4 unrelated ideas that need to be covered, and since you all know I love a list, I almost defaulted to that method of catching up.  But I decided several needed more coverage than a list might allow for, so why not spread them out over the week.  And with that I give you thoughts on a long weekend, part one.  
.....

Yesterday my sweet, spunky, sensitive, and hilarious boy turned 5.  Oh, he keeps me on my toes.  

He asks question after question, but somehow he thinks he has all the answers at the same time.  

He has great amounts of self-confidence until he can't figure something out.  

He is a people person and can never have enough attention from friends or siblings or parents, unless he doesn't want it.  

The minute I think I have him figured out I realize I don't, but that's quite alright.  

The one thing I do know about this boy is how much he needs to feel loved.  My latest trick when he's starting to break down is to get him to come sit with me so I can tell him special little things about him and how much I love him.  Suddenly the moods melt away and he's back to his happy self.  Really, I suppose it's what we all need when things feel hard- a little affirmation and love goes a long way.  I am so grateful for him.  He came just when I needed him and just when Miss A needed him and just when the husband needed him.  His arrival to our family happened at the same time I began to really feel comfortable in my role as a mother, and his baby days are some of my most treasured.  Happy Birthday to, in his words, my best partner.  


Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Weekend!

I fully intend to this weekend- image via pinterest


And just like that it's Friday.

The rest of the week has passed by fairly uneventfully.  The husband has worked long hours leaving us both worn out.  The muffin still has a hacky cough (curse you asthma) despite his return to health, but the sound of him has made me stay in most days.

One day found us on a ten minute trip to Target and I joked with the cashier about my amazing amounts of self-restraint in terms of my budget.  Really it was the fact that I only had ten minutes before I needed to pick up for the preschool carpool.  But I have been a little more budget-minded and am happy to report that if I don't go anywhere, I don't spend money.  Shocking, I'm sure- ha!  In all reality, it's been nice to shop the my freezer and pantry and stay in (and true story- when it's cold, and especially when it's cold and I'm pregnant, I'm a recluse).

I'm getting ready to drink 32 ounces of water and hope this baby cooperates for an evening ultrasound.   Tonight we'll find out if this babe is a boy or a girl.  I'm thinking boy.  Pretty much everyone is hoping girl. The middle of January and the middle of pregnancy can both feel pretty blah so I'm ready for the pick-me-up.  Can't wait to be in the know and begin the planning.

Hope you have happy weekend plans.  The husband will be at work for half of it which is never happy, but no school on Monday coincides quite nicely with a family birthday.  Always good to be found.  Be back soon (or backson- we've been watching a lot of Winnie the Pooh around here lately).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Unexpected

via
One thing we try to do as a family is read our scriptures together daily.  We're far from perfect, but we're always trying.  In August we started a challenge in Primary to read The Book of Mormon by the end of the year.  Because we're far from perfect, we'll finish it this week (and can I admit how sheepish/guilty/lame I feel about that fact since I was the one who organized this challenge?  finishing is always a success, but this one is mixed with a healthy dose of humble pie/fail).  Several families have finished and it's been exciting seeing the kids be so excited about such an accomplishment.   

I remember reading The Book of Mormon for the first time somewhere around age 12.  I made little pink index cards for myself filled with boxes that I colored in on the nights I read.  I had another one for the nights and mornings I prayed.  And I also kept a food journal.  Obviously this being better thing is nothing new, but I'm getting side-tracked.  I was at a rough place in life and found peace in that book.  I became excited as stories unfolded and I learned life lessons from people who lived thousands of years ago.  

Today as I was doing my regular blog reading Courtney's post was totally unexpected and hit me.  Hard.  I have grown to love The Book of Mormon over the years.  I turn to it as an old friend, familiar and comfortable but always teaching me something new.  But the lesson that she pointed out- the power it's given her to make bold decisions, is something I've never connected.  I can second her motion as it has done the same for me.  And when I think about the reasons that we make an effort to read as a family, this is it.  An unexpected blessing that has never occurred to me, but so extremely important- the power to make bold decisions.  If this is part of the legacy that my children get from reading The Book of Mormon, then I have a renewed determination to keep reading. 

I'm excited to finish it together this week.  And then I'm excited to start it all over again.  I had a hard time finding the words I wanted to express on Bee during Jocelyn's Book of Mormon forum several months ago, so I sat on my hands.  But today, with tears on my cheeks, they have come.  I know it's true.  If you want to know, too, let me know.  I'll send you a copy.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy Monday and a recipe

amazing poster from the US Food Administration in 1914 (advice still totally applicable today, almost 100 years later!), reproduction available via etsy

Hope you had a fantastic weekend!  In between taking care of a sick baby, I did a lot of laundry and a whole lot of cooking.  I made pumpkin bars for a funeral, banana muffins to use up the sad bananas on my counter (while I'm still holding out on the purchase of a new blender), applesauce to use up some neglected apples, and a double batch of delicious enchiladas (with more filling in the freezer for another day).  Sunday dinner was a version of "let's pretend it's summer"- pulled pork sandwiches on homemade rolls, cole slaw, veggies and dip, and corn cut off the cob and bagged during last summer's bounty.  I'm slowly making progress on things around the house, but a productive day in the kitchen makes me feel like a rockin' homemaker no matter the messes that abound.  I doubled the roll recipe and the pork so I have another dinner ready and waiting in the freezer in addition to my extra pan of enchiladas, and that, my friends, is satisfaction.

I wanted to share my favorite enchilada recipe.  During one of the dairy-free bouts I've been through with my boys I came across this version for red enchiladas instead of creamy green enchiladas that were already in my cookbook, and I haven't looked back.    When I make dairy-free enchiladas, I just omit the cheese from half the filling and don't top that half of the pan with cheese (obvious, I'm sure, but thought I should clarify).  The original recipe does not call for beans or the peppers or mushrooms, so you can omit those and increase the amount of chicken to 3 cups, but I liked adding the extra fiber and vegetables and no one seemed to notice the difference.  I included my notes in the recipe in italics so you can see how I adapt it for my family.  Enjoy!

Easy Chicken Enchiladas (adapted from "The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook")

2 cups shredded cooked chicken (1 pound)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (can be omitted, but increase amount of chicken to 3 cups)
1 bell pepper, finely chopped (I had a bag of mini red, yellow, and orange and probably used one large of each color) (can be omitted)
6-8 mushrooms, finely chopped (can be omitted)
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups) (I usually cut back to 2 cups of cheese)
2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce (use provided recipe or 20 ounces in the can)
1-2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chiles, drained (I use 1 can)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro (I've made it without this and it's still great, but the husband does love cilantro)
12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas (I use cooked fresh flour tortillas, and I usually use enough for however much filling I make, not always 12)

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to four hundred degrees. Combine the chicken, 2 cups of the cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, the chiles and cilantro. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until warm & pliable (approximately 1 minute). Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean counter. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll the tortilla around the filling, then lay seam-side down in a 9x13" baking dish lightly coated with vegetable oil spray. Lightly spray the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheddar browns, about five minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup of sauce.

Fast Enchilada Sauce (I love this recipe because I always have these ingredients on hand- perfect!)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder (can add up to 3 tablespoons depending on your family's tastes)
3 garlic cloves,minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons sugar
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
Pepper

Heat the oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat until shimmering. add the onion and salt and cook until softened, about five minutes. Stir in the chili powder, garlic, cumin, and sugar. Cook until fragrant, about fifteen seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about five minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Be Better

via this blog via pinterest

What I was hoping for with this week full of goal-related posts was a time for me to sort through some of my ideas/thoughts on the process of improvement.  Self-improvement is a constant work in progress and something I'm always learning more about, tweaking my methods and approach as I work towards desired outcomes.  I hope from it all there is something that has helped you think about being better.

In all of the reading I've done this year, I thought I'd share a few links to some favorite sources of inspiration regarding goals. Feel free to add to the list in the comment section- I'm always looking for a good read.  

Happy weekend, friends!  I need to make a cake for a funeral and work on some little projects around the house (hello laundry room that is buried under piles of...stuff).  Other than that, it's relatively free of plans-delightful!  Hope some work and some play are on your agenda.  

Do Things That Make a Difference by M. Russell Ballard
2012-Let's Make it a Good One by Mara Kofoed of A Blog About Love (My favorite part is her thoughts about going after our goals, but not because we're not good enough- something I've tried to figure out a million times how to put into words, so thank you, Mara!)
I Resolve. by Natalie Norton (great thoughts on doing what we know- I love this concept)
I Am But a Lad by Neal A. Maxwell (love the quote, "Trust the Lord to lead you from what you are to what you have the power to become.")
A new year. New goals. New Habits by Molly of My Favorite Things (especially love the part at the end about "if I accomplish only one thing this year...")
New Years Resolutions by Sarah at Clover Lane (fantastic post, especially the part where she shares her thoughts on her duty to God to become better- I agree a million times!)
Making a New List for a New Year by Lovely Lindsay at run lucan run (this is a fantastic printable New Years kit)
Our 2012 Family Theme by Lindsey Redfern of The R House (her theme is beautiful, and this talk she linked to is equally amazing)
Remember Lot's Wife by Jeffrey R. Holland (thoughts on looking forward and embracing the future.  this link will take you to a place where you can download the pdf or mp3 or other media types)
In With the New by Natalie of Nat the Fat Rat (I pretty much completely echo her sentiments.  Beautiful wishes for the new year)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Elsewhere



I am guest posting today over at All that is Sweet in Life.  My topic?  The New Year, of course.  Back tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Difference

via this talented designer via pinterest
This year is a year full of milestones. During the summer within less than a two month time frame we'll welcome our 4th baby, I'll turn 30, and then the husband and I will celebrate 10 years of marriage.  Thinking about what the summer holds I feel excited and giddy and satisfied all rolled into one.  I recognize that although my life is far from perfect, it is blessed.  

I think all of these upcoming celebrations are part of why I've had so many thoughts about goals this year.  A decade birthday brings out the contemplation and has made me think about what I've actually accomplished in the past 30 years.  Am I who I want to be?  Am I working to improve?  Am I doing what matters? 

I've been doing a lot of reading about goals and self-improvement and change (maybe I'll share a few of my favorites while we're on the subject this week), and I haven't been able to close one of the tabs on my web browser for a talk entitled "Do Things That Make a Difference".  While the content is inspiring, the title is what really draws me in.  I'm pretty sure I need a poster so I can have this constant reminder.  Staring down the barrel of 30 and 10 years and my 4th child, that is really all I want to do- to do things that make a difference.

I want to raise my children in an intentional and dedicated way that will make a difference in their lives.  I want to know them personally and give them what they need individually to grow and develop and thrive.  I want to love my husband in a way that fills him with contentment and confidence.  I want us to spend our time together growing and learning and having fun.  I want to care for him in a way that makes a difference.  I want to be mindful of caring for myself, both body and spirit, and I don't want to feel guilty in doing so.  I want to continue to improve and change and evolve and choose goals that will make a difference in who I become.  I want to spend my time in ways that are meaningful- ways that will make a difference.  I want to create a home- a place of peace and happiness and laughter and joy for family and friends to be.  I want to reach out to those around me and to lift and strengthen and love.  I want to be a good friend.  I want to be a disciple and I want my life to be a reflection of my desire to follow my Savior.  I want to keep writing and tell my story and share my lessons learned, even for an audience of one- myself.  I want my words to someday make a difference for my children.  

As I've gotten older I've realized what a difference a year can make.  This year has many things on the calendar poised to make it incredible, and I can't wait!  Although I am grateful and content with where things are right now, I hope by the end of it I can say that I am different, that a few more of my rough edges have become smooth and that I have changed for the better.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

For the goal-setters: your current successes

via


As I've been thinking about goal-setting this year I've thought about the variety of people in all walks of life who take time at the new year to set goals.  To me it's a combination of humbling and inspiring to think of people across the world making changes and deciding to improve. Although our circumstances and our goals are sure to be vastly different, I realized that the one thing that unites goal-setters everywhere is faith.

 Every person who sets a goal has to have at least a drop of faith that they can accomplish it.  Every person who sets a goal has at least an ounce of self-esteem to believe in the capacity they have to achieve.  Every person who sets a goal has hope for their future- hope that things can change and improve and be better.  Every person who set a goal has a desire for good things.  

I don't think we often look at the things we already have going for us when goal-setting, and instead just hope for the self-discipline to finish what we've started.  But faith, hope, self-esteem, desire- those are some pretty fantastic attributes you already possess that are sure to help you in accomplishing what you set out to do.  

Goals may seem overwhelming as we think "who am I to... run a marathon, learn to sew, lose x pounds, make dinner every night, get organized, take care of myself, follow a budget, and on and on."  We can easily name our past failures in those areas and become overwhelmed at the thought of trying to tackle those challenging tasks once again. We hold ourselves back. 

I think for all of us it would be much more empowering to realize the positive qualities we have that inspired us to set goals in the first place.  I'm pretty sure we'd all make it a lot further if we focused on those things instead of past shortcomings.  I suppose I can add "focusing on the good" to my to-do list as I set out with my goals this year.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

Thoughts on Goals

via pinterest via flickr

This year I'm taking a different approach to resolutions.  Instead of spouting off all the things I'd like to accomplish, I've thought about what I want to be and how I want to feel this year.  Narrowing it down to three areas, I've been working backwards to determine the goals I need to set to help me cultivate those attributes and feelings.  I feel like I've been a lot more purposeful in setting my goals this year, now I'm just hoping that I can achieve them!

One of the things on my list is to feel more calm this year.  I frequently find myself quickly (and usually impatiently/unkindly/stressfully) reacting to situations instead of taking time to process and choosing my response.  This is particularly the case as a mom.  It's become second nature to get upset about something instead of calmly approaching the situation.  I've spent time pondering how I can feel a greater sense of calm.  I'm hoping to implement pausing before I react, thinking before I speak, and really making a choice instead of just instantly responding in an inappropriate way.

Another dimension of feeling more calm comes in more careful planning.  The first thing I thought of was the craziness that comes after school.  Those hours are such a crucial time of the day and by nature not necessarily a calm time of the day.  A lack of planning on my part regarding dinner or preparations for evening activities or a million other things can suddenly magnify the chaos that comes during those witching hours.  I've even found that planning ahead in terms of me feeling prepared to meet everyone's needs patiently can make a huge difference.  Sometimes that means letting myself have a quick nap in the afternoon or a few minutes to talk to a friend or put my feet up, but I need something to provide me with a little down time before I'm ready to take on everyone else's needs, or I'm just as tired and cranky as the kids.

I'm the first to admit that I get wound a little tight and operate at go-go-go pace a lot of the time.  Part of becoming more calm is going to involve major changes in the way I operate!  I'm looking forward to all of the facets that come with this one area I'm working on, and if I can add more calm in just one of these areas I'll count it a success!

I'll be back tomorrow with more to share.  Hope your goal-setting is going well!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

2012 best wishes, illustration by Ale Paul from Sudtipos, found via pinterest

Ringing in 2012 wasn't exactly star-studded.  A quick recap would include Chinese take-out, a few stray appetizers, time with family, and a lot of time spent getting ready for Sunday thanks to a Saturday New Years' Eve.  Despite the lack of "glamour" I feel perfectly content, and particularly excited for what the new year holds.
You know that the process of becoming better makes me downright giddy.  I love the journey of improving and the desire to change.  Those facts make the new year an exciting time for me.  I'll be back all week with thoughts on goals and resolutions and being better, and I hope we can all feel inspired to get off to a great start in 2012.  Hope you'll join me!