Gratitude

gratitudeEvery year I pick or word, or rather a word picks me, that I focus on throughout the year.  This year the word that has stood out to me the most that I am going to intentionally focus on is gratitude.  There is always something to be thankful for and I plan to start each day this year stating 3 things I am grateful for.

I genuinely hope I can start blogging more. I’ve missed this little space so much.  There is a ton going on in my life right now and I just haven’t made the time to sit down and write down my thoughts, but I’m hoping 2017 can be a year for more of this!

A Surprising Day

This past weekend wasn’t BAD, coming off of a fabulous long weekend it was a little lack luster, but not bad. But it FELT bad, mostly because my attitude was bad.  I snapped at my kids way more than usual, I was negative about pretty much everything and I was a real blast to live with (dripping with sarcasm).  At one point on Sunday Andrew nicely told me I needed to go somewhere, so I found myself at the grocery store…. yeah I really know how to have fun.  So I went to bed Sunday night with a huge amount of dread for Monday.  I did not know how I was going to get through an entire week with the kids, and then Monday came and it was one of the best days I’ve had with my kids in awhile (besides our long weekend as a whole family).

Here are some of the highlights:  Ellery had her first swim lesson.  She loved it and did AMAZING. It blew my mind because she won’t leave the steps for us most of the time and when we left the lesson she said about the teacher, “she didn’t even let go of me so I could swim.”  I also met a mom there that lives really close to us and has girls close to our kids ages!

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When we got home the girls wanted to have a picnic lunch while watching a show.  While they did that I did a quick facebook check and found someone giving away a rug for free.  It has a few stains on it, but I was looking for something for under my dining table (so it’s going to get stained anyway) and it happened to MATCH my room.  The thing to know about this facebook page is if you don’t see something in the first 3 minutes you likely will not be getting it, after I commented that I wanted it 10 people commented that they wanted it if I didn’t take it.  This person happened to live super close so I threw the girls in the van and I went to pick it up.  I mean a FREE rug that matches like this (felt like a God thing to me)…..

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Then the day continued to be great.  I checked my e-mail and had a referral from a friend in one of my challenge groups and so I have a new beachbody client that I get to coach and help them in their health and fitness journey, that was an exciting surprise for the day!  Speaking of healthy I had an avocado sitting on my kitchen counter and when I cut it open it was GORGEOUS, that pretty much never happens for me.  So I whipped up some avocado chicken salad.

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The girls got along quite well and I was able to get my work done for the day (I’ve had some major work issues due to a very messed up computer).  The girls played nicely, had two picnics and sweetly worked together to “do Andrew’s hair” (check out Ellery’s hat).

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We ended the night trying out the new ice cream place in town.  The appeal for me at this place is they have coconut milk ice cream (I can’t stomach dairy ice cream anymore).  They make it fresh right in front of you, and it’s a fun experience, we’ll go there pretty sparingly at $6 a scoop, but for a once in a while treat it’s great!

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It was a surprisingly good day.  Somehow I kicked the funk I was in over the weekend and we are determined to have a great week.  I have been listening to some audios and one of them said to be motivated by gratitude.  I HAVE to start being more in tune with what I’m grateful for and less focused on what isn’t going my way!!

Trade Offs

The first time we lived in Austin I dreamed about how much I wanted to raise our kids in the midwest.  It’s what I knew and I had a really great childhood with wonderful memories and the backdrop was mostly central Illinois.  I wanted my kids to know what it was like to wake up in the morning to the thrill of a snow day, to have white Christmases and go sledding.  I wanted them to breathe the crisp autumn air and stare in wonder at the leaves changing colors.  Hot summer days and cool summer nights, small towns with festivals in the summer and bonfires, lots of bonfires. I wanted a lot of things, I had a lot of dreams about what things would look like, and had NO intention of raising my kids in the Texas heat with cockroaches the size of your thumb and the threat of rattlesnakes daily…..

But here we are.  And it’s also good. It’s different, but it’s good in it’s own way, there are trade offs.  My kids are growing up with a very different childhood and I’m embracing it and it’s a pretty sweet life. Yesterday my brother called me out of the blue and asked what time we could be at the boat.  We spent the next 6 hours on the water.  For my kids boating is really normal.  Swimming in the lake, wind in their hair and sun kissed cheeks is just part of our week, many weeks.  The park we picnic at down the street is on the water, and the views of the hill country are very much different than the flatlands I grew up in.  As my kids get older I’m sure we will begin to take advantage of all Austin has to offer, festivals, live music, etc…. the list will be long!  My kids will have a very different backdrop for their childhood memories and I think that’s a good thing.  I don’t need to give them my childhood, that ones already been lived, now they get to have their own and I get to make wonderful memories right where we’re at.  I’m done wishing things to be different and instead I’m embracing that there are trade offs and both places are good.

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What If We Gave Up Jealousy?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.  What would happen if we gave up jealousy?  I’ve been there, hundreds of times or more, and it’s not a great feeling.  I honestly HATE feeling jealous because to me that’s admitting I’m not content and that is a very unsettling thing for me.  Every day I strive for contentment, and jealousy says “come on. don’t you wish you…..”  I don’t know if it’s even POSSIBLE to give up jealousy, but I do think it’s possible to trade it for a different feeling.  What if we stopped being jealous and started being INSPIRED?

Now I want you to stop for a second and think about someone you are jealous of?  Do you have that person in mind?  Ok, now what is it about them that you wish you had?  Is it their figure, their wardrobe, their job, their home, their marriage, their kids, their talent, their eternally positive attitude, their vacations, their car, their FILL IN THE BLANK?  Do you have that figured out, pinpoint it, write it down, and now let’s get to work.

Ok, let me first say I’m aware you can’t make just ANYTHING you want happen with the snap of a finger.  You can’t always have what someone else has.  If I wanted a million dollars I can tell you right now I can’t make that money by tomorrow.  What I can do though, right now, is change my attitude about it, and it doesn’t cost me one single cent.  Jealous of someone’s wardrobe?  Look at how they put outfits together, be inspired and go through your closet and put together some outfits that you feel great in.  Their home?  Look at how they’ve created a space that you love and be inspired.  Spend some time tidying up your own space, rearranging furniture, deep cleaning it for a fresh feel, organizing your stuff and creating a space that you love to be in.  Their vacations?  This one has been a big struggle for me over the years, the funds have just never been their for us to do this, so I’m inspired by people being able to save and vacation and we figured out a way to take our family of 4 to Florida this summer for a few days.  Instead of dwelling on the fact that they get to do something that I don’t I decided to be inspired by them and take steps to get to where we wanted to go.  I encourage you to brainstorm ideas about how you can go from jealous to inspired and make a positive change in your life from looking at other people’s accomplishments!

The one I struggled with for THE LONGEST time was other women’s figures.  I spent so much time looking at other people and being SO JEALOUS of how they looked.  A good friend of mine posted the other day about her weight loss journey of dropping 50 pounds, getting healthy and working out.  Do you know how people responded to that post?  “I’m so jealous.”  I then just felt sad, one because I used to be there, and two because I want them to BE INSPIRED by her efforts and believe in themselves enough to know they can do it to.

What an uplifting life we could live if we started taking people’s accomplishments and being inspired by them instead of the secret jealousy that eats at you when someone has something you don’t.

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In The Midst of All the Good

When I was originally writing this post in my head the title was In the Midst of All the Bad.  I was going to tell you about all the crappy things going on in my life and how I’ve had a few really positive things happen in the last few days and then I realized it has completely been the reverse.

Just this week: Andrew and I got away for 48 hours while my parent’s watched Ellery and celebrated 6 years of marriage, I had an OB appointment that indicated that everything was great with me and Vaughn, I found a substantial amount of money on the floor of a bathroom…..did everything I could to find the owner and have now taken it as a blessing gift and plan to use it to bless other people.  We transitioned Ellery to her new room and new bed and so far so good, she slept through the night last night and went down for nap without a fight today.  I got to spend several days with our nephew from Austin and got to spend time with both of my brothers.  Ellery’s second week of Wednesday morning daycare was just as great as the first week, she’s loving it and I’m getting tons done during my 4 hours of solitude.  Ellery and I had fun at the zoo this morning eating a picnic lunch and enjoying the Australian Walk About exhibit for the first time.  We got an unexpected gas giftcard in the mail today which will really help us out during a month where we’ve had to drive and will have to drive quite a bit.  And last, but certainly not least, my grandpa had a valve replacement this morning and is doing well.

And in the midst of all this good we found out that last year when we bought our “new” used car, the car dealer sold us a complete lemon and in one year we lost just about $10,000.  Which for some people isn’t a lot of money, but for us, well it’s quite a bit.  This evening we are biting the bullet and becoming VAN people, which I think in the long run we will really enjoy, but in the short run it’s been a tough couple weeks of processing losing that much money and committing to spending a lot when we finally felt like we had a good grasp on our finances and we were getting out of debt.  Every cloud has a silver lining though and it will be so nice to have a van when family comes to visit and when we go to visit family and drive the 18 hours each way.  And this soon to be mom of two is going to be rolling in a Swagger Wagon so I can’t really complain.

Join Me?

First of all I want to say hello to all the people checking me out from yesterday, who knew my Babywise post would attract so many readers? I sure didn’t! This post has absolutely nothing to do with Babywise, if you are new around here you should know this blog has no real theme, it’s just a lifestyle blog where I talk about whatever I want, I honestly rarely talk about motherhood.

Which brings me to my post today. I’ve been reading 1,000 Gifts. Not sure if you’ve heard of it, but this lady challenges herself to write down 1,000 things that are gifts from God. A couple examples are soap suds in the sink and curls of cheese to make Mac and cheese. Just stuff in her day that she realizes are simple gifts that bring her joy. I personally think this is a hard read. Partly it’s because I read it aloud to Elle and her writing is really not conversational, my mom’s says it’s hard to read because she’s Canadian, I don’t really know. It has really made me start seeing things in my life as gifts and I thought it would be fun to catalog them using Instagram in 2013. Would you join me? If you want to, please comment below so I can follow you and/or when posting them use the hash tag #2013gifts starting January 1st. I am going to try to make this a daily thing, but to minimize feelings of failure I want to encourage myself and you to just post whenever it strikes you!

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Thanks Big Poppa

Sometimes people get tripped up with God being called a father, especially if they had a crappy dad. I was fortunate to be blessed with a great dad who would do anything for me. So when I want something and it’s provided for me I can easily attribute this to God being my dad who wanted to gift me something. Two weekends ago Andrew and I worked on Ellery’s closet as well as the guest bedroom closet. We realized we have way too much stuff to fit into the closets and I decided on Sunday I would begin the search for a cheap armoire that I could paint and put in the guest room for additional storage. I figured between Craigslist and garage sales I could find something. My search had not even begun when God gave me a spectacular armoire and guess what I had to pay for it? NOTHING!! Yeah it was a free gift from my big poppa. Now some of you might be wondering what the practical story is behind this gift so here it is:

Last Tuesday I walked into the house I work at and the first thing the dad asks me is if I would have any interest in an armoire. They were looking to get rid of one and he was willing to not only give it to me for free, but to deliver it to my house with his truck. I was pretty blown away that within 2 days of deciding I wanted one I was given a free one delivered to my house. It’s really nice and soon it will be getting a facelift, it really does have to perfect bones and it’s a great size for the space. So here it is, I’m like a kid at Christmas with this thing!

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Because I don’t want a 20 Minute Video

This week I have a lot to share with you for my Thursday latelies and because I know that no one besides my mother would watch a 20 minute video of me blabbing about how great my week was I will share a couple of my happy things in a post today.

Saturday was a fantastic day.  So I’ll share my joy from just that day and save the rest for tomorrow.

1.  OUR COUCH ARRIVED.  Finally the long awaited “final” piece of furniture arrived on Saturday and it fits so much better in the room than you would expect.  We thought it would be majorly tight quarters, but there is ample walking space around the perimeter.  We only had time to sit on it for about 10 minutes on Saturday, but we were so happy to have this massive comfy sectional.

2.  JENNA IS COMING.  Yeah can you even believe it?  She surprised me by deciding to come to Austin in January.  Saturday she booked a ticket and sent me the itinerary.  Her flights could not be timed any more perfectly with my work schedule.  We will have maximum hang out time and I’m really looking forward to it!  Now I need to decide when I can fly to Denver to see her new stomping grounds.

3.  BAKING.  A couple friends came over Saturday night and baked Christmas goodies until almost one in the morning.  It was a lot of fun and it was really the first time I baked this Christmas season.  We are having a baking extravaganza on Sunday with my family…should be fun and tasty!

4.  FACETIME.  Thank you apple.  My BFF Steph got a new fantastic toy for her early Christmas and she “called me” from her IPAD.  We both have Iphones, but Facetime from the IPAD is way nicer because it shows you a lot more in the room and you feel more like you are sitting across from the person.  Sorry my phone shows such a little strange image of my face 🙂  I miss you dearly friend!

I wish I had a 5th, I really like to round things out, but that’ll have to do for now.  Be sure to check back tomorrow and see the full list of things that are making me smile this week.

Thank you DST

I am so appreciative of Daylight Saving Time!  I have been wanting to get up earlier and go to bed earlier, but I’ve struggled to be able to fall asleep and I really have struggled to get up!  Then we fell back and TADA I am now totally on the schedule I want to be on.  I am now (well for the last 2 days) wide awake at 6:30 and fast asleep by 10:30.  Before work this morning here is the task list I completed:

– Handwashed the pots and pans

– Ran the dishwasher

-Made a grocery list so I could go straight to the grocery store after work

– Sorted the laundry so I could finish it after getting fabric softener at the grocery store

– Hung all of Andrew’s dress shirts to dry

– Made the bed (not too unusual)

– Read 2 chapters in our small group book

– Packed my lunch (ok that isn’t unusual)

– Pulled things out of my closet and put in donation bag

– Cleaned the kitchen sink

– Took down the wall clock and changed the time

AND perhaps my favorite thing…I actually saw Andrew for a half hour before he left for work and I got to hug him and smooch him more than once!  I really hope I can keep this up, I feel so productive!!