Wednesday, August 23, 2017

An August Blogging Challenge Almost-Fail

You guys. I don't have a blog post to share today! Ah! But remember the August blogging challenge?! I can't miss a weekday! So here I am, getting this out before I head to sleep and I'm boldly NOT going to share a photo with this random post (it feels wrong not to, but whatever)--

1. I have felt oddly tired all day long. I had to force myself to get out of bed, force myself to the gym, and of course now it's almost 10pm and I'm still up. WHY! Does anyone else do this?! I need to get my bedtime in check. It's such a missing piece of my self-care that I really have to work on.

2. Today we moved Henry into a queen bed. I'll share more when I do a little room tour, but I have to say- I never had anything but a twin until I was about 20 years old so it does feel very premature to me! But each of the kids have their own bedroom and I have my office, so we needed a guest type room for my parents. So now with this bed in Henry's room, my parents or Lauren and Lucy can be in there, and the boys can have a sleepover in Charlie's room whenever we need it. Double duty.

3. I have a post coming up about this, but I've been counting my macros daily for over 60 days! That's shocking to me. Whenever I've tried to do anything food related I last about half a day and then I have thoughts like, "I can't live like this! I'd rather NOT eat this way and remain exactly how I am than deprive myself." Also- "life is too short for this!" And then I stop whatever "plan" I'm on. With macros though it's so easy for me and the results are fantastic. I can't wait to talk more about it...maybe next week?!

4. I posted a little Boomerang to IG tonight and asked about starting Game of Thrones! The response was YES YES YES! So I'm thinking we need to get on that train. I was worried it would be too much to catch up on, but maybe we waited long enough so now we can just plow through it. I'm excited to potentially have a new show to watch.

5. Olivia Wilde's IG post today. I'll just leave that there.

Okay, that took exactly five minutes to type out and I'm glad I did it. I have not failed you, August!

xoxo

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Let's Talk Podcasts.


Podcasts have slowly been replacing music for me anytime I have a good chunk of time I want to pass, when I'm not at the gym. It takes me 20 minutes each way to get to the boys' school, and between pick ups and drop offs, school board meetings, upcoming sports, I find myself driving more and more. And podcasts make it so much more fun! I wanted to share some I'm loving, and some I want to try soon. Let me know if you've listened to these too!

Three I'm currently loving:

Spirits
I LOVE this weird podcast. All about everything weird, from cults, legends, super strange internet stuff, myths, etc. all alongside some good drinks. It's just a really fun and smart podcast to listen to- it's incredibly random and always entertaining.

The Bitch Bible
This one satisfies my want to discuss all things reality television and things that don't really matter at all. It's a very fun, fluffy listen (a recent episode had Heidi and Spencer Pratt on it), although I have a friend who doesn't like this podcast at all. Like at all! But I say, different strokes. I think Jackie is hilarious and always seems to bring up things I've been thinking about anyway.

Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People
It's exactly what it sounds like- the host shares stories from random people. Each episode consists of one phone/one hour, and there are no rules. It's random, real, and you never know what you're going to get. A very interesting listen.

Three on my radar, with their summaries:

Tiny Leaps, Big Changes
Tiny Leaps, Big Changes is a self-help, wellness, motivation, and inspirational podcast about the day-to-day behaviors we all engage in that determine the results we gain in our lives.

Ear Hustle
Ear Hustle brings you the stories of life inside prison, shared and produced by those living it.

Call Your Girlfriend
Call Your Girlfriend is a podcast for long-distance besties everywhere, hosted by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman and produced by Gina Delvac. Every other week, eavesdrop as Aminatou and Ann call each other to discuss the intricacies of pop culture and the latest in politics.

Those are sound great, right? What are you listening to these days? Any suggestions?

xo

Monday, August 21, 2017

Kids & Screen Time


I've talked about technology and kids a few times here and there, but nothing too in depth. I have very strong opinions about it, but so does everyone else, and I feel like it's one of those touchy subjects that parents fall on one side or the other about. In our home the boys do minimal screen time on devices. Years ago we used to do apps on our phone with Henry (Peekaboo Barn, ABC games), but as time went on we completely stopped that. For us we have learned that very little screen time works best and it's what we've been doing for many years. When we have tried to do let's say, 15 minutes of earned iPad time in the afternoon, the boys' attitudes take a turn for the worse. So we just don't do it. And because we don't, they don't ask for it...so it's a complete non-issue. I know most kids probably have no problem playing on the iPad regularly, but it doesn't work for us. Television would be the only real screen time they get, and we use it as a reward- they can earn say, one episode of Paw Patrol for doing a great job a few days in a row. Nick Jr. is a BIG motivator in our home.

Obviously Hank and I are super plugged in for work and play (hello, I love television!), but that's a huge reason we limit it for them- we see how important it is for us to be AWAY from all of it. And it's good inspiration for us to try and be as device-free as we can around them too, so it's not a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of thing. It's definitely something I'm always working on.

However I'm getting to the point now where I realize that there needs to be more of a balance. I've been using a learning site/app with them thanks to a post series (more on that next month) and it's been nice to have an hour or two a week where I feel like the boys are "practicing" using the computer and technology. I obviously really love tech stuff and being online, but I also love completely unplugging and enjoying everything non-tech. I feel like I've definitely struck a good balance with it, and I know that is something I hope my kids have too. Technology and screens are inevitable- computers are amazing and such wonderful learning tools, and as they get older it will all only become more prevalent in their education. AND not to mention I don't want to make something seem "bad" or off limits that one day they'll swing to the other side and end up living in a dark basement playing video games for days on end, never going outside. Ah! That's not to say either boy wouldn't happily sit on an iPad and play games if you offered it to them, but so far we are doing really well in giving them opportunities to make choices for themselves and talking a lot about how screen time makes them feel, and why we choose to spend our time in other ways. Because it's not a part of our lives it rarely comes up, but I know as they get older it will most likely start to. I mean, Henry is turning 7 and many of his 9-year old friends already have phones, which is a whole different thing to deal with once we're there.

So I wanted to ask all of you- how do you work screen time/technology in with your kids? I would sincerely love to hear all about your experiences about how you strike a balance, which is something I'm still working on. How does it work for your family? Are you low to no-tech with your kids? Or the opposite? What is best for you and yours? I can't wait to hear! And as always, NO JUDGEMENT! We all are just doing what is best for our own families. Neither way is better or worse. Lots of love.

xoxo

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Weekend Links


Friday just hasn't been happening for me, so here are some links on another Sunday evening. Enjoy!

xoxo

How delicious does that Lemon Cheesecake Tart look? See the recipe here.

Is America headed for a new kind of civil war?

The brands actually behind Trader Joe's snacks.

Have you seen all of the new Transport Totes for Fall? I'm loving the blush one the best.

Would you rather...?

That clutter in your home used to be money.

Surprising truths
 about millennial parents.

Dirt is good.

Four very big "little things."

Some Madewell mules are at the top of my wishlist.

Interesting article about finding a uniform.

I've gotten so many questions on my Apple Watch- here's the one I have, in rose gold.

Loving all of these nails- I don't paint my nails much anymore but those burgundy matte/striped ones are calling my name.

Check out this site to find out what time the eclipse is best viewed where you live.

And speaking of the eclipse, read this.

If you were a teen in the late 90s, this is for you.

Some new pretty things for Fall. And some super cute pajamas. I have a pair in black and love them.

These braids are so pretty!

Wishlist: these gold-buckled sandals, these clogs, one of these circle bags, and this dress.

7 morning rituals for busy people.

Freelance Achievement Stickers. So good.

Interesting: a robot that fills your home with natural light.

Indifference and inaction are complicity.

And finally, good news to make you feel GOOD.

Have a wonderful week ahead!

xoxo

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Dinnertime Struggle- How Do You Hero?



This post is sponsored by Revolution Foods.
Be sure to enter to win a month’s supply of breakfasts, lunch, and dinners here.

I feel like everything in my life is on a scale. Very rarely does it all balance out, but when it does the angels sing, I swear. It kind of goes like this- very on top of this blog, very on top of working out, very good about getting out everyday after school...BUT then...not so good about having a home cooked dinner on the table every night, not so good about getting to bed on time because I stay up way too late trying to grab some "me time" once everyone is down. These are all interchangeable but it's VERY rare that all things are perfectly managed at once. Something's got to give, right? And lately it's been the dinnertime thing. By the time we do school pickup, I entertain Olive, get the boys snacking, start homework, it's often easier to just grab quick stuff and do a smorgasbord type meal. That's fine for some days, but chicken nuggets or frozen pizza plus some random veggies every night for the kids does not make me feel happy. 

Growing up I have some wonderful memories of the meals both my Mom and Grandma would cook. And it wasn't necessarily about the food (although sometimes it was- English muffin pizzas can't be beat), but it was about being together around the table. So I try to remind myself that when Mom guilt creeps in- at least we're sitting down to eat together pretty often! That's a HUGE deal to me, and something that I want to make sure we try our best to work towards as the kids get bigger and we all get busier.

But the key for us right now is EASY. I love to cook, but in this season of our lives we need quick and simple meals during the week. 


Say hi to Revolution Foods. Founded by two moms who began serving freshly prepared meals to students in school, they have now expanded to retail. I love what Revolution Foods stand for too- "We believe that everyone deserves access to high quality food made with carefully considered ingredients. We believe in food that tastes good, food that promotes growth and development. Feeding good is our promise to you. We stand for food you can feel good about. No high fructose corn syrup. No artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. because our kids deserve nothing less." So good.


We've tried a few of their meals, including their lunch kits and breakfasts, and they're truly delicious. We decided to share this particular meal because the boys were the most excited about it, and we had a great time cooking dinner together. The box even opens up into a cookbook, which Henry loved. It's simple- you provide the protein, and use their kits to make a great meal. Add a side and you're set!

We're huge fans, and we know you'll be too. Check out Revolution Foods here and enter to win a year's supply of meals too. 


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Today/Now


It was my second baby's birthday today. He turned four, and tonight while he opened his presents the look of happiness on his face lit up my whole world. Charlie is excited by the simplest things- gummy worms on top of his special breakfast donut. Arriving at school and having a friend meet him with a birthday hug. The way the front of his new monster truck carrying case looks three-dimensional. There is such pure joy wrapped into everything he does and through everything he views. The lens which Charlie sees life is such a rose-colored one, and everyday I try to look through it as much as I can.

But shit you guys. I've started typing out this post so many times, erasing, and retyping. I don't know what to say about what is happening in our country. But I do know that it's worse to say nothing. I'm sick to my stomach, angry and disgusted at what is going on. At what has been going on. I don't say too much politically in this space. And sometimes I wonder why, but if I'm being honest it's because it's easier. And I'm well aware that by easier we can also read: privileged.

I read this today, although it's from January --

"I want my friends to understand that "staying out of politics" or being "sick of politics" is privilege in action. Your privilege allows you to live a non-political existence. Your wealth, your race, your abilities or your gender allows you to live a life in which you likely will not be a target of bigotry, attacks, deportation, or genocide. You don't want to get political, you don't want to fight because your life and safety are not at stake. It is hard and exhausting to bring up issues of oppression (aka "get political"). The fighting is tiring. I get it. Self-care is essential. But if you find politics annoying and you just want everyone to be nice, please know that people are literally fighting for their lives and safety. You might not see it, but that's what privilege does."

I avoid talking about politics here because I don't know what to say. At all. I know what I believe and I know how I feel about this horrible administration and the state of everything, but when speaking about the unspeakable events that just transpired, from my vantage point what could I even contribute to the conversation? I don't want to say something the wrong way, but really, is there a wrong way to say this is NOT OKAY? That if you are a racist, hateful person you have no place here and we will not tolerate it? Our country has become a place where those kinds of people feel emboldened- no hoods, no masks- and I don't know how to change that. But what I do know is that this is not a time to be silent. So like my friend Angela said (the friend I tagged in my links post earlier this week), "here is my small voice joining others to speak out against the hate." And I know speaking up is not enough, but I want to learn and listen and assist, so we can try to change what has been growing right here in America. Any insight or help learning more is so appreciated.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

On the Eve of Four


The other night I was tucking Charlie in, and he said "Mama, can we just press pause right here? I like being three, I like being right in this place." My heart got that feeling way deep inside, that ache when you love someone so much it hurts, because I knew exactly what he meant. Life is so sweet right now, the five of us, and the age he's at- it's magical. He doesn't know that quite yet, but what he does know is how good it feels to be three-year-old Charlie, and how there's a little uncertainty about four. To answer his question I took him in my arms and whispered something about how the best is yet come, and although it feels scary to change and grow up, I promised things would only get better and better.

This is good advice for me too. Sometimes I have a hard time accepting that we'll never be here again. I don't think it's a bad thing, I just love our right now so much that when I think about one day getting rid of our baby stuff, about having all big kids and never a newborn in our home again, it makes me immeasurably sad. And then I watch the video below and a million emotions swirl through me.

Birthday Eves are always a very introspective time for me. I just got home from picking up doughnuts for tomorrow and filling up a massive monster truck balloon, and I'm sitting here thinking a lot about the past years and the upcoming one. I'm thinking back to Charlie as a newborn and meeting him for the first time, a moment that I am so grateful I can recall in vivid detail. I'm remembering so much- his first birthday, his baby laugh, those big blue to brown eyes, and how soft his skin was when I'd rock him to sleep every night.



It's amazing this little guy is turning four tomorrow. He brings SO much excitement and fun to our lives. Right now, at almost-four he's all about trucks (especially monster trucks and car transporters), all things drawing and art, and he loves to dance and listen to music. He's extremely excited about starting soccer for the first time this season, and if you were to ask him what he wanted to be when he grows up, he's tell you a truck drive or a singer. At least that's his answer this week.

So happiest birthday to the funniest, sweetest little dude there ever was. Four is almost here, and like I told Charlie- it's gonna be a good one.

Here's the video I made for Charlie's first birthday. I did one for Henry too, if you'd like to see...and Olive's is of course in the works.

Enjoy.
xoxo