2017 – Reflecting on a New Year

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I’ve never been much of a goal setter which truth be told is not a characteristic I like about myself, but I think I’ve finally just come to terms with the fact that I seem to prefer to focus on the now more than trying to figure out the future. And not (in my opinion I guess) in an irresponsible, reckless way – I just approach things from the viewpoint that I, or we when appropriate, will figure it out along the way. Do we want more children? We’ll see, I wasn’t sure I ever wanted any until one day I did and being a mom has turned out to be the best gig ever. Do I want to be an Academic Advisor forever? I’m not sure, but it’s what I enjoy right now and if there comes a time where it doesn’t feel right anymore then I’ll figure out what’s next. You get the drift!

As a result I don’t think I’ve ever had a new year’s resolution. Nope, can’t think of a single one. The thought of listing goals and action steps just makes me cringe. But when a former colleague I hold in high regard posted this link  on Facebook, detailing a method of creating a “mind map” to detail your interests and yes, your goals for the year it felt a little more like reflecting on what I want my life to look like, or what things I think make me feel my best when I do them well. For the past few years, life starts to feel a lot harder to manage while keeping a smile on my face when it seems that the delicate balance of self, work, home, and family isn’t quite in check. And while I believe there’s value in experiencing some uncomfortable moments in the name of personal or professional growth, I also would like to feel like I’m in control of my own mental and physical well being.

So I did the activity and it felt good. I recommend giving it a try, even if you’re like me and to actually capture the time and attention to make it, it ends up being created on the back of a used Star Wars coloring page from the library and it has scribbles all over it because the toddler you were sitting next to kept stealing it, claiming it as his picture. 😉 It made me feel a little bit like I was letting you read a page from my diary by sharing a picture of mine, but I wanted to show how I included everything from more serious items like being present more often (putting my phone away for example), developing healthier eating habits, and communicating better and more often about finances which is a topic I despise, to the silly things like give myself an at home manicure more often and participate in the fluff (like finally watching Gilmore Girls and letting work friends talk me into following The Bachelor this season).

When I did this, I started to notice the connection between the different themes which is probably an intended outcome of the exercise. For example, giving myself an at home manicure more often is a small, seemingly unimportant thing and because literally fingers are part of our bodies I placed it in the physical category. But why the hell did I think it was even worthy of including in this mind map thing? Because I realized that it’s a small thing but when I do it I feel like I have it together way more than I probably do so it crosses right over into that mental theme by making me feel better about myself. You could probably go through all of my items and find ways that they’d impact another theme I included too.

My point? That even if you’re not a goal oriented individual, I think some reflection is hard to avoid and good for the soul when we shift from one year to the next so might as well lean in, right? In the bigger picture, 2016 wasn’t too bad in my book but cheers to 2017!


Around Here

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Now that Christmas is over and we’re back to our house from a few days of celebrating with family, we are settled in to enjoy some lazy work free days until my husband and I both go back to work on Tuesday. After a stressful week before Christmas that included trying to get everything done at work that needed done before we closed for winter break combined with a sick toddler, complete with fever and a potential slight ear infection that meant quarantined from daycare and multiple nights of very little sleep for this momma – I am ready for the rest even if it comes with a little bit of guilt for not tackling that to do list around the house that I swore I would get to over break. So here we go, a little bit of what’s been going on lately in my world!


Jacob tried to sing Jingle Bells which just ends up being him singing “jingle bells, all the way” and nothing else and it’s the cutest. I’ve asked him to do it so many times that he started laughing and telling me no so I just have to wait until the mood strikes him to get a good laugh at that cuteness!


Gilmore Girls! I had never seen an episode but a few co-workers got really excited about the new episodes so I decided to check it out. I’m only a few episodes into the first season and I like it, but I’m not hooked yet.


I’m still trying to make my way through Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I love the book but it’s one that I have to be in a specific mood to read it, almost feeling a little creative since that’s what the book is about and lately I’ve been tired enough that it’s hard to find that right combination of mood and time available.


These pajama pants but in a buffalo check print that I found in store. Best $5 find ever and I’m taking full advantage of being off work for winter break to live in them anytime that we’re home.


I’m not one who enjoys much time in the kitchen, but on Christmas morning while my husband was out for a run the bug to make popovers bite so I went for it. I was introduced to popovers by my aunt’s husband  and have always had them as a breakfast/brunch item, but they’d function like a dinner roll just as well. The recipe I follow is one my Dad gave me from Cook’s Country but since it seems a subscription is needed, here’s a link that gives their recipe without that subscription. We even have a popover pan to really get the height you want for these.

7 Things


An old favorite rediscovered, I’ll forever know just by looking at it that it was on my last day of maternity leave, when I was feeling extra emotional about it

Some icy roads foiled my plan to get out to Target as early as possible to beat the crowd so instead of shopping this morning while my husband is at the gym, I finally got all our Christmas cards ready to mail, Jacob is occupied between toys and the Disney channel (please don’t judge, that child woke us up before 6am this morning and I am struggling), and I settled in with my cold medicine and second cup of coffee for a little bit of time for me to ramble on the internet about 7 things that aren’t terribly important:

My latest project I’m taking on is finally getting a photo book put together of the past 2 years with Jacob. I’m using Artifact Uprising after seeing Bridget talk about it in a insta story and it’s been pretty user friendly. My husband and I aren’t exchanging Christmas gifts so at first I  thought it’d be fun to do and open up together on Christmas, but the 8,800ish photos on my phone (yep you read that right) quickly made me realize that this isn’t going to be a quick project, and it’s not one to be rushed. I’ve got a pretty good memory so I know what pictures were from when, and it’s making me way too picky about making sure they’re in order in the book. Maybe I’ll get it done by Christmas 2017 and until then, it’s a nice little trip down memory lane going through all the photos and it’s brought plenty of smiles to this face of mine.

This week I discovered a new favorite lip color – Covergirl Smoochies in Text Me (#220). It gives me the perfect amount of red I wanted for the holidays without it being heavy enough that I need to be in front of a mirror to apply it and the less work it is, the more likely I am to throw it on.

Speaking of those Christmas cards I mentioned above, after a few years of addressing envelopes by hand and having to go through my phone, my facebook messages, and whitepages website every year to track down addresses (address book maintenance is not my thing apparently) I finally typed them all up and saved them so that next year I can just print labels. I’m sure my mom will be thankful she won’t have to answer text messages from me again, asking her to look in her address book and send me addresses.

I know have a toddler on my lap, so time to myself lasted about 10 minutes. Truth be told, I really don’t mind. 🙂

It’s been years since we’ve made a big deal about New Year’s and I think we’ve been asleep before midnight for the past few years. This year is sure to be low key again, but just because we’ll probably be home in our pajamas doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some fancy drinks. All of these look good, but I think the pomegranate orange punch might be the winner.

I went to Old Navy yesterday to find a birthday present for our niece and it turned into me buying more for myself than I did for others. These flannel pajama pants were only $5 and in store they had a bigger selection than they do online. I went for a buffalo check pair and I think I may live in them this winter.

I have what might be a pretty random taste in music, with a lot of love 90s hip hop for whatever reason. There’s a local radio station that plays this genre and they played this Christmas song the other day and maybe it’s my new favorite? 🙂

Linking up…

A Reminder


This has been my favorite holiday season I can remember, I think mostly because Jacob is so much fun right now and just old enough to get excited about things like being the one to turn on the Christmas tree every morning and watching the train my husband insisted we buy on black Friday to set up to go around the bottom of the tree. His recent birthday clued us into the fact too that he is more than capable of opening presents and being excited about their discovered contents.

My husband’s family coming to our house for a cookie making party over the weekend combined with some snow that stuck around until melting this morning put me in even more of the holiday spirit. I’m an introvert at heart who needs her time by herself to recharge, but I love me a good house full of people I enjoy for a weekend and with 6 adults and 4 kids rounding out our crew it was the perfect amount of full. Jacob was so excited for his older cousins to chase him around that he pushed me away several times, and I’m finally to the point in my motherhood experience where I’m much more laid back about things.

But then when everyone left on Sunday morning I had that oh shit we have two weeks until Christmas feeling sink in, so Jacob and I headed to the mall while my husband was working out to play a little game of how many stores can I make it to with the specific stash of snacks I took with me. The good news is that we made it almost two hours and it only took two pouches, two single serving bags of fruit snacks, one sucker, and buying a wooden car that was locally made and much of the proceeds went to a good cause. I snuck it away and hid it in the closet once we got home and he’ll be reunited with it on Christmas morning. 😉

I got a lot done but as I was hustling around the mall feeling like I was on borrowed time with a toddler in my company, a guy smiled and stepped off to the side so I could pass saying he saw me coming. We had a good laugh about feeling rushed to get everything done because a toddler in a stroller can only be entertained by sitting still and shopping for a short window or time and he gave me that smile and said I remember those days. I often get that comment if I’m on my own with Jacob and a kind stranger opens the door for me before I even have a chance to struggle with it, or if we’re out to dinner and he catches the attention of the people sitting at the table next to us. But the smile that goes along with that comment every single time tells me that yeah, they’re probably remembering the stress this stage brings with it but they’re probably missing it too, if only for just a minute. And it always without fail reminds me to slow the hell down, like physically stop rushing everywhere and through everything and just enjoy the ride! Sharing that today in case you need the reminder too. 🙂

Throw Back

tee / sweater (I went down a size for a better fit in the shoulders) / jeans / necklaceshoes


These pictures are throwing it back about a month, to the week when the last day of October rolled into the first week of November and my little man turned two. I remember it being pretty chilly when he was born, but the days surrounding the two birthdays he’s had since then have been unseasonably warm. It was hovering right around 80 degrees on this particular day, so we ran around Homestead Park and enjoyed what had to be the last leg of the wildflowers. So beautiful and we will definitely be back next year when they’re more in their prime.

This somehow feels like maybe ages ago, and maybe that’s because Thanksgiving is behind us and cooler weather finally arrived to stay so it’s easy to focus on decorating and preparing for Christmas, the grand-daddy of all family holidays for us and probably you too, right? But even though the seasons feel like they’ve shifted, this is still the same ole outfit I feel like I can’t get enough of: distressed jeans, comfy tee, cozy sweater, and my Converse (although they’ve been neglected lately in favor of these that I recently bought). And even though I may be forced to add a coat now that December is arrived, I’m still too stubborn to cover those ankles up from the cold. Ankle jeans + sneakers forever and ever please, or maybe at least until it snows… 😉


Fighting That Funk

I’m beginning to think that the library may be replacing Target as my happy place and I think both my husband and our account would be cool with that. Last week I was in a strange, restless kind of mood that has this typically chill person who puts off her entire to do list to just hang out and watch a good show or read a book feeling like she has to complete all the baby shower decorations projects she’s doing for a baby shower 6 days away right this very second and rearrange the entire upstairs of our house. Once the decoration projects were completed and two evenings had been spent trying to move furniture without waking up a sleeping toddler in the next room, I was (and still kind of am) talking myself down from another full on closet clean out and am trying to convince myself that’s a project better left for after the holidays.

Why the sudden need to do all the things right now? Not a clue. But I realized the thing that made me feel best last week was getting out of the office for awhile one day to hang with one of my favorite people ever, grabbing lunch and then hanging out in the library gift shop reading greeting cards so funny I was cry laughing. And we all need a good cry laugh every once in awhile, right? You know the kind, where you’re laughing so hard you c ant stop the tears from falling.

So while unfortunately work schedules can’t align enough for that time with a good friend in the middle of the day to happen with too much frequency, I decided to change up my scenery again the next day and headed to the library by myself. All I really did was read about 2 pages of the current book I have my nose in, eat my sandwich, and stare out the window at the park below while absolutely zero thoughts ran through my head and damn it felt good. From my experience, an added bonus to hanging out in the library in the downtown area of a sizable city is that you’re bound to have some good people watching. Recent experiences for me include a man muttering something about someone being a hard core criminal under his breath (maybe I should be more concerned about that one), a man practicing his chess skills by playing against himself and timing how fast he is, and seeing a man walk through the neighboring park on stilts. I love this place!

Any tricks you have to share for when you feel like your mood needs an adjustment? I’m all ears because my house can only be arranged a few more times… 🙂

P.S. Just in case you’re curious, Shop Sapling Press is the company whose cards and mugs I can’t stop laughing at, and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic is the book my nose is currently buried in.



It’s been quiet over here for a bit (not in my house, just in my corner of the internet) because I was feeling some post election shock that left me feeling like I couldn’t bring myself to think about blogging for fun when there were much bigger picture things that deserved the mental energy. I pretty much summed up how I was feeling in an Instagram post here, but Anne really said it best in a post that left me nodding my head in agreement.

But I’m back! And wanting to talk about life lately here in our world, so here we go…

At home

The Christmas decorating bug got us good. I love Thanksgiving and in no way want to skip over the holiday this week, but the arrival of cold weather combined with the first snow flurry of the season over the weekend put me in the mood for pulling the Christmas tree out of the basement, buying a new wreath, and now I want to stock up on more decor. I even thought these winter themed $1 window clings pictured above were a great idea until I turned around and saw him eating one…

At work

After taking the week of Jacob’s birthday off I feel like I’ve been busting my tail for the past couple of weeks because we’re in a busy period at work so I’m looking forward to a long holiday weekend and then the countdown begins to winter break. I absolutely love that our university closes down for the week between Christmas and New Years but we get paid for it and it doesn’t count against our vacation time. Such a great benefit!

In style

I bought all 3 colors of these flats this fall and have loved them so much that I haven’t even wanted to wear boots yet, and aren’t we all usually ansty for that by like mid-September? After walking back from lunch on Monday in them left the top of my feet red from the cold, I finally gave in to tall boots for the first time this fall. Not super excited about it.

On my wishlist

We bought Jacob some Burt’s Bees pajamas (we bought these, these and these in midnight stipe) and the material is so soft that my husband made one comment about wanting a pair that it sent me on the hunt for them in adult sizes because when your husband agrees to matching family pajamas, you just don’t let that opportunity go! 😉 I’ve had my eye on the small stripe style of this pair but every time I look they’re out of stock in the sizes I need. I thought I got lucky yesterday and ordered them, only to have my order cancelled today because they weren’t in stock. The hunt continues!

On my bookshelf

I’ve had a pretty big library haul lately and have been reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and I’ve started in on The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees. After being on the waiting list for a little while I just got the notification that The Magnolia Story is ready for me to pick up. I can’t help it, I was a little intrigued! I have some work to do to get through that stack, but I’m always looking for others to add to the list. Have any must reads to share?