7 Things

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1. For a long time I had a relationship with reading where I was either really hooked on a book and spent all free time tearing through it or I didn’t read at all, and I’d cycle through several month phases of each. I’m finally back to reading but at a pace where whatever book I’m into at the moment doesn’t consume me and it feels good. I just started Nora McInerny Purmort’s book It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) and it’s a good one. It’s a sad story of loss due to cancer way too soon in life, but this book is feeling just like she’s sitting down and chatting with you and telling her experience. I’m a little over halfway through it, and loving it so far!

2. Here in our little corner of the Midwest the weather was crazy this week! On Monday I took a two walk block to run an errand and had a long sleeve tee, two sweaters, and my coat on and it took all that to be comfortable, then on Thursday it was 62 degrees on my drive into work! Then back to a forecast of freezing rain for the weekend that thankfully didn’t hit us.

3. We started the show Mick this week and I have to say that if you appreciate the type of humor Kaitlin Olson brought to It’s Alway Sunny in Philadelphia then I’m pretty sure you’ll love this one because she’s exactly like Sweet Dee, just as a really incompetent aunt. Great for a mindless and inappropriate comedy if that’s your type of thing! 🙂

4. The next time you need to make a dessert for something or a sweet tooth that’s calling your name, make these! Anne posted about them last week and I made them for a birthday care package to send off my cousin’s son who is away at college and they’re so delicious. I added some white chocolate chips to the mix, about half a cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips and half a cup of the white chocolate chips, and I have to admit that was a pretty nice touch.

5. My parenting low for the week was bribing my kid with fruit snacks to get out the door Friday morning and into the car so we could head to daycare drop off/work for me. I’m justifying it by reminding myself that this week’s favorite food has been cucumbers, so my toddler begging for a vegetable regularly totally makes up for that, right? *After typing this I thought to myself cucumber is a vegetable, right? So I went down the rabbit hole of google and learned that the Mayo Clinic said it’s actually a fruit and another link told me that cucumbers are considered being a low source of nutrients. To that I say a very mature – whatever. 😉

6. I went to my first LuLaRoe pop up show yesterday and now am the proud owner of my first pair of leggings. I’m thinking they’ll be treated more like a pair of sweatpants and pajama pants and be designated mostly for wear at home, but we’ll see if I change my tune. They are pretty darn comfortable though. I also bought one of their perfect t style shirts. I sized down so the sleeves are fitted on me and the perfect length (I like my short sleeves longer, nothing close to a cap sleeve style for me) and not surprisingly I went with a black tee because if there’s one thing I don’t think it’s possible to have too much of it’s a comfortable black tee!

7. One of the things I realized I want to be better about in 2017 is my skin care efforts. I bought a little 3 pack of face masks that I hear are season at Trader Joe’s so now I’ve been trying to do one of those at least twice a week. This isn’t rocket science, but I finally figured out that doing one while Jacob is in the bath is perfect timing because I’m already in the bathroom for at least the 10 minutes it takes to do one and I’m not doing anything other than watching him play in the bathtub, so it’s hard to find an excuse not to. Let’s hope I keep that up.

Linking up for 7 Quick Takes

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All Black

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This week is week two of back to work after a wonderful 11 day vacation because we close down for our winter break. I wore real pants as little as possible over those days so the transition back to having to look a little more pulled together feels like a little more work. To deal I might need to throw a repeat of this outfit I wore a few weeks ago into the mix!

Even though my job made a policy change this year that allows us to wear jeans whenever we want, I still was a little disappointed when my calendar one cold Friday morning called for an event we decided we should go business casual for. I coped by wearing head to toe black and between my black jeggings and this really warm and cozy turtleneck, I was actually more comfortable than I am on days I wear a more casual look while feeling way more put together than usual.

But! This sweater was a $10 clearance Kroger Marketplace find and I have plenty more items in my closet that are just as random as a find for about the same price point. Most of the time this is just fine and you might never be the wiser if I wasn’t one to talk about clothes out on the internet but this one is showing it’s price point and is shedding like crazy, leaving it looking a little ratty. It’s so comfortable and has a front pocket so this baby isn’t going anywhere, but she just may need to be demoted to weekends at home and grocery store runs and a replacement found for the week day rotation. This one is the closest to the style I’ve found within a price point that doesn’t make me cringe and it comes in black but is out of stock right now in my size so I might have to keep my eye on it. Any cozy ones you’ve seen lately?

Life Couldn’t Be Better

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Instagram is a little bit of a fascinating place and I’ve come to love it because it’s given me everything from the opportunity to tune in to some perspectives shared that really get me thinking in a different way, finding the next good read or good show, or finding a new local place or business. The crew with Columbus Stories reached out, and their name is exactly what they’re out there doing – story telling in my favorite city and adopted home town, Columbus, Ohio. The question was simple – if you’d like share, finish this sentence: Life couldn’t be better because…

And while I’m the personality type of openly dive right into an opportunity to be reflective anyway, I let that really get me thinking. Sure, life is great because I have a family I love, a job I love (most of the time anyway, like most of us), a home that I love, and I feel provided for and content. But taking it to a little deeper level, I realized that life feels really good right now because I finally really know myself and that’s something that has only happened over the past maybe 5 or 6 years.

I remember turning 30 and thinking it would feel like such a big deal and I’d all of sudden feel different, but then that wasn’t my experience at all. Instead, after a couple years into this decade I’m taking another look around and realized I now know why I think, act, love, and work the way that I do. My love language is acts of service and quality time so my husband noticing my coffee maker needs water and filling it for me before I get up and wanting to spend time with me means more than buying me flowers and saying I love you will, and unknowingly that’s probably why I was attracted to my husband to begin with. I love talking with most anyone, but I’m an introvert at heart so I know I need my alone time with nothing more than the thoughts in my head to recharge. And I know that my emotions drive my decisions and my reaction to certain situations.

I know what my personal strengths are and what things I want to work on, but also what things I’ve always perceived as weaknesses that I’ve come to accept are just me and don’t need to be changed. My head lives in the details and this means that I’ll probably never be the one to come up with the next big idea to run with, but I’ll be your girl to think of all the “what if” scenarios that could result from implementing that idea and that’s ok because we deserve our place in the process too.

Of course there’s always room for improvement so I’m not willing to declare that I’ve figured it all out and there’s no more work to be done. I’m pretty confident we’re all a constant work in progress, but I will say that this place I find myself in is a good one, and it’s made me feel stronger as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, and a professional.

 

Currently

Late to the party this week, but linking up once again for Currently this month – my favorite link up out there!

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Gathering

I’m so thankful that my family and my husbands’ family only live 40 minutes apart, which really feels like nothing once you’re up in the pretty rural parts of northwest Ohio we both claim. This means we can make it to see everyone all in one weekend, getting the best of both worlds and enjoying the almost 40 person crazy but so much fun gathering for Christmas at my husband’s Grandma’s house and the 7 person one at my parents’ house that’s much quieter but gives me just the calm time I need by then (they’re always the second stop of the trip) to spend time with my favorite people.

Making

A bullet journal! I feel like this is just another thing I’m late to the party on, but I’m hoping this will finally solve the issue of me always buying a pretty new planner and then never really using it. Although I just had two things I wanted to write down this morning and can’t find it, so clearly I’m off to a great start. I’m hoping it’s hanging out on my desk at work! But I found Kendra’s posts about it really helpful (here and here) and I plan to follow her advice of keeping it simple and not getting caught up in this picture perfect idea.

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Sipping

Ever since my round of bronchitis in the fall I’ve been in constant possession of a cup of hot water with lemon and honey throughout the work day. I’m not as good about it at home on the weekends but hey, 5 out of 7 days isn’t bad right? My new addition is a cinnamon stick based on a co-workers recommendation and that is good stuff my friend.

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Following

I’ll actually be following along with The Bachelor this time around. It’s been years since I’ve paid any attention to it and was never really into it, but a co-worker talked me into following the craziness that was Bachelor in Paradise and now there’s a group doing a bracket for The Bachelor, so how could I not join in the fun?!

Resolving

To be more present, with my specific action step to be to put my phone down when I first get home. My husband and I are both introverts (just the trait probably shows itself a little differently for each of us) and after a long day of talking to people, I pretty often come home and willingly get sucked into playing on my phone. My husband isn’t super talkative by nature, but I’ve noticed over the past month or so that the time right when I walk in the door from work and during dinner (which happens about 2 minutes after I walk in the door typically) is when we have the most meaningful chats. Nothing major, just run of the mill about our day type of stuff but I’ve realized I need to take advantage of that time and put down the phone just enjoy that time with my family so I’m resolving to do a much better job with that in the new year.

Jacob: 26 Months

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Today marks 26 months of Jacob and admittedly 26 months is a strange milestone to chronicle here, but a woman when he and I were in Target the other day struck up a conversation and when she asked me when he started talking I realized I didn’t know the answer because the changes in vocabulary are so quick once they start. That sent me right into one of those spirals of emotions about how fast he’s growing. Then when we got ready to head back to work and daycare for the first day today since our 11 day winter break together started and his little jeans were all of a sudden short enough on him that they no longer needed to rolled at the bottom and the adjustment waist needed to be let out a notch it just left left me feeling a little bit like nooooo – I must document all the things about right now so that they’re out there in case I ever forget. Needless to say, I’m feeling a little bit sentimental. So bad so that would you judge me if I tell you I teared up about the jeans? Because that may have happened…

So here we go! 26 months and gippy, the word you’ve always used for any of your blankets, seems to be suddenly morphing into grippy for whatever reason. You’re now obsessed with Mickey and can name all of his friends, which I feel is kind of a right of passage for toddlers but also could very well mean we need to watch the screen time we give you. Fruit has always been your favorite food group, to the point where yesterday at the grocery store you demanded almost to the point of a tantrum that we get grapes and how could I say no to that? But you love your treats too – you get the most excited I ever see you when you get french fries and you asked for “popcorn” (which means jelly beans) right after you finished your breakfast this morning. I try to talk things out with you more now, and when I try to get you to agree to something I ask you “dealski?” and it’s the cutest thing when I can get you to agree and say it back to me.

My absolute favorite thing right now though is that you lay down then say “come on momma, snuggle me!” and it absolutely melts my heart and I promise to never ever deny that request no matter what my current mood may be or what task I may be trying to tackle at the time. I love getting glimpses of your dad and I when I least expect it. You have my straight hair instead of the curls I would’ve sworn were your genetic destiny due to the last name you carry and just yesterday I realized you’re like me in that if your shoes are off then you’re almost always adamant that your socks are off too (I can’t stand to walk around in just socks). I’m letting your dad claim responsibility for your strong will and energy level, two traits that will probably exhaust me over the years but I’m so grateful you have.

Love you bud, and can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us!

 

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!

Heard…

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!

Seen…

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.

Read…

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.

Worn…

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.

Made…

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.