A Whole Lot of Nothing

chocolate

I thought I’d share some random thoughts and musings:

  • I sneeze if I chew peppermint gum. Just once right away.
  • I sneeze if I eat dark chocolate. Again, just once right away.
  • When nap time hits, I generally rush to put my feet up and enjoying an iced beverage: soda, iced tea, iced coffee, water. It has become a ritual.
  • Since I got a retainer in February, I misplace it at least once a day, but so far haven’t lost it for good.

Happy Weekend!

Finding My Motivation

I’m fascinated by how people motivate themselves to get things done. I love reading productivity books or blogs like, Getting Things Done, zenhabits.net, or Seth Godin. But I often find what works so well for others, really, really doesn’t work at all for me. Sometimes, I’m just not in the right headspace, or sometimes I have other things to focus on, or sometimes things aren’t all that motivating for me.

One thing that works for me is star stickers. Those cheap stickers sold in office supply stores. I have to keep them hidden or they end up pilfered by my kiddo. Those stickers are amazing motivators when I am trying to get workouts in. I don’t even consider them when I am working out, but the satisfaction of putting them on my calendar after the fact is almost palpable.

It started when I was training for my first marathon with Team in Training in 2006. And since then I’ve stickered every training calendar. This summer, I started stickering my calendar. Sometimes I’m amazed at the silly things that just work. I’m happy to say the baby weight is finally off and quite a bit more on top of that! Sweet! I’ll take it.

star

 

 

Also, Go Giants!!

Yum!

Last Friday night some good friends came over to hang out and play board games. They brought one of the yummiest cakes I have ever enjoyed! She was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and has been having a crazy go of it. So this cake was gluten and dairy free and the only sugar was in the form of maple syrup. Yet it was still two layers with chocolate ganache in the middle and a chocolate frosting. Yummy!

Celebrating a birthday with cake and candles never gets old. I wouldn’t have ever thought to do that, but I’m so grateful for my buddy who did!

Our favorite games are: Cards Against Humanity, Settlers of Catan, Dominion, and Mario Party on the Wii.

I’m thankful for good friends, yummy food, and our random Friday night board game sessions.

I’d bet the recipe is very similar to this, though without coconut sugar and subbing maple syrup for honey.

 

Back to High School

photo (5)

A week ago, I found myself walking across a local high school campus during school hours. Through an interesting set of circumstances, I was asked to represent the fashion industry on a small panel in a breakout session for high school seniors.

It was an interesting experience as I really wanted to be an encouraging word to them, but then I quickly realized how far removed I was from those students. It was really surreal, like I had to relate how I had achieved something they could relate to before they were interested in listening to my advice. I had a portfolio of my work at my feet the entire time, and didn’t manage to pull it out. I was there to encourage them, but interestingly, I left with a sense of encouragement for myself.

Here’s the main things I was saying to them, and yet also to myself at the same time.

  1. Everyone starts with less glamorous jobs, work hard in them, learn things, and you’ll be surprised in the future how much that job enabled you to grow into more exciting work.
  2. Connect with people. Ask for help. Ask about their work. Learn what you can from others.
  3. Be creative outside of “work.” Whatever that looks like for you–don’t stop doing it!
  4. Everyone’s dream job looks different. Don’t try to fit into the mold that you think you should, but instead embrace the things that work for you. One person on the panel works two jobs-education and in the evenings and summers works in beauty. It is totally unconventional, but she loves it, and most importantly it works for her. Likewise, I love the flexibility that is in my current schedule allowing me to be home most of the time and still work a little bit too.

 

Anticipation

My mom came to visit last weekend. She only decided to make the trip a week before. I love having my mama around, but I was a bit bummed because it meant I’d only get a week’s worth of anticipation for my her visit. I’m learning that as much as I love special events, trips, visits, etc. The anticipation of an event and preparation for an event are equally, if not more enjoyable. Am I alone in that?

My birthday was Tuesday (and Eric’s 9 year cancerversary–next year the celebration will be insane)! Nothing was planned, except a visit to the dentist (fun!), and it was low-key and totally fine, but definitely less exciting because there wasn’t a “thing” to anticipate.

Am I missing out by embracing the anticipation? Perhaps if I re-frame events (like grocery shopping) and anticipate the excitement of trying a new recipe or enjoying a seasonal fruit (pomegranates anyone?) I can make even those drudgery tasks enjoyable.

Or maybe I make things out to be more exciting in the anticipation than they really are?

Thanks for coming along with this random ride through my stream of consciousness.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Book Club Snafu

Did I mention I started a Book Club this summer? Our first read was Bread and Wine. It was well loved. A collection of essays and accompanying recipes.  As a group we enjoyed the blueberry crumble recipe.

Well, we decided to put the second book up for decision and went with one that was also currently in theaters. The previews made it sound like a funny, light-hearted, funny book. After reading 3 chapters, I was all shades of red and completely embarrassed to have endorsed such a book for light reading. It is one thing to read it yourself, but to suggest that several other women purchase and read a book for light discussion that is littered with what I’d consider X-rated material and um, yeah.

Thank goodness I caught it, ‘fessed up to my ignorance and was able to select an alternative very light-hearted read. We’re now working through Where’d You Go, Bernadette? This is decidely PG, and laugh out loud funny. Much, much, much better.

Whew.

Have you read anything lately you could recommend for future months? I’m now pre-reading books, because, well, I am trying to learn from my mistakes. Oye!

Done is Better than Perfect

As you’ve noticed, a few of my creative endeavors haven’t been as polished as I hoped. I’m realizing that regardless of the final product, the process and obstacles faced on the journey definitely have a lot of merit.

In The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis said, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I’ve paraphrased that to, “if you can’t learn from your pleasure, you will have to learn from your pain.” I think about the minor fender bender that I got into right after I got my driver’s license and how much that taught about checking my rear view mirror as opposed to lessons learned in driver’s education classes, or the time I was caught gossiping about a person and how terrible I felt and how that taught me to hold my tongue and consider the other person before saying anything about someone not present.

Likewise, sometimes if I have an idea that I’m not acting on, it can idealize into something unrealistic. In my head the perfect outcome appears, but in reality there are almost always hang ups. Amiright?

Anyone else feel this way?

It doesn’t come naturally, but I think I’m starting to like the motto that done is better than perfect. At least with the done, I’m living and trying and experimenting and definitely making a lot of mistakes along the way.

 

Game

Eric wrote this and a lot of people could relate. Can you?

Here’s a new game. It’s called “Meth or Parenthood”:

  • You are eating your dinner off the top of a toilet while someone next to you bathes.
  • Urine is on your clothes, but it’s just a little, so why both changing?
  • You just ate something that was previously in someone else’s mouth.
  • Wrestling a naked person for whatever reason.
  • The person next to you laughs hysterically, then screams at you, then wants you to tickle them.
  • Feeding the cat 3 times in 10 minutes because you keep forgetting if you fed them.

You can read more from Eric at his blog here. Be forewarned he blogs less consistently than I do!

(They are all parenting, in case you were wondering!)

Changes in Routine

For the first time in a long time, there are not any terrible things going on in our family life. I’m definitely getting my wish for a “boring” life. Yay! I’ll take it.

But man, for me, having a kid throws everything off. Don’t get me wrong, I love him to bits. But prior to kiddom, I had a fairly reliable method for planning and executing things pretty well. Now, naptime comes and all I want to do is nap too. Or if I’m being totally transparent zone out on Pinterest or Instagram. And then, bedtime comes and I know I have to get my own bum to bed or I’ll be hurting in the morning when the monkey decides 4am is the time to be up for the day. He’s slowly learning to play by himself for longer stretches, but really when he’s awake, I want to play with him too!

Add to that work and weekends full of hubby work and well, I am realizing that I don’t have that much extra time. I suppose I could sacrifice more sleep, but that is pretty non-negotiable, when it can be helped.

I have been sketching and scheming, and writing and being silly, and relaxing and snoozing too. But in shorter bursts and with longer breaks between. Being my own worst critic, I feel like I should be doing more, but on those rare chances I blow through my to do list I really don’t feel any more accomplished. I guess that is part of growing up and learning by living. Interesting.

I chuckle now when I think of the early 20s version of myself. I thought I was pretty damn mature. I’m learning maturity happens with time and life experience, and can’t really be sped up too much.

Slightly related, a friend shared this and it really resonated with Eric and I. We can totally apply it to ourselves and possibly the little man in the future.

Have your routines shifted lately?

 

Running with a Toddler

When we found out we were expecting a kiddo, one of our first gifts was an amazing jogging stroller–a BOB! I had lots of preconceived notions of walking a mile and a half to the coffee shop while on maternity leave with junior. Ha! Little did I know how difficult I’d find the transition to mama-hood, let alone consider the logistics involved in a 3 mile round trip walk with a hungry, poopy, peey, little man.

Thankfully, the stroller is still working out great, though our not-so-little guy just topped 36 inches and he isn’t even two yet!

This summer I’ve been able to get in a groove and we now manage to go for a jog/lope twice a week or so. I’m surprised how much my little man loves it. We go first thing when he gets up. Once “the sun is up,” of course. I tuck him into the stroller with a water bottle (I keep an extra under the stroller because this kid can drink two so quickly), a snack–usually Annie’s bunnies, one or two of his hand knitted bunny lovies, and his hand knit blanket. I show up with a water bottle of my own an inexpensive digital watch with a timer I got eons ago.

Off we go.

We don’t make it too far before the commentary starts.

“Park”

“Yes, honey, there is the park.” I get out between labored breaths.

“Light on” or “Light off,” depending.

He is obsessed with turning our own lights on and off–the ones he can reach anyways. And always remarks about other people’s front lights. He is very demanding that we turn them on and off according to his whims, even though I constantly tell him that every family gets to decide those things for themselves.

“Octagon.”

Yes, he knows that stop signs are shaped like an octagon and will tell you every time he sees one. On a run, on a walk, in the car, it doesn’t matter. We have Shaun the Train from YouTube to thank for the lesson in shapes.

“Rhombus”

This was one he busted out last time upon seeing the HOV symbol that also marks bike trails around us. Crazy time.

All the time I’m trying to acknowledge him, run, and push the not so light stroller. It makes for a comedic adventure when my mindset is right and lots of frustrations when my mindset is a bit off.

I have a large hill that I run up and I’ve taught him to say, “Go, go, go,” or “Go, mom, go,” or “Run, mama, run.” I have to chant it out first, but he usually picks up on it quickly and it is so fun to get to the top. We both break out in lots of “Yay’s!”

We say “hi” to the people that pass us, and the cats that survey the neighborhoods from their perches. We point out dogs, and airplanes, and squirrels, and bikes, and fire trucks.

And as long as his blanket stays put and a toe or two, or even a foot doesn’t pop out, he’s pretty content.

Everyone tells me to embrace these moments because they go by quickly and I’m learning they are right and working to relish them.

Here’s a terribly blurry, post-run photo after our third day in a row of finishing our 45-minute runs before 6:30 am!

Run