Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Owning My Nos as a Parent

I recently read an old blog article on Abundant Mama about how to be a calm parent. Something that really stuck out to me, and that I feel like I do on a regular basis, was to own your nos. Basically, you can get in a cycle of constantly telling your kid "no" without even thinking about why you're responding that way.

Over the years, I've caught myself in a "no" wondering why I was even saying "no". My daughter wasn't eating raw meat or trying to stab the couch with scissors. She simply wanted to go outside when it was 17 degrees out. She just wanted to go downstairs and explore (or watch this really terrible YouTube video featuring Lightning McQueen, Elsa, Buzz, Woody, and Optimus Prime). She just wanted to play by taking out all of her diapers or Pull-Ups and putting them on her baby doll or lining them up on the floor.

Is there really any harm in those things? Am I saying "no" simply because it's inconvenient to me?

I feel like this goes with something else that was on the Abundant Mama list - think of the big picture. Not everything our kids do is "that big a deal". Do we need to make it a big deal? No. Just move on.

So yes, you will find me standing outside on my deck when it's freezing outside simply because my kid wants to ride her motorcycle around. (She loves to play outside.) And yes, I will go downstairs with her even though I don't really want to. And yes, I will let her put her underwear all over the floor because is it that big a deal? No. If that's how she wants to play, then I will gladly sit there and watch her use her imagination to come up with interesting stories and adventures.

And then we will still use those diapers and Pull-Ups because that stuff costs money!

photo credit: Poppins Design

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Joy Enough - Book Review

Sarah McColl's Joy Enough is a memoir. Specifically it tells the story of the death of her mother and the death of her marriage. So in sorts, it's also a therapeutic exercise in trying to make sense of what happened in both situations. But, let me tell you, when your mother is dying of cancer, nothing makes sense.

Reading this book was a little bittersweet for me. I wish I could write as eloquently about my own mother's death, and I also wish that I had had the time McColl had with her mother between diagnosis and death.

This is a book that will want to make you write down your own story and interview the family members you have left to record their stories and ask all the questions you can possibly think to ask. It's a book that will make you ponder what brings you joy and what joy really means.

Joy Enough is published by Liveright and is on bookstore shelves today. I received a free advance review copy at BookExpo. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

December Daily 2018 Completed!

I'm not sure if this is the fastest I've completed a December Daily, but I sure did get this one done in good time. I mean, it's not even January 15 and my December Daily is done! I credit the Cheeky Studio kit I received and working on designing the pages throughout the month of December.

Are you finished with your December Daily yet? Let me know in the comments!


Friday, January 11, 2019

January's Homemade Scrapbook Kit

Hey guys! Here's a video showing you the homemade scrapbook kit I put together for January. I let some Jenni Bowlin for Studio Calico stickers inspire the color scheme, but other than that, the kit has no real theme. I'm hoping I can make a bunch of layouts and maybe even cards with the scraps, paper, embellishments, and alphas in the kit!

Making your own kit is a great way to save money on scrapbook supplies, especially if you're doing a no-spend January challenge!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

My 2019 To-Do List

It's been awhile since I created a to-do list for myself, so I decided that 2019 was going to be the year to do another one. I'm keeping it fairly short in hopes that if I complete everything on this list by the summer, I can create a second one to keep me busy through the rest of the year.

Here are the tasks I've set for myself this year:

1. Hang my new IKEA pegboard
I received this for Christmas from my Secret Santa. (Thanks for the wish list feature, Elfster.) As you can see, the pegboard comes with a variety of little gadgets that hang from it so you can organize your stuff. I've already got those on the board, but I need to get the board on my wall. (And maybe I should organize my scrap desk once the board is up.)

2. Organize my shoes
This is how my shoes have been stored in my closet for years - in a hanging sweater bin! But half of these shoes (okay, probably more than half) don't ever get worn thanks to my very flat feet and inability to wear most shoes. I need to get rid of the shoes I don't wear and make room for the few that I do/can wear.

3. Organize my pantry
My first week of maternity leave when my baby had STILL not been born, I spent the time throwing out expired stuff from the pantry, and then eventually I started a labeling system and got everything all nice looking in there. But over time, my pantry has started to look like this again. It's time for another purge and clean.

4. Corral the stuffed animals
My daughter currently has a huge pile of stuffed animals just taking up valuable floor space in her bedroom. (I can count on one hand how many of these she actually plays with.) I saw something on Pinterest about building a "zoo" container for the stuffed animals, so I would like to try my hand at that.

5. Organize my Tupperware/reusable containers cabinet
This has been on my to-do list ever since I read the book Decluttering at the Speed of Life. I basically need to go through, find all the bottoms that have matches and throw out any that do not have lids or bottoms. If I don't have room for all the containers I do have, then some of them will have to go. Plain and simple. I just need to set aside the time to do this task.

What about you guys? Do you have a to-do list yet for the year? Let's hold each other accountable and hopefully we'll complete our goals!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Kids Say the Darnedest Things ... If You Can Understand Them

Before I had a kid, I always assumed that parents could instinctively understand what their toddlers and preschoolers were saying. I could never understand the words coming out of other people's kids' mouths, but I was reassured watching the parents respond.

I was tricked.

You all were just smiling and nodding, thinking, "I have no idea what you just said, kid."

My own daughter started talking at 18 months and it escalated fast. Her first word, aside from "dada", was "doggie", but it always sounded more like "da-hee". Still, when she's saying it and pointing to a dog, you kind of know.

Other words, not so much.

Her: "We go dassee pop."

Me: "Ohhh-kay?"

Her: "Otay!"

Me: What did I just agree to?

It's even worse in the car. My daughter still faces backward in her car seat because she's three pounds lighter than the legal minimum weight for forward-facing car seats in the state of New Jersey. (No, height doesn't matter.) So whenever she talks, her voice travels to the back of the car instead of to the front of the car where I am driving because even though I live in New Jersey and am a wife in New Jersey, I am not a Real Housewife of New Jersey and don't have my own driver.

My daughter gets so upset if she has to repeat herself more than twice. And she always does because I can NEVER hear or understand her, so car rides are a lot of fun.

Her: "I won dickey son."

Me: "What do you want, sweet pea?"

Her: "I won dickey son."

Me: "I'm sorry. I can't hear you. Can you speak louder?"


You can imagine when happens when I tell her I don't have Disney music in the car...

Sometimes I CAN understand her, but I have no idea what she's talking about. When we play outside on the deck, she's started going to the corner and saying that we've arrived at the "bigness". She'll look through the slats of the deck and then say that we can't go in. And is that a good thing??

Just the other day I gave her some raisins as a snack, and she told me that Timmy Thomas liked raisins. "He's my friend," she said.

"Is that someone from daycare?" I asked.

She nodded. But this is the first time I've ever heard her mention Timmy Thomas, and we've heard all about her daycare/preschool BFFs John and Logan. (No last names for them, though, so Timmy Thomas must be pretty special.) John and Logan hit her with a water bottle, so they are obviously very good friends. It was only once, so maybe my kid is really good with forgiveness. Or maybe that story isn't real - just like Timmy Thomas. When my husband asked if Timmy had purple toes and blue hair, he received affirmative responses.

The more I hear my daughter talk about the same things over and over again (thank goodness for preschooler repetition), the more I'm able to at least decipher the words. I'm just glad she can use words now to tell us what she wants instead of the random "I'm a baby crying - you'll figure it out" stage.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Better Mom Devotional - Book Review

Last summer I read the book The Better Mom by Ruth Schwenk. (Link takes you to my review.) It was filled with scriptural inspiration and support, but going back through each chapter to find specifically what I need would be a time-consuming process. So if you just want bite-size pieces of wisdom from Schwenk and the Bible, then check out The Better Mom Devotional.

There are 100 devotions in this book to guide you through becoming a better mom friend, a better wife, and a better mom. Not a perfect person, but someone who is at least striving toward something better and not letting common "mom" pitfalls bring her down.

These devotions are definitely more my speed. I can read through one in the morning before I leave for work or I can save it until right before bedtime. I like that each devotion has a line from scripture, Schwenk's message, a prayer, and two questions that keep you thinking and call you to action.

If you're looking to change your mom mindset this year, I would recommend this book of devotions.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”