Tuesday, May 26, 2015

the yard for the weeds

These girls, here lately—

She isn't much one for crayons, but she loves pencils, and darn it all, she holds that pencil just like they teach you in school [insert bawling emoji].

We're full of little moments around the house. The days and weeks tick by, and I'm slowly learning to just go with the current most of the time. Coming into motherhood I think has forced my hand on that. Because in the midst of sickness (in addition to the umpteen ear infections, we've had a celiac diagnosis in our house, which is so, so crazy and overwhelming) and things breaking (I'm looking at you, car trunk door) and dripping faucets and my dill that keeps trying to die, we have girls that hold hands and climb things and are obsessed with sunglasses. I posted a pic on instagram yesterday and almost called myself out for the weedy yard—flowerbeds riddled with crabgrass and creeping charlie at the moment—and then I caught myself and asked WHY be self-deprecating? So I wasn't. Simple as that. Our yard has soccer balls, bubble bottles, painted rocks and a lot of laughter, and now we have an ice cream truck that comes down the street at 4:30. And yet: there will probably always be times where I struggle to see past the weeds. But not yesterday. And not today.

Well, there's your free write on a Tuesday. Plus, we're getting a puppy tomorrow. WHAT. Maybe he'll pee on the weeds? :)

Friday, February 20, 2015

friday things

We spent the beginning of the week hit with mega-colds at our house (from daycare, I'm sure of it). So I spent a lot of time having a stare down with a pack of DayQuil, and when that didn't help and my teeth started hurting, I realized I had a sinus infection so went in to the walk-in clinic Sunday afternoon since they were calling for ice here on Monday. And I'm so glad I did, because then we were iced in for a few days and having gotten a steroid shot I was able to feel human again and enjoy some really sweet family time. There was a lot of outside play for those few days—turns out the girls are total snow bunnies—along with some cookie-making and house-cleaning. Two days off of work was the perfect amount of snow-time to enjoy without having cabin fever set in. I don't know if it's their ages and just a phase, but their playing together is so sweet and fun to watch right now, and between the weekend and the holiday and the snow days, I had 5 full days at home, and it was the first time that I really got some proof positive that I could, someday, possibly be really happy staying home with kids. Not that it would be easy, there were plenty of "if I have to pick up one more thing off the floor..." moments, but there are a lot of those moments as it is, and my point is that I just got a little glimpse of not working and being home and feeling like I had a little more time and energy to put towards being home, and being home well, if that makes sense, and there was a part of me that really liked it. Hm.

On that note and along those lines, lots of talk this week about careers at our house. The funding for my current work project runs out in August, so change is coming and feels more imminent by the day. It's on one hand stressful and anxiety-inducing, but on the other, all kinds of exciting to know that something new will be on the horizon. Reading this really hit home and is giving me some good baseline questions to ask as I think about the way forward and all of the potential that comes along with change and new beginnings.

I'm still working hard on my editing for the year and am happy to report that instead losing momentum by February, as it goes with a lot of resolution attempts, I'm actually gaining steam. I've been hearing a lot about this book and have seen mixed reviews. I read the whole "look inside" preview on amazon and see some things I like but don't know if I'll buy. I may just keep doing what I'm doing around the house, which is essentially just throwing a lot of stuff away and then reorganizing what's left. So do I need a book to tell me how to do all of this? Maybe not. Maybe I need to spend more time just doing and less time thinking/reading/writing about it. Right?

Have a happy, cozy weekend, where ever you are.

Monday, February 2, 2015


Welp, it's February, and I never did a 2015 New Year post of any kind, so heeere we go:

I've never been a resolutions person. Whenever I've tried to be, it just...doesn't work out. I've made vast, sweeping resolutions, super generic resolutions that involved exercise (which just doesn't happen on an even sort-of consistent or meaningful basis for me right now), low-ball resolutions. And inevitably, like probably most of the rest of the world, I fail. Miserably.

So for the last few years, I've done more of the word thing. Some have gone better than others—last year was "create," and I definitely did more of that than at other points in the last decade, so I put that squarely in the success pile.

This year, I almost didn't do it. I almost rejected the notion to assign any sort of self-improvement label to this stretch of 12 months. And yet, as New Year's Day was coming to a close, it weighed more and more on me to have some kind of meter by which to measure 2015. I kept coming back to the idea of simplifying, but that didn't feel exactly right. There were (are) a lot of things in the relationships in my life that wouldn't (won't) fit under that umbrella. I needed something to cover a wider range of things I want to do better for myself and with myself this year.

And so at about 8 p.m. on New Year's Day Eve, rifling through the mess that was my closet and pulling out things to go to the donation pile, I realized that I wasn't just simplifying. I was editing. There was a process. Take something out, examine what's left, put it back in, take it back out. Maybe you're better off without it, or maybe not. In editing words, sometimes you cut out just one or two, sometimes sentence upon sentence. Sometimes it's just reorganizing what's already there, other times you may cut and add and cut and add and actually end up with more than you started. And that's ok. It's part of the process. So I didn't want to make a goal of simplifying just to simplify: I wanted to leave room for the possibility of more in some places and yes, probably less in others, all with the hopes that at the end, there I'll be with more of the good and less of the not-so-good. Quality over quantity; quality over lack of quantity, too.

So here's my almighty list of the things to which I plan to apply the principle of editing this year: 

  • What I put into my body: So, this was technically last year, but I quit gluten last July, and it has totally changed my life. Some terrible digestive issues that had developed when I was pregnant and just never went away were remedied not overnight, but almost. I'd been dealing with that junk for about a year and a half, and at the recommendation of my doctor (who first ruled out celiac and some other serious issues), just decided to try it for a month. I'll never go back, and it spoke a huge lesson to me of how our bodies change and what may have worked for me 2 or 5 or 10 years ago may not necessarily work for me now. Sad as that is because I miss all the pizza. But. In looking at the change it's made, it's challenging me to look at the other area of my health, endometriosis and severe period pain every month, and how I might be able to explore the possibility of finding some relief through dietary changes. I hardly know where to start with this, but I feel pressed to explore it, so...I'm reading about things like the benefits of turmeric. :) Open to suggestions, resources, and advice on this, for sure!
  • What comes out of my mouth: Oh, man, this one. I need a filter sometimes, mostly (sadly) with people closest to me. I can just do better here--no matter how stressed or tired I am, I'm working on editing my words (and by extension, attitude) this year. It's happening already, and it's already feeling transformative and clearer and cleaner and just, better. But it's hard, constant work. And with the little successes come major failures (just ask my husband about yesterday!), so, baby steps. 
  • The house: There's a lot of room for improvement on this one, and this is the one where I definitely hope we can simplify. We're not neat people. I like to think we're clean, but ok, fine, that's definitely not always the case either. I'm mostly alright with laundry and clutter that builds up during the week—that's a home lived-in for us, what with kids and working. I'm not after a stark, sterile feel. But I'd like to get us back to a point of everything having a place, and whether or not everything's always in it, that's ok. But gosh, just space for things to be put in their place and not in piles would be nice. In an older home without a lot of storage, combined with baby/toddler explosion, I'm learning to treat the space we DO have as prime real estate. So my goal here is to be really, really picky with what lives in our kitchen cabinets and shelving, what's hung on the coat rack in our tiny foyer (the backpack we use twice a year for small hikes? To the attic! TODAY!). Down to the books on the shelves in our living room and what's kept in our teeny, tiny bedroom closets. I've already made a lot of headway with this one just one month into the year, and it feels great: 6 bags of clothes out of mine alone, and I haven't even begun the girls' stuff. I've tossed out random knickknacks that were just taking up space—the weird piece of pottery by a localish artist given to me almost a decade ago, that I didn't even like but felt too guilty to throw it away?  What's with that? Needless to say, it's gone now. :)
  • And finally: my time/interests: This one's hard. I am forever feeling like my week minus 40ish hours at work + keeping everyone bathed and fed + the house from defcon 1 = grown-ups who are just exhausted by the end of the day. Every. Day. And that weekends are just for recovery and then prep work for the next week. And some of that's ok—to a certain extent, that's just life right now. But I'd love, love, love to find a way to carve out time for a new interest, or revisiting an old one or two. It could be getting the cobwebs off of my road bike or trying out a new trail or two in the Smokies this year. I'm not artistic, but I'm completely and utterly taken with these things called modern calligraphy and hand-lettering, and it would be just lovely to take a class, or even spend time at the kitchen table messing around with it (which I did for the photo above), you know? 
So there you have it: 4 areas I'm committed to taking the proverbial red pen to this year. I'm setting reminders on my calendar to check back in on this every few months, maybe more if I get really, really good at any one of these things. Keep you posted.

(Oh, and the list is open for edits throughout the year. Of course.) 

Friday, January 16, 2015

a few things for Friday

The North Sea from the coast of Denmark, December 2012

1. After some long, cold, grey weeks, and being married to a Dane, I'm always reminded of the concept of hygge this time of year. What's hygge? The easiest translation for it is "coziness," but it's actually so much more than that. It's a mindset, a state of being, a frame of mind. It's choosing to embrace the opportunity for quiet and calm in winter instead of going crazy with our notion of cabin fever. It's one of my favorite things about Danish culture, but it's not an easy one to practice in our fast-moving culture of now. This article is one of the better explanations of it that I've come across. Read it.

2. Watching this made me pretty happy.

3. Let's Get Drinks: This made me laugh out loud. More than once.

4. On Creativity, True Self, and Finding Inspiration: Loved, loved, loved this. This really brought into focus some of the things I want to work on this year. Creative input/output and writer's block, and creating (rather than finding) time to write. Reading this makes me feel like there's the beginning of a road map to make some changes I've been mulling over for a while.

5. I got a haircut this past week, and it was hands down the best one I've ever had. I got to the point that I was so in need of a cut that I just didn't really care who did it, and so when I called my salon and the first available appointment was with a guy (who I later found out has cut my husband's hair several times), I threw caution to the wind and snatched it up. So glad I did. I'm usually one of those people that puts my hair in a pony on my way out of the salon because I typically don't like the way anyone else styles it. But not this time, oh no. This guy better not ever think about leaving town; that's all I have to say.