Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Goals for 2016

WELP, we've already finished another year. It seems like life as a family of four is still so new, yet at the same time it feels like we've been at this forever. I finished my #12in12bookchallenge, bought a house, and learned that I can survive on a lot less sleep than I thought I needed.

Instagram year in review, AKA babies r us.
With this being New Years Eve, I'm finally taking the time to sit down and think about how I want to approach this year. I have lofty goals, but I know that making little changes will help me at least get closer, even if I don't get to where I want to go. In 2016 I want to be happier, healthier, and more loving than I am today.

I realize that these aren't concrete goals like the ones on my bucket list (now that I come to think of it, I didn't cross anything off of that this year... unless you count the #12in12bookchallenge as a book club?). But here's the official breakdown of how I intend to accomplish this by this time next year:

1. More face time - IT is so, so, shamefully easy to spend time in front of screens instead of having a conversation. I am not afraid to admit anytime I need to wait for something for more than a minute or two, I'm pulling out my phone. Maybe it's for solitaire, maybe it's for blog reading, maybe its texting someone I haven't talked to in a while. But would it really kill me to keep it in my pocket for 15 minutes and make eye contact with someone else? We're losing something valuable with the increase in technology and phone apps, and I don't want to be the reason face time contact fades away.

2. Read more books - I was so proud of myself to finish my book challenge. As anyone who knows me well can attest, I am terrible at reading books and 9 times out of 10 I'll watch anything on TV instead. But reading books this year has taught me a lot about self control and stories outside of the boob tube... so I'm doing it again. Still sticking to a book a month though... I'm not Superman.

3. Embrace a new hobby - My five-star husband gave me the Christmas gift that keeps on giving: a sewing machine. I haven't used one since middle school, but back in the day I could hold my own. There are a billion Pinterest crafts I've wanted to attempt but couldn't because of my lack of this gem, but finally, I will be sewing all the things!! ...or at least attempting. I'm giving myself some slack for being rusty.

4. Make time to take care of myself a priority - This is along the same lines as most of my other resolutions, but it needs to be said. It's common knowledge that a lot of moms quickly lose themselves in devoting their lives to their children. Feeding, diapering, driving to and from soccer practice, etc. But I can't be a great mother if I'm not together myself. I need to remember that it's ok to put them in the high chair or Bumbo seat with Netflix on and take a fast shower. It's ok to hand off the kiddos to Daddy so I can have a night out with the ladies. It's ok to tell them sometimes, "No, you need to play by yourself for a bit so mommy can put on some lipgloss and feel like a human again." I shouldn't wait until I'm at a breaking point to give myself time to breathe... when I do, everyone around me suffers. And that's no bueno.

5. Pray every day - I am terrible at praying. I go through phases when I am SO GOOD and then times when I realize I haven't had words with the Big Guy in a week of two. I have plenty of opportunities to schedule a few minutes for prayer, and in 2016, that is getting written on the calendar in pen, not pencil. Some of my favorite time-friendly (but still awe-inspiring!) devotionals are as follows... you should check them all out. Or just one. Or all of them.

By women, for women, these daily devotionals (readings included!) are sent right to my email every morning. The best is reading them before mass so I can somewhat follow along with tots in tow. Rock star community included.
I just received this as a Christmas gift and I already love it. Remember my rant in #1 about trying now to use my phone in waiting rooms and such? This has a designated spot in my diaper bag for those very occasions.
Mass appeal, and the only man-friendly option I've listed here. Beautiful devotions designated for each day of the year, so it's great accountability if you lose your spot.
6. Get into a workout regimen (for real this time) - This is everyone's favorite resolution and usually the first one to go. I'm working very hard to remind myself that I am a steward of this temple, and vegging out on the couch all day is not helping me out. When I am more active I have more energy, I am happier, and I am more willing to get off my butt and take my kids to the park (...or to get ice cream. But we can walk there!). Every little bit counts, and there is no time like the present. If I want to be the best wife, mother, and daughter of the King I can be, I need to act like I want to stay alive long enough to enjoy it.

7. Cut the crap: use portion control! - Hand in hand with #6, getting healthy means not eating a salad with chicken and bacon and ranch that's the size of my head. Even healthy food needs potion control, and I really have a hard time stopping when it tastes oh. so. good. Potato chips, I'm looking at you. This will be yet another way to practice self-control and teach me to put what is best on top of my carnal desire for more steak. More delicious, juicy steak.

Obviously these are not in order of importance, but they are at least a start to get me there. I'm already halfway through my January book AND I plan to shower today. Great practice for this coming year.

What goals have you set for 2016? Let me know in the comments below!

Talk to you next year! ;)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Monica Jane: 3 Months

Dear little Harmonica:

You are one of the happiest little babies ever. You love attention, and anytime someone makes eye contact with you you light up and start chatting away and sharing your flirty little coy smile. I can't believe how much you like to talk... you definitely get that from me. You sound like you are working so hard to communicate with us... I only wish I could understand you!

I'm starting to figure out your cues and the differences in your cries, which has made life at home run a whole lot smoother than before. Sometimes it still takes Daddy and me a while to figure out what you want/need, but we'll get there. You just need to trust us! Celine is doing her part to help out when you are upset by offering you her baby bottle or reading you books. It might not always seem like it, but she really does love you a lot.

You always want to be looking around and checking everything out. It's tricky to hold you up, especially when we try to do it with only one arm, because you wiggle and throw your head around so much you might just jump out of our arms one of these days. Even when your diaper is being changed you try to use your head to sit up. It is hilarious.

You don't take a pacifier or a bottle at all, which might get difficult when I have to be away from you for any extended period of time, but that's ok. You found your thumb already, and you'd much rather gnaw on that and your knuckles than whatever we give you. Whatever though... less for me to carry around in the diaper bag (and eventually lose, inevitably when we are in desperate need).

You have been hitting all of your marks (which is surprisingly a lot for a 3 month old) and we couldn't be more proud. You are, according to the nurse, "developmentally spectacular." High praise, little lady! You don't look it, but you are also at the top of the charts with your height and weight... you've been wearing clothes 3-6 month size for a month and now even those are too snug. Pretty soon you and Celine will be roughly the same size, and when that happens, no matter what, I will dress you like TWINS! :D

More and more of your features are coming through and its fun to see you start to look more and more like yourself. Your hair is pretty thin in the back (hello, growing bald spots), but don't worry: I'm sure it'll grow back full and luscious after your first haircut... which is coming up. Fast.

Daddy and I love you so much Monica Jane!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Seven Quick Takes

Hey all! Linking up with Annabelle for SQT... Here's what's happening in our neck of the woods:

1. I finally have my momentum back to finish my #12in12bookchallenge! I was on or ahead of schedule all year... and then this July/August we bought and renovated our house, and then in September Monica was born, so... no time for reading. Now she's mostly sleeping though the night, so that leaves nap times for me to actually do stuff! Yay! You can check my Instagram for more updates as they come... hopefully in January I'll remember enough to review some of the books :)

2. Speaking of doing stuff, I found my new favorite chore chart and I have no recollection of where. Joel and I have tried different systems, but it always seems to add up and pile together on one day OR leaves out monthly/yearly chores that end up falling through the cracks. I'm not nearly organized enough to write my own (I wish i was though... you'd think it'd be easy!) so I was overjoyed to find this one (somewhere):

I love that it breaks down pretty much every chore into a few small ones to tackle each day and then one more. That is SO not overwhelming. I'm almost ready to crown myself a domestic diva... although my homemade pie crust skills can use a little help.

3. A nasty cold has been working its way through our house. Celine has the worst of it now (currently hacking up phlegm in her crib) and we're praying Monica doesn't catch it too... nothing breaks my heart quite like a sick baby who is too little for any home remedies or medicines to help her out.

4. I'll be surprised if Monica doesn't catch it though, given how much of a liking Celine has taken to her. We can now daily find Celine sneaking over to pet her head, rock her in the Rock N' Play, high five her (just hitting Monica's hand whether she's sleeping or awake), or giving baby sister her hat and a blanket. It warms my heart to see them making each other smile. Best friends forever!

5. Celine is heading back to PT once a week to help her make progress with walking. She's pretty stubborn, but she also has low muscle tone especially in her bottom half, which makes things a little more challenging for her. It's hard to tell the difference between what she is can't do yet or what she doesn't want to do yet, but given that she hasn't really progressed since she stopped going to PT in June, we're doing our best to make sure she's still moving forward (pun intended). She did great her first two visits back, so if you remember please say a prayer for her patience and strength (and ours too)! :)

6. It's finally Advent, my most favorite liturgical season. We've been prepping for weeks on what/how we will make our family traditions and keep Christ at the center of our focus. The advent candles are on the table (soon-to-be a DIY wreath centerpiece), the tree is up, and we started reading our ADORABLE Advent calendar. Yay!!

7. I brushed off my baking and went back to baking earlier this week (hence above reference to pie crust) and although I'm rusty, I'm determined to impress Joel with something delicious to make the house smell amazing and hopefully not clog our arteries from the lard and sugar content. Any suggestions??

Until next time!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Home Office / Command Center Distress Call!

SOOOO... I would love to be a super organized person. I really would. I love the thought of being organized. But the thing is, when it actually comes to making a system and having everything in a clean, minimalist, chic space, I fall way short. 

When I look at this I just hear the "Psycho" music.
I am looking for any and all suggestions on making over this space. Right now it is a dumping ground for the "I'll-deal-with-it-laters" and the "I'm-not-sure-where-that's-going-to-permantly-go-yets" and the ever popular, "keep-that-out-of-the-toddler's-reach" area. 

I have big hopes for this little spot in the kitchen. I'm dreaming of having our calendar visible (the only solid system we have for organizing at the moment), our to-do-list accessible, and plenty of space for inspiration and motivational quotes. Right now the quotes are on the pantry closet door on my DIY magnet chalkboard... right now donning an incomplete (and possibly misquoted?) Bible verse. Catholics for the win.

The desk itself used to be bigger. I used an Ikea desktop and legs for a great price, but we are using the legs for another desk in the house and the short black desktop I formally used is too small and deep for the space I have now. To tide me over until the perfect desk is discovered (one that's reasonably priced of course), I'm using a folding table. Because YOLO.

I tried to dress up the drawer of desk knickknacks with washi tape, but unfortunately the tape I chose is semi-transparent (are they all that way? I'm new to this...) and it has been peeling off pretty much since I put it on. The former in/out boxes were a good idea when my desk was bigger, but for now they're just adding more square footage to the dumping ground.

In an effort to clear some of the clutter off of the desk, I hung our "needs attention" and "to file" folders, now containing who knows what. I probably should just label the whole desk "needs attention." I dressed up the translucent file folders with cute cards, but now I'm thinking it's making the whole thing look sloppier.

I am in love with this clock though. SO cute.
The pop-up containers are meant for food (I think? At least that's what was pictured on the box) and they do look cute on the shelf (pictured above), but I should probably put something in them if I'm going to keep them there... yep, that would help. The washi tape strikes again on the mason jar pencil holder.

Even the tissues look flat. They just can't even.
Future paint color preview on the wall though!
I think the bulletin board looks all right... I used a free printable calendar I found on Pinterest and a chore calendar I found (somewhere?), with a couple of extra notes... and Jesus.

So to all of you artists, designers, and organizing aficionados... any suggestions?? I'll post a brand-spanking new "after" picture once the disaster zone gets cleared and it's HGTV worthy (fingers crossed). What inspires you? What does your workspace look like? I love reading your comments and messages. :)

Talk to you soon!