Fierce. Feisty. Funny. Fearless.
Happy, happy birthday, sweet Vivi, my bunny-bunny girl.
Fierce. Feisty. Funny. Fearless.
Happy, happy birthday, sweet Vivi, my bunny-bunny girl.
“I will not be participating in the Pinterest Olympics on February 14th this year.
Good luck to all the glue gun gladiators out there.”
–Sarah F., my friend and the real MVP.
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and I have tried to sit this one out. I’m not a Valentine’s Day Hater, honestly. I’m barely recovered from Christmas and simply not ready for any holiday hoop-la.
The girls are foaming at the mouth in anticipation of stuffing their faces with conversation hearts, chocolate kisses, and all manner of Cupid themed sugar love snacks. The Valentine paraphernalia has been out in prominent display at most retailers since, December 27th (not joking), so my girls are pretty much at the frayed end of their ropes as they wait for another chance to get crafty and get candy.
In the past, I started making the girls Valentine goodies, with a little input and help from them of course, the girls and I figure out what kind of Valentine they’d like to hand out. Every year that they’ve handed out little homemade love notes, I’ve been compelled to make each subsequent year a little cuter, a little craftier.
I know, I’m an idiot.
Truly, Valentine’s Day has become the Craft Olympics, sponsored by Pinterest.
We did the photo with the lollipop one year.
We did a photo booth with Hershey kisses.
2014 saw us put together Swedish Fish with a request: “Will You ‘O-Fish-Ally’ Be My Valentine?”.
Two years ago, we did Kool Aid and Crazy Straws.
Last year two things changed: 1. M and C didn’t want to do the same thing. 2. V wanted in on the craft-tastic action. So, I took to Pinterest and came up with three separate Valentine cards (*facepalm*)
Smartie Pants Valentine’s for C.
You Blow Me Away Valentine’s for M.
You’re All Write Valetine’s for V.
I’m even more tired just looking at these.
Which brings me to this year — I’m to doing it. I’m not making Valentine’s day crafts for the girls or with the girls or having a hand in any form or fashion to spread love on the 14th. I’m out like Obama.
And why? Why am I being such a hard-hearted Hannah? That’s easy — a sista is tired. Yup, I said it. I AM TIRED.
For the past handful of years, I have done the most. While I do enjoy crafting and while I do enjoy the challenge, this year, I just don’t have the gas. There are no conversational candy hearts in my tank to power me through the cutting and pasting. Add to that all of my crafting stuff is in various totes and boxes scattered around the third floor because OFFICE NOT FINISHED (sorry for yelling). There is’ not place to spread it out. Shoot, I don’t know what I have. I don’t want to raid AC Moore only to find out now I have three glue guns, two FISKARs straight edge cutters, and enough glue dots to bring the total up to 105 Dalmatians.
What I decided to do instead was take the girls to Target and let them pick out whatever they liked to give to their friends. I tried to sway them into valentines that had stickers, tattoos, or scratch pads. In the end, because I don’t want to make everything a battle royal (but mainly because I’m tired), I let C get Airheads and V get lollipops.
M is middle school and evidently, exchanging valentine’s is passe. Instead, there’s middle school dance the Friday before the 14th. M was on the committee, and “Oh, by the way Mom, I have to bring refreshments, so can you make some cupcakes or brownies like on Pinterest?”
To which I replied, in my head, “Nah”. Out loud, it went more like, “What else can you bring? Chips? Done.” Comes the night of the dance, and off M goes, in head to toe pink carrying bags of Doritos for the masses.
But back to the Valentine’s for the younger ones. On one hand, I have mother’s guilt bubbling up for not doing the crafty card. I’m letting down the sweet-faced kiddos who like the punny, Valentine sentiment. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m feeling guilty for not doing it because I don’t want any Judgey McJudgerson (real or imagined, but mostly imagined) giving me side-eye. Yes, I care what other people think! I admit it! And yes, I know that I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it!
Why do I do this?
Oh wait. . .I’m Type A. I forgot.
And while I may have forgotten that, I have picked up a useful skill along the way. I’m learning to identify what my limitations are. Saying yes to Valentine’s crafts is a limit. A hard limit.
This is me going rogue, people! I’m stepping away from the glue gun! Store bought Valentine’s today, store bought Valentine’s tomorrow, store bought Valentine’s forever!!
Do you BuJo?
Do you know what BuJo is?
It’s shorthand for bullet journaling, a creative, and personal way to chronicle goals, make plans, keep track of inspirational quotes and all manner of either mental glitter.
Buzzfeed, Pinterest, and Instagram have been swollen with tips, tricks, and ideas on how to get your BuJo on. YouTube has countless videos that turn dotted blank pages into drool inducing organizational layout.
Around the end of November, early December, I began to see more and more articles about bullet journaling. With the impending start to the New Year, bloggers and Pinners were touting how BuJo was the way to go for 2017. Track you fitness goals! Track your savings goals! Track yourself on how well you track your tracking! There were links to templates and guides. There were step by step tutorials on how to write in calligraphy using only a fine tip pen and some matches. No, not really with the matches.
When I wrote about making plans for 2017 while it was 2016, BuJo was on my list (gah, every time I write that (BuJo), I think this is exactly how I feel when I hear people say artisanal and bromance and moist).
But a place where to-do lists, a diary, and a planner all come together using wash tape, markers, and doodles?! Um, yes! Paper! Pens! Organization! Take my money!!
I order this gorgeous moleskin notebook and some fancy micro-line pens. Between December 20th and January 1st, I went all in getting my BuJo plan sketched out and BuJo templates ready.
You can make your BuJo as plain or as intricate as you like. Most articles say that a true BuJo has an index, a key, color coding, and calendar. You’re supposed to number all of your pages, set sections for future logs, monthly goals, yearly goals, and so forth. The more I read, the more inundated with ideas I became. I knew that I’d sink under the weight of all the possibilities, so I scaled back considerably.
On a separate piece of paper, I outlined the areas I wanted to focus on and tried my hand at drawing banners, arrows, and fonts.
My first task was to spend the first three weeks of January keeping a food and fitness tracker. I had a place to put in what the one thing I would do for the day would be. I had a spot for doodles, quotes, and other motivational tidbits. The backside of each page would be a place for me to write down my thoughts, ideas, and to do list tasks as they came to me. I called this page “Brain Dump”.
After I filled up the three weeks worth of pages, I set up some pages for goals related to family, marriage, self, and work. I had page dedicated to places I’ve been and places I’d like to go. I had a page for quotes. There was another for restaurants I’d like to try. All of the pages were decorated, doodled on, and thick with wash tape. Oh yeah, I was doing the most, per usual.
Several times, the Hubs would join me in the dining room (yes, I’m still working there) to knock out some paperwork. “That looks like a lot of work,” he’d comment, shaking his head, as I capped and uncapped pens, drew straight lines. As I furiously scribbled, I assured him that it was actually kind of fun. I love paper and getting crafty. I got shivers of satisfaction with each completed page, every straight line, and every color coded check mark. BuJo was tapping into all facets of my creative side.
What I failed to realize (or maybe just skipped over this part in all of my reading and scrolling) is that BuJo is time-consuming. Like, Facebook and Instagram time consuming. Like when you sit down and the sun is high and you look up and it’s pitch black outside. I would crack open my book, slip out my cool pens, and the next thing I know, the kids are holding out their cupped palms, imploring me to make them some food, Dickensian style. Dust was piling up like snow drifts on all available surfaces. Laundry lay in various stages of completion in buckets at the top and bottom of the stairs. I had to figure out how to add this newest spinning plate to the full service of dishes, cups, and what not that were already whirling like dervishes overhead.
Here’s what I learned: I couldn’t add another thing without putting something else down, intentionally or otherwise. When I gave BuJo 100%, the blogging fell off. That was no bueno, so I picked up the blogging, but the photography got pushed down. Can’t do that. My response time to emails and texts plummeted as I drew straight lines and bubbled in circles to denote how much water I had consumed. Finally, one Sunday when the Hubs ferried the girls hither and thither, I put the BuJo aside to attack the massive myriad of things I’d neglected. I didn’t pick up my fancy pens or my special ruler. I wouldn’t until I’d taken care of business.
Lots of the articles I read said things like don’t overthink it, there’s no such thing as perfection, you can make it as time-consuming as you’d like. I feel like they were talking me down from the ledge before I even got started.
Guess what happened? I went from this (left) to this (right).
BuJo wiped me out. Two weeks in and I was done. Of course, this wasn’t a challenge or a competition or anything. It was just me trying something new and seeing how it worked out for me. I hate to quit anything, so there is a little of something like failure trying to find a foothold in my brain. I’m not letting it get any purchase, though.
I’m keeping my new notebook, along with my daily planner, my stack of post-its, my mini notebook, and my book of random thoughts. I plan to flip it open when I’ve got an idea or when I need a reminder of some of the gems I’ve already captured that need polishing.
Or I can just fill it up with doodles.
Would you try bullet journaling to keep track of your goals? Tell me about it!
I love books. I love to read. I am a voracious reader.
This should come as no surprise.
My husband is a big reader. So are the girls, which makes me very happy. When we tell them to turn off the TV and go read a book, they do it! Happily! The girls read so much that I had to put a book reading ban on breakfast during the week. They were doing more reading than eating. Then we were jammed up trying to get out the door for school on time. Best kind of problem, right?
I love when I get surprised by a book. I started reading “The Regulars” by Georgia Clark a few weeks ago. I downloaded a sample onto my Kindle and promptly gobbled it up. I put the actual novel on hold at the library, waiting patiently for it to become available. I read “Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett (excellent) in the meantime. I listened to “The Couple Next Door” (terrible) on audio book while I waited. Finally, finally, “The Regulars” came up. I borrowed it on Wednesday afternoon and finished it Thursday night at 11pm.
I inhaled it.
What in the world, you’re wondering, made you plow through that book so fast?
The plot was fresh: Clark explores what happens when three friends are given the chance to go from “regular” to “glam-tastic” using a product of questionable origin. Hilarity, chaos, and introspection ensues. The way the author combines words and turns of phrase was just so delicious. This book pulled me in so thoroughly, in my head, I was casting who I’d like to see in the movie adaptation. I had a few questions when the book was over. There were a few threads that had been left dangling, but ultimately, it was a satisfying read. I’ve talked about books that end with a “click of a box” — the conclusion being the soft “click” that comes when closing the lid on something. This book had that.
I sat there, hungry for more. I wanted to know what happened next. I wanted to shake my head like an Etch-a-Sketch to clear out everything I’d just read so I could experience it all again. I couldn’t do that, so I did something else.
I want to eat her words. I want to hold them in my mouth, each bon mot exploding –champagne effervescence — against my tongue, against my teeth. I will find the umami in her sentences, the sweet in her sumptuous paragraphs, and the tangy bite of character growth steadily intensifying as chapters progress.
I want to eat her words. Each name has texture. Each scene has a richness.
I want to eat her words. I want to lick the page until my tongue is fuzzy and black with typeface. I want to pick up stray letters with the tines of my fork and delicately bite down just to savor the crunch of capitals and crack of punctuation marks.
I want to eat her words. I want to swirl my fingers from the top to the bottom of the page, a word cloud of plots twists perched on the tip of my fingers like carnival cotton candy. Each witty turns of phrase, a snap and crack against my teeth.
I want to eat her words until I am full, button-of-my-pants-digging-just-a-bit-uncomfortably into my belly.
I want to eat her words until my breath smells like paper.
Maybe the magic of “The Regulars” rubbed off on me a little bit.
Want to be Book Buddies? Come find me on Goodreads!