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!
December 1st, 2016.
How did we get here?
I mean, I know how we got here, but really? How is it December already? 2016 leapt into the atmosphere 335 days ago, hit the ground running, and never looked back. The number of times people said they were done with 2016, that 2016 was the giver of no f*cks, flying figs, or good got-dambs ticked up and up and up, faster than a real time population counter in a rabbit hole.
On the radio the other day, I heard Jeff Johnson from the Rickey Smiley Morning Show share with his listeners his daily “3 Things You Should Know”. His focus was on how to build your department of defense in Donald Trump’s administration. I am oversaturated with everything to do with the pre- and post- election cycle as I am sure most everyone else is. For some reason, instead of flipping through the channels for something that would have me lip syncing at the traffic lights, I I listened to what Jeff Johnson had to say as I motored through my morning commute.
The analogy that Johnson was going for was simple: the president-elect is preparing to take office next year; we, too, should be preparing ourselves for next year. We should be building our defenses against those who won’t let us be great. Johnson provided tips on how to bolster and better ourselves as we cross the threshold of 2017 and beyond. His tips that focused less on losing weight or flossing every day, and more on goal setting in general.
We have about 30 days before the New Year: now is the time to set goals so that on December 31st, we’re heading into the new tomorrow ready to hit the ground running. No excuses. You know I love some proper prior planning, so my ears perked up. I encourage you to listen to the audio; it’s brief but impactful. In the interim, here’s my takeaway and how I plan to be a #goaldigger in 2017.
Building for yourself. Johnson asks his listeners what they will build in the new year.What are you going to create for yourself in the New Year? Is it a new job? Educational advancement? Are you committed to being a better partner, parent, person?
Whatever goal you have for the next 365 days, there is no time like the present to go after it. It’s too easy to rest on our laurels and plan to tackle that fitness plan, commitment to flossing, sign up for room parent, or what have you. Don’t wait for Friday (who starts a fitness plan at the beginning of the week-end anyway?), or the first of the month (looking at you, January), or when you’re bank account is just right, or the when the moon is in the seventh house. Stop waiting for the right moment and act.
Right now, I challenge you to grab a post it note and write down one goal for yourself. One goal, just for today. Here’s mine:Long term goals? I’m going to be kind to myself. I’ll floss. I will look for ways to develop and express my creativity. Once I find those ways, I’m going to act on them. It’s not enough to do the research; you’ve got to do the work. I’m planning on being great — no wait, I plan to continue to be great.
2017 is sidling up to us at the bar ready to buy us a drink and make us forget all about 2016. Well, bottom’s up, baby, and here’s to our goals for the new years: may we set them, may we smash them, may we keep the momentum going!
What are you going to let go of, use to build your defenses, and create for 2017?
Share in the comments!
Somehow on the drive to school this morning, the girls got me talking about what their names would have been had they been boys. With M and C, we found out they were girls, so we quickly tabled any male names that had been under consideration. With V, we didn’t find out who she really was until she made her debut, so I was able to share the top three choices that ultimately ended up being knocked with that XY punch.
We dropped M off at the middle school and continued onto the lower school. V — who for the record, is 4 years old — asks me if “any more babies are coming out of your tummy” because she wants “a bunch of sisters”.
I heartily assured her that was definitely not happening. She goes quiet for a minute before piping up from the back seat again. This time, she wants to know how she “got out of there, anyway”. Now, you all know, this isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to the birthing story, but it was 7:49 in the morning and I hadn’t even had my coffee.
Putting on my “just the facts, ma’am” voice, I said how the doctor gave me some medicine so I wouldn’t feel anything in my belly, made an incisions, parted it, and pulled her out. After a beat, she wanted to know what an incision was.
“A cut,” I said, navigating the traffic while keeping an eye on her in the rearview mirror.
“Oh. My. Gosh!” V exclaimed (four going on forty, seriously). Her eyes were wide in disbelief. She fell silent for a minute as C chattered on about what she recalled from her own birth story.
“Wait, wait, wait,” interrupts V. “How did the baby get in there in the first place?
Of course. Of course she wants to know this. And again, I’ve been down this road, so I was ready. C pipes up from the back seat, saying “I got this, Mom!”
C takes a deep breath and says, “So, what happens is, a husband and wife pray to God for a baby and when they’re ready, God gives them one.”
Sweet relief, she went with the basic version. I was a little nervous, after all, I’d had the more technical talk with M a few months ago and I’m pretty sure C was pressed up against the door like this. . .
We’re still a few minutes from dropping C off at school when V lobs another question at me.
V: But how, Mom? How does the baby get in there when they talk to God.”
Me: Well, they say ‘Dear God, my husband and I. . .”
V: (hands folded) Dear God, my husband and I. . .
Me and C: No! V, no! Stop!
The brains on that one! She wants a bunch of sisters and she was going to find a way to get them. Straight had me walk her through how babies (in the G rated version) are made. C piped in quickly, too, saving me from having to untangle this particular thread of convo.
“That prayer only works for grown-ups who are married!” C explained. “You can’t say it. It won’t work.”
God bless, that child. She gets two desserts tonight.
My eyes flitted to the rearview mirror and V was fixing me with one of these looks:
Someone come get her (and her praying hands).