Make The Time

Back when I was blogging on a daily basis I would often receive comments and emails asking how I "had time to do it all?" These comments always made me chuckle because "doing it all" or "having it all" is an illusion. What someone chooses to show on social media is only a piece of the picture that makes up their lives. Blogging regularly and posting projects didn't mean I did it all. It just meant that I made time to do those things.

After Penelope was born I would often lament to Ryan that there simply wasn't time to blog or make things or do anything other than laundry, grocery shop and prepare meals. All of my to do's were burying me. I had forgotten the one response I always gave when I was asked how I "did it all". Thankfully, Ryan reminded me. And he kept reminding me anytime I would feel sorry for myself.

People make time to do things that are important to them.

Isn't that so true? I enjoy reading so I make time for it. Daily scripture study and prayer are important to me so I make time for those things. But somewhere along the way over the last couple of years, I stopped making time to create and to document. I stopped making time to record. There were days that ALL I did was laundry. There were days that ALL I did was prepare meals. Sure, my list was getting checked off and my family was taken care of but I was neglecting an important piece of myself.


So one afternoon instead of staying home to check off another "to do" on my list, I went to the fabric store. I had an idea for a little blanket. I bought the fabric, came home and cut up the little squares then sewed them together. And you know what happened? I remembered what it felt like to make time to do something I wanted to do.

And I keep making the time.

Littlest + Biggest

Easton and Penelope share a birthday. Have I ever told you about that? When I was pregnant with Nellie I worried a lot about the 15 year age difference that would be between our oldest and youngest children. Would they feel a connection? Would they even have a relationship? These are things you may or may not consider when there are a few years between children, but 15 years is a giant age difference. Let's be honest, Penelope probably won't even remember living in the same house with Easton. I'm very conscious of the blessing strong familial relationships can be in a person's life. I want all of my children to genuinely love and care for one another. I prayed a lot during that last pregnancy for the relationship of these two. And wouldn't you know, in the early morning hours of Easton's 15th birthday my water broke and Penelope was born a short time later. It seems like a small thing- sharing a birthday. But I know it was an answer to my prayers and pleadings.

So here we are now. Easton is 17. Guys, SEVENTEEN!! We've entered this heartbreaking yet exciting stage where every life event feels like a huge milestone. I catch myself making mental notes almost daily. "He only has one more Christmas at home." "This will be his last full summer vacation with us." etc. etc. etc. Thinking about Easton, the one word that keeps coming to mind is good. He's just a really good kid, with a good heart. It's an honor being his mom.





And then there's this girl. She's a light. She loves all of her siblings, small plastic animals, and applesauce pouches. Penelope wakes up happy and goes to bed happy. She loves to cuddle and read books.

I love seeing the two of them together. Doesn't it look like Penelope could fit in Easton's giant shoe? Ha! Every time I look at this picture, I laugh.

Happy weekend, friends! This week has been crazy. School was canceled Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with delayed starts Thursday and Friday. Our winter weather has been extreme this year. There's been lots of snow, ice and freezing temperatures. I hope wherever you are you're warm and safe. xoxo

Do It Now

I've mentioned over on Instagram my devoutness to Gretchen Rubin's podcast Happier. If you aren't familiar with Happier, Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth Craft's weekly podcast offers hacks and little bits of advice on how to form good habits to increase your happiness. It's manageable, thought-provoking and I love it. One tid-bit of advice I've garnered from listening is one of Gretchen's Twelve Commandments. It is the commandment to Do It Now. 

We all have tasks we dread. For me it's things like making phone calls or scheduling appointments, laundry, and deciding what to prepare for dinner. Gretchen's advice is that "No delay is the best way." Sometimes, by putting off tasks that need to be done, we make ourselves feel worse. The feelings of dread for those looming tasks are made stronger than we would have felt just getting the task accomplished in the first place. Isn't that so true?! Whenever a to-do pops in my head that I'm not looking forward to, instead of pushing it away, I think to myself, "do it now". Implementing this simple advice has made a dramatic difference in my productivity. Even in small areas. Sometimes I procrastinate little tasks like inputting dates into my phone calendar or watering my plants. I don't dread them but they aren't a high priority. Reminding myself to Do It Now, helps me remember that regardless if I want to do something or not, eventually it will need to be done. Why not now? Do you procrastinate certain tasks too? Here's an article I have found super helpful.

Minimalism


This seems like a funny topic coming from someone who has seven children, but here we go anyway. A few nights ago I watched Minimalism: A Documentary on Netflix and I've been thinking endlessly about it since then. I realize that this movement isn't super new. There's TV shows dedicated to tiny houses, capsule wardrobes, and the whole, "want better, not more" philosophy that I've seen emerging over the past several years. Oh! and there's also Marie Kondo and her magic of tidying up. We can't forget about her! My dresser drawers have never been so happy.

I don't know if I can really consider myself a minimalist because I do love me some creature comforts. I like having little luxuries around like pretty smelling candles and cushy pillows and I'm not sure how those kinds of things play into that whole ideal, but I'm telling you- watching Minimalism really opened my eyes to how I can improve. In fact, today as I was meandering the aisles of Target I asked myself "is this going to add value to my life?" whenever something caught my eye. I think one of the first steps to leading a more minimal life is understanding that our purchases have an impact on not only us and our health- but our homes, families and of course our environment. I'm trying to be more conscious and watching Minimalism helped with that.

Two quotes from Minimalism that I loved:

"It's clear that the true problems of our Nation are much deeper- deeper than gasoline lines or energy shortages, deeper even than inflation or recession... In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance. But it is the truth and it is a warning."
-President Jimmy Carter

"Love people and use things. Because the opposite never works."
-The Minimalists

Happy weekend, friends. It's felt so good to be back here this week. xoxo


A Place for Everything

I'm so happy January is here! I know a lot of people get a bit of depression after the holidays but that has just never been the case for me. I look forward to January because I wholeheartedly welcome the fresh start. I relish the chance to evaluate where I am and where I would like to be. Plus, I LOVE packing up all the Christmas decor and seeing my home through fresh new eyes.

I am currently in an organizing frenzy. So many things get put on the back burner for me during November and December. Right now I'm tackling paper clutter. Like most families, we have become overtaken by mail, school calendars, bills, catalogues, etc. etc. etc. Where does it all come from and why can't I see my kitchen countertops anymore?! In an effort to make the best use of our space and to hopefully make my life more efficient, we had this little hutch built in the corner of our dining area. It looks like a typical hutch but it now stores our paper shredder, necessary electronics like our router, and two filing drawers. We used the same cabinet maker from our kitchen remodel two years ago and installed the same countertops so the two rooms now feel like one cohesive space.




I still need to style the open shelving but I'm so happy to not have to run down to the basement every time something needs to be shredded before thrown away. Are you organizing anything in your life right now too? How do you decide what project to take on first and how do you keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed? I'm asking for a friend. ;)