Adventures

Why I Started My New Year’s Resolutions Early (or Really, Really Late)

Happy New Year! I had a great Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family, but truth be told, I couldn’t wait to start taking down my Christmas decorations and get back into a normal routine. This year I decided to get a jump on my New Year’s resolutions before Thanksgiving. Actually, perhaps I was just 11 months late in starting 2018’s resolutions. Don’t judge. Either way, I needed to commit to taking better care of myself, both physically and mentally, over the holidays. Also, I thought I would be more likely to adhere to my goals if I made them part of this busy time of year.

So I started my resolutions November 1, and I am so glad I did. My three simple resolutions are nothing major or impressive, but they are three relatively attainable lifestyle changes that will be good for me. Really, isn’t that all a resolution should be?

December 2018 (1)

Run a mile a day for a (month, year?). I started this November 1 with the modest goal of running 30 miles that month. Sometimes I ran just one mile, sometimes I ran more to compensate for days I skipped. It wasn’t much, but, having never been a runner, it was an attainable goal. A couple of weeks in, I couldn’t believe how much better this made me feel. Again, I have friends who run half marathons and are all-around stellar at being in shape. This isn’t about trying to be them, even though I think they’re completely awesome. It’s about being a better version of me. I made running a commitment, even when I was exhausted from working and parenting, and even when I was out of town for a girls’ concert weekend. I carried the mile a day goal on through December, and am planning on running a 5K in February.

Implement a “something in, something out” organizational approach. Staying organized is absolutely critical to my mental well-being. That can be really difficult with two small children at home, especially after the excess of the holiday season. I did a significant purge/donation of toys, clothes, and baby items prior to Christmas. I even donated a lot of Christmas decorations because I felt like we just had way too much. Now that the holidays are over, I really plan to stick with a “something in, something out” approach when it comes to toys, clothes, and other household items. I realize this might need to flex a bit due to my kids’ clothes and toys, but in general, I think a happier household is one in which a whole bunch of “stuff” isn’t brought in without donating something else.

Make time for what I love. While this could mean more traveling, eating lavish meals, getting pedicures, and seeing Metallica a dozen more times, it is really more about incorporating simple pleasures into daily life. This means spending more quality time with my kids, planning regular date nights with my husband, taking an occasional bubble bath, and spending at least 15 minutes a day reading.

I now have two months of success behind me and it is only January 2. That’s a good feeling! Hopefully that’s the leg up I need on making 2019 a fabulous year, and, luckily my favorite treadmill (the old one at the far end of the row) was available when I got to the gym tonight after work. Cheers to a great 2019!

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In My House

For the Mom Buying Her Own Stocking Stuffers

Like a lot of moms out there, I buy a few goodies to stuff my own stocking every Christmas. I don’t want my four-year-old asking why Santa filled everyone’s stocking but Mommy’s, and, quite frankly, I just really love stocking stuffers. They’re small, fun, and don’t require cleaning out an entire closet to find space to store them. So, pretty much, they’re the best kind of gift! Here are my favorites for my own stocking this year.

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1. These enamel pins by Rifle Paper Co. are perfect for a stocking. I’m actually also giving them as gifts to my daughters’ preschool teachers this year. (Anthropologie) 2. This cute little box holds a small tube of my favorite moisturizer and a purse-size lip gloss. (Clinique) 3. This drinking glass features a schnauzer that looks so much like my own Norman. I would use this on my dresser as a jewelry catch-all. It comes in other dog breeds as well. (Anthropologie) 4. Wear Your Music offers jewelry made from guitar strings of all kinds of musicians ranging from James Taylor to Jason Mraz. I would of course choose a bracelet made from James Hetfield’s guitar strings. (Wear Your Music) 5. This is one of my favorite hand creams to get through the dry winter months. Vanilla marshmallow is one of the best fragrances. (The Body Shop) 6. I love the bow detail on these gloves and gray is always a favorite for me. They also come in black and pink. (Kate Spade)

In My House

Some Holiday Favorites

It is hard to believe that Christmas is only a little more than a week away. I have been enjoying the anticipation through the eyes of my two young daughters. I also shamelessly ordered all my own stocking stuffers from Sephora and Anthropologie. Are there any other moms out there who order their own stocking stuffers? I’ll post my favorites later, but for now here are a few other items I’m loving this Christmas season.

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1. These animal ornaments are the cutest and would make great gifts for teachers and friends. Who doesn’t love a small smiling sloth? (Crate & Barrel) 2. I am thrilled at the abundance of non-candy advent calendars on the market. This Playmobil Santa’s Workshop has been a huge hit with my girls. (Target) 3. These metal monogram ornaments are gorgeous on the tree or tied on a gift in place of a bow. (Anthropologie.) 4. This table runner will be lovely to dress up with red and green décor, but also will work for everyday. (Target) 5. My friend and I visited Anthropologie on our recent trip to Salt Lake City and both fell in love with this skirt. It’s pricey and we had both just spend a lot of money on Metallica tickets so we passed this time, but I’ll be watching to see if it goes on sale! We were thrilled that the store is featuring the same fox image on their shopping bags this season so we still got to take this lovely design home, just not in skirt form. (Anthropologie) 6. A store in my small town carries homemade taper candles in a variety of gorgeous hues. I recently grabbed some dark forest green ones to pair with a black and white runner on my dining room table. These are similar and under $4 for a pair. (Target)

Books

Books: A Thousand Naked Strangers

A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard is, as the cover says, a wild ride. Hazzard, now a journalist and television writer, writes about his decade-long gig as a paramedic in inner city Atlanta, one of the most crime-ridden areas of the country. The book is his non-fiction account of that time and some of the most interesting, gruesome, and touching experiences Hazzard (no, I’m not sure if that’s his real last name) had.

Hazzard’s stories are definitely macabre and he acknowledges the desensitization that takes place when individuals encounter blood and gore on a very regular basis. I found this to be an interesting and necessary survival tactic for people in this highly difficult job. I don’t have a weak stomach by any means, but I wouldn’t recommend reading this one on your lunch break. I tried a couple times and had to put it down.

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Working in a hospital, I found it especially interesting to learn more about this very important aspect of first-on-the-scene healthcare. Hazzard also describes the complicated dynamics between paramedics, physicians, firefighters, and law enforcement. The book is a quick and exciting read. It is also a reminder of the special, highly dedicated person it takes to do this important work.

Books

Books: Girl, Wash Your Face

I wasn’t going to read Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Something about all the hype surrounding it turned me away. Then I spotted it on a shelf near the children’s section of the library while on my weekly visit with the girls and seized the moment.

It was a quick read, which, in all honesty, is about the only reason why I finished it. Some of the chapters were somewhat relatable and enlightening. Some of them made me strongly dislike this woman. When Hollis writes about real, hard-hitting topics like suicide and serving as a foster parent, the message is compelling. When she writes about “achieving the goal” of purchasing a $1,000-handbag, she seems petty and clueless.

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At the beginning of the book, she attempts to lay out a platform of lifting other women up instead of tearing them down. That’s a concept I can definitely rally around, despite the fact that I’ll admit I’m kind of tearing her down right now. I’m aware of that, but I also believe in expressing my honest opinion of the things I read. They can’t all be the best thing ever!

A few chapters into the book, I was feeling beaten down by her for enjoying Diet Coke and getting a little winded running a mile on the treadmill. She hasn’t had a Diet Coke in years (never mind the fact that she slams non-fat lattes like they’re going out of style) and she runs marathons. I have nothing against lattes and marathons, but Hollis makes it sound like her way is the only way.

At the end of the day, this book didn’t live up to the hype. In fact, most of it kind of annoyed me. I wanted reading it to feel like chatting with a good friend, but it didn’t feel that way at all. I still do not ever feel that time spent reading is wasted. Even if the book isn’t great, or doesn’t uplift or intrigue me, I still believe it is worthwhile to have read someone else’s thoughts, ideas, and stories.

 

 

 

In My House

Sweater Weather (All Under $35)

This morning when I drove to work, the thermometer on my car said it was 1 degree outside. Yes, 1, people! It’s officially sweater weather in western South Dakota. While I’m not a fan of freezing cold weather, I do enjoy a cozy sweater and here are four beautiful ones. I ordered the first one over the weekend and am holding off on the others for now, but someone out there should definitely purchase them soon. Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?

Sweaters

1. I ordered this sweater online this past weekend because I love the deep green. I hope it arrives in time to wear for Thanksgiving and it will be great through the holiday season. (Banana Republic) 2. Loft is my go-to for comfortable sweaters that take me from work to play to church and back to work again. This light blue is gorgeous. (Loft) 3. The cheerful bright yellow and ruffles on this sweater caught my eye. (Halogen for Nordstrom) 4. I love how the sleeves on this sweater add feminine element to an otherwise basic black top. (J.Crew)

Adventures

My Apologies to Every Single Person in the West Side Starbucks Last Saturday

Sometimes I feel like I’m really rocking the motherhood thing. Then my toddler, dressed like a fluffy white snow owl, trips a lady carrying a laptop computer and a cup of coffee. Just like that, I’m one of those people. You know, the kind of people letting their kids run mad in a public place.

Last Saturday while my husband was working, I tried to take our four-year-old and 18-month-old trick-o-treating in downtown Rapid City. It was cold, windy, crowded, and not worth it for three or four Tootsie Rolls, so I decided to abort that mission and take the girls for hot chocolate and cookies. The nearest place with easy parking and a public restroom was Starbucks on the west side of town.

Halloween 2018 (4)

I got the girls settled at a table with the most adorable owl-shaped cookies and their Starbucks beverages of choice: Hot chocolate for the eldest, white milk for the youngest. Everything was going so great. I was sipping my vanilla latte and patting myself on the back for raising such little angels who can go out for an afternoon coffee break without losing their stuff.

Then my youngest got restless. She started to climb around on her seat, throw her cookie, and then run around the Starbucks seating area. The more I tried to rein her in, the wilder she became. My oldest picked that precise moment to spill her hot chocolate so as I scrambled to clean up that mess, I turned my head for just a moment. (Classic mom mistake). I heard a crash, then hysterical crying. My little one had run into a young woman carrying a laptop. The woman dropped her laptop and my daughter hit the floor, where she immediately started sobbing.

The young woman was incredibly gracious. Apologizing (it totally was not her fault) and trying to make sure my little one was OK (she was). Fortunately her laptop was, too, I think. I quickly gathered my crew and booked it to the car, apologizing desperately as I high-tailed it out of the building.

I was embarrassed. I was mad at myself for taking my young children to a place where others were trying to have a quiet afternoon, and, above all, I doubted my ability as a mom. In the days following, I realized that the only person judging me that day was me.

In most circumstances, this one included, we as mothers are our own toughest critics. Everyone in the coffee shop was kind. In fact, there were two other moms enjoying a coffee date with their school-age children who were behaving a little on the wild-side, too, and no one seemed to mind. It made me realize that these interactions are an important part of teaching our little ones social skills.

So I’ll probably still take my little ones out in public by myself sometimes. I’ll probably still tear my hair out occasionally when doing so. And I’ll probably be embarrassed again at least a time or two.

To the kind young woman my toddler tripped, thank you for being so gracious to this frazzled mom. I owe you a Starbucks. And maybe a new laptop.