Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Favorite Things 2018

There will be a separate blog post for my favorite books of 2018, but here are a few other things I really enjoyed this year.

Television

The Haunting Of Hill House

I don't like to be scared. I don't like plastic snakes on the floor or people sneaking up on me. I don't go to haunted houses. That's why I wasn't enthusiastic when D recommended we start this show. However, Shirley Jackson wrote the book and I love her work, so I agreed to give it a try.

We finished all ten episodes in a matter of days, binge watching until 3 am the last night. The writing is tight, the casting is perfect, and the haunting is both more harrowing and real because of how the story unfolds. Real life nightmares collide with ghosts, and the outcome left us talking about this one for weeks. Sometimes when I'm feeling spicy, I turn on the soundtrack and wait for D to walk in the room and try to figure out if our house has turned on us.

The Man in the High Castle

The third season is the best so far and draws from scenes in the book with astounding results.

Glow

We binged this one as well, and I loved it. It was funny and smart, and I can't wait for the next season.

Panda Planner

I was a hard core Erin Condren follower until a friend introduced  me to the Panda Planner. I will never go back. The positive psychology approach and thoughtful organization has helped me complete projects, figure out when I work best during the day, and prioritize the important things in my life instead of feeling like everything on my list is urgent.

Full disclosure: this is not a yearly planner. It's more like a quarterly planner. For some that is a deal breaker, but I will pay for this one multiple times a year for the benefits.



They are huge, which can make it difficult to fit more than one or two in a lunch box, but I love them. We use them for storage and for travelling snacks, and we have cut way down on how many plastic bags we purchase and trash. We also haven't lost any, and that is a small miracle in this house.

Insight Timer

I wanted a free meditation app to help me stay committed to the practice, and Insight Timer delivers. I love that you can choose how long you want to meditate and what your intention is, such as dealing with anxiety, trying to sleep, or focus. The kids like this one, and we meditate almost daily.

All Things Flow

I had never heard of Flow Magazine or any of their publications until March. Now I am a straight up crazy fan who knows when anything they produce is coming out. A Book That Takes Its Time was nothing short of lifechanging for me, and I draw in 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life weekly. I am going through challenges in Creativity Takes Courage, and I like to just go to bookstores and touch their magazines.

Flow is all about living well, living simply, and being creative. Their next book is out in 2019, and I can't wait!

An Electric Pencil Sharpener

Why did a pencil sharpener make the list? A variety of reasons. We have managed with hand held, crappy pencil sharpeners for too long, and I homeschool. Plus, my kids draw about 400 pictures a piece a day, and you can break your wrist trying to sharpen with those hand held ones when that is what you're dealing with.

I finally splurged and bought a $25 pencil sharpener. Every time I hear it being used, I smile.

Our Current Phase

We have our challenges, but I really like that I don't have toddlers anymore. I loved them when they were toddlers, but I was tired. The kids are currently very easy to transport and full of hilarious stories. They're fun people. They also fight and scream and threaten to poop in a water jug (long story), but this phase seems a bit easier for the most part.




She found a skull in an owl pellet. Science!

Exactly one person was excited about posing for this picture.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Persevering In November

In some areas, I did a really great job in November. There were other areas where I set out to do particular things and didn't consistently succeed. That's how it goes. It was still a good month and I was able to focus on progress as opposed to only final results.

Waking Up Early

If you have read this blog before then you probably know I am constantly dealing with sleep issues. I am a natural night owl with children who don't want to sleep in, ever. I tried to get up early this month so the start of my day would be peaceful, and here's how that went:

I woke up at 5 am...one day. It was great. It happened one day.

I revised this plan so I will get up around 5:45 and go from there. The kids have to stay in their rooms until seven, so that at least gives me some time. I am working on it. I like silence to be the first sound I hear. I like bathing without someone asking if they can see my boobs or rub my soft mom belly. I like putting in an hour of writing time before the day takes off. I like coffee and if this works, coffee will likely deserve all the credit.

However, I still hate going to bed early, and I need seven hours of sleep. It's tricky business.

Anyway, I woke up at 5 am one day. It's not exactly an exercise in perseverance, but I did it.


Reading Poetry

I started the month with a beautiful book of poetry, and I tried to read poetry daily. I didn't succeed, but the mornings I did read it were wonderful. I grabbed four new books of poetry at the library and am going to give this another shot.

Riding Ripsticks





How we ended up with three ripsticks in our home, and how the two males in our house who can't stand up on roller skates learned to glide down steep hills on boards with two wheels that will not even stand up on their own, is a long story. However, we are now a ripsticking family, and this has kept us at parks in all kinds of weather daily.


Playing Games

The children have been introduced to Clue. Now they are using deduction skills to solve problems while also trying to figure out how someone kills a person with a candlestick. We have them thinking about reasoning and murder. Good for us?

Adios Social Media

I don't use social media on the weekends, and this morphed into me taking all of Thanksgiving week off. It was awesome. Now I am sporadically checking in maybe once a week. I don't hate social media or think it serves no purpose, but life spent off of it most of the time is more enjoyable for me when it's possible.

No TV

Sitting at my computer writing about how anti-technology November was is hilarious, I know. I am not anti-TV or social media or any of that, and my approach this month wasn't planned. I just decided the kids would get to watch TV one, maybe two, days a week, and otherwise it wouldn't even be turned on.

We already had limited TV time and my kids don't have their own devices, but we were at parks or homeschool events or working on actual homeschool so much that even the little bit of screen time we tried to squeeze in felt like a pain. So from Monday through Friday, my kids know not to even ask about playing video games or watching TV. I thought it would be a big deal, but it hasn't been at all. No one has really complained, and I feel like there is a calmer vibe in our house.

Celebrating My Mate

D finished his Master's degree and also put a comic into the world this month. He wrote it and secured an amazing artist to do the art, and you can find it here.  He also learned to ripstick with his kids. I got lucky with this guy.


We also mourned Beto's loss but did not forget to celebrate all he 
accomplished and all he still has left to do.

Monday, November 5, 2018

October Book List + A Bonus Fall Reading List

I grabbed a couple of mysteries and crime novels in October because it felt appropriate. Plus, they were on my list and available at my library.

Fiction

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

The unreliable narrator technique has to be used wisely to work, and Feeney does that with this novel, letting readers know in the title that lies are going to be told.

Amber can't speak or move but is cognizant of her surroundings. She can't remember how she ended up in the hospital, but she fears her husband had something to do with it. As we hear both Amber's thoughts and conversations between the visitors in her room, including her sister Claire, the story comes together in a surprising way that led to an ending I did not expect. This one was hard to put down and kept me up at night.

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

I love Lippman's ability to write a good crime novel while still making the characters more of a center than the crime. She understands human motivations and instincts, and this makes her exceptional at crafting work that doesn't feel contrived or forced.

Polly flees Delaware to escape her life, and she meets Adam. They begin what is supposed to be a summer fling, but with both the emotions and the secrets between them, what will happen when summer ends? When a mutual acquaintance dies under suspicious circumstances, questions have to be asked about how well each knows the other. I really enjoyed this one by Lippman.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Wren had to read this book for book club, and she asked me to join her. I always wanted to read it and already had a copy, so we set out to see who killed Sam Westing and where his seemingly sinister game would lead.

This was a fast-paced, enjoyable read. I was guessing until the very end, and it was fun to read it with my daughter.

Mrs. by Caitlin Macy

Moms of children who attend a posh school in New York have secrets to hide and a lot to lose in this novel by Caitlin Macy. We learn specifically about three different women, their marriages, their pasts, and what happens when secrets are spilled.

"Mrs."  has been described as possibly the next "Big Little Lies", but I didn't connect with Macy's characters the way I do with Moriarty's. The book deals with important issues and is intriguing, but when I turned the last page I felt like I was viewing the characters and the plot through a tunnel instead of being engrossed. I don't regret reading it, but I wasn't blown away by it either.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Margaret's dream life is derailed in an instant after a tragic accident, and she has to figure out how to survive in this thoughtful novel by Katherine Center. Trapped in a hospital with her estranged sister, a very cranky physical therapist, and a kind-of fiancé, Margaret goes through the phases of grief while coming to terms with family secrets and her new, unexpected life.

The protagonist is lovable and the story works well. I enjoyed this one.

Ghosted by Rosie Walsh

I have a confession: I unfairly and harshly judge all books in the romance section. I know, it's gross and elitist, and it's fine for people to enjoy the bodice ripping, hunky male cover books as much as I absolutely don't. Luckily, "Ghosted" was not what I imagined a stereotypical romance novel to be, and I feel like it didn't really even fit in that section (general fiction, maybe?)  I enjoyed it thoroughly and had to question all of my previous judgments of books based on genre.

When Sarah meets Eddie, they hit it off during the week they have together. That makes Eddie's disappearance even harder for Sarah to grasp. Did she imagine the whole experience was more than it really was? Did she slip up somewhere without knowing?

What we don't tell people is just as important as what we do, and as Walsh reveals the story of these lovers, we learn about their pasts and why they might feel the need to hide the details. I was intrigued and surprised until the very end.

Memoir

No One Tells You This by Glynnis MacNicol

I spent a couple of years as both the youngest and the only unmarried trainer in Texas for a major bank. A manager came to me and explained that as travel demands picked up, I might notice I was receiving more travel assignments than other people in my department. He went on to explain that this was because of my situation. "You have no people like the other employees." In his mind, unmarried and childless meant no people.

MacNicol addresses this attitude, the one we often have towards those whose lives haven't taken a conventional or expected direction, in her beautiful memoir. She talks about the death of her mother, the relationships she's tolerated, her career breakdown, and the realization that her life can and is enough.

I was particularly struck by MacNicol's ability to kindly point out sins we're all guilty of, even those of us who were victims of them in earlier stages of life. We expect the single, child-free people in our lives to take care of us, to arrange the showers and the parties and the events, because whether or not we acknowledge it, we all easily slip into the you-have-no-people mentality. We forget that every person needs care, and no one's choices or situations are subpar.

This is a great read for anyone, especially those in midlife, no matter your marriage or parental status.

My Favorite Fall and Winter Reads

I pick these books up again almost every fall or winter because it feels like the right time to live in these worlds. Most of them have some darkness or rough edges, and when the sun starts setting at 5:30, it feels appropriate to settle in with something on the ominous side.



The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

This book takes readers across the globe as a young woman reads through letters addressed to "My dear and unfortunate successor" and tries to figure out whether or not to go on a journey to find her father. The writing is beautiful and the story will send chills down your spine. Think vampires, Vlad the Impaler, and suspense that will keep you up all night reading.

Rich in history, love, and darkness, I am drawn to this one almost every year in November, and though it was optioned for a movie, I'm glad it wasn't made. I don't want the images in my mind replaced with anything else.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Maybe it's because Hogwarts is the backdrop for most of these books, but I always feel the need to pick them back up in fall when school starts. I reread all seven, and I usually end up finishing by the end of November.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series by Stieg Larsson

Dark is a great way to describe this series, and I still can't believe I made it through three books that are this gruesome in content. The story is addicting, and I read them all when the sun started setting super early and I was left up alone in the house nursing an infant Sam. Lisbeth kept me company while she kicked ass.

Child 44 series by Tom Rob Smith

I didn't now if I was going to enjoy this book because the death of children is not a super fun topic. However, Smith weaves an intriguing tale of murders in Russia that aren't being investigated because the government refuses to acknowledge that they are murders. When Leo decides to investigate, the full picture comes together, and this is one that will have you looking behind you checking for strangers while you turn the last pages.

The next two books in the series are just as riveting and should keep you busy for a bit.

FYI-Do NOT see the movie. All the great acting couldn't make up for a crappy script.


Ariel by Sylvia Plath

I feel like fall is a great time to commit to reading poetry. As an artist friend of mine said, you can't rush poetry. You need to see every word, sometimes read it out loud, let it all settle. A quiet house with a cup of tea when the sun has fallen early is a great backdrop for this slow, measured exercise.

I love Plath's work and I always come back to her. Ariel is probably her most popular collection of poetry, and poems like "Poppies in October" and "Letter in November" make it a particularly appropriate collection for this time of year.



Saturday, November 3, 2018

Persevering in October: Feelings, Outdoors, and Decor

October is quite possibly my favorite month, so I always feel like it goes by too quickly. Besides celebrating D's birthday and hurting my back working on a puzzle (not kidding), I did a few other things.

No Secondary Emotions

I had a Meniere's episode in the middle of October. While I am used to feeling unsteady on occasion, I don't deal with episodes that slam me to the ground for hours as often anymore. I did on the 13th, and besides being extremely dizzy, I lost about 75 percent of my hearing for eight hours.

It was horrifying in the way these things always are. I know I'm vulnerable at all times because that's how Meniere's works, but being reminded of how helpless it makes me is jarring. However, I tried something different this time; I didn't allow secondary emotions to participate.

When I have an episode, I already feel physically awful, and then my mind can really get away from me. I'm stuck in bed, unable to even sit up, and I have a lot of time to think about where these episodes can lead. When I had one a couple of months ago that wasn't even as bad as this one, I spent hours ruminating about the possibility of not being able to help my children now or when they are older. What if they move away and I can't even get on a plane to visit? What if they need my help but I'm down for weeks at a time? I let this go pretty far last time and ended up even more miserable than I started.

In October I simply shut down these thoughts the minute they started. I acknowledged that I don't know what the future holds, but I have to deal with where I am right now. I rested. D took the kids to the movies. I didn't think about not being able to hear or when my hearing would fully return. I just let myself be.

It wasn't a fun day, but it was relaxing to just let my body do what it needed to do without worrying about what came next. By that night, I was walking around the block trying to regain some equilibrium, tired but proud.

Meditation and mindfulness get credit for my approach in October. Just catching those thoughts before they had a chance to own me and intentionally showing myself compassion made a big difference.


The Great Outdoors






We were outside a lot in October. The weather finally started to turn pleasant, and even during the weeks when it rained for days, we got outside if it wasn't lightning.

I read both The Nature Fix and There's No Such Thing as Bad Weather earlier this year, and they had a profound effect on the way I view my need for nature. I need it, my kids need it, and we will seek it every season, regardless of the weather.

Hygge the Home

We've lived in our house for ten years, and we've added a lot of children to it. As far as really designing and decorating, not so much. However, I've been working on that lately, and it's been both fun and satisfying. My style tends to be minimalist and functional, with comfort as a priority.

This month, I hung some white boards and scored an awesome table for free. A neighbor put it on the curb, and my dumb ass decided to surprise Dennis. I pulled over in the minivan, sure I could lift the thing on my own. I could not. I don't know why I thought I was such a bad ass, but after successfully maneuvering it into the middle of the road on my own, D and the kids had to walk down the block to help me. This conversation followed when Dennis saw me sprawled on top of a table, claiming it with my body and protecting it from oncoming traffic.

Me: "I can run a mile now, so I really thought I had this."

D: "Um, how does that mean you can lift a table that weighs more than you do?"

Me: "I'm strong? Wait, uh, I didn't think this through, did I?"

D: "Can you even lift your side?"

Me: "Sure? Maybe? Wow, I got way too confident running that mile."

D: "Nice table, though."

She really is a beauty, right?



Tuesday, October 9, 2018

September Book List

My Book Tower!



Non-fiction

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris

Sedaris' work is always flawless, and after reading "Calypso" I wanted to go back and explore essays I hadn't read before. Most fans have already devoured "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim." I will probably read it again since Sedaris' insights about family and his never-ending humor made this book a quick read that I loved.

Fiction

Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn

Dunbar is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear. Henry Dunbar is stuck in a sanitarium after handing his company over to his greedy oldest daughters. He escapes with a fellow patient in tow, but his two oldest daughters, as well as Florence, his youngest daughter who wants nothing more than for him to be safe, attempt to find him, and it's a race to see who will make it to him first.

This was a good story, though the ending felt quick.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer

When Greer meets Faith in college, her life changes. She wants to impress this feminist leader who has an effect on her life the first time they meet, and this helps direct the course of future events. Wolitzer has written a beautiful book about feminism, friendship, and the decisions we make that shape us and those around us.

Greer and Faith are both well drawn characters, as is the entire cast we're introduced to throughout the story. This book spans years, private and public tragedies, and it has a voice in today's world with all the issues currently in the spotlight. I highly recommend this one.

Hey Ladies! The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss

I grabbed this one strictly for entertainment, and it did not disappoint. Written in emails, with an occasional text thrown in for variety, "Hello Ladies!" shows what some female friendships look like and the hilarious, cringeworthy, and heartfelt outcomes.

Yes, the characters are stereotypes, exaggerated for laughs. However, any woman who has ever been stuck on an email chain or group text or at the mercy of a Bridezilla will recognize these conversations and laugh her ass off. It's for entertainment, and it's entertaining.

Severance by Ling Ma

The world is coming to an end, but Candace doesn't feel the need to waver from her routine. Working in New York, an orphan after her parents died years ago, she goes about her life with her boyfriend and routine-driven job as those around her succumb to Shen Fever. What does it say about our lives that we can live so much of them on autopilot as the world around us falls apart?

Candance can't make it on her own forever, so she joins a group of survivors who have also evaded Shen Fever, a condition that leaves those suffering from it in a sort-of zombie state, though not aggressive zombies. They simply repeat their routines over and over again without cognitive awareness.  But Candace's need to partner up with others introduces new challenges, and Ma unfolds this story using flashbacks and beautiful language.

This one ended abruptly to me, but that's my only complaint. Ma tackles the popular apocalypse genre in a way that adds depth to what otherwise would have been a familiar story.

Putney by Sofka Zinovieff

I wanted to read this one and I didn't want to read this one. "Putney" is a story told from three different points-of-view about an affair that happened years ago. The problem is the affair was between an adult male and an adolescent girl, and the friend who watched it happen is still disturbed by the way it played out (as anyone in their right mind would be.)

It takes a skilled writer to handle the issues of consent, grooming, and abuse in a way that audiences can keep reading through their rage and disgust. Zinovieff is one of those writers. This book was heartbreaking, disturbing, timely, and wonderful. She effortlessly explores sexual abuse, telling each person's perspective flawlessly. You'll be pissed when you put this one down, but it's worth it.

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

In the future, abortions are illegal, as is IVF treatment for infertility, and only  heterosexual married couples can adopt. This world is where Zuma creates a story of the interconnecting lives of women, where she digs deep into big issues without being preachy.

Zuma offers characters we care about living in small-town Oregon who are affected by the current policies and whose decisions are fueled by desire and desperation. She introduces these women at  first by their titles-mother, daughter, mender-but expands on what those roles mean to them and who each woman is at her inner core.

I finished this one and immediately passed it to a friend. Imagine me placing it into your hands now because it is an intelligent, full read.

Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao

Poornima and Savitha become friends and fight for their places in a world not made for ambitious women. When Savitha is subjected to horrible cruelty, she disappears. Poornima follows closely behind, and this story unravels as each girl overcomes obstacles to try to survive and reunite.

This is not an easy read. After reading the non-fiction book "Half the Sky" years ago, which informs readers of the myriad of challenges many women face in the world daily, every word of "Girls Burn Brighter" read true to me. I'm not sure I could have believed all the author led her characters through if not for that previous book.

This is beautiful, tragic, and determined work.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Radical Resilience Building and Other Ways I Persevered in September

I love fall, so I was happy to welcome the Texas version of it in September. Now, if October could just bring cooler weather, I could persevere at not sweating.

Not Throwing Away Food

It has been determined that since I am lacking the ability to smell and a large decapitated rat was found in our yard last weekend, I cannot have a compost pile in the back yard. D feels this combination of issues will inevitably spell disaster, and he's probably not wrong.

Since I can't compost, I have upped my efforts to not waste any food if it's at all possible. We eat every bite of leftovers. I buy smaller amounts of perishable items at one time, and we just go back to the store often so we don't let them rot. I have gotten crazy creative at disguising leftovers as "new food" when everyone is over it in order to keep from throwing it away.

This is hard and ongoing, and I am still constantly surprised at how much we waste. Still, we're trying.

Resilience Building in the Midst of Chaos

If you had to make it through September watching a bunch of people not give a shit about sexual assault victims, I am so sorry. If you are a victim of rape or assault like I am, I am especially sorry for the hell this has been.

The minute the "Well even if he did it, does it matter?" questions started flowing, I flashbacked to all the things that were said when Trump openly admitted to violating women and certain voters did not care. I knew it was going to be this way and I still was not prepared for the flashbacks, the anger, or the anxiety that shadowed me this month as I wondered what I would do if I was Dr. Ford. Would I be as brave as she was, coming forward knowing I would receive death threats and my family would have to go into hiding? Would I recall my rape publicly in a room of people ready to rip me apart and question my integrity? Since it took me 13 years to tell anyone I had been raped, would that be the only question I received? Why didn't you come forward? Look around, folks, is it that hard to figure out?

In the midst of this I did not want to spiral down to a bad place, so I practiced radical resilience building, also known as self-care. When I call it resilience building, I sometimes take it more seriously.

I ran. I rested. I had coffee with girlfriends. I talked it out when I needed to. I got outside everyday for hours under the green canopy of trees. I unfriended people on social media. I counted the Beto signs going up all over my town. I meditated. I took stock of where my emotions were headed daily. I read poetry. I lit candles. I wrote. I gave thanks for Prozac. I parented calmly while rage at this world bubbled right under the surface. I made it. It was hard.

Self-care needs to be practiced regularly, not just when everything hits the fan. Having the habits already in place helped me stick to them when I really just wanted to unravel. Yes, I did consume a few alcoholic beverages and partake in too many baked goods, which was self-comfort over self-care. But I definitely chose wisely more times than not, despite feeling like a piñata that the GOP enjoyed beating the shit out of daily.


Following the Perfect Curriculum for Us

We have found our happy place with Oak Meadow homeschool curriculum. It fits perfectly into our lives and values, and the kids love it. We are on a pretty consistent schedule, though we move around what time of day we school based on book club, Lego club, or park playdates. That's the beauty of homeschooling.

No one will ever be as cool as Eowyn hacking into the
library's computers in her beanie.



Continuing the Writer Life

The creative life is weird. After not submitting often and simply trying to consistently write, I ventured back into the world of seeking publication. I had a solid week in September, with two pieces accepted and an assignment offer from a Dallas magazine six months after submitting my resume. The horizon will probably be dead for the next seven or eight months, but I am happy for the abundant periods.

And for October, I leave you with the wisdom of Pooh and Piglet. Happy October!

Photo courtesy of Pinterest





Sunday, September 9, 2018

Trusting the Process: Persevering In August

Homeschool Planning

First day of kindergarten, 2nd grade, and 4th grade




Working in pajamas


I spent weeks in August planning our homeschool calendar until Christmas. It was hard and rewarding work, especially since we just finished the first week and everything, so far, is going according to plan.

Planning doesn't mean we'll stay perfectly on track, but it gives me daily goals to shoot for, and I need that.

Running

Running might not be the right word for what I'm doing. Jogging is probably a stretch. It's not walking, not dying on the sidewalk, but I'm sure I don't look like one of those really determined runners who just can't get enough. I think the expression on my face probably reads, I really love this, oh shit, I'm going to die, slow down, wait I can't go any slower without stopping. Yay for me because I'm still moving! Oh, I really might die. But it's been great, and I mean that sincerely.

I won't be posting about dramatic weight loss or how many sizes I've gone down because I am not weighing or attempting to drop inches during this process. If it happens, okay, but this is about how I feel.

After I weaned the twins and my body did not come back to me with the same functioning parts as it had before all my pregnancies, I started losing hope that I would ever again feel strong or have endurance. Add in mental health issues, and I wondered what had happened to the girl who used to work out for fun for hours a day or who hiked through mountains in Oregon. I wanted to hang out with her again.

I started very slowly, and I will likely remain very slow. I'm on week six of the Couch to 5K program, but I have no intentions of running a 5K or a marathon or anything really. I want to be able to run three solid miles just because, anytime I want. If I get there and want to do more, great. If not, I'm good.

Sidenote: Any Meniere's sufferers should know that running is great for the condition. I know, how the hell are you supposed to run when you can barely stand and have trouble hearing cars that might mow you down as you trot? You don't until you are ready.

My chiropractor, who I have been seeing forever and who has been helping me deal with my Meniere's since the beginning, said, "Running is one of the best things you can do for vestibular disorders" after I told him I was about to start running. I asked why he had never told me this before, and he said I wasn't ready before. The Meniere's had wrecked me, and he didn't want to send me out to fall on my face, literally, before my body was in a better place. Now that it is, he is cheering me on. That, and adjusting my sore but happy body.


Panda Planning

My friend showed me her Panda Planner when we were having coffee one night, and I was intrigued. When I received an Amazon gift card for my birthday, I decided to take a chance and purchase one. I still use my other planner on occasion, but the Panda Planner has definitely taken center stage in my everyday life.

Using positive psychology and a layout that offers a chance to write down monthly, weekly, and daily goals, this planner is the first thing I grab in the morning when I wake up and the last thing I write in before going to bed. I have been more productive and have been able to see where I lose time since using this planner. It's my new personal favorite.

Creating

The calm down kit is created.
The art/dining/homeschool room is painted.
I am creating pockets of quality time with each child, pretty much daily. It may just be snuggling in the chair or going outside to look at bugs, but it's focused. This time can slow down a chaotic day and bring me back to focusing on who and what is right in front of me.

It's called stormy blue, and I love it.

Shake something, spin something, draw something: just calm down.