Things I Want to Remember, Round 7

Friday, April 28, 2017

Here's the latest round of things I want to remember about my kids!

* This girl has been such a trooper the past month.  After our spring break in Utah, she really struggled getting back in the swing of school.  So I took another week off for her, which was mostly spent going to little dr. appointments.  She's back to school this week and doing well!
* Bella has had so many tummy problems throughout her life, on top of other things.  We did dairy, soy, and nut free while she was an infant, but gradually re-introduced those things and she seemed to be fine.  But we're thinking that gluten is a problem for her so we tried a gluten-free diet.  Despite a really sad episode over a blueberry muffin she couldn't eat, she was so good about asking if things were gluten-free!  And sadly, we had a dr. tell us she actually has to eat gluten for two months before a certain test, so we're back on it.  But at least we know she can handle it!

*RG celebrated his 4th birthday on Monday!  He was definitely crazy throughout the day, but he rallied at night for his requested strawberry cake and presents.  He was so, so happy with the attention and kept saying, "Mom, I'm so lucky I'm turning 4!"
*He'll give me kisses right on the lips one day, and the next say, "I don't like kisses."  He cracks me up.
*RG is starting to really be sweet to his little brother.  But it's usually with him still bopping Bean on the head as much as he can; still, it's a huge improvement and I'm proud of him for taking his big brother responsibility more seriously.
*It's so interesting what RG is afraid of: some bugs, the dark, heights, and other things.  He's a pretty active kid and stereotypical boy in many ways, but he gets really scared over those things.

*I love how tightly this kid insists on holding my hand and that he still likes me to be right by him as much as possible.  I'll take it!
*Bean is starting to be an independent toddler too though, and has been getting very frustrated when we can't understand what he wants, or when his siblings won't let him be.  He's so sweet though, that we all can handle the growling/screeching fairly well.  It's just a phase!
*He is looking like SUCH a big boy lately.  His clothes are already looking too small for him and he's gotten so tall.  I love his almond eyes and his sweet lips.  He's a little engineer and loves building things and taking things apart.  He loves to study what's happening around him, including how I clip him in to things.  Bean can already do those things himself!

Technology: How to Use It, Not Abuse It

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How do you want your loved ones to remember you?  Your face illuminated by the light of a screen?

Of course not.  None of us do.

But we are ALL guilty of letting our devices distract us from what is most important.  If you've struggled from time to time with balancing your technology use, if you often feel sad, jealous, lonely, or apathetic, and if your devices are acting more as a task master than a tool, then it's time to refocus.

In today's podcast, two guests (Kim Christenson and Jamie Cook) and I share how to recognize when your technology use is out of control, and how to turn it back into a tool for your good.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Kim Christenson's referenced blogpost,  Instagram, and Podcast interview
Jamie Cook's Instagram and Podcast interview
Meg Mile's Instagram and past About Progress Podcast interview
Irresistible Podcast on Fresh Air
Irresistible Book
Simon Sinek's interview on Millennial and Internet Addiction
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
More Podcasts

Me Time

Monday, April 24, 2017

When I became a mother almost six years ago, I quickly learned that I give best and feel happiest when I have taken a little time for myself.

When I just had my first baby, that meant I would read a lot during nap time and go on runs with my daughter in the running stroller.  Since adding two more children, we are busier than ever--but, I hear it gets even busier!  (This stressed me out if I think about it for more than 10 seconds . . . )

During this phase of my mothering, here are my favorite ways to incorporate some "Me Time" so I am recharged and ready to take on the next potty accident and mop up another cup of spilled milk without crying myself:

 1) Exercise: I'm sure most people can say what a release exercise is, and I'm no different. I've always run with my kids, but this past year I learned that I prefer getting my exercise done before they get up for the day.  It was becoming more stressful to fit in my time to workout, due to all the logistics as well as the constant interruptions.  (I know people love the gym daycare, but I am too cheap and paranoid for that.)

I am not a morning person by nature.  But I have slowly trained myself to wake up between 5:20-30 AM most days, or even 6:15 when I sleep in.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've started to wake up right before my alarm goes off.  (Not every day, but this is still major for me!)

Now I can't run as much, so I've stepped up my strength training and my exercise classes.  I still jog 1-2 times a week outside with two of the kids in tow, but only when I've had a really late the night before.

This isn't going to become a fitness blog, but working out the literally the ONLY time I have to myself.  I love to think, listen to podcasts, watch HGTV, or even cry during a hard spin class because it's so cathartic.  Thank goodness it's dark in there!

PS: I NEVER owned actual "workout clothes," until after my last baby.  I told myself that I deserved some legitimate clothes that pushed me to get going.  It's made such a big difference in both my motivation and my confidence.  Fabletics will always have my heart. SUCH great pieces at very affordable prices. (No one is paying me to say this, I love them that much! However, that link does give me points which I always seem to forget to use . . . )

2) Listen to Podcasts/Audio Books: Even when my kids are around and I'm slaving away doing the house chores, if I can pop in my earbuds and listen to a good podcast or book, then I'm tricking myself into some "me time."  Same goes with watching shows while organizing things around my computer--which is in the corner of my kitchen!

3) Passion Projects: We all need to get out some creativity.  If you don't think you're creative, please believe me--you are!  We all have something that we can pursue that acts as an outlet too.  What's mine?  This blog and my podcast.  They require the hours of a part-time job, pay me nothing, but they give me something tangible to show for those days where all the kids did was whine, fight, and disobey.  And these passion projects are not life-or-death either, so they can also be happily ignored if everyone is having a bad day OR such a good day that blogposts and podcasts can wait.  My family's (and my own!) well-being comes ahead of these, but when I can produce things while they're sleeping or doing quiet time, then it makes a difference to my psyche and the kids get a happier mom, too.

What about you?  How do you sneak in some "me time," regardless of your family's situation?

Other moms are sharing too!  Please check them out below.  And if you'd like to participate in the next series, sign up on Madeline or Kiana's blogs.

Kiana at Glitter&Donuts // Madeline at CaseyLand
Rachel at Tutus and Heels // Rose at Babies & Bluejeans
Melissa at The Frolics of Mama Llama // Britt at My Little Sunshine

Amy Nash || Daring to Try

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

“I think that it’s so important to make that effort to try and not to worry so much about the result . . . The real satisfaction comes in the effort, not the outcome.”

You know my "Do Something" campaign, where I encourage people to try things that scare them?  That is Amy Nash's entire life story.

This woman has done so many incredible things that required courage and testing her limits: she has traveled around the world (including with kids!), graduated from law school, worked at a big firm, learned photography, and started a blog that will make you drool.

She's also had to deal with five failed adoptions among other though times that taught her to rely on her connections--family and friends--and power through with her optimism in tact.

Amy's sense of adventure has acted as the foundation for her life--and the foundation of her family--while her go-getter attitude has been coupled with a conscientious choice that what matters more than the destination is the path that got you there.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Amy's blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
More Podcasts
More on Do Something

Holla' to the Challah!

Monday, April 17, 2017

You have not lived until you've had homemade challah bread.

I should have known this years ago when I worked as an intern at the Smithsonian Museum in D.C..  My boss and several co-workers were practicing member of the Jewish faith, and all day Friday was spent talking about the fresh challah bread they would be getting that afternoon to help bring in their Sabbath that night.  They were brilliant--I wish I had taken up their obsession much sooner.

But my love of homemade challah bread is a recent fascination.  I have made several recipes, and this one is my favorite so far, by a landslide.  (I'm sure I'll try many more recipes, but alas my daughter needs to be gluten free for a time; so no one cries (including myself) we'll have to pine for it.)

I can't claim this recipe as my own since I found zero reasons to alter it, so do yourself a favor and check out Landen's blog (search for "challah bread," alongside her great posts on minimalism) and make this bread as soon as you can.

Oh, and I don't find it that difficult.  But there are several rising stages, so I'd make sure you read the full instructions, as well as start making it earlier than you think you need to.  I'd love to hear if you're converted to challah after trying it!

Juliana || Being Present in Others' Suffering

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

“When new clients come in, my job is to see them and to let them know, 'You are seen.  I recognize that you have a name.  I see that you are hungry, and I will feed you.  I see that your clothes are dirty and you are essentially naked, and my job is to clothe you.  I see that you are heartbroken . . . and my job is to be present with you.  My job is to hear your story and hold your hand.'”

My friend Juliana is a softy, but she has a really hard job: she works with the homeless.  

Juliana has always been drawn to helping the underserved and the underprivileged: from the elderly, to refugees, to battered women, to the clients she now serves who don't have a home to call their own.  With any one who is suffering and in need of help, Juliana teaches us that the most important thing is to be present with them, to connect with them on a human level.  She also teaches what she learned from personal experience, that as we help other we actually help ourselves.  

Juliana shares what brought her to social services, how she resisted her call to this work, what are some common misconceptions of the homeless population, and what she does to empower her clients and herself so she can better serve them.  She also talks about how service helped her through a profound loss in her family, and how it has changed her.  

You'll also love to hear how Juliana thinks discomfort is a good thing, how we need to celebrate the good news just as much as the bad, and how the sassy side to her personality has served her well and complimented her softy side.  

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Monica's Facebook and Instagram profiles
Contact Monica
More Podcasts
More on Do Something

Managing Time as a Busy Mom

Monday, April 10, 2017

Last week, I was in Utah with my family--it was such a nice break, but it feels good to get back on the blog bandwagon.

Today, I'd like to share a few ways that I manage my time as a mom of littles, and one who also "works" part-time from home.  (Just know, that my blog/podcast don't earn me any money really, but I do put in probably 20-30 hours a week on both.  Kind of crazy, huh?)

And just so you know, I (clearly) most definitely don't have it all together.  Time management is always something I am working on.

1) Use Paper: Smart phones can be a great tool, but I find they are a terrible way for me to manage my time.  I like to use my phone to put in appointments on my calendar (including alerts of those appointments), and that's it.  But to make to-do lists and prioritize how I'm going to spend my day, I use a paper planner.  I did a whole post on the one I love, and here it is.  I usually roughly plan out my week on Sunday, and most nights I prioritize what I need to get done the next day.

2) Routine, Routine, Routine: I function best (and so do my little kids) when I live by routines.  Some of my daily routines include? Morning: working out before the kids are up, spending one-on-one time with each kid (like 10 minutes), doing errands/cleaning; Afternoon: similar lunch each day for the kids, "work" during nap time/quiet time, go on a walk/play outside with the kids; Evening: kids clean up, they watch a show while I cook dinner, get kids ready for bed/scriptures/read books, parents clean up house, then mom "works" again until going to bed.

3) Prioritize: This is my mantra for the year.  For me, that means prioritizing what needs to get done first, including spending quality time with my kids and husband.  That also includes how I try to do away with the "fillers" and ways I tend to procrastinate.  I'm sure you share a similar time-sucker as I do: technology.  Instagram and looking at blogs is my preference.  I have a whole podcast in the works on this topic, so I'll save my longer thoughts for that.  But the more purposeful I am about how I spend my time, the happier I feel.  And you know what, you can actually purposefully be on Instagram.  Promise.  Being intentional about it and how long you're going to spend your time even "wasting" your time, will serve you better in the long haul.

Do you have some go-to tips?  I'd love to hear them!

Other moms are sharing how they manage their time today, please check them out for more ideas!  And you can sign up to participate in this Mommy Style Monday series through Madeline and Kiana's blogs:

Kiana at Glitter&Donuts // Madeline at CaseyLand
Erica at Good Job Momma // Juli at Enjoying the Journey 
Cayli at Nightchayde // Alexis at Witt Family Happenings
Rachel at Tutus and Heels

Rachel Gainer || Using Self-Love to Rebuild after Loss

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"I had to find a new way.  And I had to stop believing that I could do it all by myself, that I could get through everything on my own."

Rachel Gainer was a lifelong perfectionist, until her world fell apart.  She struggled through infertility, she let "getting healthy" go too far, she was overworked and not taking care of herself, and then she and her husband suffered two devastating losses in a row: a failed adoption and then the death of their baby girl.  After adopting three more children, Rachel decided she needed to rebuild her life, and for her that meant surrendering control, getting rid of shame, and learning to love herself.

Rachel shares about how harshly she viewed herself for so many years, what her true motives were behind striving to be perfect, what she learned from the lowest lows a parent can experience, how her daughter's death pushed her to rethink the way she viewed herself and her body, and how it's taken her six years of hard work to begin to see herself becoming the woman she wanted to be.

You'll love what lessons this woman has to share with you, and her great bravery in her willingness to share her struggles and her weaknesses.

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Rachel's website and Instagram
Monica's Facebook and Instagram profiles
Contact Monica
More Podcasts
More on Do Something
Do Something Highlight: Kelly Andrew's blogpost 
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