Thursday, January 7, 2016

How I do it ALL

Summary of what may (or may not) be a lengthy post...that may or may not be read by many people...who may or may not find it interesting...

I DON'T do it all...OR NOT "ALL OF IT" is getting done.
I can't tell you how many times I have heard recently, "How do you have time to do everything?"  
There is no quick answer to that question, so here is the not so quick version.  I am certainly not doing it all.  Here is a picture of my life right now.
  • I woke up and took a shower while my amazing rockstar of a husband (insert this superlative anytime I refer to Brian) woke up Shea (my two-year-old son), took him potty, got him in his high chair, started Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to keep him company while he ate his pop tarts, fed our two dogs, woke up Patten (our six-month-old) and changed his diaper, laid him in his swing, and made him a bottle for me to feed him while Brian took a shower.  Summary: Brian got most of it done.
  • After getting himself ready, as I finished feeding Patten his bottle, Brian gathered up all of the stuff we needed to take with us for the day.  This included: all of Patten's bottles he needed for the day, both of the boys' winter jackets, Shea's backpack, and everyone's lunches (that he had packed for us the night before).  Patten finished his bottle. Then I helped Shea put both of the dogs in their crates, give them their treats, and turn on the radio to ESPN for some sports-centered background noise.
    • Side note: on more than one occasion, I have forgotten to secure the doors to their crates on the times that Shea shuts them before I get there.  Because of course, everyone knows a two-year-old knows how to latch a dog's crate without assistance. NOT!  The most recent time we came home to both dogs in our bed with no damage, but other times we were not so lucky.  One of the other times, our dogs decided to snack on our comforter. Not everything got done.
  • My suitcase still lies open on my floor halfway unpacked from our Christmas vacation we got back from right after Christmas...something that didn't get done.
  • First day back with my students since Winter Break-surprisingly no catastrophes.  I realized I actually missed those little stinkers of mine so it was nice to see them again.  I am getting to co-teach, or whatever the new term for what I am doing is, with a teacher I love who I haven't gotten to teach with yet, and I am pretty excited about it.  I had to confess to the students that I will be learning along with them.  I had to beg two different professors for Cs in both of my history classes in college because it is my weakest subject.  I almost got a D in 2 classes, and I am an A student!!! Bring on the high school history!  I think I will be learning along with them.  I had to share with my students that I am not perfect.
  •  We got home and Brian and I split the "when we get home" chores pretty evenly I think.  Brian got the laundry started. I unloaded the dishwasher and re-loaded the dirty bottles and sippy cups.  Shea went back to his high chair for his afternoon snack and Mickey, which Patten has already developed a liking for.
  • I got started on some of my sewing projects while Brian played with the boys.  I had to clear off enough of the table to make room for my project.  The organizing of the table and cleaning of the kitchen will have to wait.
  • Brian made a yummy chicken and rice dinner for us.  I don't do it all. 
  • I did an online video chat session with some other folks from the National Seizure Disorder Foundation.  It lasted a little over an hour.  During this time, Brian tucked Shea into bed. Sidenote: Shea is finally going to sleep in his own bed and sleeping there all night long until we wake him up in the morning!  What a long way we have come from the sleepless nights not too long ago.  By the time I was done it was time for Patten to have his pre-bedtime bottle.  Have I said how amazing he was, yet?
  • Brian and I watched a Netflix documentary and went to bed to get ready for another day of the craziness.

  • Morning looked much the same as yesterday and many days before.  :)
  • School 
  • Met Brian at Outback for dinner because we had gift cards.  Our boys were little angels, which they often are when we go out.  Patten stayed in his car seat in the sling and quietly looked around the restaurant.  Shea had fairly sophisticated conversations with us about how he pooped in the potty two times at daycare today.  I hope the older people behind us were not mid-bite when he decided to exclaim it proudly.  Then he shared with us his desires to be an umpire like his daddy.  Now he is at home practicing just that.
  • As soon as I walked in the door and got settled I changed into my penguin PJs and Frozen sweatshirt.
  • Remember how I told you he pooped in the potty twice while he was at school?  Well he did not gift us the same opportunity at home.  He decided the living room was the perfect place this time.  
Here is the moral of the story.  I have done some thinking.  I think judging from my posts about teaching, one might imagine I am one of those teachers that starts every day smiling and welcoming her students in with hugs, the one that stands at the front of the class and without a word draws all focused eyes and quiet mouths, the one who has her lessons neatly written in a lesson plan book, the one that has everything in organized little folders, the one that loves every minute of her job.  Sometimes I am some of those things...scratch that, I am only occasionally some of those things.  But I love my students, so there's that.

I think  judging from my posts about parenting, you may think I am mother of the year, that I read books to my boys all day long, that my house is clean and Shea's knows where each of his toys are to go at the end of the day, that they are both in bed by 8:30 and sleep through the night.  None of those things are true.  But I love those boys like crazy.

I think judging by my posts about sewing and crocheting, you may think,  "how does she have time for that?"  You may think I don't sleep, that I have a cozy little craft room with cute little cabinets to show off all of my quilts and fabric and yarn.  The truth is I don't have a craft room so all of my half-finished or only-dreamed-up-but-not-started projects are kind of taking over the house.  I have only made 2 blankets for our family.  I am too busy making fun things for other people.  I have the kitchen table half covered with my quilt-in-progress.  But I feel that what my yarn and fabric turn into are kind of worth the clutter.  They make me happy and make other people happy, too.

So here is the real truth.  Yes, recently I have been very busy.  I have made quite a few mermaid tails.  I have crocheted some hats and blankets.  My sewing machine has been busy making quilts.  And I have blogged on a semi-regular basis (but it doesn't take long because I don't take time to edit it, what you see is what you get).

I have done a lot.  But I have certainly not done it all.

PS-This post was inspired by a post I read by Olivia Muenter called What I Instagramed Vs. What Was Really Happening, or my Entire Life Is a Lie...worth reading for sure.

Friday, January 1, 2016


I don't like the whole concept of New Year's resolutions.  I mean, I get it.  I know that people see it as as a fresh start, a chance to be a different you.  To many people, they see the end of the calendar as a chance to be a new person.  It is as if everything that happened before now is gone.  What happened before January 1st, 2016, never happened.  It is the year 2016.  Blank slate.  New me.

It may be a fresh start but it isn't a start over.  This year I will not be making New Year's resolutions.
If I was, here is what they would be:

1. Have a clean house every night before I go to bed.
2. Read through my Bible in a year.
3. Run at least 20 miles a week so I can run a half marathon in under an hour in the half Ironman relay this May.
4. Drink only 2 Cokes a week.
5. Have both of my boys tucked in for the night by 8:30.

None of these resolutions individually are outside of the realm of possibility.  However, I am pretty sure that, to accomplish all of these, I would need to be 3 people, I think.  I may be able to do these for a couple months if I worked really hard at it.  But somewhere in the midst of resolving to make these happen, I will lose myself.  Something would have to give.  For all of these things to happen, I would have to let go of other things that I love-time with my boys, sleep, caffeine, confidence, reality, and sanity.

Instead, I resolve to see the new year in a different way.  For me, it will just be a turned page.  All that I have written before with my life is still there.  The mistakes I have made, the milestones I have reached, the people I have hurt, the people I have reached, the times I have been lazy, the times I have overcome, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  None of it went away.  It is not a new chapter either.  It is just the turn of a page.  Another new day.  So from my heart to yours, HAPPY NEW DAY, my friends!

Instead of resolutions, I have created goals.  My goals are within the realm of  possibility.  None of them say "every day no matter what."  They are not destinations to reach, but things to reach for.  There is no opportunity to be hard on myself, lose confidence in my abilities, or feel like a failure.  They are just things I would like to focus on as I move into the new year.  So here  goes!  This year I plan to...
  1. Be more positive and content with the here and now.  Those of you who know me well, or have read my blog recently, know that I have desires to move my life in a different direction.  Instead of focusing on where I want to go, I want to focus on where I am.  I love my life, right here and now.  Truly, I do.  I have my family and that is all I need.  Sometimes I am so focused on the fact that I am not where I am going, that I forget how good I have it NOW.  I would like to be content with the place God has me, now, while I look forward to where I hope I can be down the road.
  2. Read and reflect on AT LEAST one Bible verse a day.  I think that almost every year since I first accepted Christ into my life, I have made my "New Year's resolution" either to read the whole Bible in a year, or to have a "Quiet Time" every day.  It didn't take too long to fall short of that resolution, which led me to feel like a "bad Christian."  That  whole "bad Christian" stuff is a lie from the devil, but creating and failing in my "resolution" played a part in me believing it.  I plan on spending much more time in the Word than I did last year, but reflecting on one verse a  day at the  will do wonders for my spiritual walk.
  3. Make prayer a priority.
  4. Perform at least one intentional act of service per day for my family.
  5. Spend quality time with each of my boys individually so they each feel wholly loved.
  6. Read one new book and one old book to my boys every day.  We do a lot of reading in this house.  Shea loves to read books.  However, he memorizes books VERY QUICKLY and has favorites that he wants to read over  and over again.  After trying to make room for new toys after Christmas, I realized we have a TON of books that we have never read to the boys.  So I plan on reading a new book every day to the boys before reading a book they have heard hundreds of times.
  7. Work on my areas of weakness-forgetfullness, lack of focus, distractability, and absent-mindedness.
  8. Be more accepting of my shortcomings.  I have a bad habit of beating myself up when I make a mistake.  I am even critical of myself when I do things out of my control.  Sometimes my medications or epilepsy cause me to say the wrong words, or forget what I am doing or talking about.  When I feel my mistakes are affecting other people, I let it get to me much more than I should.  I need to learn to shake things off and move on.
  9. Complete at least one custom creative project, and one personal creative project per month.  Recently, I have been doing so many custom projects that I have not been able to complete any of the ideas floating around in my head for either my family, my online store (that I have closed temporarily due to the abundance of custom orders), or myself.
  10. Train to run the WHOLE half marathon running portion of my leg of the Half Ironman.  At one point of my life, running WAS my life.  But that feels like a whole lifetime ago.  I ran competitively all the way up through college.  However, running hasn't really been much a part of my life anymore since Shea was born.  At the beginning of this school year, I was asked to complete the running portion of a relay half marathon race.  It is taking place in May and  I am just now getting back into running.  I don't have any time goal, but I do want to aim for running the whole race.
  11. Drink less Coke than last year.  I have never even TRIED to stop drinking Cokes.  I know there is no way I could do that.  I love me a good glass or  bottle of Coke...mmmmm.  But I know they are not good for me.  So this year, I plan to drink less Coke than I did last year.  
  12. Be more  organized.  I just wrote a whole blog post about this.  Go read it if you feel like it.  I thought it was pretty exciting.
  13. Document my accomplishments. I think writing down my accomplishments will make me feel more positive and confident and proud.  I am going to do so in Milo...don't know who Milo is?  Go see.
  14. Take better pictures of my work.  Believe it or not, those who don't know me or haven't known me for long, I once had a photography business.  I was pretty good at it.  I loved it.  But now I love a lot of things much more than I love taking pictures.  But I know from experience that taking good pictures of the things that I make will make a huge difference in the amount of sales that I make.  I have been skipping this step and taking pictures with my phone because I am too excited to take the extra step of taking good pictures to show off what I make.  I just take a quick snap with my phone and post it.  And oftentimes I have to write below it that it is even cooler in person than in the picture, or the colors are different in person.  I know I could sell much more if I had high-quality pictures to show the products just as my clients will see them.  Like these pictures that Lorie took of some of my blankets that are still
  15. Have one month where my profit from my creative endeavors equals at least half of my teaching salary.  This is quite a lofty goal.  But my last goal is how I am going to get there.
  16. Increase social media presence.  Some of you may not like this idea.  Some of my friends and my family may be a little tired of seeing my blog posts and pictures and crocheted blankets and quilts.  I get it.  However, if you are, now would be a good time to unfriend me.  My feelings won't be hurt.  But count on more of it in the coming year.  I am not doing all of these posts to make myself look better or to show off.   If that is the way it is coming across, I am  sorry.  But this is all just what it will take to get me from where I am to where I want to be.  My dream is to be able to make my side job into my job-job.  To get there, I have to put myself out there as much as possible.  So please be patient with me.  If, on the other hand, you like what you see, share it with all of your Facebook friends.  Pin my pictures on Pinterest.  Re-tweet my tweets.  Tag people on my Instagram pictures.  Make me busy.   Here is what last year looked like and what I want this year to look like.  And as I said before, these aren't resolutions, just goals to aim for. 
  • Pinterest was my biggest area of growth.  Without focusing on gaining Pinterest followers, I somehow have 4,000 Pinterest followers.  Let me get this straight.  This does not mean that many people like my work, just that they like what I am pinning (it probably helps that I have 7300 pins, oops, don't judge).  For that reason, please pin and re-pin the pictures that you like from my blog.  The more you pin, the more people see what I make.  
    • My goal is to increase my followers from 4000 to 10,000 by the end of the year.
  • Facebook is where I get the most blog traffic from.  Most of my posts are read because one of you clicked on the link on my Facebook page.  If you know someone who would like my post or something I made, share the link with them or tag them in the post.  The more the merrier.  My Scrap Stash Studio Facebook page is something I have neglected.  I will update it more frequently this year.  When I do, I hope to go from 82 page  likes to at least 500 this year.
  • I really hope to focus a lot on my blog this year.  I love to write and share my life with family, friends, and strangers.  My goal (not my resolution) is to write at least 3 posts per week.  I hope somewhere along the way I learn how to monetize my blog, but that isn't a must.  
  • There are two common themes in the top five posts on my blog.  I connected with people.  And I was real.  I think that is what people are interested in reading.  So this year I plan to make connections and be real.

HAPPY NEW DAY, my friends!
What are your GOALS or RESOLUTIONS for 2016?