Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Be Prepared

 I was walking through one of our client houses the other day, and noticed that one of the clients had this beautiful case of retractable, muted color pens. I wish I had a better way to describe the color, because it was what really drew me to it. They weren't pastel, or candy colored, or neon. They were these rich gorgeous almost nature colored purples and greens and muted pinks. I'm a sucker for a good art supply, so I commented on it and asked if they were as awesome as they looked. 

The client enthusiastically said they were and then offered to let me try one! I looked around for a piece of paper, and they opened their journal to let me write in there. THEY. OPENED. THEIR. JOURNAL. Their TREATMENT JOURNAL. Suddenly this silly little interaction felt enormously monumental. I simultaneously could not decline to write in their journal, but was also paralyzed with "what the hell should I write in here?!" My go to for testing pens is a heart and the word "Love" because it has so many delightful swoops. I started the heart and then panicked. I can't write "Love" in a kid's journal! But I'd already done the heart (in a lovely mauve ink). I quickly pivoted from "Love" to "Believe," which I feel like was the best choice possible. I hope. Pretty sure it at least won't get any weird looks or grievances. 

It's three days later and I'm still neurotically thinking about it. So PSA. Have a plan (or a scrap of paper) before you complement someone's pens. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Hogwarts Sleepover

I may have mentioned it before, but long ago in a moment of pure genius, we decided that our kids would get birthday parties for the "major" ages. This is mostly because I'm an introvert, but also, as you'll see, because I go a teensy bit overboard with a theme. 

Since Averson turned 10 this year, she was due a party. She originally wanted to take friends to Great Wolf Lodge, but at 4 million dollars that was a little out of our budget. So then she asked for a sleepover. Specifically, a Harry Potter sleepover. 

It was THE CUTEST. And even though there were 7 9/10 year olds running amok, it wasn't too too terrible. Next time I maybe wouldn't plan it to coincide with Daylight Savings Time since I'm pretty sure no one has slept since, but other than that it was a huge success! 
We hand delivered personalized invitations. I fully acknowledge my ridiculousness

The Sweets Trolley. I stocked it with random candies from the bulk section and a plate of chocolate frogs I made. The kids loved it!

C painted a brick wall for the 9 3/4 platform and it came out so well! It was super rainy (thank you atmospheric river that keeps on rivering...) so we hung it inside, which ended up being way more fun to run through. 

She kills me. Seriously, she's just the cutest

You can't tell, but these are official Hogwarts PJs courtesy of Poshmark. I'm pretty proud of that little detail...

We forgot to eat the cake and no one slept, but no one cried, went home early, or wet the bed so I'm calling it a huge success :) 

And now a quick breather before our soon-to-be 13 year old's party!  

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Ten years ago...

C tucked Averson in last night and told her that it was his last time saying good night to a nine year old, and suddenly I got very nostalgic for my squishy little baby. She's so excited to be 10 and is just the most fun, cookiest little creature. We're currently going WAY overboard on a Harry Potter themed slumber party and when I asked what I should tell people that she wants for her birthday she listed Harry Potter, Nightmare Before Christmas, Vintage, and Dragons. She makes the best morning play lists, continues to be fiercely independent, and claims to be dark and edgy while actually being one of the sweetest, kindest people I know. 

In no discernible order, a birthday retrospective. I love that she's picked the same birthday donut for three years running


Sunday, February 12, 2023

A picture speaks a thousand words

 My sister sent me this picture from going through my mom's stuff and it cracks me up. From L to R, it's me, my dad, my brother, my sister, and my mom. Our group text was an awesome Rorschach of interpretation and I've never felt so middle child-ish (and I often feel quite middle child-ish). 

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Sutters Fort x3

At our elementary school 4th grade is when the kids learn about local history, and specifically our class learns about the Donner Party and Sutter's Fort. Kids research a real person from the wagon train, including finding primary sources in our main library (one of my favorite parts). It all culminates in a trip to the actual Fort where they spend their time immersed in period-specific activities like rope braiding, baking in a fire oven, and everyone's favorite, hauling water. Eli and Sydney did their trips pre-COVID, so they also got to dress up and spend the night. Post-COVID, and much to Averson's disappointment, they don't dress up or spend the night. Her teacher tried to hide her grin when she broke the news. I suspect she didn't love sleeping on the ground in the kitchen as much as the kids did. 

C has volunteered every year, and is always assigned as "Fire Tender." He spends the day keeping the fires burning all across the fort. This year they were short on volunteers, so Eli got to go too! He was assigned to be "Wagon Master" He taught the kids all about covered wagons and also played a rousing game of stick and hoop. I thought he might be winging it, but he apparently watched the orientation video multiple times and when I stopped by and got his spiel he really knew what he was talking about. Like people didn't actually ride in the wagons, unless they were literally infirm and on their deathbeds. And the kids' job was to count the wheel rotations. 360 rotations = 1 mile. Every 4 miles they'd stop and grease the wheels. All the kids seemed much more grateful for their roadtrip accoutrements after that! I got two calls after the trip to tell us how great Eli did. This kid... 

Three generations heading out! I designed these sweatshirts for the class during my brief "get involved in all the things" moment but I really love them and I'm glad about it. 

The whole crew of pioneers

Both my guys showing off their injuries. C cut his finger (again!) on a saw and Eli broke his wrestling. They're a hot mess, the two of them. 

And look at these adorable blasts from the past. It made me a little sad to know that this is the last one, if I'm honest. 


Eli's trip, when they used to spend the night and wear full costumes

Sydney's trip. I forgot that Eli helped with that one too! 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Hello Anxiety, My Old Friend

 Guess who was up and awake MUCH earlier than necessary on a three-day weekend? Thanks to a combination of new medications, a change in schedule, and overall being in a better mindspace, it's been a while since I had the "stay in bed and ruminate or just get the f up" debate. But here we are...

This one kicked off because I had a dream that I had to buy my mom tires for a car that I'm pretty sure we've already sold (so let's through some executor anxiety in too!) Then I woke up intensely aware of my various credit card balances and various financial obligations. And here we are... 

BUT! There are things genuinely making me crazy related to my financial life. For one, I had this great system where all of my bills came up in my iPhone's calendar and I could scroll through them. Now that's gone and I have to look day by day. Does anyone know how to fix that? It was really helpful when budgeting out paychecks and now I'm finding that the extra step is a barrier. And the other thing is this: I know that I could curb a lot of my spending by eliminating my Amazon use (and other conveniences like meal delivery kits). It's become so easy to have a thought, then click "Buy Now." I've moved the app into a folder called "I am saving money" in an effort to use positive affirmations, but what I come up against is the cost of time vs the ease of buying on-line. For example, Eli needed specific school supplies and a pair of insoles. Without Amazon that errand would have taken mental energy (planning and executing the stop at the store) as well as more time and possibly more money. So I can kind of justify spending the money because it would have taken me many more days to complete if I had to actually add the things to the list (that doesn't currently exist) and then go to the store to buy them. Has anyone successfully curbed their Amazon use? Tell me your secrets! I don't want to trade my Amazon spending for Target spending, but I also think that maybe I'd be less likely to add-to-cart if I was physically touching the items. Maybe...

Sarah over at HarryTimes is tracking her spending and I kind of like that idea. There's so much evidence that tracking helps bring awareness, and I know I've used food logging effectively. I do become pretty self-competitive and neurotic about it, which was not so great with calories but maybe exactly what I'm looking for with finances? I'm also thinking that I'm going to take an Amazon break. There's nothing on there that I can't procure in real life, even if we do have to wait until I can stop to get it. At least to make it a little more intentional.

Tell me your tips! We make decent money and there's really no reason to be so problematic about it, and I'd love to get it somewhat under control before I'm facing down buying kids' cars and college tuitions (OMG.) 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Rain and Spoons

First of all, I just realized that my title suggests that I'll be discussing spoons in the therapist context and I can promise you that "spoons" will never leave my mouth intentionally. I don't know why, but that whole analogy bugs me so much. But I digress. This post is NOT about mental energy to complete tasks. It is, however, about how we basically are living in torrential downpours 24/7 now. Oh my goodness. I'm about three more rainy days from building an ark. It has been raining SO MUCH. Work gave us raincoats for the end-of-year gift, and I have never been so grateful for swag in my life. And I have had so many occasions to wear galoshes that I'm now rotating between my black knee high ones and Sydney's yellow booties. And on top of the rain, we're getting this crazy wind like gusts of 70 mph that shake my 50 year old, single pane windows in a way that keeps me up at night waiting for an implosion. Further adding to the whole "Is this the apocalypse?" vibe is that trees are falling down EVERYWHERE. 

Neighbor's house

My cute raincoat. Little did I know…

BUT all this inside time has been fabulous for my new obsession, spoon carving! It really is becoming kind of problematic but I love it so much. I blew through the wood that came in my kit though, so I decided that I'd go find green wood (as suggested by fine hobbyists everywhere per the internet). Then trees started falling down. So now I have a literal wood pile on my front yard. I bet the HOA is missing my bike rack now! 

This picture? This is a GIANT log that was procured for me by one of my staff. That's what kind of situation we're looking at. I picked up a 150lb block of cedar at work and then put it in my backseat like a hillbilly. I'm one hay bale  and a pack of Camel Lights away from returning to me circa 1996.  

I just love it so much. I've gotten pretty okay with a scoop, but my next goal is an actual eating spoon. Then a spork. Then a butter knife. If you need me I'll be over here whittling...
This is what my life looks like now. We're replacing the carpet soon and I wonder if they'll be curious why it's full of sawdust...