Right Now

+ A blogger I have loved following on the internet has decided to make her online accounts more private.  For the sake, I imagine, of privacy.  Her own, her children’s, her family’s.  I get it.  I really, really get it.  Every time someone I admire comes to this sort of decision I find myself wondering how much is too much to share online.  I never want to share something I would regret.  I certainly would not want to disrespect the privacy of those I love the most, namely Matt’s and my baby girls’ privacy.  And yet I enjoy the online community and the people who put themselves out there and all the sharing and connecting.  I honestly think there is some real value in this avenue of social media… And yet I still wonder, how much is too much?  This is most certainly a question that each person has to decide for themselves.   I don’t have hard and fast rules for what I share online, but I definitely have rough guidelines for what I have deemed appropriate vs. inappropriate.  Every now and then I think it’s a good idea to revisit these and re-evaluate to ensure that everything still lines up with what is right for me and my family.   What are your rules for sharing online?

+ I’ve jumped on the Capsule Wardrobe Bandwagon.  I loosely follow this bloggers guidelines for creating a capsule wardrobe.  I think people are drawn to the capsule wardrobe concept for a variety of reasons.  I created a Winter Capsule wardrobe halfway through winter as an experiment.  I liked it so much that I’ve decide to continue on with having a Spring Capsule wardrobe.  I have several reasons for creating a capsule wardrobe for myself.  The main reason was for simplicity’s sake.  Any way I can streamline and simplify things in my life these days is a must. (Hello I’m a Mama to a 7.5 month old baby and a 22 month old baby.  Enough said right?  Also I work 32 hours/week.)  Another reason was for the sake of storage or rather for the lack of storage.  Our MBR closet is a joke – it’s a doll’s closet.  Being able to see all my clothing options has been refreshing and enjoyable.  I loosely follow the guidelines but I’m not hardcore.  I have adjusted a few of the “rules” because it’s a free country and I do what I want.  Also a girl can change her mind and the point of this entire concept (for me) is to alleviate stress.  Therefore if I want to have 40 items as opposed to 37, or if I want to exchange out a pair of shorts for another pair I know are neatly folded in the hall closet, or if I chose to not count jackets and coats in my 40 items, THEN SO BE IT.  Anyone else ever try out a capsule wardrobe?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

+ I’m still craving more free time.  My cravings have become so specific these days.  As in I want this free time to be during waking hours, not after the babies have gone to bed in the evening and I’m tired and just want to go to bed myself.  I think about things like having the house all to myself.  I cannot remember the last time I’ve had the house to myself for more than 30 minutes here and there.  What would I even do?  CRAFTY THINGS!  Surf the internet!  Cook (hahaha – no! but maybe…), Organize, Watch DVR shows, Read, Write, Decorate.  I can think of a few things I’d do.

+ That being said I’m actually going to have some time away from my family.  It’s that time of year for the annual “Mom’s Weekend” that I go on with Matt’s mom, sisters, aunts, and girl cousins.  It’s going to be four entire nights away.  In the past 7.5 months I have not had an undisturbed night of sleep and fairly soon I’ll have four of them.  I cannot even imagine.  I’m guessing I’ll be waking up every so often in the night anyhow.  And as much as I’m looking forward to a fun trip away, I’m anxious about leaving my family.  Go figure, right?!  At the end of the day I love being a Mama and wife…these people are the loves of my life.   They’ll definitely be fine without me but what if they miss me?  Okay, what if I miss them?  There’s no doubt I will.  But don’t you worry…I’m still going. ;)

What’s going on Right Now with you?

Categories: Married Life, Matt, motherhood, yours truly Tags: , , ,
My Official Go-To Gift

Do you know what I love about orchids?  Besides the fact that they are simple, elegant and beautiful they happen to also be readily available at our local grocery store and are usually fairly affordable.   This past year I’ve reached for orchids time and time again – they have become my new go-to gift.

Here is a small list of occasions where I’ve personally gifted an orchid:

+ mother’s day gift
+ baby shower hostess gifts (thank you gift)
+ end of the year gift for one of Alice’s daycare providers (basically another thank you gift)
+ sympathy gift

I think an orchid would also make a great housewarming gift, congratulations gift, and birthday gift.  Essentially, if an occasion calls for a bouquet of flowers or a potted plant then I think an orchid is appropriate.

For roughly the same price  as a pretty bouquet of fresh cut flowers, I can gift a beautiful orchid.  The nice thing about this pretty plant is I can expect the blooms to last much longer than fresh cut flowers.

Would you be happy to receive an orchid in place of a bouquet of flowers?  (I would, obviously, which is why I like to give them.)

Categories: celebrations Tags:
Book Report. March

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: This is the the third autobiography written by a celebrity that I have read. The other two were by Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey. I enjoyed each one and all three made me laugh out loud. I love a book that causes me to actually laugh out loud and I really love a funny lady! (My closest girlfriends are all hilarious in their own ways!) In addition to laughing out loud, there were a few parts in Yes Please where I got a little choked up. To be honest, I was not expecting a serious side. Not a bad thing, just unexpected. I related to many things Amy wrote about, especially her thoughts on friendship and motherhood. There were also lots of things I didn’t relate to, such as drug use, SNL, and Parks and Recreation. I haven’t watched SNL in years and and years and I’ve never seen Parks and Recreation. I’m not interested in checking them both out now. I like how Amy speaks candidly of mistakes and regret and heartache. Although the scenarios may vary from person to person, I think the way she describes the emotions that accompany those feelings are universal. I definitely recommend this one and thought it was great book to kick off my mini 2015 book club.

The Vacationers by Emily Straub: I went into this novel with no expectations. It was chosen by someone in my casual book club, which in February grew from 2 to 4 people. It’s the story of a family with two grown children and another couple, old family friends, that all go on vacation together in Mallorca Spain. Which if you look at google images of Mallorca, Spain the you’ll be all YES PLEASE, let’s go there. Gorgeous. The neat thing about this book is that everyone on the vacation is, in essence, the main character. The story is told from each person’s perspective so you see what they think of themselves and the judgements they have on everyone else. Which for me was interesting because as soon as I formed an opinion on a character based on another character’s description, the character in question would tell their story and I would then relate to where they were coming from. The story deals with longterm marriage, relationships between two people that are far apart in age, the strange family dynamics (that really everyone has, yes?) infidelity, teenage naivety, forgiveness, and knowing when it’s time to move on. I liked this book. It was a quick and easy read.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova: This was so good. The main character, Alice (which great name by the way, right?!), is a wife, mom to three, and well respected professor in her career when she’s diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50. You’ve probably already heard about or maybe have already seen the movie starring Julianne Moore (I haven’t but can’t wait to see it.) The story and perspective of her health decline are portrayed so well. I couldn’t help but to rush through the pages. I highly recommend.

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I’ve been reading on my Kindle a lot lately.  It was a birthday gift and I really love it, but I also miss the feel of real books.  I’ve put a couple books on reserve at the library and hope to pick them up in the next day or two.  Anything I should add to my list? What great book have you read lately?

Categories: Book Report Tags:
M+AK+E in February

In 2015 I want to do a monthly mother daughter photo project documenting 5 of our favorite little things. At the end of the year I plan to have this photo project printed into a keepsake book.

Reading >> M – The Vacationers,  AK- Where Is Baby’s Belly Button, E – Peek-A-Boo Forest

Playing with >> M – plant cuttings, AK – Crazy Legs Lady Bug, E – Colorful butterfly

Entertainment >> M – The Americans, AK – The Wheels on the Bus, E – Baby Einstein Jumper

Wearing >> M – lots of stripes, AK – “baa baa” shoes, E – lots of footie pj’s

Working on >> M – Alice’s one year old baby book, AK – Coloring with crayons, E – grabbing everything within reach

Categories: kiddos, M+AK+E, motherhood Tags: , ,
February Love

In our house, February 12th steals Valentine Day’s limelight.  The 12th is our anniversary and lucky for us, the grandparents watched the girls this month so we could go out on a proper date night.

This was considered Date #1 of our Year of Dates, and it was fun.  Nothing crazy, just dinner and a few drinks.  We were home and in bed by 11pm, but it sure was nice having some adult time and being just the two of us.

We celebrated four years of marriage this time around.  Four years of marriage, two years of dating prior to that, one home purchase, four different jobs, two dogs, several vacations,  two baby girls, lots of arguments, lots of laughs, and a whole lotta love.  Life is good and I’m filled with gratitude.

Now that I have kiddos I thought it would be fun to also decorate for all the little holidays I never really used to decorate for before.  Okay, so they’re both under two…the youngest is 6 months old.  Okay, so maybe I thought it would be fun to decorate for myself as well.

I didn’t go all out or anything.  I didn’t even spend any money, just used what I already had on hand and threw up a couple of paper hearts and pulled some pink and red things together.

 

Would you also like to know that both my girls’ daycare classes exchanged Valentines.  Their separate classes sent separate notes telling us that the children (hello, babies)  would be exchanging Valentines but feel free to not participate.  Included is a list of all their classmates’ correctly spelled names.  Let me remind you, 6 months old and 21 months old.  I seriously considered not participating but I didn’t want to be THAT mom.  You know.

I bought Valentines day stickers and decorated some chevron notecards I already had on hand.  Then I hand wrote inside each card “Happy Valentines Day!  Your friend, (Alice/Elaine).”  Super simple, super cheap, and actually cute!  I even took pictures.  And here they are:

Oh no.  Here they are not.  I cannot find the pictures I took of these semi-homemade Valentines Day Cards.  Ugh.  Proof of 30 minutes of my life just GONE.

Did you celebrate Valentines?  Parents, did you send your kid with Valentines to share?  Tell me your true feelings on Valentines Day.  Love it, hate it, take it, or leave it?  Answer each one of my questions please.  ;)

 

Categories: decorating, DIY, family, holidays, kiddos, M + M, Married Life, Matt Tags: , , , , ,
E’s Monthly Baby Photo Update

My littlest little is going to be six months on Friday. SIX MONTHS. Every mother says the same thing – I can’t believe my baby is (insert whatever age), the time has just flown by!  Everyone says this, because it’s true.

In an attempt to remember all that baby sweetness I have been taking a monthly photo of my babies during their first year.  You can check out Alice’s 1 year monthly photos here.

Before I share Elaine’s first five monthly photos I thought it would be fun to share some fun facts about our youngest:

+She’s a SMILEY baby. Every morning when I peek over her crib rail her face breaks into the biggest smile I ever did see. Then she exuberantly pumps her little legs and arms as if she couldn’t be happier to see my face.
+She’s already cut her first two teeth.  Two bottoms center.
+E’s hair sticks straight up off her head in little baby wisps and her eyes are still hanging on to blue.
+She’s a long baby and easily wears size 6-9 month clothing and size 3 diapers!
+Elaine is a mama’s girl at this point.  She is easily soothed by by me.  Most of the time she’s happy, but if she’s upset the entire world knows about it. Baby girl has a big voice. Hand her over to Mama and she quickly calms down.
+For the past month, bedtime has been a breeze. We eat, we bathe, we nurse, and we rock. Then it’s down for bed, tear free! Hooray for catching on to routines! Hopefully the sleep through the entire night phase is right around the (immediate) corner (Mama’s got her fingers crossed!!!!).
+Still drinking primarily breast milk but we have added baby food to her night time routine. Favorites are banana and avocado. Least favorites are butternut squash and sweet potato.

We love our sweet girl so much.  I cannot imagine our family without her.  She’s absolutely precious.

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And just for fun, Alice and Elaine at the same ages:

The photos weren’t taken at the same angles or distances,  but Matt and I both agree that Elaine seems longer than her older sister Elaine.  I feel like you can definitely tell that they are sisters but they each have their own unique features.

Oh these babies!  I love being Mama to these two.

p.s.  Alice’s monthly one year photos and six practical tips for taking monthly baby photos

Categories: kiddos, motherhood, pictures Tags: , ,
How I’m Accomplishing Monthly Goals

Lists are the best, yes? Yes. I have notebooks and notebooks full of lists. I find writing out a To Do List and checking off completed tasks motivating and satisfying. My problem with this is (was) the notebooks upon notebooks of lists and general Notes To Self.  They were all over the place. Hello, my name is Melissa and I like to buy cute notebooks. I’ve come across lists I’ve written years ago and thought: Yay! That’s done, Check!.. or Oh yeah, I never did that, Sad.., or This list doesn’t even apply to my life anymore, Weird…, and worst of all is WHERE IS THAT LIST/NOTE I WROTE LAST MONTH?! Panic/Frustration/WTH.

So I’ve come up with a simpler system for keeping track of my general Notes To Self and To-Do lists.  Streamlining my way too many notebook problem, I now only keep track of two notebooks: my planner and a Bullet Style journal. I’ll probably talk more about my Bullet Journal later, but if you’re not familiar with Bullet Journaling you can find numerous takes on what it is here or you can read about it where I first did on Kathleen’s blog here.

My planner is a spiral bound notebook separated by monthly tabs.  Each tab has two blank pages at the beginning and end of each month and I delegate one of these pages to write out monthly goals.   The idea of monthly goals isn’t anything novel or ground breaking, but this little system works well for me! (I started this back in November.)

The “goals” I write out range from simple tasks to ones that are a little more involved.  Having a list that I see on a daily basis really helps me remember things that need to get done.  Some of the easy tasks I checked off last month included buying a new doormat for our back sliding door, put up a 2015 wall calendar, buy new air filters, and get a basket for kids books to keep in the living room.

Other tasks were a little more time consuming like pack up Christmas decorations, organize kids toys, organize kids clothes, organize master bedroom closet, transfer pictures from SD card and phone to hard drive, pack up a box for donation, and actually schedule a pick up time for said donation box.

Then there were projects that I knew wouldn’t be completed in January.  These were things that would be continuing works in progress because they would take time and thought.  I have a terrible habit of not starting these types of things because I don’t have enough time, or all the resources available to me, or because I just feel overwhelmed by all the steps involved.  I’m trying to break that habit by reminding myself that every project and task has to start somewhere.

Last month I was able to put some time and effort into two projects that I have had in the back of mind for quite some time.  The first being work on Alice’s one year old book.  I went through all the pictures that I took of her during her first year and placed them into a folder.  I’m over half way through the edit process and hope to have her book made by the end of this month!  (After all, she’ll be TWO this May!!!)  I was fairly certain I wouldn’t be able to finish the book last month, but I’m stoked that I got started and actually made some real progress towards the finish line.

The other project I put some effort into last month was to work on the TV gallery wall.  I have this photo that I ripped out of a Pottery Barn catalog thumb tacked above my desk.  I’ve been wanting to do something similar for the wall behind our TV.   I now have three things that I LOVE for that wall and several ideas for more items to add.  I’m really excited to see how this one will come together.

I’m currently working on February’s Monthly Goal list and actually had to carry over some things that I didn’t get around to in January (Hello, Organize Desk Area – you are not my favorite). I also let some things go because I’ve re-evaluated and moved on to things I deem more important, and that’s okay.  The overall goal is to get things done that need to be done and sometimes those needs change.

Are you a list maker?  What have you found that motivates you to be productive?

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Categories: goals Tags: