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Saturday, August 6, 2016

The 10th Move

Seriously.  Ten moves in the 11 years that we've been married.  My last blog post, which was too long ago, calls our previous move the 7th, but I left out the moves to and from my parents' house.  Onward.  Center Street, Privet Place, Cedar Falls Drive, my mom's house, an apartment, my mom's house (again), Harvest Creek Road, Shanklin Street, Alder Street, now this.  When we moved into our last house, we were downsizing, which I've blogged about before.  We liked our house.  We LOVED certain elements of the house.  We made that house 100% ours and redid every bit of plumbing, electric, paint, landscape, you name it.  It was wonderful and we were happy there.  We potty trained Hank in the backyard, before it was anything but dirt.  Jovie came home from the hospital to that house.  We had major fights in that house.  We even had a few loving times in that house.  The girls were 7, 6, and 3 when we moved in, and it was inexpensive compared to where we were before.  For the first time, we were able to put down a considerable amount of cash and our payment was less than the new Yukon XL we almost bought (glad that didn't happen).  I mean, look at this transformation!

So here's the story:

Last summer, Kevin's wallet was stolen from his truck.  Even after 11 years of living in California and NOT Idaho, he still fails to lock his car doors (more on that later) which makes it quite easy for his things to get swiped.  Not even realizing that anything was stolen, Kevin received a phone call from a woman named (let's call her) Kathy, who informed him that she had his wallet.  Apparently, the thief threw the wallet onto her front porch.  Kevin went to pick up the wallet and started chatting it up with Kathy.  After expressing his love for the house (and the fact that I would love her house), she invited him in and gave him a tour of her home.  She and her family had lived in the house long enough to raise their two daughters, and would be moving sometime in the next year.  At one point (who knows how accurate this is), there was a family with 4 daughters who lived in the house.  Kevin came home and told me about the house.  I started stalking, immediately.  I mean, not stalking.  Researching.  I am a creep.  There.  I loved the house, but knew that we'd never be able to afford to live on the South Side of 24th.  

Months go by.  We dump more time, money, and love into our home.  We work and go on vacation and raise kids and act as taxis and work out and everything else that comes along with life.  One day during my lunch, I decided to check out Realtor.com and the house popped up!  According to Kevin (he mixes up the details, often), the house wasn't going to hit the market until the next spring.  Well, there she was.  And for a hefty price.  We went to look at the house just after Christmas of last year.  I didn't say anything as we toured.  All the moulding, you guys.  And the beams.  And the built-ins.  When we walked out, I told Kevin, "When I stood in the living room, looking at the dining room, I couldn't breathe for a second.  Like, I could see Christmas happening in there..."  He immediately said (because that's what Kevin does), "Okay, we are in.  Let's list our house."  Um.  Panic.  Weeks go by.  We decided to pass on the house, which I had loving named The Parenthood House because it reminded me of both Adam and Kristina's and Zeek and Camille's homes on my favorite show of all time.  Even with all of the good vibes and the not being able to breathe (not literally, of course), we had to stop looking and just enjoy our home that we had spent so many months making beautiful.  Just live and breathe and take it easy for a minute.

As the next months went by and I had eventually stopped thinking about the house--and by not thinking about it, I mean: I kind of dismissed the idea of moving and starting all over, but I still looked at the listing every single day.  Probably multiple times.  We were good; we enjoyed our house, started building an outdoor kitchen, finished the amazing deck and ginormous flower boxes, planted an incredible garden, and things were simple--you know, minus all of the stuff that comes along with marriage, parenting, work, and other obligations.

More time passes, and the house is STILL listed but with a much smaller price tag.  One day, my friend and coworker, Cecilia, told me, "My mom and I drove by The Parenthood House and (I can't remember who she said it was, specificially, but someone we went to high school with--we will call her Jill) Jill was walking out with her realtor!"  UM.  NO.  NOT HAPPENING.  Jill is not living in The Parenthood House.  Ever.  That night, I remember telling Kevin something like, "Babe, I know that we agreed to stop with The Parenthood House, but I think that we should just try.  I feel like I will regret it if we don't list our house and see what happens..."  Obviously, he was super down with that idea.  I haven't quite figured out if Kevin really likes spontaneity or if he just feels like it's easier to agree with me than to actually have to deal with me!  Whatever his reasoning, it works.

We listed the house.  It sold within hours.  The buyer asked for a 30-day escrow.  Of course we agreed.  The girls and I packed up and went to Idaho for several weeks, Kevin packed the entire house by himself (which he says was easier than having us both there with all of the kids), and we moved.  It was painless.  Surreal.  I still have moments of panic where I think that the former owners will come back and we won't get the house, but we HAVE the house.  It feels like home.  We are nowhere near unpacked, and we haven't put any special touches on the house, yet.  But, still, it feels perfect.  I believe in so many things, and weird little signs and coincidences like the wallet thing and the 4 girls thing and the Parenthood thing just make my heart happy.  We were immediately embraced by our neighbors who placed a giant Welcome Home sign above our porch and who have brought us cards, plants, meals, treats, and so much love.  I feel welcomed.  I feel home.  Now, let's seriously make this house dreamy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Our 7th? Move…Plus Kitchen Remodel

Kevin and I are no strangers to moving homes.  We've done it so many times that I've lost count.  I could probably give you a definite number if I really tried, but let's just say that the number is closer to 10 than to 0.  In almost 10 years of marriage, I'd say that's pretty impressive.  The house that we sold two summers ago was what we thought was our dream home.  It was in an incredible neighborhood, we met some of our best friends while residing there, and we poured a lot of sweat and tears (I don't think any blood) into it.  The girls had their own rooms and bathrooms, there was space for our pets, and a huge pool in the amazingly landscaped backyard.  Who would ever want to leave that?

Early in the summer, before we decided to sell the house, the girls and I were visiting family and friends in Idaho.  During this time every year, I have very few responsibilities because we stay at Kevin's parents' home, and they spoil us with food, childcare, and pretty much anything else we can imagine.  This time also allows space for self-reflection.  While I was there in the summer of 2013, I had a revelation (driving down the country roads will do that to you.)  I called Kevin (he was home working, and planning on joining us a few weeks later) and told him that we needed to sell the house.  Of course he was in shock because I LOVED our home so much.  I tried my best to explain my feelings to him without sounding like a crazy person.  Sometimes (sometimes?) I tend to get a bit enthusiastic about things, and perhaps even a bit obsessive.  This was not really different, but it was for a different reason.  I told Kevin that I had a strong feeling that we were living our lives the wrong way.  There is no explanation as to why we should be stretching ourselves every month to live in this house, albeit beautiful, when we spend so little time there.  We both work full-time (enough to say about this in another post), and Kevin was putting in 2-3 overtime shifts every week just to get by.  Now, I have to be honest and say that we were absolutely not changing our lifestyle in order to save more money each month.  Not in the least.  But that was kind of my point.  I wanted to have the things that we had, take the kids on trips, shop when we wanted to, and not have to have this steep mortgage payment on top of everything else.  Can you imagine the upkeep, too?  It was a big job!

I thought for sure that Kevin would find my revelation typical, and maybe not take me very seriously.  Usually I spend weeks after we return home crying about how I want a simple life and how I want to move back to that area (again, another post.)  To my surprise, he said, "Okay, whatever you think."  Or something Kevin-ish.

So I came home and we did it.  We put the house on the market, without another one in mind, and it sold in 9 days!  Obviously.  It was lovely.  Then, the craziest thing happened.  I knew that I wanted to live downtown because I wanted an older home.  Coincidentally, a nurse from Kevin's work was preparing to move out of her newly purchased home, and we fell in love with it.  Well, not really with the house--but with the house's potential to be great.  And the trees!  Ah, the trees have been had for 60+ years!  And, we were a little bit desperate to find a place that would work for us in the short term.  Worst case scenario, we would update the house a bit and then sell it.  Yes, absolutely crazy.  Whatever.  When it was time to move out of our dream home, I was so sad.  Not even sad.  Bitter.  I wanted so badly to hate the new owners.  They were actually amazing, so that didn't happen.  Nevertheless, moving day came and we loaded our boxes and furniture into a truck and hauled all of our belongings to the new house (onto the nasty covered patio.)  With plans to remodel, there was no way I was moving myself and the children into the new house before at least some of that happened.

Here's what we did:  the girls and I stayed with my parents (with my entire closet in the back of my car) and Kevin slept at the new house.  At the time, he was working night shift, so he would sleep at the new house during the day while I was at work and the kids were at school/daycare.  Smart.  That was supposed to last 30 days.  Well, September came and went.  We were well into the new school year and Homecoming Week was fast approaching; easily the most stressful week of the year.  To top it off, that particular year the girls had dress up days at school that same week, and my 10 year reunion was that Saturday.  SERIOUISLY?  Planning committee?  You're looking at her.  What happened at the end of that week?  Breakdown of the century!  Like for real, the only time I've ever thought that I would end up divorced…or worse.  Yikes.  But you guys, I hadn't slept in my own bed in months, my parents live in a 55+ neighborhood that we were getting kicked out of, and I hadn't seen my husband for more than a few minutes in the longest time.  Yes, things could have been so much worse.  No one was sick, we HAD a home, and our kids still loved us (maybe.)  Things could have been more difficult, but I'm so glad that they weren't.  And, to be honest, that time sucked.  Majorly.

New plan: move into the new house by the end of October.  Nope.  Halloween was spent at my parents' house.  Thanksgiving?  YES!  So much to be grateful for!  We finally moved into the house, and it was amazing.  It still needed so much work, but the bathrooms were functional, and the kitchen was completely finished.  The wood floors were restored and carpet was installed in the bedrooms.  Thank goodness!

I'll post some pictures of a few of the biggest projects we completed before moving in.  Slowly but surely, I will try my best to take you through some current projects.  Clearly, I have changed a few things already.  But, afterall, it's been two years! Here's the kitchen.  My descriptions of each picture are under the images.

This is the kitchen when we first purchased the house.  Beautiful color scheme, yes?  This was so horribly designed for the size of the appliances.  Many of the cabinets didn't open because they were blocked by other things and the doors in the pantry (now laundry room) hit the ceiling light when they were even slightly opened.


This is the view from the other side.  Behind me is the soon-to-be laundry room and the wall you're looking at gets a doorway cut into it for easy access to the garage that doesn't fit my bus.  That's okay, though.


Here is the kitchen after all of the old stuff was torn out.  Let me tell you what  a huge mess that was with disgusting insulation and who knows what else we were forced to inhale.  Luckily, we had help from some trusty friends in cleaning up the demolition.


 Kevin had the honor of busting out the windows, but I thought I'd pose for a picture, just to pretend I wasn't afraid of getting cut by the glass.  Not sure what's up with my face.


 This is the door that leads into the tiny garage/space for all of Kevin's crap building materials.


 Remember the windows?  Now just holes.  It was probably upwards of 100 degrees this day.


 Sheetrock!  And a door!  Progress.  Oh, and new sub-flooring.


A little info on this laundry room.  It used to house a ginormous water heater and floor-to-ceiling cabinets.  I was stressing out about my washer and dryer being in the garage, so I  forced requested that Kevin rip the existing stuff out (we planned on installing a tankless water heater outside, anyway.)  Lo and behold, behind the cabinets was plumbing for a washer and dryer!  For real!  I wasn't crazy afterall!


 Finally, everything was taped and mudded, and ready for some texture, paint, flooring, etc.


We used soapstone on the dream house remodel. It was so nice.  The price is a little more per linear foot (I think that's how it's measured) than other stones, but it can be cut with a regular saw, so we saved a lot of money on the labor.  Since it worked out well in that house, we thought we'd use it again.  We originally bought this in slabs, and the dealer we used cut it into strips for us for $150!  Mostly, I think he was just afraid that Kevin and his dad would kill themselves trying to do it on their own.  The coolest thing about soapstone is that it looks grey like this at first, but when it's wet, it turns dark black (some pieces are greenish, but not ours) and the veins turn bright white.  It's lovely.  We use mineral oil to keep it fresh looking.


We made a deal with the kitchen contractor (the cabinets were the only thing we used a contractor for) that resulted in a lower price if we did the cabinet installation ourselves.  If you've never met my husband, you wouldn't understand how offended he would be in someone came in and tried to install something for him.  If you've never met me, you wouldn't know that I am a bit particular and NO ONE can do things as well as Kevin.  So, there you go.  At the end of the day, the cabinets are probably my favorite feature in the kitchen, and I'm glad we splurged.


The other nice thing about using a contractor for something we knew little about, was that he took all of the specs for our appliances and designed the cabinets around them instead of just throwing in some appliances after the fact.  One of my biggest pet peeves in a kitchen is when the appliances don't fit well into their respective "holes".  This is where the microwave and range belong.


Dishwasher space.  And the drawer pulls!  We chose these cup pulls because they're fairly timeless looking.  Plus, after pulling from all 3 Home Depot locations, we were able to get them in town.  Find them here.  They're Martha Stewart.  And we know that she's always right, so we couldn't possibly go wrong.


When we first befan designing the kitchen, I knew that I wanted black and white flooring.  Yes, I was inspired by Kris Jenner's house (I know, judge me) , but I knew I wasn't willing to invest in expensive marble for such a small house.  And, at this point, I didn't plan on staying here long, remember?  Yeah…Anyway, we went with two different types of tile.  The white is really shiny, and the black is matte with lines etched into the stone.  Several people asked me if I was going for a 50s diner theme.  Um, no.  No themes for this gal.  Moving on.


The appliances went in, and fit perfectly… after some slight issues.  The original kitchen was set up for  and electric oven and stove.  I wanted gas.  Okay, no problem.  Kevin moved the gas line before the new walls went up.  The problem was that the new gas pipe stuck out from the wall too much, and the range was pushed out about 4 inches.  It didn't look right.  Kevin tried with all of his might to convince me that it was fine.  I didn't sell my dream house and live with my mom for months to have anything be fine.  Gosh, listen to me be all bratty.  Guilty.  Also, the range was pricy.  It was going to look fabulous.  My sweet, handy father-in-law was visiting and helping Kevin finish up the kitchen, so I will admit that I was a little bit embarassed that I threw a little bit of a fit over the gas line situation.  Maybe he appreciates that about me.  For sure Kevin does.  Ha!


Here is the kitchen finished, but not really decorated.  The paint shown here is parakeet from Sherwin Williams.  I loved it for a year, but repainted it several months ago--a Sunday night whim.  Luckily, there is little paint actually exposed in here!  The backsplash is just cheap (I think maybe 11 cents per tile) subway from Home Depot.  We used a darkish grey for the grout, but I regret not doing it even darker.

I love the kitchen.  It's where I spend the most amount of time, and it is without a doubt, my favorite kitchen so far.  Yep, even over the dream house.

Tomorrow, I'll take some updated pictures and show you my favorite things about the kitchen space.  That requires some cleaning, and I'm just not into that right now.  Plus, it's bedtime and my children have only had a bowl of Captain Crunch in the last few hours.  Just keeping it real over here!  Until next time…

The Time I Realized I Hadn't Blogged in TWO Years.

I'm slowly welcoming myself back into the blogging world.  TWO years!  My, how things have changed.  For starters, we sold our (or what we thought was our) dream home and moved into a 1,500 square foot house.  This little gem has been slowly remodeled and updated from its original 1950s state.  Oh, and we had another baby.  No big deal.  So much to talk about.  Here goes so much!

AW

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Day I Decided to Get a Personal Trainer

I know, I know.  This is ridiculous.  I have SERIOUS body image issues.  Like really bad.  It's horrible.  No matter how fit I am, how cleanly I eat, or how structured my day is, I always feel like I should be doing a little bit better.  Writing this makes me feel like a total idiot, by the way.  Hopefully it will be something I can look back on and will have learned a lesson, or taken strides to improve this flaw.

The last 6 years or so have been really great for me as far as fitness is concerned.  Right after Zoë was born, I joined a gym, went almost every day, and made some great progress.  After a while, I felt like I was just going every day and kind of at a stand-still.  Did I need to "lose weight"?  Absolutely not.  Did I feel the need to work harder and improve?  Most definitely!  Every.  Single.  Day.  this was one of the foremost thoughts in my head.

Fast forward 6 years, and here I am.  Pretty fit (in clothes), pretty good eating habits (during the week), and a ton of motivation to get better.  The thing that was lacking was the instructions to actually put these things together and see some results.  I spend way too much of my "free" time looking at lovely bodies of athletes, reading their blogs, planning to follow their meal plans (with Isagenix incorporated), and commit.  Until now, it's been a whole lot of pinning, reading, and wishing...not so much of the actual doing.  I was in the gym every day, but not the way I needed to be to get the results I was looking for.

After watching the progress of a friend of mine (a former cheerleader I coached, and distant cousin, strangely enough), I decided to get in contact with her and see what she thought about training me.  The thing that TOTALLY stinks about the whole situation is that she's employed by a gym, so I am paying big money, and she probably isn't getting nearly as much as she deserves.  I am sure it will all work out in the end, though.  So, on Monday, I went into the gym (not the one I prefer, but I'll get over it) and signed my life away, so to speak.  I had to text Kevin and apologize for dropping so much money on the whole deal, but it was what I really needed to do, and he doesn't care anyway.

When the papers were signed (like it's a big legal matter), she gave me a meal plan to follow and our workouts started today.  The food is the easy part.  I am the least foodie person alive.  I could eat chicken and green veggies for every meal without hesitation.  While I am still incorporating my shakes, I have been following the meal plan perfectly.  This is where I start to feel really dumb because I totally know all of this stuff, I just can't seem to wrap my brain around it until it's written out for me and I have someone outside of my personal life to keep me grounded.

With every easy part, there is a hard part, I assume.  That was where I stood (or wobbled, rather) this afternoon.  Like I said before, I consider myself to be pretty coordinated, flexible, able to follow directions, and all around capable of doing pretty much ay physical activity, to a certain extent.  Today was the exception.  I felt like an IDIOT!  The actual exercises were nothing new to me; completely doable and really not that much different from what I'm used to.  Then something happened.  About 7 minutes in, I started to feel shaky, my legs were really tight, and I knew it was going to be something different than I have ever experienced before.

Did I do it?  Of course.  I pushed through, gritted my teeth, and envisioned my ultimate goals, as I was feeling like I could not kick my legs up even one last time.  I am trying to think of a good reason for this post.  It's really just a big sneeze of all of my thoughts and feelings from the day.  What I learned:  it doesn't matter how fit you are, you can always do more.  Sometimes you need someone to push you to your limits.  It's okay to struggle and not be the best at what you're doing (still working on this one).  Lastly, I am going to be sore tomorrow.

Hopefully this will be a great investment in myself, enabling me to be a better person.  I need to stop being so critical of myself.  Currently, and through my entire life thus far, it has been a tragic flaw.  Let's hope I can change it a bit so it doesn't lead to my demise.  That wouldn't be good at all.  It's 8:20 and I can hardly keep my eyes open.  If I can figure out how to post "before" pictures without my face, and without the possibility that a student my stumble upon my blog at some point, I might consider doing it.  Probably not.  But maybe.  My sweet Tempur-Pedic is calling my name.  These girls need to go to sleep.  This is the lamest post of all time, but I might like it in a year or ten.  Ahhh, sleep!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Best of 2012

Here are some of the best products I purchased in 2012!

Clinique Chubby Stick 

clinique.com
These little babies are the best!  I have a few of them and I am sure my collection will be ever-growing. The only downside is having to drive to the mall to grab one because they're only sold at Clinique counters (unless you order online, of course).  The shades are to die for and the morning application lasts until lunch without having to touch up at all! 

Rayban Wayfarer 

nordstrom.com
The most versatile, classic, and petite shades I've ever owned!  I have super sensitive eyes, so I have to have sunglasses on any time I am outside.  Wait, this section might be a lie, because now that I'm writing it, I think I may have actually purchased these before 2012.  Oh well!  These are a dream and come in so many colors now.  Mine are just plain black, and I am actually very shocked that I don't own more...at least the tortoise :)  We'll see what 2013 brings!

Sentsy's Pixie Scentsy Bar


https://klowry.scentsy.us/Scentsy/Home
By far, my all-time favorite scent from Scentsy.  I actually picked this one up by accident.  All of my orders are typically placed through my friend, Kathi, but I happened to be at my sister's friend's house and she had some extras so I bought this one from her.  So lovely!  It smells just like the color of the package...if you can imagine that...I really don't know how else to describe it!  Sweet, but spicy and subtle and clean all at the same time  Throw it into your next order.  You won't be disappointed.  

The Reva Flat by Tory Burch


nordstrom.com
My FAVORITE shoes ever!  My friends make fun of me all the time because when I find something I really like, I tend to become a little bit obsessed.  For example, I adore these flats, so it is a biiiiiiiiig joke that I won't buy anything that's not TB.  Not true.  I wish it was.  Anyway, when I first got these, I was a little bit disappointed because they killed my feet.  I had huge dents in the backs of my ankles from the scrunchy, gathered backs.  The leather is really soft though, so I knew they'd stretch out.  Plus, I had big plans for these sweet little girls.  They had to become more comfortable.  I stuck it out, and after about  6 or 7 wears, they were dreamy.  I won't lie, these have a pretty price tag, but they are so perfect, it's worth it.  I wore them all late summer and fall and they look brand new.  There's no doubt they'll last a very long time.  Another item I will absolutely purchase in more colors.  I have my eye on the nude and red ones, as we speak.  

Lululemon's Wunder Under Crop


lululemon.com

Since the first time I put these little miracles on, I have never worn another pair of leggings to the gym or Crossfit.  The ugly truth is that I often wear them just as pants.  Not to work.  Well, that's a lie.  I've been known to wear them with a tunic and boots (they're much longer on my legs).  I totally splurged on the first pair I bought.  Kevin and I were in Boise shopping for the girls' school clothes, and the price tag totally made me cringe, but girl in Lululemon totally talked me into them.  Plus, it was almost my birthday!  Kevin bought them for me, and I was SO excited to wear them.  A few months later, I posted something like "how many times do I have to wear the same workout pants before it's okay to buy a second pair?" on Facebook.  I was convinced it was the right thing to do.  You would think mine were becoming tatty after having to be washed almost every day, but I swear I can't tell them apart from my new ones!  Both of the WUs I have are solid black, but they do come in a variety of other colors and waist band designs.  Unfortunately, the other colors are not often available in my size for some reason.  I'll be patient because the red Wunder Unders are to die for!

There you have it!  My obsessions for 2012!  I think it's safe to say I'll have the same obsessions this year.  Hopefully I can step out of my comfort zone a bit and try new things.  I am completely aware that most of my favorites are pricy.  However, I am totally of the mind that "you get what you pay for", and I don't splurge very often.  Really, I don't even shop very often.  Not nearly as much as I'd like to, anyway!  Here's to bargains, saving for great items, and finding fantastic products in 2013!

 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Relaaaaaax

I've read so many blogs about people's "word of the year" lately. With 100% certainty, I can say that my word needs to be RELAX.  If I don't, I am sure I'll end up with wrinkles, grey hair, and bags under my eyes well before those things are attractive on me...hopefully never.  Anyway, I suck at relaxing.  Yep, I said it.  I am one of those freak people who cannot sit still to save her life.  I clean and organize and think and plan and teach and learn and move CONSTANTLY.  All the time.  From the time I wake up in the morning, I don't sit down until it's time for bed.

Every once in a while, I will have a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning, but by the time Kevin is up running around, I feel super worthless and lazy for not doing anything.  It is absolutely impossible for me to sit on the couch and watch Kevin clean up the kitchen or bathe the girls or whatever without getting up to help.  This is probably a sickness that will be discovered later in my life.  For now, I need to learn to cope.

Over Christmas break I have made a few changes.  I am trying my best to calm myself down and not freak out about little messes and other minor things going on around my house.  We've watched more TV than ever these last two weeks.  My house is messier than ever, even though I still clean it up every night before we go to bed.  I've been trying to just let the girls play and make messes without bugging them to always clean up.  This is HARD!  I need to find a middle ground.

What usually happens is I let things "slide" for a while, then I have a major freakout!  I'll step on crumbs, find sticky places on the counter, bitch about laundry or whatever and totally stress myself out. The worst is when Kevin tells me to calm down because I am stressing him or the girls out.  Then I feel guilty.  Ugh.  I am working on it.  I need to enjoy life more.  I need to live in the now.  This has never, ever been my strong suit.  It probably explains why I was married at 19 and had two children at 21!  If I find something I want, I want it NOW!!!  If I have a goal, I'll work until it's accomplished.  I suppose this is probably a positive quality to have; it makes me driven and goal oriented.  On the other hand, it forces me to overlook/ignore some of the most precious moments in life that I'll never get to have again.  Sad.

In my effort to relax and calm down about Kevin, the girls, work, the house, friends, family, dates, nutrition, working out, etc., I have found a few little things that make me feel a lot better.

The first thing, which is probably the best is choosing one of the girls to spend a few minutes with.  Usually I'll read a book to Charly, then let her read her own version, paint Reese's nails, or look on Pinterest for a new recipe with Zoë.  It's just a few minutes, but those are minutes I will never get back and it is so much more important to spend my minutes like that, than stressing about the sticky travertine.  At this point, it's still a problem because I take the "time out" and relax a bit, but still stress about the small stuff...it's just been put off for a few minutes.

The second thing that has helped me so much is taking detox baths.  I know, it's weird.  Usually my baths are interrupted by the girls wanting to soak their feet or someone needing the channel changed.  Yep, I sure do park my kids in front of the TV so I can have some time to myself.  Judge away.  What can I say?  They learn valuable life lessons from Honey Boo Boo.

Back to the bath.  I was searching on Pinterest one night...I think from my phone as the girls were bathing, actually...anyway, I came across this fabulous site.  On her blog, Vanessa writes about the most interesting things.  The article I first read was called "Healing Waters".
Healthy Living How To
The next day, I went out and bought a big bag of lavender Epsom salts, pulled out my essential oils, and locked the door.  I got in the bath and soaked.  That happened to be a day I was cleansing anyway, so I had already been releasing all kinds of junk that day.  As I was soaking, I could literally feel toxins being pulled out of my body.  The stress from the day was leaving my body and mind.  You can laugh at me, everyone else does (and I totally laugh at myself most of the time).  This was totally for real, though.  A little later, I got into bed and went to sleep without reading, Facebook, TV, or anything else.  Just drifted off to sleep and woke up totally rejuvenated.

This little issue of mine is not always funny.  Sometimes I can laugh it off, but other times I get really offended when people ask me why I can't just sit down or why I have to stress about the smallest things.  Obviously I don't have an answer.  The only thing I know is that I like things to be perfect, planned, and in my control.  The thing that totally annoys me is when I do get offended by someone's opinion, then I realize they are TOTALLY right!  I do need to calm my ass down sometimes and just enjoy my family and friends.  There are so many people who would be infintely grateful for this change.

Relaxing is not easy for me.  I'm working on it.  Here's to a more calm 2013.  What are some of your favorite ways to relieve stress and relax?

"You're Doing Just Fine"

For the first time in two weeks, the girls and I went out to do a little bit of shopping.  Earlier this week I read this post from one of my favorite blogs.  In the post, the writer talks about her struggles in taking 4 children out to lunch.  This was totally me today!  The good thing is, I had a much better experience.  One of the serious problems I have in my life if getting on kicks.  I get this from my mom.  Hers are usually with food (mint Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches before bed EVERY night, things like that), and mine are usually with products.  Lately, lipstick and vitamins.  Today I was on the hunt for vitamins.  We went to Target to get Kevin some soap and luckily I found one of the vitamins I was after.  The girls were okay because I bribed them with Starbucks (chocolate milk, not coffee).  After Target we went to Cone's Health Food and Vitamins.  They didn't have what I needed.  By this time, Charly had to go potty.  We sped over to Lassen's and I found what I was looking for AND a potty for Cha.

Before we went into Lassen's, I was unloading the girls from the car.  They typically like the do everything by themselves.  EVERYTHING.  Well, I guess I shouldn't say that.  Zoë is super lazy and always wants me to do things for her.  Anyway, after I parked, I opened the back door to get Charly out.  For whatever reason, they all HAD to get out of that door, Charly wouldn't let me unbuckle her carseat, and there was a car waiting to get into the spot next to me.  I started panicking.  I thought to myself, "This lady definitely thinks I am crazy for this".  Much to my surprise, she rolled down her window, I apologized for taking 14 minutes to unload the car, and she smiled and said, "You're doing just fine.  Happy New Year, honey".  Ahhhhhh!  It was so nice to hear!  Perhaps that is what happens when you shop at a health foods store!

I felt compelled to share this story.  As most of you have probably experienced, people are rude!  Especially people who do not understand your struggles, etc.  I can't even count the number of times I was out shopping or running errands with Reese and Zoë while pregnant with Charly, and people would say things like, "You're pregnant AGAIN?"  Yep, totally pregnant again.  Get over it.  (not currently pregnant, FYI)

We are usually a pretty put-together bunch.  Today was different.  We were all frazzled and hungry, but  the sweet lady in the blue car totally made my day.  As Emily instructs in her post, be nice to people.  If you see a mom struggling with her kids, HELP her!!  Or at least smile at her :)