Wishing you a relaxing weekend!

Image:  By Siddharth Mallya (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Autumn Leaves By Siddharth Mallya (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

What are your plans for the weekend?  We have a very hectic Saturday, followed by a low-key Sunday.  It will be nice to have some free time to relax and unwind.  If you find yourself with a free moment or two, here are a few good reads from around the blogosphere.  Enjoy your weekend!

7 Steps to Living your Ideal Eulogy- Becoming Minimalist

What Really Happens When You Start Over – Goins, Writer

The Art of Listening – The Art of Simple

A Life and Death To-Do List – Lisa-Jo Baker

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering – Live Simply by Annie

 

 

It’s Coming…

Fall is in the air.  During my walk this morning, I noticed that many of the tree leaves are showing their first hints of red and orange.  The mornings are cool and crisp. It seems as though it’s getting darker just a little bit earlier every night.  September is half over and October is just around the corner.  And do you know what that means?

It’s almost time for the 31 Days Writing Challenge!  For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, the 31 Days Challenge was started 6 years ago by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (aka The Nester).  The objective:  Bloggers are challenged to choose a single topic or idea and then write about it every day (every…single….day) for the month of October.  I’m super excited to participate again this year.  Last year was my very first year participating in the 31 Days challenge and, as a brand new blogger, it was…well, a challenge.  But it was an awesome challenge!  It gave my writing some focus and direction, both of which I could really use again these days.

I’m not quite ready to reveal my topic for this year.  But just in case you missed my 31 Day challenge last year, you can check it out here:

31 Days of Simple Change

And I hope you’ll join me on Oct. 1st for my newest 31 Day Writing Challenge!

How I DID NOT Spend My Summer Vacation

Image from Morguefile.com

Image from Morguefile

Our summer officially ends on Monday when the kids return to school. And I couldn’t be more ready for the end of summer and the beginning of fall. By the time the final days of August roll around, everyone in our house is bored, cranky, and ready for a change of pace.  (And by “everyone,” I mostly mean me).

When the kids return to school next week, I’m sure they will be asked to talk about everything they did over their summer break. They’ll get to share all the fun places they went and the people they saw.  And so I’ve been thinking about the things I did this summer and, more importantly, the things I DID NOT DO this summer. For example:

  1. I DID NOT spend my summer writing.  As you have probably noticed, I have not been blogging over the summer. In the last few months, I have not written One. Single. Word. I would like to tell you that I’ve been so busy having an exciting summer that I couldn’t spare one minute to sit down at the computer and write. But the truth is this: I am a terrible multi-tasker. I cannot multi-task to save my life! I can’t talk on the phone and clean my house at the same time. I can’t carry on a conversation while reading Facebook posts. And I can’t write blog posts while refereeing sibling arguments, playing board games, and inventing new ways of keeping three kids occupied while I try to clean up the house. And so, sadly, there hasn’t been much any writing this summer.
  2. I DID NOT spend my summer exercising.  Prior to summer break, I was walking almost every day and tracking my progress with my Fitbit. It was going well and I was feeling good about it. So did I keep it up all summer? Have I been walking 10,000 steps every day? No my friends, I have not. In fact, I became so frustrated by my miserable step count that I hid my Fitbit in my desk drawer! Yes, that’s right…I HID IT! I do realize that some people would have continued to wear the Fitbit every single day, refocused on their exercise goals, and made a greater effort to add more steps throughout their day. I applaud those people. I commend those people. And I intend to be one of those people…beginning Aug. 25th when the kids get back on the school bus.
  3. I DID NOT spend my summer waking up early.  Now that the kids are older, they will actually sleep in most mornings. And that means that I get to sleep in too! Since I’m a night owl, it’s been nice to stay up a little later at night and then sleep in a little later in the morning. We’ll be back to early mornings here in a few days, but it’s been fun while it lasted!

So how did you NOT spend your summer vacation?

Summer Fun

Beach.jpg

We still have another week and a half of school remaining, but I know that summer break has already begun for many of you. It’s hard to believe that another school year is coming to an end. Part of me is excited for the relaxed days of summer. No lunches to pack, no early morning wake-ups, and no tightly packed schedule. But the other part of me is dreading those long hot days of sibling fighting and the repeated refrain of those two dreaded words: “I’m bored!!!”

In an attempt to keep the kids busy and limit the amount of whining and complaining, I’ve been trying to plan ahead a little bit. Besides the usual summer camps and swimming lessons, I’ve also been looking for inexpensive ways to fill up our days.

Here are a few things on my list so far:

1)    Summer Movie Programs – A number of movie theaters in our area (Regal and Cinemark, just to name two) offer summer movie programs, when they show a family movie one or two mornings a week for $1 admission. It’s a great way to catch a movie you missed on its first run through the theaters.   Check your local theater for information.

2)    Summer Reading Programs – If you’re looking for ways to keep your kids reading this summer, encourage them to participate in a summer reading program. Many local libraries offer summer reading programs, as does Barnes and Noble.

3)    Arts and Crafts – Many arts and crafts stores, such as Michael’s and Pat Catan’s, offer children’s craft classes during the summer months for reasonable prices.  Some of these sessions require advanced reservations while others are simply drop-in.  Check your local store for all the details.

4)    Kids Bowl Free – Register your kids for the Kids Bowl Free program and they will receive two free games of bowling every day for the entire summer. Yes, every day all summer long. You can’t beat that!

What’s on your list of things to do this summer?

Are You Superstitious?

Image from Morguefile

Image from Morguefile

This past Tuesday, we officially sold our house in Pittsburgh! We accepted an offer on the house at the end of April…and I haven’t posted anything here since! Not because I’ve been too busy or because I haven’t had anything to say. The truth is that I couldn’t wait to tell you all about our big sales news. But I had a nagging fear that posting the news here (in such a public way before the closing happened), would be tempting fate too much. Now, I don’t usually consider myself to be a superstitious person. I’m not afraid of black cats and I don’t throw a pinch of spilled salt over my shoulder. But I guess the sale of our house was just too big a thing to risk. Thankfully, it is now a done deal and I can happily (and with great relief) tell you that we are officially no longer homeowners!!!

But I’m curious…are you superstitious? Have you ever found yourself afraid to share a piece of good news because you somehow felt that doing so would jinx it?

 

What I Learned in April

 

What I Learned in April.jpg

1)    All it takes for me to get sidetracked from my  healthier living plan is the arrival of Easter. I was doing so well. I was going to the gym regularly, I was eating salads for lunch, and I was cutting back on sweets. And then Easter came, complete with the kids’ spring break from school and three Easter baskets full of candy. And that’s all is took to fall off the “more exercise/less sweets” wagon. But don’t worry, I’m planning to jump back into my healthier living goals…just as soon as I finish off the last of those Reese’s Peanut Butter eggs!

2)    If you take three kids to Target with you, you’ll spend twice as much money but forget to buy half the things on your list.

3)    Siri can read my emails to me. I love my iPhone but never really knew what to make of Siri. But I recently discovered that Siri can read my emails to me, open apps, and even flip a coin (this one comes in especially handy when the kids are fighting over who has to get their bath first.) Find out even more ways to use Siri here.

4)  My FitBit might not be as accurate as I thought.- Say it isn’t so!  While this article doesn’t mention the Fitbit specifically, it does call into question the accuracy of fitness type wristbands overall.  Hey, maybe I actually do walk 15,000 steps every day but my FitBit is only registering 6,000.  Or maybe my FitBit is saying I walked 6,000 steps but I really only walked 3,000.  UGH!

5)   I’m so glad our family does monthly “Parent and One Child Days” - Having three kids is awesome, but it makes it difficult for Mark and I to spend time with each child individually.  So once a month, on a rotating schedule, one parent gets to spend special time with one kid.  This month was Mom and M. day.  M. and I talked about what she wanted to do for our special day, and settled on Monster Mini-Golf.  It was so much fun!  And it reminded me again of why these special days have been a big success in our family.  Not only do Mark or I get the opportunity to really focus on that one child but that kid gets a chance to have a parent’s undivided attention.  It’s a win-win for everyone.

What did you learn in April?

Today I’m linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky for her monthly “What We Learned” community link-up.

 

 

Creating our own suffering

Raise your hand if you enjoy going to the dentist. Anybody? Anybody? Yeah, I sort of figured we were all in the same boat. So maybe you’ll be able to relate to my feelings when I got a call from the dentist last week reminding me of my appointment scheduled for 10:30 this morning. When they asked me to confirm that I was still coming in, I briefly entertained the idea of cancelling it right then and there. Not because I was busy this morning, but just because I REALLY hate going to the dentist. But I told myself that cancelling the appointment would just mean rescheduling it for another time and so I would only be delaying the agony. So I reluctantly confirmed the appointment and then promptly hung up the phone and began worrying about dreading it. Are they going to find a cavity? Are they going to tell me that I now need to get my wisdom teeth out? How much is it going to hurt this time when they start scraping?! After taking the kids to the bus stop this morning, I walked back inside the house and immediately checked my phone for messages. Maybe the dentist called to reschedule my appointment? Maybe another patient has an emergency and needs my time slot! But, sadly, no messages and no missed calls from the dentist.

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And so I kept my appointment, dragging myself into the dentist’s office at exactly 10:30 and wishing it was already over. At 11:15, I practically skipped out of the dentist’s office. Zero cavities and all my wisdom teeth are safely tucked in my mouth for at least another 6 months. And I thought to myself, Now that wasn’t so bad. And truth be told, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I convinced myself it was going to be. In fact, the days I spent worrying about this appointment were far worse then the 45 minutes I spent sitting in the actual dentist’s chair.

I wonder how many times we all do this to ourselves. We anticipate something will be terrible and so we worry about it…obsess over it….maybe even lose sleep over it…only to discover that it wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it was going to be. How often do we create our own suffering? We put off appointments, procrastinate conversations, or simply ignore pressing needs because we think it will be difficult, painful, or simply uncomfortable. And then, when we finally, FINALLY, do that thing we’ve been avoiding, we not only realize that it wasn’t that bad, we are actually glad we finally did it.

I still hate going to the dentist, but I’m glad I went today…if only for the comforting knowledge that I (hopefully) won’t need to go back again for another 6 months. What about you? Have you been procrastinating on something you know you should do because you are convinced it will be terrible?

Image from Quotes Frenzy