AWWW

Yesterday my kids came and snuggled up to me on the couch and Ava said, with her big adorable smile, “Mom, I love you. You’re so nice.”

And then my heart broke into a million pieces and I died.  The end.

But seriously.  My kids are the best.  When they get out of their classes at church they run to me with giant smiles on their faces yelling for me and they give me the biggest hugs.  It’s the best thing in the world.

So yesterday I realized that my being happier and having a better routine has paid off.  I’ve been a better mama.  Really I should probably just give summer all the credit though, because that’s probably the main reason I’m always in a good mood.

I did ask Ava why she loves me so much, and her response was, “Because you buy me toys, and you give me ice cream after I eat my dinner. And you’re nice.”

My kid said I’m nice!  That’s a big deal, because for a while there I was being very not nice.  I’m still not perfect and I definitely yell at my kids when I want them to hurry up or stop fighting, but I’m getting better.  I always thought I’d be the nicest mom and never ever yell at my kids but it’s been harder than I expected.  It really is important for moms to take care of themselves.  That doesn’t mean go shopping all day and get weekly pedicures, but I do think it means you should exercise, dress nice, shower regularly, have nice hair (not fancy hair, but clean hair that makes you feel purdy), and just do the things that make you feel good and pretty and happy and not quite as stressed out.

When I ask Ava what her favorite thing I do is, she says, “When you play toys with me.” I have to admit I’m the WORST at sitting down to play with my kids.  I hate sitting on the floor, I don’t particularly like being bossed around by an extremely particular 4-year-old girl, and I just don’t like playing with little kid toys, unless they’re legos.  Like I can only act out so many tea parties before I want to go hit my heat against the wall for an hour.  My favorite thing to do with my kids is read books.  They only want to do it at bed time, and read 500 books at the time when I want to throw them in their beds so I can have some me time, but those are my most cherished moments with them and reading to my kids makes me feel like an awesome mom. But I definitely need to get better at playing with dolls.

The other day Ava came upstairs and smiled and said, “Aw, mom, you look pretty with your hair down like that.” Apparently I had been rocking the messy bun for a few too many days in a row.  Then she said, “Also, I don’t like when you just sleep in your underwear.  I don’t like seeing you naked, so, um, you should just wear clothes all the time.” I wish I had been keeping a book of Ava quotes, man.  The things that come out of that girl’s mouth are the best.

People in the neighborhood have been so nice about inviting Ava over for play dates lately. Sometimes Nixon tags along.  People are so nice.  We need to have more friends over here too.

Also. I’m done with pants.  I seriously peed like a hundred times yesterday, and squeezing back into tight jeans a hundred times a day is the worst.  I’m still supposed to be pregnant for three more months, and I feel like this baby is literally falling out of me.  I’ll start doing Kegels, I guess? And find lots of stretchy skirts and pants. And live at the pool, because I can’t do 90 degrees and pregnant.  Just walking from the grocery store to the truck wipes me out for hours.  Thank you air conditioning.  Bless your little heart.

 

Better Lately

Summer is so lovely, isn’t it?

I love hearing birds chirping in the morning.  It’s the most magical thing in the whole world.  I remember being five and just lying in bed in the morning hearing birds chirping and lawn mowers buzzing and smelling the grass and thinking that life is pretty awesome.

I feel like most of my blog posts lately have started to gravitate toward how I’m working on being happier and more successful in the little things in my life.  Happiness and sometimes just FUNCTIONING are always a bit of a struggle for me — and probably most of us at times, but I feel like if I can just share a little something here and there that helps me, maybe it will help someone else.  So while I started this silly little blog posting links to nerdy trinkets and such, I have always felt a desire to just share my little thoughts that might be helpful to other people.

The other day Nick sent me a link to an article called “5 Things You Should Do Every Single Day — Even When Life Is Stressful,” and it has really helped me improve my daily routine and feel good about my everyday life.  I have felt so overwhelmed lately but just simplifying and focusing on a few small things has made an enormous difference.  I talked to my sister in law Ashley yesterday and she told me she has been doing the same things and feeling much happier lately as well.

Here are some things that I think really make a difference in helping you have a better day:

1) Make your bed

If you make your bed first thing in the morning, you’ve already accomplished something, and even if you have a bad day, at least you have a nice pretty bed to get into at night.  It seriously makes a huge difference.  Believe me, I have always been the worst at making my bed, but it really motivates me to have a good day!

2) Write a short to-do list

Obviously you need to plan your day.  I kind of have a to-do list problem though.  I make like three or more to-do lists and rewrite them throughout the day and add to them and reprioritize them . . . it’s a sickness.  But if you write down maybe 5 things you really need to do, then you know what you need to focus on that day and your day doesn’t just go by aimlessly.  I also try to think about WHEN I’m going to get certain things done — workout in the morning, Ava’s schooling during Nixon’s nap time, grocery shopping sometime before naps, etc.  If you don’t plan when you are going to do things you can end up a little frazzled.

3) KEEP the kitchen clean

So I’ve always told myself that I need to just unload the dishwasher first thing in the morning and load the dishwasher throughout the day rather than, you know, the usual letting dishes build up and eventually pile up onto the kitchen counter until your house actually starts to smell funny and THEN you decide to unload the dishwasher and start scrubbing nasty crusty smelly barf dishes.  So this week I have been fully cleaning my kitchen at least twice a day and just putting dishes in the dishwasher right after using them.  Duh.  It’s really not that hard, if you make the kitchen a priority.  If your kitchen is clean, you feel like much less of a train wreck.

4) Do a load of laundry from start to finish

Sometimes this means I wash and dry one load, and fold and put away the load I washed and dried the previous day, but the idea is to keep a steady flow of accomplishment going with the laundry.  I just pop a load in in the morning, and either fold and put away a load in the morning or in the evening.  It stinks but it’s much better than doing ten loads of laundry on Friday night because no one has clean underwear.

5) Wear something that makes you feel great

Wearing your husbands shirts and basketball shorts for days on end is just not going to make you feel good about your life.  I have extremely grumpy days and feel awful when I don’t take care of myself.  I don’t shower everyday and I definitely don’t wash my hair more than twice a week but I always make sure I have a nice pair or jeans on hand with some cute Target t-shirts.  I’m a minimalist when it comes to accessorizing but wearing a watch and a simple necklace and simple earrings and a little bit of makeup and my hair done just makes me feel great and I’m a much nicer mommy and wife when I feel put together.  I don’t like to spend a lot of time in front of the mirror while my kids are coloring the walls and/or trying to kill each other so the key is to keep it simple!

Throughout the day we try to get out of the house and go to the pool and I just try to make sure I’m always working on things that I know I will regret putting off and avoid the computer and social media apps on my phone.  I also avoid Pinterest during the day.  Sometimes I really hate Facebook and Instagram.  So tip #6 is to put your phone away on a high shelf and just say no to Facebook!  Use social media wisely, friends.

 

 

Simplify

I’ve been doing loads of self-examination lately.  I’ve felt like a complete wreck and can’t seem to be very effective.

Recently I stumbled onto this quote:

“The average woman today, I believe, would do well to appraise her interests, evaluate the activities in which she is engaged, and then take steps to simplify her life, putting things of first importance first, placing emphasis where the rewards will be greatest and most enduring, and ridding herself of the less rewarding activities”

– Belle S. Spafford

I have been trying to do WAY to many things, which has resulted in me pretty much accomplishing nothing and just feeling like a failure.  I realized I need to just do the important things and that once I get in the habit of doing the everyday things well I can probably start to have a hobby or two, like sewing.

The biggest thing that has been helpful is having a routine.  I have never been good at routines but doing the same things on about the same schedule every day has helped IMMENSELY, and as that routine has become more of a habit it’s been easier to focus on the extra things I want to try to accomplish.

Simplifying is so crucial to being successful — for me it has meant putting away the computer and social media and Pinterest distractions, staying away from Target, not worrying about crocheting the new baby a giant masterpiece of a blanket until the house is organized, and working out at home instead of making a huge ordeal out of trying to get to the gym for an hour with the kids in tow, because that ends up taking up most of our entire morning without me even getting a shower!

So basically we just have a super simple routine and stick to it.  I know most people my age have figured this out by now but I’m just at a point in my life yet where I have everyday things figured out. I am getting there though, and I’m sure it will be a lifelong journey.

Basically I wake up early when Nick leaves for work and pray and study my scriptures and think a little about what I need to accomplish that day.  Then when the kids are up I do squats or arm curls or whatever in between stirring the oatmeal and doing the breakfast dishes and popping laundry in the washer.  I shower while the kids watch their favorite shows, I get some laundry folded and put away, I get the kids ready for the day.  We try and get the main area of the house clean and I try to make some progress in getting some organizing projects done.  Then when the house is clean we hit the pool, unless the weather is crappy in which case we’ll go to the store.  I’m trying to plan ahead better with groceries, since sometimes we just go to the store for vegetables and two days later we realize we’re out of milk . . . reducing the amount of grocery trips we have to make is a huge necessity as of late!  Then after the pool we come home and since the house is clean we can just put Nix down for a nap and work on Ava’s schooling and get some bills paid and a few more chores done.  I’m also trying to clean things up right away, like the breakfast and lunch dishes or the art projects.

This probably sounds so silly and elementary to everyone, but really what has helped is focusing more on the important things — especially BEFORE they become urgent — and doing away with Pinterest and social media and the Internets in general, and also doing away with my endless list making! Gah!  K I’m still making way too many lists. Help.