A few good gems

 springtime in Texas. image via  Richland College Library

springtime in Texas. image via Richland College Library

Hi guys! It's Friday afternoon here, and I'm super behind on this post. But I have some links I've been saving up, and I figure you'll have all weekend to peruse -- so better late than never! Right? The kids' schedules are booked up this weekend, but my own commitments are rather on the light side. So . . . yay for me!! The weird thing about your kids growing up? You suddenly have time to yourself every so often. And it's super weird. Good. But weird.

Okay. Enough about me. Check out these internet gems I've rustled up just for you:

You've probably already seen this since it's blowing up my FB feed even as I type this. But you HAVE to watch it -- it's impossible not to smile while viewing. "How bout now? How bout now? How bout now?"


This essay on kids leaving home is an oldie but a goody (have we never linked to this before?). If it is a repeat . . . then it definitely bears repeating. "As for a door closing? Would that you could close a door and forget for even a minute your children and your love for them and your fear for them, too. And would that they occupied just a single room in your head. But they're in every room in your head and in your heart."

My friend Annette posted this poem on her Facebook feed this week, and I loved it. I am constantly taxing my life with the "forethought of grief," and boy-howdy is that tiring.

"The Family Party Everyone Hated? It Was Mine." Oh gosh. The title alone had my head spinning, because I may be guilty of this. I don't invite lots of step-people, but it's true that "obligation and shared history can only get us so far." I'm curious what you guys make of this.

I've seen this idea all over the Internet for months now and figured it would be perfect for Jordan's wedding reception. I've been sewing little wax paper cones until they are coming out my ears. Anyone want to come over and help? Beuller? Bueller?

As the end of the school year draws nigh, I'm happy (and completely surprised) to report that I'm still making a hot breakfast for the kids nearly every morning. I'm going to try these out this weekend, because I like something I can prep ahead of time. Also, because Parker only really enjoys breakfast foods that somehow incorporate hash browns.

 image via  theCookingJar

image via theCookingJar

Alright. That's it folks. Have a fabulous weekend!

Grad gifts

Guys! It's April! And graduation is just around the corner. Last week we dropped off Becca's prom dress at the tailor's for a few alterations. We are working on graduation announcements and thinking about graduation parties. (Yes, all in the middle of planning a wedding!) Becca and I have been talking about grad gifts for her friends, and Etsy is my all-time favorite place to shop for the high school senior. So, I did a little surfing (procrastinating) around Etsy to help you guys out. I'm super giving like that. Here's what I found:

These laundry bags are perfect for dorm life. Plus, they are monogrammed, which utterly fulfills me.

This necklace speaks to me.

 image via  MinMac

image via MinMac

Or this one . . .

 image via  AnniePants

image via AnniePants

I'm desperately searching for boy gifts. And I think these blankets fit the bill. Maybe some navy lettering. A block font. You get the idea.

 image via  HollysPinkBarn

image via HollysPinkBarn

Okay, or maybe this manly travel bag.

 image via  HollysPinkBarn

image via HollysPinkBarn

And my all time favorite grad gift for those students headed out of state . . .

 image via  TheHomeT

image via TheHomeT

A few good gems

Annnnnd suddenly we're in April, folks, and a quarter of the way through 2016 (!)   Happy April Fools Day!  I miss the rocks-in-the-shoes pranks my kids used to concoct; now I think I get most of my April Fooling from Facebook. (Speaking of which have you already run across these two clever fooling attempts from Trader Joe's and Virgin Australia?  Any other good ones you liked?)

No tricks here, though! Just a few gems to enjoy as you ease into the weekend:

I love Trevor Wheatley's typographic installations in nature:

 Trevor Wheatley installation via  Frankie Magazine

Trevor Wheatley installation via Frankie Magazine

You guys! A new West Wing podcast that takes you behind the scenes of each episode, one a week. I feel another WW marathon coming on... (Thanks, Jen J, for the heads up.)

Tim Urban's TED talk on the mind of a master procrastinator is hilarious. Let's just say I've gotten better over the years but I can relate.

The Arbinger Institute has produced some of my favorite books on human motivation and relationships, including The Anatomy of Peace and Leadership and Self-Deception. Their new book is coming out in June and this article excerpt describes a great mindset strategy for difficult moments, difficult people.

What happens when you let teenagers participate in the city's budgeting process, allocating $1 million for improvements and programs they select? Transformative magic and invested young citizens. (Hooray, Boston's Youth Lead the Change!)

I love to work surrounded by the happy sounds of a cafe. These two new-to-me apps have rocked my world! I can stay at home but fool my ears! Hipster Sound is a good, straightforward noise app and Cafe Restaurant by mynoise.net lets you customize the blend of sounds (chatter, kitchen noise, buzz, etc.). Hat tip to Tona--thanks!

This Australian road incident from last week is too adorable to keep to myself. (Spoiler alert: KOALA.)

A strap-on spiral staircase that works on any tree?! Yes, please:

Have a lovely weekend, friends and internet neighbors! See you back here on Monday. x 

  • Watching: The sci-fi drama Colony with G. Inspired by Nazi-occupied France in the 40s but takes place in the future with occupying (but unseen) aliens. Feels a little Lost-like, especially with Sawyer
  • Eating: cottage cheese, avocado & tomato & lime with multigrain crackers. Pretty much my lunch every single day. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
  • Listening to: Leon Bridges's Coming Home album. So good.

Throwback Thursday: On letting go

Every time I think I have this "letting go" thing down, it bounces right up and smacks me in the face. I've had plenty of occasions to write about my girls moving out and moving on (See here and here). In fact, daughter #3 has, just in the past week, signed up for her dorm room -- meaning we are on the official move-out-countdown. "It's okay," I tell myself. "It's good." "It's normal."

Yesterday, I was anxiously awaiting the Postwoman because I was expecting Jordan's wedding invitations. (Yes! I'm invited to my own daughter's wedding!) Actually, she's handled the ordering and addressing and stamping all from Utah, so while we have talked about these invitations ad infinitum, I had yet to see them in real life (IRL). Finally, at about 5:30, the post arrived. And it was there! A shimmering, dark green envelope just sitting in my mailbox. I grabbed it and raced inside. I opened it carefully, pulled the cards out and read each line carefully.

At the same time the television was on in the background. After reading through the invitation I swung around to see Cookie Monster, advertising the new Siri On-Demand feature. Instantly, I was reminded of an incident involving a two-year-old Jordan and Cookie Monster:

When Jordan and Madison were wee babes they were obsessed with the Sesame Street characters. They watched the show, played pretend Sesame Street, talked about Elmo endlessly. So, when I saw an advertisement that the Sesame Street characters were coming to Sea World, I decided we would put what little vacation money we could scrape together towards a trip to San Antonio. My babies needed to see Big Bird. Once in the park, we attended the scheduled Sesame Street show, wherein the larger-than-life characters danced and sang. When the show ended, I just knew Jordan would want to see the characters up close and personal. She seemed reticent about actually approaching them, so I swung her up on my hip and marched to the front of the theater. Jordan was mesmerized. I was mentally patting myself on the back for making my baby's dreams come true.

As I held her, I pointed out Big Bird. And Ernie. And Elmo. And then Cookie Monster started moving right towards us! "How lucky!" I thought. Cookie Monster approached Jordan and reached out to pat her little tummy. As those furry blue fingers met her little strawberry romper, Jordan let out a primal scream. She arched her back and almost seemed to convulse for a moment. I did my best to keep her from flailing to the ground and quickly retreated.

She was inconsolable. She cried. And sobbed. And after a good five minutes, she finally looked me in the eye and screamed out, "Cookie Monster touched me!" Her rage was part fear and part blame. How could I have allowed such a travesty to occur? For the next hour or so she inhaled raggedly, muttering to herself, "Cookie Monster touched me." Honestly, I'm surprised she didn't require some type of trauma counseling. We did hug on her a lot and promised a Cookie Monster restraining order. Over time, the "Cookie Monster touched me" mantra became somewhat of a catch phrase, reminding us of those moments when our kids needed an extra hug and some added protection.

It's difficult for me to convey here how this memory tore me open inside. Maybe it's the realization that I'm no longer in charge of making her dreams come true. Maybe it's a mourning for the loss of that sweet little baby girl. Maybe it's an understanding that I'm not her sole protector, that my role in her life is moving further and further to the periphery. I'm sure it's a combination of these factors. But it hurts.  And there's nothing for me to do about it, except to feel this uncomfortable pit in my stomach and to write about that glorious, spunky baby of mine.

Bullet journal

I have a problem with planners. I'm addicted to the researching and purchasing of planners of all varieties. However, I have a tendency to fall off the planner bandwagon after approximately 2.3 months, wherein the new, shiny planner begins to gather dust. And cobwebs.

You see, I love, love, LUV planners -- the design, the organization, the eternal hope that I will get my stuff together and manage my days seamlessly and with a touch of panache. But the particular, organized parts of me have an ongoing battle with a free-spirited side that wants to run with wild abandon, to be UNENCUMBERED, to suck the marrow out of life. You know, the part of me that wants to watch Netflix for the better part of the day.

At the beginning of 2016, I decided to try the bullet journal because it speaks to organization and precision AND to creativity and free-thinking. Also, it encourages doodling, writing, and using really cool pens.

Here are the main ideas of bullet journaling:

  1. It's customizable. It's essentially a notebook organized by what you WANT to record. It might be a calendar, a journal, or a compilation of to-do lists. Mine is all of those things at once.
  2. The typical bullet journal contains a table of contents, numbered pages, and daily logs. But the possibilities are limitless. I've seen habit trackers, exercise trackers, budgeting pages, wish lists, and so much more.
  3. It's all done in a simple, blank (or lined) notebook. The most often recommended notebook for bullet journaling is the Leuchtturn 1917. It has a dotted grid that's helpful for headers and bulleted lists. I'm currently using the Midori MD notebook because I happened to have one on hand. It also has a grid pattern, and it's worked exceptionally well. For pens, I'm using the Staedler Triplus Fineliner.

I started with a long perusal of Boho Berry's website. She's a bullet journal guru. Start here for a quick overview. (Or try this post for more ideas.)

There are thousands of bullet journal modules -- meaning lists and pages you could include. Type "bullet journal" into the search bar of Pinterest and you'll see what I'm talking about. Here are the pages that I'm loving at the moment:

1. Monthly calendar and goals.

2. Monthly gratitude log. I write two things each day that I'm grateful for.

3. Daily task log: In my daily log I write what I want to accomplish that day as well as appointments or other necessary tasks. At the end of the day, I review the daily log and try to write at least a few sentences about how the day went, special happenings, funny moments. In this way, the log becomes more of a journal. (And sometimes I don't journal. AND THAT'S OKAY TOO.)

I really like the flexibility of the journal. If I miss a few days or a week, I don't have blank days in my planner -- I just start up on the page I left off. In the front of my journal I have a running list of books I want to read, yearly goals, and a table of contents. Essentially, any time you want to include a list or special module, just plug it in and indicate the number in your table of contents. The journal can expand and shrink based on your planning needs of the moment.

Have any of you done a bullet journal? Any special pages that work well for you?