I’ve been silent here for a while, because silence is what I’ve needed.
January has been noisy.
Between the opinion overload on social media as of late and my three kids aged six and under (one who woke three hours earlier than usual today and is a clingy, nap-refusing bear), I’m a bit touched out, both physically and mentally.
I’ve added to the havoc through a paper elimination spree at my home. But this rid-of-all-the-things journey I’m on unearthed an old high school journal, filled with lists of things I love. A sampling from that journal, written by eighteen-year-old me:
Things I Love
Year-round Christmas lights
Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra
Rainy, gloomy days, and a good book
Noodles (with or without schnitzel, thank you Julie Andrews)
It’s a simple list, but it reminded me that eighteen-year-old Amanda really enjoyed some living. I read and wrote often. I bought grocery store flowers and featured them in my dorm room windows. I played music more than I watched tv or obsessed over the news. I doodled in the margins of my notebooks. On weekend trips home, I baked sweet treats and ate carbs without guilt. I went outside with my Dad to look at the stars with a constellation finder my eighth-grade science teacher helped me construct. And most of all, I enjoyed wasting time.
Life was undoubtedly simpler then. But while I have some obligations this weekend that can’t be ignored, I’m inspired to shift my focus to some of these more enjoyable, quieter pursuits – some that could be filed into the category of time wasters. Because after all, time you enjoy wasting isn’t wasted time.
Happy weekend, everyone! I’ve already plugged in the Christmas lights strung around my windows. Pardon me while I blast some Ol’ Blue Eyes and knead some homemade noodles.
When we built our house four years ago, a walk-in pantry was near the top of my wish list. In our former house, we had limited storage space coupled with poor organization. I was determined to have a better set-up in my new home.
But while we carved out the required space for our cupboard, we didn’t exactly have a great organization system.
So I hosted a Thirty-One party (and I’m hosting another! See the bottom of this post for the link).
The pantry is still a work in progress, but my favorite part is the embroidered Your Way Cubes I purchased from Thirty-One. I love being able to find whatever I need quickly and to easily identify what I’m running low on, and it looks so cute and neat! I also like that one side has a clear PVC panel in case I would rather see the cube’s contents.
Last night, I emptied the contents of the pantry – I tend to clean by destroying first – and enlisted my girls to help me out with the organization.
They grouped similar products and built towers with their finds, and when we were finished, they found the appropriate storage cube to house everything (except for all of those sauce packets).
I also have embroidered cubes in my laundry room, and I’m planning to add bins to my pantry collection to contain tea & coffee, bread, and my favorite, candy.
If you’d like to see more organization solutions by Thirty-One, or if you need a fun new bag, personalized canvas or pillow, check out my online party or book your own here:
I like to start the new year with potential goals swirling in my head, but I don’t start working toward anything definite right away. I take my time to ease out of the holidays, that joyous time of eating to excess and the house full of clutter and new tchotchkes, and then I begin to slowly improve my food choices and to find a place for everything. If I try to dive in to change all at once, I quickly fail. Eight days into the new year, I am only starting to assess the prior year’s successes and failures so that I might plan for a better 2017.
That said, here’s my goals list so far.
Food and Drink
Make Chex Mix at least once a month. (Because it’s delicious, and it reminds me of fun times at my Granny’s house).
Create meal plans each week.
Drink hot tea and water more often than I drink soda. (So far so good on this one)!
Continue “Cinnamon Roll Saturdays,” but make rolls from scratch.
Consume less sugar and more veggies.
Clear closets of outgrown clothes.
Rid of everything I don’t use in the kitchen cabinets.
Remove everything from the garage and start over. Keep only what must stay.
Organize basement office and play areas (file paperwork, clear desk, purge toys).
Rid of majority of items in basement storage (thanks to an epic garage sale to end all garage sales).
Pour concrete and create outside living area.
Family and Friends
Play Ticket to Ride at least once per month.
Date night with the husband once per month.
Set up chore chart for the kids.
Purposely plan to gather with friends at least once per month. (We’ve already done this twice, introverts and homebodies that we are, and I’m reminded that I need community more than I think).
Plan summer beach trip, hopefully with friends.
Work and Money
New budget (surprise, three kids are more costly than two)!
Build up savings account .
Consider starting Etsy shop.
Just For Me
Start a blog and connect with others (woohoo, work in progress)!
Work on editing photos and creating photo books at least once per week.
Read at least one actual book per month.
Reduce my inbox’s unread messages to zero. (This will probably take all year).
Clear phone, back up photos.
Work on patience and presence with my family.
Some of these are rather specific and some quirky, but I feel like they are mostly attainable. My friend shared her list with me, which included swim lessons for the kids, as well as more deliberate one-on-one time for each kid with each parent. These are both ideas I will add to my own list.
What are your goals for 2017? Leave me comments and give me your ideas!
Lest you think I have it all together, here’s a description of the first 30 minutes of my morning.
I should first note it was the first day back to school for both my eldest and my teacher husband following the holiday break, and none of us were exactly looking forward to it after a few weeks of enjoying our own schedule.
The baby woke to eat before my alarm went off. I wrestled him back to sleep, then woke the cranky school child.
As I packed a lunch, the middle child woke up, screaming.
The screaming woke the baby.
The husband used the last of the milk, which didn’t make the cereal-loving screamer any happier.
The school people rushed off to school, leaving the packed lunch on the bar.
The meat for the sandwich I was making was still in the microwave anyway.
The baby immediately had not one, but two diaper blowouts requiring two outfit changes.
The 53,000 unread emails in my account rendered it too full to operate.
I checked my bank account, only to learn an automatic payment was processed twice by the company, over drafting my account for just the second time in my life.
I started the washing machine – again, as I started the same load yesterday and then forgot it – only to find the one box of non-liquid detergent I own had fallen from the shelf and coated the floor.
All of this happened before daylight.
None of this is earth-shattering or even really anything that will set the tone of my day. I’m fine, I’ve laughed it all off, and forward I will march.
But as a new year begins and we inevitably take assessment of our lives and set goals, my chaotic morning reminds me I know one thing about myself: I will flounder.
I will have noble aspirations and idealized plots, and they will often fail. I will try to be poised, and I will be a klutz instead. I will start with a clean slate only to quickly muddle it. I will vow to be early and I will be late, every single time, because I’ve finally accepted it is who I am (and not because I’m some jerk who values my time over the time of others – I hate that assessment – but because I try to cram too much into a pocket of time and don’t realize it until it’s too late). Much of what I will try to change will be out of my control anyway.
So while I make my to-do list for the day and my goals list for the year, I’ll still set my sights high. But when things inevitably don’t go as planned, I’ll give myself grace and forge along as I learn from my mistakes.
And then someday, maybe I’ll have an empty inbox and a full bank account.
At age 14, I started my first website. I taught myself HTML and launched a Beatles fan page. When I wasn’t chatting with friends on ICQ, I was researching my favorite band and interacting with a small group of readers from around the globe.
Now, as a married-with-kids-thirty-something, I work a few hours per week as a sports writer and photographer. My phone is always full of photos and the written word, with nary an outlet to share what I’ve collected. I’ve often toyed with the idea of returning to the interwebs, never taking the time to simply start. This blog is the realization of a long-time goal, and perhaps the motivation to follow through with accomplishing many of the tasks on my various to-do lists. I appreciate you joining me on the journey!
P.S. My best friend suggested the blog name thanks to my love of lists and Tina Fey’s 30 Rock heroine, Liz Lemon.