41 things for 41 years!

Every year as the New Year approaches I start thinking of all the things I’m going to change the following year. Most of the time it includes weight loss. And most of the time the year comes and goes and not much changes. I decided not to make any resolutions this year. 2018 (my 40th year) felt like it should be this big symbolic, monumental year for me, but, it wasn’t. At least not in the way I would have expected. The last two months of 2018 were among the hardest of my entire life. In fact, it almost broke me. But, it didn’t and it has made me rethink my not making a list of resolutions for the coming year.

The other day Carly posted THIS and it inspired me to do something similar. Since I want and need 2019 to be a year very different from the last I’ve decided to make a list of 41 things I would like to change or accomplish in this coming year. I’m still working on my list and when I finish it I will post it here so that you all can join me and encourage me and maybe push me along the way.

One of the first things on my list is writing here. Writing has always been something I enjoy and has always been very therapeutic for me. I’ve gotten away from it. Much like reading which I talked about in my last post. I want to be more committed to using this space to share with all of you a little bit more of me each day. Hopefully you will stick around and see where things go.

What are your resolutions for this coming year?

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30 books in 2019

Ever since I can remember I have loved to read. When I was a kid I was always at the library or asking to go to the library. At school it was one of my favorite places to be. I was a terrible student, but boy did I love to read. I kept a flashlight in my room and long after I was supposed to be sound asleep my mom would always catch me hidden under my blankets with my flashlight and whatever book I was currently reading. Car trips, riding the bus, recess. Basically any chance I got I was reading.

As I got older my love for books only grew. I’ll read almost anything but my favorites are law/courtroom dramas, which makes it no shock that my favorite author is John Grisham. Any suspense, crime type books. I even went through an Agatha Christie phase. While I do enjoy non-fiction, nothing beats getting lost in a good story. Escaping in to the pages of someone else’s story is one of the best ways to wind down my day. Yet somehow I’ve gotten out of the habit.

Some might say because I have kids I don’t have time. That couldn’t be further from the truth. My kids still nap. Once they go to bed I’m up for at least another three hours. I have the time, I’ve just chosen not to. This year that changes.

To get to back to reading I’ve decided to challenge myself to read 30 books in 2019. I’m excited to start towards this goal and dive in to a bunch of new books.

So hit me with your book suggestions. What books have you loved and are must reads? Fiction, non-fiction, romance, drama, crime etc. I want to hear from you!

Gone to the Cows

Back in September I made a post about some of the things I had hoped to do that month. We actually only ended up checking one thing off of that list, visiting a Dairy Farm.

We found a local Dairy Farm not far from us. I sent them a message on Facebook and to my surprise they responded almost immediately and told me when they milked the cows and fed the calves and that we were welcome to come by the farm any time.

We picked a day to go the following week. The girls were so excited! When we arrived at the farm one of the owners was there to greet us. She was so nice and gracious to show us around. She took us in to the milking barn. There was 5 or 6 cows hooked up and being milked while a whole crew waited patiently for their turn. I may or may not have stopped and have a conversation with my new friends.

During milking they filled up a huge jug straight from one of the cows to put into buckets for the calves. I couldn’t believe how nice and gracious they were in allowing the girls to get right in there and help.

Both girls were beside themselves with excitement. After feeding the calves milk the girls got to help give them their grains. Audrey probably would have stayed and slept with those babies had we let her. While Lolo loved the cows she was a little more obsessed with Zeus the farm dog, who was much more interested in finding mice! We also met their horse named Vince who sneezed carrots all over Audrey and Chris and it was hilarious!

We need to go back and buy some milk from them. I encourage all of you to support local farms and business. After such a great experience I am looking forward to finding more local places and learning about them.

I learned a lot about cows, especially that cows have very dry and rough tongues and also if you stand with your back to a cow they will lick your butt!

If you are local and looking for some farm fresh milk check them out, Schoch Dairy and Creamery!

Poop-Gate 2018

I saw THIS news story a while back about a woman in Detroit smearing dog poop on her neighbors doorknob because she thought their dog had pooped in her yard. She claimed it wasn’t the first time and did it to teach them a lesson. She never spoke to them, never gave them a chance to defend themselves and really had no proof it was even their dog in the first place. A few months ago I would have been shocked that people are actually like this. I mean WHO does this? Who doesn’t take the grown up and civil approach? Apparently our most recent neighbors are exactly the kind of people to deal with things like this in a similar way.

Let me back up a little. A few months ago we got new neighbors. I actually met them on the street a month prior to them moving in. They were looking at a different house down the street and stopped me to ask about the neighborhood. They were really nice, had kids and I remember telling them where we lived and if they moved in to come say hello. Fast forward about a month and there they were moving in right next door to us. I thought how wonderful, a nice couple who also have a toddler. The first week they were here their dog dug under the fence between our two yards over and over again. At least 5 times that we know of and twice we watched her poop in our yard. What did we do with that poop you ask? Well, like grownups we just cleaned it up, it wasn’t intentional on their part. We never said anything about it and we went about our lives. We realized very quickly that the nice couple we thought were moving next door weren’t very nice at all. In fact they were downright unfriendly. They never said hi, they never would even look in our direction. I get wanting to keep to yourselves. We are kind of like that, but we also know most of our neighbors by name and know in case of emergencies etc that we would have each others backs.

After they had only been here about a month we had an incident. We were in the process of laying new rocks and stuff in our backyard so we had been taking our dog Belle out front to go to the bathroom. 99.9 percent of the time we picked up her poop immediately. Once in a while late at night she would poop and Chris would pick it up first thing in the morning before he left for work. This happened MAYBE twice in the time they had lived here. So the morning of Poop-gate 2018 Chris went outside to take Belle to the bathroom and he found dog poop on our driveway and under our car. Immediately we suspected our neighbors. Chris couldn’t say for certain whether Belle had pooped late the night before or not. I was livid! Before they moved in that place had been empty for 7 months and there were times we would find random stray dog poop in our yard. Unless they had been watching out their window at 1 am they had no way of knowing OUR dog was the guilty party. While we could assume it belonged to our dog, we weren’t 100 percent certain. Even if it WAS ours, it was not a regular thing. We aren’t the kind of people to just let our dog poop and not pick it up.

That evening they were finally home and were outside so Chris went out to confront them. He asked “do you guys know how dog poop got over on our driveway this morning?” The guy said “I kicked it over there, my kid walks here!” Chris who is much nicer and much mire civil than I am said “you should have just told me, knocked on my door at 7 am.” They could have been adults and just let us know and nicely asked us to make sure it never happened again. The irony in all of it is that their backyard was littered with dog poop and cigarette butts. You know, WHERE THEIR KID WALKS!!!

I am happy to say that after only two months of living next to us they moved. Good riddance! I have little time for people like that, they weren’t friendly at all. I am happy to report we now have a new family next door who seem very nice!

But seriously WHO throws dog poop? How do you guys deal with difficult neighbors?

September

yellow  autumn leaves on background old woodI’ve decided to steal an idea from my friend Carly to post monthly about things we will do that month. I love this idea to research things in your area each month. I am always looking for new things to do and new places to go. Maybe actually putting it down in print will help us actually do some of those things we always talk about but never do. And maybe, we will learn new things and meet some new people along the way.

September is filled with possibilities and just happens to lead us into my favorite time of year. I LOVE Fall. I love the cool crisp weather, pumpkin spice lattes and scarves. I could go on and on, but I won’t. But seriously though, what isn’t there to love about fall?! We spent 6 years in Boston and believe me when I tell you I have never seen anything as beautiful as fall in New England. It was almost enough to make me want to stay, almost!

Visit a Dairy Farm – When we were visiting the new Tillamook Creamery Visitor Center last week they had this huge plastic cow you could “milk” and a calf you could bottle feed. Naturally the girls loved it. They also loved watching through the windows and watching how the cheese is made and cut and packaged etc. So, we thought how fun would it be to see where it all begins? I have been doing some research and there are definitely a few local farms who do tours. I just need to find one that will give us the most for our dollar. I may or may not be just as excited about this as I know the girls will be.

Visit the Duck Pond – I went here with Audrey last year on her last field trip of the year. So many ducks and geese. We even saw a Blue Herron fishing for its lunch. This was back in May and it has been my intention to back ever since with Lauren and Chris as well.

Have a Campout in the living room  – This is something that Audrey has been talking about for months and we just haven’t got around to it. I am not sure where she got the idea, probably on one of the shows she watches. Chris needs to get the tent out and open it up and get it all set. We may even do it up in our room since we have a rather large space. Wherever we do it I fully intend to have smores.

Eat at a new restaurant – We don’t eat out very often, but when we do we seem to always go to the places we know we like and NEVER try anything new. That needs to change and I hope this month will be the month we actually step out of our normal routine.

Read a new book – I used to read all the time. Before you assume I don’t have time because I have kids that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s all a matter of what I chose to do in my free time. I think I would like to get back in to the routine of reading before bed, Wish me luck.

How about you? What does your September look like, at least in your head?

Summer Fun

Summer doesn’t technically end for 12 days but Audrey started school today and the weather has finally cooled off so really it feels like summer has already ended. The 22nd is just a technicality.

We weren’t able to go on a vacation this summer which was a little bit of a bummer. But we made sure the girls got to enjoy every moment of summer regardless. For a while I would keep asking myself if we did enough. Like somehow my kids would feel like they were shortchanged because we didn’t get to go on a real vacation. Like somehow they would even know the difference. What I finally figured out was that they had the time of their lives this summer.

Gymboree

Birthday Parties

Many trips to the park

Splash Pads

Playdates and fancy tea parties

Baking cupcakes

Celebrating 4th of July and the girls first fireworks show

Beach trips to the Oregon Coast

Visits to the new Tillamook Creamery visitors center

Swimming

VBS twice (Audrey)

Zoo trips

Watching Daddy play softball

Many Costco trips which my kids love. They have learned the art of samples at Costco

Party in the Park which was put on by the Parks district. They played tennis, did bounce houses and little water slides and had their first snow cones

Birthday parties for friends

Audrey’s 4th birthday party with her friends

Visiting a fire station and getting to play in the fire truck

Visiting Oma and Opa at the beach and flying kites for the first time

Endless hours outside playing in the sprinkler, water table and pool

Riding bikes every night

When I made this list and looked at it I realized these two little girls had THE best summer! We did so much and packed in as much fun as we could. Daddy took the week off last week so that was nice to have him home for 9 straight days before school started.

If I had to pick a few highlights I would definitely say 4th of July was one of my favorites. We decided on a whim to try and go to a local fireworks show. I really wasn’t sure it was a great idea. Neither girl had ever been to one. I was even more hesitant when we arrived at the park and we had to walk a fairly long way to the spot we were going to watch them from. Then when we arrived we had to wait close to an hour for the fireworks to start because they were late to get going. fortunately some generous people around us had glow wands and necklaces etc that they gave to the girls who of course were thrilled. When the fireworks started neither girl as scared, they were both wide-eyed and excited. They were yelling and squealing and giggling. Every one around us laughed every time and as we were walking back to the car one guy told us that they stole the show! They had such a fun time and so did we. fireworks1

The trip to the fire station on Audrey’s birthday was another really fun thing that we did this summer. Once again this was on a whim. We were just trying to kill some time between the zoo and dinner. We happened to see a fire truck and it gave me the idea. So we headed to the nearest fire station and asked if we could have a tour. Luckily they had just got back from a call and a firefighter named Jeff was so awesome and gave us a tour. Of course the highlight was the firetruck. Jeff was actually the driver and let the girls climb up inside and even let Audrey turn the lights on. It was so much fun for all of us. Definitely a special memory!

I hope in the next year we will be able to go on a fun family vacation, but even if we can’t I will look back on this summer as reminder of how much fun we had around here. What did your summer look like? What were your favorite memories?

 

What’s Your Love Language?

Quality Time

In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby – makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Quality Time also means sharing quality conversation and quality activities.

 

I assume we have all heard of the 5 Love Languages. If you haven’t, I encourage you to head over the website, check it out and take the quiz and see what your love languages are. Mine was as follows:

Quality Time

Receiving Gifts

Acts of Service

Words of Affirmation

Physical Touch

I used to always think of these as only being relative to couples. Which is quite silly really. Friendships are important too and knowing how to better serve and be present for those people in our lives is huge. If knowing and understand our love languages can make our marriages better, then why not our friendships?

I will be the first to admit that I need to work on this in my marriage as well as with my friends. I said over and over in my previous post that I am full of good intentions. It really shouldn’t be so hard. If a friends love language is Acts of Service then make them a meal, offer to run an errand for them, offer to watch their kids for a few hours to give them a much needed break. Words of Affirmation then send them a text to tell them you love them, pick up the phone and encourage them.

It is no surprise that Quality Time and receiving gifts are my top two. Getting dinner, going for coffee, a walk or just sitting and talking matters to me. It doesn’t have to be some elaborate plan, just simply spending time together. Time set aside because that person is important. Receiving gifts for me is very simplistic. A simple “hey i was at the store and I got you this Snickers because I know it is your favorite.”

Disclaimer: please don’t all bring me Snickers!!

It doesn’t have to be anything more than knowing someone actually thought of you. I need to be better about this on the other side of it. Making the effort and making people a priority. In a time when we are all busy with families and careers etc we can’t lose each other in the busyness of it all.

My very good friend Carly over at The Day To Follow Your Heart is known for her random acts of friendship to let you know she is thinking about you. Random gifts, birthday cards, letters and so on. She is one of the few people who still does this on a regular basis. It always makes me smile and feel like I matter. Perhaps we should all strive to be a little more like that.

At my wise old age of 40 I feel like I have learned a lot more about myself over the last few years in regards to relationships than I ever had before. Knowing who I am and what I need and wanting to be a better friend to the people in my life. About a year and a half ago one of my very best friends and I went through a really weird and rough time. I am pretty sure at one point neither of us knew if we would ever come out on the good side if things. Looking back I think a lot of our problem was not truly seeing or understanding what the other needed. Or at the very least not willing to offer and give the things needed on either side. I think what I learned from that is that we are all different, we all bring different things to the table. We can’t always be exactly what each other needs at any given time but we can certainly try. What a difference a little effort can make. If physical touch is someones love language give them a damn hug even if hugging is your least favorite thing!

If you made it through all of that drivel go ahead and take the quiz and tell me what your love languages are. Help me be a better friend!

Love-Languages