Monday, December 31, 2012

How I make goals that make me EXCITED

Perhaps my main goal for 2013 should be to learn how to apply lipstick like this creeper t-rex. Yes? No?
I have been thinking about goals a lot. A lot a lot. Growing up I was never really into making goals because I felt like, more often than not, I failed at them. It seemed pointless to me. Oh, I finished my young women's recognition for church and I always planned to go to college--both examples of goals that I achieved--but I was never into making goals about the little things.

And by little things, I guess what I really mean are the big things.

Because, really, it's all the little things we do day in and day out that make up who we are now and who we are becoming. It's the way we choose to spend our free time. What we put our work and dedication into. Where our heart and soul drive us. The morning prayers. The family dinners. The daily journals.

But my problem with goals about the little daily things is that I tend to get really worn out with daily goals. I miss one day at the beginning of the year and then I feel like there's a big black mark messing up the perfect year I had in mind. It's silly, I know, but it's true. Setting daily goals at the beginning of the year is dangerous for me.

Luckily, I think I've finally learned what kind of goals I like to make and meet. The concrete kind. The ones that I can start, work on, finish, and cross off the list. If it's a big goal then it always trickles down into my daily life in a really good, healthy way, but I can work on it when I have the time and energy and enthusiasm and I don't get burned out and discouraged when I choose to skip a day.

So I'm picky about the goals I'm willing to even write down. They have to be:

1. Realistically achievable within the time I've set for myself

2. Something I'm looking forward to working on

3. Something that will result not only in a finished project, but a better me

I've thought very carefully over the past several weeks about what I want to accomplish in 2013. Some things I can't control. Some things will change with the end of the school year in the summer and the start of a new one in the fall. Even the weather and the way it changes from season to season can change the reality of my goals. These are things that I've tried to be realistic about and take into account as I consider what goals I'm willing to invest my time and heart and soul into in the coming year.

7 Pretty Pictures (and I can't go to bed)

We're (still) visiting family and for the past few weeks Olivia has been sleeping in our room. It's annoying. Mostly because she has developed this really obnoxious talent: she wakes up two minutes before Bryan and I decide we want to go to sleep. And it's not like we go to bed at the same time every night. In fact, we've been going to bed at different times every night. Bah.

Tonight was no exception. And so, rather than try to go to bed when she's still sort of awake and then tell her to be quiet so she doesn't wake up the baby in the next room and then have a wonderful little "we're all too tired to make any sense" family fight, Bryan and I have surrendered (for now) and are just staying up late(r) while she (hopefully) falls asleep (again.)

(Too many parentheses? Haha. Okay, okay. I'll stop.)

Anyway, since we're being bullied out of going to bed, I thought I'd show you some pictures I like. They're all from Instagram because, well, that's where all of my pictures seem to be from these days. I bought a book to hopefully help me learn how to use my fancy camera better, but in the meantime my iPod has definitely become my fallback. Feel free to judge.

But on to the pictures. Here are some things I like/have to say about them:

1. This past Friday we celebrated our 5 year anniversary. Yay marriage and us. Every year on our anniversary I think, "__(insert whatever we're doing that day)__ is so much nicer than going to a wedding." In fact, that's what I think on most people's anniversaries. Don't get me wrong, weddings are nice. But not going to weddings is nicer.

Anyway, Bryan's family was kind enough to watch Olivia while we went on a little outing on our anniversary. We drove to a cute little nearby town called Lucketts so we could visit some antique shops I've been wanting to go to for a long time. We pass them on our drive every time we come to visit, but we're always in too much of a hurry to stop in. Also, taking a three year old to an antique shop is not a fun time.

Long story short, they had these super pretty glass doorknobs that I wanted to buy real bad. Maybe someday.

2. Bryan and I had just as much fun mentally picking apart the big old fashioned house the antique shop was in as we did looking at all the old stuff in it. In the floor of several of the upstairs rooms they had these vents that went from the floor of one room to the ceiling of the room below.

We had a vent exactly like this in my room in the house I grew up in. I guess maybe it was good for heating (???) back in the old days. Mostly all I ever used it for was yelling things to my parents and siblings downstairs. And secretly/not-so-secretly listening in on conversations in the kitchen below.

3. I love my husband so much. Best five years of my life.

4. This is the cute antique store we went to. If you're ever in Lucketts, please do stop by. It has so many wonderful treasures inside.

5. This is the picture I took of my computer screen after I posted that poem on my blog the other day. Uhh... maybe in my head I look like an old timey movie star in this picture. Maybe I am right?

6. It has been snowing quite a bit here. And then melting the very next day. When you're planning a return trip, that is exactly the kind of snow you want.

7. My sister in law picked up a guitar for the first time in her life today and was already playing better than I ever could after I practiced a lot. My old roommates can attest to how bad I was. A little bit I am so jealous. And a little bit I want to give the guitar another try when we get home. It's been sitting neglected in the basement for far too long.

Well, I think Olivia finally fell asleep again. So maybe now I can go to bed. After I wake up Bryan, that is. He has since fallen asleep in the armchair.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Steal like an artist

Since 99% of Bryan's t-shirts were originally from the thrift store or the kind that companies hand out for free, I decided it was time to finally buy the man some nicer t-shirts. So that's what he got for Christmas. For the few months leading up to Christmas I checked the clearance racks at Target and Old Navy for shirts I knew he'd like and snatched up any that were $5 or less. The result was that Bryan has been wearing a new shirt every day since Christmas and, if I do say so myself, looking so good.

Believe it or not, Bryan was actually very delighted by his new wardrobe. And I double scored by buying him a new pair of jeans... exactly like his old favorite pair of jeans which he had totally worn to the ground. But just in case he was bummed about only getting clothes for Christmas, I also bought him a book off of his wish list.

It's Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. Mostly I bought it because it was only $8 on Amazon. I honestly didn't put a lot of thought or effort into this gift. I just saw it on his wish list, ordered it, and wrapped it up. (Although I did take a minute before I wrapped it up to put a bookmark on the page that says, "Marry well" and talks about how nobody gets anywhere without an awesome spouse--a.k.a. me, Bryan dear.)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dear Hair

Dear Hair
a poem and hatred by Katie Lewis

You are ridiculous
I stand in the shower and think of
Mean things to say to you
You're too long
Too thick
Too dumb
Everyone else's hair is fine
But not you
You don't behave
You fall out all over the place
When I brush you you come out all in clumps
When I pull you up you come up all in bumps
You are the worst
Too thick to make good use of bobby pins
Too long to stay up any way at all
And far too miserable to wear down around my face
I hate you in my face
Lately I've been putting you in jail
Wrapping you up and sticking you on the top of my head
Where you can't cause so much trouble
Just sit there
Stay there
And stop taking your revenge by giving me headaches
Stop falling down
Stop poking out over my ears and giving me fairy wings
You're so dumb
But I will say this
Even though you're not bombshell platinum blonde
Or sleek, dark black
Or pretty
At least you are a rad shade of crazy
And even though you are too thick to be good for anything at all
At least I don't have to puff you up to make you look full and luscious
You do that all on your own
And thank goodness
Because heaven knows
I'm not about to do anything at all with you
Maybe I'll learn how to do my hair tomorrow
(Probably not)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Good Life (a.k.a. Christmas Vacation)

As you might have guessed, we've been away on vacation and too busy having fun and being lazy to do important things like blogging or cleaning or showering. Okay, okay, so we have been taking showers. And we probably end up cleaning, like, everyday because with this many people in the house you just have to. But we've still been doing a lot of being lazy and busy. And, boy, has it been good.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Me again

I already wrote a post today, but then I was doing some stuff and got to thinking about something else that I wanted to say. So here I am again.

It always happens during NaBloPoMo because Bryan and my in-laws come back to reading my blog on a regular basis. And I am totally a write-for-my-readers kind of writer. I can't help it. (Not that I would if I could.) I hear that some people don't like their in-laws. I happen to love mine a lot. I'm the youngest in my family, but Bryan still has younger siblings that we tease and bother and older siblings that we can't get enough of. I have nice siblings too, but it's a different dynamic. Anyway, I like my in-laws a lot. And having them read and comment on my blog on a regular basis turns me into a different writer. It's something akin to spending time with my favorite girlfriends and roommates from college. We get silly and funny and--for better or worse--seem not to notice everybody else staring at us while we do ridiculous things.

And I love that.

Never am I happier than when I'm surrounded by people I love who love me back. I grew up with a lot of not-so-fun stuff and, as a result, built a lot of walls. And it probably wasn't until my sophomore or junior year of college until I came to really know myself as me, not just me in the context of something or someone else. And it's no coincidence that that transitional period of self discovery (the very best and happiest kind of self discovery) came when I was surrounded by roommates and friends who were funny and silly and loved from the bottom of their hearts. They made mistakes and laughed. I made mistakes and laughed. And it was okay. It was something I had never really known. Those friends and roommates remain some of my favorite people and Bryan can always tell when they call because we start giggling and talking like idiots and the rest of the world melts away and doesn't matter. This is a lot the way I feel about my inlaws.*

This is also a lot the way I feel about you regular blog readers. I know you like the craft and sewing posts. And I know you're excited for my *someday* book (which makes me love you even more, by the way), but you've told me time and time again that you're here because you like me as I am and not because I have the coolest tutorials around. (Which, frankly, is a good thing because I think we all know that I indeed do not have the coolest tutorials around.)

I've you've been reading this blog for the past couple of years then you know that I've waffled back and forth elevendy billion times about whether to keep my blog professional or personal. It's probably something I'll always go back and forth on, at least in my head, but the other day I read a very simple and candid post on someone's blog about how she was just posting random stuff and then somehow got kind of popular and then felt this kind of stage fright about suddenly feeling like she had to do something impressive every time she got online. I don't know her personally, but I could relate to that sentiment so much. Unlike so many of the craft and sewing blogs out there these days, mine did not start out this way. And if my years of trying to conform and be "professional" have taught me anything, it is that (like she said) that is not really me. I'm thrilled by the idea of finally getting to be "professional" in a book. But here on my blog, here in my life, that is not my reality.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmasing & Paying It Forward

First Advent -- Watching You've Got Mail -- Stocking fabric
Stocking scraps -- Christmas shopping with Bolivia -- Olivia's snowmen
Olivia's & Bryan's Christmas trees -- Shoes out for St. Niklaus Day -- Our friends' Christmas tree
Hallelujah--Bryan finished finals last Thursday! Since then we've basically been partying and getting ready to visit family for Christmas. As of this evening, all but one of the Christmas projects I've been working on are FINISHED and only a few more presents need to be wrapped. Bryan, like clockwork, is now suffering from his stress-induced post-finals sickness, but I'm hopeful that he'll be on the mend soon. Luckily he's at least been feeling well enough in spurts to go out and have fun. Olivia has been drawing all kinds of Christmas things, including the snowmen and Christmas trees above. And I have stuck to my guns and withheld from decorating for Christmas other than setting out one nativity set for Olivia to play with and adding a star to the front door. (We also have a little tree up next to the TV, but that is always there. Bryan and Olivia insist on calling it a Christmas tree. I am from Oregon. It is just a regular pine tree.) And to make everything just that much better, we've been listening up a storm of Christmas music on Pandora*.

So I didn't really mean to take a break from blogging, but we've been for reals busy lately getting ready for all kinds of Christmas goodness. And I'd blog about the projects, but, yeah, they're all Christmas presents and I'm not into spoiling Christmas in the name of a blog post.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Taking a break

Even though I'm really my own task master these days and, really, I could lay around and do nothing if I wanted (and, let's be honest, sometimes I do), I really have to remind myself to take a day off sometimes. This morning I started out with at least 20 things on my to-do list. I don't really know how many of them got done. A lot of them, but not all. Instead of checking off all those little boxes, Olivia and I had a grand old time at the zoo with some friends. It was (except for someone whining about wanting to be in the stroller and then not wanting to be in the stroller) a really lovely, relaxing outing. Even the bears were at their best!

We're visiting family later in the month and I've been running around trying to fit in all the craziness now so I can rest and relax once we're there. Which, I think, is a good plan. But tonight as I was peddling away on the old exercise bike, planning to bike for the whole movie I was watching, I hit an hour and realized, "Man, I'm tired." So I called it quits, finished the rest of my little exercise routine, took a shower, and got my jammies on. I had big plans to plunk away and finish off a couple more things on the to-do list, but instead I got sucked in to catching up on all the blogs I've been missing for the past several weeks.