Monday, January 13, 2014

On my mind

Recently I wrote an email of apology. It wasn't for having done something wrong persay, but that in doing what I did that I hurt someone's feelings. That email, as of this moment, has not been answered.

You might think that I would be really bothered and hurt and mad that this person didn't respond to a heartfelt and sincere wish to make them feel better and to ask for their forgiveness. And it wouldn't be completely honest to say that it doesn't hurt a little that no response has been made, but mostly I am feeling okay about it.

Something I've been trying to learn my entire life is how to not care when people don't like me. It's a problem. I'm a serial people pleaser, and knowing that someone is out in the world that doesn't like me, well it used to eat me up inside. Some days it still does.

The problem with being a people pleaser, is that the person that you forget to please is yourself. You spend so much energy, concern, anxiety on other people and their arbitrary moods. You base your worth on whether you made someone laugh that you were sure hated you. Frankly, it's exhausting.

My greatest desire for myself this year and every year is to simply not care. How's that for an awe-inspiring resolution? ha! That doesn't mean that I won't still try and love as many people that will let me love them, but it does mean that I will try to stop blaming myself so brutally when people dislike me, refuse to accept my apologies, or otherwise just feel like I'm annoying.

In my heart I really truly feel like life is too short to carry the burden of other people's problems so heavily on my own shoulders. I want this not only for myself so that I can have more peace in my life, but also so that I can hopefully teach my children how now to care too much when people don't care that much about them.

So those of you out there that are really, truly, and honestly good at this, do you have any tips for me? So far I've just tried to talk myself through each individual event. What else might help? If someone tells me this is a self-esteem problem, I might die a little inside.

Anyone else with some reverse-inspired resolutions? (come on.....someone's resolution has got to be to gain more weight this year right??)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mr. G turns 3!

This weekend has been a fun one. Our little Grant is growing up and turning 3 on me, all without my express permission. I used to be into this idea of overblown kid parties...and then I realized that lately I am not into overblown anything anymore. Give me the easy way. Give me the sauce pre-made, and my chicken pre-cooked. I'd rather focus on the important stuff, like cutie pie 3 year olds who are more excited about the cake than the presents.

 I mean, look at that face! So excited. My one "must have" on birthdays for my kids are balloons though. I think it makes little kids feel so special and excited, so I ALWAYS make sure to have a bunch of them.  Grant is a funny guy. I asked him what colors of balloons he wanted and he said rainbow. So we got one of each of the rainbow colors. Then we went down the party aisle to see what sort of last minute theme we could eke out based on the plates we picked and I convinced him to pick the Despicable Me minions because 1. they were blowing rainbow colored party blowers on the plates--rainbow theme check! 2-we love the minions and think they are funny 3- Granty has had a minion shirt since he was tiny and it was his favorite so we always called him our Little Minion. Awesome sauce on all counts.
 Here he is refusing to look at me for a picture. :) We took the kids (and John's brother who was here for a visit), to Ye Olde Chuck E. Cheese. I hate Chuck E. Cheese. With something of a passion. But I braved it because I knew the kids would have a blast, and they did, so give me mom of the year because my sacrifice was worth it. My favorite parts were when Grant scored a ton of baskets in tiny person basketball (he's been practicing on the Wii, looks like it works in real life), and him pulling me down to his level and whispering reverentially, "Chuck E. Cheese IS HERE!!!" and pointing to the life sized rat on the stage. Kid, Chuck E. Cheese is no Mickey, no need to whisper! ha! so cute

 We even bought them the fancy cups. Try not to be too impressed. I know it's hard.
 Here are the brothers. This picture makes me laugh for all of the wrong reasons--most of which is the fact that John is wearing a hat on his head which is supposed to make him look silly too, but you can't see it, so it just makes Tony look all the more funny. Good times.
 I have more pictures on John's phone, courtesy of Uncle Tony, but alas John is not here so they will have to wait. I am sad you have to miss John's rendition of a minion cake that he concocted while I was taking a nap after Chuck E. Cheese exhaustion. I bought the twinkies and was set to do it, but then I woke up and he had taken matters into his own hands and the result was wonky and adorable and perfect. I dub him cake decorator from now on.
 You  know things are getting wild in here when there are party blowers AND the I Can't Believe it's Not Butter on the table. Watch out!
Mostly, I want to take this opportunity to write down a few adorable facts about Mr. G that no one but me cares about and I'm sorry if kid birthday posts are boring to you, but this fellow is worth it.  So without further ado, some random facts about our three year old man of the house:

Favorite color: no clear preference as he doesn't differentiate between them yet. But he does like to take whichever colored candyland piece that his sister Maddy wants.

Favorite foods: noodles, toast, bagels (so he can lick off the cream cheese), muffins, carrots, apples, any sort of cake/cookie, pizza, and when we're baking he'll sample the flour and act like it's delicious (obviously we have a carb addict on our hands).

Favorite activities: his new love has been the Wii (not sure how I feel about this one), playing outside, running around, terrorizing cats, being offended when the cats don't love him back, running around some more, crying because he ran into a wall when he was looking back to see if I was watching him run away from me, getting really upset STILL that I have to change his diaper (potty training has started!), picking up the landline phone before I can get to it, copying his sister, helping Mommy bake, taking baths, playing with friends, telling me he "hates" everything, drinking chocolate milk, losing his binky (yes he still has that darn thing for naps and sleeping. Yes, we have tried several times to take it away. It's complicated folks. No, really.), playing grocery store, and every once in a while the best one of all--snuggling his Mom!

Grant is a complicated and yet simple fella all rolled into a rolicking, cute, handful of a guy. He keeps me way busier (and more worried) than Madeline ever did at his age. But, he is also SO funny, and likes to make jokes and tease me which cracks me up to no end. I think he looks a lot like my Mom's side of the family and am convinced he will probably end up looking a bit like my Great Grandpa Larson (who was a handsome guy when he was younger. Let me see if I can steal a picture from my cousin to prove it).

See what I mean? Strong chin/jaw, big eyes. I think Mr. G is going to be a Larson man for sure. Anyway, I love my little boy and am so amazed that it has been three years since he joined our family. I remember the circumstances of his birth SO clearly, it really feels like it happened only a year ago. Happy birthday to my darling buddy. We love you.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

on to bigger and better

What the heck has happened to me and blogging? I don't know if there is a 100% realistic answer. Times and seasons? Feeling busy? (YES). Sick kids and sick self? Inability to take pictures of the new kitchen/house/life. That is probably a big part of it. Which is totally lame. Why don't I just take some pictures and post them and be done? I think it's because there are still STILL things that are not finished and driving me a little crazy about the kitchen. And no one else cares but me, but it doesn't feel done--thus I feel uninspired to take photos. The biggest annoyance to me right now is not the missing cabinet doors (open shelving is in after all), but the eat in dining area. We don't use the front room that the former occupants used as a formal dining room. We have that set up as a living room (we call our t.v. room a family room--what do you call them?). Anyway, we only have this little area for our dining--no other space--and I keep feeling like I made a pretty big error with our kitchen. I REALLY wanted a little bar/counter area for my kids to have stools and be able to talk to me/do homework/ help make cookies/ be there while I am cooking. It was super important to me. But...I just don't know if there was really the space to add it, but I did anyway. I just figured we would have a cozy dining nook with a bench. You know the type of space I'm talking about right. One like this:

But the weird thing about the space is that with the stools that I had (I've already bought and returned two sets of stools), they take up a lot of space and the room is wider than it is long. Turns out that makes a dining nook tricky. I have been driving myself crazy crazytown (no, for reals) trying to figure out how to set up the table/chairs/stools/bench/dining banquette/ settee/ what could the answer be? I think I have a solution, but it is not my ideal and that has sort of bummed me out feeling like I'm a dork and bad kitchen designer, but um, this is when I need to give myself a wake up call and remind myself that indeed, I am not a kitchen designer. This is what ikea has done to us mere mortals--put too much power into our hands and made us think we are designers because we played god with our kitchens. ha!

So, I guess I'll apologize if you follow me on pinterest and are sick of seeing banquette pictures. I was doing "mere mortal, I think I screwed up my kitchen spacing" research.

As for family stuff, well we are all hanging in there pretty well. Maddy went back into school today and was beaming when she got into the van, informing me that everyone was in absolute awe over the awesome rainbow loom bracelet I made her (thanks youtube). Apparently now everyone wants a dragon scale bracelet. It's sort of adorable and funny how much these things are a status symbol in first grade and how happy it made little Maddy for one day to be awesome.  It's scary to think what the next thing will be--I wish it could always stay cheap little rainbow loom bracelets! Reminds me of the movie Little Women and "all those glorious limes, thrown out in the snow!" (tell me you know what I'm talking about!)

As for Grant, well he is a busy guy. Really busy. I don't have time for anything except him these days. I am sort of counting down the days until he is in preschool, which sounds terrible to admit, but I think he gets lonely and bored with me, and I get worn out and am out of clever ideas of ways to keep him active, safe, and generally alive. It's a mixed bag, because I love having him with me, I love his adorable little smiles, the funny things he is saying--his funny nature, but I am ready to not worry about another person's safety 24/7. We had to move the door locks higher on the door because he started moving over chairs and trying to unlock them. Scary! I know that this part of his life will be over soon enough and I'll miss his little impish ways, but to say it isn't difficult to keep up would be dishonest. Boys and girls--they are SO dang different.

What else can I bore you with? How about the things I have been thinking about the year to come? I have been selling a bunch of stuff on craigslist/ebay trying to 1. clear stuff out because I'm tired of having STUFF and having to clean it up and move it around and I'm becoming a dang minimalist/Scandinavian. I want all my walls white and I want all of my floors clean by golly! and 2. I would rather have one nice chair than five chairs that don't fit my style and are falling apart. This is my new philosophy for my house in the coming year and thus we have been purging quite a bit. I'm taking the money I'm earning (albeit they are in very small chunks) and putting them into either a new chair or new banquette fund. I haven't decided which yet. I am also putting all of my photography earnings into that fund as well. Before it just sort of got absorbed into the everything budget, but I've decided that since I am doing the hard work of listing things and purging (and taking pictures), that I'm entitled to save that money and use it on my house. Here is the chair I am saving for (if that's the route I end up deciding on):

it has a slipcover. be still my heart.

The other new outlook for the year is a hopeful and more aggressive financial outlook/budget. We have been slammed these past few years with unexpected hospital bills (never-ending it feels like!), house issues (and even as we speak I have a leaky shower that is still driving me crazy and will have to wait its turn), job losses, costly moves, renovations, car disasters. The list goes on and on. It's probably like that for most folks. But we are finally feeling settled and hopefully here for a good long haul and hope to finally move forward and build up some savings. I think you know you're getting old when the idea of feeling secure and peaceful about your finances ranks higher than anything that you could buy with that same money (except for a chair and new banquette of course ha!). But you know what I mean, right? All of us will always want new, fun things that will make our lives easier/nicer/more fun/prettier. But in the end it's worth waiting and saving for. Now fingers crossed the emergencies will just slow down for a little bit. (knock on wood, famous last words).

Also in my sights is to take little family trips. I'm going to try and stash a little bit away for those too--maybe by trying to be extra frugal in groceries to pinch into a vacation day fund? John is also open to me taking a few days somewhere by myself this year (last year it was Time Out for Women which I considered a flop--a whole other story), and this year I am thinking of going somewhere close but peaceful. That feels completely selfish and terrible, but also completely wonderful. People who meet me think I'm an extrovert, but anyone that really knows me well knows that I am a major introvert and crave that quiet alone time to recharge.  I have the best husband in the world who understands me, and don't I know it!!

So how about you? What are your hopes for the new year?

Lastly, I just saw that google made me some sort of "2013 video" all by itself, without any help from me. Let's see what it looks like shall we? (In one photo you see me torturing John by making him sit in the cursed dining room while I measure and look at stuff ha!!) Hope your 2013 was a good one. Now onward and upward!