What I’m Working On Now

21 Best Workspace Decor We Spotted on Instagram this Month | Brit + Co

(source – AGOMYR, is this your rug? It looks like your rug, no?)

  • Putting my phone down more often. (During the day, this has been going so well. At night, not so much.)
  • Blocking time on my calendar for to-do’s in the name of doing them once, and doing them right. (Super liking how that’s going and hoping to share more soon.)
  • Choosing calm.
  • Having patience, as we add so many finishing details that make our house feel more and more like home.

My Take on Emotional Work

Confession time. When I ran yesterday’s post with my favorite links, there was one I didn’t share. It’s this, via Shutterbean (best lists on the Internet, IMO), about emotional (or mental) work.

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Ah, there it is again. We’ve seen it before in this post, and this book (which I wrote about here and Everyday Reading just posted about here). Lemon Stripes just ran a post on emotional work today, too, which I found just before I posted this! Everyone is talking about it. What many women have been feeling bogged down by for so long finally has a NAME. And if it has a name then it helps us start having more productive conversations with the people we need to talk to about it. We do a lot of emotional work. Here is some of mine. (Please read this as a statement of facts, not as complaints.)

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In our household, I

  • Respond to invitations
  • Make sure we visit each of our families
  • Make the travel arrangements to make that happen
  • Order all supplies for the house (cleaning products, diapers, lightbulbs, lawn bags, batteries, etc. And there is so much etc.)
  • Meal plan
  • Grocery shop
  • Go through the mail and pay all the bills
  • Pick up and dropping off the dry cleaning
  • Do the laundry when the hamper is full, when the towels start to smell, or when I can’t remember that last time I changed the sheets
  • Schedule doctors appointments (yes, for all 3 of us)
  • Buy clothes (yes, for all 3 of us)
  • Make sure our cars have their oil changed, and get serviced when need be

Here is one thing. I am no one’s paid employee. I am a stay at home mom, and often the one closest in proximity to all these tasks. That doesn’t make any of them any more fun or exciting, but it does often make me the default person when it comes to executing.

But here is the other thing. I do a LOT of these tasks because I’d rather do them my way. I read and loved this from Erin Loechner earlier in the year.  Erin’s post is about what we’re doing for ourselves and ourselves alone. Because here’s where this all gets tricky. You or I could absolutely delegate some of our mental work. But we’d have to be a billion percent willing to let it go. Let it go. Turn away and slam the door. The tasks we delegate would not be done the same way we would do them. Nor would they be done on our timelines. Because if we’re truly giving them up, we’re no longer talking about ourselves anymore.

Dear readers, this feels like a lot of rambling. I guess what I’m saying is that I do like the subject matter these posts have brought to light. But I don’t like all these blog posts being like, hey ladies, isn’t THIS exactly how you feel? Are YOU managing all the mental work in your house? You should probably yell at your spouse tonight. (Okay, that last part is more implied.) Read the posts for yourselves. Think deeply and critically about the way your household runs. And then make choices for yourself.

IMPORTANT PS – The very first person who ever introduced me to glimmers of this concept was Gretchen Rubin, in a book I love beyond most others, The Happiness Project. Gretchen is vehemently against nagging. She’s got lots to say about the topic here, here, and here.

Mondays, Am I Right?

Dear readers, so far Monday is kicking me in the pants. I had a meeting this morning, and Gooplet went and woke up even earlier than usual, throwing off our morning mojo. I said I’d bring coffee to the other two folks I was meeting with, and ended up spilling half of it down my sweatshirt and jeans before I arrived. Oof!

Looking for a bright and colorful way to display your favorite trinkets? Try making this easy Rainbow Ledge DIY to give any room a pop of color!

This is your reminder that Shutterbean’s Intentions for the Week posts are the all time best, and if you read the comments, you’ll see I’ve got a call with a home organizer to schedule. Here’s to being more functional and less hot mess.

(And I’m currently obsessed with all things rainbow, especially when it comes to our basement. This image is from Land of Nod, but I can’t recreate it because the green bar is sold out! What’s a girl to do?)

 

What Do You Do All Day?

Without a doubt, some of my favorite blog posts are typical day, or day in the life posts. Dear readers, yesterday, I took a lot of notes as I went through life, and I finally have an answer to “What do you do all day?” Or at least, “What did you do yesterday?” See below.

?: This is it. I hear Gooplet babbling in his crib, and I never have any idea whether it’s 4:45 or 7:00. Wait for it. Eyes open. 5:23. Ugh, too early. Begin mental adjustment of plans for the day based on a way too early wakeup.

5:30 – My husband gets out of bed to start showering and getting ready, while Gooplet continues to babble and I drift in and out of sleep for as long as I still can.

6:15 – The babbling has turned to whining, my husband is done, so I quickly jump in the shower, and he gets the young master.

6:18 – Someone has come storming into the bathroom in a fit of rage that a) I was not the one who greeted him, and b) he needs a new diaper. I finish shaving my legs with a chorus of howls right in front of me.

6:25 – My husband decides if he’s wailing anyway, we might as well go for that diaper. I hurriedly get dressed so that I’m ready when Gooplet is.

6:27 – Snuggles on the chair in Gooplet’s room while we all recover from the last 15 minutes of our lives. Wander downstairs for breakfast. Cereal for me and my husband, oatmeal for Goop. (He barely touches it, which is weird because he loves oatmeal.)

7:03 – Upstairs to brush our teeth. Despite my thinking that it could be a challenge to get out the door for an 8:00 a.m. dentist appointment, we’ve got gobs of time. Commence family time in our room with toys and hairbrushes (Goop loves them) and running around throwing the light up balls that CV(D) got him.

7:40 – My husband leaves for the dentist. At some point in time there was another tantrum about something so I suggest TV, because there is only so much a person who has been up since 5:23 can take. Gooplet goes back in his chair and we try again with the oatmeal. I open a million canned goods, and put dinner in the slow cooker. Then it’s time to leave.

8:05 – We start getting ready to go, load up bags and buckle car seats. Set off in the car, and I realize I forgot the checkbook. Begin internal debate. Do I beg forgiveness and ask the dentist to bill me, or turn around? We have the time so I turn around, grab the checkbook and run back to the car.

8:45 – Time to get my teeth cleaned. This is one of my least favorite things in the world. Gooplet, of course, shows no signs of being miserable earlier in the morning, and charms the pants off the dental staff. He walks out with a toothbrush, toothpaste, a blown up glove balloon, and a prize from the prize box. I walk out with a clean bill of health and call it good enough. Kiss the husband goodbye and he’s off to work.

9:20 – Coffee. Oh my gracious, how has there been none of that yet today? Venti iced vanilla latte for me and a banana for the wee one. We eat outside at a table away from the masses, and it is a lovely morning, and for approximately 8 minutes, there is peace.

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9:40 – Realize that if we make a quick stop at the bank, we will be right by Crate and Barrel when it opens, and can test out sofas. Also realize with a kid who’s been up too long already, I’m pushing my luck. But what’s motherhood if not a giant risk that your kid will lose it when you’re in public? We go for it, and it’s all (even the diaper change in the back of the car) a rip roaring success. I take pictures of sofas and measurements, and Gooplet gets a chance to peek through a hole right at his level that allows him to watch the construction trucks next door. Win-win!

10:50 – We arrive at home and commence playing outside in the sandbox and on the slide. Until Goop hears the sweet song of a truck backing up and we rush to see what is happening in the front yard. After this it’s time to get serious about lunch. After all, there was very little breakfast happening in the morning.

11:30 – As Gooplet grows increasingly tired, he also has lots of opinions about lunch and where it can be best enjoyed. He starts crying and the next 3 or so minutes sound like this, “Broccoli, no broccoli, no no no, broccoli, no broccoli.” Dear readers, I literally set the container of broccoli on the floor and walk away, hoping that he’ll figure his life out and come eat soon enough. It works! I put some Goldfish in another dish. This is not the lunch of my dreams, but he is eating, and hopefully this means he will not wake up hungry from the nap he will take soon. Soon? I hope it’s soon. He later discovers we have clementines and eats two before I cut him off. That’s enough with the fruit, son. You’re bound to go crazy with it again in the afternoon.

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11:45 – Seems like he’s slowing down on the lunch front. I put a pot of water on for myself (hello, my favorite garlic noodles), and remember that I started a load of laundry in the morning. We go down to the basement and Gooplet helps me push the buttons to start the dryer, then we measure the width of some of the sofas I liked at Crate and Barrel. There is some dancing to Moana in there too, and a couple trips upstairs so I can keep my noodles going. When they’re done, I cover them with the lid, and run back down. Gooplet grabs books and comes to sit on my lap. After a couple rounds of Where is Baby’s Beach Ball, Llama Llama Red Pajama, and Olivia, he says, “Sleepy.” It’s already way later than he should have been sleeping, but somehow we haven’t gotten him upstairs yet.

12:15 – I change Goop’s diaper, and we read two more stories. There is a crisis moment in which he absolutely does not want his light turned off. I amazingly manage to have another internal worry sesh that he’s afraid of the dark, and it’s going to ruin all of our lives, but I insist the light must be turned off, sing to him, and deposit him safely into his crib. He whines, but seems to be over the whole light thing.

12:30 – I come downstairs for noodles, and to write the morning half of this post. Finish my lunch and it’s time to take the sheets of the bed, get them in the wash, put new sheets on the bed, fold the newly dry clothes, send a couple of emails, and re-measure the basement for the couches with proper (read: child-free) time to agonize about what we want down there. Then I remember I need to order a gift for a 2nd birthday party Gooplet has coming up.

2:30 – Gooplet is up! He never naps this well – it’s a good day. He asks for a pouch and a clementine and I happily oblige. Then he promptly flips out for the next 15 minutes, and I snap my mom friends: I thought meltdowns happened when kids didn’t get what they want. He is inconsolable, and I resort to screentime. That calms him down, he eats his snack, we move on with life.

3:45 – Some Thursdays I have a mother’s helper who comes to entertain Gooplet while I attempt to get things done. He’s not exactly excited because he thinks I’m about to leave. I’m not leaving, Goop! They “paint” with a bucket of water and paintbrushes (or “toothbrushes,” as he calls them) outside, set up a pretend grocery store inside, and read books in the basement while I fold laundry and open the computer. I absolutely cannot open the computer when Gooplet is around because he will come bang on ALL THE KEYS.

5:15 – At 5:15 we take our mother’s helper home, and chat with her and her mom for a little while. We leave at 5:45 to start thinking about dinner.

6:00 – We don’t have to think about dinner because it’s been in the slow cooker all day. At this point, my husband is home and we all dance to “Moana,” while I simultaneously shred the chicken to pieces. Gooplet eats a bowl of chili and we start in on all the dishes of the day. It is astounding just how many dishes collect in a sink when your kid eats out of little bowls and Tupperware containers. We can barely stay on top of it all.

6:30 – Gooplet doesn’t need a bath so we go down to the basement. I think it’s possible to show my husband the couch measurements with Gooplet underfoot, and LOL, it is not. So we hang around until he starts yawning and rubbing his eyes around 7:00. In my dreams, my husband will put him to bed, but my dreams are not reality right now. Last weekend I was away for two nights, and since I’ve been back, I’m all he wants at bedtime. Tonight we manage a compromise, both Mommy and Daddy will put him to bed.

7:15 – By this time, Gooplet is working on falling asleep and I’m wolfing two slices of avocado toast because I’ve got to run to Ali’s to pick up a double stroller before the next day, when we’ll start watching Gooplet’s little friend for the weekend. The best news is my husband has buckets of work to do, Ali’s husband is at basketball, and there is a bottle of wine with our names on it. We hadn’t seen each other all week, so it was good to catch up and gossip.

10:00 – I leave Ali’s house, head home, and get in bed.

 

On Podcasts

A quick search on this blog tells me I have never dedicated an entire post to podcasts. That seems impossible. (I did write one for my sorority’s blog; find it here.) I am a huge podcast listener. So here we are, at A Glass of Milk’s inaugural podcast post. I have two suggestions for you, dear readers, and a whole lotta podcasts I love. Ready?

jestcafe.com-bookshelves29

(In my head this image is totally the kind of place where someone would sit down to record an episode, no?0

Suggestion 1: Don’t Listen to the First Episode

If you’re starting a podcast that’s been going on for years, don’t start with the first episode (unless they’re meant to be listened to in order). Sounds crazy, but much like TV shows, podcasts can sometimes take a couple episodes to find their groove. What you hear in the first episode may not be indicative of where the podcast is now. Pick and choose a couple of episodes to download, and if you like the gist of those, by all means, go forth and listen in whatever order you deem logical.

Suggestion 2: Don’t (Only) Listen to the Episodes that Sound Good

Here is something I heard on a podcast that I should have known all along: you’ll get more out of listening to episodes you might not think to try at first. For example: in listening to The Slow Home Podcast (see below) I am going to gravitate toward anything about decluttering and/or time management, but in many cases, I’ll be getting new tidbits of information mixed in with principles I already know and understand. But if I try out new episodes, I could be opening my eyes (ears?) to something completely new and exciting.

Longtime Faves:

Podcasts I’m Trying:

 

 

When Something is Better Than Nothing

This concept has come up in my life a couple of times lately, and nothing makes for a better blog post than something that keeps popping up in front of me.

reminder.

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Something is better than nothing must be a cousin of done is better than perfect, as both are mantras I’m working on embracing in my on-going quest to do all the things.

A couple of real life examples from the last 5 minutes (give or take) of my life right now:

  • Even if I am still eating Goldfish by the (massive) handful, eating more fruits and vegetables during the day is better than massive amounts of Goldfish alone.*
  • Even if I am not back at the barre 4 times a week, going when I can make the time is better than sitting on the couch for another episode of Gilmore Girls.
  • Even if I my weekly meal plan has gone off the rails, getting creative with the remnants of the fridge is better than Annie’s mac and cheese for dinner again. Often way better.

*Flavor Blasted Goldfish forever, though.

On Drinking the Kool Aid

When I was little, there were weekend days when Wooden Nickels would declare we kids had to clean our rooms. Ughhhhhhh. I dreaded those days. You never quite knew when one would hit, and while I’m sure she was strategic in planning them, in my (hyperbolic) mind, we were missing out on soooooo many activities that would be a hundred times more fun. FOMO is real, even for an 8 year old.

It was on those days she taught me about pitch-it moods. You know, when you’re looking in your pantry or closet, or that random shoe basket by the door, and you think, this all has to go?

That’s a pitch-it mood.

As I grew older, I would try to go through my room and clean it up on days I was in a pitch-it mood. Those were the days you could make the most headway.

©AlyssaRosenheck2016 for Rue Magazine with The Home Edit and Alyssa Rosenheck

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Dear readers, I don’t know how else to tell you except to say I’ve been in a pitch it mood for about two months now.

I’ve been thinning out the vast collection of crap in my house in the small increments of time made available to me by the whims of my toddler, and the moments my husband can devote to taking care of him.

When your pantry shelves are narrow, pick product that takes advantage of every square inch.

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Without a doubt, I am drinking the decluttering Kool Aid. But here’s the thing. I am drinking it, again and again, every day. Decluttering is not natural to my hoarding tendencies. It feels strange to purge and purge and purge until there is empty space on a shelf. But if Gretchen Rubin is right that “outer order leads to inner calm” (and I totally think that she is), then it’s what I need to do. I need to watch The Minimalists documentary. To read Simplicity Parenting, and of course, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Even if these aren’t things I’m going to dive into in full, I need to keep inundating myself with messages that I don’t need more. I have enough. Here’s what my Kool Aid has consisted of lately:

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Tracy’s Intentions for the Week posts.

YHL Podcast Episode 45: Why We Got Rid of Half the Toys in Our House

YHL Podcast Episode 60: Game-Changing Organization Tips from the Pros (Those pros are Clea and Joanna from The Home Edit, and all three pictures are their gorgeous work.)

Sorta Awesome Podcast Episode 39: Seeking Rest, Finding Delight

Minimalism (documentary)

Loving My Actual Life, by Alexandra Kuykendall

Emily Ley’s spring cleaning list and simplified challenges.

On Not Doing it All (Again)

On the one hand, it’s a compliment to hear “How do you do it all.” Because having the question directed at you means that the asker believes you do do it all.

I try my hardest to smile sincerely at anyone who asks me that question, but in truth, my gut reaction would be to burst into hysterical laughter. I don’t do it all. I don’t even do half of it. What is it, anyway?

But I do understand where the question comes from, and perhaps I’ve even asked it myself a time or two. I think what we’re really asking when we ask, “How do you do it all?” is How do you do this one thing that I can’t seem to even begin to think about?

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For me, that thing is often entertaining. And while cleaning up from this week’s Sunday dinner, I realized one way I make entertaining easier for our family.

Last week’s dinner was a big one, with ten guests in attendance. And while I always work to keep the menu as simple and low maintenance as possible, the truth is, cooking for 10 people is a bit of undertaking no matter what you’re making. So one way life looks easier after entertaining is in my leftover game. Dear readers, I’m going to brag for a moment when I tell you that my leftover game is strong. After Sunday Dinners, I take whatever salads we have on hand (which in this case were this and this), add some shredded rotisserie chicken, and call it a complete meal. Fancy it is not, but it’s certainly worth it to avoid another big night of cooking right after having guests.

Wins of the Summer

A long blog break means we are so behind on celebrating wins of the month. So, wins of the summer are here!

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  • We went on vacation. And it felt like a vacation!
  • I celebrated a birthday with an amazing cake and some amazing friends.
  • Gooplet and I hit the road and visited Wooden Nickels for her birthday.
  • We started renovations on our basement, which will be finished any day now.
  • We all went to church together without losing our minds in the process (so much harder than it might sound).
  • We kept Sunday dinners going, and loved all the time outside.

 

On Having a Uniform

Dear readers, I had the most gloriously carefree summer, and now my planner is conspiring against me, and staring me in the face with a little smirk. Like, hey girl, remember all the responsibilities and commitments you avoided during the days you could run to the pool every afternoon? They didn’t go anywhere. Oh, and they all need attention. Now.

instagram: @stephens_louisa

UGH!

fall is coming.

At least I have the cutest planner ever. While I figure out how to arrange for childcare, make well-visit appointments at any number of doctors, and get the oil changed for two cars, I’ve decided I’m adopting a fall uniform.

rocking the scarf.

Jeans with cute tops or sweaters.

neutrals.  always.

Yep.

weekend.

Sounds boring, I know, but scrolling through my Pinterest revealed it’s actually the only look I’ve ever pinned for cooler temps. (Warmer temps? Shifts for life.)

anthro top via @Clara Artschwager

The key to making it look less like the same thing I wore every day of middle school and high school, and more like I’m trying is the perfect pair of jeans, of course. I am head over heels in love with AG Jeans, which are found (and $$$) at Anthropologie, but also on my beloved ThredUp. When a good pair pops up in my size, I am super quick to order it.

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Have I ever told you about my obsession with the Olsens? Another time, then. Cheers to not overthinking your wardrobe decisions.