Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bullet Journaling

This post is not about how or why I Bullet Journal...because I don't actually bullet journal at all. (Can I use that as a verb? I don't know, but I'm leaving it.) BUT, I feel like it's something I would be very much into if I started. Let's just look at the things a Bullet Journal does:

  • Organize 
  • Keep Records
  • Make Lists
  • Be Creative about all of those things

^ ^ ^ That is literally a checklist of all my favorite things. So why don't I bullet journal? (Yet.)

My problem with bullet journaling is NOT that it's everywhere. It feels like everyone is doing it. That sometimes deters people from trying things because they don't want to go along with the flow of popular culture. That is not me. I am not worried about doing something that everyone else is doing...IF I like it. 

My problem is that I feel like if I get started with it...it will be my new time suck. Sure, there would (could) be a payoff that's much greater than wasting time on Facebook, but it will still suck time out of my day. Where is that time going to come from?  Also, I will be perfectionist about every page. I know you can make it as simple or as complex (and creative/colorful) as you want. But perfectionists and those who love a good design on a page find that difficult. 

I also feel like I just got on board with digitizing everything in my life. Once upon a time, I swore up and down that I'd never stop using my little black book (my planner). And I did. I keep every list, note, record, calendar item, etc. on my phone. And it syncs perfectly with my home computer, so I am a happy, organized person. And now everyone is going back to paper? What is happening?

This post could also end up being like my wariness of the Kindle before I embraced that completely. I recently whittled down my collection of real books to only the ones that I love, love, love so much that I could never part with them. It's not that I don't love and appreciate physical books anymore, but I just love the convenience and efficiency of reading (almost) exclusively on my Kindle. Apparently, I did sort of see that coming.

So, I may end up bullet journaling in 2017. Or starting in 2018. Who knows? Because just look at all this loveliness I rounded up on Pinterest:


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Saturday, February 04, 2017

Harry Potter Library Event

We are getting our mileage out of the boys' Harry Potter costumes. Not only do they play with them at home with regularity, they used them to dress up for a Harry Potter event at our library last Thursday. My friend, Christina, had told me about the event, but what really sold it were the posters on the end caps at the library itself. Ethan spotted one on our last trip and asked if we could go. Our friends went as well.

Logan chose to wear his new Quiddich robes that the boys got for Christmas. And crocs for both of my boys. Sigh. Shoes are simply not something I will choose to argue with them about...unless a special pair is required for a certain activity. 

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The library had several activities set up for the kids to do. One was a scavenger hunt - they had to go find things like a broomstick, etc. And mark it off their list. 

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Give this child a checklist and he is a happy camper. He is my son for sure. 

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They also had Professor Trelawney handing out fortunes to the kids. 

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Inside another room there were several tables with activities. There was also a Butterbeer station. The younger boys decided to give it a try. Looks like Brennan was not a fan! 

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And Logan wasn't either! Haha! At least they gave it a try - the big boys didn't even want to do that. 

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The younger boys also designed and colored their own crests. Logan did a section for each of the Hogwarts houses. 

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They all made their way back to the tables and played with some blocks at one point. I think some of the activities were too crowded and they just wanted to play with each other anyway. 

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Christina took a photo of the boys and me for us. The boys barely stopped playing and running around long enough to do this. 

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While you're in the library, you might as well have a look at some books...

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They cannot resist playing with an iPad. Christina and I (thankfully) had the presence of mind to check what they had done on the iPad and we deleted three videos they had made. 

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In all honestly, this was a wild night. The event started at 6:30 on a weeknight. That's right about when we winding down for the night on a school night. Logan is usually in bed around 7:15 and Ethan has lights out at 8. And this time of night is not known as their best time of the day, especially after a full day of school. Friends and fun activities keep them from melting down completely, but they only amp up the craziness factor. So, while Christina and I were struggling to keep these four from feeding on each other's energy and going totally rogue in the middle of the library, we did all have fun. 

There were quite a few people at the event, which added to the chaos. At least our children were not the only crazy ones. And ours were not the loudest and rowdiest either!

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Monday, January 02, 2017

2017 Goals

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Yesterday, January 1, I decided I didn't really want to write down any goals this year. And today, January 2 - my birthday - I decided I did want to. I like having my birthday at the beginning of the year...it's like a new year for me in several ways. 

First, I always like to read last year's goals and see how I did:

I could have done better on catching up with photos and photo books, but I did ok. I did read...63 or so books. The boys did learn new life skills. We traveled. I was actually active more than I have been in the past 6 years. So, check. I did reorganize the whole house. Slowly, but I got it done. I did not really write more. And I did get IN more photos, but not as many as I could have. 

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Although I could pretty much copy and paste last year's goals almost exactly, I'm going to simplify this year and really focus on 1-3 things I really want to accomplish. I'm leaving out the things that I feel like I've already made a regular part of my routine now (hello, reading).

1. Catch Up on Photo Editing and Photo Books. This is #1 for a reason. I really, really, really, want to do it. I want to be all caught up, get them all organized, and complete more books. This is my year. 

2. Continue being Active. Like I said above, I actually did pretty well with this in 2016. I'm making it a goal for 2017 because it's really easy for me to let this drop...and I don't want to. 

And...that's it, I think. I'm really narrowing it down this year so I can FOCUS on these two. Let's go, 2017!

2017 Books

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (9)

Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher (6)

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (8)

Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken (8)

Out of Africa: Saga 2 by Ian A. Fair

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (with the boys) (8)

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (reread) (10)

The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny (7)

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum (8)

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (7)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (reread for me/with the boys)

Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny (8)

Executing Grace by Shane Claiborne (7)

The Black Star of Kingston by S.D. Smith (with the boys)

The Jungle Book: The Mowgli Stories by Rudyard Kipling (with the boys)

My Notorious Life by Kate Manning (7)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (reread)

Tuesdays at the Castle  by Jessica Day George (with the boys) (8)

The Course of Love by Alain De Botton (7)

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel (8)

At Home In The World by Tsh Oxenreider (9)

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (8)

A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley (7)

All is Grace by Brennan Manning (6)

When I Found You by Catherine Ryan Hyde (8)

A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (7)

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny (8)

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (8)

How The Light Gets In by Louise Penny (8)

Evicted by Matthew Desmond (8)

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankel (7)

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee (7)

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (7)

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (7)

Of Mess and Moxie by Jenn Hatmaker (7)

The White Princess by Philippa Gregory (7)

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (6)

Cashelmara by Susan Howatch (8)

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (6)

Every Last Word by Tamara Island Stone (8)

Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton (8)

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson (7)

The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner (8)

The Polygamist's Daughter by Anna LeBaron (8)

The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien (reread - with the boys)

Roger and Amy's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (7)

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley (7)

The Midwife's Revolt by Jodi Daynard (8)

Reading People by Anne Bogel (7)

Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill (7)

The Moffats by Eleanor Estes (audiobook with the boys)


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas with the Fairs: 2016

After everyone left our house from breakfast, we cleaned up - the house and ourselves - and then headed over to Mimi and Pop's house for a little more Christmas. My aunt Pam had brought her Bingo game stuff and everyone had contributed to the prize table. And everyone played! It was so fun. The boys especially loved it.

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We used dry beans to mark our bingo cards. The boys had already opened their stocking stuff at Mimi's house...and Elliot the Dragon (from Pete's Dragon) was one of the surprises inside!

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Lunch was super-easy, which we've come to love. We have our traditional meal of curried meat pies, toppings, and a salad. It's so nice to spend Christmas actually enjoying family and the day rather than slaving over a meal in the kitchen! The clean-up for this meal is quick and easy too. 

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Kevin brought over some of his cider and juices to mix in. Tasty!

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There were two small Lego sets as prizes for bingo. They were Ethan's first two choices when he won. He gave one to Logan. Logan's first two prize choices were bags of chocolate gold coins!

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Before long, it was time for presents! The boys took the part of the elves and delivered all the packages. 

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With a smile!

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One of the first ones Ethan opened had money inside! 

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Logan got his very own bow and arrow set. And this thing is amazing - now that we've played with it some. It's so fast and goes really far! Let's see if we can be careful not to "misplace" the arrows.

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This hovering soccer puck is really fun too! You just turn it on and place it on a hard floor like wood and kick it around. Aunt Pam and Uncle Steve got those for the boys. 

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Mimi and Pop got Ethan a real, flying Millennium Falcon! It is so cool. Ethan tore into the box immediately. 

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And Logan got a flying X-Wing. Awesome!

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We stayed for a while at Mimi and Pop's house but spent the late afternoon and evening back home playing with all our new toys. 

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Everyone in our family loves BB-8. When we got back home from the Fair Christmas, they were all charged and ready to go. You control his movements using an app on the iPad. It could not have been easier to get them synced and to start playing. 

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Duke is the only one of us that is not sure about the BB-8 robots...he barks at them any time they move! In his defense, he is not used to having something move like that down on his level. And BB-8 makes his little beeping/talking noises too. Haha! Duke will just have to get used to him!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas at Home: 2016

After coming home from Nonnie and Papaw's house on Christmas Eve, the boys changed into their Christmas PJs and picked out some of their cut-out sugar cookies for Santa.

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We poured a small glass of milk (it's a wonder I even had milk since we never buy it any more.) And the boys carried it all into the living room to set out for Santa. 

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Unfortunately, as soon as we set down the cookies on the coffee table, Duke came up to eat them. 

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So we moved everything back in to the kitchen and set it on the island. Ethan wrote Santa a quick note to let him know where his goodies were and left it on the coffee table. 

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And Santa came! The boys each asked for a BB8 robot. Ethan also asked for the Battle of Hoth Star Wars Lego set and a Nick Wilde (from Zootopia) plush toy. Logan also asked for remote control tanks and a military helicopter.

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I did not get one un-blurry photo of them coming into the room on Christmas morning. Mimi and Pop were there right before 7am so the boys could come down and see what Santa brought them. 

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It's funny to see what they picked up first. Logan went straight for the BB8 robot. More on him later - he's fun. But we had to set them both up to charge for a while and we didn't really get to play with them until later on Christmas Day. 

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Ethan, on the other hand, went straight for his stuffed animals! He was so thrilled to see Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Chip from Beauty and the Beast too. He did not specifically ask for those, but Santa brought them anyway. 

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They dug into their stockings too. Logan is not disappointed by this treat...he's actually just surprised that there are Kit Kat Santas! 

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Santa knows we like Mickey!

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That is one giant Lego set. And he has been patiently waiting for Santa to bring it to him. 

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Logan loved his helicopter and tanks too. For some reason he is really into military stuff right now. 

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After the boys had explored all that Santa brought them, they started passing out the boxes under the tree.

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The boys picked out presents for each other again this year.

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Ethan got Logan an Army truck, which Logan thought was so cool. He said, "Thanks, Ethan!" when he opened it. 

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For some reason I missed getting a photo of what Logan picked out for Ethan...it was an Ewok stuffed animal that Ethan has had his eye on for a long time. He was so excited to see it!

And then came a couple of presents from mom and dad...the Hogwarts Express with Harry, Ron, and Hermione POP vinyl figures. 

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And Quiddich robes and goggles. They were totally surprised by both of these gifts and were really excited.

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Ready to hop on their brooms and play Quiddich!

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Next Casey and I opened our gifts from the boys and each other. Logan is laughing here because those are Star Wars underwear for daddy. He also got some socks and a Dumbledore POP vinyl figure from the boys. I got him a special razor handle and shaving cream from The Art of Shaving. 

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The boys got me two necklaces from Kendra Scott and Casey got me a Michael Kors purse. I love how they like to watch us open gifts too.

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After we cleaned up the wrapping paper mess, the adults headed to the kitchen to put the final touches on our breakfast, and the boys played with the remote control tanks. 

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The tanks had surprisingly loud sound effects and I was wondering why Santa thought that would be okay. I guess he didn't know how loud they would be. 

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Before everyone showed up for breakfast, we took a quick family photo. I'm wearing those two necklaces from the boys! And I have no idea why, but I don't have a single photo of breakfast. I guess I was too busy enjoying our traditional fare: sausage balls, coffee cake, fruit, and an egg bake. Plus mimosas from Pop! It was a good morning...but our Christmas Day was not over yet!

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