We are given an uncertain number of days on earth. In fact there is only one thing for certain in this life – we are all going to die. My goal in this world is to create adventure in the humdrums of life. If we aren’t careful the humdrums can eat us. Eat us alive. The humdrum eats at our spirit…and I have a fear of being eaten by the Humdrum Monster! Adventures for our family are as simple as busting out of our normal weekly routine and having an after school chat and date at the coffee shop or a quick and dirty getaway to the country. Adventures aren’t all neat, tidy and planned. Adventures don’t require a travel agenct. Adventures are spontaneous mishaps that make memories. My goal as a Mother is to create adventure out of nothing — you know sort of like kids create a bracelet out of a pipecleaner. Like magic.
Adventures cost as much as you let them cost.
As much as a pipe cleaner or as much as a paycheck or two. I seem to love both equally.
The inspiration behind my hand-crafted micro-revolution is the challenge to document my mantra for a living regret-free, happy life. My Main Squeeze always tell me that if I died tomorrow, I should feel good about chasing every dream and living without regret.
While I don’t wholly disagree – I think I could do better. I have more progress to make. We all do.
I also recently attended a sobering retirement party (brought on by $^&%$^&#$^ cancer) for a good friend with three older kids. I couldn’t help but think of my kids and what legacy I want to leave them…however long I am on this earth. As I put this list together I smiled thinking of our kids reading this someday and of them saying “oh my….that Mom of ours was something else”. Naturally, I hope that ‘that’ and ‘something else’ are very good things…but there are no guarantees!
Lastly, I thought of being in college when the whole world of opportunity was staring at me and what I would have loved as inspiration.
I often wonder why college kids aren’t offered more HAPPY LIFE 101 classes as not everyone is equipped in this space.
So, enjoy…..21 more blog posts to come.
- Create adventure
- Lose your mind
- Pack light
Enjoy your home
- Live somewhere special
- Get rid of stuff
- Stay crazy in love
- Stay connected
- Celebrate your gene pool
- Become a maker
- Live big
Living juicy / be positive
- Be optimistic
- Be you and only you
Success / achievement
- Work Hard
- Start something
- Save money
- Inhale fresh air
- Stay hydrated
- Walk your butt off
- Take time outs
- No thank you
But I never really carve out time with just me, being just me for the benefit of no one else!
So, what did I learn about myself in a day? Don’t hold your breath…..
- I really love walking. I have always loved walking — I believe the fittest I have ever been was right before I got married and my Mom, sisters and I would walk from our house to downtown Mason City and touch a famous rock and turn around. It was a 5 mile walk and though I don’t remember how long it took us …I do remember having a nice butt when I got married, so it must have been power walking.
- I really enjoy bar & coffee shop hopping. Yes, even alone. I got to dance in and out of several coffee shops and bars and snack all day. I got to read, write and then read and write some more.
- I don’t like meals as much as I like grazing. I enjoyed a light egg-white omelet for breakfast and then a mid-morning snack of a mimosa and green beans and then some dark beer and chips and salsa and the list goes on and on.
- I feel better when I go to bed a little bit hungry. My Grandma Kollasch (4th of 14 kids) always told me that it was good for you to go to bed with an empty stomach — and every time I do, I wake up feeling top of the world. I am certain the reason she went to bed a little hungry was a little different than mine. I am guessing there wasn’t enough food for 14th kids to have a before bedtime snack.
- I have weird euphoric feelings when I get to accomplish everything on my To Do list. It is sick, but I am a list junkie and there is nothing I enjoy more than ticking through my list and feeling like I am conquering my little corner of the world.
- When I drink a lot of water, I always have a good day. It is the sick truth — and you would think that at 36 years old, I could learn this magic trick and repeat it daily.
- I love writing. Period. In a journal. On a computer. I just flat out love the art of formulating sentences. They aren’t always grammatical. They aren’t always legible. I just love writing.
- I love taking random photos. I sincerely enjoy capturing the odd and random moments of my travels…the details that are hard to remember without a visual reminder.
- I love my husband and children more than anything in this world. As much as I love being me, I feel that after being with the same man for almost 20 years and after being a mother for almost 10 years — it doesn’t feel right being alone. It feels a little kooky. Hence the mid-morning mimosas and beer crawl to work through the doldrums.
One of my stops along the way was a place called The Flying Biscuit and I got a kick out of their festival posters.
Having a day to myself was like planning a festival….where I got to design every booth and activity to be all about me.
Kooky. But awesome.
If given a chance to take a vacation day with yourself — I would highly recommend it.
How we roll.
It has been awhile since I have been on a blogging role. Sadly, I have blog posts written in a variety of journals and digital devices and only some of them are found. This picture says maybe too much about how we roll around here and in a single weekend I took few other pictures that explain a whole lot. I refuse to tell people that “I am busy” as the world is busy. We all have our own definition of busy and you can’t compare people’s busy. I have come to respect people and the line they put in the sand about what busy looks and feels like. My busy is a wild awesome ride and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So how do we roll? How do we conquer busy? These three things pretty much summarize how we roll around here.
1. Work Hard.
I was just having a conversation with my Mom over the weekend about how how all three of us girls honest-to-goodness…really love to work. It is a sick reality — but work is a bit of a hobby for all of us. This evening — three of the five of us were hard at work raking up leaves from five years ago and Fitzy took care of dinner. You can see the large hedge-clipping garnish with the pasta-in-a-can and pringles. Though I am not proud of the nutritious meal, I am proud that she put together the meal of her choice. Her words were — “Mom, you and CR can stay out here. I got dinner taken care of.” Until my last day on earth, I will be trying to ensure that our kids can work harder and longer than their peers. Harder and longer than those older than them. And harder and longer to help people who need help. Regardless of our god-given IQs, if you know how to work hard — life is going to be easy. People love people who like to work hard. People who like to work hard are good friends. People who like to work hard are reliable and typically are stand-outs in this world. And to be honest, it is a family tradition. Though my Mother and Father couldn’t co-exist for long in this world — they have one very clear thing in common: they work hard and expect no less of you!
2. Adventures (yes, the reward for all of the work!)
Yes, we have a lot of bags. We have found that adventures are never one-size-fits-all and to do things right, you need the right bags for the right type and length of adventure. Work hard first. But then play harder. Do more. See more. Taste new things. Get outta dodge. If we overdo one thing in our home, it could be having adventures too often. I figure the risk of this isn’t daunting. Chances are it will require me to work another year when I am tired of working. Oh damn.
3. Prioritize carefully.
To manage three kids, two careers, a couple of homes, a small business and a lot of family and friends whom we love to spend time with — we are slowly learning the art of saying NO THANK YOU and delegation. And we are slow learners in this space. We are having to block weekends from being stampeded so that we can get away to the country. We are not able to nourish friendships that we would love nourish so that we can nourish the five of us. And I am now entirely reliant on a wonderful woman that cleans and does laundry every week. Yes, every week. We are that needy. It is official. It has taken me 36 ripe years to realize that you can’t do it all and be happy. While chasing contentment (which I haven’t found by the way), I have realized that saying NO THANK YOU is a big part of that journey. We need to say NO THANK YOU more often. I told CKC that he my biggest NO THANK you inspiration as he always responds with these words to any opportunity to eat a green vegetable. He is nice about it. But firm. NO THANK YOU.
These thoughts run through my head all of the time. It is hard for me to to understand why we can’t adjust some simple things in this country.
Public schools aren’t allowed to flail to the point of de-certification.
- It is the LAW that all children get access to not only FREE education but damn good education.
- Kids can’t leave 12th grade until they have passed a “Good Human” class.
- Kids can’t get their drivers license until they have been approved by 10 of their closest adult-friends to be “well equipped” to drive.
- Kids that can pass college entrance exams go for free.
- Kids that don’t want to go to college but want to positively contribute to the economy has access to 100 different trade school / apprentice programs.
- Very rich people must give away 5% of their funds to Non-Profit organizations.
- If a person stays off drugs and manages their alcohol intake, they get access to healthcare.
- Citizens are required to spend X% of their dollars at locally owned businesses.
- Citizens must volunteer 2 hours a week giving back.
- Employers are responsible for offering people a fare wage for a fare days’ work.
- Citizens are offered FREE personal finance classes.
- In every neighborhood there will be free little libraries and gardens.
- Citizens are offered free marriage counseling.
- Happy and long marriages (must be both) would receive a tax cut.
Old Fashioned & Effective!
I am not sure why or when I fell in love with index cards – but they are a big part of my life. When I am totally overwhelmed I like to compartmentalize my life into index cards and lay them all out on the table: Work, Personal, Health Blue Raddish, and Home/Cabin Management to name a few.
And then I became a mother and index cards took on a whole new purpose: portable and customized lists for kids. I believe that around 6 years old is the magic age for lists but if you have older kids that can help younger kids read and manage their lists…..the younger kids love them too. In fact, I believe our little guy started having his ‘own’ lists at 3-4 just because he didn’t want to be left out.
Since today is a snow day and tomorrow looks to be one too – lists take on a whole new dimension.
Hello. They are the ticket to an awesome stir-crazy, whine-free day. Notice, I didn’t say wine-free!
When I make the kids’ lists – I start by thinking of chores – which would be laundry, cleaning and cooking. My 9-year does our laundry and he is going to conquer chicken quesadillas tonight for dinner. And since our fab cleaning lady may also be snowed in, our 8-year old is doing the folding today.
And then next are the learning activities that are good time-consumers. This would be reading, writing and piano for us. You must assign a time to all of these learning activities or else your 9-year old will choose first reader books to read as opposed to hard ones or at least mine would. So for my older two kids, they not only need to read for 30 minutes – but they need to provide me with an index card of their insights or take-aways. Yes, this means they can’t hang out in their bunk beds playing and skimming. Mom’s are a big pain!
And then there is the writing. I like to promote story-writing and letter-writing. This sounds horribly bad — but writing in our home is the biggest time consumer. Writing meaningful letters to family members around the country takes time and thought…all of which are good practice! Writing stories is another good time consumer. Most of the time the stories we write are biographical with a twist…but they don’t require a timer, which is a nice thing.
Oh yes, and then technology. I am a big fan of 20 minute sessions. Not sure why, but it seems to work for everyone. For an anti-technology Mom, I feel I have had to surrender and join the 21st century. On a day like today, I made line items for the following: 20 minute on video games, (2) 20 minute sessions on the mini i-Pad and then 20 minutes on the computer….so almost an hour and a half behind the screen. For someone who would rather them spend no time ….. this seems to be a nice compromise.
And then lastly, organization of our crap is a lovely and productive consumer of time. Sorting through socks, books, clothes, and toys can occupy a lot of time and the kids always enjoy doing it. It takes a lot of coaching…but at least they are spending time doing things that must be done.
So, you take all of these things and outline them on a small 3×5 index card and the kids check them off throughout the day….and to be honest, there isn’t a lot of winging, whining or complaining. They can play and dink as much as they want during the day as long as these things are accomplished.
Personally, index cards or no index cards….snow days are a gift from Mother Nature. I love it when nature screws with our schedules that we feel like we own.
Where did all of our paper go?
With all of the digital media today –it seems that celebrating life with tangible paper and pictures isn’t a big part of parenting or childhood anymore. Kids sit in the car and cruise through iPhone photos and giggle at all of the memories. We don’t sit around the kitchen table with those fabulous picture envelopes that we used to get from one-hour-photo places and shoe boxes …..sorting and relishing month and years of memories.
The kids and I just went through all of the pictures, art work (and random crap) that we have been accumulating for only seven years. We had three desk drawers full of stuff and spent the better part of an afternoon sorting, throwing and giggling. I couldn’t help but get the blue painters tape out and capture the last 7 years of life.
Yes, we have a tacky blue-tape-timeline of our life and according to my Main Squeeze — this is not Pinterest material…..it looks obnoxious.
The exercise was exhilarating for me. And brought back so many memories….
From a little handsome red-head to a bigger even more handsome red-head.
From a little big-brown eyed beautiful pixie to an even more beautiful soul with a silky mane of hair.
From a little chubby full-of-congestion blue eyed wonder to an even bigger and charismatic wonder.
Like so much in this world….time may pass and while some things change –some things never ever change.
I am total wonderment of our life when I see it displayed like a science project board.
Chris Days >> Fill My Soul
I married well. The last two weekends we have had weekends filled with ‘Chris Days’. We have been home without a lot of things on the calendar aside from kids’ games. We have slept in, watched new movies, watched old movies, made lovely meals and have completed some unfinished projects. I have intentionally tried to stay off of my computer. I have tried to dock my phone on the Bose hoping she forgets who her owner is. And holy crap — I am loving it.
As hard as marriage is…on these weekends it feels so good to be so very different and to be forced to down shift.
Some days we wonder how on earth we could still be co-habitating given all of the changing we have done in 20 years and on other days we hold each other as if the world is ending and if we were to bring one thing with us –it would be each other.
Are all marriages bi-polar!?
p.s. You can see from SFCs love note that was on my pillow –she loves seeing Mom being so lazy too.
CR Story #1
I have a little farm.
I like it at Christmas Time.
I drive my hot rod all of the time.
I drive it to my friend’s house.
And her name is Stacy.
She likes to drink coffee.
CR Story #2
The sheep had a little farm.
And the sheep wanted to lay down in her barn.
She wanted to go on a train to North Dakota.
After the train she went to the airport.
And she flew her own airplane to India.
Then she flew it back to Iowa.
And that’s it.