Day book | July 7, 2021

That’s right, I just disappear for months at a time, galavanting around who knows where, and then show up and write a copy and paste tag style entry without so much as a how do you do. #sorrynotsorry

Outside my window it’s cooler than yesterday and threatening to rain. We’ve been doing that rotation of hot and humid meets thunderstorms and doom. So fun.

In my kitchen y’all we broke down and bought an instant pot. After swearing up and down that we didn’t need another gadget and that I had no good reason to buy one, my husband started getting ambitions about speeding up the homemade dog food process (yes that is my life) and then it went on sale for prime day and now I’m googling things like instant pot beef teriyaki.

I’m currently reading several things! I’m prereading Mara, Daughter of the Nile for homeschool next year, the tween and I are reading Black Beauty together, I’m slowly reading Brave Learner on my Kindle (highly recommend, don’t take my slow ass pace as a criticism), listening to The Duke and I on audible, and I just started Pride and Premeditation for my bedtime read and I can already tell I’m going to love it.

I’m currently watching a lot of old sitcoms for the most part. Brooklyn 99 and Big Bang Theory with the kids. Frasier and Top Gear with the hubs. We also just started Loki, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and the new season of Making It.

I’m currently listening to the clattering of breakfast dishes as the kids make themselves bagels. Momma’s drinking coffee and waking up.

I’m currently thinking about whether or not I want to go to the library today and how much I’d love a donut. Like every other morning.

I’m currently planning for our upcoming family vacation, the upcoming school year, and my tween’s birthday this month.

I don’t want to forget to tell you about our fourth of July! I literally forgot to make plans because quarantine has ruined me. So like two days before, I picked up rudimentary cookout foods and a festive looking grocery store cake, a random box of fireworks from Target and a couple pool noodle looking squirt gun things. The squirt guns were a big hit, the fireworks were way more impressive (read: dangerous) than I expected and both my kids said at one point that night that it was the best fourth of July ever. Like sometimes just showing up is all they need? It warmed my mommy heart basically.

MY WORD FOR THE YEAR: BLOOM

Truthfully, I find the whole “word of the year” thing a little hokey. New Years Resolutions are made to be broken – a whole year is too long to commit to in normal times, nevermind in the middle of a never-ending pandemic. I’m going to change 800 times between now and next December, as will my priorities.

But sometimes I like to do things even when they are hokey and I love contradicting myself. Also I love words. I like that a word that can be reinterpreted and encompass several goals, ideas, and values.

This year the word BLOOM really jumped out at me. I read through a list of word suggestions and thought about what I wanted from this year and what I thought would be worth focusing on. After the doozy that was 2020, I wanted to think small and focus on myself and my family.

  1. I want to continue learning to be patient in the present, to bloom where I’m planted instead of my tendency to only think about the future and consider new changes that might fix everything or just distract me from now.
  2. Like most years, I want to eat healthier and move more. To nurture my body and make the best choices I can in a given moment.
  3. I also want to be tender with myself, to be forgiving and give myself downtime when I need it and indulgence when necessary.
  4. I want to find beauty when the world feels ugly. To focus on the bright little moments, the dandelions in the pavement.
  5. To celebrate everything and everyone. I want to lift others up, and lift myself up, too.
  6. I want to continue eliminating the unnecessary and focusing on what brings me and my family joy. I’ve really enjoyed how simple a lot of aspects of our life have become after being forced to scale our routines back. I want more of that weeding out process.
  7. I want to grow mentally, too. To continue learning alongside my daughter, to try new things, and be creative whenever possible. I want to literally paint flowers and to learn everything.

I could go on, but you get the idea. All these ideas and goals all feel like the word BLOOM to me, so I’m running with it. Even if it’s cliché, if it helps me to focus on these things that feel important, then it’s worthwhile.

The past year has made decision making incredibly tiring and difficult – the pros and cons of simple things like buying milk today and sad choices like cancelling vacations or not seeing grandparents. So this year I’m walking into January knowing that things aren’t going to get better right away but that I’ve proven I can handle what’s thrown at me and that I can thrive and bloom where I am planted.


Do you have a word of the year or a new years resolution? Tell me all about it in the comments section!

You know I’m linking up (late) with Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop. Today I answered the prompt: Write a list of 7 ideas to make this your best year yet. Head to her blog for more prompts and participants.

counting my blessings in 2020

It’s pretty easy to wallop on this year and list the myriad of things that have gone wrong or changed or thrown us for a loop. All you have to say is 2020 and I think we all collectively groan and grumble about quarantine, politics, social media, curves that need flattening, and the isolation and closeness and sheer Groundhog Day-quality that this year has been.

But it hasn’t all been bad. 2020 has scattered a few blessings in between the chaos, at least for us.

I was inspired by this video by Homeschool on the Hill to look back on some of the ways that this year was good for my family.

The first obvious one is that even though it was under duress, homeschooling my sixth grader has honestly been a joy. That’s not to say it’s been easy or that I haven’t been exhausted or stressed out in the planning and day to day of it all. But I can see how much she’s learning and how much we enjoy sharing this together. We’re loving our Bookshark curriculum and I’m already starting to plan for seventh grade because even when this whole quarantine situation is over, we’re not planning to switch back (at least for middle school).

I would be remiss not to express my gratitude for getting to replace my car this year. We actually replaced both of our aging vehicles and although both happened rather unexpectedly, I’m grateful that we were able to replace them quickly and with little issue. Not paying for private school tuition this year certainly made this situation easier. And I freaking love my new ride.

We have been blessed with so much family time. From camping trips to late night stargazing walks to movie marathons and just the day to day minutes. I’ve not so secretly loved having my brood around so much. Distance learning hasn’t been easy for everyone but my teenager makes it look easy and working from home has been relatively easy for my husband as well.

Although we get antsy with the close quarters every now and then, for the most part we’re all getting along and making the most of these stolen days. If anything, I feel like I am finally learning how to simply be at home. I’m baking more and finding time for hobbies and learning to keep myself entertained without leaving the house as much.

We’ve done some home renovations that we’ve talked about for years like clearing out our office so it can double as a den and gaming room – or replacing our stove (under duress) and putting up a little backsplash. We cleaned out the garage so that my new gorgeous car can park inside (yay!!) and put some chairs on our front step so that the hubby and I can escape outside for a morning cup of coffee and “get away” from the kids for a bit. We’ve also finally gotten comfortable leaving the kids home alone for periods of time so we can go on exciting dates like “to the grocery store” or “what if we got ice cream by ourselves for no reason?”


Those are just a few of the little blessings off the top of my head. It’s nothing earth shattering – but if you ignore the face masks and the toilet paper shortages and the lack of exciting vacations or big parties and the ability to go to Target to shop for nothing while drinking coffee (and yes some of the bigger things we are missing, too), this year almost kind of hasn’t been that bad…

I’m not making light of the struggles this year has provided. There have been plenty. I could write a completely different post listing all my grievances and it would be a long one. And I’m sure yours would be pretty intense, too. But sometimes we need to remember to focus on the rays of light where we find them shining.

Happy Holidays guys – I hope you find some glimmers in the darkness as we count down to the end of a very strange year.

The Proust Questionnaire

I was reading an old post on Cup of Jo about the Proust Questionnaire that Vanity Fair uses to interview celebrities like Tina Fey and Ina Garten. I thought I’d play along today because we’re over halfway through 2020 and I’ve literally run out of things to do (thank god the school year is starting up soon).

Feel free to play along in the comments section!


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

It’s about a sense of calm – not being worried about current events, weight issues, dietary issues, schedules, fears, money. Basically security and ease.

What is your greatest fear?

Definitely the death of a loved one. That’s the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night. Okay, to be fair, lots of things keep me up at night. But that’s the King Poppa.

Which living person do you most admire?

My grandmother. Always have. She’s kind, funny, patient, caring. She moved mountains during my childhood and always had a nice thing to say about everyone. She spends her energy building people up and has always made time for her hobbies and her family.

What is your favorite journey?

I love visiting new places and learning new things. Whether it’s a new to me coffee shop or traveling to a new city or state. I want to do the touristy stuff.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

I get stuck on new phrases frequently. You hear something funny or poignant and interesting and you try to find any excuse to fit it in. Lately it’s been things like “I feel seen” or “this is giving me life right now.” Or “I’m so tired of this year and I miss normal life and I want a donut.”

Who or what is the greatest love of your life?

My husband and kids – this one is easy.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to draw things and have them look like the thing I am looking at. I tend to prefer photography or watercolor because the photograph will look the closest like what I’m looking at and the watercolor can be intentionally vague and make up for my drawing skills.

What is your current state of mind?

Like a ferret, hopping from one shiny place to the next. It sounds like this “ohhh home schooling idea! ugh politics… ohhh new recipe… oh no fears and stresses… oh homeschooling idea! hmmm what if I painted the… oh no, it’s almost dinner time… ugh politics – hey stop texting me everyone! omg so I’m so bored and miss people… why won’t my children leave me alone? I want a donut… aww my kids are so great… ugh politics…”

Where would you like to live?

I like a lot of things about where we live right now but I would love to be in a slightly smaller town. Less crowded stores and restaurants – but with a thriving bookstore or library and an excellent coffee shop and decent wifi. Also I want a room filled with built in bookcases and a kitchen with plenty of storage and counter space. And patio furniture because sitting outside reading is my new favorite hobby. Why, yes, I am old now.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Ummmm. anxiety?

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Elizabeth Bennett or Hermione Granger

What are your favorite names?

Emily, Katherine, Isabelle, Michael, Thomas, Daniel…

What is it that you most dislike?

being late, insincerity, a lack of control over my situation

What is your motto?

But first coffee.

It’s August. | Life update 8.07.20

Is anyone else really struggling to hold onto what day / month / phase of the moon we’re in? Apparently it’s August now and life continues to look the same and wildly different in turns. We’re still grilling dinner more nights than not, staying up late reading books, playing a TON of video games, watching all of Netflix and occasionally braving the grocery store or Target but then gasping our way back to the car laden with groceries and anxiety.

And with August comes the looming reality that school really is starting soon and we’re going to have to commit to whatever that means. I actually ordered our home school curriculum (from these cool people if you are looking for one still) for my 6th grader and next week I officially enroll my teenager into high school which is starting virtually but then come November we have no earthly idea what’s going to happen. This McSweenys post pretty much sums up the landscape though.

So I’m trying to get myself organized for the fall when things like what day it is will matter again. And then getting super impatient that I have to wait a whole month before actually doing any of that. And trying to keep busy by doing things like:

staining outdoor furniture because I’m a handy and capable lady with lots of time on her hands
Experimenting with hair curlers on my eleven year old because why not?
Trying to drink less coffee and more tea because did I mention anxiety and stuff?
Painting bamboo because someone did it on Instagram and I was like ooooooh and then had to try myself – who needs art lessons when you can just steal people’s ideas online and figure out how to do it yourself at home?

And looking at cute baby animals on Instagram for good measure. Obviously.


What are you guys up to this week?

What’s your plan for fall?

What weird new hobby have you picked up recently?

Before and After. Thoughts on life before quarantine and “new normals”

People keep talking about the new normal we’re going to have to adjust to when things start to open back up. I have mixed feelings about this phrase because I have mixed feelings about what life in quarantine has been like. The things I will miss and the things I won’t miss if and when life starts to resemble before.

Before quarantine I would stop into a favorite coffee shop for a latte and a treat. Sometimes I’d meet friends. Sometimes I would simply be taking a moment for myself between errands.

Most of these coffee shops will let me pick up these goodies to go, but I haven’t taken advantage of this because it seems like it was never about the latte, it was about the place and the people.

These days my morning starts with making a big pot of coffee to share with my husband who is working from home (though it sounds like he’ll be going back to the office soon). In between meetings we meet in the kitchen and pour another cup and chat about our day so far and discuss dinner. Usually he makes us bacon and eggs for lunch. I’ll be honest, this new ritual is something I’ll miss when he goes back to work.

Right before the spring break that never really ended I chaperoned a field trip to the planetarium with my fifth grader. It’s a favorite field trip of mine and I’m glad it wasn’t one of the many that was cancelled.

I miss volunteering in the kid’s classes, serving lunch to their smiling faces, going on field trips and catching up with school moms. We chat on Facebook but it’s not the same.

That said, I don’t miss the early morning rush or the driving from activity to activity at all. I secretly love having the kids at home all day. Don’t get me wrong, my introvert frequently burns out from the chatter, but I don’t hate midday cuddles and late bedtimes.

Before quarantine I bought a travel watercolor set so that I could paint on the go. That entire sentence seems foreign to me now.

I also carried around a book to read in the car during school pick up because nighttime reading was often sacrificed because of exhaustion. These days I have all the time I need for hobbies. I’m reading three books at a time. I play video games every day, y’all. We watch family movies multiple times a week.

I don’t miss being tired from running errands and saying yes to too many things. I don’t miss the busy. I love a lot of things about this forced slow down. And yet…

I do miss going to Target to look at absolutely nothing. I miss shopping without a mask. I miss a trip to the grocery store not leaving me emotionally exhausted for at least an hour. I miss seeing friends and kissing babies and smiling at cashiers and not cringing about 6 feet of separation.

I know it feels petty to complain about little things like wanting to grab coffee at Starbucks or visit a friend. But we all know it’s not about that really. It’s about being able to breathe and stretch and exist in the world – to smile and laugh and hug each other. That’s all I want.