Monday, April 30, 2012

it's embarrassing

We moved into our house a year ago today.  I promised Reid we would make cookies and deliver them to our new neighbors and introduce ourselves.  We have never done it {insert guilt here}.

About eight months ago, there was a big power outage in San Diego.  I think it was out for something like 12 hours.  School was cancelled.  The power being out here is a big deal.  We live in San Diego, after all.  We are completely unprepared for disaster of any variety and we complain when it rains.  Mostly because we just washed the car.

Anyhow, it was a big deal that we had no power.  Oh, but WE did have power.  The only house on the street {or in all of San Diego county} with our lights, tv, and refrigerator humming away.  We own an equipment rental business, which meant Mark brought home a generator and powered us up.  Hallelujah.  I've never been so grateful to be married to the equipment rental man, let me tell you.

So, in trying to be a good neighbor, I sent Mark around to knock on all of the neighbors doors to see if anyone needed anything, because after all, we had power.  We could help.  I was especially concerned about the older couple across the street.  No answer.  No at the older couple's house.  Not at any house.

Of course they were home.  But, at first glance Mark looks like a scary guy.  He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, but our neighbors didn't know him.  He was just a big guy with a shaved head knocking on their door during a power outage.  Most people probably wouldn't have opened the door.  I probably wouldn't have opened the door either.  I felt awful.  What if they needed something?  We were trying to help and we couldn't because we never took the time to walk across and introduce ourselves.

Fast forward to last week.  A medical equipment company pulled up in front of our house and proceeded to deliver a wheel chair to the house across the street.  The one with the elderly couple {insert more guilt here}.  Are they house bound??

I told Mark "We have got to go over there.  I feel awful.  They should know that we are at least here if they need something."

The next day, contractors arrived and started building a ramp to cover the stairs that had been there before and making other wheel chair friendly accommodations.

That was it.  We picked up some brownies and Grant and I went over on Monday morning and introduced ourselves.  I left them our cell phone numbers.  We had a sweet visit.  I was right.  They are house bound.  And I am right here.  RIGHT HERE.  I could easily run to the store or the pharmacy, or bring dinner or whatever.

I am embarrassed that I let that go on so long.  I really am.  Here we are delivering donuts to fire stations, taking dog biscuits to the shelter, sending goodies overseas and my sweet neighbors across the street don't even know my name. 



Well, from now on, I plan to go check on my new friends.  Richard and Margaret.  I am awful with names.  I am purposely typing that here so that I can always know how to find them in case I forget.  Yes, Richard and Margaret.  They were as sweet as could be.  And they were thrilled to have the company.  Max, one of the many nurses who care for them around the clock walked us to the door and thanked me profusely for stopping over.

"Always remember a little child does wonders for an older heart" he said, pointing to Grant.

Richard and Margaret did good for my heart too.










Friday, April 27, 2012

I found my dream house.


My mom subscribes to at least 30 magazines.  I subscribe to exactly 2.  Every week she brings over all the ones that she has already perused.  There are seriously more magazines in this house than I can read and many go to the recycle bin before I can get to them.

But, I'm glad I got to the April issue of Coastal Living, because oh my goodness, look what I found:


It's my dream house.  I'm not even kidding.  You know what I'm so drawn to it?  Because it's simple and clean.  Uncluttered, unfussy, uncomplicated.  When there isn't crap on every square inch there is more room to breathe.  More room to live.  More room to rest and enjoy people instead of things.


Things are great.  Don't get me wrong.  I love things.  But, things so often get in the way of real living and real life.  Things require time.  Dusting and cleaning and putting away and arranging and I would just rather read a book.  Sit with my toes in the sand.  Enjoy the laughter and silliness of my kids.


It's just an idea.  But, I think the less stuff we have, the more life we have.  We live in a society that praises accumulation of stuff and accomplishments.  Do more, be more, have more, achieve more.  More, more, more.  But there is no end.  Once you get more, you need more.  It's a vicious cycle that keeps you from ever actually enjoying the life that is all around.

While I'm busy rearranging my picture frames and pretty knick knacks, my child plays alone in the other room.  No thanks.  I'd rather live cleaner, without the clutter, and have the time to play in the front yard or read a book or play cards or cook together.


I guess what I'm saying is that when you only have what you need, you get to enjoy all that you have.  When you have too much, the stuff and the clutter is such a distraction.   

The home shown above is a weekend house.  I'm sure that there are more "things" in their full time residence.  But, I think this family gets it.  I think they probably spend a lot of time together and I bet people sense their connectedness as a family.  I bet they spend very little time distracted by things and tech gadgets and keeping the tchotchkies arranged in perfect order.  I want to live like that.  I'm not there yet, but I'm getting closer.  And, you know what?  You can have that reality no matter where you live. 


Even if it isn't a cape cod on the water.  Your dream house and your dream life can be the one right in front of you right now. 

There is so much beauty in simplicity.  Honestly the older I get, the less I want. 

Here is a little experiment you can try this weekend.  Are you ready?  Carry a box or two to Goodwill.  Clear off a table top and don't let the clutter pile up on it.  Clean out a drawer and leave it empty...the less you have, the bigger the life.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

the betsy is back


Hey there!!  Happy Thursday!!  I just wanted to pop in quickly to let you all know that after months and months of being sold out, the Betsy monogram and key necklace is back in stock.

The key is a blackened sterling and is handmade in small batches, so please allow 4 weeks to receive your necklace, from the time you place your order.

I love monograms and I love this necklace.  I love the idea of wearing your husbands monogram, like a Letterman jacket.  So cool.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

tuesday randomness: a day in my life

Did you read Emily's blog post the other day?  She took instagram pictures through her day, every hour on the hour to track her day and put it all together in a collage.  It was a fun read. 

I decided to tweak my normal Tuesday randomness post and copy her idea today.

Last Friday, I took pictures every hour all day.  I set my cell phone alarm to help me remember, like she suggested.  Here is what my day looked like:


 6:30 wake up and get ready for the day.  shower, make up, dress, blow dry.

7:30 walk Reid to school

8:30 out for bagels with Grant and Mark

9:30 off to the bank

10:30 stop over at Mark's shop to work on email, custom posts, online banking and other business while he watches Grant.

11:30 Grant's naptime.  I have to block the door with the barstool because Samson will push it open and check on him {i.e. wake him up}

12:30 lunch {pb sandwich} followed by a phone meeting

1:30 trying to decide which outfit to wear to the 50's themed school auction that night

2:30 laundry...my constant companion

3:30 sending child #1 off to his baseball game with Grandma

4:30 run

5:30 getting ready for the school auction

6:30 leaving with my hot date

7:30 silent auction and dinner

8:30 realizing we didn't get Reid's classroom art that we bid on. then realizing it was my friend who won the bid!

9:30 some friends at the auction.  how cute are they?  {the second one from the left is my friend Grace who gave me the inspiration for the first ever Grace necklace, which is now a best seller}

10:30 I cried on the way home when I read the message from Mark's mom that Reid had gotten the game ball...I missed it! so bittersweet.  I was going to wake him up to congratulate him.  I didn't have to.  Grandma doesn't really impose that whole bedtime thing.

11:30 sweet sleep....at least for a few hours! we had baseball pictures the next day at 8:00!

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This was a fun little experiment...this day was pretty typical for a Friday.  I usually try and make Friday's light and fun, because I am ready for a break by then. 

It would be fun to do this again on a Monday or Tuesday...maybe I will!

Happy Tuesday Friends!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

running 30 for 30::more than you ever wanted to know



 A few of you have asked about my April goal....which is, to run every day for 30 days.

I am almost 2/3 done.  It feels pretty good to type that.  I am almost 2/3 done.  I am almost 2/3 done.

I run 2 miles a day.  I am pretty sure any longer would make it impossible.

I run outside, the same path every day and usually around sunset.

If you are thinking of taking on a running goal, here is what I've learned so far.

You CAN run...
Some of you have commented to me that you would never be able to do this because you aren't a "runner".  You CAN do this.  I assure you.  If I can do this, ANYONE can.  I started running in January and I would alternate running and walking.  I used to have to stop and walk 6 times during the 2 mile stretch that I now run every day. {6 times!!!}  And that was only a couple months ago...and let me remind you that every runner was once "not a runner"...

Every day...
The reason that I decided to go every day was because I have heard that it's easier to build a new habit if it's something that you do every single day.  I know that a lot of "real" runners frown on this because you can get hurt.  Your body works better if you have a break.  But, since I only go a short distance, I felt like it would be okay.  I know myself well enough to know that 1 day off turns into 2 turns into 5 turns into...giving up.  In May, I plan to start an every other day routine and alternate running with a core workout.

The most important things...

Distraction.  I wear an ipod and I also keep my mind distracted by thinking about upcoming projects, payroll, taxes, my list of to do's....basically anything but running.  If I think about the running or the cramp or the pain in my chest, it's so much harder.

Stay cold.  I hate being cold.  The first two weeks I ran in capri sweatpants and a sweatshirt.  But then I realized I was getting hot really fast, and being too hot makes me tired and slow.  I wear shorts and a t shirt.  I'm cold, but being cold makes me run faster because I want to warm up!

Drink water.  I used to dread drinking water.  I would so much rather have soda or coffee...but since I started running I crave it.  I drink a lot more water than I used to and I know it helps.

Have a buddy.  If you can get someone else to join you, it's so much harder to quit.  Mark decided to join  me and he is super encouraging when I come back from a run plus we talk about it, how we're doing, what we're noticing, etc.  It's nice to have a sounding board and the support and encouragement and it's even nicer it's coming from my husband.  He understands that I need to do this for me and I understand that he needs to do it for him.  It makes us a stronger team.  

Time yourself.  I set my stopwatch and since I run the same path every day, I can easily track my progress with my time.  My goal is to be faster every day.  Even if it's just a few seconds.  When I know the stop watch is going, it's easier to push myself.  I want to see that number go down.

Just go.  Leo wrote a post about running awhile back and said that the main thing is to just get your shoes on and get out the door.  When it's cold and I'm tired and I don't feel like it, that is what I tell myself.  Just get your shoes on.  Just get out the door.  Once you have your shoes on and your outside the rest will take care of itself.



Go alone.  I enjoy running with Mark, but the truth is he is WAY faster than me.  I need to be able to go at my own pace and so does he.  We run together a few times a week, but the majority of the time we run alone, and I think at this stage, that's better.

Imagine your goals.  When I'm running and I want to stop I imagine my legs looking like this:


I'm gonna wear those shorts too.  The ones in the middle.  Mmmhmm.

So....is it working? Here are the benefits...or at least here is what I've noticed so far:

I'm happier, because I'm proud of myself.  I'm proud of my commitment and I'm proud that I'm making it a priority to invest in myself.

I'm calmer, more centered. 

I'm more toned.  I'm not sure if I've lost weight, but my glutes, thighs, abs and calves are definitely benefitting.  I may or may not check out my back side every morning in the full length mirror...Mark caught me checking myself out the other day.  It was just a little bit embarrassing.

I don't get out of breath as easily.  I can chase Grant around or run up the stairs and not be winded.

Here is my big takeaway...are you ready??

A little bit done faithfully every day is better than the big heroic act done once.

Here is what I'm saying.  I could get a lot more glory running a marathon.  I run a measly 2 miles a day.  It's not much.  But, by the end of April, I will have run over 2 marathons!

It applies to every aspect of life.  Do a little bit each day, and you can accomplish anything.

I'm still learning about this whole running thing, but I'm getting better every day.

Monday, April 16, 2012

learning kindness via dog biscuits

We are still going strong with our Kindness Projects and over Spring Break, we added one more to the list.  We spent an afternoon visiting the animals at the local shelter and we brought a box of biscuits and a handmade thank you note along with us.


We picked up the biscuits while we doing our shopping at Costco that morning and while I unloaded our groceries, Reid made a colorful thank you note to attach to the top of the box.

{It says "Thank you for caring for all the pets at the shelter.  From Reid and Grant"}

On our drive to the animal shelter I explained to Reid how the animal shelter works, that they take in all animals and that when people cannot care for their pets, or if homes with pets become abandoned, this is where the pets go while they wait for adoption.  I explained to him about how people volunteer their time and money to care for these animals and find them new homes.


Reid carried in the box of biscuits and gave them to the person at the front desk and then we  spent some time visiting with all the animals and walking through the shelter. 

Grant doesn't have much of a concept yet, but Reid is starting to understand the idea that things don't just happen automatically.  He is starting to get that there are thousands of people who do good things for others right in our community and that we all have a small part in contributing to a greater good.

It's a good reminder for me too, to be aware of others, especially those who do work that often goes unnoticed, and to remember to say thank you.


{If you want to read more about this project, here are the links to our first, second and third projects.  I've also added a kindness project tab to the right under the "categories" section}

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

tuesday randomness via instagram

I think by now you all know what happens around here each Tuesday...and since it's Tuesday, guess what??

Instagram!!

Here's what we've been up to this week...


Mark and I went out to dinner with some friends to celebrate a birthday.  We stayed out way too late laughing at each other and drinking margaritas.  We paid for it the next day.  But...it was super fun. 


Coconut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.  I have lost count of how many times I have made these, but one thing is sure.  If someone invites us over and asks us to bring the cupcakes what they really mean is to bring THESE cupcakes.  They are legendary.


Between the cake and the frosting, I use 1 1/2 lbs of butter.  Everything good has butter.  It's just the way it is.  The recipe is Ina, of course.  You can find it here


This is what my kitchen counter looked like early on Easter morning.  Butter, butter, more butter...


Opening Easter baskets.  They were pretty thrilled.  And these baskets were followed by two more baskets later in the day {one from each Grandma}.  Oh my, do we have a lot of candy and goodies around here right now.  Those boys are very spoiled and very, very loved.


Sometimes holiday's wear you out...I think I took this picture before 9am!


Saturday night we went to church and then came home and dyed eggs.




Until last week I had never actually boiled an egg before.  Crazy, right?!


Finished eggs.


I am still going strong on April's resolution.  The plan is to run every day for 30 days.  Mark has joined me, which is super helpful in the motivation department.  This picture was at the end of  my 4th run.  


As of yesterday I am 9 for 9...and I beat my fastest run time by 30 seconds last night!! 


 Fried pickles.  I'm not pregnant, but these are to DIE for!!  There are two local restaurants that serve them and I do seriously crave them.


Ice cream date with Mama while big brother had baseball practice.


Going through boxes last week I came across my very first Bible. A gift from my Dad.  How sweet is that inscription?  It's a treasure to me.


I am finally reading One Thousand Gifts.  I have read so many blog posts raving about this book, but I've never been able to bring myself to read it.  I have picked it up at Barnes and Noble several times over the last year, read the first chapter and put it back.  It opens with the scene of the author's toddler sister being killed by a truck.  Some things are just too hard to read.  But.  I am finally reading it.  It is very intense, but profoundly good.  I'll give you another update once I actually finish it.


A new design coming to the shop later this week.  My Facebook fans helped me name this one.  If you are on Facebook, I'd love to have you join us!


I took the boys  to Sea Word one day last week since we were on Spring Break.  We got to interact with the dolphins and get a super close view of the killer whales too.


It's really amazing how big and powerful they are.  I was in awe and also creeped out being so close to them. 


Sea World has the most incredible gardens throughout the park. It's by far my favorite theme park.  It's just pretty to walk around and enjoy nature.

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Other random thoughts...

It is officially time for sunscreen.  Last week while we were out and about Grant wore flip flops and his poor little feet got sunburned.

I really wanted to do some spring family  photos, but...Reid is now missing his two front teeth.  Hmmm...

My mom made Reid this fun fort kit. Pics to follow next week!

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Have a great Tuesday!



 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Julia

There's a new girl in town!

 
 
 I am having fun enjoying my babies over Spring Break this week, but I thought I would pop in quickly today and introduce the newest design.





This necklace is a combination of all of the bestselling charms in the shop.



I am LOVING it! I hope you love it too! 



On another note...

We have two more days of Spring Break to fill...I am trying to beat the Spring Break boredom.  Not so easy with a 2 and 8 year old!  We went to Sea World yesterday and I'm thinking we may end up visiting the Animal Shelter today.  Maybe dye eggs tomorrow...any other ideas?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

tuesday randomness via instagram

Hey there!!  It's Tuesday...you know what that means...Instagram!


I love to cook, but I can never find an apron that fits quite right.  I spotted this one at Anthropologie and loved it.

This is how it looks a bit farther back:


I love it.  And, yes I took this pic in Reid's room - he has the only full length mirror in the house.  How ridiculous is that?!  I literally run down to his room after I get ready in the morning to check my outfit before running out the door.  This is a problem that could easily be fixed.  It's on my list...

And did you notice my new iPhone case?


It's from Plum Street Prints.  Love their stuff.  My last case was from them too.  Same design, just a different color monogram.  I'm boring like that.
{PS I really do wear my wedding ring on the left hand, but this was taken in a mirror, so it looks reversed...}


Mark and I went out to dinner one night last weekend and our table had such a pretty view of the boats.  When I busted out my phone, Mark was like "What are you doing?"  Umm, instagram...of course!


I am loving this new candle from Anthro...Volcano by Capri Blue.  Mark bought it for me.  Sweet hubs that he is.  It smells really amazing.  Fresh and not too overpowering.  I put it in a big glass jar with some beach sand. 


I totally stole this idea from the merchandising people at Anthro.  Thanks merchandising people!


I have been shopping around for a new duvet...ours is pretty tired.  This one is really pretty...


Beautiful desserts from a local bakery.  I love dessert.


Here is the reason I wear cheap glasses!  Ha!  But, isn't he so adorable?!


Grant loves to be a big helper and he loves to cook.  And, he really is super helpful and interested in every step. 


We made Giada's Lemon Ricotta Biscuits.  They are really light and fluffy and they are quick to make so it's totally doable when you are cooking with kids.


You can tell by the fact that my cookbook is falling apart that this recipe has been well loved!  These biscuits would be a perfect addition to Easter brunch if you're hosting!


I liked this lantern arbor at Pottery Barn.  Mark totally scoped it out.  I think it would be fairly easy to DIY one.



A box of Red Velvet Cupcakes from a really amazing bakery by my parents house.  Sugar is my weakness.

Other random notes...

12 in 12 for April has started....I am trying to run every day for 30 days.  I'll keep you posted.

My parents took the kids for a few days over Spring Break.  It's been so quiet...and so clean.  No lego's or matchbox cars on the floor.  And I actually slept til 8:00 yesterday!  Whoop!  I do miss kissing on them though.   Those babies are coming home today and that makes me happy. 

I have the itch to paint some more furniture around here.  I think our bedroom set is going to be my next victim/project.

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Have a great Tuesday everyone!




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