Round The Kettle Ep 8 – Worn Out

It’s been a few weeks! How are you??? How has the past month or so treated you?

It’s been a whirlwind for us. We had the movers come and pack our house up, ship it, and start the move out clean process. We got some heartbreaking family news that had us moving our vacation plans up a day (along with some weather coming in). From the moment we got in till now it’s been a second whirlwind and I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t worn through by now. I hit that worn out wall and hit it hard.

As an introvert, I find it absolutely necessary to pull away from everything for a little bit in the early afternoon whether that means diving into my book or just stepping into our room to breathe for a minute. I have got to have that little bit of time to just re charge my batteries or it is a mess. Thankfully I’ve had a relatively quiet day to relax and take it a bit easy before we head straight back into everything.

I think in some ways this move has taken a lot more out of me then our past ones. I don’t know if it is us moving overseas, us having two kids now, us dealing with some other issues. I think it is honestly probably a combination of all of them. Aside from the one bit, it hasn’t been anything bad, it’s just been A LOT. I’m kind of hoping that this coming week things can calm down a bit and we can have some semblance of “normal”.

A couple of things that I’ve really been loving over the past few weeks (which aren’t really anything new or exciting for me):

 

  1. Reading. I’ve been doing lots and lots of reading. From the start of the year I’ve already read 3 or 4 books. One of the better one’s was Us Against You by Frederik Backman. I’m currently reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and have quite the stack of books for our move.
  2. A Discovery of Witches the TV Show. On of my all time favorite book series has been turned into a TV Show. I’m only 3 episodes in (I’m trying REALLY hard not to binge watch them, but savor them…we’ll see how that works after this weekend.
  3. Standard English Breakfast Tea. I haven’t had just standard black tea in the mornings in a long time (having favored a berry flavored with extra black) and while I still like my original concoction, I have been reaching for an English Breakfast Tea (or Scottish) first thing in the morning.
  4. Heeled Boots. After years and years of flat boots I have found two pairs of heeled boots that I am obsessed with.
  5. Journaling. I have to admit- this has kind of fallen by the way side a little bit. We’ve been so go, go, go, but over the past day or two I have done a little bit first thing in the morning and it is just a really nice way to start the day (after a bit of yoga).

Drop a comment below and tell me what you’ve been up to the past couple weeks and what things you have been loving lately.

My #1 Piece of Advice

Whenever I have a conversation with someone who is just starting something, whether it be motherhood, a new job, marriage, whatever, inevitably the conversation goes somewhere towards advice. I get this a lot when I talk with other expectant moms or engaged couples. Big life changes can be daunting and sometimes it helps to talk to someone else who has been through it (and sometimes it doesn’t, I get it either way).

While I try not to offer unsolicited advice (I remember how much I hate that myself), if I get asked for any tips this is ALWAYS my go to answer:

“Be open to the idea that NOTHING is going to go the way you have it planned out”

Yep, Type A, planner/organized/list maker me just said that. This one piece of advice is the one piece that I feel like everyone tap dances around, but never just comes out and says it. It can be applied to any situation and is both blunt/honest and yet kind. It’s the best piece of advice I ever heard and it is the single most true thing anyone has ever said about life.

We can try and plan things out, set goals, and map out the direction our life will take. I would hazard a guess that our lives end up going that path 75% of the time. Life throws curveballs all the time: that dream promotion went to someone else, relationships come to an end, pregnancy is not the dream that we thought it would be, the list goes on and on.

When we get those curveballs, we fall into two categories:

Category 1: We freak out and try to resist wherever it is that we are being pulled in order to stay on track with our perfect life plan. We desperately cling to our plans/lists/goals and crumble at the curveball that has just been thrown. A good amount of us end up staying in this category, unsure of how to pull ourselves out and get back to where we want to be.

Category 2: We roll with the punches and try to adjust our plans and goals around whatever the curve ball may be. These are the people who are taking the advice given above and putting it into action. They are the ones who seem to always have their stuff together and always seem to getting places.

I’m not saying that we can’t dwell or process the curveball when it is thrown our way. Absolutely in some cases we will need to process and deal. The difference is that if we make our goals and plans knowing that they may shift and change as life moves forward, then we can continue on after we’ve processed the curveball. When we make our life plans, if they are made with this knowledge, then we can bounce around the curveballs (and maybe hit a few of our own) with ease. Knowing that we will get to where we are meant to be.

So, whether you are engaged, an expectant mother, a soon to be graduate, or looking at a major life change, just keep in mind that things may not go according to your plan. Welcome those curveballs and keep moving forward with your life.

The Day The Books Got Packed

The morning had dawned gray and dreary…quite appropriate weather for what was about to happen on this day. In their home. Today was the day the books would get packed. It was almost as if the sky and Mother Nature were telling her it would be OK (as she loved the rain, it was her comfort weather).

A house is not a home without books, or so she thought. She had been raised surrounded by books. Piled high on the book cases, rows three books deep in some places. Books shoved in nooks and crannies in her room, piled high on her desk, her bedside table. Reading had always been her escape, when life just became too much.

Reading was her life, beyond just a hobby, she desired nothing more than to live her life with a cup of tea in one hand and a book at her side (of course her husband and children fit into that picture as well). She wanted to make a life/career centered around books and she was working towards that.

She formed quite her own collection of books, although smaller than she had wanted at this stage of her life, it was still a very nice start to a home library. Three bookcases piled high, packed to the brim held her treasures. And then, in random corners of the rest of their home there would be books piled here and there, always in a neat and orderly fashion, but piled none the less.

Often times her husband would comment on the sheer amount of books that were coming into the little library of theirs, or when the piles in other places would grow to large ( though by and large he let her be as he saw how happy she was reading her books). Their kids would often thumb through her books, not really ready to truly read yet, but loving the act of thumbing the pages just the same. The kids library was quite substantial as well and they loved being able to pick up a book on a rainy afternoon as well (which is a story for another day).

She may not have read every book in her collection, but the ones she had read had left marks on her soul. Some left deeper marks than others, but each book had a memory of some sort. Her collection was her joy and bringing the collection into each home that they lived in was something special for her.

In fact, the first thing she would do whenever they moved and found a new house (they moved relatively frequently due to job) would be to bring in whatever books that she had squirreled away in their take with them luggage and set them up somewhere in the house. Usually this would lead to enough books for anyone to read in a month.

Their last move had been state to state, and only consist of a month of travel (vacation for her and her husband), but just a straight forward move. This move was different. An overseas move meant that her collection would be packed up and shipped on a boat, they wouldn’t be in a house for at least a couple months, which meant about 4 months without her library.

She didn’t panic (well maybe she did a little), but rather tried to take a practical approach. Pictures of every shelf, then a meticulous sort through to get through of whatever didn’t need to be kept, and then it was time for the hardest step before the movers came…picking the physical books that she would take with her.

This was probably the hardest packing decision there is. As a reader you never truly know what you will be in the mood to read next, where a certain book will leave you when you finish, and ultimately what you want to read will change with each book you read. It’s a tough call to make when you are going to be “in transition” for 4+ months. She wanted to have a bit of variety, but also some chunkier, longer books to keep her going.

**I want to clarify something- I have a kindle. I fully plan on taking advantage of that. BUT there is a difference between reading on a kindle and reading a physical book. I highly prefer physical books and so I definitely wanted to have some physical books on me, not just for reading purposes, but for comfort and home purposes.**

And so, all of her plans and preparations being done, the dreaded day had come. As the movers placed each book into the boxes she found herself feeling a mournful silence. It seemed quite silly in the moment. After all, they were just books, but then again they weren’t just books. They were stories that had touched her soul, some in incredible life changing ways.

And honestly, each book going into the box was a signal to her. This was happening. They were moving. Soon they would be in a new country. In a new environment. Navigating new adventures, new challenges. Learning a new language, a new culture. It was as if everything she had been feeling for the past few months had hit her in this moment of watching her collection get packed and loaded away.

Watching the moving truck pull away from the house (clutching one of her treasured books that would be traveling with her), she felt a sense of calm come over her. All the stress, the nerves, the planning had come to fruition and now they could just enjoy the vacation and travel to their new home. And of course, she had a small collection of books to accompany her and her family along the way.

 

*** Authors Note- I hoped you enjoyed this latest installment in my utterly ridiculous short stories of my life! I’ve been kind of enjoying poking fun at my seemingly innocent, but none the less stressful moments. I do want to say- I wasn’t going to start with “the morning dawned”, but it only felt right considering the last two started that way. Of course, as with the other two, this is meant to be a lighthearted look into an experience that I had and even though we got a little deep at the end, please know the humorous side of it.

What I Wore January 2019

Good morning! It is time once again for a What I Wore, this time featuring a mish mosh of all different things. Between the New Years Holiday, prepping the House for the movers, and navigating some other fun things it’s been back and forth between full on winter clothes and t-shirts/jeans. Enjoy!

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Sunday: Sunday was all about comfy and warm, but not hot as we were out and about running a variety of errands and then back to packing when we got home.

Top: Etsy online seller

Jeans: Wallflower Jeans

Shoes: Converse All Stars

 

 

 

I didn’t grab a picture on Monday as we had two sick kids, it was New Years Eve (which we normally spend in sweats anyways) and we didn’t plan on going anywhere.

IMG_8859.jpg Tuesday: Back into actually clothing after Monday, but still wanted to feel comfy (you’ll see a running theme here…mostly due to the amount of packing and moving we are doing right now).

Top: Amazon (yes, Amazon!)

Bottom: Wallflower Jeans

Shoes: Ugg Slippers

 

 

 

IMG_8889.jpg Wednesday: I tried to step my game back up a little bit on Wednesday, this was the first day we weren’t actively packing or running around. Still comfy- this sweater is one of my favorites!

Top: Calia by Carrie Underwood

Bottom: Wallflower Jeans

Shoes: Target

 

 

 

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Thursday: Another one of my favorite sweaters (and a favorite mug) as well as a favorite pair of wedge heels. We actually had to leave the house today and go to an area where my husbands works near, so I wanted to make sure I looked a little more presentable/professional.

Top: DressBarn

Bottoms: Wallflower Jeans

Shoes: Chinese Laundry

 

 

 

IMG_8942.jpg Friday: I think this might be one of my favorite outfits for the whole week. This shirt was a birthday gift and I’m absolutely obsessed (its a cat riding a bike- but seems very “Parisian”) and I paired it with a pair of heels from the same designer that I’m also obsessed with.

Top: Karl Lagerfeld

Bottom: Wallflower Jeans

Shoes: Karl Lagerfeld

 

 

IMG_8948.jpg Saturday: Out and running errands again- this time in the rain. I found this soft sweater in a surprising place, but it is so perfect for me for right now that I had to get it.

Top: Sams Club (it says Faith Hope Love)

Bottoms: Wallflower Jeans

Shoes: Target

 

 

 

I will share a couple of my accessories of late as well, as they have changed. For necklaces I’ve been wearing a little charm necklace that combines a couple of my favorite pendants, including a teardrop from Mermaids and Dinosaurs. I’ve also been loving and obsessing over my Maya Brenner Necklace (Christmas Gift pictured below). I’ve been sticking with a Mantra Band bangle bracelet that says “What if you fly”, something I need to be reminded of as well as another bracelet.

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Planning and Writing in 2019

I’ve said it time and time before, I’m a paper and pen kinda girl. I really enjoy having a paper planner as well as a journal to write in. I feel much more “together” when I can physically write out exactly what I need to do, how I’m feeling, and future plans.

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This year I am, once again, using a Day Designer planner. These can get a bit pricey for a planner, but so far they are the only planner that I’ve found that has everything that I like. I’ve got a monthly overview, as well as daily sheets that are half page time, half page to do list. It was absolutely perfect last year and I have a feeling it will be this year as well. I like to see where my time is being spent and to kind of “plot” my days out in bits of time, so having both is a major help.

The only difference from last year to this year in terms of planning is the size. I am going down from the bigger flagship to the slightly smaller version of the flagship. I do not think I am going to need as much room this year, as I’m only blogging, homemaking and “wife-ing”/parenting (and traveling!) this year. I am not balancing a job along with everything else.

As far as journaling goes, I am doing something fun! I’ve decided to switch things up from last year. My big thing last year was to cut down on notebooks. I didn’t want to have everything spread across a million different notebooks and journals, but rather one central location for everything. It didn’t work out well for me. It’s hard to track everything in one notebook when you are doing such a variety of things and I found myself doing it less and less as the year went on. I found that if I had made notes about a blog post I wanted to write it was really annoying to have to wade past random things to find the one note I made who knows when.

So, this year I am going to go back to how it was. I am going to have my planner, and then a couple different notebooks. I’ve got one for reading and my book notes (which then comes into play for my book blog), I’ve got one for blogging (different topics, rough outlines, overall thoughts and goals), and then an actual journal. I want to try and lump everything that doesn’t fall into the book or blogging sphere into my actual journal, whether that be ideas for stories or personal entries. I don’t want to go back a few years ago when I literally had about 10 different notebooks I was using- that was a little too much. It sounds complicated, and it may be a little over complicated, I’ll find out as the year goes on. I’ve got a couple journals lined up for the first few months of the year and then I’ll purchase as needed. I plan on doing a lot more writing this year than I have in the past.

So that is my set up for 2019! Are you a pen and paper person or do you plan/write digitally?

Looking Forward Into 2019

2019 is going to be a BIG year for us. We are moving out of the country, into a new environment, new culture, new job, new schedule to work with. As exciting as this time is ( I am seriously bubbling over with excitement if that makes sense), I also know that we will have quite the adjustment to make with all of the changes.

I’ve spoken before about I don’t really make true resolutions. I feel like resolutions are just made to be broken and that rather than approaching a new year with a list of resolutions that will probably not be kept (no matter how hard we try), I would rather set what is commonly called intentions. For me, these are things that I would like to make sure I am either doing or open to doing in the New Year.

Let’s be honest for a minute and realize that who we are, what we think, what we want to do, isn’t going to magically change just because it is 2019. Rather we have to make distinctive goals and efforts to make changes that we want to see. If you want to lose weight in 2019, rather than setting a resolution, set yourself up with a couple of reasonable goals for throughout the year.

I usually set one big “phrase” of the year. Something that I hope to keep strong throughout the year and how I would like to approach the New Year. Then I’ll set a couple other little intentions for how I want my mindset to be, or if there is something I specifically would like to address in the new year.

This year my big phrase is: “Be Open”.

It may sound a little strange when it is just one incomplete sentence, but I just want to be open to whatever this year is going to bring us. I’ve mentioned (maybe a time or two before…or too many times before haha) what a big change this year is going to be. I just want to keep an open mind to everything and kind of just run with it. To just set out without anything really in mind and let the cookies fall where they fall.

This seeps into all of my other smaller intentions which honestly can be summed up into this: “You can’t plan everything”. I am an over planner, over thinker, and while I can “go with the flow” it is not my strong suit. This year I want to get better at just letting go of some of the planning that I do. I think that our move is the perfect chance for me to experience some of that letting go. I’ve also cut out some of the things that required such planning and routines, so that will also make it easier to make this change for the year.

Beyond just setting intentions, I also like to do the whole one word year. I like to pick one word at the start of a year for the year. What I want my focus to center on and what I would like to bring more into our lives. It doesn’t “govern” anything, but rather is a guide for what I want to focus on.

This year my word is: “Explore”.

I really just want to get better at getting out and exploring our area. The cultures, the experiences, the nature of where we are going to be. I feel like sometimes when we go to a new place we can fall into a trap of still sticking to what we know, where we are comfortable at. This year I really want to make sure that I am pushing all of us out to truly explore. To reach out of our comfort zones and experience new things.

I do have a couple of “smaller” goals that I want to accomplish throughout the year, and while I am not going to share them right here, if all goes the way I foresee I’ll be sharing all the details very soon!

Tell me, do you do resolutions, intentions, one word, something different, nothing at all? What do you do to prepare for the New Year?

I can feel it in my bones- this year is going to be incredible!!

2018 Wrap Up

I cannot believe that another year has passed! 2018 was a year of growth for me. Growing in myself, in my roles, watching my children grow, watching my marriage grow. I do the whole one word year concept and looking back as much as I didn’t choose the word “Grow” for my word in 2018, I really should have. I’m in a bit of a reflective mood as this year comes to a close (pretty normal).

We went through highs and lows and really learned a lot.

We celebrated: birthdays (Colton turned 2, Andrew turned the big 1, I turned 27, the Mr turned 32), a wedding anniversary (4 years!), a dating anniversary (does anyone actually do those? We hit 7 years together), and just the little every day moments that have started to become more and more important as life flies by.

We loved: I fell deeper and deeper in love with my husband, our children have shown us a love like no other, and I also fell in love with new experiences, new books, new teas, a couple (ok more than a couple) new mugs.

We learned: better communication skills (more so me getting better and asking for help when it is needed), how to balance life (we both took on a lot over the past year and had to work through how to balance everything), more about who we are as people and who we are as a family, how to adapt to an ever changing hard to plan everything life change (our big move!). Both kids have taken huge leaps with learning, constantly learning new skills and keeping us on our toes at every turn over the past year.

We traveled: Colonial Williamsburg, Kentucky, Canada, the zoo (multiple times), and all around DC. Our trips this year have been some of the best memories that we’ve ever made. Seeing family, new places, and crossing places off of different bucket lists has been a dream come true for us. Getting away and being together (whether it is just to visit family or go somewhere completely new) has always been a big part of our years and is a big part of our future plans.

Some of my favorite moments in the past year have been the one’s where we just were. No plans, no fancy home cooked meal, just us with some takeout in our sweats on the couch watching a movie. Watching my boys grow and learn and build their own little relationship with each other. I could go on and on about my favorite moments, my favorite things, my favorite books, etc, but there was A LOT! I have a hard time narrowing down my favorites to just a few things- I’ll spare us all that agony haha.

This past year has tested us, adjusting to two very active children in the second half of the year, trying to balance being a parent, with working and following my passions was a tricky path to navigate. Constantly feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, or getting enough done, and trying to figure out how to focus on everything at once was one of the biggest hurdles I faced this year.

I also want to say a huge, heartfelt thank you to all of you. To reading all of my posts, to joining in on my journey. I can’t tell you how much it means to me when you read, comment, and follow along. I never dreamed that even one person (outside my mom, dad, and nearest and dearest) would read what I have to say and now there are quite a few of you! I really appreciate all of you. If I could I would send hugs out to everyone.

We have a lot of changes coming as we look forward to 2019. It is going to be a big year for myself and my family and I can’t wait to continue sharing with you.

Tell me, how was your 2018? Any highs? Lows?