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from the archives

I was looking for a photo that I think I posted on the blog many years ago about the house project. I didn’t find it, but what treasures I did find! A few minutes ago I said goodnight to F and laid out her clothes for tomorrow. I get Wednesdays, which means I get to choose what she wears on Wednesdays. (I also get a say for church and other events requiring a little more dress up, but those always involve a lot of negotiations.) But really, I just get Wednesdays.

I don’t use it as an opportunity to force her into clothing she hates to wear. I just use it as an opportunity to bring out some of the clothes that she owns to actually get them on her body. She’d like nothing better than to only own about four things and wear them in a constant rotation. I don’t really blame her – I’m not all that different. But it also bothers me that she has perfectly nice clothes that she rarely wears*, and so Wednesday she gets a fresh look from me!

These days I’m just pulling from the bottom of the stack where the lonely tee’s go to die – but when she was younger I took the opportunity to put her in the cute hand-me-down’s from her sister and cousin. That’s why you’d only catch her in a dress or skirt in the middle of the week! (Garden day!) Now dresses are off limits completely, and that’s fine. But seeing these old photos makes me smile, especially those red shoes. I do miss the shoes.

* we don’t buy her many clothes, but she gets a lot of hand-me-down’s. We continually thin out her clothing to keep it manageable, and so we can pass on or donate clothes she’s not going to ever wear to someone else who will love them and wear them out.

the gift of noticing

One of my favorite gifts this season was this oddball collection of items from M, and here’s why.

This is my favorite measuring cup because you see the amounts from the top rather than stooping to try and see level from the side. We’ve owned one for almost twenty years now, and most of the lower numbers are completely faded. I use it all the time, and it always bugs me a little that I have to squint and hope that I’m pretty close to where I’m supposed to be – which isn’t ideal when looking for precise measurements. The annoyance passes quickly, so I forget to replace it…until the next day when it bugs me again.

I love this running belt so much because it holds my phone for me in a way that I almost forget that I have it until I need it for that perfect sunset park shot. I almost always remember it, but sometimes I don’t – especially in the winter when I’m tacking on an indoor run at the gym, and haven’t packed specifically for running. I’ve been meaning to get a second backup one to keep in the car at all times, but I just never seem to get around to it. I came home more than a few times in October and November from 10+ mile runs where I had to hold my phone in my hand the whole time, sort of aggravating.

Speaking of indoor running – each winter I’m forced inside for some of my runs, and it’s only after arriving at the gym for a run (rather than a class) where I realize that I somehow need to stash my stuff somewhere safe outside of a classroom. The Y has some locks for loan, but sometimes they are all checked out, and I either have to risk leaving my stuff in an open locker, dash from the car to the gym in the snow or subzero temps in a tank top and shorts, leaving outer clothes in the car, or head home with no exercise. I grumble about it during the winter… but quickly forget it again when it’s spring. So I never end up just picking up a lock to solve the problem.

That’s why this gift was so awesome to me. Little things that I’ve likely grumbled about along the way but never attended to. It’s really the gift of noticing, which is a lovely, lovely gift to receive.


*what F calls new year’s resolutions

I haven’t written a whole lot on resolutions for awhile. I did a quick search to see when I last wrote with any depth on this topic, and it was in 2014.

I liked the format that I used back then, and thought it would be helpful for tackling some big (and little) goals this year. I wish that I could say that I will just focus on one item each month, but the reality is that we have three MAJOR things to work through this month, and none of those items can be pushed off until later. So the hours will fill up quickly this month – an even better reason to have a plan.

Here’s a sample format for one of those items in January:

January Focus (#1): 2020 Travel / College Visits

To-do’s related to that theme:

1. Select travel location(s) for Spring Break around campus visits for E. She’s working on the master list this week before returning back to school. Try and group a few together that week, and then set long weekend travel dates for any remaining outliers. Summer travel location is set (no work, all play!), and we’re very excited about it!

2.  Finalize dates and secure lodging and transportation for the two big trips.  

3. Start spreadsheet for both trips, and reach out to others for travel advice and recommendations.

4. Flesh out lodging / transportation for any smaller trips required.

Learn something new:

Navigating more of the college selection process, and developing a system for organizing the copious amounts of information (with deadlines!) coming our way this year. System to be shared between me and M and E so that we can all contribute and keep on top of things. Divide tasks equally and set aside time to chat in person (weekly?) about where things stand.

How I want to feel at the end of January: 

Organized, calm, ready.


I like the balance of action items (I love a good to-do list) along with naming what will stretch me and how I want to feel once these items are completed. I’m really good at organizing myself in this way during the holidays – particularly when making my cards. I chart out a master plan for the month on a physical calendar, and I continually refine the nightly to-do lists (finish 110 palm tree tops, glue snow on mountains, affix stamps on envelopes…), and so I hope to continue in that mode (with less x-acto blades and more sleep) in the coming months.