Saturday, October 25, 2014

To Kiddo

I never realized how gratifying it is to see your child growing up. It feels like life is on fast forward, times 20, but seeing Kiddo blossom into this amazing young woman, full of opinions, whimsy, talent, music and wit just makes me melt. She defends her friends, young and old, with all her being, stands up for what she believes in, does the right thing even when it's hard, and takes on new challenges, even when they scare her.

The deep, warm feeling of pride and satisfaction grows a tiny bit in my belly each day. I can't take credit for a good 80-90% of this person-hood of hers, since that has all been there from day one. I am so thankful we are blessed to be the ones guiding her through the rocky roads of adolescence (and ROCKY they are!), and so very proud she is part of our family.

Kiddo, you are incredible, and many more things that I can't get into words right now. It's suddenly very dusty here at my laptop.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Commitment is terrifying

Hey there readers!

During my blogging break, I've been getting a few things in order as far as my health and physical fitness goes. Part of this process has been to invite my dad to join me at the gym as a workout buddy, which has been a wonderful thing for both of us. Getting to see him regularly each week is a total blessing, and so very good for my mental health as well.

My dad and I are similar in a lot of ways, and our minds are scarily similar. Due to this phenomenon, the beginnings of feeling fit and healthy have sparked his imagination in incredible ways, and he's made a couple of suggestions to me. Seeing the pure joy and fulfillment wash over my dad's face each time we set foot in that gym is extremely rewarding to me, and of course it's awesome for him too!

He started off the other day by telling me how he'd gotten this "wild" idea, based on my doing the Spartan Sprint in 2013 (which I never blogged about, it would seem, for a number of reasons), and now he is talking about doing the Sprint in 2015. That would give us just over a year to get ready, which is doable.

If, and it's a big IF...if I were to commit to doing this with my dad, and we both completed it, we'd then get matching Spartan tattoos. Not the logo, mind you, because we're both rebels like that, but something that encompasses the Spartan spirit.

There's a ton wrapped up emotionally and mentally in actually committing to a "yes" on this to my Dad, so I haven't made a decision yet. The Sprint last year broke me, physically and mentally. There were tears at the end, and I literally hobbled for a month afterward. I still have trouble thinking about the race in its entirety, and thinking of subjecting myself to that again...I just can't fully say "yes" yet.

At the same time, I've been looking up training methods, how to replicate the tougher obstacles at home for training, and imagining how I could actually conquer this thing instead of it mocking me and whipping me every step of the course. I've looked on Craigslist for tractor tires, and I've created an entire section of my planner to training, complete with a list of what I need for the more unusual training items.

Similar to a discussion I had earlier this week with a few friends, I feel like I have actually made up my mind, and I'm not ready to admit it to myself yet. I really don't know.

Committing to a Spartan race is scary enough. Having been through it, KNOWINGLY committing to it again is terrifying.

So why do I get excited butterflies when I imagine doing the race with my dad??

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Dark Days

You know those days you can barely get out of bed, you spend hours ruminating and staring at the wall, in many ways you hate life for no apparent reason and you're surrounded by darkness?

I've been having a lot of those days lately. Things will probably be pretty quiet until something improves.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Matters of Faith & Children

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. - Proverbs 22:6

Faith in God has always been a part of my life. Even when I walked away from nearly everything I'd done as right as a kid, a deep seated knowledge that God is real and part of my life never left me. As an adult who wants to raise my daughter in the ways of God without being legalistic, or have her believe she must condemn friends who don't have the same faith, I find that things are not black and white.

I've known this for a long time, but dang y'all, having a kid makes EVERYTHING feel like a giant gray area. Tonight she confided in me that she is going through what many of us would call a "crisis of faith", where she honestly isn't sure if she believes in God, and she's scared of what that could mean.

"What if we're worshiping nothing? What if we're wasting our Sundays worshiping absolutely nothing?"

Yet, at the same time, she requested three different prayer sessions as we were going to bed/saying goodnight. I know so well this doubt, this questioning and the fear that comes with it. I have been going through something similar for a while, and trying to explore more to find out what I do actually believe. But, how do you approach that with an 11 year old? Faith is so abstract, elusive and intangible.

For tonight, I reassured her that she would be okay. That faith is a big thing, with lots of big questions, and that part of faith is accepting that there's not always answers to those questions. At least half of those words were for me, and I'm fairly positive they didn't actually come from me. I certainly needed to hear that, and it seemed to act as a bit of balm for her as well.

I wonder and worry, as a parent, if I'm not confident in my own faith, then how can I raise her with confidence?

Where do I go from here to help Kiddo?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Patience and Simplicity

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been under the weather lately. It seems as soon as one symptom lets up, something else is right on its heels! I was miserably nauseous for a week, and the last three days I've been laid up with a personal issue.

I've written before about my lack of patience, and it seems that I should be learning from all this that I need to be more patient!

My to-do lists in my awesome planner haven't been getting checked off, and I really don't like it when those little boxes don't get filled in/completed. I feel very lazy and directionless when I don't get things done, and this past week has truly been a week of getting absolutely NOTHING done! I barely made it through most days at work (sitting and staring at a computer, how is that hard?! When you want to puke at every movement, it gets pretty darn hard.), and went home thinking only of finally getting to lie down in bed and maybe stopping the movement would stop the nausea. Sometimes it worked! Then I'd get up and BAM, there it was.

It's made me a little stir-crazy, and even though I'm nowhere near 100% and still have pretty nasty cramps, today I had to move and actually do something. So I made myself a small to do list (oh hey Jillian Michaels 30 day shred, forgot about you!! Right after this post, I promise), and I've been gradually getting things done.

One of the big things I've been trying to accomplish with the organization I've been working on in our room is simplicity. Our space is so limited, we need to simplify and make sure everything has a place and a reason for being there. Part of that simplicity is going down to one car and I'll start biking and taking public transit for my commute. It's exciting, and I had a blast cleaning everything out of my car today! I'm honestly ready to let my little sporty car go, and the savings we'll see along with simplifying life with only having to take care a single car will be fabulous.

How are you simplifying your life lately?

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spirit of Service

Lately I haven't been feeling well, and it's bringing out a side of kiddo that I don't see all that often (being her parent and all) - her serving others side.

I hear from other parents, teachers and other adults that spend time around kiddo that she loves to help, and is quick to offer service to those around her. This makes me so very happy, and yet looking at our life, I can't say that I can point to where this has come from. I hope this is because helping those around us is so ingrained that it's just part of life without thought to plan things out.

Since I haven't been feeling well, I often come home from work and head straight to bed. It's frustrating, and I don't have any sick time built up at this new job to afford actually staying home. If things get worse I certainly will. However, each time kiddo finds me in bed, she offers helpful suggestions (open the window for fresh air) and brings me healing foods (toast and tea) while admonishing me that I should eat. I make her eat when she's sick, and I'm no different.

What would I do without this little nursemaid?

I am so, so thankful she has this spirit of service, and I pray that I have that same spirit with those around me and my loved ones.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why I'm Not Fasting For Lent

Going into this Lenten season, I knew that I wanted to observe the 40 days of Lent, but was very unsure in what way. As I've been working on getting organized and using my planner to keep my life in order, I thought perhaps following a fairly traditional route would fit the routine that I've been finding soothes my anxiety.

After a (very) brief period of thought, I began looking at fasting between sunrise and sunset, with the exception of two small snacks. As I've been working on eating healthier, I thought (mistakenly) that this would be a good way to continue eating healthy and jumpstart a bit of weight loss.

Well! If you've done any reading on Lenten fasting, the intent behind it is key. One fasts in an event such as Lent out of a hunger to grow closer to God, a hunger so strong for His word that one would forego food itself in the pursuit of quelling the desire.

My intent, however, was one of doing something I'd never done before, and hoping it would help my vanity and weight loss efforts. I did attempt a full day on Ash Wednesday, and made it all the way until lunch time. Much of the time I was focused on the food I was not to be eating, and the rest of the time I was thinking of the fact that I was doing it for entirely the wrong reasons.

After several hours of deep thought, I declared to myself that I was no longer fasting, because it felt very wrong and while I certainly want my faith to grow from the time of Lent, I definitely don't have the hunger that drives a true fast. In the course of these realizations, I did land on how I am observing Lent this year.

As I posted previously, I'm not sharing what I'm doing for Lent, but it definitely meets better criteria! It is something that I can do daily, it is not currently part of my daily routine, requires sacrifice (though not a physical one) and will deepen my faith.

I am not posting this as any kind of shame on those who choose to fast for Lent for any reason. This blog is simply about my personal reasons, and I thought I would share. The celebration of Lent (or not) is a personal decision, and is not something I would ever judge another person by. 

Do you typically do the same thing each year to observe Lent? Do you take a while to decide how you'll observe, or is part of a yearly routine for you? I'm very interested in how others arrive at what sort of observation they will use!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A lesson in patience


Silly Fun (c) 2013 KL Photography & Kristin Leamy

  • Some of us have more than others. 
  • Some of us are selective upon whom we bestow our patience. 
  • Some of us value it higher than others.

The Beatitudes list patience as one of the virtues of love.

And yet...

As I get older, love my child and husband more and more with each turn of the earth (no really, I do!), I have less and less patience with them, much less with myself. I tell myself it's because I have higher standards now, but I think that might be a lie.

I think my standards are about the same, overall, but my expectations of those around has significantly changed. Oh, you're 11 now? Well now I expect you to behave exactly in the way an adult would act. You'll do it, but on your own timeline which is vastly different from mine? That's just unacceptable.


In my new planner, I have a space for jotting down one significant way I've been patient with my family that day. This is something I need to work on, and am using this year to really focus on. I'm generally a patient person, and yet I am the least patient with those that I love the most. This needs to change.

And today, one of the biggest challenges of all - my cycle has started. I won't go into graphic detail, but it puts me through the equivalent of labor each month, without the payoff of an epidural or a sweet baby to snuggle afterward. Sitting home from work, writing out this post, it's difficult to look around me and see all the things waiting to be done, and to restrain myself from doing them because it will either cause more pain, or I simply physically am unable to do so.


Nothing that I see around me is an urgent matter. Laundry can wait another day. Those boxes will still be there for me to sort tomorrow. For now, I need to allow myself to rest and heal.

Some days, that's the hardest thing to accomplish.

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Friday, February 28, 2014

Observing Lent

Droplet (c) 2013 KL Photography & Kristin Leamy

Matthew 6:1-34 ESV“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season, is nearly upon us. As we go into this part of the year, I always try to think of what would truly be a sacrifice to give up for 40 days, and whether it is something I could realistically stick to for the entire time.

As the verse above states, whatever you abstain from during Lent isn't something to be public knowledge, and certainly isn't a bragging rights ideal. Lent is a time of reflection, repentance and reminding us of how close God is, if we would only turn and see Him next to us.

I am considering trying to find an Ash Wednesday service that I can attend during my lunch or sometime during my work day. Do you attend Lenten services? Total newbie question, but are there services other than on Ash Wednesdays?

Observing Lent is pretty new to me, as of the last few years, but I really, really appreciate it as an adult in a way that I don't think I would have as a younger me. I find the practice and observation of things like this to be very soothing, and the meditation aspect is something I've always really enjoyed. I feel that meditation and prayer are very close, and I feel very close to God during meditation, because I'm able to quiet my thoughts more and be open to listen. At the same time, it also allows the base desire or worry that's been underlying everything finally come to the surface. Being able to pinpoint that type of feeling is such a relief.

Do you observe Lent? How long have you done so? Do you find it a vital part of your faith? Why or why not?

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My new Erin Condren planner!

I'm back! :)

After a refreshing weekend at the Oregon Coast, it seems someone hit the Fast Forward button on my life!! A whirlwind of catching up at work after getting a little behind while I daydreamed about the beach, family gatherings, basketball practices and games, making time to just be with Matt, and oh yeah, sleep - all awaited my return.

As I posted previously, I also recently decided to get a paper planner and get back to putting pen to paper to keep my life in order. As you can see from the above, I kind of need it! I ordered an Erin Condren Life Planner, which arrived on Saturday, and I've been enjoying savoring the little bits of planning I do as I go through my days.

I can't have my planner be UNsparkled...fixed that right quick!

I'm working on a "dashboard" just inside the cover. Just a convenient spot to keep my sticky notes!

Instead of a birthdays and anniversaries list, since I'm marking those in the monthly spreads, this will be my Gratitude Journal
This far. Since taking this picture, stickers, more to-dos and a sticky note have made their way on here

Bacon washi...because BACON!

My savings plan, back in the Notes section of my planner.

The awesome zipper pouch at the back of the planner. Currently holding all my stickers and some sticky flags that won't stick to my dashboard. 

So! I love my happy colorful planner, and I am carrying it everywhere with me so I keep getting glimpses of happy peeking out of my purse! I really think this was a great investment, and will help keep the myriad of activities going on in our lives straight.

If you want a fun planner of your own, click my link at the bottom of the post for $10 off your first order!! (Disclosure: this post is NOT sponsored by or anyone else...I just love my planner and want to share the love!)

I've got the organizing bug in a BAD way, and this planner really helps me feel together, and like I can map out a decent plan of attack to the chaos in our lives. I've been having a blast using Pinterest to gather ideas for what I want to do when we have our place, along with ideas of how I can work with the space we're currently in.

Here are a couple of my favorite pins:

I've already dropped into our local Dollar Tree and picked up some fun bright green stacking bins to try the under cabinet storage for our bathroom vanity. It's a total mess down there, I'm excited to take care of it!!! I'm excited to try the sheet folding trick, I long for our linen closet to be neat and tidy again.

What is your favorite organization tip or trick?

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Weekend Getaway

After a week of craziness, between the snow days, preteen cabin fever and scrambling to catch up after the snow left, I'm a bit pooped! I stopped by our local library to get some new reading material since I knew I'd be going to bed early for a few days as I caught myself up as well. 

I've waffled a long time on whether to give the Doctor Who books a try, as I'm madly in love with the series, and I would be so so so disappointed if the books were awful.

Happily, this one isn't! I feel immersed in the fantastic world of Doctor Who when I read it, and I feel that it could be a 3 part episode or so. It's fun and well-written while still capturing the personality that David Tennant gave to the 10th Doctor. 

Then...I noticed the cover:

Well played, local library, well played.

Just before the snow hit, Kiddo was invited to a friend's birthday last weekend, with a 50's Hollywood Glamour theme...right up this mom's alley!! This was a gateway to introducing her to Audrey Hepburn....and well...

$5 at Salvation Army and a couple of accessories later, we have a mini Audrey in our house! The party was delayed to this weekend, thankfully, and while I won't be home tonight to help her do her hair (more on that in a moment), I demonstrated for Matt last night, and set out all the supplies he'll need. Hopefully he's able to recreate it for her!

In our wanderings through the Salvation Army, I spotted this beauty of a coat rack and umbrella stand. Growing up, my parents used to have one like this (but sturdier) on the landing of our split entry home. I actually miss having that, but there's nowhere in our current home for a coat stand. When I moved closer to the stand, I couldn't believe it...only $7.99!

I snapped this pic and texted it over to my dad.... "You can have a piece of your past for only $7.99!!" He totally got a kick out of that! :)

So, the reason I won't be here for party prep is because I'm headed off for our annual Girl's Weekend, in which I and three friends nip off to the Oregon Coast for a beautiful, peaceful, mostly unplugged retreat. 

This year I mixed it up a little and actually saved up beforehand, then went to the bank and pulled out my savings in CASH. This envelope has post-its on each section of cash and what it's for. I feel so prepared!!

Speaking of feeling prepared, I have a couple of fun vodkas, and junk food. Why no, I didn't spend any formative time in Russia...why do you ask?

Then of course, is the project that I'm taking. This year is a year of blankets, it would seem. So, I'm taking my beachy colored blanket that's super fun, and I'm hoping to get a big chunk of it done. Progress is slow on this because I've only worked on it on my breaks at the office, but I'm loving it.

Well, loving it except for one thing. Bobbles.

Bloody freaking bobbles.

They can go die in a fire. 

Stupid bobbles.

Anywho! See you lovelies early next week when I'm back! :)

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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Newest fixation

I am a person for whom a new interest takes over and sometimes turns into a short-term fixation or obsession. My OCD certainly plays a part in that, but I also think having the Internet at our fingertips (and being snowed in for days on end) allows for a gluttonous amount of research in a short period of time.

Case in point: I visited a fellow SITS blogger's post on Saturday, and ended up falling down a rabbit hole. I could blame her, but really? It's not her fault that she posted a fabulous, inspiring post that makes me want to join the ranks of Erin Condren Life Planner users!

Having read that post yesterday (or Friday? My days are quite muddled together at this point!), I've since been Googling reviews of EC planners, looking at alternatives (there are definitely lots of choices out there, but this particular planner looks like it fits my needs), and watching videos of EC users showing how they use their planners. Aside from the decorating aspect that comes with any planner, the way these planners are laid out seems very useful to me, and a few small changes would make it into something that I would carry and use daily.

For this girl with a collection of journals (mostly not filled...OK mostly not used) and a fascination with planners who has never found The Perfect Planner, I'm going to give this one a shot.

The personalization options are fun, you can request color changes (PURPLE!) on the vast design choices you have, AND the biggest bonus to me is the fact that when you order, you can specify the starting month of the planner.

For example, it's currently February, so when I was playing around with having one in my cart, I had the option of having it start in February, March or April of this year. I think you always have that three hour window, and it's brilliant. I never remember to pick up a planner at the end of one year/beginning of a new year. The ability to start this planner at any point in the year is a huge bonus to me.

I haven't bought one yet, but I made a Pinterest board to collect my ideas of how I'm going to be using it, and I already found a few washi tape rolls on Etsy that I want for my specific themes (Photography, Blogging and Health).

Oh dear....and here I thought maybe blogging about it would help me climb out of the rabbit hole!

P.S.  Remember that OCD I mentioned? I just peeked at my Pinterest boards, and for some reason they're no longer in alphabetical order, even though I spent over an hour doing that the other day! ACK!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

More Snow!

It would seem that Mother Nature thinks we here in the Portland area just LOVE snow and can't wait for more of it to come!!

Frankly, she's right. At least in this household...we love the snow! Waking up to a gentle snow globe wonderland outside was so fun, and then to find a burrowing squirrel friend on our back patio...well I had to grab my phone for some silly stop-motion so I could share with you all!

It's short, I know, but the big wind gusts ended up scaring our little furry-tailed friend away, sadly.

Kiddo has been having a bit of cabin fever going on, and finally got to venture the few blocks away to her BFF's house to play in the snow. Of course, now that I've seen her safely there and gotten back to our house myself, I've heard that freezing rain is on the way!! Coating everything in ice makes a snow day NO FUN, you guys. It hurts combined with the wind, and you usually can't get to the snow underneath before the weather changes and it all melts away.

So, I'm thankful Kiddo has had several chances to enjoy the snow and revel in the beauty it brings!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Snow day fun

Yesterday and today our area was hit with snow and wind. Many of you from locations outside of the Northwestern part of the US might giggle at our reactions here, but we only get any snow on the ground about every 4 years. Most of us are not prepared for any kind of slickness on the streets of our town aside from rain, and even the smallest hills become big obstacles for drivers like myself.

Thankfully, my boss was very understanding and allowed us to leave for home early. Even leaving at 2:15 in the afternoon, traffic was pretty snarled, and it took about twice as long to get home. Thankfully, I only lost traction a few times, for only an inch or two before my tires would grab again, and arrived home without incident. Happily, I don't have to take freeways to get to or from work, so I was able to bypass that parking lot and take surface streets.

Today we were blessed with even MORE snow, and kiddo and I braved the wind to head to the park down the street for some photos. I was excited, because it was her idea and I wanted to do some but hadn't wanted to ask her to go out in the crazy wind that drive snowflakes into our faces. She was totally game, and we got some fun photos!

Warming herself on my coat, and kind of shielding herself from the wind

This girl was even willing to stand in the wind while it whipped her hair around her face!

Blizzard! Only not really, but it felt like it!

We finally came home after 15 very long minutes, and warmed up with hot cocoa and marshmallows. After a fairly relaxing afternoon, we are now cozied up on the couch as a family, complete with delicious blankets, watching the Olympic opening ceremonies. It's been so fun seeing bits of Russia, that I miss so much, and wishing I could be there for this momentous event. Kiddo is having fun staying up WAY past her bedtime, and we're hoping the Olympic torch is lit soon. It's currently 10:57PM, and so far, no torch! Boo.

Ripply goodness!

Tonight I finally gave into the itch, and started the fabulous Lucy's Neat Ripple Blanket. Mine will only have red, white and black in it, and will probably become a Portland Thorns themed blanket. I love having blankets going, and especially ones like this ripple, that grow so quickly and are fun without requiring vast amounts of concentration.

*Yawn* I certainly hope you're enjoying your night, and staying cozy wherever life finds you!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My commute

Trying something new, here's a silly time lapse video of my morning commute for your viewing pleasure :)

(Forgive me, I'm still figuring out blogging from my phone)

Yes, there are silly faces, and yes that kiss is for YOU. Don't tell Matt. 

Sexy librarian is watching you