Adventuring, Parenting, Reading, Summer

Summer planning.

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I am, by very nature, a planner.  I love thinking about the future, whether near or far, and I love checklists.  I also love really good quality pens and paper (see links to shop my faves at the bottom).  So planning my summer in bullet journal form was a natural exercise.  Summer for me seems to be a natural time to re-evaluate, re-assess, and set “resolutions” of a sort.  My body functions much better in the longer, brighter, warmer days of summer than it does in the shorter, darker, frigid days of winter.  A sunnier sky gives me much more motivation to do, achieve, and be better in general.  The older I get, the more I’m realizing this about myself.  So I’m planning to take full advantage of all the vitamin d days the next few months have to offer me!

My goals for this summer have to do with myself as an individual, as a wife, as a mother, and also as a small business owner.   Setting these longer range goals and then breaking them down into how my days will look each week is helpful to keep myself on track (a method known as “reverse engineering” to some.

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First up is my plan for health and exercise.  The husband and I keep joking that this is our “summer of skinny,” but in all reality our whole family could use a health reboot.  We love to cook, so it’s not like we’ve been eating out like crazy or eating a ton of artificial nonsense, but it becomes so easy to cook comfort food (i.e. carbs) rather than inherently healthful foods.  Our plan is to do a Whole30 and figure out which foods are causing some of the bloating, reactions, and allergies that have been plaguing our family and then plan accordingly from there to get everyone feeling their best.   I recently found Daily Harvest smoothies and they have made this goal of eating health but more accessible.  Blending up a quick smoothie for breakfast or even for a snack in their ready to go containers is super easy, especially with re-usable smoothie straws (like these Hummingbird Glass Straws that have become my new favorite – shop here:  Hummingbird Glass Straws Clear Bent 9″ x 9.5 mm Made With Pride In The USA – Perfect Reusable Straw For Smoothies, Tea, Juice, Water, Essential Oils – 4 Pack With Cleaning Brush).  Along with this goes drinking a lot of water, which seems like a no brainer but can be one of the harder things to squeeze into a day.

Along with that goes setting an alarm and getting out of bed in the morning.  Getting up early does help me be a mentally healthier human.  As an introvert I crave time alone to recharge and getting up really early in the morning is the only time I can find to actually be by myself.  I’m shockingly turning into a morning person!  But that time also allows me to get my family’s day set up for success.  The days I get up before 6:00 I’m able to do some personal reading, get a plan set for everyone’s day, prep what I need to for food, snacks, etc., and get myself ready before I need to get everyone else ready.  Some days the body needs a good lie-in, but most days I find a generally more efficient, happier day all around when I’m up with the sun.

Summer reading plans are happening for everyone in our family.  I started writing about it here but it turned into far too long of a discussion on reading, so look for another blog post on that coming up asap.  We always have a reading plan in place (we sort of homeschool – more on that another time – so there is always a booklist of some sort to be found) but summer is more about expanding and challenging our own reading lives.

Next up are work goals.  As working moms can understand, especially moms that work from home or own their own small business, the daily tasks can pile up until they become almost overwhelming.  As a planner, I am naturally thinking about my longer range business goals and planning how I need to get all that done, but oftentimes toddlers and cleaning the house and running errands and getting the big kids to baseball games get in the way of getting everything I need to accomplished.  Hence, a daily work plan and goals for my summer days.  Social media and blogging goals go along with that, and I have them built in so as to not spend an inordinate amount of time on those things.  It’s always too easy to get sucked into instagram and pinterest, no matter how much I tell myself I won’t do it!

And finally, but not definitely NOT least, are the summer fun goals!  The boys and I decided we would make at least twice monthly play dates with friends and they each wrote their own summer bucket list.  We’re trying to check off at least one bucket list item per week, if not more.

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We also have some family goals related to getting away and spending good quality time with each other outside of the daily grind.  Some of these are longer trips, but others are just taking a day off and going to the beach, the zoo, or to a local farmer’s market or concert together.  The husband and I are also planning some overnight getaways to nearby cities. Fun should always be part of the goals!

Clearly I love planning and summer is such a fun time for that.  What are some of your family’s summer goals and plans?

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Adventuring, Photography, Toddler Fashion

Spring colors galore.

img_8026If there’s one thing that the deep dark Chicagoland winters bring, it’s gorgeous spring colors.  Penny and I ventured out to Cantigny Park on a bright spring day to try and capture some of the amazing blooms that appear almost overnight this time of year.  The entire place smelled of spring and made both of us want to prance around.  Ok, maybe just Penny.  I followed from afar and snapped the prancing.

She has taken to galloping around lately rather than walking.  I’m not sure if she’s pretending to be a horse or some other animal, but she is in full on imagination mode.

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And when we can find tree branches that are low enough for her to climb and pretend to be like her brothers, the more the better!  Adventure is a high priority for us.  We have too many days filled with the “have to’s” and “ought to’s” that we all have to make time for prancing and meandering and exploring and climbing and adventuring.  Life is the best on those days.  Full of free spirits and sunshine.

And Penny loves to bring her friends.  Elsa is a special friend and her presence almost always results in spontaneous “Let it Go” serenades in the tiny little toddler voice with only maybe a quarter of the words actually present.  But a lot of dramatic arm movements, to be sure.

The other thing we never leave the house without it our Twist Shake Baby cups.  They never leak or spill and are big enough to keep this thirsty babe hydrated on all of our adventures.  The sippies are especially great because I add frozen fruit to keep it cool and give the water some flavor and the fruit mixer keeps the fruit on the bottom instead of clogging the spout.

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In these photos, Penny is wearing a bow from Erinn and Lou, a romper from Rhett Tucker One of a Kind, moccasins from Amuse Leather Co.

Her Elsa doll is from Dandelion Attic.