Daily Truths

What’s wrong?”

Why are you still in bed? Are you sick? Did the gym close? Is there snow on the ground?”

These are the questions I am peppered with if my children happen to stumble across me still in bed at six o’clock in the morning.

(I know…we are a “special” kind of family in which everyone in our house is typically awake by 6am. Bless us all.)

Their daily reality is that mama is up early and typically at the gym when they rise. I do not do this because I have some sort of sick personality that likes to be tortured in the wee hours of the morn.

Nope. I do this because I know what simple rituals make a day better for me.

In my case, I really need to be the first one up.

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Blame this on my introverted personality, but I do not want to talk to anyone or see anyone when I get up in the morning. I relish the quiet and stillness of our home in the early morning. It allows me to deal with the chatter and business of the day later on as the house becomes alive again.

Early morning rising while everyone else snoozes is a daily truth for me.

Daily truths are things that I know to be true that make a day better for myself.

They are not flashy (i.e. having someone hand deliver a cup of coffee and a NY Times best seller to my bedside every morning) and hopefully do not impose on others (my children will tell you there are days when it is *painful* to wait until that clock reads 6:00 am to jump out of bed and start talking).

Rather daily truths are the things I recognize that need to happen (fingers crossed) to feel like I can take on the day.

That sounds rather dramatic, considering I lead a lifestyle in which I never fear for the nourishment or safety of my family, I do not work outside of the home, and I live on the border of one of America’s plushest suburbs. Middle class America is quite nauseating at times, is it not? Anyway, I regress.

Simple truths in our daily life allows us to see the core of ourselves. I know as a believer I live by the idea that the “joy of the Lord is my strength.” I also know that the Lord created coffee and that gives me a whole lotta strength to tackle the day.

So what are my simple daily truths?

  1. Be up before anyone else. Yep..this means I typically set an alarm on the weekends.
  2. Coffee
  3. Time spent reading in the early, quiet hours.
  4. Exercise. My body and its special circumstances requires it to keep functioning. My mind requires it to be a nice person.
  5. Greeting my family on a positive note each morning…even in those moments when #1 does not occur. I cannot feel at peace with myself if I start off grumpy with my people.
  6. Some alone time in the afternoon. We are busy and some days this really may just be ten minutes in my room with the door closed. It is necessary.
  7. Did I mention coffee?

As you contemplate your daily truths, ask yourself these questions.

How do I want to feel on a daily basis?

Be realistic. We cannot feel super excited and terribly happy all the time. That is called a “Disney World vacation” and we eventually have to return home to real life at some point where work and bills and flower bed weeds await us.  The body cannot run on full steam ahead- mode 24/7. Rather, ask if  you want to feel content? Peaceful? Calm?

What is going to get me to the point of feeling that above feeling on a regular basis?

This is where you identify your truths. This is where I start perking the coffee. How can you feel a reasonable amount of calm on a regular basis?

How can I make decisions about my daily truths based on my current situations?

This is where I set the alarm clock on a Saturday because I know I want to read in peace before my offspring shoot out of bed and start asking me what is for breakfast and do we have a plan for the day. If you know your daily truths, examine your situation and see how those can become a fairly normal reality. This is the point where you also have to be realistic with yourself. Want to know how to completely fail at daily truths? Setting the bar too high or setting expectations for yourself that are not going to happen. Be kind to yourself..that is the whole basis behind acknowledging daily truths.

 

Recognizing your daily truths means going to the extra effort to make sure life is designed to incorporate little things that make you feel good so you can be the best version of yourself.

Not the perfect version of yourself…because that simply does not exist.

Rather work on shaping a pretty darn good version of yourself through the identification of your daily truths as you serve your family and others and reflect God’s love and blessings back on his people.

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Now it is your turn: What is your daily truth? Share…because I may want to steal it ;).

 

Library School: For those days when homeschool seems too much

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I recently stumbled across a notebook in my garage, its pages filled with an abundance of notes about effective homeschooling. Because college skills die hard, I had dated these notes carefully.

(Let us pause and remember college in the 90’s when students had to take page after page of notes during lectures. There were no MacBook’s taking up space in the classroom or virtual lectures one could attend in their PJs.

Let us also pause and reflect on the fact that the husband and I just tossed our hundreds of pages of college and grad school notes about five years ago when we realized they were obsolete and Google could tell us everything we would ever need to know.)

These notes I came across were dated July 2015. It was during that time I attended a homeschool convention and was inspired to have the best homeschool year EVER! We would do lapbooks and notebook every snippet of history we read. Science experiments would happen weekly and artists studies would be a routine part of our school.

Some of these things have occurred.

But LIFE has also occurred.

February also happened, which all seasoned homeschoolers know to be prime burnout month.

A great solution I found to this problem of stale homeschooling and abandoned science experiment dreams was to do library school.

Library school is where we keep the curriculum at home, grab the library card and some pencils, and head out to find some education among the shelves of our local establishment. Each child was given a handout that had various subjects printed on it. For example, there was history, science, religion, poetry, math, and grammar. I also included sections that said “Interesting fiction book” and “biography that caught my attention.” Each of these sections had their own box on the worksheet. After a quick refresher course on the Dewey Decimal System, the kids were set free into the library.

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Their instructions for the day: Find books for each of the categories. Read and examine the books (they were not expected to read the ENTIRE book…we had other things to do that day…but to read excerpts and sections that appealed to them). Then write down notes and/or illustrations from those books.

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Later that night the kids shared what they had learned. In the course of about two hours they had sought out information about foreign languages that appealed to them, had brushed up on pieces of history that struck their fancy, and had learned some really great things on their own.

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Library school cannot replace every day homeschooling but it can bring life back into home education. It shows children that learning and research is fun. Library school puts knowledge into the hands of the child. Rather than force feeding facts down a kid’s throat, the child is empowered to step out on his/her own and find knowledge for himself.

Another day of home education saved.

 

 

The Gift of Time on an Ordinary Monday

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My daughter’s love language is donuts.

Who am I kidding…donuts are my love language too. (As is queso and coffee and pie…but I digress)

This morning I took her to grab donuts after my morning walk. The prospect of fried dough topped with chocolate and sprinkles put her in such a jolly mood that the girl managed to talk the entire way to and fro the donut shop. She was full of cute eight year old antecdotes and funny little stories. My favorite gem from this morning was her retelling of an article she had recently read in American Girl magazine (worth the cost, dear readers. Just FYI.). The story she recounted was about a little girl and her horse. The horse apparently had a severe allergy to grass.

Since this discussion this morning, I have had many, many questions about the horse with the unfortunate grass allergy.

Why was it allergic to grass?

How did they keep it from eating grass?

How does one discover a horse allergy?

The girl quickly tired of all my questions and reminded me that this was an article in a KIDS magazine, implying that the journalistic details may be lacking somewhat.

On this extra day of 2016 (Hello, Leap Day!), I have thought about that horse and its lot in life. Does he not get to gallop about in green pastures in fear that he may eat grass on a rest break? Is he destined to a life in a dirt field void of anything green?

This morning I asked my kids what they were going to do with the extra 24 hours given to them today. Were they going to spend it wisely or just treat it like an ordinary Monday?

We happen to be doing a bit of Spring Breaking this week (I know…its early. But we like to keep things a bit unconventional around here). The kids plans were to spend the day outside with friends.

Pretty perfect for an extra 24 hours when you are a kid…especially a kid growing up in a time of technology and hectic schedules.

We all want more time: more time to sleep, more time to complete a hobby, more time to just be rather than time spent running.

Today we have been gifted with the thing we all ask for: time.

Despite the fact that today is indeed a Monday, we have been given a bonus 24 hours. Sure, jobs still have to be attended and bills have to be paid. Laundry piles still accumulate and life still happens.

But today has a bit of magic attached to it, as we gladly take our bonus February day.

As for me and my extra 24 hours: I am spending time with my parents, soaking up a normal Monday hanging with them. I took a nap. I read a book that has absolutely no value or life-altering message. I watched a television broadcast with my husband…even though we are currently in different state.

And I pondered what life is like for the allergy-laden horse.

How about you? How did you opt to spend your extra 24 hours today?

 

The L Word

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I hate the treadmill.

If our ancestors knew that we pay money to walk in place on a large, loud machine they would think the world had gone to hell in a handbasket.

(I love to use that phrase. I feel like it is very 1950ish of me. Also…everyone has been saying the world is going to hell in a handbasket for a good 75 years, so the punch said phrase is meant to deliver has lost a bit of its flare. )

Despite my hatred for the treadmill, I climb on the one at my gym every morning around 5am. I select a machine situated by the TV showing the local news, pop in my headphones, cue up a playlist, and start that ol treadmill moving.

Just like the days of yore.

Except my ancestors were likely hiking up a hill to fetch the morning eggs rather than walking in place on a mindless machine.

I hate the treadmill, but I love food and being able to fit into my current wardrobe, so I walk and run every morning.

The deal with this is just a year ago I could not run. Two years ago, I could barely walk. My time spent on the treadmill always reminds me how far I have come since the days after my surgeries and I am thankful for this mindless task I can perform at the gym each morning.

Because of these surgeries, I have become part of a unique club. I was actually a member of this club my whole life and never really knew it or understood my fellow members. This unique club is comprised of individuals like me: people born with cerebral palsy and living life with the effects of a disability. Through the wonders of social media, I am part of several Facebook groups in which I get to interact with others in this club. I see videos daily of kids who are rocking life as they fight for steps or sometimes even simple movements. I have met adults who although they share a CP diagnosis, they are moving mountains and not letting a physical disability slow them down in any way.

And so daily I get on that treadmill and I walk and run for those members in this club who unfortunately cannot do the same.

Seeing these individuals on a daily basis through Facebook and through their videos has made me painfully aware of something in our culture. It is the use of the word “lame.”

I have never used the word myself because it hit just a bit too close to home.

And quite honestly it faded from popular vernacular for a bit.

However, it has found its way back into mainstream vocabulary and I find it disturbing.

Thankfully we have reached a point when the majority of society has stopped using the words “retarded” or “gay” in a derogatory manner. We are fighting to end racial slurs and prejudices. As a whole, we have come to understand that when you use a word that represents a group of people as a way to explain something as being “stupid” or bad, you are insulting said group of people.

It is mean. It is hateful. It is unnecessary.

As a culture, it is time to add a new word to this list of words sitting in degrogatory banned camp. That word is “lame,” my friends. When something or someone is lame, that means he/she cannot walk. It does not mean that he/she is stupid or dumb or undesirable.

It simply means that an individual cannot walk.

Fortunately our society has graduated past the belief that disabilities define the person, rendering those with such issues as useless to the good of the whole. This advanced mindset should also spill over when we consider using words whose correct meaning explain race or maladies as a way to denote something bad that is going on in our lives at the moment.

If you are using such words or phrases, I implore you to take a minute to think of their true meaning and then apply that to how you are using the words in your everyday speak.

Then ask yourself how you would feel if a large portion of our society began using your name in a derogatory manner.

“That is so Sarah that you forgot to set the DVR.”

“That show is soooo Sarah. I cannot stand it.”

“Stop being so Sarah. You are getting on my nerves.”

(*Apologies to all Sarahs. It was simply the first name that popped into my head. There is a reason I write nonfiction as opposed to fiction: I am horrible at developing characters’ names.)

Not so fun, is it?

I am stepping off my soapbox now and climbing back onto the treadmill. That Valentines Day candy isn’t going to burn itself off my hips.

Be blessed, friends. Put love out there and not hurtful, mindless speak.

Reading Queue

I did not travel to England until I was in college. Apparently I also did not read much British literature before then either (other than Pride and Prejudice and I believe this predates Bridget Jones’ Diary) because I did not know that the meaning of the word “queue”. That first time I traveled to England (enroute to Kenya), our group came upon a witty billboard making a joke about long queues. Several people laughed and noted the wittiness.

I fake laughed, made a mental note to LOOK UP THE WORD IN THE DICTIONARY (obviously this was pre-Google days), and continued on my journey.

Now I jump at the chance to use the word queue anytime I can, especially around my international friends.

Because everyone simply loves the person who uses words incessantly and obnoxiously.

The biggest queue in my life could be the long line of books itching to be read.

If one thing can be said about the residents of casa de phillips, it is that we all adore a good book.

Every time the husband and I go into a bookstore (which is frequently. See above statement.), we often mutter the same thing as we leave: “So many books. So little time.”

I always have a significant stack of books that I am working my way through: fun reads, educational insights, parenting guides, and things I SHOULD read but may never get around to it because I enjoy junk fiction just a bit too much.

Currently my reading queue holds the following books:

The Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson

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Who does not want to be Sally Clarkson? Seriously, I feel like she could navigate the motherhood aspect of my life with much more grace than I ever can manage. I have been looking forward to the release of this book for quite some time.

 

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch

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This past weekend we had a family Valentine’s Day celebration. One particular child was not exactly in a celebratory mood all that day. Hello, Entitlement Generation! I fear the patterns of entitlement and priviledge we are passing down to our children, both knowingly (gulp) and mindlessly. Said child did opt to change that attitude when the choice of being perky and participating in the dinner I had planned or rather being sent upstairs with a piece of bread and peanut butter, a banana, and a glass of water for the remainder of the evening.

And I also informed the child I would eat his/her cupcake if the second option was needed.

Sigh.

 

Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purfoy

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I have a secret desire to move to the Northeast. I know my Southern accent, proclivity towards a completely made-up face, and love of Rotel and Velveeta does not lend itself to a northern life, but it is 80 degrees here today, y’all.

In February.

In November when the rest of the country was experiencing Fall, we were still wearing shorts.

I cannot wait to dive into this book about one woman’s first year in a Pennsylvania farmhouse. Perhaps I shall read it while eating my chips and queso on my front porch in flip flops.

Nantucket

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Y’all I simply cannot pass up a book about Nantucket. It all goes back into that east coast living thing.

Fates and Furies

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I am plodding through this book right now. It was the Amazon Book of the Year and received tons of critical acclaim. However, the first part is a bit hard to follow and honestly reader reviews are not super favorable.

I have a system when it comes to reading books. I give the book until page 100. If I am not completely hooked or enjoying it, I set it down and move along. This may very well become the fate of Fates and Furies.

 

What is in your reading queue that you cannot wait to dive into?

 

 

 

Homeschooling Notebooks

There is a section of my bookshelf in which four years of lessons plans live. Why? I have not a clue. Perhaps I will look back on these longingly one day and remember the times we educated at home. Or perhaps my children will crack them open, inspect them, and then exclaim, “THIS is why I don’t know blah, blah,blah because it was never taught.”

Perhaps I should just toss those away right now, before more years of lesson plans can add up and fuel the fire of my adult children.

I have used many planners over the years and tried out many systems in hopes of keeping our schooling organized and streamlined.

I have purchased expensive planners, printed off Classical Conversations planners, inscribed the lessons on our school room’s white board, and scribbled down ideas on stray pieces of paper.

The thing that has worked the best and stuck with us the longest is the simple spiral notebook.

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Yep…the handy little thing that one can find on the Target clearance aisles after the Back to School madness has settled down and all the homeschoolers begin to do their supply shopping.

Each day the children’s assignments are written down in checklist form. I do maintain a master lesson planner for my own sanity and record keeping. However, each child has their own notebook.

I write down their daily assignments, along with any chores or responsibilities they have to do that day.

Did you get that part? Their chores are written right beside “Math Lesson 62”. Gone are the “But I didn’t hear you say for me to make my bed” days because IT IS WRITTEN DOWN and YOU CAN BOTH READ!

Then the children simply dive into work.

(Ha! This sounds as if they are merrily humming tunes from The Sound of Music and being wonderful, pleasant people 100% of the time. They ARE pleasant people…but some days there is a whole lot of grumbling when they look at those notebooks. Just want to keep it real, in case you think we are all Merry Sunshine and Roses over here.)

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Some of their homeschooling is independent work while other of it is group time or one on one time with me. If something does not get done or if we need to push something to the next day, the child simply does not mark it off their checklist. Easy-peasy. Also, there is no need for me to continuously tell someone to do something or inquire as to something’s completion. I can just glance at the notebook. (And hell hath no fury like a mama who spies a box checked that has not actually been completed. That has only been tried once and the child likely will never try it again. )

One child likes to get started FIRST thing (hello, 7:30am!) because she has realized the sooner she begins, the sooner she will finish and thus have all the play time in the world. The Homeschool Notebook allows for her to get a start on her day without me having to jump right in with her (I have to have breakfast cleaned up and a chore done before I can start my portion of the schooling. I just feel better when the house is tidy.)

If the lesson planning and record keeping side of homeschooling is making you feel like educating at home is not working anymore (*), get in the car, drive to Target, grab Starbucks (coffee heals all), and scoop up a pile of ten cent notebooks. Try this method for a few weeks and see if a bit of calm and organization are restored into your homeschooling.

If not, just drink more coffee.

(* There are some things that are true indications that homeschooling is not working and other options should be evaluated. Sometimes homeschooling does not work. And that is OKAY.  )

(** Homeschool Notebook is something I love to share with homeschool groups and communities. Please see my speaking engagements page for more details!)

 

The Game of Catch-Up

My kids get a kick out of this little corner of the internet that we “own”.

 

The name “Save the Phillips Family” makes them giggle…and then slightly wonder if they are now officially cooler than their mother.

 

Looking back on old pictures and funny family stories that are archived in this blog always leads us down a rabbit hole, making us forget the school work that sits before us as we laugh over preschool antics.

(The Holderness Family YouTube channel also provides a rabbit hole during our school day. As do Rotten History videos. Or any funny video involving someone accidentally tripping or an amusing cat. In all honesty, my kids heart a good rabbit hole.)

 

What have we been up to in this period of quiet?

 

Homeschooling.

Carpooling.

A bit of vacay.

A lot more carpooling (I say “carpooling” but it is rare that I actually have other children besides my own in the car as I cart them to and fro. Suburbia provides for many things: fun friendships, endless activities, a Starbucks on every corner. But it does not really lend itself to an effective carpooling system when friends are scattered all about. )

Netflix binge watching

 

Homeschooling

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This is our fifth year of homeschooling. That blows my mind just a bit because these five years have passed so quickly. At the beginning of this year, I opted to try something different for our educational endeavors.

And it did not work out at all for our family.

We are back to the basics in what we know in regards to schooling at home and fixing things that became a bit bent last semester.

I am devouring this book and learning from it. The thing about homeschooling is that there are a lot of enthusiastic moms out there leading the charge when it comes to educating at home.

And there are a million ways in which homeschooling can be achieved.

Sometimes I find myself swimming in all these IDEAS that begin to drown me.

Lately we have taken in bare bones and are loving some of the things that are happening at home. More to come on this “bare bones” approach on the blog.

 

 

Carpooling…and more carpooling.

I remember thinking we were busy when the children were preschoolers. And we WERE busy..at home. Now I am busy driving.

I have told my mom many times over the past 2 years how thankful I am that she drove me places all the time as a kid. It did not seem like a big deal then for her to drive me to school, drive me home, drive me to swim practice, drive me to church because I did not realize that all that driving makes a mama a bit crazy.

Now I do, friends.

Now. I. Do.

There is this strip of road in our area of suburbia that I may drive up and down six times in one day taking kids to one place or another.

It is a blessing…a blessing to have a car, a blessing to have children, a blessing to be able to pay for extracurriculars. Yet there are days when I seriously wonder if I would make the evening news if I tucked my eight year old into an Uber and bid her a lovely night at dance.

 

A bit of vacay

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This year we bought into the hype: The Disney Hype. Honestly, I have been the hold out over not doing Disney. I felt like it seemed very commercial and I have a think about Disney Princesses and the COST. Oh dear, the cost.

We actually planned to do Disney the year I had my surgery and ended up putting it on the backburner.

This past summer we surprised our children with a Pirates of the Caribbean themed dinner and a scavenger hunt telling them we were going to Disney.

At the end of October.

It was a bit anticlimactic (hey kids! You get this really awesome gift…in six months) but I did not think we could pull off the whole “tell them in the car on the way to the airport” thing. This is mainly because they are with me 24/7 (for the most part) and planning for Disney is kin to having a second job (We did have the most amazing trip planner. Let me know if you need her name!).

In the end, the vacation was wonderful and we now understand how families continue to go back to Disney year after year.

We also spent some time at the beach before school was officially over last May. Hands down that is the best time to go…crowds are low, temperatures are warm, and prices are still reasonable.

 

Netflix Binge Watching

Over the summer the children and I spent a week in Arkansas so the boy could attend a robotics camp. One night I was talking with the husband on the phone and inquired as to what he was doing.

His reply was “Watching Netflix”

My reply….”When did we get Netflix?
Yes, casa de phillips had been Netflix free for many years. In fact the last time we had Netflix was when the DVD would arrive in the mail in that flimsy red envelope.

We are obviously super hip.

Anyway the husband began a free trail to entertain himself with The Walking Dead while we were gone that week. The free trail turned into “let’s get Netflix!” and now we are all binge watching something.

So much better than the flimsy red envelope days.

 

So there we are. What has been going on with you ?

A Season of Quiet

The husband and I have an ongoing list of ways I will be able to tell that a brain tumor has begun to form inside of him. For example, clothing choices he may begin to make (tank tops for men and skinny jeans), lifestyle choices (electric blankets cranked on high), and phrases which overtake his everyday speech (“lets unpack that “).

The phrase he will begin using that definitely tells me some foreign mass is growing in his brain is “seasons of life.” Bless that man because he cringes anytime someone tosses out a “season of life” statement.

Which is frequently when one lives with me.

(Disclaimer: The husband is not in any risk of developing a brain malady. Nor am I poking fun at individuals who do suffer brain injuries. However, one must have such conversations with one’s spouse. It keeps the romance alive. At the very least it gives one something to talk about late at night rather than constantly wanting to assess the merits of Joanna Gaines’ hair.)

(But seriously, when is she going to do a YouTube tutorial of how she always has perfect hair, despite demolishing houses in the Texas heat?)

This blog has undergone a season of quiet. There was no intentionality behind the quiet, but rather life has been happening and making the time to pour into this blog has fallen way down on my list of things to-do.

The funny thing is that when I am not actually writing something by hand, I am forever writing something in my head. A running personal narrative seems to follow me wherever I go.

Also, I have been slowly (read: slooooowly) working on another writing endeavor. The thing with writing is that it is very similar to working out. One cannot simply hit the gym once every few weeks and expect to see some lean muscles and fat melting away. Unfortunately one has to hit the gym daily to see a change in body composition.

(Side Note: Santa Claus totally works out at my gym. For real. A legit local Santa is there every morning. It was a bit surreal in December to be on the elliptical next to the jolly ol man sporting Under Armour shorts and tall athletic socks. )

I am committed to working those writing muscles this year, challenging myself to some daily and weekly writing exercises along with reviving this blog.

I hope you will come along for the journey.

Why Mama Needs a Hobby…other than laundry

You know what make social media super great at times?

When people unknowingly fall for things posted by The Onion.

People ranting about social issues, people selling the lasts MLM product(*), people “vaguely” referencing family drama all under the guise of “asking for prayers”…those make social media a beating at times.

Yet nothing makes me feel more giddy than when someone posts a link to an article by The Onion…a notorious SATIRE site…along with a comment about “Can you believe this?”

I can giggle at this because I have TOTALLY been that person before.

Lately, my favorite Onion post on Facebook has been the one about how mom spends beach vacation doing the same household chores in closer proximity to the beach.

Can I get an amen?

Sometimes as moms we loose ourselves in motherhood. We find joy in parenting, in taking care of our homes (thanks, Joanna Gaines!), in tending to our spouse. These are all good things. However we can look up one day and realize past loves…reading, crafting, biking, muesem-hopping…have all taken a backseat to taking care of our families. If faced with a questionnaire in which someone inquires about hobbies, moms suddenly find themselves writing down such options as “Stain Removal from Resaleable Gymboree Clothing” or “Reloading the Dishwasher for the Third Time that Day“.

Readers, if you would answer a questionnaire with similar answers, it is time for you to get a hobby.

This summer, I have set aside a time to work on one of my hobbies. I made it very clear to the kids that I am working on something that is important to me and I would like peace and quiet to finish the task. If they need me for something super important, they are welcome to come and talk to me. Otherwise I am to be left alone.

Some days this hour in the morning comes and goes and the children hardly realize they are leaving me alone.

Then there are days when they simply cannot help themselves and find the need to ask me all sorts of pointless questions.

Perhaps they fear I am lonely. Or doing something uber fun. Or eating secret chocolate chip cookies without them.

Whatever the reason, there are days that this sacred time I have carved out is bombarded by two long-legged kids throwing themselves across my bed tossing out such important questions as “What is the schedule for next Tuesday?” and “Are there any chocolate chips in the freezer?”

Earth-shattering stuff.

I answer their questions and send them on their way, reminding them that mom is working on her hobby and needs some quiet during the designated time. Fortunately I have children who understand the need for peace and space (praise hands for kids that are slightly introverted like their parents) and generally respect the time I have allotted for my hobby.

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Want to carve out time for your own personal hobby? Here are some steps to start down that path.

1. Choose a Hobby.

This is obvious, right? However, as we venture further into this mothering gig sometimes past hobbies become a bit of a blur. Take time to think about what you would like to do/create/visit. Think about available resources. If your hobby includes hiking the mountains and you live in West Texas, it may be time to dream up a different option.

2. Tell the Family

No one will know that mom is wanting to venture out on her own if she never mentions it. Tell you family about your hobby. Explain to them why it is important to you and why you want to pursue this. Remember, your kids have hobbies as well. They “get” wanting to do something you love (unless they are in the under three crowd and their hobby is tearing about the house. In that case, talk to your spouse about your hobby.)

3. Make a Plan

Nothing can happen in regards to your hobby until you make a plan for that hobby. For example, when I decided to specifically devote time to my hobby this summer I allocated a time in which to do this hobby. For me, I work on it from 8-9am in the morning. I keep this time sacred. I do not allow cleaning the bathrooms to take precedence or opt to drag the kids to the grocery store instead. This hour is hobby time.

4. Get started.

I am a big fan of Jon Acuff and especially his book “Do Over”. Good stuff there, readers. Sometimes we can make a plan but we never actually get started on said plan. You know those chore charts taped to your fridge to remind your kids to pick up their dirty clothes and brush their teeth?  That same principal will work for you. Jon Acuff has a whole movement helping adults actually make a plan happen by marking off in 15 minute increments when one actually DOES what they planned to do. Get the printable here.

 

What is your hobby? How are you going to make that hobby happen?

Share with all of us so we can be inspired to step out of the laundry room and embrace some time for ourselves.

 

(* I love me a good 31 bag and some essential oils. In no way am I criticizing my MLM friends.)

Summer Reading Guide 2015: The Kid Edition

Growing up, I remember the brother of a friend of mine was being paid per page of every book he read that summer. I really wanted my parents to pay me per page because I could rack up some serious money by basically lounging around with my nose in a book. Obviously the friend’s brother was in need of some literary encouragement. I also happen to remember that his parents’ did not end up forking over a lot of money once August rolled around that year. Said literary encouragement obviously did not provide the type of motivation he was in need of that year.

At casa de phillips, there is no need (or financial way) to pay kids per page to read.

Both my kids love to read. The boy has been a book fiend since the very beginning. He reads quite quickly and can make his way through a pile of books in no time.

The girl has also loved books from the beginning, but her love grew in different ways. She loved to have books read to her but had some hesitancy for a while when it came to reading on her own. That hesitancy has since diminished and she attacks books with fierce bravado.

The interesting thing about these two is that their tastes in books can be quite different. Part is a gender thing, part is a personality thing, and part is “I don’t want to like that book merely because YOU like that book” thing.

 

So what is on the girl’s list of books for fellow eight year olds to read this summer? First, lots of non-fiction ocean books. If they contain pictures of really disturbing fish, that is a bonus. Below are some of her favorites.

 

The Shark Encyclopedia

Rainbow Fairy Series

Capital Kids Mysteries

A to Z Mysteries

The Critter Club

American Girl Mini Mysteries

 

The boy has his own list of great summer reads. The hard thing about the boy is that on occasion I let him venture over into the teen room to check out their library books. He is rapidly reading through everything in his normal section and he is needing some new inspiration. Obviously we are careful with what he comes back with from said room. His summer reading guide contains some of the following titles.

Science Fair

Gollywhopper Games (he LOVED this series. LOVED. IT.)

Kingdom Keepers (Perfect because we are planning for a trip to Disney in the Fall)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

Big Nate series

Anything Marvel comics related

Frindle

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer series

 

One thing they both happen to love is a boxed set of Calvin and Hobbes comics that my husband owns. For the past few weeks both of them have been pulling these large volumes of comics into bed with them to get in a few giggles before lights out.

 

What books have found their way onto your kids’ list of “Must Reads” this summer?

 

 

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