20 Before 2020

As 2019 approaches, I have been reflecting on past goals and how I never seem to accomplish them. I am also noticing how often things get left half finished. Thats why my word of the year is “complete”. With that in mind, but also allowing for the fact that I just had my second baby and giving myself a bit of grace, I have decided to make a list of 20 things I want to complete in 2019. I’m calling it my 20 before ’20 list.

Sharing it here for a little extra accountability. If you are reading this in July, please, ask me how it’s going and give me a swift kick in the pants if I’m procrastinating!

In no particular order…

  1. Read the bible, cover to cover
  2. Finish Quiet Book I started for R
  3. Finish John’s photobook of medals & trophies
  4. J’s baby book
  5. Super secret Mothers Day gift for my mom and mother-in-law
  6. Write/send thank you notes for baby shower & post baby meals
  7. Super secret embroidery project
  8. At least one knitting work in progress
  9. Complete a 30 day work out challenge
  10. Complete a 30 day water challenge
  11. Breastfeeding J (goal is 1 year)
  12. Finish reading “Simplicity Parenting”
  13. Get caught up on “Better than Happy” podcast
  14. Finish reading “Standing for Something”
  15. 2018 family yearbook
  16. 2019 family yearbook
  17. My embroidered pillowcase I’ve had since Jr. High
  18. Crocheted Blanket
  19. Creating a capsule wardrobe
  20. 30 day writing challenge

I am already close to completing a few of these goals so hopefully that will provide some good momentum going into the new year!

What is your word of the year? What would you like to start and/or finish in 2019?

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When Life is Hard, Remember This

Dear Reader,

Life isn’t meant to be easy. God never promised us easy. He promised a full, abundant life, joy even. But he never promised easy. In fact, we have been told time and time again by modern day prophets as well as the scriptures that life would be hard.

“The hard things in our lives should come as no surprise. One of the earliest covenants we make with the Lord is to live the law of sacrifice. Sacrifice, by definition, involves giving up something desirable. With experience we realize it is a small price to pay in relation to the blessings that follow” Elder Stanley G Ellis, “Do We Trust Him?” Oct, 2017

And why shouldn’t it be? We were put on this Earth to learn, grow, and to become the best we can be so that we can live with our Heavenly Father once more. We don’t learn by things being easy. Ever heard of an “Easy A”class? You may have even taken one. Did you learn much, if at all? Now, think back to a hard class that you had to diligently study and prepare for to do well… you learned a lot more, right? It may not have necessarily been your favorite or even enjoyable, but you expanded your knowledge.

Now, just because life is hard… that does not mean we can’t have joy. We were created to have joy! I love the General Conference talk“A Summer with Great Aunt Rose” by Dieter F Uchtdorf.Aunt Rose says, “God didn’t design us to be sad. He created us to have joy! So if we trust Him, He will help us to notice the good, bright, hopeful things of life. And sure enough, the world will become brighter. No, it doesn’t happen instantly, but honestly, how many good things do? Seems to me that the best things, like homemade bread or orange marmalade, take patience and work.”

The more I think about life like this… as a preparation… a learning experience, and that its not supposed to be so easy, ironically it becomes easier. My circumstances don’t change, but my attitude does. I stop resisting . Whenever I can stop resisting and lean in to whatever is hard in my circumstances right now, the more humble, open and willing I am to learn what Heavenly Father wants me to learn and grow into the person He wants me to become.

Sometimes, whenever I read talks about trials, I think well, things aren’t that bad. That may be true, but we all have our own trials, and levels of intensity and I don’t believe that your trials are any less hard for you just because someone else has it worse. You haven’t been through that worse thing yet, so for now this is your top level hard. Maybe it will get harder, maybe not. But don’t feel guilty for thinking that things are hard for you, even though you know other people have it “worse.”

Some examples of (mundane) hard from my life:

  • This pregnancy – I have been sick, not able to eat a lot of what I want, had “false labor ” that sent me to the hospital but no progression and just exhaustion while also caring for a toddler
  • Husband in school- I won’t lie, it’s hard to have a husband in school while my little angel toddler is running around. The schedule Varies daily and sometimes he is home but not really “home” because he has to do homework. But all R wants is her daddy.

See? I know people who had scary pregnancies, or weren’t able to manage their sickness like I’ve been able to. Or single mothers who don’t have a significant other to help all. But that doesn’t make mine less hard for me.

Do you know what can help though? Serving others. As we love and serve each other, we will be filled with charity or the pure love of Christ. We will stop being so worn down by our own burdens because we are lifting each other up.

So, tl;dr :

  • Life is supposed to be hard;its how we learn and grow.
  • Have joy through your trials
  • Don’t feel guilty for thinking your life is hard even though other people may be worse off.
  • Serve others

Love,

Kailey

The Accidental Parent

Dear R,

Oh, baby girl… I am sorry for how I’ve parented you on accident. Don’t get me wrong, you were not an accident or an “oops” . I’m talking about what Tracy Hogg (author of The Secrets of a Baby Whisperer ) deems as “accidental parenting”.

I’ve come to realize, I’ve done a lot of that. Sometimes it’s a good thing… like when you try to vacuum because you want to be like mommy. But a lot of the times, it’s not so great… like when you think every water bottle belongs to you because I’ve let you drink out of mine.

There’s a lot that I could dish out here about how I’ve accidentally parented but, I don’t want to go into that. I want to go into why… and what I am going to do about it.

I think most of my bad habits when it comes to parenting stemmed from 2 things. 1. Not knowing what I was doing (Seriously, where was Secrets of a Baby Whisperer when you were born?!) And 2. It was easier…

That’s the thing about this parenting gig. It doesnt necessarily have to be hard. But, it does require a lot of effort. Especially if you want to get it right… or at least mostly right.

As parents, is our duty to teach you. That’s what parenting is. It’s not just keeping you safe and fed and alive… its teaching you how to live. How to be a pleasant person to be around. How to adhere to a set of values (personal and family).

My goal is to be a more mindful parent. Not in the feel the water and smell the soap as you do the dishes sort of way. But in the really thinking about things sort of way. I don’t want to overly stress, but I do think it’s important to view everything through the lens of what is this teaching you? What do my actions teach you? What do my words teach you? What does how I discipline teach you?

Most of this was spawned by and I’ve learned so much by reading a few parenting books… I’m sure there will be new ones by time you have kids of your own but I want to share them anyway for any others who may be reading…

  • The Secrets of a Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg
  • The Secrets of a Baby Whisperer for Toddlers by Tracy Hogg
  • The Soul of Discipline by Kim John Payne

Next on my list to read:

  • Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R Covey

Parenting is not for the lazy or faint of heart. I know that I will mess up sometimes, and I know it won’t always be easy but I am so glad that i have the privilege of teaching you.

Love,

Mom

Blurb Photobook Review

Dear Project Life-ers and other photobook lovers,

Today I’d like to talk about blurb. I was given a credit in exchange for my review, and there is an affiliate link but the thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

I’m going to run down a list of the pros and cons of using blurb, and what I will do differently next time.

Pros:

  • Super easy– if you load your pictures in order or have them numbered before you upload them the you can hit a button that says “create book” and boom, your done.
  • Great quality– I chose the matte option and the smallest size because I knew the pictures I took in Europe weren’t the best resolution, but I am impressed with the thickness of the pages and satisfied with how they turned out. The Project Life cards are not grainy and are true to color.
  • Quick Delivery – the time I ordered from the time I recieved the order was about 2 weeks. Which is pretty fast for printing a photobook.

Cons:

  • No app– As I do all my Project Life pages using the app (now free for Apple and Android, by the way) , it would be nice if I could do this on my phone as well.
  • Have to download software – They have you download a software to make your book. Its intuitive and not hard at all, but it does require a computer and takes up some space.

What I Will Do Differently Next Time:

  • Hardcover – I got the softcover, which is basically like a paperback book. It’s not bad, but the next thing is only available in hardcover
  • Lay flat – okay, so I thought I would be okay with non-layflat. I’m not. It’s annoying. Thankfully this is an option at blurb.
  • Glossy paper – the thing that got me about the matte was no glare and archival quality. But I think next time I will choose a pearl finish because the pictures will be more vibrant. You can get test papers too!

My 7×7 photobook cost me about $30. I have a coupon code for you!

New Customer Exclusive: 35% OFF with code JUSTMYTYPE35 at Blurb!

Ends September 18th, 2018. but they run lots of sales so if this promo is over. please leave a comment and I will let you know if there is another one.

Happy printing!

Love,

Kailey

“Just” A Mom

Dear Stay at Home Moms,

Have you ever felt like your not doing enough? Or, that you have so much you want to do but you just can’t find the energy or the time?

Well, I certainly do.

And, I feel that in our society, it has become more acceptable to be a “stay-at-home” mom… but only if you also have a “side-hustle” or some “passion project” you do on the side.

It’s no longer enough to just be a mom.

And I have a problem with that.

I have been feeling really down about myself. Because, why can’t I do all of the things that other moms seem able to do? Why can’t I find the energy/time/motivation to learn a new craft or write the next great American Novel or have a spotless house ..or, or, or.

STOP.

Do you feel this too?

There are a couple of things going on here. The major one, is comparison. Me and my kid are not like you and your kid, and that’s okay. The second is priorities. What is the real priority here?

I recently read a blog post called “I’m the Woman with a Husband and Kids and I’m Not Sorry” and it was amazingly inspiring. Please, go read it when you get the chance.

I am not sorry either.

Is dealing with a demanding toddler tough at times? Do I sometimes wish I had the time to do all of these inspiring projects? Absolutely.

However, when I sit and watch my darling R play… it brings me joy. I am filled with so much love for this tiny girl. When I let go, and let be I am much happier. I want to enjoy my time with my kid (soon to be kids). Soon, very soon, they will grow and not need me as much. So for now, I am going to choose to soak up these precious moments and really get to know my daughter and how she operates.

I may be just a mom. But right now, that’s all I need to be.

Writing & Confidence

Dear readers,

I tend to go MIA from time to time. I am sorry about that. I’ve started thinking lately about why. Am I just lazy? Hopefully, someone can relate and maybe find hope or a least solidarity.

I love writing. I really, really do. It makes me feel the warm fuzzies. It’s a fantastic way for me to be creative and to release what is going on in my head. But so often I just don’t. I have been contemplating lately about why that is. Sure, I have other things I enjoy that take up my time and I am tired. I mean, of course I don’t have hours and hours to write with a 1.5 year old and one on the way. But those are excuses. I can, at the very least, write one blog post a week. So that begs the question: why?

I think a lot of it has to do with confidence. I recently took the enneagram test and found out I am a number 9, wing 1. And, guys, it is so spot on. Basically, we 9s never feel like we measure up. (At least, that’s what I got out of it.) We don’t give ourselves enough credit. Also… we fear conflict. Hence, why 9s are called “the peacemakers”. Conflict with others… and with ourselves.

This to me, boils down to a lack of confidence. And why I don’t write.

I am afraid of what others might think.

I am of afraid of what others may say.

I am afraid it won’t be good enough.

Here’s the good news:

I do believe we are not stuck with our shortcomings. While I do think everyone has their own unique spirit, I think we can always change for the better. We are not stuck with our flaws and “that’s just who I am” or thats “being me”. We can always improve… even if/when its hard.

So here are a few things I’d like myself to consider as I try to grow and have more confidence… (particularly as it involves writing but, applicable to life as well)

  • Who gets to decide what is “good enough”?
  • Writing is a muscle. If you want to develop a strong voice, if you want to get better, if you want to improve your style/grammar/etc you have to practice.
  • Who are you doing this for? You or others? Why does it matter what they think? Does it matter if 1 or 1000 people read this?
  • Make a mistake? Cool, that’s a learning experience.

I have a goal. A dream if you will. I am going to write my (personal) family history and I can’t won’t let fear stop me.

I’d also like to keep this blog alive… if only to provide a place for me to stand on my soapbox from time to time. (Even if no one is listening).

I do hope someone will read this, and that this article or my blog in general will help others feel less alone. In the end, though, this is for me.

Love,

Kailey

The Truth About Self-Care

Dear self,

I think it’s time we talk about a little thing called self-care. I thought I had been doing okay at it, but I was wrong. For that, I am sorry.

I’ve been hearing the word thrown around a lot. “Self-care”. And how we all need to be engaging in it. But there are a lot of different ideas out there about what it is and isn’t, and how to accomplish it. Which makes sense as “self” is obviously very individual.

What I am realizing, though, is this:

Self-care sometimes means doing things you don’t want to do.

What?! Did you just slam on the brakes in your mind? Either that, or this painfully obvious to you and I am somehow just now realizing this. Ha.

Let me tell you a story… I’ll get back to the point, promise. Recently, I got sick. Like, liquid diet only and even that was sketchy sick. We figured out that it was a severe form of acid reflux (thanks, pregnancy) and that I have to be careful what I eat. Ever been pregnant and found out you basically can’t have sweets? No ice cream, no french fries, no chocolate! I’m not going to lie, it sucks. But, it made me realize…

Self-care is not about what we want in the moment, but what will make us feel our best long term.

So sure, I may really want a chocolate shake right now but I would definitely regret that choice.

So, I am going to be changing the way I do things, and the way I view self-care. It’s not all about journaling or taking a walk or a nice bath.

Self-care is NOT just doing nothing because you feel like doing nothing. That is self-sabotage and I am done.

What Self-care looks like for me:

  • Doing the dishes before bed… even though I’m tired
  • Cleaning up on Saturday night so I can actually rest on Sunday
  • Waking up before my daughter…even if I dont feel like it
  • Reading my scriptures
  • Washing my face
  • Knitting
  • Drinking water
  • Finding alone time
  • Doing something with my hair and makeup

Some of these will make me feel good in the moment, but some will make me feel good later. Like, the next day. So… I am making it my new goal to think about self-care in a new way, and follow through.

Lets see if viewing the dishes as self-care helps them to get done!

Love,

Me