Hey! Can we discuss some Friday Thoughts?

I wanted to check in and give an update on many of the loose ends that we’ve discussed in the last few Friday Thought’s posts + share some of the random thoughts going through my head space that always make it into these posts. 🙂

Here we go! (I kind of feel like Henry the Polish Hen is very much summing up my reaction to 2021 so far.)

polish chicken chain link fence

1) Catch Up:

  • finally listened to Boys in the Boat and really, really liked it. We also watched the PBS documentary Boys of ’36 as a family, and it was very interesting!
  • feeling called to repentance after my declaration of hating yoga in this post; I took your suggestions (dozens and dozens of them!) to give Yoga with Adriene a try, and, welp, you guys were right (no surprise). She’s really great. I’ve been doing her shorter videos, 10-20 minutes, several times a week, and I can definitely say I don’t hate yoga quite as much and my pesky hip pain is manageable. I’ve even converted several other friends, so I guess you could say I’ve gained a testimony of Yoga with Adriene, which is quite a miracle. 
  • delivered books to the elementary school; finally! With covid protocols, it took a while for the elementary school to open for visitors/donations, which delayed our simple cultural outreach book project. I was excited to finally deliver these books to our elementary school. Here is a list of the books we donated. We bought most of the books from EyeSeeMe bookstore. I hope to continue this cultural awareness/literacy project next year and get our community and other families involved!

gray basket full of diversity books

2) Resolutions: I hope we can still be friends, but I’m not one for a lot of goal setting when the new year rolls around.

I almost always start each new year a tiny bit exhausted from the holidays (2020 took this to a whole new level), and I’ve learned that I get really overwhelmed with a bunch of new goals staring me in the face.

I do better focusing on getting through each day without completely inhaling an entire bag of chocolate chips. Just me? 

When I do make goals, I try to keep them simple and achievable, like making time in my planner (yes, my devoted paper planner) for daily scripture reading and a couple days of exercise each week. Things like that. 

A couple overall wishes I have for myself this year is to get rid of a few non-essential projects and stop managing other people’s emotions. Wish me luck. Haha. 

Are you a new year’s resolutioner? What’s your style? 

3) Holiday Game: thanks to my longtime blogging buddy, Rachel R., for sending me this game idea in time for the holidays. Klask {aff. link} was the ultimate holiday gift winner. It is so, so fun! I couldn’t wait until my end-of-year game gift guide to tell you about it. We are still playing it nonstop.

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty good. (16-year old is currently heatedly debating this fact with me.)

Any favorite Christmas finds/gifts to share?

klask game

4) Homemade gifts: for Christmas, we decided, or rather, I dictated, that the kids would make homemade gifts for each other. They always choose another sibling’s name for a Christmas gift anyway, but this year, the focus was on intentionally thought out homemade gifts. The only criteria: it had to be homemade and a level above popsicle stick binoculars.

Despite the moans and groans at the onset and some very last minute pushes (i.e. Christmas Eve) to get things finished, complete with a few moments of impatient mom-shouting (not proud, but it’s the reality), it ended up being one of the best moments of Christmas. 

The kids loved opening and seeing what their siblings made them, and they were genuinely excited and grateful because they each had experienced the effort that went in to making a gift for someone else.

Let’s see, we had a crocheted scarf and painted treasure box, a hand-carved sword, and a homemade pillowcase, among a few other delights. I haven’t yet broken the news that we’re making this a yearly tradition. 

Also, my 14-year old just said to me as I was typing up this post: “in a million years, I never imagined I’d be able to sew anything.” He followed that up with: “and I don’t plan to ever again.” And then finally: “are you going to pay me for posting my picture on the internet?” 

boy sewing black fabric

5) Arthritis in My Hands: notwithstanding the fact that we literally cannot stuff one more blanket (or stuffed animal, for that matter) in our home, I decided to not be a hypocrite with the whole “make someone a homemade gift thing” and crochet each of the kids and Brian a blanket for Christmas.

I brushed off my very rusty crocheting skills, and got to work on this one-stitch pattern. Easiest pattern ever. The reason these blankets are unique and amazing is because of the bernat blanket yarn (JoAnns or Michaels with 40% coupons!), and the resulting blanket is addictively soft and cuddly. 

I didn’t give myself a whole lot of time, and ended up crocheting into the very, very late hours of the night (er, morning) almost every night in December, but I finished by the skin of my teeth with gnarled, sore, arthritic hands and bloodshot eyes.

Now my goal is to get one made for myself so I don’t keep stealing Brian or the kid’s blankets when we’re watching a movie. Let’s hope my still-aching hands can get this last one made before 2025.

stack of crocheted blankets

6)  Rock Climbing: a new hobby for our family, and we are hooked thanks to Brian’s parents giving us a two month membership for a gift this year. Most of us got belay certified, and let me just say: it’s interesting putting ultimate trust in one of your kids to keep you safe as you scale up a freakishly tall wall.

And by “scale up a freakishly tall wall,” I mean, get about 5 1/2 feet up and demand to be lowered immediately, because your arms and legs are about to fall off from exhaustion.

My kids, on the other hand, have amazed me with their billy goat efforts to conquer certain routes. 

two teenage boys rock climbing

7) Best Dry Shampoo Ever: listen, I’m not an expert in everything, but two things I know: chocolate chip cookies and dry shampoo. I’ve used about 384 brands of dry shampoo over the years, and this is the best stuff ever {aff. link}.

It’s pricier than other brands, but can you really put a price on being able to go a shocking number of days without washing your hair and not look like a greaseball? No, no you cannot. Also, I use less than other brands because it’s so effective. 

8) Quick Thought: with the new year and a lot of focus on healthy eating, fitness goals, and new year’s resolutions, I’ve been reminded and have felt a lot of  gratitude for how my perspective completely shifted when I read the book Intuitive Eating {aff. link} and started following Beauty Redefined (website/Instagram).

With absolutely no hyperbole, I can say that this book + account have been life changing for me as I work to develop body image resilience and teach my kids the same thing. At home, I only have to start saying “your body is…” before my kids start chiming in with “…an instrument not an ornament!” 

I know this topic is akin to discussing politics: so.many.opinions, but I feel strongly about the ideas I’ve learned over the years.

Once I got mad (like, really mad) at diet culture and society’s irrational ideals and demands that women should not age (insert eye roll + throat punch), it helped free me from some of the confining thoughts I had been harboring about my body, nutrition, and a lot of other things…and I have been so, so much happier. 

your body is an instrument not an ornament

Let’s not be too hard on ourselves, ok? 

Thanks for being here (and a special reward for those that made it to the end of this post!). 

I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts – any and all of them!

I appreciate when you share the “real” in your lives. The good, the bad, the hard. I have learned so much from all of you over the years.

I personally struggle with many, many things (anxiety being high on that list). And even though, lucky for you, I don’t outline all the struggles here, just remember that daily life holds so much more than what we read on blog posts and view in little square snapshots on Instagram.

Sometimes, it’s just really helpful and validating to know we aren’t alone – in the good moments and the hard moments. Love your guts. 

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