Three things I’m doing to be more productive this week

Last week was a lost cause because of the previously-written-about stomach bug that attacked me and Isabelle… so this week I was bound and determined to get sh*t stuff done.

Since Clara is off of preschool (darn you, spring break!) this week, I have even less time than usual to get my ducks in a row. However, it is happening. My laundry pile is overflowing, we don’t have a meal plan, I haven’t worked out in ages, the house is generally a mess… I mean, you get the picture. I have no choice but to maximize my productivity.

Three Ways To Be More Productive

Here are three steps I’m taking to maximize all of my time this week:

+ Minimize distractions. I took the Facebook app off my phone and I don’t regret it. Yes I miss out on some things that I normally might have been interested in (I love our neighborhood’s ‘Buy Nothing’ group and the ‘PMT Challenge’ group for the spring style challenge is amazing!) but I needed those hours of aimless scrolling back. I truly feel like this one action has added time back to my days. Another option would have been to disable the notifications, but I know myself and that just wouldn’t have done the trick.

+ Don’t feel guilty telling (or expecting) kids to play by themselves. As a SAHM I sometimes feel guilty when I’m ‘ignoring’ my kids. But here’s the thing: I don’t believe that (my) kids should need my constant attention. Yes, I need to make sure they’re safe, but they are more than capable of ‘reading’ by themselves and making up games and playing with blocks… they don’t shouldn’t need me to tell them how to keep busy and they definitely shouldn’t depend on me as a constant playmate. I might feel differently about this if I had less time to spend with them during the day (like if I was a work-outside-the-home parent), but as it is, I am constantly around and it’s okay if I take 30 minutes to myself every morning to get some things done.

+ Have a planner. (This isn’t the one I use, but it’s pretty!) I’ll say it again and again, writing things down helps to keep me accountable. At the beginning of each week I write down high priority items that I need to get accomplished each day, and I make sure there are only 1-2 items every day that I really want to get done. I then write down lower priority items that I also want to do. This helps to keep me organized and motivated during naptimes. But, I must admit, it’s a rare day and an even rarer week when everything gets done!

Wish me luck getting all of the things done! Or at least some of the things. Maybe just one thing.

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Have you listened to this podcast yet?!

This week was not a great week for the Benroeck ladies. Isabelle got a stomach bug that caused a night o’ puking and a few days of other digestive issues. Then, of course, I got it and spent all day yesterday in bed/on the couch feeling really nauseous. Thankfully, Tim took two days off work to help out so I didn’t have to worry about taking care of the girls by myself.

AND as an extra bonus, both girls slept all the way through the night last night for the first time ever.

Silver linings.

** Tangent, I just had to stop writing this post because Isabelle had an explosive diaper that went all the way up her back and into her hair. I almost puked on her head changing it. Motherhood is so glamorous. **

S-Town Podcast

Another silver lining of my sick time… I had time to listen to a podcast! I had heard that Serial and This American Life came out with a new podcast, “S-Town” so I downloaded all seven episodes and listened straight through.

I absolutely loved it. I’m not going to tell you what I liked best about it because I feel like anything I said would be a spoiler, but just take my word for it and go listen to it immediately. And then come back and let me know what you thought. I’m currently listening to other podcasts about the S-Town and reading Reddit threads about it because I’m going through withdrawal.

Summary from the website:

John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.

Happy listening!

What’s your favorite podcast I should be listening to?

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It’s official, I’m 31!

Yesterday was my 31st birthday. Man, I feel old. Wait, that’s not true. I actually feel really young, but writing that I’m 31 years old seems unbelievable to me because the number ’31’ looks old.

I swear I just graduated from college like, yesterday.

I digress.

cherry_blossoms_seattle

I had the very best weekend this weekend and so I wanted to do a true weekend recap, old blogging style, when those were a thing.

(I realize it’s kind of ironic that I’m about to write about about my excessively busy weekend right after a post about how I had a restful week… but life comes in waves!)

— Before the weekend even started Tim and I had a date night seeing Mama Mia at the Paramount Theater downtown Seattle. It was a fantastic play! Tim’s mom gifted us the tickets for our birthdays, and I so appreciated the night out.

— The actual weekend started out with a night out with friends at a local hockey bar where we watched The Blackhawks game. I drank cocktails and ate fried cheese curds and poutine… it was good. When we got home that night we walked in the door to hear Clara singing loudly and saw a very frazzled babysitter bouncing Isabelle, who was just hanging out, very much awake. Since it was 10pm, this wasn’t ideal. However, we got the kiddos to sleep (eventually) and all was well with the world. We may need to find a new babysitter, though (because this particular one may refuse to watch these girls again if they insist on staying awake until all hours of the night!).

— On Saturday I went boxing and then we went to Clara’s preschool for parents’ work day, which consisted of us cleaning the school and the play yard while the kids played together and made a mess faster than we could clean it up. It was a lot of chatting and eating pizza and some light work. (For me at least, I think some of the parents were more productive!) I loved meeting Clara’s friends’ parents and also seeing her interact in the school. She was so happy! Plus, she loved being able to show me and Tim all of the toys and buddies.

cherry_blossoms_seattle

— After afternoon naps on Saturday I suggested we go to the arboretum to see the cherry blossoms. This was a mistake. 1) It rained. OF COURSE IT DID because it always rains when I suggest an outing and don’t bring rain gear! When will I learn? 2) Clara hates walking. I don’t know why, but she hates it and complained the whole time. 3) The blossoms are best seen on the UW campus so we still need to get there before all of the blossoms fall off!

— On Sunday I left the house at 6:30am (before anyone else was awake!) and went skiing with three girlfriends at Stevens Pass. It was the best time. I was so exhausted (I blame the boxing for my sore muscles) but it was great to spend the time outdoors in the mountains, with girlfriends, as snow was falling. It was like saying a final goodbye to winter! Plus, I didn’t hear any whining nor crying all day long. Heaven. We also enjoyed some apres ski drinks before heading back into the city.

My 31st Birthday!

— I walked in the door and our small group from church was meeting at my house. They had the most delicious sandwich and cake waiting for me! Everyone sang happy birthday before heading home.

— Then I went to a steering committee meeting for my MOPS local chapter. It was great seeing all of the moms there.

— I was in bed before 10pm. I think this is only the 2nd or 3rd time this has happened in the past year, but I was exahusted and my body was literally shutting down.

The end! It was a wonderful birthday weekend and now I’m typing this email as Clara is at preschool and Isabelle naps. Both girls slept in this morning so I was able to sleep for 10 almost uninterrupted hours! Best gift ever. 

cherry_blossoms_seattle

Speaking of gifts… I’m so thankful for Tim and his willingness to ensure I had a fun weekend by doing solo-dad duty all day and night on Sunday. When I asked if I could ski with friends he didn’t hesitate to say I should definitely go and he never mentioned the day as being anything but fun for him and the girls. I want to make sure I mention this because behind a mom’s (or dad’s!) fun day ‘off’ is a hardworking parent at home!

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Last week I said ‘yes’ to all of the things.

I realize that I don’t write very often about what I actually spend my time doing day in and day out. Once upon a time bloggers wrote a lot of recaps, but I think those are all but disappearing in favor of more Pinterest-worthy posts. So, readers of this blog probably don’t know what I spend my time doing when I’m not roaming the internet.

I’m about to remedy that situation.

Here’s a completely out of order and scattered recap of last week.

Painting and wine at Canvas! in Fremont

Evidently wine turns me into an artist! Also, next time I go out with Ashley I’m wearing 8 inch heels.

Last week…

+ I went to boxing class a few times.

+ I babysat two other kiddos one afternoon. It turns out watching four kids under four years old is chaos and I can’t handle it for longer than a few hours. I think I need to build up my stamina.

+ Clara and I went to a playdate with MOPS friends.

+ I took Clara to her gym class.

+ I rocked babies to sleep and read books over and over and made lunches and snacks and breakfasts and dinners and even remembered to feed myself occasionally.

+ We had one day with back-to-back playdates…. all before naptime! It was wonderful and I absolutely love connecting to and catching up with other moms.

+ I talked to a best friend on the phone.

+ I watched March Madness. A lot of March Madness.

+ I went to a painting and wine night at Canvas! in Fremont. I don’t even have one artistic bone in my body but give me wine and I’ll happily paint the night away.

+ I finally finished this book (highly recommended!).

+ Tim was sick one day so I was on ‘mom duty’ allllll morning/day/night.

+ Tim also had a busy week at work so he left before 7am each day and came back at dinner time.  I know that’s some people’s normal schedule, but it was a few very long days for me.

My little loves.

Grainy but ADORABLE. Not that I’m completely biased. Also, right after this pic was taken Clara full on tackled Isabelle. Sisters.

+ I bought three pairs of shoes from ThredUp. I haven’t bought shoes in forever so I’m very excited! They’re all for the spring style challenge I mentioned yesterday.

+ I volunteered at a tax site for five hours (preparing taxes for low income clients).

+ Tim and I went to a marriage conference night at a church. (It’s a 10 week ‘course’ and I’m really getting a lot out of it!)

+ I made a lot of lattes, cleaned the floor countless times, did some errands and shopping and tidying, cooked meals and baked cookies, dropped off/picked up Clara from preschool, and MOST IMPORTANTLY kept everyone alive.

And if you know me, you know that I love being busy. Like, I had the best week! But at the end of the day I was pretty worn out. So this week I’m been doing it a bit differently. The girls and I don’t have many plans (quite the opposite of last week!) so I’m staying in. Once the girls go to bed I’m reading and writing and journaling and relaxing with my feet up. Last night I skipped volunteering and tonight I skipped working out at the boxing gym. It’s not that those things aren’t important to me – they are! – but I’m trying to pay attention to how I’m feeling and what my body and mind want to do, and they want to rest! 

This week is about watching reality TV and listening to podcasts and running around less so I can breathe a bit more. It’s about balance.

(But not necessarily right at this moment because of course I just sat down for 10 minutes to publish this post and Isabelle woke up an hour early from her nap. What the heck, kid?! Mom’s supposed to be resting! If I write a blog post about it, it must be fact!)

Is your week busy or have you been able to put your feet up?

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Things I’m excited about: A spring style challenge!

Last week was quite the week (in the busiest and productive of ways!). I’ll write about it tomorrow or maybe the next day or… well, hopefully I get around to it at all. You know how it goes.

PMT Spring Style Challenge

Before I forget, I really want to tell you about the challenge I’m doing starting in April. Do you remember the style challenge I did in the winter? I mentioned it a few times. Anyway, it was such a hit that Audrey (of Putting Me Together) is creating another one for the spring, and I am THRILLED because I honestly didn’t know how I was going to get dressed by myself again. I may have been tempted to wear the same winter outfits over and over again no matter what the season was/is and people would have wondered why I was wearing puffy vests in July.

Suffice it to say that Audrey has saved me from 365 days of winter-wear with this challenge. 

Putting Me Together Spring Style Challenge

If you haven’t heard of Audrey or her spring style challenge yet, go here to read the details, but I’d like to encourage you to check it out especially if…

  • You have a closet of too much stuff. I had to buy a few things for the winter challenge but they’re staples that I now wear all of the time, even after the challenge. And, I actually ended up getting rid of more things than I brought in, since after the challenge I was able to quickly see which items in my closet weren’t serving a purpose and weren’t great for mixing and matching.
  • You hate picking out what to wear. I have a lot of things happening in my mornings (I am not one of those moms who wakes up before her kids, so my morning always starts with me running around, serving the needs of mini-crazy people) and picking out an outfit is not something I want to deal with. When left to my own devices I generally throw on a t-shirt and leggings. Yikes. However, with this challenge I was able to look at the email each morning (or night before) telling me what I would wear the next day. I followed the directions exactly and was always super pleased with how I looked. I loved having one less decision to make!
  • You’ve always wanted to have a capsule wardrobe but can never seem to figure it out. This goes along with the first bullet point, but essentially this challenge will help you put together a capsule wardrobe that will last an entire season! I haven’t achieved true ‘capsule wardrobe’ status, but am closer than I was before!
  • You need a shopping list of what to buy for the season. I tend to just buy whatever the  heck looks good at the time without even considering what I already own and what I could wear the piece of clothing (or accessory) with. Needless to say, this has cost me a lot of money. With the challenge’s shopping list, however, I stick to what I ‘need’ and then I’m done shopping for the season. I estimate that this has saved me hundreds of dollars.

OK that about sums it up. As a SAHM who doesn’t put enough effort into how she looks anymore (so sad, right?!) I can’t recommend this enough. I think if I was still working in a casual corporate environment I’d love this as well. I just need a little kickstart to put more energy and effort and thought into what I look like each day, and this definitely helps to organize and motivate me! Plus, the private Facebook group is amazing and supportive and is really fun to participate in. Audrey has some amazing readers!

Definitely check it out (sign up here) and let me know if you’re going to participate! You still have about a week to get your closet ready for the first day of the challenge.

*Sidenote: Audrey is a friend of mine but she doesn’t know I’m writing this post and definitely isn’t compensating me to promote her! I just truly love this challenge and think many readers of this blog could have fun with it, too. Plus, Audrey is (really, really) awesome and if nothing else, you should be reading her blog.

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