The Friday Five- April Life (not the giraffe, the month)

Hi everyone!  I haven’t done many posts lately on what I’m reading or our family life, so I thought I’d do a general post for my #FridayFive!

ONE

My grandma passed away a few weeks ago and although she was nearly 99 years old, it’s been a sad time. It’s weird to think that that generation, which was a huge influence in my life, is gone and there’s only my parents left.  Has anyone else felt that?

Anyhow, Sunday night my parents were over and  brought a box of letters I had saved from when I was an exchange student.  The box contained probably 20 letters that my Gran had written.  I laughed and cried for an hour!  She was a such a hoot.  These letters will continue to be precious to me.

That leads me to #2…

TWO

After my other grandmother passed away 3 years ago, I made a pact that I would journal and write more.  The written word has such a profound effect on those who are left behind.  Seriously, we found a journal entry from my grandma that said she had babysit me when I was about 10 months old and I was “such a good baby.”  That made me cry for a week! (#Iamacrier)

I’m going to journal more about life – anything from the kids to blogging to arguments between me and Mr YT. Haha. I figure that someday these will make me laugh and reflect.

AND, from a business perspective, having a written word to look back on is SO helpful.  I’ve written down so many blog topics and completely forgotten about them less than a week later!

Love this quote from a Copyblogger (yes, a blogger’s blog):

“In my experience, creative people need journals. They’re the greenhouses where we grow ideas. And the laboratories where we practice fiendish experiments.” ~Sonia Simone

I don’t have a green thumb, so my journals will serve as my greenhouses. 😉

THREE

Since the move, I’ve been slack about reading.  I read on Instagram (and I don’t remember who’s feed) that every time you wanna pick of your phone and browse social media, pick up your book instead.  I tried this this week and it was so productive!!

Here’s what I hope to get through this month:

Mindset – I’m about a third of the way through.  This is some heavy psychology stuff, so you can’t just skim it.

City of Refuge – A fictional novel about two families dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Highly recommended as something to read before visiting New Orleans (we leave at the end of this month)

The Secret of Midwives – I rarely read this much fiction, but I just can’t turn down a book on midwifery written by an Aussie. 😉

The Magnolia Story – I jumped on the bandwagon (and already finished this).  I adore this couple, but didn’t love the book. Don’t worry, I still wanna visit Waco.

FOUR

The house.

So did I tell ya’ll that when we bought our house we bought one where we wanted to paint and/or change EVERY SINGLE ROOM?  Since we moved I’ve painted the 1/2 bath, the dining room, the homeschool room, and the foyer… hey, that means there is only 7 rooms to go!  ha!

Is painting the worst chore ever? How do people do this for a living?

What could be worse is actually PICKING paint colors.  I’m so indecisive.

Do you paint or do you hire someone?  I know we should just try to hire someone but I’m so cheap.  So instead I save the money and whine for DAYS.

THIS. This is “wedding white.”  Which I thought looked cream.  But it’s white.  The end. #firstworldissues

FIVE

You know I can’t end a post without talking about travel.

The Yoder Toters have a busy season coming up:

New Orleans, Marietta, Fort Wayne,  and staying in a CABOOSE in Hocking Hills – which one would you most like to read about?

Are you planning your summer vacation?

I love this post from Shalee at Shalee Wanders- Eight Other Travel Bloggers to Inspire Your Wanderlust

I’ve gotten to meet a few of these ladies and they are the real deal!  Tonya from The Traveling Praters has become my blog guru & I’m so thankful!


Happy Friday!!  Have a great weekend!

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Spring Bucket List

Each season I like to make a family Bucket List.  This is so we are intentional about our time and enjoy the particular rhythms and events that each season brings.

We moved right after Christmas, so some of this list pays tribute to our new hometown- i.e. Find a new favorite bakery is at the top of this mom’s list #carbsfordays.

 

What’s on your Spring Bucket List?

Feel free to print this copy below, if you plan to do some of the same things we do!

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The disease of wanting to be liked

Today after dropping off boy #2 at preschool, I was attempting to “sell” preschool to my daughter, using it as a leverage tool for her to (for the love) go in the potty.

Her response, “Yeah I go to preschool next year and people will like me!”

I have to stop buckling her seat and look at her.  Did she just say that?

She’s not even 3 but she’s going to go to preschool with the aim that people will like her?

Oh that little girl made my heartrate soar…

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As if surviving middle school and high school wasn’t enough, we’re continually bombarded by “likes” in our culture.  We wait for the newsfeed counter to tell us how many we’ve gained on social media, and we feel a lack when the internet voices are silent.

Adulthood presents just as much of a longing to belong.  For people to approve of my house or my desires– think my kids are well behaved.  For others to notice my hard work or my quiet spirit (the latter I have never been pointed out for! Ha!).

If this isn’t true, why do we buy a new car or take a great vacation or have our kid selected as honor student and immediately put it on Facebook– aren’t we all searching for someone’s notice?

No matter what persona we like to put out, it’s HARD when others simply don’t like us.

Did I do this to my little girl?  Did I unintentionally give her the feeling that people have to “like” us.  I’ve been so careful with my kids (even at their young ages) to quiet myself on body image and attitude (<- ok, that one notsowell), did I give the feeling that I, too, was waiting for the next approval rating from my peers?

I love the words of Brené Brown, who in her book Daring Greatly, said, “Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”

{{All the praise hands on that one!}}

So your supportive mom is upset- take notice.

Your best friend is frustrated with you- take notice.

A girl you see at school pick-up is nasty- WALK ON BY.

Crabby lady in the grocery store whines about your kids- WALK ON BY.

We can’t control everyone.  And really, if we are Christians, God redirects our focus.  In her book, Unashamed, Heather Davis Nelson says, “We expect the worst from others, and we assume that they think about us as negatively and as much as we fear they do (which is not usually true).  Yet even if their thoughts of us were as condemning as we fear, we are living for the wrong audience.  As someone created in the image of God and for the purpose of reflecting who God is, I am created to live before God alone.  (My emphasis added).

Yes!

It’s hard not being liked, but we are FREE. 

Have you struggled with this, too?  How do we teach our kids to search for real friends not “likers?”

(Post contains affiliate links)

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I don’t do it all… and neither should you

I was talking to a friend the other night and she said, “you have a lot of responsibilities.  I don’t know how you do it.”  I laughed a little … because I don’t.

#confessiontime

It’s a Thursday morning at 10:44 am and I’m sitting at the coffee shop typing this.  Alone.  You see, for the last 18 months or so, I’ve had a babysitter sitter come in at least twice a month to give me a morning to do whatever.  Right now I’m having a sweet young lady come once a week so I can pay bills, blog, run errands, etc…without kids.  This is a luxury.  I know it’s a luxury.

I’ve had a cleaning lady at times.

Even though I’m homeschooling Jackson, we typically only school 4 days a week.

We eat pizza once a week.

My kids eat PB & J for lunch AT LEAST 3 times a week.

My husband gives the kids a bath every night and that’s my downtime to go for a walk or do the dishes (those are far ends of the spectrum in terms of enjoyment).

When my husband travels, I’ve been known to feed my kids drive-thru Wendy’s and mac n cheese for DAYS.

I’m not doing it all.

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All of us mothers are in different boats, too … financially… the role of our extended family…or even the time our husband is home v. at work (or single moms HOW DO YOU DO THIS?).   When I start looking around I start thinking I’m not doing enough and that’s when the mom guilt and the stress builds.

For instance:  I know a friend that watches cartoons with her kids and I AM JEALOUS OF HER.  When my kids are in front of the TV, I can’t sit still. I’m like a little child hyped up on Red #5 KoolAid.  But I want to take the moments with my kids. I want to look them in the eyes more instead of being Miss Productivity.

I want to do my computer work before they wake and after they go to bed so they don’t see me tied to it.

I want to spend less time griping at them when the day isn’t going as planned and it’s 2:30 and we haven’t even started school.

I want to not be doing the dishes at 8:40 pm (can I get an AMEN?)

 

I’m not looking to cut-throat motherhood, I’m looking to do-your-best-and-live-to-tell-about-it motherhood.

So do what works for your family.  Hire a cleaning lady if you need to.  Take time to rest if you can.  You don’t have to do it all, you just have to do something.

Keep looking forward, mama.  No time for looking around– unless you’re looking into those big eyes of your little ones. 🙂

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Fall Bucket List 2016

Summer is unofficially OVER.

How I feel:

via GIPHY

Hahahaha!

Nah, summer AND fall are my favorite, so I’m not too sad to see the heat and humidity go bye-bye.

However, in the spirit of seizing the season (Carpe diem!) – here is my 2016 Fall Bucket List!

Fall Bucket List 2016

Any of these on your to-do list for fall?  What’s your favorite thing about the change in season?  I’m a sucker for some fall foliage.  

Check out my 2016 Summer Bucket List HERE (and update:  we did all of them but 2)

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Weekend reading- July 23, 2016

Happy Saturday, friends.  How is July almost over?   I’m actually enjoying the heat because soon we’ll be in a pile of white and full of cabin fever (and crankiness) – oh, is that just me?

We’ve had a week of firsts- last Saturday was our first family movie, and last night was our first family baseball game (pictured below).  We’re crossing more things off of that Summer Bucket List and not letting the sunny days pass us by!  What have you been up to?


Here are my favorite links from the past week:

Life/Parenting

Neuroscientists say multitasking literally drains the energy reserves of your brain– well that explains my everyday life!

A Mama Fesses Up via Coffee + Crumbs

Travel

Catch the Olympic Spirit: Visiting Olympic Sites and Centers in the USA via Suitcases and Sippycups

A simple rule for traveling {and life} with kids  via Life Your Way

Finances

How I earned over $600 Hustling Craigslist “Gigs” via  Budgets are Sexy

 

Have a great weekend!

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Update on New Years’ goals

2016 goals and aspirations- UPDATE

Updateheader-for-new-year-goals

How are we halfway through the year?  It’s crazy how quickly that happens.  I’m not gearing up for Christmas yet (Hobby Lobby is for.the.love), but I did want to review how I’m doing on my New Year’s Resolution. I could probably do better, but the fact that I’m still talking about my January goals in July is better than most Americans!

Personal/Health

Run the Blackhand Gorge 10k trail run in August (I ran the 5k in 2015)-  I may have a heart attack, but I’m still planning to do this.  My training has been less than stellar (i.e. virtually nonexistant).

Eat one fruit and one vegetable everyday (It’s that bad.  Why aren’t M & Ms a fruit?!?)- I’m totally doing this.  I’ve been eating a lot of homemade salads.  And everyone knows that homemade salads really stink unless they include hard-boiled eggs and some bacon.  Waa. 

Rest.  Like really rest.  Nap without guilt.  Take a day off  from cleaning.  Repeat.  Read a book and lay down. – I’ve been doing so well!  Probably 3 days a week I get a 20 minute nap.  It’s just what I need to get me through the afternoon.

 

Parenting

Implement things I am learning in Boundaries with Kids-  I think I better go back and reread this.  Summer is hard.  I don’t do well without a routine and it’s hard to have a routine when there are neighbors and house projects and travel.  We’re starting back to a partial homeschool days this week (Godblessuseveryone) and we shall see if that makes a difference.

Read to the kids during daylight hours (we read a lot before bed, but incorporate this more into the daytime)I realized this was majorly lacking so we took a long trip to the library last week.  The oldest and I are starting a chapter book today.

Marriage

One date night/month- We’re doing really well at this.  We’ve even been away for two nights (once in March and once in June) without kids.  Maybe our goal should be one night AWAY per quarter.

Make Brian’s lunch once per week (ok, I know that sounds simple, but I know it’s a way I can serve him and make his mornings easier)- I’ve done this maybe once every two weeks.  I AM A SLACKER.  

 

Faith

Romans 12:12 says we (Christians) are to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  My goal for this year is to live that out.  Exude joy.  Have more patience (yikes!).  Be faithful in prayer.  If I say I will pray for something, really PRAY for it  (you do it, too).

I don’t think anyone can ever “arrive” on either of these items.  Have I been more intentional with the words that come out of my mouth?  Definitely.  Have I still failed about a gazillion times?  Oh yes.  Thankful for His grace, and the grace of my husband and kids.  

 

Financial

Continue funding Roth IRAs and 529s- We’re doing this!

Buy a flip/investment house- We looked at a few in the spring but haven’t found the right one.  For our first investment we want something that doesn’t require too much of an overhaul, but it also has to be in an okay neighborhood, and in our price range.  Specific at all?  Finding this combination has been tricky but we’re still in the game. 🙂

 

Travel

We’re slowly marking things off our of 2016 Travel Plans.  Our most recent visit was Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but in the meantime we’ve been working on our Summer Bucket List.

 

How are you doing on your yearly goals?  Do you make goals?  What’s been the hardest one?

 

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Summer Bucket List

The unofficial beginning of summer is only 2 weeks away!  Our family counts Memorial Day weekend as the kick-off to our Summer Bucket List even if the calendar tells me that summer isn’t until June 20.

First, I asked the boys what they thought they would like to do this summer.  They were very excited to offer up “go to the playground” and “the pool!” (if this doesn’t show the simplicity of young children, #idontknowwhatdoes).   Then I wrote out a few of my own ideas, although I am questioning my thought process behind camp in a tent?!  I never really liked tent camping BEFORE kids…we haven’t tried it yet WITH.  The memories created are what is key here!

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After a long Ohio winter, and a WET spring, we’re excited to get out and explore this summer.  I like to make a Bucket List for each season.  Whether we stick to it or not, it encourages me to think outside of the box when it comes to our daily activities – i.e. we have to try to do more than sitting on the porch with the neighbors, even if it is our favorite summer hobby.

What’s on your Summer Bucket List?

Here’s a free printable copy of the list (minus my website name).

You can check out my Fall 2015 Bucket List HERE.

Or my 2016 Travel Plans List HERE.

Can you tell I like lists? 😉

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Life is either a daring adventure…

A Mother’s Day Well-Lived

I’d been in a funk with a capital F the past few weeks and the mundane of life was getting to me.  So when I woke up yesterday and Mr YT asked what I wanted to do that day I said, “Maybe take a road trip.  Or go for a walk.”  “You don’t want to just rest or get out alone?”  He asked a little bewildered.  “I don’t know…let me think about it.”

The sun was shining and the post-church nap by Miss C was complete so we loaded up for a drive.  There is a small Ohio town we wanted to check out (more on that, later) so we headed an hour away and promised the kids ice cream and a park if they took the drive with ease.

We found a McDonalds – not a hard feat- and gave the kids the joy of eating inside.  I laughed to Brian that our kids were more excited to eat inside at the McDonalds of small-town Ohio than they were to go to Australia (notevenkiddingonebit).  Then we found a park and the kids enjoyed all the new slides and swings and playground equipment they’d never been on before.

We left the park with smiling, wind-blown faces.

“I mother better when I’m out of the house,” I said to Brian.

daring adventure

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I’ve joked with friends that most days I would consider it easier to put my kids on an airplane than get them all ready and through the doors at the Y.  It’s easier for me to do something different than to do something typical.    Going places- seeing new things and new faces, is what fills my cup.

Beyond that, the kids were different, too.  They were on an adventure with mom and dad.

Somedays I’m so worried about “using my time well” that I forget that the time I have is meant for living.

My family took a Sunday drive most spring/summer Sunday afternoons.  I always thought this was an excuse for my parents to look at used cars and get ice cream (ha!) but I realize now it was more about changing life up a little, finding something new, getting out of our comfort zone, maybe having a conversation without TV and cassettes (hey, 1990) competing for our attention.  Oh, yeah, and Mom & Dad wanted ice cream.

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I’m thankful for these kids, for the sleepless nights, for the early mornings, for the long days indoors and the adventures far away.  They’ve taught me so much.  They make me die a little bit to self every day.  I hope for so much for them- in the least that they continue to let me take them along on excursions- big and small.

xo

 

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Hooked on Books

What I’m reading in May

Hi friends!  Man, I have been a slow reader the past few months.  Although, I find when I read “heavier” books it takes me longer to process them.

Here’s what I’m reading in May with links to Amazon.

Awe by Paul David Tripp- I love what the cover of the book says, “Uncovering the lies we believe about all the earthly things that promise us peace, life, and contentment, Paul Tripp redirects our gaze to God’s awe-inducing glory– showing us how such a vision has the potential to impact our every thought, word, and deed.”

Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick – I’m doing a study on this book with a few friends.  It’s a devotional format.  The price just dropped on this one and the Kindle version is only $2.99.

Stopping Stress Before It Stops You by Kevin Leman- As I mentioned in the Friday Five, I started reading this last week and I’m almost finished with it.  It’s making me realize how my parenting style may indeed be adding more stress to my life- Go figure!

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner- I’ve been eyeing this book for a long time, I even listened to this podcast last year when Jessica was featured.  Right now the Kindle version is only $2.99 on Amazon so I could not pass it up.may 2016 hooked books

Here are my past Hooked on Books blogs:

March 2016

October 2015

July 2015

What are you reading in May?

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