Because moms need back-to-school supplies, too!

Because moms need back-to-school supplies, too!

One of the things I dread most about sending my kids back to school is shopping for their school supplies. With four kids, I’m always juggling multiple lists, trying to find all of the items requested by their teachers for the school supply stash. There’s always that ONE thing that can’t be found in any stores and ends up taking longer to track down than the rest of the school supplies put together.

However, once the kids are back in school, I love to leisurely browse the school supply bins for a few items just for me. The stores usually keep their back-to-school discounts for at least a week after school has started, but I get to avoid the rush of moms and kids all frantically trying to find the WASHABLE markers or the ALREADY SHARPENED No. 2 pencils.

I’m a complete addict when it comes to office supplies, so I have to work hard to keep myself under control when I’m looking at pens, notebooks and other supplies. I love making my to-do lists in cute notebooks, and taking notes in meetings with brightly colored pens. This year, I picked up just a few things that are adding so much joy to my day.

My biggest obsession is pens, so I had to make a hard and fast rule this year that I wasn’t allowed to buy Sharpies. My Sharpie collection is out of control, but what can you do when you see deep discounts on a pack of brightly colored ultra fine tip markers? Ack! I did *slightly* break this rule for a 5-pack of plain black Sharpies for only $1 at Office Max. ONE dollar?! How do you NOT buy that?

I love trying new pens, and I’ve been wanting to try the Papermate Flair pens for a long time. I remember when I was a kid, my dad often had a few of these in red. I loved the thickness of this pen that was almost a marker, but not quite. I couldn’t resist grabbing a 12-pack for only $8 at Office Max.

I rarely write anything with a normal ball point pen. I love having an assortment of colored pens, and these are a nice medium tips. Not too thin and not too thick.

Notebooks are next on my list of office supply favorites. I go through a ton of notebooks in a year. I love to have one in the kitchen for my daily to-do list or any random thought that I need to jot down. I keep one in my work bag to take notes in meetings, and let’s face it, to doodle. I prefer unlined notebooks, but they are surprisingly difficult to find. I couldn’t resist picking up a few of these super cute composition notebooks for only $3 at Office Max.

 

Back to school supply shopping for moms

It was also time for me to find a better way to store all of my pens on the go. I found a super cute little pencil bag, complete with lots of bling to store my pens in style.

 

Finally, I feel like I’m always in need of a sticky note to label something, jot down a quick reminder or leave a note for the kids. I wanted to try these tiny sticky notes to help me organize my notebooks and for whatever else comes up. We’ll see how much I use them.

That’s what my back-to-school supplies look like this year. Now, if I can just keep them hidden from my kids so they don’t steal them!

**

So, tell me… Do you love school supplies as much as I do? What are your favorites?

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What I’ve learned in 10 years of blogging

What I’ve learned in 10 years of blogging

A few weeks ago, I had this realization that I have been writing on this blog for a long time. I’m talking about before I discovered Facebook kind of long. Instagram wasn’t invented kind of long. One of my children wasn’t born kind of long.

I looked at my archives and found out I had overlooked my own 10-year blogging anniversary. Apparently, time flies when you are having fun!

During the last decade of sharing my life here on this blog, so many things have happened. People sometimes ask me why I even want to write about my life in this way. While I’ve had my moments of asking myself that same question, I also love to look back and see how much life has changed. I’m so thankful that I took the time to record our stories, my thoughts and my ideas in this way.

I love that some of my readers have been with me since the beginning and still read my blog!

I read all the time about what I should be doing to have a successful blog. I should develop a niche. I need to write about one particular topic and stay hyper focused to attract an audience. I have learned through the years that just isn’t for me. I love writing about the real stuff that happens in our life, and it’s crazy how those topics have changed dramatically the last 10 years.

For example, some of the topics covered here have included:

Our decision to home school and then our decision to stop home schooling

The story of how my husband and I started dating

The surprise announcement that I was pregnant at the age of 40 and my struggles with “advanced maternal age

Lots of interesting anecdotes about different types of shoes

My obsession with the TV show, LOST

My quest to become an organized person and my many organization projects

And my recent health journey and effort to eat real food

I thought about writing about the top five things I’ve learned after 10 years of blogging. But I realized that it all really boils down to just one thing.

You can’t worry about what other people think.

The hard thing about blogging for someone who is a perfectionist (like me) is that it’s so easy to overanalyze things. You can check your stats to see how many people read a blog post. You can fixate on your Facebook or Instagram likes and you can worry about how many people follow you by e-mail or through Bloglovin’. You can write what you perceive as an amazing blog post and then the reality hits that it is getting zero traffic.

If I followed all of the blogging rules, I would write more posts with five tips to do this or five tips to do that. But the thing is, I really blog for me. I love chronicling our lives here so I can look back at these memories later. I love the good feeling I get when someone tells me she was inspired, motivated or helped by something I wrote. I love connecting with people, and I get overly excited when I write something that others can relate to.

One of the biggest changes to my blog during the past 10 years is that I really don’t write that much about being a mom anymore. Once your kids get to a certain age, you really can’t infringe upon their privacy by exposing the details of what happens within a family. It’s kind of crazy that just when parenting reaches its most difficult stage, you also have to stop talking about what’s going on.

Because of this, I’ve been thinking about changing the name of my blog. But everydayMOM has become a part of who I am, so I’m not sure if I can bring myself to do it!

Whether you have been reading for the past 10 years or whether you are brand new here, I just wanted to say, “Thank you” for reading! I really do appreciate having you along on this journey.

**

In honor of my 10 years of blogging, I would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment and let me know how long you have been reading my blog and how you found out about it. Thanks in advance!

 

 

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Listen to my story on The Energy Edge podcast

Listen to my story on The Energy Edge podcast

Well, today, I get to experience a bit of a role reversal!

Throughout my career, I have had the great opportunity to interview lots of people. Whether as a newspaper reporter or as part of my current job as a communications director, I’m usually the one asking people questions.

But a few weeks ago, my friend, Bryan Buckley, asked if he could interview me for his podcast. Bryan and I met about five years ago when he and his family started attending our family’s church (and also the place I work), The Sanctuary Church. Bryan is a corporate trainer and former worship director at a church. He and I immediately connected because of our shared interest in productivity, self improvement and our interest in church life.

Bryan travels a lot for his job, and he always makes a point of bringing back bulletins, brochures, handbooks, DVDs and anything else he can get his hands on from the churches that he visits. I’ve been able to generate a lot of ideas for my job from the many resources he has gathered for me.

A little more than a year ago, we connected through another shared experience.

About six months before my health journey began, Bryan encountered a health crisis of his own. Like me, he was a highly-driven, self-motivated, goal-oriented person who suddenly had to put everything on hold because of his health.

When I had a similar experience a few months later, Bryan became one of the few people in my life who had a unique understanding of what I was going through. When Bryan and I see each other on Sunday mornings, we often ask each other, “How did your week go?” or “How are you doing?” But this isn’t just a routine greeting for us after which we expect the standard answer, “Oh, fine.” When we ask those questions, we are ready for a real answer.

At the beginning of the year, Bryan launched a new podcast called, The Energy Edge. I’ve been a faithful listener since Day One.

I will admit that when I started listening, it was mostly because I was curious about what he was doing and wanted to be able to support a friend in his entrepreneurial endeavors. As someone with a similar bent, I know how much I appreciate the people in my life who read my blog or take an interest in what I’m doing.

After about a month of listening, though, I found myself looking forward to the next Monday’s episode — not just because we are friends, but because he was providing great content! Bryan and his co-host talk about maximizing your energy and health through sleep, healthy eating, stress management, relationships, exercise and more. Every other week, he interviews an expert on a topic related to energy.

 

Bryan asked me to share my story because he thought it might be helpful to people who are facing a tough situation that impacts one’s health. Our interview centered on my personal story and how I’ve tried to regain my energy even in the midst of a health situation that can knock me down at any time.

It was weird to be on the other side of the interview, that’s for sure. I think I turned out to be one of Bryan’s most high maintenance guests as I over analyzed and fretted about every word that came out of my mouth! But it was a really fun experience, and I hope you will check out our interview. If you love listening to podcasts as much as I do, make sure you add The Energy Edge to your playlist.

Here’s the link to our interview.

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End of summer home decorating

End of summer home decorating

End of summer home decor

I’ve been writing about some serious topics the past few days, and I’ve loved interacting with many of you on Facebook, Bloglovin’ and through text. I guess I’m not the only one feeling the sadness of back to school, and I’ve also learned that many of my friends have been doing the happy dance now that they have a few minutes of peace and quiet each day!

Now it’s time to move onto something a little more light-hearted: home decorating.

I’ve mentioned a number of times here on my blog that I’ve really grown to love changing out my decor for the seasons. But the “back to school” time of year that we are in right now is the one “season” that has perplexed me in my decorating.

Let me explain.

I really look forward to rearranging my mantel and other decorations to match the mood at Christmas, spring and fall. It makes me feel like it helps me to savor the season. Around the end of May, I usually transition into summer mode by adding American flags and baseballs to my decorating.

I often forget to take photos, but here are a few shots of my July decor from last year:

Once July has passed and Independence Day is a memory, I can’t wait to move on. However, it’s too early to start decorating for fall. I want to hold onto the end-of-summer season just a bit longer.

This year, I was determined to decorate for August and September in some way, but couldn’t really every come up with a decorating theme. I can’t even express my level of happiness a few weeks ago when I found this sunflower wreath, which is exactly what I had in mind.

My decor is full of browns, greens and purples, so I was looking for something that wasn’t too bright. I also love how the texture and bow match the rustic feel that I’ve been trying to achieve with my decorating.

About a year and a half ago, I transferred some of the photos I’ve taken onto pieces of wood. I covered the photos in mod podge to create an effect that looks like a painting. For a while, I had a whole wall covered in photos, but then I had the idea for my husband to build these shelves to go over our coffee bar. I love that I can pull out one or two of my photos to match my current decorating mood.

This was the perfect time to use this sunflower photo, which is one of my favorites.

I still don’t have a lot of decor for this time of year. But I switched out my spring birdhouses for this globe and traded the spring flowers for a bouquet of prairie grass which I picked last year from behind our house.

You also know that I love changing the sayings on my chalkboards to match the seasons. I thought this was a good reminder for my kids as they go back to school.

Now, I can breathe a big sigh of relieve that my transitional end-of-summer, not-quite-fall decorating is done. 🙂

It’s the little things in life that make me happy!

**

What about you? Do you enjoy decorating for the seasons? Do you change out your decor half as often as I do?

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Why letting go doesn’t get easier

Why letting go doesn’t get easier

Last week, I took my two boys to high school registration. I stood in long lines with them, paying their registration fees, picking up class schedules, buying a parking pass and purchasing PE uniforms. After about an hour, I needed to run back home to pick up my daughter who had registration at the same time at junior high.

I quickly helped the boys find their lockers, and then they reassured me it was OK to leave.

“We can walk around and find our classes,” they told me. “We can walk home when we’re done.”

By the time the girls and I got to junior high, the lines were all down to just a few people. We picked up my daughter’s schedule, and I turned to look just as she was catching up with her friends. She dashed around the corner with them off in search of lockers. She was heading to band camp after registration so she didn’t need me to stay. She was gone with just a wave.

My 7-year-old bumped into a friend while we were there and was invited to go home with her for a play date.

I had been caught up in the frenzy of the past few hours. So many kids. So many places to be at the same time. All the lines and people.

Now, here I was, standing by myself.

I had made it to that place that I’ve daydreamed about for so many years of parenting:
The rush had slowed.
I had a moment of calm.
No one needed me.

But instead of going out for coffee or a manicure, I sat in my minivan and fought back tears.

No one needed me.
I had a moment of calm.
The rush had slowed.
I had made it to that place that I’ve daydreamed about, but suddenly it wasn’t a place I wanted to be.

They no longer need help picking out an outfit or tying their shoes. The older three don’t need me to make their breakfast or pack their lunch or even cook their dinner, for that matter! They can find the bus without me. My oldest can even drive! They don’t need me to help them with their homework, drill them on math facts or teach them how to read. I didn’t need to be nervous as they headed off for the start of the school year today.

And yet, sending them off doesn’t seem to get any easier.

The older they get, the more I wonder if I’ve really done my part to prepare them. The challenges they face now when they head off to school grow more and more real every year. I long for the days when I could talk to other moms about things like potty training and teaching manners and sharing.

Now, we’re dealing with relationships and friendship struggles and social pressure and getting into college. This whole summer has been full of joy and pain, excitement and heartache in varying degrees. I share in the emotions of all four of them in my mama heart to the point I often feel I’m going to burst from it all.

They’ve done an amazing job gaining independence. And yet the more independent they become, the more I cherish the moments when they DO need my help. The less they need me, the more I long to be needed. The more prepared they are to go off on their own, the less prepared I feel about sending them. When they were little and I had to let them go, I worried that they would miss me. Now I worry that they won’t.

The past couple of weeks, I have been dreading the start of school with an ache far worse than in past years. I think it’s because this was the first summer we barely had time to do things as mom and her four kids. I get excited for them as I watch them build friendships and get invited places and grow in independence. And yet, I miss them. I’ve realized that it’s not just the summer that’s ending. It’s actually a stage of life that is coming to an end, and I long so fiercely to have it back.

At the same time, sending them off this morning was somewhat of a relief. One thing I have learned about myself is that I’m OK with change, but transitions are hard. I’m kind of glad to be done with the last week of summer… the last Friday of summer… the last day of summer.

I’m ready to stop dreading the start of a new school year and accept the fact they are all one grade farther along. As I look at each of them and the character traits they have developed in the past year, it’s a huge blessing.

I wouldn’t really want to go backward. And yet, it’s such a temptation to always be looking behind. So, here I am. I know they are doing great on the first day of school, and it’s time for me to join them. They are ready to go. But letting them go doesn’t seem to get any easier.

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