Hands Free Mama: Month Two

I may be behind on recapping, but I’m totally caught up on reading Hands Free Mama and I have to tell you, this book is doing amazing things for me. I’m really enjoying it and it’s helping me be so much more conscious of how I spend my time and what I focus on.

Today we’ll talk about chapter two (which I read way back in February) – it’s all about making purposeful connections. She talks about opening up about your “hands free journey” with the people close to you, focusing on hands-free time when you’re with your spouse (not just with your kids) and looking for little moments of down time (like in the car) to connect rather than be distracted.

This chapter was big for me because I had to work on opening up about how I’m trying to reduce my time and being honest with Corey about where I’ve struggled and where I think I’ve failed in my hands-free attempts. I honestly didn’t really talk much to him about it until just recently, so it’s had a bit of a delayed effect on me, I guess you could say. The section on being focused/not on the phone in the car wasn’t something that really applies to me much yet (since Jackson and I can’t exactly have conversations while I’m driving) but it was a fantastic reminder to me that I need to be working on my habits now so that Jackson doesn’t ever have to know me as a distracted, always-on-my-phone mom and will only ever know me as someone who is focused on him and connecting with my family as much as possible!

After reading this chapter, here are the three big take-aways that I had, and what I still need to work on:

– I am constantly distracted in the car. I’m not good about just relaxing with my own thoughts and as soon as I get in the car I typically think about who I could call to chat with while I drive. I’ve been trying to spend more time just listening to music, singing, and chatting with Jackson (even if he’s not talking back). I got rewarded for this in a big way one day when my favorite song came on the radio, I turned it up and started singing along and glimpsed Jackson giggling and dancing in my rearview mirror – I want more moments like that!

– I want to be more open with Corey about what I’m working on and I want to ask him to hold me accountable. If he doesn’t know that I’m consciously trying to reduce the time I spend on my work email while I’m at home, he can’t remind me that I should put my phone away when I bring it out for the zillionth time. I need to make myself accountable for what I’m working on, and even though I’ve made a lot of progress towards not being distracted in the evenings, I’ve still got a long way to go!

– One big take-away for me was that as I reduce my technology time, it’s likely the other people around me will as well. The more time I spend focused on being with other people (and not being distracted) the more I notice how much time people actually spend with their nose in their phones! It’s a good cycle for me, because the more I notice that, the more resolve I have to not be like that anymore.

Is anyone else still reading along and working on being more hands-free? I can’t wait to chat about chapter three, because it was my favorite so far!

4 Years

Corey and I are back at school this week and are trying to get settled back in for the spring semester – our Christmas break was fabulous but it always throws us for a loop when it’s actually time to get back to work! It’s a bit crazy around here lately, but I just had to pop in for a quick post about today because…

It has officially been four years since this amazing man and I got married.

Four years!

We’ve been together for nine years now, and I can’t believe that next year we’ll have been together for an entire decade. He makes me so incredibly happy and sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky to find someone that is so perfect for me.

I love our little family and how much our life has changed over the last year. I’m so excited to be celebrating four years with this man, and have a hard time believing that in just a few weeks we’ll be celebrating our son’s first birthday. How did that happen?

We’re celebrating this weekend with a date to one of our favorite restaurants, gifts (we don’t usually do them, so this is a big deal!) and a movie at home. It’ll be our first “real” date in a while, so I’m pretty thrilled!

Happy anniversary, love!

Life Lately

Can we go back in time a little bit?

Like, back to October and November?

I know Halloween and Thanksgiving are long gone and (trust me) I’m fully into the spirit of Christmas at this point in the year, but with my blogging hiatus I didn’t get to chat about all of the fun things we did at the start of fall, and there were a LOT of fun things that happened, so I want to go back a little and share. So, let’s make like the Doctor a do a bit of time traveling, shall we?

OCTOBER

October was a busy month for us! We kicked off the month with our annual family reunion (my side of the family) in Fayetteville, TX. Never heard of it? That may be because it has a population of, like, 258 (not an exaggeration). It’s an adorable little town and we absolutely adore going every year – Jackson had a blast this year!

The very next weekend we went to Waco for a board game conference. Yup, we’re officially that nerdy. It was a ton of fun, and while we were there we went to the Waco Zoo – Jack was totally into it, and we can’t wait to take him back! Two weekends in a row of traveling taught us that Jackson is surprisingly adaptable and generally awesome at traveling.

We also hit up a local pumpkin patch for some photos and took Jackson to the Fall Festival at our church – the petting zoo was the highlight of his Halloween!

NOVEMBER

November was a bit less crazy for us. It was a pretty rough month for us, but we managed to find some bright spots. Like Christmas shopping and putting up (one of) our tree(s) embarrassingly early.

We house-hopped for Thanksgiving this year – dinner at my sister’s house and dessert at ours, and it was fabulous. We had entirely too much food, spent a ton of time with our family, and just generally enjoyed ourselves. And Jackson was a huge fan of Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh, and we made enough dessert to feed roughly ten million people.

Once Thanksgiving was over we decorated for real – more photos of that to come soon!

Whew. That was a lot. Now, catch me up. Did you do anything fun at the start of fall? I’ve got to say, this season has never been as much fun as it is now that we have a baby!

I’m Back!

Oh, hey there.

Remember me?

It’s been a while.

I’m not usually one to offer apologies when I’ve been gone (I know that’s annoying), but I figure an unannounced two-and-a-half month break deserves some sort of an explanation.

Honestly? I just needed a break. I’ve been blogging on an off for about 10 years now and it’s always been so much fun – it’s a creative outlet, it’s a great way to relax, and it’s awesome to have a time capsule of what I was doing at that point in time. But after we had Jackson our priorities shifted and I had a bit of a blogging identify crisis. This blog had always been about home decor – and we weren’t doing anything to our house anymore. I never intended to be a mommy blogger! I didn’t know what to write about! Suddenly, blogging became a chore and I just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I needed to step away.

But now? I miss it. Dearly. I miss the community, I miss the fun of sitting down to write a post, and I miss looking back on the things I’ve written. It’s time to come back. And this time I’m not putting any restrictions on myself – I can be a mommy-blogger. Or a lifestyle blogger. Or a home decor blogger. Or just a brain-dump-write-whatever-I-want blogger. And that’s okay. This is for me. I love it. I miss it. I’m not ready to give it up. I may not blog on a regular schedule. It may be twice a week, may be once a week, may be even less than that. But I’m not stopping.

So.

Now that that’s out of the way.

Let’s catch up, shall we?

Quite a bit has happened since the last time we chatted. Jackson is 10 months old now, and he gets a little cuter every day. Seriously. I don’t know how the kid does it.

Corey and I have been working like crazy – we’re in the same district this year which is amazing, but we’ve both got a lot on our plates. This has been my most challenging (and most rewarding) year of teaching yet. We work at home at least 2 or 3 evenings a week, which is unheard of to me (I’ve always been so good at keeping work and home separate!). We’re starting to finally find a balance, and things are settling down a bit, which I’m incredibly grateful for.

The Christmas season is in full swing around here – we decorated our house this weekend and are soaking up every second of our first Christmas as a family of three. I have a feeling it’ll be the best Christmas ever.

I’ve got a lot of little updates for you, so get ready! I’m going to update Jackson’s monthly posts (we’ve got a lot to catch up on!) and there are a few little things around the house to share (including our Christmas decor)!

What have you been up to? I’ve missed you!

New Favorite Games

A few months ago I started talking about some of the board games that Corey and I like to play. Our friends got us into tabletop gaming earlier this year and we are completely and totally hooked. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Corey sold everything in our house that he could get his hands on this summer (that we no longer needed, of course) to buy more games. He has been spending all of his personal money for the last few months on new games for us, and we’ve quickly amassed quite the collection…

Yeah. We have a problem. So, since we’ve got so many new ones and there are quite a few of you out there who are fellow gamers, I thought I’d share my new favorites.

 

Rampage

 

This game is completely silly, totally ridiculous, and a blast. It’s based on the old arcade game, and you’re playing monsters who are trying to destroy a city. You get to actually interact with the board by dropping your monster to destroy buildings, throwing cars at buildings, and eating the little people in the town. It’s so much fun to play and it’s unlike any other game I’ve ever played before!

Lords of Waterdeep

This is one that I shied away from at first because it looks so nerdy (and is part of the “Dungeons and Dragons” world, which upgrades the nerd factor by 7 million) but it’s such a fantastic game. It’s a worker placement game, meaning you have a few different “people” at your disposal and you can place them around the board to accomplish different things. It’s quick to learn and so much fun to play. We love that this one works well for just the two of us but is also really fun with a crowd – we’ve bought one of the expansions so we can play with 6 people, and it’s great playing with everyone!

Takenoko

This game is pretty adorable, and also a ton of fun. It’s great for two players but also works for up to four…and it’s a great game for when you have younger kids playing – we haven’t had the chance to play this one with my nieces yet, but they’re dying to try it! In this game, you and the other players are both controlling a panda and a gardener in a bamboo garden, and you score different points for completing goals (for example, the panda wants to eat certain colors of bamboo while the gardener wants to grow them). It’s pretty simple to learn and it’s a fun, light game…and I can’t get over how dang cute it is!

Mr. Jack Pocket

This game is a very quick two-player only game. It’s a puzzle game where you are trying to strategize more efficiently than the other person, and it can be HARD! Corey and I like this one for when we’re in the mood for something fast, and it is one that makes us think! We hear the full version of the game is a lot of fun too, so we may have to get that eventually as well!

The Resistance

This one is a party game, and is perfect for a big crowd of people – up to 10 can play! We played this recently with my entire family and we laughed so hard. The idea of this game is that the entire group is playing as a group of people forming an uprising and they’re going on missions to overthrow a corrupt government…but there are spies in the group who are trying to sabotage the efforts. It’s really fun to accuse each other of being spies (and to try and hide it if you are one!) and it’s another one that’s very easy to teach. It’s hard to find games that are good for a lot of people, so we love having ones like this as an option!

We’re still playing and buying new games regularly around here (we just recently tried Survive and loved that, and we’ve gotten into some heftier games like Twilight Struggle and Nations as well), and just about anytime anyone comes over to hang out we rope them into playing with us. Our plan is to convert all of our friends and family to being as obsessed as we are (or, you know, close)! With how many games we’ve been getting these days, I have a feeling we’ll need another bookshelf soon!

What games have you been playing lately? We’re particularly looking for some good family games that  can be played with a lot of people (when my family comes over, there are 8 of us!). I love getting your suggestions – we bought Dominion thanks to you guys last time I posted about this, and we LOVE it!