Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Year's Resolutions - 15 for 15 - and a quote that aligns with each for good measure

So looking back at last January's blog posts I managed to complete some 3/9 New Year's goals which has me at a rather pathetic 33%. So this year, my goal is to improve my score - even if only by a few percentage points. Here are this year's goals:

1. Complete the 2015 Reading Challenge 
To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life. ~W. Somerset Maugham  

2. Find a new place to call home and simplify  
Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris

3. Master two Yoga inversions
Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. ~Bhagavad Gita

4. Visit a new city
Wanderlust: a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world, to discover one's very existence 

5. Finish Destinos series (aka learn to speak Spanish) 
Anything can happen child. Anything can be. ~ Shel Silverstein

6. Listen more - talk less 
Be curious, not judgmental. ~Walt Whitman

7. Complete the Color Run 
When was the last time you did something for the first time? 

8. Get my (re)imaginings pilot off the ground 
She lets her imagination run away with her.

9. Three hours of not looking at my phone a day  
And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling. ~Shani

10. 1 hour of uninterrupted Olivia time a day
Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing. 

11. Find more serenity.  
She is clothed with strength & dignity and laughs without fear of the future. ~Proverbs 31.25

12. Register for a class for my Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies Certificate
Respond to every call that excites your spirit. ~ Rumi

13. Take Liv to the 2015 International Children's Festival 
"Our lives are connected by 1000 invisible threads -  along those sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes & return to us as results" ~Melville 

14. Host a gratitude dinner
Be with those who help your being. ~ Rumi

15. Take Olivia to Pride parade
It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.  ~ L.R Knost

My Mantras for this Year: 
Not My Circus. Not My Monkeys. (Polish Proverb)
What Other People Think of Me Is None of My Business. 

Lots of love this new year,


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gifting Experiences

So I love giving and getting gifts, but I like it even more when that gift is an experience - sure there are the typical ones like massages and a pedicure, but when I started to think about what I spend in any given year on theater tickets, mini-getaways, and lessons I began to ask: why the heck am I not wrapping these up and gifting these to my child so it feels more like a privilege then just an ordinary state of affairs - of which it is both. It is not unusual for Olivia to vacation yearly, enjoy nights out at movies and life performances, or participate in some type of enrichment activity and yet these events are a privilege as SO many people are not afforded similar types of experiences. I know several adults who have yet to attend a ballet or travel outside of the state while by age 5 Liv has a stamped passport and orchestra seating at Playhouse Square. I don't want her to take these types of opportunities for granted so while she gets a few of her 'wish list' toys (I try to encourage puzzles and crafts) I really attempt to give her presents whose reach extend beyond the month of December. Here were some of the experiences she found under the tree this year:

Spanish lessons starting in January at Camp Globo represented by our Spanish styled Rapunzel

Ticket to see Beauty and the Beast

Ticket to see Cinderella

Ticket to the Ice Capades (I never knew that was two words - huh!)

And for my sister and brother-in-law

And for mom and Joe

Other cool gifts our family has given/received throughout the years have included a fishing charter trip, the deck,  a white-water rafting package, Universal Studio tickets, a Costa Rican waterfall excursion, an area golf package, and oh so perfect for the holidays a Straight No Chaser concert.

Hands down, one of the most generous experiences my husband and I were ever gifted was our honeymoon. At the time, Joe and I had just purchased our first home and so we didn't have the money to honeymoon right away. However, leave it to my amazing bridal party to all chip in and purchase us a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas.

Know someone who has always wanted to run a 5k - how about paying for their registration for an upcoming race? Or perhaps a hot air balloon ride for the romantic in your life (so jealous my friend Katie received this gem from her sweet husband)? A beer-brewing or cooking class for your hard to buy for significant other? Maybe a friend whose been a little down lately could benefit from some comic relief at one of the local comedy venues?

The possibilities are endless and the recipient gets to experience the joy of the gift twice - both upon receipt and when they actually engage in the experience.

The gifts need not be extravagant either - for instance, there is still time to purchase the following for me before the holiday officially ends at midnight tomorrow :)

I can't help but think to a few favorite movies for some virtually if not totally cost-free examples, namely the night of star-gazing at an airplane graveyard from Can't Buy Me Love or the picnic from Up

A few years ago I surprised Joe by pre-arranging with his boss a scheduled vacation day of which he knew nothing about until his alarm went off at 6:00 am and I told him to hit snooze - that he was off for the day. I'm pretty sure that 'non'-experience experience ranked pretty high in his book of best gifts ever.

What are some of your favorite gifts of experience? What is on your wish-list? I'd love to start racking up some ideas for next year's holiday season :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

And we did it...

So we made a big decision...one we have been sort of, kind of, considering for awhile now and since her hair was finally long enough to donate to a few causes and for less altruistic reasons such as not wanting to have to deal with tangles like this in an already rushed school day morning...

After ONE day of not washing her hair and a bath and bottle of tangle spray later

WE CUT IT! As a prep tactic I had Olivia watch Disney's Tangled last night, talked about all our friends that have cute short hair, and discussed how much it hurts to brush those knots out! She was excited right up until it was actually cut off and then when I saw her face drop I started to panic! Right after I stopped the recording below and she was actually holding her newly cut hair in her hands I could tell she was trying hard not to cry; she also refused to talk to me.

Oh no! What have I done? Will she ever forgive me? Will she now suffer from low self-esteem for a decision I had a hand in helping her to make?

Not to worry - within a few minutes Liv fully recovered, was shaking her head with sass, and telling me 'I talk like a model now' - I think the manicure Michelle, Owner of Elements of Style, graciously threw in helped!

Olivia and I have posted her hair on the Matter of Trust website in the Clean Wave program.
Matter of Trust established the Clean Wave program to provide the public with safe, non-hazardous, volunteer-based solutions and green jobs to help combat major oil spills and common motor oil contamination. Through Clean Wave, Matter of Trust collects hair donations, produces hair 'booms' and mats, and coordinates large-scale efforts to clean contaminated water in rivers, oceans, and storm drains.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Books! Books! Books!

I've been away for awhile, but I have two things that are on my mind that I'm interested in hearing from people about which I will separate into two different posts...

 Image Credit: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/07/a-frank-love-story-barb-pickl/

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and came across a FB post about the  51 Most Beautiful Sentences in Literature.  

Mine were the following from the article:

3. “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”
—J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew”
Suggested by mollyp49cf70741

 7. “Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Suggested by Kellie C., via Facebook

 23. “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”
—Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
Suggested by Sam H., via Facebook

 26. “The pieces I am, she gather them and gave them back to me in all the right order.”
—Toni Morrison, Beloved
Suggested by lisah4b5176fb6

37. “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”
—L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Suggested by Stacy W., via Facebook

45. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
—Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
Suggested by Maria K., via Facebook

46. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Suggested by carlyh3

Strangely enough I haven't read a lot of the books these quotes are pulled from so it looks like my Amazon shopping cart may be gaining a few more items! 

I also came across another great list by Buzzfeed: 51 Books that Prove Reading Can Change Your Life.

Not sure what is up with always using the number 51, but I am quite sure that the fact that Anne of Green Gables made both lists is no coincidence. I will always be grateful to you Alexis Gable for introducing me to Anne. (Aside from loving her kindred spirit, she has also inspired me to add Prince Edward Island to my list of places I need to visit). Oh no! Now I have even more books to add to my list!!! 

I think next up for me will be Wild (not on the list, but Tiny Beautiful Things by the same auther was and I LOVED that book).  I always insist on  reading the book before watching the movie although I am not sure why as I am always disappointed with the film versions. 

Wild will be followed up by Goldfinch, Good Omens, Norwegian Wood, and If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. Did I mention I am already in the middle of three books (reading books simultaneously is not something I am really comfortable with, but it just sort of happened this time around). 

I would be so thrilled to hear about your favorites sentences in literature, your thoughts on any of the books referenced in the post, and what is on your reading list this winter.