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Fulfill your mind, body, and soul without draining your bank.

Saving time for reflection.

Saving time for reflection.

I wrote a post a while back about the busy boycott, about allowing ourselves to slow down and enjoy some space in our days and in our lives.  Some might think that being a stay at home mom with “only” one kid would leave me plenty of free time, but with the terrible twos in full swing, I assure you that is not the case!  I have, however, been trying to follow my own advice and leave some time in my day that is just for me.  Time that is not spent cooking, cleaning, planning, packing, or even socializing.  When I first started scheduling down time, I didn’t really know what to do with myself.  Normally, if I have a few spare minutes, I can find something to clean or some way to get ahead for tomorrow, like laying out clothes or packing snacks and lunches ahead of time.  But, when you let yourself totally off the hook for a couple of hours, what do you do?

Sometimes I watch too much TV.  I think that’s one of the reasons that I  like to stay busy.  When I’m not busy, I feel like I waste my free time zoned out in front of some mindless show.  Like Vikings.  I loved Vikings.  I want to be a Viking warrior like Lagertha.  If you haven’t seen the show, you probably shouldn’t start because there are five seasons of it and you will waste months of free time glued to your TV.  Plus you’ll start wandering around your house using various objects as weapons and fantasizing about charging into battle with your sword and shield.  I  don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with TV for those of you have self restraint, but moderation is not in my vocabulary, so when I get into a show, it takes over my life.  I become Lagertha!

Anyway, watching TV is fun in the moment but it does nothing to improve my overall quality of life.  In fact, I think it has a negative effect on me.  For one, it’s not really relaxing.  I don’t feel rested after watching TV.  But it’s not stimulating either.  I don’t feel fulfilled or challenged or satisfied after watching TV.  It’s just a way to pass time.  And time has become such a precious commodity that I don’t want it to pass any faster than it already is.  So then, what to do with my free time?

I’ve found that I have been spending a lot more time reflecting on myself and my life.  I like to think about, and sometimes even write down, my beliefs and ideas about who I am and how I should live my life.  Surprisingly, I really like doing it.  It’s like getting to know yourself.  What a strange concept!  I  think sometimes we get so busy doing things that we don’t take the time to figure out who we are.  And that’s an important thing to know.  There’s an old country song by Aaron Tippin that goes, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.”  What do you stand for?  Who are you?  Do you really like yourself?  Do you even know yourself?  These are the types of questions that I ask myself.  I don’t know, maybe I should just watch Vikings, but it seems like a worthwhile way  to spend a few minutes a day.

Sometimes I think we’ve lost the ability to truly relax and do nothing.  Think about it.  When you have a free moment in the evening or on the train or in the airport, do you ever just sit and think?  Or do you immediately grab your phone, open up your computer, or turn on the TV?  Maybe all three at once?  I find myself doing this all the time.  I will have five free minutes while my son is playing on the playground and instead of relaxing and enjoying the breeze, I automatically grab my phone and check my email, Facebook, and Instagram.  When did I become that girl?

So, in the interest of being less busy and slowing down my day, my goal is to use my phone only as a phone, texter, and camera.  I will sit down once or twice a day and send emails from my computer, but I’m not going to worry about them while I’m at the park with my son.  I can check out Facebook and Instagram for a few minutes in the evening after my son is asleep.  My days as a stay at home mom are numbered so I’m going to enjoy every minute we spend playing outside.  And when I  have a moment to relax, I’m going to do just that.

Packing Light.

Packing Light.

As promised, we took a little road trip over Spring Break.  We didn’t want to  take a big, expensive vacation but we wanted to get out of the city and enjoy some peace and quiet, or as close to peace as you can get when you’re hanging with a two year old.  So we took a little four day, three night, road trip.  The plan was really simple…

Day 1: Drive an hour up to Evergreen and stay at my sister’s house.

Day 2: Drive a little over 2 hours down to Buena Vista to stay at the Cottonwood Hot Springs Lodge

Day 3: Drive back to Evergreen and spend another night there.

Day 4: Hangout in Evergreen for the morning, and then head back home.

While the vacation was simple, traveling with a kid can still be complicated.  In the past when we’ve traveled with James, I brought everything but the kitchen sink.  I remember going up to Steamboat to visit my family for two nights when James was just a couple weeks old.  I  filled up my entire car!  No joking.  The ENTIRE car.  It was so much work to pack, and so stressful to keep track of all that stuff, that it really took a lot of the fun out of our trip.  If I could go back in time, I would have brought diapers, blankets, and a couple changes of clothes.  What else does a breast feeding newborn really need?  I wish I hadn’t made things so difficult!

Anyway, this time we packed pretty light.  Here’s what I brought for myself…

In addition to the clothes I was wearing, I brought a Ziplock with my toiletries, a water bottle, running shoes, running tights, one sports bra, one workout tank, a jacket and hat, two swimsuits, two T shirts, one long sleeve shirt, one pair of pants, one bra, three pairs of underwear and two pairs of socks.  Everything fit into a small backpack with room to spare.

Here’s what I  brought for our son…

One sweatshirt, one rain jacket, two T shirts, two long sleeve shirts, two pairs of pants, two pairs of PJs, two swimsuits, two swim diapers, three pairs of socks, three pairs of undies, four overnight diapers, 10 regular diapers (he was sort of half potty trained when we left), wipes, sunscreen, changing pad, diaper rash cream, tooth brush, tooth paste and a comb.

I knew my sister had this little fold out pad that’s just the right size so James slept on this thing for the whole trip.  We even stuck it in the car and took it to Buena Vista with us….

Oh, and I brought his Thomas the Train blanket!

My husband also brought a small backpack with his stuff and we let James fill up his toddler backpack with toys.   Then we packed a cooler full of food and James’ Stryder bike.  I brought food to make while we were in Evergreen but we planned to eat most meals out while in Buena Vista.

Over all, it was a pretty great trip.  I pretty much wore one outfit the whole time and just changed my underwear daily.  I felt like we could have easily left for a full week with the few clothes we packed.

How to save money on beauty products.

How to save money on beauty products.

Want to know how to save money on beauty products?  Stop using them.  A lot of them are probably toxic, anyway.

That’s what I did.  I have VERY acne prone skin.  Even in my 30s, my skin has been more often than not, a mess.  I have spent a TON of money on beauty products, spa services, dermatologists, and acne treatments.  Do you know what worked the best?  Nothing.  Like, literally, nothing.  No soap, no lotion, no acne treatments, and just enough concealer to cover the acne scars.  For the past month I have been washing my face with a cool, wet wash cloth whenever I feel the need to, but not more than once a day.  If my skin feels dry, I rub a tiny bit of coconut oil on my skin.  That’s it!  I wish I could tell you that my skin magically transformed into a perfectly clear, supermodel caliber, complexion, but that would be a lie.  I still have some zits, but my skin is a little bit clearer, and my bank account is a lot fuller!

That’s not all.  Here’s the best part…

I also quit using shampoo and conditioner.  My hair is pretty long these days and it was starting to get dry so I switched out my $2 a bottle Tresemme shampoo and conditioner for a more expensive spa brand called Umberto.  After a few uses, my hair felt a little better but my entire back broke out into deep, painful, cystic acne.  Awesome!  Totally worth it, right?  My skin from the neck down was totally clear before this.  I tried switching back to the Tresemme but once your skin starts breaking out, it’s really hard to stop it.  I finally got fed up and decided not to put any chemicals on my body whatsoever (except deodorant because everyone has got to draw the line somewhere).

For the first couple of weeks, I just quit washing my hair all together.  I was afraid to use shampoo and conditioner because I didn’t want to make my back acne any worse.  The acne on my back got much better but, as you can imagine, my hair got really greasy!  I started googling natural shampoos and came up with the “no poo” method.  It turns out, you can wash your hair with water only and it actually works.  I followed the instructions on this blog and it really works!  The basic idea is that shampoo strips the oils from your hair, and conditioner replaces those natural oils with manufactured ones.  Doesn’t that sound kind of dumb?  Why not just leave the natural oils in your hair, right?  As it turns out, the oil that your body naturally produces is a great shampoo and conditioner in one.  You can check out the blog.  It takes a little time and effort to get used to it, but it works, it’s free, and it doesn’t cause painful, cystic acne on my back.  Here’s what my hair looks like now…

It’s soft, shiny and it never gets tangled.  When I used regular shampoo and conditioner, and then brushed my hair, a ton of hair came out in my brush.  I always thought that was normal and it would somehow grow back fast enough that my hair wouldn’t get thinner.  After using the water only method for a couple of months, no hair comes out in my brush.  None!  Maybe three or four strands, but nothing like the gobs of wet, gross hair that I used to have to pick out of my brush every couple of days.  And if my ends get a little dry, I just use a touch of coconut oil.  It works for everything!

So, here’s what my new beauty supply list looks like…

  1. coconut oil
  2. uh… that’s it

You really don’t need to wash your body with soap either, just warm water and wash cloth does the trick.  Okay, maybe I’m just a dirty hippy, but I haven’t noticed any bad smells.  If my skin is dry, I use, you guessed it, coconut oil!  For shaving… coconut oil.  Are there other oils out there that work better?  Quite possibly, but I use coconut oil a lot when I cook so I already have a ton of it.  Basically, I replaced soap, lotion, face soap, face lotion, shampoo and conditioner with coconut oil and water.  If we didn’t live in such a dry climate, I think I could even skip the oil.  Now I just need to figure out a replacement for deodorant and sunscreen, and I will have completed my dirty hippy transformation.  Do I get a badge or anything?

Road Trip.

Road Trip.

Living simple doesn’t haven’t mean living boring.  In fact, when you get used to needing less stuff, it makes travel a lot easier.  But, travel can also be expensive.  Airline tickets are pricey, especially when your kids grow out of the “lap baby” stage, and then there are hotel rooms, rental cars, food, entertainment, etc…  So, in the interest of having fun without spending a fortune, we planned a little mini-vacation for spring break next week.  My sister and brother-in-law just bought a house up  in the mountains above Evergreen and they are out of town for a couple of weeks so they offered up their house.  We graciously accepted.  We are going to spend one night in Evergreen, then drive south to the Cottonwood Hot Springs near Buena Vista, spend one night at the Cottonwood Lodge, and then head back to Evergreen for one last night before returning to Denver.  We’ll do some hiking and swimming; we’ll bring James’ Strider bike to keep him entertained (and wear him out so he’ll sleep); and we’ll bring a cooler full of snacks but also check out a few of the funky cafes and restaurants along the way.  To some, that might not sound exciting enough, but I can’t wait!

Our family loves exploring small towns.  Caleb loves to check out the rivers and find places where our son can throw rocks in the water and poke sticks in the mud.  I like to hike or just walk around and check out the shops and the people.  When James needs some play time, we’ll find a playground or a library with a kids area.  Libraries are AWESOME when you have a kid.  And when you go to a library in a new town, that means a whole new kids area to explore with different toys, different books, and different kids.  Anytime I need a break from entertaining my son, we head to the library.  And the best part?  It’s free!

We’ve done some international traveling with our son, and definitely will again, but right now we’re just trying to keep it simple.  And, we’re lucky enough to live in a beautiful state that has a lot to offer.  So why not enjoy it?  Every vacation doesn’t have to be complicated.  On this trip, I’m aiming for fun, low stress, relaxing, and simple.  Our longest car ride is two and a half hours.  We only have to pay for one night in a hotel.  Our room comes with free entrance to  the hot springs and a continental breakfast.  What more could we need?  I’ll let you know how it goes, and try to  take some cool pictures along the way.

A Masculist Movement

A Masculist Movement

If anyone has figured out a way to make motherhood simple, I’m all ears, because I haven’t.  Whether you stay at home with the kids or work eighty hours a week, it’s still a lot.  A lot of work.  A lot of time.  A lot of responsibility.  A lot of organization.  A lot of worrying.  A LOT!  The feminist movement was a huge step in the right direction.  Yes, women should be treated equally and they should have every opportunity that a man has.  I wholeheartedly agree!  But sometimes it seems that instead of creating a culture where women are allowed to do anything, we’ve created a culture where women are expected to do everything.  Yes, women have proven themselves in the workplace and still raised great kids.  But at what price?  By giving up things like sleep and exercise?  Are we all expected to be superwoman?

Yes, today’s men are much more willing to help out around the house and participate in child care and I commend them for that.  But it’s still viewed as “helping out.”  If a husband cooks dinner at night, he thinks to himself, “Wow!  I’m a great husband and father.  I’m helping out.”  But if he’s “helping out,” that means the ultimate responsibility is not his.  Who cooks dinner on the nights he doesn’t feel like helping out?  Who’s responsibility is it to make sure that there is food in the fridge to cook?  Who makes sure that the whole family gets nutritious, well rounded meals?  Who arranges the child care pick-ups and drop-offs?  If we are really going to be equals, we need to change this idea of “helping out.”  We don’t need “a little help around the house,” we need our husbands to take something completely off our plate.  We need a husband who says, “I’ve got food covered.  Budgeting, shopping, cooking, packing lunches, nutrition.  Covered.  Don’t even think about it, babe.  I’ve got it.”  That’s what it takes to truly live as equals.

Otherwise, we expect the women of our generation to be CEOs at work and at home.  Even if we snag one of the good husbands who “helps out,” everything is still our responsibility.  We still sit down every evening with our to-do lists and day planners and double check that the kids have rides, grocery shopping is done, there are diapers in the closet, everyone has clean clothes, and someone is going to vacuum before the guests arrive on Thursday.  Stay at home moms already have a full time job, a really tough one.  So if you go back to work, do you have two full time jobs?  I know you can delegate some of the tasks, but the responsibility still seems to rest on the woman, because we are the mom.  I guess it’s true now more than ever.  A woman’s work is never done!

I’m ranting about this because I’m facing the decision of going back to work full time, part time, or not at all.  My first fear about going back to work is, obviously, not being the one there with my son all day teaching him about the crazy world we live in.  But, another great fear about going back to work is that I am still going to have all the same responsibilities at home, and there simply are not enough hours in the day, or enough brain cells in my brain, to stay on top of everything.  Something has to give, and I don’t want my kid to suffer if I let go of some of those responsibilities.

Luckily, I did snag one of those modern men who are willing to “help out.”  My husband is perfectly willing to pick up the slack if I decide to work full time, but will he do as good a job as I do?  Will he take FULL responsibility?  This might sound really arrogant, but I treat being a stay at home mom like a job, like a 24 hour a day job.  I was raised by a great, stay-at-home mom who set the standard pretty high.  So I don’t feel like I’m doing my job unless the house is clean, the bills are paid on time, the kid is happy, there’s a home cooked meal on the table, and tomorrow’s day is planned.  Can men do that?  It seems to me that women have proven their role in the workplace but have men proven their role at home?  Maybe we need a masculist movement where men can fight for their right to do laundry!

Simple Cleaning

Simple Cleaning

I would love for our house to be clean, neat, and organize one hundred percent of the time.  I really, really would.  But I live with two boys and it just aint happenin.  I mean, I’ve tried.  I’ve followed the two year old around all day and made him pick up every toy as soon as he was done with it.  I’ve nagged, yelled, cried, screamed, pleaded, begged, and demanded that my husband help me keep the house clean and organized.  It hasn’t worked at all.  In the history of the universe no cavewoman ever changed her caveman from a messy one to a neat one.  Ever!  I’ll save you three years of your life right now, and just tell you that you are not going to change your husband’s habits.  Nope.  There, now you can relax and stop beating your head against the wall.  Your welcome.

But, that doesn’t mean your husband gets to be a slob and you have to walk around with resentment building upside of you until you finally decide to  murder him, slowly, by poisoning his protein shakes just a little each morning, meanwhile enjoying your last days and weeks together until his final yet inevitable demise.  I may have borrowed that from Knocked Up.  Anyway, there is a simple solution and it has worked quite well for us…

Lauren’s Super Awesome, In-Color, Laminated and Hung on the Refrigerator, Cleaning Chart…

Click here to view:  Cleaning Chart

This will change your life, I promise.  No, your house won’t look perfect all the time.  In fact, it will never look perfect.  But, it will never be disgusting either.  Here’s how it works…

Print out my handy dandy cleaning chart.  Take it to the nearest UPS Store or Post Net and get it laminated (only if you’re a super dork like me).  Then, start on Day 1.  Do the assigned cleaning.  None of the tasks, except laundry, should take longer than 15 minutes.  (If they do, buy a smaller house or get a neater husband.)  When you complete a task, put a fridge magnet over the box containing that task.  The next day, do the task in the box labeled Day 2, or delegate to another member of the family.  Each weekday do one cleaning chore.  There are 10 total so you will clean every part of your house every other week.  Not perfect but you only spend fifteen minutes per day cleaning and you get the weekends off.  You won’t have to spend every other Sunday buried in a mountain of cleaning chores, planning your husband’s slow and relatively painless but certainly deserved death.  I should be a marriage counselor.  Or maybe I’ll just charge $1,000 for my cleaning chart.  But the lucky 3 or so people who read my blog get to have it for free.  Lucky you.

Note…  You may have to adjust the chart if you have more/different rooms than I do.

Nothing New for a Year.

Nothing New for a Year.

There is  a popular trend weaving itself around the interwebs and I’m jump’n on the bandwagon.  I’m not buying anything but essentials during 2017.  I know, we’re already three months in, but I really already started.  When I started the food budget, it was supposed to be just a first step toward a simpler life.  But the effect has really snowballed.  When I made myself aware of how much I was spending each day, each week, and each month, my decision making process changed.  I started asking myself, “Do I need that?” instead of “Do I want that?”  And so far, the answer has been a resounding “NO.”  We buy food; we buy batteries when they run out; we went to dinner and movie for my husband’s birthday; but we haven’t bought ANYTHING in the last three months.  No clothes, no trinkets, no gadgets, no electronics.  And you know what?  It saves time as well as money.  If you cut out those little trips to the store to pick up this or that, you have that time to spend doing things that bring you joy, like cooking great meals for your family, or starting a blog; apparently 2017 is just going to be a really cool and trendy year for me.  (more about impulse buying here)

Well… there is one thing we bought.  We bought our son a $15 train track with some $5 dollar trains.  But that was already promised to him if he started using his potty every time he had to go.  And I’m not sure what the parenting books say about bribing your children, but it works!  When that train track showed up in the mail, my son was potty trained!  That little monster had been sandbagging for months.  I told him he wasn’t getting the track until he pooped in his potty, so he ran over to his little Paw Patrol potty, pulled his pants down all by himself, and pooped on demand.  That’s not even an exaggeration.  That’s how our son learned to poop in his potty.  So, I guess we cheated with the train set, but it was worth every penny!

In all honesty, we have the most fun as a family when it’s just us, in nature, with no distractions.  During the time we spent in Costa Rica, we went to the beach almost every day.  Sometimes we would bring surf boards or a pail and shovel for our son, but often times we just stopped at the beach on our way home, with no swimsuits, no toys, nothing but ourselves and maybe a water bottle.  Those are my fondest memories because we truly spent time together, jumping over waves, laughing and allowing ourselves to relax and take it all in.  Sometimes all the stuff we think we need to have fun, just gets in the way of a good time.



Can husbands be right about parenting?

Can husbands be right about parenting?

I took my son to the YMCA yesterday.  We have a membership there which will forever be in the budget because at $70 a month, it includes two hours a day of free child care, and James loves it because it’s stuffed with building toys like train tracks, giant blocks, and a big puzzle mat.  I’ll admit that I sometimes drop James off at the Kid’s Club and sit in the lobby for an hour drinking the free coffee and relaxing.  Hey, a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do, right?

Most of the time, or at least half the time, I actually workout while James is in the Kid’s Club and then we go in the family pool together before we head home.  Yesterday there was a dad in the pool with his eighteen month old daughter.  Unlike most of us modern day parents, this guys was not hovering over his little girl like she was doomed to slip and fall and gasp her last living breath at any moment.  He stayed a safe but reasonable distance from his daughter and when we she was attempting to do something a little past her ability he said, “Be careful princess.  Your might bonk your head if you try that.”  The little girl wanted to step  off the edge of the pool into the water.  It was only a few inches deep, but the step down was big for her and there was a slide right in front of her that she could have fallen and bumped her head on.  The dad didn’t move to stop her.  He simply repeated his warning that she might fall and bonk her head.  The little girl looked at her dad, looked at the step, and went for it.  Much to her dad’s surprise, and mine, she made the step gracefully.  She looked back up at her dad and smiled.  If she knew the words, she would have said, “told you I could do it, dad!”  Her dad smiled at her and said, “my little daredevil.”  The little girl was clearly pleased with herself.

My husband has a similar hands off approach with our son, and it drives me insane!  I’m always nagging him to pay closer attention to our son because I’m worried he’s going to get hurt (my son, not my husband).  My middle school English teacher would cringe at that unclear pronoun reference.  Sorry, Nancy.  My husband, in return, always says that kids won’t take as many risks if they know you’re not right there waiting to catch them.  We have argued about this for two and a half years but I think I’m ready to concede. I mean, I’m not saying I was wrong.  That’s just crazy talk.  I’m just saying that my husband’s theory might not have been entirely ludicrous.  In fact, looking back, our son has had his two most serious injuries when he was under my care.  So… I guess maybe it’s true.  Maybe you have to let your kids learn their own limits even it means scraped up knees, elbows, and faces.  Maybe that’s why kids are made so resilient; why their bones bend instead of break, why their cuts heal over night, and why a kiss can heal almost any boo boo.  Maybe my husband isn’t entirely ridiculous.  But you know what, I hate when my husband is right about parenting things.  I hate it.  I’m the mom.  I’ve spent 2 1/2 years with the kid, scouring the internet and reading parenting books trying to figure out why he won’t eat, won’t sleep, won’t listen, won’t brush his teeth, and won’t stop throwing his food!  I  should get to be right!  I tried harder!

I realize there is a more mature and enlightened way of looking at this situation but I hate being wrong about things.  I’m thinking I’ll just pretend that my husband hasn’t been doing this all along and that this “new” minimalist parenting concept was a result of my recent infatuation with the living simplly.  There, I feel better.  So, to answer the question, “no, husband’s cannot be right about parenting.”

Minimalist living.

Minimalist living.

Right now we’re renting an apartment in Cherry Creek, CO.  It has been great living within walking distance of my mom and we will take full advantage of that for the next four and a half months.  But when our lease is up, it will be time to move on and find a simpler, more affordable, living arrangement.  So, in preparation, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we want to live.  Where we live will depend a lot on how our job situation plays out in the next four months, but how we live is entirely up to us.  I’ve been reading a lot about minimalist living and parenting styles and it’s pretty intriguing.  The basic is idea is that less is more.  If we live with only what we need, we can free up space in our home, in our lives, and in our hearts and minds.  Okay, that’s a little cheesy but I like it.  And I think it might be true.  I just spent thirty minutes putting things away in our 900 square foot apartment.  Thirty minutes just to put away all the stuff we took out in the last twenty four hours since the last time I put it all away.  As I was picking it up, I had a sudden urge to just throw it all away.  How much stuff do three people need?  How many plastic toys does a two year old need?

That got me thinking, what do we really need?  In our family, we tend to have a lot of sporting equipment because we like to bike, run, swim, ski, box, sled, etc…  But how many hobbies does one person need?  Personally I enjoy, sewing, knitting, playing guitar, running, biking, reading, watching movies, blogging, cooking, baking, and doing craft projects.  And that doesn’t even include time with my family.  If I enjoyed one of my hobbies each day, it would take me two weeks to get through the list.  A person can only do so much.  That’s the point of minimalism.  Pick the things that are most important to you and cut everything else out.  That way you have the time and the space to enjoy the things that really matter.  Simplify.  Simplify your home.  Simplify your mind.  Simplify your life.  You don’t have to get swept away in the whirlwind of the 21st of the century.  You can live how you want to live.  We all design our own lives, so why not design one that brings you some peace and contentment?

Do you think you would be more peaceful and content living in this space?

Or in this space?

I’d take the latter, even thought there’s probably $10,000 worth of stuff in the first picture.

As Americans we tend to have a lot of stuff.  And then we buy big houses so we can store all of our stuff.  But, who wants to spend all their time organizing and reorganizing all that STUFF?  And what about all the new stuff that we keep buying because we’re too busy to stop and make rational decisions about what we buy?  What if we just stop buying stuff and stick to only what we actually need?  Wouldn’t that be a lot easier?


The busy boycott.

The busy boycott.

Do you ever have moments where everything seems to come together?  Have you ever noticed when those moments happen?  For me, they happen when I step back and allow them to happen.  When I take a break from the craziness that we call a life.  When I take the time to reflect on who I am and what I want to do with the short time I have here on earth.  And as my thirties race by, I’m starting to realize just how quickly the rest of my days are going to fly by.  This morning I took a few minutes to browse other blogs that promote the “simple life” and I came across this video.  It was exactly what I needed to hear.  By the time I got to the end of the video, I literally sighed a sigh of relief.  The funny thing is, my sister and brother in law told me pretty much the exact same thing just the other day.  They said, “Lauren, relax.  You’ve done a lot in the last five years.  Just give yourself a break.  You’ve done enough.”  If I wasn’t such a hardass, I probably would have cried because I always feel like I’m not doing enough.  Like being a mom isn’t enough.  We live in a society where there is so much pressure.  Where you feel like nothing you do is ever going to be enough.  But it is.  No one can live up to the expectations that we have created.  No one.  So, if you feel like you’re not doing enough, not making enough money, not busy enough.  Just stop.  It’s enough.

Probably most of you won’t take the twelve minutes to watch this video because you’re too busy.  But what kind of life do we have if we can’t spare 12 minutes?  This is how I want to feel.  This lady’s voice is so calming because she’s so at peace with who she is and what she believes in.  In starting this blog, I’ve struggled to put into words exactly what I’m searching for, but this is pretty much it.  If you can spare the 12 minutes, watch it.

I want to boycott busy.  It’s exhausting and I know it’s effecting my health.  I never had acne as a kid but starting in my early twenties when life started to get confusing and stressful, it started.  I’ve also had painful stomach problems at various times during my life that I’m sure were just a manifestation of the stress I was feeling.  I talk to people all the time who have undiagnosed, lingering health problems and I would be willing to bet that stress is the underlying cause of most of those problems.  The two months I spent in Costa Rica were the only two months of my adult life that I have been acne free.  I don’t think that’s a coincidence.  Although I think the salt water helped too.  I really like the idea of measuring my self-worth by the way I treat other people.  I want to have the energy and clarity to engage in meaningful conversations with my son about dinosaurs.  I want to take more of an interest in my husband’s hobbies and career goals.  I want to spend a day helping my sister and brother-in-law fix up their new house.  I want to cook my mom lunch.  I want to have time for the people who matter the most to me.  I want to feel relaxed at least most of the time.  Is anyone else tired of being busy?