Friday, August 29, 2014

4 Apps That Are Changing How I Live Life

*** Foul Language Alert***


It is nauseating. NAUSEATING. To know how much time I use to spend on my phone. The first day I had the app I vowed to use my phone in a normal way to get an accurate reading of just how much time I really spent on it.
Final reading for the day: 101 screen unlocks and 2hr 40 minutes of usage. Ugh. (don't judge me!) This app factors in ALL phone usage, and breaks it down into how long you have been on each app, including camera/text messaging/phone.
It is an excellent tool if you feel like you need a reminder to get off your phone. You WILL be reminded. A lot.
You are working on staying in the daily "green zone". When you start going into yellow, the adorable little monk mascot of the app becomes not as adorable, and instead turns into a nagging, raging, crazy person.

I love the challenge. It has brought back the mindfulness of using my phone for a purpose instead of a distraction. I had no idea I spent so much time on my phone since I always feel so busy doing other things. Now I get on my phone for a reason, and get off when that is accomplished. Instead of checking social media, or clicking random articles and scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

Unf*&^ Your Habitat:

If profanity offends you DO NOT bother to read this. Me? I am occasionally a fan of "sentence enhancers" (thanks Spongebob and Patrick ) (e.g. when there are no kids around!!!) . Especially when I have to clean and I don't feel like it. Sometimes this ship runs smoothly, and everything is just as it should be. Then other times I get crazy, crazy busy, then I look around and this place needs some serious attention.

Profanity can be highly motivating, as proven by this app.
It makes me laugh. It motivates. Basically, it speaks my language.

What I have found most helpful is My To-UnF%$^ list. This is a list you fill out yourself of tasks that must be done. You choose which one you are working on, and a 20 minute timer starts. When that timer is over- a ten minute "break time" starts. I am almost always finished with the task way before the first 20 minutes is up. I loaded up my list with all of the random projects that are not part of our daily cleaning grind. I choose a few to do every day, depending on how much time I have and off I go.

If you are a runner, you have probably been using this FOREVER.  I have been using it since 2011ish. It is an important app as it tracks your route, your speed, and length of your run.
I want to say more, but really, if you run you know about this app and probably use it. If you don't yet, you need to.

This App is an absolute blessing. I love it. I've used it about a year now. It really helps you to track your daily consumption, not only of food,  but water and exercise too. I think everyone who cares for their health should have this app.
I love that it "remembers" what I eat, the database of foods is so vast, and it tracks nutrition. Not just calories. You can see when you are lacking iron, or have eaten too much sodium, etc. It is such a helpful health tool.

Which apps do you find help with your daily life? Please share!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

This is My LiveJournal

I made a discovery about myself the other day. I miss Livejournal. So much in fact that I use this for stream of consciousness writing and daily journaling, just like Livejournal, only it never goes live. 

Until today. 

Here's whats been up:

My girl. My dollfaced girl. She's  9 now. 9!

We had the most amazing time at the Great Wolf Lodge with 2 of her good friends. It was maybe the most fun and freedom she has ever had. She got to run the place with her 2 friends, as long as they stayed together. 

It was fun to see how girls operate at different speeds and different comfort levels. I can see how they will be as high schoolers and even as young women. One of my daughter's friends moved very fast. Like superfast, caution to the wind, gogogogo.The other one was very cautious. Very reserved. Very slow.

My girl fits remarkably well between them. She was the glue that kept the group together. Though she really leans more on the side of free spirit, she knew she could not leave her other friend. She would slow the fast friend and encourage the slower friend to move faster. She is getting more and more aware of the needs of others, and their strengths. She has so many innate leadership qualities, and if I just step back a bit they shine through. I am super pleased with that. 

There was also a road trip to western Washington on the day of her birthday. It was cool, except for the unrelenting giggling from the backseat. Fun to see friends at our destination though!

So the very next day after my daughter's birthday is my husband's birthday. 

I took him out to dinner. Then he totaled our car on a foggy mountain road...

He is fine, but we are in the market for a new car now...

Luckily we were well insured so we will see a bit of a return for the car, and are able to put some money down on a new one. 

School starts next week, but we got a letter from the school district basically saying that our school failed to meet the NCLB testing requirements. We get to choose whether we want her to stay in her current school and get tutors if necessary or go to another school. Since she has always tested very well, and has thankfully always excelled academically we are choosing the other school I think.

Lots more has happened as well but it is really just summer stuff. Swimming, playing, events, walking, hiking, exploring, friends,  etc.

I am in such denial that Summer is ending. I haven't even done the school supply shopping...


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Berry Picking in the Sunshine.

This was a good day.

It didn't start out that way. 

It started out as many of the most frustrating days do. I had a giant list of things that "needed" to be done, and an overtired toddler who refused any sort of nap time.

I always feel so robbed at this point. Anger rises in me as I realize I will not have the productive day that I had planned, and instead I will spend the day dealing with meltdowns. Mine, or my toddlers. Could go either way.

There is a point on these days where I will still try to get everything done out of habit. Doomed from the start, but somehow I just think " today we will make it work". 

I just can't stop myself, and it ends up pretty catastrophically, at least for me. 

This day, I realized early on, the plans in my head were just not going to happen. My little guy was so grumpy.

 So we went for a drive. That calms us all down sometimes.

We ended up at a Blueberry Farm I had not known about before.

Two of my dudes favorite things. Being outside, and blueberries.

I pulled in.

Instead of fighting it, we changed plans. We chose to make the day a sweet, happy memory instead of a struggle.

 We mostly ran around exploring the acres and acres of blueberry bush aisles, stopping to pick a bit. Seeking shade. Taking photos. A little boy may have been, um,  "sampling" some blueberries out of his bucket.

We only picked about a pint. They had to live in my daughter's bucket to stay safe.

At the checkout the guy just slid the pint back across the counter and said "You can just have it, I think the birds and deer eat more than that in an hour". Yes, free blueberries & a fantastic day in the sunshine. 

Thankful that every day is a fresh new start, and that being open to a change of plans often leads to a better situation.

I also noticed my sweet little girl stepping in where she could help. Without being asked. She is getting so much more aware of the needs of others and I am so thankful I get to be her mom.

Though our blueberries were free this day, I would highly recommend finding a place to pick your own berries. They were only $1.75 per pound + kids LOVE this sort of activity. Win/ win.

Freeze what you won't use within 3 days to prevent waste. Frozen blueberries in greek yogurt is just like dessert!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quotes and Motivation

The most effective way to do it,  is to do it- Amelia Earhart

One of my favorite quotes, and one I often use. In my internal dialogue, and as a reminder to my kids.
Sometimes life is that simple.
Don't try to complicate things too much. Don't over-think things.
This just causes anxiety and stress.
Take action.
 Get it done.
Whatever "it" is for you in that moment.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

15/48 Walks - Reconnect

Earlier this week, I went on one of my favorite walks yet.

A walk with a great friend I had not seen in 10 years. One who moved very near to me a few months back, that is now leaving again.

She had not even gotten the chance to meet my kids yet.

We were always active with each other on the Facebook, little messages here and there.

I am regretting the time I spent in the periphery of my friends life. She struggled silently, for months, and I had no idea. Now she is leaving the area again. Probably for good.

I am beyond grateful that even amidst the stress of packing, and parenting, and relationship struggles she made the time to meet up so we could at least catch up before we said goodbye.

We had tossed the idea of going to see a movie. Maybe The Fault in Our Stars or Maleficent.
That meant I would need childcare because my 2 year old will not even sit through a kid's movie. Let alone a dialogue heavy grown up movie, or a possibly scaryish one. I really wanted my son to meet my friend and her kids though...

Then I thought- Movies are super expensive. She is moving. She doesn't have a job lined up yet,  she will be paying for 5 tickets + we won't be able to chat and catch up in a movie.

So I asked if she wanted to go on a hike instead, since it is way cheaper and will give us more time to chat.
Thankfully, she accepted.

We had such an awesome time. Our kids immediately hit it off.

I am totally kicking myself for not doing this sooner. We both just thought we would have more time.

In total there were 9 of us (including my husband and her daughter's boyfriend) wandering through the woods together. When we arrived at the Sound the kids dispersed with a little encouragement and we were able to sit quietly and talked until the sunset. A total luxury when there are small children afoot.

It was an intense talk that yanked on my heart strings. It also reinforced the respect I have for this friend's inner strength, compassion, and selflessness. She is a golden soul and I am so grateful to have these new memories to put in our lifelong memory bank.

On to the photos;

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Freedom and Wishes

It's the day after Independence Day for us in the USA.

Growing up this was always such a fun holiday,wasn't it? 

It still is so much fun. 

As a child, when the 4th of July arrived, I felt like it was a pre-party to my birthday, as my day is only 4 days later. Right around the 5th, I would get really excited for my day.

I'm not as giddy about it as I once was, but I am still so thankful to have taken my trip around the sun again.

Back to our celebration this year. I took the kids to see How to Train Your Dragon 2. Turns out noone goes to the movies on 4th of July, which is great since my youngest doesn't tolerate sitting still for very long.

The movie was good, at least the parts I saw whilst my son ran laps up and down the ramp at the entrance to the theatre, so as not to disturb the moviegoers.

My daughter liked it.

We went out to dinner, and afterward  got together with some neighbors and had a block party. Lots of fireworks and fun. 

This year I tried something different, and released sky lanterns. 

They will definitely become a tradition in this house. They are beautiful and everyone enjoyed them.

They created a perfect moment to reflect on our freedoms, make wishes for the future, release, and watch them float away. Bright and steady against the alternating dark, and perilously explosive night sky.

It was a great way to slow the kids down after they ran amok all night.

We are all bleary eyed today, but we are hoping to enjoy a hike together this weekend.

Hope yours is fantastic!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Post All the Walks!!!

 I am still walking, and posting the photos of my walks on the Instagram!

Instead of taking far too long to individually post every walk that I am behind in posting here (and possibly getting discouraged/distracted and leaving to doubletap on Instagram for my whole break)- Here are my walks up to this point :

Fort Columbia- Spontaneous Detour Walk

Fort Stevens walk 10/48walks

Beach Walk! Seaside, OR     11/48walks  

Downtown Seaside walk (and food!)12/48walks

 Mother's day hike 13/48walks

And finally- My anniversary sunset walk ended here. 14/48walks

Are we friends on instagram yet? If not, we should be! Find me @_lourab_