Raising My Spirited Child

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My little girl is intense. Her reactions are bigger and louder than all of her peers. Sometimes when she yells or squeaks or squawks I am quick to be embarrassed or to want to shush her. I am the one with ‘that’ kid. The one who tells you exactly how she feels – even though we can’t always understand where that feeling is coming from at this point.   But instead of shushing her or being embarrassed, I really want to be proud. My little girl may be ‘the loud one’ now, but she is also the clever and strong and persistent one and so often when I look at her and am completely exasperated by her intensity, by her complete and total ‘need’ for me, I see in through those explosive emotions and intensity that she is…me. She’s headstrong and driven…and yes a bit emotional. But she’s fun loving and giving and sometimes I get these glimmers of who she’s going to grow into and it’s both wonderful and terrifying. Because I know how hard that intensity can crash on the other end. I know how it is to go go go and give give give and then to collapse. And I want to protect her little heart from all of that. But I know she’ll have to learn, just as I have (and still am learning!), to measure and ration her energy. I’m reading this book about raising ‘spirited children’ right now and it’s really helping me to see her intensity in a positive light and to just feel like there are other parents out there who are struggling with the same things.

I think my psychiatrist also helped me see this a bit too. She said something once, quite rightly so, how I am always really concerned that people understand where I’m coming from and that I get really hurt or frustrated when they don’t. And I get upset when I can’t figure something out or things don’t pan out the way I expected. It’s the same with Clare. When she falls or something doesn’t go as she expected, she reacts very intensely. And while sometimes the intensity can really, really fry my nerves, I’m trying to be more cognizant of the fact that in a lot of ways she is a mini me. And I can celebrate her strengths and help her manage her energy and emotions as she grows rather than lament how challenging she can be. Because I never want her to feel like she’s strange because she’s the “tough one,” the “picky one,” the “high maintenance one.” I’ve been all of those things. I want her to know that it’s okay to be that way. In a lot of ways it’s awesome to be that way. So as that book suggests, I’m trying to even change my vocabulary around those things. We aren’t tough, picky or high maintenance, we are spirited, selective and know what we want and need. And that’s pretty neat, if I do say so myself. 🙂 

  

 Do you have a spirited child? How do you manage it? Share in the comments!

There’s a Box For That

You can pretty much find a subscription box for ANYTHING these days. Want fancy underwear delivered to your house? Fresh Fruit? Razors? Soap? Check, Check and Check. There’s box for that. Gifts are absolutely my love language, so getting a surprise on your doorstep each month is an awesome little treat that I always look forward to. Who doesn’t love happy snail mail?? Today I’m sharing the subscription boxes I’ve tried over the last few years. I’d love if you share your experiences with these monthly boxes in the comments section!

Let’s start with the ones I’ve tried but no longer subscribe to:

Birchbox – I’m pretty sure this was the first one I got. Birchbox sends you a few sample sized beauty items each month. The biggest pro of this one is that it’s only $10. However, I like Ipsy better (see below) because their products tend to include more full size items, are more personalized and come in a cute bag each month.

Farm Fresh to You – I miss farm fresh actually. They deliver a mix of organic produce to your door as often as once a week and you can even do only once a month. I enjoyed it while we got it. Every Thursday night I would be excited for the “Fruit and Veggie” fairy to come. But because we also have such awesome farmer’s markets here in Sacramento, Chris and I decided cost-effective wise it made more sense for us to just go to the markets. Though we do need to get more consistent with that.

Conscious Box – I think this was maybe a Groupon or something that I tried? It didn’t really feel like it was for me. You did get a LOT of products in the little box compared to other subscriptions, but a lot was specialty vegan foods that weren’t really my thing. I just tried it for the one month.

Nature Box – Ha, so my friend Steph got me this one as a gift to try. And then she kept forgetting to cancel it, so I think I ended up getting like 4 months of it. It was kinda fun, but I didn’t always like all of the snacks that came with it, so I didn’t renew.

Okay, now onto the monthly boxes I currently get and LOVE!

Ipsy – As mentioned above, I really like Ipsy better than Birchbox. I get 4-5 products in a cute little pouch every month for just $10. I’ve gotten makeup brushes, nail polishes, chapsticks and lip glosses, and some body/hair/face products. I’ve liked most everything I’ve gotten from them. I think I’ve gotten Ipsy for about a year.

Studio Calico – This is a new one for me. I think I’m on my 3rd or 4th month. You can get subscriptions from them for just regular scrapbooking or card making, but I get their Project Life kit. Monica got me hooked on Project Life. I’ve been working on Clare’s first year photo album with them, and I hope to create a family album each year. PL is basically scrapbooking for the lazy (or busy!) and I love it. Studio Calico is $20 each month.

Driftaway Coffee – This is a small coffee roaster out of Brooklyn, NY. While we mostly get our coffee from the local shops here, this is a fun little treat that comes in the mail each month. (You can order it more frequently) What I really liked about them is they send you a sampler of 4 different types of coffee to try first and then personalize your shipments to what you like. We just get the smallest ‘solo’ plan that’s $12. It’s a fun change from our regular Temple Coffee here. You can get your first delivery FREE if you use my referral link.

Citrus Lane – Mommas, Citrus lane is awesome! We’ve been getting it since Clare was just a few months old. She gets age appropriate toys/items/samples each month. Sometimes we get books, sometimes food samples, her favorite teether came from CL. I can’t say enough great things about Citrus Lane. If you would like to check them out, you can use my referral link and get 50% off your first box!

Mommy Mailbox – And last but not least, one of my favorites! Mommy Mailbox launched in December, and my mom got me a gift subscription for my birthday. I love it! You get fun treats each month curated by bloggers to help give moms a little boost. In February I got delicious biscuits and cozy socks, in March an awesome coffee mug and cute tote, among other things. I highly recommend this one to any mamas out there!

I’m curious about a couple of the other ecofriendly boxes like EcoEmi and I have to say I like the idea of the underwear one. Shopping for underwear pretty much sucks, so it’d be nice to have some comfy ones just show up at your door.

What boxes have you tried? Loved, Hated?

Book Reviews Jan/Feb 2015

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Instead of a massive Book Review post like I did at the end of 2014, I’m going to try and do them every few months instead. Here are the four books I read in January and February and corresponding reviews. Please, if you are a fellow book lover, add me on Goodreads!

I am always looking for new books to read, and it always causes me a little bit of anxiety when it comes time to pick the next one to read, because there are just so many good ones! I have over 150 on my Goodreads “To Read” list. Yikes.

January/February 2015 Books:

Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta By Ina May Gaskin – This is Ina May’s most recent book, and it really is different than her Guide to Childbirth or other books. It’s more a call to action of what we need to do to change our maternity care system. I found myself getting simultaneously angry and feeling empowered by it. Some of the ludicrous policies and procedures in our healthcare and insurance systems still boggle my mind. While talking about elective surgery, it doesn’t only discuss elective c-sections, but also breast enlargement and reduction and the dangers. I always joked that when I was done having kids that I would get a reduction, but this definitely opened my eyes to the dangers of those procedures.

The Girl on the Train: A Novel By Paula Hawkins – Look at me, reading Fiction! This was a great novel. I heard it described as Gone Girl crossed with Rear Window and that’s definitely an accurate representation of it. This was a debut novel for Hawkins and she’s a great author. I would definitely read more by her. Being that Chris drives trains, the whole concept of someone seeing something from a train window that drastically alters things really resonated with me. Because who hasn’t wondered about the families living in the houses that you see the back of while passing on a train. Definitely recommend!

Big Little Lies By Liane Moriarty – I really like Moriarty’s style. This is her most recent novel, though she has several. Her writing is ever readable and yet descriptive and you really feel entwined with the character’s lives. This one is told from the viewpoints of three different women and how their lives intersect. I guess I’d call it a contemporary mystery? It’s not a “who done it” but full of twists. Just like the Husband’s Secret.

The Husband’s Secret By Liane Moriarty – After I read Big Little Lies, I decided to tackle her book from last year which I already had on my kindle but had never gotten around to reading. I have heard mixed reviews on this one, but I personally liked it. Sure, there were things that the characters did that may not have been believable. And I especially liked the epilogue because I’m always a fan of the idea that everything happens for a reason, and thinking about paths that “could have been.”

I am currently reading: The Secrets of Midwives, The Joy of Less, and Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers. I tend to always have one going on kindle (on my phone so I can read while rocking Clare to sleep) one in hard copy and one on audio. I have a problem, I know.

What are you reading? Please share your recommendations!

Capsule Wardrobe: Winter 2015

The idea of a “Capsule Wardrobe” has been popular all over the place in the blogging and podcast sphere lately. I think I first heard about it when Jess Lively interviewed the gal from Unfancy on her podcast. Then my friend Monica did it. So I started by doing a fall capsule. I didn’t get a chance to blog about that one. Mostly just because the fall is CRAZY with holidays and there was no time. So now I have been on  capsule #2 – Winter 2015 (Jan-Mar) and am FINALLY getting around to sharing it on here.  I’ve already got my eye on plans for the spring capsule which I will hopefully post sooner this time.

So basically the idea is you cull your closet down to season appropriate clothing in a certain number. Meaning you don’t throw out your summer clothes during the winter, you just store them so they aren’t cluttering up your closet.   Monica did 50, Elise does 37. I think my fall wardrobe was larger than winter. The number is all up to you. Also, some people count shoes, some don’t. Workout clothes, PJs, accessories and undergarments don’t count.

I really like seeing other people’s capsule wardrobes because they are all so different. Depending on what phase of life you are in, your preferences and what you do on a daily basis all factor in.

For me – I hate jeans….pants of all kinds, really. I still chuckle at when I was working an office job, one day I did wear jeans to work, and my normally very soft spoken, introverted work BFF yelled “OMG, You’re WEARING PANTS!” I’m sure the office thought I typically came to work pants-less. Love you, An. 🙂

So I wear a lot of dresses, skirts, and sometimes leggings. I also teach piano lessons or work from home (or a coffee shop or library) on my childbirth educator work. So, my wardrobe looks a lot different than that of someone with an office job. Or even really probably one of a mom who stays home full time. Some of my beloved pencil skirts from my corporate days got put into storage. Never know when they may come back around.

So without further ado – my capsule wardrobe. Now, I can’t link up to all of the places I got my clothes because well, the majority of them have either come from ThredUP or Clothing Swaps. (More on clothing swaps below)

Here’s what my capsule wardrobe looks like currently.  Apologies for the yellow wall backdrop – it kinda messes with the color. Will do a different wall for spring. 😉 And will figure out the picture formatting better!

17 Dresses

3 Skirts

1 pair of Jeans

4 pair of Leggings

6 tops

15 Sweaters/Layering Shirts

=46 pieces total

Dresses

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Left to Right: Clothing Swap (referred to as Swap the rest of the way) | Swap | ThredUP| Ross | ThredUP | Target | Swap | Ross | Macys like 5 years ago? | ThredUP | ThredUP | ThredUP | Target | H&M | ThredUP| Stitch Fix | Ross

Skirts

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Left to Right: Swap | Target | Ross

Jeans/Leggings

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Nothing special…and I’m pretty sure I haven’t put on those jeans once this capsule. Ha.

Tops

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Left to Right: Target | ThredUp | Ross | Target | TJ Maxx | Ross

Sweaters/Layering Tops

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Left to Right: Swap | Target | Swap | Swap | Swap | Swap | Ross | Swap | ThredUP | Swap | Swap | Swap | Ross | ThredUP | Ross

Another great thing I did with the fall version was turned all the hangers backwards and then every time I would wear something I would flip it around. Then by the end I knew what clothes of the capsule I had actually worn! It’s interesting writing this later in the capsule because I can already see clothes that haven’t been worn these two months.

*A note on clothing swaps – my girlfriends and I get together about 4 times a year to trade out clothes that we no longer wear.  We’ve been doing this for a number of years – thus the fact that so much of my wardrobe has come from them! It’s a great way to see your old clothes be renewed and re-loved and an inexpensive way to get “new to you” clothes. I highly recommend having one!

**If you click the ThredUP links, you’ll get $10 off your first order and I’ll get a $10 credit also! Win, Win. As you can see, I love ThredUP since much of my clothing has come from them. They are an online consignment store that carries like-new high quality clothing for budget prices! Some items are even new with tags. Highly recommend.

**If you would like to try out Stitch Fix, please use my link so I get referral credit! Stitch Fix is a personal styling company. You fill out a style profile and they send you five items. You can even share your style pinterest boards with them and they pick items they think might fit your style. You decide what to keep and send the rest back. You pay a $20 styling fee but that goes towards whatever you keep! I only kept the one dress from my first one, but I’m looking forward to my second fix.

Have you considered trying a capsule wardrobe? What was your experience? Please share!