Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Cleaning

When we are coming out of winter, I always get a sense of too much. I've been eating too much, wearing too much and my house is full of too much stuff! It all just "snow balls" during those hibernation months.

At the first sign of sun I shed coats and scarves, which in turn reminds me to shed pounds, and with the windows open and the sun streaming in, I take an extra look at all the STUFF everywhere in my house.

This year I was especially eager when it came to getting rid of the clutter because during our hibernation I read a life changing book. LIFE CHANGING BOOK Y'ALL! Have you seen it?


I mean, the words "life-changing" are in the title! This is not your ordinary "organize your sock drawer" kind of book. It is more about why we have too much stuff and how we can change the way we think about letting things go. It really addressed my problem of "what if?" What if I need it? What if I lose 20 lbs and fit into it again? What if that style comes back? What if, What if, What if?!?!?

Let me officially highly recommend this book to you. Within a day of starting it 5 garbage bags of just clothing, of just mine, left my house. Another 2 bags of Wesley's old toys followed shortly after and three tubs of her old clothes also left our humble abode that week. That is a lot of clutter that is no longer in my way! And the book claims, once you try it you will never go back to your cluttery ways.....

And then, this weekend when the weather was finally nice enough to spend more than two minutes in my attic, it happened. ....Matt and I showed no mercy. I wish I could show you a before picture, but I was 1. too embarrassed and 2. the pics wouldn't do it justice, because all of the crap that lurked in every square inch of that space. What I do have is pictures of some of what left that day.



Boxes on boxes, bags on bags. It had to go. This does not include the trash we threw out, this is just the goodwill donation. Dude. It was cathartic. Will I need the elephant lamp we let go of? Possibly. Will I miss some of Wesley's tiny baby things? Most definitely. But were they giving me any joy in my attic, or improving my life on a day to day basis? Not at all.

This is the key. I thought shoving things away didn't hurt, saving something for a rainy day can't bother you, but it does. This is Marie's point. IT'S NOT ABOUT THE STUFF! It's about the mind set. If your life is packed physically, you feel it mentally. No one will ever see my clean, sparse attic or clean, drastically reduced closet of clothes.....but when I need something from the attic or the closet, I can now easily go find it and this frees me. You see, the stuff that clutters our houses, steals our time.

Your space shouldn't just be organized, it should be downsized. It's not about shoving it out of sight, it's about knowing where everything you own is. You can only do this when you own less, or at the very least only own what you love and what you need. With less things in our house, there is automatically less to clean up, it is just a positive, physical fact. It has made "cleaning up" very easy.

I feel like I could go on and on, but I won't. There is so much more to it and I have miles to go to be a true student of Marie's. But the small changes we've made so far have had such a positive effect, that I know I want to continue. In the meantime, every time I pick something up in my house I ask myself "Does that bring you joy?" "Do I need it?"and if so, "Does it have a specific place to go?" The answers have to be all yes. And it has made a big difference. 

Happy Purging! Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Back to the Future

Have you heard of timehop? Of course you have, I'm late to the train.  If by some chance you are later than me, I'll explain. timehop is an app that pulls data from all your social media accounts and everyday it sends you a little recap of your life on this day. I love timehop. Love it.



I mean how stinkin' fun is it to see the progression every morning. It's like a picture growth chart right on my tiny magic box every day. 

But then of course I start to wonder. Is it good or am I obsessed? I mean is it normal to know/remember every detail of your life.

Have you ben watching Black Mirror? It's a British show about the negative effects of technology on our lives. It is very dark and very extreme. At first when you watch an episode it feels absurd, they've obviously distorted technology so much and made it into something awful, we would never let that happen. Would we?



In one episode, set in the not so distant future, everyone has memory implants. It's a tiny chip, called a grain, that holds everything in your life, every moment. Everything you do and say and see is there to review and relive. I won't spoil it for you, but needless to say this power has a costly effect on the people's relationships and emotional health. It was ridiculous to watch, but are we far from that.

Throwback Thursday, timehop, facebook archives....our last 8-10 years are all "backed up" for reviewing and reliving. Is that a good thing?

Well, I believe yes and no. Again, I LOVE timehop. I love pouring over every fat-cheeked picture of my girl from 3 years ago. I love that it reminds me to soak up time with her because it is most definitely flying by. 

But, we are getting to a point where we hold on to too much information. We have access to too many memories, many of which aren't even our own. 

The moral of my story, and my sermon to myself is, be selfish with your memories. Enjoy your life and your family and your friends. But guard your extra space, your heart and your emotions against being pulled into the constant flood of digital noise. 

Again, preaching to myself. I struggle so much with this.

My goal- Stop spending your extra time reading everyone else's memories and make some of your own.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Somebody's Watching Me

Privacy is a hot topic these days. Especially the lack of it. It seems the world is getting smaller and more transparent by the second, which seems to be scary, but I'm not sure of a few things:
One, do I care. B. Did we do this to ourselves. And, finally what could I do if it did matter to me.


First, do I care. Well my short answer is no. So far "those people" buying/stealing my data haven't seemed to affect me. I don't feel exposed. I haven't been falsely accused of anything. And I have never been overly harassed. But, after some consideration and research, it turns out I kinda do mind. I mean, it is awkward to think someone out there has read all of my emails {although it must be super boring for them} And it isn't healthy to believe, or God forbid know, that nothing in your life is private. And if you pan out to the global view, real evil can take place when people hide in the shadows with secrets to tell. But......

....... didn't we do this to ourselves? Come on y'all, like for real, isn't it our fault that everyone knows everything about us. For heaven's sake I have blog! With my name in the title! I ain't shy. And, no one forced me to join facebook, or get a Kroger card. Since I willingly tell people where I go on vacation, I have to accept the government may know that I support the Florida Travel Bureau. And because I like saving money on gas purchases, someone out there knows I buy cuties, coconut water and sister schubert sausage wrap rolls every week {I know those things don't go together, judge away}.

So if all of this is so....what can we do if we do care. Well, I guess there are some common sense fixes. I could delete social media and any app that GPS tracks me. I could stop using bonus cards that track my purchases. And if you were really worried you could go up a level of security and "encrypt our firewall" {I only know what one word in that phrase means, you can guess which one} or get special cell phone plan that couldn't be monitored. But the truth is I'm not going to do any of those things. And one day I may regret that decision.

Do you think we will? Does this scare you? Or could you care less?

For more info, and for what got me thinking about all of this you can listen to this weeks TED talk radio hour here. It's called Keeping Secrets. And, although I'm sure this is assumed, it's a way more intelligent argument.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Essentials: Getting Oily

I'm sure you are all already aware of the new health craze called "essential oils." It didn't take much for me to get interested, we all know I'm a bit susceptible to marketing. But for reals, a lot of close friends really seemed to be benefitting from these expensive little bottles, and I was curious.

I jumped in by purchasing a starter kit. It included 11 "everyday oils" and a diffuser. Oils range in price from about $12 to over $100 per bottle {depending on the oil and how hard it is to "harvest"}, and diffusers {which pumped the healthy oils into your air} are between $75-$200. So grabbing this kit for $150 seemed like a good deal. And if it didn't work, it was just a really expensive air freshener.

So,  I got my kit and started slathering on the oil right away, whatever they said they were for, I tried it. Bruise? Lavender promptly applied. Ollie had a flea, let me get the purification. My friend had sinus congestion? Ravinsara to the rescue. I won't bore you by breaking down all the oils I use or how, that's what pinterest is for, but as you can tell, I'm addicted. LIKE LOVE THEM!

I've had my kit since October, and the Washburn's have been to the dr. exactly 0 times. ZERO. Of course now that I out that in print, we will all get sick. No really, every time the slightest thing comes up, I grab my oils. Wesley had a fever and a cough last week, oiled her up for 24 hours {thieves, peppermint}, fever and cough gone. Matt had a migraine, oiled him up  {peppermint, deep relief}...bye bye headache. I suffer with hormonal acne...you guessed it, oils to the rescue {lavender, tea tree, frankincense} and I'm really seeing a change in my skin finally! And just let someone whisper they can't fall asleep....lalalalalala lavender.

So here's my true life, no bull assessment. Oils make me super happy, and I will use them everyday for all kinds of things. But, oils should not replace healthy, modern medicine for the big stuff, although I will argue keeping the little stuff in check helps keep the big stuff away.

So, I promise {Matt}, I won't choose lavender over stitches if my kid busts her head open {again} BUT...if oils keep me from running to chemical-laden quick fixes everyday AND keeps us out of germ ridden dr. offices for little illnesses, then I'll keep the oil flowing. And if Wee does ever need stitches again, I'll probably be rubbing Joy on her wrist.  Judge away. Or ask away.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Human Voice Underneath

Once there was a time when I would write all the funny, meaningful, and down right weird things that happened in my life. And then came social networking. Facebook, twitter and instagram replaced storytelling with constant status updates and filtered photos of our precious life and I used my time to look at those updates constantly. These are not inherently bad things. Social technology has made some feel more connected over the years, and I believe I will continue to use it, but I don't know if I feel more connected lately, or just more aware, and I don't think those things are equal.

As I look back {thanks timehop, yes I see the irony} and I read blog posts of wonderful memories about wonderful people I see how real stories, that require more than 140 characters, really connect me to my memories. So, even if this is a journal just for me, I'm back.

photo cred: Well Worn Co.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kiddie Lit


Now that Wesley is a fully formed functioning kid we have stepped up our bedtime reading choices. Here are our favorite things to go through in the evening, that is when we aren't skipping them because we've been out late (again!) and we have to go to bed right now or you are going to be so sleepy tomorrow!! I mean....that never happens.

Anyway, first up isn't really a book but it does promote thinking skills and great conversations. It's called Q&A a Day For Kids. It gives a prompt or question every night, and then the questions repeat for 3 years. For example on February 5th it might ask "When were you proud of yourself recently?" and then you answer that same question in 2014, 15 and 16 and watch how your child's answers change and mature.


We started this activity in March of 2013, so we are about to start round two and I am very excited to see how she processes the questions as a 5 year old. When we first started I really had to dig some nights for answers that made sense. But after a few weeks I figured out the random answers were way better and completely stopped leading her. By December she even started answering for herself!




So after sticking with it for 11 months I give this bedtime book a big two thumbs up! And it runs about $12 on Amazon.


Our next go to is the Jesus Storybook Bible. This is by far my favorite bible for kids. And maybe even adults. We have been through it twice now and I tear up almost every night. The way that Sally Lloyd-Jones breaks down the passages in such an understandable way, that always points to Jesus,  it's just fantastic. No more cheesy Daniel in the Lion's Den picture books that paint him as the hero, when God did all the saving! No more kids bibles scaring them into thinking you have to be perfect for God to love you by just saying over and over again how to be good and obey.

(disclaimer: I have never seen a kids bible that directly says that, I'm just saying sometimes that's how kids feel about the bible, and grown ups too)


If you don't own this book I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is just a wonderful way for children to process a very complex text deeply and on their level. There are a ton of resources out there that pair with it as well, if you are looking for more with an older child. It runs around $10 on Amazon.

My next favorite story we are reading a lot of right now is called Paper Bag Princess


For parents raising a little girl who is obsessed with all things princess, very much to our chagrin, this is the perfect book. Because when I say chagrin, I don't at all mean I don't love dress up, make believe, Disney, or girly girls. I don't like the superficial princess--- the one who has an attitude of entitlement or an idea that a Prince gives your life meaning.  And I have to hand it to Disney, they have done a pretty great job flipping that stereotype lately with Princess and the Frog, Tangled and of course the end all be all Frozen! ( More on that one soon!)



So back to the book. I hate to ruin it for you, but **Spoiler Alert** the princess saves the day in this one. But that's not why I love it, because a lot of stories are doing that lately. I love it because not only does she save the Prince, she also exposes him for being superficial and entitled! When she gets to him, dirty, disheveled and left only wearing a paper bag he tells her to go fix herself up to look like a "real princess". To which she replies "Ronald, you look nice, your clothes are neat, your hair is fixed, you look like a "real prince"....but you are a bum." Love it!! 

And FYI this story was published in 1980, so they were on it years before the princess craze!

It is $5 on Amazon, paperback, and I highly recommend it for girls and boys!

My last recommendation, for now, for children's story time is a set of cards my best friend Alexis got Wesley for Christmas. They are called Tell me A Story and there are actually several sets to chose from. We have the fairytale mix-ups set (because it has a princess card in it, duh!)


This is a great game with limitless possibilities for creativity. You just select a few pictures and then make up a story using those pictures for your child. It shows them they are allowed to create the story, which they need to be taught. They also start to notice sequencing and story structure- that all stories have a beginning, middle and end, which they will be expected to understand in Kindergarten. 

After a few tries at it, pick cards for your child. Let them create a story for you. Wesley has never disappointed, she has come up with the most creative plot lines, I thought she would just regurgitate our stories or known stories for a while-- no way. She even does character voices, it is hilarious! In fact we all get so tickled some nights it actually turns into a bad bedtime habit because she can't calm down! Whoops...

These card sets run about $10 on....wait for it....Amazon.

These are the things we are reading/doing to keep bedtime fun and creative. 

What are your favorites? Anything calming...cause that's were we are lacking!


I leave you with what she actually does at bedtime, in case you thought from this post we picturesquely sat and read and grew smarter every evening.









Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Intervention::Addicted to Costume Parties and Contests

At what point to you grow out of the dress up phase of life?

*Note::All pictures for this post were narrowed down to after college years, none involving a play or theater, we simply dress up a lot. If I included theater pictures we would be here all night. 

I don't think anyone who knows us will ever wonder again why dress up is Wesley's favorite game.






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Yep, we have a problem...........