Friday, October 20, 2017

Day In The Life: October

a day in the life october

I did this month's Day In The Life on Friday the 13th! It seemed like it would live up to its name with the start we had, but it ended up being a pretty good, productive, fall-feeling Friday. So here's a Day In The Life of the Rych fam this October! I'm linking up with The Daily Dime again this month.

the daily dime October

6am Hour
Luke was up overnight around 3, so we were all very tired and unhappy about getting up with our alarms. I snoozed mine a record amount of times, so not only did I miss my morning quiet time, I was more rushed than normal. To make things even better? By the time we actually rolled out of bed, Matt realized he had a chiropractor appointment in 8 minutes! The time between these two screen shots were the 20 minutes between when I thought I'd finally get up, and when I actually did...haha

So I checked my email and apps for a few, then made my bed, opened curtains, let Galli outside, and rinsed out the coffee maker before making coffee. Then I went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth and hair, and used toner on my face.

The night before, I showered, roasted some beets to last me the week (I eat a lot of beets!), and then read a chapter of Harry Potter to the boys before bed. I was too tired after to deal with them, so I'd left them wrapped up and waiting for me. So while I waited for my coffee to brew, I peeled and prepped the beets and packaged them up for the week. Shortly after, my littles started emerging and coming to me for their morning hugs. Matt came home from his appointment shortly after.

After grabbing my coffee, I sat down at the computer for a few to answer some PTA emails, and I read a couple of blogs. Then I went back to the kitchen to pack lunches, snacks, and backpacks. Then I helped the boys pick out their crazy socks for crazy sock day, took a picture to commemorate & sent them off to school with Matt.

With the big boys off, I got Jake dressed and ready for the day. Matt was coming back to pick him up and take him to work for a couple hours so I could do a library shift at school. I also did a quick pickup around the house - I knew I had some heavy cleaning ahead of me in the afternoon, so coming home to something less than a disaster would be motivating.

I sat down to take a quick quiet moment to myself. It's rare (I mean, VERY rare) that I am at home, completely by myself with complete peace and quiet. Even when I have things to do, I make a point to just stop and soak it in. Nothing recharges me quite like that does.

Since I had to get moving, I put some GF bread in the toaster, pulled out some ground turkey to defrost for dinner, popped my coffee in the microwave and went to get dressed and put my hair up. I plugged my flat iron in, and then went to finish making and eating my breakfast. I had (gluten free) avocado toast with a little pepper and goat cheese. (Yes please!)

Once I finished eating, I ran my flat iron through my hair just a little (sleeping on damp hair when you have poker straight hair makes it look insane), put my makeup on, grabbed my little leaf earrings and I was ready to go. I wore my Matilda Jane Renae Top with a brown cami from Maurices, a brown belt, boots, and my tan Kate Spade.

After signing in at school, I started my volunteer shift in the library. There was a pretty decent amount of shelving to do, and then when Luke's class came in (they try to pair us up with our kids when we volunteer), they had to do a call number scavenger hunt. He paired up with two of his friends, and they were the first group to finish and so proud!! They won extra book tickets and some smarties, and they strutted around like champions, haha

My shift ended, and after chatting for a few I signed back out of school and then decided to stop for some Starbucks. It was turning out to be a pretty beautiful day, and I was already getting tired, so it was time to fuel up! Bonus, this drink earned me a free one on the app - score.

I drove to my in-law's house next to pick up Jake. I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this before, but Matt works from home and our house is too noisy (read: three boys + dog) so he works out of a spare bedroom at his parents house. They are retired and travel a lot, so it works out for all!

We stayed and chatted with Matt for a few, then drove home to get something for lunch. I got Jake his usual yogurt, fruit, and something crunchy, and my usual beets with goat cheese. Don't hate! I totally acknowledge that this is weird as heck, but I have it almost every day for lunch and I loooooove it! They are SO good for you! They have lots of goodies like vitamins C & B, fiber, potassium, glutamine and lots more! They lower blood pressure, reduce heart disease and chronic disease risks, detoxify, reduce inflammation, reduce the chance of birth defects and so much more!! There's your nutrition lesson for the your beets! ;)

While I ate, I played around on the computer for quite a while...just sort of unwinding and giving myself some Friday free time (hey, the kids get it at school, why shouldn't I? haha)

I loaded and ran the dishwasher while chatting to friends on Marco Polo, and put a few things from the kitchen away before getting ready to go pick up the boys.

Jake and I got in the pickup line at school. He thinks it's a great treat to climb out of his car seat and sit in the front with me while we're parked. So we hang out and chat, and I sometimes read a book. I'm re-reading the Harry Potter series for the 3rd time! I've been dying to lately!!

Home again, I emptied backpacks, put thermoses in the sink to wash this weekend, and got everyone a snack (they are ravenous when they first get home!) Then I let the boys have 1.5 hours of free screen time while I did a bunch of cleaning. Luke chose Minecraft and Henry played Geometry Dash on the computer. I started with the mudroom, then cleaned the dining room, organized some of my Matilda Jane clothes, and then cleaned the kitchen. All while watching/listening to Gilmore Girls. I cut the boys off around 4 and they ran around, playing some sort of imaginary game (loudly, lol.)

I had a whole bag of tomatillos from our farm share, and wanted to recreate a quick little marinated tomatillo salad I'd made with a Blue Apron meal over the summer. It's super simple - you just cut them into small chunks, and then let them sit in a mixture of sugar and rice vinegar. Then I cleaned, dusted, and vacuumed the living room.

With the main areas of the house cleaned, I lit some fall candles and popped some fall wax into my scentsy warmer, put some Halloween pandora music on the bluetooth, and sat down to make a few letterboards for this weekend. The boys brought out some cars and were playing with those while I worked, and Matt came home in the middle of all of this.

I was racing the daylight with my letterboards, so I had a later start than usual with dinner, but it worked out fine. We were having tacos, which always come together quickly. So I made those, and chopped lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Matt plated the boys' up so I could mix a quick batch of gluten free pumpkin muffins together to eat with our movie. We usually do a family movie night on Friday evenings when nothing else is going on, and we've officially hit the Halloween movie time of the year! So I wanted something seasonal to snack on. They baked while we ate.

When we were finished eating, everyone cleared plates, and then changed into cozy pj's for the movie. I love these Double Hoods from Mindy Mae's Market! Favorite cuddle attire. Matt commented that he wished we had cream cheese frosting for the muffins (because, everyone frosts muffins???), and I just happened to have everything I needed, so I threw a quick frosting together. I totally just winged it. I put half a brick of cream cheese and a few tbsns of butter in a bowl, popped them in the microwave to soften them just a little, beat them together with my hand mixer, then added in vanilla, powdered sugar, and almond milk until it looked good.

So then of course I had to frost them, and while I did the boys filled the living room with blankets and pillows and lined the movie up to play. And this is my faaaaavorite part.....watching Halloween movies with only our orange lights and candles on!

We watched Halloweentown - it's everyone's fav this time of the year. So cheesy, such bad acting, so good!

After the movie, we got the kids ready for bed and tucked in, and then I brushed my teeth, washed my face, and settled into bed. First, I watched that night's episode of Once Upon A Time. Sighh. I have so many thoughts! Hook and Emma were my OTP. I'm so, so happy that they are enjoying their happily ever after, but the new storylines and the new style of the show don't interest me at all. It was a wonderful conclusion, but I think I've said my goodbyes to the show. It breaks my heart!! All my shows are ending. Sighhhhh. When I finished, I read more Harry Potter, and then took a quick screenshot right as I rolled over to go to sleep.

And my hopes for a slower October? Well, maybe in November ;)

life status letterboard

Keep up with my daily letterboards every day in October!!! See the landing page for my 31 Days challenge this year HERE. 

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why I Have An Office

The other day, I shared a post about all the homes that Matt and I have lived in together, and mentioned that our current home is pretty cozy. (Read: teeny tiny.)

There are three small (about 10x10ish) bedrooms, and 5 people plus a full sized dog living here.

And yet I have an office.

It's not that I feel the need to rationalize it for anyone, but it's an unconventional choice that I wanted to share because - having this set up has been kind of wonderful.

At each age and phase of my boys' lives, they've required different sleeping arrangements. I co-slept with my kiddos for their first years, so that meant they didn't really need a nursery. And then when I had new toddlers, they needed total peace and quiet in order to maintain good napping schedules. So they've all taken their turns having their own bedrooms and sharing with each other.

This past winter, when I decided to become a Trunk Keeper with Matilda Jane, I knew I needed a space to keep my inventory set up and invite people over to try things on, so I came up with the idea to temporarily move all the boys into one room and make the other a sort of walk-in closet.

That worked well for a while, but then looking around my house and wanting things to function with a little more space and less chaos, I decided that moving my Matilda Jane rack to the dining room and the computer and desk into that bedroom would create a cozy, quiet office space where I could shut the door, and be alone to work or write in the spare moments of my day.

Before making the change, we offered Luke the chance to have his own bedroom (being the oldest of the bunch) and he turned it down. He didn't want to give up his coveted top bunk space, and they like all being together. My kids all prefer company at this point in their lives. On the weekends, they even take turns having "sleepovers" in each other's beds.

So I decided that this is probably the only phase of their young lives where they'd be okay with this arrangement, and I went for it.

I got a new rug and some things to organize my desk, and did lots of rearranging and organizing. Now, it is a cozy, functional space that I can escape to and close the door on the noise and chaos of life with littles. This is where I do most of my MJ work, where I blog, journal, and do yoga. It has a great view of the outdoors with a tree right next to the window, and I couldn't love it more!

Life has been super busy, so I haven't had enough time to finish it up. I have lots to hang and spruce in here, so the pictures I've shared are just some little sneak peeks from when we first started rearranging in here. I hope to share the entire thing with you super soon!

In the mean time, I encourage you to look around your house (especially if you're in tight living quarters like we are) and maybe make an unconventional choice for the function of a room or space. It's made a world of difference for us!

Especially with things functioning better and cozier :)

Keep up with my daily letterboards every day in October!!! See the landing page for my 31 Days challenge this year HERE. 

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Self-Care Lead Daily Schedule.

Going into this school year, I was so determined to have my *#!$ together.

I mean I really wanted to.

I wanted to always know where things were, always be on time, always have my house in visitor-ready condition, always be caught up on dishes and laundry, and never forget a thing.

I sat down and mapped out this ridiculous schedule on my google calendar. Even as I sat here coming up with this system that made perfect sense I kept thinking, "this will last 2 days."

I was trying anyway - determined to prove myself wrong!

But I failed.

Day 3 of the school year, I deleted all of the events on my calendar.

It bothered me that I couldn't do things in a productive way, even when I really-really wanted to. What it boiled down to, though, is that in the moment - whatever I had planned didn't necessarily feel good. Some other project would pull my focus - in a "can't ignore it" kind of way, and I'd do that instead. Which would feel good, mostly, except for that little bit of guilt for shirking whatever I had originally planned to do with that time.

So I sat down with my coffee one morning and scribbled out the kind of day that made sense to my rebel heart. One that would be lead by love, intuition, inspiration, and, well, my heart.

I came up with an ideal day - a day of loosely sketched routines, full of balance and positivity and high vibey goodness. Being able to carry this schedule out from day-to-day is a struggle because of my fluctuating schedule (something that often irks me when trying to make a plan and stick to it), but on my free flowing days, this is my ideal. Maybe it is for you, too?

Percolate & Meditate
A peaceful, personal development-filled start to the day including, coffee, gratitude journaling, inspirational/spiritual reading. See more details on this on my post from Monday.

Morning Routine
This is the time I spend getting my boys ready for school - packing lunches, snacks, folders and backpacks, helping them with clothes and shoes and getting them out the door.

Morning Spruce
A quick clean up that sets the tone for a productive day without over doing it or getting burnt out on chores right off the bat. It usually includes starting laundry, loading/unloading the dishwasher, putting away anything left out from packing lunches and serving breakfast, returning all shoes to the shoe rack in the mudroom, and making sure there's nothing left on the kitchen table or living room floor.

Morning Yoga Sequence
Something really simple, usually lead by whatever poses my body feels like doing. Some days, when I'm feeling uninspired, I might use videos or a DVD to get me moving.

Emotional Check-In
I stop and take a few deep breaths and ask myself how I'm feeling. What do I need? What would most improve how I feel? What could I do for myself or get done around the house that would improve my day? Out of my answers, I make a list of the things I might like to do for the rest of the day, in no specific order and with no specific time.

Inspired Action
Using my list from above, I pick an action that feels the most "yes" when I consider it. When it's finished, I check in with myself again, and then do the next right thing. These actions are not necessarily all things to get done - sometimes they include getting a glass of water, eating something, taking a shower, playing music, talking with one of my kids, reading, blogging, or doing something with Matilda Jane.

Do Something For Your Future Self
When I finish a few hours of inspired action, I finish my "to do's" with doing something for my future self. It can be the me of a few hours in the future that I rinse out and set the coffee maker up for, or the me of the following day that I pick out an outfit for. This little step is always a blessing I get to enjoy later on!

If I haven't yet, I feed myself and my kiddos (whoever is home), then enhance the outer me as needed. This might mean taking a shower, getting dressed, doing my hair or makeup, or adding some accessories. This is the most obvious self-care moment of the day, as people most recognize it. I take care of my physical body in a pampering sort of way.

Emotional Check-In #2
I sit back again and look at the rest of the my day. How do I feel about the day so far? What still needs to get done, or what would I really like to get to? What do I need at this point in the day? How can I give out love to my family with the rest of this day that would also make me feel good?

Inspired Action
I take some more inspired action steps based on the above, and I try to focus my efforts more outward rather than inward at this point in the day. Usually my kids are either about to get home or have just gotten home from school, and Matt will be home in a few hours, and the things I do during this time helps make their day feel cared for as well (and thus makes me feel satisfied in caring for them.)

Afternoon Meditation
This is a habit that I've been holding dear to my heart, but haven't had the most success with. There are so many ways I'm pulled in the afternoon, and so little time, that this gets scrapped more often than I'd like to admit. I'm going to work on this! Basically, I shut myself in my room, create a peaceful setting with soft lighting, relaxing scents, maybe some yoga style music, and I spend some time just focusing on my breathing. I may only do that for the entire time, or I may journal desires or concerns or blessings, or I may try to follow a specific mindfulness or manifestation practice.

Afternoon Spruce
The house usually needs some pulling together at this point, and the laundry and dishes need some more attention. So I spend this hour moving those things along, as well as wiping surfaces, vacuuming, and sweeping.

Family Dinner
The time I mentioned for this includes preparing dinner, sitting down to eat together, and cleaning it up together. We always sit down to eat together (something I didn't often do as a kid) and talk to the kids about their day. Sometimes we also go around the table mentioning things we are thankful for, or we play some abstract thinking games. I know this sounds cheesy and maybe too thought out, but I swear, it's not. We just sit down and chat and that's what comes out some nights!

Flexible Evenings
The evenings in our house are different every single day. There are 3-4 weekdays when either Matt or I are out of the house, and the other is sort of solo-parenting for the remainder of the day. On Fridays we do a family movie night. And then kind of anything goes for the remaining days. I try not to plan or structure this time too much, unless it's the holiday season - I usually try to do something quick and fun with the kids, or watch a holiday special before bed.

Sleep Ritual
The kids bedtime routine involves putting on pj's, reading books with a small snack, brushing teeth, filling water cups, and getting tucked in. As I mentioned, depending on the evening, it can be a whole family thing, or just one of us parents running that show. Once they are tucked in, my own routine involves getting into pj's if I haven't already, washing and toning my face, and brushing my teeth. Then no matter what I do with the rest of my evening, I always end it with a little reading before going to sleep. I'd heard of this idea of getting ready for sleep like you would get ready for a date and romanticizing this time from Arianna Huffington, via the Happier podcast. It makes this time of my day feel indulgent.

If I follow this routine well, I end up getting a lot done, and I usually end the day having been in a good mood for the majority of it. I tend to be softer in tone, kinder in responses, and more freely giving with affection and loving actions.

Despite how good all of this feels, my rebel side can sometimes still kick in and say that the order of things is stupid and I should be able to do what I want, when I want. So sometimes I rearrange things a little. But usually, when I let the rebel side win and I don't follow this formula, I end up regretting it later. I feel like I've wasted time and energy, and as though my mood suffers.

I'd love to hear if you enjoy a loose, heart-centered daily routine like this! And I'd especially love to hear if you give this one a try, and what you think!

Remember (especially all you rebels out there!).......

self care letterboard

Keep up with my daily letterboards every day in October!!! See the landing page for my 31 Days challenge this year HERE. 

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

All The Places We've Lived

Matt and I have been living together for over thirteen years! That's such a crazy's almost half my life! And we've been through it all in these homes of ours.

I thought it would be fun to go back and look at the places we used to call home over the years!

Charlotte Apartment
Our first home together was an apartment - it was brand new and we were its first residents. It was in an up and coming part of the University Area of Charlotte, and very near the thruway as well. The location was great, but it was surrounded by trees and farms, so getting there felt like a private little getaway. We were starting from basically nothing after moving there (almost) on a whim from Buffalo, so it took us a while to really make it look like home, but we eventually got there! If I had to call the style of our place anything, it would be "cutesied up bachelor with a mix of handmedowns" haha

The door to the left lead to our balcony (we were on the top floor), the tiny door
to the right was our front closet, and the door next to it was the entrance.

Because we were living in the south and palm trees were more of a thing down
there, I went a little wild about palm trees for a hot minute.

And because you can't really get a true feel for a place unless you see it decorated for Christmas (amiright??), here's what our very humble beginnings at Christmas traditions looked like.

Our man Odin was in almost all of those pictures! That was not a rare occurrence back when he was our only baby. He was always right next to us! Nowadays, he's so annoyed by the kids and the dog that he only comes out at night, and then we're BFF's again. But I love that he's in these pictures from 2004...he's been with us all along!

Charlotte House
The year of our wedding, Matt and I started house hunting and found exactly what we wanted that spring. I still miss that house and think of it often! It had an amazing porch we'd watch thunderstorms from and a back deck where we'd eat dinner. A big, functional kitchen, a huge master suite with a bathroom and walk-in closet (about 3 or 4 of my current bedrooms could fit in it!), upstairs laundry, a wooded and fenced in backyard, a fireplace....sigh! If we could only have packed it up when we moved back to Buffalo! We were both working full time, well-paying jobs when we got this house, so we were able to buy some real furniture and make this home of ours a little more "adulty".

And at Christmas....

Buffalo House
When we moved back home, it was in the middle of the housing crisis. We'd just had a baby and had to act quickly, but since we'd owned our home for less than 3 years, it was not an ideal situation. We had to move in with my mom for a bit to let the dust settle, and then we had to downgrade a bit in order to get into our favorite school district. Not to mention, we were down to one income. However - the coziness, the yard, the schools, and the basement are unmatched! Those were ultimately the factors that had us choose this little ranch of ours. We've since remodeled the kitchen and made it as ours as we can, and it's as homey as can be - but it's certainly snug with the 5 of us and our fur kids! This house is a lot more handmade, cozy, shabby chic, for sure.

So I've just realized that the pictures I have of our current house are seriously outdated! I have so little to share that actually shows what it looks like in here! So instead, check out these:

House Tour Page
Our Home In Autumn
Boys' Bathroom Update
Master Bedroom Update

And of course, our house at Christmas:

Here's a post from 2015 that has some closer looks at a few of our decorations: Christmas At Our House

And today's (fitting) letterboard...

Keep up with my daily letterboards every day in October!!! See the landing page for my 31 Days challenge this year HERE.

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