Back on the Sticks

In my Bucket List for 40 blog post, I mentioned taking up something I used to do in the past but haven’t done in awhile. This weekend I made good on that, and I went skiing again for the first time in seven years.

I don’t love skiing. But, I don’t hate it either. Truth be told, I am a bit of a chicken shit when it all comes down to it. I know speed is my friend on the hill, but it scares me. But, skiing is something we can enjoy as a family. So, I got back on two sticks on Saturday up at Winter Park with the intention of skiing quite a bit next year and taking a lesson or two.

We had a great weekend in Granby/WP with friends. We stayed up at a friend’s parent’s home in Granby arriving Friday night. The hillside was lit up by the light of the full moon as the kids played and the adults talked.IMG_1931

The next morning we woke up to a sunny almost blue bird sky. It was already comfortable out as we got on the bus from the shuttle parking lot to the resort. After getting our lift tickets and rentals, we headed up to a great area with green and blue runs with our friends.IMG_1927

Sitting in the lift line, Emma was cool as a cucumber. I was nervous, but I didn’t want to show it especially around Emma. She has been my rock on many occasions, this being one of them. She always tackles new experiences with zest and confidence. Oh, the lessons she has taught me since becoming her mother!

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We took a short green run to warm up the legs. Amazingly, it was like riding a bike. I just made a few turns, and we were at the bottom.

After a long lift line, we decided to try a different route than our friends. This ended up kind of being a mistake as we got separated and lost from our group. We ended up having to take a few longer green runs eventually meeting back up with them as they were finishing.

I was feeling tired and sore after falling and getting back up just to have a snowboarder clip my skis and fall a second time.IMG_1926 My knee was hurting, so I chose to enjoy the sun and a beer on the patio at Snoasis while the others did hot laps. I had a perfect viewing spot, and it was easy to spot AJ and Emma coming down. I imagined what they were talking about (more likely singing about for Emma), and enjoyed some quiet time.

After a few laps, I caught Emma and AJ as they passed by the lodge. The ladies and kiddos decided to head back down the mountain to have some waffles and start Après-ski time a bit early while the boys did a few more runs!

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The boys met us around 4:30. After they had a quick beer, we headed for the bus to take us back to the car.

Smiling and sore, we enjoyed a delicious spaghetti dinner thanks to Cary’s parents and celebrated our friend Lance’s birthday! Sunday we lazed around after a big yummy breakfast and headed home! What a great weekend with friends!

Adventure On,
Courtney

Feeling Like a Writer Again

As I sit in the waiting area at my daughter’s make up swim class, I feel an enormous amount of content. I am in the middle of working on four (potentially five) assignments on top of blog posts. After a few months with no article assignments, I feel like a writer again. My heart is happy and full. I know that this is what I am supposed to do.

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I spent some time writing at a local coffee place on Sunday!

I’m also starting to feel human again after Emma passed along her crud to me. I’ve been super tired and grumpy. My head and ears were pounding. I was dripping from my nose. It was down right miserable! Not to mention, I discovered that I can’t take Zyrtec after the doc recommended it to mitigate my symptoms. I was having all these weird symptoms a few hours after taking it ranging from aches and tiredness to chills and a increased heart rate. These happen to be on the list of stop taking the medicine if any of these things happen. Just letting it work its course now…

That said, my enthusiasm for the 40 bags challenge has taken a bit of a hiatus this week. I managed to get through Emma’s closet and our two spare upstairs closets. I took a bag full of this past fall and winter clothes along with now to small clothes to the basement. I also filled a small bag full of clothes she won’t wear enough to justify keeping, so that I can sell them. I moved her fall and winter 4t/5t clothes to her closet with the room I have from taking out the other clothes. I also managed to take a bag of trash out of her room (old crib sheets that are stained and some junk toys). I also filled a bag full of adult size hangers to sell. I am up to 15 now- 25 to go!

We are off to Winter Park this weekend for some skiing and catching up with old friends. I can’t wait to see Emma rip it on skis again. Seeing her happy is another thing that makes my heart full. I’m striving and working every day to make life about collecting moments. As long as I can say I did my best that day to work towards that goal, I know I am doing things right.

Adventure On,

Courtney

 

11 down, 29 to go….

This spring like weather has me feeling happy and in the mood to refresh. I’ve been looking at new sheets for the master bedroom. Spending time in the sunshine has me in a good mood.

I’ve been at the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge for a few days now. Despite still fighting this crud, I’ve made some good progress.

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For me, it isn’t so much as a matter of de-cluttering as it is de-owning. With the exception of the basement and play room, there is never piles of stuff in my house. The closets aren’t overflowing. I don’t have piles of papers needing to be sorted. Even without these things, I still feel stress about the amount of stuff we own. So, mine is more of a journey of de-owning to get rid of the things that we don’t use and things we don’t love.

I started out in my closet. I was able to fill a bin full of clothes to try and sell and half a large shopping bag of clothes to donate even though I went through my closet in January. This was the biggest reminder to me that this is a process that will continue over and over.

Next up was Emma’s craft room. I saw a post from someone looking for craft supplies for the waiting/kid area of their brand new business. I was able to fill a bag for them of crayons, coloring books and other supplies. I also filled a bag of trash. I didn’t find anything to sell because I had already purged craft supplies in early January. I also filled a small bag of trash and a small bag of recycling from our loft area.

I took advantage of the nice weather over the weekend to work on the backyard. It needed some serious TLC. We’ve had some windy days here, so I found random pieces of trash. We neglected some of the yard before winter came, so there were leaf piles to pick up. During one of the windy days, my lattice for my garden broke. I easy filled two lawn bags with clippings from our Colorado grasses, broken sand toys and leaves.

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A quick ten minutes in Emma’s bathroom and the laundry room and I filled a trash bag and a small grocery bag full of things to recycle. I plan to tackle Emma’s closet and room this week. It’s a perfect time for switching out to more of her spring clothes. Other areas I am looking at are the spare closets and the playroom.

My Quick Tips:

  • Don’t under estimate ten minutes- you can get a lot done in 10 minutes. Like I said, I went through Emma’s bathroom and the laundry room in ten minutes. Yes, checking Facebook may be tempting, but a less stress home is even more tempting (at least to me).
  • You have to make time…… It’s just like other things in life that get neglected. You have to make the time to get your 40 bags done. For me, early morning into mid morning is always my most motivated time, so I try to use that time to de-own.
  • You are worth it and your family is worth it. You may have to plop your kid(s) in front of the iPad. You may have to settle for a simple meal of spaghetti. You may have to give up something ( a coffee date, a workout, sleep) to get an area of the house de-cluttered. In the long run, it will pay dividends after you don’t have to loose sleep over the stress of a messy house. You will have more time with your kids because you aren’t always having to clean up. Life is full of sacrifice. Make this your short term sacrifice for a long term gain.

How’s the progress going for you? I would love to hear your comments about how things are going! Make sure to check out Facebook groups and websites dedicated to the 40 bags in 40 days challenge!

De-clutter, De-own and Adventure On,

Courtney

 

 

40 Bags Challenge

To tell the truth, while I was in Florida I didn’t once think about what’s left of the basement purge, how I really need to go through each area of the house again or the piles on the basement landing of things to sell. But, I was very conscious of how much I enjoyed the time with AJ and Emma and how it is important to me to be able to continue to make memories like that. I focused on being present and enjoying the moments. Once I got back home, I would concentrate on what I needed to do to make sure we could have more and more of those moments!

When we got back from FL, Emma was still fighting a cough. The exhaustion of taking care of her hit me hard along with me now having a soar throat, headache and ear ache. She napped on Saturday, so I took the time to take a long bath and finish the book The Happiness Project. In the book, the author Gretchen Rubin often mentions the happiness in finishing annoying tasks. I’ve had a pile of DVD’s sitting near the basement steps for over three weeks that needed to be sorted through. I had a headache and planned to go grab a soda to try and combat it since Motrin wasn’t working. I made myself grab the DVD’s and bring them upstairs to sort through with AJ. My plan was to take the ones we didn’t want (along with a pile of books on the landing) to the free library we had set up by the neighborhood pool that also happens to be a short drive from where I was going to grab a soda from. Putting the DVD’s and books into the library brought a smile to my face- completing a small annoying task made me happy. I also finally made Emma her first dentist appointment this week (they say take them when they are 3, and she is still 3!). Making appointments is one of those annoying tasks I put off.

It’s been a long time since I have giving up anything for Lent. With my new mission to clear the clutter, I decided to take on the 40 bags challenge starting today, March 1st. The idea is to remove forty bags, one a day, of clutter from your home. It could be trash, items to donate or items to sell. You choose the size of the bag and the areas you want to clean out. I love that mental clutter is also included in the challenge from email inboxes to phone apps.

I know it might be tough to get 40 bags full since I already started decluttering January 1st, but it also serves as a good motivator to go over areas of the house I already tackled. If you click on my link above, you can find some great resources from the creator Ann Marie Heasley. I really have liked following the Facebook group page (big motivator) and her printables including a nifty chart. I plan to edit my 40 bag plans and add one category I think that was omitted- the backyard. She also posted coloring pages you can find here. I plan to use that to keep Emma occupied when I clean out the craft room/spare room and other areas. She’s super into coloring at the moment! And, I love getting her involved in things that are important to me.

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Don’t think you can commit to 40 days or 40 bags? No problem… Can’t start on March 1st? Not a big deal…. that is what is awesome about the Facebook group! Everyone is posting about their own journey. Some have already started and some are waiting till March 1st. Some are trying to do half the goal of 40 while some are going way beyond. Because of other commitments, some are doing more bags at once or taking off days in between. It’s up to you! The hardest part if often just getting started!

“I’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff!” Unknown

Adventure On,

Courtney

Sun, Sand, Sickness

We started our Florida trip off flying into Tampa on Thursday after Emma finished preschool. Emma got the royal treatment on the plane, running into the pilots in the waiting area who gave her wings, a special coloring book and an invitation to come see the cockpit before take off. For some reason, she was timid about it as we boarded. We decided to just say hi to the pilots and wait to try again when we landed.

AJ booked his itinerary separate from ours, so we weren’t able to sit together. Thanks to the United app, Emma watched parts of Finding Dory and Secret Life of Pets making the plane ride go fast. I was able to relax a bit and read some magazines and get a few chapters read in a book I’ve been trying to finish since December.

Emma was still timid getting off the plane, so we settled for a photo of her in the pilot’s hat. I changed Emma into her pj’s in case she fell asleep on the car ride to AJ’s parents condo while AJ grabbed the luggage. We settled down for the night excited to hit the beach the next day.

I got up early and went for a beach run while AJ and Emma slept in. No matter how tired I am, I am always keen to get in a beach run. After breakfast, AJ, Emma and I hit the beach near Holmes Beach where you can possibly find whole sand dollars (I found a few there last year). AJ’s parents were sick, so they opted to stay and rest in the condo.

We spent a few hours making a shell house, jumping in the waves and collecting shells for friends. We met AJ’s cousin, her husband and two kids and AJ’s Aunt and Uncle out for dinner- a tradition since we started visiting. We always enjoy the night of seaside dining and walking on the boat docks!

I got up early the next day and ran on the cloudy beach. It called for rain mid-morning, so we hit the beach early.We didn’t last super long out there. We did have enough time to collect shells for Emma’s preschool classmates for her share we she returns.

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After lunch, we headed to Tampa to see the manatees. They like the water by the Tampa Electric Company because it is warm. Emma got to pet a stingray or two as well. We went to all an you can eat pizza place for dinner.

 

The next morning we packed up and headed down to Naples to meet up with my parents. After lunch, we said our goodbyes. AJ went back with his parents as he was flying out the next day from Tampa. Emma and I hit the pool with my parent’s for a bit before having dinner at home. She did her first flip from the pool edge!

 

The next day Emma woke up with a little cough. She said she felt fine, and she didn’t have a fever. We hit the beach with Mimi and Papa early before it got too hot. We climbed the rocks and explored the rock pools for sea life. We found some cool shells and even a shark’s tooth. We caught a crab in a net and Emma played a bit with some other kids in the sand. We had a yummy seaside lunch and headed home.

Relaxing at my parent’s place before dinner, Emma’s cough became more prevalent and she began to feel hot. I gave her some children’s Motrin to break her fever. She fell asleep on the way to dinner.We watched the sunset, played in the sand a bit, climbed the banyan trees and found more shells. She ate a healthy dinner and went to sleep no problem.

Three hours later, I woke up from her making a bunch of noise. She ended up getting sick several times and her cough began to sound more like a bark. I woke my mom up to help with the bed sheets etc. Emma is rarely sick. It’s been two years since her last sickness, so she took it very emotionally. She kept thanking us and kept saying sorry.

We decided to wait it out till morning and not pay for an ER trip as Emma was falling back to sleep. I spent the night comforting her and tried to get some sleep while crammed into a twin bed.

The next day the cough sounded normal.We spent the day resting and watching a lot of Disney Channel. Her appetite was good and after a nap, she seemed to be back to normal minus the cough here and there. After entertaining ourselves with the lizards, we ordered dinner in and went to bed early. It was  another long night with Emma coughing.

Wednesday it rained from the morning into the afternoon. We went to go see Lego Batman. Emma laid across me most of the movie. We ordered in again to make it easy, and Emma ate her leftover spaghetti from the night before. Emma woke up around 3:00 crying about her ear hurting. I did a google search about local urgent cares knowing we had to get them checked as we were getting on a plane the next day. It was a long few hours watching Caliou (only thing kid wise on at that time) comforting Emma with a warm towel on her ears.

Emma was most upset about having to miss our trip to the Everglades. We went to Urgent Care as soon as they opened and were seen rather quickly. The doctor diagnosed her with a double ear infection and bronchitis. After a quick trip to Publix for some medicine, Emma was feeling so much better. We still had time to make our boat trip reservation, so we took the chance and headed to the Everglades.

I’m super happy we decided to go down there. Although Emma acted tired at times, she had a great time. Her favorite part of the the trip was seeing all the baby alligators at Wooten’s. img_8411

With the current state of affairs, it is more important to me than ever for Emma to see the National Parks before they change for the worse. Emma is also obsessed with this national parks book my mom gave her. A big potential summer family trip in August will mean seeing three more national parks, and our trip to the Sand Dunes in July means seeing another one on the list.

Despite Emma’s sickness, we made the most of our trip and made many memories. That’s the one thing about Emma, she has the ability to make the most of anything despite any downs. I just love that about her!

This week we will get back into routine as I recover from now being sick. Emma is still fighting her cough. I am beginning to work on my first article for a major outlet (more to come), another writing assignment and Emma will be back to classes and school. I’m taking on a fun challenge starting March 1st as a part of my minimalism journey, so watch for a post about that on Wednesday.

Adventure On,

Courtney

Momentum City

Not sure what happened with my momentum this weekend, but it was in high gear making week 6 towards minimalism a productive one.

Maybe it was writing about the positive changes that I’ve seen. I’m taking back control of my life instead of letting stuff control it. Maybe, I want control of the basement too. Despite Emma still waking up one to two times a night, I even woke up three days this week before Emma was awake to work on this blog post, pitches and an article.

I read a statistic that about 50% of people make goals at the New Year. By February 15th, about half of those people have steered away from those goals. I may have times of weakness where I would rather sit on the couch and watch Lifetime. Sometimes I may even give in to those. But, I am not going to give up entirely because the things I want are important to me. I want to continue to do what I love. My journey there might hit bumps. I may not be doing things perfectly. But everyday, I try to do things to better myself and move in the right direction no matter how small it is.

Some of the things I did this week were going through Emma’s old clothes condensing them into three bins instead of six. I condensed blankets, bibs etc. into a smaller bin. I sorted through her cloth diapers and washed the sellable ones. AJ put some nails on the side of the storage shelves, so I could hang my wreath bags. Slowly, it looks like the storage area of our basement is under control.

Emma has been in a “big girl bed” as she calls it for over a year now. We are slowly beginning to change her room out. We worked on it a little this weekend switching out some pictures and picture frames, changing the fabric on her bulletin board and touching up some paint in her room. We bought a map of the world and plan to maybe paint one of the walls and some other small changes.

With Valentine’s Day being this past Tuesday, I focused on the theme of doing what I love especially on that day.I enjoyed time in the morning before anyone else was up writing, drinking coffee and paging through a magazine. I went for a trail run after dropping Emma off at school!

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View from my run

We went to a Valentine’s Day breakfast at Emma’s school, and I was able to help at Emma’s Valentine’s Party. In the afternoon, I watched her happiness as she made her way up the walls at climbing class. AJ, Emma and I went to Old Mine for a cider and built away with the Jenga blocks before I went to Barre class. Emma is super into building right now!

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I sent off my article for ironman.com and am working on themed pitches for a couple outlets. It looks like I will be contributing regularly with Denver area coverage to an online parents website too (more details to follow soon).

I’m not sure how much writing I’ll be able to get done in Florida, so there probably won’t be a post until we get back! But, I’ll at least post some photos of what we are up to on Instagram/Facebook.

I’m looking forward to seeing Emma make more memories with her grandparents while we are in Florida. I can’t wait to get a few runs in on the beach (my fav) and catch a nice sunset or two.

Adventure On,

Courtney

Random Acts of Kindness Week

Feb 12- 18th is Random Acts of Kindness Week. The world could use a little more kindness especially now. So, now is the perfect time to spread some cheer to neighbors, friends and strangers.

I try to look for teachable moments when I am with Emma. It takes nothing to be kind from letting someone cut in front of you in line who doesn’t have many groceries or to holding the door for someone. I know Emma is watching me, so I try to practice what I preach as often as I can.

Here’s some ideas from a past post to try and do with your little one(s) that I edited to fit in with the time of year!

  • Spread some Valentine’s cheer by making Valentine’s for those in nursing homes, for soldiers or anyone that can use a pick me up
  • Have your child sort through toys, clothes and books with you that they have outgrown/lost interest in and donate those items to a local charity
  • Head to the supermarket to help stock the shelves at a food pantry
  • Pay for an almost expired meter or tape change to a vending machine
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Taping change to a vending machine, so someone can have a drink on us!
  • Say hello to strangers today
  • Create a helping jar- use a piggy bank or any container you can collect change in to save to buy small toileteries for a homeless shelter or dog or cat food for a animal shelter
  • Leave a homemade bookmark in a library book for the next reader to find
  • Pass out stickers to kids waiting in line
  • Bake treats for local firefighters, police or other community service workers
  • Feed the ducks or birds, fill a birdhouse with seed or save some bread and give it to some feathered friends
  • Call an old friend or someone you haven’t talked to in awhile and see how they are
  • Do something nice for a neighbor- shovel their walkway, offer to walk their dog, bring them some hot cocoa packets or popcorn to enjoy while watching their favorite movie
  • Pick out some kid magazines and bring them to the waiting area of a doctor’s or dentist office
  • Have your kiddo(s) be a helper around the house for the day by helping cook dinner, cleaning up toys etc
  • Pay for the person behind you in the drive through line (Emma loves doing this)
  • Bring your teacher some packages of tissue because they will always run out during the winter, or ask them if there are any supplies they are low on

 

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone!”

Ronald Reagan

 

Adventure On,

Courtney