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The Sunday List, The Reset Button

I know you’ve been here before.  You’re on your phone, looking up something unimportant, when it freezes.  You hit the home button, close the app, open the app, and search again.

Again, it freezes.

Suddenly, that unimportant info you were looking for is life and death, and you’ll be damned if a phone is going to stop you.

You follow steps 1-4 again.  Nothing.

What do you do?  What should you have done after the first time?  Reset your phone.  Power off, then on.  Close all the other apps.  Give your phone a chance to freaking breathe.

In case you haven’t figured out, I’m not talking about a phone anymore.  I’m talking about my life.

And I need to find the reset button, fast.

I noticed somewhere around Monday afternoon, that things were getting a little out of balance for me when I couldn’t find chocolate in the house where I work.   No baking chocolate.  No chocolate candy.  No chocolate ice cream.  Not even a single can of Coke (which is always my last resort).  And I almost broke down right there in the kitchen.

I work 5 days  a week.  Since April I’ve been trying to get this blog off the ground.  And last week, I thought it’d be a great time to revive my self publishing goals by entering a contest, which I ended up winning in round one (ah-MAZE-ing), so that also means I have a LOT more writing to do.

Who does this?

Meanwhile, I’m eating sugar like it’s the base of the food pyramid, not working out (but really, really wanting to), and finding resentment in the smallest of things.  See above paragraph re: chocolate.

I know I’m completely out of whack.  I know this is me and has nothing to do with the job, the heat, or even the chocolate.  I know that trying to be super woman/nanny is a very twisty, long road that leads to drinking excessive amounts of wine.

I know this.

So this entire weekend has been about hitting the reset button.  Finding ways to make peace with the life I have chosen (and really do love), and gaining some balance.   While I wait for the edits to come back, I have chosen this weekend to be a little selfish… after all, I do have the time right now.

Here are some ways you too can hit the reset button:

  1. Morning planning session.  I know this sounds like another way to add more to your list, but I promise it’s not.  This is all about priorities and choosing what matters most.  For instance, after looking at the next month, I know working out probably isn’t going to happen.  I need to let it go.  However, eating carbs and sugar every day, ALL DAY, isn’t going to work either.  Finding healthier alternatives is going to be key for me to stay sane.  I am a much better person when I get sleep and eat real food… the battle is just getting off the sugar.  That’s a whole other blog post though.
  2. Focusing on one thing.  I literally wrote an entire page on focus this morning, and how I don’t have it.  By the end of the page though, I had some ideas of how I can help myself.   Staying centered and focused on one thing at a time is my biggest goal.  Not thinking about what groceries I need, while I write this post, for instance.  That’s a no-no.  I also know that my job has probably caused this dissection of focus, but it’s time to reel it back in when needed.  This is going to be a work in progress, but probably the most important one for me.
  3. Letting some things go.  I have this annoying habit of trying to be everything to everyone.  Annoying for me that is.  I don’t know when I started the hustle for approval, but I think it was back in high school.  That’s a lot of hustling.  It’s time for me to take a step back and manage my time, money, and energy towards what brings me joy.  This is something everyone reading should do as well.
  4. Be grateful.  When you find yourself needing a reset button, gratitude is not likely on your radar.  It’s the one thing that can change your mindset in a matter of minutes.  A simple list at the end of the day.  A whispered “thank you” when that parking spot opens up in the rain.  A hug for someone who thought of you.  This doesn’t have to be a huge deal, just a simple perspective change.  It will change everything if you practice daily.

Obviously, there are a million ways YOU can reset how you’re feeling.  This list is personal… my list, and it is helping me plan for another crazy week.  I’m also incorporating morning an evening check-ins with my planner, just to stay on track.  I know that’s not for everyone, but it is something that keeps my mind calm.

This post isn’t about me or my list.  They are just suggestions.  What I want you to do is create your own list.  What calms you down?  What makes you ready to face another day?  What makes you smile?  Hint… if you answered chocolate, you better get making a list.

I hope you have an awesome week.  I know I’m ready for mine now…

Happy reading,

xo, Mo

 

The Sunday List, Summer Reading

Is  there anything better than Summer Reading?

A stack of books.

An icy drink.

Sunshine.

Maybe it’s because I live in Michigan, but reading outside is one of my favorite things.  The fact that we have limited time makes it even more attractive.  Our back deck is literally just another room in our house once the temps get above 65.

Every year I start with a list of books that will be coming out, but rarely get through them all.  This year, I scoured every list I’ve seen… (thank you Buzzfeed, Pop Sugar, and Redbook) and created my own list of books that I plan on reading.

Like, they’re in my calendar.

Yes, I’ve turned into that person.

So, here is my list.  What I would love is anyone to take this challenge with me and see how many of these titles you get through.  The list consists of books that come out after Memorial Day, but there are a few bonus books at the end in case you wanted to start early 🙂

Summer Reading List 2017

  1. In This Moment, Karma Brown.  Out May 30.
  2. The Good Widow, Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke (is it ever really Summer without a Liz & Lisa book?).  Out June 1
  3. The Lost Letter, Jillian Cantor.  Out June 13.
  4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid.  Out June 13.
  5. Kiss Carlo, Adriana Trigiani.  Out June 20.
  6. Every Last Lie, Mary Kubica.  Out June 27.
  7. Hello, Sunshine, Laura Dave.  Out July 11.
  8. Watch Me Disappear, Janelle Brown.  Out July 11.
  9. What To Say Next, Julie Buxbaum.  Out July 11. 

BONUS BOOKS!  These beauties are already out, just waiting to be read…

  1. Every Wild Heart, Meg Donohue.
  2. It’s Always the Husband, Michele Campbell.
  3. Confessions of a Domestic Failure, Bunmi Laditan.

Well, that’s it… my summer in a beautiful, perfect list!  Is it me, or are the covers exceptional this year?  Comment, share, and start reading!

Happy Reading!

xo, Mo

 

Lessons from a Super-Nanny

No, I’m not really a Super-Nanny.  They say I am but boy-oh-boy, if I am, then we all need to aim higher.

BUT I have learned a great deal from my two years as a nanny for triplets, and given this is the month we celebrate Moms, I wanted to share with you some of this knowledge.

Looking back on raising my own kids, I can see how stressed and anxious I was all the time.  I honestly feel like I didn’t enjoy the experience at all and spent most of my young mom days worrying about them.  And me.  And life.  And my marriage.  It’s crazy the places your mind will go when it doesn’t have enough sleep or balance.

So let me say these words first… Everything is going to be okay.  You cannot ruin a child, especially one you love more than anything else.  Even on your worst parenting days (we all have them), your kids are just fine and will wake up the next morning ready to make you crazy all over again.

I promise.

That being said, here are a few other reminders you can bank on…

10 Lessons From the Nanny

  1. The most important trait you will need as a parent is a sense of humor.  If you can’t learn to laugh at A) yourself and B) your life, then this parenting thing is going to feel like a really long rollercoaster ride in the front seat.  Humor will at least make the tough stuff more doable, or at least less fearful.
  2. Your mood/reaction is always a choice.  Patience is a choice.  This is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned.  Parenting is exhausting, monotonous, exhilarating, crazy, fun, scary, and did I mention exhausting?  I think I did.  Start every day knowing you’re just going to be challenged in many ways, and know how you want to react… or not.  It really is that simple.  And there will be days when they get the best of you – it happens – cut yourself some slack, and start over tomorrow.  Grace over perfection, people… grace over perfection.  Thank you, Emily Ley.
  3. At some point you’ll have to learn the beautiful art of balance.  Total engagement and quiet time.  High active time and reading on the lap time.  Kids of all ages need balance, just like you do.  No one can be 100% in the moment at all times.  Not even kids.  Sometimes they just want to chill out too.  Let them and take the moment for yourself.
  4. Kids are messy.  I don’t think anything could prepare me for the yogurt eating/milk pouring/condiment loving children that I am caring for now. Nothing.  While it’s true I can be a little “structured” when it comes to clean, I have learned to embrace the mess.  It just is what it is, and me stressing about a mess at any meal time is just a losing battle.  See #2.  At the end of each day you can take 15 minutes to pick up and reorganize.  Until then, let it go.
  5.  After my second son was born, I literally couldn’t believe how different he was from my first.  Polar opposite, to be specific.  And they have remained different for the duration.  Every child has their own personality, especially in triplets.  It is amazing to see the differences all at once.  Given this information, it means you have to learn to parent each child a little different.  Figure out what makes them tick and you’re ahead of the game.  One size does not fit all with kids.
  6. Teach your children compassion.  Helping them respect someone else’s feelings will be one of those gifts that keeps on giving.  Soon they’ll be teens, and you’ll be blown away at the kindness they have for others.  I am so not kidding here.  Somehow I have managed to raise two boys in a social media world, and they are genuinely good people who care about others.  I truly believe this starts when they’re young, and as a parent you have to make sure they know how their actions have repercussions, both good and bad.
  7. Give them the gift of forgiveness.  The only way you can teach your kids, anyone really, is through your actions.  Kids learn forgiveness when they see it happening in their own home.  Let go of grudges.  Don’t hold past mistakes over their heads.  Let them know that everyone makes mistakes… yes, even parents.
  8. Living in Michigan, weather is a part of our daily life.  Good, bad, and ugly can happen on any given day, and sometimes all three in the same day.  We are lucky enough to escape the weather catastrophes that a lot of other places have, but 40 and grey is a very common forecast around here.  This is another one of those things you just have to embrace.  The triplets got rain boots last week, and I was seriously grateful for the couple rainy days we had, so we could go outside and splash in puddles.  Did I do that when my own kids were 2?  Not a chance.  I would curse the rain.  But I’ve learned that nothing will make you tolerate bad weather like a trio of stir crazy two year-olds bouncing off the walls.  Nothing.
  9. Capture the moments, but save some for your memories too.  Sometimes in my quest for the perfect picture for their parents or grandparents, I realize that I’m missing out on some pretty amazing moments too.  Kids need to see our faces, not our phones all the time.  Again, this is about balance, and I’m still learning this one.  Capture the quiet times and be present in the chaotic ones.  Everyone wins with this one.
  10. Plan, plan, plan, and then remain flexible.  Nothing with kids goes according to plan.  Well, almost never.  Have a plan, but also know that it will probably change many times.  That really amazing image in your head of taking a trip to the zoo?  That could be ruined before you pay for admission.  Plan, but be prepared for anything to come your way.  Learning to go with the flow will save you many headaches.

There are so many things that I would do over as a parent, but as I said earlier… they turned out okay.  I didn’t totally ruin them.  If I had this list when I started out, it might have saved myself some parental trauma, but would they have turned out differently?  I’m not sure.  All I know is that being a parent is the hardest job you will ever have.  There are highs and lows, and the words it’s just a phase will be said almost daily.

Love your children.  Be kind.  Everything is going to be okay.

xo, Mo

The Why

Why do we need another blog about books?

What exactly is The Novel Way?

What if no one reads this?

These are the questions rattling around my head for the past month or so since I’ve decided to create this blog.  In truth, I’ve always had this blog.  Go ahead, look at the archives… I’ll wait.  It was always just something I did for me and a few friends who knew about it.  No Facebook pages, no Instagram accounts… just the words.  Reading and writing have always just gone hand in hand for me, and while I always wanted a bigger audience, I was probably too afraid of what other people would think to put myself out there.  The phrase what other people think should be removed from our thought process.

So, back to the questions and the ever present WHY?  Why do we need another book blog?  Short answer, we don’t.  Just like we don’t need another parenting blog or healthy living blog.  There are certainly great ones out there, right?  But this won’t stop other people from starting new ones every single day.

The Novel Way isn’t just about books.  It’s about life.  It’s about finding time in your day to do more things you love, like reading.  I spent too many years miserable in a job that made me feel like there was no way out.  Like nothing I did would ever make a difference.  I just thought that was the way it was supposed to be.  Then I left, and a different world opened up to me.  No, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.  There are those sweet baby Jesus moments days when I’m counting down the hours till naptime.  But, the one thing I’ve learned about myself is that making a difference is important to me.  I like to help others find a book or solve a problem.  It’s literally in my DNA.  And If I can make you smile or laugh along the way, well that would be perfection.

So, yeah… that’s why.  My goal is to inspire you… to read, to try a different perspective, to make your load a little lighter.

If I can get one person to feel happier after reading something I wrote, then HELL YES I’m in.  Love a book I recommend, please leave a comment.  If this isn’t for you, that’s okay.

Either way, thanks for reading 🙂

See you next time!

 

 

 

 

So Long April

The Sunday List is coming to you from the last day of April.  Normally, my first response is good riddance to any month, but April 2017 was one that I’d like to remember.  I guess any month that includes a vacation is always going to be a good one, but this one seemed more giving than most.  Here the list…

The Top 5 of April

  1. We literally started the month off in Florida this year.  Destin, to be exact.  First time there, and would definitely go back again someday.  Given I have made Siesta Key my home away from since I was sixteen, I was a little nervous/excited about going somewhere else.  As it turns out there is sun, palm trees, and bars in Destin too!  Who knew?  No, the sunsets weren’t the same, but somehow we managed.
  2. Books!  No, I didn’t read as many as I anticipated in April, but the ones I did were keepers for sure.  The Girl Before, by J.P. Delaney – 21 Rituals to Change Your Life, by Theresa Cheung – and The Arrangement, by Sarah Dunn were all added to my Read column on Goodreads.  Three very different books, but all three worth the time.
  3. You can’t talk about April in my house without mentioning the Masters.  Yes, my husband is a golfer, so Masters Weekend is considered a holiday here.  After watching so much golf over the years, I’ve acquired a list of my favorites with Sergio being one of my all time faves (insert heart-eyes emoji).  Plus it was his first time winning a Major and that is always so fun to watch.
  4. Music.  Earlier this year I became obsessed with Spotify.  I signed up for the 30Day free trial and never looked back.  I took a tip from Emily Ley and started making my own monthly playlists.  Here’s my April list, which will always take me back to a perfect afternoon in Destin 🙂
  5. Must-See TV.  If you haven’t checked out the HBO series Big Little Lies or the Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why, you MUST.  Both series are based on books I have read, but you don’t necessarily need read them first.  Very rarely do I like the TV or movie version of a book, but these are both done exceptionally well.

Life brings simple pleasures to us every day.  It is up to us to make them wonderful memories.  ~ Cathy Allen

Start the habit of looking back and remembering what makes you smile.  I think you’d be surprised at how many little things in our daily life create the best memories.

Thanks April!  It was a good one…

xo, Mo

The Sunday List

Starting today, every Sunday will include a Favorites List for the week. I have always been a list maker, and it seems that the older I get, the more I like them. I love to check things off, to find ways to praise or encourage, and of course books to read. Is there anything better?
The name alone, The Sunday List, comes from a book I read years ago and loved her idea of “tweaking” her life list every Sunday.  My list will be different each week, as opposed to her static list.  Not that I don’t have a “bucket list” but for the sake of your sanity and mine, I’ll spare you that weekly post.  Think of it like David Letterman’s Top Ten list, but without all the snark.

Well, maybe.  I make no promises.

The only promise I will make is this week’s list comes to you from the center of grief, and the only way I get through it is to write about it.  I took a running class years ago, and the only thing I remember from that class was her weekly comment, “Embrace the suck, people.  Embrace the suck.”  And she was right.  Sometimes running sucked, and if you didn’t expect that fact and embrace it, then you were done before you started.  So, I’m lacing up my literary bootstraps, and putting one foot in front of the other.

This week we had to say goodbye to the best dog ever, Goldie Girl.  And when I say best dog ever, I mean BEST DOG EVER.  Fourteen years ago, we drove to Ohio to see about a dog.  We live in Michigan.  Everyone but us knew we weren’t just going to “see” her.  We walked into the foster home, and this beautiful golden sat down in front of us and placed her paw in my son’s open hand.

“Thanks for coming!  When are we leaving???” She was asking.

The rest is history…

Goldie’s Top Ten List

  1. Everyone loved Goldie, and she loved everyone.  Except for the mailman.  To her, he was an intruder that should be barked at until he fled the house at a rapid pace.  It made us giggle every time.
  2. I can’t really talk about Goldie without mentioning one thing that drove us crazy about her.  Hair.  OMG, the hair.  It’s ironic to me that God created the most gentle and beautiful creatures on the planet, and then gave them hair that may or may not stay on their little doggy frames.  Usually not.
  3. After a solid year of provoking our cat, Putter, she finally won her over.  I’m not sure I would ever call them friends, but eventually it did become friendly.  Putter would even find his own way to play with Goldie.  It usually involved thwapping her on the nose as she walked by, but hey, it was progress.  And it made a funny little hollow sound I can still hear in my head.  It’ s the little things… 🙂
  4.  Before her hips started to give out, she would jump on our bed every night and lay in between us.  She would stay up there till we fell asleep, then get down and sleep by the bed.  Every.  Single.  Night.  It was her way of helping us fall asleep and was one of my favorite things about her.
  5. Playtime was Goldie’s favorite thing about her humans.  And with two boys, there was never a lack of playtime.  Hide and Seek with my oldest was her game of choice.  He’d throw a toy upstairs.  She’d chase it.  And by the time she came back down, he’d be hiding.  It was hours of entertainment.  Literally.  It didn’t matter if he hid in in the bathroom every time.  She was still so excited to find him.  Paper airplanes were her second game of choice.
  6. As she grew older, she learned to hate the camera (our phones) as much as George Clooney hates the paparazzi.  She would duck, turn, and walk away every time.  We still managed to find ways to capture the most photogenic dog on the planet.  Her eyes always seemed to be talking to us.
  7. Begging was not beneath our Goldie Girl.  Whether it was breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snack, she was on us like stink on a monkey.  Making popcorn was music to her ears, and smelling bacon would create so much anxiety in her, she would be barking at us by the time we sat down.  Her head in our laps, brown eyes looking up through her lashes for effect, she would blink her way to getting whatever was in our hands.  We couldn’t say no to that face.
  8. Goldie was a weather extremist.  If it was 95 and humid, she would lay in the open sun on the deck.  If it was 5 and snowing, she was laying on the deck.  We couldn’t understand why she seemed to be such a glutton for bad weather.  But that was how she was happiest.  In the extremes…
  9. Love.  To know Goldie was to love Goldie.  Our friends and family seem to be as sad as we are.  The support we have received has been nothing short of amazing.  It’s been a blessing for sure in this dark spot.
  10. As much as she has taught us to love, she is now teaching us about loss.  For my boys, this is the first real death to them that they can feel true, honest grief.  They have learned to reach out to friends, and to us as parents.  We have all learned that we never go through anything alone.  Good, bad, and ugly, we are all together in this world.

Josh Billings once wrote, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”  We have been forever changed by this furry soul that came to us so many years ago.

Thank you, Goldie, for teaching us all how to love more.  You will be missed…

 

21 Rituals to Change Your Life

“It is what you actually do with your life, not what you think of your life, that is transformative.”  ~Theresa Cheung
In this delightful book, Theresa gives us the insight of 21 rituals (habits) that, when done for 21 days in a row, will change your life. I found myself drawn to this book in the library, and literally read it in one sitting.
Three things I loved:
* As a seasoned reader of anything self-help or developement, I was surprised at the fresh perspective on these 21 daily “rituals” we should all be doing. These aren’t anything you probably haven’t aleady heard before, but the way she describes them – and the order – gave me a feeling it was actually doable.
Stop laughing.  No, really.  Stop.
* The shorter chapters, and the way they are all organized, made this book so easy to read. It held my attention, even in a packed car on the way home from spring break. But don’t be fooled by the size of this book… it definitely packs a powerful message, especially for those who are too busy for making any changes.


*Quotes. Any book, and I mean any book, is only improved by the addition of well thought out quotes. I don’t know what it is, and you can absolutely disagree with me, but quotes can give the reader a small insight into the writer’s brain and the direction of their thoughts.  They’re like tiny little dots on a map.
And yet…
Here’s one thing that bothered me: So yes, these 21 rituals are mostly quick and painless for the most part. Enjoyable even. However, she is pretty adamant that ALL 21 must be done for 21 days in a row. It’s in her terms and conditions.  If you miss one, you go back to day 1. Do not collect $200.
Now I don’t know about you, but as a wife, mother, nanny, and writer, there aren’t many things I do for 21 days in a row other than eat, sleep, and use the bathroom frequently.
Having said that, I am officially on day 5 and will proudly announce that I have gotten up at 5 a.m. everyday this week to work on a project I’ve wanted to tackle for years. Yes, years. And I’ve accomplished so much in this one week that I am literally excited to get up in the morning. Not sure this would’ve happened if I didn’t read her book on the ride home.
It was exactly the kick in the pants I needed.
Bottom Line: Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. Do with it what you like… go at your own pace, or tackle it as she has written it.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and who knows? Maybe you’ll even find yourself doing things that have been on hold for a while.
Happy reading…
Mo

#WeekendReads

Is there anything better than a good book?

How about time to read that good book in your favorite chair and cozy blanket?

This year has not been my greatest reading year… not by a long shot.  I had the hardest time finding anything that would capture my attention, then when it did, my life seemed to get in the way.  I know, I know, this is not a blog for complaining, so you’ll be happy with my next adventure.  Let me preface it by saying that if you asked me anytime in the last ten (or more) years ago, I would’ve told you that my dream job would involve reading books and writing.  So that’s what I’m doing.blog-forgettingtime

I am going to treat this as if I’m getting paid to read, because that is eventually the goal.  Embracing the whole ‘act as if’ rule to manifest the dream job is the adventure.  Sometimes you just have to take that step into the life you’ve always wanted, and fake it till you make it.

So… The plan is that every Thursday or Friday, I will be posting about #WeekendReads and the books that are on my TBR list.  I have always had a list of books to be read, and the stack of books piling up on my shelf is obnoxious.  Obnoxious in the best possible way though 🙂

This week I am reading The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin.  I literally found this just browsing books that were available on my Overdrive App, and after reading the first couple chapters, I was hooked.  The reviews on Amazon are equally as good.  I can’t wait to dive back into it this weekend.

If you’re interested, post your own #weekendreads on Twitter and tag me @coffee_andwords.  I would love to get more ideas for the next book choice.

Have a great weekend!