5 ways to have a social life {when you have little kids}

29 July 2015

29 July 2015
David and I are not naturally social butterflies. I'm a true introvert, and he's an ambivert, which means most of the time we're totally cool with staying at home, turning on Netflix or working on a house project, and just leaving the house when it's absolutely necessary.

But every once in awhile, we venture outside of my our comfort zone and hang out with friends. Most of our friends that are still in Lincoln with us don't have kids, or aren't married yet, so finding the balance between having a somewhat normal bedtime and not being complete hermits has been sort of a learning curve for us (and we're only a year in).

I thought I'd round up some of the things we do to make things easier when we do see other people, in hopes it can help someone else!

1. Free babysitting

As much as we possibly can, we beg for free babysitting from every source available to us. Luckily for us, Kate's the first grandkid/niece on both sides of the family, so we're rarely desperate to find someone besides grandparents or aunts/uncles that isn't practically begging to babysit. My parents live in the same town as us, and David's family is only an hour and a half away, so there's almost always someone available to babysit for us.

It's very awesome, and I know that not everyone is in the same situation. Other places to try and get free babysitting: high school seniors looking for service hours, a really generous older neighbor, sometimes even your local church might offer free babysitting services as part of a community outreach program.

2. Host at your house

Because I'm a stickler for Kate's routine, and she sleeps best at our house, lots of times we end up hosting our friends at our house. This doesn't have to be a big to-do -- you can always order pizza, or grill something outside that's cheap and easy, or even ask people to come over after dinner/bedtime! If we're hanging out with friends during the week, it's most often at our house. It takes a little more effort sometimes to make your house presentable but it's worth the investment for quality friendships.

3. Adjust expectations

One of the biggest adjustments we made as parents in regards to our social life was adjusting our expectations for Kate when we went out to events. When we go over to friends' houses, we bring along the pack n' play, and put her to sleep in a spare bedroom. Or we let her stay up an hour later than normal. I think this is harder for me than David, because he doesn't stress about her sleep like I do. But she's a fantastic baby and hardly fusses at all if we put her to sleep for a couple hours at someone else's house, then drive her home and put her to bed again. (I know, she's awesome.) Not all babies are like this, I know, but it's worth a try a few times, at least! Adjusting our expectations ahead of time about her sleep (or behavior in general, really) is super duper helpful.

4. Daytime activities

As often as possible, we try to go to daytime-ish social events. Nighttime events are just more of a hassle! But daytime events are great. David plays ultimate frisbee with a Catholic group here every so often, and it starts at 6:30 p.m. and is done by 8:00 -- perfect timing! On the weekends we try (not always successfully, but we try) to hang out with friends during the day, and try not to worry about missed naps too much. When Kate was littler, we'd put her to sleep in the carseat at daytime events, or in the Ergo, but now she's happy to be awake for longer and running around freely if we're somewhere else.

5. Be flexible

Our social lives have definitely changed since we had Kate, there's no getting around that. (Heck, we just kind of want to be home more now that we've had her.) But the most important thing about having a social life with kids is the idea of staying flexible. Doing things that might seem out of your comfort zone, or at least trying your hardest to do them sometimes, is the biggest advice we got...and try to follow.

Also don't stress! Eventually everything will be mostly back to normal, and you'll feel a lot more relaxed about things. And your friends will understand! Even if they don't have kids, they'll still understand.

What adjustments have you made to your social life since having kids? What am I missing on this list?
Happy friendship-ing, everyone.

P.S. Linking up with Jenna at Call Her Happy for 5Faves because 5 reasons? 'Twas meant to be.

Deep life questions

27 July 2015

27 July 2015
I have lots of questions sometimes, so I figured I'd smash them all into one big blog post. Why not, right?

Why are rugs so expensive?

We're in need (David would say "want," not "need," but I say need) of a new rug for our living room. Currently the rug we have in our dining room is just a big piece of remnant carpet from Menards, and it's fading fast, so I have lofty dreams of switching the rug in our living room to the dining room and then buying a new one for the living room, in which we just bought a new TV console, and for which we're trying to pick a paint color. (Not ending sentences with prepositions is hard.)

Some ones I've been crushing:

Joss and Main, $122
Urban Outfitters, $200
Rugs USA, $134

What makes babies think that you saying "ouch" when they scratch/poke/punch/kick you is just so. darn. hilarious??

Kate's in this stage right now where if she wants something, she'll come grab at whatever piece of our flesh is nearest and just take a big handful and squeeeeze really hard, which just hurts like crazy. So then we say "ouch" and she laughs super duper hard. It's very cute so it's hard to get mad, but it h-u-r-t-s.

Why does knitting take so darn long?

Am I just a slow knitter, or do blankets just start as this really great idea when you're knitting and then months later you're like, Why did I start such an awful project, I'll be knitting this still when I'm 70 years old? Or is that just me?

I swear, I've been working on this forever.

I still love the blanket I'm knitting but holy hell, it is taking me foreverrrrrr. Teach me your fast knitting ways.

Why is bluegrass so good?

I've been on another wishing-fall-was-here bluegrass kick today during work/blogging time. I know bluegrass sounds like the sort of music they played sittin' out on the porch after quittin' time in the 1850s, but today's bluegrass is so much more. Check out The Punch Brothers, Nickel Creek, Watkins Family Hour (yes I know all three of those share like the same artists back and forth but whateverrrr) if you need a starting place.

Or hit me up via email and I would even make you a special playlist! Just for you! I love me some Spotify playlists.

Why does Jimmy John's sound good any hour of the day or night?

No answer here, just one of life's big questions.

How do just happen to stumble upon posts on the internet that basically shatter my entire universe?
*bonus points if you get that reference*

Like, I know I'm behind the times but I just discovered Wait But Why and it's quickly become my favorite internet resource for blog posts that teach you everything about stuff you should definitely know, but because you're a pretend adult you don't really know them yet. It's so awesome.

I read this one on the Fermi Paradox, about the different camps of belief about intelligent life out in the universe, and immediately posted it on Caitlin's wall on Facebook because I had to share with someone. And because I'm a huge nerd.

This morning I sent this one about Tesla Motors to David, because he's always talked about how awesome Tesla is but I never knew just quite how awesome.

And then I read this one about the advent of AGI/ASI (artificial intelligence) (part 1 linked there, part 2 here) afterwards and when I finished reading it I just sat at my desk and stared into space trying to comprehend it for like, ten solid minutes after I finished it. (Bless you, morning nap time.)

None of these are a quick read (I think technically the AI ones are the longest combined, but they're all up there) but I highly highly recommend them. They're like if you had all the free time in the world to jump down every rabbit hole of the internet to find out the answers to life's questions all wrapped up into one (not very succinct) blog post. With awesome illustrations to boot.

Okay, enough questions for today.
Maybe some real answers tomorrow?

Summer life {bits & bobs}

21 July 2015

21 July 2015
I saw a great quote on the internet last night (and can't find now, grrr) that went:
"There are only two seasons: autumn, and waiting for autumn."
In the midst of our third consecutive week of unbearable heat this summer, I'm really feeling that quote right now. Don't get me wrong, I like some things about summertime.

Summer thunderstorms, the best daRn watermelon, corn on the cob, grilling every night for dinner, the abundance of weddings, fireworks, family time, the ability to slow down for no reason except the stifling heat, getting a little tan, boating, friends coming to visit -- all of these are great things about summer.

But between reading that quote, listening to tons of Gregory Alan Isakov, and re-reading Anne of Avonlea right now, I'm deeply wishing fall was here already. Anyone else in the same boat?

my youngest sister & giant Kate. where did baby Kate go?
Speaking of summer flying by, I'm on day 38 of P90X3, and I'm really in love with it this time around. I can feel myself getting stronger, more confident, more aware of my body and how it works and feels through every workout. I greatly took advantage of pregnancy with Kate and ate anything & everything, mostly because I felt like my cravings were more a part of me than she was. (Not true, but kind of.)

So now I'm trying to be more intentional about what I put in my body, and what makes me truly feel whole and healthy instead of just what will satisfy me for a short time. It's been a struggle - the hardest part has been giving up my snack in the evening when David and I are winding down watching Netflix. I miss it like crazy! But surprise, surprise - when I don't eat right before bed, I'm actually more awake and ready for the morning when it gets here. And I love that.

Although I'm not seeing immediate dramatic results, I'm really happy with the direction I'm going. Last night when I finished my workout, I came upstairs and David, unbeknownst to him, gave me a big compliment, saying: "Wow, you look like an athlete now." He's been greatly supportive of me the whole time, but an athlete is something I never thought I'd look like, like...ever. (He's the best, and he's all mine, sorry.)

So suffice it to say that I'm working out, eating better, and realizing that these sorts of things take time -- and that I'm willing and more than happy to put in the time to do so.

The wedding I mentioned last week, of one of my all-time best friends, Katie, went off this weekend without a hitch. I mean, the makeup lady for the bride didn't show up so they had to call a replacement, and it was a good 100° for our outdoor afternoon photo shoot after the ceremony, but it was all-around lovely.

I love weddings - every time I go to one, I can visibly remember what it was like to stand on the altar with David (over 2 years ago now! crazy!), making our vows to each other, and it makes me tear up. #women,amIright?

Also, the flowers were gorgeous. I love me some pretty flowers.


How's your summer?

7QT #37: weddings, insomnia, & lake goodness

17 July 2015

17 July 2015
3 posts in one week! I'm on a r-o-l-l guys. Linking up with Kelly today for another quick takes post!

This weekend is my beautiful friend Katie's wedding! It's hard to believe that it's already here, because it seems like this summer has just wasted away so quickly and it suddenly jumped up on me. Time flies when you're busy, right?

We've been friends since my cousin asked me to be on their YMCA volleyball team in 5th grade - and I know we're going to be friends for the long haul. Here's a gem of a throwback photo from when we were freshmen? sophomores? in college.

We are still that cute, hard as it may be to believe.

Last night we celebrated her last days as a single lady, with a crrrrazy night of boating, tubing, and jet-skiing at her future in-laws cabin (reeeeally nice cabin) on a lake between Lincoln and Omaha. It was a really fun time, marred only by the fact that when we got home (at the late late hour of 1:00 a.m.) I could not. fall. asleep.

I hate insomnia, and haven't had a bad bout of it since I was pregnant with Kate. It was no fun. I eventually took some NyQuil and fell asleep around 4:00 a.m., on the couch in our living room.

I'm a little out of it this morning, to say the least - even though David was sweet and worked from home for a bit this morning so I could catch up on my sleep. (He's the literal best.)

Did y'all hear about Pluto this week? If you're like me (and you're probably not), you spent every waking hour feverishly checking every news source you could for news about SEEING A (former) PLANET FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME.

Excuse me as I nerd out for a little bit, but how cool right?

It's not news to people who know me in real life that I love space and everything to do with space (Doctor Who, planets, stargazing, you name it). So this was a pretty awesome week in that regard. Also, they're making a new Star Trek movie! Unashamedly stoked about it. Plus Idris Elba? Gotta be good.

Wow, content is fading quickly here...

Here's the Taylor Swift mashup you've all been wanting and didn't know you absolutely needed. Trust me, it's worth the click.


I found this one on my phone a few days ago and realized I never posted it. They're pretty darn cute together, even though I'm biased.

Wow, well that was a whole lot of nothing. Kudos to you if you made it all the way through. Head to Kelly's for lots more posts with better + more entertaining content than mine.

Happy weekend, y'all.

200th post & living with a toddler

15 July 2015

15 July 2015
When I realized on Monday that my next post would be my 200th post on this little inconsequential blog, I thought I might plan on writing something somewhat profound. Like maybe the lessons I've learned in blogging so far, or things I get out of blogging, or maybe just my tips on how to run a small mommy blog and have it enrich your life.

Then this morning hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn't wake up to save my life, Kate insisted on throwing a full poopy diaper onto the floor moments after I took it off her person, and then I stubbed my toe on David's dresser like, super duper hard to the point where I think I'll have a bruise.

So instead of being all poetical or wise, I'm going to give you a pictorial reflection on what it's like to live with a toddler, because my brain can't function over that level of thinking today.

I was finishing a work project in our bedroom, because I've moved my "office" downstairs from the heat-cave that is our attic for the summer, and Kate was awfully quiet for quite a long time. And this happened. There's always a delicate balance decision there - should I leave her be, and enjoy the uninterrupted work time? or do I investigate and then have her claw at my legs/desk/keyboard to be played with because she forgot I existed while she was busy playing?

Half the time I investigate, she's sitting quietly reading a book (all by herself!, well, "reading") and half the time she's doing things like above. Destroying an entire box of Kleenex, and I'm pretty sure eating at least one whole one. Oops.

This also happened in that short time frame...although to be fair, this happens every day (and sometimes multiple times per day, if I get the energy to clean it up once). She loves her books, that's for sure. There are currently 6 also piled around my desk from her bringing them to me during the span of the morning.

Have I mentioned how much she loves her books? And it's not just picture books -- she will grab at anything I'm reading if she can get close enough, or pick up my books if they're left on the floor and page through them.

Living with a toddler is a whole new challenge that I don't know if anyone is ever truly prepared for. And we haven't even gotten to the terrible 2s or anything like that, so I'm already hitching up my mind and soul to ride the waves of whatever comes next. But boy oh boy is it fun. It really, truly is.

Thanks for reading my blog. I don't say it enough, and while I'd probably keep writing even if David were my only reader, it wouldn't be quite as exciting and fulfilling as it is with all you tagging along. So thankyouthankyou. Keep me writing and I'll hopefully get to 500 posts sometime soon (but not TOO soon, don't worry.)

What I've been reading

13 July 2015

13 July 2015
I've been on a reading kick this year. I originally hoped to read 25 books in the year, and I'm already through 22 of my goal, so I'm thinking I'll get a little farther than I anticipated.

Which is a good thing! a great thing! But now I'm looking for more inspiration, so I've taken to blogs and Goodreads and anywhere I can think of for book recommendations. I'll give you what's next on my list, but first how about what I've finished now?

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Okay, after hearing the hype on this one for months on end, and now finally having read it, I can understand why it was hyped up. So cute. So original. Succinct and romantic and realistic and everything you'd want in a not-too-deep novel.

As an aside: can I say how much I've really been enjoying Australian authors recently? Between Simsion and Liane Moriarty, I'm thinking I need to go on a hunt for more Australian authors to devour.

Rating: B+

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

I probably have mentioned it before, but earlier this year I set about re-reading the entirety of the Harry Potter series. It had been quite awhile since I'd done it last, and total I think I'd only read the last one maybe 3 times since it came out, so I was due for a rerun. It did not disappoint. Although some may not qualify it as "great literature," I get something new out of reading Harry every time I do it - a plot point I glanced over previously, a new appreciation for a character, etc. etc. This time I was especially sensitive to all the death - being a new mom can do that to you, you know? HP is one of the few books I'll reread for the rest of my life. If you haven't done it in awhile, I heartily recommend it for yourself.

Rating: A+++

Roses by Leila Meacham

It's been a few months since I finished this one, but I realized I hadn't blogged about it yet. I picked this up via my sister Lucy's recommendation, and wow, I was not disappointed. It's a multi-generational saga of a plantation and its owners in the South, very like Gone With the Wind, but totally its own engrossing and fascinating entity. It's romantic, and heartbreaking, and dramatic, and everything good you want in a story that takes years to tell and dramatically unfold.

Rating: A-

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Because I reread HP this year, I decided to pick up another series I love and reread it as well: Anne of Green Gables. It's another one of those that never gets old, no matter how many times I read it. Anne's one of those characters that you fall in love with and that sticks with you through thick and thin, and if you haven't had a chance to read her yet, stop whatever you're doing and do it now.

Rating: A+

Next up on my list include:

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography -- I just got an email that this is finally on hold for me at my local library! I'm so excited because I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a kid, so I'm stoked to find out anything and everything I can in the "adult" version. (Also, I waited through 50 holds in front of me -- FIFTY -- to get it, so it's been a long time coming.)

Kristin Lavransdatter -- I finally placed this on hold at the library, because in the entire city of Lincoln there's only one copy, and I've been trying to decide if I really want to commit to reading it all, but I've decided to take the plunge. After so many good reviews (like this one from Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas) I can't be disappointed, right?

Run You Down by Julia Dahl - sounds intriguing and different from what I normally read, so why not, right? Got the idea from this NPR review.


What are you reading right now? What should be on my list?

New theme, general happenings

08 July 2015

08 July 2015
Howdy y'all!

If you hadn't noticed yet, more power to you - I officially got a new theme. I'm really indecisive and I like change, so it's probably going to happen pretty often around these parts. (To be honest, I'm amazed I kept with my old one for so long.)

The last couple days we (and the rest of the country) have had unseasonably G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S weather, topping out around 75 each afternoon. It's been total bliss and we've been taking advantage of the fresh breezes coming through open windows and playing at the park. See following example:

Kate and I spent our time picking and being amazed by weed flowers last night while Daddy played ultimate frisbee, and then we went to get ice cream. It was a perfect night.

When the weather warms up and you need a new country hit for your long summer evening drives, this is where it's at. (It's been on repeat for me for 3 solid days now.) (Doesn't hurt that Hunter Hayes is just like, a super cutie that kinda makes you want to pinch his cheeks.)

Or, even better, my country playlist for the summer.

How about a Newsies and Uptown Funk mashup? You won't regret it.

Okay, that's all I've got for you now. How's your week going?

Fourth of July week-end

06 July 2015

06 July 2015
I took way too many pictures this weekend visiting David's family for the Fourth, and I've already clogged up my Facebook feed with them, so here they all are in full iPhone 6 glory - to share with you because you totally asked, right? (I brought my real camera with me on the trip, and remembered that I had done so when we were unpacking the car back at home. Oops.)

Originally, we were going to spend the first couple mornings painting their swingset, so Kate and I got all dressed up and then it didn't work out. (Don't you love my classy non-buttoning borrowed jeans?)

 She makes this face 24/7 now. It's as adorable in person as it is here.

We had lots of bonfires...

And then we went swimming at the Gokie's friends' house!

excuse the very-smudged mascara, plz & thank you

I had to take a specific picture of Kate in this hat, because hello CUTE.

Kate had some fun on the swings...

We exposed her to some very very dangerous fireworks...

Played with some ourselves after her bedtime (even though we quickly retreated inside because the bugs were HORRRIBLE).

And then took some refreshing naps at home on Sunday afternoon.

It was a patriotic and lovely weekend, but it's nice to be back on a schedule.
How was your Fourth? #murica

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