best decisions by caroline

July 29, 2014 in Best Decisions, Blog, Blogging, Guest Post by lindsaymwright

Another “best decisions” post (for more, just search in the sidebar – there are many!)  One of MY recent best decisions was housing a caramel apple from the Kilwin’s down here in Destin!  Is there anything better?? 

Many thanks to Caroline for filling in for me!  Take it away, friend!

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The Best Decision I Ever Made… was getting my master’s degree in clinical mental health and clinical addictions counseling!  Through my two years in my master’s program, I learned so much great information that, when applied, can lead to a fantastic, healthy life!  I really enjoyed all that I learned in grad school (and my subsequent counseling experience since that time), and I’ve been really thankful for all the changes that resulted in my life because of my decision to go to school. Here are some of the biggest changes in my life that have occurred because of that one decision:

Because I decided to go to grad school, I ended up doing my thesis on wellness (yes- it was more specific than just “wellness”) and behavior change.  In writing those 80ish pages, I realized how much work I had to do on myself.  I made a promise to one of the people on my thesis committee that I would start working out as soon as I graduated; I kept that promise.  It’s all about being proactive in our health, right?

Because I did my thesis on wellness, I realized how much my lack of exercise impacted other areas of my life, so I started to work out more and I started to run! It’s truly hard to imagine my life without exercise, as running half marathons is such a big part of my life. (you can read more about “my journey to running” here).

Because I started running, I started to do pilates, which has become a big staple in my workout schedule. I love the mind-body aspect of it, and it is not only a stretching and strengthening activity, but it’s also great as a stress reliever. Doing pilates also lead to me becoming a pilates and pilates/barre instructor, which I really love ( I also love getting to do barre classes for myself! ) IMG_1968

Going to grad school also taught me all about having healthy boundaries and trying to decrease the use of cognitive distortions (especially great for those dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression!)  Not only have I noticed big changes in my mental health and my worries and thoughts since grad school, but these things also impact the physical health choices that we make as well!

There are obviously far more changes that resulted from grad school as well.  Running led to triathlons and connection to some of my family members in very different ways because of this.  Grad school led me to meet some of my very closest friends, led to a speaking and writing career, and led my to my dream counseling job.  I never thought that one “little” decision like grad school would lead to a snowball of other changes as well.

That’s the thing, though.  So many of our decisions, whether big or little, will lead to a cascade of other things in our life.  As you make your decisions- choose wisely.  Think about how your decisions might fit into your future goals, and if it will take you closer to or farther from health.  And once you’ve made your choice, hang on and enjoy the ride!  It may take you places you could’ve never dreamed of or planned!

Now it’s your turn to share! What’s one of the best decisions that you’ve ever made? What other things did it lead to in your life? DSC_0563_2

 Hey! I’m Caroline, a counselor, half marathoner, and Pilates & Barre Instructor. If you’re interested in running, biking, pilates/barre, traveling, and mental health issues, you can find me at the following places:

Blog: http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com

Twitter: @kalolainastar

Instagram: littlethingscaroline

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/littlethingscar

conversations with clara – episode II

July 25, 2014 in Blogging, Conversations with, Favorites, Kids by lindsaymwright

Well – tonight WE DRIVE!  My feet will be in the white sand tomorrow!  (pray, pray, pray that we make it down to Destin in one piece!)

I leave you today with a conversation with Clara.  Travis has a knack for capturing her that I just do not (in fact, he has a way communicating with her that I haven’t fully mastered).  As I watch, she seems SO grown up to me (here’s the last “conversations” video that I posted!).  I just pray every day that I can be the perfect mother FOR HER (and Henry and Porter) – so far, that equates to listening much more than I’m used to (and doing ALL THINGS GIRLY, which is also a stretch for me).

I have some posts scheduled for next week so please check back in!  I’ll be taking my digital detox but will have some vacation pictures to share when we get back.  Have a wonderful weekend friends!

that which should be unitasked

July 21, 2014 in Blog, Blogging, Goals, Inspiration, Intentional Living by lindsaymwright

It’s Monday.  And I’m happy!

I know.  I know.  I know.

We’re all supposed to be pissing and moaning about this worst day of the week but I just cannot help but smile real big.

Because the beach.

We leave THIS Friday.  As in this week.  As in I need to start packing.  As in can we please just skip over these next few days and get this lady a margarita ASAP.  Except I can’t drink (nursing).  And if I can remember back far enough, past the six years of pregnancies and nursing, I believe I’m more of an Amoretto Sour girl.

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[From our last trip three years ago.]

I mentioned last week that I’d be taking our beach vacation as a time to UNPLUG.  All next week, I plan to do a DIGITAL DETOX – no blogging, no instagram, no FB, no Pinterest (although I can’t remember the last thing I pinned.  Just looked.  It was these Apple Pie Bars.  Yum.  I should really make those.  But probably won’t.).  I DO have to check in a few times for a Verizon campaign I’m obligated to (which ironically is about living a #connectedlife), but aside from that, I’ll be unplugged.

This will be hard for me.

And I really dislike saying that about myself.

I just read a great article that Lindsay shared with me (I love her).  The article was about how we as Christians are allowing our phones to distract us (and this applies to non-Christians as well obviously).  I loved the entire message, but one quote in particular stood out:

“We are multitasking that which should be unitasked.”

Hold the phone.  (no.  actually throw the phone away because it’s distracting you.)

I don’t think I can add more to this perfectly descriptive sentence.

But I’ll try.

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Multitasking that which should be unitasked.  Like most people, women in particular, I must multitask.  It’s inevitable.  It’s how I get the dishes done and the schooling done and the baby nursed, all these things at the very same time…while my washing machine cleans our clothes.  I fear that if I didn’t multitask, we would live in a disheveled house with empty bellies.  I think it’s ok to do these chores simultaneously.

The key to the sentence is here –> “that which should be…” 

  • Sitting Henry on my lap and listening to him read.
  • Looking Travis in the eye every night during our #15minutesforyou.
  • Playing calico critters with Clara.  Getting down on the floor, into HER world.
  • Reading my Bible. Talking, listening to God.

Things which should be unitasked.  With all my focus.  Without a phone in my hand.  Without a blanket response because I’m really browsing Facebook and didn’t hear a word you just said.  To my credit, I’m getting better and better at this.  But I still sometimes catch myself …. because I live in this flesh body with worldly distractions.

I remember a time not so long ago when I didn’t have a smart phone.  Before blogging.  Before sharing every second of my life online.  And nothing was missing.  I was perfectly content with a life disconnected.

Flash forward to now and I’m rarely found without my phone in my hand.  I take it everywhere – it’s my phone, my camera, my connection to others.  I feel a little lost without it.  The part I struggle with is finding that perfect balance between living life IN THE NOW and living life DIGITALLY.  Because I do enjoy sharing bits and pieces of our life on Instagram.  I DO enjoy taking the pictures and updating Facebook with Clara’s latest quotes.  I enjoy it.  It’s not a stress in my life.  In some ways, I’d even say that it enriches my life.  Can social media do that?!?  I think yes in a way.  In fact, I believe that’s the point behind it.

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I loved this moment and wanted to capture it.  So I did.  But is that “living in the present?”

It would be ignorant for me to attack my cell phone or my computer for they are not the problem.  The problem is my heart and my focus.  To live a life completely “off the grid” just wouldn’t work for me personally.  But to live a life of intentionally investing in relationships and people, both offline and on, that’s where I wanna be.  Sometimes that requires a phone and sometimes it (purposely) doesn’t.

I’d love to encourage YOU to take a digital detox with me.  Even if it’s for a day.  You might be surprised by how often you’re reaching for your phone or computer without knowing.  I’m hoping to come back from this vacation with a refreshing.  Will you join me?

QUESTION:  Are you addicted to your phone?  To your computer or blog??  How can we live more “in the now”?

splendid…lindsay

what’s in your shower?

July 18, 2014 in Blog, Blogging, Crazy, Favorites, Rambles by lindsaymwright

I was in the shower yesterday, singing and sudzing, when I looked around at all the stuff in my shower and thought up this post idea.  Kinda corny, but I know this – people are nosey, myself included.  I wrote a post a couple of years ago titled, “What’s On Your Fridge” and had a lot of fun with it (there’s was a linkup so others could show their fridge – you know, like magnets and papers and schedules – it was fun to see.  I’m a goof.).

In that same spirit, today I bring you, “What’s In My Shower.” Please don’t judge any mold or mildew you might see – I hopped out of the shower, snagged my phone and took these pictures.    I’m the QUEEN of shower products and get easily bored with using the same thing over and over.  I like all of these products*, am loyal to most, but by next month I’ll probably have something new in there.  It just makes showering so much more fun.  Plus, the smells – I love trying out new smells!

Let’s see what’s in my shower….

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^^Since my tub and walls are a bright turquoise, I needed a fun shower curtain that coordinated.  Found this Waverly one here.^^

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^^Arbonne body scrub from forever ago + EOS lavender jasmine shave cream.^^

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^^Rodan + Fields Body Micro-Dermabrasion + Old Outdoor 76 cup for rinsing Clara’s hair.^^

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^^Since our tub has ZERO storage space, I got this corner shower caddy from Lowe’s.  Holds so much and it’s sturdy!^^

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^^Neutrogena Microdermabrasion System + a Schick Hydro 5 razor <-do you use “men” razors too?  They’re by far the best!^^

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^^Oxy Daily Defense Exfoliating Face Scrub + Rodan & Fields Revive face wash (review to come!)

+ Equate face wash that I DON’T recommend and need to throw away + PedEgg foot file ^^

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^^Blue loofah.  I generally buy a “girlier” color like purple or pink.  <-why?!?!  it’s a freaking loofah!^^

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^^Pantene Pro-V Moisture Renewal shampoo & conditioner + Organix Brazilian Keratin Therapy shampoo and conditioner <-BEST smell ever!^^

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^^Love this Dove Nourishing Oil Care conditioner.  I use it once or twice a week and it leaves my hair super soft.^^

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^^Both of these body washes were coupon purchases (the Tone was FREE!).  I usually try to have one antibacterial soap and one nice smelling soap – one for after workouts and one for any other time.  Saying that out loud sounds totally crazy.^^

Annnd that’s the tour, folks.  Happy Tuesday!

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QUESTION:  Are you product loyal?  What’s your favorite SHAMPOO or BODY WASH?

splendid…lindsay

*Full disclosure here – there are some Amazon links – I tried to find the most Amazon Prime options because that’s how we buy most of everything you see. Thanks for supporting our family ice cream habit!!

#15minutesforyou check-in (plus prize sponsors!)

July 15, 2014 in #15minutesforyou, Blog, Blogging by lindsaymwright

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Since we’re halfway through the month of July (how!?!?!), I thought I’d check in with you on the #15minutesforyou Challenge!  If you’ve been playing along so far, I’ve got some wonderful sponsorship news below that should encourage you to amp up your hashtag game!  If you’re new to the Challenge, that’s FINE!  Join in TODAY and start hashtagging those pictures!

Here’s a real quick overview….

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What IS #15minutesforyou??

The #15minutesforyou Challenge is a social sharing game that encourages us all to take 15 minutes a day to work on OURSELVES.  I wouldn’t call it “me time,” as I’m not a huge fan of that concept.  This 15 minutes is simply meant to enrich your life.  Through rest, work, play, fitness, meal prep, fellowship – setting aside time each day to consciously work on those things that will make us happier.

It’s purposeful.

It’s intentional.

It’s enriching.

It’s adding YOURSELF to your to-do list.

My #15minutesforyou Check-In

Of course I’m playing too!  Here’s what I’ve been doing so far with this time:

  • June 30th-July 4th:  Morning run before T heads to work – 1.75 miles.  5 consecutive days!!
  • July 5th-6th:  Naptime stretching (mostly asanas from p90x).
  • July 7th-10th:  8pm reconnecting time with Travis.  We lay on the bed and chat about the day.

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  • July 11th:  Morning run.
  • July 12th:  Meal prep (cut up & grilled chicken breasts, cut watermelon, made protein balls)
  • July 13th:  Reconnecting time.

So far, the running and reconnecting time are things that I’ll keep for as long as I can.  They both enrich my day SO much – the early AM run helps to serve as my prayer time AND exercise.  The evening reconnection closes out the day with my best friend.  Solid, solid bookends for the day.

How do YOU play??

If you’ve already been tagging your pictures, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!  If you’re just joining in, I encourage you to track your 15 minutes with me via Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook!  Just use the hashtag – “#15minutesforyou” so that we can all see how you’re using this intentional time.  At the end of the month, all hashtags (aside from mine) will be entered towards a PRIZE drawing.  The more times you use the hashtag, the more entries you get!  You can choose to split up the month into small weekly (or even daily) goals OR you could choose to stick to the same goal– it’s up to you!

Challenge Prizes!

Oh the prizes!!  The prizes!!

I’m SO happy (and thankful) to tell you that we have two sponsors for #15minutesforyou! Onnit and Arctic Zero

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Prize #1 – $25 Onnit gift card

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Prize #2 – One box of Arctic Zero (assorted flavors)

I’ve had the pleasure of working with both of these companies on Blend Retreat sponsorships so I know a lot about their products and the people behind them.  If you don’t already know, Onnit is a fitness supplement/gear company and Arctic Zero produces some seriously yummy high protein “ice dessert.”  Go check out their websites!  I’m so thankful for their generosity and can’t wait to share their products with you!

We’ve got 15 more days left in the month!  Think about what you want to focus your efforts on and get to sharing!!

QUESTION:  Are you planning to join in?  What will you take 15 minutes for THIS week?

splendid…lindsay

a day in the life

July 14, 2014 in Blog, Blogging, Family, Intentional Living, Kids, Love, Marriage, Motherhood, Rambles by lindsaymwright

I looked and it’s been SO long since I’ve done a “Day In The Life” post.  Like 2 years ago long (seriously.  go look at how little my kids were!  crazy how time flies!).  And after taking all the pictures that you’re about to see and then sitting down to type out the day’s events, I remember WHY I seldom do these posts.  They take so much effort!!  Constantly snapping shots = me wanting to throw my phone into a bush by the end of the day. 

This was last Tuesday.  A good mix of the normal, mundane and the exciting.  Grab a snack – this is a little long.

Here’s how it went down:

A Day In The Life

4:02am:  I hear something.  Poke Travis and he hears it too.  I make him get up and go through the house to see if there’s a burglar (am I the only wife that does this?!!).  There isn’t.  It’s just Porter kicking the bottom of his bassinet.

4:10am:  He finally wakes all the way up, hungry.  I nurse him in bed, return him to his bassinet and fall back asleep myself.

6:30am:  I vaguely remember Clara and/or Henry coming in the room.  Travis saves the day (as always) and hops up.

7:10am:  Porter wakes me up, hungry.  I nurse him in bed and play on my phone.  He doesn’t nurse well – too sleepy.  Since I want this to be his “official” wake-up time for the day, I unswaddle his arms and start talking to him.  He begrudgingly plays along.

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7:25am:  I make my way through the house, starting with my own bed.  Then Clara’s room (make bed, straighten up) then Henry’s (the same).  Start a load of laundry.

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7:40am:  Since Porter didn’t nurse well, I pump off the extra milk.  I’m going to work out real quick before the day starts so I drink half of my Spark.  Kiss Travis goodbye as he leaves for work.  Tell Henry to dress himself.

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8:00am:  Change Porter’s diaper and outfit – lay him in the middle of the floor with stern instructions for H & C to let him be.  I let Clara pick the movie (Henry picked yesterday) and she turns on “Three Little Pigs.”  Change into my sports bra and a pair of Travis’ boxer briefs.  Head downstairs to work out.

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8:10am:  We got a new (old) rower!!  I come up with a really quick basement WOD and work up quite a nice little sweat!  (LOVE that I can go downstairs anytime I want (within reason) and get a great workout in.  It’s really the best and we’ve got a list of other fitness equipment that we slowly want to accumulate.)

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8:30am:  Come back upstairs.  Drink the other half of my Spark while pouring cereal for H & C.  They choose Crispy Rice (that’s the Rice Krispy off-brand) and Golden Grahams (for which I haven’t found an equal-in-taste off-brand).

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8:40am:  Change Porter’s diaper.  Swaddle him and put him in his crib.  Hop in the shower, get dressed, put hair in messy top bun and do minimal makeup.  Put clean laundry into the dryer.

9:00am:  Make breakfast for myself (eggs, spinach, nut butter, granola and local honey – it’s good – promise!) and coffee.  Sit down at the computer.  Read some blogs.  Respond to emails and then work on the Blend thank you card.  Start dishwasher.

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9:35am:  Porter wakes, hungry.  I nurse him – the first half sitting, the second half walking around the house getting H & C ready to leave.  I know we’re going to the pool later so I tell Henry what items we need and he helps me pack a bag.  <-one of the perks of having an almost six year old.  Take Clara potty.  Dress her.

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9:50am:  Once Porter is finished nursing, I notice that he’s pooped.  A lot.  All over himself …and me.  Quick outfit change for the both of us.  Tell H & C to put their shoes on.

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10:00am:  We’re late (always) but we somehow make it to the car without forgetting anything or anyone.  Drive to the library while listening to this cd (a favorite).

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10:10am:  Luckily we live in a small town and everything is close.  We arrive at the library for a special children’s hour called, “Nursery Rhyme Animals,” where the Balsam Mountain Trust brought in a few animals for the kids to see and touch.  H & C LOVED it!  Porter and I watched from the sidelines.

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11:20am:  After the special event ends, we head to pick out some books.  When we try using the self-checkout scanner, the computer rejects us.  This might have something to do with the $4 late fee that’s on my account.  Luckily I know the head librarian (small town, remember) and she lets me check out the books.  I feel like a rebel.

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11:30am:  We’ve got 30 minutes until our next appointment.  I snack on some almonds and an apple in the car while running errands.  The bank, the post office and then to see Travis.  Porter naps while we drive.  H & C shout and sing and be as loud as they possibly can.

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12:00pm:  Clara gets her teeth cleaned for the first time!!  My mama is a dental hygienist and has cleaned all of our teeth for…forever.  She kisses on only her prettiest patients.  Clara does SO well in the chair and comes home with a bag of goodies (like floss and toothbrushes…not candy or money).  I nurse Porter while we’re there.  Change his diaper.

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12:45pm:  We’re late for a pool date so the drive-through it is – cheeseburgers and fries for the kids.  Katy calls and says she’s picking me up a Gazebo salad!  Thanks sis!

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1:00pm-3:00pm:  We SWIM!!  A good friend invited Katy and I over to her pool so we happily obliged.  Porter naps the entire time we’re there, leaving me with freedom to splash and play with H & C.  Henry works on his jumping.  Clara works on her tan.  I eat my salad and then a Quest bar.

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(AD:  I charged my phone poolside with this Motorola Power Pack.  Holds up to two full charges – fits Droids, iPhones and other devices.  It was almost too easy.  The perfect pool bag accessory.)

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3:20pm:  We arrive home.  I immediately put Clara down for her nap.  Nurse Porter.  Change Porter.  Lay all of our wet suits out to dry.

3:40pm:  While Porter plays in his swing, I sit down with Henry to do some schoolwork.  We found this trio pack of Star Wars workbooks and he loves them.  While Henry works, I eat about 58 handfuls of the best popcorn ever.

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4:10pm:  Travis comes home to watch the soccer game (Brazil vs. Germany) and takes Henry with him across the street (he watches most of the games at his parent’s house).  Clara is still sleeping.  Porter and I have some quality one-on-one.  We sing, make funny faces and work on our belly time.

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5:00pm:  Change Porter, swaddle him and lay him down for a nap.

5:10pm:  I take my second shower of the day and rinse off the chlorine from the pool.  Make note to clean shower sometime soon (uh huh).  Sit down to download pictures and type up some of this post.

5:35pm:  Clara wakes up from her nap.  Take her to potty.  She asks to play games on my phone – I say sure and we both lay down on my bed.  Wake up about 15 minutes later – lots of drool on the pillow.  Later, I find this picture on my phone.

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6:00pm:  Henry and Travis come back.  Germany has beaten Brazil by the largest margin in World Cup history!  I feign excitement – soccer really isn’t my thing (unless we’re talking little kid soccer then I’m majorly concerned).

6:15pm:  Travis asks what’s for dinner.  Crud.  After evaluating the fridge, I make a quick trip to the store.  I could easily amble around in there, in a daze, looking at all the products – it’s one of my favorite things to do when I don’t have kids pawing at me.  This trip is quick though – in and out – and with not a thing for dinner.

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6:40pm:  Arrive back home with enough to make a cereal-almond salad.  Travis and the kids are watching some instructional swimming video (Henry’s learning for our upcoming beach trip).  I’m pretty sure he needs actual time IN the pool but I keep this to myself.

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6:42pm:  Reheat some leftovers for Travis and I (enchiladas) and make the kids a quick quesadilla.  Knowing that Porter will wake any minute to nurse, we eat pretty fast – talking about the day and all those animals we saw earlier.

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6:55pm:  Porter wakes, hungry.  I nurse him while Travis cleans up the table.

7:10pm-7:45pm:  Hand Porter and the kids over to Travis.  Start after-dinner chores which tonight include:  unloading the dishwasher, loading with tonight’s dishes, swiffering the floor and wiping down the counters.  I also cut and cube the cantaloupe I bought earlier so we’ll have it ready for breakfast the next day.  During this time, Travis has been reading “Fox In Sox” and playing hide-and-go-seek.

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7:45pm:  Give Porter a bath.  Lotion him up, dress and swaddle.  Give H & C a bath.  Brush teeth and put them all to bed.

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8:10pm:  My #15minutesforyou today consists of laying on the bed and reconnecting with Travis.  Tonight we need 30 minutes.  We talk and laugh and look each other in the eye – it’s wonderful to just BE PRESENT with my best friend.  I decide to put the phone away for the rest of the night –> sorry, no more pictures.

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8:40pm-10:15pm:  Cereal and TV are musts!  Not needs…musts.  We watch “The League” and “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” while eating a hearty mix of Golden Grahams, Honeycomb and TJ’s Fiber Twigs.  Porter wakes up to nurse.  Nurse him, change his diaper and put him back to bed.  We soon follow.  I’m exhausted and the bed feels amazing.

As I lay there I remember the load of clean laundry in the dryer.  Oh well…first thing tomorrow.

Where the new mercies are found.

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QUESTION:  What’s one thing that happened in YOUR day yesterday??

splendid…lindsay