There's really no place like it. The Golden Gate and Brooklyn Bridge tied for first in my book. Do you have a favorite?
As I sit here, all is still. Two of my three beautiful boys rest peacefully upstairs and the other two boys in the house are out. Today is Mother's Day and it's been a special one. Breakfast in bed, kids singing Mother's Day songs in church, a sunny walk by myself. All is well.
Hope you're all having a nice Mother's Day too—my thoughts are with those of you that struggle today. It can feel like a million feelings rushing past. Lots of love to you, whatever you're feeling. xo
Start off with a tantrum, and end with a hug. TGIF. (And I should make these guys wear their Halloween costumes every day until they don't fit.)
On January 14 at 1:22 PM I had our littlest boy, Sigge (pronounced Siggy). He is absolutely perfect and we're doing great. After weeks of all five of us home together, we've all settled into a semi-routine with the new baby in tow and Keen back at work. It's been the smoothest recovery and transition yet and I think it's mostly due to Keenan's glorious paternity leave. I can't say enough good things about that time we had together before/after the baby arrived. It's been wonderful.
I'll continue to share thoughts on motherhood as they pop up (and I get a chance to sit down and write them). I'm so glad you've stuck around. I hope to write a lot more this year. I'm feeling it.
I'm currently working on Sigge's birth story as a submission into a book. I'm really excited about it! So if you want more details, I'll be sure to share that in the future. I love hearing others' birth stories and I hope you enjoy reading mine.
Recently a friend asked me what it feels like to be expecting our third child. (I'm now 25 weeks!) Lots of people have three or more kids (but fewer than most) and I don't feel like I'm uniquely capable of sharing what it's like because it's so different for everyone, but I do have a few thoughts now that some of the pregnancy fogginess has cleared in the second trimester.
1. It's awesome.
It's awesome just like it was the first time. I mean awesome in its purest sense; "causing or inducing awe; inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear" Yep, conception, pregnancy, birth, and parenthood does all that. The first kick, the growing belly, all of that is just as amazing. What's been different is how fast it feels its going. It's flying by! I also haven't taken any pregnancy pictures of myself or journaled the pregnancy as much as the other boys. There's just more going on so I can't devote as much time to recording or "cute stuff" like I once did.
Haven't touched/probably won't touch a pregnancy or birth book. It's a beautiful thing to feel more confident and knowledge about how your body labors and what works for you when you deliver.
I do have the What to Expect app so I can show videos of the baby's development to my kids and track the baby's size. (I really wish there was a better pregnancy app out there.)
2. It's uncomfortable.
In every way, but not all the time. 62% of the time I do not think about being pregnant. I'm just doing my thing, as me, and honestly only remember that I am with child when somebody comments or I'm doing something otherwise normal and it's more difficult than it normally would be. (i.e. picking up a glass on the floor, buckling my sandals, carrying my two year old.) One of the strangest things about being pregnant is feeling like you haven't changed, but realizing that to everyone else, YOU'RE PREGNANT. It's the number one topic and commentary everywhere. It's mostly fine and fun and I don't care but sometimes I do feel like, Alright. I've had quite enough pregnancy talk.
It's also just more uncomfortable. Whereas I could fly under the radar (which I prefer) with Silas until about six months, I've been showing with this one since mid-first trimester. Pregnancy-related pain is just more, too. Back pain, leg aches, stiffness, bruised rib. It's all happening.
3. No one has tried to touch my belly.
I'm good with this. Maybe I have a little RBF this time around...?
4. Advice Magnet
Almost everyone offers advice. Old me used to care, new me laughs and only cares 2% of the time when it's hard to let that especially insensitive or stupid comment roll of your back. People mean the best and are just trying to relate. Sometimes they give legit good advice, so you never know. If I'm in the mood, I beg for advice and wisdom from friends who have 3+ kids. These people know things and I want in.
5. Nice Magnet
Almost everyone smiles, says congratulations, compliments my two boys, or says God Bless or Good luck or You've got your hands full or No girl? And frowns. (I'm very happy we'll have three boys, for the record. 200% okay with it)
6. It's easier asking for help.
Most people are overwhelmed at even the sight of two toddlers and a pregnant belly and are more than willing to do whatever to help you out. I get my groceries (Costco, Target, TJs, EVERYWHERE) carried out, UPS and FEDex guys carry packages in for me, etc. It saves my back and is a nice little way to bond with a store employee. :)
Our oldest is in preschool (Bless Preschool!) and we also participate in weekly park groups and a nature preschool. My friends are the best and we all like each other's kids so we help each other out during play dates, or a random afternoon. Mom friends and scheduled weekly activities for the win! I also love local Facebook groups and listservs for meeting people and hanging out.
7. You take care of yourself.
It's no one else's job to take care of your health (duh), but for some reason I've just let things roll before now. Now I say "no" as much as I need to, talk to my doctor often and never feel like I'm inconveniencing her to ask questions or email her, hold sleep as the holy grail and get a good fat chunk every night, buy giant pregnancy pillows, buy clothes that fit and flatter(questionable but trying!), read good books, and eat what sounds/feels good to me.
It's easy to forget that pregnancy is an ideal time for extra introspection, self-discovery, and self-nurturing. But for me at least, it's like I gain this sixth sense for what's important to me and what I want. There's more meaning in the every day things, and since my physical body is slowing me down a little, and my brain is sedated with hormones, I live in the small moments because I can't even with more than that.
8. You savor it.
It could be the last time I'm pregnant. For every stage and in-utero development, I think about that and want to freeze it in my memory. The first time my oldest felt the baby kick. The first time he jumped in response to the boys'. The way I look and feel.
9. You know your baby.
Let's see if I can even write this without crying. The second I held Silas, I knew he knew me. And I knew him. He was crying like a little pink piggie and turned his head to me, stopped crying, and stared. Then snuggled against my neck. It was the same with Sondre. The nurses placed him right on my neck and chest and we just snuggled and loved each other, finally. Oh man. We already knew one another—we just happened to be meeting for the first time face to face. Circumstance, you know. I feel the same way with this baby boy. I feel him with me all the time and feel like we're just getting to know each other until our actual sit-down date in January. When we get real close, real fast. I cannot wait to meet this little guy.
10. You know it's a miracle.
Although we have had three healthy pregnancies and babies, we have experienced loss and high risk during the last four years. Anything can happen at any time and every day I am so grateful that this growing baby and I have made it another day. I can't even wrap my mind around how incredible it is that a woman's body can grow a child. It's the most miraculous, beautiful gift and I am honored to be pregnant with this little boy. *cue lots of kicks in my ribs*
Hello all! I have a little confession. But first, a walk down memory lane.
I've been blogging since 2008. I started A Toast to Kos after finding Cup of Jo and Design Mom for the first time in a college campus computer lab, where I worked. I didn't have a Facebook profile and I had no idea what Google Reader was. Please enjoy the following screenshots of my first-ever blog. I'm not going to lie—I got a little teary logging in for the first time in three years:
'Pretty Things On Show'? Oh Koseli. That's good. Artful leaves and sentimental celebration. I do love it.
Poorly cropped photos. Again, I love it.
Do you see that first line on the post? These are the kind of things I would post. Pictures of Silas at church wearing Keen's glasses. Like, so cute.
I'd also post about cute clothes. And get three comments—my sister, my other sister, and my response. Comfy and bright is right!
Clever pregnancy update while still sharing a little online discovery. I was always sharing stuff with faces and miniature stuff. Some things never change.
Over the next seven years I went from writing posts about mashed potatoes and Anthropologie perfume on my first blog to contributing to one of my all-time favorite blogs, Design Mom, Erin Loechner's Clementine Daily women's lifestyle site, and many others. I jumped all in and attended Alt Summit, and met innumerable creative women that are true-life bosom buddies. I slowly grew my readership and dabbled in brand collaborations. I grew my copywriting client base and got to work with some amazing people and brands. So many of these opportunities came through connections I made blogging, sharing on Twitter, and writing. But it all started with a little old blog called A Toast to Kos. Starting something—just starting something—gave me the confidence to do something else. Then try something else. I used it as a portfolio piece to say hey, I can find interesting things and write about them in an interesting way, no matter how silly.
My successes are tiny compared to so many others. But they are mine, my own, and they fit the time and seasons of my life over the last seven years. At times I wish I would have published more, shared me, done more. But when I really think about it, I know that there was a reason why I didn't and that's okay. Blogging hasn't always been the thing that "fills me up." I have major guilt over not finishing personal projects or saying no to opportunities or changing my mind about something I said I was going to do. In the back of my mind, blogging and my 2008 original goals come back to pointlessly antagonize me and tell me I didn't follow through, or I didn't do this or that, when so many others similar to me did. It's worthless mind chatter at best. When I allow myself to think clearly about what has actually happened in my life over the last seven years/what I have made happen in my life over the last seven years, I am endlessly happy and proud. I never feel content or done, but I'm letting myself sit in it. Simmer a little. Maybe look left and right and be like, Damnnnnn Girl. For all the things I thought I'd accomplish by 29 1/2—the corporate career, total independence, absolute confidence, impeccable style, other extremely naive garbage, etc. etc, there are gifts I've been given that far exceed my wildest dreams.
Like, this one.
And this one.
And this extra 'lil one. He's kicking like crazy at the moment.
And this one. I like this one a lot. It's taken me every day since we met to really realize him. He's the best.
And the copywriting clients and projects that have challenged and inspired me and made me a better writer and co-conspirator. My professional life, though small, has been a crucial piece of my happiness puzzle. (So much more I want to write about that.) And the worries and scares and blind decisions I've made—that we've made—that have ultimately brought us to where we are today. It's so easy to slip into tunnel vision and be like, Wah, I suck or Shoot, I really should have done that instead. But that trail is pointless and we all know it and you can read a million self-help books to try to not do it, but it still happens.
My confession is (all above) and that I've kind of not liked blogging for a while. I've fallen out of love with about 90% of blogs, lifestyle blogging, sponsored posts that feel the same as other content, etc. etc. It feels worn out and tired. Like there has to be a better way to share because there is real sincerity and drive behind so many of these URLs. There's also the issue of privacy and children's safety online that is a Whole Other Thing. But what I do love is recording. Journaling. Crafting beautiful words. Well-done podcasts. Sharing something that seems trivial but conjures real inspiration and beauty. Funny stuff. Connecting with people I would have never otherwise met and learning about them. I'm debating a rekindling of this blog, or a totally fresh start, or maybe no blog at all. Or pursuing freelance again wholeheartedly. I'm always a whirlwind of ideas and agony.
But I wanted to say Thank You for reading. Sincerely. Thank you for following along. Whether you're just popping in or have been a long time reader who's given up hope that I'll ever regularly post again, Thank You. I'm so grateful for the clients, readers, collaborators, and friends I've met through blogging. Thank you to my mom and sisters and a few cousins for always reading my blog from the very beginning and making cute comments like, "This is so funny, Koseli! I think it's the best thing you've ever written." or "It feels like I was really there! Can't wait for your next post!" I think the magic of sharing + receiving feedback online still twinkles, and I want to figure out a way to make it shine again, for both of us.
Big fan of wooden toys—they don't have to be pale or white. We love color over here! These CandyLab Toys wooden cars are adorable. They were kind enough to send over the orange GT-10 and the boys loved it. Perfect gift for a three-year-old. The cars ship in 48 hours, are solid birch, and are classic beauties. Shelf 'em, or play with 'em.
Watch out. I'm in the mood to delete. I've got a red pen and I'm slashing wandering sentences and throwing away dusty screws from the back of the cupboard. If it doesn't bring me joy, or it does make me want to kick something, it's gone. I can make decisions and make them fast. You're in, you're out.
A new chapter is upon me, one where I'm a touch feistier, swift as a fox, and pumped with sense. It's easy to decide. My whole body is YES. NO. It's so simple. I like that. I hate that. I want to go, so I will. I don't want to go, so I won't. Your reaction is yours, my life is mine. I can not only let it go, I can let it all go. See? I know. Who am I? I like it.
Lots of changes brewing after months of self-reflection and exhausting/rejuvenating internal brewery. This summer I saw my oldest glow in a whirling Mad Tea Cup with parade music blasting. I taught my youngest to say, "Woah! There's a shark in the water!". I bolted away on overnight escapades with Keen. I declined projects that bored; I wrote in my journal. I bought another pair of Egyptian Cotton sheets. I thought deeply about my religion and what it means to live it, and to let go how the people I love live. We started watching Seinfield and I liked it. Like, A LOT. I thought I hated it, but I love it. George is the worst human in the world and Kramer's jitters make me so happy and I will always miss and love New York City.
Bowl of Three Twins and episode 100 (or whatever) is waiting. I want to stop, so I stop.
Sat down and wrote this in one spell while the baby was sleeping. Felt so good to write. Thanks for sticking around even when I write more posts in my head then I publish. xo
Last week, I made a salad that would make angels sing. No, really. And it didn't even have bacon in it. Local market arugala, organic spring mix, really good olive oil, salt, pepper, and half a lemon's juice tossed together. If I'm feeling crazy, I slice heirloom tomatoes on the side, and throw in chunks of nectarine. AMAZING. Oh my gosh. It is magic. When I eat this salad, I feel like a freaking queen. This fact could either be incredibly depressing, or you could be a person like me who's not very good about sitting down and eating your vegetables. Or food you love. In a quiet place. On your own plate, with nice utensils, an icy drink, with greedy chubby fingers no where to be seen. You could be a mother.
In the background of my mind I'm always chanting simplify, simplify, simplify but my legs and mouth are running. I'm torn between boundless energy and depleted self, trying to direct money and time and me towards the best possible people, places, things, preschool activities, playdates, family, brands, food, freelance, etc., etc. It's a lot. Raising kids is just a lot. But it's not just raising kids; it's doing everything else you have to do on top of raising kids. And I have it so easy so I'm embarrassed to say it's challenging. If there's one thing I'm learning, and I'm only a few years in, it's that it's worth every ounce of fight, assertive push, "no", and amount of money to (re)assert your Self as a mother. You owe it to yourself. You're a person, you're awesome, you're somebody amazing regardless of your baby(ies). You love stuff, you deserve to love the stuff you love, you thrive when you follow your heart and do the stuff you love, and nobody can tell you you're bad, thoughtless, negligent, or wrong for doing just that. It's your life, your motherhood. Yours.
I have a thing with salads—I love them, but I've never been able to make a good one. I'll make it but it's got a million things in it and I get a few bites in and I'm like, Ugh, I kind of just want a quesadilla. It's a texture thing. It's a tired thing. (Pretty tired to be too tired to chew celery?) But then I found my new signature salad, this arugala and mixed greens with a light lemon vinaigrette and I feel so good. I feel like I found the salad I'll be serving at dinner parties for the rest of my life. I'll never have to think about what kind of salad to make, because I'll know: the arugala and mixed greens with lemon vinaigrette. It's exactly what I like, I stand 200% behind my salad, and I feel really good about feeling disproportionately passionate about a stupid salad. I love my decision that much.
More and more I'm realizing it's so much more about weeding out the stuff you never wanted in your salad in the first place. If you feel you've retreated, side-stepped, or even disappeared behind more colorful happenings or bigger personalities or trying toddlers or a body you don't know or friends you once had or ideas that stretch, now is the time. It's your time. Step up now. Laugh to yourself when you sit down to the most beautiful, colorful, delicate salad when you feel full and good and You. You did it. You're doing it. You do you, mama.
Lemon Arugala Salad
Fistful Organic arugala
Fistful Organic spring mix
1/2 Organic lemon, squeezed
Drizzle Olive oil
Toss and enjoy.
We've started a new tradition of evening walks on the weekend. We'll walk along a local path, picking flowers, talking, yelling at Si to slow down on his scooter. :) We've always been a "let's go for a walk" couple, especially while living in New York City since that was the best thing ever. Now that we live in the Bay Area where it's warm enough for walks all year, it's really fun to grab our kids, put them in our double stroller, and walk. I love looking at the amazing houses, the creative yard art, and the incredible gardens. It's really all a ruse to get our kids some fresh air + make them tired = so we can have a conversation. But it's family time too. :)
Do you go on family walks too? Does your neighborhood have great walking paths? I'm all about walkability these days.
We've had several visitors over the last few weeks and it has been so wonderful. Seeing our kids with their grandparents, their uncles and aunts and cousins. Oh man. It wasn't the whole family but just having a couple sibs around makes me really happy. (I have six.)
We recently went to Muir Woods and Muir Beach with visiting family. It was gorgeous. It had rained the night before and it was early enough that there were very few people. We also snagged a front row parking spot so my grumpy driving heart was very happy. We did 3/4 of the loop, soaking in the quiet and the smell of pine and wet earth. Mountains and forest are my jam. I'm considering trekking there with the boys alone to wander and hike.
I like you, family. (Year of My People is turning out to be pretty awesome.)
I loved Cinderella. I had medium expectations and walked away totally charmed. There are some beautiful shots, and her dresses! Her dresses. I also loved that she and the prince talked. Like, there was some depth there. There were a few cheesy Disney moments but mostly very, very sweet.
There's going to be a total solar eclipse today (Friday!). You can look for it or watch it online 4:30 EDT. I often wish I knew more about space, the stars, the sky, etc. It fascinates me to no end.
I miss New York. I miss Doughnut Plant. Keenan is working late tonight. Oh man, what would I give to have a Black-Out chocolate cake donut right now.... (FYI Dough is for yeast donuts and Doughnut Plant is for cake donuts.)
The produce here really is amazing. Mark Bittman's description of the party, where they're all standing around popping grilled pearl onions like oysters, and basking in the setting sun, is precisely what we do every Saturday night. :)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is pretty funny. The whole idea of "mole women" is amazing. So many weird New York City quirks (the landlady upstairs, Titus as an unlicensed Iron Man in Times Square, the over-the-top Upper East Side family). It feels very 30 Rock to me. I've always liked Erin, too. (Can never not call her 'Erin' after The Office.)
I want this little Bee's room for myself. So, so cute.
It would be pretty crazy to find out the ultrasound was wrong.
BuzzFeed gets 11.3 billion views on Facebook. !!! This article on content over link pushing was really interesting.
I've been thinking about Brooklyn.
One evening, about 30 women gathered in the upstairs of the church building. It was an activity I'd helped plan. We were sitting on the floor on dozens of blankets, a spread of delicious food on a low table to the side (good food and church always go together, don't they, or at least they should), and strings of twinkle lights surrounding us. It was dark out but it felt incredibly warm, being together; missing the pieces of our puzzle that couldn't make the Saturday activity, but feeling a little more whole and a little less heavy just being together. There was something that ran much thicker in my Brooklyn Relief Society than I'd ever experienced in a prior congregation. There was a spoken and unspoken need for each other. Different women filled different holes. When one person left, that hole reverberated through the group. We weren't perfect but we all cared and were trying. We loved each other. "Charity never faileth" in its imperfect form.
We got it when somebody said their husband had been working a lot. Oh, we got that. Or when somebody lost their job, or found out they had to move because their apartment building had been bought by a new company and was tripling its rent. Or when somebody had mice, or lice, or the worst: bed bugs. (The worst!) Or when someone's family came to stay too long (and slept on their bed, or couch, because where else?), or lost their wallet on their subway, or had a mortifying experience on the subway, or with a stranger passing by. Or having a baby, or not having a baby. (Again.) Or finding a new favorite restaurant that has room for strollers to park, a beautiful grocery store with pretty good produce, comfortable sandals, a gem on Craigslist apartment listings, or a dream job and a nanny they trusted. There were all these little things tying us together. We loved and hated the city together and there was nothing more funpainful we'd ever wanted.
For the activity, we were sharing our favorite things. Each person brought one physical object and explained why they loved this thing, what it meant to them, etc. It was surprisingly sentimental and thoughtful. I mean, I knew people would be thoughtful but wow. Every person had brought something so funny, or beautiful, or amazing and it just kept getting better and better. Then a friend stood up and shared this:
She shared that in a moment of total craziness while trying to put her three kids to bed in one room (New York!), she had a moment of clarity. She grabbed her phone and started recording audio. She let it record through the kids' back and forth, through nursing her youngest, then through story time, then prayers, then the kids falling asleep together with her arms around them. She let it record the quiet, thinking of each of our children and the period of life they were in. Just relishing the moment and letting herself be.
Of course I cried. This was during the Wander/Days days—my husband co-founded a start-up and the pressure and time demands for those years were beyond anything we'd experienced prior, even with lots of late nights and weekend freelance work under our belts. I was pregnant with our second child and overwhelmed by what ifs and loneliness from anxiety and motherhood. In so many ways, I had thought I was built to be a mother. My disposition, the things I like, the things I hoped to do with my life, the way I was raised. It all made sense in my head that becoming a mother and raising my children day in and day out would be the fulfillment of my childhood dreams. I'd apply my education and work experience and just be on cloud nine all the time raising chubby blonde babies. (A dose of naive with your naive, anyone?) Anyway, that was not what was happening so I felt the weight of her words in a very real way. I wanted to let myself be. Enjoy my baby. Love my baby. Love myself. Do what was best for myself, but what was also best for my family. I felt pulled, bored, and sad with intervals of being totally fine. (As a person does.) But at that moment I just wanted to go home, curl up next to that warm sweet-smelling body of the little boy that really made me the happiest person in the world and relish the moment in peaceful bliss. Understand the miracle I got to create with the other person I love more than anything else in the world. Remember the trying times during pregnancy, how I waited every day to have another miscarriage or loss just like before, how scary placenta previa was and the three weeks of full bed rest, how that "bleed" and hospital stay threw everything into perspective: I'm having a baby and all I care about is getting that baby safely here. No matter what. Nothing else matters. I knew I could focus and love—I just needed let myself do it. The rest could work itself out. Love first, everything else after. Us. Us first. Then everything and everybody else after. It's love first and then everything else.
So. Ever since my friend talked about her voice memos on her phone, I've been recording my life in audio. Just here and there in the most random places and times. When I give the boys a bath, or when we're driving in the car at sunset. I'm always really specific when I label them because I've realized I'm a word person, so I've got to have the voices and the context. Reading Busytown + Toots and Afternoon Bath Time on a Rough Day are some of my top picks. (Those are the real titles.) But my favorite are the times I've recorded car naps. Yeah, like I've intentionally recorded my kids sleeping in the car when we're parked somewhere. There's just snoring, and the occasional sound of cars going by but it's incredibly relaxing to me. And it makes me laugh because they snore SO loud. Lil' pig babies that played so hard and are happy and healthy, sleeping in their car seats. I made those! I did it. I'm doing it! We're alive. The recordings ring nostalgic for just the two months that have gone by, which is just what I need when it's hard to grasp the passage of time: you stop and think and it's been like three years and you have two kids. It's freaky. Voice memos has been a little way for me to snag moments and freeze them.
So now I can flip through pictures AND audio after they're asleep at night. Year of My People in full force.
This Dad filmed his baby girl every week for fourteen years.
Predict how common your name will be in the future. <-- This stuff will never work for me. Souvenir key chains, first day of school, marriage certificate misspelling.
Manrepeller's post on the symbolism of each type of "ponytail" is spot on. Half up-half down girls are wild cards. Wow. (This is my favorite fashion blog of all time, forever and ever, since 2012.)
And, The Year Without Makeup.
Did you read my post about the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? It was really fun to share pictures of our (clean) house and find out that SO many other people have read it too and are feeling the decluttering bug.
Where to see wildflowers in California this Spring. I was just thinking about this and had no idea where to look to find out so thank you, Ashley!
Cute crib sheets. Even unisex and boy sheets!
I loved this post shared on the Bored Moms Facebook about being tightly wound in relation to being a parent. Yep. There's a reason this went viral. (And the author is one of my new favorite internet mom writers because she mentions night cheese in her bio.)
Hey, thank you for the congrats on the new contributor position for Red Tricycle! (Loving the deadlines and excuses to adventure already.) Do you follow Red Tricycle for your city yet? (I like their newsletters the best.)
Just like two million other people around the world, I've recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. (On my Kindle. Oh, how I love my Kindle Paperwhite. Future post coming on my conversion to e-readers.) And just like so many other people, I read it and wanted to throw everything away. Not really, but kind of. I'd sneak a chapter during a car nap, or ten chapters before bed, and find myself getting twitchy from wanting to jump in, pull everything out from under my bed, unearth hideous packed-away clothes from under the stairs, throw out half my kids' toys, finally get rid of that print hung downstairs that we all hate but never take down. It's strange to think we know we don't like something, and every time we see it, it bothers us, or doesn't work for us, and yet we still use it. Whether it seems unnecessary (a doodad on the mantel) or necessary (specific architecture in the apartment you're renting that you can't change).
Marie (KonMari) Kondo is an organization guru. She's Japanese and lovely and cute. Seriously. I want to be her. I mean LOOk!) Marie's argument for "tidying" in her prescribed manner is like a "whole" cleaning process. Instead of a certain brand of organizer in your bathroom, or a placing things according to flow in your house, or focusing on only owning three things, she's all about methodically, mindfully holding each thing you own in your hands and asking yourself whether it sparks joy. She believes that the easiest way to keep your house tidy, is to only keep the things you love. (You also group things according to categories.)
It's minimalist living that allows the things you love. You start the sorting process with your clothes, bags, shoes, and accessories and end with mementos and miscellany. Not only is it a time investment (I've invested 20 hours in 3 days), it's an emotional and mental practice in centering yourself and confidently saying what you want. "Yes" I love this green t-shirt from high school track, or "No", I always hated this stupid book but I felt like I could never get rid of it because stupid abc gave it to me. Totally unemotional stuff like that. It feels really good if you get off on being all bossy and confident to inanimate objects by your lonesome.
But honestly, the process has been fun(!), exhilarating, freeing, fun(!!), budget-friendly as I've sold stuff, and stressless. The more I give away, sell, or throw away what I know I don't use or need, the more I want to give away exactly what I don't love and cherish. All around. Throwing away, giving away, and gifting your belongings is fulfilling. When I see someone pull up and grab that lamp I put on the sidewalk with a FREE! sign, I feel so good. Use that lamp! Love that lamp! I'm free of that lamp forever! Now you don't have to go to Ikea with your kids and feel like you need three days to recover! Yay!
As an overly sentimental, oft frugal, admittedly picky, and quite vain person, it's hard to get rid of things but it gets easier. I also admit I've tried to get rid of a few things that were not mine (ahem) and realized that's not how this goes. No one can force you. If you read the book, you're already interested in decluttering and simplifying your life. You can't force anyone else to do that. However, you can totally force your kids to do it, especially if they're 3 and 1 and have no idea. They have so much less now! Clean drawers, clean closet, 1/4 the toys. It feels so good and their room is infinitely easier to clean.
A few thoughts:
1) If you have kids, there's deep organizing you can do with them around and some you just can't. Think about what you'll need to be focused on, and the stuff you can do where you can hear screaming, crying, I'm thirsty, etc. and be cool. I was cool with noise when I organized half the bathroom, all the linen closets, and the kitchen cupboards. Not cool with any part of my room or the lower kitchen cupboards. (Too many chemicals and hazards.) I had a babysitter take the boys to the playground for a long stretch, or I worked in the early morning, evening, or during Sondre's nap while Si is at preschool. I was 100% motivated. I'd also add that she says you should do the clean as intensely as possible, consecutively. I couldn't do that because of the boys but I made it work for me. I honestly wish she would have written more about what to do about the kid's situation. Kids are the opposite of tidy, but we don't want to get of them. What do we do?
2) Get ready for the day. Get up, get dressed, then start cleaning. I love in the book that Kona says that when she goes to a client's house, when she first enters, she bows to the house. She feels what it's energy is like and respects the house. She also dresses up as a way to respect the process. I got so much more done when I showered, put on make-up, popped in the ol' contacts, got dressed in my favorite clothes, and ate a really good breakfast. It was an event and the whole family knew it was serious business. Respect THE CLEAN, y'all.
3) I'm only 75% done with my purge. I still have to sort through my books, jewelry, office desk drawers, all our food and pantry, and go through two boxes that house everything from my childhood that I brought back with me at Christmas. I already threw away five trash bags in Utah, but I think I'll be throwing a little more away. As a treat for myself in the process, and because unearthing so much stuff made such a huge mess, I hired cleaners to deep clean our house. It feels amazing. It's helped me realize how much I have accomplished so far and how wonderful the process has really been, without completely exhausting myself. It was worth every penny. (You could use the money you make from selling unused items to pay for the cleaning?!)
4) Apparently Ms. Kondo has a Japanese reality show surrounding her method?! My mind is blown.
5) I'm scared to fold everything like she suggests. Up and down, not flat like we all do. Anybody do it and have success? Even socks and underwear?!
6) There's Reddit with Marie if you want to know more.
7) How did we make it through a one bedroom apartment with four people and STILL have stuff to throw out? I do not understand. But here we are.
Anybody else read the book? Want to geek out about it with me? I'd love to hear your experiences. Comment below or tweet at me. I think I want to be a professional organizer now and just throw junk out.
P.S. Two Bachelorettes?!?!?! Yes, I watch it. The shame has simmered and past.
I'm excited to share that I'm now a contributing writer for Red Tricycle San Francisco! Yeah! I'll be sharing articles here and there featuring the best things to do in the Bay Area. Red Tricycle is like a digital city guide for parents: where ever you live or visit or vacation, you can pull up the best tips and ideas of what to do with your family. I used Red Tricycle New York all the time when we lived in Brooklyn. The events and destinations they shared seemed much more up my alley and the design of the site makes it super easy to find what you're looking for, or just browse for something on a specific date. I'm really excited to be working (figuratively) alongside their small, amazing team based in SF. They're a start-up and I love their company culture.
Hope everybody had a good week! A few things I found over the past week and loved.
I loved this post about what to say to friends struggling with infertility. (And the comments!)
Rudi the Rainbow is trying to find his colors and along the way learns all about weather and space. This app sounds so cute! Support their Kickstarter here and get rainbow socks or posters for contributing.
I love Allison's vlogs, especially this one. Ray of sunshine.
I'm on a serious hunt for new shoes for the boys and am falling wayyy short. Does anyone have any favorite brands? I like leather or canvas shoes they can pull on themselves. There's gotta be a brand out there I'm missing...
Just read All the Light We Cannot See and LOVED it. Uplifting, thoughtful, beautiful language. The story looped and looped and looped again. Really cannot say how much I loved it. I couldn't put it down. What have you read lately that you loved? (Eleanor & Park, Finding Alaska, and The Inner Game of Tennis too!)
JNCO jeans are back. Oh dear.
Does anyone else love the Goldbergs as much as we do? So funny.
Selfishness, for now. (Erin is so lovely!)
"Do you need help pinning your consciousness to the wall?" You know I love this conversation between Maria Popova and Maira Kalman.
And the Bored Moms community makes me happy.
So excited The Black Apple has a new picture book coming out!
As we drove home from a foggy beach day and roadside tacos with friends, I stared at the other-worldly view outside my window and couldn't help but feel it suited my mind and daily processes lately. Foggy, with distant bursts of hope and dotted fluorescent love. The world is good. And so many people are good. But sometimes life is just hard. We all need someone to take us by the shoulders and say, You're doing a good job. You're doing a great job. Take a breath. Everything's going to be okay. in the sincerest, most compassionate way. Here's me doing that to you now <pause> and me trying to remember to tell myself this every day.
Love to everyone, especially those struggling. xo
There isn't a moment that goes by that I don't wonder what I should be doing. Should I be working full-time? Should I share that post? Maybe the dishes instead of laundry? Can I write? Is another show too much? When's the last time we ate, Does anyone know what time it is?, Is it more than a cold? One commitment, or another. There are so many, but sometimes it feels like there's not enough. A dear friend once told me her mom would always say, You'll fill whatever time you have. Isn't that the truth? But when you attempt to trace the points of, I did this, or Oh, I finished that, it's hard to recall. Or is it hard to recall for just me? (I'm so tired.)
Something I didn't realize before I had kids is that you can't just teach your kids how to sleep. I mean, you can, in like a hundred different ways and those can really, really help but babies are still people (I forget that.) and sometimes they can't be put down like sleeping robots only to wake up after the sun is up twelve hours later. There's nightmares, wet diapers, thirst, strange noises. It all adds up to a wail from the other room, or pitter patter feet to the bathroom. (Or our room.)
I don't want to look back on now and think, I wish I had been there more. I'm here all the time but I don't want to have regrets. I think the only way to fulfill that wish it remind myself every day. You're here now. They're this little now. It doesn't have to be perfect, the hard stuff is temporary, it's already gotten easier. Look at his baby hands. Look at his brother's slappy feet and easy smile. Look at that backwards shirt, those rosy cheeks, smell them they smell like outside. It's going to go by so fast. I know it. Hold on.
Yesterday our oldest slipped out the back door and when he looked back to see if I saw him, I laughed. He smirked at me and said, "Mom, what's wrong with your eyes? I can't see your eyes when you waf." Later that day, when we put the baby down for bed, he jubilantly yelled, "Nite nite Sondre Star Sondre! Wuv you!" and Sondre solemnly waved, waved, waved back at his brother, sleepy and just as serious about their nighttime traditions as his brother. Si trotted his brother's warm bottle up the stairs because "it's too heavy for you, mama. Too heavy when you have to carry Sondre too." and pushed it over the top of the crib bars, into the bed, just where Sondre would find it.
There are few things that feel clear when my head is tired, but I feel so full. I feel so lucky. It turns out Year of My People is a team effort.
Last weekend, six of my girlfriends and I got together and stayed in a hotel overnight in a nearby suburb. We grabbed In n' Out on the way out of town, then met at the hotel. We celebrated our friend's birthday, hung out in the hot tub, and stayed up late talking and eating junk food. It was hilarious and giggly and so relaxing. It was the best night's sleep I've had for months and months (Black-out curtains! No kids!) and the first time I hadn't woke up to crying or screaming since our trip to New York City in September. It was the best idea ever. How have I not done this before?! Have you done a trip with friends? I'm thinking this should be a quarterly thing....
P.S. A couple of my friends have nursing babies that don't take bottles so they stayed late but left when they got a text that the baby was awake. We stayed in a hotel close enough that this was possible, but far enough away from Berkeley that it felt like a getaway. (And it was cheaper to get out into the suburbs.)