Back on the wagon

There once was a girl who worked kind of hard to be healthier and lose some weight. Then she stopped doing the things that were making her feel better and gained it all back, plus some more for good measure. (See what I did there…)

Okay, it’s me. The obvious question that comes up: “what did you do to lose the weight? Why don’t you do that again?”

People can be so aggressive.

I guess I was kind of hoping someone would discover another trick besides all this dumb talk of diet and exercise. But until then … I’m back on the green smoothie bandwagon.

(Warning: if this isn’t your normal way of eating, it’s gross at first. Your taste buds will adjust. Promise).

 

Glowing-Green-Smoothie

 

 

The Glowing Green Smoothie® Recipe

Author: Kimberly Snyder

Serves: 64 oz

Ingredients

  • 1-2 cups very cold, filtered water
  • ¾ pound organic romaine lettuce, rough chopped, about 1 head
  • ½ head large bunch or small bunch organic spinach
  • 3-4 organic celery stalks, halved
  • 1 organic apple, cored, seeded, quartered
  • 1 organic pear, cored, seeded, quartered
  • 1 organic banana, peeled
  • ½ fresh organic lemon, peeled, seeded
  • bunch organic cilantro with stems (optional)
  • bunch organic parsley with stems (optional)

 

Instructions

  1. Place water, romaine, spinach, celery, and optional ingredients, if using, into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Starting the blender on a low speed, blend until smooth.
  3. Gradually moving to higher speeds Add apple, pear, banana and lemon to the blender and blend until smooth.

IMG_5957

Cheers!


The nothing niche

Remember when you used to write about nothing?

Um?

No, like in a good way.

I’m not sure what to …

Reading your blog was like watching Seinfeld.

You know, I used to take things the worst possible way, but with some therapy under my belt I can see perhaps this is a compliment?

Yes!

Oh, well – thank you.

So can you start doing that again?

Yes!

Yes I can. In the time I spent trying to “nail my niche,” I lost sight of the fact that I already had one.

Even though my posts documenting the sleep habits (or lack of them?) of a new mama or about interviewing and writing on deadline while nursing (multitasking at its finest) and about milkshakes and marriage never went viral, I was cultivating my own steadily growing community of readers.

And you sent me notes about what you want to hear more about and I LOVE THAT. Please keep sending them. I am listening. I am taking notes. And I have some big plans for this fall. Like, when I actually get to work normal hours because my littles are at this amazing place called school!

Without you readers I wouldn’t have this little place in the cloud to connect with you and share my writing. I am at a loss for words to express how much that means to me.

So yes, I will write about all the things. I will stop trying to be just this, or exactly that – and just be me, out loud.

I made my first fun purchase with Nathalie’s Notes money from book sales because I’m just sure it’ll help me plan my content, track deadlines and stay organized on all the things simply by sheer adorableness!

EC Planner

 

Coming up: On Snacktivism | Advil and Ammo (it’s not what you think) | Back to School tips | Currently

 

If you want to geek out on Erin Condren cuteness with me, check out this link: (it’s totally an affiliate link, I recommend products I love and if you love them too, I get some credit. Yea, us!) If you’re going to order something, send me your email so I can send you a $10 off coupon.

Getting new subscribers is like a virtual high-five plus:


And away we go. They go?

First day 2015

 

The weirdest thing happened this morning.

I went to the store. All by myself. And when I had to use the bathroom I didn’t have to worry about anyone licking anything because my sweet angels were in a magical place called school! And the total trip took, like, twenty minutes. Total. For real. 

As we gathered in the library (best invention ever!) my heart was so full with gratitude that we are in a community with these parents and teachers and brave little ones.

I say brave because remember?

First days of … anything. All those unknowns. The who will sit by me at lunch? Where will that even be? And when? What if I spill my tray? (I don’t know maybe you didn’t have so many questions?) Then the what will the teacher be like? Will my teacher like me? Will I like my teacher? (I didn’t actually wonder that, my kids are more confident than I was to have that one on their mind).

What if it’s too hard? What if I have to use the bathroom? What if no one wants to play with me at recess?

And still … with all these questions … these kindergartners, first graders and second graders stepped forward when their names were called, some nudged by parents, siblings and friends, and they moved into the adventure of a new year that awaits.

As these little ones formed a line (or approximated a line, which turned into more of a swarm) they stood side-by-side with peers who will teach them just as much as their teachers, maybe.

I was so full of joy, love and gratitude at how welcoming the teachers and principal were, how encouraging and fun it was to see my parent friends and to witness these acts of bravery, I didn’t have the little cry I expected to have about my baby being off to school.

I told myself that’s because it’s a JumpStart program, not “real” school. But, so it begins.

And I think we’re ready.

So far the answer to what I’m going to do all day is think about my kids. Write a bit. Go to the grocery store delightfully by myself, clean the fridge without stopping twelve times.

And, now that I think of it, have myself a little cry.

 

 

I wrote more about this transition in my last column: Savoring the Seasons as they Come … what do you bet I write about it again? Like, say, tomorrow.

Nathalie Hardy recently published her first book, “Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons” available at local bookstores and online. Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting. To contact her, visit www.nathaliesnotes.com. Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting.


Mining for memories

B0052162*

As usual this time of month, I went looking for a little deadline distraction. But I call it research, so it’s allowed.

I’m writing about savoring the season we’re in, because the leaves are always turning. I took a little trip down memory lane peeking at old blog posts and realizing I can’t even put into words how rapidly we move through seasons and stages to the next and how easy it is to forget the little details that once defined a particular time.

Like, say, when I see things like sippy cups, bibs, and diapers hanging to dry in the background of pictures from not long ago – but it seems like a lifetime ago now that the boys can reach their own glass in the cupboard and put them in the dishwasher. I’m saying they can, not that they do. We’re learning. I still do things for them they can do for themselves because I am constantly surprised that they’re as old and capable as they are. They are seven and five now. Seven and five. And I know in a few more seasons they will be 17 and 15. I’m so thankful I took so many notes and am reminded that I’ve fallen out of the rhythm of noting and sharing these slice-of-life stories that seem so ordinary in the moment, but are exactly what I cherish now.

I just peeked at July archives since Sam was a baby. What a view. I forgot all about that one time we were vegetarians. For a month.

New readers be warned … I used to swear a lot more on here. And I was a little less politically neutral. And some other things. So read at your own risk. 

July, 2008: http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2008/07/my-mullet.html

July 2009 http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2009/07/dusting-pandoras-box.html

July, 2010

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2010/07/index.html

July, 2011

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2011/07/eating-in-the-image-of-the-beast.html

July, 2012

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2012/07/reporter-mama-observations.html

July, 2013

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2013/07/the-orange-rhino.html

July, 2014

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2014/07/beyond-the-bon-bons.html

July, 2015

http://nathaliesnotes.typepad.com/nathalies_notes/2015/07/pro-tip-dont-freak-out.html

* This picture was taken in shortly after Sam was born. It was not long after it was taken that Lucy was terribly injured at that very park. A few years later, we would move away from Carlton, a town I loved so much I never wanted to leave. To a town that would become home again after a few years of feeling very alone and lost. And then Jake came into our lives. And we lost Lucy Baby. This one picture brings all of that, and some other stuff I can’t quite put out there yet, back. The memories stay, and still the seasons change.


The unbearable lightness of decluttering

www.nathaliesnotes.com

The unbearable lightness of decluttering

Jun 19, 2015

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register

Behind the Picket Fence

 

Whenever I embark on a decluttering odyssey on the home front, people are all like: “You’ll feel great! Free! Lighter! Relieved!” 

Lies. All lies. 

What I actually feel is overwhelmed, sad, stressed, guilty. And wishing I had my bed back, but more on that in a minute.

On the other hand, I’m determined to push on this time, for once. I’m not alone in that, either.

A glance at any magazine display proves many are searching for The Answer to getting things organized once and for all. Also, apparently, for tips on how to lose 10 pounds fast, right after you bake the delicious cake featured beside the model who doesn’t look as if she’s had a bite of cake since toddlerhood. But I digress.

If such projects were simple, everyone would promptly set out to accomplish them. In that event, there would be no billion-dollar industry based on our collective desire to neatly contain our chaos. 

I’m still toward the starting line of my mission: Organizing Everything 2.0. But I’ve picked up some things that might be helpful to those considering such a task. Adopting these concepts makes me feel both inspired and confident that this is the year.

I’ve said it so many times, I’m not even mentioning it to my family members anymore.

So far, the only thing they’ve noticed is that when they don’t put their own stuff away, it seems to disappear. Soon, I trust they’ll connect the dots. They’ll realize that when I say, “Feel free to pick up the stuff you want to keep,” I mean it.

As for your own stuff, if you’re going to the trouble of sorting through a collection of decades and hauling much of it away, it’s worth asking yourself: What’s the point? What’s the goal? To feel great? Lighter? Free? Relieved?

Once you’ve done that, and you’ve found a worthy answer, step two is to commit to making decisions quickly.

My friend is a professional organizer. One of the many things she taught me is to realize the biggest hurdle is simply an inability, or unwillingness, to make decisions. 

As a result, I’ve been living buried in an avalanche of good intentions, unrealistic expectations and unfulfilled wishes. 

My closet is literally stuffed with clothing. And yet, frequently, I lament I have nothing to wear.

By that, I mean nothing fits. Or a button is missing. Or some other action needs to be taken, but hasn’t been taken in approximately five years. 

The first decision I made is to make my spaces reflect my current, actual reality. So, in this life, at this moment, my reality is that I have two small kids and I got a C in home economics.

That means, it’s time to free myself from the pile of things needing mending, because that’s not happening.

Goodbye, good intentions. Hello, space. And freedom!

Then, there’s the fact that I seem to have a lot of three-dimensional memorabilia. For example, I’m hanging onto some clothes because I want to be the person I was when I wore them last.

The truth is, that girl is gone. Today’s me doesn’t dress like that.

So, goodbye, overalls. I don’t care how much fun I had wearing you. I don’t even care if you’re coming back into fashion. For me, you either belong on the farm or in the early ’90s.

Asking myself “What is my attachment to this?” has been helpful in this process.

One of my first tasks was weeding the boys’ closets. They tend to wear whatever’s on top in the drawer. So why are those drawers overflowing with stuff, much of which is several sizes too small?

There are two reasons, really: First, managing children’s clothing is the bane of my existence. Second, quite honestly, I don’t want to confront the reality that they have long since outgrown their footie pajamas.

It helps to keep in mind that sometimes things look way, way worse than actually turns out to be the case.

I thought I would motivate myself by piling everything on my bed, reasoning that I would have to move it before going to sleep. But I got distracted with a lot of other things, like work and meals, and discovered the couch is a cozy size for me.

Still, a mess in motion — one headed toward resolution, at least in my mind — is much more tolerable than a mess at hopeless rest.

As I tackle this challenge, I have designated an “action area,” with boxes for the obvious: recycling, rummage sale, return and the refuse heap. You can call it the garbage pile, but I’m attracted to alliteration.

I also have boxes for things requiring an action, like being fixed. But as that pile grows, it becomes ever clearer I’m not going to take any action on it in this lifetime. That makes it easier to put a picture frame I bought but never used into one of the other piles. 

Pro tip: If you have kids at home, keep this area off limits to them. I have to smuggle broken toys out of the boys’ rooms, as if I were trying to get black-tar heroin across the border. Nothing sparks a child’s interest in a long-forgotten toy like seeing it in the “donate” pile. 

OK, so maybe people who’ve successfully completed a decluttering mission aren’t lying about how awesome they feel afterward. It’s just that it takes going through some harder stuff to get there. 

The more I learn to let stuff go — including regrets about wasting money or failing to ever follow through on good intentions, in addition to actual belongings — the more I begin feeling lighter. Relieved even.

To see the original article go here: http://files.newsregister.com/special-sections/roots2roofs/rootstoroofssummer2015/#?page=2

Summer Roots to RoofsRoots clip June

 

Nathalie Hardy recently published her first book, “Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons,” which is available at local bookstores and online. To contact her, visit www.nathaliesnotes.com.

Nathalie Hardy recently published her first book, “Raising the Hardy Boys: They Said There Would Be Bon-Bons” available at local bookstores and online. Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting. To contact her, visit www.nathaliesnotes.com. Hardy writes in the margins of her life with two little boys and a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting.


In a moment

nat hospital

(Let me preface this whole thing with this: I’m fine. My heart is good. And I have a medical bill to prove it. But it was probably worth it.)

So one minute I’m standing at the counter, chopping vegetables for stir fry and enjoying(ish) the sound of Jake making a joyful noise with his new recorder flute and literally feeling Sam’s contentment with sorting and re-sorting his Pokémon cards. I’m slicing sweet peppers and thinking about two specific situations I have walked through recently with God’s grace and peace. Where there was chaos and confusion there is now calm and clarity. Which is not to say easy and painless, but worthy of praise for sure.

My point is I was feeling good. Like, really, really good. I was reflecting on some positive shifts happening in a relationship I don’t write about much here but it’s kind of a big deal. In my professional life, ideas for my new business, Rough Draft*, are coming to me, my novel is moving along, I’ve got a couple book signings coming up before Mother’s day and I’m getting some courage to spread the word about my book (which I hear is the best way to sell it!)

What I’m telling you is my heart was full of joy. Joy like I haven’t felt in quite some time.

So there I am with my joy and contentment** and suddenly comes this stabbing pain in my chest. And then it feels like a hand squeezing my heart like you’d ring out a towel and I’m kind of dizzy and spinny feeling.

There’s radiating pain and then pressure. Like someone is sitting on my chest. And it’s kind of hard to breath. And I’m thinking is this what a heart attack feels like? That’s ridiculous, I’m too young. Right? I’m too young? Am I not too young for things like that anymore? What. The. Hell. is this pain? 

And then a headache settles in and I’m still not breathing very well and I’m thinking this is bullshit I have to sub in the morning. I have two deadlines tonight. This needs to stop.

Instead I start feeling barfy and clammy. And I put down the knife and start Googling signs of a heart attack. Check, check and check. So I call my dad, a former cardiologist who is known for treating our ailments with a swift “You’ll be fine!” Instead he said call 9-1-1 so you don’t have to wait in the waiting room.

“Look, you’re probably not having a heart attack but just in case you better go.” Then the pain came down my left arm and my fingers were tingly and numbing.

“We’re going,” said Matt.

“I’m scared it’s going to be a waste of money,” I said. But I’m crying because, you know, I’m freaked out.

“Funerals are expensive too,” he said. It was oddly comforting.

So Matt called some friends to let the boys come over for a school-night slumber party and we went to the ER. Where they quickly had me in a wheelchair, and then there were hands all over me putting stickers in all the places and then there were words like “EKG” and “Nitroglycerin” and “hold really still.” 

And then there was morphine and a moment where I thought hmmm if they keep me here all night with this stuff maybe I can actually get a night of real sleep. But then the blood pressure cuff checker thing started squeezing that idea out of me and I just wanted to go home and pretend this never happened.

This story ends with the ER doctor ruling out anything “that’s going to kill you tonight” and giving me instructions to see my primary care doctor next week to start sorting through what happened.

We ruled out heartburn and a panic attack and have some ideas about what it might’ve been – some that may or may not make sense on paper.**

You know where I’m going with this, right? How things can change in a moment.  One Moment. And that can be a terrifying thought, or an inspiring one.

I choose inspiring. I choose to continue walking in the truth that I am here on purpose. I choose to keep bringing my messy, praisey self and my good heart to the table.

I also choose to start taking better care of that heart because as I lay there in the hospital it was clear there were a few things I could do differently. Something about diet and exercise. So yeah, more of that.

 

KIMG0621

 

*I know I haven’t written about it yet. Obviously I’m better at marketing other people’s awesomeness. But I can’t wait to tell you about this one. It was the biggest YES moment when it all came together in my mind. Stay tuned. I’ll catch up with myself one of these days!

**For you Jesus-y types … at bible study that morning we were talking about The Enemy. I’ve spent a lot of time avoiding that because … uh, weird. And creepy. And because I’ve experienced some weird, creepy, supernatural things I’d just as soon pretend didn’t happen. I find it interesting that this happened, the way it happened during the time that I was feeling particularly praisey. Just sayin’. Just in case, even though I’m still working through what I think about the whole devil thing, my position  is this: Satan can suck it.

*** It was pointed out that I cussed in the same post as I’m talking about God stuff – yeah, I did. Because I’m still me. #workinprogress

 


Currently

 

recite-1wa3ml0

At this moment I am …

drinking  a chai tea with honey and almond milk. And water. A lot of water.

appreciating having two kids in school for a few hours. And amazed at the debris and aftermath of getting them there fed, dressed and on time.

watching the clock and obsessively refreshing my email. This is the most stress I’ve been under in … awhile.

laughing about it when I’m not crying or barfing from the stress.

eating today. Completed my first fast without complaining. Or dying. So that’s a plus.

willing to have faith. But have to keep reminding myself that’s the plan.

waiting to see if other people do what they are supposed to do. See plan above.  

prepping for maybe doing a 5K. The kind where you can walk or run. And still just maybe.  

opening to new possibilities.

sleeping poorly and not ever enough. I hear people talk about feeling rested. I have no idea what that feels like.  This may or may not be reflected in my current coping skills.

remembering less than I’d like. See above.

brainstorming new column ideas. Need to get a move on since they are due next week.

wearing ripped pajamas. Maybe time for a new pair.

considering how ironic it is I’m afraid to get hurt working out, since I’m so out of shape. As if not working out isn’t hurting me.

making potato leek soup in the pressure cooker today. After several dinner fails this month I have a plan b in mind.

feeling excited about my book signing for Newberg’s First Friday ARTWalk. Also a tiny bit nervous.

getting frustrated with trying to keep a seven-year-old still. Stupid broken arms.

loving how creative the kids are getting with artwork. The new thing around here is those perler beads … which are now everywhere. Note: stepping on them is not unlike stepping on Legos. *Clearly I need the ironing part is tricky for me. This burned smell was lovely. And resulted in a trip to IKEA to replace the boards. This turned out to be a bit of a cluster. Moving on …

KIMG0094KIMG0092

In case it’s not immediately obvious (it wasn’t for me either and I’m the mom) the first one says “Steve” which means something to Minecraft aficionados and the second spells … Minecraft.

listening to the clicking sound of the boys playing Minecraft right now. Love hearing their conversation as they work together on … whatever it is they’re doing.  

acknowledging some seasons are tougher than others and this too shall pass.

flipping out when I forget the keep the faith plan. I am pretty committed to that though so it’s happening less and less and I keep thinking something is wrong since I’m not freaking out and I should  be doing something. And I am dealing with several things that have a huge impact on me, though I have no control of it. So that’s fun. And a perfect exercise in choosing faith over fear.

enjoying a new habit of gathering with school friends right after school to run around and play before going home and easing into the evening routine. Broken arms aside.

KIMG0098

reading The Chronicles of Narnia with the boys. Now we’re at The Silver Chair. It is so cool having them ask for “just one more chapter because it’s getting so exciting!” They also earn extra chapters during the day instead of just bed time. Because we are book nerds.

thankful for another chance to celebrate being born next week.

***

Nathalie’s Notes: I’m surprised I’ve only done this type of post a few times because I like reading them on other blogs so much. Reading the few I did I’m glad for just that much because of the simple snap shot it offers.

Which is always the way with personal writing. People think more is better, mandatory even. But please believe me when I say some is better than none. One diary entry a week, or even a year still leaves a record of what mattered, especially if you let yourself believe today’s minutia makes for tomorrow’s marvels.

If you want to try it yourself, you and don’t have a blog or journal (I’d love to help you reconsider that!) post your answers in the comments or email me. It’s fun! These two links have a few different prompts than I used today. I wanted to make the answers quick and move to the next, which I encourage you to do as well. This isn’t homework, there are no wrong answers. It’s not all of the things you are doing currently, just whatever pops into your mind.

October 2012 and March 2013. And, now July 2014. (Note to self: I totally messed this up and saved over one of my old "currently" entries. Wish I'd actually backed these posts up another way because it is lost and there were a couple little written polariods I wish I could remember!)

Thank you to Ali Edwards and Elsie Blaha who inspired this list of reflections in my life right now.

To like me, like, on Facebook, click here.

**Below are affiliate links, see posted statement for more information. Essentially, If you click through my links and buy stuff on Amazon I get a few pennies per purchase. It helps pay for the blog service. In a perfect world. Smile 


Recalibrating Normal

thatinnerpeacethingpeople0atalkaboutisonlypossible0awhenyougiveinto0afullyembracingyourlife0aexactly-default

I met with my therapist yesterday (don’t worry, I won’t judge you for not having one).

She mentioned it’s been two months since my last appointment.

Maybe that explains the barfing from stress yesterday?

(Oh, no. That was probably actually the stress. Or, how I process it rather.)

So far this year has given me opportunity after overlapping opportunity to face my fear of conflict.

In retrospect, and you guys know I am all about owning my own part, and sometimes the parts that don’t belong to me—why yes, this does come up in therapy—I am reasonably certain that the only thing I did to “cause” these issues was be myself unapologetically.

I’m not being dramatic either, there were issues coming to a head with family, with staff at my son’s school, with some friends, within my role as an admin in a community forum—I even got featured mentioned by name as a resident fascist on the Lars Larson show. And a few more things I’m not able to mention at the moment for legal reasons.

Good times, y’all. Good. Times.

Oh, and my sweet Sam broke his proximal humerus. In kind of a spectacular fashion, as is his way. Monkey bar accident. On my watch. Except my back was turned. Because of course it was.

All that is to say … this being a grown up thing? I don’t know … I thought there would be more jumping on the bed or something.

As I write this I periodically look up to survey the wreckage of a week month year   extended period of unexpected events needing immediate attention and taking us out of our normal routine, I am starting to suspect that normal is utterly an illusion. That it’s not a thing.

That maybe life is about recalibrating normal as we learn to deal with the breaks we get, so to speak.

And that it’s really all just fine even when it feels like a totally different word that also start with ‘f.’


A very merry mess

A very merry mess

By NATHALIE HARDY | Yamhill Valley News-Register

DEC 19, 2014 | HOMES, GARDENS AND REAL ESTATE

A very merry mess cover

A very merry mess screenshot

You can view the PDF version here.

It's a pretty safe bet you won't see any of my do-it-yourself projects gracing the pages of national magazines targeting women looking to beautify their homes and gardens.

In fact, as I write this, it occurs to me that my editor was perhaps being ironic when she approached me with the idea for writing this particular column. Or, perhaps, she wanted to offer readers a little comic relief in case they too can relate to things not turning out like the picture. Ever.

One of my time-honored traditions this time of year is flipping through those aforementioned magazines and admiring gorgeous Christmas decorations — thoughtful touches like wreaths hung in 17 windows with candy-cane striped ribbons, or a charming old-fashioned sleigh propped against the wall below a pair of leather ice skates, or a homemade advent calendar that looks as if it could have been purchased at Pottery Barn.

I covet this kind of craftiness. I want ours to be the family in coordinating flannel pajamas and matching mugs of nog.

Instead, we're the dairy-free, flannel-free version, drinking our cocoa out of chipped cups collected from Dairy Queen back in my childhood.

As lovely as those fancy foyers and mesmerizing mantels strike me, something seems missing. Like, say, children.

Mine, I am certain, would want to take that sleigh for a ride — down the stairs. And I can only hazard a guess as to how long the other decorations would look so perfect with my eager little elves running about.

Yes, yes, I do let them run in the house because. Boys Oregon winter = some indoor roughhousing. It just does.

I reckon that's true for girls, too, but I can only speak to my experience. And that can come to include use of cushions as mini-trampolines.

But back to decking the halls:

I delight in the little details, I really do.

At the time of this writing, before Thanksgiving, I already had red and green bulbs on my outside lamps. "She's really on top of it," one might think. Except that those are from last year. So, for the last eleven months it lent a brothel-esque feel. Which I suppose is it's own kind of festive.

I am in awe of decadently decorated trees with coordinating ornaments. I simply adore the look of themed trees.

For the last seven years, we've rocked with the "we have small children" theme. With the bottom third not decorated at all, lest little hands take advantage, I'd say we've pretty much nailed it.

I'd be happy to send you a glossy photograph of that awesomeness if you like, as it doesn't appear to be making the rounds in popular magazines.

Something else I'm surprised hasn't taken off is my do-it-yourself draft dodger, the kind that stops chilly drafts from sneaking under the door.

After seeing a slew of darling ones online, I wanted to craft one of my own. And I was able to whip up a version of my own without a second thought. Really.

As I stepped over a pile of laundry between the kitchen and "laundry room" — really more of an outdoorish closet, truth be told — I noticed how well the mound of clothes kept the cold air out. Suddenly, I had a draft dodger using nothing more than materials immediately at hand.

Then I invited friends over for some warm food on the darkest night of the year. And I think the inspiration I had for this one makes me a contender for the Pinterest fails hall of fame.

As is usually the case, the original picture inspiring my solstice candle display was lovely. I crafted my own version, using lentils to hold up the candles.

I don't recall an actual fire in the picture. Nor do I remember a warning that a glass jar holding flammable legumes would get hot enough to set them ablaze.

In retrospect, maybe that went without saying. In conclusion, don’t try this at home.

For next year's trick, I should see what I can burn with an iron.

Flames and failures aside, the point is that I rolled out the welcome mat, however crumbled, for friends to gather. And we celebrated something that matters more than what is, or isn't, on the mantel: our ability to bring light where there is darkness.

This year, I'm trying to remember that making merry is a verb. However that looks at your house, I'm wishing you joyful moments this season, and always.

Since she's not busy ironing napkins — or anything else, for that matter — Nathalie Hardy has more time to write in the margins of motherhood. Something else will have to give, as she'll be marketing her new book, "Raising the Hardy Boys: They said there would be bon-bons." Members of her family are supportive, provided dinner is still served. After all, they didn't specify by whom. Feel free to drop by, preferably with food. To contact her, visit www.nathaliesnotes.com or find her on Facebook at Nathalie’s Notes.

Lentils on Fire


Currently

At this moment I am …

drinking water with Thieves essential oil because I’m determined to be and stay well.

appreciating both boys simultaneously in school for six hours a week. But also treasuring my “just Jake” time.

watching the clock tick – these precious moments I have the house and my thoughts all to myself pass quickly.

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laughing at the memory of Jake making me this sweet necklace in Sunday school and then asking me:

“Mama, can I have that heart crown back? I need nunchucks.”

Then, later: “Here, you can have the nunchuck necklace back.”

eating too much salami

willing time to stand still so I can savor it more.

watching my children grow too fast.

prepping for Sam’s golden birthday as he turns seven on the seventh! (SEVEN!?)

opening (sleeping) giant cans of worms.

sleeping intermittently, hoping that gets better soon.

remembering some sweet memories and some I prefer to keep buried were it not for the fact that festering feelings cause a little bit of trouble left unattended.

brainstorming ideas for a Skylander style birthday party, thank you Pinterest.

wearing my favorite shirt that hasn’t fit in for. ever. (Feeling smug for keeping it now. Still not ready to throw away my collection of other sizes … just in case this is just another stop of the yo-yo that is my battle with bulimia brain.)

considering how much I have to be thankful for anyway.

making lists, and lists of lists because I’m nerdy like that.

feeling like things are going to be okay.

thankful for all of it.

***

Nathalie’s Notes from July, 2014: I’m surprised I’ve only done this type of post twice because I like reading them on other blogs so much. Reading the two I did I’m glad for just that much because of the simple snap shot it offers.

Which is always the way with personal writing. People think more is better, mandatory even. But please believe me when I say some is better than none. One diary entry a week, or even a year still leaves a record of what mattered, especially if you let yourself believe today’s minutia makes for tomorrow’s marvels.

If you want to try it yourself, you and don’t have a blog or journal (I’d love to help you reconsider that!) post your answers in the comments or email me. It’s fun! These two links have a few different prompts than I used today. I wanted to make the answers quick and move to the next, which I encourage you to do as well. This isn’t homework, there are no wrong answers. It’s not all of the things you are doing currently, just whatever pops into your mind.

October 2012 and March 2013. And, now July 2014. (Note to self: I totally messed this up and saved over one of my old "currently" entries. Wish I'd actually backed these posts up another way because it is lost and there were a couple little written polariods I wish I could remember!)

Thank you to Ali Edwards and Elsie Blaha who inspired this list of reflections in my life right now.

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So, also – I hate to be super self-promotey but that’s kind of a thing for people who are trying to carve out some income doing their own thing – I need you guys is what I’m saying.

I’m thankful for your readership, your friendship, your comments, your “liking” me in real life but also on Facebook at Nathalie’s Notes Facebook, click here.

And, if I haven’t pushed it too far all ready – could you take a moment and subscribe to Nathalie’s Notes in the box below? You’ll get a note in your inbox whenever there’s a new post and I’ll feel kinda awesome until I get the notification that someone else unsubscribed and then I’ll be all angsty again. It’s just the circle of (a blogger’s) life.

 

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