giving a side eye to the large buttcheek over her shoulder.  fair enough.

Now that the large butt picture got your attention…

You all know that is how this blog got started, right?

It’s 2019.  Time for some new ideas!  I am not on board with trying to do something every day this year.  But maybe more monthly goals?  Or quarterly?

Here we go.  A few ideas:

Organize pictures.  They are on an external hard drive and this laptop and my phone and my husband’s phone and his laptop and his external hard drive.  Blerg.  I love/hate pictures.  I don’t even know what I mean by “organize”.  Delete a million of them- sure.  Maybe put them in books?  That seems like a pipe dream.  Someone boss me around.  I hate this one.  Where do I start?  How?  HELP.

Pick a budget software.  We hopped back on the budget train a few years ago.  We keep an excel spreadsheet with our spending categories and at the beginning of every month I spend an hour or two looking at all of our spending from the previous month and seeing how over/under our budget we were.  I know there are systems like YNAB and Mint but I’ve resisted.  I’m ready to stop resisting.  Which system should we use?  How does it work with Amazon purchases that fall into all these different categories?

Save for projects and pay up front.  Remember the budget?  It’s great to have an excel spreadsheet that allocates your money into categories, but it only works if you actually curb your spending to the allocated amounts.  Crazy, right?

This year we had multiple things that we sprung for, without having the money set aside ahead of time.  For example, we bought a used van in January of last year.  We knew we’d want one eventually and we were saving toward it, but then suddenly I couldn’t tolerate the clown car any longer.  I didn’t want to wait until we saved the other few thousand dollars- I wanted a van and I wanted it now.  We found a Honda Odyssey on Craigslist, bought it, and paid it off a few months later– no big deal.  But we did that with a few projects and purchases like that.  So then we had a few things we were trying to pay off month to month.


r.i.p. clown car.

This year I’d like to delay the gratification and save up the money before making the purchase.  Like- we’d like to work on our driveway this year.  Right now it’s a mud pit, and I could call a guy we know and have him fix it in a day.  But that’s a project I’d like to actually save up for and pay for up front.

Eat more vegetables.  I sort of cycle through this one.  I’ll kill it for a while, then get tired of chopping a bazillion fresh veggies every week, so I’ll fall off the wagon.  Not sure if I should track this in some way or quantify it…  Sort of a vague goal otherwise, isn’t it?

Maintain limits on my iPhone.  Because no one says “I hope my kids can look back on their childhood and always remember me on my phone.”

A major pull of my phone is when I want to escape and tune out.  When my kids are happy and low maintenance (like the past two weeks when they’ve been with cousins/grandparents/aunts and uncles) I have less I want to tune out.  So this week I feel great about phone use.  It’s the new year!  The world is my oyster!

But there are plenty of weeks I don’t feel great about it.  I read this article and implemented a lot of the suggestions.  I know that the novelty of most of them will wear off in a few weeks.  And then what?  Implement new suggestions?  Burn my phone?


everybunny loves the bunny

I’d love to hear 1) how you can rescue me from dying under a virtual mound of digital photos,  2) what budget program you use and 3) how you set and maintain healthy limits with your phone.




What Worked for Me in 2018


not relevant to this post.  just a picture.

Ah yes.  It is that time again.  We have done this before.  A chance to reflect on what worked for me in 2018.  Here are a few things, in no particular order.

Screen free weekdays for the kids.  We have a movie night on Friday night, maybe some shows or screen time on Saturday, then watch something as a family on Sunday (lately we like Planet Earth and Brain Child on Netflix).  Monday through Friday afternoons are screen-free.

Like all good ideas, this one originated with someone else.  In September I was with some college friends and we were talking about all of our kids heading back to school and the adjustments that follow.  Suddenly we need to be planning school lunches, upping our laundry game, whatever.  I mentioned how I struggle with screen time for my kids; some of them get so unbearably whiny when I turn it off, etc etc.  My friend Anna offhandedly remarked how they don’t allow screen time for their kids during the school week.  We started implementing that in September.

This has been so helpful for us.  Instead of negotiating the kids’ requests for screen time on a daily basis, it’s just off the table until the weekend.

Our old routine was to turn on a show after they had done x, y, and z chore.  We used it as an incentive.  But with four kids inevitably one person would get their chores done quickly and two people had not even started yet and it was a hot mess to manage.  Also four kids spanning 6 years makes it hard to decide on a show.  I’d need to manage that.  Then, by the time they were all quietly staring at a screen, I had no motivation to start the work involved in getting them to turn off the screen when their show was over.  Or deal if one or two of them complained or whined about not getting enough time.

Screens were not helping me, they were making my life harder.  So we eliminated them during the weekdays and life is much simpler.


can’t watch a show…might as well sit here and think.

Nights off.  (Another one that was totally not my idea.  A friend told me about how helpful it was for her, so we’ve been implementing this one for a few years now.)

It’s simple.  Russ and I both have one night off a week.  It’s the same night every week, and we are free to do whatever we want.  Mine is Tuesday.  So after I finish work on Tuesday afternoon or evening, I am free for the rest of the night.  Sometimes I go get myself dinner and wander around Barnes and Noble, sometimes I invite myself over to a friends’ house, sometimes I gather a group of people to get together.  Russ has the kids that night and does dinner and bedtime solo.  He has a different night of the week to do the same thing and I cover home base.

It’s nice to have that white space on the calendar every week.  Logistically, it makes getting together with friends so much easier.  I don’t need to check in with Russ about which night works best for me to meet up with so-and-so.  I just see if Tuesday works for my friend and that’s that.

Also, as an introvert and someone who has been home with kiddos for a decade- I can’t really communicate how lovely it is to be responsibility-free for one evening a week.

We have built expectations over time.  Whoever is home owns cleaning up the meal and all of that end of the day pickup stuff.  A night off is a night off, and does not mean you come home and clean up the kitchen.  Nope.  Night off.


2nd annual Anderson St talent show brought in some amazing talent

Marco Polo.  This is an app that I mentioned last year, but it makes it into bold letters this year, because I have appreciated it so much.  It’s a video app that lets you record a message to a friend or group of friends, for them to watch and respond to at their leisure.    I’ve had a group chat with college friends since we got together last year and I am so thankful for it.

It was awkward to begin with.  You’re just holding your phone and talking into it.  Where do I look?  Am I rambling?  I feel stupid making a video of myself…  (If the video thing is too much to handle, try voxer.  Same idea, just with voice instead of video.)

The point is that I have this medium that lets me keep up with my college friends on a regular basis.  We can’t get together as much as we’d all like to, but Marco Polo has been a great substitute.



things my kids collect in tupperware.

As I am writing this I am also thinking of what didn’t work in 2018… Namely: phone use (it was out of control!!!  I was on my phone way too much!!!!  I am a hypocrite about screens!!!).  Related: social media (I read 85 books this year and totes could have read 100+ if not for the black hole that is Facebook and/or instagram).

What worked (or didn’t) for you in 2018?


Reading and Listening

1. This article came out in the Atlantic last month.

A few excerpts:

“In a remarkably free country, many evangelicals view their rights as fragile, their institutions as threatened, and their dignity as assailed. The single largest religious demographic in the United States—representing about half the Republican political coalition—sees itself as a besieged and disrespected minority. In this way, evangelicals have become simultaneously more engaged and more alienated.”

“Falwell, Graham, and others are providing religious cover for moral squalor—winking at trashy behavior and encouraging the unraveling of social restraints. Instead of defending their convictions, they are providing preemptive absolution for their political favorites. And this, even by purely political standards, undermines the causes they embrace. Turning a blind eye to the exploitation of women certainly doesn’t help in making pro-life arguments. It materially undermines the movement, which must ultimately change not only the composition of the courts but the views of the public. Having given politics pride of place, these evangelical leaders have ceased to be moral leaders in any meaningful sense.”

“Here is the uncomfortable reality: I do not believe that most evangelicals are racist. But every strong Trump supporter has decided that racism is not a moral disqualification in the president of the United States. And that is something more than a political compromise. It is a revelation of moral priorities.”


2.  I listened to this a few weeks ago, when I was at my office moving furniture around.  The Q and A portion, where Shannon Watts replied (rebutted?) most arguments that attempt to block gun restrictions (i.e. “It’s a mental health issue, not a gun issue.”), was a yes for me.  I look forward to listening to this sometime soon, as well.

3.  I just finished the first of this series.  So many friends and bloggers have talked about how much they love this series.  Midway through the book I was still like ehhh…not sure if I am on the bandwagon.  But then I finished the last chapter this morning and need to pick up the next one asap.

4.  A few weeks ago my husband kindly, lovingly, kicked me out of the house for the weekend so I could rest and get some time off.  Night one was a sleepover with college friends.  Night two was at the house of the family I lived with ever-so-briefly, my first time around in Charlottesville.  May I recommend this to you?  A night away, with good friends?  I read and I listened to a lot that weekend and it was, undoubtably, good for my soul.

I also got away in January with some high school friends (including our Young Life leader, because we still want her to be our friend and also still tell us what to do with our lives).


5.  What are you reading or listening to?