Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: V

I love photography challenges. One of these days, I’ll actually sit down with my DSLR camera and figure out how to use it! Until then, my iPhone does a pretty good job of capturing the pictures that I want. There’s nothing like a good challenge- like this week’s for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, which is a word which starts with the letter V and has at least six letters.

violet flower
Violet-colored flower
vacation
Vacation!
violin
Violin (in need of some repair!)

cee's fun foto badge

Thanks for stopping by!

-Kat

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27 Harsh Facts Every New Blogger Should Know About Blogging

These 27 harsh facts stand true for new bloggers, old bloggers, all bloggers. Hugh shares the reality of blogging in the following post.

Hugh's Views & News

Thinking of starting a blog? Here are 27 harsh facts I’ve learned about the world of blogging since I started my blog in February 2014.

#bloggingtips #blogging #bloggers

  1. Blogging can become addictive and take over your life.
  2. You’ll probably lose touch with some friends because you won’t have the time to keep in touch with them anymore.
  3. Readers don’t find your blog, you have to find them.
  4. Just because somebody ‘liked’ your blog post, does not mean they read it.
  5. Just because somebody left a comment on your blog post, does not mean they read it.
  6. Blogging can seriously stress you out and make you feel guilty (if you allow it).
  7. You’ve more chance of winning the lottery jackpot, than one of your blog posts going viral.
  8. Over 81% of bloggers who want to make some money out of blogging, will never earn more than £100.
  9. Not everyone will agree with what you have to say.
  10. Not everyone will…

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Today and Every Day

I wrote this for Martin Luther King Day last year and I’m sharing it again this year because I believe it still holds true today.

Today is the day we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Our children are taught about his dream, his work, and his words. All of a vital part of our history. But he represents more than just a piece of history- a time of civil unrest and injustice. What he began, along with others, remains a work in progress. A marathon. A 50+ year marathon.

I typed and backspaced and typed and backspaced many times trying to capture meaningful words to express my feelings on this day. Let’s be honest. The things that our children are taught, the quotes we share, the talking points of this day are important every day. They should be represented in our lifestyle, our words, our actions. And the most fitting words that I can find were said by Martin Luther King, Jr. himself.

  • “The time is always right to do what is right.”
  • “Our lives…

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Three Things Thursday

Isn’t it funny how a certain post will show up in your feed right when you need it most? I was looking for something, not sure what to write about today but wanting to write, and then there it was- the perfect post- #ThreeThingsThursday- created by Emily at Nerd in the Brain and hosted by Natalie at There She Goes. Three Things Thursday is a list of three things that made you happy this week. This actually lines up perfectly with my mindfulness book, which asked me to share some memorable moments.

downtown chicago

 

Before they headed back to school, I was able to spend the day at the museum with my college kids, who I don’t see nearly enough. Going to the museum is a favorite pastime from my childhood that I was able to pass on to my kids. It was a special day.

 

 

 

 

bingo

 

 

I played Bingo with my parents. This is actually a regular occurrence but hasn’t happened in a while due to circumstances beyond our control. It was nice to do something that feels just plain normal and everyday. I’m blessed to have my parents still here and nearby.

 

 

lights

 

We are having a heatwave here in the Midwest, which means the snow, icy slush and general messiness along with the freezing temps are gone- temporarily. I’m going to enjoy the 60 degree day for the brief time it’s here.

 

 

 

 

What made you happy this week?

#Bathwater

I hope your week is going well!

-Kat

WPC- Weathered

weathered alice

Poor Alice has seen better days, hasn’t she? She immediately caught my eye one day when I was at a thrift store. She was grouped with a few other “Alice” items but she definitely stood out. My initial instinct was to reach out and touch her flaky exterior but I refrained, settling on lifting the price tag, curious what someone thought she was worth and hopeful that it would be a price I could justify paying. Alas, $65 seemed quite steep considering the condition the old girl was in! I wonder if anyone saw the value in her or if she’s still gathering dust, waiting for the right person to come along. And I wonder what it is about her that someone thinks makes her worth so much.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Weathered

Thanks for stopping in!

-Kat

Lesson One in Mindfulness

One of the gifts that I got for Kris* for Christmas was a book about creative mindfulness. It was an impulse buy that endless day I was trapped in Target. It’s colorful cover caught my eye and as I leafed through it, I knew that it was something that would interest Kris. I wanted to buy it for myself as well. Because I was freaking out about pulling the holiday together, I tossed two copies of the book in my cart, intending to think it over before I checked out.

I forgot about the book and bought that copy for myself. I didn’t realize it until I was going through the bags and wrapping gifts. I set it aside and pushed it out of my mind. I had Christmas to get through and I was looking forward to having all of my kids together again.

Kris loved the book and they were thrilled to hear that I had purchased one for myself. What happened next was fascinating to experience. I did not get the book for Kris because I felt that they needed lessons in mindfulness. I just knew that Kris would enjoy the activities in the book. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure that the thought process that took place in my decision to buy the book for Kris took place in a split second and if I was to expand it and take a closer look, I would see that yes, on a deeper level I was hoping it would help Kris when they were overwhelmed and perhaps, give them a few lessons in mindfulness.

As winter break proceeded, Kris was engrossed in the book and periodically asked me if I had begun mine yet. I explained that it was a tad bit hectic around the house and I would need to wait until things quieted down. I never saw Kris without the book and as more time passed I noticed a change in Kris. Where there had been tension and awkwardness, Kris was calmer, assured, peaceful. For the past six plus years this child has been up, down, sideways and every which way and this was the most balanced I have seen them.

After the college kids went back to their schools and the work people went back to work, I ventured into my office (aka the place I dumped everything that I needed out of the way for the holidays) and looked for the book. I couldn’t find it.

The next day, Kris texted me, asking if I had begun reading it yet. I admitted that I couldn’t locate it. After the conversation, I went back into the office and did another thorough search. Still no sign.

Another text from Kris. Another failed search. I was getting frustrated and began questioning myself. Did I really buy a second copy of the book? Maybe I put it back on the shelf, trying to save money….. But no, I knew that I had purchased that book!!!

And then this morning, as I was began writing this post and my miserable attempt at mindfulness, I took a deep breath and faced that office again. I moved boxes around, threw out anything no longer needed and stood in the middle of the room, looking around at the same piles of things that I had been looking at every time I searched. And then my foot hit a stack of children’s books and I picked up the top book.

There underneath it was THE book, the one I was looking for, right under my nose all this time.

So, what was my first lesson learned? That I definitely need this book and I definitely need to be more present in the moment. No doubt about it!

mindfulness book

What are your thoughts on mindfulness? Is it something you practice or not give it much thought at all? I would love to hear about it!

Have a great week!

-Kat

^Kris is my 24 year old gender fluid child who uses the pronouns they, them, their.

Deconstructing Christmas

IMG_1461Yesterday when I reached down to unplug the lights that decorate our family room, three year old let out a cry of dismay. “NOoooooo, don’t take down Christmas!” He has an extensive vocabulary, well beyond his three years, but this was the year he discovered Christmas. In his ever-expanding world, the concept of Christmas was so huge it was beyond words. If you were to point out each individual decoration, tradition or experience, Beej could easily tell you its name accompanied by some incredible adjectives. But this entire experience has been so enormous in his life that he wants to hold onto all parts of it.

I’ve been slowly taking down decorations when he’s not here. The stockings, pillows, table runners and other fabric items have been washed, folded and stacked up to be packed. Any wall decorations have been taken down when I noticed them still hanging there. Snowmen and Santas and all the other cutesy stuff I place on shelves or table tops has been gathering on a table or flat surface out of Beej’s reach, ready to be wrapped up and boxed.

When Beej arrives today he will find the biggest change so far with only the tree with lights but minus ornaments, window lights and yes, the “Christmas” aka lights in the family room being the final reminders of the holiday. I’m hoping this will satisfy him as I get him prepared for the next holiday. Valentine’s Day.

Beginning with Halloween, Beej is more aware of holidays and seasons. This causes him to be slightly resistant to changes. He mourned Halloween and protested Thanksgiving. He insisted that he did not like Thanksgiving (although he didn’t know what it was) and within a day or two, Thanksgiving was the greatest! It doesn’t fail to amuse me because around here the difference between the two holidays is that I pack away the ghosts and pull out some turkeys- everything autumn-like remains. And then in true Beej fashion, he was so attached to Thanksgiving that he incorporated the cornucopia into his play kitchen.

I’m always sad to take Christmas decorations down. For such a stressful time of year, I should be happy to see it leave. And yet, each year stirs different feelings inside. This was the first year that I had the full Christmas beyond my husband and kids. Hosting for everyone (my parents, siblings, nephews) is a big job, but this year didn’t seem as much of a trial. Everyone is in a much different place than years past and I think it speaks to the strength of family what we were able to rise above past drama and come together. Two of my children were not with us on Christmas day, which left a huge hole in my day, but we celebrated as a family a few days later and it was good.

Maybe it’s all the extra baggage that Christmas includes- tons of family face time, crowds shopping, planning parties, our own expectations, missing loved ones who are not here- that leads to a sort of let down feeling. But the truth is I’m ready to pack it up and let it go. I’m all into letting things go these days so I’m focusing my thoughts on how uncluttered my house will feel with all the Xmas trimmings gone.

It’s time for me to shake my thoughts free of jingle bells and Santas and look ahead to a full year. I have a loved one still on the road to recovery, two kids graduating from college, one applying to grad schools, a lost sheep who needs some tending, and mindfulness of my own to work on.

Oh, and if you hear the angered cry of a three year old, you’ll know that Beej has begun his boycott of Valentine’s Day!

-Kat

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Toys for Children and Adults

This week’s theme for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge is Toys!

Are you familiar with Sir Topham Hatt? He is in charge of the railway where Thomas and friends work and play. bw sth o

Everything is a potential toy to a three year old with an active imagination- even Christmas ornaments.

bw toy ornaments

Here are a few of my toys.

bw kat's toys

bw joy

black-white-banner

Thanks for stopping by!

-Kat