7 ways to get motivated

Laziness — it gets us all… Especially when you’re accustomed to being lazy because you HAVE to take it easy! For the last nine months due to health issues, I’ve slowly had to decrease my activity until I could do nothing but lie still and watch endless amounts of television for distraction. It was like going into a really slow coma, and I’m trying to figure out how to do life again. 

On the one hand, life is easy now! On the other, it’s difficult for me to make a new routine and break habits. I’ve been falling back on A Mother’s Rule of Life for inspiration again and my biggest scheduling nightmare is turning off the *really want to use a word for emphasis here* TV. As that is one of my biggest problems right now, I count myself blessed. Three months ago, I never would have thought I would be right here, painless, and trying to stop watching TV. But I am! So here are my best tips for getting motivated and getting out of the lazy slump!

1) STOP. Drop. And pray a rosary. 

  
 This year, I’ve allowed myself to hold onto my rosary for dear life, and now I find myself using it to break bad habits. When I feel tempted, I say a Hail Mary, and when I realize I need to stop watching the television, I turn it off, grab my Rosary, and get a healthy dose of perspective in the form of that day’s mysteries. There is such power and such grace in those mysteries, try it!

2) Take a walk! 

  A little sunshine always freshens my mind and helps me to gain clarity, especially if I have been worrying. Now that we live in a walkable area, I’m loving our stroller walks to the park, to get froyo, or to just simply get out and see some squirrels. 

3) Read a few pages of an inspiring book! 

  Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or even a magazine, reading helps me feel inspired. Depending upon what sort of inspiration I need, I choose what I read. Magazines help me if I have to run errands. Weird, I know. It reminds me the world doesn’t stop! Fiction helps me clean house. It makes me want things to be cozy. Non-fiction make me want to better myself. Pretty self explanatory. 

4) Take a shower. 

  If you’re feeling blue, uninspired, unmotivated and or lazy, it’s likely you haven’t showered. Just do it, don’t put it off anymore. (Says one unshowered person to another!)

5) Get a healthy debate going.

   A little debate can go a long way in the energy sense! Talk about current issues, discuss your favorite superheroes, regale your person with stories of your favorite fictional characters and why they deserve to be your favorite! It will make you ready to use your energy toward cleanliness and kitchen work! 😉

6) Listen to something.

  Whether it is an audiobook, a podcast, or a music album, listening has helped me to focus my mind. If you need some suggestions, I recommend the Read Aloud Revival podcast and the Messy Parenting podcast, and I believe you can get a free trial subscription to audible for books! I also love Librivox because you can listen to books in the public domain for free! I have listened to many a Jane Austen book that way (Karen Savage is, by far, the best volunteer reader). The great thing about listening is that you can have your hands free for laundry, baby care, washing dishes, etc!

7) Make a clean break. 

  If all else fails, stop everything. Stop watching, stop listening, stop the technology and lock your phone away. No Facebook, no social media, no texting, no calls! A blackout of media is difficult to do in this age, but worth it if you can just give it up for an hour. We are so tethered, especially to our phones, and constantly living in anxiety and waiting for our pocket master to ring! You will feel loads lighter if you make a clean break for a little while to recharge and enjoy things without media. We are so much more than our screens tell us that we are, and sometimes it is good to remember who we are apart from them. 

Those are my best tips for getting inspired to stop the laziness. What are yours?

7QT – labyrinth to hell, pestilence pony, and Daniel Tiger therapy

Anybody ready for my first 7 quick takes? It seems like the perfect format for the tangled insanity that makes up the pathways of my mind…I was just telling Daniel that I finally understand what people mean by “mom brain.” It’s almost as bad as pregnancy brain (remember that?)!

1. Don’t let your license expire. It’s a pain. And make sure you update your address. After four months of attempting to get it renewed via the “ease of the internet,” the phone, and lastly in person, it is finally here. But only after hanging out in a claustrophobic line with fifty other people, that the lovely people at the dps routed down a labyrinth of halls I was sure was going to lead me to hell itself. In the end, it was actually a complicated loop, which dumped me out ten feet from the start of the behind an ominous curtain. I repeat, don’t let it expire!

2. I finally splurged on “Parenting with Grace” when I bought “Divine Mercy for Moms” for my mom’s book study off of Amazon. I haven’t started the latter but the former is so inspiring and helpful! It focuses on parenting with the theology of the body and the bits I read to Daniel were great enough that he is reading it too!

3. We are officially unpacked! It’s so nice to have more space, and a yard! Daniel has already constructed a little swing for Eliot in the back, but it’s a bit too old for him right now. Good news, there’s a park within 5 minutes walking distance, so even though we function with one car, Eliot and I can still get out of the house. He’s a big fan of the baby swings!


4. Eliot and I watched our first “Daniel Tiger” episode and I’m pretty sure we are hooked. I’ve been singing, “when you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a breath, and count to four,” all afternoon as Eliot has a tantrum and it stops him immediately. Daniel joked that perhaps the mad episode was good therapy for him as an adult too and he felt better already. The jingles are so catchy!

5. I scored a toy kitchen with a generous basketful of play food for twenty five bucks off of craigslist and then my wonderful father in law and spouse went to pick it up in the midst of our move! It’s been a big hit around here. Eliot’s favorite item is actually the little tea pot, and it warms my heart.


6. We also scored a new kitchen table for fifteen bucks that had been used as a craft table so all it needs is a little love and imagination to be something great! Daniel and I are loving the ability to have projects again.

7. So after seventeen years of ease in the stomach virus department, pestilence pony made a visit to the Salisbury household… I was crippled to a nasty bug that is apparently going around and was ill for TEN WHOLE DAYS. It was 10 days of gatorade, broth, crackers, the miniseries adaption of Emma, Lark Rise to Candleford, Gilmore Girls, and way too many avengers/superhero movies while my house turned into to chaos and Eliot went streaking through the house sans diaper. I was just starting to put weight back on from my recent health stuff, so now I have to start over and it’s all a bit frustrating but I’m mainly thankful to be better! I now know what mothers live in fear of entering their households! Yikes.

Until next time!

Marveling.

Now that I’m not dealing with overwhelming health stuff, I really am finding myself catching up on marveling. Does that ever happen to you? I remember being in bed and thinking, “I want this all to be over so that I can just slow down and enjoy the little things about parenthood.” God heard my plea, and now we are all enjoying such wonderful, deliberate, slow, meandering days just in time for toddlerhood. *cue time outs* In addition to the tantrum time outs, we’re taking on a whole new meaning to the words “time out” and observing the wondrous curiosity, joy, and love that this little guy has for life! Let’s marvel over the faces of Eliot, shall we?

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While Daniel was graduating, I snapped a bunch of photos of the day, but never got a chance to really look at them. I’m glad I did, now, when I can finally stop and look! I love their relationship!

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Cheese grinning it up with chalk all over his body. Look at that ham!

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Even the pooched out sad face just makes me grin like a fool! This was back before he could walk and was crawling everywhere. I do believe he got stuck between the rocker and oversized chair, and that’s why he was crying. Don’t worry, I got him unstuck right after documenting the sad face. 😉

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Can we talk about this hair? Is it there, is it not? Whatever it is, it’s fine and fuzzy and uneven and I ADORE IT.

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Those little red cheeks and that big ol’ pot belly! Classic toddler.

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Anybody want to stick their fingers in between those teeth? I didn’t think so…the rewards of us all hanging on during the teething!

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New FAVORITE picture.  Those eyes are so full of life and joy and just gazing at this photo makes me forget all the crazy that comes along with parenting.

Life is precious and amazing.

Eliot’s First Birthday (with Photos!)

It’s my role as the mother to take copious amounts of photos to document a simple day which shall live on in history. Cliche, yes, but considering scrapbooking has found its wayto the internet these days, here’s the entry on Eliot’s first birthday (only three months late).

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We decided on a simple picnic at the park with hotdogs, close friends, splashpads, and a cakesmash. It was a “smashing” success. Except not really…Eliot didn’t get the concept of smashing, but if anyone wants to coin the phrase “poking success” I’m sure that would apply.

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BBQ guy.

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First time experiencing the baby addiction that is Cheetos puffs.

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It was a hit!

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Hotdogs!

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This was after two hotdogs.

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Birthday hats, of course.

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“I’m supposed to do what?”

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“Smash, you say?”

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“What is this, anyway?”

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“Oh, it’s good!”

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“Eating cake is serious business. I’m not going to smash it on my face and waste precious icing!”

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“I had better save a sample for the lab so that I can learn how to recreate this delicious substance.”

Happy Birthday, my little love!

In this house, we imagine…

Looking at the overcast expanse above with the tips of the trees stretching their branches, reaching, and clawing for the heavens within my gaze, I stirred my soup and marveled at the pleasure it brought me to cook a meal for my big family and several friends under the open sky. I knew they would be hungry and tired after the drive. After all, covered wagons were an amenity to be thankful for, but not known for their comfort and ease in journeying. With the baby on my hip, I spooned a big serving of savory stew into each bowl and nodded as each member thanked me profusely. Finally, I sat down and enjoyed a meal, myself, and wondered how far we had gone that day. It had been a long day. After supper, we all retired to our blankets under the wagon and tried to catch some sleep. Who knew how far we had left to travel tomorrow?

In reality, this story looked a bit different. Same scenery, different sets. A lone girl (sometimes with the aid of a friend or sibling) smiled and talked to herself and her imaginary historical friends in the middle of her parent’s woods behind the house with an old bent pot from her mother tied between two small saplings. She held a baby doll in one hand and a stirring stick in the other. The pot was full of dirt, leaves, water, and bark and resembled a bad mud puddle to be avoided. A pile of pokey pine branches and needles underneath a bouncy lower tree branch served as a makeshift bed and covered wagon whose only owner and master was the imagination of a child.

This kind of day occurred nearly every day between the ages of four and eleven.

I remember my childhood with fondness and often laugh with my husband as we recount crazy imaginative games we would play in preparation of growing up and facing the trials of adulthood. Our childhood filled with imagination gave us many gifts to guide us through life at every stage. The gifts of kindness, humility, charity, and love, only to name a few. As I raise a curious, silly, and social little boy, my childhood games of pretend and make believe pop back into my head and remind me to encourage my son in those ways.

It’s not just about growing imagination. It’s about growing virtue. Imagination is an essential part of our moral formation and a great tool to grow virtue!

Let me explain in a more applicable manner. When my fourteen month old son runs to the cabinet and picks up an over-sized bowl and then begins to stir with one of my many spatulas, he’s imitating and imagining.

He picks up the empty spatula,

holds it to his mouth,

makes an eating sound,

and then gives a comical cheesy smile while clutching his tummy.

He then dips it back in and spoons a bite to my mouth and waits. It’s not an empty spoon to him. It’s a tasty dish that he worked to make, and then offered to share with those he loved. He often loads the dishwasher with his utensils after he’s shared and signs “all done” to me as he happily walks off to go imagine with something or someone else.

What wonder is his little mind! What wonder it is to see his heart on display through his imagination! What wonder it is to see him learn virtue in these beginning stages of life! This imagination is a tool to be used to grow him in charity and kindness as he shares, hard work and perseverance as he helps me clean, and more as his mind develops everyday!

Fourteen months is really young still, but I’m of the impression that you can help your child play and imagine from day one. I would like to share some ways and toys that we use to help cultivate imagination in this house, even at itty bitty toddler stage.

Grocery Cart and/or Kitchen: I mentioned his cooking earlier, and he stores all of my pots and pans and bowls in his little cart and pushes it through the house collecting things. Sometimes he puts a doll or bear in the child’s seat! We also just acquired a pretty neat little play kitchen second hand at a steal, and he adores it. He loves making pretend soup and tea and giving us sips!

Baby dolls: Yes, I have a boy. But there’s no good reason that boys cannot play with dolls, and Eliot is quite fascinated with babies. He puts their clothes on and off, uses a bath scrubbie to rub their heads, feeds them a bottle, and rocks them in his arms. He’s so tender with them and I can see his mind pick up more and more with his baby dolls and apply it when he sees a real baby!

Blanket forts: He brings his animals and pillows in the fort and pretends to sleep! And honestly, what parent doesn’t want to make a blanket fort and relive their awesome childhood memories! We often do blanket forts for movie nights and rainy days.
Phones: In this day and age, everyone has a phone. Even kids. I’m not saying I advocate phones for little ones because I really don’t see the point when they can use their mother’s for any necessary talking, however, babies love to imitate! It wasn’t long before Eliot started putting every little toy, hot wheel, and piece of bread against his ear to babble. We gave him his grandfather’s old flip phone with the loose parts and battery missing and Eliot is quite taken with it. He walks around chatting and we can hear his inflection changing everyday. He’s turning into such a little boy!

Books: I can’t leave out the most magical tool of imagination growth, and even at this young age, toddlers need to have someone read aloud to them. Just listen to Read Aloud Revival for all the great reasons why! I may write another post containing our favorites at this age. Books are things I splurge on and are by far the biggest collection of anything Eliot owns, even over clothes and toys!

Right now, these are the tools we use to help Eliot grow and imagine. It’s such a gift to help shape a little mind and access his creative brain. All I can leave you with is the thought that your child’s—any child’s—imagination is a beautiful, wonderful gift, and as guides and parents responsible for shaping a new generation, we shouldn’t squander this opportunity!

Have you played pretend with your little one today?