DONE – Start a tradition of weekly date nights with daughter

Being a full-time working Mama outside of the house has been a challenge that I feel like I'm kicking butt at…except for my neverending longing to have more quality time with my family.

As Marion is now almost 2 1/2 years old, she is getting to be such a pleasure to spend time with. Because I work 40-60 hours per week, our time together is pretty limited. Up until now, I felt like I was balancing everything pretty well. Since Elliott was born a few months ago, though, my quality time with Marion has really decreased. It seems like our nights pretty much look like this:

  • I come home and dress down into comfy clothes
  • I breastfeed Elliott while Hubbie makes dinner and Marion plays
  • We eat dinner together at the table
  • I breastfeed Elliott again while Hubbie cleans up and Marion plays
  • I cuddle with Elliott while he takes a nap on me and Marion continues playing independently 
  • Hubbie and Marion start her nightly routine: milk, jammies, reading books
  • Hubbie takes Marion to bed while I breastfeed Elliott again
  • Hubbie and I hang out for a little bit before I head to bed
  • Hubbie gets some alone time while Elliott takes his nightly nap
  • Hubbie and Elliott go to bed

As you can see, not a ton of Mommy and Marion time. So as I was leaving work last night, I decided it was time to enact a weekly date night with my precious daughter. She is so much to hang out with! Hubbie was in full support so after I got home and fed Elliott, Marion and I headed out for some fun one-on-one time.

The great thing about Marion is that she has a blast doing ANYTHING, so for this first date I didn't need to get overly creative. Here's what we did:

  • Dollar Store Shopping
  • Dinner at Wendy's

It seems pretty simple (and maybe kind of low-class), but it was quite enjoyable. Marion rode around in the shopping cart, commenting on everything she saw and liked. She methodically would hold stuff we were going to buy before placing them behind her in the cart. And then dinner was a blast. Nothing too exciting – just spending some quality time talking together. She's the best, and I can't wait to have more Mommy/Daughter Dates with her. I suppose next time I may need to do something a little more creative, though. 

My Everything/Forever List

That's it. I'm doing it. I'm making a list for "everything else" that's never going to be finished because I keep adding to it. Where does this list currently exist? In my head.

Yeah, like many women, I have the running list of everything I need to do, want to do, hope to do, just going on and on and on in my brain. Well, I'm tired of it. It's time to just put it on the list when I think of it (or when I get a second to write). Then I can stop thinking about it and start planning and doing, which sounds pretty appealing. 

Rules of the List

  • Number the list because it's fun
  • When an item is complete, "cross it off" the list 
    • Write a blog post about it and include at least ONE picture
  • Add the date the item went on the list
  • Add the date the item was completed


So here goes…My Everything/Forever List

  1. Make a list for a week of work lunches/snacks
  2. Start making hummus (10/23/13)
  3. Start using homemade wipes again (10/23/13)
  4. Re-read the Five Languages of Love (10/23/13)
  5. Design Elliott's birth announcement (he's only 3 months old already!) (10/23/13)
  6. Send pictures to Minnesota family monthly (10/23/13)
  7. Start a "Baby Mamas" group at work (10/23/13)
  8. Go the Seafood Buffet at the CDA Casino with friends (10/23/13)
  9. DONE on 10/23/2013! Go to luncheon and donate to Transition (10/23/13)
  10. Make a bigger breastmilk storage box for freezer (10/23/13)
  11. Redesign MyHappyLists blog (11/21/13)
  12. Write at least once per week (11/21/13)
  13. Start a tradition of weekly date nights with daughter (11/21/13)
  14. Experiment with different eczema treatments for Baby E and myself (11/21/13)
  15. Create a visual tracking at home for goals (exercise & chores) (11/21/13)


Simplify for Success

This list is for the things that will help me be more successful by simplifying tasks.

  1. Leave a bag of frozen berries at work (instead of bringing a cup every day and then not bringing them) (10/24/2013)

5 gift ideas for your “Words of Affirmation” partner

Today is all about LOVE – the most powerful things in the world. There's a lot of pressure put on today, but relax! Expressing your love is one of the easiest things you can do. All it takes is a little planning and a little effort.


The 5 Love Languages

The following ideas are inspired by Dr. Gary Chapman's book, "The 5 Love Languages." If you don't own this book already, one of the best gifts you can give your relationship or marriage is buying this book today and committing to reading it and discovering your love languages. It's currently on sale at Amazon for only $6.59. That's a pretty cheap gift that says, "I commit to loving you the way you need to be loved."


Words of Affirmation

If your partner's love language is words of affirmation, you have it pretty easy on Valentine's Day! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Write a romantic letter1. Write a letter

You have tons of ways you can choose to write your letter: handwrite it, type it, use fancy paper, make it look old and roll it into a bottle, draw a picture on it, fold it up like you're in middle school, frame it, etc. The key is to just sit down and express your love in writing. Feel free to talk about how you met, why you fell in love, why you're still in love, why that person means the world to you, etc.

2. Create a video

Whether it's a flip camera, your phone, or a fancy camera, film yourself saying all the important things your partner deserves to hear. I suggest taking some time to write down what you'd like to say and maybe even practice it a couple times. Then just sit yourself in front of the camera and go for it. Another video idea (if you have a little more time and some video editing software like Windows Movie Maker) is to create a a slideshow of pictures of the two of you and then record what you'd like to say (maybe even with their favorite song in the background) and put it all together. This will end up being a cherished gift for a long time to come, especially for the person who needs their love tank filled with words of affirmation.


Reasons Jean-Claude Van Damme’s KICKBOXER will cheer you up

Jean-Clean Van Damme is a bad-ass. I don’t care if you think differently. He is the model of pure awesomeness. Last night, Tyler and I watched this awesome movie and I knew I had to share this awesomeness with my Happy List readers.

If you’re needing a way to cheer up, I encourage you to rent/Netflix/etc. his movie Kickboxer. It will cheer you up immediately. Just check out some of the reasons this movie is awesome:

1. 1980’s martial arts movie. Need I say more? The 80’s are filled with so many fun classics, and Kickboxer is one of them. If you love 80’s movies, you’ll love Kickboxer. It has a definite 80’s vibe to it: terrible dialogue, crazy awesome fight sequences, and a rockin soundtrack.


6 Reasons to go to Rusty’s Sports Bar & Grill of Hayden

Rusty's Sports Bar, Hayden Idaho After our Chocolate Apothecary and Auntie’s Bookstore date last night, we went out to Rusty’s Sports Bar & Grill for our friend’s 26th birthday.

We didn’t want to drive downtown Coeur d’Alene, but we wanted to go somewhere that was open past 10 pm – and so we went to Rusty’s for the first time. Overall, the service & drinks were good. Here’s what stood out to me:

  • Down-to-earth service. Our server was friendly, but she wasn’t pretentious, annoyed, or fake. She was friendly and helpful. When asked what she’d recommend, she asked good questions and made good recommendations.
  • Variety of music. Other than the times when there was music (which was kind of odd), we all liked the variety of music from contemporary to hard rock to country – something for everyone.
  • Drinks were priced right. Most of the drinks averaged $3.75 – and that’s without having any specials.
  • Variety of seating. There’s the bar, some high bar tables, tucked in booths, and a couple couches. Again, a little something for everyone.
  • Sports on the TV. This is sort of a given since it’s a Sports Bar, but whatever. I like having some good old sports on the television so I can have additional entertainment other than friends and drinks. :)
  • It’s in Hayden. For those of us that don’t want to go downtown Coeur d’Alene (or to some of the scary bars I haven’t tried), Rusty’s is the perfect solution.

5 Reasons to shop at Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane, Washington

Auntie's Bookstore After our fun chocolate tasting date at the Chocolate Apothecary, Tyler and I headed over to Auntie’s Bookstore to use another coupon (50% off $20 purchase).

I was so excited to get $10 free dollars to Auntie’s. Tyler and I love that bookstore. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • It’s Big AND Local. We haven’t found many local bookstore that have such a huge selection of books at such a big location
  • Downtown Spokane. There’s something fun about old downtown buildings. Auntie’s Bookstore is big, open, and old. It’s awesome.
  • Great staff. Every time we go there, the staff are friendly and accessible.
  • Huge selection of new and used. I love discovering fun little “finds” there – old used books for an affordable price.
  • Autographed books. They are always hosting book signings, from local to national authors, including the likes of David Sedaris, Jamie Ford, Sherman Alexie and Chuck Palahniuk. If you can’t make it to one of the book signings, you can still pre-order a signed book, or even purchase one afterwards.