Entries for the ‘babble’ Category

Doing My Best

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Every year I have plans for making the holidays less stressful, and here I am, less than a week from Christmas barely sleeping because of stress. Its not any one thing, I think its just the pressure I put on myself about how things should go. Every year I get better about lowering my expectations, but I still have a way to go.

This past Saturday we hosted a birthday party for my almost seven year old, her first ever party.

dsc_7139

It was an art themed party, and it was a lot of work. The poor girl has never had a party before- because who has time to add another party into the December mix?! I bought art canvas, baked cupcakes, made aprons from tea towels and did my best to facilitate fun.

painting

Thankfully my kids are all on break now. I realized the other day that winter break is my favorite! Two weeks is the perfect amount of time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of school without getting so bored that there is fighting (name calling yes, but no fighting yet). Seriously, knowing I don’t have to get up and do anything tomorrow (and tomorrow) is heavenly. We all lay around in our pajamas long past when we should, meals are improvised and I totally don’t care how long the kids play video games. I don’t want it to last forever, because then it would feel like summer vacation and during summer I always want to ship my kids off to somewhere else. Today, I like having them around.

We’ve got 98% of our shopping done, but we did brave World Market and Target today where the lines were 15-20min long. I have empathy for anyone who is out there doing last minute shopping, especially the tired, cranky, nap deprived children.

Last minute Christmas shopping is exhausting (or at least the long lines are)! #sisters

A photo posted by Heather Hales (@heatherhalesdesigns) on

I’ve been listening to Christmas music since Halloween and I’m done. I am very much looking forward to spending this weekend with family, but I’m ready for January. Ready to be done with the holidays and on with the new year. How about you…ready for January, or still scrambling to be ready for Christmas?

Where ever you are at, may your season be merry and bright (and not too cold).

Happiness- 30

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

gratefulness

I don’t know that this interview was meant to be too terribly thought provoking, but it was, for me. I thought about what makes people happy and how much or little we need to be happy. I know intellectually that I have a pretty good life, but sometimes the emotions of that get lost in the first world dramas of my day.

In the fashion of Whole 30, I’ve decided to create a Happiness 30. Thirty days of making an actual list of what I am grateful for that day. Because I need accountability, I will be posting my daily list on my Instagram account- and occasionally linking over here.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, has identified 12 behaviors that lead to greater happiness. I’ve decided to focus on six of those behaviors as a way to gauge my own success over the next thirty days.

  • avoid social comparison
  • practice acts of kindness
  • express gratitude
  • learn to forgive
  • intense focus on the present moment
  • practice religion and spirituality

If you’d like to participate (I really would love to see what this looks like for you!) please tag your photos #happiness30

 

 

 

Perspective

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Wildflowers

Every November blogs get taken over by gratitude posts, a month of Thankful.  Yesterday (November 1) it occurred to me that writing a month of gratitude posts might be a good writing exercise and good for my mental health.  But yesterday was a loooonnnngggg day and by the time the kids were in bed I only had energy for Masterpiece Theater, so I wrote nothing.  If you are curious- I was going to write about being grateful for medical science.

Which brings me to today, where fate decided to mess with my head.  It all started last night when Phoenix had an earthquake, one that I felt but told myself it was the wind because, earthquakes in Arizona?, right. About 2 am one of my daughters woke me up to tell me that her throat still hurt- really bad (the same throat that only hours ago tested negative for strep). I made a mental note that the sore throat should probably stay home from school with the other child who tested positive for strep.

Cue sun-up and the off-spring who was going to school chose not to get up….its a long drawn out story that I’ll spare you to save the embarrassment of all involved but suffice it to say the whole experience ended with a screaming match between a parent and child about the child not taking responsibility for themselves. The child was an hour late to school.

In the middle of the above “situation” our cat barfed on the living room carpet. She kindly decided to spread the love around, it wasn’t all in one place.

I was trying to go with the flow, two kids home from school, one legitimately feeling bad and the other just waiting for that magical 24 hour since antibiotic window and feeling just fine (read- doesn’t want to lay on the couch and rest all day). Everything had calmed down and I decided it was safe to take a shower.

On my way to start the shower I noticed that the cat missed her litter box by an inch and there was cat poop on my floor. I took a deep breath cleaned it up and realized it wasn’t even 9:30am yet and good golly what else does Monday have up her sleeve?!

It was about this time that the thought popped into my head that I was going to write about gratitude. My inner self rolled her eyes, laughed and said something snarky about gratitude smatitute. Underneath all that snark though, is an understanding that this is all temporary and that there are plenty of good things to be happy about.

In the midst of this crazy morning I got a text saying the Cardinals won yesterday, which means half priced drinks at Sonic ALL DAY. So I know there will be a large Diet Coke in my future- and that makes me relax my shoulders a little bit. While my children might be sick, I know that it too is just temporary and unlikely to be serious. I have a roof over my head, clean clothes to wear, food to eat, a husband who will stick with me through this crazy roller coaster called “parenthood”, and good friends who will listen to me complain about my day.

Its all about perspective, how we choose to frame our days and our lives. When people have asked me about being a glass half empty or half full kind of person, I’ve always responded that I am a realist about life.  But really, I think I’m a closet optimist.  When I was fifteen I had some life changing epiphanies, one of which was realizing that I controlled my own destiny and that tomorrow could be as good as I made it.

 

Weight-y Matters

Friday, October 30th, 2015

scale

I have written this post in my head many times over the last four years, but I think its finally time to proverbially put pen to paper. This is an open letter to any of my friends who have ever lamented their weight in front of me.

Dear Friend,

I don’t see your weight.

Even if you think you are 50lbs or 150lbs above your target weight, I simply don’t notice it.  Maybe the first time I met you I made a mental and general assessment of your weight; something like, “My new friend Jane, she is tall and round. Fran, she is short and slender.” That’s it, that is probably the only time I ever thought about your weight. Oh- and maybe the times you were pregnant and never looked more than 6 month along even though you were ready to deliver.

Recently your weight has crept into our conversations more and more, I can tell it bothers you.  Maybe that ugly voice in your head is telling you that every time you step out the door everyone sees you as a fat girl? I’m writing you this letter because I want you to know what I think of every time I see you…

I see the woman who has cried with me over the frustrations of family life. The woman who inspires me to be kinder and humbler than I am. I see the times we have laughed until we cried. I see the woman who will patiently listen to me as I whimper about my first world problems. I see your strength as you bare the burdens life has thrown at you. I see the woman who makes me feel better than I am. I see all the things I love about you. I never see your weight.

In college I worked at a bookstore and one day one of my co-workers told me that our boss had recently lost weight. She told me that our boss had worked really hard to loose this weight and that if I had a chance I should tell her how good she looked. I never even noticed that she had any weight to loose, but I was all for cheering on anyone who had worked hard at something that was important to them.  The next time I was alone with my boss I commented that I had heard she was loosing weight and that she looked good.  She took it as the compliment that it was intended, but to be honest I felt super awkward about the whole thing.

Talking about her weight somehow made it a thing between us, it felt like a backhanded compliment. Almost like I was telling her that she looked bad before, but now was better looking. When honestly I’d never thought about her looking anything other than herself before. I don’t want it to be like that between us.

Twice since then I have complimented someone on their weight and each time it was only because I knew those woman had worked really hard and WANTED people to notice and give them feedback. But I still felt awkward.

I just want you to know that I love you for being you.  I realize your weight bothers you and I’m sorry for that. I wrote this letter because I wanted you to know how I felt about you, and what I see when I look at you.  If you gained 50lbs I probably wouldn’t notice it (you think I’m kidding but I am dead serious). If  you dyed your hair blue and got a forehead tattoo- that I would totally notice!

We’re friends because you make me feel good about myself, you make me laugh, you listen, you care, not because you are short or tall or fat or skinny or anything in between. Please remember this the next time you look in the mirror and that ugly voice starts talking.

xo
Heather

I Smiled Today

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

first day-heatherhalesdesigns.com

I woke up before 7am today. With a smile on my face. Today was the first day of school.

My kids and I, we’ve had a good run.  Our summer was full with daily trips to the pool, weekly movie dates, a venture to the California beaches with Grandma and Grandpa, seventeen hours in the car for our annual road trip to WY, fishing, hiking, biking and PLENTY of “I’m bored” time. Like I said, we had a good run, but I was ready for them to go.  I was ready for my space, some peace and quiet and a house that stays clean longer than fifteen minutes.

fishing -heatherhalesdesigns.com

I got up with my smile and made them pancakes with raspberries and whipped cream, took the obligatory back-to-school pictures in the driveway and headed to school with them. My 7th grader road off alone while the girls and I trailed behind;  my 4th grader still wanted me to walk her to the playground.  After I dropped her off I joined the group of Moms and Dads gawking from the sidelines. Recognizing some friends I commented on how the first day of school had finally come! And then I said out loud “it’s like Christmas for adults” (a phrase coined by my MIL  who attained sainthood by raising FIVE kids over a span of 30+ years). Inevitably when you say something like that someone always pipes up and says how they miss their kids and laments the seven hour school day.  In today’s case that voice was only in my head, the same voice that is constantly pointing out my faults and telling me what a good mother should do.

heatherhalesdesigns.com

Later while vacuuming I pondered why we (or maybe its just me) look at those women who adore their kids and bemoan the return of school and feel guilty that we rejoice about school and the exodus of the children from our home. Who made this standard that the definition of a good and loving mother means we have to want to be with our kids all the time and enjoy it 90% of the time (let’s be realistic, no one can enjoy kids ALL the time)? Why can’t we admire and look up to the mothers who enjoy their kids some of the time (and love them 90% of the time) but have a healthy sense of self independent from their role as mom? Mothers who like time away from their children to pursue hobbies and interests that have nothing to do with parenting….even if its just surfing the web uninterrupted!

I know there are other women who feel like this, but we hide in plain view with big smiles on our faces and whisper snarky comments to our neighbors because it doesn’t seem socially appropriate to admit how much you like time away from the children you intentionally brought into the world.

heatherhalesdesigns.com

Me, I’m rewriting my internal definition of a good mother. To me she is someone who loves her children (and mostly likes them too) and isn’t afraid to define herself beyond Mother. She enjoys (even relishes) time away from her brood to explore things that interest only her (good books and small coffee shops).

This Friday I will wake up early again and with a smile because my youngest will begin preschool.  I will have two and a half hours to myself three times a week and I will enjoy every minute of it.  More importantly, I won’t feel guilty about enjoying it…and maybe I won’t be afraid to share that.

My Favorites

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

I recently read an article that compared the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Semi-Annual General Conference addresses to TED Talks. I’ve only watched a few TED talks but I can see the similarities. Most of the Conference addresses focus on bettering ourselves and lifting others up.  This is one of my favorite quotes from this past weekend.

Forgiveness- heatherhalesdesigns.com

 

A few of my Saturday favorite talks were: Holland (have courage), Reeves (listen with understanding and love), Nelson (let your faith show), Zwick (avoiding corrupt communication).

faith- heatherhalesdesigns.com

My list of Sunday favorites is a little shorter as I fell asleep for most of the second half (oops!).  But, I really liked these: Monson (love one another), Bednar (spiritual traction), Stevens (the Gospel is wings), and Uchtdorf (grief).

Did you have a favorite talk, or phrase?

What I’ve Learned This Week

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

-I love my family.  After spending a night away from them I was actually excited to weed the back yard with them. Really and truly.

sisters

-I’m so glad these two have each other (and their brother too).

-My son wishes his name was Bruce, because it sounds like a big-guy kind of name. He asked me if I could name him over again, if I would ever choose Bruce.  I said no, because I wouldn’t even name my dog Bruce.

-My daughter asked at dinner about a German man named Hicks. She meant Hitler, which made us all laugh because that child is forever mis-remembering words in the most deliciously funny ways(My favorite was when she asked about Jesus praying in the Garden of Yosemite).

-Shortly after I woke up this morning my legs gave out from under me and I had to grab the counter and hold on to prevent falling to the ground in pain.  What I learned was, even when my day starts out like that, I can still haul all three children to the Dr. at two separate times, grocery shop, make dinner for my own family and another one that just had a baby, bake brownies, and make a baby blanket all before 6pm. (whether or not I can move tomorrow is yet to be seen)

-Sometimes it is really hard to pray for the people that it should be easy to pray for. But, sometimes I just need to do it, and hope that healing will come.

-I am grateful for my health insurance, but the red tape behind an HMO can be frustrating at times.

-Some doctors do not consider Chiropractors real doctors. And, not all Chiropractors are created equal (and why do people keep recommending the bizarre ones who graduated in the 70’s?)

-I should really get a flu shot.

 

Sunday Dress

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

It’s still September, isn’t it? Is it just me or has this month flown by?  I’m still stuck in August- maybe it is the Arizona weather but what ever.

sunday_dress heatherhalesdesigns

This temporary house we’re living in is down the street from a large Lutheran church.  As I was driving home from my own Sunday services I noticed how full the nearby Lutheran church was- the parking lot was full and people were parking on the streets.  This made me inwardly smile a bit, people of faith who truly strive to live the tenants of their faith give me hope for the future. My smile quickly turned to a look of puzzlement when I took notice of what the parishioners were wearing to Sunday service.  Adults in jeans, tween boys in plaid skater shorts and van looking tennis shoes?  I didn’t see a single pair of heels or  tie.

Now, don’t get me wrong I don’t think God looks down with disdain when He sees people on their way to worship Him in cut-offs and flip flops.  I honestly think He rejoices when any of His children seek to come unto Him.

I was raised in the LDS (aka Mormon) faith and we are big dresser-upper-ers.  Pondering about other religious services I have attended I tried to remember what the general attire was…I wore a long skirt when I visited the Vatican out of respect for modesty.  I attended a Catholic Mass where everyone was dressed up (but, it was a funeral so..??).  When I was young I attended Easter Services at a Methodist church, I, along with my friends wore the nicest pants we had packed for our trip and I don’t remember feeling out of place.  Most of what I remember about that service was the Pastor sprinkling everyone with Holy Water from a tree branch. I honestly don’t know what typical Sunday Service dress is outside my own faith.  I am curious, can anyone fill me in?

I began to ponder on why I personally dress up for church and my answer is simple. It makes the day more special.  In our world of cell phones, portable tablets and insta-everything it is so easy to take work, social life and myriad of other things with you every where you go.  Sunday can very easily become just another day of the week.  You can attend the movies, gallery openings, sports games or heck even do your grocery shopping.  What outwardly signs are there that Sunday is the Sabbath?

The only thing in today present social climate that keeps the Sabbath day Holy is how we choose to acknowledge and recognize it.  I attend services and religious meetings on Sunday, I’m a firm believer in “Sunday Dinner” and I dress differently than I do on any other day of the week; those are my ways of recognizing the Sabbath.  I wear a dress or skirt/blouse, and enjoy the opportunity to wear a pair of heels.

While what you wear to church is certainly a personal (and even financial) choice, I’m sticking with my dress and heels.  Sunday is one of my favorite days of the week (followed by any other day of the week that my husband doesn’t work and my kids are in school).  I love the opportunity to be inspired by the righteous men and women I choose to surround myself with, I love big hearty Sunday dinners, I love dresses and fancy shoes, I love Sunday naps but mostly I love the Spirit that we seek to bring into our lives that day (and strive for on everyday!).

 

Sshhhhhh

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

heatherhalesdesigns: be content

Last night my son brought home a poem he wrote where he described his perfect day; which included being in a mountain meadow and having silence. It was funny coming from a boy who cannot stop asking questions to save his life and who used to spend the entire mountain/hiking experience whining about bugs and scratchy grass. The irony is that his perfect day sounds a whole lot like mine + a book and diet coke.

On my way to pick the 3yo up from preschool today I realized I had barely spoken (just polite chit chat with a few store clerks) for the last 2.5 hours.  How beautiful to have at least a few hours a week that I simply do not have to speak unless I want to. I can get lost in my own thoughts or simply not think and enjoy the mental silence too.

There hasn’t been a lot of mental silence as of late.  The house situation marches forward, but I won’t count my chickens until they hatch.  Our future is still hazy, I know in time it will unfold and be clear- but I am just trying to be patient.  I’ve been pondering all sorts of parenting things.  How much should we push our children and how much should we just love and accept them as they are.  What are the long term consequences…if I don’t push them will they end up 25 sleeping on my couch and working at Wal-Mart?  Or is there a freedom in feeling completely accepted with no demands placed on their futures that will result in self motivation and they will succeed in ways I cannot imagine?  There must be a balance in there, a few more hours of silence and I just might find it.

Have you checked out Glennon of Momastary?  I’m slow getting to the table I guess as I just discovered her words a week or so ago, but WOW!  The power of just showing up for your life and taking it one day at a time, or even 15min at a time.  She reminds me of Brene Brown but a little less academic and a lot more real (although you ought to check out her latest book about Daring Greatly).

 

 

Hello Darkness

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

arizona sunset

“Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again”

-Sounds of Silence
Simon & Garfunkle

Yesterday I unearthed my sewing machine from amidst the boxes that are strewn everywhere.  My son needed some new pajamas and I decided I would quickly whip up a pair.  As I sat at my sewing machine I felt like whispering “Oh hello old friend!”.  The lyrics to Sounds of Silence began running through my head and I realized how accurate they were.

I am a passionate, sensitive, deep feeling person.  It took me years to admit this to myself and to embrace it.  My husband is a very even person- everything in moderation.  While on the other side is me, up and down, high and low.  The two extremes are very real, when I feel happy or excited about something I feel it with every part of myself.  On the flip side there are times when the pain of something is all encompassing and clouds over my vision.

Hales House

Moving and selling our House has proven to be way more stressful than my husband or I anticipated.  Cleaning out my past from our attic invited all sorts of demons to visit.  It became difficult to see what was real from what was imagined.  We’re currently living in a rental home while we wait for our home to sell and then we hope to buy again.  Uncertainty is hard for me, it makes me feel out of control.  As this is temporary we aren’t unpacking but I’ve done what I can to create a home in this space.

When the Darkness comes to stay it is so hard to remember what it is that brings me peace and joy and relief.  It is difficult to see through the dark heavy fog. It wasn’t until I sat at my sewing machine to sew some pajamas (I’m grateful to my son for needing new pj’s) that I remembered how much fulfillment I get from completing projects.  Once I started I couldn’t stop, I made each child a new pair and started a quilt.  I began to remember some of the other things that bring clarity and lightness: loud music while I do mundane household chores, a good book, meditation, honest prayer.

My heart felt heavy today as I took these final pictures of our home.  I’ve moved enough times in my life that I don’t get attached to spaces, but my children do.   My son was a bit teary eyed as he recalled how long he had lived there.  This is the only home my children will remember, my girls have never lived anywhere else, and so my heart feels heavy with compassion for the sadness in their little hearts.  I took some dusk pictures of our home looking homey to stash in their “special box(es)”.  I’m grateful they are attached to the space, I am grateful we created a home from those walls where they felt safe and loved.

The fog has cleared and I am optimistic and looking forward to creating a new home in whatever house we find.  Another space that I hope will become a haven to our children as grow and face more of the challenges that life has in store for them.