Random Thoughts

Feel’s like a good day for a Random Thoughts post! I try to post one of these once a month, and  it’s basically a compilation of whatever is on my mind at the moment. Feel free to share your own random thoughts in the comments.

– Saturday’s school auction was terrific! Tons of support from the school community and lots of really good prizes. We won three items: 1) 8 movie tickets. 2) A gorgeous skateboard made by a 9 year old at our school. 3) Members of the Dad’s Club will come to our house to work for 3 hours.

Aren’t those fantastic prizes? Other fun ones we either bid on or thought about: Principal for a Day, Warrior’s Tickets, $1200 worth of Plumbing from a father at our school (to be used on one big project), Last year, our favorite win was Pie for A Year. Each month, we would get a seasonal homemade pie. It was heavenly! It wasn’t offered again this year or you know we would have been all over it. : )

A little more on the skateboard, you can check them out at RogueMade510 on Instagram. Truly so impressive! I can hardly believe it was really made by a 4th grader! The board we won (pictured here) is stunning. Such a treasure. On each board, he includes a tag that tell you what types of woods he used to make it, and then he signs it in his little 9-year-old scrawl. The best!

– I’m curious. Tell me about your wake up routine. What time do you get up? Do you use an alarm? Do you press the snooze button? Wake up with the sun? If you’re getting older, do you find you crave sleep less?

As for me, I don’t set an alarm unless I’m sleeping on my own. I rely on Ben Blair to set the alarm — he uses the alarm on his phone. The alarm is set for 6:00, but I usually sleep in till 6:20/6:30. I detest getting up that early. I am not a morning person. But, the good news is, it’s definitely been easier to get up early over the last year. I’m assuming it’s age related, and I’ll take it!

– Books on my mind right this minute: I just ordered Nail It Then Scale It. There’s a new Alt Summit project I want to work on, and I want to get it right from the beginning. I’ve heard this book offers the best guidance on the topic, so I’m excited to read it and get going.

Another one is The Locust Effect, which I mentioned in last week’s Facebook Live Broadcast. This has almost become Ben’s Bible as far as social justice and social causes are concerned, and we discuss it a lot. So I really need to read it!

A third one I’m thinking of is There Is No Good Card for This. It’s recently out and it was sent to me by Emily McDowell, who did the illustrations. (Do you remember Emily’s series of books quotes here on Design Mom?) This book is so helpful. If you feel like you never have the right words to say when something awful happens to a friend or loved one, this book can be your guide.

– It’s been super rainy in California, which is mostly really great news because our water supplies have been hit so hard by the drought. (That said, we’re all watching the Oroville Dam with trepidation. 188,000 people evacuated, and more rain coming this week.)

We had a few non-rainy days over the weekend and we took the opportunity to do some yard work. We don’t have a real fall season here in Oakland, and we end up with dropping leaves year round, but especially in January and February. It felt so good to do rake and pile up and bag leaves! We also worked on windows (we have a lot of windows, so this is an ongoing job), and de-cobwebbed the exterior (also an ongoing job).

I love working in the yard. I get so much satisfaction out of it. Maybe because I do it in such small doses? Every time I have a good yard day, I think: I’m going to make this a daily habit! One hour a day, all week long! But alas, that never actually happens. I can easily picture myself gardening a lot in retirement.

– I re-watched the Twilight Saga movies over the last week. The first one is on Netflix, and then I rented the rest from Amazon. I know the Twilight books (and movies) always get a lot of hate, but I confess, I enjoy them. The story is solid. And I think the movies are well-cast and well-acted. I’ve always wanted to hear Stephenie Meyer, the author, speak. I wonder if she would come to Alt Summit?

Do you have strong Twilight opinions? Love it? Hate it? Feel meh about it?

– How are you feeling about Valentine’s Day tomorrow? Ben Blair and I are very low-key about it, so I think of it as mostly a holiday for the kids. Today, after school, I’ll help the kids prep their classroom valentines. I’m trying to encourage June to send these donut ones. So easy! We like to have a little Valentine Breakfast for the kids as well. I think this is the first valentine’s day without our 2 oldest kids. So strange! Need more Valentine ideas? Here you go.

I think that’s it for now. Please feel free to respond to anything here, or bring up your own topic. I always love hearing what’s on your minds!

P.S. — I post my random thoughts each month. You can find them all here.

38 thoughts on “Random Thoughts”

  1. My morning routine is one I can’t shake, and one that is highly dependent on my NIGHT routine. Every night before I go to bed I set out my outfit, put out daily medications, and pack my work bag and lunch in order to give myself more time in the morning. (Especially if I wake up to an urgent email or have to get to the office quicker than planned, I just need to change, put on a little makeup, and head out the door.) I typically don’t have to leave for work until 8:30 or so, but I still get up at 6:15 every morning. I sometimes press the snooze button, but most of the time I’m awake right away. I don’t get out of bed though – I stay in bed and browse the internet on my iPad, read a book, or maybe watch a show. That way I’m fully awake before I go about my day and don’t feel like I woke up and rushed right into work mode. One of these days I’ll use that time to go for a run, but for now I like my slower, “just-for-me” mornings. The only downside is I’m now unable to sleep in on weekends, since my body is so used to waking up. But there are worse things in life :)

    1. The description of your mornings sounds lovely. I like the idea of taking a little screen time in the morning while I slowly wake. (Though I know that will never happen except on the weekends — I love sleep too much!)

  2. I’m really surprised by what you had to say about Twilight. I’ve read them all, because I have young daughters and I teach the YW at church and I wanted to know what these girls were getting so hyped up about–and I seriously thought they were garbage on multiple levels. Yes, they’re poorly written, but I find the characters and relationships much more disturbing. There aren’t many books that I have flat-out forbidden my children from reading (my graduate degree is in English, so I’ve read a lot of pretty coarse stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily want my kids reading when they’re young, but would introduce to them later)–but Twilight is absolutely on my “no” list. For one, I don’t want my daughters to romanticize the idea of their high school boyfriend sneaking in through their window and watching them sleep, nor do I find anything in Bella’s character worth emulating. In grad school we used to joke that if Stephanie Meyer could make it big, any of the rest of us could too–and then Brandon Sanderson, who was in the next carrel over, actually did. Hah!

    1. Oh. I’ve heard all the criticisms a million times. You are certainly not alone in disliking the books! I suppose I simply disagree. I love the idea of vampires resisting their natural murderous urges in an attempt to be better people. That is an awesome concept.

      Maude read them and really enjoyed them and we didn’t end up with boyfriends watching her sleep at night. Hah! I’m confident typical readers can see the difference between expected behavior of real human beings, and expected behavior of fictional vampires, right?

      My biggest criticism is Edward being old-fashioned because it translates to sexist (for example, assuming she’ll take his last name when they marry). Though really, I think the author goes to great pains to give Bella opportunities to be stronger and smarter than Edward, so I don’t think she was really going for a sexist vibe.

  3. Love when paid for auction items are considered a win, as in we won 3 things! The mentality of it works every time and I always spend more trying to win!

  4. I’m curious what the Dad’s Club at your school is! I love the idea of fathers being more involved in their children’s schools, so I’m intrigued as to what they do.

    1. We have a really strong Dad’s Club. Among other things, they organize and host the welcome picnic at the beginning of the year, and they put on the variety show in the spring. They’re super supportive of the school.

    1. Well the prize was created by a woman in our school community that loves making pies. And once a month, she would email us and let us know a pie was waiting on her porch for us, and we’d pick it up after school drop off in the morning. Often she would suggest a couple of options to us before she started baking so we could choose a preference if we wanted.

      And it wasn’t just dessert pies. She made a super yummy chicken pot pie one month too!

      1. So smart to make you in charge of picking up! I love the thought of doing something like this, but delivery is such a burden! Thank you for this detail. xox

  5. My morning routine varies wildly depending on the season. My 6th grade son sings in the Choir of Men and Boys at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and has practice nearly every school day morning. He must be in the choir house and ready to practice by 7:45. Which means dropping him off by 7:30, which means leaving our house by 7. I HATE the schedule but LOVE hearing his angelic voice. September to June I’m up by 5:45. In the summer I sleep as late as possible (and am incredibly annoyed by my poor husband’s alarm.) I’m a night owl through and through and I’d love to be going to bed as the sun rises but that’s just never been an option in my post college life. Most weekends and the first week or two of summer, I’m up by 7 out of habit. 8:30 is my grown-up sweet spot!

  6. I’m just re-reading the Twilight books for maybe the third time. We were staying at an air bnb in Paris and it was the only book in the house in English and I couldn’t resist, now I’ve gotta read the whole series! I’ll probably watch the films through too. I love them, so easy to read and watch! I think the films potray Bella in a much better light than the books do though, she comes across as very melodramtic in the books.

    I must admit when I first read the books when I was 17 and then learnt that Stephanie was Mormon I assumed that’s where the old fashioned, sometimes sexist vibe came from. Reading yours and Love Taza’s blog; and befriending a Mormon friend at uni has really opened my eyes that being Mormon doesn’t mean you are part cult, although that is the one of the stereotypical views of Mormons here in New Zealand. (I am 25 now).

    1. I remember thinking that too! When Stephenie Meyer writes the story so that Bella and Edward don’t have sex until they’re married, I remember thinking: that’s the author’s Mormon-ness coming through. : )

      Related, I feel like Mormons have been the harshest critics of Stephenie Meyer and it makes me sad. Mormons seem to love attacking other Mormons for not being “Mormon-enough” or the “right kind of Mormon.” (I deal with similar critics on a much smaller scale — the angriest, meanest emails I get are always from fellow Mormons.)

      At one point I remember hearing that Mormon universities were no longer carrying the Twilight Books in their bookstores and I was so upset about it. I don’t live near the universities and don’t even know if it was true — but I hope it wasn’t. What a jerk-y thing to do.

      1. I bought my copies of Twilight at the BYU Bookstore. This was after all of the series had come out. I loved the idea of them, the twist on the typical vampire story, but I felt like it didn’t really develop in best way in a literary sense. Bella felt a little too shallow to me, Edward was a little too stalker-y, and then I couldn’t get over that poor baby’s name. I guess now looking back on it, I don’t really get into romance novels at all (except Jane Austen because she makes me laugh). But I enjoyed them the first time through. And then I sold the books because I just didn’t love them enough to keep them and I was a poor, newly married, newly graduated, unemployed not-yet-teacher, so I need some cash. For me, they are kind of guilty pleasure books-not the greatest literature (very far from it), but such and engaging idea that it’s still enjoyable.

  7. I’m kinda laughing that we’re talking about Twilight all these years later. I read the series and I’m in the meh camp. I don’t have anything against those who loved it. If a book speaks to you or entertains you, it just does. That said, in addition to the writing, I had a really tough issue with Bella’s character giving up EVERYTHING for a boy, even her humanity. I really want girls and women to retain their true selves in their relationships and not feel they need to change to fit into a man’s life.

    1. “I had a really tough issue with Bella’s character giving up EVERYTHING for a boy, even her humanity.”

      I agree. A troubling thought. Though a reader could argue that really, she ended up giving up everything for her baby. Edward tried to convince her to remain human throughout the books. He didn’t want or need her to change. He only ended up changing her when she was on the brink of death from child birth.

      Though I find that troubling as well. The idea of women being sanctified through suffering is no good.

  8. Thanks for the suggestion on The Loctus Effect, I just ordered it on Amazon. The premise of the book reminds me of Half the Sky by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristoff, which is one of my favorite reads of all time. I also understand the negativity surrounding Twilight and wouldn’t want my daughter to read them but I too secretly love the series and would watch the movies just to see Robert Pattinson any day!

    1. We love Half the Sky too! I actually got to meet Nicholas Kristoff at a ONE.org event and he signed my book. Ben Blair feels that The Locust Effect has compelled him even more than Half the Sky to focus his attention on injustice.

  9. I set my alarm each day, but why? My baby is going to wake us all up hours before any alarm would ever go off lol! I’m truly a morning person, and on the very rare day I sleep in, I feel like I wasted my day. My husband on the other hand could sleep until noon every single day! But like I said, baby makes sure that would never happen.

    I’m a sucker for valentines day, but the kids excitement at the school I teach at, and my own kids is just off the charts! They all LOVE it!

    1. Oh I hear you. Being wakened through the night and in the early morning by the baby was the hardest part of the baby years for me.

      And I love hearing the kids at school are excited for Valentine’s Day. So cute! When we’ve lived in places with harsh winters, I’m always grateful for the holiday, because it feels like a good halfway point between Christmas and Easter — a way to distract from the freezing weather. : )

  10. Ha, I actually really don’t like Valentine’s Day, which my husband knows. To make me crazy he usually goes all out, literally because it makes him laugh to see how annoyed I get. I get him gifts too, but give them to him on the 15th because I’m stubborn. ;) It’s just a holiday I cannot get into!

  11. Those skateboards are amazing! I’m torn between wanting to buy one for my kids and wanting my kids to learn to make their own!
    Do you and Ben recommend any action items based on the Locust Effect? I’m excited to read it.
    And thank you for publicly liking Twilight! It gets poo-poo’ed, but I think it’s a great, solid story, and I like the characters (yes, even Bella) and I enjoy the movies.

  12. Thanks for those super auction ideas!!! I am not a morning person and my husband wakes me up in the morning. I never hear the alarm. EXCEPT on the weekends. He likes to sleep in on the weekends, so I wake up with the dog, take him for a walk and take care of him, make coffee and wait in the quiet for everyone to rise.

  13. Oh Valentine’s. I never cared about it, but my kidlet is INTO it. I don’t mind having A special treat and crafty homemade gifts at home, but I really dislike that she comes home with so much candy from classmates (she’s in kindergarten).

    And I enjoyed Twilight, back when it was current. Not sure I could go back to it, but I wouldn’t have any issue with my daughter reading/watching when she’s an appropriate age – if she’s even inclined. When I was the age of the characters I was such a snob – only reading classics and literary fiction. Now I’m all about a good romance!

  14. I LOVE that you like Twilight. I feel like it was a very accurate portrayal of teenage love–all-consuming, illogical, obsessive, etc. I think people hold it to a standard that doesn’t match the intent of the book (to tell a captivating, escapist story).

  15. My morning routine is to sleep in until the “waker-uppers” (that’s what my husband & 4 yr old daughter call themselves) come in to wake me up with morning kisses. My husband is a morning person and I’m not so he cherishes his morning time with Luna. He makes breakfast and does whatever Luna asks! Haha! Usually it’s huevos con chorizo breakfast burritos and coloring. I’m more of a drag myself outa bed, do my oil pulling and then a big old cup of coffee!

    I love that you enjoy the Twilight series. I watched the first movie as soon as it was on Netflix too. I have read all the books & watched the movies. I wouldn’t say I was a diehard wear a Team Edward shirt kinda girl, but I’m definitely a fan. I think people tend to overthink these books. It’s fantasy and as long as someday my daughter understands that , then I’m all for her reading all kinds of Books! Hey Stephanie got a bunch of teenagers to become readers so in my book that’s a win-win!

    Xo Lendy

  16. I feel like I’m needing more sleep vs. less as I get older… frustrating because I like to do creative work at night, but if I stay up late I’m shot the next morning. I usually am up by 6:45 during the week. My elderly dog has been waking me up to let her out 1-2 times a night and that is making me even more tired… like having a baby again but ten years since my last newborn.

    Cheyenne is an auction fundraiser town! There is always an auction going on that we are expected to attend. In the past I’ve donated a children’s-themed basket of fun stuff—nice way to break up some of the other “grownup” items like dinners and weekends away. The key to a good auction basket: have something that is one-of-a-kind mixed in with the stuff that is accessible but difficult to buy all in one town. Gets ’em every time : )

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