Sibling Love

My chicks are all back in the nest, where they belong.

Everett is delighted to be reunited with his “girlies”. Kaylia was at camp for a week, and then Anika was at camp the next week, and it felt like two weeks was a long time to be missing a family member. My thoughts keep going to my cousin, who lost her son in an accident this last week, and my heart feels heavy for moms who can’t be with their children.

These are the days to hold them close, and enjoy this stage. But at the same time, I always want to keep in mind that the whole point is for them to grow up, and eventually leave the nest, and I don’t want that to be a depressing thought. I want to learn to be fully present, and enjoy each stage, being able to look ahead with excitement and anticipation, and lots of trust that God has good things in store for the future.

But right now, it’s good to have them right where they are. There’s been some fighting already, but it warmed my heart to look out the window and find them chatting together in the play structure – so much to catch up on!:)

Other than the play structure moment, my favourite interaction would have to be this one:

Anika: Locked in her room, reading her book and wanting to be alone.

Kaylia: Knocking and repeatedly begging to play.

Anika: Repeatedly ignoring her.

Kaylia: Made Everett come to Anika’s door with her and started feeding him lines. “Tell Anika to open her door.”

Everett: “Anka, open my door!”

Kaylia: “Tell Anika to let you in her room.”

Everett: “Let you into my room!”

Kaylia “Tell her you want to hug her.”

Everett: “I want to hug you!”

Kaylia: “Tell her you want to kiss her.”

Everett: (long pause) “No. I not saying that.” And stomped down the hall. A kiss was going too far.

May you have better luck with your kiss requests this week. Have a happy Monday!

Save

Save

Summer Bucket List

I made a summer bucket list with the girls a month ago. They had all kinds of fun ideas for what they’d like to do this summer, but I had only one item to add to the list – family float time at the lake. We used to do this before Everett was born: a hot summer afternoon + something to float on for everyone, and a few hours later, I had my all-time favourite summer memories, every single time.

But it’s been three years since this has happened! We’ve had some great weekends at the cabin since Everett was born, but we’ve never had a HOT weekend! It’s been rainy and on the cooler side every time we’ve gone out there the last two summers, and I was starting to get desperate! How was it possible to miss out for so long on my favourite summer activity??!

We finally got our hot weekend, and our family floated, and now I don’t care what happens for the rest of the summer, I have been satisfied.

We stayed at the lake until Monday so that we could drop Kaylia off at camp, which is five minutes away from my parents’ cabin. It’s her first time going, and we’re all pretty curious how this will go! It’s been awhile since we’ve only had two kids in the house, so Anika and I have a list of chick flicks to get through, and Everett is missing his little playmate, so he’s filling his time with “helping” me, which we all know is outrageously helpful. Although, he did empty the whole cooler when we got back from the cabin, which was legitimately helpful, so maybe it will turn out okay!

I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

Save

Save

A Winner and a Weekend

We have a winner! Laura Friesen gets the Amazon gift card.:) But thank you so much to everyone who commented during the last two weeks – it’s always fun to hear from other people, and I loved reading about what you’re all enjoying right now! I hope the sharing of ideas added a little bit of value to your life.

Sometimes I find it hard to share favourites – everybody is unique, and we all have our own passions and interests. When I talk about mine, it can be easy to think, “But why would anyone actually care about my little life, and the way we do things in our home?” And yet I’m always interested in what other people are doing, so why not?!

And then I go out on a limb, and share a bit of myself, only to have doubt creep in – what if people take it the wrong way, and think I’m saying everyone should do it my way? Or what if I share something I’m trying, only to discover later on that I’m completely on the wrong track?

So sometimes I choose to stay quiet, because it’s easiest. But I have a friend who says, “Share the keys! You might be holding a key of wisdom that someone else needs, and if you don’t share what you know, they won’t get the key they’ve been waiting for!”

Every time I think of the keys, I choose to share what I’ve got, however small it might be, because it seems like there’s not a lot in this world we’ve been given just to hang onto, and keep for ourselves.

So thank you for showing up here, and sharing the keys!:) Thanks to everyone who took the time to spread a little bit of joy and knowledge around. And maybe sharing online is just not your thing, and that’s totally okay. I’m pretty sure you’ll get other opportunities to share what you know and love, and you’ll keep passing on the keys, too.

I hope you all had a great weekend! We had the best kind – a little bit of work, lots of playing and relaxing, and hanging out with friends.

I hope your weekend left you feeling refreshed, and ready for another beautiful week!

Save

Personality Types

This post is part of a series, sharing my favourite products and discoveries from this last year. (You can find the first post here.) If you have any favourite ideas to contribute, please feel free to comment. Anyone who comments during this series over the next two weeks will have their name entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card. Let us know what you’re loving!

You guys, today’s topic is my favourite of all the favourites. It’s shaped my thinking in some big ways over this last year, but it’s a huge topic, so I’ll only be able to give you a bit of an overview. If anything peaks your interest, I’ll point you to some great resources so you can dig deeper if you’d like.

Today we’re talking about personality types and the Myers Briggs tool. Most people are at least familiar with this tool, so you probably know about it, but this was the year I dug into it and got a much better understanding. In case you’re not too familiar with it, here’s how it works:

There are 16 different personality types, but this doesn’t mean each person with the same type will be exactly the same. We give our personality our own individual twist, and there are many factors playing into it, but these generalizations can be extremely helpful in exploring how we think and respond to people and situations.

Each 16 types is given a combination of four letters which stand for words describing your personal preferences – Introvert or Extrovert, Sensing or Intuition, Thinking or Feeling, Judging or Perceiving. My letters are INFJ, and Ben is an ENFP, for example. Here’s what that means:

Introvert or Extrovert

Do you need to be alone to recharge, or does being with other people make you feel energized? “Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on your own inner world?” (source) Although people have a preference one way or the other, people are usually a mix of the two. For example, I’m an introvert, but I really love people and don’t like to be alone for endless amounts of time. I need to be alone to recharge, and get super grumpy and overstimulated if I don’t get enough alone time, but if I’m alone for a whole day, I actually start getting depressed and feel very out of balance. Ben, on the other hand, is an extrovert, but says he would have no problem being alone for a couple of days. We are opposite in how we prefer to recharge, but because I’m an extroverted introvert, and he’s more of an introverted extrovert, we’ve found it pretty easy to find balance in this area.

Sensing or Intuition

Sensors are very present in the world around them. They take in information with their five senses and are very aware of their environment. They are focused on facts and experiences as they actually happened, while intuitives are all about reading between the lines and picking up on undercurrents. Their thoughts leap all over the place, they love new ideas, and they are more abstract. Ben and I are both intuitives, so our conversations go deep and wide, with lots of new thoughts to explore. Both of us use metaphors a lot to explain things. I find that most of my friends are intuitives, but I have great appreciation for the sensors in my life. My mom is a sensor, and there is no one like her when it comes to throwing a party. Sensors are all about holidays and traditions, and when I look back on my childhood, I can see how consistent she was with traditions that meant and still mean a lot to me. Unfortunately, I have a lot of trouble with repeating the same practice for my own family. I used to feel a lot of guilt about this – being a “good mom” meant being like my mom, but I just didn’t have the energy to do a lot of things she did. It’s been very freeing to discover this past year that a “good mom” can actually look many different ways, and when we spent Canada Day at the cabin with my parents,  I was delighted to let her decorate and make the whole thing beautiful and festive so we could enjoy the tradition without me needing to do all the work. I’m absolutely not lazy, like I used to worry about – I just have different priorities, and get excited, energetic, and motivated by different things.

Thinking or Feeling

When making decisions, Thinkers focus on facts, logic, and effectiveness, while Feelers focus more on people’s emotions, and think more about keeping everybody feeling happy, understood, and cared for. Thinkers still have feelings, and Feelers still think, but it’s their preferred way of processing. Ben and I are both Feelers, so things in our home are very focused on the deep conversations to get everybody connected. Anika may very well be a Thinker, though, because sometimes she’ll suddenly say, “Okay, I get it, can we stop talking about this now?” I used to think she was being totally disrespectful, and while I still think tone makes a huge difference, I’ve come to recognize that she reaches her limit for conversation on certain topics. Sometimes I’d feel a little shut down when she’d say it, but now I can understand that my efficient daughter is just ready to move on to the next thing, and I choose not to take it personally.

It seems that many times, hurt feelings come about because of these differences. Feelers tend to share thoughts and emotions which Thinkers don’t always connect with. Thinkers are more straightforward, and think all the fluff and emotions Feelers use to communicate are unnecessary and maybe even a waste of time. These are vastly different styles of communication, and I’ve seen (and felt!) these opposite approaches bring about misunderstanding and hurt where it was never intended. As a Feeler, I find it very helpful to have another point of view to examine when someone doesn’t respond to me in the way I expected and anticipated.

Judging or Perceiving

The easiest way for me to differentiate between these last two preferences is to figure out if someone has a “work before play” mentality, or if they just love to have fun anytime, throwing in a bit of work here and there, wherever it fits in best. Or make the work fun! I use judging, and it’s all work. I don’t want to even think about having fun until the to-do list is done, and then I can move on to the fun part feeling guilt-free and ready to enjoy myself. But Ben is the fun one in our home, and he’s all about turning on the music while we work, and thinking up ways to make it more enjoyable. Life with him has definitely made me learn to be less intense. Sometimes there’s a bit of frustration because I have a list and I’m on a mission, which is not his style at all, but it’s pretty much the only area where we have to work on things in our relationship. I read an article recently about what it’s like for an INFJ and ENFP to be in relationship, and it said we’re the perfect match, comparing us to levitating unicorns, which sounds quite magical to me. Our relationship is not perfect, but it’s pretty great! I’m very happy with my unicorn.:)

So all of that is only the beginning of the 16 personality types, and it can go in a million different directions. In the last year, I’ve used it to deepen my understanding of myself, my relationship with Ben, in parenting, extended family relationships, friendships, pretty much anywhere I interact with people. It’s been eye-opening and sometimes slightly uncomfortable, but mostly fantastic. Interestingly, not all personality types like personality typing! Some types see no use for it, while other types are drawn strongly to it. Ben’s type doesn’t like to put people in a box, but he sees some value in the tool. My type finds it a huge relief, because I finally feel understood and like I’m not completely weird in the way I respond to stuff!

If it’s something that interests you, the best place to start learning is by taking a free personality test here. I love the podcasts by Personality Hacker, which you can find here. The profile descriptions at this site are very informative, and to get a better understanding of what the difference is between Extravert/Introvert, Sensing/Intuition, Feeling/Thinking, and Judging/Perceiving, I really like the list format provided at this site.

The best book I’ve read this year is MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths (affiliate link). A lot of things started making sense to me when I read this book, like why I parent the way I do, my relationship with each of my kids, why I was the way I was as a kid, and our family dynamics. I’m just finishing it up now, and I’m eager to see how it will positively impact things in our home.

Earlier this year, I was searching for a book that would help me figure out how to survive as an introvert parent when I’m with my kids all day. I love them like crazy, but I was feeling overwhelmed because of never having enough alone time. I’d feel guilty when I took alone time because I felt I needed to be with them to be a loving, attentive mom! I couldn’t find a single book for introvert parents, which made me feel very frustrated, but then a friend mentioned this book to me, and it’s been so much more helpful than I was even hoping for! Because it covers all 16 personality types, as well as the different personalities our spouse and children bring to the home, it is very informative and useful for absolutely anybody interested in learning more about Myers Briggs. Such a great resource.

And a big favourite around here is the Myers Briggs Disney princess site, because it’s become vitally important to understand which princess everyone is most like, and it makes me Elsa, so it’s a big topic of discussion around here.

Are you a fan of the Myers Briggs tool? Bonus points to anyone who takes the test and comes back to tell me what you are! 🙂

 

Save

Birthday Favourites, a Giveaway, and Getting Things Done

Hey, Friends! Today is the start of my annual little “Birthday Favourites” series, meaning that over the next two weeks, I’m going to be sharing all the fun new things I’ve discovered during the last year.

It’s a tradition my mom started when I was a kid – every year on our birthdays, she’d record everything we loved most at that moment, and we always thought it was fun to look back at how things changed or stayed the same or whatever! It became so much a part of turning a year older that even now, as I’m nearing 40 (gulp!), I still see my birthday as a time of reflection and a little bit of goal setting, too – I love the idea of improving with age, and doing it on purpose! What do I love, and how can I learn, grow, and challenge myself to discover new things which increase my enjoyment in life?

I’ll be sharing what I’ve discovered in the past year (and there are some really good things I can’t wait to tell you about!), but there’s also the opportunity for you to get involved! Every time you choose to share a comment about a product/experience/habit you’re loving right now, your name will be entered in a draw for an Amazon gift card, so you can have the chance to try even more new good things.:) I’ve loved doing this in the past, because hearing new ideas from all of you has been really interesting, and I try as many of your suggestions as possible. As a result, I’ve discovered some of my favorite songs, books, and all kinds of good things. Share the love! Or at least enjoy reading through the comments to find out what others are enjoying.:)

So let’s jump in and get started!

This was the year I discovered the benefits of Bullet Journaling. I’d heard of it many times in the past, and tried it out, but a few months ago, it finally stuck, for the simple reason that I got a specific “special” notebook (different from the kind I usually make my “to do” lists in), just for bullet journaling.

Bullet Journaling is an incredibly flexible way to keep track of your life that can work for pretty much anybody, because you decide what to include. It’s fast and customizable, because you’re using a blank notebook. You start with an index, give every page you use a page number, and add whatever you need. I started with a monthly to-do list – just a quick list of tasks I needed to get done that month. Then I started adding my daily items to check off. But anytime I think of a list I need to make, like blog post ideas, a shopping list, gift ideas, or books I want to read, whatever, I can just add them in anywhere, making sure to add the page number to the index.

Everything goes into one notebook.

I used to have a million little pieces of paper lying around with all the lists I made, but now they’re all in one place.

I’ve kept things pretty basic in my Bullet Journal, but there are tons of beautiful ideas on Pinterest for how to make this as artistic and intricate as you want. The artistic part does appeal to me, but at this point in my life, I don’t really have time for doodling! Someday. In the meantime, this little journal is keeping me on track in ways I’ve never experienced before. I’m a pretty organized person, but it just felt like things would slip through the cracks, and I needed to find a way to keep everything together.

This is the video which first got me interested:

 

There are two other tools I use along with bullet journaling. Evernote became a favourite of mine this past year, because it’s also fantastic for making lists with, and when I don’t have my bullet journal with me, I usually have my phone, and can add stuff to Evernote so I won’t forget anything. I love being able to search Evernote for things I’ve entered, so I can make endless amounts of lists on it but still always be able to find what I’m looking for later. I use it for writing down funny things the kids say, taking notes of messages or podcasts I listen to, information I’m collecting on stuff I’m researching (like price comparisons for products I want to buy or information on new products to try), books I want to read, grocery lists, quotes I love, whatever.

 

The second tool I use which works very well with bullet journaling is the “Getting Things Done” method. I’ve listened to a few of David Allen’s podcast episodes which explain the method, and it’s very easy to implement. There’s also a book about the method, which you can check out here (affiliate link).

David Allen explains that we can only remember about four things at a time, and it’s difficult for our brains to hang on to those things for long, so when we write everything down, we get more done, and feel less stressed because we’re not trying to remember everything. He talks about doing a regular “brain dump”, which simply involves writing down every single thought that crosses your mind, no matter how random it might be. Afterwards, you can go over your list and decide what action needs to be taken. Sometimes it’s an item I need to add to a shopping list. It could be something important I need to add to my to-do list. Or it could be an item I need to pray or journal about. Everything on the list needs to have a place to go where I’ll remember to take care of it.

This method fits perfectly with bullet journaling – I do my brain dump at the back of my journal, then when I’m finished, I go back over every item and add them to the correct list, all in the same notebook. It’s been so practical and effective, I really feel like it’s given me more peace of mind. I’ve reached the point where it feels really uncomfortable to have something in my mind that I’m not writing down – like carrying something heavy that just needs to be set down! I love the feeling of not trying to lug too many thoughts around in my head or feeling concerned that I’ll forget something important!

So those are three of my favourites this year. I’d love to hear how you keep track of things and get stuff done! What makes you feel productive, motivated, and stress-free?:)

 

 

 

Save

Save

Beginning of Summer

I love the beginnings of things – the first day on vacation, first thing in the morning, first page in a journal. You just never know where things are going to go, and I enjoy the anticipation. I’m not as good at squeezing out the last drops. I guess I keep jumping ahead, and start thinking about the next thing too soon, which is great for having motivation to start something new, but not so great for staying in the moment.

End of summer and I have some work to do. But beginning of summer? We get along great. I love the promise of great things to come, the long stretch of beautiful days before us.


Speaking of anticipating things, next week is my birthday, and I’ll be doing my usual “Birthday Favorites” giveaway – I share my favorite finds of the year, and anyone who shares theirs in the comment section over the next two weeks is entered into a draw. I’ve heard such great tips and things to try from all of you in the past, and I’m super excited to get started!

Save

Father’s Day Fail

When Ben and I got married, someone gave us the book “The Five Love Languages”. I dutifully read it and took the test. When it told me that I best understand expressions of love like quality time, words of affirmation, and acts of service, this made sense. Gifts and physical touch, not so much. I like practical stuff, and I’m not a huggy person.

Ben never could figure out what his love languages were for sure. He didn’t take any test, but he thought physical touch was most important for him, and based on seventeen years of living with him,  I guessed acts of service were high up there as well. But I was pretty sure words of affirmation weren’t a big priority. Every year on his birthday, I used to write meaningful notes in birthday cards. I still write loving blog posts about him every year, and I always wait anxiously for him to read them. And his reaction is the same – he says, “Thank you. That’s very nice.” And that’s all. Since it never seems to blow him away, I just assumed words of affirmation were more my thing.

Here’s where my giant failure comes in: This year for Father’s Day, we were super sneaky about getting a gift that would surprise him, and we talked about what would be fun to do together as a family, but when the idea of a card crossed my mind, my thoughts were “A card? Hmm….nah, he’s not really into cards and words of affirmation”, and I totally ditched the idea.


So we were sitting in a restaurant waiting for our food on Father’s Day, and the topic of love languages came up. I was ready to get some answers out of this easy-going husband of mine, so I found a test on my phone, and made him take it right then and there. The results? WORDS OF AFFIRMATION!!! What in the world?! Also, physical touch and acts of service, just like we’d guessed. But I totally did not see that first one coming. And I skipped the card! And didn’t get our kids to make a card!!


Never again. I won’t let his easy-going reaction fool me anymore, and he will receive the most beautifully worded cards from now on.

Words of advice for everyone reading this: Take the test! And make your loved ones take it too! And never skip the card!! Sheesh.

But we had a fun day, and it was great to celebrate Ben.

I really, really love Ben. He’s the most wonderful person to be around. He is always in a good mood, he changes the atmosphere of any room he walks into, he draws people to him and laughter out of them, and he brings all the fun into our home, along with large doses of wisdom and level-headedness. And fortunately, he’s so easy-going that I’m sure he’ll be totally fine with my late attempt to honour him with words of affirmation! But I’ll do better next year.;)

Save