Monday, August 20, 2018

Things to do Before Summer Ends

This summer break has gone so fast. I can't believe for most kids, school starts this week! My kids are still young so my son in preschool doesn't start until September thankfully.. while I have just a little more time to enjoy summer with my kids, I have been thinking of a few things I can fit in to get the most out of our time. 
I decided to list all of my favorite summer activities. That way others can enjoy the last little while of this nice weather by getting out and doing something fun with the family! 

Splash pads: my favorite place to go during the summer is the splash pad. It takes all the worry of my kids drowning off the table. I can walk around with them or just stand there and watch my kids splash and play. 

Family walks: my youngest has started avoiding her stroller, so she can walk everywhere... although it drives me crazy when she wants to walk by herself in parking lots, it's adorable when we go on family walks with our dogs. She likes to be my big helper and walk our dog all by herself. (Our dog is very well trained and knows not to pull when walking. But I always keep my eyes open just in case there is a loose dog that my dog might try to play with so she doesn't get hurt by walking him.)

Camping: This year we didn't get to go camping,  but we did go up the canyon for an evening recently when my parents and siblings went camping. It was so much fun to have a campfire and roast hot dogs,  and marshmallows. My kids got to see some cousins which are always fun for them. 
Other trips: not only did we not go camping,  but this summer we just didn't do any trips at all! We do have

Going to the park: the park is my kid's favorite place during the summer. I've been avoiding it the last month because it's been so hot out.  But finally, the weather is chilling down just enough that it makes going to the park bearable. It's also great that school is starting so all the older kids will be in school when we go play at the park! 

Free outdoor events: my husband and I are always on the lookout for free activities. Our community does a movie night in the park which is so fun to go to with the kid. I am trying to take advantage of those last few events they do before labor day. 

Swimming: my family hasn't done enough swimming this summer. Mostly because my husband hates to swim.. and it's hard for me to take two young kids by myself. But I'm determined to drag my husband to the pool at least one more time before it closes!

Sitting outside: I love sitting in my backyard on a summer evening. It's warm and my neighborhood is quiet
 It's just relaxing!

Volunteering: Last but not least, volunteering is a great thing to do any time of the year. 

If you find events to volunteer for during these warm months,  you get to enjoy being outside as well! I love volunteering with my dog rescue group. We just had an event called "Yappy Hour". Literally, everyone and their dogs were there. I got to hang out with my first dogs and talk to people who were interested in adopting. It was one of the first events I volunteered for, and it was actually pretty fun and a great change of pace. 

I only have this week and next to get some of these things on my list completed! I'm excited to have a jam-packed couple of weeks with my family. 

Leave a comment and tell me what you are doing to enjoy the last couple weeks of summer! 
If you want to keep up with more of my shenanigans, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

My Dream of Being a National Geographic Photographer

Not many know this about me, but I was born to be a photographer. When I was little I was obsessed with National Geographic's magazine. I always wanted to be the one to go scuba dive and get an incredible photo of a shark, or jellyfish. Or hike Mount Everest so I could have that amazing picture from on top of the world. That was my plan for a long time growing up. But as you may know,  dreams don't always come true. I had a school counselor in middle school that told me I shouldn't be a photographer because there is no money in it, and to try for something more "realistic". I hated that a school counselor who is supposed to help you get to where you want, pretty much tore down my dream. 
In hindsight, I could have just ignored him and tried to go for it anyway. But instead,  I found reasons why I could never be a National Geographic photographer. 

One reason is that you have to be good at writing articles! I convinced myself I could never be a good enough writer to be accepted. All photographers that work for National Geographic have to be good at writing.. and now look at me, writing an article about how I thought I could never write articles! 

I also knew nothing about photography. After high school, I decided that I still was interested in photography and maybe I could just pick it up as a small side business. So I bought this nice $600 camera and just decided to teach myself. I found that I am kind of good at it. I think of unique angles and feel like I have my own style.
I definitely could use more education towards the subject to get better,  but for being self-taught, I thought I did pretty good. I even started my own photography business for a little while. I made a little money. but you know,  everyone is a photographer now. In my home state of Utah, most women get into photography so it's really a saturated market. 

Now that I have kids,  and spend much of my time working with my husband's OCD, I don't have much time for my photography business. or have time to just go take photos really. But I still try here and there. 
I just joined Instagram,  which makes me feel like taking cool photos to post. So when I walk my dogs or have a moment outside with the kids,  I try to find something close by that I can get a good picture of. 

Anyway,  I'm hoping maybe one day I can jump back into it, get my skills up. Who knows, maybe I'll get the courage to get my photo into National Geographics!
After all,  I'm only 26. It's never too late to start living the life you want!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Forgetfulness can be a great motivator

Have you ever tried to self-diagnose yourself online?
That is pretty much all I ever do. 

"My leg hurts,  it looks like I have a bruise on it. I should look it up to make sure that's all it is... oh my gosh I must have Peripheral Artery Disease because the internet says leg pain is a symptom!!!"
Yes,  that was an actual thought of mine because I'm kind of a hypochondriac. 

I have been extremely forgetful lately. I will be making dinner,  and I'll forget a major ingredient. Or I'll be in the middle of cleaning something, go to another room to grab a cleaner and come back and just start cleaning another area, not remembering that I haven't finished the previous spot.
 I constantly feel like I'm losing my mind. So of course,  to the internet, I go for answers. 

Most lists I've found were somewhat similar. 

Lack of sleep
Eating bad foods
Not enough Mental exercise
And antidepressants!

Such helpful tips.. but I'm a mom so the sleep thing is always a problem.

I try to eat well, avoid processed foods and get my veggies in, but maybe I'm not eating well enough..?

Mental exercise.
yeah changing diapers can be exercise, trying to figure out how to keep an almost 2-year-old to lay still so I can change her, figure out why there is poop on the floor when she is still wearing her diaper. And using the toy box like Tetris to get all the toys to fit when it's clean up time. Is that not enough mental stimulation?

Stress is probably my downfall. I get stressed very easily. If my house is even the least bit messy, I am stressed.. so I guess I can work on that to see if that helps.

I was pretty shocked to hear this is a side effect of taking antidepressants!
 I was put on antidepressants after I had my last child and I was having severe Postpartum depression. I guess you have to deal with some side effects if you're trying to fight depression and keep yourself

Anyway, my point here is I feel like I have these random problems that seem almost impossible to solve. But I haven't really put the effort into trying to improve these aspects of my life. Most people will read self-help articles on how to improve their life,  but they don't really put the effort into it to make things happen. Sometimes just reading about how to help yourself makes you feel better, but If you really want to improve your quality of life, you have to start immediately by implementing these suggestions and see what they do for you. Nothing is going to change if you just read the information. 

My memory used to be so great.  I loved being able to remember almost every conversation, like pointless fact I'd hear.
So I'm motivated to see if I can get back there again. I'm going to try to use all of these suggestions as a test.
I won't give up my antidepressants, but it would be interesting to see if that is what is causing my forgetfulness,  or if it's a combination of things.
As of right now, I'm going to put in my best effort with these tasks and see if I can be less forgetful by next week.

Stay tuned next week to see if the internet has failed me or not. 

Do you actually implement and stick with things you're trying to improve? How has it worked for you? Or are you like me. Read about it and not really do anything else to get your situation better?

If you are enjoying my articles, please follow my blog to keep up with my latest posts!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

How to Survive Your Loved one's OCD

Last week I wrote a blog post about my husband and how he has OCD.  I'm going to share more helpful information for those who might be in a similar situation. Just so everyone knows, my husband has given me permission to exploit anything about him as long as my blog makes money. so help me keep exploiting him by clicking on my ads!

Anyway,  every day is a new kind of struggle for me. I hate arguing, and being told how to do things.. and with an OCD husband, there is a lot of stupid arguments,  and being told I'm doing everything wrong. I'm a very stubborn person so if I'm told to do something by him,  I usually get really mad and tell him to "get over it, and do it himself". Which of course always starts a fight. I have been trying to work on how to make my life and my husband's life little more bearable with OCD getting in the way. Here are some things I've learned. 

Don't give in:
The worst thing you can do for someone with OCD helps them with their rituals. My husband used to be able to wash his hands.. then one day he asked me to turn the faucet on for him. I didn't think anything of it the first time.. and then later he asked me to do it again and again.. by the end of the day I was exhausted just getting up to turn on the water for him... so I told him he needs to wash his own hands. If he can't handle touching the faucet,  then he doesn't get to wash his hands.

Of course in his mind,  I was being the ridiculous one. It led to a nice long fight, but he mostly stopped asking me after that.

Don't tell them to get over it:
That is the least helpful thing to say to someone with OCD. Just like any mental illness,  it's not their fault they have it. They need positivity from their spouse, that can help them work on getting better. Instead of saying "get over it", say something like
 " I get you to think I'm doing something everything because of your OCD, but I'm my own person. I can handle myself."

My husband still hates when I say that because it takes his power away from telling me to change my habits. But it helps him back off of me and only focus on his stuff. 

Don't expect perfection:
Even if your partner is taking medication,  and going to a psychologist that specializes in OCD. Don't expect them to get better. Some people can overcome OCD, but from what I've learned, they just get rid of their usual OCD habits and create a whole new OCD issue with something else. 

Remember to take time for yourself:
You are dedicating your life to your spouse but you need to keep your own mind and body healthy to keep your marriage healthy.
I've spent countless hours focused on my husband.  How to avoid arguments, how to help him get things done faster so we can spend time with each other,  and how to keep my kids from doing something that might set my husband's OCD off. It's a lot of exhausting work. I would often forget to take care of myself and it would lead to a lot of depression and anxiety for me.
so I have learned to find time for myself to do what I need to be able to relax and help me stay sane.

Life is hard when OCD is involved. So I hope that if your in a similar situation as I am, you can help your relationship work better by trying these tips. 

Follow my blogs to get updated on my articles regarding my OCD experiences and tips. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Don't Let the Mom Guilt Stop You

I'm one of those crazy moms who puts her kids to bed at 7. Do you know how wonderful it is to put your kids to bed at 7? It's freaking amazing!
I need my alone time. It helps me recuperate from all the whining I endured throughout the day. My quiet time is a sacred time. My husband has to do his OCD rituals starting at 7 pm, so I get about 2 hours of quiet time to myself. (Sometimes less depending on my husband's OCD or the kid's temper)
 Does that sound selfish? I always felt like it was selfish until I realized I truly needed that time to help me be a better mom.  

I have two kids, they are amazing,  funny,  creative, and so freaking cuddly. I love it! But these kids are also going through some difficult years learning how to express their emotions.. if you have kids, you know what I'm talking about. It gets exhausting having one kid cling to you all day, and the other one pulling curtains off the wall. (This happened today and I'm not too happy about it). Or telling you he just "can't" clean up his toys... I'm surprised the kid is able to do anything on his own because he just "can't" do anything I ever ask him. I won't even go into what I had to clean up in my youngest kids room yesterday...

As moms, we need to take a break now and then. Enjoy some quiet time to ourselves without the mom guilt.
If you don't take much time for yourself. It's time to start for the sake of keeping you sane.

When it's my time to relax I love to go outside and read. My neighborhood is really quiet most of the time so it's really relaxing. 
I also like to write on my blog or do some crafts. I wish I had more time for those things,  but I'll take what time I can get. 

Unfortunately, my oldest hasn't been allowing me to have time to myself. He keeps opening his door and whining as loud as he can until I come back to his room. The other night it took him 3 hours to go to sleep! I've been losing my mind without having that quiet time. I guess I shouldn't complain much, 
but I feel like I'm slowly losing my mind.
Have I mentioned I'm obsessed with Jim Carrey? He is awesome. 

So to all the burnt out moms, hang in there and ask for a break! Your husband can take over for a few hours without the world ending. If you're a single mom, get those kids to bed early and take some time for yourself. Were raising kids, so we need to be somewhat sane to do that successfully. 

What do you do to stay sane? Give some ideas that other mom's out there can try if they get some quiet time to themselves.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Small Business Owners Need to Learn About FreshBooks!

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Do you own your own business? I used to run a photography business before I had my kids. It was great, I loved Pretty much every aspect of it... except the money. I was young, and I had no experience with a living or how to handle the money I made for my business. I was trying to just figure things on my own and I was slowly failing at it.
 Most of my competition had ways to take credit card payments and had a lot of time to focus on their clients. I felt like I was only able to focus on the accounting part. I was losing out on clients because I didn't have enough time in my schedule to take clients and figure out my business finances.

I had no idea what I was doing!

I stumbled across FreshBooks, which is a Small business accounting software. It makes billing so easy!
Some great benefits of FreshBooks are that it makes invoicing completely painless, expense tracking is made so simple and it makes knowing how profitable you are, very easy!

The best part is they give you a 30-day free trial to try it out for yourself!

Finding FreshBooks was a blessing for my business. It helped me bring in a great income. Hopefully, I'll find the time to get back into my photography business again when my kids are a little older. 

I highly suggest you check out FreshBooks for yourself to see how easy and convenient it will be to you and your business!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Who are you living your life for?

Life is full of stereotypes and silly expectations. In America,  society believes you need to make a 6 figure income and live in a big house with nice cars and have every gadget in the world. 

My husband and I grew up in a more wealthy area but still grew up with really different ideas of the world. My husbands parents were middle class,  they had the nice house that they updated every few years, they would take their 4 kids on family vacations to New York, Chicago, Boston. Any big city you can name they went. 
My family was also middle class. My mom and stepfather were also middle class raising 9 children in one house. We had an old 70's home, and our vacations would be to Lake Powell 
Lake Powell is one of my favorite places. 

Occasionally I'd get to go on a vacation to Mexico,  just because I was the youngest and most of my siblings were moved out by then.
But for the most part, my family didn't have a ton of extra money to spend to get all the nicest things or update our old home. 

Now that I'm an adult I definitely see that I was blessed to have the things I did. My husband and I do alright but we aren't at the same level as our parents were. 
My husband constantly compares our kid's life to how he grew up. He only sees what we aren't able to give them. 
So whose life is he living? Because it's not his own. He is living for the stereotype. 
When people choose to live for someone else's opinion on how we should live,  they end up depressed and unhappy with their life. 

The last few years I've been learning more about the world, and the life I want. I don't choose to live for that stereotype. I try to live as minimalistic as I can. Only buy the things I actually need and don't worry about the rest. 

 I try to encourage my husband to save the money he would put toward buying an upgraded car, or the latest iPhone, and put it toward a family outing, or vacation. 
I believe when we're old and gray and only have our memories to keep us company,  we're not going to think about what type of phone we had, Or if our car had heated seats. 
We are going to think about our life with our family and friends, and how we choose to live our lives. 
Don't let your memories be a regret.

Things to do Before Summer Ends

This summer break has gone so fast. I can't believe for most kids, school starts this week! My kids are still young so my son in pr...