22.3.17

4AM and 4 Months Old

Oh hi there 4am. It's been a while, but the last 2 weeks or so you have been showing your stupid face again. Sometimes, like today, it's because my 2.5yo wakes up whining which then wakes up my 4mo and I have to rush in there to quiet all the chaos. As much as I love our house- there is a downside to having the kids share a room! When normally I would just let either kid fuss for a bit (and they quiet down after just a minute or two) I now have to quiet them myself in fear of waking up the other. #firstworldproblems and all that. 

I also want to know if anyone has dealt with this: Kenzie is now insisting on a binki like Cooper. She hasn't taken a pacifier since she was 4 months old but because baby brother has one- she needs one. So today she woke up at 4 saying she needed a binki and it "would help me a ton". Which is adorable at 4pm- not 4am. I told her no, she'll be ok. But man- the day I can get rid of Cooper's binkis all together is going to be a great day. I actually think I could probably do it now because he sucks his thumb. The only time I give him a binki is to get through that last like 40 minutes before his night bottle. So maybe I'll have to experiment a day without one and see how it goes...

Cooper is 4 months and a few weeks old but since I never posted an update ill just consider it a little late. 

He is ALL smiles. Just a big fat grin almost the majority of the time he is awake. It's the best! I just have to make eye contact with him and he gets a huge grin and so wiggly. 

He is rolling now- from back to tummy to back. He's a big dude and so he's different to watch than Mckenzie at this age! He's grabbing his feet and moving his body so much! It's adorable 

He's 15.4lbs and 25in so he hasn't maintained his 90th percentile from birth (mr 10.2lbs) but he's still in the high 60's. It's fun to have a big baby! He's so strong and he can't wait until he can sit up on his own. 

He's our little dream boat baby and he makes me so happy! I really love being a mom of 2! It's been the best thing ever and seriously brings me so much joy and satisfaction. 

11.3.17

My First 5 Days of Minimalism

March 6 Day 1 

After watching Minimalism last night I am looking at my house completely differently. I couldn't wait to get home from work and do a sweep of stuff. I took out random knick knacks off shelves, bit the bullet and got rid of 2 dozen pieces of clothing plus shoes jackets and bags. Threw away pounds of old school papers, old photographs and random folders. I went through pics from my childhood (taking selfies before selfies were a thing!) and kept a stack to scan. I threw away a dozen unused plant pots and at the end of all that, 2 big plastic tubs were empty and my garage a little less crowded. I am slightly addicted and can't wait to do more tomorrow. 

March 7 Day 2

Went to Smiths and saw the Easter section and was so much more aware of ALL THE THINGS. I avoided the children's clearance section because I always find a good deal I can't walk away from. Over the years I have learned to just not put myself in the place where the things are to buy- mall, boutique, etc. so grocery stores are my jam. But even there I find extra things I think I need. But I'm realizing more and more that I don't technically need any of it.  The Easter spot really just yelled POINTLESS STUFF at me today. It was kind of shocking. I don't really know how holidays will work. My kids are young enough not to know any different if we don't buy anything. I'm interested to see what I end up doing! But I will say the idea of taking money you would spend on stuff and saving it for a family vacation appeals to me soooo much. 

I got rid of more stuff today. I went in my kitchen cabinets and found things I have literally never used that we got as gifts from our wedding 6 years ago. Those are gone. I reduced our dozens of spatulas and spoons to a handful. I got rid of an extra 8x8 and 9x13 pan because I don't need 3 of each. I got rid of extra blenders (because we don't need 3). I got rid of some old picture frames that I've had since high school. I took down a few things from my walls. I keep the photos because those add value and bring joy to my life. I went through my bookshelves and got rid of maybe 2 dozen books. Those that I didn't really like when I read them, and will never read again. I'm keeping the books I loved and would recommend to someone or read again. I had purged books about 5 months ago so there wasn't as many books to get rid of. I got rid of 2 more pairs of shoes because I just can't wear them and function as a mother (too high, not stable, etc) and I finally let go of half a dozen necklaces that are old and out of style. I almost saved a few for Kenzie's dress up box but decided against it. 

March 8 Day 3

Have I mentioned how ADDICTING this is?? I have spent the last three days going through my entire house multiple times during nap time and keeping finding stuff to get rid of. Today I went through Kenzie's old clothes. I got rid of clothes that were out of style when I received them as a hand-me-down and that she never wore. I got rid of the little stained shirts and the 20 extra receiving blankets we never used. If I didn't use this stuff with my first- who arguably gets the most stuff/special treatment as a baby- I'm not concerned that I will need it for my third (if my third ends up being a girl). I still kept a lot. I kept the jammies and onsies and I know I have more than I "need". But they're all still in great condition and in style and I don't see the logic behind getting rid of stuff you'll need eventually. It's been really hard to get rid of random/excess stuff around the house and in my room, but the kids are different. I plan on keeping the chair that Cooper grows out of. The toys Mckenzie doesn't play with, but Cooper soon will, are staying. I just ask "does this add value" and for the most part, all the kids' stuff does. But the old girl clothes I never had Kenzie wear didn't add value then, and it won't add value down the road. I want to find a place to donate the clothes and blankets to help those who will find value in them. I should make a side note saying I'm not throwing anything away. It's all getting donated. Minus old pictures and papers- nothing is just going in the trash. 

So my trunk is full again and I'm feeling more free than ever. I went through my drawers AGAIN and picked a few more items to get rid of. I've gone through my clothes every day this week. It's getting easier each day to toss stuff. Today I put on a shirt and hated how it fit. Instead of putting it back in my closet I put it in the donation pile. This is honestly making me so happy. 

I had some extra energy tonight so tackled the pantry and spice cupboard. I threw out expired spices and expired food. I believe in food storage and having food and goods on hand ADDS VALUE to my life- so my pantry still looks like a pantry. But there is no longer random bent gift bags or cookb


ooks I have literally never opened. Minimalism doesn't have to be about an empty looking pantry. It's about having a pantry that is full of useful things that have a purpose. I also went through our junk basket and pen/scissor/anything vertical cup. We don't need 30 pens or old recipes or expired coupons. 

March 9 Day 4

I want to talk to everyone I know about this. I can't explain how much it has changed my outlook in less than a week. Random example- I pull a jar of tootsie rolls out of the pantry and pour out a handful. I pause, and put all of them back except one. Because one little tootsie roll will be enough to satisfy that want for sugar. I don't need, or even really want, to eat 10. But since they're small- why not? But because my mind has been in constant minimal mode I reevaluated in a split second and only kept one. Might seem small- but it's an example of how my thoughts are changing to be more aware of the decisions I'm making. 

I finished going through Kenzie's old baby clothes and found a few more things in my closet to get rid of. I've gone from having a dozen purses and bags to 3.  My old heels from high school (the pair I wore at graduation and a pair I bought for prom) are gone. Because they don't fit me as well two babies later and I never wear them. I think there are a lot of people who already do this: get rid of stuff when it's no longer useful. But me, and a lot of people I know, hold on to things for other reasons:

"Just in case" 
"I might need that one day"
"It's still in good condition"
"For when I go camping" (how I justified having 30 t-shirts I never wore) 
"It was a gift"
"It was free" - I am guilty of this!! I get stuff from work ALL THE TIME and bring it home because...why not?? It's free! 
Etc

When I was 16 I got a job at the mall and from my very first paycheck I bought stuff. I bought new clothes because I thought if I had hundreds of clothes people would like me more, or tease me less. And so I think I held on to things because why not have 100 shirts? It's actually a pretty cool seal of being on trend right? A huge overflowing closet is a sign of....something? But who says that?? And more importantly- Why should I care? Do clothes bring me joy? The ones that fit me and help me feel confident- absolutely. I won't be getting rid of those. But I will get rid of the clothes that just don't fit me right anymore. And clothes that have sat in my closet for more than a year but have never even been considered as an outfit choice. I don't want my self esteem to be tied to my closet or my home decor. I know I have really improved over the years on that point, but I will say this week has brought me more mental clarity and freedom than ever before. I am truly letting go of the emotional insecurities that I have placed on things.

March 10 Day 5 

I said at work today "I think I'm pretty much done going through everything" and then came home and got rid of 50 more things from my closet and 2 big bags of stuff from my bathroom and the kid's bathroom 😳 I have now gone through all the clothes, shoes and accessories I own and took out so much stuff. I had a little bit of anxiety for the first time as I got rid of some nice, quality and in style pieces. But as I felt that anxiety I asked myself "why?" And was really able to just sit there for a few minutes and decide where those feelings were coming from. And once I did, I was able to let go of the stuff, and the anxiety. The other time I had a "crap...what if I'll need that?" was when the people at Saver's were dumping all my bags and boxes of stuff into their carts. I saw so much...I was worried that maybe I got rid of too much. Or that I got rid of stuff that we might need one day. But then I came home and my house looks...the same. That stuff that was being stored in closets and cupboards were not adding value to my life. So I guess I'm saying that is hasn't been easy 100% of the time. But it has made me so happy and satisfied. 

I also went through our desk and my old CD case. I downloaded a few CDs onto the computer and then tossed them all out. Again, CDs hanging out at the bottom of my desk wasn't adding value to my life. They weren't even in my car where they could be used. So I just downloaded all the music onto an iPod and will keep that in my car. 

After 5 days and several hours, I have gone through every single room, drawer, cupboard, bag, tote, container and folder. I got rid of the things that don't add value to my life. And kept everything that does. It's not about not having any stuff. It's about having a purpose for your stuff. It's about having stuff YOU want. Not stuff just because you think you SHOULD or because that's how your home/closet/bathroom SHOULD look. It's about living a more meaningful life with less. What brings value to my life, might not bring value to yours. And the things that add value to my life now might not add value in 2 months or 8 months or 3 years. And when they no longer do, it's time to get rid of it. 

So there you have it. My first 5 Days of Minimalism. I genuinely feel like a different person. I'm excited to see what's next and what lessons I can continue to learn. If you're interested, here is what I recommend 
1. Watch the Minimalism documentary on Netflix of Vemeo 
2. Listen to their podcast. This is where they answer questions and explain in more detail and give tips on how to apply it to yourself personally 
2. They also have some cool articles on their website theminimalists.com 

Just like everything- I love a lot of what they say. And other things aren't for me (their diet, exercise or education views just as an example). But I think we can pick and choose and not have to be a die hard to be interested. 

For more daily or random thoughts/updates I'll be posting on IG @mbowen_ 

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