Extra Square Feet = Extra Anxiety

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When I first started this blog, one of my first posts had to do with the size of our apartment at the time which was 530 square feet. This housed myself, my husband, my daughter, and my cat. And it worked for a while. Honestly.

But last year, we found out that we were expecting a baby at the same time my husband and I were starting to feel that after 18 months of cozy togetherness, the walls were starting to close in our beloved 530 square feet. So last spring, we upgraded to a bigger apartment and added another 150-ish square feet.

So now we are a family of four humans and one cat resting comfortably in 700 square feet.

Or are we?

Here is the thing: I absolutely try my darndest to limit what comes in our apartment. I freely admit that clutter and messes give me anxiety. I am also aware that I have two children who will inevitably make messes and am also aware of the hilarious dichotomy between the two.

Now to some, 4 people and a pet living in 700 square feet sounds just fine, while to others, the word “claustrophobia” probably comes to mind. And that is okay. This just happens to be our season of life right now.

I find that with the extra square footage that we acquired last spring, it is easier for items to make their way past our front door. It is easier for paperwork to pile up on the kitchen table and counters. It is easier to shove items in the master bedroom closet since it is bigger than our last one and now voila! items are now unseen.

And all of this ramps up my anxiety.

I understand that another reason we have additional items is because we now have a baby. Babies need clothing and diapers and wipes and…well you get it. They have things they need and all of this stuff has to go somewhere. My older daughter also has her items whether it is homework stuff, or her books or toys.

So being methodical about what comes in and out of our apartment is something that I continuously have to work on because I do absolutely love the size of our apartment. I love the natural light we get and I love all the trees I can see outside of my windows.

But I also need to find a healthy balance because anxiety is no joke. Clutter drives me crazy. I need to get a bit of Zen in my day-to-day, for reals…

Do you guys live in a space with a limited number of square feet? Any tips and tricks you can share? Let me know in the comments!  🙂

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Simplify: My Goal For March

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Although I embarked on decluttering missions last year, I feel like more can be done. And not just with decluttering, but with simplifying as a whole.

For example, mail gets tossed on tables, forgotten about, and then all of a sudden we are late paying a bill.

Weekday mornings are spent scrambling to make my daughter’s lunches.

We were gifted so many newborn clothes and other accoutrements for my other daughter, there is no way to wear them all or use them all, and they are taking up precious space in our small apartment.

I could go on, but you see where I am going with this…

Spring starts in March and so next month seems as good a time as any, to start simplifying our home and streamlining what we are doing and what is coming in and out of our home.

I literally am feeling overwhelmed with our living space. My OCD/neat freak tendencies are making my normally rational self become undone.

So I am taking action and March is the month to do it. 31 days to get $&!* done.

Who’s with me?  🙂

RELATED POST: Decluttering: Drowning in Paperwork

As The Page Turns: 2018 Reads So Far…

Last year my reading goal for the year was 50 books. I set my bar low just in case while dealing with pregnancy, I wouldn’t be able to read as much as usual. I ended up reading 69 books in 2017  🙂

This year, I set my goal pretty low (25 books) because I have a baby. There is just not the free time I used to have to be able to devour books. However, I have been able to sneak in some reading here and there during nap time (hers not mine), and here is what I have read so far since the beginning of the year:

Breathe Mama, Breathe by Shonda Moralis

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I enjoyed reading this book about mindfulness for mamas because let’s face it, there are times when being a mom can get the best of us. This book shows how to have mini meditation breaks during the day and still keep your sanity while taking care of your kiddos! Definitely recommend for mamas no matter what stage of parenting you are in.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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LOVED THIS BOOK! I seriously had all the feelings about this novel and it is truly such a great read. This book about a young girl’s life in the early 1900’s in Brooklyn, is so good!

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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Guys… I wanted to like this book. I really did. I adore Plath’s poetry and I thought I would feel the same about her stand-alone novel published right around the time of her suicide, but I just couldn’t. This book, which is a fictionalized version of Plath’s actual nervous breakdown and subsequent shock therapies, just really did not pull me in, as the main character wasn’t one that you could really understand and therefore, it was hard to sympathize with her subsequent downward spirals. I empathized with her plight, but felt not enough was explained as to how she got there.

A Talent For Murder by Andrew Wilson

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Meh… I was so looking forward to reading this book and was just completely disappointed. Agatha Christie, the mystery novelist, really did disappear for 9 days in 1926, and this author decided to take that true story and put his own fictionalized twist on it. The results were underwhelming. I feel that some bad guy telling Agatha Christie to commit a murder for him or else he tells the world that her husband is having an affair and Christie agrees to do what he says, in order to forsake unwanted publicity, seems far-fetched to say the least.

The Address by Fiona Shaw

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Such a great read!! This book which flips back and forth between 1885 and 1985 is so, so good! And it really is so interesting and the author gives great detail about how New York was in the late 1800’s.

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

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Cait blogs about mindfulness, minimalism, and personal finance. She wrote a book about how she decluttered her life and went on a shopping ban for a year and all the lessons she learned along the way. I have been reading Cait’s blog for years, so it was super cool to finally read her book! 🙂 I really enjoyed reading it.

And if y’all are interested in what I am currently reading, I post pictures of ’em over on Instagram. All the pictures in this post are from my account. Stop by and say hi!  🙂

What are you guys reading?

 

Currently: The January Edition

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Hey guys! I can’t believe I am actually in front of the computer typing and not holding a baby! My hubby is on baby duty and helping out while I get a quick post in to let you guys know that I am still here. Tired, but still here  🙂

We have definitely adjusted to our new dynamic in being a household of four instead of three. Well, five instead of four if you count the cat, but still, we have found our groove. But mama is exhausted. Life with a newborn is not for the faint-hearted, but obviously it is well-worth it and I am oh so thankful for both of my beautiful daughters!

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: Actually, I am still enjoying it: The series Victoria on Masterpiece about Queen Victoria when she first became queen. The second season just started and I am absolutely in love with the show just like I was last year when the first season debuted. If you aren’t watching it, you need to!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Twitter. Yes, I have a twitter account and yes I use it. But it seems like every day, it is just crap that is on there or crap that is trending. There are days when I consider deleting the app off of my phone, but then panic at the thought of not being “informed”. Does anyone else go through this? I seriously admire the people who have either sworn off twitter, or only check it when they actually sit down and log into their computer.

And this isn’t a complaint against the actual medium of twitter as a tool for social media. I enjoy the initial concept of twitter. And honestly, how else would I have found out that my favorite show Elementary, comes back on air with new episodes in April?  🙂 But some days, twitter leaves me exhausted with the sheer stupidity that seems to seep forth from it.

I just want twitter to be a happy place. Is that so wrong?

On The Healthy Living Front: I have indeed lost some of my pregnancy weight. But here is the truth: I am not actively trying to lose weight. I am only a few weeks postpartum for crying out loud. However, I am also not immune to the enormous pressure that is put on moms to lose the baby weight immediately. It took a couple of months to lose the weight after having my first daughter and I expect it take the same amount of time or a bit longer this time around.

I walk a lot and am eating as healthfully as possible but if I want a few potato chips with my lunch time sandwich instead of my normal side of carrots, I am not beating myself up over it. I accumulated this weight over 9 months; it is not going to disappear in a matter of weeks.

What I Am Currently Reading: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. GUYS!!! I LOVE THIS BOOK! And I am not even done with it yet!

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I think for many people, this book may have been required reading at some point during your education, but I have never had a chance to read this novel. But I have always, always wanted to read it.

Well last week when I was at the library paying my overdue fines (#frugalfail), I wandered over to a section I rarely visit and saw this book on the shelf. I grabbed it and said to myself, it’s now or never, I am reading the gosh-darn thing, and checked the book out.

I get why this book is beloved and considered a classic. If you are a bookworm like myself and have never read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, please go to your local library and check this book out. You’re welcome  🙂

Also as a sidenote, I post pictures on Instagram of all the books that I have read. If you are looking for a book to get your hands on and are fresh out of book titles to peruse, check out my feed or better still, look up what I am reading under the hashtag #mackenziereads.

How is January going for you guys? Let me know!

New Year, New Baby!

IMG_0318Happy New Year everyone!!!

Can’t quite believe it is 2018, though. I remember when it was 1999 and about to be 2000, and everyone was freaking out buying bottles of water and extra batteries, in case something was going to happen. Lol…  🙂

Well, onto the exciting part! My baby girl is here!!!!!

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I am now the proud mama of two beautiful girls and feel so blessed. My husband and I are so thankful and Christmas was definitely extra special, that’s for sure!

I am also tired from taking care of a newborn, so again, apologies if I haven’t commented on your blog, or haven’t posted on here quite as often as I would like. But this is my season of life right now and I am rolling with it, albeit with massive cups of coffee  😉

How have you guys been? Let me know!

Currently: Baby Is Almost Here Edition

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It is almost Thanksgiving and I am ready to eat all the food. And watch the Macy’s Day Parade. And of course watch football. And eat more food. Yup, that is how we roll in our household  🙂

Also of course, we are on baby watch. Babies notoriously come whenever they want to and due dates, at the end the day mean nothing. When babies decide they have had enough of being in the womb and want to make their debut and see what all the fuss is about, is your actual due date, lol…

That being said, this mama is plumb tired. I waddle, I don’t walk. My ankles are always swollen and some days I have the energy of a gnat.

So, this will be my last post for a while. I need to get ready for our new addition with the little energy I have left. I hope to be able to blog a post here and there in December, but that will just all depend on how well we are all managing with a newborn and a 7 year-old in our household  🙂

I will still try and comment on blogs when I can

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!!!

-Mackenzie

 

Currently: The Farmer’s Market Edition

We are approaching the end of October and here in California, Mother Nature hasn’t received the memo that the seasons have changed and that it is no longer Summer. Today marked our 3rd straight day of triple digit temperatures. Good grief, right? Everybody else is running through leaves and wearing scarves already, and we are over here drinking gallons of water, lathering ourselves in SPF 700 sunscreen, and blessing whomever created the air conditioner. The weather-people who smile on our television sets, standing in front of green screens with our cities listed on them, have promised us that the heat will dissipate, so we’ll see…  🙂

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: Our trip to the local farmer’s market!

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We picked up some great stuff, including the best pumpkin seeds I’ve ever had! Apple Pie-Spiced Pumpkin seeds are my new favorite thing, and these did not last long in our house!  And the strawberries were so good! I used some of them to make Strawberry Muffins, and let me tell you, those were yummy as well!

One of my big 3rd trimester cravings (besides barbecue potato chips  🙂 ) is strawberries. I seriously cannot get enough of them! So these strawberries were definitely put to good use!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Bad news in general. Every day is bloody awful. Is there like, a “happy news” channel we all can subscribe to? I think our brains are overloaded by the sheer madness of everything…

On The Healthy Living/Pregnancy Front: As I mentioned above, my serious cravings have been for strawberries and barbecue potato chips, although not eaten together because, ewwwww… I am officially 8 months pregnant and when I look straight down, I can no longer see my feet, so there’s that  🙂 We just purchased the car seat for the baby last week so things are starting to come together!

On The Minimalism/Decluttering Front: Definitely, definitely working on this! If you missed my latest post on decluttering, you can read it here.

In Other News: I recently finished this book about Eleanor Roosevelt.

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I originally purchased this book last year at our local library’s book sale for 25 cents. Yes, you read that right: 25 cents. Then as you know, life happens and then the whole “I keep meaning to read this book” thing kept happening, and finally I hunkered down and read it. It took almost three weeks to finish because I don’t have a lot of free time to read and also the book was over 600 pages, which is probably what inhibited me from starting it in the first place.

But this book, which chronicles Eleanor’s life in the White House while her husband Franklin was president for the years 1932-1938, was really, really informative and honestly, really good. I am a great admirer of Eleanor’s and I have previously read her autobiography. She did so much as First Lady and really tried to help the people she felt were being forgotten during the Great Depression. She also tried to help pass an Anti-Lynching bill during a time when that senseless act of murder was still a component to instill fear in the Deep South.

This book was a great read and I definitely want to read this author’s other books on Eleanor Roosevelt that take place before and after this particular time period.

How has October been for you guys?  🙂

Are Nesting and Minimizing Compatible?

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My answer is yes.

But before I give my whys, lets define the term “nesting” for those not in the know. Here are two similar definitions from two different websites:

“Nesting is the act of preparing your home for your baby’s arrival, often fueled by big bursts of energy late in pregnancy”. – BabyCenter.com

“Nesting is the urge to clean and organize during pregnancy…to get your home ready for your new baby”. -AmericanPregnancy.org

Basically you are getting your home ready for your beautiful baby and making sure everything is ready to go when you come home with your new bundle of joy. Diapers at the ready? Check. Bottles ready to go? Check. Piles of paperwork that needs to be sorted through? Check. Wait. What?

Yes, I am in the nesting phase. I am making lists of what we need for the baby since it has been 7 years since my daughter was born so we are basically starting from scratch. I am slowly accumulating what we need and getting ready for our new arrival in a couple of months.

But…

I am also decluttering and minimizing things that have absolutely nothing to do with the impending shift in our family dynamic.

I am cleaning out closets. I am sorting through drawers. I am going through mountains of paperwork that seem to have accumulated over time. I am getting rid of things that no longer serve a purpose or are useful.

I am cutting out the crap.

And it is not just because of hormones and the whole nesting vibe that comes on about this time during pregnancy.

I am doing it because it needs to be done.

I am well aware of the sleep-deprivation and major life adjustment that comes with a newborn and the first few months of a parent’s life. I remember all too well that phase with my daughter, and there are days when you literally are in survival mode and wonder when was the last time you ate a meal.

With a baby and my older daughter to take care of, there will be zero time to declutter stuff that shouldn’t be here in the first place. There will be no time to minimize and be intentional about what is occupying unwanted space in our home.

So I am doing it now.

When I do get a burst of energy, I am tackling a project. When I need to take a break,  I take a break. But when the next burst of energy comes, I am in minimize-mode and getting things done. We live in a small apartment and anything extra that has no use can make our abode feel very overwhelming quite fast.

Any tips or tricks you have when it comes to minimizing your stuff? I’d love to hear about it!

Currently…The End of Summer Edition

Hellooooooo September!  🙂

I can’t believe we have reached this point in the calendar year, yet here we are! Although, the temperatures here in Southern California were undeniably hot and yucky. Yes, yucky. We had a crazy heat wave here every day with absurd temperatures. Lots of 100°days and grouchy people everywhere. See, our summers here are pretty normal but around this time of year, Mother Nature doesn’t get the memo that the thermostat is supposed to go in the other direction. Ahhhhhhh life…

Oh well, it has cooled off from the insanity of last week, but the month is still young and I am guessing we will be back to praising whomever created air conditioning once again  🙂

What I Enjoyed This Past Month: The book Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner.

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I loved this book and I get why everyone raves about it  I had to wait a few weeks until my request came in at the library but it was worth it. Definitely a must-read!

What I Am Absolutely Over: Every single day, there being a news story concerning the person occupying the White House. Not going to get political here but I am exhausted by the sheer madness of what continues to headline our news stories. *sigh*

On The Healthy Living/Pregnancy Front: Trying to eat as healthfully as possible and to drink enough water and stay hydrated. Pregnancy is one of those things where something sounds good one day, and then the next day, you’re like “bleh!”  🙂 Cherry frozen yogurt has been my newest craving, and in this warm weather, it hits the spot!

Also, a friend gifted us some baby clothing that they were no longer using as their daughter is now in the toddler stage. This gift was truly a blessing!

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We are literally starting over with this baby and all the accoutrements that they need and require as my daughter is 7 years old and any baby stuff she had has long since found another home.

And yes, I am having a girl!!!

On The Minimalism/Decluttering Front: I am trying to, on days when I actually have energy, to organize and declutter things because once the baby arrives, there will be zero time for any of that.

I needed a container to hold some things but I didn’t want to purchase one. So I took a shoebox and covered it with scrapbook paper to make it pretty and voila! I have a container that didn’t cost me any extra money out-of-pocket! #frugal

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In Other News: School is back in session which has been an adjustment to say the least. We are back to a schedule which after the looseness of summer, has taken all of us some getting used to. I figure by the end of the month, we should be doing all of this, easy-peasy, lemon squeezy   😉

How is life going for you these days? Are you ready to transition into Fall?  🙂

The Tomboy All Grown Up

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Yup, I was a tomboy when I was a girl. In the land of princesses and Barbie dream houses, I was the one playing tether ball and running around the playground. Looking at me now you wouldn’t know it, but I loved playing sports and playing outside…at least until Junior High happened…

I was raised by my father and some may attribute my tomboyishness to that one fact. But the truth is, I never liked girly stuff. I hated wearing dresses and skirts because I couldn’t run around. If I’m going to wear shorts under my dress in order to play on the jungle gym, why can’t I wear just the shorts? I got dirty and messy. Scrapes, bumps, and bruises were just a part of the day. Bike riding, roller skating, and kickball were what made the world go round, and I loved it.

Things that were pink or purple were not allowed in my room. Anything with ribbons, forget it. Someone bought me a Barbie when I was in elementary school; I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with her. So I cut off her hair. I received a Barbie Corvette one year for my birthday and I spent that first week rolling the car down the hallway in our house & watching gleefully as it kept crashing into the wall.

As I grew out of childhood, some of my tomboy tendencies began to fade. Apparently around 13 or so, you are no longer allowed to play sports with boys. You are now supposed to giggle and blush at even the most mundane things that they say. Tetherball gave way to talking on the phone for hours on end. And roller skating was no longer to be done outside but at the local roller rink where you met up with your friends to…yes, that’s right. Giggle and blush at the boys.

Now that I am a mom to a young daughter, I wonder what kinds of things will she be interested in. Dinosaurs or Barbies? Maybe both? Will I be throwing princess-themed birthday parties? I know she’s not even 2 yet but already I see glimpses of a young me. She doesn’t like dolls or stuffed animals. She loves books, building blocks, and puzzles. She hates when you try to put a barrette in her hair and the few times I have tried to put her in a dress, it was a losing battle.

I believe my not-so-girly childhood has served me well in my adult life. I didn’t like the mall then and I don’t like it now. Sure I like nice clothes and what girl doesn’t like the M.A.C. counter, but the thought of setting foot in an actual mall gives me anxiety. Playing outdoor activities has fueled my love of sports and to this day I still watch football and hockey, rooting on my favorite teams. My Hubby often jokes about the fact that when the game is on, we never have to fight over the remote. And playing sports also taught me that sometimes you have to play with people you don’t like. As an adult, this translates into “being a team player”, the cornerstone of many a corporate jargon.

Yes, the tomboy has transitioned to an adult woman. But if you want to play a round of kickball, you just let me know.

**** Sidenote: I wrote this post originally on my old blog 5 years ago. My daughter is now 7 years old and still loves books, building blocks, and puzzles. However, dolls have made their way into the house  😉 Elsa and Anna from the movie Frozen and of course Wonder Woman, because helloooooo, it’s Wonder Woman!!! She likes playing dress-up but if given the option, she would rather play outside instead  🙂