Scattered Fashionista Under Construction

For the past six months I’ve had a dream to take ownership of this blog and make it completely my own. While blogging on wordpress.com has been a fabulous and fun learning experience, I’m ready to kick it up a notch. So in December, I decided that’s what 2015 will be about.

A few days before Christmas I purchased http://www.scatteredfashionista.com. You’re welcome to check it out, but for the time being all you’ll see is this:

Under Construction

This post is my stab at accountability as I aim to get my new home settled and welcome you there for a little open house, if you will. Being completely nontechnical (I do know how to turn my laptop on!), this is a huge learning process, so I’m grateful for friends, blogs, and books that offer tips on this subject. Feel free to hound me ask me how it’s going. My goal is to be up and running in the next two weeks.

Thanks for your understanding! I can’t wait to see you at my new home!

Quotable Friday: Love or Unselfishness

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Today’s quote is actually a large passage by C.S. Lewis from The Business of Heaven. I’d read this before, and when I came across it this morning I knew I wanted to share it with you.

If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive… The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love… If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak.

Be Kind to Your Sick Self: An Inspirational Rx

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This past Monday was supposed to be my first day back to work after a two week break. I had big plans. Plans that were ditched sometime late Sunday night when the Little Butt succumbed to the Creeping Crud that’s been going around, puking all over himself, his crib, his room, and his lovey, Silky Bear. (This is reason 597 why our next child will have several matching loveys, each one suffering equal wear and tear.)

By 11:30, I knew a 5:30 wake-up time *might* not be a reality. The real reality turned out to be exhaustion, nausea, and a headache that I knew didn’t stem from the child who’s cooking.

Sometime around 9am, my BFF set a text Rx. She knows me well, because I was already fretting over the to-do list that wouldn’t be getting done.

Her prescription?

Be KIND to yourself! And say only positive/true things to yourself and those around you! This, too, shall pass.

No one will die or suffer too greatly if I sit on the couch and watch cartoons with my sick kiddo most of the day. (Well, the house will suffer, but we’ll live.) In fact, if I’d listened to my body sooner, perhaps I wouldn’t have gotten run down enough to get sick.

Whether it’s illness, exhaustion, or something else yanking your chain today, I hope you take this Rx to heart. If you treat yourself well, you’ll be better equipped to help everyone else in your sphere.

Things I Want to Do Differently This Year

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All my life I’ve been a goal-setting girl. I’ve experienced a perhaps unnatural enjoyment of the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, mulling over my plans for the coming year and dreaming about how fabulous it will be.

This personality quirk served me well through my single years, and perhaps even in the first year of my marriage. But once I threw a kid into the mix I started learning that, while valuable and vital, goals are a thing a mother must hold in an open hand. Interpreted, this means that while I might have big plans, life happens and allowances will be made according to my priorities. For now, career goals must take a backseat to the needs of my family, most specifically a busy toddler.

So I’ve been wondering—how do goals fit into 2015 for me? I can’t just not make them. This is how I’m hardwired. Goal-setters and list-makers get more done, or so I’ve been told and willingly believe.

2015 goals on scatteredfashionista.com

The past few weeks the idea has been crystallizing of focusing not on what I want to do, but on what I want to do better. Part of me feels that this may become my most successful year yet, because I’m seeking inner change, not just outward accomplishments.

And Mom, these coming statements might not be measurable, but I’m trusting that I’ll be smart enough to know when I’m slipping off track.

In 2015, I want to:

look for the good in my days rather than complain about the difficulties.

fully embrace motherhood rather than barely enduring the difficult moments.

do more things that energize me, and for that specific reason: eat well, rest fully, exercise, plan retreat days, listen to more music, go on more dates, read inspiring books, visit friends.

buy less stuff. Before each purchase ask: Will this item will improve my life or increase my joy?

ask for help rather than wallow when I feel helpless.

limit social media.

read and write more rather than settling for TV when I’m tired.

I may add more to this list, or tweak it, as the year progresses. But for now, this is enough. It’s a different kind of New Year’s list for me, but I’m ready for the change. I hope that when the year falls to a close I find that this list has helped change me.

A Polish Christmas Eve Dinner

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As in many families, the Christmas traditions in my birth family have evolved over the course of my three-and-a-half decades as our family has grown, adding spouses and significant others and a few littles. But some things remain unchanged, like our Polish Christmas Eve dinner. Mom is 100% Polish, and while most of her offspring don’t crave sauerkraut the way she does, we all enjoy this holiday meal.Polish Christmas eve on scatteredfashionista.wordpress

Our menu consists of potato pancakes with lox, pirogues, cocktail shrimp, and salad. The first two items are non-negotiable. I should know. I’m in charge of the pancakes these days, and when I threaten to go on strike, my family suddenly decides to shower me with accolades and assistance. You see, prepping and frying up enough pancakes for our party of 18 takes right around two hours, and the meal is inhaled in about 20. After those two hours at the stove, my feet are reminded once again of that first painful week working retail.

You can find our potato pancake recipe in the fabulous Colorado Collage cookbook (which I highly recommend for a multitude of recipes—and keep in mind that I cook as infrequently as possible).

Potato Pancakes:

• Peel and shred an appropriate amount of potatoes for your crowd (we do 20 pounds, but I think 15 would cover us).
• Squeeze out as much of the potato water as you can while shaping into flat pancakes roughly 3” in diameter.
• Fry in hot oil. Once you’ve started a few pancakes in the pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
• If you’re cooking for a large crowd, keep the cooked pancakes warm in an oven set to 200°.
• When ready to serve, top with a dollop of sour cream, a twist of smoked salmon, and a sprinkling of chopped green onions.
• Enjoy them while they’re hot! They won’t stick around long.

What holiday traditions do you enjoy? I’d love to hear about them. Maybe we’ll add some new ones next year.

The Lonely Bits of Motherhood

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Yesterday morning one of the moms’ groups I belong to offered a Mom’s Morning Out (read: free babysitting) and I jumped at the chance. Now, I had no idea exactly how I would spend that time, but guilt-free free-time when you’re the budget-minded mother of a toddler is precious. Plus, the Little Butt loves playing with kids and going to “class,” so it was a win-win.

I ended up dropping him off and heading straight for Barnes & Noble. There I ordered a tall coffee, found a cozy chair in the café, and sat down to plan out my week. While this might sound boring to some, it just may have been the highlight of my month.

Rewind four years, and every Monday morning found me sitting in the leather armchair at Borders (how I miss that store, my second home), still sipping coffee and planning out my week, often with a friend, as I mentioned in this post. Even then, it was a bright point in my week. I just didn’t realize how sacred that time could be until it became a rare option.

I don’t think anyone ever made clear to me how lonely being the mother of just one child could make you. Some days I feel trapped, a slave to my extremely loved son’s basic needs for care, learning, and safety.Lonely motherhood on scatteredfashionista.wordpress.com

One would think, as the oldest of eight children, that I might have learned this from my mother. But by the time I was old enough to consider these possibilities, she also had a built-in babysitter: yours truly. While my mom took her role seriously and has sacrificed more than any woman I know, she still knew the pleasure of sneaking out for a two-hour shopping run or breakfast with a friend.

I can hear her whispering in my ear, This, too, shall pass.

Last week, when the Little Butt awoke and I realized that I would again miss a happily anticipated event due to another childhood cold, I sat at the kitchen table and cried—cried!—for thirty minutes. Even as I sat there—and even now as I write this—I felt ashamed by my weakness. But I also felt angry. Why did no one ever tell me how many times this would happen, preparing me for this stage of my life? And how did I enter motherhood so blindly?

All I know is this: I would not trade this loneliness as a mother for a full life without my son. And the loneliness I often feel can be used to make me stronger, and also more aware of and sensitive to the other lonely people in my life—perhaps those who are lonely because they have no little one to demand their attention, or no partner to share their life with. Sometimes I forget that there are even those who have never yet learned how to be a friend, and suffer from the supreme loneliness of having no one.

Yes, motherhood can be lonely, but it is a loneliness that I choose.