My Autumn Bucket List

Unfortunately I am still not over my flu, in fact I ended up getting a sinus infection AND and ear infection, so I have been able to hardly hear out of my right ear. I had to go the antibiotics route, which luckily seems to be working. Major BLAH though, had to skip two birthday parties this weekend! 

I've been thinking about Autumn a lot lately and I have come to a shocking conclusion: Is Autumn actually my favorite season after all? I seem so sure that I am a Summer girl, and I am, but these past few weeks I've started to think that maybe that isn't the case. This is just such a beautiful time of year. Although Summer is still at the top of my list (=vacation), what I do believe now is that September might actually be my favorite month of the year. And then again, maybe I feel like this every year, but the sadness of Summer ending so quickly always makes me forget what an amazing season is just around the corner.

Autumn has that energetic vibe to it, that crisp feeling in the air that makes me want to get active again: to dream, to do, to achieve. Yet at the same time there is this beautiful tranquility and... rootedness about it. Although I find myself wanting to do after a Summer of being, it's countered with the mercy of shorter days. During Summer the days are so long and I feel I have to maximize each moment. Then comes Autumn and it's so much more gentle: the sunlight is softer, the sunset comes earlier and those gorgeous crisp Autumn evenings consisting of wool socks, candles and a hot cup of tea let you unwind in a way you can't in the Summer. 

I've had a yearly tradition of writing an Autumn Bucket List and I want to do that again this year. So as take full advantage of this beautiful season. 

1. A classic: Collect leaves, but this time collect them with my son. 
2. Sit on the balcony in the evening with my husband, burn candles and read our books. 
3. Make an seasonal food, such as root vegetables and meat cooked on low heat in the oven for hours. 
4. Autumnal photoshoot. 
5. Going to a café on a gorgeous Autumn weekend and wearing a perfect Autumn outfit. 
6. Add a burgundy colored piece to my wardrobe. 
7. Go on a hike. 
8. A bonfire. 
9. Buy a new scarf. 
10. Gaze at the stars. 
11. Celebrate Thanksgiving. 
12. Bake something with apples in it. 
13. Burn candles. 
14. Autumn Date Night
15. Make a spicy chicken soup. 
16. Scenic drive
17. Morning jog
18. Read books
19. Enjoy a rainy Autumn day at home. 
20. Have an Autumn Adventure Day such as going to a local event or market or visiting a farm. 

Then of course there are those other things on my Autumn List that aren't quite as exciting, such as work on my Master's Thesis and getting back to exercising regularly.

What's your favorite season and your Autumn Musts?

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Soul Sunday: Be Like a Sunflower ❋

Sunflowers have been sitting in a vase on our kitchen table for a few days now and they've brought joy to me. Everything about sunflowers is so... happy and carefree - it seems. First off, let's state the obvious: they are yellow. Yellow is a happy color. I mean doesn't it just make you think of sunshine and emojis? Secondly the name itself includes the word SUN, which symbolizes life, happiness, summer and all that fun stuff. Thirdly if you've ever planted sunflowers or have been to a sunflower field you've likely noticed how tall, radiant, confident and somehow carefree flowers they seem to be. 

But actually there is a deeper lesson to be learned from sunflowers, which you may have also noticed if you've planted some yourself before; They turn to the sun. "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It's what the sunflowers do," said Helen Keller, who by the way writes beautifully, I recommend reading her stuff. 

"I want to be like a sunflower. So that even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight." -M.K.

I love life and living, but I've had my share of worries, woes and hurt. But these flowers were a reminder to me. It's not about naturally being a person who is 100 % sunshine and happiness (I doubt anyone is 100 % of the time) nor is about your circumstances. It's about choosing to focus on the good even amidst the bad. 

For me personally there was also another message. Even more important for me is not just focusing on the good, but focusing on God. Not only turning my face to the sun, but turning to the Son. Wow. Love that.  

Because that is what has consoled me during the most trying times. My circumstances are still the same, yet my eyes are fixed on the eternal and good promises I have been given. I don't know what you believe in, but for me what it reassures me of is that I am loved, wanted, adored, precious and part of a bigger plan. That in fact there is a plan. That I am safe and secure and I do not need to fear. That there is hope even when I feel all hope is lost, and that I am never alone. And I can begin again - every day. Those are the truths I choose to meditate on. 

Just as the sunflower chooses to turn to the sun instead of being consumed by the shadows. 

Have a great Monday tomorrow! 

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What I Miss From My Days Before Motherhood

Beautiful flowers from a beautiful friend. 

For the first time since becoming a Mom I have been really down with the flu all week. (The last time I was really sick was when I was 37 weeks pregnant and got the Noro virus - I literally thought I would die). I've felt like even my bones ache and every cell in me wants to just lie in bed and drift to sleep. But then I've realized: I am a stay-at-home-Mom. 

What I've also noticed is that it's not easy for me to ask for help. I have that built in "I've got this, no worries" attitude and I find I identify myself to be a helpER, not a helpED. 

Outfit of the week. I bought me and my Hubz identical Onesies (okay, technically this is an "InOne") after we got married, mine said Mrs., his Mr. I remember we wore these to the hotel breakfast the morning after our wedding. And I also had on a splash of the perfume my husband gifted me with. 

But this week I have been so appreciative of the help I've gotten. My husband has had long days at work and an evening event related to work, our son has refused to sleep his afternoon naps on top of which he has slept so poorly it's not even a joke. To have someone take our son out to play for an hour is a HUGE help (thank you to both our parents!) - each time I've literally fallen asleep as soon as I've laid down in bed. 

Wools sock, all day er' day. 

Not to mention how I felt when a friend sent a message and suggested she come over and clean up at our house. Okay, to be honest my initial reaction was: "No way, I mean this place is a dump. I'd have to clean the house before I let anyone come clean the house!" Then I realized that actually, no. Accept the help. Bless this mess! It's funny how you wouldn't have a problem going into someone else's mess, but having someone see yours feels harder, eh? (Thank you Viivi!)

Why should anyone have to get through anything ALONE? Why? That doesn't make you a better or stronger person does it? Doing it all and doing it all on your own is no achievement. Giving someone the chance to be your helper is actually a sign of strength I think, and also a way to bless that person; inviting them into your life and giving them the chance to be and feel needed. 

Drinking antioxidants and turning a blind eye to the mess around me. 

Being stuck at home tends to make me feel stuck too. Mentally I feel like I start to get a little depressed, problems start to feel bigger than they are, I start to dislike everything I see in the mirror (which probably isn't a surprise when I mope around in a onesie and blow my nose every 2 minutes) and generally I get the uncomfortable "Blah!" feeling. So I am looking forward to hopefully being able to put this illness behind me by next week. Getting back to life! 

But I have to say: Oh what a luxury it was to once be able to actually rest when you were sick! If there is something I miss from life before Motherhood that would be one thing on the list. So if you have that luxury: Please, for my sake, enjoy it. Make the most of it. 

And if you are a Mom down with the flu: Hang in there! Ask for help! Even if it just a half hour - take it! We are in this together. 

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Mom Life: Sneaky Pride

Wow. I look exhausted in these. As I was when we quickly snapped them. Bloodshot eyes from sleep deprivation. But this is the real deal here. 

I'm often flabbergasted at how judgmental people can be of each other, especially when it comes to motherhood. There are of course the cliché topics - such as nursing vs. formula, co-sleeping vs. sleeping in the crib, cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers, stay-at-home-moms vs. working moms - topics I think mainly Mom-people find of interest. Then there is that whole other array of things that pretty much anyone is welcome to judge whether it be parenting styles or even particular feelings related to Motherhood.

Yet I am not immune to that judgmentalism myself - I am guilty of doing the exact same thing. 

The other day at the grocery store I realized this quite well. It was around 5 pm, the grocery store was packed with people. We were tired, in a bit of a hurry, my son was getting fed up being there. I was trying to execute the whole grocery shopping trip from first meal planning to then figuring out what we need, writing the list and so on. My son was whining in the shopping cart car and I found myself getting annoyed because I felt my husband wasn't helping out as much as I felt I needed him to in that moment. I felt like I was carrying the heavy load. And then from the milk shelves I said something to him in a very annoyed tone of voice, something like "Well, you could actually be helping me out here." 

And we probably all do that sometimes. We are after all, only human.

But I had this flashback. To those naive days when we were probably dating or newly weds. And we would be somewhere and I'd see that married couple. The one with one or two little children, the ones who obviously seemed tired, perhaps irritated. That wife who said something in an annoyed tone of voice to her husband. And I remember thinking: "Poor husband. Good thing I will never be that kind of wife..." Cringe. What I was really feeling was pride

As a Mom I think it's easy to struggle with feelings of inadequacy and important to learn a way to cope with them, but I think it is just as vital that I also catch myself in my prideful moments. Those moments where I look at someone else in a moment - a split second of their life - and think that I am somehow better; that I would never do that, say that, be that, think that. 

But pride is a tricky thing. Those prideful feelings may be very vague and so they can easily go unnoticed. I think I am a compassionate, understanding person and moments where I feel prideful are not always straight forward and clear; it's not necessarily that I am standing there judging someone. It can be a fleeting moment where I momentarily feel good about myself for the wrong reasons. But we must become aware of those feelings in ourselves. Because pride is the opposite of humility. It is impossible to be humble, compassionate and loving towards all people if you are blinded by a prideful spirit. 

And so long as we are prideful we won't be able to love and support each other as women; that notorious and viscous cycle of women judging each other instead of supporting each other will continue.

So my question is this: 

How have you felt prideful lately?

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