Thursday, November 29, 2012

systems of organization

image found here
I am really struggling* right now with organizational systems. On the one hand, I feel like now that Margot is one, sleeping pretty much all night and generally a lot easier, I have more energy to tackle projects and stay on top of things. And to an extent that is true. For the most part things are running smoother than they were 6 months ago. However, on the other hand, now that I'm out of that new baby fog I can really see all the things that need to be improved. There are a lot of pieces I'm juggling and every single one seems to get more and more complex. I think the right organizational systems and time management concepts could really help but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around what those are. I need both a system for each of the following pieces and an overarching time management/system for balancing the whole:

Work: multiple projects and several campaigns plus ongoing operations, department budget, and research
Home: keeping it picked up and organized, menu/groceries/cooking, laundry, household errands
Budget: making and keeping the budget, bills, managing investments

Maybe it's just wishful thinking...but...I can't help but believe there is a way to manage my time so that I'm not always running around like a chicken with their head cut off. And in my head I keep coming back to this idea of organizational systems. For example if my office looked like the above photo...or...was simply better organized, if I always kept the files on each campaign sorted and immediately categorized position papers and reports into the correct electronic files maybe I wouldn't spend 15 minutes looking for that report. The challenge is finding the time to tackle the giant mess my electronic files have become.

The home piece may be less about organization and more about time management. If I unloaded the dishwasher every morning while my tea is boiling then I could do the dishes that much faster after dinner.

The budget one is really stumping me right now. Our budget has gotten so much more complicated. And I seem to spend so much more time keeping track of it all. I know I need to balance the check book on a weekly/daily basis rather than once or twice a month but what else? is there a better way to track spending throughout the month?

So what are your thoughts? How do you create organization systems for these pieces of your life? Do you have an amazing budget tool to share? Do you feel like you have it somewhat together or are you too running around like a chicken?

*Okay I totally want to acknowledge how much of a first world problem this is aka not actually a problem but rather a manifestation of my obsessive type A nature. Problems are not having enough food, not being able to pay bills and having a sick kid and so on. But on my personal never ending quest to improve myself and my life this is my current "struggle" and it's a good subject for conversation since the work/life balance is something so many women are striving for.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Margot's Christmas wish list

First I just have to update you all that we finally did catch the mouse with a live trap. We had to try a few traps. The one that worked was called, The Cat. Anyway mouse was safely transported to the wetlands. My ridiculousness on this matter knows no bounds. I was actually worried about how scared the mouse must have felt to be trapped all night in that thing. Seriously, I may need to back away from the children's books...

Here is Margot's Christmas wish list...Enjoy all the cuteness:

Who wants a rocking horse when you can have a rocking moose:
There is a distinct possibility that I had this exact toy. You have to love a classic:
It's never to early to start practicing our chef skills and I think Margot would find this vintage toy mixer truly inspiring:
Margot loves her clothes and likes to stay up on the latest in baby fashions. These are not only styling but would be super warm and cozy for winter:

And lastly how perfect would this gorgeous blanket be for Miss Margot's Tepee:

image found here, here, here, here, and here

Monday, November 26, 2012


Well Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is upon us. As I've mentioned before on here, I'm all about Christmas this year. Yesterday Margot and I hauled out all of our Christmas decorations and started decorating the house. Margot had tons of fun! She knew something exciting was happening and she caught on. She went from frantically waiving her arms and clapping in excitement to grabbing decorations and crawling around with them. This was good because my poor baby is cutting molars like no body's business and needs all the fun she can get.

We have a mouse in our house. I am very distraught. On the one hand I find it completely disgusting, unclean and disturbing that it is on the house and I want it gone. On the other hand I find him incredibly cute and I feel really bad for the little guy. We've seen it a couple of times and its really little and sweet looking. This might be due to the fact that I read an average of 10 children's books a day and I've been influenced by too many sweet little mouse characters. Regardless I have very complicated feelings toward our little house guest. We bought a live trap hoping to catch him and take him out to the wetlands past our house. However this trap does not seem to be catching him.

This weekend I bought an IPad Mini. It's a combination Christmas present from my in laws and saved up spending money. Margot thinks it's her new toy. She'd been playing with my Mother in Law's IPad all weekend. When she saw the mini she immediately crawled over and grabbed it. Once she had it in her hands she looked at me and babbled in her baby way. I swear she was saying, "finally Mommy one that's my size! thank you for my new present." She then persisted to play with my IPad. She is so obsessed with it that I can't use it in front of her without her taking it or throwing a complete fit. What's really amazing is how much she can do with it. We put some Sesame street books and baby memory games on there and she was getting the hang of them way too fast.

Margot had a very exciting weekend. Besides her fun with the IPad she got to go shopping (which she loves). She threw all of her thanksgiving dinner on the floor and she learned to climb stairs. She also got to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and play with puppies. She also managed to stay up until 9pm each night. How she will return to normal life I just don't know.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Potter's. We are having a wonderful holiday here in Portland with family. Every year my Dad always asks us kids to list ten things we are thankful for. This year Chris and are finding ourselves somewhat overwhelmed with just how much we have to be thankful for. So in honor of my Dad here are just some of them:

1. Our funny happy baby girl. We are so excited to spend the holiday season with Margot. Her and I had so much fun watching the parade together this morning. I am so happy to start creating special holiday memories as a family.

2. Loving families who are also lots of fun. 4 days of potter family fun is just what we needed. We are going to have a great long weekend!

3. Our awesome friends who all came to celebrate Miss Margot's birthday

4. Having what we need. Seeing so much need in our community is a constant reminder of how blessed we are. We are so thankful for our jobs and our cozy little house.

5. Our wonderful church. We are so blessed by the loving community and kind friends there. We are happy to raise Margot in such a place.

I hope everyone finds their Thanksgiving full of joy, thanks and lots of family fun! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Margot you are a year old!

Dear Margot,

You are a year old. We just finished celebrating your birthday and what a fun weekend we had. You loved your birthday. You were so happy to play with your friends, wear your special birthday dress and eat a cup cake. I think you are also enjoying so many new toys!

At one year you are really a happy baby. You are still a little shy and often you prefer Mommy and Daddy. But you are becoming more adventurous. You are crawling really fast and with purpose! You are cruising on furniture and standing for brief intervals. You have very good fine motor skills and can stack, look at books, put a spoon of food in your mouth , hold your own sippy cup and point to you nose, eyes and mouth. You also clap and waive.

You smile, laugh, chatter and squeal all of the time! You love to sing a long and have conversations. You love love love your books. You sit and read them by yourself for long intervals. You also like other people to read to you.

You are a great eater. You eat almost everything. You have even learned to tolerate avocados. You started having cows milk this week and after only one week you are drinking several ounces from your sippy cup with each meal. Your favorite foods are pot roast, chicken, broccoli, squash, pears, carrots and beans. You are still nursing but only early in the morning and before bed.
Your favorite toys right now are puzzles, books, your new picnic basket with food, Francie, Minnie mouse, stacking bowls, alphabet blocks and play little people house. You also love to play with kitchen utensils, the kitchen towel drawer, bath toys and organizing things.

You love walks, singing, other babies, Sesame street anything and going to restaurants.

You still aren't the best sleeper. Every night you go down around 7, usually okay. But somewhere between 1 am and 5 am you wake up crying for Ma Ma. I go into your room and you are standing at your crib crying Ma Ma Ma Ma with your little pudgy arms out. I can't help but pick you up and bring you into bed where you snuggle between Daddy and I and go back to sleep. I know we should make you stay in your own bed but the truth is I love our early morning snuggles.

Your Daddy and I have enjoyed this first year with you so much! We are excited for many fun memories in the months to come. Even though you are growing so big you will always be our special little baby.

Love Always,
Mommy and Daddy

12 month stats: you go to the doctor next week but I'm guessing you are about 28 inches long and 20-21lbs. You are in size 12 month and 18 month clothes and we just moved you into size 4 diapers.

Birthday Festivities

We had a great weekend with Margot. Her party was so much fun and she seemed to have a blast. Sadly I didn't really get pictures of the decorations that I worked so hard on. I'm hoping Morgan got some. However here is a peek at Margot's first birthday weekend.
 We went out to dinner Friday night. Margot had lots of fun playing with her new dinosaur puzzle.
All dressed up and having so much fun playing with toys.
 Margot sharing with Rose, the fellow birthday girl.
 Birth to three babies!
 Not really a fan of the birthday hat.
 Margot and Rose enjoy some birthday cupcakes
 The best family shot we got
 A very special Raggedy Anne doll made just for Margot by her Grammy
 "oh I just love my friend Matheson so much"
 Margot and Raggedy Anne have a picnic
"Never mind all of my new toys...I am going to pull every single clean towel out of the drawer and put them on the dirty kitchen floor! So much fun!"

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I survived

When I was pregnant I read a memoir that started with a woman's pregnancy and ended at her son's first birthday. The book spoke of that time period, pregnancy to the first year, as one era, more specifically one huge transition. Overtime I have found that resonates with me. In three days Margot will turn one. I can say all of the cliche's feel very true right now. I can't believe how fast the year has gone by. I am amazed by how much Margot has changed. Here she is at 2 days old and again last weekend playing with dinosaurs at laughing planet.
But the things that strike me most about this year is how much I have changed. I don't think anything in my life as been as life changing as motherhood.

I am a particularly selfish person. I want what I want when I want it. And to be frank I'm pretty good at getting what I want. You can just imagine how fun I must have been to parent. But today what I want has fallen so far down the list of priorities. Not that I don't still think it--I do. Today I am having my photo taken for the newspaper and this morning I wanted to get up and spend time choosing my outfit, accessories and doing my hair and makeup. What happened...??? Margot woke up early and would not let me put her down and I threw on the first thing I found that passed for photos and didn't do my hair the way I wanted. This is just one of so many examples that all come back to one thing, Margot's needs come first and that's okay. My capacity to get over myself, let go of my wants and just be content doing whatever needs done shocks me. I know it comes from the grace of God and for all the love I have for Margot. And who knew I could be so patient?! Patience has never been a strength of mine. A friend once told me never to pray for patience because God will answer your prayer by testing your patience to the limit. Well, somewhere around the time I had Margot I must have prayed for patience....Yet I am amazed at how patient I am today.

I survived!!! Seriously this is how I feel about this year. I feel like I'm just now emerging from this crazy fog that was pregnancy (ugh), crazy postpartum time, nursing hell, never ever sleeping, more nursing hell, returning to work and my life becoming so crazy I can barely function, teething, sleep training, sickness, never ever sleeping, and some more not get the picture. But today I feel somewhat on top of things. I have the energy to plan an over the top birthday party and a holiday cocktail party, I occasionally read books, and I enjoy my husband and baby. Sure our life is still on the crazy side. We work too much and have too little time to do everything. But I am starting to feel like me again (or a new much more mature, responsible and patient me).

I love being a Mom. Really I love it. And I think I just realized this. I've been so focused on nursing and lack of sleep and this and that and every little detail of everything. But now that I'm stepping back and I realize that I love this. I love getting home with Margot and just playing with her until bed time. I love reading her books, and taking her to the grocery store and singing her silly songs. I love how she smiles at me and hugs me so tight at the end of the day. I love picking out her little outfits and making her a tepee to play in. It's just so fun to have this sweet funny little person to hang out with.

Sometimes I feel a little (okay, really) sappy about how big and grown up my baby is. But mostly I just feel really grateful that we are at this place. I am excited to celebrate on Saturday. We will be celebrating Margot and how amazing she is but we will also celebrating the fact that Chris and I survived year one. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I am so happy this morning.

I love fall and it's a gorgeous day. I am wearing my favorite orange and tan striped fall sweater and drinking pumpkin spice goodness from Starbucks.

Margot is wearing the cutest outfit today, really I could die from the cuteness.

We all got up on time this morning and I was even early to work where I am feeling quite caught up.

I'm having lunch with a friend today.

And I'm going to share this great recipe with you all that we loved. It was super easy and fast.

You can find the original recipe here. I only made a few modifications. I added red bell peppers and fresh basil so there were more veggies. And it truly was a 30 minute meal.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

election day

yes it is election day...

I love election day. Although I am always slightly disappointed that I don't get to actually go the polls to vote. Oregon has mail in ballots which you either mail in or drop off at designated drop boxes. This means I'm deprived of the I voted sticker and the awesome baby photo op with the I voted sticker.

Regardless, I love politics, I love elections season, I love election day, I love to vote and I love to watch copious amounts of election day news coverage which is what I plan to do tonight.

My husband and I voted differently on almost every single state wide ballot measure somehow we are still married but we have had a lot of debates in our house over the past few months. We are however voting the same for president. Thank goodness. Otherwise it might have gotten pretty ugly.

In my perfect world we would host an election night little party. We would invite some friends, eat red and blue food and have great drinks. However our lack of decent TV, cable and time means this is not happening. In 2016 we are going to have a great party! Regardless of how we celebrate today and in the future I want Margot to grow up with a lot of excitement around elections and voting. I want her to look back at it as a special and fun day, even if it's just because some of her friends came over and there was funny colored food!

Happy election day to all! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Randomness

  • With one successful craft under my belt I suddenly like crafts and am going to try to make Margot a tepee for her birthday present. I'm also thinking about some holiday crafts.
  • my parents considered naming me Whitney. In fact they had a deal that if I was born with red hair (my dad is a red head) I'd be named Whitney and if I had brown hair I would be named Laura. I have a hard time imagining myself as a Whitney.
  • This Saturday is the last out door farmers market. I am sad. Taking Margot to the farmers Market has become one of my favorite things to do
  • I am working on printing photos of Margot. I have taken almost 1500 photos since she was born and I think I'm going to print about 700. It's funny because growing up we had one photo album of my first year of life that had around 150 photos. I used to think it was so crazy that my Mother took 150 photos of me in one year and now...
  • With Halloween behind us I'm really getting into the holiday spirit. Last year we were barely functioning at Christmas time due to a wee one who hated to sleep but this year I am feeling more human and am up for some good old fashioned holiday fun, decorating, x-mas trees, making cookies and wrapping presents.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Day in the Life

When Margot was 4 months old I did a post on a day in our life. I was looking back at her monthly posts to pull pictures for her birthday party and I couldn't help but laugh at that post. I laugh because that day seems so much easier yet at the time I know I felt it was really hard. It just goes to show how fast babies change and grow. Also that post was before Chris started at the firm when he worked much more normal hours. So here is a day in the life with our now 11 month old. This was one day last week.

5:00 am: Chris' alarm goes off and he gets in the shower. Margot starts fussing and I go get her and bring her back to our bed to nurse. Margot is wide awake after nursing never mind that it is 5:20am. Chris gets dressed and leaves for work. I Change her and put her on the floor where she promptly crawls over to my shoes and starts pulling every single one off of the shoe rack. I get dressed (I usually shower at night otherwise there is no guarantee I'll get a shower) and fix my hair. Margot has now moved on to pulling all of the laundry out of the hamper. Margot and I make the bed and but away all the shoes and laundry before getting her dressed. Then we head to the kitchen were she sits at her high chair with some cheerios and I make my tea and grab my lunch.

6:20 am: I cart Margot, her bag, my bag and my hot cup of tea out to the car and we leave. I drink my tea and listen to NPR on the way in. Margot jabbers to herself and her doll francie making sure to squeal as loudly as possible during all the moments of the news I really want to hear.

6:40 am: we get to my Mom's. I nurse Margot and put on make up (which I now keep in my bag).

7:25 am: I park downtown where I have a board meeting for Better Eugene Springfield Transit (BEST) a non profit board I'm on.

9:15 am-12pm: I get to work, eat my breakfast (yogurt and granola which I keep at work). I deal with email, phone calls. I work on some testimony due at city council by 5pm. I also work on a power point for a presentation I'm making at our board of directors next week.

12:00 pm: I run back to my Mom's where I nurse Margot and eat some lunch.

1pm: Back at work for a couple hours then a couple meetings in the afternoon.

5pm: I go pick up Margot. She nurses then we pack her things and get her into the car. We leave Mom's about 5:30 and listen to NPR on the way home.

5:45: I put Margot in the high chair with her dinner. Tonight it's some left over meat loaf and roasted sweet potatoes and apples. I unload the dishwasher and get our dinner going (bangers and mash with braised cabbage).

6:10 Margot is now throwing food on the floor and laughing. I clean her up and put her on the floor with some toys. That works for about 10 minutes then she starts pulling herself up on my legs and saying ma ma, ma ma, I pick her up and thankfully Chris walks in at 6:30 and I can finish up dinner. we eat in the family room while she plays. Every few minutes she comes over to my plate for bites. She's like a little puppy when it comes to food on my plate.

6:50 We help her put away her toys and Chris reads her a few bedtime books while I load the dishwasher

7:00pm I take Margot into her room put on her pj's and nurse her to sleep.

7:30pm I rotate laundry and do the rest of the dishes. Then Chris and I settle on the couch. We read for a while and then watch Colbert and Stewart online.

9:00pm I take a shower and we go to bed