No One Likes to Be Poor and Plump Come January

Do you know what happens to me over the Holiday Season? I end up just feeling inadequate. The house is not decorated quite enough. The girls’ costumes weren’t as elaborate as they could have been. I didn’t set the perfect Thanksgiving table or attack holiday shopping systematically so as to not over spend or cover everyone on our list. Oh, and how about getting that perfect family picture for your cards?

Stress Less Holiday

Ugh… Sometimes the Holidays just bum me out, make me fat and empty my checkbook. No one likes to be poor and plump come January.

I decided last week that this year would be different. I wouldn’t let my expectations of how everything should be ruin my enjoyment of how they are. My life is not a Pinterest picture and I don’t have staff to do my dirty work. It’s just my family and I. We have a bunch of parties, decorating and shopping piled on top of our regular duties.

I don’t want to feel stressed the whole time thinking what I am doing is not good enough or feeling so overwhelmed that I can’t even enjoy the magic that does happen during the coming weeks with my family and community.

Do the holidays stress you out? How do you deal with the financial side of things and the workload?

I think I want to start an online support group for us. Ways to share tips and tricks to save money, time or effort over the next three months so we can come out the other end happy and alive. This can be everything from flash sales you know about, diet tricks, decorating shortcuts or simply a place to vent or ask for advice. On Instagram and Facebook let’s use the hashtag #StressLessHoliday. You can post right to the Our Urban Playground Facebook Page or share your pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #StressLessHoliday.

For my first #StressLessHoliday, here is what I did last week after I decided to not go overboard on my expectations and just chill out a bit.

Our Urban Playground Stress Less Holiday

This is what my front entry was looking like. It had become a dumping ground, so I cleaned it, dusted and got things properly stored. I had bought a glittery owl at Ross Dress for Less for 7 bucks and a bag of mini pumpkins at Safeway. I collected some candles I had scattered around the house and put it all together.

stress less holiday

It’s not the most elaborate or beautiful set up and definitely not “Pinterest worthy”, but the girls loved it and honestly it wasn’t that much work putting it together.

stress less holiday

Stress Less Holiday

So will you guys do this with me? Let’s get through the Holidays without gaining 15 pounds, emptying our checking accounts or having overwhelmed freak-outs. Sound like a plan?

Cheers to a wonderful Holiday Season!

xo

Jen

P.S. You see, I don’t have a gorgeous San Francisco single-family home with a rad purple door and purple pumpkins. Does this make me feel bad or inadequate? No, it makes an epic Instagram shot.

Purple Perfection. #stresslessholiday

A photo posted by Jennifer Latch (@oururbanplay) on

Follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Remember to share your posts with the hashtag #StressLessHoliday and feel free to post as much as you like on Our Urban Playground’s Facebook Page. 

Push Skateboarding, Gender Equality and Sore Joints

Right now I should be doing squats, push ups and stretching instead of sitting down typing on my computer. After last Saturday’s lesson with Aaron (the guy who is teaching me how to skateboard) I realized both my body and mind were not fully prepared for the challenges of actually learning how to skate. I fell repeatedly. All I could think about was how much I wish I had a helmet on and how uncoordinated I felt. Skateboarding is no joke. It is rough on the body and it takes a boatload of practice. I admire every skater who does what it takes to push their body and mind to learn and get better.

aaron kyro braille skateboarding

The upside of the physical beating I took Saturday is that I am starting to get a little excited about the idea of persisting and actually getting somewhat, kinda-sorta good at a sport. I am also excited about the opportunity to push back against the stereotypes that surround skateboarding and the concept that females shouldn’t even be allowed to skate. Yes, there are many skaters who believe that girls should not skateboard.

I received an email yesterday from a high school student in Oakland. She had found the first video I had done with Aaron and she wanted to interview me for a thesis she was doing regarding gender imbalance and skateboarding. Her goal is to inspire more girls to start skateboarding or at least let them know it’s not impossible to do so. I have written about stereotypes and fixed views before. It is a subject I feel passionate about, so I am very excited for the interview and the opportunity to reach out to girls.

The video of me skating (falling) and practicing the beginning steps towards learning how to ollie is going up on YouTube next week, but here is a video where we just went over the different parts of the board and what they are. Aaron stresses when he teaches skateboarding that you have to learn all the small steps bit by bit before you attempt tricks, etc. We thought it would be a good first step for me to learn what the different parts of the skateboard were called.

lance silber

This was the guy behind the camera, Lance Silber. He has been learning to skate too but is obviously 10 million times better than me. He also edits all the videos so I essentially hold him 100% responsible for ensuring I look somewhat composed in the final cut.

I think my goals over the next month with learning how to skate are to be able to enjoy just pushing and riding the board for a while without falling and maybe learning a few more steps toward being able to ollie.

That’s all for now! I’m off to do some squats and pushups and stretch before heading to bed.

ps. Here are a few videos I found of girls skateboarding. You will notice they are very competent and strong with their bodies. I hope to get there some day.

Power Naps

kids sleeping at same time

My friend posted this picture on Facebook and I am totally jealous of it. 10 minutes. That’s about the total amount I remember my two older girls sleeping during nap time at the same time. Sure, they would sleep in the afternoons, kind of… in reality I hardly remember them sleeping at night or during the day, but both of them napping at the same time in the afternoon was an incredibly rare occasion. Chloe and Ella were allergic to sleep.

Now that they are older it’s not so much of an issue. Phoebe, who is 2 ½, now goes down for good 2 hour naps.

When I am home with the girls, those 2 hour stretches are like my golden minutes to be used extremely wisely. It’s the period when I can usually work uninterrupted, help the older kids or just sit. I guess we could call it the “sanity hour”. The baby sleeps and wakes up happy and the rest of the family recharges for the next round in the game called life.

When I think back to what it was like when I had a toddler and a newborn, the memories are a little hazy. That period was a combination of happiness and overwhelm. A toddler and a newborn are like a red-eye flight that is going to take about 4 years until the pilot finally alerts you to the fact you have reached your destination. It’s not all bad, your flight companions give you lots of snuggles and joy along the way and you kind of sleep a little, but when you finally land and de-plane from the toddler years, life settles out a bit.

Phoebe is not so much a red-eye, but she’s definitely a cross-country journey and the gas station of motherhood happens when she sleeps.

A friend of mine recently had her second child. Her oldest is 3 and just as engaging and active (maybe even a little more) as Chloe was. I have been enjoying seeing her posts on social media about the transition to two kids and what it’s been like for her because I’ve so been there.

power naps

She had a moment the other day when both her kids were asleep at the same time. She had gotten her older daughter down to sleep and decided to film what happened during that very special moment when both kids were out. It was about 30 minutes and this is how she used her “power nap”.

How do you use those golden minutes when your kids sleep in the afternoon?