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5 Years “As-a-Rye” and Counting…

5 Years As a RyeFriday, September 8, 2017, is an extraordinary day for me. It’s the day that marks five years of marriage with my best friend, the love of my life.

This was not an easy road we’ve travelled.

When we met, I couldn’t remember his name, despite being told a bunch of times by my friend….I was 20 minutes late for our very first date, and he almost left. A pretty rocky start I’d say! (Man, when I was 20, I was HORRIBLE. I never got anywhere on time! I would tell someone I’m almost there when I haven’t even finished getting ready yet!! I promise I’m much better now, I’m actually always on time!)

TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

We started dating, and within a month, my grandfather passed away. Not only was he there for me, but he came to the funeral and was fantastic to every single one of my family members. My family naturally embraced him immediately.
When we were together for about 7 months, he got a promotion opportunity in Vancouver, BC. He HAD to take it — There’s no way I’d let him pass up an opportunity like that. The thing is, I think it’s completely normal for a couple to discuss whether they will do the long distance thing or sever ties but it didn’t even come up as a topic for us. It wasn’t even a question. The plan was for him to move, and when I completed my paramedic training and licensing, I would follow, and we would live together in Vancouver. Having a long-distance relationship was the hardest thing we had to do at the time but what kept us going? Watching the new Supernatural episodes every week — sitting in silence while it was on and talking during commercials. I think that’s a real test of a relationship — how much dead air can you have on the phone without feeling awkward??
Thankfully, before it was time for me to move, he decided to come home to Winnipeg — exactly one year later.

Vancouver

After a few months to get his feet on the ground, we decided to move in together. We got an awesome 1-bedroom apartment with a balcony in a great area of the city. We decided when we signed the lease that it didn’t make sense for us to have to write each other cheques to pay the other half of rent, so we went ahead and actually joined our bank accounts completely. We didn’t do the “joined for bills but still have our personal finances separate” — we went all in. We were together for about 2 years at this point, and in hindsight, that could be a stupid decision for a lot of people, but that’s how confident we were in our relationship. We had great times in that apartment: we spent so much time together, we got my kitty (that’s another story for another day), we got engaged, got married and got pregnant. All in this apartment.

Apartment

We got engaged on Wednesday, August 24, 2011. He surprised me with roses and an Oreo Brownie Earthquake from Dairy Queen (omg I loved those!!) and asked me to spend my life with him. It was the most amazing moment of my life — so far.
We immediately went to see my parents — my mom nearly fell down the stairs in excitement (yeah that would have been bad! Those stairs were STEEP), and I think I physically shook his mother awake (clearly, we are close!). Turns out, D had actually discussed it with my dad while golfing in May of that year! I can’t believe he went so old school and talked to him, it’s so sweet!! D’s cousin from Bosnia was actually in town, and this was the final weekend she was there, so it was SO nice to celebrate with her (omg speaking of, I miss her so damn much!!)

On May 11, 2012, we hosted our wedding social. It’s a strictly Manitoban thing (sometimes Kenora as well) where we host an event with drinking, DJ and auctions to fundraise for the wedding. Seriously, a wedding social is 10x more stressful to plan than a wedding itself but completely worth it! We know how to put on a party!

September 8, 2012, is the day we were married. We had an outdoor wedding just outside the city with the reception in a tent. I’m told it was freezing outside, but I’ve gotta say, I don’t remember feeling ANY cold whatsoever, ha ha. I was terrified to be in front of a bunch of people, gushing my heart out to him, but honestly, I just had tunnel vision. I really didn’t notice anyone else around me once I started walking down that aisle — though I’m not entirely sure if I was breathing, I may have been my something blue. We had a simple, non-denominational wedding where we wrote the entire ceremony ourselves. Our readings were Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and A Lovely Love Story, far from traditional. We had our best friends perform the ceremony, and our wedding party entrance was to the song Gangnam Style, which happened right as it was going viral! We had an amazing wedding, an incredibly fun reception full of food and fun and wine.

(Time out in writing to watch the original video — It’s been a while!! Please do me a favour and click on the link in the song name!)

Since we’ve been married, we got pregnant with my first son, bought our house, had our baby, got pregnant with my second son, now we’ve got two! We grew into this absolutely amazing family in what seems like one night. We’ve had a few changes in employment, we’ve had new interests and hobbies, grown as people in many ways. It’s hard to believe this has all happened in the last decade of dating and last 5 years of being married.

Marriage is not always easy. Like every healthy couple, we have arguments. Anyone who says they don’t are either lying, or there are some serious issues not being said. I’m not your typical gushy romantic who is going to tell you to learn to communicate, what to do or what not to do — there’s literally 1,810,000 results in Google. I’m going to be real with you here.

These are MY unorthodox tips for marriage:

This is not the end.
If you have an argument, know that it’s not going to be your last. You know you’re in this for the long haul so fine: sulk or step away for a little bit but always come back to finish the dumbass thing you’re fighting over. Nine times out of ten, the argument is over something incredibly stupid anyway so just swallow your pride and get over it.
Sometimes you need to shut up and let them talk.
While most of the time it’s a two-sided conversation, sometimes you need to let your spouse talk about what excites them — even if it bores you to tears. Honestly, I don’t give a crap about computers or networks, but I know more about this topic than many level-one help desk peeps. Because I ALWAYS listen. I let my hubs talk about something cool or sometimes frustrating things that happen at work. I let him ramble off IP addresses that have me spinning in my head. I legitimately try to understand what he’s explaining to me because the bottom line is, he/she wants to tell you for a reason. Don’t be a douche and just listen to them. Fake it if you have to (sometimes I do because I just simply don’t understand what he’s talking about…..smile and nod people!).
Be comfortable and confident on your own
I can’t stress this one enough. Have some me time. I love spending time with my hubby, obviously. But seriously, everyone needs some alone time too. Don’t feel guilty for wanting or needing that. Both D and I agree on this one, and I think it has an enormous impact on why we’re so strong together — because we’re also strong apart. We are individuals in an equal and loving partnership, not blended into one person. I firmly believe that you need to be confident in who YOU are to wholly give your love to someone else.
Be yourself.
Don’t compare yourself to other couples. First of all, you need to do you. Secondly, what you may see or be told by another person may not, in fact, be what’s happening. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Don’t trust what others say. Listen to your gut. If you have a serious relationship issue, seek help from a professional. If it’s minor, hash it out in whatever way works best for you (this should obviously go without saying, but never, EVER use any form of physical, emotional or spiritual abuse).

I think breaking away from typical and staying true to ourselves only makes us stronger. We’re an odd couple — but an odd couple in love and will be for many years to come.

My husband is an utterly amazing man. He’s so sweet and kind, he’s incredibly passionate, intelligent, beautiful inside and out. He goes a million miles in a minute whether he’s happy about something or upset about something (in a cute way). He’s incredibly loud (which he attributes to his Bosnian upbringing, but I’m pretty sure it’s just an excuse!) and extremely clumsy. He’s an amazing comfort and amazing supporter. I can’t even describe how amazing a husband he is and how phenomenal a father he is to our beautiful boys. I hope my kids grow up with all the ideals and values that he has so they can go on and make their own spouses as happy as I am with their daddy.

I love you most, D. Here’s to many more years of annoying each other!
(We began a little game back in 2007 where the first person to say “I love you most” on the day would win the game for the day. This little game continues to be at the forefront of our marriage. It’s just a cute little thing that stuck!)

Life Happens

It’s been quite some time since my last post. I apologize for my absence! Many changes have happened since I last published.

My maternity leave came to an end as my youngest son turned one (how?? How is he one already??) and it came time for me to decide what direction I’d like to go. I quit my job (with a bit of hesitation because I LOVED my job as a marketing coordinator). I desperately want to be home with my children. I want to be the one to raise them, not someone else. The only way to do this was to open a home daycare!

As a Rye Child Care-01

My husband and I have been renovating our basement for months now (which needed to be done desperately), and we have transitioned it to be a dedicated play space for the daycare. We removed the old, dingy carpet and lay down beautiful new laminate. We extended our laundry room so that we would have a bit more storage space available, installed new doors to the laundry room, bathroom and we turned the basement den into a man-cave for my husband. We are incredibly proud of the transformation.

This is a starting point for us. I will be constantly adding new toys, reorganising the space to create designated sections for reading, physical play, pretend play, etc. And yes, that black wall at the end is a full chalkboard wall! This was my pride and joy, my brilliant plan. Every daycare has an art section but who doesn’t love being able to draw on walls? There will be tables added here with additional arts and crafts supplies later on as well.

Starting a home daycare is a lot more involved than I would have thought. It all seems like common sense when you get going, but everything takes careful thought and a lot of work to produce. You need to think about safety first-and-foremost, creating schedules, healthy meal plans, learning opportunities and ensuring there’s also plenty of time for independent play.

My mission for this daycare is to provide the same level of care that I would expect my children to receive in a centre. I want to ensure that daycare is not only fun and comfortable and safe space for these kids, but I want to make sure that they are learning and growing as cute, tiny little humans.

At this point in time, I am unlicensed, though I am going through the process to become licensed. This #1 is more comforting to parents to know that there are strict regulations in play, it provides me with a lot of guidance as a provider, and I can take a couple more children in as a licensed provider. I will be implementing every single “best practice” as outlined in the manual because the bare minimum is simply not acceptable to me.
I am currently providing care to two children on top of my own: an almost 3-year-old boy and a 14-month-old boy. They are wonderful, beautiful children. They are the same ages as my own so it’s fabulous that mine each have a friend in the same developmental stage.

This is going to be an incredible journey. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be home with my boys, and I am so excited to see how the daycare grows and develops.

And of course, I will be integrating my bullet journal into my business! Stay tuned.

Project 30: How to Implement a New Habit

In my introductory post, I invited you to join me on my journey to get my sh*t together in my 30’s. Well, that journey has now begun! On March 16th, I turned 30. Initially, this blog post was to go live ON my birthday, but let’s face it, birthdays are incredibly busy (especially when you’re cooking and cleaning all day!), so I knew it would be the first day of my challenge, with the first day of failure to complete. It’s best to recover, then start this journey off fresh!

I had an amazing birthday. I made homemade lasagna and focaccia bread, and my amazing husband, who cannot bake, made an amazing hazelnut pound cake with vanilla cream and chocolate ganache! It was phenomenal! It’s incredibly sweet, he actually tried to mimic our wedding cake, and it was actually VERY close in taste! This is a man who tried to make Rice Krispies and completely spazzed out when it started to cool as he was mixing, quite possibly the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m so incredibly proud of him, not to mention so touched that he chose to do something so sentimental!

Cake

My wedding cake was beautiful. It was actually the one thing that my husband wanted to own on the task list! He did a fantastic job!

We had my family over: parents, siblings and significant others, and grandparents and of course my almost one and almost three-year-old running around screaming. It was the perfect evening, but I got completely wiped!

Now that I’ve recovered, and my house is no longer in disarray from the festivities, I can focus on me. In preparation for the changes I’d like to see in my life, I would like to share with you the ways I would like to improve, and how I am going to do that.

While Level 10 Life is a huge trend in the bullet journaling community, it doesn’t quite fit my needs, so I’m just going to wing it. I am going to recognise my shortcomings, decide what the most appropriate resolution is and have some way to quantitatively measure the success or failure of my goals.

The internet is crazy over the notion that forming new habits only takes 21 days. This is nothing more than a misconception, and I refuse to give into common knowledge without proper research. In my true nerdy self, I’ve looked up the data.

In 2009, Phillippa Lally conducted a study of 96 volunteers who chose an activity that they would like to perform daily. They repeated this habit every day and tracked whether they followed through on this behaviour. What determined whether their activity had become habit was the subject carrying through with the activity without reminders, without tracking, it was automatically done. The results were extremely staggered, ranging from 18 days to 254 days to become an automatic activity. The original concept of 21 days to form a habit was created by Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon who noted his patients took an average of 21 days to get used to seeing their new bodies, as well as his own experience implementing new habits.
You can check out the research by the European Journal of Social Psychology, or see an article about Maxwell Maltz in these links.

With this research in mind, I’m going to begin my tracker for 104 days. This is just personal preference. I don’t see it taking me the full 254 days, but I also know it will take more than 18.

Now that we’ve determined how I’m going to track them let me share the first line of items I would like to work on.

Dishes

I have a dishwasher. Honestly, there is zero reason for having dishes incomplete at the end of the night. I have a few items that can’t be put in there, but honestly, it would just take me a few minutes to wash them!
I want it to be a habit to never go to bed with the kitchen messy. No dishes left over, counters all wiped, everything put away. It’s true what they say when you declutter your home, you declutter your mind. I feel way more peaceful in the morning when I start out with a clean kitchen!

Laundry

I have a bad habit of letting the laundry build up until we’re almost out of everything. It always seems to be last priority. I dread doing it, not because it’s difficult (I actually think it’s the easiest chore in the home. You throw it in, then sit on your butt and wait.), but because my darn kids just get in the way! My 2.5-year-old likes to lie right on top of the pile. My 11-month-old grabs it and throws it across the room (though my oldest does that too), so I feel like the only chance I have to fold in peace is when they’re asleep. The problem with that is when I put them down for their naps, I don’t have enough time to throw it through an entire cycle, and I constantly forget to start the load BEFORE they go to sleep.
The first thing I’ll need to fix is to figure out a way to get the damn load done while the kids are awake. The only option I can think of is to put the basket on my nightstand where the kids can’t reach it and put every article of clothing away as I fold it, rather than organizing them in piles first. Seems like a pain in the behind, but worth it if I can get it done!
The tracking goal will be to never have a full load of dirty clothes in the hamper at the end of the night. Not full, no problem, it can sit there until whenever it’s full. But the moment I have a complete load, it needs to be done. I’ve tried adding a “one load of laundry” rule to my monthly tracker, but some days I have 5 loads and other days I have none (or I do and just don’t do it).

Pickups

With a 2.5-year-old, an 11-month-old, a cat, a puppy and a husband, it pretty much always looks like a hurricane has come through my house. When I run around picking up toys, towels, clothes and whatever else, it’s all back on the floor in what seems minutes. I felt defeated. I pretty much gave up on that and will just pick up a couple times a day and be done with it. Sometimes I’ll go to bed with a few toys left on the floor.
With the same ideals as the kitchen, I would like to wake up in the morning with a fresh, clean home. Free from clutter, from toys, from things I can step on or trip over. This one shouldn’t be hard to do.

Dinner

This is a really simple one that should be no problem to implement. My husband and I make weekly meal plans to do our grocery shopping. We have everything we need and feel good about the dinners we will be having that week. Then we forget to take the chicken out of the freezer, and that translates to either bland pasta or running out to get fast food. I’m sure everyone’s been there. I absolutely hate this habit. Not only are we wasting money by buying dinner, but we’re wasting fresh food that we could have made if we just spent the 30 seconds to pull the meat out of the damn freezer.

Hair and Makeup

I never do my hair or put on makeup. I actually really like doing it, I feel much better about myself. There’s always something more important going on than my own vanity. I need to feed the kids. I need to do the dishes. I need to clean up. I need to run errands… It’s time for me to put some time back into me!
My goal is to not only shower every day (which I do, but usually with the kids because I don’t have the time to be alone), but take the time to do my hair and makeup every morning. I think the best solution is to shower and night when the kids are in bed, and it’ll be quick and easy to slip the straightener through my hair in the morning. Actually, I don’t even think I have makeup anymore. Since I wasn’t using it, I tossed it long ago when I was on a decluttering rampage… Something to add to my shopping list!

Me Zone

I found a beautiful rolltop desk at an estate sale about a year ago. I absolutely love it. It fits the wonderful traditional, old-world style furniture and decor that I love. It constantly gets cluttered up not only by myself using it, but my oldest loves to sit at the desk to play with his cars. I’m pretty sure two of my four drawers are actually filled with Hot Wheels. I want to transform this space to be a place for me. I’ll still let my son play on it, but he will no longer be allowed to keep any toys in or on it. On top of this, my goal is actually to do something just for me at this desk. Every single day. Whether it’s drawing, painting, writing or whether it’s ten minutes or ten hours. I need to take some time for myself. For my sanity. All moms will understand this!

These six topics are the beginnings of my journey. I am starting with simple, easy to accomplish tasks that realistically SHOULD be habit by now anyway!

Project 30 Tracker

As you can see in this picture, I have set out these goals in my bullet journal to track. Maybe it’ll become habit after 18 days, maybe I’ll need to add another spread to expand to the full 254 days! I will keep you updated on its progress!

If you would like to truly join me on this journey, I have created a printable version of my bullet journal spread, which you can find here. I am offering this in my original 104-day goal as well as the 254-day option. It is available in both letter size as well as a junior size with dot-grid pages to spare.

I hope you enjoyed this post, please let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see or have any questions about starting new habits!

The Basics of Bullet Journaling

Basics of Bullet Journaling

Welcome back!

Before I dive into the everyday workings of my life, I thought it would be best to explain my most vital tool: the bullet journal.

Bullet Journal was invented by Ryder Carroll, and it’s the simplest, yet most ingenious system I’ve found. If you’re anything like me, it seems pretty much impossible to find a planner, agenda or journal that exactly fit your needs. For me, I had no use for an appointment book. Yes, I had meetings at work, but not enough to require it. My job as a marketing coordinator is filled with endless to do’s and monthly or quarterly scheduled projects. It seemed daunting to find something that actually worked.

I had actually created a planner for myself using the Arc by M series from staples, but despite many redesigns and adjustments, it still wasn’t quite what I needed.I still felt disorganised. Information was split up into categories and found in multiple areas — and what do you do when a task lands in many categories? Where do you put it?

Work Planner

Enter the bullet journal.

I started in February 2017, so I still have a lot to learn and a lot to practice. This is why I think this post is ideal for many. One thing you need to do: just dive in. I spent so much looking for ideas on Pinterest and reading blogs about how to do it. I felt overwhelmed not only by not knowing where to start, but the pressure to make them look as pretty as some of these amazing journals you’ll see online! All you need is a notebook and a pen. That’s it. Don’t worry about the fancy notebooks, the high-quality pens and markers, the washi tape (unless you want to!)….just get yourself a regular old notebook and a pen, and go!

Setting up your bullet journal

1. Index

If you have purchased a journal intended for bullet journaling, such as Leuchtturm1917 or The Bullet Journal Notebook, these pages will already be available to you. If you are using any other notebook, you will want to set aside a few pages to be your index.
This is simply a table of contents. You will write your topics (headers for your pages, monthly or daily layouts, collections, etc.indicate) and the associated page numbers. This is a major reason why the bullet journal is so handy. Simple details make the difference.

Index

2. Key

While this isn’t a section shown in the original Bullet Journal system, it’s one that I find extremely handy. This is where you will set up your symbols that you will be using.

A simple dot “•” indicates any actionable item or task. You then will “x” through this dot when an item has been completed. You can also use “>” to indicate that you’ve moved it to the next day, or show that you have designated to another specific date. Draw a small circle to indicate an event or holiday. Dashes represent notes.

You can also use signifiers, which are placed immediately left to your bullets. You can use an exclamation point for something inspiring, a star for something important or an eye for something you need to research further. These suggestions are from the official Bullet Journal website but feel free to use your own creativity and create whatever symbols you’d like!

3. Future Log

This page is a quick overview of your year. It allows you to see important dates in one look. I personally opted to do a full year, but many create future logs for three or six months at a time. I am putting a focus on my finances this year, so I laid out every payday and bill for the entire year. This lets me see, at a quick glance, what I have coming up. I also included holidays and birthdays.

I opted to create my future log as a calendex, as you can see below. This is just one example of a layout, but a simple google search will give you endless ideas! Many opt to use their spread to divide into six larger sections, only writing the important dates.

Future Log

4. Monthly Log

I’m sure this seems fairly obvious, but the monthly log is to have a slightly more comprehensive view of the entire month. It will have more detail than your future log. This is where I list my appointments and times (showing an event symbol only in the future log), create my habit tracker (completely optional!) or any other information you might need in a monthly view!

Monthly

5. Daily Log

This is where the magic happens. The daily log is exactly as it sounds. Write down today’s date, and start logging! Add events, tasks, notes, anything you want!

Some people like to lay out their entire week in a spread at the beginning of the week, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll have no idea how much space you need in a day. I prefer to just write today’s date, log all day and not write in the next day until the morning. Do it exactly how you’d like, though!

Daily

That’s all there is to it! Bullet Journaling is incredibly helpful, a tonne of fun and quite frankly, addicting! You can do as little or as much as you want to your journal. Some only do the five categories you see above, others add trackers and collections and brain dumps and countless other things to their journal. You can be minimalist if you’re not artistic (or even if you are) or can go as crazy as you’d like. It’s all up to you.

I am new into this realm, I’m just learning this as well! If you have any questions at all about this system, please don’t hesitate to contact me! If I can’t answer it, you can be damn sure I will find out!

I spent months ogling pictures of bullet journal spreads on Instagram, Pinterest, Google…. without doing anything about it. I constantly thought, “well, I don’t want to mess this up. I’m going to research to find out more about it” but let me tell you, I stayed in research mode. You could probably wind up in limbo there forever. I can’t stress this enough: just do it. Go. Grab a journal now. Whatever you have is fine: Leuchtturm1917, Rhodia, Hilroy…any old paper pad lying around — it doesn’t matter. All you need is some paper and a pen. If you mess up, just deal with it and do better next time. I learned more in my month and a half of bullet journaling than I did with ALL the research I had done. I found what work best for me, what was unnecessary, the style I like to do my layouts. It’s worth it. I already feel more organised!

The reason I chose to start off with a bullet journal how-to is that of two reasons. First, because I will be sharing much more of my “bujo” in this journey because it’s SO much fun, and secondly because a lot of the items in my life I’d like to discuss will somehow wind up in this bullet journal one way or another.

Feeling inspired? Check out my Bullet Journal Starter Kit on Etsy!

I hope you enjoyed this short tutorial, please subscribe to my blog and visit again!

A rye by any other name…

Life as a Rye. What’s in a name?

Rye is a crop that tolerates many conditions. It symbolises love and fidelity. While I’m sure this sounds great as a motto to life, “As a Rye” is actually the phonetic spelling of my last name.

Hi, my name is Patti! Welcome to Life As a Rye!

I am an almost 30-year-old wife and mother of two young boys (almost three and almost one!) with a long journey ahead of me.

While I truly believe that age is just a number (I am in no way saddened to turn 30), it has woken me up to many things I would like to change about my life. I hope that you will share this journey with me.

Prepare for posts about cleaning and organising, planning and bullet journaling, the trials and triumphs of parenthood, random thoughts, ideas and art pieces and much more!

Please join me on a path to get my sh*t together in my 30’s!