life · present not perfect

January 26- mistakes

Image result for making mistakes is better than faking perfection

This quote not only is in the book Present not Perfect, but it also goes hand and hand with both the activity I’ll share today, but also what I write about in this activity.

Think about one mistake you made recently, no matter how big or small, and write about it.

My mistake has to do with the last blog post I wrote. In my last post, about colors, I reflected on the end of the day at work on Thursday. Many of the staff were frustrated and upset because we learned about changes being made to the program by reading it in a flyer that was being sent to the parents.

Well, this post was read and misinterpreted. There was a feeling that everyone was angry. That the staff felt the change should have been discussed/passed by us. Not the truth.  Administration is administration and we realize they can unilaterally make changes. Our annoyance was having to read it in a flyer instead of just being told.

I realize that before we left work on Thursday, one of us should have voiced our concern with our boss, but sometimes you just need to sleep on something to figure out what to say/do next.

Write how it might not be such a big deal after all and what may have come out of it.

While I’m sure whoever at my job that read that blog might think that I feel my mistake was blogging about my feeling.. it’s not. My blog is a place to talk about how I feel and at the time I felt frustrated with work. Who doesn’t feel frustrated with work from time to time. I did not disrespect anyone in my piece about work, I just stated my frustration. You can read what I wrote here and make your own judgement.

What I left seeing and feeling:

  • The staff was frustrated because we read about a change that we felt administration should have shared at the staff meeting the day before. We did not like reading about a change when we’d just met the day before.
  • Administration was upset because they found out we were upset by reading about it on my blog. They said we should have come to them and voiced our frustration.

Hey look… these are the same frustrations! People do not want to read about changes, annoyance, or other things that effect them. They want to be told, brought in on the conversation, and/or acknowledged.

People we need to talk. We need to respect each other enough to share facts and frustrations face to face.  Communication is a two way street.


life · present not perfect

January 23rd- which color?

UGH. Some days life feels crazier than others. Our home life is very busy right now as we have  a lot going the next few weeks.

I decided that today would be a good day to do another Present not Perfect activity. So here is the one I picked today.

Look at the paint colors below and choose the one that defines your mood today. (this is not the pic from the book, but same concept)

Image result for color squares images


Pick your color and notice how you feel when you look at it. Accept whatever mood you are in, but give it a name.

Today was a variety of color day. I woke up and it was an ok kind of day. I’d say it was a green kind of day. Sort of mellow and ok to move forward.

When I got to work and started my day it was either rose pink or lavender kind of day. Things were either really good or kind of deceitfully crazy. The children are enjoying learning about penguins, but their behavior was a bit off the wall too.

After work, it was more of a red mood kind of thing. Almost every teacher was in my room because our boss sent home paperwork talking about next year, but made changes and didn’t tell any of the teacher… oh and we had a staff meeting yesterday. Everyone was fuming!

Headed to the grocery store and now I’m home… life is sort of aqua, almost back to mellow, but not quite there yet.

So what color was/is your day? Does one moment of your day affect the rest of your day? Do you have the same moods at work and at home? I hope that my day ends up sunshine yellow, but I’ll be ok to go back to mellow green.

life · present not perfect

January 22nd- mantra

This week in class we are learning about penguins. When I was in high school I dislocated my knee and wore an immobilizer for three months. During that time my nickname became penguin. While the nickname didn’t stick after the immobilizer was removed, my love of penguins was born.

When I was in college I actually had a pretty decent collection of penguins in my dorm room. My favorite hockey team was/is the Pittsburgh Penguins. There was just something about this flightless bird that endures the coldest lands around. They all look a bit different, but also the same. There are so many cool facts to learn and I’m having fun teaching my students about them and even learning some new facts myself.

Over the weekend I got a new watch. This is hybrid watch. It looks and functions like an analog watch, but also keeps track of steps and sleep cycles. I can set it to vibrate and move the hands to notify me if certain people contact me via text or phone call as well as set alarms. I have found myself watching my steps, being aware of my sleep habits and much more.

Ok what does this have to do with today’s post… the info about school… nothing. I just wanted to share that. But the watch does.

Today’s activity:

Take a minute to choose your own spirit-rousing mantra. Need help? Think of the words you wish someone would say to you each and every day.

Here are a few suggestions they provide:

  • I’ve got this
  • I am the sky. Everything else is the weather
  • I am invincible
  • Perfection is overrated

Now think of your own mantra. Post it somewhere you can read it every day.

My first thought when I read this was: Image result for one step at a time

One of my favorite MLK quotes:

Image result for take the first step

I think I often need a reminder that you don’t have to get to the finish line each time… but you have to start. You need to figure out what the next step is, not every step.

Some things I need to remember more:

Image result for mom of teen boys

Image result for everything is a choice








What is your mantra? What is something you need to think of but don’t right now? Do you think focusing on a mantra would help?

One last quote to share… my favorite line from a poem

Image result for two roads diverged in a yellow wood

life · present not perfect

January 21- What’s next?

Image result for it's all goodIt continues to be cold here, so I was a nice mom and drove Colby to the bus stop this morning. This meant I didn’t have as much time before I went to work. But, it’s all good!

Today we were all back to work. I love long weekends, but I hate the fact that you then feel the need to shove 5 days of work into 4. There needs to be some balance here… maybe?

Speaking of trying to fit everything in… that is what today’s project in Present not Perfect is all about!

What are all the things you are trying to (tried to) get done today? Write them in the overlapping shapes below.  (image similar to the one I provided)Image result for overlapping rectangles

Well… I’m not going to overlap all my to-dos of the day, but I thought it might be interesting to write you up a blurb of a day in my life… today actually!

  • 5:50am alarm goes off (Blake is up already he set his alarm at 5:10… don’t ask)
    • Richard is up and showering
  • 6:05 I roll out of bed and try to convince the dog to go downstairs
  • 6:10 Colby’s alarm goes off
  • 6:10-6:45 pack lunches, clean kitchen, get out vitamins, remind Blake to brush teeth, put on shoes, pack to go to school
  • 6:45 Richard goes outside to scrape the truck
  • 6:50 getting Blake out the door
  • 6:51 now I get to shower
    • Colby is down having breakfast and doing his morning things
  • 7:25 get Colby ready to get out the door
  • 7:33 drive Colby to the bus stop
  • Return home to have breakfast, cut up oatmeal fruit bars I made to bring co-workers, make a coffee and go
  • 8:05- running late, but will still get to work on time
  • 8:30 walk in work
  • 8:30-9:00 scramble to plan today and rest of the week since I slacked on Friday and didn’t do that
  • 9:00 the students walk in the door… turn on teacher mode
  • 9:00-12:15 teach… there is so much to this piece, but I’m not spelling it all out
  • 12:15 the children are sent home with their families
  • 12:15 quickly send off class dojo photos and a few other items for work
  • 12:20- staff meeting
  • 1:15 get a phone call from Blake… he broke his glasses
  • 1:20 realize I got a phone call from Blake because the meeting was lingering and I ignored the call from an unknown number.
  • 1:30 out the door to head home to get the spare glasses
  • 1:45 get home
  • 1:48 back in the car to drive to Blake’s school
  • 2:00 get to the school and wait for Blake to come down and get his glasses
  • 2:15 back home again
  • 2:20 went for a walk– needed more steps, needed a break, needed some exercise, needed some fresh air
  • 2:45-3:30 back from the walk- empty the dish washer, have a snack, read blogs, finish class dojo for my class, prep dinner (sous vide pork tenderloin), add items to the calendar, umm I know I’ve done more, but I can’t think

I often feel like my is in blocks. Before work block, during work block, after work block, after the kids come home home, dinner block, after dinner block, after the boys go to bed block. etc…There are many things I do/need to do in each of those times. I feel as long as I can accomplish most of them during their assigned time frame I’m good.

Ok well… I need to spend some of this before the boys walk in the door block (which is a bit longer right now because Blake is at school for Seussical rehersals) and get some work stuff done.



present not perfect · through my camera lens

January 19- stop and look

Life got busy the last few days. And, while I’ve taken time to slow down a bit each day, I haven’t taken time to share on here. Last week I managed to workout twice. I’m doing PiYo right now. The instructor calls it active yoga, I think of it more as pilates, but who cares?

Friday night into Saturday morning it snowed. Granted, it wasn’t the crazy snow they forecasted, but it snowed. Then it turned to rain and rained all day long. This morning when I woke it, there was snow. It is snowing again. According to my weather last night, we were not supposed to get snow, but we did and now they are saying snow until noon.

The snow more blowing than sticking, but hey it looks pretty.

Image may contain: tree, sky, outdoor and natureI feel like this photo doesn’t do it justice, but it works for my daily activity from Present not Perfect.

Give yourself time today to stare out the closest window at something beautiful. Imagine that your brain is getting off a highway to go on a more scenic side road.

One of the things I love about my house and where we live is the back of my property is woods. When I look out most of my back windows I look into nature. I see trees, blue sky, birds. We have chipmunks, squirrels, groundhogs, rabbits and deer.

I love being able to look out and not see cars, asphalt and day to day clutter of life.

I always feel that being able to see nature. The parts of the world that are not controlled by man, is one of the best ways to relax and appreciate life. I have almost always lived on a lot with conservation land behind me. I have always enjoyed being outside. Going on hikes in the woods. Feeding the birds. Seeing the wild animals. This is beauty to me.

So this morning I stood there and watched the woodpeckers fly to the suet feeder. I watched cardinals, blue jays and wrens fly to eat sunflower seeds. I watched the snow blow and swirl. I see the trees sway in the breezes.

Image result for beauty of nature quote snow

book · food · life · present not perfect · through my camera lens

January 14- sensory rich foods

No photo description available.

Good morning (or afternoon or evening depending on when you are reading this). Yesterday I began writing my blog post in the morning and it seemed to make life a bit less crazy in the afternoon, so I’m jumping onto this again this morning. (I posted that photo on I/G this morning, do you follow me on there? @lorif_my_life)

Today’s topic in Present not perfect is sensory foods. I guess the fact that I’m typing this while drinking coffee makes sense. But, let me tell you a bit of a back story. I didn’t drink coffee for a long time. I drank it a bit when I was in grad school and right after, but then stopped. I gave up all caffeine for a long time and only used it to help with migraines. When we moved up to PA I needed something to drink that was warm. I tried hot chocolate and herbal/flavored tea, both of which I like it didn’t do it for me on a regular basis. I already had a Keurig for visitors, so I decided on a whim to pick up some flavored coffee and creamer and now I drink 1-2 cups a day. OH well… I know I was better off without the coffee, but now it is part of my morning and afternoon routines, well at least during the cold months.

What are your favorite sensory rich foods? Use them to help you push pause in a crazy day.

Circle (underline) your favorites from the list and then add some of your ownImage may contain: dessert and food

  • hard candy
  • breath mint
  • chocolate
  • hot tea

For me, many of my sensory rich foods aren’t instant things: fresh baked cookies, pizza hot out of the oven, and homemade soups/stews. These are things that make my mouth water. The smells, the textures, the tastes… it hits more than just taste.

For the I need it now sensory foods-

chocolate! (but it has to be good chocolate not a Hershey bar, but something on the line of ghiradelli dark chocolate or a Lindt truffle)

coke– the flavor, the fizz, the caffeine

Image may contain: foodcoffee- I’ve always loved the scent, now with a bit of flavoring I like the taste too

peppermint- true peppermint is the best. I love these soft peppermints, but eat way too many of them. The container is almost gone, this is a good thing!

What are your favorite sensory rich foods? Do you gravitate towards them when times are stressful?



life · present not perfect · through my camera lens

January 13th- quiet your mind

Ok, yep I might seem like I’m slacking on posting lately, but I’m being present because I’m not perfect. I would rather not post then post out of the feeling of have to or need to.

Image may contain: people sitting, screen, table and indoorThe end of January is parent/teacher conferences for me. I have a 50 topic form that I need to complete on each child on top of assessing letters, sounds, numbers, shapes, color and more. While most of it can be done just from knowledge of the children I to take my time and reflect on each child while filling them out. This has taken time both after school and on the weekends on top of the actual assessment time during the school day. Also, I try to complete my work before the boys get home and/or while they are doing homework. So, blogging took a backseat.

Today I decided to look at the book in my 30 minutes of alone time before work. My mornings look like this:

  • 5:30- Blake gets up- showers, dresses etc…
  • 5:50- Richard gets up- showers, dresses etc…
  • 6:05- I get up- brush my teeth, toss on a sweatshirt and check on the boys and head downstairs to keep the wheels moving
  • 6:10- Colby gets up- – showers, dresses etc…
  • 6:15- Blake should be heading downstairs for breakfast, packing etc.
  • 6:35- Colby heads downstairs
  • 6:40 -Richard come downstairs
  • 6:45- Richard and Blake leave
  • 6:46-I take my shower and get ready
  • 7:25- Colby leaves for the bus
  • 8:00 I leave for work.

Normally I eat breakfast after Colby leaves. Today I ate breakfast before he left leaving me a bit of time to get on here.

Today’s activity:

Close your eyes and try to quiet your mind for one full minute, imagine the static of your thoughts getting quieter and quieter

What thoughts did you have a hard time quieting?

Even though I just rambled off about work and my morning schedule, when I closed my eyes and was just still I stopped all the noise. I could hear the white noises around me, but I didn’t distract my thoughts.

I figured I’d be thinking about work and what I need to do to get ready for today. Monday mornings tend to be busy because I need to set up for the week. But, I was able to shut out work.

I figured I’d be thinking of dinner, the boys, Richard and all of our normal day to day life stress. But, I didn’t.

I was able to shut it out. Shut it down. Put it aside for a minute. I guess that means that none of those stresses are that stressful. That nothing is that important that I can’t put it aside. And that, my friend, is what I wanted to learn how to do. To realize that even the things that feel stressful at the time, aren’t… or don’t have to be. That life isn’t about moving from one stressor  to the next… it’s moving from one moment, one experience, one day, one whatever to the next and living! It is living in the here and now.

So, I’m going to head off to work and plug through more assessments. Then come home and plow through my life here… and realize it’s all good (even when it doesn’t feel that way)





family · life · present not perfect · through my camera lens

January 8- photo of me

Hello blogging world! I hope your Wednesday is going well. Today is COLD here. We actually got alerts during the morning telling of a snow squall that was coming through. It was crazy snowing for a short time and then it was done. But, the wind is whipping and the temps are dropping all day. But, we will survive.

Today, I found myself working on assessments, chatting with a parent who had some questions/concerns and an on-line friend who is getting ready to go on a cruise. All these things were done from the time I got home from school until Blake walked through the door. So, again I didn’t carve out a bit of time to be quiet and reflect, soooo I jumped ahead again and found a page that I don’t need to be introspective to write about.

This page had you find a photo of you that you like and then write about why you like it. So here you go….

Image may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoor

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you probably have noticed that photos of me are few and far between. I truly dislike having my picture taken. I have tried over the years to make sure that I’m not totally missing from all the family moments, actually to be honest Richard makes sure of this.

This photo was taken when we were on our vacation in Erie PA in August. Yes, first of all that was in August and I’m wearing a sweatshirt, ok a light weight sweatshirt, but it was actually a bit chilly at the time.

While I could look at this picture and tell you everything I hate about the picture, I am not going to look for negatives. This photo is the one on my I/G account. I love that it is me taking a picture of something. I believe I was actually taking a landscape photo at the time, but it doesn’t matter. It is me looking at our lives and capturing the moment.

Going on vacations is always a fun moment. I try to balance capturing these moments and living these moments. While I want to have photos to help us remember our trips, I also want to put down my camera/phone and just enjoy the trip. I believe that over the years I have found this balance.

Yep… everything in life comes back to balance.


life · present not perfect

January 7th- perfectly imperfect

Today I went out to lunch with some of my co-workers. It was a nice change of pace. But, this meant I missed out on my quiet time. I actually got home after Blake.

I didn’t want to skip taking the time to reflect on my life/day and work through Present Not Perfect. So, I opted to skip ahead in the book a bit and came across this page:

Circle (or in my case underline) your favorite items from this list of beautifully imperfect things:

  • A wrinkled note from an old friend
  • An awkward first kiss
  • Sea glass
  • A child’s drawing
  • A worn but well-loved book
  • An un-posed family portrait

Add more beautifully imperfect things to the list. Here are some of mine…

  • auto corrected texts that make you smile/laugh
  • listening to a young child struggle to read
  • a broken cookie
  • ice that gets stuck in the middle of the glass
  • my life… it is the best perfectly imperfect thing

What beautifully imperfect things make you smile?





life · present not perfect

January 6th – 3 up 3 down

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekends. I have decided that I will not be blogging on the weekends. I will check in on other blogs if I have time, but I’m not going to make time for my own blog.

I did spend part of my weekend thinking more about the concept of feeling the need to be perfect. But, I’m not going to get into that again today, as I rambled about it enough last week.

Today we are going to participate in one of the activities from the book. I encourage you to do these too. You can do them on your blog if you want, or else just grab a piece of paper and do it there… there is no right way!

So today’s activity: Write down three things that bring you joy (use brightly colored pens, or in my case font). Then write down three things that have been bothering you (write in pencil) erase (or in my case strike through) any items you have no control over.

Three things that bring me joy: Well I could go easy and just write Blake, Colby, and Richard, but you know that so I’m going to take this a different route.

Three things that bring me joy: hearing positive comments, baking/cooking new things, watching the ah-ha moments of life

Three things that have been bothering me: not knowing how to solve/fix/limit the dramas of life (parenting tweens/teens is tough!), work frustrations and accountability, others complaining about things at work/home/in life/wherever 

We need to realize that we control the joys and frustrations of life. We can’t control others. But, we can control how we act and react to our environment. I believe that we need to focus on the good and push the good onto others. Just as when you smile, others will smile back, when we bring others joy, they will mirror joy back.

Find three things that bring you joy. What about those things that frustrate you? Can you control them? Or do you just need to control how you react to them… what control you give to them.