Lessons Learned, Life Lately

8 Things I’ve Learned Lately


1.Play dates are as necessary for me as they are for my daughter.

The last month has been filled with a LOT of opportunities for me to socialize with friends I haven’t seen in awhile (and for our kids to spend time together), and it has just been SO MUCH FUN.

However, other play date experiences have also taught me that it’s super important to pick a place where the kids can stay occupied and entertained (and that won’t require you to run all over the place after them), but that also allows you to really connect with your own friends there. As I mentioned on my Instagram, I used to be kind of a snob about the fact that I never went to McDonald’s, but now after I had one truly awesome play date there, I think it might become a pretty regular thing, as the indoor playground provided ample opportunities for the kids to run around (but in a confined area!), and therefore gave us plenty of time (and quiet!) to talk.

2. Spray painting hardware is more complicated than I thought it would be (and it helps if you take out all the screws first!).

Moving into our new home has come with a whole slew of DIY projects, something I usually avoid like the flu. However, I HAVE actually done a few things to spruce our new place up, one of which involved spray painting an old dresser and its old hardware. While I largely left the spray painting of the dresser to other family members, I basically had to take on the hardware myself, and I grossly underestimated how complicated the process could be (esp. when you have next to no craft experience at all like me, and especially not with spray paint).

Two vital lessons I learned the hard way (aka, after I’d already done a TERRIBLE job the first two times I tried to do it):

  • Wear disposable gloves before starting. The first time, I did it without gloves, which meant that I was so worried about getting it on myself that I missed whole areas on the hardware because I tried to spray paint them while they were sitting on newspaper (rather than me holding the piece in my hand). Once I put on gloves and removed that fear, I was able to evenly spray all parts of each piece with ease.
  • Take out all screws BEFORE you start spraying. To make sure we didn’t lose any of the screws, we had just connected the hardware and screws immediately after removing them from the dresser, and since I didn’t care what color the screws were, I decided they could just get spray painted, too. The problem was, that meant that there was no good way to lay them down to dry on the newspaper, and I got weird parts that were rubbed off or puddled together, necessitating that I spray everything a third time. The last time, I just removed the screws from each piece, which allowed me to prop each piece of hardware up so that it dried evenly and without any parts rubbing off. (Pictures of the dresser to come soon, when I post about our guest room!)

3. Always–ALWAYS!–put your still-potty-training kid on the toilet right before going to bed or going out anywhere, even if they just went 20 minutes before.

It is sad how many times I’ve had to learn this lesson, but after I had a terrible potty day yesterday where we had multiple accidents (after having gone days and days without any major pee or poop incidents whatsoever), I’ve learned to just set Raven down on the potty RIGHT before bed or before we leave the house. (This also helps to cut down on her stalling techniques before napping, as one of the first things she’ll say to us once we’ve put her down to sleep is that she needs to go potty.)

4. Apparently, it’s a good idea to cover your outdoor A/C unit before winter hits.

File this under things-I-probably-should-have-already-known, but home ownership has come with its own learning curve, for sure. Since our new home didn’t come with a custom cover for our unit, we’ll just be covering ours with a tarp tied down with bungee cords (and SOON, because the temps here have been in the 30’s at night!).

Now we just need to figure out how to winterize our sprinkler system…

5. Being a member of a book club is just as fun as I thought it’d be.

For someone as obsessed with books as I am, you’d think I would have joined (or started!) a book club ages ago, but I’d always hesitated. Part of my trepidation about joining was about having to read books I wasn’t crazy about, and the other part was my worry in offending others with my rather strong opinions on books, but as I’ve been trying hard to fit into our new community here, I decided to finally just take the leap and join the local club here.

And, honestly, it’s been so fun! True, it’s helped that two out of the three books so far have been books I’d been planning on reading soon anyway, but even the discussions have been a lot of fun, and I find that there’s a good balance in the group when it comes to opinions and tastes, at least as far as I can tell. (And I haven’t been kicked out yet for my strong opinions, so…fingers crossed.)

6. Even if you’re hoping for a size change soon(ish), it is almost always a good idea to invest in a pair of wear-everyday pants that you love anyway.

(And, bonus lesson: The size on the pants is really just a number, so buy the pair that fits the best, not the one that’s the size that “should” fit.)

It’s not much of a secret that I’ve wanted to be pregnant for a long time now but haven’t been able to, for one reason or another. Because of that desire, I kept putting off and putting off buying a new pair of pants because I kept figuring that I’d get pregnant any day now and that they would no longer fit. Well, this week I finally just used some birthday money and went out and got a new pair of black skinny jeans (as my last pair literally wore out), and now I’m wondering why the heck I waited so long.

And while I was shopping for those pants, I was trying on pair after pair of pants in my usual size, but only about half of them fit well, while the other half just made me feel a little depressed because I could barely get them on. So for one style that I thought I’d really like, I simply sized up to see if that would help, and they fit perfectly! Like I’ve heard people say many times before–no one can see the number on your jeans, so buy the one that actually fits, not the size you “want” to be fitting into. (And it goes without saying, but the pants that I got are MUCH more flattering when I sized up rather than when I tried squeezing into the smaller size.)

7. Sometimes what you need on a date is to NOT do much of anything.

Matt and I like to make sure we always do some kind of “experience” for our birthdays rather than focusing on getting gifts for each other, so we enlisted the help of my mom in watching Raven last weekend so we could go out on a date. The funny thing was, the more we talked about what to do after we went out for dinner, the less either of us felt like actually doing anything.

So we ended up picking up a Swig cookie (which we’d never tried before) and browsing around Barnes and Noble for over an hour together after we ate at our favorite Chinese place. And you know what? It was exactly what we needed.

8. The older you get, the more likely your birthday is to literally sneak up on you.

Matt turned 31 last Sunday, and I’m turning 31 on Friday, and this year, even more than any other year, I literally keep forgetting that it’s my birthday this week.

(At least now that I’m newly in my thirties, I have an easier time keeping track of how old I am–in my late twenties, there were literally multiple times I had to do the math to figure out my own age!)


What has life taught you lately?


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