6 Things Stories: My Office

I decided to start doing my “6 Things” series recently because I love how everything in a house has a story behind it. I started with 6 Things Stories: Our Den and now we are moving on to My Office.

While my office is filled with things that have all sorts of memories attached to them… I narrowed it down to just 6.

Thing 1: Cotton Monster

This is my very own Cotton Monster, handmade by a Baltimore-based fiber artist. Many years ago, I was at a work event that had a raffle and the Cotton Monster was one of the prizes. I wanted it SO BAD… and did not win it. However, one of the accounting partners at the firm I worked at DID win it by accident. And not even knowing how much I coveted it, walked by me on the way out of the event, handed it to me and said “enjoy” before disappearing off into the night.  

My adorable little monster is soft and ridiculous and always makes me smile! He also appears in the background of many of my #ootd pictures on Instagram, back when I used to leave the house regularly for work.

Thing 2: Voices of the Year Award

This is my Voices of the Year award (aka a VOTY), which is basically like the blogger version of the Emmy’s or the Tony’s. Back in 2016, I submitted one of my posts to be reviewed through a juried program with a minimum of three rounds of judging. Out of the thousands of submissions for the 2016 VOTY awards, fewer than 5% of them made it through to become an Honoree. The piece of writing that I was honored for was really special to me, because it is about some of the simple pleasures of being a mom. You can read it here: I Want You.

Thing 3: My Watercolor Painting

I’ve always been an artsy-fartsy-crafty kind of person. I love to create everything from tie-dyed shirts to embroidered pictures. I’ve tried pretty much every craft out there, including stained glass and hand throwing pottery on a wheel. I LOVE to create. However, I can’t draw worth a crap. At the beginning of the pandemic, I bought myself a watercolor set and an acrylics set and just allowed myself to play. This is one of the paintings I made and I love it.

Thing 4: Jack’s Note

Over the years, Jack has always been the kid who has made me little notes and pictures. One day a few years ago, he found a piece of wrapping paper and wrote this note on the back of it: To Mom. I love you so much. I like your hard work.” He painstakingly sounded out each word and carefully wrote each letter. Sure, some of the words are spelled wrong and he was a little loose with his capitalization and punctuation. But it is absolute perfection to my momma-heart.

Being a full time working mom is hard — I want to be awesome at my job and I want to be awesome at being a mom. I added Jack’s note to a photo frame with some pretty backing paper and it hangs right over my desk.

Thing 5: My Relaxation Corner

Each morning before I turn on my laptop for yet another day of pandemic inspired teleworking, I have a little ritual. I light a nice smelling candle and settle in with a cup of coffee, before attacking the emails that came in since I had logged off. If it’s a super stressful day, or I’m on a call where I have to keep my cool… you’ll probably find me with one of the little shells or rocks in my hand. Just smoothing it like a worry-stone. My friend sent me the llama-corn planter, but the plant that came in it is long gone. I recently bought a couple new ones… and they’re still alive. So yay!

Thing 6: All the Craft Organization

As I previously mentioned, I love being creative. This bookshelf is basically my home version of Michael’s. Do you want some embroidery floss to use for cross-stitching? Yup, got it. How about some super soft yarn to knit a blanket? Yup. Some jewelry making supplies? Some fabric paints? A metal stamping set? Glitter? Yup. Yup, Yup, and Hell Yup! Not only do I have a little bit of everything, it’s all organized and labeled so I can find whatever I need. So whenever inspiration strikes, I’m ready to create!

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Life Update: One Year of COVID

Source: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

One of the things I enjoy about blogging is that I can look back at older blog posts and it’s like a diary of my life. This is especially true during times like when Jack was first born, or upheaval like leaving a job and starting a new one. Well, now that we are marking one year of COVID, I took some time to look back at my “Life Update” posts over the past year to remind myself of the ups and downs… and ups and downs.

Looking back, I found my very first post where I mention that schools might possibly be closed for more than two weeks (aww, I miss hopeful Joules), I talk about how I decided to reschedule my March meetings for April when I’d be “back in the office” … and my total relief when Jack was able to go to (outdoor, socially distanced) camp last summer.

The year has certainly been full of uncertainty, which is probably one of the hardest things for someone like me who likes to make a schedule and then stick to it. As it turns out, Jack hasn’t been back to in-person school in a full year now. If I can get a vaccine, we may be able to send him to school before the end of 3rd grade. Otherwise, he will (hopefully) return in the fall for 4th grade.

If you would have told March 2020 Joules that, she might have lost her damn mind.

However, March 2021 Joules is getting a little better at rolling with the punches.

Here are all my life updates from living through the pandemic so far:

I wonder how I’ll look back at this weird moment in time a few years from now?

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I’ve Been Blogging for 10 Years

Source: background photo by Sagar Patil on Unsplash

As of March 2021, I’ve been blogging here at Pocketful of Joules for TEN YEARS.

My very first blog post was published on March 23, 2011. For the past decade, I’ve been blogging… and most of the time, I’ve been publishing 3 posts a week. I just checked my total post count, and I have published 1,404 posts. That’s a lot of words.

Over the past 10 years I’ve left jobs, found new ones, got pregnant, had a premature baby, went back and forth to the NICU, and suddenly now our kid is a 9-year-old. We bought a house, I decorated every room and then redecorated. I’ve done a ton of DIY projects and read a ton of books. My beloved dog died and we welcomed a new rescue dog to our home.

I’ve traveled to Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Orlando, Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Williamsburg, Savannah, Ocean City, and even Vancouver. We have cruised to the Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. Martin, San Juan, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, Belize, Isla Roatan, and Freeport. We went to Kauai, Hawaii. We have visited Disney World, Disneyland, Universal Studios, Great Wolf Lodge, Dinosaurland, and Hersheypark.

All three of my siblings got married in a year, and I was in each of their weddings. And bridal showers. And bachelorette parties. I’ve worked my butt off to earn my master’s degree. I’ve dropped my kid off at his first day of school for kindergarten, and oversaw a year of online learning for 3rd grade due to a pandemic.

I’ve attended bogging conferences, won awards, and made friends. Some of which I’ve never actually met in person. I’ve lost friends too. Some abruptly and others just faded away over time. I’ve tried dozens of subscription boxes, taken hundreds of photos, and basically only have one pose.

And I’ve blogged about it all.

I have read every single of the 6,727 comments I have received and responded to the majority of them. I’ve had months where over 20,000 people visit my corner of the internet… and months where my visits topped out at 1,500.

I’ve thought about closing the doors on my blog time and time again. But each time, I decide to stick with it for a bit longer. Because at this point, looking back at my blog is like looking back at the last 10 years of my life.

If you’ve been a reader here for the last 10 years, or even the last 10 minutes. Thank you.

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