Secret's out. I'm a nerd and cannot ever have enough books. I span a lot of genres and have found reading to be the best way I learn. It allows me the opportunity to really think on things, go back to things and re-assess like nothing else. It also is one of my favorite ways to relax! Whether it's historical fiction, memoir, self-help or yes, even a good romance novel...I'm a book worm. Here's 5 I'm reading this summer.
Free to Focus. This is Michael Hyatt's newest book and it's timing couldn't be better. The goal in my pursuits is not to do more, in fact, it's just the opposite. I'm not a fan of the word hustle and I don't subscribe to busyness for the sake of busyness. Free to Focus is all about managing what you spend your time on, so that you're spending time on the things that are actually moving the needle in your life and business. It's a good one for any self-starting business owner.
Where the Crawdads Sing. My sister-in-law got this for me for my birthday and I keep seeing it pop up in different spots. Can't wait to read this on the plane next week.
Turtles All the Way Down. My sister got this for me for my birthday, yes you read that right. Proof that I am in fact a nerd. This is by the same author that wrote Fault in our Stars, I'm just a few pages in and can't wait to watch this mystery unfold.
Open. This is the biography of tennis great Andre Agassi. I got this for my dad a few years ago and before I gave it to him, I took the liberty of reading the first 50 pages...and now I really want to finish it. My dad loved watching tennis growing up, so Andre Agassi was a staple in our house. When the book came out, I heard about it on a couple of podcasts and knew I needed to get it for my dad. He said it was really good and given that I read the first 50 pages, I'm sure it is. I love reading biographies of people that the world has identified as 'successful.' I've found that most of the times behind that 'success' is a normal person who has overcome incredible failures, struggles and defeats.
A few others I haven't committed to, but that are on my list. Can't Hurt Me. The Road Less Stupid. Anxious for Nothing. The Hideaway. Code Girls. It's Not Supposed to be This Way.
Obviously need to narrow this list down a bit, but probably won't.
With the weekend upon us, it's time for Open Houses! Do you guys love walking houses as much as me? Good. These links are for those of you that love walking houses as much as I do or are in the beginning stages of looking for a home. Use the links below to see the list of weekend open houses going on across the Valley. If you haven't used these links before, I break each list into different cities, then they are sorted by price, so you can find what you're looking for fairly quickly. Once you find a property you want to walk, click on the 'open house' tab at the top right to see the date & time of the open house...and be sure to let me know if you find a gem!
MESA || GILBERT
If there is anything for sure it is this: I am a creature of habit. I thrive on a routine and my heart skips a bit over organized structure. Sure, I like to be spontaneous every once in a while...so long as I've planned for it. For better or worse, my household is run on routine and when summer comes around, structure isn't too far behind.
Structured summer is a bit of an oxymoron and I don't want to give the impression that every moment is accounted for and planned because it most certainly is not, BUT there is an overall routine we run on a daily basis that helps to keep us all sane. Before we get to the routine, I must tell you a few ground rules that might make me a bit unpopular. They are this:
1. I don't feel the obligation to entertain my kids all summer long.
2. I am a-okay if they find themselves bored and I do not take that boredom on as my problem to solve.
With that out of the way, let's get started. Part of the exhaustion of summer comes from constantly being asked what the rules are: can I stay up late tonight? Do I have chores today? Can friends come over to play? I've found if I set up some clear guidelines on the front end, it eliminates a lot of back and forth along with the ensuing frustration, throughout the summer. We tend to start with the very most important thing first:
1. Bedtimes. Before summer hit, I sat my kids down and had a quick heart-to-heart with them that was to serve as a clear reminder to them. We discuss what summer looks like for them: no school. And what summer looks like for mom & dad: everything still the same. Then we remind them that bedtimes will continue throughout the week as normal, while they may extend on the weekends depending on plans. They always moan and groan and while I sometimes feel like a party pooper, I remind myself I'm not a party pooper, I'm a mom. A mom who knows that well-rested kids are happier, more reasonable kids.
2. Morning Routines. Each morning we have the same routine. Some are early risers, so they get it done early, while others prefer to sleep late. I don't concern myself too much with a consistent wake up call, just the routine that follows. It involves a list of about 5-7 things they each need to accomplish before any screens can be used or friends can be called. Some days the lists are more intense, others fairly relaxed, but a typical list for my oldest might include the following:
Practice guitar, 20 minutes (Olivia practices piano instead)
100 free throws (Olivia works on her gymnastics instead, 10 round offs, 10 back bends, etc)
Swim 20 laps
Read scriptures, 20 minutes
Make bed + clean room
Play with Luke, 30 minutes
3. Lunch Time. In the past, with the ease of summer days, I've actually forgotten to feed my kids lunch. Time has passed unaccounted for and suddenly it is 2pm and we've either snacked our way right past lunch or each person has made their own lunch...creating 5 different messes to clean up in the process. I'm not perfect at this, but I try to gather us all for lunch. It's a good mid-point in the day to re-group and allows for us all to make lunch together and then clean it up together.
4. Quiet Time. Yes, I still try to create a form of quiet time each day even though all my kids are 'older' and I'm pretty sure they love it. This usually happens in the afternoons. Where we live it actually gets too hot in the afternoon to do much of anything, swimming included. This has naturally become our 'quiet time.' If they want to watch a movie or play video games, this is when that happens. It's an hour where we can all tuck ourselves away and do our own quiet thing. I've found it helpful to every single one of us.
5. Evening Routine. While it might appear that our entire day is accounted for, it most certainly is not. Each evening we re-group and do a 15 minute clean up. My house tends to take a beating most summer days and while we do morning chores, by the time evening rolls around, you can't tell one bit. And so before dinner, we do a 20 minute clean up. With 4 of us, that amounts to an hour's worth of work. We're usually still in swim suits from the day, so we turn up the music and I promise them they can head back to the pool when they're done. We vacuum floors, load dishes, take out the trash and put away all the things. We accomplish so much in these 15 minutes which allows me to enjoy the end of the day, knowing that once bedtime hits, I don't have a tornado to clean up by myself.
Rinse and repeat and our summer days tend to fly right on by. Another one of my favorite ways to treat a summer day right is to get up before all the kids. I know it sounds crazy, but I promise it's a game changer. I'm usually home from the gym before any of them are awake and that hour at the gym and hour at home while everyone is still waking up are quite possibly my two favorite hours. It allows me time to putter through the house uninterrupted and energized from my morning workout.
If you try these and love them, be sure to share about it and tag me @amygregory.
We're out of school in these parts and life is happening poolside! For this week's 5 Things (yeah, I know it's been a minute but...life!) I thought I'd keep it all summer related! Prior to school getting out my husband and I sat our kids down for a heart-to-heart moment that was along the lines of: while it IS summer for you, it is NOT summer for us. Meaning, we both still have jobs to do and things to accomplish. We set some ground rules on chores, bedtime and overall daily structure. Today is day 1 and so far so good. Talk to me on day 39 and I'm sure my story will have shifted a bit.
We're working on getting our outdoor grilling area set up and running smoothly. Compound Concrete recently re-did our countertop out there and we are over the moon about it. It's even better than I thought it would be and I had high expectations. I love that I can literally hose it off. I've got a rug, some planters and lights I'm swapping out...hopefully in time for Memorial Day. Tune in on IG stories for all of the behind-the-scenes, but here are 5 Things I'm loving for summer!
1. Last summer we did an overhaul on our POOL TOWELS. It might sound silly, but if I was going to start replacing pool towels, I wanted good ones. We really use and abuse these, as in they hang dry in the sun all summer long and get washed once a week. I found my favorites at PBTeen. Fun patterns, good price point and the quality I needed. Love this one, and this one have this, and this. One day I'll go crazy and buy this one and this one...but not until my kids stop leaving them at someone's house. So maybe never.
2. It was my birthday this week and Scot surprised me with a bathing suit I had mentioned liking...6 weeks ago. Bonus points for him, major bonus points for me, because I was right, it was a dang good suit! Here's a whole bunch of other suits I think are awesome. I have this one in navy and love it too!
3. As part of our summer heart-to-heart we spent some serious time outlining summer goals and expectations. If I'm not careful I can let the whole summer slip by with my kids without making any progress on anything. We've got some summer jobs lined up so they can earn money for some of their activity which including me setting up email accounts for my two oldest so I can Venmo them! I love the idea of Venmo for my kids, it's an easy way for me to pay them and an easy way for them to save. I don't know about you but if their is cash in their pockets it gets spent asap.
4. Max has the cutest little nose that is constantly getting sunburned! We're working on getting him in the habit of putting sunscreen on his face each morning. He's had so many burns on that nose, that I'm feeling a little nervous for 25-year-old Max. While we're getting him in the habit, I think I'll just get all my kids going. Any face sunscreen you love? I bought him SunBum (mostly because I thought he'd like the packaging and be more willing to use it) but wasn't all that impressed with their product specifically for faces. I've liked their other stuff in the past, so bummed about that. haha...bummed. Let me know if you have a product you love!
5. Speaking of protecting against the sun. Stocked Luke up on full body swimsuits because he of all my kids has THE most sensitive skin. He was outside without a shirt for 30 minutes the other morning and that night he was pink. oops. We had him in this this morning and we all about died at the cuteness. Picked up this and this too.
With the weekend upon us, you know what that means, Open Houses!
These links are for those of you that love walking houses as much as I do or are in the beginning stages of looking for a home. Use the links below to see the list of weekend open houses going on across the Valley. If you haven't used these links before, I break each list into different cities, then they are sorted by price, so you can find what you're looking for fairly quickly. Once you find a property you want to walk, click on the 'open house' tab at the top right to see the date & time of the open house...and be sure to let me know if you find a gem!
MESA || GILBERT
Hi, I'm Amy. When I'm not scouring the valley for the perfect new house, you can usually find me in the kitchen with a gaggle of kids. Chips, salsa and a Diet Coke are usually in hand.