My Thoughts On Turning 40

Girl's trip to Ojai: Where to stay, eat, shop, and relax in Ojai, CA

I’ve been reflecting a lot about goals and accomplishments and what I want in my life now that I’m on the precipice of turning 40. FORTY. The big 4-0. Just typing it or saying it out loud seems so weird. 40 is how old my parents were when I was in high school and it seemed like, SO OLD to me then. But I don’t feel old. Sometimes I barely feel like I’m old enough to be taking care of myself, let alone three kids. But I am almost 40 (in one week exactly) and as weird as it sounds I feel pretty ok about it. I haven’t hated any of my milestone birthdays. I was ready for 30 — my 20’s were hard and I was ready to move on. My 30’s, as it turned out, were my “adulthood” decade. I got married, had kids, bought a house, changed careers (or rather, all but abandoned the career I had thought I wanted my entire life, until I realized I didn’t…), and my husband and I had made the very adult decision to make a cross country move. We had gone through hard things but also some absolutely wonderful things. We traveled a lot (mostly before kids). So pretty much any of the “goals” that I would have liked to have accomplished on paper, I had accomplished well before 40. And there are also things I feel that every woman should do in their lives (if they want to) on their own, and I have done many of those as well. But there are personal things, things I want to do for ME, that I realize I still want to do.

My thoughts on turning 40

I started thinking about making a list of things — not that I wanted to accomplish BY 40, but more that I wanted to focus on now that I’m 40. Things for me. I think 40 is gonna be my “reconnect with myself” decade. Some of the things I’d like to do or accomplish are:

  • Launch an e-course. (I’m working on this and hoping it will happen in 2019)
  • Travel somewhere alone or with girlfriends yearly.
  • Monthly girlfriend time.
  • Monthly date night with my husband.
  • Make time to work out in order to feel good and get strong and be happy with myself, not to attain a number on a scale or clothing tag.
  • Attend a yoga or meditation retreat.
  • Get my financial shit together.
  • Launch an online shop.
  • Go back to therapy.
  • Write a book: memoir, children’s book, whatever.
  • Take a home improvement class and tackle some projects.
  • Cross Seattle, New England, Sante Fe or Sedona, and a foreign country off our travel bucket list.
  • Speak at a conference for creative women.
  • Speak at a conference or be a guest on a podcast for mothers talking about mental health.
  • Find the perfect bra.
  • Find the perfect jeans.
  • Learn to set boundaries and say no without guilt.
  • Try reiki.
  • Learn more about crystals and energy work.
  • Maybe run for office???

My thoughts on turning 40 My thoughts on turning 40When you’re a woman, and maybe especially when you’re a mother, that first decade where you are doing all of the adult things — career, marriage, parenthood, etc — is also the decade where you start to lose yourself a bit. You stop prioritizing yourself. You listen to societal expectations of who you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to do (and look like, act like, etc.) It’s no wonder so many of us are searching, a bit depressed, lonely, confused, frustrated, or unsatisfied with the status quo. Because we are losing our SELVES. We feel guilty that maybe being a mother isn’t fulfilling enough or that the career we always worked so hard for isn’t making us happy. We feel stuck in that role we put on ourselves and aren’t sure how to break out of, but we know that if we don’t break out we might lose our true selves forever. Am I alone in having spent a considerable part of my 30’s in that space? I don’t think so. I think, if we’re all being honest, more of us have been stuck there than haven’t. We just don’t feel like we can talk about it. So I’ve written a list of things that I think every woman should do by the time they are 40 (again, if they WANT to) in case in can inspire you to write your own goals list.

  • Own a pair of jeans that make them feel good about themselves
  • Have bought themselves a splurge purchase: bag, jewelry, shoes, piece of furniture, whatever.
  • Create a capsule of go-to tried-and-true wardrobe basics that you LOVE, that you feel good in, and that you can always rely on.
  • Have both seen a movie and eaten dinner out alone (not necessarily in the same day)
  • Traveled somewhere alone (as in, without their kids)
  • Find a regular method of self-care that works for you: exercise, meditation, knitting, baths — whatever!
  • Know what works for you during sex and don’t be afraid to ask for it.
  • Find a best friend. A female friend. Someone who has and will always have your back.
  • Wear a hat.
  • Get a good haircut.
  • Get a massage.
  • Go to a women’s spa, where you soak in a tub and get scrubbed and walk around free and naked alongside fifty other women of every age, shape, size, and nobody gives a fuck.
  • Have a go-to wine or cocktail (if you drink).
  • Know how to cook one thing really well (doesn’t mean you have to cook it, but just the knowing how is enough)
  • Learn to stop apologizing
  • Learn to speak up for yourself
  • Learn to say no without guilt.
  • Have your own money, and if you aren’t the breadwinner or the bill payer of your household know where the money goes and have access to it (at the very least in case of an emergency)
  • Don’t stop dreaming. Set goals for yourself. It is never too late.

My thoughts on turning 40

Even though I don’t recognize my physical self as much as I used to — I often see a fluffier and older girl looking back at me than I see in my head — I am recognizing my inner self more and more with each passing year. I don’t feel the need to qualify my feelings or opinions. I am not afraid to speak my truth, share my stories, or say “this is me.” I am not ashamed of who I am, even though I am far from perfect and have a lot of growing and learning left to do. I am much more accepting of my shortcomings. I give myself more grace than ever. And I also expect more out of others, because I’m not gonna raise three boys and be a partner to a husband and set an example that I do all the things and I don’t speak up or that things are MY job because I’m the woman/wife/mother. Nope. We are a family and a household and things are OUR jobs. We work together and I deserve as much leisure time or sleep or time in the bathroom in private as anyone else. Life is too short to martyr yourself and wait for someone to see and recognize your sacrifice and hard work. Do the work if that is what you want. But don’t be afraid to speak up and say “that’s not my job” or “I’m not the only one capable of doing that.”

I guess as I approach 40 I have less fucks to give about things that don’t matter. I don’t know if it is because I know that they don’t matter or because I’m old and therefore too tired to care. Either way, I like it.

How old are you? How old do you feel? Do you have a bucket list of sorts or personal goals that you’d like to accomplish before a certain age or milestone birthday? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

What We Love About Goldfish Swim School

Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com

We’re 6+ months into our swim lessons at Goldfish Swim School and I am amazed at how far my boys have come in their abilities and mindset when it comes to swimming. They have conquered fears, learned to push themselves, and have beamed with pride when they’ve met a new milestone. Each has been able to learn at a pace that works for them, which works great because my kids are all so different and just throwing them in or pushing them into doing something does not work for at least one, maybe two of them. I feel like Goldfish allows them to warm, learn, and grow at the pace they feel comfortable with, while still showing good progress from class to class.

Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com

If you missed my first post about how the were doing after the first month, read this one first to see where we started. If you have a kiddo who has never taken lessons or who is afraid to get in the water, then I can’t recommend Goldfish Swim School enough. Quincy screamed and cried and hated to swim before we started. Now he begs to “go swimming” which means go to swim class. They were so patient and compassionate and helped him ease into things. My oldest son Charlie is always anxious when starting new activities and classes and usually dreads going. But he enjoys going to Goldfish and is proud of how far he has come. They give ribbons at the end of class when kids have accomplished a milestone or made a lot of progress. He works hard because he loves to get a ribbon that reinforces that hard work. Charlie is now rolling over in the water and can swim and retrieve things from the bottom of the pool. Calvin is swimming unassisted and Quincy is going underwater and holding his breath (for a while he just liked drinking the water).

Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com

Goldfish also has fun events for members and open family swims available. You can also host birthday parties there, which I think is such a fun idea and perfect for those winter birthdays where an outdoor location isn’t possible. And beginning on November 1st they will have Goldfish Swim School gift baskets so that parents and grandparents can gift the experience of swimming to their kiddos. I think experience gifts, classes, and memberships are the best gifts (because kids really don’t need more stuff usually), and the gift of Goldfish Swim School is not only fun, but it can save a kid’s life.

Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com Why We Love Our Lessons at Goldfish Swim School | ohlovelyday.com

My kids are happy to go to Goldfish, work hard while they are there, and are all smiles when their lessons are over. If you want to see some videos of their progress, I save them in my Instagram Stories’ Highlights under ‘Swimmers.’ I’m also always happy to answer any questions about our experience if you want to shoot me an email 🙂 Go here to find a Goldfish Swim School near you.

Oh Lovely Day has partnered with Goldfish Swim School, but the words and experienced shared here are honest and my own.

Keeping Laundry Fresh + Odor Free

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SparkleWithGain, #ILoveGain #CollectiveBias Our First Summer As Homeowners When you live with a bunch of boys it is inevitable that you’ll deal with a lot of smells. From my husband’s disgusting running clothes to my boys stinky socks (not to mention the clothing that suffers through potty accidents!) I definitely do a lot of laundry, and much of it does not smell good. But worse than laundry smelling bad going into the wash is laundry smelling bad even after it has been washed! I was finding that some things still had odor after they came out of the dryer or quickly got smelly again faster than it should, so I went on a hunt for something that could clean my boys’ clothes and keep them smelling fresh at the same time. And that’s how I discovered Gain Fresh Water Sparkle™ products! They have made such a difference in the freshness of my boys’ smelliest laundry (even my husband’s worst running shorts!) that I just had to share some favorites with you. But first, a coupon: Keeping Laundry Smells at Bay with Gain Fresh Water Sparkle Keeping Laundry Smells at Bay with Gain Fresh Water Sparkle Keeping Laundry Smells at Bay with Gain Fresh Water Sparkle

For The Smelliest Offenders: Gain flings!™ Laundry Detergent Pacs in Fresh Water Sparkle™ Scent & Gain fireworks!™ in-wash scent booster in Fresh Water Sparkle™ Scent

I love the effectiveness & convenience of the Gain flings!™ laundry pacs, and each one has 50% more scent than Gain liquid laundry detergent. So these are great to use for your stinkiest laundry and worst odor offenders. I save them for my husband’s running clothes, sports uniforms, swim trunks that have been forgotten in the car for a week after swim lessons, clothing that has suffered potty accidents, and all the socks. When things are especially smelly I like to add the Gain fireworks!™ in-wash scent booster in Fresh Water Sparkle™ Scent, which make things even fresher. You can use both products with any laundry set-up because they are HE compatible and dissolve in both hot and cold water. To use: place pacs in drum of washer before you insert your clothes. For large loads use more than one pac. For the booster beads, poor desired amount into drum based on how good you want your laundry to smell: the more you use the fresher the scent! And obviously, keep out of reach of children. Keeping Laundry Smells at Bay with Gain Fresh Water Sparkle

For less smelly loads: Gain Liquid Laundry Detergent in Fresh Water Sparkle™ Scent

When I’m just doing regular loads I tend to use the Gain Liquid Laundry Detergent in the same Fresh Water Sparkle™ scent. It also smells great and cleans as good as it smells. It gives you 6 weeks of freshness from wash till wear and 1 cap of Gain liquid laundry detergent equals the freshness of 1 bottle of the leading baking soda detergent. I like to top off all of our laundry with Gain Liquid Fabric Enhancer/Softener (especially in the winter months to keep static electricity away). It also does double duty by softening clothes while providing a fresh scent and is compatible with both regular and HE washing machines. Keeping Laundry Smells at Bay with Gain Fresh Water Sparkle  All of the Gain Fresh Water Sparkle™ products can be found exclusively at Dollar General stores. Be sure to try them out to enjoy amazing smelling laundry!

10 Tips for Planning and Styling Your Family Photos

Oh Lovely Day fall family photos | Jennifer Roper Photography

Fall family photo sessions are my favorite and these days they are also the most popular since everyone wants a new photo for those upcoming holiday cards. Since we’ve had 10+ family photoshoots since Charlie was born I feel like I’m becoming a bit of an expert. And while some of these tips are kiddo related, you can use a lot of these to prep for an engagement session or other shoot as well. Oh, and be sure to check my coordinating family wardrobe picks below.

Read More

Fall Fun and Apple Picking in Columbus

Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio

After 14 months of living in Ohio and a few weeks into our second fall here, we finally made it apple picking! If you follow on Instagram you might remember that I tried to take my boys apple picking alone last year (my husband was still working in LA) and that it was a total disaster. I got points for trying, but it was still a fail. So we tried again, this time with my husband and a Quincy who is a little (depending on the day) less tantrum-y. And I can finally say WE DID IT. We went apple picking and we survived. We actually had so much fun!

Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio

We went to Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, which is about 40 minutes away from where we live. You can check their website to see what apples are available in their u-pick areas that particular week. Our options were Rome, Fuji, or Winesap — we went with Winesap because they are good for all uses, including baking. There are signs directing you to the u-pick area, and then you park and you are right nights to the orchard. We didn’t have to walk far at all to fill our bag (the farm has two sizes — you can fill a small bag for $15 and a large bag for $25). We snapped some photos, ate an apple, filled our bag, played a little apple baseball with some bad ones already on the ground, and called it an afternoon. Some people were enjoying picnics nearby and I realized packing a picnic dinner would have been really fun. Once we were done picking we checked out and then drove to the market/shop area of the farm. Here they have picked pumpkins for sale, as well as produce, jams, fruit butters, and lots of other foods and gifts. They have a great variety of pumpkins at reasonable (but on the high side) prices. But personally I’d rather support a local farm than buy pumpkins for $3 at Walmart or Kroger.

Fall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, OhioFall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, OhioFall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, OhioFall fun and apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm in Columbus, Ohio

Have you ever gone apple picking with your family? This was our first time and it will definitely be a fall tradition. Plus, the apple cider and pumpkin donuts after are worth the trip alone.

Please share your favorite apple recipes — I’ve got a lot of apples to make something with 🙂

You can find Lynd Fruit Farm at 9399 Morse Road SW, Pataskala, OH 43062. Be sure to check their site for hours and apple availability.

Encouraging Imaginative Play With Your Children

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PlayWithPlaymobil #CollectiveBias
How to Encourage Imaginative Play With Your Children | Oh Lovely DayMy mom philosophy is two parts “everything in moderation” and one part “survival, man.” So I don’t forbid screen time and I’m not above throwing on a movie when I have work I have to get done (especially since I work from home while providing full-time care to my kids with no hired help). But I also try to limit those things as much as possible and encourage imaginative play for my kids as much as I can. Imaginative play is so so important to child development. It helps to develop both cognitive and social/emotional skills. Children LEARN through PLAY. So I thought I would share a few tips for how I encourage imaginative play with my kids, especially as a mom who can’t always get down on the floor and play with them all day.

How to Encourage Imaginative Play

Schedule Free Play

We over-schedule our kids these days, even the little ones. Instead of packing their days with playdates, preschool, and other activities, leave their days free for play — or “schedule” free play. You would be amazed at how much and how well your kids play on their own when given the freedom to do so.

Provide Open-Ended Toys

Give your kids a variety of toys that encourage them to use their imaginations like building toys, dolls, dress up items, animals, cars and trains, and craft supplies all fall into this category. One of my and my kids’ favorite types of these toys are PLAYMOBIL sets. PLAYMOBIL sets are high quality with a strong attention to detail. They have sets that focus on real-life, like police and firefighter sets as well as sets that capture fantasy like dragons and dinosaurs. I like them because they often have both vehicles and people included which allows multiple facets of imaginative play. Hover over the image below to get more information about the PLAYMOBIL toys shown and to purchase at Walmart.

How to Encourage Imaginative Play With Your Children | Oh Lovely Day

How to Encourage Imaginative Play With Your Children | Oh Lovely Day

Show Them How It’s Done

If your kids are asking for you to play with them, show them how to use their imagination by getting them started and doing it yourself too. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t want to pretend to be a kitty cat all day long (and that’s ok, so exhale that mom guilt) but if we spend a few minutes at the start getting down and playing our kids will often get lost in their own imaginative play after a few minutes.

Get Outside

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to spark the imagination. Get outside to play, or pack up a few favorite imaginative toys like the PLAYMOBIL Take Along Sets or some favorite cars and head to the backyard or the park. The same toys in a new environment can make all the difference in new ideas and ways to play.

How to Encourage Imaginative Play With Your Children | Oh Lovely Day How to Encourage Imaginative Play With Your Children | Oh Lovely Day

PLAYMOBIL toys are a family classic, but they are now new to Walmart – how awesome is it to be able to find quality toys at a convenient retailer and at a great price!? You can find them at your local Walmart or Walmart.com.