About Kyley Leger

During the day, I work on bettering the community. During the evenings, I wrangle two boys, a dog, and my high school sweetheart while keeping up on the latest social media happenings.

Being {Financially} Different

It’s not easy to be different. We learn that in the awkward middle school and high school years. Most people don’t have a goal of standing out because they are different. As an adult, I never really thought about being different or fitting in. I guess that means I’m fortunate to have found people who I had connections with – in college, in my career, and as a parent.

Seven years ago, we decided to be different and took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University course. We learned that it’s ok to be weird with your finances and we wanted to be different. We made decisions about our future and our financial goals. We’ve been faced with a few tough decisions over the years, where peer pressure felt pretty strong. Admittedly, it’s a struggle in the beginning with wants over needs versus long-term goals. Our long-term goals have us living a future life that we get really excited about. It can be really hard to pass up a fun opportunity now for a future that you can’t quite touch. But, after some time to really think about it we both come to the same conclusion…most temporary things aren’t worth the financial setbacks when we think about our long-time goals. Sticking to a budget and our financial “morales” of not spending cash that we don’t have will always be the right thing for our family. If we really “need” it, we can save up for it.

One of the things I’m most proud of is our focus. We haven’t gotten distracted by exciting new things. We may not always create a monthly budget and we may have months we spend more than we realize, but our focus doesn’t change. We have multiple savings accounts with automatic monthly transfers to ensure we continue to fund our dreams. From 401K to college for the boys to car fund to holidays/gifts and even a basement fund. {Another thing I’m REALLY proud of. Paying outright to finish our basement. The majority of it has been done by my husband, but the things he has hired out came from our basement fund!} We both have wants and it can be a bummer when we “can’t” buy them, but after a few days of wanting you realize that you don’t actually need it. We have a house full of stuff that I’m constantly putting away, sorting, organizing, and cleaning. We aren’t deprived of anything.

The latest fashion or car isn’t something we needYes, we have our wants for a giant SUV vehicle. We’ve wanted it for more than five years {and maybe I’ve wanted it for most of my life}, but we don’t need it. Right now, a minivan {also not in my original life plan} works perfectly for our family. One of my children has spent the past year crashing his door into my van every time he gets in or out of Bryan’s car. Both of our vehicles are used and we’ve had them for more than 5 years. If they were new, we’d both be sick about it. But instead, it’s part of living with small, reckless children. And also proof of why one of our vehicles doesn’t have doors they can open…We’ll get our dream vehicle one day, when everyone in our house can appreciate and respect the vehicle. But also after we’ve saved for the vehicle. Because those are the things that are important to us. Living a life that’s a little different and maybe not as fun now so we can truly live a life we deserve later.

You won’t always find yourself surrounded by people who share the same opinions. The beauty of life is that everyone gets to make their own decisions and live the life they want. I do hope you are surrounded by people who respect you and your “weird” life choices. You can swap out “finances” with anything – type of school, health beliefs, fitness, food, clothing, anything. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are supportive of your dreams and lifestyle – no matter how weird they are.

Do you have any lifestyle preferences that make you different from your friends? Or do you surround yourself with like-minded people? 

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Tips for Managing Social Media Accounts

Have you ever seen something on social media and wondered why it was posted? Do you form opinions of people based on what they post? As a consumer, we form the same opinions when a business has a post that seems out of character or not as professional as we’d expect.

People connect with you – or your business – because of what you post. More importantly, how you say it. It’s like the old adage, it’s not what you say but how you say it. If your business account is unprofessional or even one giant sales pitch, people will probably keep scrolling or unfollow.

Providing quality content is crucial to your organization image in all situations, but the type of content is really important when it comes to social media. Here are a few of my top tips for a business account.

  1. Humanize you content. Give your organization a brand or image that someone can relate to. Show your staff in their work environment, highlight volunteer or charity work that is important to your organization, show team building activities or how your staff takes a break from the work day, and highlight personal and professional staff accomplishments. Pictures don’t need to be staged or professional, but do pay attention to what is shown. You never want to show confidential information or intellectual property. You humanize your company by showing real life. Telling a broader story helps people see and feel your company values.
  2.  Engage with your audience. To keep your audience engaged, it’s important to speak to them on their level. You can do that with the type of language you use or by the content you post. Stay away from buzzwords that may not mean anything to your readers. Just as your marketing materials shouldn’t make your audience feel like you are smarter than them, your social media shouldn’t either. Your social media content should speak to them on their level, relate to their problems, and give solutions that they can imagine in their own organization.
  3. Think about your daily image. Whether someone follows your posts daily or looks at your account in bulk, the combined image that you present will determine what people think about your company. This also applies to how little you post. If you post twice a month, people will form an opinion about you based on those two posts. They may also assume that your organization doesn’t value marketing or social media or even technology.
  4. Don’t argue or post negative comments. A business account should never be used to replace a customer conversation, whether its good or bad. It should also not be used to express personal opinions as posts or as comments on someone else’s page. Your company social media accounts should mimic your company ethics. If you wouldn’t want an employee to say something to a customer or peer, it shouldn’t be posted to social media.

These tips are for business accounts, but they also apply to a personal account. The posts you write, pictures you post, and things you share all help others shape an opinion of your beliefs. It’s really easy to set up a social media account, but no one tells you that what you do with that account will determine what people think about you or your organization.

Let’s chat! What social media tips do you have for managing a business account? Or, what personal account tips do you think relate to business accounts?

Seasonal Refocus

It still amazes me that I can get lost in the chaos of life. I’m not new at this wife, mom, or even career thing but I still find myself coming up for air every few months. I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason we go into survival mode and forget all the tricks to getting by.

Things I’ve stopped doing over the past few months:

  • Following a workout plan or even exercising regularly
  • Eating healthy
  • Cooking meals – 😦 sorry fam
  • Meal planning
  • Going to bed early
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Being organized

Basically, when things get busy I bail on myself. In an effort to survive, I suppose. The irony is that when I stop doing these things, I stop taking care of myself. These are all the things that fill my happiness bucket and when life gets c-r-azy the last thing I should do is empty my happiness bucket.

Lately, I’ve felt this ache for a good book. I ended my summer binge watching a few TV series and now I’m finding myself bored at the end of the day. There’s nothing worse than being bored and exhausted at the same time. What do you do?! I don’t want to physically do anything besides relax and sit!

I recently made a detour to the library on my way home for lunch. I miss the library and the rows upon rows of books. I miss carrying around a stack of new books. I miss watching the librarian scan my books and put them in a neat pile for me to take home. I miss opening up a new book and having huge expectations that the words will sweep me away into a dream place. {This isn’t code for me escaping my life, I just REALLY enjoy stories.}


I looked over my new books and with great care, picked the first one. As I opened the pages and began to immerse myself in the story, I found myself being annoyed with the descriptions. I was frustrated that I was wasting precious minutes reading about yellow walls and fireplaces. It was at that very moment that I realized just how badly I needed those words. I needed the reminder that everything doesn’t have to go at the speed of social media and RIGHT NOW. It’s ok to sit a little longer and read a little more to get the full picture. It’s ok to immerse yourself in your surroundings. It’s ok if something takes a while to build up. {Am I talking about a book or a story from a small child?!}
I started a new workout plan, cleaned up my food the past couple of weeks, have made an effort to be in bed by 10:30, and have attempted to meal plan. I’m not sure why I do this over and over again every few months, but here’s to a reset! Oh, and I hope to spend a lot of time reading over the next few weeks! 

The Eve of Another Year

To all the wonderful, passionate, and loving people who put themselves in positions to teach, protect, and love our children…well, summer has been extra good this year. 

Like, maybe my sweaty boys stayed up too late riding bikes and fighting crime on the culdasac and we were lucky to get one shower a week. But we spent a lot of time at the pool and that’s about the same, I think. This summer we got rid of one set of training wheels and are on our way to another set. We mastered swimming without a floatie for one and putting our head under to swim for two. It looked like it was a lot of fun and games, but we were learning and growing. 

Maybe bedtimes pushed back later and later because no one can sleep when the sun is still up. Plus, there was all that crime to fight, stars to look at, and the occasional plot to sneak out at midnight to have sleepovers. I swear, no escape plans ever worked. Those kids slept like the dead, once they gave up on asking 7 million questions and getting out of bed 102 times. Every night. 

I promise that we’ll be on time {ish} now that summer is over. And I’m sorry to the summer crew who watched us walk in every day at 8:12 {probably actually 8:16}, but thank you for saving their favorites even though breakfast was over at 8:15. I’m confident that we’ll get our act together. By Christmas. But also, thank you for keeping it to yourselves on the days that it was obvious I hadn’t showered yet either. I promise that will only be a summer thing. 

My most sincere apologies for their clothing. We haven’t mastered the perfect stain fighter solution and boys are messy. I think 50% of the time they are wearing clean clothes, unless it’s the same outfit from yesterday. Not that it has happened more than twice a week for a certain four-year-old. It’s really hard to tell what clothes are clean or dirty since none of them make it to drawers or laundry baskets. I have tried to instill the idea that they at least change their underwear every couple days. 50% success rate might be a little lofty…A regular shower schedule should bring those odds up to 100%. Well, except for a particular four-year-old taking a head dive in the shower requiring five stitches. {A little too dramatic for a bedtime stall or shower boycott…} 

We might need to work on general hygiene as we work back up to 14 teeth brushing events per week. Don’t judge. Something has to give when it’s 9:30pm and PLEASE.JUST.GO.TO.BED or it’s 8:00am and FOR.THE.LOVE! no we don’t have time to do anything besides walk directly to the car! 

Don’t worry, I bought a $10 planner from Target to get me into the scheduling spirit again. I promise to stay current and advance the months in a timely fashion. I’m looking at you April and May. Boy did I boycott any form of organization in June. Just remember, I’m always a social media post or text away. 

There aren’t any fancy chalkboards or homemade anything, we’re winging the first day of 1st grade and we’ll wing 4-year-old preschool next week. We try to focus more on the moments than the stuff. {But-also I’m 0% crafty.} I can’t promise they’ll look put together, but I can promise they are both worth every bit of love and teaching you give them. Both in their own special way. They’ll bend and grow with you as everyone adjusts to sitting still and remembering how to use listening ears and raising hands before yelling out words. {I am very much looking forward to you getting them back into respectful human status!} 

To all those protecting and teaching our youth, good luck and thank you. And to all the parents, good luck with the shock of another school year. To the special ones teaching my boys, if you let them in they’ll love you forever! And when they love you, they give the best hugs. 

The Groundhog Day Phase of Life isn’t Easy

I’ve been here before, in this groundhog day feeling of life. Somehow I’m still surprised by how smooth and easy life can be and then suddenly you’re smacked in the face with life. Like, when did it all get so hard? When did days start bleeding together and when did my to-do list get unmanageable? When did my friends lives get so busy that we barely have time to chat and seeing each other is basically out of the question.

I thrive in social situations. I don’t do alone very well. I miss my friends and I miss my sense of togetherness. Life is getting consumed with work, taking care of a family and home, activities for children, and activities for adults. I’m exhausted by the end of the days and I don’t get rejuvenated during the one-hour of “free time” at the end of each day. I’m constantly forced to choose to spend that time on chores, something for myself, spending time with my husband, or attempting to catch up on sleep. No one warns you about the daily life. Or the constant groundhogs day.

No one warns you about all the tough moments life will throw at you, but no one really warns you about the awesomeness that comes with children. When my four-year-old goes through a phase where he gives air kisses and I know it’s his compromise of not having time to give me a kiss but he knows it makes me happy. Or when, even though he weighs 40something pounds, he asks to be carried into daycare every day and pets me as we walk. {Yes, I think these are strategic to get me to still love him through his orneriness.} My heart melts when my six-year-old goes to the back of the car to unbuckle his brother when unknown forces make a four-year-old suddenly not able to get out of a car seat. Or when Maximus tells me he saw Quinten during the day and gave him a hug. We have a lot of hard in our every day lives, but these little glimpses of sweetness help me wake up and do it all again the next day.

I know long summer days will help me feel refreshed and happy again. Afternoons spent at the pool relaxing and watching the boys play will calm my soul. And sitting in my favorite place on the deck in the slowness of weekend mornings will put me back in my happy place. It won’t slow life down or make us any less busy, but maybe a little more sunshine and warm weather and a lot of baseball and softball will right my world.

I was raised on summers at the ball field and it runs deep in my veins. It won’t solve everything or make anything easier, but I hope it will help me feel grounded again. That it will bring me a sense of peace and calm in this crazy busy time of life. Because at the end of the day, I know how to do the ball field. Playing and watching fills my happiness bucket. Even if sometimes I have the added stress of children who steal my Gatorade and throwing it at a tree until they can get it stuck.

No one warned me that I’d keep having the same day again and again, but they also didn’t tell me that it would make me a stronger person. I may not see the growth today or tomorrow, but I can feel it when I look back. When I pull myself outside of today, I can see how the repetition is propelling me forward. But, I’m still looking around for that easy today!

A day in the life of a default parent

default parent | noun : the person who children come to for everything

A while ago I read a post on default parenting. It was like someone smacked me upside the head. Why didn’t I put that together before?! The default parent is the one who the children come to. Even if it means walking right past another parent on the way to seek out the default parent. Even when the default parent is in the shower and can’t realistically help find something or help put something on. Children see no obstacles when it comes to finding the default parent to ensure all of their wants and needs are met. Immediately.

Labeling the default parent helped me understand why most days I fall into bed physically and emotionally exhausted. In our house, we share a lot of responsibilities when it comes to parenting. Or we try. Three times in one week, Quinten came into our bedroom at 1 am. He doesn’t say much, but he makes a lot of noise on his way in. He usually throws open the door and loudly makes his way up on my side of the bed. He takes over my pillow and falls asleep in 10 seconds. Each time, I wake Bryan up to carry our very solid preschooler back to his bed. {That’s what a default parent calls delegating.}

Being the default parent translates into being the default housekeeper, food maker, food shopper, and school schedule keeper. No wonder I want to faceplant into my bed most days at 6pm. It’s mentally exhausting to keep so many balls in the air all the time. Children don’t care how much sleep the default parent got. They don’t care if you have a headache or the flu, they have needs to be met on their timeline. To all you default parents, word. 

Nights out are extra special for a default parent. When you get together with other default parents, everyone is responsible and no one needs parented. It’s simply amazing!

  1. You don’t get interrupted
  2. You willingly go with others to the bathroom because it means there’s something to be talked about in private
  3. Getting someone a drink isn’t a chore
  4. No words are off limits!
  5. We naturally take care of each other without noticing

This fall, we took a girls trip to Kansas City. We were basically gone for two days, but I still spent Friday doing all the things so my family was taken care of while I was gone. It’s exhausting being the default parent, even when you’re gone!

Here’s a glimpse into the going-out-of-town-default-parent life.

Responsibilities, Yo.

Wash, dry, and fold. BAM!

Here’s your meal plan family: chili and pizza.

Beer for lunch! Because it’s already a long day.

Always have a friend who knows the life of a default parent.

 

My least favorite parenting duty: potty training

Warning: This is not a post that will help you potty train a child.

No, really. Just because we successfully brought one kid to the proper age of schooling does not mean we know how to raise the other. This a post that will tell you how I spent a weekend trying very hard to convince a very stubborn child to use the toilet.

Here are my tips for potty training:

  1. Stock up on the essentials.
  2. Clear your schedule.
  3. Give them lots of fluids.
  4. Sit on the toilet A LOT.
  5. Give them treats.

Real life:

  1. Nailed it. Stocked up on all the essentials. Even put all the underwear in a cute little bucket. Had the washing machine ready, too.
  2. Three days of no reason to leave the house. Check! That worked until day one evening when he wanted nothing but to leave our house. We bribed him all night long and finally left our house at 8:45pm to get supper because trickles of pee came out!
  3. Day one: He refused to drink more than sips because it would make him pee. {This is when I knew he 1. is very capable of using a toilet,  2. was going to be more stubborn than I thought, and 3. fight me until the death.}
  4. Day one: he willingly sat every time I asked. Day two: he refused to sit on any toilet in our house because he did it yesterday and doesn’t want to do it every day.
  5. YOU CAN HAVE ALL OF YOUR HALLOWEEN CANDY IF YOU JUST PEE IN THE TOILET! Here, have three pieces of candy if you’ll just sit on the toilet. Here, have three pieces of candy because I know you have to pee really bad and you “want to go to bed.”

I did have a few wins during the three-day endeavor. Like telling a story about his older brother wearing underwear when he was little and then we guessed which pair were his favorites. {I totally made up a favorite, because he was engaged in a story with me and I had a chance of getting him into underwear.}

My second win was when he asked to go play outside. Within three minutes, I had surpassed a HUGE hurdle and had gotten him into underwear. When I asked how he liked them, he said, “these are comfy!” It seems his previous experiences in underwear may have been a bit dramatic. Or maybe the underwear were no longer laced with acid that burned the skin when worn…

I suppose I would count his first accident as another win. He held the pee in for 3 1/2 hours and didn’t like it when he was covered in pee. That’s a win, right?! So then he held the pee in until 8:30 that night. That’s a stubborn child. He sat down every hour and refused to ever pee. Super stubborn.

Have you ever seen a three-year-old pace the house because he has to pee so bad? We hadn’t either, but it’s pretty funny. Us: “What are you doing?” Him: “Nothing. Just doing this.” Us: “Why? Do you have to go potty?” Him: “No.” Sure. 

Have you ever had a three-year-old ask if it’s time for bed? We hadn’t either. It appears the King of Bedtime Stalling wanted to go to bed at 6:30 one night. Why you ask? Obviously because he had to pee and wanted a pull-up. Here’s where parenting can be fun! All of a sudden we’re willing to let him stay up later, because eventually that pee has to come out. That backfired on me. Literally. He was pretty bouncy {to stop the pee from coming out, obviously} and when he went still I got concerned. Rightfully so as I felt my hand get warm. Yup, he totally peed on me when we were sitting on the couch.

It’s basically a rinse and repeat every time we’re at home. He goes into underwear and holds the pee in. It’s beyond me why I thought that weekend was the magic weekend. He has clearly decided he’s not going to do it yet. I’ll take the wins when I can at this point…and wearing underwear is one of them! Plus, I don’t have the anxiety of a fresh three-year-old mom. He’ll be four in a few weeks and that means he has a bladder of steel that holds up for hours and hours.

Step 1: Stock up on the “essentials”

*Disclaimer: please, no potty training tips. Only tips on favorite stress relief after a LOOOONG day of parenting.