About Those Goals I Didn’t Call Goals

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Just as we were starting the new year I talked about the version of goal setting I’m adopting this year, focusing less on specific goals and more on identifying the things I need to feel like a balanced and sane person who feels like the demands of being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a full time employee, and well – just me, are all getting along nicely. I placed those things into eight categories: family, professional, financial, service, friendships, mental, physical, and home. You can see what things I put in each of those categories here.

It wouldn’t do much good if I just threw those thoughts out there and then didn’t look at them again, so now that we’re almost two months into the new year I thought it was time to revisit and see how I was doing. So here we go!

Category with the biggest win: Physical

I’m surprised that I’m claiming this section as the one with the biggest win since technically the only item from this section I would claim I’ve actually done is develop a better skin care routine. But! Finding a work out schedule or routine is tough, and I knew it would be. Running has always been my go to and I’ve trained for longer distance races in the past and actually enjoyed it, but I’ve always been an all in or all out kind of personality with that and right now I’ve been at about a year and a half or being all out. I’ve accepted that change is not going to be easy with this one and it’s not going to be a sudden one. So I adjusted my expectations, and a couple of weeks ago decided to focus on a steps goal for right now instead of actual work outs. Baby steps.

See, to just increase my steps is easier because it’s just simply moving. No gym bag to pack or gym to plan to make it to, just get up and move. So I set my daily goal at 7,500 steps. To some that may be on the low end, but my desk job paired with my inactivity means that meeting that goals takes some conscious effort while not seeming unmanageable. I can reach it if I spend my lunch hour wandering just down the street to the library even if once I get there I just sit and stare out the windows, getting lost in my own head. I can reach it if I dance like a goof to my favorite Pandora station (Kriss Kross!) in the bathroom with a face mask on while Jacob takes a bath. 🙂 And then check that out – not only am I moving more, I’m dipping into those other actions I identified help keep me center like walking away from my desk during lunch, which in turn gives guilt free alone time too.

Honorable mention: mini date nights & more acts of kindness

Some other wins include scheduling time together for squeezing in little mini date nights and performing more acts of kindness. A recent time change in our schedules at work means that we have some more flexibility that allows me to end my day as early as 4pm on Fridays. We’ve used this to our advantage a couple of times had some one on one time out on a Friday before picking up Jacob from daycare for the day. It’s such a short amount of time, but it’s fun to have even that little bit of time to ourselves before we enjoy a weekend full of time as a family of three!

It took a little bit of an outside reminder to kick myself into gear with the acts of kindness, but I talked about some recent efforts here and hope to keep those types of things going throughout the rest of the year.

Category with the biggest fail: Friendships

This one is tough because my two closest friends here in Columbus are girls I grew up with, and one just had a baby last month so understandably physical time is hard to schedule. We have been good about texting like crazy though and there have been some quick visits and a lunch date thrown in there too that have me feeling extra appreciative of them and hopefully we’ll be back to more time planned together.

All in all I’m happy with the efforts I’ve put in and plan to use this as an opportunity to reflect every few months on some victories and where I can continue to make improvements!

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7 Things

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Here we go! This week’s 7 very random things, written while we binge watch Game of Thrones while our little dude naps. 🙂

1. Did everyone have a good Valentine’s Day? Jacob made me those hand print flowers at daycare – I would’ve been happy if those were the only flowers I got, but then I went to Trader Joe’s and about 30 purple, pink, and red tulips made their way home with me. I’ve long since decided that if I want flowers I’m just going to buy them myself!

2. And one more thing about Valentine’s Day. I think the fact that our Valentine’s Day efforts went from planning to make Valentine’s for family and daycare friends and making cupcakes, to doing nothing more than picking up donuts for the staff at Jacob’s daycare should say something about me as a parent, or maybe just as a person in general. 🙂

3. Fixer Upper used to be one of my favorite shows, but after watching an episode this week I’ve realized that I miss the good ole days when it was mostly them saving houses that were so bad they could’ve been torn down, not just the same kind of renos that most of HGTV covers. Anyone else feeling the same way?

4. Heard from the toddler in my backseat as I pulled out of the garage the other morning – “it’s snowing!” No honey, that’s just momma’s spotty, dirty car windows…

5. Last week was Random Act of Kindness Week and while I wrote about my experience with it being Columbus Kindness Month, did you hear that Little Caesars founder Mike Ilitch quietly paid Rosa Park’s rent for more than a decade? Now that’s quite the act.

6. Most random work conversation of this week: name your favorite Ace of Base song. I can’t say that I could name more than a few so I had to go with The Sign – how about you?!

7. And lastly, this is the first time maybe ever that I’ve actually watched the Bachelor and I was so mad that they spoiled the ending by announcing that Rachel is the next Bachelorette! But kudos to there finally being a woman of color as the Bachelorette, I have a feeling I will definitely be tuning in.

Linking up for Seven Quick Takes

 

Around Here

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Heard…

Out of the toddlers mouth, demands that include the word now – like I want toast now. We’re still not sure if he means it as a demand or just describing what he’d like to do next, but it sounds impolite so we’re working on it. Clarifying with “how do you ask?” has been out of our mouths on repeat as a response and he’s been adding a please to the request, but it’d just be nice for that to be included the first time around. Good thing he’s cute!

Seen…

The sun! For a few glorious days anyway. I know I just talked about being jealous because we didn’t have snow, but that’s easier to say when it’s cold and gray – might as well add snow to the mix! If mother nature wants to bring back that sun on the regular and give us mild temperatures, I certainly wouldn’t argue with her. 🙂

Read…

The Pout-Pout Fish and Hungry Bird (but we love Grumpy Bird so much better!) for Jacob from the library. Then slowly but surely I’m making it through the next round of books. Usually I just focus on one at a time, but right now I have You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson and Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner going and I’m enjoying them both. The only challenge is that every time Jacob sees me reading he steals the “big book” for himself, and with a preference to use weekend naptime for watching Game of Thrones with my husband and then not being able to stay awake after putting him to bed – that leaves a pretty small amount of time to devote to reading so slow going I guess it will just have to be!

Worn…

This winter has been full of black, black, and more black and then this color when I want to switch it up. I recently threw some pink in the mix though, so maybe Punxsutawney Phil was wrong and spring is actually coming soon?

Made…

I have a new favorite cocktail made out of an ingredient that started as a joke. Every year at Christmas my husbands’ family does a gift exchange where you draw names at Thanksgiving and then you leave a list at Grandma’s house with ideas for whoever has your name. My husband is particularly unhelpful and regularly only includes alcohol on his list, although I suppose to be fair it’s hard to go wrong. As a joke, his aunt texted me to see what type of liquor would be his list favorite and get the funniest reaction so I said any fruity vodka. He got strawberry vodka to open as a joke before they brought his real present out of hiding so I’ve been drinking a mixture of strawberry vodka, ginger beer, and Trader Joe’s sparkling limeade. Delish!

Spread a Little Kindness

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From my view, we’re at no shortage of negativity in the world right now and while I’m still not sure what to do to support the political views I find growing stronger and stronger recently, throwing some positivity out in the world feels like a good step to take. Acts of kindness, whether random or not, seem so visible as we gear up for the holidays but I’ll admit that I let myself get so caught up in everything I need to get done that intentionally trying to brighten someone’s day isn’t something I feel like I’m good at managing.

So kudos to two local organizations here in Columbus, Ohio, The Columbus Foundation and Besa, for pairing up to keep the good vibes going and declaring February Columbus Kindness Month. I found myself joining in on it pretty passively – I wanted a cup of coffee last Monday and had some time before I absolutely had to be back on campus for work after an off-site obligation, so I headed to The Roosevelt Coffeehouse (my favorite place, for good coffee drinks and the good causes they support) for a treat and found myself with a cup in hand with one of the 1,000 coffee sleeves decorated with notes of kindness on them. And let’s be honest – I’d kind of be an a-hole if I didn’t follow through and complete the act of kindness my coffee cup told me to do, right? 🙂 So I went ahead and while I was out over my lunch hour, I bought a delicious looking brownie I would’ve loved to eat myself, and took it back for a co-worker and friend who recently had a birthday and earned a new position at work – two things worth celebrating I would say!

And then this weekend I finally took Jacob and did something I’ve been meaning to do for at least a few months. Candis from The Jones Market had done something that I thought was kind for me so I decided that I would buy one of her memento bracelets (I love the meaning behind them) and her I Am Mom print (plus one of these for me too), threw them in a bag with some chocolate (because who doesn’t love chocolate) and dropped it off at the hospital Jacob was born at, with the request that one of the NICU nurses give it to whichever mom seemed like they could use it most that day. Jacob only spent about 24 hours in that NICU when he was born because he had fluid in his lungs – I never once had to fight the feeling that everything might not be ok, and it wasn’t until later when I looked back and realized how lucky I was to not know what that feeling was like.

I think it can feel a little unnatural to do something kind and then talk about it, like you’re looking for praise or something – at least that’s a feeling I had to fight. But I think talking about it can prompt an act, just like being the recipient of one can do and that sure is something I want my son to be a part of – especially because we’re right in the thick of the toddler phase where everything is “mine”. Ugh! If you’re looking for ideas, I still love this post from Still Being Molly. In might not be Christmas, but most of these ideas could easily still apply – and some don’t even cost a thing!

 

 

 

7 Things

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1. Is it weird that I’m a little bit jealous of the snow the northeast is getting? We’ve only had one day of real snow this winter and it was so beautiful that I spent my lunch hour wandering around downtown taking pictures like the one above. I’m sure that if we actually had enormous amounts of snow I’d be cranky about it, but just one more good snow would be fun (I think)!

2. I read Jolie’s post with her favorite beauty products and when she mentioned using coconut oil to moisturize her lips I decided to give it a try because I always have had some in stock from using it on Jacob. Best decision ever. Now I’m thinking of about buying a container and making my own tinted coconut lip balm like this because you know, carrying around a jar of coconut oil is kind of weird. 🙂

3. Is anyone doing anything fun, or crafty, or anything at all to celebrate Valentine’s Day? My husband and I don’t celebrate, but I’ll definitely be buying myself some flowers (I do that all the time anyway) and then if we get in the mood to be crafty, I think these Valentine’s are the cutest! But let’s be real, we’ll probably do nothing Pinterest-worthy and then I’ll go scrounging for clearance conversation hearts at CVS in a week.

4. Momma’s I know I’m not alone here and that we all have our own version of the sometimes strange ways we sacrifice for our children. This morning I went to make toast when I realized that in order for there to be enough bread left Jacob to have his usual morning toast as well and for my husband to have his sandwich he always eats for lunch, that my morning toast would have to be made with both end pieces of bread. So I took one for the team and I did it. A true sacrifice right there. 😉

5. Last week I talked about going back to mostly dairy free – I will never give up my Friday night (tradition in our house, we just go with light cheese), but with everything else I’m trying to be much stricter. I sometimes miss yogurt and even though So Delicious makes a coconut milk based version that I’m allowed to send to daycare for Jacob, I want to try this almond based one. Maybe then I can go back to a previous fav breakfast option of Trader Joe’s muesli and yogurt and avoid the whole toast shortage situation – ha!

6. I would like it to be known that I just completed a task I’ve been putting off for a couple of weeks in about 3 minutes flat. Sometimes my procrastination irritates myself even!

7. I’ve been trying to really watch what I’m spending, but I’ve just accepted that I’m a lover of the backpack purse when I’m somewhere I know I’ll need to be able to do some hands free toddler chasing and I’ll need a new one this spring. I have a burgundy/wine colored one that’s been great for fall and winter (not surprising since I just talked about my favorite winter color!) but I want a lighter option. I’m going to check out this one probably today, even though I really want to order that one and this one too (in black) because they’re buy one get one 50% off…but I’ll behave. I think. 🙂

 

Linking up over at This Ain’t the Lyceum

“Date Night”

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necklaceshirt / sweater (kind of similiar – mine is ancient! / jeans / boots (really similar) 

Not your average looking date night outfit, right? I’ve come to realize I need some time to myself to keep myself feeling balanced, but time together as a couple is definitely needed too. With both sets of our parents living two hours away, I’ll admit that my husband and I are the worst about making time to spend together without our son in tow. Alone time is typically reduced to watching a show together during that glorious couple of hours of afternoon naptime on the weekends.

But I can’t completely blame the lack of local family members to babysit, for a long time I was very much a mom who felt guilty giving up any time with her kid and I’m finally loosening up and getting so much better about this. So last Friday I finally stole this idea from another mom I know who also doesn’t have family right here in town, and that was to use that little sliver of time between quitting time on Friday afternoon and pick up time at daycare to sneak away by ourselves. We headed to our favorite bar that we used to head to pre-pregnancy/parenthood and even if we only had time for one beer and 45 minutes of conversation, it was just what I needed to disconnect for a bit and feel really good going into the weekend rather than the usual exhaustion that typically sets after a long week.

If motherhood has taught me anything, it’s to be flexible and take whatever small wins you can get. If that means that date night expectations shift from a nice night out and a typical date night look to a speed date in an outfit that had to fly for a work day spent advising (adult) college students then I’ll take it!

 

Linking up at Living in Color and Stylin’ in St. Louis

 

7 Things

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1. I love treating myself to flowers and because you can always spend less than $10 and get some beauties at Trader Joe’s, so that’s always my go to place. For at least the past month red alstroemeria and eucalyptus were my go to, but with the eucalyptus gone from their stock we went with white hydrangeas and those pretty purple flowers Jacob’s holding. He picked them out, insisted on carrying them, and then helped me put them in a vase when we got home. Little lovey. 🙂

2. I’ve been fighting the idea, but I think I’ve finally decided to go back to being about 90% dairy free. It was easy to do the first time around because we suspected our son had a dairy allergy (and it’s since been confirmed) and since I was nursing, me giving up dairy relieved the signs of the allergy for him. Now that it’s purely for my own benefit of feeling better and healthier looking skin, it’s much harder to stick to it. Wish me luck!

3. Reading news story after news story about all that’s going on in our country, catching this cute zoo animal tweet off was just what I needed to feel a little more positive. So much cuteness, and the sloth tweet made me laugh!

4. Speaking of everything going on in our country lately, Bridget and Hallie had posts about it that resonated with me this week for different reasons. Bridget’s post described pretty much exactly the same reasons for typically not being vocal about politics, and Hallie’s reference to the struggle of whether or not it feels appropriate to stay positive, feeling like you can’t ignore the elephant in the room, and encouraging feeling joy each day guilt free really hit home for me. The day of the women’s march I got my hair cut and couldn’t help but felt a little shitty as I watched all these posts and videos on social media of women who were doing something of actual importance. Ugh.

5. And back to the fluff…I went to the store the other day and Africa by Toto was playing as I walked out. I can’t for the life of me hear that song without picturing this video of Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. Remember it? It really makes me want to be friends with them! They have to be incredibly fun.

6. I don’t remember paying attention to any of the Bachelor/Bachelorette shows since I was in college and watched Trista and Ryan’s wedding special, but I let myself get talked into watching Bachelor in Paradise last summer. Now we have a low stakes Bachelor bracket going on (the loser each week brings in a dessert to share) so I can’t help but watch this season of the Bachelor. Rachel, Raven, and Vanessa are my favorite and I’m getting so annoyed by Corinne. I picked her to stick around one more week but I wouldn’t mine being wrong and seeing her leave sooner than I thought she would. 🙂 Are you watching, and if so who’s your favorite?!

7. I found these boots in brown on clearance for $15 this weekend at Target. I’ve been in love with them since I saw Shea wear them (especially paired a black top, my fav combination of colors!), but I need to decide whether they look right on me or if my 5’9″ frame leaves the top of them not quite hitting me high enough on my leg. We’ll see!

Linking up over at This Ain’t the Lyceum