In April

In which I quickly talk about last month’s progress (#19, #21, #32, #39, #54, #59, #64, #77).

headspaceOn-going streaks or lack thereof: I meditated every day (#19) with no make-ups, bringing my streak to 158/365 days with 1/5 makeups. I’ve completed my 60 total singles sessions in Headspace (#21). Most of these were repetitive SOS sessions. I’ll continue to repeat the ones I’ve done as needed, and I’d like to work on completing the remaining new singles sessions that are applicable to me over the course of the 1001: classic guided, walking, and eating. I have kept up with my monthly photo books (#39). I have been working on my morning and evening routines (#54), but I have no streak going. I read three more young adult books before bed each month (#59), bringing my total to 18. We visited and Skyped with both sets of grandparents (#77), making a streak of four months.

I also scheduled my outstanding doctor’s appointments (#96).

I enjoyed a declutter challenge with Katie this month. A lot of the items I got out of the house were plain trash and regular recycling, but I also sorted through the things I’d previously designated as donations, identified new things to donate, and took recycling to Best Buy. I even found a blue-tailed skink that I worked hard to capture and reintroduce to the outside world. I really focused on looking critically at the mess around me and taking action immediately when I saw something that needed to go. I scheduled a pick-up for the bulk of our things and contacted a harder-to-donate to local organization. I’d planned to drop those things off at the end of the month, but I couldn’t justify spending my time that way when…


… life threw me a curve ball courtesy of my long-faithful car. I had created a new budget to increase my routine saving for a car (#32). Our last occupational therapy appointment for a while was April 28, which allowed me to redistribute some of that money starting in May. While I had designated some of our windfall money (from tax returns and inheritance), I was hoping that I could increase our savings ahead of time to lessen the amount and shock of a car payment. Alas, the faithful car didn’t pass inspection and required more costly work than the worth of the car. So I bought a new one a few months earlier than I’d hoped. It also presented another opportunity to ask for help in significant ways (#64), as our money wasn’t liquid enough to make the end-of-month promotions and there was no way to go car shopping with a preschooler. My mother-in-law came to babysit and get us over the two-day wait for our own money to hit, and my parents visited and babysat while I practiced driving the new van so that I would be more comfortable with it when I needed to drive my son around.

Feb/March Progress

In which I do a quick run-through of the last two months’ progress (#4, #7, #11, #17, #19, #21, #39, #44, #49, #51, #52, #53, #54, #58, #59, #64, #66, #73, #75, #76, #77, #79, #82, #84, #85, #87, #95, #100). Yowza!

First off, my on-going streaks or lack thereof: I meditated every day (#19) with no make-ups, bringing my streak to 128/365 days with 1/5 makeups. I’ve done over 50 total singles sessions in Headspace (#21) and I tried a few new ones in March. I have been working on my morning and evening routines (#54), but I have no streak going. I read five more young adult books before bed each month (#59), bringing my total to 15. We visited and Skyped with both sets of grandparents both months (#77), making a streak of three months. In February, I read two non-fiction parenting books (#85), bringing my total non-fiction to four. In March, I listened to one audiobook (#84), my first completed in this 1001.

I purchased new navy linen pants for spring and summer and recycled a pair of jeans (#4). I started a wardrobe challenge online (#7), but it didn’t quite fit the bill as setting a challenge for myself.

In February, I purchased a new fern to live in our bathroom and am trying to keep it alive for at least six months (#17). (Things are not looking promising.) My biggest purchase was three types of loose tea (#79), with which I’ve been making special treat lattes on the weekends. I already had the tea strainer, but I got two canisters to keep the bulk of the tea fresh. I’m hoping that the increased ritual of making a loose tea latte will be a good self-care exercise.

2017-04-15 08.35.04

My most exciting purchases was the first books in a year’s series of monthly photo books (#39). I was disappointed that I couldn’t use the app I was originally excited about, but it is only available on iPhone. Due to a combination of space issues, we couldn’t make it work on the hubs’ phone. So we are using Chatbooks through my phone instead. I like them fine, and the price point is the same. I’m making it more complicated than it needs to be by including lots of non-phone photos and doing basic editing on all the photos included. While that makes it a little harder to put together for the monthly book, I should be able to compile a better-quality book at the end of the year pretty easily. I am not saving the monthly books as keepsakes, so we are going to look at them and let the toddler look at them on his own. And for that, the square Chatbook is the perfect size. I think it will be fun to have the collection of them grow each month from now on. Plus, if I can keep up with them, I’ll be able to easily post a lot more photos each month to my family blog (#75).

I also hung the photos I printed last month (#44). I replaced one sunrise print downstairs with a better picture I took a year later. (I’d like to claim that it was the year’s worth of practice that made it a more interesting image, but really it was just better cloud coverage.) Upstairs I hung two photos I’m really proud of over my desk. I used reusable magnetic hangers so that I can easily switch images out as I print new ones.

I started working up to doing yoga with Theo (#49). I’ve read a textbook about yoga therapy for special needs kiddos and developed a plan because introducing new activities into our routine is not simple. We started working on belly breathing using plastic ocean animals (we were waves, obviously, and it was adorable). I have a few children’s books with some good sequences and we’ve been doing a few poses at a time. It will be a while before we’re ready to run through a full sequence of poses together, but this is a good foundation.

2017-03-24 10.26.59I asked my sister to support a feel-good indulgence (#53) by buying me large glitter nail polishes for my birthday. I am trying to live it up with playful nails. I started experimenting with my at-home (#51) and my low-cost away-from-home  (#52) breaks. I took a solo museum trip (#82) for my birthday, which was a lovely long away-from-home break.

I think a key to the at-home breaks will be to get the whole house squared away–clean, reduced, and decluttered–so that I can effectively use my time for myself. I’ve been attempting to focus on one area of the house (#11), but it hasn’t been going too well. But I think still I’m in a better place now: all the areas in my house except for the master bedroom are ready for cleaning/improvement/guests. We’ve gotten one load out to the thrift store, and lots of other piles are back in my bedroom. That room is atrocious now, but I’m making peace with it. This way, I can work on small, steady progress uninterrupted by how I’m using the rest of the house.

2017-03-10 08.34.00I am pleased to say that I asked for help in a significant way twice over the last months (#64). I asked a friend to interrupt her very busy life in the middle of a fast-turnaround house move to come and watch Theo for a morning so that the hubs and I could tour a preschool. It was hard to ask, knowing how much she had going on, even though I also knew she’d be willing. It allowed us to really focus on the school tour without worrying about wrangling him, or having it be his first experience of the school. (First experiences matter a ton when you have a crazy-good memory and obsessive tendencies coupled together like Theo does.) And I asked my in-laws to come for a few days and watch Theo when the hubs was at work so that I could go spend some time with my best friend and her new baby (#66).

I cooked a new recipe with my husband (#76), a whole chicken in his grandmother’s cast iron skillet.

In February, I made a big at-home date with special snacky foods, cocktails, a homemade dessert, and a documentary (#95). It was so much fun to eat in front of the movie and then discuss it over dessert. And in March, the hubs discovered Crash Courses on YouTube, which has been a great thing for us to do together while I work up to choosing my Great Courses (#58). We’ve been watching Astronomy and Mythology and dabbling in others. I love it!

In working my way up to fully abstain from Facebook (#73), I removed the app from my phone menu, and freed up a lot of time that I’d spent putzing there. Some of it I spent cleaning and straightening, but some of it I still wanted to use my phone and think about the world outside my messy, loud house. So I have followed several new blogs (#100), all focusing on things I’m interested in now. I have a few on minimalism, photography, and one new one on creating art with kids.

Jan. Progress

In which I hit the ground running, making progress on 11 of my goals in the first month of my new list (#1, #6, #11, #18, #19, #44, #52, #59, #85, #87, and #99).

I’ve been very excited so far to be working on my new list. January was a particularly productive month for me, despite being sick for the majority of it. In addition to my 1001, I also completed most of Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. I’ve scheduled the few remaining items on the cure so that I’ll complete them over the next few months.


But most of my energy went toward my goals here, particularly working on one area of the house. I chose to work on all of my closets for the first month. I went through each one cleaning, culling, and organizing. With help from the hubs, I upgraded one of our main closets with a workable closet system to hold our toy library and my crafting supplies. Now all the closets are ready for use, allowing me to tackle other areas in the house. I’ll be confident in what I decide to keep as I slowly find a place for everything.

I completed my new year’s change review, answering my own questions about last year in order to focus my plans for this one. I doubt I will use the same questions from year to year, but I plan to refer to my answers throughout the year to check in with myself.

I also started to collect my wardrobe maintenance kit, buying detergent to hand wash some of my sweaters and other supposedly dry-clean-only items. I requested and received a garment steamer for Christmas and I’m gathering up things that I already own to mend or replace buttons.


I printed three of my non-family photos, but have not yet hung them. I’ve been working on developing one satisfying low-cost evening break away from home and tweaking a significantly new cocktail. We added two new framed prints that came from the hub’s Nonna’s collection. Because they weren’t displayed in her house, they don’t have particularly sentimental value. We chose them for the look of them and I added frames. I’m counting both prints as one joyful addition to our home.

I maintained my meditation streak, with one make-up on a day I was sick. I ended the month with a streak of 69 days. I read five middle-grade or young adult books before bed, and two nonfiction books. I also played four new games, thanks to a bountiful Christmas on the game front.

All in all, I’m thrilled with how much progress I made last month. This month seems to be settling into a much more reasonable pace, which is not a bad thing. I’m too thinly spread to keep up last month’s breakneck pace without quickly burning out.

Happy new 101!

Happy 2017! I’m kicking off my fourth 101 list today. I’ll be finishing up posting about my last 101 as I complete its page in my archive. I still have some thoughts about those last goals.

I’m really excited about the items on my new list. I’ve chosen not to break it down into Grace and Joy categories. While those terms still hold meaning for me, I’m looking for a more complete and integrated version of my life. Hopefully these goals will help me find grace and joy in all areas of my life as I streamline, declutter my space and time, and bring more intentional action into play.

I’ve included a lot of serial goals to help me create better, sustainable habits. I’ve also tried to include a little spontaneity in the list as I set myself challenges in the future within relatively open-ended frameworks. I’ve identified natural rewards for all the items, which I hope will help me maintain some momentum and focus.

I’m ready to make some changes in my life. My last list was a slow path back to a sense of myself. I really hope that this new list can help me create more balance and joy in my thoughts, home, and life. It’s a tall order, but I’ll have 1001 days to chip away at it.

I can’t wait.

Using my Time

In which I touch on how I’ve been using the time freed up by my 101-motivated routines to regularly pamper myself without treats (#61).

I added a goal to remind me to pamper myself because I thought that it would be a good way to step back periodically. I did buy myself a few pampering treats, but I can only remember my ring and one big weekend away. A goal with good intentions that didn’t quite work for me. I needed to do more self-care on a smaller, regular basis.

Once I got the hang of my 101-motivated routines, I started thinking about how to make my self-care more routine. I’ve been struggling with prioritizing myself. Not only because I don’t have time, or I have so many other things that will blow up long before I do, but because when I had the chance, I couldn’t think of ways to really make a difference. I was doing a lot of shopping just to get out of the house (the opposite of so many of my goals on stuff and money). I was spending money on food/drink treats and simultaneously getting frustrated when my clothes didn’t fit. And I often came home feeling more lonely than rejuvenated. When I attempted to get myself the pampering treats my goal called for, I felt guilty more often than not.

Part of the problem was that I had no idea what to do for myself on a regular, routine basis. I was waiting for those big, once-in-a-while times, which only put more pressure on them to be fantastic. And each one that wasn’t built more pressure, and the cycle continued.

I started getting up earlier in the day, making the most of my best energy time. I also realized that I craved being in my house in the quiet. I drink a large, hot(!) cup of tea. I try to only work on things like my 101, reading, or a creative project. No paying bills or getting a jump on my day! That was hard to commit to, and I still slip up and do “just this one thing that won’t take too long.” From there, my early mornings grew to include meditation.

I’m clinging to possibilities of neuroplasticity. Isn’t that really what the 101 is about? I can change habits because I can change familiar lines of thought. I can cultivate calm and intention with every small moment I successful court one or the other. I can literally create and deepen mental paths to grace and joy.

I’ve been using apps and a few books. I started with Stop, Think, Breathe. While there were certainly aspects that I liked, I didn’t think it was focused internally enough for me right now. I’m not interested on meditating on compassion, I’m looking to slow my mind down so that I can look at my day clearly. Which lead me, predictably, to Headspace. I’ve been using it since August, and feel like it is a better fit for me right now. I’ve also been using One Moment Meditation throughout the day when I need to reset. I’m hoping that the combination of these will have a big effect with practice.

I’ve been working (less successfully) on an evening routine. I need to separate myself from the business of the day. I’ve been trying to end each day with some reading, but I found that I really didn’t want to read my real book. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction, which gets me thinking, which doesn’t work for me for bedtime. So I’ve decided to read a little bit of a juvenile or YA book instead. It’s perfect. Short sections, not as much to think about, easy to blow through and get on to something else.

I’ve been trying to make the most of the time freed up by my routines and keep some of it for myself, but I still fight the pull of all the work around the house that seems to be staring me down as I settle in to do something for myself. But it’s getting easier with each time I practice. I just need to keep doing the thing, Amy-Poeller-style. (“You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing.” ― Amy Poehler, Yes Please)