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.

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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.

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Hello again, 1001

In which I start a roundup of what I’ve accomplished and learned over the course of this list, beginning with a big goal that didn’t work out at all as I’d envisioned (#7).

sunrise

Today marks the end of my third 101 list, and I’m really thrilled with how it’s closing out. Surprisingly contented and excited.

I expected the conclusion of this list to be bittersweet because I spent most of the 1001 feeling disconnected from myself. When things were so hard after I had my son, lots of people encouraged me to find something to do for myself. Something I enjoyed or that recharged me. I looked to my 101, which I’d intended to be a road map “back” to myself, and drew blanks. Motherhood was a profoundly unsettling experience. I lost time, energy, and had little to no sense of self. Looking at my list felt like reading someone else’s goals. I felt discouraged not because I wasn’t accomplishing things but because I didn’t feel any sparks of interest. I resented that I’d felt like I needed to improve myself or fix my habits. What more could I possibly do in one day?

I particularly struggled with the one goal I thought would be most helpful: a fairly open-ended challenge to make a plan to maintain three important aspects of my life over the first year with a kid, with monthly actions and results. I wanted to hold myself accountable to not lose track of everything and not become one of those mothers who have no other interests beyond their kid. Instead it just seemed like a reminder of how differently hard things were than I thought they’d be. As I struggled with feelings of isolation, ineptitude, and discouragement, this goal was getting under my skin. I thought I’d be good at this. I thought I’d be bouncing back after four months. I thought I’d handle this better, be happier, be able to be the same person as before and just add on this new role to my sense of self…

But the 101 also really helped me start back to a more balanced and sane view of my life. Even if I couldn’t quite get hyped for some of my goals, I could still relate to my big five wants from a 2011 blog challenge. And then I could see that I had been working on some of the goals all along, because they were still things that were applicable to my new life. Which led to recognizing other things that were applicable, which led to recognizing other things…

Of course, now I know that there were so many other things affecting that first year or so that I couldn’t see at the time. Reflux medicine was like a glimpse into another world. Weaning was downright thrilling. And, after months of being the only one seeing and dealing with it, having someone else recognize a sensory meltdown was healing.

Which brings me here. 1001 days, one pregnancy, one c-section, one son, and one (long) dark time later. 1001 days, immeasurable baby kisses, one SPD diagnosis, seven months of life-changing occupational therapy, and two new friends later. 1001 days, sixty-seven goals attempted, and fifty-two goals completed later. Fifty-two! That’s only two fewer than my last list.

And I’m closing things out feeling great about this last year. I didn’t maintain any aspect of my pre-kid life. I reacted to that goal in a very opposite, negative way when it came down to it. And now, I know why — I can feel it. I’m done with looking backwards. I don’t want to maintain something that once felt right or important. I want to progress to something that feels right and important right now. I don’t want to wonder when or how I’ve changed, I want to explore how I’ll change next.

I’ll be mining my list for what worked for me and what didn’t as I post about those goals I attempted or completed. At this end, I’m looking forward to the beginning of another list in January. I have no idea what will be on it. I have no idea how it will be structured. But this list really reminded me that I could take small, seemingly inconsequential steps towards the life I want to live. I had 101 reminders. It didn’t matter what they were or how many I completed.

All that mattered was taking step after step after step.

In that way, I think this was my most successful 1001 yet.

Welcome, 2016

2015-11-17 09.36.15In which I get started on actions for the new month to maintain my life (#7), including a new interpretation of an old goal (#101), daily posts (#48),  and new shoes (#76).

Happy new year! Is it infecting you with a desire to do more, to be more, to really get it right?

Can you send some my way?

While you do that, I’ll continue to muddle through. This month will be a big reset for my daily routines and my environment — and I hope to proceed gracefully through it. I’m prioritizing my 101 as I enter the last nine months of my 1001. I am struggling more than ever with balancing finding my sense of self again and getting through the days. I carefully prepped a path forward when I created this list, now I just need to follow it. I’ll be combining my monthly actions to maintain three important aspects of my life with the remaining goals on my list and trying to make the most out of my limited energy.

January actions:

To address being active and present in my life, I am going to recommit to my family five year journal, a new interpretation of #101 (regularly keep a journal for a year). I am adding it to my new end-of-day wind down. I hope that it will help me reflect on the differences in my days as well as the small moments that define most of them.

To tackle routines that support but not restrict me, I’m forcing momentum and posting every day this month, #48. I’ve done that on of both my previous lists and found it really helpful. I have a lot to talk about since I’ve been so absent here while slowly working on my list. But I hope that carving out habitual time here on the blog will help me make the most of the time I have for myself in other ways, too. I need to make self-care a routine rather than a special event. I’m trying to make the routines as pleasurable as I can, so I’ll also be making some improvements to the blog along the way and posting more photos.

In order to get back to feeling awesome, I’m still working on my wardrobe challenge with the best friend (finding links from one part of my wardrobe to others) all in the pursuit of  #76 and an easy wardrobe that I love. I need to get out of the house each day, so I’m buying into the idea that there is no bad weather, only bad gear. (Except for ice. Ice is bad weather.) I’m on the hunt for clothes that function in more than one season, make me happy, and remove one of the excuses to wallow at home. Plus, I have no shoes with which I can wear socks, and winter is cold. So there’s that, too.

It was bittersweet for me to say goodbye to 2015. It was a hard year with lots of great milestones that I often overlooked because of the great challenges. I’m determined 2016 will be different. To use this list as a catalyst for changes I think I need to end this next year with more grace and joy. To look back and recognize things I can do differently in the coming weeks.

I might have infected myself with some new year’s spirit after all. Welcome, 2016.

December Monthly Goals

In which I create actions for the new month to maintain my life (#7).

To address being active and present in my life, I’m turning to photography again. I’m hoping to work on my composition like I did back in September, but also post a daily photo to Instagram. I’m not sure how I feel about the service yet, but I have been feeling boring and isolated, so I’m going to give it a real go and see if it is a good fit for me.

To tackle routines that support but not restrict me, I’m focusing on evening wind down this month. There’s going to be a lot going on and a lot to keep up with. I hope that I can cultivate a little calm at the end of the day. Chamomile tea hot toddy, I’m looking at you.

In order to get back to feeling awesome, I’m continuing to work on my wardrobe challenge with the best friend. We’ve been focusing on creating links being what is working in our wardrobe. So far, I’ve heavily committed to base layers. I refuse to be trapped in the house just because the weather is colder, so that means undershirts, leggings, tights, etc. It is making a big difference. I also bought a bunch of things in the recent holiday sales, so I’ll be trying to see if I can make things I already have work harder with those additions.

I’m ready to get on with December.

On to April

In which I create actions for the new month to maintain my life (#7).

I’m pleased with the results of my March actions towards maintaining three important aspects of my life.

To address being active and present in my life, I posted almost-weekly about items on my 101 that I’ve already accomplished. This got me looking hard at my list again, and at my past year. I’ll continue to post those old accomplishments as I get a chance. This month I’ll be working on seeing my life as it is now by identifying something noteworthy about each day. Just one small thing that will keep me connected to what’s going to and separate today from yesterday and tomorrow.

To tackle routines that support but not restrict me, I found two things to donate or get rid of each day in March (#2). I cleaned out a lot of recycling and trash that was lurking where it shouldn’t be, and found a lot of stuff that will be going to good homes. Over the next month I’ll be working to get all those items I identified out of our house, and I hope to post about the places I’ve decided to donate them. Having destinations in mind really helped me let go of some items.

In order to get back to feeling awesome, I went through all my clothes and purged or stored them (#29). I included maternity clothes in this, and I made it a point to get everything stored in my bedroom, rather than taking up space that we need for other purposes in the guest room. I have some items that need mending or alterations, but everything else has been taken care of. I’d like to continue to reduce and improve my wardrobe, so I’m thinking of this as my initial pass. This month, I’m going to take this a step further and attempt to find a few pieces that will fill some holes that I have. I’ve defined some specific goals for my wardrobe, but shopping has continued to be frustrating and largely fruitless. So this month I’m going to enlist some help and book a personal stylist appointment at Nordstrom. I hope I can pick up a few new things that will be exciting. I’d really like to feel better about what I’m tossing on in the morning, and I’d really like to be able to get dressed without a whole lot of fussing around.