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.

Dress my Best

In which I get into a few of my wardrobe goals (#29), (#76), and why I don’t think they are as superficial as they may seem.

I have completed going through every item of clothing I own. I’ve purged a lot of things, stored everything so that all of my clothes for my current circumstances are out and accessible. No more seasonal switches to trip me up or hide things that never get used. I have stored minimal wardrobes for maternity and nursing clothes in case I need those again. I washed and refolded everything. I even set up changeable drawer dividers in my dresser. It feels pretty good right now.

With that done, I’m turning my attention now to updating and reducing my wardrobe so that I love every item. I think I’ll be game for more reduction as I get used to the amount of clothes that I have. It feels so much smaller than it used to, but I’m already seeing that I keep passing over a few items in my drawers. From now on, I’m working on a one-in-one(or more)-out rule. I recently spent out a hefty chunk of change to buy some new dresses that will work better than ones I have.

I’ve tried to identify needs for my clothes so that I am not swayed unnecessarily by sale prices.

  1. Squat test — I squat in public more than ever before, so I’m struggling to find tops that cover but don’t distort my proportions too much.
  2. Pockets! — I want to keep my phone close by me for its camera and connection to the outside (adult) world.
  3. Color pallet — I’ve really enjoyed keeping my clothes within my current color pallet. It has made shopping faster, changing clothes after some baby fluid incident faster, and I find the overall effect calming.

Right now, I have a few items that I really love. The dresses I recently bought fulfill that criteria, and I’m looking forward to slowly replacing and reducing what’s left until all of my pieces do. I will not complete this goal by the end of the 1001, but I’ve really laid a great foundation for the future with my steps so far.

I find that feeling comfortable with my clothing has helped my mood a lot. I really enjoy wearing something that flatters my body and fits my personality. It’s a big boost to put on one thing in the morning and not run through seven shirts that don’t work and just make me feel out of shape and wasteful. I feel like I’m still meeting my post-baby physical self, and it is very disconcerting to change my own mental image of my body. I can work on that by wearing things that flatter and make me feel good. Connected. In control and making progress.

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.