Friday, January 3, 2014

The Year To Come: 2014

A few years ago, the always hilarious and incredibly insightful Caitlin mentioned the concept of defining the upcoming year with a one-word focus point, instead of making a bunch of meaningless resolutions that no one ever keeps for the full year. I absolutely stole that idea for myself, because what else is the internet good for, if not borrowing the ideas of people smarter than yourself, to make your own life better?

Without much deliberation at all, actually, my 2014 word came to me in a surprisingly easy fashion: thoughtfulness. See, I spent a good portion of 2013 wrapped up in my own internal drama, and I don't really think I gave enough thought to how my internal drama was affecting those around me. I spent a lot of time being unhappy, and I don't want to do that this year. I want to think about making other people happy, not constantly focus on what's making me sad. Also, I want to be thoughtful about eliminating what it is that's making me sad, but I think I'm slowly coming to terms with that part of the equation.

And so, my list for 2014...


1) Send more mail...thank you notes, birthday cards, and 'just because' messages.

2) Be nicer, in general, to my husband and family. They deserve a much less crabby me than the one they were stuck with for most of 2013.

3) Make more of an effort to communicate with the long-distance people in my life. I got away from facetiming with my sister on a regular basis, and I miss it. Plus, now that she's making me an aunt, I think it's even more important that we get back into the habit of seeing each other every week. I do not need her new baby asking 'are you SURE you have more than one sister?', just because Aunt Mary lives in Indiana and Aunt Tara lives all of the way in Georgia.

4) Call or email or even text my friends from college more than I do now, which is hardly at all. Just because we can pick up after not talking to each other for months like no time has passed at all does not mean I should keep letting all of those months pass without the talking. I'm afraid the picking back up can't keep happening in a friendship like that.

5) Do one fitness/health related challenge each month. - You know all of those '0 to 1,000 sit-ups in just 30 days!!' kind of schedules that pop up on Pinterest all of the time? I'm going to start doing those. One each month. Fifteen minute plank? I'M COMING FOR YOU. I'm also throwing my meat-free/sugar-free/alcohol-free months in this category, as well.

6) Run another organized 5K. - It was so much more fun than I expected. Minus the running up a hill part, anyway.

7) Renew my vows with Steve, in Vegas, by Elvis, for our 10th anniversary in October.

8) Create an art wall somewhere in my house.

9) Organize a workspace for me

10) Attend The Blathering in Seattle. - Charleston was such a great time, I'd love to make it back for the Seattle trip.

11) Read at least two books a month.

12) Take Brigid camping.

13) Find a yoga studio and start taking classes regularly.

14) Write something, anything, not blog related.

15) No spending money on new clothes this year. Using gift cards and rewards points are fine, but I need to get out of the habit of spending money on new stuff, just to make myself feel better. I swear, shopping is my addiction, but the high I get from buying a new sweater probably isn't enough to justify the amount of money I spend on clothes I don't need. 

16) No buying anything at all unless I absolutely need it. I have a bad habit of stocking up on things at sales (candles, lotions, make-up, beauty products), even if I have a cabinet full of the same stuff already at home. I will use the cabinet full of crap before I add more crap.

17) Be more consistent in updating my family blog, because my parents give me a hard time when I let it lag, and my personal blog, because I'm not as happy with myself when I let it lag.

18) Find a general practitioner and get a physical.

19) Post at least one picture a day on Instagram, to get myself into the habit of taking more pictures of my sweet girls, since I find entire events have passed where I've forgotten to photograph said events. Like Christmas. Sadly.

20) Get a haircut. - You can laugh at this one, if you must, but I did not get one single haircut in 2013. In fact, I haven't had a haircut since before Caitlin was born in November of 2012. I do not even know how this happens, but I know it must end. Soon. I think a Locks of Love kind of donation might be in order. My hair, it is long.

21) Make an effort to get to know the neighbors. - I tend to not get dressed/leave the house on the weekends, and this extends to not fraternizing with anyone who lives near me, because I'm afraid people will judge me for my make-up free, sweatpants clad weekend laze. I should probably get over that.

22) Write more thank you notes. - I am terrible at writing thank you notes. I should not be so terrible.

23) Buy new rugs for my new house. - The sunroom and foyer, in particular, need something fun.

24) Be more fearless in forming and maintaining relationships. - There are many times where I think of something I want to send to someone, whether it's an email, text, card, or what have you, and I don't, because I'm afraid I've maybe overestimated whether we have the type of friendship where I can do something like that. I don't want to worry about stuff like that anymore.

25) Put together an Advent/Christmas activity calendar for Brigid and Caitlin. - I did that for Brigid when I was home on maternity leave after Caitlin's birth, and it was so much fun. I didn't get the chance to do it this year, and I feel like I missed out on some part of the excitement of the season. I'm bringing it back.

26) Institute a once-a-month date night with Steve. Or date lunch, I guess, if necessary.

27) Institute a once-a-month girls' night, whether it be with my old college roommate, my SiLs, or the neighbors. I should get out of the house at least once a month with people who do not live in my house.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Year That Was: 2013

It's always funny to look back at your list of goals for the year, A lot can happen in a year. At the beginning of 2013, I had all of these plans to reorganize/redesign/redecorate some of the spaces in my house, only to have that all mean absolutely nothing when we started talking about selling the house midway through the year. And then we decided we'd wait until mid-2014 to sell it. And then we decided that we wouldn't, in fact, wait that long, and the last three months of the year spiraled into a chaotic hole of stress and frustration and general anger that I really should sit down and detail at some point, if only for the cathartic purpose of looking at the mess from the other side and gaining a little perspective on it.

But we came through the process with a house and location that I love, a plan in place to make life better for our family, and the readiness to actually live the next year, rather than just try to survive it. But first!

A look back...


1) Lose the pregnancy weight. - I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight, but then we started living out of boxes and off of take-out, and I stopped running. Let's just say I had to seriously watch some of the angles on the Christmas pictures we took, if I had any plans of anyone ever seeing a copy of those pictures.

2) Give up meat for a month. - No.

3) Complete the Couch to 5K program. - I DID IT! And not only did I complete the program...

4) Run an organized 5K. - ...I DID THIS, TOO! My SiL and I ran our very first 5k, and we actually RAN it, hills and all. Except for one very small part, where we walked for about a minute when the hill was not a hill, because I'm pretty sure it was actually a mountain. Other than that? I RAN A 5K!

5) Clean/reorganize my closet. - I'm unpacking, slowly but surely. I have to share my new closet with Steve. This has no real bearing on the organizing of my closet, and there are two separate, good-sized halves to it, but it needs to be mentioned. I have never shared a closet with anyone before in my life (YES, I KNOW THIS IS THE WORST OF THE WORST OF ALL FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS. I'M SORRY.), and I am sad that I have to start now.

6) Take a belated anniversary trip with Steve, a long weekend somewhere without the kids. - No. We, uh, spent the last night in our old house alone, packing, while the girls were with Steve's parents. That's about as close as we came to a kid-free weekend anywhere.

7) Make a meal entirely on my own (I don't cook, so this might be the biggest one of the year!) - We stopped cooking, so neither one of us was actually making meals. But, I was doing it at one point, so at least I know I can do it when we start meal-planning again.

8) Create an art wall in my staircase. - See: sold the house.

9) Organize a workspace for me. - No. (We sold the house, you know?)

10) Attend The Blathering in Charleston. - Oh, man. This was the best. I completely failed to write a recap of the weekend (I haven't ruled it out, yet, even if it has been MONTHS since I was there), but I met so many wonderful ladies, and ate a lot of good food, and spent hours wandering a lovely city, and it was just the perfect weekend away with friends. I am keeping all of my appendages crossed that I can make Seattle happen this year, because I would LOVE to see as many of those friends again as I can.

11) Read at least one book a month. - Let's see, through September, I had: In the Garden of Beasts (Erik Larson), Wild (Cheryl Strayed), Discovery of Witches/Shadow of Night (Deborah Harkness), Wedding Night (Sophie Kinsella), The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), Rules of Civility (Amor Towles), The Casual Vacancy (JK Rowling), Summer at Tiffany (Marjorie Hart), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky), Austenland (Shannon Hale), These is My Words (Nancy E. Turner)and Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell). I added Jeneration X and The Tao of Martha (Jen Lancaster), Silver Linings Playbook (Matthew Quick), Allegiant (Veronica Roth), Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell), Mulligan Girl (Rebecca L. Boschee), Thwarted Queen (Cynthia Sally Haggard), My Year With Eleanor (Noelle Hancock), and The Cuckoo's Calling (Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling).

That's 22 books, or two shy of the goal I set for myself on Goodreads, where I am apparently a little more ambitious than I am around here. I'll have to change that for next year, I guess.

(Plus the seven Harry Potter books, reread. I really like counting those, too. And I actually reread them twice, if we're being totally honest here, because I started them again as a distraction from the house situation, after we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal)

12) Take Brigid and Caitlin to South Bend for a weekend (preferably a football weekend). - We did it! We even took Brigid to her first football game, which she wanted to leave during the 2Q. We...did not leave. I did enjoy showing the girls the campus, though.

13) Research/practice meditation. - No.

14) Find a yoga studio and start taking classes regularly. - No.

15) Find a 'mommy and me' class of some sort for Brigid and I to attend. - No.

16) Write something, anything, not blog related. - No.

17) Take one lunch break a week, even if it's only 15 minutes, to sit somewhere quiet and recalibrate/reflect/replan the next few days. (when I go back to work...) - HA! HAAAAAAAA! No. (still, again.)

18) Start taking outfit photos again, in an effort to wear everything already in my closet instead of shopping for new items. - Eh. Maybe.

19) Be more consistent in updating my family blog, because my parents give me a hard time when I let it lag, and my personal blog, because I'm not as happy with myself when I let it lag. - Still no.

20) Start reading my favorite blogs again, since I haven't even LOOKED at my reader feed in months, and I miss keeping up with it. - No.

21) Find a general practitioner and get a physical. - Not yet.

22) Throw Brigid a NYE party next year, complete with hats, noisemakers, and fun food, since she was really excited to stay up until midnight this year, but I was so tired from the baby's schedule that we faked midnight for her at 11PM. - Yes. We did. Finally, one I can claim.

23) Send more mail...thank you notes, birthday cards, and 'just because' messages. - I've been better-ish. But there's still room for improvement.

24) Try a juice fast/cleanse. - I didn't even come close to doing this.

25) Decide, once and for all, what I want to be when I grow up, and formulate a plan to get myself there. - We're...getting closer.


I'm giving myself a 10 out of 25. I...need to work on this process, don't I? 2014, I'M COMING FOR YOU!!!