{2017} march intentions and recap

This year, I did a values exercise that led me to these five words: honesty, passion, growth, humor and solitude. I decided to set mini intentions every month, based on these values, and write about the experience.

Ok so it's already almost end of March, and because of everything going on with moving into a new house, I've barely thought about intentions. But what I draft-wrote at end of February still applies, so what do you know, I had a sense of what I wanted to work on this month anyway!

HONESTY: Admitting change is hard.

This month, there's been major change at work and at home. It's exhausting. Sometimes, it is exciting. It is usually uncomfortable. I see it, I recognize it, I know my impulse to shove back/push against/run away from it, and I try very hard to practice self-care so I can ride the waves through it. I wouldn't say I "succeeded" at handling change this month, but I definitely spent a lot of time being aware of it and admitting when I felt overwhelmed.

PASSION: Go on two date nights.

We actually did this! Went to a Johnnyswim concert with my sister and her fiance, which involved cocktails at the Continental beforehand. (Many thanks to a good friend/fellow mama for babysitting E to make it happen, too. Community is crucial.) And then tonight we're going for dinner at our favorite place, Centro, where I'm absolutely having a dirty martini.

GROWTH: Journal every night.

Nope. Sigh. I don't know why, but even writing a few lines every night feels HARD. This is dumb and no excuse because I have time to scroll through Instagram before bed every night. But I'm giving myself some slack this month, considering all the massive change and extra work and unpacking and painting happening, so aiming for more personal writing in April.

HUMOR: Have fun with house decisions v. decision fatigue.

What a blessing, buying a house! And yet, I've fallen deep down, most days, in the Eeyore feeling of being stressed and overwhelmed. This requires a huge attitude adjustment, and sometimes I just want to complain rather than count my blessings. So, here we go.

Wow, we have a beautiful, big home now that we can afford. We are able to paint multiple rooms in it, colors we like! We installed a cool backsplash in our kitchen that ties together pretty cabinets and nice counters. We put up new lights, and I'm obsessed with them. Our first floor bathroom is no longer ugly beige; it is clean, modern and even has a wood wall. (Kudos to my MIL for that vision). The bottom line is that our house feels homier by the day, and rather than get all worked up about what "needs to get done," I need to chill the F out, enjoy what we've accomplished and remember Rome wasn't built in a day. Plenty of time for projects.

SOLITUDE: Put the phone down at night.

You know that moment when your spouse calls you out on something (usually poor behavior), and you're like UGHHHH LEAVE ME ALONE but also, you're right, okay, fine, I KNOW. No? Just me? Ha.

One night, we were watching tv after putting the baby down, and my husband said, "You're on your phone too much, and you're not listening to me." Me: (offended) "What! I do listen! I'm listening right now! I want to relax on my phone in the evenings, too!" (what does that even mean??) (totally defensive). BUT. He was correct. I was getting into the habit of being on my phone too much in the evenings, and then being very distracted toward him and our son. Of course, it is hard to reconcile downtime in a world of social media and great shows. Being present takes more energy than checking out. But I don't really wanna be the latter to my family.

So the next night, I put my phone on the charger when I got home. I played with E and talked to J about his day. I went to yoga (and left my phone versus bringing it in the car). We ate dinner together at the table and drank a glass of wine. I read a magazine and went to bed early, and I woke up feeling insanely refreshed. 

Not every night can go that way, but certainly more can, and it starts with putting. the goddamn. phone. down. (Note: I still have to practice this every day/night, so I'm very far from perfection here.)

current status

Popping in to share a little life update:

  • We bought a house! Whoa. Much more to come on that experience, but we've mostly spent the past month working with our realtor, negotiating, closing and moving. And spending money, because apparently that's part of being a homeowner. It has been equal parts thrilling and overwhelming.
  • Our dog doesn't know what to do with a fenced-in backyard. He stands outside the door and looks around like, "Is it safe? What am I supposed to do, run around?" A cautious pug, indeed.
  • Though I haven't done a drop of personal writing (so much for that "write 500 words a day toward the novel" intention, whoops), I've been putting out a lot of work I'm proud of for The Everygirl, such as: what not to say to pregnant women, how to reduce stress during big changes (guess I should take my own advice), thoughtful ways to be a better ally to the LGBTQIA community, all the sexist shit I've heard over the years (*eye roll*) and all the places where icky germs lurk in your home.
  • Waiting on a couple of opportunities, so fingers crossed everything works out! (Yes, I'm being that mysterious blogger who will share more when I can . . .)
  • On that note, today I had a fantastic coffee-and-conversation morning with my friend Laura, who reminded me we all need a pep talk now and again. Creating is hard, lonely work. You get lots of no's for one yes once in a while, but the work is worth it.
  • I recently shared a whole bunch of personal stories on the Catch This Mama podcast, which was wayyyy outside my comfort zone but SO fun. Give it a listen if you have the time.
  • I'm an ambassador for the Des Moines Women's Half Marathon in May, though chances are very high I'll only run the 5K.
  • Working on two fun freelance projects with my friend Jami: one is a portrait + essay series of grandmothers and another is a story about siblings who run their own businesses. If you've got any good people for us to interview, let me know!
  • I got Invisalign. At age 30. It is really cramping my drink-coffee-all-morning style. How cool am I, though?
  • We had two birthday parties to celebrate Ezra turning one. I got real Pinterest-y and bought a sweet balloon set as our one decoration (going with the "one" theme, obv) and then promptly forgot to use it. He loved the boxes his toys came in. #winning
  • I'll be speaking at the next Des Moines Register Storytellers Project, on motherhood and ambivalence! Another speaking event that is not usually my norm, but I'm incredibly excited to participate.

It's going to be a busy spring <3

{2017} february lessons

This year, I did a values exercise that led me to these five words: honesty, passion, growth, humor and solitude. I decided to set mini intentions every month, based on these values, and write about the experience.

Here's how February went. Hint: it did not... go that great? Ha.

HONESTY: Stop making an effort with friendships that have become a one-way street.

I wouldn't say I made a massive change over the past few weeks, but I definitely cut myself some slack. I'm used to being that friend who calls, texts, sends cards, aka remembers everything, and right now, I just don't have capacity. I'm not going to guilt-trip myself about that. I'm really trying to do my best, and cultivating friendships is not super high up on the list right now. I know it is only temporary, and I value my friends (mamas or not!) who completely, 100% get that and respect it.

PASSION: Go on two date nights.

True to form, we chose socializing and being with our baby over date nights. Whoops. We did, however, crash my sister's Valentine's dinner with her fiance—does that count? Kidding. We've got a concert and dinner on the books this week, so we almost hit 50% of this goal! 

GROWTH: Write 500 words a day for my novel.

Okay, so I wrote 1000 words on a lovely weekend morning. That was it. Also, in what world did I think I would be able to write 500 words A DAY this month? LOL.

HUMOR: Play with Ezra every day.

Check. I feel like I'm doing a good job on giving him attention and being sure to have fun together. His giggles are the best.

SOLITUDE: Meditate for one minute every day.

Ummm.... nope. I thought about meditating, if that counts? I read an article about Headspace, too. 

Even though I basically dropped the ball on ALL of these, I think the lesson here is that intention is okay. Fresh starts are okay. Starting over is okay. So here I am, going into another month, starting over.