My 2017 Bucket List

Hello! Happy to see you this new year.

As Adele says, “Hello from the other siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide”

*Ba dum tiss*

Yea, I know I’m about 10 days late to the party. The champagne has long been drank (I know, I drank it), the ball has dropped, and several million people have already failed their New Year resolutions.

That’s where I come in. By pure tardiness alone, I’ve already won over them ALL.

Just joking.

No, I’ve actually been planning my 2017 Bucket List for weeks now. WEEKS you guys. And I keep rewriting it!

Let me back up, lest you get lost.

A long, long time ago (2014), in a galaxy far, far away (my couch), I decided that only one bucket list a lifetime was for losers. Instead, I began a tradition of creating a yearly bucket list of activities I want to experience. This is anything from a breathtaking hike, dancing at a concert, experiencing something (anything!) new, going on a fun trip, etc. While I cross off activities throughout the year, I update my list with a brief note and the date. By the end of the year it kind of functions like a condensed journal. Fun idea, right?

[As a queen of lists, I also have my lifetime bucket list, organized by degree of effort and scale of travel, but we’re going to ignore this one for now because I do not have enough time to delve into that vat of crazy.]

So- 2017! What do we have in store for me?

Truthfully, it’s been a bit hard to really think of items to do this year. Previous years seemed so simple, but I was young and naïve and had a lot more time on my hands. This year, I’ve also really felt the need to include a stronger push for a new subsection, “Be A F*cking Adult”.

That’s why I’ve struggled, I guess. In the past my goals were mainly focused on activities to cross off, fun to be had, and while I certainly want to keep this ridiculously important aspect of my life, I also strongly feel the need to include items I would never have included before. And then it turned into a revolving door of self-reflection and that tedious question, “dear god, is this who I am now? I do not do resolutions!”

Guess what buttercup? I have some d*mned resolutions.

So here we go. I’ve organized it…. because of course I would.

Activities:
_ Go to a concert (Backstreet Boys) – March
_ MS Walk with Glenn and Jack- April
_ Alzheimer’s Walk with Jeni- October
_ Go on a crazy beautiful hike with Glenn
_ Go on a vacation with Glenn, just the two of us
_ Buy dinner for someone in real need
_ Go to a drive in movie with Glenn
_ Work on a headstand
_ Practice calligraphy
_ Go to a concert with Glenn
_ Seriously, join a damn book club (if you can’t tell, this one has been a previously unfulfilled goal on many other years)
_ Complete the yoga challenge: 10 days of yoga CLASSES (none of this at home bs)
_ Become a constant donor to a charity
_ Enjoy wine and cheese at an outdoor movie with Tootsie
_ Take mom indoor skydiving
_ Go to an indoor trampoline gym

Long-term Goals:
_ Do an outdoor activity with Jackson at least once a weekend
_ Do an outdoor activity with myself at least once a weekend
_ Distance self from constantly checking Facebook (or other media) on my phone. Put it away from the time I get home until after Jackson is in bed
_ Spend more one on one time with Glenn
_ Be more generous. Don’t expect anything in return
_ Try to be more patient with everyone
_ Spend more time with Jackson and less time doing unimportant things

Be A F*cking Adult:
_ Create a living will with Glenn
_ Stop cursing (we really don’t need Jackson saying *sshole)
_ Work on your social skills at work (…and everywhere else)
_ Build up this blog into a legitimate working machine. Not for profit, per se, but as something I can be proud of.
_ Start my 401k (seriously though)
_ Save $1500 in personal savings

As the year goes on I will inevitably add to this list. Usually it’s when I do something cool and add it on so I can check it off again. What can I say, I like being efficient. Nevertheless, at the end of the year I will repost this list with my notes on what I did, what I didn’t do, and how the year went in general. I do really hope to make solid progress on not only the fun activities, but some of the more serious matters as well.

What’s on your list, fellow resolutioners? Do you usually strive to become better in some way, or are you more like me and just look forward to all the fun you’ll have this year? Do you have a bucket list or five?

Finding Time

Before I had kids, I thought I was busy. I know that sounds pompous and haughty, but it’s not meant to be. I feel like every stage in life gets more adultier. More boring yet necessary stuff requires your time and thought, and you get to do less fun stuff. When I got married, I noticed a direct upswing in the amount of work I had to do every night, and when I had Jackson, it tripled.

Every day for over a year, I would get up at 5 am, get myself and Jack ready, drive an hour and a half to drop him off and make it to work, work for 8 hours, pick him up, hit about an hour and a half to two hours of traffic, cook, and do some variation of dishes, bath time, bed time, and prepping for the next day. This is if I didn’t have any errands to run during the day and doesn’t count the often extra little chores like sweeping/mopping, tidying, etc. that are required throughout the week (my son is a modern day Taz and my home is always one step away from an utter wreck.) Luckily my husband and I have established a good tag team effort, and as of a few months ago, my father has started coming to our home to babysit, thus taking out anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half of commute time a day. Hallelujah.

That being said, there’s really not a lot of free time in my day. There is always after Jack goes to bed, but this time is pretty limited since I should prioritize my sleep as I wake up early. To be completely truthful, this is usually the first thing to go so I can fit more in my day, but I’ve been attempting to be better at it lately.

A few months ago, around the time I began this blog, I realized how much I missed doing things that were “me”. I have since made it a point to try and find ways to carve out time within my day that I can use for things that are important to my wellbeing. One of my work friends wakes up at 4am to complete a workout before her day. She’s crazy impressive. I am not like this. Instead, my moments are sporadic, here and there throughout the day. I’ve noticed that as long as I realize that these things don’t have to be more than short bursts, I’m more willing to put the effort into doing them. And while they do require that effort, they have proven to be so much more beneficial than staring blankly at Facebook for 20 minutes (which I also do daily, no judgement).

Listen to podcasts

As stated earlier, I spend a lot of time commuting. A LOT. And I hate driving. So much. It’s ridiculously boring and if I could, I would definitely buy one of those cars that would drive me everywhere without me having to pay attention. Or I would get a chauffeur.

Not being made of money, I was lucky enough to stumble on the podcasts app on my phone. I know, everyone knows about this- it’s not new. I’m technology inept, so trust me- this was a HUGE deal. Since discovering the wide world of podcasts, my commute to work and back every day has expanded to a time that I really enjoy. I listen to my weird and quirky side with science fiction podcasts, like Lore, Limetown, and The Bright Sessions. I learn things I’d never even think to ask with podcasts like Stuff You Missed in History Class, TED Radio Hour, and This American Life. Hell, I even listen to a podcast specifically made for Gilmore Girls fans (yes, this is a thing. Gilmore Guys. You’re welcome).

There are so many wonderful shows that I can tap into whenever I want. And while not the same quality as a Pulitzer Prize winning novel or some book on ancient Athens currency, it’s sometimes semi educational and almost always interesting in a way that the Kardashians will never be.

Walking/Stairs on Break

This one was definitely not my original idea. You know the friend that wakes up at 4am to work out? Yea, it was hers. She’s been doing it for a long while, and one day as I sat all fat and lazy I asked if I could join her. Thankfully, she said yes and this has absolutely been one of the steps that led me to finally losing baby weight and getting back to a healthy lifestyle. It wasn’t a full workout, just a mere 15 minutes. I figured I can do anything for 15 minutes. I can especially do anything that doesn’t require a change of clothes or driving somewhere.

This mindset has since extended into my night when I started to work on my core strength by slowly working up the time I could plank. When I began, I literally dedicated less than a minute to it. Now it’s up to two and a half minutes, but dude- it’s two and a half freaking minutes. And I don’t even do it every night. For something that takes so little time though, it has had a surprising affect. I feel stronger and my arms have toned a bit, to the point where a friend even noticed after not seeing me for a few weeks. Can’t get better than that.

Dancing in the Living Room

Glenn actually started this one. Sorry, this isn’t a “How I fixed my life in 10 steps” but more like, “How I stumbled upon doing these things and oh, that’s cool- I’ll keep doing it.” So dancing. You know what’s better than dancing alone like a fool to loud, heart pumping music? Doing it with a super handsome guy and an adorable toddler who laughs and interpretive dances with you.

Ditching My Husband with the Toddler to Take a Long Shower

Poor Glenn knows this well. When I feel like I need some alone time, he’s kind enough to distract the little dude long enough for me to bolt to our bathroom, shut the door, and ignore the screams of my darling son calling for me on the other side. Pretty smelling scrubs and lotions help the sound barrier. Joking aside, bless this man because I know I take extra-long showers when it’s been one of those days.

Once upon a time, when Jackson was still a glimmer in our eyes and I had my spa style bathtub, I would spend an hour or two lounging in the hot water, candles and all. With an upgrade in children, an upgrade in home, and no more tub- this looks a bit different. But I’m the indulgent type, and while the candles and reading while submerged are no more, I certainly turn up the music and use all the smell goods I can get my hands on.

Writing Here

Since starting this space to just write and have a place solely reserved for the little things that make me happy, I really feel like I’ve been rediscovering (and just discovering) what interests me. Not all of it is important, most of it is just fleeting moments, but it gives me a space to just be. Like the zen you find at the top of a mountain while watching the sun set, just a hell of a lot more superficial. That’s cool though, I already have a lot of incredibly deep and intense other aspects of my life. Like podcasts and body scrub, my quiet time typing and looking at pretty things can just be what it is. And if, along the way, I find a little peace in my day, then I’ve accomplished my goal.

I’m still a far cry away from having the typical set of hobbies that I once used to encompass, but I’m getting there.

PS: In the time it took me to type this up, I helped Glenn fold a load of laundry and put Jackson back to bed after he woke up. Even my breaks require breaks.

PSS: Now it’s 11:30. Maybe I’ll sleep more tomorrow night.

Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program

I’ve been meaning to post for weeks now, but a series of weddings, Halloween events, and other weekly distractions have definitely taken their toll. Until today, I’ve honestly just felt completely done- worn out and just wanting to do the bare minimum for a while.

Okay, I still feel that way a little bit.

Don’t get me wrong, everything that I’ve done over the past two months has been superbly wonderful- but all in quick succession was a little too much. Thankfully, things are finally quieting down… for a while.

While Thanksgiving and Glenn’s birthday is next week, both will be pretty muted since he’s on an ass kicking diet and isn’t feeling up to really celebrating either. So I have a solid 15 days of luxury and laziness before the Christmas season gets in full swing. I could wait until halfway through December, too, but we all know I’m not that kind of girl. So, until then- these are the things I’m planning on doing (as lazily as possible):

Watch the Gilmore Girls, “A Year in the Life”. I am ridiculously pumped for this. Glenn and I bonded over many things over the years, but the Gilmore Girls is definitely something of “ours.” We’ve re-watched the season every fall since we got married. It’s like a really weird, oddly specific thing that we both enjoy.

Cleaning my house. Because dear lord I have not had time to deep clean, and between the holiday decorations and the weekend trips it’s been in a pretty consistent state of disarray.

Um…

That’s all I got.

Yea, I’m not really good at not doing things.

Okay, you got me. I’m already in stage 2 of the Christmas Enjoyment Scale- “Planning and Purchasing”. This is, of course, of the obvious and universally known 5 point Christmas Enjoyment Scale (CES). I’ve already surpassed stage one, “Pinning,” and have gone on to blow out bank account buying presents and decorations. Poor Glenn.

Until December 1st, this is all just in good fun. I can peruse possible gifts and find little pieces for the home here and there to give it that warm, cozy winter feel (despite the fact that it’s still reaching 80 degrees outside), but nothing is mandatory in my mind just yet.

I can stop whenever I want to, I swear.

That said, be forewarned that most of my posts in the next month and a half will likely revolve around the holiday to some degree. I mean, what is life if not a celebration, right?

Delicious Words

“when we broke the surface again the first thing I saw was the great bold strip of the Milky Way painted across the heavens, and it occurred to me that together the fish and the stars formed a complete system, coincident parts of some ancient and mysterious whole” – Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Beauty in the Feast

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I’ve wanted to host a brunch for over two years now. No joke. While pregnant I created a Bucket List of things I wanted to do pre-baby. Some items listed were with friends (concert, spa day), some things with Glenn (kayaking, MS walk), and some things just for me (completing a paint by numbers, yoga).

I’m just going to cut to the chase and admit that I completed very few of these (I’m looking at you paint by numbers). Once heavily pregnant and especially after having a newborn, I was lucky to be getting 5 hours of sleep a night. Thereafter, drinking coffee while it was still hot and naps were the sole occupants of my bucket list.

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After a year of pregnancy and infanthood, my interest in hosting a brunch was once again peaked when I saw the breakfast board (cue heavenly choir and a soft spotlight). An amalgamation of my favorite things- morning and cheese plates essentially, with a little English continental breakfast thrown in. Oh yes, this was going to happen.

Yea, so that was in April.

Come late June, I figured the time was as good as ever. My birthday was coming up and if that wasn’t reason enough to make it happen, I don’t know what was. Glenn would be in charge of Jackson and I would finally have my ladies over for a relaxing morning brunch. It was finally going to happen!

Except, of course, my two best girl friends had travel plans that essentially put one or the other out of the state for the next month. Okay, so it wasn’t going to happen on or near my actual birthday- but the plan was tentatively set in place. It was going to happen… eventually!

Over the course of the month, I collected little treats here and there. Some wine my friend had brought me from Santa Barbara, chocolates another friend brought from Austria, the almond champagne Glenn had gotten me for my birthday. And with every new treat I garnered more and more excitement (It’s the little things apparently).

I bought blueberry vanilla goat cheese for Tootsie, a creamy brie for me, and crusty French bread rolls to slather it all on. The day of I piled it all on my largest chopping board, along with a smathering of grape tomatoes, strawberries, avocado, and blueberries. I added little pots of Nutella and jam to seal the deal. It was gorgeous.

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(Not shown was the random, much smaller, cutting board with butter and some salami)

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Seriously you guys, I felt like one of those food photographers.

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Last one, I promise

And then we ate it. And it was delicious.

With our bellies full of food (and a bit too much wine), we spent the rest of the day lounging around. Jeannette headed out five hours later (as she was the more adult of all of us and hadn’t imbibed so much), but Tootsie and I ordered in Chinese food for dinner and chatted until 8pm. For those counting, that was a 10 hour brunch.

Totally made the 2 year wait worth it.

Happily Ever After- The Invitations

Love you then, Love you still. Always have, Always will.

My oldest and dearest friend is getting married to one amazing guy this fall. Ever since their engagement earlier this year, I’ve been buzzing with excitement.

I love weddings. I love the heartfelt words and watery eyes and butterflies. I love seeing family and friends traveling distances near and far to celebrate the happiness of two people they love dearly. I love the glittering decorations, decadent cakes, and celebratory bubbles. I love being out of breath from dancing and celebrating, and I love the quiet moments of watching the bride and her father on the dance floor.

I love it all.

Thankfully, my friend is more than willing to share this beautiful time in her life with me. In the next few months, I’ll be soaking it all in- first as I plan her bridal shower and bachelorette party and then as she and her new husband take their vows.

Which brings me to last night.

Tootsie called me a few weeks ago to ask whether I’d be up for an invitation stuffing party. Yes, she actually asked. Like she didn’t know all she had to do was say the words wine and wedding and I’d already be there.

So last night we all met up in her cozy condo. We poured wine and her talented fiancé cooked up an amazing dinner. We chatted for hours as we worked, taking sips of chilled rosé here and there and laughing constantly.

It was a gorgeous night, full of camaraderie and excitement for the future.

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Lean in

I recently became aware of the MyIntent project, a foundation created to promote conversations and community through jewelry inscribed with the wearer’s “intent”. The words range greatly (compassion, why, freedom, purpose, etc.), much like the people wearing them, but all mean something significant to the wearer.

One piece had the words “lean in” written across its surface. These words caught my attention and haven’t let go.

I have a habit of shying away from things that scare me. This is especially true with my writing. Ever since I graduated in 2011 and began my career (as an editor of all things), I have become increasingly fearful that my writing is not adequate enough. As a result, I’ve written less and less in both my personal and profession life.

This is silly. Not only was I distancing myself from something I truly enjoyed, I was also distancing myself from the very practice that could help me become better. Like an ostrich burying its head in the sand (which is not a real thing, thanks Wiki!)

Just over a week ago, I clicked on an article which discussed how one might enter a technical writing position, a career move I’ve entertained for a few years but haven’t actually taken the steps to engage. After a few paragraphs, I began to get that familiar antsy feeling in my chest- fearing that I wasn’t good enough- and I moved to close out the window. But just as I was about to, I leaned forward instead. Instead of succumbing to my irrational fear, I just accepted it as a fear and continued on. And, surprise surprise, by the end of the article I felt more than confident that this was something I could do with some preparation and training.

Then I leaned in some more. If I was going to take this new path, I would have to take a few other steps.

Voila*, this blog was born. This may never go past myself, my husband, and a few friends (it may not even get to my friends), but it is one step I’m taking to take control of my fear and one more step in practicing my skill. It will definitely not be perfect, and I will definitely make mistakes, but I’m just going to lean in and accept all that comes as a result.

 

*Italic means a fancy and much exaggerated French accent, obviously

Finding your passions (again)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been an all or nothing person. I’m either completely in to something, or I can’t make myself interested. This is something that’s proven a challenge from time to time.

Until I find that something.

Then the heavens open up and the stars align and I am IN MY ZONE. During these seemingly magical moments, I feel a complete peace within myself.

Reading and I are old friends. We have been synonymous with one another since I first put sentences together. Journaling gives me a profound sense of recording my past, and in a way allows me to revisit it at any time. Over my early twenties, kayaking, cooking, and travelling all became an innate part of my identity.

Then I became a mother and suddenly I didn’t have the time for these things anymore.

(Let me pause with the obvious disclaimer that my little boy is much more important than whatever I’ve given up. Because, for lack of a better term, duh.)

It was interesting going through that first year not quite understanding who I was anymore. For so long, so many of these activities shaped who I perceived myself to be: how I spent my time, how I defined myself. I had gone through this slightly when I got married, when I spent more time with my husband and less by myself. But there is a big difference between watching a show together after work and being a full time parent.

In the past year I have read approximately one book and started three others before losing interest because they weren’t worth my limited spare time. Cooking is less of a relaxing pace and more of a race to get dinner on the table before bedtime. While I have travelled, it is far different to go on vacation with an infant than when you can decide to go to Las Vegas and be out the door within an hour. I haven’t even touched my kayak.

I have been able to get creative in several of my friends’ and families’ celebrations, and I pinterested the crap out of Jackson’s first birthday. But these projects were much less a daily (or even biweekly) relaxing time and more of a rush to finish while Glenn took care of Jack. It’s not the same when you’re feeling guilty for spending time on something frivolous when you could be spending time with your child.

That’s the other thing. While everyone says that you need to take time for yourself, it’s awfully hard to do it when your baby wants to spend time with you. (And, of course, laundry. We can’t forget laundry.) So, as a result, you do less.

And that’s where I am, I guess. I suppose I just haven’t decided what is so important to me that I take that precious time to enjoy it for myself. Frankly, I know that I also waste a lot of my day doing things that occupy my time but don’t bring me much joy. While an easy target, Facebook certainly is a good mind suck.

I still miss that all-encompassing passion. The will to stay up all night, losing yourself in a story where you forget who you are and take on the life of the main character. The moments when you can forget all your responsibilities (even the ones you love dearly), even for just an hour or two, and completely focus on something that thrills you.

I wonder if this is something we regain in time, when our babies come to rely on us less. Or is this a rite of passage? Do we lose that ability to completely separate ourselves forever, even if just for a short period?

I don’t think so.

Why you are here

Hell, I don’t know. Maybe you got here through a web search, maybe I linked it somewhere, or maybe you’re a friend or family member I made come and read. I’m very persuasive. You know who you are, but who am I?

I’m a new mother who’s just out of the first year of parenting. Yes, the nights of sleeping only 3 hours total, blown out diapers, and constant breastfeeding. So much time for introspection on how life has completely changed and what that means for you as a person. Not.

That’s why I’m here. Because that sweet, gorgeous little boy of mine is definitely my reason for living- but while I’m living, it’s nice to be a little self aware as well.

So this is a mommy blog, but not one focused on children. This is a reminder to remember me every now and then.

You know, whenever I find time in my day.