All I can say is that there is a reason that this is #1 on my list and it's the last thing I've completed both months. If "write my book" was not on this list I would not be writing it, it's that simple. It has made me realize that there are so many things that we *can* be doing, maybe even we *want* to do them (or think we do), but for whatever reason we simply DON'T *do them*. The good news is that I realized how important this book is to me and that I need to make a commitment to writing it. I need deadlines or I do not feel the pressure. I may have to make more artificial deadlines!
All that being said, I did work on my book again this month! Yay me! Again, I started another chapter and the book is really starting to have a "form". I'm feeling good about my next "baby". The gestation period for this baby remains to be seen.
Our sweet potato is sprouting a beautiful purplish vine! It's so fun to watch it grow.
Also, when my daughter and I were cleaning off my dresser we found seeds that were the favor at my good friend's wedding 2 1/2 years ago. We weren't sure if they were still "good" but were pleasantly (and quickly!) surprised when they sprouted up! This growing stuff is so much fun!
(I will have to add pictures later since we are in Florida and won't be home till March!)
February 1st - left my grandpa a message. February 2nd he left me one while I was teaching. I called him back while I walked to Mike's office after my class was over. It was very nice.
EDIT: My grandpa is not doing so well and has been in the hospital. It has been a very rough month for him. This makes me even more thankful that I called him. Prayers and positive, loving thoughts are appreciated.
I love when I'm lying in bed and get an idea about what I want to paint next. I had commented on Facebook how I'm "addicted" to connecting with people. And for a while now, whenever I feel particular "connected" to lots of people I imagine all of these lines or strings extending out from my body to all the people I love. I can almost feel them! So that is what inspired this painting. I especially love how it looks from across the room, a little distance makes it even more beautiful!
Mike requested and found a recipe for baked ziti. I have definitely never made it before so it fulfills this month's requirement in the category. I have to admit that it felt a bit like "cheating" though as 1) it was super easy and 2) it was very similar (but even easier!) than my lasagna recipe. I'm hoping to get something a little more exotic or different in next month. Also we are experimenting with cutting dairy out of Marisol's diet as much as possible to see if it helps her ears/nose/throat issues. If anyone has any good dairy free recipes or websites, please leave any links in the comments!
I have not made any progress on getting a "mother's helper" but I haven't tried all that hard. After my original post I had a couple of inquiries but they were all too far away to make it work.
One of the most consistent times that I get some time to myself is after teaching my Hypnobabies class. This past month I walked from home to Mike's office where he and the kids were playing after two of my sessions. I really enjoy doing this because I get exercise (it's a little over a mile), fresh air, and time to just breathe. Sometimes I talk to a friend on the phone (uninterrupted!) which is always a treat.
The best date I got this month though was a whole day out with Mike sans kids! We went to the Daytona 500 yesterday and it was a great day. The car ride there was so nice to actually get to talk. And it turns out that I actually really enjoyed the race too! Danica Patrick was the first woman EVER to sit on the pole (start first) in a NASCAR race - and it was the BIGGEST race of the year! Mike roots for Dale Earnhardt Jr. so between those two racers it was really fun to watch. Danica raced in the top 5 for much of the race and ended up 8th. Dale Jr. raced further back most of the race but ended up 2nd!
So my quest to carve out meaningful time for myself continues (quite successfully I might add).
I found a great cause to donate to this month. Amy Clover was raising money this month for her tour of the US and Canada called 30x30. Amy tried to take her own life a while ago and now she's turned her life completely around and is helping others do the same and find their own strength through working out. Suicide is an issue that has personally touched me in the past year. I think it affects everyone in one way or another at some point in their life. This is why I felt drawn to this cause this month. Check out her website here.
Did-it and done.
From my Together Walking Facebook page: "Today I am grateful for my life. More generally (or specifically!) I am grateful for Life. For manatees and rivers, for breezes and giggles, for iPhones and pelicans, for little, dirty hands on my face, and chocolate covered faces. Life is good."
And Marisol covered the "Awesome Jar" by putting Disney World in it before we even left for Florida! Since I'm confident it's going to be AWESOME, I felt ok about that. We head to the Animal Kingdom tomorrow morning!
My dresser got an overhaul this month - internally and externally. I went through and pulled out a whole basket of clothes to donate (purge) and then my daughter and I organized the top of it which was a dusty disaster (I only have an after picture, you're just going to have to trust that it is much better!)
I've taken several shorter, "day" breaks - including Mike and I both left our phones home when we went to the race. I was really glad that I did because I felt way more present without the distraction of looking at my phone for email and facebook updates. And I'm planning on taking my first bigger break now while we are at Disney! So I will not be uploading pictures as we are there - maybe later this week or next week when we are home. Wish me luck, I hope I don't have withdrawal!
I have to say that this was one of my best Januarys ever. And I think a big part of it was participating in this Counting by 12's challenge. It was so fun to go down this list and do each thing. And I feel like it made me more productive in other areas of my life too! I highly recommend doing something like this even if you didn't start already.
Check. Did it today. What can I say - I do better under pressure sometimes! I started a new "chapter" today and probably wrote about a page. Not super-impressive, but it's something! Also, this makes me glad that I made it one of m y 12 things - otherwise my (first!) book might NEVER get written. In my defense, I did start doing some things to "get going" again a week or so ago. I printed out everything I wrote over the summer and read through it all. I even edited a little. It also got me excited about it again - I actually have a good start! And I'm getting pretty close to a title. Yee haw!
To fulfill this goal for January we bought a sweet potato and put it in a glass near a window. (We're starting small here.) I didn't do this until late January so we don't have a lot of growth yet, but there are some roots sprouting. I like this because it is fun for Marisol to see too. I'm not sure what we're going to try this month.
I called my Grandpa on New Year's Day. I used to be able to talk to him whenever I called home to my parents when he lived with him. Now he's in his own place again and I want to make sure to keep in touch. Also Marisol and I made our thank you cards for Christmas this year which took a while but they came out really well. So #3 is taken care of!
My first idea for a painting actually turned out to be a drawing. But then I painted too. So check and extra credit for #4.
Crock pot oatmeal (sooo yummy! And I was even adventurous and added a few things not in the recipe - crazy I know!)
Chocolate chip banana bread (very similar to making zucchini bread, but this was still a first I believe)
Black beans and rice (Thanks to a friends crock pot recipe for the beans)
Kale chips (had made these one other time, but with different seasoning)
Also Mike would like you all to know that he made us homemade chicken noodle soup twice now. It is awesome. I love him even more now. The second time he made it was on Martin Luther King day after I had to pull an all-nighter staying up with my wild partying son. It was delicious and I'm sure part of the reason I didn't get sick after major sleep deprivation.
I knew this one was going to be one of the hardest and it was. I noticed all month when I got some time to myself - and I thought I was going to have to "cheat" and call one of those my "date" but I managed to actually get some planned time alone with "me, myself, and I" this past weekend. I walked to Whole Foods to get some groceries all by my lonesome. Now I know this doesn't sound like the glamorous, romantic get-away that you were imagining, but believe me it was very nice. I put my ear-buds in listened to music, took my time wandering the aisles and made some impulse purchases. Plus I ran into a friend on the way there and was able to chat without anyone telling me to stop talking. So it was quite heavenly.
On the walk there I also thought about how I might be able to make time for myself a more regular occurrence. The truth is, with our current set-up it's not easy. Mike works during the normal work week and when I'm teaching that takes up a whole day on the weekend.
So I'm taking steps to find a teen to come to our house about once a week to play with the kiddos. Those of you that know me, know that this is a big deal! I'm excited about it, I'll keep you updated to how it works out.
I was really glad that I waited on this one. Towards the end of the month a friend on Facebook posted about a friend in need and I felt moved to give to the to help them in a really hard time. Here is her post:
Hey, facetribe ♥ Do you remember my friend who just last week lost her baby at 8 months pregnant? Her little family is having some financial difficulties, and i was wondering if any of you feel called toward contributing to cushion life a bit for them while they are grieving and healing. Every dollar helps. If you have paypal, you can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you don't have paypal, contact me for other options. Loving comments to this post heal, too, as I am sure she will read it. And feel free to share and spread the word. I know there are people out there who would love to help this beautiful family in their healing. I will be posting this throughout the day to reach as many beautiful souls as possible ♥
I'm sure that they still need and would very much appreciate any donations if anyone feels called to.
Did this early and only one time. I wrote about a Bedtime Conversation with Marisol. I'm debating whether I want to keep two blogs going, but for now, I think I do. Hopefully I will get better about putting some "everyday" type updates over there. We'll see! As for next month - I think it's time for a little Gerry update!
So I've modified this one a bit. That's another thing I love about this "list" - it's mine and I can change it as I see fit. Instead of a journal I've been doing two other things. I've been posting my gratitudes regularly on my TW FB (that's Together Walking Facebook) page. For example today's:
Today I'm grateful for:
The other thing we started was a jar - this idea was thrown around a lot on the internet. We called ours the "Awesome Jar" and we are writing anything awesome that happens or we do this year on a slip of paper and putting it in. Then on New Year's eve this year we can open it up and read all the awesomeness from the whole year! Yay, AWESOME!
Marisol and I are enjoying this so far. I feel pretty good about us keeping it up.
This month I worked on cleaning up and organizing (again) our craft area. I got it done. It wasn't perfect but it was a lot better. This is what it looked like after I was done:
Not too shabby, right? This is what it looks like now (like, right now as I type... except Katie's not eating anymore):
This is why I don't take organizing too seriously. Looks like I can organize the craft area again in February. Although I do have my sights set on my dresser - both purging some clothes and cleaning off and organizing the top. We'll see.
Not the best picture, but I'm running out of steam here!
Mike has also made "organizing" one of his main aims for this year. He started with the dining area (which doubles as our computer desk area) and it looks great. He found a new-to-us round dining room table with four chairs, and a bookshelf - both on craigslist. We also bought some rug squares. Without Mike, our house would be doomed.
I took a multifaceted approach to this one too. And I know those of you who are my "friends" are probably thinking, ah - here is the one that she didn't do!
But I did! Promise. A couple of times I took the facebook app off my phone which was great. One time I did it for several days and another just during the day. The other break I took was for a day. So it doesn't really appear like I took much of a break if you look on my pages, but I found even short, set times helpful.
Whew! There you have it - January's Counting by 12's update. I think my #13 thing may be to work on this post as the month goes. It was a lot to write and update this all at once!
I was going to add some miscellaneous things that made January awesome (new hula hoops and a visit from Aunt Laura for example) but I'm beat and it's almost midnight. I guess those will make some good updates for that "other" blog I pretend to keep up with. And it looks like I'm ringing in the new month now!
Here's to February and doing it all again!
Today was such a nice day. It looked quite boring from the outside, but it was calm and relaxing. We didn't even step outside (the kids and I anyways). But I was thinking tonight how it was a good example of "Loving What Is" and not letting any expectations get in the way of embracing life fully. We didn't have any big plans for celebrating New Year's Eve and we didn't try to make any. But I'm not disappointed at all. It was so wonderful to reflect on the past year the past few weeks. I also began thinking about 2013 a while ago, so I really feel ready to start another year - I didn't need any big bash to affirm that.
I have several sources of inspiration for the New Year. At the beginning of December I had an exchange with a friend on Facebook who is starting a project to make 2013 extra amazing. She and her sister are calling it Counting By 12's (check out the website or their Facebook page!) Anyways after she told me their idea I was all hyped up and immediately started thinking of my own 12 things that I wanted to do every month in 2013. Seriously, I couldn't sleep that night (this is how my brain is... I really need an off switch!)
I made this poster within the week:
The coolest part was that December was kind of like a "warm-up" month. I probably did 6-8 of the things on my list this past month - so I feel like it's totally do-able and I'm so psyched about it!
Then I watched Danielle LaPorte's free video when she launched her Desire Map and that was AWESOME too. I recently read her book The Fire Starter Sessions and loved it (so much I think I'll buy a copy of it since I had checked it out from the library and had to eventually return it). She is so amazingly inspiring. Anyways, her idea of identifying how you want to FEEL resonates so strongly with me. I've never been much for goals, resolutions (or anything that feels like rules or obligation really) and this just feels so right. I didn't buy her product, but between reading her book and devouring all the stuff she has for free on her site I have a good grasp on the Desire map. At first it was hard for me to identify how I wanted to feel... so I started with how I DON'T want to feel then worked on the opposites. The first 3 came pretty easily - I want to feel Connected (to myself, my loved ones, to nature etc), ON FIRE (inspired, energized, passionate), Peaceful (kind of my thing... and it balances the fire out) but I struggled to pin down a fourth and final desired core feeling. So I googled some words (how did people get in touch with their feelings before the internet and google?!) and finally settled on Valuable. So here is my Desire Map:
On the outside I put other words and feelings I associate with my four core desired feelings (like "subfeelings" haha). Then inside in black I wrote concrete actions and things I can do to feel this way. (I like that I wrote PLAY twice... this was not intentional, but maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something! More play for 2013 it is then!)
I can't even begin to tell you how powerful this is. For one, my first identified feeling, "Connected" is so huge for me. I'm realizing that when I'm not feeling good it's because I'm not feeling connected - usually with my kids or husband. When I *am* feeling connected everything else flows. Once you know how you want to feel you begin to make positive, practical choices - it's amazing! If I'm not sure exactly what I want to do in a given moment I've begun to ask myself, "How do I want to feel?" Then I think of my core desired feelings and make my decision from there.
Finally, my beloved Tara Wager, akaThe Organic Sister, inspired me to choose the word "Embrace" last year. This year my word is "Listen". I can't tell you exactly how I got to this word. Only that it feels right. It feels like slowing down, and loving more, and dropping out of my busy mind and into my heart, and really being with my family. Oh yeah, and the other day the kids were watching a show and Marisol missed something and wanted me to clarify and since I was on the computer I didn't know what was said. She said, "You're never listening", and my inner voice said, "aha! I told you LISTEN is the right word for the next year." So Listen it is.
There is just SO much inspiration out that! I invite you to check out any of these three sources to see if they spark something for you. I love that they all overlap for me - if you look at the words on my posters they both include "LISTEN" and many other words and actions are the same on both posters.
I'm ready to dive in to 2013!
What are your intentions and desires for the upcoming year?
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.