Archive for the ‘resolutions’ Category

I sat back and breathed a small sigh of relief after I published my last post.  No resolutions.  No obligations.  No pressure.  I was officially off the hook.  Only…if ever there was a time when I should feel compelled toward self-education and action, it seems THIS.  IS.  IT.

Donald Trump has been president for one week.  Each cabinet appointment he announces, each executive order he signs affirms my fears that he cares little for the poor, for the environment, for the public education system or the people suffering abroad.  I mean, I knew he and I wouldn’t see eye-to-eye on most things, but wowsers, my head is spinning.  And then, Wednesday night, as I was reading the latest headlines about his notorious border wall and falling deeper into despair, something inside of me awoke.  I don’t have to sit idly by.  I can do something.  I have to do something.

Yesterday I left voicemails for several senators, urging them to vote against Betsy DeVos as secretary of education.  Today Juliette and I shopped for diapers and wipes and dropped them off at the Refugee Womens Alliance, a non-profit down the street which serves refugee and immigrant families in our community.  I’m organizing a group of co-workers to spend an evening serving dinner to homeless men at the Union Gospel Mission.  Shane and I have a date this weekend to sit down and re-evaluate our charitable giving as we seek to support organizations that fight for human rights.

And finally, I’m opening my eyes and ears wider than they’ve ever been before.  Reading, researching, seeking, listening.  I’m turning off The Daily Show and getting my news from less-partisan news sources (if you have a non-partisan news source, let me know!).  I’m asking my gay friends how I can support them.  I’m looking for was to uplift and learn from the immigrant community that’s so vibrant at Juliette’s school.  I’m reaching out to conservative friends and family members in an effort to understand their frustrations with the previous administration and their hopes for the current one.  I’m rooting myself in truthful reporting, not just of the goings-on in D.C., but of the lives and stories of my nearest and dearest, as we’re all walking into the new political era from very different places.

A friend marched with a sign last Saturday that read, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Humbly, step by step, I’m trying.

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I’m a little late this year checking in on my 2016 resolutions and making new ones for 2017 because, well…screw it all.  I’m not going write about whether I did or didn’t yell at Juliette last year (you can venture a guess, though), and I’m not going to commit to learning Spanish or sketching weekly or volunteering with a neighborhood organization.  I’m not going to make excuses for goals unachieved or add anything else to my list of shoulda-coulda-woulda’s.  I don’t know if it’s the “self-care” workshop I took with some mama friends a couple of weeks ago or the fragile state of my spirit in these politically tumultuous times, but I’m inclined to cut myself some slack.  Take a hiatus from ambition and just live into my status quo, which is actually quite remarkable when I think about it:  Quality time with Shane and Jules.  Dinners shared with close friends.  Challenging, meaningful work projects.  Photography, Barre3, and good books.  If I manage to get Juliette to eat something green, or if I find an afternoon to work on an art project, that’s just gravy.

So here’s to a year of grace…

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I usually start out each year with a list of about 20 resolutions, then whittle it down to a select few that address varied realms of self-improvement – something health-focused, something relationship-focused, something creatively-focused, something to scratch my organizational itch…  This year, though, I drew a blank. I cribbed two resolutions from where I fell short in 2015 and then got stuck, unable to focus on the broader picture of the year ahead as I got swept up in January preschool visits (how is it that time already?!), and a work deadline, and then Making A Murderer (watch it!  actually, DON’T.).  After spending some time this weekend mulling over what I want to accomplish in 2016, this is where I landed.  I have this nagging feeling that I’m not being quite ambitious enough, that something’s missing, but these dark rainy days have sucked the moxie right out of me and I’m tapped out.  Maybe I’ll do Resolutions Round 2 in the spring, when I’m not tempted to hit the hay at 8:30 pm every night.  Round 1 is as follows:

Make art with Juliette every week.  I gave this one a shot last year and found it to be harder than expected, but I’m tackling it with renewed vigor.  So far, so good – Juliette and I pulled out the pom pom’s and paint yesterday afternoon, and after dabbing a few orange dots on the paper, she looked up at me and exclaimed with great pride, “I made a duck butt, Mama!  I made a duck butt!”  That was all the incentive I needed to keep the art projects rolling.

Get out of auto-mode with my camera.  Also from last year.  Hoping that 2016 is the year I graduate from occasionally-lucky amateur photographer to well-informed amateur photographer.

No angry-yelling at Juliette.  I’ve actually had this one on my mind for awhile, but felt nervous about putting it down on paper as I feel destined to fail.  I mean, she’s two.  And stubborn as all get-out.  This happens at least once a week: I’m standing by the door holding her coat and she’s looking me right in the eyes with her arms defiantly folded across her chest and I’m saying “please, honey, be a helper” and then I’m suddenly shouting, “JULIETTE GRACE!  WE’RE LATE!  PUT ON YOUR COAT!”  And while the shouting gives me about seven seconds of anger-expelling relief, regret is always quick to follow.  So I’m committing to patience and kindness, reminding myself to just take a minute and walk away when the treachery of toddlerhood is too much to bear.  (A small point of clarification: yelling for the sake of her safety is ok, as in “STOP!  DO NOT RUN INTO THE ROAD!”.  Mild to moderate raising of my voice for the sake of emphasis is also acceptable.)

Develop a go-to list of 28 recipes, focused on whole, healthy foods.  This one shows promise, as it touches on two of my most favorite things: eating and list-making!  Shane and I have made great strides over the past couple of years in purging processed foods from our diet, but I’m finding myself in a cooking rut, cycling through just a few simple go-to recipes again and again.  So I’m upping my kitchen game, venturing a little further into the produce aisle and trying new things.  If we love eating it and love how we feel after eating it, it makes the list.

 

Here we go, duck butts and all!

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Alright, this is it – my final post on 2015 as I have a come-to-Jesus moment with last year’s resolutions.  It’s a little bleak, but I’m nothing if not a work in progress!

Get out of the house SANS BABY with Shane at least once a month.  We did alright on this one – called a sitter a couple of times, took advantage of the grandparents when they came to visit, and pawned Juliette off on our friends when we were really desperate for an evening out.  I’ve found that what’s actually more important than getting out for date nights is making sure that we find regular times during the week to turn off the TV, let the dirty dishes sit for awhile, and check in/plan/spoon.  That said, I could always use more of this…

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so we’ll keep at it.

Make art with Juliette.  Sub-par performance on this one, for sure.  We had a few good afternoons with the watercolors and the finger paints, but too often I let the hassle of getting everything out and then having to clean everything up deter me from quality art-time with Juliette.  So I’m renewing my commitment to kid-focused creativity this year, lining up a variety of projects.  I just ordered Jules her first pair of scissors and a bag of 300 pom-pom’s.  No turning back now.  (Seriously, though, can you see why I was a little weary of getting out the paint?!)

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Learn how to make the best use my camera.  Fail.  Total fail.  I’m still taking lots of photos, but have yet to shift out of auto-mode, so I’m giving myself a do-over on this one as well, adding it to my list for 2016.  On a more positive note, I did luck out with a few great shots last year.

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Be physically active.  Finally!  One I can call a total success!  I completed my first (and probably last) half-marathon in March, hitting my target time after three months of diligent training and one guns-blazing all-out push to the finish.  I decided after the race that long-distance running isn’t my thing, but I’ve found an exercise schedule that works for me since then, mixing running, walking, and at-home barre3 workouts, targeting 30 minutes+ of focused physical activity at least 1/2 the days of each month.  And I feel good.  Fit.  Mission accomplished.

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End the year with less stuff in our house than there is right now.  I just finished “project closet purge” and I’m squeaking by with a pass on this one.  Things still feel tight around here, but after ditching 20 half-skeins of yarn, a box of burned CDs (remember when Spotify playlists weren’t even a thing?!), and the snow globe that Shane gave me on our first Valentines Day, I’m definitely feeling lighter, gratified by the presence of empty space in our closets.

And with that, I’m ready to resolution the heck out of 2016.  Stay tuned.

I spent Sunday making good on one of my New Years resolutions – my first (and last?) half marathon is in the bag!  And sweet Jesus, I’m glad that run is behind me…

I signed up for the Mercer Island Half at the beginning of the year and promptly started training with lots of guidance from Shane, who has run this race several times.  He loaded up my calendar with gradually-increasing distance targets and mapped out a number of courses that included plenty of elevation change to prep me for Mercer’s hills.  And I slogged away at those miles, strapping Jules into the stroller on Thursday mornings and Friday afternoons for jogs up around (and around, and around) Jefferson Park.  Saturday or Sunday mornings were devoted to long runs, where I would do portions of the race course or head down to Lake Washington for loops through Leschi or Seward Park.  I missed a few days when I came down with that cold (and then that hacking cough, and then that stomach bug), but generally managed to stay on track.  As race day drew near, I would vacillate between confidence and outright dread.  I’d do a solid 8-miler and think, “I got this!”  And then my knee would start to ache or I’d be put out of commission with another cold and I’d wonder, “What in the world were you thinking?”  I freaked out a couple of times last week, imagining myself barely hobbling to the finish with a side ache or a bum leg, crushed with the disappointment of missing my 2-hour time target.  I fretted and whined and threatened to bail.  I went to my coach for a pep talk, and his advice to me was, “Just have fun!”  Thanks a heap, sweetheart.  I was having a tough time finding the promise of fun amidst visions of pants-wetting and excruciating pain.

And then it was race day.  We made it to Mercer Island with plenty of time for me to hit the porta potty (twice), stretch a bit, make sure I had my bib number pinned on straight, my Shot Bloks tucked in my pocket, and my shoelaces tied tight.  My eyes actually filled with tears as Shane kissed me on the cheek and told me it was time for me to head off to the start line – you’d think I was heading into battle, the way I cried as I stroked Juliette’s hair, looked into Shane’s eyes and said a choked-up good-bye.  My nerves were on overdrive and threatening to get the best of me, so I took a few deep breaths, headed into the sea of spandex-clad runners, and said a prayer for strength and endurance as I waited for the starting horn.  Finally, after months of preparation, logging mile after mile in my trusty old Brooks, HOOOOONNNNNNK!  It was go time!

And I felt…great.  My legs were strong, my breathing was steady, I didn’t feel the urge to pee or vomit as feared.  The weather was perfect and the course was beautiful, with tree-lined switchbacks and views of the water around each bend.  I had my phone strapped to my arm and was thrilled to hear RunKeeper tell me that I was hitting each mile mark ahead of my target 9:10 pace.  Mile 2, average pace, 8:55 per mile…Mile 5, average pace, 8:56 per mile…Mile 8, average pace, 8:55 per mile.  Shane had carefully mapped out his cheering route and he and Juliette popped up at miles 3, 5, and 7 to give me high-fives.  I waved to them and yelled to Juliette that mama would see at the finish reeeeeal soon.  I was flyin’!

Then mile 10 happened.  My legs got a little rubbery and I felt myself slowing down.  I pressed on, counting my strides and telling myself that once I counted to 100 six times, I should be at the next mile marker.  I saw the sign for mile 11 and perked up a little – the end felt so close!  And yet, it was still so, so far away.  The course’s biggest hill cruelly falls at mile 11, and dang, it hurt.  It was like I was running in ten inches of mud.  My legs screamed at me and threatened to unattach themselves from my body.  “What the hell, lady?  We’re not cut out for this!”  I popped my last Shot Blok, I huffed and I puffed.  Mile 12, average pace, 9:05 per mile.  I was slipping!  I started counting my strides again, struggled to find a rhythm.  At last, in the distance, I heard the cheers and cow bells of the finish line.  I saw Shane and Jules and Jack and La Verne waving from the sidelines, threw back my shoulders, turned on my turbo-boosters, and finished with all I had.

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Thanks, Jack, for the action shots!

I took a minute to catch my breath and wolf down an orange and then made my way to my peeps, posing for a runner’s pic with Jack, who had finished his 10k earlier in morning.

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And…final time?  1:59:43!  I squeaked in just under my goal and lived to tell about it, in all it’s overly-dramatic glory.

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Mucho, mucho thanks to my insanely supportive husband, who told me over and over and over that I could do this, and to my insanely heavy daughter, who made me feel like superwoman each time I managed to push her stroller up that mondo hill on our Thursday runs.  I’m so glad you made me do this.  And I’m so glad I never have to do it again.

Good Lord, are we already two weeks into January?  Feels like a couple of nights ago we were raising our glasses to the dawn of 2015 with Jack and La Verne at our first babies/parents sleepover!

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(photo by La Verne)

Maybe it’s a bit late to be getting my resolutions down on paper screen (resolve to be more punctual?  nah…), but here goes:

Get out of the house SANS BABY with Shane at least once a month.  Sadly, I can count on one hand the number of times we got out for a grownup date in 2014.  Shane and I have always been homebodies, but now it seems it takes extra effort to hit the town, what with finding a sitter and having to dig so deeply in our energy reserves to stay out past 8 pm.  But it’s time – time to sit across from each other and share a meal without being interrupted every 25 seconds to retrieve whatever utensil Juliette has thrown on the floor.  Time to make each other more of a priority.  Time to put away my toddler-chasing boots, pull out my insensible heels, and sip a proper cocktail!

Make art with Juliette.  Get out the paints or the markers or the glitter and glue, at least once a week.  It will be messy.  She may end up ingesting all kinds of art supplies that aren’t meant to be eaten.  But I can’t wait to see what comes of this one.

Learn how to make the best use my camera.  I take a lot of pictures, almost all of them in auto mode.  Some of them turn out ok.  Many others turn out blurry or grainy or too dark or too bright.  I took a picture of Juliette at Christmas – she had just opened a gift and was looking down into the box with utter delight.  Her expression was priceless.  But the photo is junk – totally blurry and way too bright.  I had fiddled with the settings on my camera a few minutes prior, but something was clearly off and I’m bummed to have missed out on capturing that moment the way I wanted to.  So finally, this is the year I figure out what a freaking f/stop is.

Be physically active.  Having a mileage goal kept my butt in gear last year, but I’m aiming for more variety in my fitness regime this year and am going to focus on something different each quarter, with the hope that I’ll eventually find a way to incorporate all four of these activities into my regular schedule.  Quarter 1: Just keep running.  Train for and complete my first (and possibly last) half-marathon (on the books for March 22nd!).  Quarter 2: Renew my online Barre3 subscription and do 2-3 workouts/week.  Quarter 3: Enjoy the sun and go hiking, at least twice a month.  Is this crazy, knowing we’ll have an almost-two year old?  Probably so.  Quarter 4: Swim?  I haven’t done laps since I was pregnant with Juliette, but swimming has always been one of my favorite workouts.  I’m still figuring out how/when/where to make it to the pool on my own, but I’m going to give it a shot.

End the year with less stuff in our house than there is right now.  This one will be a little hard to accurately gauge, but I did snap photos of our closets as a day-1 record and hope to spend the next 12 months purging, organizing, and, most importantly, limiting the number of new things that come through our front door.   I think there’s a minimalist buried deep inside me, trying to burrow her way out of the over-stuffed sock drawer.  I’m hoping to give her a little space to breathe.

 

Jules and I getting a head start on resolution #2 on New Year’s Day – she was a natural with that paintbrush!

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And then all hell broke loose…

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Cheers to a year of livin’ large (and simply).

Happy New Year!  The Christmas tree has been put out at the curb, the house is refreshingly decluttered after a January 1st organizing binge (another new tradition?), and I’m looking forward, thinking about my hopes and goals for 2015.  But first, a look back at how I did on last year’s resolutions:

Read to Juliette every day.  Check.  One of the easiest resolutions I’ve ever kept, as reading has become one of our favorite time-passers and an integral part of our nighttime routine.  Juliette loves when I throw the pillows on the floor and ask her to curl up next to me with I Want My Hat Back or Gossie.  She’s recently really taken to reading by herself as well – we did a little rearranging yesterday to set up a reading corner in our living room, and Juliette quickly grabbed a couple of books and claimed this chair as her own.

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Limit all non-essential purchases to things that I truly love.  Gah!  Damn you, GAP sales!  I continue to be a total sucker for a that little kick of adrenaline that comes with a good deal or a new outfit, so my closet is filled with sweaters and jeans that I don’t need, but kinda like.  On the other hand, we’ve done well on the toy front and have made good use of gifts and borrowed items, only buying a few special books and blocks and puzzles for Juliette.  House purchases have been kept to a minimum as well – I picked up a couple of baskets to clean up our entryway and we invested in a totally-worth-it Dyson vacuum, but other than that, I steered clear of West Elm and Crate and Barrel.  The clothes, though, the clothes!  How quickly my resolve shatters when I see those brightly colored signs promising 50% off…

Limit my time on Facebook.  I’ve done alright on this one – there are still days when I fall down the Facebook vortex and find myself scrolling and scrolling and scrolling through status updates, wanting to be sure that I catch every new photo and linked article and clever blurb, but generally I’m finding that I care less and less about what I might be “missing” if I ease up on social media.  This means I’m reading more books, being more productive, and even getting a bit more sleep, since I’ve removed Facebook perusal from my bedtime routine.  Feels good.

Get back into a regular exercise rhythm (walk/run at least 365 miles this year).  Success!  I wanted to run at least half of these miles and squeaked by with a running tally of 185 miles and a walking tally of 187 miles, totaling 372 miles in 2014.  This resolution definitely got me back into the running groove, motivating me to get out there more often and for longer distances (although I still cut it dang close at the end – my goal-meeting run took place on New Years Eve!).  A special shout-out to Juliette, who embarked on at least three-quarters of these miles with me – I gave her a sweaty hug and a cookie when we finished Wednesday’s loop around Jefferson Park.  We did it, baby!

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Two gold stars, one silver, and a bronze (or maybe copper?  I mean, I shopped those holiday sales hard).  Not too shabby, but plenty of room to grow.  Onward to 2015!

In addition to my annual list of resolutions, I like to choose a word to dwell on throughout the year.  Last year I prayed that I would make myself vulnerable to a deep, fervent hope; this year I’m looking outward a little more, feeling called to be more fully present for the people in my life.  I’ve mentioned before how easily I can get sucked into my task list vortex, where the measure of a good day is based more on productivity than on quality time with friends or family.  The arrival of Juliette has clearly brought to light the necessity of recalibrating my priorities, putting my nearest and dearest above my to-do’s.  That baby of ours needs (and deserves) all kinds of attention.  And while she’s not shy about letting me know when she’s hungry or poopy or just wants to be held, what about those other times, when she’s sweetly content to just lay on the floor and suck on her fingers?  Is that my cue to rush downstairs to throw in a load of laundry, then hustle around the kitchen to get dinner ready?  Or is it my cue to pause, to throw a couple of pillows down and lay right next to her, to chat with her and tickle her toes while she coos and babbles?  Some mornings, when she’s especially easy-going, I find myself just shuffling her from room to room as I go about my own routine, propping her up in her chair in the bathroom while I blow-dry my hair, dropping her in her bouncer in the kitchen while I unload the dishwasher and make breakfast, putting her down on her playmat while I eat and check email.  Before I know it, it’s time for her first nap and I’ve entirely missed my morning window for snuggle sessions and playtime.

I threw out the sleep training guidelines the other day and let Juliette nap in my arms after she nursed.  As I laid my hand on her belly and gazed at her peaceful face, rosy-cheeked where she had been nuzzled in the crook of my arm, she grabbed my finger in her chubby little fist and gripped it tight as she slept.  It felt like she was asking me to stay awhile, reminding me that our quiet moments together are precious and so quickly fleeting.  And the time I spend with her, singing silly songs and smothering her with head-to-toe kisses, it matters.  It matters that I’m present for her.  It matters that she knows she’s more important than housework or blog posts or emails.  It matters that I daily speak words of affirmation and positivity over her.  And when she responds to my undivided attention with a happy giggle or an extra-close cuddle, it’s apparent how much those dirty dishes in the sink and those crumbs on the floor really don’t matter.

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So I’m being more there for Juliette and she’s flashing me her winning smiles and I’m making good progress on this resolution, but I fear there’s another member of our family that’s a little short on lovin’.  Remember Shane, who used to stand front and center in my weekend updates and my travel posts, who used to by the object of all my gushing?  There was a time when I couldn’t wait to get home to him after a long day at work, to enjoy one of his extra-special bear hugs and dish on the day’s ups and downs.  Don’t get me wrong – I still can’t wait to see him in the evenings (my daily 5:00 “when r u coming home?” text message is evidence of that), but it’s usually so that I can toss the baby in his direction and enjoy a little space to myself, because I am beat.  I’ll take a breather and watch from the sidelines while the two of them play, then summon the last of my reserves for bathtime, bedtime, and dinnertime.  By 8:00, I am physically and emotionally zapped, wanting nothing more than to zone out in my own corner of the couch with my laptop or my knitting while Shane queues up House of Cards.  It’s hardly what you would call “quality time” for the two of us.  So I’m working on digging deeper, asking real questions rather than muttering an obligatory “How was your day?”.  I’m taking him up on his offer when he pushes himself against the back of the couch so that I can stretch out alongside him while we talk or read or watch Parenthood.  I’m reminding myself that although it takes effort, although it goes against my natural inclination to hole up and turn in, the restorative power of intimacy ultimately lands us in a much happier place.

These two have brought me such great, heaping boatloads of joy.  May I be a wife and mom that daily returns the favor.

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Here goes it – settin’ the bar for 2014:

Read to Juliette every day.  It’s my dream that one day Jules will be a reader like her dad and me, that she’ll appreciate the magic of a good story.  I hope that we’ll spend Sunday afternoons snuggled up on the couch together with our books, that eventually we’ll even share book recommendations and call each other to gab about the great novels we just finished (yeah, I’m flashing waaaay forward here, but it’s a fun thought).  So I’m planting the seed now, and our reading time has become one of the best parts of my day.  Juliette will snuggle into my lap and look at illustrations while I tell her about Clifford the Big Red Dog’s shenanigans, and she’ll help me flip the pages and maybe even smile a little at my exuberant animal sounds.  I am so looking forward to keeping this resolution for several years to come.

Limit all non-essential purchases to things that I truly love.  This applies to clothes, toys, home decor, pretty much anything not on my grocery or Target shopping lists.  Quell the voice inside of me that whispers things like “but it’s such a good deal” or “it will fit eventually” or “no one can have too many boots”.  I’m convinced that we already have an obscene amount of stuff crammed into our closets – there’s no sense in adding to the excess with items I don’t fully appreciate.  To keep myself honest, I’m keeping a log of all my want-but-don’t-need purchases.  It will be interesting to look back on it at the end of the year and evaluate the quality of the stuff I bought.

Limit my time on Facebook (check it no more than once a day).  Since I’ve been on maternity leave, and since I’ve had “idle” hours to pass each day while Juliette nurses, my iPhone has nearly melded into the palm of my hand.  I quickly fell into the following feeding-time routine: get the baby settled, grab my phone, check Facebook, check Instagram, check email, check Feedly, and then maybe check Facebook again, just in case someone posted something new in the past ten minutes.  Some days I caught myself reading the same status updates a dozen times.  That little “f” icon had become the ultimate time-sucking vortex.  I thought about going cold turkey and getting off Facebook completely, but dang, I really do love the little glimpses into the lives of those friends and family that I don’t otherwise hear from, so instead I’m cutting back, checking it only once a day for a quick rundown of the latest posts.  My hope is that I’ll fill my newfound free time with books, with real news stories, with quiet moments where I just shut my eyes and revel in the goodness of this special time with Juliette.

Get back into a regular exercise rhythm (walk/run at least 365 miles this year)*.  Now that Juliette is almost four months old, I don’t believe the “I just had a baby” excuse is legit anymore – it’s time for me to get my butt in gear (and back into those skinny jeans)!  My hope is that I’ll walk or jog at least three times a week, and I’ll be tracking my progress on Runkeeper.

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*My new favorite exercise partner.  But is she cheering me on, or laughing at my huffing and puffing?

Let’s do this.

I’m putting the finishing touches on my list of 2014 resolutions, but before I jump into this year’s aspirations, I’m taking a minute to look back on how I did on my goals for 2013.  And…you win some, you lose some.

Sabbath more intentionally.  There were a handful of Sundays when I really made a point of resting, of putting away my to-do list and focusing on my relationship with God, with Shane, with family and friends.  There were also a handful of Sundays when I was downright lazy, but not in a Sabbath-y sort of way, more in a “can’t. get. off. the. couch.” sort of way.  And then I went on maternity leave and Juliette came along and all the days of the week sort of started to run together.  Now, rest is something I grab in 45-minute increments, whenever it’s available, during naps or Jules-and-Shane time.  So I’m trying to figure out what a set-apart day of Sabbath looks like with a baby – maybe it means that rather than flipping on the TV after bedtime, we keep the house quiet and read or talk or…gasp…just be still.  I’ll keep working on this one, because I still believe it’s important to mark a regular day (or evening, or hour) for deep restoration.

Be more involved in managing our money.  Fail.  I really dropped the ball on this one.  I don’t think we sat down once together to comb through our spending and investments.  I can’t blame Shane – that poor guy tries his darnedest to get me involved, but I hear words like “deferred compensation” and “diversification” and “buy less shoes” and I completely zone out.  I got a text message from him last week letting me know that he had logged into the website for my 401K account and rebalanced my asset allocation.  I responded with an icon of a goofy-faced girl giving a thumbs up.  And that is how our conversations about finances usually go down.  Despite my lack of interest in IRAs and 401Ks and 529s, I do believe I was more mindful of my spending last year, cutting back on both coffee and clothes. I just need to step it up, to answer two important questions: How much less? And was it enough? We also did made some good decisions together about our giving in 2013. But again, was it enough? Are we being good stewards of the money we’ve been blessed with? I…think so? These are questions I should know the answers to.

Make art.  Regularly.  I did alright on this one – I wasn’t as consistent in my art-making as I’d hoped, but there were some very fulfilling creative spurts.  Learning how to screenprint was huge in inspiring all kinds of new projects, and I logged some really, really fun hours in the print studio.  Looking forward to getting back in there sometime soon(ish).

Cook dinner at least four nights a week.  Success!  We rarely have cereal for dinner anymore.  In fact, since I’ve been on maternity leave, we’re eating home-cooked meals six or seven nights a week.  Big pots of soup, crock pot roasts, hearty salads – I’ve been on my A-game in the kitchen these days.  Since Juliette is essentially eating what I’m eating, I feel like it’s extra-important to feed myself well.  Those chubby, roly-poly thighs of hers weren’t grown with Raisin Bran!

As per usual, I didn’t ace my resolutions.  But onward and upward – I’m nothing if not a work in progress!

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