balance · goals · parenting

Tired + Tired

It’s mid-January, and I have never failed at my new year’s resolutions so quickly before.

However, this time – TOTALLY not my fault. It’s not about procrastination or laziness or motivation, not at all!  It’s all about my kids.

Baby J.J. isn’t sleeping through the night yet. He’s 4 months old and it’s to be expected. BUT NOW. My Edgar – my two-year-old precious A plus amazing sleeper – has started having sleep struggles.

WTF.

That means Tamara and I just shifted from getting a solid 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night, while the other dealt with Baby J.J. – to now NO ONE IN THE HOUSE GETTING ANY SLEEP EVER.

I am still so so happy and grateful for my little family. The big picture is beautiful and blessed.

The little picture, though? The little picture is a tiny thumbnail photo of a family of four, totally exhausted and cranky and struggling. (With the exception of Baby J.J., who is developmentally appropriately able to function on his consistent diet of 2.5 hour naps throughout the day.)

Prior to the new year, I decided that I couldn’t wait until J.J. was sleeping through the night to start maintaining my focus on exercise, meditation, recovery, and writing. I recommitted to prioritizing my self-care and my goals despite my current life circumstances.

And yes – this still needs to be true. If my word of the year is NOW, then I have to do this stuff NOW and not later.

When I get overwhelmed, I think about this: If I can write now, I can write anytime. When I think about my goals for the year, my writing is one of my main priorities. And, while things could definitely get harder, I am pretty tired and have limited time – so really, if I can blog regularly and get some fiction writing done right now, even if it’s the bare minimum, then just imagine what I can get done when I start to actually have time and energy!  For me, the most important thing right now is ROUTINE – rhythm and routine. If I can get some kind of routine happening now, with two kids under three, a full-time job, and no sleep – well, it’d be a miracle. The kind of miracle you get when you work your butt off.  

goals

Word Of The Year

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I spent a lot of time writing about thoughts, intentions, and goals for 2019. There’s a post with my birthday thoughts (including resolutions about TV time and writing), a post with my list of intentions for the year, and a post with my January writing goals, which is a new ritual I am hoping to maintain this year.

This is typical for me, to make a bunch of different goals in different places. I’m an all-over-the-place kind of person, even when it comes to making resolutions about meditation and being present. And on New Year’s Day, I thought of a way that I could tie all of my resolutions together so that they were easier to remember and achieve: choosing a Word of the Year.

When you choose a Word of the Year, you pick a word that represents your focus for the year. The word can connect all the different resolutions you’re making for yourself, or it can be more abstract. I’ve heard people choose a lot of different words: Health. Story. Present. Family. Love. Serenity.

I’ve chosen a Word of the Year in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever maintained my focus on that word throughout an entire year. And I don’t know if I will this year, either! But one of my hopes for 2019 is that I’ll be able to use playful + peaceful as a place where I can check in on my progress toward various goals, and I figure that may work for my Word of the Year focus as well.

My word of the year for 2019 is NOW. For me, this word will help me to focus in on what my priorities are without having to check my list of intentions three times a day. Each of the goals and resolutions I’ve written about for 2019 can be represented by NOW in a specific way.

  1. Be here NOW. Live in the now – don’t get caught up in the past or the future. Slow down, and be present and mindful. This also ties into two of my more practical goals: decreasing TV time and docking my phone while I’m at home with my family.
  2. Embrace the NOW. I want to express gratitude for everything that’s happening in my life at this moment. I don’t want to wait for a new house, a new job, or a new baby to come along so that I can be happy. I want to look around and realize that I’m happy right NOW. On a related note – I also want to regulate my social media diet. And social media is the mortal enemy of the present moment, always urging us to compare and contrast and feel left out or less than.
  3. Do it NOW. You cannot wait any longer to write your novel, or to exercise, or to make meditation a priority. The time is now. Related: don’t procrastinate the things on your to-do list. GET THEM DONE.

I love this word; I’m excited about the possibilities, about how the word can grow and change and evolve as the year progresses.

balance

A Good Weekend

It’s Saturday morning, and my goal is pretty simple: a good weekend.

A therapeutic, restorative, pleasant, calm, connected, and fun-filled weekend.

I’ve been stressed lately – tired from night feedings, adjusting to the new job – and so my weekends have been all about crashing and burning and barely putting myself back together by 4 a.m. on Monday morning.

I’ve been trying my best to take care of myself during the week so that my weekends can be more fun-filled. And so now, it’s Saturday morning, and I am pumped to have a weekend that feels more like an adventure and less like a two day recovery period from a bout of the flu.

A good weekend will look really different for different people. After some contemplation, here’s what I’ve come up with – my ingredients for a good weekend:

Time with my family. Preferably some of this time would be just hanging out together at home, and some of it would be going out for an adventure together. (And our kids are under 2, so an adventure can be as simple as a 45-minute visit to a holiday train garden!)

Time with friends or extended family. Just one event per weekend is usually enough for me! Coordinating plans with others can be challenging; sometimes, time with a friend also means a shorter nap time or a later bedtime, and those are things we pay for in Toddler Land. But I find that having just one opportunity to meet up with friends or extended family really adds to the value of my weekend.

Time to exercise. This is especially important at this moment of my life, when there is little to no time to exercise during the week. On weekend days, I like to go running during Edgar’s nap time, and I get really disappointed when I can’t squeeze in at least two runs per weekend.

A little Kerriann time. My ME time often includes writing or reading, but it’s different for every individual, of course. It’s hard to imagine a solidly awesome weekend that doesn’t involve some ME time.

Adventure! This doesn’t have to be anything wild or crazy. But it’s nice when the weekend includes at least one opportunity to do something new, different, or special. This can often be folded into one of the other ingredients, like family time or friend time. I find that the weekend feels longer and more memorable when there is something out of the ordinary on the agenda.

Lots and lots of good sleep. As much as possible!

balance · goals

Rhythm & Routine (January 2019)

RHYTHM and ROUTINE. These words are music to my soul.

I love adventure and spontaneity, but I also love a good routine. For me, it’s easiest to maintain a habit if I do it every day – if it becomes part of my routine.

If you’re a semi-regular reader, then you know that my blogging schedule has been way off since my second son J.J. came home to us in early September.

A trick I am going to use to get back in the blogging rhythm is having a loose theme for each month. VERY LOOSE. Not every post will match the theme, and the themes might trickle into the next month if I find I have a lot to write about.

My theme for January 2019 is those two magic words: rhythm and routine. I’ll write a lot about new habits, weekly and monthly goals, and rituals and routines I am trying to establish throughout my life.

I got really excited when I came up with the idea of having a monthly blogging theme. It reminds me a little of a Gretchen Rubin happiness project – making small resolutions each month related to a theme. But it’s not exactly that. I’m not making resolutions – just using a theme to center my writing and to help me decide what to write about. I’m not going to list the themes now – they’ll be a little surprise every month.

A new year is a great time for a fresh look at ways to make life more rhythmic, to simplify. I feel excited and energized and ready to start.

 

goals

New Year, Old Kerriann

It’s 2019, and this is the season when all of us are evaluating the last year of our lives and thinking about making resolutions for the new year.

This year, I’ve written a list of intentions for myself, but it’s nothing new – everything on the list is an intention that I have set previously.

Thinking about the year ahead, I realized that I’m not really resolving to do anything new. I have goals for the year, and I have new habits I want to implement, including checking on my writing progress monthly, taking photos to use on the blog, and (maybe? someday? finally?) using my phone less.

But really? Life is good, and I’ve been feeling more like myself than I have in years.

I think when we’re setting intentions for a new year, we’re not usually trying to be different. We’re resolving to be more like our truest and best selves. We are making a commitment to start the year off fresh, being the best possible version of ourselves that we can be.

This year, I want to eat healthy, spend less, and write more. I want to do more of the things that make me Kerriann and less of the things that distract me from being myself and living life the way I’d like to live it.

It might all be semantics – resolutions, goals, habits, intentions. They’re all in the same family – changes we want to make to maximize our happiness or our productivity.

But for me, this year, I mostly feel like I want to stop getting in my own way; I want to allow myself to be the person I am in my very best and most present moments.

Cheers, 2019. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got.

goals · writing

January 2019: Monthly Writing Goals

I’m going to try something new this year.

I am going to get really specific about my goals for my writing.

My hope is that using SMART goals will help me to make more progress and/or to take notice when I am not making progress so that I can regroup.

Here are my goals for January 2019:

  1. Write every day. Average 7,000 words per week. Spend at least 4 of the 7 writing sessions working on the novel.
  2. Get back on track with blogging weekly or biweekly. (My realistic goal is every Tuesday; my ambitious goal is every Tuesday and Saturday.)
  3. Decide which novel you want to focus on by the end of the month.

Here are my big goals for 2019:

  1. Finish a draft of a novel by the end of June.
  2. Finish a GOOD draft of a novel by the end of December.
  3. Maintain weekly or biweekly blogging.

I am planning to use my “All The Things” posts on the last day of the month to keep track of how I’m doing with regard to my monthly goals.

Fingers crossed – hoping that this will help me to make some real progress!

img_7341

Uncategorized

All The Things (December 2018)

It’s been a busy month, wrapping up an incredibly busy year!

I’m going to try my best to get back to biweekly blogging in 2019, but to do that, I am thinking I’ll have to be okay with some short-but-sweet posts early in the year until I am readjusted to my routine. (This will be one of those!)

Things I’m Reading: Earlier this month, I finished A Ladder To The Sky by John Boyne. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. Boyne is officially one of my favorite writers. Right now, I am halfway through Louise Penny’s latest Gamache book, Kingdom Of the Blind – also good so far.

Things I’m Watching: So many reruns of The Good Place and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend that I’m almost getting bored. But I feel way too tired most days to invest in a brand-new show. Sigh – first world problems.

Things I’ve Been Celebrating: Baby J.J.’s first Christmas, Edgar’s first Christmas when he really understood the magic of the season, and my 36th birthday!

Things I’m Excited About: A new year, new writing goals, and the chance to set a new rhythm for my routines.