Monthly Goals (October 2019)

If all goes well, we are MOVING TO A NEW HOME in October 2019. Yikes! It’s exciting and stressful simultaneously, as many happy changes are.

I’m trying to keep my goals manageable this fall. Here’s what I came up with for this month.

  • Maintain my blogging routine + continue my break from the novel. I am barely managing to keep my blogging routine consistent, so I know that any fiction writing would be a long shot this month. It felt really good in September to acknowledge that fiction writing just wouldn’t be feasible; admitting that you need to take a break frees you from the guilt of I should be writing. 
  • Re-establish your daily/weekly routines and your everyday self-care strategies. With the move, it feels like it will be necessary to regroup and get back on track. I’ve been doing an okay job with self-care and rituals, but the house hunting and packing have really interfered.
  • Do a whole bunch of decluttering, packing, and moving without losing your mind. 
  • Just be yourself all day long. I’m sure I’ll write more on this in another post, but I’ve had an interesting first month back at work, and my authentic self was sort of laid out on the table for all to see. Since I can’t take it back, I’m going to work through this vulnerability hangover and just keep being my full self all day every day.

If all goes well, my next Monthly Goals post will be published from my new home! You all won’t notice a difference, but cheers to new beginnings anyway.

yellow flowers in bloom
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September 2019: Monthly Goals

Oh, boy.

My summer vacation is over.

I’ll be honest; I am not excited about returning to my full-time job. I’m not not excited; I just prefer full-time mommying and vacationing and playing to adulting all day long.

However – I always love a fresh start. And when you work in a school, the beginning of the school year is the Other New Year’s – a time when you can make resolutions, set intentions, and develop new routines and rituals.

My theme for September 2019 is going to be rhythm. Last year, I started out the school year ready to maintain some good habits – and then Baby Jonas came home, and my life got way more joyful but my routines got way off! This year, I’m hoping to start off the year with energy, enthusiasm, and discipline. (I mean, I’m still exhausted – but I think a year of night feedings has helped me to officially adjust to getting by on limited sleep.

Here are my goals for September 2019:

  • Start the school year off strong! Follow the awesome plans and schedule you made for the year. Try to get into a regular routine with weekly planning dates, meditation, and exercise.
  • Take a break from the novel. You’ve done good work over the summer! You’ve taken some great first steps. For the month of September, focus on your blog. If you happen to work on your origin scene, a la Story Genius, then that’s fine – but it’s not a #goal currently.
  • Embrace your plan for everyday self-care. I am extremely nervous about maintaining the self-care habits I formed over the summer! That’s one of the reasons why I don’t want to worry about novel writing for the first month of the school year. I won’t get ANY writing done if I just continuously crash and burn every few weeks due to crummy self-care.

NEW SCHOOL YEAR. Let’s do this.

leaves hang on rope
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Mid-Year Check-In: How’s My 2019?

It’s July!  Halfway through 2019. I thought it would be a good time to check in with January Kerriann to see how I’ve been progressing regarding my 2019 goals.

I wrote a few posts that were centered around goals in January 2019. There was a post about my Word Of The Year, and a post with my Birthday Thoughts, and then one additional post with my intentions for the year called New Year Old Kerriann. It all added up to a LOT of different goals for the year – some big, some tiny. Here’s my self-evaluation, in no particular order:

  • My word of the year was NOW. I wanted to be here NOW – i.e., be present. I wanted to embrace the NOW – i.e., be grateful. And I wanted to do it NOW – i.e., stop procrastinating and do things right away. (This included random items on my to-do list, like “make a dentist appointment,” and big, huge things, like tackling the novel.) I think I’ve done pretty well with all of these. Not perfect, of course – but it’s not about being perfect. It’s about progress – progress, not perfection.
  • I resolved to watch less TV, and this has been hit or miss. Like, Friends is now on Netflix, so I have a Season 7 episode on in the background right now and I feel amazing about it.
  • I resolved to write more, and to get specific about my writing goals. I think I’ve done well with this. But I’ve also had to reckon with the limitations of writing a novel while parenting two young kids, and that’s been good, too – to accept my limitations and to get realistic.
  • MEDITATE. I mean, OMG, I need to meditate. I’ve had it recommended to me a million times, and I recommend it constantly to others! It needs to happen, and I need to resolve whatever is keeping me from forming this habit.
  • I resolved to eat healthfully and to spend mindfully, and both of those have been up-and-down all year long. I still need a lot of work in both areas; I can be really impulsive with shopping and with food.
  • One of the intentions I set was to slow down. Ugh. This is so challenging for me. I’m impulsive, I get distracted, and I get so caught up in the day-to-day that before I know it I am rushing from task to task without being intentional or thoughtful at all.

This year has been wonderful so far. For the last five months of 2019, I want to commit to slowing down and forming the habit of meditating. LET’S DO THIS.

four rock formation
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August 2019: Monthly Goals

My main goal for August will be to fight off the anxiety and stress I may experience as we creep closer to the end of my blissful summer vacay. Ugh. I feel an increase in my pulse every time I even think about it!

I do think that one way to enter the school year with a positive attitude is by being proactive, and so my goals for this month are largely related to that.

  1. KEEP ON WRITING! Try to revisit the novel every single day and keep utilizing Story Genius to take steps forward.
  2. Create a routine that you can follow during the school year related to meetings, writing, meditation, and exercise.
  3. Make a plan for Everyday Self-Care for the school year.
  4. Draft a schedule for rhythm, routine, and rituals for the school year – including everything from day care drop-off and pick-up to cleaning up the kitchen after dinnertime.
  5. SLOW DOWN and BE INTENTIONAL. I can feel the pace of my life starting to pick up – or, maybe that’s just the aforementioned anxiety about returning to working mom life. I am making an effort to slow down so that I can take action mindfully and intentionally rather than doing what is easy and automatic.

This summer has really been just beautiful so far. Here’s to four more weeks (ish) of cuddling my boys and writing like a fool!

red tiger lily flower in close up photography
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goals · presence · writing

July 2019: Monthly Goals

The summer is off to an incredible start. It’s been joyful, fun, and refreshing.

I am definitely stressed about achieving my writing goals. We spent the last week of June at the beach, and I only wrote one day while we were away. I did a lot of other great things – I read the new Elizabeth Gilbert book, I spent time with family, I exercised a lot. But I did not write, and I want to make sure that I am making my writing a priority.

I was strategic about my first week of July. I’m spending two days at the beach with my sister’s family, but I’ll be back in time for my boys to have two days at day care so that I can get a significant amount of writing accomplished. I hope! I am extremely nervous. I’m hopeful that I can muster up the self-discipline and the creative juices to get things done.

My goals for July 2019 are about two things: getting my writing done and being present with my kids. Here’s what I’ve got:

  1. Write a little or think about the novel a little EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes!
  2. BE PRESENT. Play with your boys and give them your focus. To do that, you need to make sure that you’re being intentional with your time. That means giving yourself a little time to get grounded in the morning, enjoying your “evening adulting hour,” and being intentional about the times when they do NOT get your full attention. (“Mommy has to do the dishes now. Would you like to play in your room while I do that?”)

I’m nervous, for sure. But, as I said, this summer has been off to a great start, so I have reason to feel optimistic. Let’s do this!

colourful abstract painting
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family · goals

When My Baby Starts Sleeping…

Slowly, surely, Jonas’s sleep is getting better. Last night, he only woke up once for a night feeding; it was wonderful.

There are many things that have been on the back burner for the last nine months. Things would come to my mind, and I’d consciously tell myself, You can’t deal with that until Jonas starts sleeping through the night. True or not, this has been my policy. And now that “sleeping through the night” seems within our reach, I want to set some intentions for what I want to focus on once we reach that milestone.

  1. A big improvement with my bedtime hygiene. Ugh. My bedtime hygiene is awful! Right now, I eat a candy bar, and then fall asleep with my clothes on and the light on while listening to a TV show on the iPad. My goal is:
    • Pajamas.
    • No bedtime candy!
    • Lights out.
    • No podcast or TV show playing.
  2. Create a regular schedule for exercise, meditation/mindfulness, and writing, including early morning time and evening time. These pockets of my day – early morning and evening – have mostly been lost to sleep, since the middle of the night has not been reliable for sleep.  🙂 And exercise and writing (as well as meditation) have taken a huge hit since my time became limited. I’ve done a good job of squeezing them in when I can (IMHO) but I’m going to amp up in all three areas once Jonas is sleeping through the night.
  3. Focus on maintaining a healthy diet. I am really trying to make this a priority NOW – cutting back on candy and caffeine and eating well. However, I make terrible choices about food and drink when I’m tired, and while I am working on this at the moment, I am also trying not to beat myself up about not maintaining a perfect diet at this incredibly hectic and sleep-deprived season of my life.
  4. Make a plan for flow/life alignment. Right now, I am too exhausted to make sure that my whole life is aligned with my values. But I want to make this a priority for once my sleep is more reliable. I am inching closer and closer to where I want to be, I think – but sometimes I don’t even know where I want to be! Do I want to buy yogurt pouches to keep as snacks, because they’re easy and encourage Edgar to be independent? Or do I want to prioritize the environment and limit waste? I really don’t know. And, importantly – I am too tired to figure it out at the moment.

This may be another post that is updated if I think of more goals.

I am also noticing that most of my recent posts have been related to goal setting. I like that a lot; it shows that, in contrast to my nature, I am learning to think ahead, at least a little.

green grass field
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balance · goals

Seasonal Bucket List (Summer)

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to start keeping a seasonal bucket list.

I am not a big planner, and I’m not great at planning ahead. That’s why I think a bucket list might be helpful to me. It will be a list of things I’d like to do each season; like picking blueberries at a local fruit farm in the summer or a camping trip in the fall. I don’t feel any obligation to the list; it’s not about checking off every single item on the list. For me, it’s about not forgetting the things I want to do. I don’t want to let the entire season go by and realize I haven’t done something I and my family would have enjoyed just because I forgot it was a thing!

I actually have been hoping to do this for the past two seasons, but this is the first time I’ve gotten it together enough to make a Seasonal Bucket List. (My aggressive summer planning helped!) The list is a mix of things that are easy and hard, close to home and a little further away.

In this post, I’m also including info about summer routines and rituals I’d like to cultivate as well as littler activities that I’d like to do many times over the summer, like sidewalk chalk and painting.

Summer Bucket List

  1. Attend a Mommy & Me yoga class with one (or both) of the boys. This has been a goal since Edgar first came home! And let me be clear: when I say “both” of the boys, I mean separately. A yoga class for me and Edgar, and then a different yoga class for me and Jonas. I am not crazy enough to think I could manage a two-year-old and a nine-month-old while in tree pose.
  2. Attend the Baltimore Book Festival in September.
  3. Visit the trains at Leakin Park.
  4. Visit Annie’s Playground. (It’s early June as I’m writing this, and I actually already accomplished this one!  Such a cute playground. And way to go me for being on top of my bucket list before summer even starts!)
  5. Go to a splash pad.
  6. Create a summer playlist. I do NOT listen to enough music! Every once in a while, I have a dance party with the boys, and they love it as much as I do.
  7. Hike at Codorus State Park.
  8. Do [something fun] in York. We live about 30 minutes south of York, PA – pretty much the same distance we are from Baltimore – and we’ve never really explored it. I’m hoping this could be a good activity for the whole family on a day Tamara is off.
  9. Attend a pre-school yoga event at the library. This would be a class just for Edgar, which is why it’s different from #1.
  10. Visit Watkins Regional Park.
  11. Take the tent outside to play in/camp out.
  12. Go to Gunpowder Beach.
  13. Go to Sandy Point State Park.
  14. Make alphabet letters with Edgar.
  15. Visit Storyville at the Woodlawn library.
  16. Visit the Pop-Up Playspace at Kenilworth.
  17. Go to Port Discovery Construction Zone.
  18. Visit the zoo in Baltimore. I can’t believe we’ve never been!
  19. Work through your 2019 Playground Bucket List! I don’t know if this will actually happen, but I had an idea for making a big list of all the cool playgrounds in the area and working through the list whenever we had a random free day. I’m keeping it here just in case!

Summer Routines & Rituals

One thing I have noticed about myself, as a person and as a mom, is that I like routines a lot. I feel really good about things that happen every week – like making pizza on Fridays and going to soccer on Saturdays. It’s predictable and already planned out; once you get the routine going, it all happens relatively automatically, and I love that.

Over the summer, I am hoping to have a good rhythm to my weeks, with certain kinds of activities happening on certain days. This will be SUPER flexible – I love routines, but I’m also all about breaking them whenever I want!

  • Writing (for me) and school (for the boys) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
  • Shop for groceries on Wednesday or Thursday afternoons.
  • Help with harvest on Fridays.
  • The library on Friday mornings – yay story time!
  • Pizza on Friday evenings.
  • Breakfast for dinner on Sunday evenings.
  • Rainy days = bake bread and make cookies!

The other activities I’ve been thinking about engaging in regularly are: baking bread, making cookies (with cookie cutters!), visiting a coffee shop, going for a hike, or enjoying a fun surprise. But I don’t think I want the summer to be too planned out, and I want to leave lots of time for play dates with friends and just general spontaneity.  🙂

Everyday Activities (Play On Repeat)

And finally – there are the things I want to do over and over all summer long.

  • The library!
  • Hiking.
  • Walks on the NCR trail.
  • Paint.
  • Draw with sidewalk chalk.
  • Play with bubbles!
  • Biking! (With kids in the trailer or with kids on their own bikes!)
  • The creek and the rest of our property.
  • Kiddie pool, water table, and sprinkler!
  • Build forts. (Inside and outside!)
  • Lots of play dates. (Good for the boys to play with other kids and good for ME to have contact with another adult!)
  • Do floor puzzles. (We need more of these!)
  • Bake bread.
  • Make cookies with cookie cutters! (I don’t love stuck inside days, and we usually go outside for a while even if it’s raining; but I am a little excited for rainy day cookie parties!)

I fully expect to update this post periodically as I think of more things to do! There are six days of school left. Then – SUMMERTIME!

wood light vacation picnic
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