January Positivity Challenge

Happy Thursday, loves!

We are nine whole days into a new year, a new decade, a new month. It’s a big deal if you let it be a big deal, though for many it’s not that big a deal. You don’t need a new year to change your life, but it’s helpful to some who are looking to make changes and aren’t certain how to get started.

Y’all know I’m not a fan of resolutions. I like goals. Goals are good. Goals are changeable. Goals are maneuverable. Goals make the world a much friendlier, much better place. Goals can be created, broken down, and made manageable, and then they can be expanded upon once they are reached. And while I certainly don’t think we need a new year to start a new list of goals, why not? It’s as good a time as any, and this year I want to try something new.

I think we should all challenge ourselves to become happier, more positive, and enjoy life more. That starts from the inside out. With that in mind, we still have 22 days left in January, and I want to issue you a challenge. Let’s improve ourselves one day at a time in a small way. I believe it was Jackie Kennedy who once said you should do something every single day that scares you or takes you outside of your comfort zone, so let’s.

If you’re not sure where to get started, I have some ideas for all of us. The best news is that each of these concepts can be taken, used now or later, and they can help you anytime you need it. Not just today.

  • Write down one thing every morning and every evening you are thankful for every single day for the rest of the month.
  • Take a 10-minute walk outdoors 3 times a week.
  • Ignore social media for one entire weekend. No cheating!
  • Pay for someone behind you in line at your favorite fast food restaurant or grab the check for someone at a restaurant – anonymously!
  • Smile at every single person you encounter for an entire day.
  • Provide one random act of kindness per week. It doesn’t matter who, what, when, or where you are or do.
  • Keep your promises to yourself. For example, if you promise yourself you’re going to the gym tomorrow, do it. Don’t break that promise no matter what happens. You will never regret the decision to go.
  • Cuddle your kids, nieces, nephews, spouse, grandmother, mom, dad, whomever you love.
  • Open the doors and windows for a few hours when the weather permits
  • Eat one meal outside every week.

There’s nothing groundbreaking or even wow-factor-esque about anything I just wrote down, but each of these things can help you change your mindset, your life, and your feelings from the inside out. Each of these things takes you into a different realm, a different place. Each one makes you take a moment to pause and reflect. Each one makes you spend a little bit of your time focused on things like the way you feel and the way you are living your life. Each one makes you pause, and each one can help you change the way you look at life. Let’s try it this month, and let’s look back at the end of the month and share what we did, how we did it, and what changes it’s made in our lives.

Intentional Living: Making 2020 A More Intentional Year

Happy Tuesday, loves!

Today marks the first day back to school for the kiddos after a two-week Christmas break, and I’m all mixed feelings and sad about it. On one hand, it’s so nice to get back to our really amazing routine, which includes no one coming into our office all day long asking for snacks or telling on a brother or a sister or wanting help with something innocuous.

On the other hand, it means that our house is empty save for the two of us all day. The quiet is nice because we do both work from home, and I’ve taken on a few new projects and clients that are taking up a significant chunk of my time (time I already do not have).

But, I already miss the slow days of Christmas break. We were very intentional this Christmas break, and that included cancelling all of our plans the last week of the break and staying home (okay, okay…we cancelled because I’ve had a headache since the 29th. It’s been off and on a migraine, and it’s been aggravated by four nights of absolutely not one minute of sleep, terrible allergies thanks to the fourteen inches of pollen we got that week, and also by the strep throat I was so lucky to catch. I spent the entire week in bed or on the couch with a blanket, a pillow, and my heating pad. I wrapped it around my neck hoping for some relief from the tension and the pain.

I’m happy to say that today I’m much better. My throat is 80 percent better. My allergies are better. And my headache has dulled to a constant throb that’s really only unbearable in the evenings and the early mornings. I’m trying to figure out when I have time to see my doctor about it, because I’m sure it’s not a good sign. I’m not ignoring it; I literally just didn’t have the energy to get up off the couch for nine days. I tried taking the kids bowling with friends one day, and that didn’t work out too well. I did a date night with my husband and our friends another night, but I was so low-energy and didn’t feel really present.

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But, I digress. I really did enjoy the slow, intentional, beautiful time we spent doing nothing. I’m actually glad that I ended up sick and our travel plans were cancelled because my body obviously needed that time to rest. I needed unhurried days and lazy evenings. The kids needed it. My husband needed it. We all needed it. It was good for our souls, and I tried holding on to that as long as I could.

For the first time since the kids began going to school and we’ve been parents, I actually didn’t want to go back to the real world. I didn’t look forward to the kids going back to school (I always look forward to that). I don’t want to go back to waking up at 5 and working in bed to ease a bit of my stress and keep the day flowing. I don’t want to go back to Craig needing to have Addy to school so early, and to having an extra child in the house for two hours before I take the little ones to school at 9 every day. I don’t want to go back to only having one free night a week at home – and even that night is not free because that’s the night we have to get everyone’s homework done ahead of time since there just isn’t another night we can do it.

The late nights, the over-scheduled calendar, the early mornings; it’s killing us, and that’s not how we want to live 2020. 2019 was too much for us, and we aren’t doing that again. Here’s to a slower year, a more manageable schedule, and more time to simply be. When the kids are tired and asking to cancel plans and lay low, you know that it’s too much (don’t even get me started on my stress level). Here’s what I’d like to accomplish in 2020.

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Get to A Place Where One Schedule Change Doesn’t Cause an Anxiety Attack

Anxiety. Have we talked about that? As a Type-A personality, I have a lot of it when I’m not in control of the schedule and how things are going in my life and the lives of my family. But, it’s been aggravated in the past few months to a point where my anxiety is often through the roof and more frequent than ever. Between the girls’ cheer schedule, Addison’s new school start and end times, and having all four kids in school with homework and excessive event schedules for the first time, I’m a wreck. I write more than 20,000 words a day for my clients, and I edit dozens of articles per day. My deadlines are daily, they are tight, and I have never missed one in more than 12 years of running my business.

And that’s why when one thing goes wrong or changes, it throws me totally off balance. I’m down to having approximately 4 hours a day to get all of this done. If someone gets sick or something comes up that requires my attention, I have fewer than that, and it’s killing me. This year, I’m looking to gain back my time and make it so that when something goes wrong or comes up at the last minute, I don’t have a literal anxiety attack wondering how I can rearrange things, get things done, not miss a deadline, and still be where I need to be. That’s my goal.

I also think that will put an end to my headaches (well, that and continuing to get my Botox injections) and ease some very heavy burdens. I must remember that I can do anything, but I cannot do everything. I forget that sometimes, and it’s caused my to put myself in a situation that I cannot control, and it’s had an ugly effect on my attitude, my patience, and my anxiety.

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Travel Less

Honestly, you guys, I love to travel more than anything in the world, but we are just tired of packing and unpacking and repacking and doing it all over again. Significantly more than half our weekends last year were spent in hotels, which means more than half the weeks of last year, I spent an entire day packing. If you don’t have a family of six, I envy you (and my husband packs for himself, so I really only pack for five). It takes a solid day to organize outfits for all of us, to pack them, to check lists, to launder the twins’ and Ava’s blankets they sleep with, to remember the travel pillows, and the chargers, to get tablets all the way charged, to pack snacks for planes, and snacks for car rides, and to pack activities such as crayons and coloring books to take to restaurants.

It takes a full day – even when we are leaving for just a night or two. And this means I spend one day every travel week packing. That means I lose a full day of work. I’m already working ahead to make sure I get all my weekend deadlines handled before we leave, but it also means I’m spending Monday-Thursday also working ahead to get Friday’s work done and the following Monday’s work done on top of all the weekend stuff and my everyday stuff. It’s stressful. Those are the weeks that hurt me the most.

That’s why I’d like to travel a little less this year. I’d like to plan more intentional trips with a lot of meaning, extra time, and fewer quick weekends away. They are always fun, but they often bring me more stress than they do pleasure. It’s a lot.

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Be More Present

If I learned one thing during Christmas break, it was that I love not having my phone on me. It’s hard for me to do that when the kids are at school.  I need it where I can see if a teacher is calling or texting me. I need it in case something happens to one of the kids and someone is trying to contact me. But, I also did a thing. I moved my social media apps to the last page on my phone, and I took all the other apps off that page. They are now by themselves. I cannot see if I have a notification, and it’s been glorious. I often use Instagram for work-related things, so I won’t get rid of that app, but I’m probably going to say farewell to Facebook this year. I just have to get into the habit of emailing/texting my grandmother and my father-in-law photos of the kids more frequently since I basically let Facebook do that for me. I’ve found myself only using it for months now to post things. I rarely scroll through and check anything out. I can’t even see most of my ‘friends’ stuff anymore since it’s turned into one giant add, a long list of ‘read this article,’ and all that jazz. There’s no point.

I like being disconnected. I like being out of the loop. I like being focused on my kids and my family. It’s good stuff, and it brings actual joy to my heart. My does not. It brings me frustration because I don’t get why people can’t spell or use proper grammar or avoid tying in all caps. It brings me annoyance when I actually see an article I want to read and it’s nothing but popups. It brings me aggravation when someone says something about something they posted on Facebook and I didn’t see it because I don’t see anything other than adds and long, long, long lists of posts from the last 2-3 people whose friend requests I accepted. What’s the actual point?

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Unschedule

I’m not filling my calendar this year. I dislike looking at it and dreading the weekend because it’s so busy we don’t have time to relax or chill. I dislike always being busy. I want to be able to accept last minute invitations. I want to be able to have spontaneous fun. I want to be more in control and less obligated. I’m unscheduling us, so don’t be offended if I say no to your requests or invitations. I genuinely need more down time in my life, and saying no is the only way I’m getting it.

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Be More Positive

So, maybe, potentially, possibly, I’m a little cranky when I’m tired and feeling unfulfilled. So, on that note, I’m working on being more positive. It’s not easy for me to be in a good mood when I’m overwhelmed, but I’m working on it. I’m going to seek the positivity in all things rather than see the negatives. I’m going to try and be as positive as I can, and I’m going to shower that shit onto everyone around me as often as possible.

Basically, in 2020, I’m taking back my life. I’ve given far too much of it to too many people, activities, events, things, stuff, whatever. I’m minimizing this year, and since I’ve never been a fan of ‘stuff,’ my new minimalist approach is not about stuff.

2020, I’m ready for you and all the beautiful, glorious more intentional moments you have to offer.

2020 Goals

Happy New Year!

It’s 2020 – the only 20/20 I’ve had in my life since I was like 9 and began wearing glasses. Some say it’s the year of clarity because of that, but I like to think everyday is a day of clarity if you open yourself up to it and really make the effort to see things for what they are. More importantly, though, how was everyone’s New Year? Did you go out and have a party? Did you do something fun and unexpected? Did you have a low-key New Year?

We are low-key NYE people. We’ve had our years of going out and partying, but we really enjoy the simple NYE events the most (fun fact – I have always, always been an early to bed early to rise kind of gal – even when I was a teen. I was always in bed before 9 pm and I am most definitely not ashamed of that. A girl needs her sleep).

This New Year’s Eve was a very low key one. It’s been unseasonably warm – is that a thing? Can it be unseasonably warm in Florida given that we don’t have actual seasons? I don’t know. Whatever – in Florida. Like, 80 degrees and downright hot and miserable and really obnoxious. I dislike it, most definitely because it brings the pollen. And, unfortunately, the older I get, the more the pollen makes me suffer.

It gives me a nasty sinus headache, and I cannot sleep. Fun fact – I haven’t slept more than 2-3 hours in five nights because of it. The good news is that I can ignore the headache during the day as it’s just a dull throb with medication. I was fine to host, so we had some of our favorite people and very best friends over for the evening. My husband is an amazing cook, and he put filets on the grill, made his famous smashed potatoes and roasted some of my favorite veggies.

It was fabulous. I had a decadent bottle of red wine, the kids had fun with some imaginative art projects and outside time, and we laughed – a lot. Even better, everyone was gone by 10 pm, we put the kids to bed, showered, and rang in the new year sleeping peacefully in our bed. It was amazing. I didn’t feel great on New Year’s Day, but I spent the day resting, and that was really good for me. Craig spent the day playing with the kids and having fun with them while I rested, and I am always appreciative of that when I’m not well. I know my body, I know when I need rest, and I know what happens if I ignore that need. It’s not good.

Now that the New Year is here, I’m just excited. I’m happy to put 2019 behind me (you can read about why I thought it was the best worst year ever here) and start fresh this year. It’s a big year for us in so many ways. My husband and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage this year. Our oldest daughter will celebrate her 12th birthday, which means that it’s her last birthday before she becomes a teenager. We have so many fun things planned. We have so many amazing adventures ahead. We have so much to look forward to and to be thankful for.

That said, it’s also a new year. That means it’s time for new goals. I already talked about how this is going to be the year of quality for us. Quality over quantity in every aspect of our lives. But, it’s not the only goal I’m going to make for myself this year – obviously. So, here we go (because if I don’t share, who will hold me accountable?).

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  • Meal plan. For several reasons. Number one – because I am so tired of going to Publix 5-6 times a week because we don’t plan. We cannot go into that store without spending at least $100, and that’s on top of the big trip we take on Sundays for what we pretend is our ‘shopping for the week,’ knowing we will be back another 4-5 times. Do the math. It’s a gross waste. Number two – I’m tired of the “what do you want? I don’t know, what do you want,” conversation every night. Number three – we are already home for dinner so infrequently that we shouldn’t have to order take out because we can’t make a decision or we lack one little ingredient and can’t cook what we want when we are home. Number four – I love being organized and making lists, so I bought a meal planning calendar, and I want to use it. Five – we are healthy eaters regardless, but this will take things to the next level.
  • Find more patience. I’ll struggle with this, but I’m going to try. I’m not a people person, and it’s probably because I’m so impatient with them as a whole. It’s so easy not to be ignorant and ridiculous, yet I find myself wondering why it seems so hard for so many. Thus, my lack of patience. Being a mom of four also makes patience a thing, too, right?
  • Stop apologizing for being myself or not living up to other’s expectations. I say fuck a lot. I don’t have a lot of patience (though I’m working on that). I like what I like. I’m not easily impressed. I have strong opinions. I think wrong is wrong. I don’t have time for negativity. I think jealousy and insecurities are ugly and pointless. Some people just aren’t my type of people. I’m good with who I am, and I don’t need or want anyone’s approval – but I’m also no longer apologizing for my opinions and feelings.
  • Be more intentional. With my time, my energy, my words, and my focus.
  • Write a book. Fun fact – I wrote one in 2019, but I have this gut instinct that I’m meant to write something very specific, and I’m working on that now.
  • Tackle two of the last and biggest remodeling projects in our house. We bought our dream house in 2015, and we have two things left to do. I, however, am a Type-A perfectionist, and I’m good at putting them off because the idea of living in a construction zone with four kids while also working from home for a few weeks really gives me anxiety and makes me feel like I’m having a panic attack. But, we want them done, so we’re doing them and I’m going to suck it up and try not to be a raging nightmare bitch when my life feels like it’s out of control (fun fact – I’m an obsessive compulsive neat freak because I can control that, and I like control. I have four kids, so many things in life are totally and completely out of my control, but a clean house and great makeup are inside my realm of control. And I can be a little uptight about both.)
  • Spend more time outside. It’s good for the soul.
  • I probably have more, but I can’t think of them right now.

What are your goals for the new year? I’m not a resolution maker, but I love a new list of goals. I think goals are amazing, and I think that it’s easy to keep adding to your goals, expanding upon them, changing them up to make them more of what you’re actually looking for throughout the year. I love that.