Progress > Perfection

progress2

I’m pretty sure this has been my all out mantra for everything lately.

Life with a high needs “spirited” one year old for this goal-oriented, anxious perfectionist is HARD. Any other mamas with kids as intense as Clare, I know you feel me. I just started reading this book and I find myself highlighting EVERYTHING.

As you probably saw, my 2015 goals were pretty lofty this year…but slowly and steadily I do feel that I’m making progress on them. And PROGRESS is what’s important. As we’ve just finished the first quarter of the year (what?!), I thought it good to do a check in on goals and how things are going so far.

 

IMG_7714

 

Meditation: I think I’m doing pretty good at this one! I’ve only missed a handful of days, mostly due to the rampant illnesses that seem to be plaguing our house, and I’ve consciously made an effort to never miss more than one day in a row. Sessions vary between 3 and 15 minutes depending on the day, and I do feel like I get more out of the practice if I do it for at least 10. Finding the time that works best has been tricky. When Chris is home, I try and do it first thing in the morning as a part of my morning routine. If he isn’t, I try and kind of do a ‘do over’ of my morning when Clare goes down for a nap. I find it’s a LOT harder if I save it to the evening. My brain is spent, and I am barely able to stay focused on a short one. Apps that I use are Calm, Buddify, Mindful and Headspace. Do you know of any other good meditation apps? Please share.

Five Minute Journal: I’ve also been really good about this one. I like that it includes gratitude, planning and reflecting on the day. I also try to always remember to write in my Mom’s One Line a Day Journal, but sometimes I find myself catching up on a couple days of that one.

Blogging: So far so good on the one post per week. I’ve only missed a week or two, and some weeks I included my post for Girls on the Grid in my count. Once per week is a much more doable goal than writing goals I’ve tried to make previously.

Recipes: We definitely haven’t really been trying out a new recipe per period. We have made a few things out of the baby led weaning cookbook. This green bean recipe is also awesome. And we’ve been making our own corn tortillas. Honestly between Chris’s schedule, Clare challenges and all of the sickness that has been plaguing us, food has dropped on the priority list. Cheese and crackers and hummus and bread have been regular meal staples for me. It’s bad. (Okay it could be a lot worse) But we’ve gotta get a bit better in this area.

Date Nights: This one has been a big fat fail. One of my best friends who was our neighbor and would sometimes watch Clare recently moved away. And when my parents have been up here, Chris has been gone or we’ve all been SICK. Have I mentioned we’ve all been sick?? So we just haven’t really made it happen. We did have a breakfast out at the end of March, but that’s about it. Here’s hoping in the later part of the year when my parents MOVE up here, we’ll get back on track with this one.

Read 25 Books – Totally on track. 6 down, 19 to go. Reviews of my first 4 here. Books and Podcasts are totally saving my sanity. (Though I am a bit ridiculous in that I am currently reading 5 books at once!)

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 11.46.13 AM

 

Learn to Sew a Quilt: Again, maybe this summer once my parents are up here, and I can plan on someone to watch Clare.

Podcast: This is going really well. Yesterday, episode 8 launched, and I’ve got some AWESOME guests lined up in the coming weeks. More at www.postpartumpodcast.com

Childbirth Educator Work: It’s SLOW going, but I’m starting to get on a better track. They re-did the program, and I like the new structure better, but it’s still very daunting the amount of work I need to get done. But, I do have a mentor, and some childbirth class observations lined up. I’ve joined a support group for other ICEA students in training on FB. Hopefully again, once my parents are here I can get into a more regular study routine, I can observe some births, and get on track to finish it all up in early 2016. I know that sounds so far away…but with the amount of work I need to get done, it sounds scary that it’s even that close.

Couch-to-5K: So I got about six weeks into the program. Now I think it’s an awesome program, and it made me not hate running, once they got to the part where you’re running straight for 20-25 minutes they lost me. But by running in intervals I ran the Girls on the Go 5k in 32 minutes at the end of March. Not too shabby for my first time running a 5K. And I’m going to chalk it up to, I can do running for cardio in a pinch, but it’s not really my ‘thing’. Zumba is. And I’m going to hopefully be teaching 3 zumba classes this summer! Hooray!

IMG_7843

In a perfect world, I’d dedicate several uninterrupted hours per week on my childbirth work and podcast and writing and working on a new project that I’m really excited about. But our world is far from perfect these days. So instead I’m having to make progress in the cracks and crevices of the days. On the fringe.   And that’s okay. Because Progress > Perfection. And DONE is > than perfection.

cover170x170

My episode as a guest on the wonderful Sarah R. Bagley’s podcast today discusses just that! Please check it out, and the rest of her episodes. Her guests always resonate with me!

 

And remember:

progress

 

Advertisements

My Favorite iPhone Apps

DeathtoStock_Medium5

Today I wanted to share with you my top 8 favorite iPhone Apps. I know I love hearing about new apps that are really useful, so I hope you do too. I picked ones that you may or may not have heard of before. Because of course there are several apps I use ALL the time that you probably already know about (goodreads, kindle, podcast, Etsy, Amazon, Cartwheel, Gmail, and the usual social media culprits)

Coach.Me (Previously Lift) – I LOVE this app for tracking daily goals. I think I heard about it originally 3 or 4 years ago when it was Lift. I read about it in the Mindful magazine and it is awesome. It recently just changed to “Coach.Me” in January and the creators are now allowing you to hire “coaches” to help you motivate in your goals. But the cool thing about it is you pick goals and pick how often you want to achieve these goals. It tracks them for you and you can look back on your stats. There is a social component too where you can get props from other users with the same goals and ask questions. There are motivational quotes and even virtual high fives. I highly recommend it!

IMG_6877 IMG_6878

Any.Do – I have recently shifted to more paper planning and to do lists, and thanks to a recommendation my friend Jessica and a birthday gift card from my in-laws I have a brand new awesome planner headed my way soon. But for virtual to do lists I really enjoy any.do because it separates lists into today, tomorrow, upcoming and someday. These categories work well for me to parse out my to do list.

Feedly – If you read blogs then you have to have this app. I used to try and keep track of the blogs I read in a whole bunch of different places. I would ALWAYS miss posts and forget which blogs I even liked. Feedly is awesome because it shows when blogs post new posts and it’s super convenient to read on the go (or while nursing a sleeping baby!)

Mindful – One of the better meditation apps I’ve found. I do wish there were more options of different tracks to listen to, because with trying to meditate every day, the same tracks do get boring or harder to follow. If anyone has suggestions for other meditation apps they enjoy, please share! (Of course for some reason I couldn’t find the link for this one.  I don’t know if that means you can’t download it anymore?)

Headspace – Another great beginner meditation app. I enjoy this guy’s voice. It’s not grating or annoying or patronizing and it makes meditation more accessible to people who may be skeptical.

Couch-to-5K – I actually really love this app. I’m only into the second week of couch to 5K but I love how this app runs over the top of your music and tells you when to switch from warm up to running to walking to cool down. It also tells you when you’re halfway done and tracks your miles and pace. Great for beginning runners like me.

Overdrive – I think my mom originally told me about this one. You hook it up to your library account and can check out audiobooks and ebooks directly to your phone. If you are a reader, it’s great!

Thred Up – Oh Thred Up, I love you. Thred up is an online consignment shop. You buy like-new clothing at much cheaper than retail. I’ve bought several items off of here and always have been happy. You can also sell them your old clothes and get a credit. They do have an option to by free shipping for the whole year for $10. I definitely plan on doing that this year. If you want to check it out, use this link to get $10 off your first order, plus then I’ll get a credit! Win-win. Oh, did I mention they have BABY clothes now. It’s like a jbf sale without the crazy lines. Love!

2015: Presence

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black background

Some people have an aversion to goal setting and particularly new year’s resolutions. I loved how Teresa put it on last week’s episode of One Bad Mother. It becomes a joke of how quickly people will fall off the wagon, forget their goals, etc. And I do admit that I usually look forward to February when the gym does become less crowded all of a sudden. 😉 But something in me has always loved goals, lists and plans so it is something I enjoy doing most every year. I also really love this document Lesley posted for reflected on 2014 and into 2015. I plan on completing it as more of a journal exercise.

NYERESOL

I also like the concept that has become more commonplace the last several years of “One Little Word” where you pick one word to represent your year and take it on as a kind of mantra or over-arching idea that you want to remember throughout the year.   For me, my 2015 word is going to be PRESENCE. I was toying around with Simple, Priority and a few others, but Presence really has seemed to stick. Especially since my number one goal for 2015 is to incorporate a meditation/mindfulness practice into every day. A few years ago I took the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR), and through yoga and other avenues I have dabbled in it for a while, but this year I have decided to get more serious about it.

presence-logo

I hope that the word presence will resonate throughout my goals and my year.

And here are the more nitty gritty 2015 goals that I am committing to.

Meditate Everyday. I know this sounds like a lot. But we aren’t talking 20 minute sessions. We are talking even if it’s just a few minutes.   And I got this handy calendar from Elise’s Make 29 project to track it.

Read 25 Books. In 2014 I read 31 books, though several of those were childbirth books pre-Clare. So I’m being realistic with 25 in 2015. Look for some book reviews of the books I read in 2014 on the blog tomorrow.

Learn to sew a quilt. I got a sewing machine from my parents for Christmas. I took a super basic beginner class a few months ago, and I’d really like to learn to sew a quilt this year. (Along with other fun sewing projects!)

Write one blog post every week. Over the years I’ve had many different blogging goals that have seemed to fizzle out. One per week seems more realistic. Writing refreshes me, is enjoyable and helps me sort things out. So I really need to make it a priority.

Have a date with Chris once every month. I was inspired by Ashlee’s year of dates, and Chris and I have planned our own year of dates for 2015. It’s a bit of a challenge to do given how unpredictable his Amtrak schedule is, but we’re making it work.

Keep this Five Minute Journal daily– which incorporates gratitude. I heard about this on Jess Lively’s podcast, and I really love the concept, 5 min in the morning and 5 min in the evening and it has gratitude incorporated into it.

Try one new recipe every pay period – We grocery shop every two weeks and Chris and I haven’t decided to alternate picking a new recipe to try. Hopefully at the end of the year we will have 26 recipes to add to our arsenal…because there are many times this year we’ve gotten into a food rut. I am embarrassed how many times I had a baked sweet potato with blue cheese for dinner or lunch. Ha!

Launch my podcast and produce at least 25 episodes in 2015 – You may not have heard yet, but I am launching a podcast next week called the Postpartum Podcast. I am really excited about it and hope that you will tune in! Details coming soon.

Complete childbirth educator coursework and prep for early 2016 evaluated teaching series – When I started the ICEA program, I had two years to complete it. Which means by July 2016 I have to have it all done. Self paced is great but also really hard. My hope is to finish all of the coursework, birth observations and class shadowing throughout the year and plan on teaching my own evaluated series in early 2016, followed by the final test.

Try Running the Couch to 5K – I’ve never really been a runner…I tend to like Zumba, yoga and body pump, so I thought I would try to throw something new into the mix this year. Plus goals wouldn’t be complete without something physical. Right?

Then the more general ones…

  • Spend more time each week being creative, i.e. writing, crafting, sewing, scrapbooking/Project Life. I didn’t come up with a real measurable goal on this one, but I know that I am a happier person when I make time for these things.
  • Be more intentional with my social media and technology use. Doing a beta test for this mindful messaging app has me thinking more about my social media and just really phone use in general. It’s a precarious balance, using it for good and sharing and productivity versus using it out of boredom, in uncomfortable situations, and the inevitability of comparison. I LOVE this video on why we need to put our phones, tablets, computers down more and experience the world around us. I’m not sure what this will look like for me. I’m not going to go whole hog and delete and deactivate everything, but seriously culling the use. I slowly have been over the last few months, and I do notice a change in feeling when I do.

And there you have it. I plan to do some check-ins throughout the year, so keep me accountable, friends. Do you have any resolutions or goals for the New Year? Any similar ones?

Motherhood Mondays: Anna’s Story and Being Happy

I love a story that one of my close friends Anna tells about this “epiphany moment” she had in college while walking home one day. (forgive me Anna, I’m sure I won’t re-tell it as good as you do 🙂 ) But I’ve been thinking about it alot lately.

Anna was terribly upset about a test she had just taken at Berkeley – maybe it was even a midterm or a final? – and she thought she’d done really bad on it. Her mind was spiraling thinking “Omg, I did so bad, I’m going to fail and then I won’t get a good job and I won’t etc, etc”

I’ve definitely been there. I was a ridiculous type-A perfectionist most of school and my version of “failing” typically was a B. Chris would roll his eyes at me when I would come home having similar freak outs about tests and grades, because typically by the end of the semester I would end up with mostly A’s and a few B’s. Although the semester we were planning our wedding, I think I got a few C’s (gasp!) Which is so funny to lack back at now, because honestly NONE of it mattered!

Anyway, So Anna was walking home and she saw this cute little house and there was a porch swing, and wind chimes and flowers and a garden. And she had this moment of clarity that no matter what happened, it didn’t matter. She wanted that. The simple little house and just to be happy. And what does she have now? Exactly that. A cute little house with an awesome garden and wonderful family. And in the end that’s what really truly matters.

john-lennon-quote-happy

 

It’s a novel concept right?

To paraphrase one of the motherhood books I’ve read recently – our culture puts much more value on achievement rather than care. I still fall into that trap sometimes. I get frustrated that I’m not able to do more in one given day. I crank out blog posts during nap times. I sneak away and leave Clare with Chris to go work on my childbirth educator certification at the library. I’m working on a few other side projects, and Monica invited me to join her in taking this awesome happiness MOOC course through Berkeley that starts tomorrow. (More on that later!) Not to mention the other everyday stuff of keeping my house relatively clean, feeding myself, trying to fit in exercize. Oh yeah, and teaching 10 piano students a week. And of course trying to do that all perfectly.

And yet, I feel like it’s never enough.

I’m not teaching enough, doing enough, being enough, achieving enough. And it’s silly really because agonizing checking off a to do list that no one cares about but me is almost as silly as worrying about a B in a college class. What really matters is just being happy and the time I am able to spend nurturing relationships. And I am so grateful for that time. I value the time that I am able to mother and care and be. I am slowly trying to allow myself to disengage from the achievement self I used to so completely identify with. And sometimes I totally fail at it. I am stuck in my head and worried about all the things I “should” be doing or the achievement-based things I want to accomplish. Goals while being a mom of a young baby have become more like “loose guidelines that I eventually will do…maybe” It needs to be a reframing of what is enough, or at least enough for now. Enough for today. I have to remind myself that in the blink of an eye Clare will be in school and I sincerely doubt I’ll say “I wish I had done that load of laundry” or “launched that project sooner.” I recently saw this quote and I love it. I need to remember it.

 

NUR906BabiesDontKeep

 

 

IMG_3148

Around one month

photo-33

6 1/2 months

Too fast.

For the love of the story: some thoughts on TV.

TV-shutterstock_23301313

To some, television is this bad, evil thing that we watch way too much of.  That we are rotting our brains and as parents, rotting our children’s brains by spending so much time inside staring at a screen.  I remember my eccentric creative writing teacher in college giving some sort of rambling speech about how TV was the devil and how he lived up in the woods with no TV and no social media so he could actually write.  The same day I think he told us how Doritos were going to kill us and that to “remember: while us girls were wasting our time putting on our makeup, he was at home writing.  He was so out there, it still makes me chuckle. But it also makes me miss those classes, cause he really was a fantastic writing teacher. But all of that aside…I take a bit of a different view on TV.  I agree that too much TV can be absolutely detrimental, and I do have to remind myself to get outside and find that balance.  But, too I don’t think you need to lock yourself up in the woods away from that evil TV devil.

After reading this, you’ll probably think I watch too much…or at least more than the average person. (But gosh, if only you knew other members of my family!) But to tell you the truth, I really don’t.  I’ve never been one of those people who would just turn on the TV for background noise or just for whatever was on at the time.  I typically would rather listen to music or audiobooks. Chris used to do that sometimes, but now that we have gotten rid of satellite and rely on only netflix/hulu/amazon and an antenna, our TV watching is much more deliberate.

TV has always been a special thing for me. Growing up, it was one of the ways our family bonded.  It still is.  Inevitably when we’re together, our conversation will turn to the latest episodes of our favorite shows. It has always created closeness in my family and a sense of community among friends. I remember distinctly every week as a teenager, going into my parents room to watch Boston Public, and then Boston Legal.  The current event storylines that David Kelley throws into his shows always gave us something relevant to talk about. And as dad was acquiring all of the Twilight Zones on VHS, we would watch those together as a family when each new one would come in the mail. And though it might sound superficial, I think that love of the story of these shows definitely brought us together.  (Movies too.)

I remember how my good friend Emma and I would stay up super late on Sunday nights to watch Grey’s Anatomy when it was first on, even though we had to get up at an ungodly hour to be in Jazz Band the next morning at 6.  Grey’s has been around for 10 years now.  And for most of those, it’s been a constant to my Thursday nights and something I always look forward to.  In fact, my other good friend Elizabeth and I have a date to watch the season 10 premiere this week!

Chris and I watched the entire series of West Wing in the spring and early summer months – it was so, so good we are thinking of starting it over again – but I will always remember the first time we watched that show as a time when I was going through health problems, so many of our nights were spent in bed And that it was also when we decided to try to get pregnant and the early part of my morning sickness. That’s when that story was with us. And while we are still both shocked that we didn’t watch it when it actually aired several years ago, it was extra special for us to experience the show together for the first time.

We’re now slowly going through the series of X Files, which I never watched before, but for Chris, brings up memories of his watching these with his family while they were airing.

I think TV gets a bad rap.  Because of reality TV crap and badly written fluff. (no offense, I know there are some decent shows out there) Because you can get stuck watching mindless shows that don’t really add anything to your life…

But the storylines of quality shows can really rival that of a good novel.  Because when you think about it, though they are episodic, that’s what these shows are…a long running novel with characters that you grow to love and hate and relate to as they change and as you do.  So when a series comes to an end, as Dexter did last weekend, it’s sad to let that story go. Just like it’s sad when you finish a good book.

While Dexter’s finale didn’t make me cry, I have to say Six Feet Under, Medium, and Boston Legal all did.  And well, even though I’ve seen Gilmore Girls more times than I can count, the series finale ALWAYS still makes me cry.  Chris rolls his eyes at how many times I can watch Gilmore Girls over and over again.  But it’s really the same as how many times he’s read the Game of Thrones books, or how many times I’ve read Harry Potter.  It’s revisiting a story, a friend.

So, for everyone else out there who loves shows as much as my family does, in light of Fall TV’s start this week, here’s what I’m excited for:

Castle – the end of the season premiere actually made me say WTF out loud.

New Girl – started last week, but is as funny as ever.

Modern Family – Chris and I re-watched the last season SO many times this summer, we can’t wait for it’s return Wednesday! This show has the uncanny ability to be hilarious and heartwarming in every single episode.  Chris is Phil. Much of the time. And he will take to calling me Claire at times.

Grey’s Anatomy – As mentioned above, I’ve been with this one since season 1, episode 1 so I can’t wait for the new season.

Parenthood – Last season was a rough one, emotionally.  I’m hoping this one has some more upper moments, but I love, love this show and am excited to be with those characters again.

Scandal – During the height of my morning sickness, I literally watched all of season 1 and 2 in a two-week time frame. You can definitely tell this is the Grey’s writer, and I’m looking forward to it coming back in October!

 

New shows I’m planning to try out:

The Blacklist – I love James Spader from his Boston Legal days, so we’re definitely trying this one.

Mom – Allison Janney is funny, so I’m hoping this show will be too.

Hostages – Saw the previews for this like 10 times during the Emmys, looks worth a try.

The Crazy Ones – David Kelley’s newsest writing! Robin Williams and it looks hilarious!

Shows that don’t start till Spring:

Shameless

Girls

yes and yes.

 

What shows do you watch?  Do you bond over TV with family and friends?

 

Gifts Just Because

One of my best friends from high school is a new mom. A stressed out new mom trying to go to school and navigate a 6 month old. I talked to her last week and I could just hear it in her voice that she needed a pick me up. Her and I, we’ve been through the ringer in the course of our friendship.

A lot happens in life between ages 13 and 25!

But I am so thankful that throughout the years we’ve remained close. I love the quote in the “sunscreen” song graduation song where he says “Friends come and go, but with the precious few, you should hold on. Work hard to bring the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.”

Anyway, I decided to put together a stressed out mommy gift basket, and thanks to Pinterest, I think it came out really cute.

First, I was able to find a cookie jar recipe that actually fits the smaller mason jars. And of course we tasted the recipe to make sure that they were good. 🙂

Second, I attempted to make bubble bath. We’ll see how it came out once she uses it, but it smells really good!

photo-21

Eucalyptus Bubble Bath
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup clear plain hand soap
1/2 cup sunflower oil
25 drops Eucalyptus essential oil

 

Also included was:
A pen and journal
A vanilla candle
Nail polish and remover
and this cheesy poem:

 

I’ve heard you are stressed, so I’ve made you this gift

A little pick me up to give you a lift!

A candle and homemade bubble bath, a journal for your thoughts

Pretty nails, soft lips because you deserve YOU time – a lot!

And who could forget the best remedy for stress…

A jar full of cookies because, friend, you’re the best!

 

 

Here’s the final product!

photo-20

Why not make the stressed out mom in your life something fun to lift their spirits?  The best kind of gifts are the just because gifts!

 

 

 

What I’m ____ Right Now.

Well it’s been ages.  Sorry about that.  Life has been crazy, complicated and upside down.  But I can promise in the coming weeks and months you will start to see more frequent posts.  Promise

Also, new theme, yay.  I get bored with themes really easy…which is also why I shouldn’t probably pay someone to make one for me, because then I’d just want a new one.  Also see why I don’t buy fancy or name brand purses or sunglasses.  But I digress.

Here some things that I’m up to right now.

ReadingThe Night Circus By Erin Morgenstern.  Loving it. It has an air of mystery and is really unique.

Want to Read – I never know how I’m going to pick my next book because there are SO many good ones on my goodreads to read list.   The Curiousity By Stephen P Kiernan definitely has my interest – it’s said to be a cross between Michael Crichton and The Time Traveler’s Wife, the latter being one of my favorite books.

And I have to admit I’ll probably give The Cuckoo’s Calling written by JK Rowling under pseudonym a shot.  I really couldn’t get through Casual Vacancy…but the crime aspect of this one sounds more like it would be up my alley.

Watching – Well now that we sadly finished all of West Wing, and I just finished Gilmore Girls for the zillionith time…we are watching X-Files from the beginning (I never watched them when they were on) and Orange is the New Black on Netflix (Pretty darn funny…like a comedy female version of Shawshank Redemption…kinda)  Also, of course the last season of Dexter, and Season 2 of Newsroom.  Watch this clip from season one, episode one and Newsroom will have you hooked.

Eating – Too much candy and sweets.  I’ve been wanting to check out the new cheese restaurant, The Rind, downtown.  Also been wanting to make our favorite low calorie fettuccine alfredo and an apple pie.  Probably the fall anticipation kicking in. (Apple Hill!)

Listening to – Getting excited to see Gavin DeGraw/Train/The Script in a few weeks, but also these two have been favorites as of late:

“Dream” By Priscilla Ahn

“Chasing the Sun” By Sarah Bareilles (her new album is great)

 Looking Forward To – The Fall! I hate Sacramento Summers and I am ready for it to be in the 70s/80s in late September and October! Also, visiting Family and concerts in August.

Thankful for – Chris’s job.  Sometimes it has crappy hours…but there are so many wonderful things about it that really get us through the tough times.

And for Change.  I have a love-hate relationship with change and I always have.  But sometimes it carries you to where you need to be.   These last 8 months or so have been a doozy. But life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react and carry on.  And we are carrying on just great.

What about you? Reading, watching, eating, listening to anything cool these days?