New Year’s Resolutions? More Like Life Resolutions.

Now that we’re a month into 2017, those resolutions we made a few short weeks ago might have already fallen to the wayside. Or, you could have been like me and not made any resolutions at all, in which case you might still be trying to figure out what you want to do in 2017 and how you’re going to accomplish it.

We hear so much talk about #newyearnewme that is almost seems like a requirement that we all resolve to be skinnier or stronger or whatever. I have a hard time with that, because 1. The me that I am right now seems pretty okay, and 2. Shouldn’t we focus more on being a better human being and making meaningful changes in our lives than just the superficial?

Similarly, I don’t think the beginning of the year has cornered the market on when we’re allowed to set goals. Who says you can’t make resolutions at the end of January, or in May or in August? No one, that’s who.

Given that, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks really evaluating some *life* things and have made pledges to myself and to others. Some of these pledges are fitness related, others are more broadly applicable in my life. All are aimed at growing into a better person and maybe bettering the word around me, too.

1. Get more sleep.
This is a fitness goal if I’ve ever seen one. Having a history of troubled sleep or simply not getting enough has meant that I haven’t allowed my body the appropriate recovery time. In the last month and a half, Clay and I have prioritized early bedtimes in favor of getting the most sleep possible. Consequently, we’ve been feeling a lot better physically and been more successful in the gym.

2. Read more books.
This seems like a gimme, but it’s ones that I’m really excited about! I used to be voracious reader as a kid, but since graduating college, the time I’ve dedicated to reading has dwindled. However, now that getting to bed early is a reality, so is making time to read a little before falling asleep. My goal is to finish at least 30 books this year – I’m already two in (one of those being Game of Thrones. Go big or go home amirite?)
3. Balance my workouts.
Weightlifting has been front and center for more than a year, but I want to make sure I’m balancing that with cardio as well – I feel better physically when I make time for a run or a Kaza class or two during the week. I want to stick to this, especially while Clay travels for work and my gym partner is gone.

4. Get more involved in my community.
This is a goal that has grown out of the atmosphere of the past few weeks – I feel that to best do my small part to fix what is so broken, I first need to get to know my neighbors and our community. To better understand what challenges we all face and what our priorities are.

5. Adjust my five year plan.
Following the last goal, this one is broader. My new five year plan includes going back to school and getting my law degree, so that I can really make bigger moves in advocacy and political action. But, in order to make that happen, I need to make some other adjustments and allowances. I’m grateful to have a partner who supports and encourages these dreams – and who understands that they may take time to achieve, but they are still possible.

More than new year’s resolutions, these goals aren’t time-stamped, and they certainly don’t have an expiration date. My next steps are just to keep on trucking and make a little bit of progress every day.

How do you set goals for yourself? Do you buy into New Year’s resolutions?

Chick Chat: Let’s Catch Up!

Hey friends! 2016 has been a whirlwind and we’ve been busy, busy, busy! Seriously – how is it the end of September already? We wanted to take this opportunity to catch up with you guys – let you know what we’ve been up to and hopefully you’ll share a bit with us too.

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It’s been one big long year of change for me. As many of you know, my father passed away in February after a 10 month battle with leukemia, my office moved and job responsibilities shifted (again.) But earlier this month, our biggest change arrived- all 8 lbs. 1 oz. of him.

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On Sept. 7, my husband and I met the light of our lives, our son Joseph Luis. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of nursing, round the clock schedules and everything baby. We’re happily exhausted and feeling a bit more confident each day. I’m on maternity leave through the end of the year, and once cleared by the doctor, I’ll be easing my way back into a fitness regimen. Stay tuned as I explore this incredible new chapter in life.

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Life snapshot: Work, wedding planning, exercising, hosting football parties, choir, dogsitting all the time, playing with my cat, trying to eat healthy, sleeping… maybe. Basically, right now I feel like Leslie Knope, trying to do all the things at once and still have everyone like me at the end of the day. What my life requires at this moment is lists, boundaries, compartmentalization and coffee. Lots of coffee.

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Exercising and eating healthy (and sleep, I guess) help keep me feeling physically good and give me the energy to put in to all of my other endeavors. Wedding planning is going well, but I’m always looking for more ideas and ways to create a budget friendly celebration. I’ve had to step back from a few commitments in the last month or so because I realized that they 1. were causing me too much undue stress, and 2. were making things I loved way less fun.

Don’t keep that kind of negativity in your life, friends. Just don’t.

Setting boundaries and protecting your heart and happiness is easy to say and hard to do, but super important and something I’m working on getting better at. That’s the underlying focus of all the things I’ve got going on in life at the moment!

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My life has been dominated by one big thing, looking for a new home. There have been some changes in our neighborhood recently, so we’re cashing out our equity and downsizing to something that gives us more freedom to live. We want to work to live, not live to work just to pay for our stuff that we don’t use anyway. Since I don’t have children, the options are wide open. We’re even talking about buying a 5th wheel and living out of that while we sock away a few years of income. Just about everything is on the table!

Maybe this will be my backyard!

Maybe this will be my backyard!

After reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-up“, I’m on a mission to purge. You should totally read it too because it was life-changing. After reading it, I have the tools I need to par down my possessions and my life so I can focus on family, fitness, writing, and finishing my novel. Only good things are ahead!

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While Jenn has been busy considering a new home, my family and I are on the other side of… things? The fence? The grass? Is there a saying here that I’m forgetting?

Anyway, we’ve been finding our new routine in our new home. The summer felt like one big pool party (possibly because we have a pool in our yard now). Now my kids are getting their new school routines down while I figure out the best days to do laundry, go food shopping, volunteer, etc. I’m a type A to the extreme so I thrive with plans, lists (fist bump, Kyle!), and other things that make me feel like I’m in charge of it all.

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Training for a couple of upcoming 10ks and the Philly half marathon is going well. I’m injury free, thank goodness, and planning on staying that way. Really focusing on spending time with my family and trying to enjoy the moments that are going so fast and ignore the fact that my 11 year old is going to be taller than me very soon. Looking forward to all that fall has offer: crisp air, snuggly attitudes, and cute Target decorations!

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 Now that grad school is over and done with, I have effectively learned how to say no to additional responsibilities and freed up all kinds of time to do whatever I like…said no Cam ever.  Yeah, all that time I freed up graduating has now been officially assigned to work and soccer.  I have a 3/4 combination class, a new principal, and new math AND reading curriculum to learn.  My days are literally packed with preparing for the next lessons.  A combo class has forced me to plan and organize EVERYTHING or else I have 30 kids staring at me while I lose my shit.

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I’ve also sold my sole (ha ha, get it?) to soccer.  My guy is coaching so I’m splitting my time between playing Ms. Coach and carting my daughter to her practices, which are on the same nights at a park on the complete opposite side of town.  All this mommy stuff is putting the brakes on my fitness goals, though I did just finish a 6 week transform class where I lost 6% of my body weight and lots of inches.  So that was nice.  With Hawaii Ragnar just around the corner, there’s no time to slack off.  Looks like I’ll be hitting the field with the kids!
So, what’s the haps with you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Mixing It Up

Ahhh… Summer. It’s been a bit of an exciting one so far. As Meridith mentioned last week, I got engaged a couple of weeks ago and have been kind of basking in that glow for a bit. Being the planner that I am, I have to fight my urge to jump in and start planning all the things right away, and remember to just enjoy being engaged. Which I’m not so good at, because I love list making and researching and all of that nonsense. Clay has had to reign me in a couple of times. Oops.

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Love this boy – so excited for what we have coming up!

But, there are definitely other things I need to focus on in the mean time, like making sure my bod is hotttt for my wedding day – it’s never too early to start that work. To do that, I’ve been trying to ramp it up and keep things fun and spicy in the gym.

I’ve been working on programming a healthy mix of HIIT, strength, and cardio into my training. This keeps me engaged and allows me to work on certain skills and endurance at the same time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get bored when my workouts are the same every other day. I need variety. And so, this is what happens:

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That middle workout? Smoked me the first time I did it. Heavy sled pushes into burpee box jumps are no joke. Leg days have left me jello-legged and sore. My favorite kind.

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Cardio has been alternating between spin, running, and Kazaxe. I used to spin all the time, but back in December I changed gyms, which meant leaving my favorite spin instructors. Womp womp. It’s been hard to get back at it and find new classes that I like as much. But, I’m giving the new place the benefit of the doubt and trying out a few instructors – hopefully I’ll find some that I like!

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Don’t want to wear your fancy jewelry at the gym? Get a Qalo ring!

I’ve been trying to find the motivation to run outside, but the forecast for this week has the highs in the 90s and humidity at swamp-like levels… running mostly sounds terrible. I’m not training for a race right now, so convincing myself to get out there is tough. But, I am in the gym every day, and I don’t feel bad about that.

Cheers to summer and sunshine and sweaty workouts and exciting life events. I’ve got a lot of reasons to smile!

Celebrating small successes

So much has been a battle in my home lately, including finding motivation to clean, cook and organize.

My hubby has been out of town for work quite a bit in the past few months. (China, Vegas, China, Taiwan, China. Did I mention China?) And while I miss him terribly, I typically use his business trips as my motivation to organize and purge.

I started off well as he left for his most recent two-week trip, and I donated three bags of collected items and some of his old suits to a local secondhand store.

Small success! Stuff left my home and would be used by others. Gently used clothes would be sold and old rags would be given to an animal shelter. Even donated toiletries will go to people in need. I love it when items can be re-purposed.

Then I did all the laundry I could find. You know, everything he didn’t pack to take overseas that was let in small piles all over the house.

Towels, check. Pantry-purging, check. Clutter-clearing, check.

Small successes continued! Huzzah!

Then I hit a snag.

As you may know, last month we took in a new kitten. We love her. She’s tubby but sweet and always under your feet.

And that kitten, she loves to make messes. She unravels the toilet paper nearly every day. She swipes socks and stockings. And everything on the coffee table is daily knocked to the floor – pens, paper, coasters, magazines, napkins, cups.

cat1Oh look, adorable new cat also stole my remote.

Our older cat was less than pleased with the new furbaby. She’s barricaded herself into our loft/attic area and screams (really) and hisses whenever new cat catches her eye.

loftcatUnhappy old cat, perched in the loft

Oh, and she started to poop up there. (And yes, there was a litter box in the next room. She used that too, but apparently leaving piles in the loft was far better.)

Most definitely, that was NOT a success. That was payback.

Let’s just say choice words were uttered and she was temporarily locked in another room far away from me as I scrubbed and cursed. And I repeatedly yelled at the cat as I uncovered each new landmine.

I tossed box after box over the balcony to the living room below. (They were later broken down and recycled.) Most were already empty and for some reason I’d held onto them. Some contained old clothes I couldn’t bring myself to part with 9 years ago, when I shoved them into the loft. Some were brought by my mother, who in our first year in the house brought boxes of childhood memories each time she visited.

Nearly everything went over the balcony or in the donation box; Even the misbehaving cat. (Don’t worry, I took her out.)

Saved were my old swimming awards, old newspaper clips and a box of my late grandfather’s sweaters. (I just couldn’t discard them even though he’s been gone nearly a decade.) Oh, and Meri, I found some fun stationary, a 22-year-old framed pic of us and my senior prom photo. I’ll share those gems another day.

There’s now an old area rug over the former minefield. And I added another litter box to the loft. (and huzzah! She’s using it!)

loftboxWhatever works!

Unfortunately, she also leaves me extra piles outside the box. I’m hoping that will soon stop.

My typical hubs-is-away-cleaning-effort was officially derailed with cat cleanup – then cat maintenance.

When Hubs came home from his trip on Friday, two days early, I hadn’t quite finished all my organizational efforts. But do I ever?

But with his return, old cat ventured into the second-floor spare bedroom for a cat nap. And last night, I woke in the middle of the night to find her snuggled next to me, purring.

Small successes.

I know this had nothing to do with fitness, but it had everything to do with not wanting to murder my cats. Thanks for bearing with me! How do you deal with a misbehaving pet? (heck, or child?) And how do you introduce two uncooperative animals? Will they ever get along?