Identity Crisis

I’m overthinking all of this.

A little over a month ago, I wrote a big long brain dump of a post about how I wanted to change things up and start writing honestly and for myself again. If I were to draw up a “vision board” for this blog, it would be full of cute outfits and beautiful photos and pithy stories and Pinterest-worthy projects. My dream blog is full of flowers and interesting outings. On my dream blog, there is a link to my very own book in the sidebar.

So what is stopping me from building that blog?

Well, me. Obviously.

  • I’m scared of outfit posts because I think I’ll look dumb and frumpy.
  • I’m not posting beautiful photos because I don’t take the time to take beautiful photos.
  • I’m not taking the time to sit down and write or get crafty and creative because, let me be honest, I work full time and I’ve got a baby at home. Mama is busy – and lately, when given the choice between an early bedtime or an hour of writing, I choose my (sweet, sweet) bed.
  • I’m not giving honest snapshots of my life because life is not always sunshine and roses, and I don’t want to come off as whiney or incapable.
  • I’m worried that if I provide a true look at what I’m really like, you guys won’t like me. I know. Total weaksauce. Knock that business off right now, self.

In short, I’m editorializing all of ME out of my blog – I need to get out of my own head.

This post from Brooke: Not on a Diet really resonated with me – and showed me that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I keep feeling like I need to give my blog a “category,” but that I don’t fit into one. Brooke’s perspective reminded me that there is always another option – if I can’t find my category in the menu of choices, then it’s time to create my own category!

The stars further aligned this weekend when my feedly served up Nancy Ray’s post on organizing her home life - it was a great reminder that none of this happens without effort. It takes hard work and deep thought to create the life you want, either at home or on your blog.

The final straw for my kick in the pants was this Dress Your Tech post from designlovefest. I loved the “Make Today Count” wallpaper (pictured below) – it was just the visual that I needed to remind myself that I am in control of all of my hours every day – and I could definitely be doing more to make those hours count.

DLF_DressYourTech

click image to download wallpaper from DesignLoveFest

I know that I respond well when I set goals and hold myself accountable (if I can just make the initial effort to set goals and hold myself to them) – so here’s what I want for this week (both on and off the blog):

  • Plan and publish an outfit post
  • Research and choose a camera to replace my Canon T1i
  • Get back to reading 30 minutes a day
  • Work on my Treehouse iOS track 30 minutes a day
  • Log “Activity Points” on Weight Watchers at least 3 days

I like that this blog is an always-evolving work in progress. I hope you don’t mind all these “process” posts as I figure out what I want from my own little corner of the internet.

The Color Run

Mom and I have done a few 5k races together in the past. so when she told me that she was planning to do The Color Run with some of her Virginia work friends, I knew I wanted in! The race was last weekend in Roanoke, VA – and here’s how it went for us:

Originally, the plan was to have Josh, Dad, and Henry make the trip to Roanoke with us and wait for us at the finish line. But the drive from my parents’ house to Roanoke is about an hour, and it didn’t seem fair to ask them to do all that riding just to wait around for us to finish and then turn around and ride back home. I wanted Henry to come with us, though, since I’m still breastfeeding – and surprisingly, I didn’t respond positively to the idea of pumping in the car. So on the Friday before the race, I did some googling for a plan that would allow me to bring Henry to the race without subjecting him and his baby lungs to the clouds of colored cornstarch that billow up all over the race.

I finally found this blog post from a mom who used a stroller with a rain cover to keep her little one happy and safe during the run. We stopped on the way out of town and picked up a cover similar to this one* - and it worked perfectly. I don’t think you can possibly expect to escape the Color Run without getting at least a little messy, but the cover kept Henry from the brunt of the powder and shielded him from the clouds of color, which were really my main concern.

Here we are before the start: see how handy that cover is?

before2

And here we are after: Henry has a rockin’ blue goatee, but other than that, he was pretty much unscathed.

After

As for the run itself: I had a blast and will probably do it again next year! But if you’re considering doing the run for the first time, there are some things you should probably know:

1. It’s crowded. I’m not sure how many waves they offered – I know we saw at least three groups start the race while we were standing in the registration line. I’m terrible when it comes to estimating the number of people in a crowd – but I want to say there were at least a gazillion color runners in attendance on Saturday. There was a steady crush of people in sight ahead of us and behind us at all points in the race – I could never see the end or the beginning of the crowd.

2. It’s slowYou’re not going to beat your personal best time at The Color Run. Honestly, you probably won’t even be able to run at The Color Run, unless you’re one of the very first people in the very first wave. Aside from the occasional jog to pass by a group of slower walkers in front of us, we didn’t run at all. We were able to keep a pretty good pace while walking, and it didn’t bother us in the slightest – but if you’re going to get frustrated by the tight quarters and inhibited pace, this probably isn’t the race for you.

3. If you want to get really messy, you should try and be up front. By the time our wave was passing the color stations, they were running out of powder. We still got colored, but we didn’t look nearly as cool as the racers from the earlier groups. Some of the people in our wave resorted to rolling around on the ground to try and soak up as much colored powder as the could.  As you can tell by our tutus and knee socks, we are way too dignified for that kind of tomfoolery.

4. The color lingers. My palms were bright blue for the rest of the day. My armpits are still slightly cerulean-tinged. And the rumored “Unicorn Boogers” you might have heard about from other Color Runners? Totally a thing.

Overall, we really enjoyed our Color Run experience. I can see it becoming a really fun family tradition.

 

Friday

Friday

Here we are again, soaking in the glory that is Friday. Here’s how my week is going:

I mentioned that I improved my commute by replacing talk radio with podcasts. Since I’m now all caught up on This American Life and Grantland Pop Culture, I downloaded the How Stuff Works app to listen to two of my favorite regular shows: Stuff You Should Know and Stuff You Missed In History Class. Just this week I have learned about Landslides, Black Boxes, Lethal Injection, Jane Austen, and the Disappearance of Judge Crater. If you’re looking for a new podcast to add to your rotation, I definitely recommend this app.

I finished Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald*. While I enjoyed the read, I felt the same way about this book as I did about The Paris Wife – which is that I wish it had been about a completely fictionalized couple instead of the actual Fitzgeralds. It seems like an almost impossible task to accurately recreate larger-than-life authors like Hemingway and Fitzgerald. They both came off as complete villains in their respective stories, almost to the point of caricature. I mean, I know neither of them were saints — but I didn’t finish either book feeling as though the author had captured the true heart of these complex characters. All of that said, I did enjoy the story. Zelda Fitzgerald was clearly a complicated and fascinating woman. I’ve been interested in her for years, even visiting the hospital grounds in Asheville where she died and the house in Montgomery where she lived for a while. I am definitely going to read her biography at some point.

As a card-carrying member of the Treat Yo Self club, I bought myself flowers this week. This was (and is always) a good call.

As you may have read, Henry is now eight months old. It seems hard to believe – but that disbelief might be a result of his recent decision to wage war against all things having to do with sleep and bedtime. He’s been sleeping through the night (or waking only once) since October, which absolutely spoiled me. Now that I’m waking up three or four times a night, I’m longing for the REM-filled nights of yesteryear. Please let this be a short phase. 

I ordered my new glasses! Reno chewed up my two “good pairs” of glasses last month (or the month before? I honestly couldn’t tell you), leaving me with one wearable-though-chewed pair and one pair that stopped fitting when I got pregnant. They tell you your feet may change sizes. But nobody tells you that your glasses will suddenly be too small. So hooray! My new specs have already shipped and should be here soon. I promise to keep these out of my hound dog’s slobbery jaws.

So that was my week – how was yours?

eight months

8mosOur Henry Bear is eight months old,
and how the time is flying.
His days are marked with brand new tricks
like crawling and fake-crying.

He is now ALWAYS on the move,
yes, even when he’s sleeping.
Sometimes he stands, then can’t sit down -
this often leads to weeping.

He offers kisses on the cheek;
they’re sloppy and endearing.
And I am struck with wonder
at this child that I am rearing.

He hates to have his nose cleaned,
but he still delights in bathing.
He takes great joy in splashing;
water is his favorite plaything.

He watches carefully the world,
observing and reacting.
His laughter is a prize
which he awards for silly-acting.

He has two teeth, he sucks his thumb,
he fights us every bedtime.
And every day, he lights my world;
this baby is my sunshine.

Quote of the Moment

oconnor

When I was in high school, my friends and I kept notebooks full of our favorite quotations and song lyrics – mostly to call upon when we needed to evoke just the right emotion with our vague AIM away messages.

I still love quotes  - I pin them, reblog them, and I still carry a “quotebook” for jotting down my favorites. I love reading the Daily Thought from Real Simple, I delight in the pithy sensibilities I see in my feed from Sweaty Wisdom, and I am constantly inspired by designs from Lara Casey and, yes, even Weight Watchers.

So this afternoon, I decided to create this decade’s version of a quotebook – an instagram account just for my favorite quotes and sayings. Follow along at @qotm (short for “Quote of the Moment”) if you’re into that kind of thing.

The most recent Quote of the Moment comes from none other than my hero and fellow lady with lupus, the smart, sassy, and hilarious Flannery O’Connor.

Any favorites from your own quotebook you’d like to see illustrated? Leave them in the comments!

I Won’t Work Out At Home (Lessons from this week)

Riding high on my new-leaf endorphins, I gave myself a fresh set of goals last week. Here’s how I did:

Stop falling asleep to Netflix -
Yes! I broke this nightly habit. I had a slight relapse last night when I nodded off during my binge-watch of Breaking Amish, but that was an accident, not a conscious choice to lull myself to sleep with the help of Netflix. I’m still counting this as a win.

Pack healthy, nutritious lunches all week – and eat them somewhere other than my desk -
Half yes! Last week was Spring Break at my school, but I opted to go in and work for the week. I didn’t pack my lunch on Monday, but I did build my own nutritious salad at Harris Teeter that day. The rest of the days I dutifully packed, except for Friday, when Josh brought me Moe’s as an end-of-week treat. So while I didn’t strictly keep to my rule, I did achieve what I was going for, which was to skip the drive through and eat something that was good for my body every day.

Read or write for at least 30 minutes every day-
Yes! I replaced my nightly Netflix with reading, and I loved it. I’m almost done with Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. It feels wonderful to be reading regularly again – my axe feels sharper already.

Exercise at least 3 days (gym or DVD at home)
NO! It seems that I need to face the fact that once I get home, between snuggling Henry and spending time with Josh and trying to pick up a little and relaxing before bed, I don’t have time to exercise. Or, to be more honest, I don’t choose to make the time for exercise. If I’m going to do it, I need to do it before I get home. This week, I’m keeping my goal of exercising 3 times, but I’m going to assign myself a location – the gym.

To be honest, I’m tired of this squishy new mom body that’s almost back to normal but not quite. And to be brutally honest, I’ve been whining about it without doing anything to help myself – a nasty habit that I’m all too happy to call out for other people. I want to look like someone who works out, but I don’t want to work out? Ridiculous. It’s time to call myself out. Put up or shut up, self. Get to the gym.

So how can I help myself achieve this goal?

1. I need a plan
I found Workoutlabs.com, which offers free printable workout plans. I like that you can download these as one-sheet rundowns; so many sites offer workout routines as click-through slideshows, which isn’t helpful at all to a person like me who needs clear, easy-to-reference instructions when I try something new.

2. I need a playlist
I’ve been building my DO IT TO IT Spotify playlist – any suggestions for songs to add?

3. I need a reward
Josh got me a gift card for a massage this Christmas, and I still haven’t used it. IF, and only IF I make it to the gym three times this week, I’m going to finally book my appointment for 50 minutes of therapeutic bliss.

So there it is – I’m motivated, I’m determined, and I have a plan. Time to get it done this week.

A Life That’s Good

Just a heads up – this is going to be less blog post and more brain dump.

My life is so good right now – I have Josh and Henry, we have our amazing family and our beautiful home and our sweet dogs. We have food and a roof and clothes. We laugh often and we sleep well. But lately I’ve struggled to shake the feeling that I’m not soaking up as much as I could be. This morning on my drive to work, I started thinking about time. How I’m spending my time now. And how I could be doing so much better.

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