Five Things: The First Friday

Over on my last blog, I tried to diligently write a brief Friday post that highlighted five things for the week. While I definitely fizzled out towards the end, I think it was more due to a general fizzle on the blog front, but that the post format of five things worked well. Soooo... I thought I would give it a shot here as well. Let’s see how it goes. 

1. It’s the first Friday of the year! I love the “clean slate” feel that January always brings. And while I have yet to solidify my goals and resolutions for the year... I’m doing a lot of work behind the scenes to get them into place.  (And in comparison to recent years, I’m actually ahead of schedule. As sad as that is.) I’m hoping that by spending a lot of time reflecting on last year and truly thinking about what would help me most this year... I succeed. More so than I have in the past at least. 

2. Along with the first Friday, we also had our first blizzard of the year. Actually, I don’t know if it was actually a blizzard considering all the talk was centered around the fact that a “bomb cyclone” was coming our way. Well, it did... and with it came over a foot of snow, strong winds, and COLD temps. School was cancelled for two days, leaving us with a four day weekend after a two and a half week winter break. I’m ready for a full work week, that’s for sure. (Too bad I won’t get it until February, I think?) 

3. My commit30 for the month of January is to work on purging the house of clutter and simplifying wherever I can. We hope to have the house listed by February (that is probably pushing it)... Which is the reason I chose this goal. I spend a minimum of ten minutes a day ruthlessly addressing *something*  in the house... laundry closet, cleaning supplies, bookshelf, etc. I’m pleased with the pile I’ve amassed for goodwill while slightly horrified by the amount of trash bags. 

4. While going through the purging process, I’m also trying to spend some time organizing. In some cases, it’s easy... such as the bookshelf. In other cases, it’s ridiculously overwhelming... such as the red cabinet we use as a “pantry.” Oddly enough, I am most looking forward to purging and organizing my sewing room. Considering I hoard fabric and save all but the smallest scraps... this is saying a LOT. I’ve bookmarked this post and this post for stash organization hints, and I have big goals set up to rid myself of some of the “fabric clutter”... Now I just need to find the courage to put this all into place. 

5. Perhaps the biggest item of note for the week is that I registered myself as a DBA (Doing Business As) in town. Once we (hopefully) move, I will go through the process of filing for an LLC. Since we will be crossing state lines, it makes no sense to do it now... but it’s on my list of goals for the year so that I can get some of the required documents in place prior. But I’m REALLY happy about the DBA step at least. This means we can open a new checking account where our personal checking and my business checking share a balance. Which means no more back fees for me! 

Happy Weekend Everyone... Stay Warm! 

Books Read in 2017

I'm taking this week to reflect upon 2017, celebrate what went right, and work on what I can do to improve what went wrong. One thing that went very right, while not actually meeting my intended goal, was reading. My goal was to form a book club of some sort. Either online or in person. I didn't. My goal was also to complete the "Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Challenge." I didn't. Not even close. But what I did do was read. A lot. And I am choosing to embrace that fact and celebrate it. Yes, there is a part of me who wishes I hit the nice round number of 50... the other part of me is jumping up and down at having read 42 books. FORTY TWO! (In fairness to myself... I didn't even realize how close I was to 40 until the end of November. A timeframe where my reading time is slashed to next to nothing!) 

As I look forward to what I want to accomplish in 2018, I find myself yearning to include a reading goal on the list. I've decided to put no parameters on it, other than just to read. Yes, it would be wonderful to make a dent in my To-Be-Read pile. Yes, it would amazing to read 1 non-fiction book for every fiction. Yes, it would be incredible to hit a big number, try new genres, or read a more diverse author demographic. But I'm not going to do that. In no way do I want to make reading less fun, less enjoyable. Instead... I will just keep a list of 2018 reads and in about a year, celebrate that accomplishment. Just as I am celebrating this one. 

Since I am one for documentation and record keeping (because my brain can be negligent of remembering details such as these)... I've listed my 2017 reads below... and I look forward to seeing my list of 2018 reads come together! 

I'm always open for suggestions, so please share a recent favorite of yours!


2017 in 365 Seconds

In years past, I’ve completed Project 365s. One photo (at least) a day, for 365 days. After several enjoyable years with this project... I found myself struggling towards the end of 2016. I was having difficulty capturing an image every day, and I was most certainly not enjoying the project. It was feeling like a chore rather than a chance to be creative. By November 2016, I knew I wouldn’t be doing another photography p365... I just couldn’t face another year of what was feeling like “dictated creative exercising.” Just then, a friend introduced me to the one second everyday app. Just as the name implies... it’s about capturing one second of your day, daily. I was both intrigued (a new format to play with!) and hesitant (haven’t I *just* said I didn’t like the p365 I was currently doing?!) But, since there was no dictated time parameters, I decided to do it for a month and see what I thought. In short, I loved it. It was fun to keep my eyes open for that one second, that one moment, every day. Twelve months later ... I have a 6 minute video outlining our year! 

Some days, I definitely struggled and more than a few times I was just about to drift off to sleep when I realized that I hadn’t captured my moment in time. But overall, I love how the app helped capture the year for me. I do plan to do this again in some form in 2018... but not sure I’m up for another full year. Maybe a few seconds a week? Maybe project based? Maybe theme based? I guess we shall see! 

In the meantime...  

2017 in six minutes:  

Reflecting

In the past month, I find myself reflecting on 2017. Overall, I find that there really wasn’t much that was memorable... there were definitely some highs and lows... but overall I felt like it sped by at sonic speed. And in that whirl of a year, I don’t feel like I made much—if any—forward progress.  

Imagine my surprise when I looked back on my goals set in early January and found that I actually did meet some of them! So as I plot out my goals for 2018, I’m taking a look back on the success and failures of this year.  


This past year, I tried to keep my goals tangible and trackable. I think that where I am in all aspects of life, that made the most sense. I did that for the first time in 2016 and it was pretty clear how I was doing on my goals. Or not doing, as the case was. When I set more aspirational "improvements" for myself... it's a little harder to honestly reflect back on how I am doing, or did. I need black and white goals that I either hit or don't. None of this "be more patient" or "become one with my environment"... at least not this year. Give me the checklist, please!

1. Start a "book club."

I still need to figure out the specifics on this.  I don't think that I am looking to do a "traditional" book club since I feel like these have let me down in the past. I love talking books with people though.... so maybe it's as simple as an online group, or an in-real-life group that meets once a month to talk about what they are reading. I just know that this past year, I read so much and really enjoyed what I was reading. And several of the best reads were recommendations from others. Alternatively, I may just find a few friends who want to complete "Modern Mrs. Darcy's 2017 Reading Challenge" with me. Any takers?!

Reflection: I did not, in any way, do this. I did read a ton, but I didn’t manage to structure it into a reading group or book club of any sort. And, I also didnt meet my goal of 48 books for the year. (Granted, that was a stretch...) But while I didn’t meet this goal, I am happy with amount that I read. Not sure I will have a reading related goal in the new year. 

2. Make meals enjoyable. For all of us.

This past year, I have really struggled with putting six or seven meals a week on the table that we all like, and can all eat. Between food intolerances, food dislikes, and just the overwhelming task of menu planning... grocery shopping... and meal prep... it's been hard. We all like lots of diversity in our menu, which hasn't really happened as of late. I think I got off track with our crazy spring, winged it over the summer, and completely failed this fall. I've been so disheartened the past few weeks that meals are just a task to complete and that is not what I want mealtime to be. I'm looking into one of those "box services" where they ship the meal to you, freezer meal workshops (which I have had success with in the past), and some new cookbooks. Meal times will be merry and enjoyable once more.

Reflection: I did this!!! Between the purchase of an instant pot in January (and my obsessive use of it) and signing up for “Home Chef”  in the spring... I consider this goal a success! Yes, we had some weeks that required way more take-out and last minute “cobbled together meals” ... but I think that I easily get five to six meals on the table weekly without fail and as we head towards a new year, there is rarely a last-minute-dinner-dash. (The one to two I don’t get on either fall under my husband’s nights or going out.) Thinking about adding a goal to actually create that monthly meal plan I keep talking about...

3. Bust. That. Stash.

No, really. I have some serious fabric hoarding tendencies. And everyone, rightfully so, has been calling me out on it. I mean, even my mom claimed I had "SABLE" [Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectnacy]... so it must be bad! I need to finish up the many, many WIPs I have in that sewing area, and either tackle some stashbusting projects or de-stash the fabric. I'm also going to clean up the sewing room while I go. Cause, it's embarrassing right now.

Reflection: HAHAHAHA!!! Nope. Not even close! While I *did* finish several projects... I started way more than I finished. And I bought WAY.TOO.MUCH. for “someday” use. And lots of fabric with planned projects... but I haven’t started any of those. Sigh. I plan to aggressively and accountably attack this next year. 

4. Be creative every day.

OK, some might say I already am. And I have achieved this in years past... especially with the P365. This was not the case this past year. At best, the P365 was a "to do item" and at worst, it was a chore I avoided. It's done, but not pretty. That said, I realized over the past few months of self-reflection that I am much, much happier and patient when I have taken some time for creativity during the day. Personal, fulfilling creativity... not work. Sometimes this is via photography, sometimes through doodling, sometimes through crafting... And sometimes it's just taking 20 minutes to watch a class online while sketching some ideas for a bucket list item. I'd love to find a way this year to incoporate creative time for myself every day. Almost to the point where it becomes a practice. And NOT let it be the first thing to drop when schedules get crazy and life gets overwhelming. I won't be doing another P365 this year, as I hope that by taking the pressure off, the work flows more freely. But I think that I have enough creative interests already that I don't need that structure to complete this goal.

Reflection: YUP! Did this! Some days it’s in the form of sewing, some day it’s simply doodling on the iPad while putting the boys to bed, some days it’s teaching art at the boys’ school, and sometimes it’s just reading a tutorial or watching a creative video or reading a quilting or art related magazine. (And Pinterest. I count pinning projects as creative too...) And EVERY DAY... I recorded one second videos. I’m a few captures away from a short film of our year. This is very exciting. Hoping to carry this goal into the new year. 

5. Less Clutter, More Calm. 

Yeah... pretty sure this one is on my list every year in one form or another. Maybe this will be the year I accomplish it. There is STUFF everywhere in our house right now. And it's completely disorganized in several places. So many times I have told myself "I'll deal with it when I have half an hour" or "I'll do it when the boys are in school full-time" ... but guess what?! It's not happening. AT ALL. So I'm putting it on the list. Again. The clutter and the stuff and the things are driving me CRAZY. Time to remind this stuff who is boss.

Reflection: Huh. Not really. BUT we did make some huge headway in purging stuff throughout the year, and plan to do more in the early months of 2018 in preparation for a move (hopefully). It’s amazing how brutal you can become with your belongings when it’s time to lug them to a new state... 

I also had hopes for practicing self-care, noticing the small moments that make up my day and bring joy to my life, and becoming a patient, engaged human... But these goals are more aspirational and where I tend to fail. So I decided that five goals is a pretty good number. That said, I did do better with self-care and noticing the small moments! 


Overall, I cannot say the year was a smashing success in terms of goals (or life, actually) but I think I made some significant progress. I also think there was a lot of clarification on where I need to work harder, and where I can try to coast. Lastly, I very much as if this was a “stage setting year” for me... and I’m poised to hit it out the park next year. Or, at least I hope so! 

Stay tuned... 

Picking Up...

Where I left off. It’s been a while since I have been in this space. Three months, essentially. But while I’ve been silent on all my blogs, and my social media accounts... I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching and behind the scenes work to head into the new year strong.  

I’ll be closing the family blog down. It’s run strong for 11-ish years... but it’s not, and has not been, my happy place. One day, I will share more of the “why” behind that ... but for now... it’s not where I want to be. I’ve also decided to shut down the business site completely. I feel that it’s time for my second career... and graphic design and photography are not currently where my passions lie. I’m still figuring out how to transition my current clients to others or hold on to them... but my pursuits will be along another line completely. I’ll also be leaving twitter (Not that I ever really engaged), trimming who I follow on other platforms to subjects I’m truly interested in (and friends, natch), and... I’m even considering deleting my facebook account.  (Crazy, I know.) 

Now that I’ve covered where I won’t be. How about where I have been?! I’m still on instagram as @modernlittleme ... I’m also on micro.blog under the same name. While I can’t say I’m there daily, I do try to be. I’ll also be here more often, and hopefully with more depth. I really do want to be more *present* in all areas of my life. Including those in the inter webs. 

This site started as a personal project (that, uh, failed)... but it’s the identity that really reflects who I want to become, who I am, at this moment in time. I’ll be working on re-vamping some of the messaging, so expect a few hiccups here and there... but I promise, it will be the place to hear about me, my adventures, and my family. Hopefully. 

Until then, be happy friends.  

Overwhelmed? Maybe.

I feel as though I struggle with getting everything done these days. And not even "everything." Just the bare basics of keeping my family clothed and fed proves challenging to me some days. This school year has been some what of a rocky start. I was hoping (assuming) it would be easier than it actually has. In some ways, it has been. In other ways, it's harder. And really... I'm not sure why. I feel more stressed and anxious than I have in years past. I'm not working 30 hours a week outside of the home. (I am still working, just at home.) My boys are better at self-entertaining. I have food delivered for a good chunk of our meals. Yet, I get less done. 

Is it because I am home more and therefore less efficient? 

Is it because the commute to school and back is almost two hours, twice a day?  

Is it because I know there is still friction at school with the boys and their peers?  

Is it because I have anxiety?  

Is it because I just want to craft all day and not do chores? (Note: I do not actually get to craft all day. Or even ever.)  

 

I don't know. What I do know is that my bathrooms desperately need to be cleaned, my laundry is piled to the ceiling in some places, and I'm not sure the last time that I vacuumed. I have nothing of any sustenance in the fridge for dinner, and I have a full afternoon of art class, homework supervision, and taekwondo lessons (for the little one, not me). Which means I won't tackle any of that before bedtime. Which means I won't tackle it at all. 

Sigh. 

I think I need a happy homemaker in my life. Cause it sure ain't me. Is that a "thing"? Can I hire someone to do that?! If not... why?!