A Month in Review: January 2018

A Month in Review: January 2018

“Bare branches of each tree / on this chilly January morn / look so cold so forlorn.  / Gray skies dip ever so low / left from yesterday’s dusting of snow.”  – Nelda Hartmann

This is a new-type of post for me.  If you’ve been here before (thank you), you might have read one of my round-ups at the end of the month.  I like doing round-ups, because it’s my chance to review my to-do list and catch up with you.  And I really enjoyed making those lists.  Which is why at the beginning of every month I would post a to-do list and share my expectations of what the month would bring.  Just a way to keep myself accountable–and to share in general.

But, this year I’ve decided to make some changes to my blog.  I’m trying to streamline my content to reflect the direction I want my blog to take in the next year.  And posting twice a month about my to-do lists is a little too much. That’s 24 “off-topic” posts per year.  And I just don’t think my blog can afford that.  haha.  So for the sake of clarity, simplification, and staying on track, I’m cutting back my rants to one per month.

Hence, my new series.  Months in Review.  No particular theme, just a central purpose: summarizing my month and affording me the opportunity to announce/discuss things that might otherwise be considered “off-topic” for my corner of the internet.  Essentially, this is my series for automatic writing.  <-favorite style hehe

Without further adieu:  January 2018

This month was FULL of surprises.  There is no other way to put it.  Deadlines moved up significantly, training calendars changed…everything changed.  But for some reason, I was able to find peace in the chaos.  Thank you, to Jesus. Because I wasn’t ready for my head to fall off this early in the year!

Book of the month: “The Little Book of Letting Go” by Hugh Prather and let me tell you–it’s amazing.  I’m not above saying that I love a good self-help book. ha!  And this one is excellent.  It has a spiritual aspect to it, which I like.  But it’s not a purely theological book.  It’s definitely a book that teaches your mind to become stronger.  I like books like that because I do believe that the mind is a muscle of sorts.  It needs to be exercised in order for change to happen.  Sometimes reading a book that convinces you to be happy, or tells you that you should let go, is motivating but insubstantial.  I like this book because it goes beyond advising happiness or freedom.  It shows you how to obtain them.

Worst Movie of the Month: Christmas Belle.  I don’t think I can rant enough about this one.  HAVE you watched it?  I rarely call things cringe-worthy.  I think its a fairly disrespectful term for anything artistic.  Also, it sounds a little bit pompous to call something cringe-worthy.  And it doesn’t really describe or explain the issues with something.  You guys, Christmas Belle is cringe-worthy.  That’s what I get for watching a Christmas movie in late January.  But really, I think even if I had watched this Christmas Day I still wouldn’t have gotten the feels.  It is that bad.  I feel like if the plot arch doesn’t happen until the last 12 minutes of the movie, it should be gutted all-together.  If the movie survived that long without anything substantial happening in the plot, why ruin it at the end with a moving storyline?  Only kind of kidding.

Music of the Month: I’m happy for Bruno Mars that his 24K won like, everything.  He totally deserved it–as did his boys.  They are great artists and true entertainers.  But my music of the month is Taylor Swift’s Reputation album.  I’m not trying to pull a Kanye, but Taylor’ Swift has one of the best albums of all time.

Blog notes:  My blog has spiked recently.  I’m not sure as to why this is, except that January is an extremely busy training month.  I’m really grateful for the attention and don’t plan to squander it.  If you came here looking for Army lifestyle information, thank you!  Please leave a comment below letting me know what you were specifically looking for.  I like writing in general, but I really enjoy writing for others.  So I’m here to write for you!  Let me know what I can do!

Announcements: I’ve been working on catching up with 2 ipsy unboxings that I never published.  I’m planning to release those next month, under the “appropriate” date that they ought to have.  So if you get a flurry of ipsy-related notifications, I promise it’s not a new obsession of mine.  It’s just my way of making up for my winter slacking.  Sorry about all that.

Goals to take into next month:  This month, I developed a plan to get more done.  So original for January…haha.  But really, it’s a plan to help foster creativity and to eliminate time-draining apps (Instagram, I’m looking at you).  Hopefully, my blog will come across as more productive in February, as a result of this plan.  We shall see. 🙂

That’s all I’ve got for now.  If you’ve made it this far–wow.  You’re really nice.  I hope this post didn’t scare you away and that you’ll come back soon for some of the posts I’ve been planning.  And by the way, how was your January 2018? Thanks for stopping by!

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Goodbye, 2017!

2017

 

There have only been two years in my life when EVERYTHING changed (which is saying a lot as an Army brat).  One of those years, I graduated from high school, moved away to college, began chipping away at my liberal arts degree, and most importantly–met the love of my life.  The other year, I graduated from college with my bachelor’s in English Literature, married the love of my life a month later, and entered life as I know it as a military wife.  But if I was going to pick a runner-up year, a year that gets honorable mention in terms of change, keeping busy, and experiencing life: it would be 2017.

Two months into February 2017, my husband returned from training and we were once again a reunited family.  (For any of my military readers out there–aren’t homecomings the best?)  We weren’t supposed to be moving until June, but came down on orders in March to move the first week of April.  That actually happened to us.  (For my military readers out there–doesn’t that happen a lot? lol)  So we had to pack up and leave our apartment, which was an extra big change because it was our very first home together.  We travelled 500 miles (with a toddler, a lab, and a morning sick mama) to move into a house we hadn’t even been in before.  Good news is, we loved the house!  Fun fact: we didn’t have a choice. haha

Life in our new house, at our new duty station was great.  In fact, I think we liked our location even better. (Although we will always look back fondly on our previous two years and would be more than happy to go back!)  As our family excitedly awaited the arrival of our second baby, we also lived the hours of Army training life.  Early mornings meant early bedtimes, and there was a lot of packing, meal prepping, and long days.  We made the best of it.  In fact, we made a goal to focus on our “quality” of life.  That had been our goal for 2017.  We knew that our free time would be limited, with pregnancy and Army training taking up so much space in our life. So we tried to squeeze every drop of value out of our weekends together that we could.  I can honestly say we really, truly did.

Once the Army training came to an end (congrats to my husband on his graduation!!), life finally slowed down for us.  And when I say it slowed down, I mean we had a lot of time off.  More than we have ever had before.  Some days it felt like we were back in college, hanging out on the weekend together–we had that much time off.  And we loved every single second of it!  We had spent so much of 2017 learning to make the most of our time together.  And so when our break finally came, we really knew how to spend it.  Our second baby came along, and our family went into full-hibernation mode, enjoying the peaceful calm that comes once the baby arrives.  We spent some real, long, happy days as a threesome.  And now, as a foursome!

Looking back at the year in review, I can say that it was the quality of life we shared that made 2017 so impactful.  The hustle and bustle that took up so much of the year ended up being completely worth it.  The pregnancy and Army training paid off.  Because not only did they have the best conclusions possible (especially the pregnancy conclusion! haha) but because it was during those times that we really learned how to make the most of our life.  Like I said earlier, we felt like we had to squeeze every bit of life out of the time we had together, because there wasn’t a lot of it.  This year, we learned to make the most of our weekends, and even just the most out of an evening together.  It was a daily practice at first, but then it became a habit.  And now, I really feel like it is our lifestyle.

As 2017 comes to a close, I feel grateful.  This year was filled to the brim with blessings.  I’m still surprised myself when I look over the year and realize how much has changed and happened, how many prayers have been answered, and how many memories have been made.  I know it’s cliche to say it was “the best Christmas ever,” but I can definitely say that the ending months of 2017 have been some of the best in my life.  And while it will be bittersweet to say goodbye to 2017, I’m glad that I can pack it up inside my heart and take it with me into the new year.  Or as we always say among military friends, it’s not really goodbye after all, but really just, see you later.

See you later, 2017!  You were too good to me.

 

 

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Round-Up: December 2017

Round-Up: December 2017

“Landscape sketched from memory, heavens and land entwine / Rapidly the scene is set, exquisitely divine. / Pine trees reaching tall and proud, like statues standing still. / There is no wind to speak of, more an icy winter chill.”  

— Suzanne Bates

I began this blog post as a summary of the month, like I usually do.  But three or four sentences in, my post was quickly spiraling into an assessment of my blog.  And then a fond look back on my year of blogging.  Then I found myself revisiting how blogging went for all of 2016.  Then I realized I was completely off-topic. And so now here we are.

I feel like that happened a lot this month.  I’d have something on my mind, and it would float away from me.  Words wouldn’t be spoken, or I would remember what I wanted to say two or three hours later.  I’d have intentions to do something, and somehow that thing would never materialize.  I would mentally create a list, and completely forget about those things for days.  It was kind of frustrating.  It was kind of fun.  It was pretty much December 2017 for me.

Maybe this year wore me out?  I don’t think so.  But I do think that my mommy-brain has gone into hyper-drive.  My focus is kind of all over the place, but my heart feels really settled.  It feels completely focused.  Mostly on my life.  Especially on my family.  This month was one of my favorites.

This is how I basically spent my month:

  1. Celebrate my baby’s baptism.  She was baptized at the beginning of this month.  SO happy for her. <3
  2. Make 4 new recipes.  Rigatoni, crab pot pie, and Instant Pot salmon and tilapia.  (<-Christmas gift!!!)
  3. Continue to toddler-proof the house.  TOUGHER than it sounds…she keeps finding things I need to hide.
  4. Play some Christmas music on the piano.  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” was my favorite.
  5. Read “A Christmas Carol” by Dickens.   I looked at a Dickens-inspired statue.  Does that count?
  6. Bake Christmas cookies.  We baked and decorated sugar cookies…one of my favorite Christmas traditions!
  7. Finish my two knitting projects.  I finished the stocking but not the turban.  Still working on it…
  8. Mail out Christmas cards! The photo was a Christmas miracle, but we got them all sent out. haha
  9. Wrap presents.  I might have had to wrap a few on Christmas Eve.  But we did it!
  10. Spend my very favorite holiday with my very favorite people.  Some of my favorite 2017 memories!

But I can’t really cheer myself on for doing 9/10 of my to-do list items.  Like I mentioned earlier, I specifically gave myself the easiest, lightest to-do list in the history of to-do lists.  I don’t think I should have even called this a to-do list.  Although, maybe it’s good that I thought of it that way.  Because it’s so easy to think everything we have to do is all the unfun things, and we forget how truly necessary the fun ones really are.  At least I struggle with that.  Anyway, this month, I’m thrilled that I did almost my entire list, because they were fun things that I really wanted to do.  And January will come with more adulting than the last four months combined, so I was blest with the chance to take time off and smell the snow.  flowers.  the spanish moss.  the Christmas tree?  Moving on…

I don’t feel like I’m ready to say goodbye to 2017, or even just December 2017.  So I will save that for my end-of-the-year post.  But I guess for now I will just enjoy my last few days of December 2017, and will see you in my yearly round-up.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

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Round-Up: November 2017

Round-Up: November 2017

 

I was going to say that this November 2017 was my most eventful month of the year.  But then I thought through the  rest of the year and realized a lot happened in 2017: Army OCS graduation in February, moving in April, finding out in July we are moving again, another graduation in August, my daughter turning two in September, and then of course this month.  Those were all big and fairly life-effecting events.  But November 2017 still takes the cake.  Because my baby arrived healthy and safe and perfect.  And that’s a life-changing event!  And my favorite kind of event.

But, in keeping with the tradition of these round-ups, let me review my to-do list to see how much I actually got done from it:

  1. Develop a fixed blogging schedule.  hahhahahahhaha.  This month doesn’t count for having one. Next month.
  2. Knit a Christmas stocking for my baby. I’m at least halfway there!
  3. Write a bit in my novel.  This one kinda makes me sad. I wish I had gotten some done.  Even just a bit!!
  4. Nest. I full-throttled nested!  And still am.
  5. Get back into pilates. It’s still modified as I have to heal my diastasis recti, but it’s going great.
  6. Take a ton of photos. I’m not even done.  But yes I took lots of photos.
  7. Celebrate Thanksgiving. Baby’s First Thanksgiving!
  8. Black Friday. With “black friday deals week” I didn’t actually have to shop on ACTUAL black friday.

Quite a few of those were softball assignments, but I did that on purpose.  I like having a breathable to-do list when I have something big and life-changing and emotionally impactful coming up– in my case, having a baby.  And just as a warning for next post, I’m pretty sure my December to-do list will be even MORE softball.  But I don’t mind ending my year quietly–it only makes for an even bigger January!

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you’ll come back soon.  Not just for my December to-do list, but for a few posts I have in the works– specifically a gift-giving guide for your soldier, as well as my November ipsy unboxing, to name a few.  Thanks as always for your support; I really enjoy writing for you, and I really hope you enjoy reading!

Bye-bye, November 2017!!  You were good to me.  In fact, you were my favorite month this year.

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Round-Up: October 2017

Round-Up: October 2017

“Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,  / The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run, / And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold, / With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold.”  – John Greenleaf Whittier 

It’s the end of October and I’m so happy it’s here!  This was one of my very favorite Octobers ever– so it’s not that I wanted to get it over with.  But it was just such a good month that I’m totally at peace with it ending.  Unlike some busy months, I didn’t feel like this one slipped away from me.  It was a long, fun, and memorable month and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Plus, I am just so excited for November, all the holidays, and shopping a ton, so saying goodbye to October isn’t too hard.  It’s an easy and happy chapter of the year to close.

Here’s my take on my October 2017 to-do list:

  1. House clean my blog  – Didn’t finish, but made progress!
  2. Finish my baby tutu – Done and it was SUCH a fun project.  Frivolous but super fun.
  3. Read “The Beautiful and the Damned” by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Still working on it; not quite done.
  4. Complete my baby diary – OMGEE I DID THIS.  After months of saying I’d catch up–I finally did!!
  5. Buy some clearance fall decor – I didn’t buy autumny “fall” decor, but we did get some fun halloween stuff.
  6. Sign up for a class or study phone photography tips – I might make a post reviewing the course I did!
  7. Spend Halloween with my family –  Needless to say this our best Halloween yet (after 3 missed Halloweens, our very first spent together married!

There is a lot we did this month that was not mentioned above–with my favorites being all the usual fall-welcoming suspects: chilly walks, coffee, decorating, fall shopping, seasonal cleaning, baby nesting, (<–that’s a usual part of fall for me), cooking soup, lighting candles, etc.  And while I’m not a fan of the cold, I can’t deny that it has added to the ambience of the month, and really helped welcome fall in.  Plus, who can say no to extra coffee and cozy sweaters?  Not me!

This month’s round-up had a small to-do list, but I feel really accomplished!  Even though some of these were easy, nothing feels THAT easy when you’re in the final weeks of pregnancy!  I’m glad I made a shorter list because it kept me from feeling overwhelmed, or like I was setting myself up for failure.  I think the last time I got everything done on my to-do list was in January of this year, although my April list was also almost completed too!  I might stick with this “lighter” listing over the next few months, as things pick up speed with the holidays and a new baby.  Or maybe I’ll totally overcommit next post when I come up with my November to-do list.  🙂  Come back soon to see!

Thanks for stopping by!  And happy Halloween!

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