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Hey, friends. Soooooooo… I have a confession to make. Last week, when I said we’d spent the weekend hanging out with old friends? What I failed to mention was that we did said hanging out in DC, on our way to the Outer Banks for a family vacation. And that the reading I was hoping to get in would be done with my toes buried in the sand!  (As longtime readers know, I don’t like to broadcast when we are out of town, either together or individually. I have been posting pictures on my private Instagram account, but that’s it.)

Anyway, we are easing back into reality now. It was a sun-drenched week on the beach and I definitely still wish I was staring at the crashing North Carolina surf. And while I read less on this trip than I did on similar trips before kiddos, I did get a lot of reading done – a surprising amount, really, considering the two tinies. I finished up DOOMSDAY BOOK, BROWN GIRL DREAMING, and THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP, and started CROSSING TO SAFETY and my pick for Roofbeam Reader’s Austen in August event: LOVE AND FREINDSHIP (Jane’s juvenilia). Further progress on both is expected this week.

And  with that, I’m off to sort through pictures and imagine myself back on the beach. Vacation recap posts begin on Friday!

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Going to pick-your-own farms is one of my favorite family activities.  We always make a point of going apple-picking in the fall and visiting a pumpkin patch just before Halloween, but this year I also wanted to do some berry picking.  I used to pick strawberries and blueberries with my grandparents, and I think it’s such a fun family summer activity.  This year, Peanut was big enough that I felt she would actually enjoy it, and a new summer tradition is born.

We went to Awald Farms in North Collins, NY.  I did some research before choosing a place and was impressed with Awald’s website and with their selection of U-pick options.  We’d missed strawberry season, sadly, but Awald currently has available blueberries and multiple varieties of raspberries.  They also have a farm store and a nursery.  I didn’t get any pictures of the nursery, but it was huge and the plants looked beautiful – I think I may be coming here to stock my garden next spring.  But that’s beside the point.  Basically, I was really, really impressed with Awald’s operation and we will definitely be back.

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My fellow pickers: Peanut, Nana, and Nugget.  (Well, Nugget didn’t pick – he was actually kind of a liability, albeit an adorable one.)  No Daddy, sadly – he was out of town attending to some family business.  But we had such a great time that I think we’ll try to go again before the end of the season, so that he can get in on the fun too.

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We brought Peanut’s little sand pail and they weighed it so that she could have the fun of using her own bucket – so nice and accommodating!  Peanut was all business.

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She didn’t quite understand that the green berries weren’t ripe yet, and we spent a lot of time trying to dissuade her from chowing down on unripe fruit.  But she had a ball picking and she actually did quite well with putting most of the berries in her bucket and not in her mouth.

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Of course, a good number of berries found their way into her tummy before the morning was over.  Prior to entering the fields, I asked one of the employees what the policy is on eating directly from the bush.  I explained that while I would do my best to control my child, she is a toddler, and I expected that she would be trying to eat berries from the bushes, and I asked if they had a way for me to pay for what she ate from the bush.  The friendly employees assured me that it was okay if Peanut ate some blueberries, that everyone did it, and that they didn’t expect me to prevent a two-year-old from eating in the field.  Big sigh of relief.

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Nugget didn’t love blueberry picking.  He insisted on being walked up and down the rows until he fell asleep (eventually).  Nana took one for the team and did most of the Nugget-wrangling so I could enjoy picking with Peanut.  Wasn’t that nice of her?

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After we had filled our buckets, we sat down in the grass and enjoyed a few more bites of blueberries before it was time to head home for lunch and nap.

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Some of us were more exhausted than others…

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But a good time was had by all.

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What a fun way to spend a morning!  I kept on shouting things like “This is so much fun!” and “Oh, I LOVE this!”  I knew I was a broken record, but I just couldn’t help myself – it was such a wonderful morning.  I think blueberry picking is going to become one of our must-do summer activities (and hopefully strawberry picking, too, and raspberry picking when the kids are a bit older – they’re still too small to negotiate the brambles).  I mean, seriously, is there a better way to spend a sun-drenched summer morning than surrounded by sweet, beautiful berries?

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No, there isn’t.

Do you enjoy berry picking, too?  Did you make it out for strawberry season, or did you miss it like we did?

Taste of Buffalo 2015

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Taste of Buffalo!  It’s one of the premier events of the summer around here (we went last year and had a blast) when local restaurants, food trucks and wineries congregate in downtown Buffalo and we get to sample all kinds of delicious treats.  Last year, we went in with a plan and did three loops – one to check out the scene, one for savory sampling, and one for sweet.  This year, with a two-year-old and a baby, we knew that was not going to be possible.  So our goal was to make one loop through, tasting savory on our way up Delaware and sweet on our way back down, and be home in time for afternoon nap.  It was a challenge, but we were up to it.

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Our first stop, OF COURSE, was Lloyd’s Taco Truck.  I love Lloyd’s!  The tacos are magnificent, and it’s up there with my favorite DC food trucks as far as quality of food goes.  (I’m not sure there’s a food truck in the world that could replace the DC lobster truck in my heart, but Lloyd’s comes close.)

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Hubby and I split a chicken taco, and I got my own half order of krazy korn.  Dudes.  This corn.  Is.  Amazing.  Charred corn on the cob seasoned with chile sauce and liberally sprinkled with cheese, doused with crema, and finished with cilantro.  Does it get better?  I made it clear that the krazy korn was MINE and if anyone else wanted some they would have to GET THEIR OWN.

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Look who else was enjoying the Lloyd’s bounty!  Nana was in town for the weekend to visit with the tinies and provide extra hands while hubby was away (he left town for a few days to attend to some family business; he’s back now).  She tried a beef taco and said it was delicious.

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From Lloyd’s we wandered around the circle, tasting as we went.  We tried the Buffalo mac ‘n cheese from 716 Food and Sport (a newcomer to the scene, and we have to check out the restaurant!) – verdict: good but spicy.  And we stopped by Ebenezer Ale House for Bavarian pretzels.  Peanut was all over that.

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I did my homework before the Taste, and I knew I wanted to hit Osteria 166 as well.  This is one of my favorite downtown restaurants, and I especially love their salads.  (I don’t know what they put in them that’s so good, but they’re seriously addictive.  And if you think I’m exaggerating because salads can’t possibly be addictive, well, you haven’t had these.)

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They also were serving meatballs and risotto sticks, but obviously I went for the arugula salad.  It was incredible.  So fresh and flavorful.  I fed hubby bites of arugula and he enjoyed it too, although I don’t think he loved it quite as much as I did.  I was practically weeping, it was so delicious.

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And my other must-stop: Merge.  Another favorite downtown restaurant, Merge specializes mainly in really, really good vegetarian food.  (There’s a little bit of poultry and seafood on their menu, but it’s mostly vegetarian or vegan.  We love it.)  I was actually still pretty hungry by the time we got to Merge, because Nana and hubby were tasting a lot of beef and pork dishes, which I don’t eat.  So I took advantage of the opportunity to fill my tummy a bit and ordered two dishes:

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Seitan barbeque wings, which were good, and…

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Bean curd tostada, which was phenomenal.  I could have eaten three more.  On the way back we stopped for Charlap’s ice cream and Paula’s donuts – no pictures, but both were delish.  All in all, a successful Taste this year.  Some good vegetarian food, an Osteria 166 salad, and Lloyd’s – how can you go wrong?

Does your city have a local tasting event?  Is it a must-attend on your summer calendar, too?

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Just ducking in for a quick hello.  We’ve had a great weekend hanging out with some old friends, and I’m still coming down from the high.  More to come on this, but we’ve packed in plenty of summer fun that I can’t wait to share.

I’ve gotten a surprising amount of reading done for such a busy weekend.  I’m close to finishing up Doomsday Book, the first in the Oxford Time Travel series.  (Time travel books are one of my weaknesses, and this was a fun addition to my list.)  On Saturday I started reading Brown Girl Dreaming – soooooooo beautiful – and when that’s done I’ll be on to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, about which I’ve been curious for awhile.  I’m sure I’ll have plenty of thoughts about it, so look for those to come in a future post.  If I have time this week, I’m also hoping to dig into Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety – fingers crossed – and Book Scavengers, which looks like a blast.

Coming up on the blog this week I have recaps from two of our summer adventures.  We’ve been having so much fun this month and I can’t wait to share more about what we’ve been up to!

Hope y’all had a good weekend – what are you reading?

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As I mentioned last week, I’ve been on something of a Gretchen Rubin kick lately, reading three of her bestselling personal improvement books in the span of about two months.  While Better Than Before, her latest, wasn’t my favorite, I did take away a few points from the book, and I’m preserving my thoughts on them here so I can reference them again after I return the book to the library.

The Four Tendencies

Rubin posits that each of us falls into one of four “tendencies” when it comes to our nature and our ability to stick to commitments.  There are:

  • Upholders, who readily meet both internal and external commitments
  • Obligers, who meet external commitments but struggle with internal
  • Questioners, who generally meet internal commitments but will not meet external ones unless they are satisfied that the commitments are based on sound reason
  • Rebels, who don’t like committing to anyone or anything, including themselves

As hubby and I were laying in bed one evening, I showed him the section in which the four tendencies are first outlined, and I asked him which one he thought I was.  He immediately said that he thinks I’m an Upholder.  While I’d love to be an Upholder, I actually disagree with him.  I told him that I think I do have a few Upholding traits, but if I’m being realistic, I have to admit that I’m an Obliger.  It is far, far easier for me to meet an external expectation or commitment to someone else.  When I first picked up running, for example, I ran along the Potomac every other day at the absurd hour of 5:00 a.m. one summer.  I was completely faithful to this schedule, for one important reason – my friend Erin was my summer running buddy, and she was waiting for me.  I never once hit the snooze button, because leaving Erin standing on a street corner was unthinkable.  And the same held true during my first and second Whole30s, in which I had a different buddy – my sister-in-law, Emma.  Whenever I was tempted to cheat on the program, I thought of Emma.  I might cheat on myself, but I’d never cheat on her.  I wish I was an Upholder or a Questioner, but knowing that I’m an Obliger, I think I can put that new understanding to good use when it comes to my goals.

(Hubby also asked me what I think his tendency is.  I told him that I believe he’s a Questioner.  If he decides he’s going to do something, he follows through, but he likes to have full information and to understand why he’s making a particular commitment.  I think it’s much easier for him to commit to himself rather than to meet an expectation simply because it’s there – whereas I tend to blindly follow rules, which is a little bit of Upholder coming out, and to get very caught up in what other people need/want/expect from me, as a classic Obliger.)

Personality Dichotomies

Rubin also references several personality dichotomies, some of which will be familiar to readers of her other books (especially the overbuyer/underbuyer dichotomy and the abstainer/moderator dichotomy).  I liked reading through her list and trying to figure out where I fell.

  • Am I a lark or an owl?  I think I’m a lark, for the most part.  I’m not the earliest riser, but if left to my own devices I rarely sleep past 7:00 or 7:30.  (These days I’m never left to my own devices – that’s life with small children in the house!)
  • Am I a marathoner, a sprinter, or a procrastinator?  While I’d like to think I’m a marathoner, I think I’m a sprinter.  I tend to get my best work accomplished in intense bursts.  I’ve tried for years to become more methodical and marathoner-like in my work style, and what has worked for me is to set myself little private deadlines for different aspects of a project.  (Complete all research by Monday; have brief outlined by Tuesday; draft facts section by Wednesday, etc.)  I hope I’m a sprinter and not a procrastinator.
  • Am I an underbuyer or an overbuyer?  Rubin has explored this distinction at length in Happier at Home, and I knew immediately – I’m an overbuyer.  I will generally not wait until I’m out of paper towels before buying more, for instance.  I don’t go nuts with this, but I find it comforting to know that I’m stocked with the essentials and that if I run out of, say, shampoo, there’s another bottle right under the sink where it belongs.  I like the feeling of having a full pantry and of knowing that I have what I need – and that tendency has served me well in the past.  (For instance, when we were snowed in at home for a week last November, we never ran out of food and were still eating fresh, healthy meals after six days of being unable to open our doors.)  I’m perfectly comfortable with being an overbuyer.
  • Am I a simplicity lover or an abundance lover?  This is one I can’t decide upon.  I don’t like having a ton of clutter in my house, and lately, especially, I’ve been feeling a powerful urge to clear things out.  I get decision fatigue easily and I’m working on finding ways to minimize it.  All that points to simplicity lover (a bit at odds with my overbuyer tendency).  However, there are certain areas in my life where I do like abundance.  I like that my pantry is always fully stocked.  I like my tea cabinet stuffed to the brim.  While I don’t like having a ton of choice in my clothing, I do enjoy lots of accessories, and my scarf collection proves that.  And I love my overflowing bookshelves.  I guess I’m a simplicity lover in general, but a lover of abundance in certain defined areas.  I’m going to write more about this soon.
  • Am I a finisher or an opener?  Oh, a finisher.  Definitely a finisher.  I get the world’s biggest charge out of finishing something I’ve started – which is why I rarely have more than one knitting project or book on the go (and I find it very hard to abandon a book I’ve begun), and I found myself nodding in recognition when Rubin mentioned feeling great satisfaction at returning books to the library.
  • Am I a familiarity lover or a novelty lover?  I would have thought that I was a familiarity lover (after all, I love to re-read my old favorite books), but when I’m really considering the matter, I have to admit that I’m a novelty lover.  I get a big charge out of the new, and I enjoy exploring new places, trying new foods, and seeking out exciting new experiences.  Although I’m a homebody and I love my routines, and although I find comfort in returning to them at the end of the day, eventually most things get old and I’m itching to move on.
  • Am I promotion-focused or prevention focused?  My initial instinct was to say that I’m prevention-focused.  But then I read this sentence from Rubin: “A promotion-focused person recycles in order to make the environment cleaner; a prevention-focused person recycles in order to avoid getting a fine.”  When I undertake an action or start a habit, I’m usually thinking of the larger goals.  So I think I’m promotion-focused.
  • Do I like to take small steps or big steps?  Oh, small steps.  Definitely small steps.  I get easily overwhelmed by a large looming task, and often the only way I can wrap my mind around a big goal is to break it down into small, manageable bites.  I’m not sure I’m even capable of taking big steps.  I have short legs (both literally and figuratively).

Abstaining v. Moderating

One personality dichotomy not listed above, but on which Rubin spends a great deal of time, is the dichotomy of abstaining v. moderating.  Abstainers find it much easier to tell themselves “No, I never do/have/drink/eat that.”  Moderators chafe under such rigid rules.  Rubin is an abstainer, a trait she whole-heartedly embraces.  She doesn’t drink.  She eats low-carb.  And it works for her.  Rubin suggests that while most people believe they are moderators, many are mistaken – there are more abstainers than we realize.

For a long time, I’ve believed I was an abstainer.  It’s why I was able to sustain long periods of vegetarianism, why I’ve made it through three Whole30s, why I have no problem abstaining from alcohol or sushi during pregnancy, etc.  But laying in bed the other night, I had an epiphany.  I’m not an abstainer.  I’m the opposite of Rubin’s suggestion.  I’m a moderator who thinks I’m an abstainer.  I do find it easy to abstain from things (like grains, etc.) for defined periods of time – hence my devotion to the Whole30.  But key to that ability is my knowledge that I can have the things I’m giving up, in moderation of course, when that period is over.  There are some things I find it harder to moderate than others – like sugar – but if I were to say that I never eat sugar, it would immediately become all I can think about.  Meanwhile, I have no trouble moderating my intake of other things – especially alcohol.  I’m not a big drinker and it’s very easy for me to nurse one glass of red wine all evening long, or to stop drinking after one or two beverages, even at a party.  While alcohol can be a very slippery slope for many people, it simply isn’t for me.  Knowing I can have a glass of wine, or a croissant, if I want one, means I’m much less likely to crave those things.  And if I do crave them, I indulge and then I move on.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this newfound realization.  Probably continue on as I have been.  But it’s good to know that I’m not an abstainer without self-control, as I’ve believed, but actually a pretty decent moderator.

The “One-Coin Loophole”

Rubin discusses the “loopholes” that we look for in order to derail our good habits or indulge in our bad habits.  One interesting loophole, she has dubbed the “one-coin loophole.”  Basically, this loophole allows us to tell ourselves that one small action or omission won’t make a difference – a slippery slope in which we ultimately abandon all of our good efforts.

There’s a reverse to this.  Reading this section, I thought about a reading and talk I attended some years ago, given by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (otherwise known as The Yarn Harlot).  I’m a big fan of Pearl-McPhee’s, and it was one of the highlights of my knitting career when I was included on her blog, with my first sock, after that reading.  Pearl-McPhee told a number of stories that stuck with me, and one that came to mind as I read this section of Better Than Before, was her update on how her initiative to get her readers to donate to Doctors Without Borders (an organization in which her brother was active) was going.  Pearl-McPhee’s brother was amazed at the response that her readers gave – donating in much higher proportions than the general population.  According to him, knitters are a group that is known, in charity parlance, as “super-responders.”  Why is this?  Pearl-McPhee’s theory is that knitters understand the value of one small action.  One stitch seems like a very tiny thing.  But when combined with another stitch, and another, and another, they add up to a sock… a scarf… a hat… or a sweater.  Without each stitch, the garment would be incomplete.  So no, one coin, or one stitch, or one vote for that matter, doesn’t seem like a big thing.  But they add up.  Good motivation to stick with good habits, and to jump back on the bandwagon if we slip up.

Reward and Motivation

Rubin is not a fan of rewards for sticking with good habits.  She worries that, by paying yourself to stick with a habit, you’re devaluing the habit itself – teaching yourself to “associate the activity with an imposition, a deprivation, or suffering.”  She probably makes a good point.  Anyway, rewards are not particularly motivating to me. Of course it makes no sense to say, when I lose twenty pounds, I’m going to reward myself with a big slice of chocolate cake.  But I’ve tried using rewards that are not associated with the habit I’m trying to form.  For instance, I’d never reward myself for finishing a Whole30 by granting myself chocolate cake.  But I did promise myself a new glassybaby (obsessed) when I finished my most recent Whole30.  I even chose the color I was going to order – hyacinth.  Then I finished the Whole30 and forgot to order the glassybaby.  Clearly, I did not do a Whole30 to get a candle holder.

Rubin has a list of motivations other than reward:

  • Challenge
  • Curiosity
  • Control
  • Fantasy
  • Cooperation
  • Competition
  • Recognition

I immediately recognized, on reading that list, that fantasy is my prime motivator.  I’m big into visualizing results.  When I need motivation to finish a run strong, I picture the finish line of my next race just ahead of me.  Or I indulge in daydreaming about how my life will look once I’ve reached a particular goal or changed a habit that I want to change.  I love to use my imagination to get a boost and help me stay on track.  I think I’m also motivated by curiosity, challenge, and recognition, but fantasy is definitely my prime motivator.

Treats

Treats are different from rewards.  While Rubin discourages using rewards as a major motivation tool for sticking with a habit, she is a big fan of indulging in treats – within reason, of course.  Her treats include logging books she wants to read, returning library books, and adding to her collection of favorite quotes.  I was inspired to make my own list of favorite (non-food,non-alcohol, non-shopping) treats:

  • Hiking with my family in a beautiful place
  • Looking at pictures or watching videos of my kids (I often reward myself with a video of Peanut doing something adorable after I’ve finished an arduous task at work)
  • Sipping a cup of one of my favorite teas (I save the really special ones for treats)
  • Scrolling through Instagram
  • Taking a bubble bath with my favorite products (I love doing this, and I almost never do)
  • Lighting my glassybaby votives and gazing at them for awhile
  • Reading a good book
  • Relaxing in front of the fireplace on a cold day
  • Running on a pristine trail

Seatbelt Habits

This is not a Rubin phrase, but something that popped into my head as I was reading through this book.  Seatbelt habits are what I call good habits that run completely on auto-pilot – and I give them this name because the prime example, for me, is buckling my seatbelt.  When I get into the car, I immediately buckle my seatbelt.  I do this every single time I get in the car. I never think about it.  It’s a habit that is so ingrained in my life that I do it unconsciously at this point.  It’s also a very, very good habit – seatbelts save lives; wearing one is one of the most important things we can do.  I have a few seatbelt habits, in addition to the namesake – brushing my teeth, drinking my morning tea, wearing a helmet every time I ride my bike, etc.  But there are other habits that I’d like to make into seatbelt habits – namely flossing (I really should be better about this, but like so many people, I hate it and find it hard to remember, although I do use mouthwash faithfully) and making my bed in the morning.  I’m going to think of some more habits that I want to become automatic and work on internalizing them.

Have you read Better Than Before?  What did you think?  Are you inspired to work on your habits after reading the book?

P.S. You may have noticed that I titled this post “Margin Notes.”  As I’ve been reading more non-fiction, I often want to make notes or highlight passages more often – but I get most of my non-fiction from the library, because I rarely re-read a non-fiction book.  So I’m thinking of doing a sporadic blog series in which I post the thoughts that would have been margin notes had I been scribbling in these books instead of returning them to the libe.  It won’t be a regular thing – just whenever I have something to say.  So there ya go.

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Well, I’m not as late as I was with my first quarter update, but somehow I almost forgot to write a summary of how my goals are coming along now that we’re halfway through the year!  The past few months have been all about navigating life with a tiny baby in the house, so certain things have been pretty tough – it’s hard to focus on goals when sleep is at such a premium.  I hope that we will turn a corner soon, and I think as Nugget gets older it will be easier for me to put energy into myself again.  But I’ve done a few things, so here we go, a 2015 goals update for the second quarter:

Big Goals

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Have a baby.  Check!  Nugget’s been here for a few months now and although we’re all so tired, we just love having him complete our family.

Focus on immediate family.  This hasn’t been a big focus in the past few months, but I need to make it one.  The first year of a new life is always stressful on Mom and Dad, and I’d be lying if I said that having “two under three” was a cakewalk.  It’s really important for us to connect as a foursome, so I’m brainstorming ways to keep our bond strong.

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Keep growing in our new region.  Now that the nice weather has (finally!) arrived, it’s been a lot easier to get out and enjoy the good things about Western New York.  We’ve been doing lots of hiking, wandering around East Aurora, attending fun summer events like Taste of Buffalo (post coming soon!) and just hanging out in our backyard and splashing in the pool.  It still doesn’t feel like “home” most of the time, but I’m trying.

Small Goals

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Plant a garden with Peanut.  Check!  Peanut and I planted our patio garden in May and – prepare to be astonished – some things are actually growing!  I’m in shock that my black thumb hasn’t killed everything.  I’ve already learned a ton about what works and what doesn’t, so I think next year’s garden will be even better.

Marathon or bust!  Look for a post on this in the next few weeks.  I think I’m going to postpone the marathon for a couple of years – not because I can’t do it, but because the first few weeks of training were really time-intensive, and it was only going to get more so.  Running three or four (or more!) hours on weekend mornings just isn’t a priority right now.  I’d rather spend that time soaking up my baby.  Plenty of time to train for marathons in a couple of years – I’d rather not miss this sweet baby time.  I do plan to run a couple of half marathons in the fall, though.

Start juicing.  Still haven’t done this.  But I really do want to make it a priority in the next few weeks.  Swear.

Use my dSLR more.  This hasn’t happened either.  The problem is that, a lot of the time when I’m out and about and would normally be using my “big camera,” I have Nugget strapped to my front in the Ergo, which gets in the way of the camera.  It’s a good thing my iPhone takes such nice crisp photos – and thank goodness for the fun of Instagram!

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Do at least one home project every month.  I don’t know if I’ve been following this one to the letter or not.  I’ve gotten a few home projects – mostly little ones – done this quarter, including painting the living room fireplace, updating the cabinet hardware in the family room (which made such a difference in terms of how modern the family room looks) and overseeing the fixing of Nugget’s closet door trim.  I don’t know if I’ve done one thing each month, but it’s averaging out to be at least that.

Get back into yoga, and try out barre classes.  Nope, and nope.  I’m still hoping to fit at least one of these types of classes into my schedule when I go back to work, but I don’t know if that will happen or not.  As I said above, I’m just not willing to sacrifice baby time – plenty of opportunity for that in the future.

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Get organized.  Haven’t done any big organizing projects this quarter, other than a quick craft closet project, but I haven’t gotten less organized, either – the pantry is still going strong.  So can I call this a win for the moment?

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Lose the baby weight.  Hmmmm.  Well, this is one of those things that is going to come in time, but if I’mm being totally honest I have to tell you I’m not really focused on a number right now.  I’m really trying to direct my attention to feeling strong overall.  At the moment that’s looking like incorporating strength training in with my walks and runs, (hopefully) adding back in yoga, and working on stress management.  I did do one Whole30 and saw some results, but I’m not planning another run for a few months.  My main priority is to continue breastfeeding until Nugget is at least one year old, so anything that interferes with that is shelved for now.  My secondary priority is to feel a bit more toned overall, and to live a sustainably healthy lifestyle.

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Hike in a different place every month.  Still going strong!  In addition to our spring Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve hike, we visited Times Beach Nature Preserve in April, Darien Lakes State Park in May, and Sprague Brook Park in June.  I have some really exciting hikes planned for the next quarter, so stay tuned!

Take a family vacation – or two!  Family trip to the Outer Banks is coming up soon, and I’m hoping to book us a weekend getaway for the fall – maybe to Ithaca, or maybe to Muskoka, Ontario.  We’ll see.

Date nights, for realsies.  Well, we did get out of the house for a wedding this month, and of course I was a ball of nerves leaving both kids.  Our babysitter was an dear family friend and she did an amazing job, and the kids didn’t kill her, so I suppose it was a success – even if we did dart out of the wedding reception before cake was served so I could get back to feed Nugget.  We have a big anniversary coming up in August (TEN years!) so I’m hoping for another date, or even two, to celebrate that.

Well, there it is – not a whole lot of progress on the goals front, but something is better than nothing, especially with a new baby in the house.  Looking forward to seeing where the next half of the year takes me.

How are your New Year’s resolutions going?

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You guys.  I have seriously never been so tired in my entire life.  We were out of town for a wedding and were actually away for most of last week, and it happened to coincide with the worst week of sleep ever.  In the past seven days, I’ve gotten five hours of (non-continuous) sleep a grand total of one time, and that was the good night.  Several nights, I’ve gotten ninety minutes.  Most of it has been due to a major sleep regression by Peanut – of the same variety (all night tantrums FTW!) that had me feverishly checking toddler sleep manuals out of the library a few months ago.  And then last night, Nugget had me up until 1:45 a.m., and then from 3:30 to 4:30, and then again at 5:30.  It’s been brutal – worse than the newborn days, because I don’t have any of that brand-new baby adrenaline to call upon, not to mention the fact that I haven’t had a full night of sleep in over four months.  Nerves are seriously frayed.

Anysnores, all this is to say that I got next to no reading done over the weekend.  I made a tiny bit of progress on The Fellowship, but it’s a really complex (interesting!) read, and I don’t have the brain power for it right now.  It’s due back at the library tomorrow and I still have 300 pages to go, so I think I’m going to return it and hop on the queue again – in hopes that when I get it back I’ll be better rested and more able to focus.  Paying the $0.25 to reserve it again will be a lot cheaper than incurring late fees.

I also started The Millionaire and the Bard over the weekend and got about 75 pages in.  (Seriously, why do I keep picking up these nonfiction books when I’m a sleep-deprived zombie?  At least it’s an easier read than The Fellowship.)  That one’s due back and non-returnable too, but I think I’m going to make a push to finish it during lap naps today and tomorrow (if I don’t zonk out myself, which is the more likely scenario) and hope that I can avoid an overdue charge.  And then it’ll be back to Doomsday Book (exciting fiction, but the print is tiny, which is why I keep avoiding it) and some young adult titles that I hope will hold my attention a little better until I get a decent night’s sleep again.  I’m particularly excited about Brown Girl Dreaming, so that one will probably be next.

So.  I’m going to go ahead and hit publish, although I have no idea if this post actually makes any sense.  It does to me, but when I reached for my tea mug this morning I mumbled the words “I wanna wear this one,” so there’s a good chance I actually wrote this whole thing in symbols instead of letters, and I’d have no idea.

How was your weekend?  What are you reading this week?

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