A Little Life Chat

The second half of June has historically been a time of reflection for me. It is the halfway point of the year and a good time to sort of do a little check in and evaluate. So that’s what we are doing today. It’s a bit early, but I felt like it was just…right. That and I don’t have my next Castle’s post fully ready to post ha-ha.

Untitled Design 53

So, 2020. What a year so far, right?! We’ve faced a global pandemic and a global uprising/protest. We’ve seen communities, families, strangers all come together to accomplish some incredible things. I’ve learned some things about myself, about those that I am close to, and how to get uncomfortable. 2020 is going to be a year for the history books and I think we are going to see some real changes moving forward in regard to both the pandemic and the uprising. We aren’t going to go back to “normal” because that wasn’t working, but I do think the changes that we are starting to see, and initiate will lead to a better world. I don’t want to call anything a “new normal” because “normal” in any sense just doesn’t work for us anymore. It makes it sound like we are just striving to the average way of life, instead of always striving to do better, be better, make better changes.

For us as a family 2020 has been full of changes so far as well. We’ve seen our oldest go into his first session of preschool, to then do virtual schooling, our youngest has grown quite the little personality, and both have narrowed down their current interests quite a bit (dinosaurs, cars, Lego’s, and trains are the top). We’ve gone through a couple of work separations, work changes, and some disappointing news that I’m not sharing just yet ( I KNOW how annoying that is, but it’ll come).

It’s also ONLY June. We still have a full half a year to go in 2020.

Something else I kind of wanted to do was do a little check in on some of my resolutions that I shared. I want to see where I stand with them, while understanding that a lot of things have drastically changed from when I wrote those in late December.

So, my New Year’s Resolutions post can be found HERE

My first goal was to spend the first half of the year focusing on my website and SEO. I’ve been doing quite a bit of learning in this area, but haven’t yet gotten on Pinterest. When quarantine hit I thought it was going to be a great chance to really focus and hone in as, well…we couldn’t do anything else. But, as I quickly learned it was the complete opposite of that and trying to make drastic changes was not in my wheelhouse. I plan to refocus this goal to the second half of the year and have a good Pinterest thing going in the next 3 months or so.

My second overarching goal applied to the second half of this year (in regards to writing and publishing), so I still have time on that one!

My next group of goals was in regards to content. I wanted to make sure that what I was posting was what I felt 100% about and not to feel pressured to constantly be posting. I think that I’ve actually been really good at this, partly because of Covid-19, but also just because I’ve tried to be very intentional about posting. I love sharing and writing, but I also want to continue to enjoy that. I took a bit of time in February off, there were a couple weeks in March (or maybe April) where I only posted once a week, and that all just felt good. It keeps me feeling fresh and allows me a breather to re invigorate myself and my content.

The next group was in regards to reading, family time with my boys, travel, and quality time. I was doing better about reading a wider variety of books, but I’ve recently (like many others) been reminded that I can continue to do better in this area. I am pledging to myself to not only read a wider variety of genre’s and stories, but read a wider variety of authors. As for the family time with the boys, well we’ve been really forced into that, haven’t we? I will say in so many ways this has been so good for our family. We’ve really just gotten a chance to be together without the whole outside world distracting us. It’s been nice for the boys to have mommy and daddy home all the time, but it’s made our recent work separation all that much harder.

We all know what is going on with travel and the lack of it due to Covid-19. However, we recently just were informed that our restriction for travel within the country of Germany has been lifted so I am eagerly looking for some getaways within the country. We are also starting to hopefully be able to plan for some Fall or Winter trips. Keeping our fingers crossed.

My final goal was to do more date nights with my husband and well…that’s gone about the same way as the travel goal ha-ha. Hopefully though, now that our restrictions are being lifted more and more we can start doing those date nights again. I know that I am ready for some kid free time with my husband.

So, that’s my check in on 2020 so far. As we go into the second half of the year, I want to continue to listen, inform, and better educate myself on our community and world at large. I want to strive to be better and do better.

How is your 2020 so far?

Round the Kettle Ep. 22- Entering February (finally!)

Oh hi. It’s been a while since I’ve done a Round the Kettle chatty post. They are still happening (as if you were really worried ha-ha), but I really felt the “workload” of the Christmas Season at the end of November and through December. I didn’t want to inundate your feed and email boxes with a ridiculous amount of posts, so I let them go until after the New Year past. This is probably going to be a “thing” that I do every year while we are in Europe. There is just so much to do and see around Christmas Season that I want to share, that they just aren’t possible.

IMG_2491 3

Let’s start with a little catch up…how are you doing?

So, a brief catch up…as you will now know we spent our New Years in Rome on a weeklong holiday that still seems just so surreal in my mind. I can’t believe that I can say that I’ve been to Rome…just like I can say I’ve been to Scotland, London, Dover, The Netherlands…I mean the list goes on. It’s even more surreal and reflective as we are starting to come up on our one-year mark of living in Germany (that post is coming up this coming week). It’s funny because we are just living our normal lives, day to day, and then going on these incredible adventures that we only dreamed about.

I digress…

January passed by as January always seems to, dragging by, giving all of us that New Year’s funk at the end and making us wonder…will February ever come?! Don’t worry, February is here, and we’ve all survived. In a way January wasn’t too bad for me this year, a couple rough spots here and there, but overall pretty good. But February? I anticipate February being a rough one. We’ve got quite a few changes coming our way starting on Monday and I just feel like settling into a new groove is going to be…interesting. Our oldest is starting his preschool program, my husband has been much busier with work in January and into February, and I’m trying to figure out what our “normal” is going to be moving forward once again. It’s all good things, but it just means we’ve got a bit of a transition to make.

With that being said, I am going to be taking a little step back from the blog for a couple weeks in February. This week there will be posts as normal, and then there will be two weeks where I am not going to have any blog posts going up. I will be active as normal on IG/FB, but in terms of blog content, it’ll be quiet. I really try to take a week or two weeks “off” a couple times of year as I find that it helps me quiet my mind and refresh my brain. I’ve been writing pretty consistently for a few months now without a break (I posted a 14 posts in December where I normally average 9-11 posts a month) and I really just need to take a minute, not stare at a blank word document, and just breathe. February tends to actually be a pretty good time to do this as it is slow and quiet as it is (we aren’t traveling at all this month) and with these couple things changing at home, I need to just be able to focus on life.

How was your January? Did you have a good month or are you just ready for February?

 

2019 Halfway Check In

Somehow we are now halfway through 2019! Where has the year gone? Have you had any exciting things happen so far? Any goals completed? Any new goals created?

This morning I am going to be doing a little “check in” post. I am going to look at what I planned and wanted for my 2019 and see where I am personally at. I think June is a really fun month, but also a good time to just take a minute and reflect on where we are at in our year. How any of the goals we’ve set are going. I would encourage you to do the same and share in the comments! We can always use a little pick me up and accountability.

So, I shared a post at the start of January all about the things that I was “Looking Forward to in 2019”, you can read that post HERE. In this post I talked about my “phrase” and my “word” of the year. I didn’t share my smaller goals for the year, but I’ll share a couple of those in this post as well.

I think overall I’ve done pretty well at sticking with the intentions that I set for myself, achieving a good number of things throughout the first half of this year, but I’ve definitely put one goal off and have kind of fallen off track in a couple other spots. I’ll get more into that a little later on, we will focus on the good first. 🙂

So, something I wanted to focus a little bit more on this year on a larger scale was to just “Be Open”. Be open to new opportunities, be open to new friendships, new experiences, to whatever the year brings our way. I feel like I’ve really done this at this point in the year. I’ve tried to throw caution to the wind in some respects and I feel like it has really worked out in our favor (specifically when it comes to our traveling, and our day to day getting out). I said that I specifically wanted to “Keep an open mind to everything and kind of just run with it”. I’m a type A, planner kind of person and so just go with it is something that I am always working on. When we are doing these quick trips, just go with it is the perfect motto to have.

The smaller intention that went along with that was “You can’t plan everything”. I’ve really been working hard at this one. I get really…”uncomfortable” if I feel like things are chaotic (that’s just a nice way of saying I go a little bonkers if I feel like I don’t have things planned properly). If I feel like I haven’t gotten things planned and in just the right order. I wanted to just let go as that was really starting to affect different areas of my mental health. I wanted to get a little looser with schedules, a little looser with timelines, just loosen up with planning. Again, I feel like I’ve really excelled at this one. First off, being in a hotel means that routines and schedules (other than bedtime) just go out the window. We just get out of the hotel and whenever things happen they happen. Not to mention we’ve been doing so much go, go , go travel that I’ve really just had to loosen all the reigns on planning. It’s been so FREEING.

I will say- at the beginning of the year I struggled a little bit. At the end of 2018 I resigned my job and for the first time in my adult life I was aimless in my time. I didn’t have a job that I had to do for so many hours a day. I was able to do what I wanted with my time and my kids. We weren’t tied down to a schedule. And that was HARD to adjust to in a way. On top of that we went from my In-Laws and vacation to a hotel. The things that I would normally do throughout the day, handling the home, tidying, writing, were now in limbo. I could write, but cleaning and everything else that I would normally do was nonexistent. I’m going to be the weird one and say that I actually quite like housework, so this was an adjustment in itself. I ended up figuring out something that worked for me, but it’ll be changing again here shortly (yay!!).

Moving forward with those two intentions I am going to try and come up with a perfect “marriage” that works for me. The ratio of rigid to flow, planning to loose, and see if I can’t find a way to bring a little bit of planning and routines (beyond bedtime) back into our lives. To become a little bit more intentional with my days that we aren’t traveling.

Now, for my word of 2019 I chose “Explore” and I feel like I’m really living that word. We’ve gone around so much just in the short months we’ve been in Germany, not just in our own little community but around Germany and Europe as well. We have plans for just about every long weekend for the rest of this year, as well as our two extended leave periods this year.

When I originally picked this word, I knew that we would be doing a lot of traveling, but I really wanted to focus on exploring with just me and the boys. We didn’t “get out” as much as I had hoped in the previous couple years and with our move I didn’t want to just get back into that “sit at home” type of living. Our boys love exploring and being outside and I want to nurture that love. This meant that I had to be comfortable leaving and going to bigger area’s with just myself and the kids. I have successfully done one market with just me and the boys and have plans for a couple other spots in the coming months to do for us. We also get out and do long walks at least once or twice a week, and one trip to the local town as well. It’s been actually really easy to do, and we’ve really enjoyed “mommy and son trips”.

Some of the other personal goals that I set for myself are one’s that I set quietly every year, eating clean and healthy options, staying in a positive mindset and spreading that positivity, not being judgmental of others and not getting caught up in the petty little problems/drama. I think I’ve done pretty well with all of those but one…

Junk food. Junk food has really crept back in to our lives and it’s not something that I am happy about. I’ve prided myself the past year or two on eating healthy options, cutting out a lot of processed food and junk food, but lately it’s found a place back in our hotel. I could give excuse after excuse of why, but honestly that’s not important. We don’t eat a lot of it, but I feel like we are at the cusp of eating more of it than we should. Chips, candy, sweets, it all needs to be taken back a couple of notches. I am already in a mindset of tailing it back and we’ve already put this in practice as of June 1, but to be completely transparent I wanted to share that.

The other goal that I had that I didn’t share is the goal of starting a podcast this year. Unfortunately, I have made the decision to postpone this goal for a little while longer. I don’t think that it will be a feasible option this year and I also don’t know that I can take on another project at this time. It’s ok to postpone or stop a goal that is doing something negative for you or is just not a possibility for you at that time. Sometimes things don’t work out and that’s ok.

So that is my look at 2019 so far. How is your year going? How are those goals going?

 

 

January Feelings – How Are You Doing?

Well January 2019 is rapidly coming to an end…let’s have a little check in shall we? How are those New Years Resolutions going for you? Have you kept them all? Broken any? Changed them completely?

January is a hard month (although some could argue that February/March can be harder). You are on a “high” of sorts for the first week or two. New Years has just happened we are full of “fresh start” this and “new beginnings” that, but then about halfway through Week 2 of January real life starts to hit. We start to struggle with the resolutions we have set, we struggle with the concept that while this is seems to be a New Year, not everything is miraculously perfect, we struggle with the bitter cold and gray that is the harsh months of winter.

Then about 3 weeks in is Blue Monday, one of the most depressing days of the year.

It’s tough, but it is something that we can work through. We can hold on to those good things, hold on to our dreams, passions, and somehow pull the strength to pull through. We can get back on track with our resolutions (if you’ve fallen off, which lets be honest, we’ve all fallen off a time or two). We can make it through.

It may seem silly, but January can be hard.

For me, this January has been an interesting one. I’ve definitely struggled a little bit, which was not something I was entirely expecting. We’ve spent the bulk of January on vacation visiting family. We dealt with a heartbreaking loss followed by two weeks of very little sunshine and now bitterly cold temperatures (as well as dealing with a vicious cold virus running around everyone in the house-including all the kids). We’ve been pretty much housebound for most of the time we’ve been here between the weather, temps, and sickness.

It’s been a unique kind of tough.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining about all of this. We are very blessed to be able to have this time to relax, be with family, and have a bit of a break. I have thoroughly enjoyed every bit of time that I’ve gotten to see extended family (even with the extenuating circumstances), and enjoyed watching our boys play with all of their cousins. It’s been a fun time, but I’ve also missed the chances to get outside, feel the sun beat through the windows all day long (even though it would get really hot), and be able to run outside whenever we wanted to.

This is a very common theme throughout this month and from what I am seeing, with the winter kicking it into high gear across the globe, seems to be harder than previous winters.

So what can we do to combat these feelings?

I always start with some sort of physical movement. There are plenty of indoor physical activities that you can do, whether it be yoga, a quick light cardio, weights, or just getting up and walking around the house. Some sort of physical activity will do a wonder of good for your body and your mind.

The next thing that I like to focus on even more intently is what we are putting into our bodies. It is so easy to feed your emotions, to grab the quick snack, the unhealthy option, but so often that will make the problems worse. I always find my mind clearer and my mood brighter when I reach for some fruit instead of a candy bar. Hell, even choosing popcorn over chips might make a difference.

And finally, make sure that you are taking time to do one thing you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be long, doesn’t have to be something productive, but just one thing that you enjoy. Take 15 minutes everyday just for whatever that is. For me, it is writing. I find myself feeling better if I just take a chance to sit down and write everything out. I also really enjoy reading (although this is a given) and I make sure that I spend a decent amount of time every evening getting some reading done.

Do you have any tips for dealing with these feelings? Leave them below!

Looking Forward Into 2019

2019 is going to be a BIG year for us. We are moving out of the country, into a new environment, new culture, new job, new schedule to work with. As exciting as this time is ( I am seriously bubbling over with excitement if that makes sense), I also know that we will have quite the adjustment to make with all of the changes.

I’ve spoken before about I don’t really make true resolutions. I feel like resolutions are just made to be broken and that rather than approaching a new year with a list of resolutions that will probably not be kept (no matter how hard we try), I would rather set what is commonly called intentions. For me, these are things that I would like to make sure I am either doing or open to doing in the New Year.

Let’s be honest for a minute and realize that who we are, what we think, what we want to do, isn’t going to magically change just because it is 2019. Rather we have to make distinctive goals and efforts to make changes that we want to see. If you want to lose weight in 2019, rather than setting a resolution, set yourself up with a couple of reasonable goals for throughout the year.

I usually set one big “phrase” of the year. Something that I hope to keep strong throughout the year and how I would like to approach the New Year. Then I’ll set a couple other little intentions for how I want my mindset to be, or if there is something I specifically would like to address in the new year.

This year my big phrase is: “Be Open”.

It may sound a little strange when it is just one incomplete sentence, but I just want to be open to whatever this year is going to bring us. I’ve mentioned (maybe a time or two before…or too many times before haha) what a big change this year is going to be. I just want to keep an open mind to everything and kind of just run with it. To just set out without anything really in mind and let the cookies fall where they fall.

This seeps into all of my other smaller intentions which honestly can be summed up into this: “You can’t plan everything”. I am an over planner, over thinker, and while I can “go with the flow” it is not my strong suit. This year I want to get better at just letting go of some of the planning that I do. I think that our move is the perfect chance for me to experience some of that letting go. I’ve also cut out some of the things that required such planning and routines, so that will also make it easier to make this change for the year.

Beyond just setting intentions, I also like to do the whole one word year. I like to pick one word at the start of a year for the year. What I want my focus to center on and what I would like to bring more into our lives. It doesn’t “govern” anything, but rather is a guide for what I want to focus on.

This year my word is: “Explore”.

I really just want to get better at getting out and exploring our area. The cultures, the experiences, the nature of where we are going to be. I feel like sometimes when we go to a new place we can fall into a trap of still sticking to what we know, where we are comfortable at. This year I really want to make sure that I am pushing all of us out to truly explore. To reach out of our comfort zones and experience new things.

I do have a couple of “smaller” goals that I want to accomplish throughout the year, and while I am not going to share them right here, if all goes the way I foresee I’ll be sharing all the details very soon!

Tell me, do you do resolutions, intentions, one word, something different, nothing at all? What do you do to prepare for the New Year?

I can feel it in my bones- this year is going to be incredible!!

Real Talk: Crushing the End of 2018

We are officially in the last Quarter of the Year. 2018 is rapidly coming to an end and I know that for me, there are still quite a few things I want to accomplish and learn. I want to talk a little bit today about ending the year strong. To feel like we succeeded in making the best of another year of our lives. So, go grab your cup of something Magical and let’s talk about 2018 coming to an end.

The end of the year either brings two feelings, a “holy cow I feel like I haven’t done anything, where did the time go?” OR a “gosh I’ve done so much this year so far, how is it already coming to an end?”.

If you’re in the second category, way to go! You’ve been rocking the year and no matter what, you’ll end the year feeling accomplished. If you’re in the first category, never fear! You have almost certainly accomplished plenty this past year, and there is still time to do some more. Read on category 1, read on…

The first thing to look at is our New Year’s Resolutions (if you set them). I personally don’t set full on resolutions, rather some sort of big picture or overall intention for how I would like for this year to go. So, look at whatever goal, big picture mindset, word of the year, whatever, and see how you’ve been doing with that specific thing. Have you rocked it?

Second, in reviewing your goals for 2018, narrow down the ones that either haven’t been achieved, or that you feel like you could do better at. Did you want to eat healthier and then fell off the badwagon half way through the year? Did you want to read/write/exercise more and didn’t? There is NO SUCH THING as too late to start. You can still start one of those resolutions now and be successful. End 2018 on a strong note!

Third, and final, just start whatever it is that you want to accomplish! As I just said, it is NEVER too late to start. Start slow, maybe with an easier resolution and then build up. If you can cross one or two of those resolutions off, you can still feel like you’ve had a successful 2018. At the end of the day, you (and only you) can determine whether or not you’ve had a good year or not. What do you need to do to feel like you’ve had a good year?

For me personally, as this year is coming to an end I am trying to de clutter items that we don’t need, want, or use,, prepare myself and my family for our upcoming move (read about that excitement HERE), and knock out a couple more items on our Northern VA/Washington DC bucket list. I feel like I’ve done a lot this past year, but I know it wasn’t as much as I had hoped to do. I know that I definitely could have done more in some area’s and I am striving to work on those areas to still end this year strong.

How about you? Where do you fall on the two categories of 2018?

Looking Forward Into 2018

I’ve always loved beginnings and endings. I know that the bulk of a story can be wonderful, but there is something truly special to me about beginnings and endings. The beginning of a new year is a special time for many. It gives a chance to have a “fresh start” a new chance to have the best time. This year is no different. In fact it seems like this year is special because so many people seem hopeful for a good year, a better start.

For me, every year I set my one word and in the past year, I’ve set a motto for how I want my year to go- how I want to approach life. I also give myself a challenge for the year. I don’t typically share any of these, but I figured this year it might be nice.

My motto for 2018 is:

“Every day is a new day, treat it that way. Get Up, Dress Up, Show Up.”

I really want to be better about approaching everyday with fresh eyes. I don’t want to bring the negativity of a previous day into a fresh new day. It just prolongs the bad and you miss out on the good of a new day.

As a rule, I don’t set resolutions. I set guidelines and intentions for what I want to accomplish in the new year. I find that resolutions end up being so final and a full year can ebb and flow as it goes. I also find that setting a “resolution” is like begging for failure. If you set something slightly different, it allows you a little more freedom, doesn’t feel as rigid, and is much easier to achieve/less likely for failure.

My biggest challenge that I want to work on this year is an overall of just being a better person. I have noticed this past year, I have had a lot more moments of being petty and judgmental and just an ugliness that I don’t like. It is not a normal for me and something that I really want to focus on eradicating from my life.

What are your intentions or guidelines for 2018?