Our month in Eau Claire
Tips for flying with a toddler

2022 goals check-in


We're half-way through 2022 so I'm revisiting my goals for the year to see what progress I've made, what I might want to let go of, and to reinvigorate myself for the rest of the year.


Word for the year: NOURISH

At the beginning of the year I wrote this about choosing nourish: "The idea I kept coming back to is a desire to focus my energy on the things in my life that are the most important and bring me the most fulfillment (family, writing, podcasting, taking care of myself) and simplifying everything else." I also said, "I want to work on letting go and simplifying things and commitments that do not nourish me. I want to feel permission to say no to anything I feel pressured to do because I think I 'should' but which doesn't actually make my heart sing."

Update: I have been trying to live my intention and would call that great progress! In particular I've thought about commitments on my plate and new requests of me and I measure those against what brings me fulfillment. I've thought about how much effort is already baked into my life with three young kids, my creative projects, and the relationships I want to invest in. I have let go of commitments (like my PTSO volunteer commitment) and I've said "no" to taking on new things, even when the new idea was my own! I've also tweaked things in my schedule to use my time well.



Personal Care & Growth

+ Prioritize prepping breakfast and lunch for myself.

Update: Good progress! I've found an easy and nourishing breakfast that I love and often prep that for myself. (It's overnight oats made with quick-cook steel cut oats, almond milk, peanut butter, and cinnamon. After I heat it in the morning I add sliced banana and toasted pecans. *Chef kiss!*) I have intentionally simplified what I plan for myself for lunch, like cheese or dip and crackers plus a pecan pie bite or a salad kit.

Looking ahead: I should buy containers so I can prep a week's worth of overnight oats at a time. Now that we're home from Wisconsin I want to get back into the habit of making pecan pie bites and having things on hand for simple, nourishing lunches.


+ Paint my nails more often.

Update: Yes! Before we left for Wisconsin I was painting my nails most weeks and in a great routine. This habit really helps to keep my hands calm.  I didn't paint my nails once in Wisconsin (despite bringing all my stuff) so I'm looking forward to returning to this routine.

Looking ahead: Return to my weekly habit. And get a manicure every couple of months to maintain my nail shape and cuticle health. I got a manicure last week and already scheduled my next appointment.


+ Take REST.

Update: I'm thinking about intentional rest more than I ever have before and for someone who does not love to rest that is great progress. Taking rest is something I've talked with my counselor about many times and she's given me some great framing. Such as asking myself, "What can I do with the next hour that will leave me feeling the most rested?" My default mode is to be productive and I work to remember that rest is productive too, even though it feels different. I also try to find ways to recharge in little ways during my weeks so that I don't burn myself out.

Looking ahead: Keep taking intentional rest. To preserve the downtime I have, keep saying "no" to additional commitments.



+ Strengthen my pelvic floor with regular exercises.

Update: So-so. I have timers set on my phone to do kegel exercises. I was consistent for the first quarter-ish of the year but have fallen off. With the work I've done I feel like I've strengthened my pelvic floor (and went to physical therapy for three months) but frustratingly still experience leaking sometimes during exercise with a lot of jumping. But what helps are period underwear! I wanted to share that in case anyone else would benefit. I'd prefer to solve the issue completely but this feels sufficient and at least it's fairly infrequent.

Looking ahead: Recommit to daily kegels.


+ Increase my running pace at Orange Theory.

Update: Accomplished! And now earning extra credit. I'm getting back into Orange Theory after being in Wisconsin but am resuming my new paces of 6.2 base pace, 7.5 push pace, and 8.5 all out which are increases from 6, 7.2, and 8 respectively from the beginning of the year. I'd like to increase all of those paces at least another .2 mph, if not more, by the end of the year.


220704_goalscheckin_parenting 220704_goalscheckin_sibs


+ Be present in parenting and know that parenting is my most important job right now. I said "I want to remember that whatever parenting task is before me, no matter how "un-fun" like refereeing a sibling squabble to searching for a lost toy, is more important than my to-do list."

Update: Actively working on it. This one is harder to say whether I've accomplished it or not. My nourish and rest intentions feed into this one because the less busy and the more recharged I am the better parent I can be. Another aspect of this goal is spending less time on my phone around the kids. I'm okay about not scrolling when they are around but sending text messages, which can feel important, is not more important than being present with my kids. Another thing that will help me is better planning my two days a week at home with Maeve. With a toddler it's very easy for the days to feel reactionary; I'm constantly responding to messes, requests for snacks, and mercurial moods. Instead I'd like to be more of the cruise director and know where the ship is heading. I think it'll be great for Maeve and me.

Looking ahead: Re-establishing phone boundaries especially for when I'm with the kids. Plan my days at home with Maeve so that I have activities ready to go. To this end I've been browsing Busy Toddler and Days with Grey. I also purchased two books that I've had from the library and really enjoy: 150+ Screen-Free Activities For Kids and 101 Kid Activities, and I've been stocking our art and craft supply.



+ Brush and make Maeve’s hair most days to get her used to having her hair up.

Update: Making progress as Maeve will allow it! We had Maeve's hair trimmed a while back and so her toddler mullet is no more. That has helped her hair to look tidy even when she won't let me do it. Most days I ask Maeve if I can put her hair up. And most days lately I get a "No!" Although she always lets the women at daycare put her hair up which I am appreciative of and also going to count as progress.

I also wanted to share this great advice that I got from reader Kris who left this comment on my 2022 goals post: "My tip for toddler hair is...don't do it! (Fits in with your "do less" intention.) Just get her a cute short haircut and both of you can enjoy a few more years of not worrying about her hair beyond a quick brush once in a while. Once she's old enough to start asking for long hair (maybe around age 4), tell her she can grow it long provided she fully cooperate with you for washing, brushing and styling." Love that wisdom and that perspective has given me permission to not stress about this. It'll be what it'll be, and will probably naturally get easier as Maeve gets older.

Looking ahead: Keep offering to put Maeve's hair up and try to at least brush her hair most days. And also just don't worry about this one too much!




+ Weekly mini-dates with Chris.

Update: Recommitting to this one! I think we were good about this for a while but as life and work for Chris gets busier these fall by the wayside. In Wisconsin we did have a handful of day dates which were great but daily time to connect was lacking with parenting demands.

Looking ahead: Recently I was listening to the book Love People, Use Things and the author talked about the standing every-other-week morning date he and his wife have and how important it is to them. I thought, "With our schedules there's no reason we can't do that!" and I told Chris about it too. So we're going to make that happen. I also already reached out to a babysitter and put two weekend day dates on the calendar in July and August just to ensure that we take that time together.



Creative Work

+ Complete and publish Maeve’s birth story.

Update: Not done.

Looking ahead: Get it done! Probably once the boys are back in school and I have more writing time.


+ Don’t put additional expectations on writing or podcasting.

Update: So far pretty good! I'm nearly always wanting to do more and do sometimes feel disappointed with myself that I'm not creating more. But then I remind myself that this is what I can do right now. My creativity will not go anywhere and I'm nourishing it as much as I can right now. As an example of this, I'm letting myself publish blog posts without recording podcast versions right now while I don't have the recording time.

Looking ahead: There is one additional Girl Next Door Podcast project that I want to launch hopefully this year. It's something that will be more work at the beginning but then easy to maintain. For my blog podcast I hope that I can return to audio version but don't want that step to hold me back from creating. Also, thank you to Sarah for an encouraging email about not letting perfection get in the way of creating! That landed in my inbox just when I needed it.


220704_goalscheckin_dinnerEgg sandwiches, five ways. / Our closet says, "Organize me, please!"


+ Streamline and de-stress our meal planning, grocery shopping, and dinner routines.

Update: Have made some progress! I've simplified my dinner expectations and that has helped a lot. Additionally, arranging my schedule to grocery shop on Thursdays while my mother-in-law watches Maeve has been great. That lets me get a big task done and not take up my writing/podcast time. Honestly I wish Trader Joe's had grocery pick up! I know they never will and I do love going in the store but right now in my life I wish the whole task could take less time. As an aside: I've tried to switch to shopping only at a store that does grocery pick up but I just don't like the selection and our bill is a lot higher. I usually do a weekly pick-up order at a nearby grocery for things we can't get at TJ but TJ will remain our main grocery store. I've also tried handing this task off to Chris who is more than willing to do it. Turns out, I like to be in control of the groceries and meals more than I want to take this task off my plate.

Looking ahead: I'd love to find one or two recipes that everyone will eat that I could make big batches of and freeze. Bean burritos is a great candidate. Otherwise, continue to moderate my expectations and put simple meals on the dinner menu.


+ Optimize organization and storage throughout our home. In particular I said I wanted to declutter and organize my closet shelves and perhaps our whole closet, our new laundry room cabinets, and our front hall closet.

Update: In progress! I have made so many trips to Goodwill as I've decluttered and I'm still in that mode. However, I have not fully decluttered and organized any of those specific areas I mention in my goal!

Looking ahead: Schedule times to declutter and organize our whole closet, the laundry room cabinets, and our front hall closet.


220704_goalscheckin_newfloorsPhoto with old floors for comparison. Furniture placement still in progress...

+ New floors!

Update: DONE! I love them so much and they've made our whole house look significantly more beautiful to me.



+ Weekly budget meetings.

Update: Recommitting!

Looking ahead: Like our weekly mini-dates there's no reason these can't happen. And they are really important now that we have two mortgages and financial goals for updating our Eau Claire house and living there during Chris's sabbatical.


After reflecting on my goals and progress I feel really good! I think I did a good job aligning my goals with my season of life and how I want to grow this year. When the boys return to school in a few weeks (late July this year!) I know I'll feel renewed energy to create and get stuff done. Now I know where to channel that energy. But I'll remember to take rest too!

There's a lot happening in the world that I don't have control over that is weighing on my shoulders. Reflecting on my goals and what I do have control over was a centering exercise that I would highly recommend. I'd love to know how your year is going so far and what energy you want to bring to the second half of 2022.

Happy half-way-through 2022, friends!