Inspire, Life

Goalsetter

I’ve had my 2019 goals on my mind lately, and thought about doing a ‘goal check-in’ post, but realized I haven’t blogged about my goals in the first place . . . So, before checking in I suppose I should outline what my goals are.

I’m not your traditional New Year resolution setter. My goals are not fix-it goals. I don’t subscribe to the ‘new year, new you’ philosophy. I happen to like ‘me’! Instead, I’m more of the growth-oriented goals kinda gal. This year, I’ve decided to focus on personal development, self care, and pursuing things I enjoy.

It’s easy to write out a lengthy list of everything I want to accomplish throughout the year . . . And then subsequently forget over half of them in a week or so . . . Instead, I narrowed it down to just 5 things that bring joy to my heart in different ways.

  • Spending more time in the kitchen . . . Baking!
    Baking holds so much nostalgia for me. It brings back happy childhood moments. Of just learning to bake. The excitement of learning something new. Feeling so ‘grown up’ for being allowed to navigate the kitchen mostly unsupervised. Of eating cookie dough and licking the frosting out of the bowl.

    Early adolescence ruined my relationship with food, and that damage stuck with me through my mid-twenties. So much so that I avoided baking for years and years because I’d labeled it as ‘unhealthy.’ And while I feel I will always be repairing this relationship in some way, I’m in a much better headspace with my health and my idea of what healthy living is.

    So, this year I’ve decided to get back into my baking groove. Nothing is off the table. From healthier bakes to classics and truly decadent creations, I am giving myself permission to bake my heart out.
  • Living a more balanced life.
    Balance. There is a fine line between taking on too much and just enough. Especially in the season of life I’m in right now.

    I used to be the girl who threw herself headlong into mountains of work. Piling on the projects. Never saying ‘no’ to anybody. Whether it be to take on a larger workload, head up another project, or help out a teammate. For years, I felt a sense of pride in always being busy . . . Until I realized that I was only using work as a band-aid to cover up other areas in my life where I didn’t feel so much like a rockstar. Namely my anxiety and depression. If my schedule was jam-packed, I literally had no time to think of my inner self. Good, right? So WRONG.

    Stepping out of the corporate world and into 24/7 mom world has be a huge change for me. And yet, it can still be super easy to let old, unhealthy habits creep back in . . . If I just use nap time to do all the things, then I can rest later. But of course later never comes because there is always something that can be done that feels more pressing and less selfish than doing something just for me.

    I’m really working on being more intentional with my time overall. Saying ‘no’ to certain things so that I can then say ‘yes’ to things that are life giving. Realizing that ‘no’ can just mean ‘not right now’ and isn’t always a definite. Choosing to be in the moment when little man is awake, instead of trying to do it all. Scheduling everything. From grocery shopping, to structured learning, playdates, my workouts, dedicated study blocks, etc . . .

    And possibly even more importantly, I’m learning to be okay with the fact that not everything gets checked off my list each and every day. Feeling more than just okay when little man and I have a lazy day, and instead being grateful for days the days when we live on the couch, snuggled up in blankets amongst a mountain of story books. Because the days are long, but these past two years have been short! And I have a feeling that is exactly how raising kids goes.
  • Reading more variety.
    I love to read. Growing up, my summers were spent with my nose in books. My family didn’t have all that much money, so while other families traveled to theme parks, went on cruises, or spent time exploring other countries, I traveled to distant lands, different dimensions, and back in time right within the safety of my own home. Whether sitting outside in the warm summer sun or curled up on my bed, I lived between the bindings of many a book. As an adult, while I can’t say I live in books anymore, I still love to lose myself as often as I can.
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    Every year, I write ‘read more’ on my list of goals. This year, my specific intention is to read more variety. While I love binge reading a captivating series or devouring book after book from a favorite author, my mind has shifted towards growth. What can I read that will grow my creativity? How can I increase my productivity? What can I do to grow myself? What skills can I learn to be successfully self-employed?

    I still love a good fictional read (and will still indulge of course), but am being more intentional about filling my reading list with non-fiction books that promote personal, spiritual, leadership, and business growth.
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    Here’s what’s made the list so far:

    Read:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
    Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
    Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado

    Currently Reading:
    High Performance Habits – Brendon Burchard
    Battlefield of the Mind – Joyce Meyers

    Up next:
    Girl Wash your Face – Rachel Hollis
    It’s Not Supposed to be this Way – Lysa Terkeurst
    The Blessed Life – Pastor Robert Morris
  • Tuning in for growth.
    While I’ve never been able to get into audio books, I love me a good podcast! Life as momma is rarely stationary and requires using pause frequently when listening or watching anything at all.

    Now that he’s in toddler land, my little guy is much more aware of his environment and interacts with what’s happening ‘on screen,’ which makes me even more mindful of what I listen to and what I have on in the background. Anyone else just like to have something on for background noise while they go about their day? Long gone are the days where I can just stream a guilty pleasure show while cleaning house. And sitting down to actually watch something from start to finish (uninterrupted) only happens after he goes to bed.

    Still, I find myself wanting something to fill certain spaces of time. Like when I’m folding laundry or cleaning the kitchen. That coupled with the growth mindset I’ve been in makes for the perfect podcast environment.

    Expectations are everything, so I never expect to finish a full episode at once. 10-15 minute pockets of time are great. When getting ready for the day. Making a Target run or driving to the grocery store. Or for light workout days when I walk on my treadmill while little man plays with his trucks next to me.

    The top 3 podcasts I’ve been listening most to lately are:
    Rise by Rachel Hollis
    Earn Your Happy by Lori Harder
    Havilah’s Podcast by Havilah Cunnington
  • Organization.
    This goes hand-in-hand with balance, but is more specific to organizing spaces. Keeping our home tidy and having a dedicated place for everything really helps me stay sane. Not even kind of joking. Anyone else? Over the years, I’ve learned that cleaning up is so much quicker when items have a dedicated home. It takes the guesswork out of finding a place for say, the paint supplies or the gazillion Hot Wheels cars littering the living room floor. Paint supplies go in the paint bin in the craft closet. Hot Wheels go in the ammo-box-turned-toy-car-bin. Etc . . .

    My main focus as of late has been closets, cupboards, and drawers. So far, I’ve transformed our linen closet, bathroom cupboards, laundry room, and my unmentionables drawer with simple and effective storage solutions. I’ll have to write a dedicated post on this soon because I’m quite proud!

    Next on my list is whipping our pantry into shape. Oh, and getting the nursery organized . . . Once we begin setting it up that is.

    I’m not sure if this is possibly how I nest, but organization has really been on the forefront of my mind when thinking of preparing for baby #2. In my mind, if I have dedicated organization solutions in place that help simplify keeping the house tidy now, it will be easier to upkeep our household when I’m juggling two littles. Who knows. I may be a dreamer. Only time will tell.

Even though I’ve thought these goals over quite a bit and have been actively working on each so far this year, there’s something so cathartic and satisfying about seeing them written out. Know what I mean?

So how about you? What are your 2019 goals?

Peace,
Y

Baking, Food

Simply Good & Easy Banana Bread

Don’t be afraid to use the ugly bananas!

If you feel like people would judge you if they saw those ugly, brown and bruised bananas sitting out on your counter top, then you’ve got the perfect baking bananas. That’s my banana motto at least!

In my home, we alway have an abundance of bananas. They are either green and fresh from the store, perfectly yellow and ready to eat, spotted and ready to be frozen, or an ugly brown and ready to become banana bread.

I’m the kind of home baker that loves to experiment. Making tweaks here and there. Playing with substitutions. Testing different variables to see what yields a good bake, and what isn’t worth repeating. My current go-to banana bread recipe was originally adapted from this Food Network recipe.

Up until pretty recently, my little guy was allergic to both dairy and eggs. Even small amounts would cause him to break out into all-over hives and eczema. Store-bought allergy-free foods can get pretty pricey, so I had to get creative and adapt our every-day meals to fit his needs. As any parent knows, no food is more appealing to a kid than the food his parents are eating . . . And so came the need to make a banana bread that my little guy could enjoy too.

My first iteration of this recipe was vegan. Now that little man can tolerate eggs, I don’t replace them, but feel free to substitute 2 flax eggs. It yields a nearly identical bake. I’d say an identical bake, but my husband swears he can tell the difference, although he’s eaten it plenty of times without knowing it was vegan. Still, I’ll stick with nearly identical . . . I do still make it dairy free. Baking with coconut butter instead of butter is something I’ve found I love doing. It’s an easy one-to-one substitution that adds a healthy twist. Now, that’s not to say that butter doesn’t have a place in my baking, but I prefer it over butter for everyday baked goods.

The original recipe calls for granulated sugar, but I’ve found I enjoy the more robust flavor and extra moisture that light brown sugar brings. Coconut sugar has a similar flavor, and is lower on the glycemic index. For this reason, I use an equal mixture of light brown sugar and coconut sugar.

This banana bread makes the perfect companioning to your morning coffee. We like to slice it nice and thick in our household and smother it with Smart Balance (or Earth Balance, depending on what we have), honey, or almond butter.

Hope you enjoy it too!

Peace,

Y

Baby, Family, Mom Life

Meeting Baby For The First Time


When I was pregnant with my first, I remember wondering what meeting him for the first time would be like. The anticipation. A mix of nervous excitement.

Would I feel like I already knew him? Would he know me? Would we feel like strangers?

The reality is what I imagine meeting someone you met online for the first time in person is like. Someone who speaks a different language. Someone you’ve communicated with for months using only chat, and relying heavily on Google translate to craft your responses. Meeting sans translator. Neither of you even remotely fluent in the other’s native tongue.

This is closer to what it really felt like after bringing him home.

Ours isn’t the typical story because he spent nearly his first month in the NICU. Read my birth story and Surviving the NICU posts for the full story. Like other mommas to be, my body was my translator during pregnancy. I didn’t have to think about what my baby needed. My body just knew what to do. After birth, his NICU doctors and nurses became my translators. Relying on them to relay his every need became my norm. As excited as I was when his NICU graduation day came, the idea of being home without my translating team felt so incredibly intimidating.

How would I know what to do?

His nurses were all so sweet, reassuring all would be well and I’d just know what to do. I’d know a hunger cry from a tired cry from a soiled diaper cry . . . Again, the reality being far from this.

Yes, I did learn to differentiate his array of cries. And the bond we’ve created is like no other . . . The key, however, being I learned.

We knew each other, but only to an extent. He knew my voice. The way he kicked just one leg reminded me of the little tap, tap, taps I felt against my ribcage during pregnancy. But we still had to get to know each other. And that took a mutual patience and trust. Patience in trusting my instincts and not second guessing my every thought and action. His patience in learning to trust that I would always be there for him.

Now pregnant with baby number two, I find myself wondering about baby’s personality. Will baby be patient? Insatiable? Quiet? Vocal? How will this first meeting compare to when I met my first? Will I just know more so this time time around, or will it be like meeting a familiar stranger once more? My expectation is that our meeting will be a lot like with my first . . . But I’m not putting too much on expectations this time.

I will just wait and see.

What was your first meeting like? Or are you currently pregnant and anticipating your first meet?

Peace,

Y