Thursday, January 23, 2020

2020 Vision Board

Hi there! I'm not sure what happened, but it appears to be the 22nd 23rd of January. Life these days is such a whirl of crazy-fast and super slow and I'm just trying to soak up the fun among the crazy and savor the peace among the quiet and I'm not sure where blogging fits into that. There was so much more down time when the kids were little; now, there's no naps and no pauses and the days run much longer. And it's great- there are so many days that are just everything I wanted this phase of my life to be, but there is not any time to record the fun and funny and I find myself on the couch next to James at 10:30 p.m., with the option of opening my laptop and looking longingly at our bed and whichever book I'm re-reading instead.

But I'm not done with blogging, I don't think. I think about posting whenever my computer is not around. I write a lot of posts in my head when I'm driving. I love having a record of our vacations and the highlights of the everyday and my brain still turns into a blank blogger page when I'm mulling over something difficult. But the kids are getting older, their stories are less shareable, and the time just significantly more precious. So I imagine I'll find myself here in some stolen moments, capturing highlights and whatever thoughts I'm currently mulling over, and of course reminding you that Maggie loves you.

Because she does.

But moving on to 2020 and my visions thereof. I'm not a huge resolution person, but I do think the start of the year lends itself to some reflection on the things you've done that you're proud of and things you'd like to change or add. I know as our kids grow and we hit new phases of life and parenting, our goals as a family and a couple have changed too. When the kids were little it was about finding time for us, stealing moments when the kids were awake and asleep to stay a couple. Now, in many ways it's much easier to find time together- Landon can babysit for extended periods and we can head to dinner whenever we like, but as the kids scatter and I have weekends where my house is empty and I have to text friends to get all my ducklings back in one place, we're turning our focus to some defined family time- something we never had to do before because ALL TIME was family time. We recalled everyone home last Sunday, instituted a no sleepovers for the next month rule, and had an old-fashioned game night and it was literally the best. Way more of that is the center of my goals for this year. And, conversely to what I just said, now that Landon stays up way later and wants to sit in between James and I on the couch until 9:30, we're simultaneously back to working on preserving some grown-up alone (and awake!) time in our own house too.

Visual representation of our days

Anyway, these are my goals and thoughts for 2020:

1. Limit alcohol to a max of 3x/week I've been surprised by how deliberate I've had to be about this goal. The "glass of wine while making dinner" or "glass of wine on the couch after the kids are in bed" had become pretty deeply ingrained. I rarely ever had more than one glass, but I also had nights when I had no idea why I was pouring that one.

So I'm not. Or not during the week anyway. I think a lot of it was the routine and the idea of my glass as my treat or reward at the end of a day that is somehow always long. I don't really like water, I really don't like juice, and I *hate* all carbonated seltzer type waters, so I wanted something special at the end of the day and that special thing = wine. To fix that hole, I bought several new decaf teas and I make a cup to sip while I cook and another when we head to the couch. I'm creating a new routine and it feels good and cozy drink my tea in the big mug I bought in Chicago and know I'm not thoughtlessly indulging in a habit that wasn't particularly good for me, and given my family's history of alcholism, wasn't one I particularly liked. It's been a pleasant surprise to find that though my newly forming habit is still a very deliberate one, it feels good and isn't one I've been tempted to break.

2. Food. I'm happy with past moves to decrease our processed carbs and refined sugars, eat out 2x a month or less, and try new ingredients. I want to keep all that going. This year I'm more focused on my personal eating habits. I'd like to get back to the "no snacking ever" habit I had up until last year and continue trying new foods I previously thought I didn't like. Turns out, I can enjoy coconut milk, some mushrooms, and even some preparations of shrimp! I can also handle a medium spicy salsa. Who knows what I'll be eating by 2021.

Tonight's Dinner; we're very into bowls right now

3. Personal maintenance
. Couple goals here:

(a)Freaking floss every day FTLOG. Why is this so hard? I'm determined. I'm even marring the clean surface of my bathroom counter top by leaving the floss on the counter so it can yell at me with its silent presence;

(b) Use a weekly facial mask. I already own the mask stuff (a fancy Skinceuticals jar even!), I just never use it. I did last Friday and my skin felt incredible, so I've decided it's part of my Friday routine;

(c) Pick 3 days for my retinol and stick with them. My skin is too sensitive for daily retinol, so I use it sporadically and without a plan and closer to 1x per week than 3. So I'm picking M,W,F and already that's helped me use it the 3x/week I want to.

(d) Use my lash growing serum every night. I'm good with my basic skincare routine, but literally any extra step is erratic at best. I need to convince my brain these other things are also part of the routine.

4. Exercise. I'm still struggling to find my routine now that the kids are older and busier. I'd like to get back to working out 7x/week- It's honestly how I feel best, but I cannot seem to make it work. Mostly because I won't work out very early, very late, or at home, so I'm just going to have to bend on one of those.

My current schedule looks like this:
~Sun: Teach barre @ 1:30 p.m.
~Mon: [Despite the best of intentions, I rarely fit in a workout here]
~Tues: Teach barre @ 5:30 p.m.
~Wed: [Same as Monday; the goal is yoga at lunch, but it rarely happens]
~Thurs: Teach barre @ 5:30 p.m.
~Fri: Orangetheory at 11:15 (I work from home so this is my lunch and usually works out)
~Sat: Orangetheory or yoga (Don't love the two OTFs in a row, but it's where it almost always ends up)

I've decided my goal for the year is to get back to doing yoga at home. I have online videos I could use and I'm a certified yoga teacher for goodness sakes! There is no reason I can't get on my mat for at least 30 minutes on Mon and/or Wed. The time is there, particularly at night, but it is SO hard to do. James and Landon usually hang out together from 9-9:30 most nights (James plays a video game on his tiny old iPhone and Landon watches over his shoulder; there's not a single element of that phrase I understand, which is why I'm usually in a different room reading), so I could do it then. This is both my favorite goal and the one I think is least likely to happen, but I miss yoga and maybe that will be enough to get me there.

My favorite page from last year's photobook

5. Remain engaged until the later bedtimes. I have struggled with this for years. Our early evenings are great- the kids are big, things are easy, and when they're not at activities, they're hanging out and reading or coloring or playing with each other. I cook big dinners with tons of prep and genuinely enjoy it and then we all eat together when James gets home about 7:15. The active part of the evening is not the problem. It's the mental block I have that at 8:00 I should be done. It's like an off-duty light flips on in my head from back in the days when evenings were hard and draining and I've simply trained myself to shut down. And I shouldn't! I barely even parent anymore when we're hanging out together post-work and pre-dinner. And yet, after 8:30 or so, I really don't understand why any of them are talking to me.

Cora goes to bed at 8:00 (which is almost always actually 8:15) and Claire gets to read quietly in the living room until 8:30. So they're on my schedule, but Landon gets to stay out until 9 and then read until 9:30 in his room. And he somehow always pushes the 9 until 9:15 at least and he just wants to chat and hang out and he's so smart and funny and I do love that he's a nonstop chatterbox who just wants to sit between us and talk about our days but OMG GO AWAY.

I'm thinking I might pick two days that I tell myself can't end until 9 and try to really enjoy the extra alone time with our oldest, and then use the other two to do my yoga and not feel bad that James is the one hanging out with Landon while I escape to the TV room even though he's the one who just came in hot from teaching swim lessons to 100 yelling, crying children and he probably needs the break way more than I do. Maybe this year is the year of breaking habits, both mental and physical, and intentionally setting some new paths.

James, trying to explain how to negotiate other players to their own bankruptcies

6. Work/Career. The last year, while an... interesting one as a government employee, turned into a fun and super engaging one for me professionally. I brought three cases in the last 15 months and have a full plate of new investigations that are all deeply interesting and full of new issues and legal and factual questions. I've updated my resume- not because I have any plans on leaving, quite the opposite actually, but because it felt good and motivating to see the work I've done. I really like what I'm doing and I really like who I get to do it with and while I never imagined I'd be in this job at the 8 year mark, here I am, and the combination of substantive work and benefits, the lack of a commute, and the ability to expand and grow in my personal life and this new fitness career I never imagined I'd have feels like more of a miracle than ever before.

So my goals in this category are to reach out more within my organization and outside of it for training opportunities, speaking opportunities, and relationship-building. I've grown and expanded a lot in my personal life, this year I'd like to grow out and up in my day job.

(Somewhat related, I would like to not be on two PTA Boards of Director next year, so maybe some shrinking on the personal side too?)

Maggie wants to grow as well and is sleeping even harder during the day than before.

In other people's goals, James wrote an awesome article for SwimSwam about how he has been able to go two lifetime bests in the last month at the age of 38. The article garnered lots of cheers and comments online and they were so fun to read.

We're super damn proud of him.

If you're interested in more Fike Swim news, he publishes a pretty great newsletter through his Swim Products company

It's 11:30 p.m., so we'll catch up on more family news next time I open blogger. Until then, here's Maggie being brave in her raincoat and sticking her tongue out at the scary raindrops.

Happy almost Friday to you all!


  1. Loved this update! No matter how (in)frequently you choose to blog, I always love catching up with you & yours! Though in a seemingly different stage (4yo/almost-2yo), I feel all of these resolutions in my soul. I have prioritized at-home practice thanks to Yoga with Adriene and also struggle to not feel like I "deserve" to be "off" at 8:30 (which let's be real, is like 9:15 every. single. night so why am I always surprised?). And also want to prioritize my day job more, especially now that I am in academia and out of practice. Thanks for the update & happy Friday :)

  2. I love your blog, and can't believe this is the thing I'm going to comment on, but as an over 40 lawyer-woman, I get the importance of skincare! I love The Ordinary retinol range, which is supposed to be non-irritating (that's been my experience but obviously I'm a sample size of just one). They have a whole range, here is a link to one: The Ordinary Retinoid
    Plus at that price, you can't really go wrong!

    Most importantly I love how you write about your family and your adventures and I am amazed at what you accomplish!

  3. My kids are a little bit younger, so I love any glimpse into what life is like with bigs. You seem to cultivate such a warm and adventuresome family life so well for your kiddos! Its inspiring.
    One note: It took me decades (seriously, decades) to convert to morning work outs. I'm still not great at executing, but I am completely sold on the idea that the day goes better if I work out first thing. I have so much energy and I feel so much calmer. Maybe start trying an AM workout one day per week (Monday?) and see if it works for you.

  4. Even if you only blog once every few months, I know many of us would love for you to keep it up! I started reading when you were pregnant with Landon! So I feel as if my family and I have almost grown with yours!

  5. Haaaaaaate working out first thing in the morning. I started walking to work, which, while certainly better than nothing, does not leave me in the fantastic shape I desire to be in. So, I feel your pain on this one big time. My husband saw your husband's swimming article and was like, "Isn't this the guy who's married to that blog lady?" He is really an inspiration -- not that I or he is going to shoot for Olympic caliber athletic goals any time soon. It's still very cool, and you guys should be so proud!