A Mindful 2015

I hate new years resolutions. I get that it’s a good time to drop bad habits and gain some good ones, but I always struggle with doing it right after the let down of Christmas.

A few weeks ago, I had something hanging over my head. It was this crummy feeling that I couldn’t shake and no amount of talking it out, waiting it out, crying it out, dancing it out would make it go away. Finally, late one evening I just sat in silence. I realized what was at the heart of the issue and then made a decision to move past. Listening to my brain think (as odd as that sounds) and my heart talk was all I needed to loose that heavy feeling and feel better.

So for 2015, I’m resolving for more meditation. I’m not a quiet person (somewhere in downtown Phoenix, Peter is laughing in agreement) so sitting and or being quiet is not really in my nature. I did a little research on meditation and how to do it. Stupid, I know. But really, how do you meditate? What should I focus on? Not focus on? How should I breathe? For how long? I came across a really simple explanation of Mindful Meditation and how mindfully meditate. What I like most about this technique is that it’s very simple. At the basic level, it’s taking account of your body; how it’s feeling, moving, breathing. Letting thoughts flow in and out of your mind…or not at all. It’s enough thought for those time when sitting still is hard and not so much thought that it’s not easy to follow. Just enough instruction that I will actually be able to do it.

And so far? It’s been awesome. Maybe it’s just getting a few deep breaths in while the kids are napping, maybe it’s just a minute of calm, but it’s been so energizing. Something about those 5-10 minutes makes a huge difference.

Now if I can just get this guy out of my lap while I’m meditating, I’ll be in business.


2012 Resolutions

I have never been much of a resolution maker – I’m just not patient enough to wait until the new year. If I’m going to make a change, it’s now or never!

Last year I decided I needed to get serious about volunteering and also about our garden. I failed miserable on the volunteering – Travis T. Dog was just not up for visits to the nursing home and when we lost him in March, that was it for Pets On Wheels. I am however, a Room Mom and on a few fundraising committees at B’s school – a little too self-serving to be considered serious volunteering, but it’s a start.

I did do much much better with the gardening. I managed to keep our tomato plants alive all summer. That is not a small feat in the Arizona heat – not to mention this past one was the third hottest in history. I may have looked like a freak with a double layer of shade screen AND an umbrella, but damn if those tomatoes aren’t producing a second round of fruit right now! The lettuce table is on round two now and there is only minimal frost damage on our plants (so far….) so I think I’m winning on this end.

I’ve still got some more work to do – I am a bonified killer of rose bushes. I think I’m up to 5 now. Which is embarrassing. I’ve got a theory about their untimely deaths and I think the solution lies in 1. a new tree and 2. a super cool sail shade that will stretch from the wall to the roof of the garage. Details to follow…

2012 brings a new round of resolutions: first, to be more spontaneous. I like a schedule and I despise unpredictability. I also don’t like being bored so we plan a lot of things to do and places to go. But because of that, we’re rarely available to meander down the street and play with our neighbors. Or go for a walk with our friend and her baby. I decided I need to do more in less time and let some things fall off / get re-prioritized. If we end up having frozen pizza for dinner instead of a home cooked meal because we decided the park was just too fun to leave, then that’s ok. I don’t think Bay will be traumatized too badly and if she is, well then she’ll have more to talk about in therapy.

Which leads me to my next resolution: cook more, less often. I tend to make way too much of any meal because PW and I like having leftovers for lunches. But I am going to make even a little more than usual so that I can throw a tupperware into the freezer. That way we get a home cooked dinner, but without the extra time to make it.

Simple resolutions? Maybe. But they will hopefully have a lasting impact that will mean happy and even more fulfilling moments with our family. Happy 2012!!

My Resolutions For The New Year

I really don’t like resolutions. I feel like they make what is already a sad time of year worse. There’s nothing more depressing than knowing the fun, socializing, decorating, getting and giving, drinking and eating of the holidays are over and now I’m supposed to add a new and undoubtedly unfun thing into my life too? No gracias.

Thankfully for me, I don’t have any vices I’m willing to give up. We’re planning to have more kids some day so I’ll give up the drinking then – why put off that good bottle of wine on a random Thursday night now? I don’t smoke so I’ve got a big check mark next to that resolution and I wear sunscreen and my seatbelt so we’re good there too. I already work out and I’m near wedding weight so that’s covered. I already pinch our pennies, clip coupons and work any discount possible so that’s out.

The two things I’ve come up with are actually very fun resolutions so the chances of sticking with them are good. First, I need to get back into volunteering more. I love Pets On Wheels as written about in Give A Little Bit, but I’ve gotten away from it because it can be a hassle wrangling Travis T. Dog and the kiddo into the car and then through the nursing home. Last time we were there, a resident was coloring which Bay was all to happy to help out with. It’s always a toss up whether someone is a baby person or a dog person and this lady was not a baby person. It was a little exhausting getting B out of her room without the markers and with little screaming. But I think I build it up too much in my head and need to just take it for what it is. If we stay for 45 or 15 minutes, that’s good enough and that’s what I need to focus on.

Second, I’m going to get serious about growing our garden. I love to be in the yard and I love to grow beautiful flowers, but I tend to become a slacker on fruits and veggies once it starts to get hot and requires more work to keep the plants producing and or alive. But I really want Baylie to know that food doesn’t come from the grocery, but from the ground. So in addition to the two beautiful new rose bushes I got for Christmas, we’re going to plant carrots and scallions in the same planter. Then our usual two tomatoes, but I’m going to put in some serious effort to keep them alive past May. The jalapeno and sweet pepper that already exist and produce despite zero attention are going to get some serious TLC. Peter is building us a Martha Stewart inspired lettuce table that will be home to spinach, red leaf, butter lettuce and also strawberries – it’s my damn lettuce table and if I want it to be a lettuce and strawberry table, so be it.

Lastly, as soon as it’s warmer than 60 degrees out, B and I are going to plant the flower bulbs that I put out every year. Growing up, we always had pots of bulbs in the windows of our house. There was nothing prettier to me than the little green shoots on a dark, cold morning. Something about them made me feel like it wasn’t going to be cold and dark forever because spring was just around the corner.

I think any more than this amount of self improving would be like trying to make a sunset prettier…it would just be too much 😉