welcome ... enjoy yourself

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

30 before 30 (update)

In anticipation of celebrating my 30th birthday this Saturday, I revisited my 30 before 30 list last week.  You can do a quick scan down and see I didn't even check a third of my goals off my list.  A friend and I joked that 8 or 12 before 30 had just as nice a ring to it as 30 before 30 does.  At least that's what we'll tell ourselves.
So why did I accomplish so few of the goals I set for myself last April?  I think the big reason is that I simply got distracted.  Distracted by two major things and three kind of major things. Kind of major thing #1: deciding to travel to Iceland in September.  Kind of major thing #2: travelling to several cities in November to present on my Jesuit martyr paintings.  Kind of major thing #3: my artist in residence at Marquette and painting James Foley.  Major thing #1: a job/career change (and everything that went with that).  Major thing #2: getting pregnant (and everything that goes with that).   
Travelling to Iceland ensured that most of my other travel for the year would be very limited.  Travelling and presenting in November took a lot of my focus for the months of October and November - limiting travel time and time to do other simpler things from my list.  My artist in residence cancelled out the other major paintings I wanted to do.  The job/career change took a lot of my time, energy, and focus from about June to March - for reals.  And pregnancy...well pregnancy changed a whole lot of things and shifted a lot of my priorities. 
I say all of that more to myself than anyone else to make me feel a little better when looking at such an unfulfilled goal list.  The truth is that it was really hard to predict in April 2014 what my life would look like in April 2015.  I just didn't imagine the wonderful opportunities that would come my way this year.  I write goal lists in part to help give my life meaning and focus.  And sometimes life just takes on meaning on its own, and I've learned that it works out much better to get myself and my expectations out of the way when this happens. 
As I write this post and go through all the things that I did do this year, I'm totally fine with only checking 8 goals off my list.  I had a wonderful 29th year, and I'm so grateful that I'll that came my way.  I'll do another goal list for this next year, but they will be extremely paired down goals - in number as well as in scope.  I'll share those next week. 
Here are the goals I set out to achieve before my 30th birthday along with links if I wrote blog posts to go along with them. 
1. Finish decorating the apartment

2. Take a French class/do something French (kissing doesn’t count)

3. Read 5 classic books I never got around to reading (from list of 50 books I want to read)

4. Buy a magazine subscription

5. Camp on a beach

6. Stay the night in a yurt

7. Close Wolski’s (for real)

8. Make a go to recipe book

9. Update my blog (for real)

10. Make my own ice cream flavor

11. 30 days apartment photos

12. Fill sketchbook

13. Photo albums: wedding, Europe, Papa 

14. Hike Ice Age Trail (We hiked this right before my morning sickness hit!  Looking at these pictures makes me feel a little nauseas!)

15. Do a weekend getaway out of the Wisconsin travel book

16. Visit a new state

17. Save for retirement

18. Read news habitually

19. Host a dress up party

20. Learn to make a fancy dessert (like macarons or truffles) 

21. Do the big paintings (Romero and Fr. Greg)

22. Organize my files!!

23. Create a garden oasis on our front porch

24. Do something irresponsible (like get a tattoo)

25. Go to the zoo

26. Travel to New Orleans

27. Dip my toes in Lake Superior 

28. Visit a state park

29. Fly a kite

30. Make a fancy dinner
Thanks for reading! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

portland (in iphotos)

A few weeks ago, Paul and I went to Portland to visit family and friends and celebrate the anticipated arrival of our first baby.  While we were there we walked under the cherry trees along the Willamette River...

tried out a new coffee shop...

soaked in all the spring vibes and blooming flowers...

enjoyed breakfast at my favorite French bakery...

and had a mini babymoon at the Crystal Hotel (the lounge pool was the best!)....

The few days we spent in Portland were so rejuvenating and restful.  I had no idea how much my body and spirit needed warm weather and a mini vacation until I felt myself coming back to life.  One day at lunch I couldn't stop smiling and laughing - all because the weather was warmer, we were surrounded by friends, and we had a break from the past few busy months in Milwaukee.  The winters here really take a toll on me, and it's so nice to get away for a bit and feel like myself again.  More photos from our Portland baby shower coming this week! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

thoughts on pregnancy (28 weeks)

Welcome to the third trimester!  I hit 28 weeks this Saturday which means we have less than 12 weeks until we get to meet this little bambino!  There's still lots to do, and I have a feeling the next three months are going to fly by.  Here's some random thoughts on my pregnancy at 28 weeks:

- I finally look pregnant.  Like the pictures of pregnant ladies you see in advertisements, tv shows, and hospital posters (there's never pictures of pregnant ladies in their awkward pregnancy stages).  Random strangers can now tell I'm pregnant and not just super bloated.  For some reason, it makes me feel like I'm really pregnant now.  Funny how the way you look can influence how you feel.   

- Relatedly, people have been so kind about my pregnancy.  It's an excellent conversation starter.  Everyone is so happy to hear about a person starting a family.

- I feel the baby move all the time.  The baby loves moving in the morning and right before I go to bed -- and anytime I sit down or lay down.  Sometimes the baby hits me on both sides of my stomach at the same time.  Baby - how do you do that??  You're already impressing me.

 - I love resting things on my stomach.  My hands, food, the Ipad.  It's really fun when the baby moves and kicks/punches whatever is resting on my stomach. 

- I'm starting to let go of former responsibilities.  I gave up my role as the community garden leader since the baby will be born right in the middle of the garden season.  I'll still garden, but I'll just help out at the garden when/if I can.  I also stopped one of my part time jobs a few weeks ago, so I'll just be working about 25 hours a week until the baby comes.  I'm really excited to have extra time to set up the baby nursery, exercise more, and focus on eating healthier.  I'm very grateful to be able to lower my stress and build my strength in my last trimester. 

- In anticipation of upcoming baby showers, Paul and I started our baby registry a few weeks ago.  I was a little nervous about it because it seemed pretty overwhelming, but it was actually a lot of fun. I took care of the smaller items, and Paul picked out the big ticket items (crib, stroller, car seat).  I was so glad I didn't have to research those big things!

- We're in the middle of baby shower season.  We had a St. Patrick's Day baby shower with Paul's family last week in Portland, and I really felt showered with love.  In the next few weeks I'll have a couple more showers with my family and a virtual one with friends.  It's such a gift to share our excitement with family and friends.  This baby is already so loved and wanted and welcomed.  
- I'm starting to like my body again.  Even with the stomach stretch marks and my inability to tie my shoes and my extra poundage.  The coolness of my growing belly is starting to balance out the awkwardness of my other bodily changes. 

- I found another great book that's been super helpful - this time for my fear of childbirth.  When we hit the 12 week mark, and it looked pretty hopeful that we would have a healthy baby I had two simultaneous thoughts.  One: thank God!  Two: that means I have to give birth!  Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth has been really helpful in helping me let go some of my fears.  Her midwife approach to birth has really opened my eyes to the beauty of childbirth.  I love that she reminds you over and over that pregnancy is not a pathology but something natural that women have been able to do for thousands of years.  It's made me feel more open to trying some natural birthing techniques instead of just opting immediately for an epidural.  We'll see what happens :) 

- In my last update I talked about some of the struggles I had been having with my pregnancy.  After writing that post, I realized that I wasn't letting myself feel pregnant.  I wasn't letting myself embrace the pregnancy for a lingering fear that someone would tell me I wasn't actually pregnant.  Or that one day I would just suddenly get my period.  Part of it was the earlier miscarriage and part of it was going to the doctor that first time and not getting a positive test -- and part of it was a bit of that childhood naivety that you'll never actually get older, never actually be able to be a parent yourself.  Pregnancy is truly a huge emotional and mental journey. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

welcome to spring!!!

Last week Paul and I travelled to Portland for a quick visit.  Spring was in full bloom, and the warm weather (60s) was such a welcome change from the weather we had been having in Wisconsin (20s-30s).  If you've ever experienced a winter up north, you probably know the de-thawing feeling that comes with spring.  After spending all winter bracing yourself against the cold, you can suddenly let your body relax.  You can be outside without wearing multiple parkas.  You finally feel the warm sunshine on your skin instead of biting winds.  The return of spring feels like a little miracle every year.  

I'm so glad I had a few days of daffodils, tulips, and cherry blossoms, because we returned to Wisconsin to more clouds and cold.  As I'm writing this, we're getting a fresh sprinkling of snow.  I'm crossing my fingers and toes that it's the last of the season!  

Eight winters up north (one in Syracuse, two in Chicago, five in Milwaukee), and I've yet to master surviving winter happily.  I worked on thriving last year - and I'm glad I did - because without that intention I think I could have slunk into a very unhappy place.  This year the cold and snow hit later than usual, and it doesn't seem to want up to let up just yet.  It really feels like a marathon of cold, and I always hit my wall right around mid February - just when I still have at least another six weeks of cold weather ahead of me.  

But all of that aside, it's officially spring!  There's tulip leaves popping out of the snow, the biggest snow piles have melted, and the ground at my community garden plot has thawed!   We'll have color and life here before too long, and I'll finally feel like myself again.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

spring fever

Is anyone else feeling winter blues?  Fantasizing about beaches or gardens or issuing an arrest warrant for Puxatony Phil?   

Winter blues hit me hard a few weeks ago.  One day, I suddenly was just completely finished with cold and snow and clouds and coats and boots and empty trees.  I started physically aching for spring.  A look through old pictures of flowers and warm weather almost starting making cry I wanted it so bad.  I'm sure the pregnancy hormones are partly to blame, but this also seems to happen to me every year.  Luckily the feelings never have to last too long, because inevitably spring always seems to show up again.   

This intense spring fever is hitting during one of the busiest time of my pregnancy.  I wrapped up one of my part time jobs last week, and I just finished day 3 of 13 days in a row of retreat leading.  I'm very happy that in just ten more days, I'll be down to working thirty hours a week and will finally have some time to get things in order for our June baby delivery.  

An upside of my current busyness has been a distraction from spring fever.  I don't live in Boston or Maine, but I do live in Wisconsin which should be synonymous with never ending winter.  I know humans have adapted to live in many climates around the world, but I don't think I've adapted yet to living in six months of winter.  

Another nice distraction was the small Oscars party Paul and I hosted for some friends a couple of weeks ago.  We had Oscar cookies, plenty of sparkles, and prediction ballots.  It was very simple, but things like that seem to be necessary in the darkest times of the year.  

Other ideas for surviving winter: 
- 20 tips for thriving in winter
- end of winter survival
- winter photo album