Lovely Letters – Part I

I have committed to participating in a snail mail event this month: Lovely Letters Snail Mail Exchange (you can see my badge on the side bar). There are a few reasons I wanted to do this: I love the art of letter writing (between the ages of 11-15, my friends and I used to write letters to each other all summer long), I used to be an avid collage artist, I thought participating might help me channel some of the creative energy I have. The only problem …TIME. Oh, that pesky thing!

Many of you know I am an older new mom (you know ‘AMA’ status previously referred to as ‘geriatric pregnancy’ – 35 is NOT old people!!! 🙂 thank you for letting me vent) and I have apparently given birth to a barnacle who sticks to me like glue. I haven’t been able to finish a book in 7 months much less take a shower in peace. I am not complaining. I think I will be very sad when my barnacle doesn’t need mommy all the time, so I am viewing this as just another challenge to find a creative solution for. A few months ago I would have just stayed up later and worked on my project with Baby J sleeping in my lap. With 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. workouts, staying up late isn’t happen’n!

So…I am planning on finishing my snail mail this evening after a Board of Director’s meeting and dinner. Since it is my first ever snail mail project, I am cutting myself some slack. It was supposed to be in the mail today, but I think it will make it tomorrow.If you like snail mail and think you have the interest and time to participate in one of these events, here is the link:Lovely Letters.

My blog pal for this month is Sarah over at Say Hello. I like her sense of humor. She and I were randomly matched up by Esther, the creator of Lovely Letters and we have a bit in common. We were both raised on the east coast and have both lived in Colorado; pretty neat! Can’t wait to see what Sarah sends me!

Good Karma

While I was nominated for this award some time back, it has come around again like good karma :-). I would like to thank Less Poetree for nominating my blog.  You should visit her page, it’s visually mesmerizing and relaxing at the same time.

For those who may not be familiar with The One Lovely Blog award,in short it is a beacon of encouragement for new bloggers and helps them find a broader connection with other bloggers. The guidelines for accepting the award are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  • Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog

In passing on the goodness and fun of this award, here are 7 different Facts About Me than I told you the first time.

1. I believe in ghosts and am intrigued by the paranormal
2. Sometimes I make homemade frosting just to eat it – without cake
3. I have visited 37 of the 50 United States
4. My favorite vegetable is the carrot
5. I have always saved my money (my mother would clean my room when I was little and she would find dollar bills stashed in various places).
6. The country I want to visit the most is New Zealand
7. My super power: I make milk!

My nominees for this award (in no particular order) are below.  I know it can be time-consuming to accept a blog award so no pressure to take part. I am also only adding 5 (not 15) at this time. I will likely come back to this but for now, these are some blogs I have stumbled upon recently. Enjoy & Happy Blogging!

The Contemporary Modernist
 Your Unique Frequency
Glitter Thrift
Not Buying New
 Devalayer Mail

Three Posts Thursday – so much happend in a week

It’s already been one week since my last post; how does time seem to go by so fast? I wanted to share my top three posts of the day, in no particular order. There seems to be some upheaval on WP related to Opinionated Man’s blog. Without his blog, many of us would be clueless as to how to be social on WP and gain mutal followers, as well as the value of thoughtful comments and ‘likes’. I hope the WP community can hang tight.

Happy almost TGIF. I hope you enjoy the posts.

❤ & ☮
Erin @123

3 posts for January 15, 2015
downhomethoughts.com – 1000speak challenge
theefficiencyproject – from-pride-to-smug-and-the-battle-to-stay-motivated
doncharisma – this-is-a-very-sad-day-for-blogging

Three Posts Thursday

Having been blogging for a few months now, I have noticed many blogs with alternative posting styles for certain days of the week. There is “Silent Sundays” where the blogger will post a photo or a quote. Similarly there is “Wordless Wednesday”. There are recaps of the 5 things that brought you happiness that week, etc…While I was reading some great posts in the reader this morning it occurred to me that I would like to share some of these posts and spread a little blog love. You can see where my thoughts went next….yep… why not create a space during the week where I can post a few of my favorite posts that I read that day. I am calling this “THREE POSTS THURSDAY” and I even made a badge for it. This blogging101 thing is really paying off!

I may not do this every Thursday and I may decide to include posts I read during the week, not just that day. But for now, these post were my favorites of the day. You may enjoy them too…

Here is my very first Three Posts Thursday:January 8, 2015

ohshecooks – can-cheese-be-cheese-without-dairy
orangemarmaladebooks – one-darling-mouse-one-curious-cat
bubblesandbooyah -jar-o-booyah

Happy blogging!

<3,
Erin@123

Dog walking in -4 degree weather

Upon waking up to a crisp -4 degrees this morning, I was happy for two things. One, we have been doing the T25 workouts so we did not have to physically leave the house this morning. Two, it was toasty warm in our room since my husband recently put plastic over the windows to keep out the draft. Since I have promised my dog and made it a new year’s resolution to walk her every. single. day. I layered up after my cool down and out the door we went.

Feeling the chill when I opened the door, she was a little hesitant but went with it. I knew in this weather we were not going to walk far, a few houses maybe. Her breed is actually the national dog of Malta. While she loves to play in the snow she loves warmth and sun even more. Four houses down and back with a few sniffing tangents along the way and our pup was already limping from the cold. I brought her inside and cupped her paws in my warm hands (which she always seems greatful for) then served her breakfast. I would say she is one happy pup.

Workout done. Dog walk done. It’s now 7:46 a.m. and it’s up to -3 degrees. Schools are delayed 2 hours due to the chill. I plan to stay warm and cozy as I work from home today. I hope you stay warm and cozy as well. Happy Thursday…it’s almost Friday. 🙂

Blogging 101: Say hello to your neighbors.

I love this exercise and am glad to do it again. In fact I do this at least once a week. I love to find new blogs to follow. Since completing this assignment the first time around, I still use the “blogging101” tag to find blogs. New bloggers are out there everyday and some of their ideas, content, and blog designs are fantastic.

Other tags I like to explore using the Word Press Reader are “frugal”, “gluten-free”, “creativity”, and “babies”. Go ahead. Try typing a topic that interests you and see what blogs come up. I liken this to a treasure hunt. When I find a like-minded blogger I know I’ve struck gold. I also use their blog roll to find other interesting bloggers out there.

Blogging is social, even for those of us who identify as introverts …so we may as well have fun and dig around the thousands of blogs here at WP to find interesting, entertaining, and meaningful stuff…to us.

Have a favorite blog? Feel free to share the blog in the comments section below. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. Happy blogging!

Blogging 101: Again

When I began this blog in September I joined the WP Blogging University so I could figure out what blogging was all about. I kept up with about 2/3rds of the assignments so I decided to take the Blogging101 course again and actually complete it this time. I have to admit, I am a little resistant to some of the activities. But knowing myself well, the places I feel the most resistance are the places I need to learn, grow, or change the most.

The frist assignment:

Today I am supposed to tell you “who I am and why I am here”. I guess I should tell you why I am still here. I started this blog as a way to document my family’s journey with a 123 day No takeout challenge. You can read about the original intent of this blog here. As our 4 months came to a close, we decided to challenge ourselves again, this time with exercise.

Who am I besides a fledgling blogger here on WP? To start, I am a 30 something – closer to 40 than I like to admit, wife, mother, stepmother, and dog mom. I have been called calm, shy, etherial, and a little bit ‘crunchy’. I maintain a gluten-free diet for health reasons (thank you HLA-DQ8), am a member of a CSA, our cooperative market, and the YMCA. I care very deeply about my health (physical and mental well-being). I care very deeply about my husband and our daughter. I love being a mom. I love to cook. I read as much as I can find the time and prefer nonfiction. I am very involved with non-profit work in my local community. I have a penchant for frugality and sustainability. I often ponder the BIG questions in life and see betterment of self a necessity for growth. Lastly, I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. I fear that I will be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of nothing.

Why am I here? Or should I say, why am I still here? I have wanted to start a blog for years but have never been able to narrow down my interests to focus on one thing to blog about. New bloggers often hear that we need to have a ‘focus’ to our blog, but as I have found here on WP, there are many people just dabbling and exploring with blogging, not tied to any one theme, purpose or focus. When my husband and I decided to eat  no takeout/restaurant food for 123 days, he suggested I try blogging about it. It seemed like the perfect way to get me started. Since I kind of enjoyed it, well…..here I am (still).

How about you? What made you enter the blogosphere? I would love to hear how you got started (leave a comment below).

Day 5: Self Investment

When the New Year begins and you have time away from the 9-5 and it’s the weekend – your goals seem pretty easy to meet. But in reality, meeting goals takes both mental and physical time. With a full time job, a seven month old baby, a dog and my heavy involvement in nonprofit community work; ‘free’ time can be scarce.
Since we are adding extra workouts into our schedule for our 123 exercise challenge, I know I need to get back to my 5 am routine. Baby J is well into a sleep patterns so it is doable. Despite feeling great 5 days into our challenge, I know I will battle the time crunch.
Other obstacles include:
1. Some mornings I am not going to want to move at 5am or 6 am…or at all.
2. I know there is a high probability my hip will give out on me (thank you scoliosis) and I will be tethered to walking and stretching for a few days.
3. It is January and the snow and cold will be an invitation to press the snooze button again and again.
4. The cat and dog snuggle around my legs at night making it difficult to physically maneuver my way out of bed in the morning.
5. Infants do not come with a sleep through the night guarantee (I have been taking her sleep and mine, for granted).

I can probably come up with a dozen more impending challenges most of which are mental more than physical. Despite road blocks ahead, as of today, five days moving my body feels great! Besides, most things worth doing in life take time. Why not spend that time investing in yourself?

Cut the noise.What??? I SAID… cut the NOISE!

I have seen a trend in my WP Reader over the first new days of 2015. Maybe it’s hope for the New Year ahead or maybe more people really are thinking about their quality of life. Call it focus, hope, aspiration, resolution, goals, authenticity, mindfulness, spiritual fitness, intention, getting *it* done, or whatever catch phrase fits your fancy. But I’ll tell ya – I LIKE IT!

I don’t want to get all ‘soap boxy’ on you but my soul feels stressssssed by the world. I am not interested in the new this and new that. I like a quiet atmosphere where I can realx. I am not a curmudgeon or a hermit. I simply do not enjoy sensory overload and all the noise (visual and auditory) that clogs our everyday.
I want to decrease the number of distractions that violate my space and time (Yes unwanted email spam coming to my cell phone in text format, I am talking to you. Do you really think I believe you when you tell me I have won a trip the Bahamas? Who sold you my number anyway?).

A few things I do intentionally to cut the noise and establish calm:
I do not own a smart phone. I have an old phone with a basic call/text plan. No data package.
I do not work beyond my required 37.5 hour week with my employer – ever!
I turn off the TV and read
I try to stay organized (I don’t let the mail pile up, I take care of clutter piles weekly, make to-do lists and cross them OFF!)
I unsubscribe from email lists that somehow found their way to my inbox via third party who wants me to buy something
I get to the gym. When I can manage to get 30 minutes of baby free time to myself to spin or run and it’s just me and my ipod it feels like thirty minutes of pure heaven. (me + ipod = <3)
I create a monthly menu. Meal planning takes me about 30 minutes and saves me much more time (and $) in grocery shopping and is more efficient than staring blankly into the refrigerator assessing what we could possibly eat that evening. Takeout is still no longer an option (Wooooohoooo!)

I would say spending a few minutes planning (e.g. making a few conscious decisions about my day, week, etc…) is what helps me the most. I am a systems person. If I can figure out the best system to use that will make my day, week, month, life less complicated, I will find it and apply it.

Are there things you do to help simplify your everyday? What is your system? I am always willing to learn from others and would love to hear your tips. Please share in the comments section below.

123 days: The Exercise Challenge

Now that we have 123 days of not eating takeout and restaurant food under our belt, we have decided to commence the new year with getting back to the gym like we did before Juliet was born. Our next challenge is 123 days of exercise.

Here is the gist:
We are committing to 123 consecutive days of movement. Since we are not bionic and aches and pains seem to plague my postpartum body, even if we can not commit to a full 30 minute workout (bike, run, elliptical, weight training, swimming), we vow to walk, do yoga, basically MOVE each day. And to ensure that I can not fail, one of my 2015 resolutions is 365 dog walks – because our beloved wild animal dog needs the extra exercise and deserves a little more TLC now that we have a human baby (not just a fur baby). Even if I just walk the dog to the corner, it counts. I aspire to work out 4-5 times per week for at least 30 mins, but any and all exercise will be great!

Additional goal:
As a couple, complete the full 10 weeks of the T25 workout.

Things to measure:
Miles we complete (monthly)
Time spent working out (daily/monthly)

Wish us luck! Building habit is part of our intentional life (health and wellness included). Today is day ONE.