Our top quarantine hacks

Please know that I say this with all the eye rolls.  I’m not winning at quarantine.  I’m not a life hacker.  These are just some things that are working for us right now.

As a recap, we are under the Movement Control Order here in Malaysia so we’re not going outside at all.  One family member leaves as little as possible for essentials (grocery store, pharmacy).

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My word for 2019

It’s that time of year.  Resolutions and planning.  If you are into that sort of thing.  (I am into that sort of thing.)  If you don’t think January is an arbitrary start time.  If you find planning and goal setting helpful.

I initially thought that this would not be a big goal year for me.  We’re having a baby any day now.  My main goal is enjoying the baby and figuring out how three kids works.  Seeing if we can move from surviving to thriving in this new scenario.

BUT, after some discussion with a fellow resolution loving friend, I started to think that this could be EXACTLY the time to have some clear goals.  Things are going to get a little crazy.  If there is anything I can be doing to clarify mission, that is probably good.

I put together some priorities for the year and noticed a theme.  Are you ready for the word?  It’s . . .

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18 for 2018

Argh.  This annoys me.  I was writing this post and it somehow didn’t save.  So I’m trying again, but whatever I’m writing probably won’t be as good at all.  This is just a haphazard, sloppy second effort.

Or MAYBE it will be even better because I’ve had time to think on the topic more.  Really craft my sentences in a way that will be pleasing to all of your senses.  Sadly, we’ll never know because I can’t ever show you the posts side by side.

Let’s get this one published before it somehow deletes again, shall we?  Moving on.

This is one of my favorite times of year.  I love love love talking about goals, resolutions, dreams, and all that stuff.  I like to talk about these things any time, but in January most people also want to talk about that stuff too.

As we all know, there are about a million ways you can do resolutions.  A one word theme for the year.  A straight up list.  Monthly goals or themes.  Quarterly goals.  You name it.  Someone is doing it.

On a recent Happier podcast, Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft talked about a list of 18 for 2018.  (You can see their lists and hear the episode here.)  I like this.  18 is manageable.  You can have a mix of big things and little things.  Fun things and serious things.

It took me longer than I expected to put my list together.  (You’ve already seen some of mine if you follow me on Instagram.)  I have TONS of things I want to do, but I realized that I didn’t want to put something on the list unless I actually want to do it.  Maybe want isn’t the right word.  I want to do all of these things.  But if it’s on the list, I’m GOING to do it.

I also wanted to only put things on the list in my control.  For example, “Get a Book Deal” does NOT belong on the list.  I can work on this, but I can’t control the outcome.  You’ll notice for some of my fitness stuff that I’m just trying to work on it.  I wanted to put “nose to the ground in a pancake straddle stretch,” but I can’t control that.  I’ll work really hard on it.  Hopefully it will get better.  And THAT’S the goal.  That’s all I can do.

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January Goal Check In


You know what’s SUPER weird?  Groundhog Day.  Try explaining that to a two and four year old.  Seriously.  You sound like a crazy person.

First, what is a groundhog?  Uh, it’s like a beaver without the tail.  They live in the ground.  I don’t know why we call them hogs.

Yeah, yeah, we grab this groundhog out of the ground and he predicts the weather.  That’s legit.   But Batman is fake.  Go figure.

Happy Belated Groundhog Day everyone.

A little bit late, but I’m trying to do a check in on my 2017 goals.  Accountability!

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Looking back at 2016


2016 was a big year.  A pretty good year, I’d say overall.

We had some aggressive travel goals, and I’m pleased with how it turned out.  We did big trips to Sicily, Marrakesh, Lake Garda, and the BalkansWe tagged along with James to Malta, and we did a bonus trip to Vienna.  We did plenty of weekends and day trips as well to places like Abruzzo, Viterbo, and Naples.

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Goals for this Whole30

So I’m on Whole30 Day number three.  I’ve decided to consciously uncouple from caffeine (again), and I’ve FINALLY stopped with the splitting afternoon headaches.  Huzzah!

Other than that, things don’t feel so different than usual other than possibly spending even more time on food prep because James is whole30-ing as well, and I’m trying to send him out the door with lunch and breakfast.

This is my first whole30 where I really am more focused on nonscale victories (NSVs).

I am hoping to:

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Goals for 2016

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New year.  New slate.  I know some people aren’t into resolutions, but I like the chance to step back, reassess, and commit myself on new paths.  I still need to do some wrap ups on 2015 (I actually hit some of last year’s goals!), but since we’re already (almost a month!) into 2016, might as well start there.

(Hmm, I also already seem to have used my allotted exclamation point quota up before the first paragraph.  I’d make it a goal to stop, but, yeah, no.)

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Goals for 2015

Well, I looked back on 2014, but I forgot to mention my favorite song:

You’re welcome.  And now on to 2015!  Instead of resolutions, I’m trying for some goals.  You may be getting quarterly updates on these.  You know, just to keep me honest.

Blogging/Writing Goals

Stockpile some posts.  A lot of my blogging is done in real time.  Nap time rolls around, I sit at the computer and share with you immediately.  Sometimes this is fine, but it is not always ideal.  Some topics I’d like to think about a little more.  Sometimes we travel and I can’t write a post.  I like to vary the content so you don’t get just kids or just food on any given week.  This would all be easier to do if I built up some post reserves.  The goal is to have some posts that I can choose from instead of feeling pressure to get a finished product out every day.

Make the blog look prettier.  You may have noticed some site updates.  I am hoping to continue to upgrade.  Until now, my goal has been content, content, content.  I wanted to get on a regular posting schedule, and I generally have.  Creating posts was more of a priority than having a slick-looking platform.  Now I’d like to make the whole thing a little easier on the eyes and easier to use.

Group blog content in a more helpful way.  I’m working on creating a travel resources page.  I’ll also try to work on other ways to organize content so that it may be of use to you.

Read 4 books on writing.  I’ve read Bird by Bird, but I really haven’t read much else on writing.  I love to read.  Getting through a book on writing each quarter should not be a hardship.

Read more about blogging.  I’ve been down a rabbit hole on Blog Tyrant over the last few days.  There is so much I know nothing about.  I’m sort of shocked that I figured out a “.com” way to blog.  This goal is a bit loosey goosey, but I want to get better.

Submit a piece of writing to another platform.  The goal is not necessarily to have the writing published somewhere (something I can’t really control) or to be paid for writing.  I just want to make myself send something somewhere.

Kid Goals

Potty train the toddler.  He turns 3 this fall.  I’m not pushing the potty agenda yet.  I’ve heard that boys generally train later.  But I’d love to cut down our diaper consumption at some point this year.

Get the baby sleeping through the night.  Mac generally still gets up once a night.  Some mights it is closer to 6:00; not really complaining about those.  Some nights it is more like 4:00 am.  Not cool.  I get that a lot of this goal is outside of my control, but I’d like to keep working on it.

Get some childcare.  I mentioned before that we’d like to get some baby parking for Henry a morning or two each week.  Mostly because I think he will love it and it will be good to get some Italian language exposure.  I’m not in a rush on Mac, but later this year I’d like to have some system for some kid-free time for me.  It would be good to have some time to take a language class, exercise, do more writing, wander the city, etc.

Be braver on morning outings.  Up to now, we’ve stuck closer to home so that Mac could get a good morning nap in his crib.  He still naps, but he is starting to be a little more of a pill about it.  I think we may start to venture more far flung and Mac can nap on the go if he needs it.  Morning adventure should get easier as it warms up this year.  I’d like to get zoo annual passes, check out the children’s museum, get comfortable with the kids on public transportation, and more.

Health Goals

Build exercise into my routine.  My real goal is to lose the last few pounds from the last baby, but I’m trying to work on process goals instead of the end result.  I still haven’t made exercise a priority, and I need to.  The goal is to try to figure out a time when I can run and to make myself get up earlier for other exercise, like pilates.

Build a paleo(ish) meal plan.  I don’t mind repetition in food.  We end up eating a lot of the same things anyway.  My goal is to have a week or two of meals all planned out so that I can have a ready-to-go grocery list that will equal a meal game plan for the week.  I say paleo-ish because I’m ok with some beans and cheese.  If I get this one figured out, I’ll be sure to share!

Cook for leftovers.  I’ve written before that I struggle on making healthy and tasty lunches.  Leftovers would really help on this front.  For some reason, I struggle on making more for dinner the night before.  I aim to fix this.  I’m eying recipes for soups, frittatas, and slow cooker meals that should result in a better lunch than yogurt.

Cut down on added sugar and gluten at home.  If I can ever get the holiday sweets out of the house, I’m going to try to adhere to a “treats are for outside the house” mentality.  Same for gluten.  Pasta and pizza are OK for when we are out, but we will try to avoid at home.  The Italians make better pasta and pizza than I ever could anyway.  This goal will never reach 100% compliance, but I do want it to be the goal.

Other Goals

Hang up the rest of the pictures.  The goal was to hang up everything before our friends visited at the end of the year.  We have been making excellent progress, but a few left.  Maybe can finish before my mom gets here next month?

Behold my frame wall!

Behold my frame wall!

Make more time for email.  Being away from people is hard.  But in a way it has been good because I’m emailing with some people more than we got to talk when living in the same country.  And then I drop the ball.  Some days life just feels like kids and blog.  I need to carve out time for my correspondence.

Do a big trip each quarter.  That list isn’t going to see itself.

Tackle those neglected corners of the house.  Most things are put away, but a few spots need some work.

The corner of my bedroom where things go to die.

The corner of my bedroom where things go to die.

Make a photo book for 2014.  I actually need to make photo books for every year except 2007, but this seems like a more realistic goal.

Well, that should keep me busy.  Do you have goals?  Resolutions?  Resolutions still intact?  How is it already Jan. 20!