Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Happiness Project: October

I'm sure my five readers (hey dad!) have been dying to know how September's Happiness Project went.
September's theme was "Restore My Body" with an emphasis on daily yoga, better posture and a bedtime.

Daily yoga evolved into a daily trip to the gym once I was cleared for exercise, so I'm still counting it!
As for my posture... it still needs some help but at least when I had poor posture this past month I thought to myself, "gosh my posture is terrible right now," and sometimes I fixed it... and sometimes I didn't.
But at least I was aware! The first step to solving my problem.
And about that bedtime. I don't really want to talk about it.

So... it's October! I think everyone has some pretty serious heart eyes for the month of October (even if our trees in Arizona don't shed their leaves until like January, or they don't shed leaves at all. Or they're cacti so, you know.)
Anyway, my theme for October is ORGANIZATION!

(don't worry -- this is not my house.)

I'm a pretty organized person, but Jason seriously puts me to shame.
The man owns a labeler for heaven's sake!
We did some major reorganization before Wells was born (#nesting) but this weekend we have been moving into a new place so it's time to re-reorganize!
I'm super excited. Like I can't wait to get in there and label my little heart out.
I also can't wait to go to The Container Store with a purpose.

So, here are my goals for October's Organization!

Have a place for everything
Make my closet a happy place to be

(I would have taken a photo of my "junk drawer" for you, but I boxed it up this morning. Let's just say it did not look like this!)

Have a place for everything
Someone (Jason) told me once that you know you're truly organized if someone asked you for any specific item in your house and you could find it for them in the dark. I know there are some haters out there who think organization is unnecessary and a waste of time, but I'm pretty sure the time it takes to get organized is recouped ten-fold in the time we get back trying to find our keys! I've also found that when we establish habits for ourselves and our environment it frees up our minds to focus on more important things. When hair ties, paperclips and receipts all have a home it makes cleaning up so much easier because we don't even have to think "where should I put this?" The times I've felt most efficient and effective in my life have been the times I've been the most organized.

Make my closet a happy place to be
A closet is something we spend time looking through every day -- which can be a lovely experience or a stressful one. My closet is somewhere in the middle right now. It's not horribly unorganized, but I've been meaning to color-code it for the past two years and haven't gotten around to it, and something about a color-coded closet just feels right... even if I basically just have a "blue" section and a "white" section. I'm serious. I'm always at a loss for what to wear on Saint Patrick's Day. Also, I want to get ride of every. wire. hanger. That is all.

Who needs stuff anyway? This girl is totally be happy with just a white dress and an alfalfa field.

I really want to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up because I've heard it does a great job of encouraging us to simplify! I've always had this deep desire to stay mobile, which means I don't love accumulating things as it is. That being said though, I definitely need a good purge every once and a while. Simpler living and not defining ourselves by possessions keeps helps us prioritize what's most important in life. I also feel like simplifying applies to the kitchen. I'm totally cool with finding a few meals I really love and mostly just sticking to those -- while still trying out one new recipe a week -- for the sake of easy grocery shopping and less food going unused.

Wish me luck!

Two months of Wells!

And just like that little Wells is two months old!
The second month of his life was spent mostly in a baby wrap as I toted him around to Distinguished Young Woman rehearsals (literally ALL day long -- he was such a champ!) and furniture shopping.
The biggest distinction between his first month and his second is SMILING!
It melts my mama heart.
Throughout the day, I'll look down at him in my arms or sitting in his bouncer across the room, or standing like this like the little man he is
(he's obsessed with standing. it's kind of creepy sometimes.)
and he'll flash me a big, gummy smile and I feel things I never knew I could for him.
He has brought so much joy into my life and not a day goes by that I don't feel immense gratitude to be a mother, and also feel gratitude for my own mother and Jason's mother.

A part of Jeffrey R. Holland's general conference talk yesterday basically said it all.
He quote's a young mother who wrote him this in a letter:

"How is it that a human being can love a child so deeply that you will willingly give up a major portion of your freedom for it? How can mortal love be so strong that you voluntarily subject yourself to responsibility, vulnerability, anxiety and heartache, and just keep coming back for more of the same? What kind of mortal love can make you feel, once you have a child, that your life is never, ever to be your own again? Maternal love has to be divine, there is no other explanation for such feelings."

I couldn't have said it better myself.
That quote describes so much of what I am just beginning to understand in motherhood.
Yes, it takes me 2 hours -- sometimes longer -- to leave the house instead of 30 minutes.
Yes, I am exhausted and haven't had a full night's sleep in months.
Yes, I did voluntarily give up much of the "freedom" I once had.
And yes, I would do it all again.

I mean come on, just look at that little face!

I love you baby boy. Even more today than I did yesterday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Happiness Project: September

Have you read this book?

If so, you probably understand why I want to start my own Happiness Project! This book is incredibly inspiring and the premise is simple: focus on one area of your life each month that you would like to make improvements in and continue that pattern for a full year.

I also feel like now is a great time for me to begin this project because from what I've heard, transitioning to motherhood is challenging (and wonderful!) for various reasons. One of those reasons could be that as moms we set aside our own needs and desires because there's an adorable tiny person who needs our constant love and attention! If this gets too extreme, we become depleted and long for the growth and achievement we seemed to have so readily before motherhood. A happiness project is a simple way to check in with ourselves, set goals and celebrate growth!

While considering many areas I could focus on for the month of September, I ultimately decided on my body. Nine months of pregnancy and recovering from delivery can make you feel like your body has sort of been hijacked, so for September I am choosing to "Restore My Body". This restoration will not involve before and after photos or really a focus on the exterior of my body at all, but will instead revolve around these three sub categories:

- Improve my posture
- Practice yoga daily
- Give myself a bedtime

Improve my posture
I've found that how I sit or stand has a major effect on how I think and ultimately how I act. When I sit with good posture, I feel energized which allows me to think more clearly, work efficiently and feel inspired. It's really amazing how it's all connected! Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, has a saying that we should "act the way we want to feel," and good posture demonstrates that principle.

It's safe to say my decent posture has slowly deteriorated over the past few years. Growing up I did a lot of three things: singing, dancing and playing the piano. All require a certain form of posture, and maintaining it in pretty much every area of my life wasn't even something I had to think about it. When I went to college, however, I got lazy with my sitting posture. I spent more time than ever hunched over a computer studying at the library and before I knew it the little muscles that let me sit decently without thinking were nowhere to be found! I tried to do better, but it was always a major effort. Cue graduation and a full time job where I spent most of my time on a computer editing video footage for two years, and I would come home every single day with an aching neck and upper back. Add pregnancy to that mix... yikes!

Needless to say, it's time for me to buckle down on my posture. This month I'm going to sit up a little straighter and be more aware of my posture at all times.

Practice yoga daily
The first time I went to a yoga class I was about 14 years old. I thought it was the weirdest, most boring thing in the world and told myself I didn't need it. Somehow, I found myself in "yogalates" (yoga + pilates) a few months later and absolutely fell in love with it! From then on I did a mix of yogalates and yoga through high school and college. While I do find it difficult sometimes to want to slow my mind down enough to enjoy a full yoga class, I always leave feeling so glad that I went.

In Utah, Jason and I had a yoga membership, and when we moved to Arizona we wanted to save money so we bought this app for $3.99 and I love it just as much! I love that I can do a quick 15 minute session before bed, or 30 minutes in the morning before I shower during Wells' nap, rather than always having to drive to a studio and do an entire hour or 90-minute class. I highly recommend it!

I'm hoping that practicing yoga daily will help me feel more energized (and relaxed, funny how that happens!) while strengthening and stretching my muscles -- which should improve my posture as well.

Give myself a bedtime
After a month of going to bed at midnight (or later), waking up every 2-4 hours and sleeping at weird times during the day (pre-dinner nap anyone?), it's time to get my body on a more regular schedule! Wells pretty much does the same thing every evening so I have no excuse not to hop on a schedule right along with him. My goal is to be in bed with the lights out at 10:30. Jason and I both have kindles and enjoy reading a bit before bed, so that means we should be in bed reading at 10:00, so we can be asleep by 10:30.

One of the biggest (and silliest) hurdles for me to actually get to bed on time is getting ready for bed! Why is it that something so small can stop us from getting the rest we desperately need? Even when I'm exhausted, I will delay going to bed just because I don't want to floss. It makes no sense. Because of this I'm setting a goal to get ready for bed by 9:00 so I can have that last hour of the day to clean up, make sure Wells is settled and spend time with Jason.

Alright then, it's go time. My Happiness Project begins today! Actually it began yesterday, but I'm just writing about it today. I think that means I need a month dedicated to procrastination...