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The Accountability Journey

Hello world!

You may be wondering what an accountability journey is. To be honest, it’s just a quick word combo my husband and I came up with while tossing ideas around in the car for a new blog I told him I wanted to start. Turns out, with the hustle that is our life, forcibly sitting next to one another while driving in the car is not only one of the few times we have to be “still” together, but it’s also when we have some of our most productive conversations. 

That’s great and all, but what does it mean? 

I’ve recognized over the past year (and through lots of therapy) that I am completely terrified of setting goals. When confessing my inadequacies to my husband he told me “but you finished college. That’s an accomplishment.” Sure, 12 years ago … and that never really felt like a goal to me. It was no different in my mind than graduating from high school; it was just something required of me. Following college, my only goal was to get a job. It was as generic as that. Since then that goal has changed to “keeping a job.” It was never to move up the ladder or improve my circumstances, always just to maintain the status quo.

After the past four years of stay-at-home mom life and self-employment, I’m so out of practice with the real world now that when I do set goals, if I mess up even a little I call the whole thing off and quit. Frustration and fury drive my actions and I’m easily overwhelmed. My therapist says I have a theme for life and it’s “all or nothing.” While it sounds romantic to give your all or expect it from others, it’s really unimpressive when you consider the “nothing” that comes with it.

So how does one change that? How do you go from “nothing” to “all” or live somewhere comfortably in between?

Why, through an Accountability Journey, of course! It’s a journal, but it’s also a journey! Get it?! This is my way to challenge myself and take the world along with me. Let’s face it, I need witnesses. My plan is to start small, with simple goals over short lengths of time that make hitting these marks highly achievable. A confidence booster phase, if you will. Once I get the hang of things and taste those tiny sips of accomplishment, I’ll want more, and more, and MORE and the goals will increase in longevity.

I’ll be setting a series of short and long-term goals over the course of the next year and documenting my experiences right here on this blog. Don’t worry, though. It won’t be as boring as it definitely sounds. 

And yes, I’m going to start this on January 1, because what’s more cliché than setting a new goal on New Years Day? If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this ALL. THE. WAY. 

So, there you have it. Join me on this journey. Hold me accountable and remind me to keep going even if I mess up a little. Clearly, I need the support. Challenge yourself, too, if you’d like! It’s time for me to hop off the struggle bus I’ve been riding and find a new way to do this life. 

Who’s with me?!

Post 9: Appreciating the Journey

I fell off the wagon, and I’m pretty sure the back wheel ran over me as it continued on its way, leaving me face down in the dirt.

And that’s completely fine. In fact, I waved as I watched that wagon disappear on the horizon.

After meeting with my therapist last week I realized that the prize of this process for me isn’t actually in achieving my goals, but rather is the appreciation for and focus on the journey. It is in my being mindful of my actions, how I manage my time, and what I’m choosing to prioritize.

For example, in recognizing that I have an incredibly hard time waking up in the morning, exhausted and tired even after more than 8 hours of sleep, I have since started taking vitamins. Iron, vitamin C, vitamin D and b-complex are now part of my morning routine. When I don’t take them, I figure it out about 2pm when my body is begging me to nap, even after many hours of sleep the night before. Serotonin levels, gut health, anxiety … all of these contribute negatively to energy levels and weight gain. Bad!

To help with this, my therapist and I discussed Successive Approximation and how putting it into practice could reshape my responses to specific situations. For instance, instead of setting my alarm for 6am when I’m used to waking up at 8am (this is too drastic of a gap for me), this method would have me setting my alarm for 7:45am and not allowing the snooze button to be pushed. Once I am doing that easily, next I would set the alarm for 7:30am and so on. Small steps with rewards for when I head in the right direction.

Successive Approximation is acting in a way that gets you closer and closer to the desired behavior. For people like me, I visualize a desired result and then overwhelm myself by assuming there’s no other way to get over the mountain except in one leap. Of course this isn’t the only way, but my brain tends toward the extreme options. Making small, accessible changes that increase gradually also increases the likelihood you’ll get over that mountain. I’ve always been an “I want it now” person, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to look back on these posts one day and see a drastic change that was so gradual I never even realized it was happening.

In addition to all of this, my son started seeing a child psychologist a few weeks ago and she is working with him through play therapy. He’s learning to realize his anxiety, label it, talk about it, and bring himself down from it. He colors, he plays, he listens to soft music, he learns to belly breathe and meditate, etc. It’s only been a few sessions and I’ve noticed a difference already in his confidence. As I know full well, sometimes just having the knowledge you aren’t alone with your frustration gives you enough fortitude to stare down any uncertainty.

In order to continue his practices in the home environment I’ve picked up these books recommended to me by friends. Learning to be still, quiet and mindful are possibly the most powerful skills one can possess. I will post updates as we work through the books together.

The fourth book, Start Balancing by Kristy Dickerson, was given to me by a friend and mentor who’s also a fellow mom/entrepreneur. It’s a guided journal to self discovery and defining success. In the opening quote to this journal I underlined the sentence that reads “I believe I was intended to fail, to struggle, and to face defeat in order to learn how to succeed.”

These might be the most self-reflective words that I’ve identified with in some time. When it comes to goal-setting, I continue to fail because I have not learned enough about myself to set them successfully from the beginning.

And that, my friends, is what this journey is all about.

Day 8 – Staying Positive

  • Post daily for 365 days.
  • Grow out hair for 365 days.
  • Post daily gratitude for 365 days.
  • Lose 40-lbs in one year.
  • Gluten-free. Day 0/90
  • In bed by 10pm and awake by 6am. Day 0/7
  • 30 Days of Yoga. Day still 2/30

  • I can feel the fringes of my usual funk creeping in and I find myself feeling relieved my therapy appointment is tomorrow. There’s so much to get off my shoulders. My brain tries so hard to weigh me down and over the years I’ve just learned to succumb to it because that’s easier when I so often have the energy left to fight it. Of course that doesn’t help anyone, especially not me, which is why I’m trying to change.

    Most of my goals are starting the clock back at zero days. I’m disappointed by that, but this time I’m not going to give up. I’m just going to replant my feet and try again. This is progress.

    An interesting note: I was hungry the other day when driving home from dropping my son off at school and I started to get the low sugar shakes and sweats. I can’t function well when that sets in so I scarfed down what food I had in the car in an attempt to raise my blood sugar, which happened to be the matching pop-tart to the one G ate while we were driving. I ate it quickly and finished up my coffee. Less than a minute later my throat was tighter and phlegmy and I could tell I was having to take bigger breaths just to keep my breath even. A headache also set in at the same time. I can only assume it was the gluten in the pop-tart. Before this slip-up I had been gluten-free for 6 days, and while I know you have to be absent of it for weeks for your body to be rid of it completely, I can’t help but wonder if there was something connecting the occurrences. Regardless, I’m definitely off gluten and all the better for it.

    It’s 11:30 at night. I’m not doing well with my early bedtime plan. Still back at 0 days for that one, but I have a plan in place to get up early in the morning because I need to backup my phone in case they screw it up when replacing the battery at the Apple store tomorrow. Wish me luck! I’m so thankful that I was able to take advantage of the $29 replacement special they were offering until the 31st of Dec, 2018. I reserved my spot just under the wire. I, too, like to live dangerously.

    Goodnight, all. Stay positive.

    Day 7: Comfort Items

    My sweet boy has been struggling lately. Especially when it comes to digging deep inside of him for the courage to go to school.

    Some kids jump up at the thought of seeing their friends and teachers, and seeing what new object will be featured on the sensory table or in the discovery center of their classroom. My child loves all of those things too, but he is completely overwhelmed with the “what if” thoughts and the crippling worries he associates with getting into that classroom.

    Every morning he tries to stall our routine. Every morning he argues with me about what clothes he’s going to wear and how scratchy they are or how big the tags are. Every morning he argues with me about going to the bathroom. Every morning he takes forever to eat breakfast. No matter when I wake him up, he adjusts his procrastinating accordingly, hoping that if he does just enough to make us behind in getting out the door then I’ll throw my hands up in defeat and declare it a stay-at-home day. That never happens, but bless his heart how he tries.

    Today as we were about to run out the door (per our usual exit strategy) he had to run back in to get his stuffed puppy that his Nana gave him for Christmas. He wasn’t a big stuffed animal kid until just a few months ago, and his clinginess to them has recently accelerated. I told him he could bring his puppy in the car but he couldn’t take it into school. He said he was going to do it anyway. He’s four, after all, and they tend to (try to) do what they want.

    We drove to school, chatting lightly about things and saying “hi” to an iron stick man sculpture and a crazy tree we see on our route. I rounded the school parking lot in the car line pattern and pull up to the front so G can get out. He gets out of the car and looks in his tote basket, quickly realizing his puppy isn’t in there. He turns back to the car and desperately asks for Fluffy. I can see the panic seeping into his eyes. He’s pleading with me with that look, and I can’t say no even though I know he’s not supposed to bring outside toys to class. I can tell it’s a day he needs a little extra comfort from home.

    At pickup, several hours later, he’s walked to the car by one of his teachers. He looks sad. He’s in “shut down” mode and I’m immediately wondering what happened. His teacher leans in the car and tells me they had an issue with his puppy because he was told not to take it outside because he would get dirty and that maybe puppy was better left in the safe, warm car during school. I interpreted that as “lady, follow the rules and don’t let your kid bring toys from home.” She was nice about it, but note taken.

    G was visibly and verbally upset. He told me “they said I can’t bring my puppy back, never ever ever again.” He has two classes in a day. His morning class and then lunch bunch, which has completely different teachers. I asked him what his first class teachers said and he said “she didn’t even care. She was asking me questions about Fluffy and even said maybe one of the days all of the kids could bring a stuffy from their own house.”

    He was pretty confused why one half of his day was supportive of his comfort item and the other half didn’t embrace it. His first class teachers are aware of his struggles with anxiety and are a bit more compassionate in allowing him to do what he feels he needs to do to cope. His second class teachers may not be aware of how severe his anxiety can become.

    He doesn’t always want to bring his stuffed animal with him places, but I can always tell what kind of a day he’s having based on his level of attachment to whatever item/toy he chooses to cling to. If he’s experiencing any emotional discomfort he will not leave the house or car without a toy in his hand. It’s needless to say, he’s had some pretty rough days lately.

    And needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to immersing him in play therapy with his psychologist so we can start tackling those anxiety-coping skills.

    That all said … teachers, I have a small request. If you have a student who is carrying around an object or a toy even if the rules don’t allow for them … I implore you to please consider the child’s individual personality and reasons for carrying said toy before you risk embarrassing them or causing increased levels of anxiety by pointing out their “mistake” in bringing it. That toy might be the only thing that got them through the school doors that day.

    Hoping for a happier day tomorrow.

    P.S. while I’m struggling most days with my own anxiety, I’m thankful for the blessing of empathy for G. He will not have to fight this alone and will always, always, always have someone with a deep understanding and who loves him unconditionally in his corner.

    Life Hack Time

    If you’re like me, in the last year or two the Internet has told you all the things in your life you’ve been doing wrong for your entire existence.

    You’re putting your deodorant on during the wrong time of day, you’re putting your concealer on horizontally under your eye when it should be done vertically, you’re peeling bananas from the wrong end and even monkeys know how to do it correctly. The list is endless.

    But I learned something today. Actually, I figured it out on my own without the Internet telling me and it’s right up there with finding out there’s a tic-tac holder on the inside of the tic-tac lid.

    I recently got a new duvet cover set for our bed and when we got home from our trip I couldn’t wait to put it on our plain white duvet. I’ve had duvets and their covers for years, so I’m certainly no stranger to the infuriating effort that is putting the duvet back in the cover after it’s been washed. Then once the cover is on correctly, actually getting the duvet to not slide around within the cover is a totally separate challenge. By the end of the week, most of your comforter is down in the bottom of the duvet cover and utterly useless.

    So while I’m prepping myself for the battle I’m about to engage in, I figure out which side of the duvet should be at the foot of my bed. I check the corners for the location of the tag, and in doing so I notice a tiny loop at the end of each corner.

    My wheels start turning.

    All four corners have one. “If only these would attach to something inside the duvet cover to keep it still …” My brain is thinking. Hard at work. I’m feeling the excitement.

    I wonder.

    I stuff my hand in the cover and feel my fingers toward the top corner of the inside. I’m met with instant gratification when my fingers grab onto two ties, snugly attached to the corner. These steps are repeated in each corner with the same results. I quickly tie the cover corners to the loop of their respective duvet corners.

    I’m not sure if this is the same for all duvets and covers, but I really hope it is. I’m about to sleep happy tonight knowing I will never again be bothered with a duvet that doesn’t know its place in the cover.

    Goodnight. Sleep tight!

    Day 6: end of the vacation

  • Post daily for 365 days.
  • Grow out hair for 365 days.
  • Post daily gratitude for 365 days.
  • Lose 40-lbs in one year.
  • Gluten-free. Day 6/90
  • In bed by 10pm and awake by 6am. Day 0/7
  • 30 Days of Yoga. Day still 2/30

  • I’m a little late with my post (and my bedtime) but I am having to play a bit of catch up as we just returned home from our weekend getaway. It still counts as “today” if I haven’t gone to sleep yet. My blog, my rules.

    I had the best time with my family on this little trip. We had a few reasons for going even though it was so last minute and I’m glad we took the time to do it.

    At our parent/therapist meeting after our son’s evaluation with the child psychologist a few topics obviously came up, one of them being his fear of swimming underwater, or letting go and swimming unattended even on the surface. He’s been going to swim classes but the coaches always want to rush him into dunking his head under the water before he is ready to give consent. His therapist suggested we go swimming as a family together so he builds up confidence in a trusting and fun environment, and to take video to play him repetitively to show him he can in fact swim and have fun doing it. He put his face underwater on his own and we got video, so I’m hoping it helps him! He also learned a new trick with the pool noodle.

    I really didn’t want to come home after such a lovely time with the two people I love most in the world. But like all good things, it had to come to an end. So my husband could go back to work and not get paid.

    Speaking of that whole working without pay thing, we were walking on a trail in Assateague looking for ponies. We were successful in finding their poop and my son, who has discovered a love for binoculars, had to inspect it. I feel like there’s a metaphor happening in this photo that could work for our current government and politics in general. Something to the effect of “no matter how close you look at it, you’re still looking at shit.”

    So for my daily gratitude, I’m thankful for my sense of humor, because it’s about the only thing that’s going to get us through this government shutdown. I just wish I could pay the bills with it.

    Gluten free progress is going well. I had a grilled chicken salad at McDonald’s today and it wasn’t half bad! Some things really surprise me.

    Day 5: The Vacation

  • Post daily for 365 days.
  • Grow out hair for 365 days.
  • Post daily gratitude for 365 days.
  • Lose 40-lbs in one year.
  • Gluten-free. Day 5/90
  • In bed by 10pm and awake by 6am. Day 0/7
  • 30 Days of Yoga. Day 5/30


  • Well … it didn’t take long for me to have to start over again on some of my goals. My family really needed a break from the normal scenery and to spend some quality time together. No itinerary. No distractions. So here I am writing this from Chincoteague, VA.

    Now wasn’t the best time to spend money on frivolities with the government shutdown and my husband most likely not receiving a paycheck on the 15th, but I can’t let a poorly run government dictate when my family takes a break. If it’s one thing I’ve learned while on my own personal journey with anxiety, it’s that when you need a break you find a way to make it happen.

    We left last night and since Friday was a full schedule up until the moment we left, I’m now two days behind in my 30-day yoga journey. I’ll be doing two sessions a day once I’m home until I catch up. I forgot my yoga mat at home and something about lying on a hotel room floor doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t care how clean it is.

    I’m also not doing too well with my “early to bed early to rise” goal and will start that over again when we get home. Yesterday was rainy and dreary and while I was awake by 6:00 I didn’t actually get out of bed until 10:00. My boy was still sleeping and I knew if I woke up and started making noise around the house he’d get up sooner than his body wanted him to. And his body has been telling me for weeks he’s behind on sleep. This morning the hotel room was so dark with the curtains drawn that we all got some extra sleep. And I can’t lie, there’s something so amazing about not setting that alarm for the next morning.

    At least I’m doing well with the gluten free goal I set out for myself. Although, I do need to clarify that this is not a celiac-level effort of gluten-free life. It’s a “let’s see if a little less gluten makes me feel better” experiment. For instance, I’m not stressing out over trace amounts of gluten and I’m not going to inconvenience anyone else for the sake of this goal. And also … “I liked beer. I still like beer. Sometimes I drink too many beers. Sometimes others do.” Just kidding. That was my Brett Kavanaugh impression and I couldn’t resist the opportunity. I don’t drink beer that often so it’s not tough to cut out of my life, but sometimes it just seems like such a great idea! Gluten free beer never gets that reaction from me.

    Still growing out my hair, still trying to lose weight, still thankful every day, and still posting.

    Yesterday I was feeling pretty thankful that our dog sitter was able on such short notice to care for our animals so we could take this family vacation. Today, I’m grateful for a little boy who loves to spend time with his family and go exploring in nature with his mama. For anxiety sufferers, there’s something so calming about the outdoors that removes you briefly from the chaos trapped in your exhausted mind. It’s such an effective way to recharge.

    Anyway, see you tomorrow.



    Day 4: I break for anxiety

  • Post daily for 365 days.
  • Grow out hair for 365 days.
  • Post daily gratitude for 365 days.
  • Lose 40-lbs in one year.
  • Gluten-free. Day 4/90
  • In bed by 10pm and awake by 6am. Day 3/7
  • 30 Days of Yoga. Day 3/30

  • This update is taking a bit of a different turn that my usual posts. In addition to the promises I’m making to myself, I am also vowing to be more aware and compassionate with regard to my son’s struggles. And sometimes, if I’ve being brutally honest, that is so damn hard.

    It’s impossible to describe the heartache I feel on a daily basis when I see evidence of Grant’s anxiety play out. We’ve been out of our usual routine for the past few weeks because of Christmas and when it came time to get him to school yesterday I couldn’t shake him from his incoherent screaming, so we didn’t go and went back to sleep instead. This morning we did some talking about school and some visualization practice on what a day at school is like, which eventually convinced him to go.

    But we were late and missed the carline, so I had to walk him in. His pace slowed more and more the closer we got to his room. Once inside and he saw the other kids he didn’t want to let me go. Crying and clinging as his teacher gently tried to peel him off of me. I know he’ll be fine eventually and will have fun, but walking away from him in that moment is the worst feeling. Leaving him in tears means I also leave in tears.

    We had him evaluated by a child psychologist and after our meeting with her yesterday his diagnosis is worse than I even suspected. She said he’s emotionally immature for his age. But if you’re dealing with emotions bigger than you, that you can’t even understand much less talk about, I can see why “immaturity” might occur. It’s a debilitating condition. Shoot, I’m still emotionally immature myself some days.

    He’ll start weekly play therapy with her and we’re now to do daily mindfulness practices to help him learn to recognize when he’s experiencing the uncomfortable feelings and how to bring himself to a calm place so he can focus. I’m hoping to get him to a good place before kindergarten next year.

    This is all so hard on my heart. Anxiety is real, folks. And children can have it, too, and it can really hinder their development. Most adults can’t manage their anxiety appropriately, so now imagine that in a four-year old body. It’s up to us as parents to give them the resources and tools they need to be successful, to be their advocates when they’re hurting. It’s up to us to resist dismissing it as typical four-year old behavior. It might be so much more complicated than that.

    This is so hard.