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.

    Day 3: Stretching out the Wings


  • Post daily for 365 days.
  • Grow out hair for 365 days.
  • Post daily gratitude for 365 days.
  • Lose 40-lbs in one year.
  • Submit at least 5 images at each photography club meeting.
  • Gluten-free. Day 3/90
  • In bed by 10pm and awake by 6am. Day 2/7
  • 30 Days of Yoga. Day 2/30

  • Today’s early wake-up was much better. I felt rested enough, or maybe I was just giving up after the several wakes throughout the night. Either way, I ended up getting to sleep at 11 and waking up at 7. Slightly off my schedule but still better than before. I’m trying not to get frustrated that I didn’t complete it exactly as the goal is phrased, because one thing my therapist also wants me to work on is giving myself grace. To stop living in an “all or nothing” state of mind.

    My son had a rough day back to school after the Christmas break. He didn’t want to go but we talked and I got him excited to go, but of course once the moment came and we were waking to his classroom his anxiety overwhelmed him and he broke down. It was heart breaking, but his teachers are so good with him and helped him through it and his tears had turned to huge smiles by the time I picked him up. It was still hard to watch him suffer in the beginning. As someone who knows just how confusing and suffocating anxiety can be, it is painful to watch it affect your child.

    In order to cope with the sadness of leaving my child at his school in that state I came straight home and did my second day of yoga with Adriene. Day 2 Dedicate: 30 Days of Yoga. It was just what my spirits needed to lift. It helped ground my emotions and center them on a more stable foundation to deal with whatever the rest of the day had in store for me.

    This afternoon I was happy to de-clutter the house of all things Christmas. While I enjoy the festive look before the holidays, as soon as the celebrations are over I want it all out of my sight. This process helped so much to alleviate some of the stress I was dealt today.

    My husband had a great day at work, passed a difficult test and earned a fancy certification as a result. To celebrate we decided it was time to take a family weekend trip. So I booked us a stay in Chincoteague for the weekend at a hotel with an indoor pool. My son’s therapist recommended we have some fun play time in the pool together as a family to help ease his fear of swimming underwater, and it just so happens to be the off-season on the mid-Atlantic coast. I am very much looking forward to this time together and a slower pace to work on some more of my goals.

    At our photography club meeting tonight I submitted 5 images to be critiqued in the theme “winter.” My goal is to participate in the theme each month. I’m also very glad that my husband has decided to start coming with me to the meetings and participating. Photography is such a beautiful method of expression and I love to see the differences in perspectives each photograph shares. It’s eye-opening.

    To end this post, I’m thankful for my village. Near and far, I have so many people in my life from various walks who can lend an ear and offer me sage advice when I need it. They calm me down and bring peace to my heart simply by sharing words with me. Words sent from a loving place of friendship. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Until tomorrow.

    Also, I was gluten free all day today except for the snickerdoodle cookie dough blizzard I had at Dairy Queen tonight. Let’s pretend you can’t read that, even though to be accountable I technically have to write it down.


    Day 2/part 2: Yoga begins


  • 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 2/90
  • In bed by 10pm and awake by 6am. Day 1/7
  • 30 Days of Yoga. Day 1/30

  • I have a confession.

    I woke up at 6am this morning like I promised myself I would. I stayed awake researching, eating breakfast and watching Hoarders. Solidly productive. I went upstairs to gently wake my boy up for school at 8am and all hell broke loose.

    With an immediate and massive 4-year old’s tantrum in response to the gentle wake-up I decided it best to give his overly tired body more time to rest. I lied down in his bed with him and rubbed his back to help him calm down.

    I’m sure fellow parents can guess what happened once my exhausted body and stressed mind was back in a cozy bed. Next thing I knew I woke up at nearly 11am with my boy still sleeping next to me. So, while I technically accomplished my goal for the day I didn’t exactly work it the way I thought I would. But there is that element of listening to our bodies and giving them what ours so clearly needed: sleep.

    That said, the rest of the day was great. My son and I made a trip to the library for new books, I got my hair trimmed and reshaped to prep it for growing out, and I had a healthy, gluten-free meal at Panera with my family tonight. Not so easy to walk into a restaurant with the word “bread” in its name, but I got by with the turkey chili and the Santa Fe Chile Lime Chicken Salad. I would have preferred bread, but that’s just how it goes.

    After dinner my boy and I came home and set up the room to start Day 1 of 30 Days of Yoga. Originally I was going to do this myself when he was in school this morning but since we slept through all of that we had to improvise this evening.

    My sweet friend and neighbor invited me to hop on board Dedicate: A 30-Day Yoga Journey with Adriene with her. Today was Day 1 and it was so relaxing, focusing on breath and body awareness. Not only that but Adriene is very pleasant to listen to and the environment she invites you into is beautiful and calming.

    It’s so important to take time to slow down and practice mindfulness, and now that my son has followed in my footsteps and been diagnosed with anxiety, teaching him how to practice mindfulness is part of his treatment plan. This is such a lovely way for us to bond and work on our anxiety coping skills together.

    Here’s my little yogi, practicing hands to heart.

    We had a great 50-minute session, and while he got bored about halfway through the video and moved on to something else, it was good for him to see his mama sticking with it until the end. Even if in my final savasana he was piling placemats on top of me.

    To wrap up the day, I’ll close with my thankfulness piece. I’m thankful that there are therapists out there who are equipped to recognize anxious pain and confusion in children and to educate parents on the best way to help them through the process to figuring it all out. I wish it had been an easier resource when I was a child, but I’m glad it’s readily available now and that we can all work on improving and supporting each other in this area as a family.

    Until tomorrow, namaste.

    Day 2: I’m Awake

    It’s 6:00. As in 0600.

    I am awake, but still lying here in bed squinting at my phone and trying to wake up enough to function.

    This is my view.

    What the heck do people do this early? I asked my husband this while he was getting ready for work. His alarm went off at 5am. “We drink coffee.”

    I am a night owl. I always have been. Staying up until 1am and waking up around 8am. So why the change? Because I have a 4-year old.

    My son goes to pre-k, for which we need to be out the door by 8:30. When we get up at 8am everything is rushed and it stresses us both out. So I’m hoping that by getting to bed earlier I can shift the timing enough to avoid the unnecessary panic.

    But just lying here writing this I’m slammed with nausea, never ending yawns and a mild hot flash.

    Fine. I’m getting up.

    It’s so dark my Christmas tree lights the way to the kitchen. This is new.

    I make my way to the kitchen for coffee, to feed the dogs (who aren’t even awake yet) and eat my rice Chex (gluten free!)

    But what else should I do? I didn’t wake up with the excitement of doing something new and getting started, so I’m going to take this easy. I’m going to do what I would normally do in the wee hours of the morning/late night: watch Hoarders and inspire myself to purge my home of excess everything.

    Why is it so dark outside??? Day 1 of new sleep schedule is done before the sun is even up. That does feel good.

    Day 1: Let’s Do This

    It’s January 1st, the first day of 2019 and my year of change. We welcomed in the new year with a couples’ dinner party sans kids with some of our good friends and really enjoyed the time together to relax and be adults. This year is already putting a good foot forward.

    My goals that start today:

    • Post daily for 365 days.
    • Grow out hair.
    • Post a daily gratitude.
    • Go gluten-free for 90 days.
    • Lose 40 lbs. Sadly this doesn’t happen overnight
    • Go to bed by 10pm and wake up at 6am for 7 days.

    I didn’t cut my hair today, so … so far so good! Although the hilarious thing is that I have an appointment tomorrow to get it cut, but now it’s just a trim to reshape it so I can grow it out evenly. I know it sounds ridiculous to set this goal, but to me this is one of the hardest things to do. Each time I tell myself I want to grow my hair out but it gets to a certain length where I feel it touch the back of my neck and I instantly want to run to cut it off. My hair has rarely been beyond my ears and I’ve never been without bangs. It’s time for a real change and this time I’m going to do it, dang it! Why is literally doing nothing so hard?

    The gluten-free effort started again today. I did it for 6 weeks last year and while I ended up not having celiac I noticed a difference in how my body reacted. It was much happier without gluten and if there’s an incentive to keep me away from bread and pizza then that can only play in my favor. I would sleep on a pillow of bread if that was an option. I. Love. Bread. But telling myself I can’t have it helps keep it at bay. Day one down. The first day is always the easiest.

    Something I’m thankful for for is living next door to our wonderful friends and neighbors, whom we can enjoy a comfortable New Year’s Day dinner and conversation with and whom we trust with the life of our child. It’s the best blessing, especially when living so far from family.

    And as for going to bed and waking up early? Well, it’s 9:50pm and I’m in bed writing this. So, yay! Check with me tomorrow, though, as getting up at 6am scares the crap out of me. But I’m hopeful! 8 hours should be enough sleep for this to be successful, and if it isn’t then I need to talk to my doctor.

    So there you have it. Today is done and accounted for! I’m on a roll! Tomorrow, I start my 30-days of yoga. I am very much looking forward to that dedication.

    Ooh, it’s getting late. Gotta go! G’night!

    This Girl’s Got Goals

    Tomorrow is the start of a new year. Some people think of it as a clean slate. That’s a nice notion, but the practical side of me sees it as simply an easy day on the calendar for tracking goal progress. When something is overwhelming to me, I tend to process it quite clinically; a coping mechanism of mine that may not be obvious to others but that my therapist noticed during our first session.

    The sole purpose of this blog/journal/journey is to set myself up for success; to reach goals that I set for myself, without any external prompting, and to acquire new habits. These marks are set for personal emotional growth, professional growth of my business, marriage/relationship enrichment, and improvements in my health and wellness. They exist in two categories: short-term (less than 60 days) and long-term (more than 60 days).

    I will probably add to or subtract items from this list over the course of the next 365 days as life happens and other priorities arise, but for now these columns are my compass. Some are relative small goals in length of time, but that does not indicate the difficulty of the goal itself. For example, going to bed by 10pm and waking up at 6am is a very arduous goal for me, but I’m hoping that by setting an achievable, short length of time to maintain this it will help build my confidence to continue until it becomes habit.



    • Go to bed by 10pm and wake up at 6am for 7 straight days. If successful, continue this.
    • Drink 1 gallon of water daily for 7 days. Make sure this coincides with easy access to a bathroom.
    • Set 1 thing aside to donate every day for 1 month. Ask Neil and Grant to do the same.
    • Compliment someone daily for 7 days.
    • Do something to pay-it-forward for 7 days.
    • Read for 1 hour each day for 14 days. This should be done before going to bed.
    • Do 1 project a day with Grant for 7 days. 
    • Stay offline one day per week for 4 straight weeks. Day of week to be chosen later.
    • Schedule 1 date night each week for 4 straight weeks. Secure babysitter for all 4 nights ahead of time.
    • Rid closet of all clothes that don’t currently fit.
    • Write one hand-written letter to a family member or friend each day for 7 days.
    • Spend 7 days recognizing simple pleasures. List these in each daily blog post.
    • Take an online education course to learn a new task each week for 4 consecutive weeks. Record best takeaways from each lesson.
    • List 5 things to sell online each day for 7 days.
    • Use gift cards and book 2 massages. Complete this within the first 60 days of 2019.
    • Go hiking once a week in a new park for 8 consecutive weeks.
    • Meet a friend for coffee/lunch/shopping/etc once a week for 4 consecutive weeks.
    • Sketch daily, for 30 consecutive days. Share sketches online each day.
    • Post to the blog daily for 365 days.
    • Go Gluten Free for 90 days. Starting January 1, 2019.
    • Grow out hair for one year. This may seem silly but this goal literally requires doing nothing and I still have not been able to accomplish it.
    • Lose 40lbs in one year. Starts January 1, 2019.
    • Attend at least 4 Fit4Mom BodyBack classes each week for 1 year. I started to write 3 then realized I was saying in my head “three would be easier” and changed it to 4 because this journey isn’t about “easy.”
    • Complete all daily homework assignments during BodyBack transformation sessions. Session starts January 12.
    • Wean myself off my anxiety medication. By June 30.
    • Practice gratitude daily for 365 days. End each blog post with one thing I’m thankful for.
    • Book at least two photoshoots each month.
    • Define business objectives and create client management system. Complete this by March 30th.
    • Participate in monthly photography club prompt. Submit at least 5 images each.
    • Enter at least 3 photography contests within the year.
    • Create newsletter for photography clients. Distribute this bi-monthly.

    Follow me and help keep me accountable please. If it suits you, feel free to do the challenges along with me. It’s going to be a fun, productive and life-changing year!